Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the husband who took the time to answer these questions in such detail. Wives – please hear this husband’s heart and consider – does your husband feel like this man does? My husband wasn’t able to articulate himself and verbalize how disrespected he felt before God opened my eyes to my sin 4 years ago – he just withdrew. Some husbands react with great anger. Some husbands TRY to tell their wives how disrespected they feel – but the wives can’t “hear” their pain. How that breaks my heart! Please listen to this husband’s legitimate masculine needs and to his perspective. Please don’t justify any disrespect towards your husband or say that your husband deserves this kind of treatment. Disrespect never “corrects” a bad situation. It only makes things infinitely worse. Look at the damage we can do when we don’t know how to respect our men and when we try to take over the marriage. We deserve hell and condemnation – all of us – but God gives us grace, the gift of salvation by Jesus’ blood, mercy and He exchanges our sin for His glory. We are called to do the same – to give respect, grace, mercy and cooperation even when it appears to be “undeserved” – because God said to do it. That is how marriages are healed and maintained. We die to ourselves and our wants so we can give life to our spouse and bless him.
What does your wife’s happiness mean to you?
I suppose it depends on what she’s happy about. I care about her being happy, but only about the things that matter. If she is happy about honoring and loving God and others, treating me like a friend and husband with love and respect, and seeking to walk closer with the Lord Jesus, then that will make me the happiest man alive. Okay, maybe not, but it will sure feel like it. However, if she gets her happiness from the fading things of this world, the latest fad, or following after her own heart, then her happiness doesn’t really mean anything to me. I hope that makes sense.
How much harder is it to feel love for your wife when she is disrespectful/controlling?
It seems impossible to feel love when she is like that. Not only that, but depending on how long or how often it happens, the feelings don’t come back very often. However, I am called to love her no matter what I feel. It makes it a lot harder to love her without the loving feelings and even having bad feelings about her, but that is where I have to rely on His Spirit and ask for help to give me the grace to love her as God calls me to. I need to care for her because God tells me to, not because I feel like it. I wish I felt love for her, but I haven’t for a while now.
What things would you ask your wife to change if you knew she would listen and cooperate with your leadership?
- I would ask her to stop telling me she loves me and start showing it. (Remember ladies – words don’t carry a lot of weight with men!)
- I would ask that she listen to me attentively instead of interrupting me to get to her point or asking about something that I answered five minutes ago.
- I would ask that she know and care about things that I like and not argue about them or tell me what I should and shouldn’t like.
- I would ask that she care about “us” in our marriage.
- I would ask she understand that decisions I make are for “us”, not against her.
- I would ask that she would let her “yes be yes and her no, no” instead of thinking she has this “right to change her mind” just because she’s a woman.
- I would ask that she would care about her appearance and what I would enjoy and seek to please me in her appearance.
How difficult is it to lead when a wife is disrespectful/controlling?
Very hard because I just want to give up. In my case, and as I hear about men in general, it would seem better to have peace then conflict, so it is easier to give up trying to lead and have her get own way then it is fight about it. When the fighting happens, the man is usually disrespected even more and the woman tries to become even more controlling. The initial action of controlling/disrespect feels like a knife in your heart and the fighting/arguing feels like twisting the knife while it’s already in. Sorry about the graphic description, but that’s how it feels.
How does her disrespect affect your sexual desire for her?
It kills sexual desire for me. I know men are supposed to have this raging drive that can never be quenched, but I don’t. Not only do I not desire her when I am disrespected, I fell like don’t even want to be around her. Even Proverbs says a bit about it better being on a rooftop or in the desert than be with a contentious woman. It sure feels that way sometimes. Anyway, The past few years have been really tough in our marriage. I can honestly say that I don’t even know if I have desired her in those few years. Between the controlling, disrespect, and gaining significant weight and telling me it shouldn’t matter to me, I have no desire, but I am there for her since “my body is does not belong to me, but also to her” (1 Cor 7:4).
What would it mean to you if your wife trusted your decisions and supported your leadership? How would that affect you in every area of life? How would it affect your feelings of love for her?
That would be great! It would mean that she loved me. (Ladies – please hear this! Husbands don’t feel loved when we don’t trust them and don’t let them lead!) It would mean that she “safely trusted” in me. (Pro. 31:11). It would just give me a great feeling that my wife loved and trusted me. I don’t how else to say it. It would definitely increase my feelings of love for her because she trusts me and is not trying to hijack everything I do.
If your wife were to biblically submit to you and respect you – how would you treat her differently?
I wish I could say that nothing would change because I am treating her the way I should now, but I can’t because I know I’m not doing that. I really don’t know how I’d treat her differently. I know it would probably be easier to show her love. However, to say, “I would do this or that differently if she submitted to and respected me” is the wrong attitude to have. If there was any way I would treat her differently in a positive way if she were to submit and respect me, then it is something am not doing now that I should be. I hope that makes sense. I should be treating her the way God calls me to whether she submits and respects or not. I am not accountable for her actions as I am for mine. I just know it would probably be a lot easier to do the things I am supposed to if she did those things because the feeling of love would probably be there.
Can you describe how much more effective a wife can be at getting her husband to draw nearer to God when she follows I Peter 3:1-6 instead of preaching, lecturing, nagging, criticizing?
The disrespect will only give occasion for him to resent her for doing the things you listed. However, if 1 Peter 3:1-6 is lived out, he will see a woman who loves God with her heart, not only her words. He will see that she is not like the other women in the world that rip on their men. He will see that, because of how she treats and loves him, that she truly cares about him. She is not trying to “make” him do anything, but may mention it once and then demonstrates it with her life.
How important are your wife’s feelings when you are making decisions?
My wife’s feelings are very important when making decisions. We are a team. I may not take every feeling as a fact, but still consider them, at least, and let her know they matter.