By Susie Hawkins
I had noticed her looking at him, laughing a little too loud, practically swooning over the brilliance of his sermons and cleverness of his insights. But she was my good friend, and I didn’t consider it flirting, especially since my husband paid no attention to her whatsoever. She was just vivacious and outgoing.
My Bible study leader in our church (I’ll call her Ruth), was a trusted mentor and friend to me. She was the age of my own mom and had unusual spiritual maturity and discernment. So, I wasn’t surprised when she spoke very directly to me one day about my friend’s behavior. She had noticed and picked up on it instantly. I remember sitting at Ruth’s kitchen table with her eyes staring into mine, saying “Susie, you have to help your husband. You are his “safeguard” – your very presence can diffuse situations like this. Your relationship with him is God’s provision of protecting him from temptation. Don’t be foolish and ignore this, you need to bring it to his attention, talk with him about it and decide how you will handle it.”
I thought about Ruth’s comments all day and have replayed that conversation in my mind hundreds of times since then. How wise and discerning she was and I am forever grateful for her directness and exhortation to a young and sometimes naïve pastor’s wife.
The word “safeguard” is defined as something that serves as a protection, defense or that ensures safety (www.dictionary.com). Ruth was right on target, as usual. Husbands and wives are each other’s “safeguards” against the temptations of the enemy. Make no mistake about it – Satan is the prowling lion seeking to destroy testimonies and lives, especially of those in ministry.
Paul supports this concept in 1 Cor. 7: 1-6. Our bodies exclusively belong to one another, and our physical relationship is designed to bring us fulfillment within the boundaries of marriage. Guarding that is our charge, so that Satan will not have an opportunity to tempt us (vs. 7). I took Ruth’s warning as a wakeup call to be more intentional in being my husbands “safeguard”.
That evening my husband came home from the office, with a large box of homemade cookies, delivered by my friend to the church office that morning. (He had mentioned in his sermon on Sunday how much he loved chocolate chip cookies). Well, something happened to me when I saw that box. I was suddenly livid! I ripped the top off and said, “You want cookies? I’ll give you cookies!!” I proceeded to smash every cookie in that box with my fist until the entire box was tiny crumbs. My husband was staring at me and when I finally stopped, we burst into hysterical laughter. I’m not sure if what I saw in his eyes was relief or fear! But it quickly led to a very honest talk about this situation and how we would handle these things in the future. I was ready to send her a note saying, “Hey, my kids and I loved the cookies! Oh and by the way, YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH TO TAKE MY MAN!” But I calmed down – and learned an invaluable lesson that day. I must be intentional in guarding and investing in my marriage. I am my husband’s safeguard against the schemes of the enemy, he is mine, and we will do everything within our power and God’s to protect our relationship and our testimony.
I did learn one other thing – maybe I need to bake chocolate cookies a little more often?
Flourish is an equipping community for ministry wives. Their website Flourish.me has been developed by ministry wives to address the unique context of ministry.
Susie Hawkins : SusieHawkins1