by Debi Pearl


                 I often ask myself, "Have they chosen to be bound?"  Though I know in my heart that 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 families 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 the 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 a 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 from 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 a fate.  She has so much talent, so much poise.  She is 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 mistake 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 long-suffering - with an emphasis on 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 that if only she allowed him to be free?  Like Delilah cutting away Sampson'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 down 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.


                  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 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?  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 discontentment?  Would you release him?


                  As a man whose hands are tied, it might take a while to get circulation flowing again, 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 love.  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 that 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?"