So J and I have been doing the Love and Respect Bible Study. We're on the second session so far, and the crux is this: women need unconditional love, men need unconditional respect. The idea comes from Ephesians 5:33 "Nevertheless, let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband." It's certainly not politically correct, but it's very interesting. The one thing that really struck me from last night's video was the idea to trust that your spouse is coming from a place of goodness in his or her heart.
I know that sounds so simple, but I honestly don't always do that. Many times, Justin will say something, meaning one thing, and I'll interpret it to mean something else. In fact, this exact situation is what has caused me not to sing anymore. A few years ago, we were listening to a particularly bad recording of a Captive Free team. They just did not sound good at all. I commented to Justin, that sometimes I'm paranoid that I sound like that. Justin responded, "Well, when you're confident, you sound much better. But when you're not confident, you do sound like that." He was coming from a place of goodness in his heart--he was trying to validate me and entice me to be more confident. However, because he didn't express what he had to say in the most eloquent manner, and I didn't recognize that he was saying what he was saying with a good heart, all I honestly heard was sometimes you do sound like that. And since then, I haven't really sung around him at all (which is just a vicious cycle by the way, because after not really singing for over a year, my vocal cords are shot, and now I really DO sound like that).
Now, as someone who has grown up in a very liberal town, I've often heard that the idea that wives must respect their husbands is a way to keep women down--for men to assert a power over them that isn't real, and it's a power that lies at the root of domestic violence, the disparity between men and women's wages, etc. However, what occurred to me last night was that if you have a spouse that is coming to the table with a good heart, as sweet Justin is, I'm not sure that there IS a problem with wives striving to respect their husbands. It's kind of interesting because at first glance, I thought, "Oh, I already do respect Justin." But if you were to ask Justin if he FELT respected, I'm not sure that he'd answer yes. So, it's a really interesting Bible study with a lot of really great people, and I'm whole heartedly enjoying it.
On the other hand, I went to a seminar with Justin tonight at church. I had absolutely no desire to go, but the speaker was a long time friend of Justin's family, and I knew Justin really wanted to go. The topic was "Discovering Your Ministry Potential." I HATED it. First, although Justin's family is good friends with the speaker, he really made a bad first impression on me that I just haven't been able to get over--first of all, immediately upon meeting me, he reached out, grabbed my nose, and wiggled my nose. I have this BIG aversion to people that I don't know touching me, and that totally turned me off. Second, he has the habit of putting people on the spot during his seminars to finish a sentence...like, "And what did God say to Moses when Moses asked him to send someone else? Meredith?" And usually, I'm the idiot that doesn't know, and it's just uncomfortable. Consequently, because of those two things, I just don't enjoy going to hear these people speak because inevitably, my nose gets wiggled (yep), and I get put on the spot (not tonight, thank goodness!). I know, they probably have a very good message, but I just can't get over my intense discomfort around the guy, and end up disliking everything he says because of it.
I know, I should take my own advice and remember that he's coming with a good heart, but baby steps people! I'm not willing to overlook the nose wiggling just yet.