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January 15, 1997

I often ask myself, “Have they chosen to be bound?” Though I know in my heart, no one, not even the insane, chooses to be bound. Then why do they remain so? As I look out over the crowd of fettered couples, I wonder, do they even know of their bondage? I see pampered flesh, pious faces, composed emotions, and disciplined wills concealing the self-imposed bondage. Yet, on occasion the pretense fails and their souls are seen through the bars of their making.
I look to my husband seeking the answers in his face, while silently whispering a prayer for him to have the wisdom he needs for so great a task. Can he say something that will cause them to see that the web binding their family is of their own spinning? Will he be able to tell this critical wife, wrapped in thick cords of bitterness, silly imaginations, contempt for her man, and romantic emotions which she thinks is spirituality, that the cords binding her husband, chords she so despises, are cords she tied?

Like Eve, she plucks the fruit of bitterness, shares it with her husband, and then decries his lack of leadership. His lack of confidence before God and man, the apparent lack of interest in studying the Word, and his hesitancy to lead the family are not cords of his own making; they are cords she tied through her dissatisfaction with him as a man. He doesn’t understand what binds him. His anger at circumstances he doesn’t understand and can’t seem to master drains his confidence before God. How can he soar before a mighty God if he can’t please his own wife? They are “heirs together of the grace of life,” but they can never maintain a togetherness long enough to inherit. So their children must face life without the grace of life. What hope have they?
The woman sees couples where the man is mighty, he is confident, he receives honor of many. She feels his magnetism and manhood as he looks at his wife and smiles. “How can it be that that woman should get a mighty man of God, such a loving husband?” She can’t understand why life should have permitted her such fate. She has so much talent, so much poise, so ready to minister, but she must drag her husband along.
The wife goes to women’s meetings and “shares” the sad story of her enslavement to a carnal, insensitive husband. She bemoans the mistakes she made when she was less “spiritual.” Now she suffers the consequences of having “married the wrong man.” But she bravely “dies to herself” and lets her husband know of her longsuffering – with an emphasis on the suffering. She makes sure he is aware of the time she puts into prayer and Bible study.
She grieves over her lost opportunity and dreams of what it would have been like if she had only married a strong, mighty man, a man known for his wisdom. Does she not know her man could be all of that if she only allowed him to be free? Like Delilah cutting away Samson’s strength, she cuts her husband and leaves him exposed to the Philistines of this world. Any man she married would soon pale in her eyes, because he too would be weakened by her criticism. After she cuts her husband, her dissatisfaction grows, and she seeks out others to condemn or control. Other men, her children, and eventually the church leaders feel the sting of her tongue.

living virtuously
As I look across the room, how many in the audience are so entangled? It is sad, the mockery of this enslavement. More than anything the wife wants her husband to be a “spiritual man;” and more than anything he wants to please and serve the living God. Why then doesn’t someone, anyone, just tell them about the cords that bind their spirits, slowly squeezing abundant life from their relationship. Why doesn’t someone loose them? But, perhaps someone has tried, tried many times.
Dear Sister, are you one of those in my audience who have allowed your bindings to enshroud your husband? Have you stolen his manhood with your discontent? Would you release him? As a man whose hands are tied, it might take a while to get circulation flowing, but it will flow. Will you tell your heart and soul to leap with joy and delight when you think of your husband? Will you enjoy the thrill of not only serving him but blessing him with absolute abandonment?
No wonder you don’t feel loved. He is not free to love. His job is not to serve you; and your job is not to see to it that he does. Dear Sister, put away the things that bind you, and God will show you what a wonderful, delightful, precious relationship you can have on this old planet earth. The things you are missing are beyond explanation. When I looked out over the audience I whispered, “God, how do I tell them there is light when all they have ever known is darkness? How can I tell them to cut the cords when they think it is someone else who is bound?”

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9 comments on “BOUND”

  1. It is amazing to me that so many "Christian" women choose to remain in the bondage of their own making. Once again, Satan succeeds as the destroyer when they manipulate the glorious, liberating Word of God to their own supposed benefit instead of taking it at it's intended value to use as a mirror to see themselves as they truly are. I read "Created..." many years ago and it was journey of self-discovery and understanding. Thank you, Pearls, for your continued commitment to God's divine purpose for marriage and family. I think I'll pull that book out and read it again!

  2. Whether true or seams from reading over much of the "help meet" literature...that bondage within a marriage falls heavily on a women's shoulders...and that very little is said about healthy communication. My husband and I have an extremely close and healthy relationship. We both respect each other and love each other deeply, and have very close relationships with our Lord. We are both artists and my husband is not your typical macho man. He is very sensitive and a great listener. I do not feel this makes him less of a man of God. It just makes him a different kind of man. I feel as if it is very damaging when quick judgement is passed when all relationships do not fit in a neat tidy package. We are all humans and being a human is a messy business. I understand what you're getting at and respect parts of it...but I do not agree with some of the legalism I have witnessed upon reading much of your literature.

    1. I thought her book was extreme, too. I mean reverence my husband??? Let me tell you, it was only when I had nothing left to lose that I tried applying the principles. My husband doesn't fit the mold exactly either ... but I can safely say that it's all real. What she said is truth, and in God's time, He will open our eyes. Really, it's enough to make a woman weep when she discovers the ways she has hurt her mighty man ... and in so doing, heaped enormous pain on her own head. I know I wept ... I can only thank God for a second chance.

    2. holly, I am with you on this. I think your marriage sounds very much like my parents', who have loved each other wholeheartedly for decades, and who have shared a deep mutual respect since as far back as I can remember. legalism is a common fault in the church - we are walking a delicate line, and it is easy to render quick judgements from a very small view of a situation.

  3. Debi,
    You and Michael need to keep up the OUTSTANDING WORK God is using you for in the marriage today. Thanks for the inspiring words above. I lost my mother in 2004 at 57 years old. Stephanie and I have been married now for 11 years in May. These words and most especially the reminder about her (my wife) being my heir in the "grace of life" inspires me to keep pressing toward the mark of the high calling every husband needs to have "love your wife and give yourself for her." Yours and Michael's words have blessed my marriage and the upbringing of my family for years. I praise God for being "bold as a lion." Stand firm in the areas God has given each of you in loving "His" church and He (Christ) will give you back just as He promised. Thanks for running such a fast race. If I was a good runner, I still would not be able to keep up with your pace. Thanks for leaving some of us in the dust. It helps keeping us running. I just don't like the taste of dirt! Please tell Michael I am praying for Him. Philemon 1:4

    Joshua (34)

  4. Hi Debi and Mike
    I've just been reading Created to be a Help meet which my wife asked me to buy for her. We haven't been married long and have experienced some challenges. She is a wonderful woman and really wants to be the kind of wife that the Bible talks about; submitting etc., but when it came to it she asked "How does it work in ABC situation?" We have read many books on both sides of the marriage relationship and without doubt yours is the best! I'm going to get Mike's book too Created to need a Help meet. I agree with everything you say in this article, although I do not apply it to my wife who is determined to be the right kind of wife as I am to be the right kind of husband. But past experience has exposed me to the determinedly wrong kind and the effects are devastating. Beginning with my mother (who I have forgiven and is now dead) who nagged my father into submission and then she put me down, told me I was dumb and would never be any good. My first wife continued the trend in a more subtle way questioning my every idea and resisiting even when she "went along" with me. You always know when you are being tolerated and are on a kind of probation where if your plan fails, (as some of them did but I kept pitching) then the one you need to turn TO for support will be the one who will turn ON you!! After 25 years, some of them in the ministry, I eventually had a severe breakdown due to the ceaseless undermining of my confidence among other things and it was at that point my ex decided to reveal that she never had been a Christian really and she divorced me taking me to the cleaners while I was incapable of defending myself. I forgive her too. But the damage put me out of the work God called me to for the past 12 years. Now thank God He has sent me a real help meet and I believe He is restoring me to the ministry again. Does a wife make a difference? Does God's way work? I am living proof!! I struggled to overcome feelings of inferiority for OVER 50 YEARS!! I became a Christian over 30 years ago but always found it hard to believe that God loved me even though I was sure I was saved. Now my relationship with my wife has changed my relationship to my God. I know that He loves me!! Ladies, as a man, I beg of you to change the world and please please please follow God's way and be the wife and mother He created you and called you to be. How many men who could have done something outstanding have been dragged down and rendered far less than God intended by their women? We look around us at the state of the nation and the world and wonder where the leaders are.....ladies you are married to them, you are entrusted to be their mothers. Are you building or destroying them?

  5. I love No Greater Joy Ministries, but I have been married for 25 years and I have got to say just being content is not the cure all. It is certainly the best option but it does not make life rosy.