Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why a woman should not always vote like her husband does

When I was first married, I was under the mistaken notion that it was only right that a wife would come into agreement on such things as voting along the same lines as her husband.

This extended for me to both the secular world of politics and also the church. Some people have no clue just how much the church really is politicized in so many ways. (And that's a part of ministry that I, for one, hate.)

So when we first married, I'm not sure where I got the idea (not from the Bible) but I figured that Larry and I should come into agreement on the issues of voting. It's important to note that Larry never put this expectation on me. I had put it on myself! How silly of me!

Early on in our ministry I learned the biggest lesson EVER about this. It was our first senior pastorate and the annual business meeting was coming up, which meant board election/ratification. Larry had to nominate a few names for election. One man whose name was on the list, I was very uncomfortable with. I told Larry privately, "honey, I believe that man is trouble." Larry felt that the man was in many ways the lesser of some other evils, and the best choice all things considered. So, reluctantly, he wanted that man to get voted in. When looking back I realize my husband was a young man trapped in a horrible situation.

At that time I felt that to support my husband, I should, when the election came up that night, cast my ballot on behalf of this man. My thinking was, "Larry really wants this man, so it's only right for me to direct my vote that way to help it happen, even if I don't feel it in my heart." Although my heart told me "no", when the ballot was passed out, I confess - I didn't even pray about it when the direction was given to bow our heads and pray beforehand - I just checked his name, knowing it was what Larry would want.

That choice would prove to be one of my worst ever. That man became one of my husband's worst nightmares and his demise in that church as it's pastor! He was evil. (We only stayed there 8 months, it was such an abusive environment, and this man contributed much to that.) Here's the amazing thing...

After elections and such, it's the norm for the tellers to give the ballots to the church secretary or pastor and they either keep them on file or destroy them. (They are anonymous of course, just used ballots.) My husband had the stack of ballots and looked through them, and can you believe that that man got elected by...............................................


One lousy vote, ladies and gentlemen. And for all intents and purposes, it was mine. I kicked myself emotionally, over and over for that decision. By voting my heart and not what I felt was my "duty" as a wife, I could have possibly spared my husband a lot of pain. Make no mistake, this man was only one of several who caused the problem, however having him off the board would definitely not have been a bad idea.

Here's what I have learned. Your husband doesn't have the complete corner on wisdom and discernment, nor anything else in your marriage. A partnership is valuable because both partners contribute something. In many cases, a wife can see something a husband can't. (or vice versa) There are times a wife senses something -- whether it be with another woman or a situation like I had with that board member, and although your husband doesn't see it yet -- you do.

This is part of being a helpmate. If your husband could see or do all this without you, you would not be necessary. I'm so glad my husband believes I have "a beautiful mind" (as he's fond of telling me) and that he doesn't get threatened or feel like less of a man if I actually USE IT!

Also, do not be deceived. Despite what I've read on some websites and periodicals, the Bible doesn't expect you to "vote as your husband does or abstain."

Regarding secular politics...we just had the primary here in Florida and Larry and I went and voted. It wasn't until later at night after supper that we talked about it and even told each other who we voted for! We had discussed the issues for weeks but never made up our minds about it til' we both voted. If we disagree, the politics do not divide us.

Even among husband and wife, it's a decision that must be prayerfully made and respected by both as each other's right to do as they feel in their heart.

One thing is for sure -- I will never, never vote out of some sense of wifely duty again. Before I answer to a husband, I answer to God and voting whether in the community, state, nation, district or church is something I pray to God about, not my husband.

1 comment:

Pastor L said...

I didn't even know that there was a belief system like that up until a few years ago...WOW is all I have to say!!

I read an article aloud to my husband once, the jist of which was that the decline of our society (sex, drugs, rebellion, the whole deal!) started when the gave women the vote. We couldn't even get through it, we were laughing so hard!!!!