Our children haven’t seen us fight since before they can remember.
Let me say that “fighting” or arguing for us was pretty one-sided before God opened my eyes to all that was truly involved with respect and biblical submission.
OUR OLD WAY OF DEALING WITH CONFLICT
(I really do not enjoy sharing the spiritual “before” pictures of myself. But I know that it must be done. I pray that God might use my awful sin from earlier in our marriage to bring great glory to Himself. He alone changed my heart, life and marriage. And I thank Him every day!)
I would tell my husband what to do and he would often ignore me. Usually, I wanted him to do something about whatever the issue was RIGHT THEN. I was VERY impatient.
I knew I was “right”. So I would insist on my way and demand that he do what I wanted… And he would ignore me more. Usually, he’d watch tv and just keep looking at it and act like I wasn’t even in the room. So I would increase the volume more and start to feel VERY angry. I would NOT drop the issue – EVER.
Sometimes I would wait for an answer – you know – all of 5 minutes. Then I would demand an answer. And he would continue to ignore me. I would emotionally and verbally blow up.
Sometimes I would wait up to 30 minutes – on my SUPER “godly” days – sitting there impatiently scowling at him the whole time, watching the minutes tick by on the clock, angry that he wouldn’t JUST TELL ME what his answer was! What was so hard about that? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HIM?????? He had no communication skills at all, right? I thought he would know what he thought immediately like I did. And if I had refused to answer someone after more than about 30 seconds, it would mean I was the most unloving person on the planet. So I was sure my husband was extremely unloving and really needed God to FIX him!
Then I would get REALLY ANGRY and say something about how ridiculous it was that he couldn’t even give me an answer to a simple question (in a scolding mama tone of voice) – and I had waited ALL THAT TIME. And I would storm off full of anger, baffled, hurt, confused and convinced that HE NEEDED TO CHANGE. Look at what an unloving, difficult man I had to live with! He was IMPOSSIBLE!
Then he would stay shut down and I would fume and the entire day would be ruined.
The whole time, my husband was protecting himself from and reacting to MY disrespect. I didn’t see it at all. It’s hard for me to fathom now how blind I was then. But there is NO WAY I would treat my husband like that now that I can see the damage and destruction I was causing! I also didn’t understand that my pressuring him made it more difficult for him to think and make a decision, that he doesn’t think just like me and that sometimes it takes him some time to process things.
OUR SON ASKED US AN INTERESTING QUESTION TONIGHT
“Mom, why do siblings fight so much?”
And I said, “Well, they are around each other more than anyone else.”
And he said, “So… do married people fight a lot, too?”
And I said, “Have you ever seen me and your Daddy fight?” And our children just gave us a blank look.
They haven’t seen us fight or argue. Not since before they can remember.
I thank and praise God for that! It’s TOTALLY a God thing! How can I ever express enough gratitude to God for His Spirit working in us to create unity, oneness, love, respect, intimacy and a healthy, nurturing, amazing environment for our precious children!!?!?! I am in AWE of all God has done, is doing and will do.
WHAT WE DO NOW
I believe I am obligated to my husband to share my perspective, feelings and desires with him in a respectful way. He needs my input. I can’t just turn off my brain and force him to handle everything alone. That is not a godly marriage!
I don’t tell him everything I think like I used to. I used to constantly run a stream of dialogue about every thought in my head and everything I thought we needed to do and should do about every situation. It was all up to me to get things to work out properly, after all!
Where words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverbs 10:19
I have learned to prioritize and only tell him things that are truly important if there is a decision to be made. I give him more of my “bottom line” (maybe about 5% of what I used to say about issues and emotions). God taught me to restrain my tongue and have discretion and wisdom. I was sorely lacking in those areas in the past! I don’t drown him in an ocean of negative emotions or flood him with thousands of words (especially emotionally charged negative words) all at once for an hour or two at a time anymore.
I get to talk as much as I want to now. We have really deep discussions every single day. Now, I don’t even THINK all those constant thoughts about what we really need to do about X,Y and Z or a lot of negative or disrespectful thoughts. God has changed my heart.
I know that my husband is a man and I need to tailor my communication so that he can best hear me. And he actually hears my heart MUCH more clearly and cares about my feelings so much more than he did before.
Sometimes with men, less is more when it comes to communication. Less intensity, less negative emotions, less volume and a lesser quantity of words.
I am flexible and at peace now because I trust God and my husband to work things out for my good – even if my husband makes a mistake. I know I can’t lose! I know God is working through each situation in His sovereignty on my behalf for my benefit with wisdom far beyond my own. I know He knows what is ahead and I don’t. So I trust Him to use each decision my husband makes for my good and His glory. I can have peace no matter how things turn out because I trust God’s sovereignty over my life, my husband and our family.
I do not get attached to the outcome of decisions. I do not make the issue the priority. I cling to Jesus and to my husband, not to the issues.
MY HUSBAND HAS CHANGED SO MUCH!
It’s amazing what God has done with my faith in my husband. He went from thinking a lot about his own desires and mostly what he wanted to seeing that I truly trust him completely to handle things and to make the best decisions in God’s sight. That puts a very interesting dynamic and pressure into play that wasn’t in our marriage before.
He ACUTELY feels the weight of his decisions infinitely more than he used to. And he has become a very selfless, loving, servant-hearted, Christ-like leader because he knows I am counting on him and that if he fails, we all go down with him. That pressure is good for him. It forces him to really weigh his decisions carefully and to seek God’s will.
That kind of pressure was way too much weight for me. It made me anxious, depressed and completely overwhelmed when I tried to carry it. But now, I know my husband will answer to God for how he managed our family – not me. I will answer for how I obeyed God’s commands for me as a believer, a wife and a mother, but I am off the hook about the leadership of our family! That was a TON of weight off my shoulders. I feel so light and like I can breathe and even – gasp! – RELAX!
I leave the outcomes up to my husband and God and I know that they will do what is ultimately best for me and for God’s glory. That is enough for me. Yes, it was terrifying at first because it was new and unknown territory for me – but after I got the hang of it – it was the best thing I have ever done in my life!
I WOULD NOT FOLLOW IF…
The only thing that I would have to resist my husband about would be if he was asking me to sin or condone sin. But so far in the past 4 years – I can’t think of one time that has happened. Pretty amazing, I know! I am prepared to respectfully but firmly resist my husband if such a situation appears. But it hasn’t been an issue at all for us yet.
HE CAN HEAR GOD’S VOICE NOW
When I stopped all the negativity and began praising, encouraging, respecting and affirming my husband – he said this:
When you stopped the negative stuff, it stopped the static that was keeping me from hearing God’s voice well. And then when you added the praise and encouragement, it was like an amplifier that made God’s voice even more clear and obvious.
Wow! My role as a godly wife is CRITICAL. And if I don’t get it right, my husband suffers, his spirituality and relationship with God suffer, our marriage suffers, our children suffer, I suffer and the gospel of Christ suffers.
If we don’t get marriage right – which is the picture of the very great mystery between Christ and His church – we have nothing of eternal value to offer the world as believers.
THINGS ARE SO MUCH BETTER FOR BOTH OF US NOW!
My husband hears my heart now. He cares about my feelings now. He loves to see me happy. He actually does what I prefer most of the time. I “get my way” WAY more now than I ever did before. But if my husband decides to do something other than what I prefer, I support his decision and accept his “no” gracefully and cheerfully, even. He knows I will cooperate with him. He doesn’t feel like he has to defend himself from my verbal attacks. He can reveal his heart to me. He feels safe with me. And I can tell he really listens to God’s voice now in ways he never did before. I don’t fight his decisions anymore – because I trust God is leading him. And now I know that if I fight him, I may be fighting what God is trying to do in our family.
So I feel heard, loved, protected, well-provided for, cherished and adored. And I am the woman I always wanted to be – living without regrets in my marriage and my faith in Christ. I don’t have to repent of my outbursts, yelling, hateful words, resentment, un-forgiveness, anger, pride, control and disrespect any more. As soon as I see the SMALLEST hint of sin, I am on my knees repenting to God immediately and repenting to my husband.
My husband feels respected, trusted, honored and he knows I have all my faith in him (and that I believe God is leading him) in every decision he makes. That makes him a better man. It is truly a WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN for God, my husband, me, our children and everyone around us!