God has used Judah so many times to point me back to Himself.
He has truly been my most faithful teammate and strongest encourager. I can’t imagine walking through pregnancy (or life) without him. One thing I have learned, though, is that I have to let him be there for me. I must invite him in, with my words and demeanor. So I try to intentionally include Judah in every aspect of my pregnancy and welcome his input when he offers it.
During my first pregnancy, in the weeks before our son was born, Judah was reading a book (written by a Christian) about preparing to be a dad. Every once in a while I would read a chapter out loud to him so that we could glean some insights together about Judah’s upcoming role as a father. After a couple of chapters, I started to feel growing indignation; something just didn’t sit right with me about what we were reading.
One evening, after reading a particularly infuriating section, I stopped midsentence and exclaimed, “That is just not true!” As we talked through what was off about the book, we realized that its message seemed to be, “Dad, you’re going to be a third wheel for a while. Baby takes priority, and you need to be okay with that. Just be there for Mom when she needs you—give her a hug and change the diapers.”
I’m not saying everything in the book was terrible. The authors had some good, practical advice to offer. But much of its “wisdom” was based on human reasoning and experience rather than on God’s Word and His design for the marriage relationship.
As women, we can so easily slip into a worldly mindset of prioritizing other things ahead of our marriage, particularly children. One reason is that the world is constantly telling women how pregnancy is all about Mom and the baby—making sure that we are comfortable, we are happy, our needs are being met. But pregnancy is not just about the mother and child. Your husband is just as much a parent to this child as you are, and he has an incredibly vital role to play in the child’s life. He has the God-given responsibility of being the head of the home, and he is commanded to be actively involved in caring for and discipling his children (Ephesians 6:4). And this leadership role needs to be established from the moment you find out a little one will be joining your family.
The mother’s role in carrying the child certainly takes a special grace and sensitivity to understand, and this is part of the husband’s biblical role:
Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
Meanwhile, we are to honor and respect our husbands in every season of life, including pregnancy:
Wives, submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)
Wives, be subject to you own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives. (1 Peter 3:1)
I don’t have a right to be snappy toward my husband or treat him in a dishonoring way just because of my hormones or a backache. And I can’t assume that if I keep him out of the leadership role during my pregnancy that he will suddenly step up again once the baby arrives. God’s truth is always true and always relevant, and it is always going to bring about greater love and strength in our marriage when I walk in obedience to the Lord by allowing my husband to be the leader God created him to be.
Marriage was instituted by God to manifest the gospel (Ephesians 5:21–33). As John and Nöel Piper write in their book This Momentary Marriage, “The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His people.”1 God’s intent doesn’t change with seasons or circumstances. There is never a time when a marriage is exempt from displaying the greater reality of Christ’s relationship with the church. For this reason, the marriage relationship must remain our highest priority once children are in the picture.
Yes, things will change once a baby arrives. Yes, this baby will take up a huge amount of time and energy, especially from you, Mama. But what will ultimately help that child to thrive as an adult is to grow up witnessing what a godly marriage is supposed to look like, not by being the top priority in your life.
When we choose to obey God and live out marriage as He intended it to be, our marriage becomes a marvel to those watching. When a husband and wife love and serve one another even when the family is changing or circumstances become difficult, the gospel shines boldly through that family and becomes attractive to a lost and dying world. When a woman, even in the more difficult moments of pregnancy, chooses to joyfully obey God’s direction for being a wife and mother, you can be sure it will not go unnoticed.
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