No, I didn’t marry Steve. I married Keith Ward. If ever there was a man who understood that religion isn’t a “woman thing,” that as leader of the family, the buck stopped with him, it’s this man. The Bible was read and discussed every day in our home. Bible lessons were done. Sermons were dissected and analyzed. By the time they were twelve, our sons knew more Bible than most adults. When they hit Florida College, freshman Bible was an easy A.
And me? This man is the original enabler. He taught me how to study. He bought me books. He answered my questions. He arranged his schedule so he could watch the children while I taught classes. He proofread material, offered suggestions, and made corrections. Ultimately he footed a huge bill so we could print Born of a Woman.
He is the one who suggested the blog and he hands out far more blog cards than I do. Now, with my vision slowly declining, he drives me to the classes I teach and to speaking engagements, and still offers the same services proofreading and commenting.
He does this without complaint and without resentment, despite the fact that his full-time preaching career, the only thing he wanted to do with his life, ended many years ago. Since then he has held a few meetings, lectured at Florida College, and filled in at a dozen different congregations, but that is not what he had in mind. Some men couldn’t live with that. Some men would have kept their wives out of the limelight if they couldn’t have a share, especially men with so much knowledge and ability as he.
I’ve taught classes where some of the women could not attend because their husbands refused to “babysit.” Excuse me? They are his children, not his hobby. But he had been “working all day and shouldn’t be expected to do that too.” So his wife’s spirituality suffered when she missed an opportunity to learn, unimpeded by wrestling with babies.
I’ve taught classes where as soon as it became apparent that she was becoming more knowledgeable than he, suddenly she was no longer allowed to attend. Far be it from him to actually study enough to keep up with her.
I’ve taught classes where, even though there were no children, he expected her home with him every night. He certainly didn’t want a quick and easy dinner so she could make a seven o’clock’ class, especially if it left the dishes for him to do (if she were lucky).
In forty years I have seen all kinds of husbands, and I know how blessed I am. Keith Ward understands what God expects of him. He is the spiritual leader of this family and he knows he will be held accountable for where its members end up.
So will every man, especially those who take such stock in being (thumbs pulling on suspenders and chest puffed out) “Head of the house.” Any man who wants the title had better live up to it. I’ve shown you four men who did. They are worthy of your admiration and imitation.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loves his own wife loves himself: for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ also the church; Ephesians 5:25-29.