All Power and Authority . . .
In Jesus own words, that he actually quoted from Isaiah, he said he came to “preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” If we see Jesus as the groom in the marriage and us (the church) as the bride, then what he did for the church we can apply to our marriages.
Jesus brought freedom for the prisoners and release to the oppressed. Are we doing the same for our spouses, or are they becoming like prisoners and oppressed due to our control and power. Control is a big issue in marriages. Control in marriage is expressed in subtle ways, like preventing your spouse from doing stuff, or even by not encouraging them to trying something or helping them to grow.
In Latin America, and most all other cultures, especially in the middle east and asia, including the U.S., there is a thing called machismo. Machismo is a form of control. You recognize it by the posture of the women, they are almost invisible. Treated as if they were incompetent to do anything. They are never encouraged to learn to drive, since the husband might lose his control. They are never encouraged to take classes and get a degree, since the husband might lose some of his control. They are not encouraged to go out with their friends, since the husband might lose his control over her social life. It is what does not permit these cultures to advance because it deprives them of what woman provide.
I think there are two things that drive machismo. One is the man’s own reputation, the other is his fear of being found out as weak by his woman. The man’s reputation is mostly based on sexuality, which is why he feels he needs to be unfaithful. There is a joke in Mexico that says, “The night before her wedding, a girl kneels down to pray. She prays for 3 things: “Dear God, please make my husband faithful to me.” “Dear God, please keep me from finding out when he is unfaithful to me.” “Dear God, please keep me from caring when I find out he is unfaithful to me.”
As a counselor, one of Gulni’s greatest challenge in counseling is to empower women. What does empower mean? It means to confer power and confidence. The definition of power is the ability to influence another person. Empower is the process of giving power to someone else. Empowering is the process of helping others recognize their strengths and potential, and encouraging them to develop those qualities. It is giving them value and self-esteem. It is helping others learn and grow to be all that they can be. In macho cultures, they suffer underdevelopment because the women aren’t able to use their creativity and gifts. The same with marriages.
Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Do we desire that for our spouses? Jesus came to empower his disciples. Luke 9:1 says, “he gave them power and authority.” All believers receive power when the Holy Spirit arrives in them, do our spouses have it as well?
In order to give power we need to see the potential in our spouses. It means edifying and building them up. I Corinthians 8:1 says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” In marriages, a spouse uses their strength to build up the other. We should have this attitude that we want our spouses to reach their potential. That was Christ’s attitude for the church. He challenged them, sent them out, so that they wouldn’t have to depend on him. He trained them by giving them experiences, and then by stepping aside. Lots of men and even some women want to maintain the power in the relationship, but this is not how God Works. He wants us to be strong.
What are we doing to empower and give authority to our spouses? What are we doing to give them abundant life?