This morning I had many errands to run before an upcoming trip. But as soon as my tires hit the road, heavy rain hit my window. “Great,” I thought. “I have a thousand things to do and am going to get drenched.”
Thankfully, before stepping out of the car door, I remembered the umbrella I keep in the back seat. My eyes gleamed. That beautiful contraption made of polyester and nylon proved to be a lifesaver. After all, it prevented me from walking from store to store looking like a grumpy wet dog.
I ventured home when I had accomplished everything I had set out to do. My outing was successful. Even if I was slightly damp around the edges, I was still most grateful for my umbrella.
But that small, seemingly unimportant instance reminded me of a more significant story. It was a testimony that a dear friend shared with me years ago. When I met her, I was unmarried. As time passed, I started hearing her talk about her marriage. Indeed, as I listened to some of the hard things they’d endured together, I knew their faith was a critical factor in their life spent together. To this day, I want to be like her when I grow up.
Months after meeting this friend, I noticed she was calling her husband something unusual. It wasn’t baby, honey, sweetie, or even his name. Rather, she called him “her umbrella.”
After a few days, she must have seen the confusion in my eyes. She sat next to me and started explaining.
“He’s my umbrella because he’s my covering,” she said with a smile. “He is responsible for taking care of our family. And I choose to trust that he is listening to the Lord to guide us. All I have to do is submit to him. And the best image I can picture is him standing there holding a big umbrella, protecting us from the rain and whatever else is thrown at us. So, no matter what, I’m going to choose to step under that umbrella for protection.”
Those words must have sunk deeper than I thought. It’s been years since I heard that analogy, but after my little venture in the rain, the Lord brought it back to mind. And, as we all know, he is an on-time God.
Days after that experience, my husband and I were in the middle of making a somewhat-big decision. Suddenly, he stopped, looked at me, and said, “I just don’t know why I’m having such a hard time making this decision. Maybe we shouldn’t do it.”
Without missing a beat or even much thinking, I looked him square in the face and said, “You are my umbrella.” He laughed, thinking I’d officially lost all my marbles. I, however, continued, “You are responsible for me. And if the Lord is telling you we should or shouldn’t do something, I expect you to listen to Him.”
Suffice it to say, he got the point. And with prayerful consideration, we made what we believed to be the right choice.
I haven’t traveled many miles into this marriage, but I know that the Lord has presented us with the beautiful gift of love, intimacy, and grace. Marriage is His design, and I believe He will be glorified as long as we do what Scripture teaches.
So, what does Scripture say about our roles? They are laid out in Ephesians 5.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself (25-28).
Out of the tasks, chores, and jobs my husband has been given, there is none greater than this call commanding him to love me, just as Christ loves the church. Talk about a heavy load. His most important job in the world is preparing me for heaven. And in return, I, his wife, am to humble myself and submit to him.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything (22-24).
I haven’t met a woman yet who loves submission. I can’t tell you I always do. But what I genuinely love is that thanks to my husband’s faith, I can rest knowing that he will always try to point me to Christ. The only thing I have to do is to submit and crawl under that umbrella; then, I’ll weather every storm.