53.

Would you consider that “old age”? (Maybe keep your answer to yourself…)

When I was younger, even into my forties, I would have definitely called a 53-year-old woman “old”, or at least “older”. Yet here I am, almost 53, and checking the age range closer to the end of the spectrum of choices. As we get older, we may not feel like older women and that may explain why we sometimes forfeit helpful teaching opportunities with younger women. I’m thankful for Paul’s inspired exhortation to Titus for this reason.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Titus 2:3-5

Through age, God gives wisdom, both through mistakes made and through times of obedience, God provides a variety of life experiences to draw from, and He provides faith-growing perspectives on life. So, ladies, if you have been married a few decades and raised at least one child to independent adulthood, you have wisdom and experience to share with the youngers. With each life-decade we add, God blesses us with even more perspective and wisdom. And, if you haven’t married or had children, but you are checking that age 50+ box, you are a prime candidate to speak words of Biblical truth as well.

Loving Our Husbands

Seeing my daughters-in-law loving my sons is beautiful. Their love is young and tender. As a seasoned married woman, perhaps they should teach me how to love my husband! Surely my husband and I are no longer in the honeymoon phase as we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary later this year. While I can always learn from their sweet newer love, God commands older women, though, to teach the younger women to love their husbands.

Through the years and experiences, we understand that love perseveres not through emotion alone, but through a commitment to our vows and obedience to God. This is something we want to urge our young women to develop and continue in, for marriages that end in divorce lack this persevering love for one reason or another.

So, how do we teach this persevering love? I’ll share a few overarching ideas, and within each idea are many more conversations that can be developed with the younger women in your life.

  1. Pray. Ask God daily (and often) to fill you with the Holy Spirit. As we receive fresh fillings of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), we will walk lockstep with Him, our thoughts will be filled with Him. He, not our flesh, will then pour out of us–His love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Our relationships will be so blessed when He overflows from our thoughts and mouths!
  2. Defer. While the world may view this as a “dirty word”, God speaks of deferring to others so much that Philippians 2 even describes this as Jesus’ whole life and death: making Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, humbling Himself and becoming obedient to the point of death. As we throw off selfishness and esteem our husbands (and others) as better than ourselves, we will persevere in strength and joy.
  3. Encourage. We can either view our marriage as a cup half empty or a cup half full. If I’m wearing my pessimist-glasses today, I will quickly see all my husband’s faults. The opposite is true if I’m wearing my optimist-glasses. But, a godly marriage isn’t built on platitudes. God tells us to encourage one another so we won’t harden our hearts through sin. As I’m speaking words of kindness, thankfulness, and hope to my husband, I am contributing to the tenderness of his heart as well as mine.

May God strengthen us older women, giving us love for younger women and a confidence in Christ to minister to them. May we love them by remembering to teach/train/encourage/urge them in loving their husbands. And, may we remember that our lives will teach most loudly. As our children leave home and it’s just us with our men, may we all the more ask God to give us a deep committed love that perseveres to the glorious end.

Next month I’ll share how older women can teach younger women how to love their children. Seems impossible for a mama not to love her children, but this is the challenge–how do we love them as God calls us to in His word?

Love, Wendy

Wendy Foulke

Author Wendy Foulke

Wendy is married to Dave and they have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and a daughter. The Foulke family has attended Christ the Word since moving to Toledo in 2007. Wendy serves as director of Women of the Word ministries and blogs at reflect-i.com. She enjoys reading and traveling. Her favorite places to visit are the United Kingdom and Montana, and she one day hopes to visit Iceland!

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