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Signs

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SOME WARNING SIGNS THAT A WOMAN MAY TEND TO HAVE TROUBLE WITH RESPECT AND BIBLICAL SUBMISSION IN MARRIAGE:

These are my observations from my own life and from the women and men I have talked with.  This is not necessarily an exhaustive list.  A woman who is likely to want to be in control of things herself and disrespectful  in marriage  may tend to be:

  • perfectionistic
  • a people pleaser
  • a leader and a go-getter, used to being in charge in her family, with her siblings, with her peers
  • very prideful of her intelligence
  • critical/judgmental of God-given authority (pastors, teachers, bosses, parents, etc)
  • “always right” in her own mind
  • unforgiving
  • bitter
  • given to gossip
  • blind to her own pride and sin
  • of a victim mentality
  • able to justify her own sin but blasts the sins of others against her with an all out assault
  • full of very high expectations of herself and others
  • lacking in grace
  • from a background with no example of a respectful, submissive wife in her family, especially her mother’s example
  • from a background of matriarchy in her family and culture – women are in charge, men are weak
  • from a history of abuse at the hands of men (maybe her father or others) – a lack of trust in men
  • from a history of being taken advantage of, controlled or deeply hurt in a romantic relationship – fear of being able to trust and be vulnerable
  • vengeful when she is wounded
  • unable to really see herself as a wretched sinner – lacking the beattitude of being “poor in spirit” – blind to her own spiritual poverty
  • uncompromising – because her way is clearly “best” or “the only way”
  • anxious and full of fear  -because she is likely putting herself and having control of things herself up as an idol in her heart instead of really trusting God
  • verbal a lot about spiritual things but lacks  the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)
  • sure she loves God with all her heart – but the fruit of her life doesn’t match up with her words
  • expecting her man to be Christ, to be perfect and never fail – has him as an idol, expects him to “make her” be happy.
  • unaware/weak about the concept of the sovereignty of God, but rather, depends on herself to force things to happen the way she thinks things “should.”
  • quick to repay evil with evil – tries to hurt her man when she is hurting so “he will understand how much she is hurting”
  • full of great anger and resentment towards the concept of respect and biblical submission in marriage – the greater the anger, the greater the rebellion against God’s Word – the greater the pain in the marriage.
  • controlling and not allow the man in the relationship to lead early on.  If she is the one calling the shots, deciding when to go out, inviting him, calling him, texting him, the first one to kiss him, trying to make him commit to a relationship, demanding that he propose to her, acting like a tyrant when planning the wedding – these are not good signs!
  • divorced  – a woman who is full of bitterness cannot also be full of faith and trust.  It is extremely difficult to come out of a divorce and not hold on to HUGE amounts of resentment and toxic bitterness – this is a massive stronghold of the enemy in a person’s heart.  It will take miracles of God’s grace to create a tender heart in a woman after such a painful experience as divorce.  It’s not impossible with God, of course.
  • from divorced parents
  • frequent unhappiness
  • the belief that she can and should try to change and control those around her (not just her husband, but everyone) and that by trying to control them she believes she is actually “helping” and doing them a great service
  • willing to go behind her man’s back in order to give to God’s work or charity
  • sure to have the last word
  • prone to yelling/cussing/screaming/violence
  • blaming of her man for her negative feelings and makes him “the bad guy” making him entirely responsible for her happiness and taking no responsibility for her own joy and happiness (idolatry of her man, not to mention irresponsibility)

SIGNS THAT A WOMAN IS SPIRITUALLY MATURE AND READY FOR MARRIAGE (She will still have much to learn after marriage!  But these qualities bode well in my opinion):

  • humility
  • a broken spirit before God – a proper understanding of her sinfulness and God’s holiness and the great chasm between herself and God for which the only remedy is the blood of Christ
  • a profound understanding of God’s sovereignty
  • a peaceful and gentle spirit that does not give way to fear
  • the general absence of worry
  • takes responsibility for her own sins and happiness
  • appreciation for the beautiful and God-designed differences in femininity and masculinity
  • cherishes and embraces her femininity, vulnerability, and appreciates the way God made her
  • accepts criticism and appreciates constructive criticism
  • cherishes and admires masculinity
  • guards her heart carefully, knowing that she must protect her treasure
  • guards her chastity
  • more interested in supporting her man’s career and ministry than in advancing her own
  • a willingness to change, learn and grow
  • she knows herself well – her strengths and weaknesses.  She sees herself accurately and does not think of herself more highly than she ought.
  • has no walls up to protect herself in a committed relationship (other than to guard her chastity, or to heed her father’s warnings or wisdom), is willing to take the risk of being hurt so that she can fully love
  • has a heart for God, a real relationship with him, hungers for His Word
  • no legalistic list of rules that HAVE to be followed to be “a good Christian”
  • has modesty as a priority – that is “humility in clothing” – she desires her clothing to point others to God and her love for Him and her face, spirit and character, not her sexuality
  • deeply cherishes and guards her sexuality and understands God’s beautiful design for sex in marriage – and once married, gives of herself openly, freely, joyfully and with total abandon to her husband sexually
  • a deep desire to obey God even if she is ridiculed, outcast or persecuted
  • has her goal to please God, not people
  • a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving
  • sings music and praises in her heart constantly to the Lord
  • lives Philippians 4:8 and looks for the good in every person and situation
  • bubbling over with faith and trust in Christ
  • no addictions to any drug, alcohol, food, body image issues, pornography – her only addiction is Jesus and being filled with His Spirit, and she would do anything to keep that intimacy with Him.
  • puts her intimacy and relationship with Christ WAY, WAY above her man and anything else
  • is not afraid to suffer, embraces the learning in the trials
  • peace and ease when allowing her man to lead, even if she disagrees with his decisions
  • respect for the authority of her parents, her pastor, her boss, her teachers, the government, police, etc.
  • the ability to see her own sin and to see herself as a wretched sinner apart from Christ
  • a spirit of being able to cooperate with others and appreciate the wisdom and different perspectives of others
  • a softness about her spirit, that she can roll with the flow and doesn’t have to have things her way
  • flexibility with schedules, plans, relationships
  • a strong relationship of trust with her father
  • a family where the mother demonstrated biblical submission and respect for her father
  • a willingness to study respect and biblical submission before marriage
  • plenty of grace and mercy to extend to others
  • the fruit of the Spirit manifested in her life on a daily basis (Galatians 5:22)
  • a desire to grow and know God more deeply
  • a constant willingness to check her heart for sin, pride, ungodly motives
  • an easy ability to repent and admit wrongdoing and sin
  • the ability to learn in silence and not have to comment constantly in church group settings
  • meekness
  • the light and joy of Christ in her countenance
  • acceptance and genuine heart-felt love for everyone
  • the ability to embrace waiting and have peace and joy in the waiting, not impatient
  • experience with NOT getting her way and handling it gracefully because she truly trusts Christ to work for her good in all things
  •  a spirit of contentment
  • quiet confidence that comes from within, but not arrogance – her confidence is fully in Christ
  •  she takes responsibility for her actions and behavior but sees where her responsibility ends and God’s sovereignty begins and doesn’t get confused about trying to be responsible for things that only God can be responsible for
  • knows how to give sincere praise and admiration and does so freely, she builds up her man and others
  • gives encouragement
  • has compassion and tenderness towards those in pain
  •  wants to be generous with those in need – BUT – she respects her man’s decisions about how, when, how much and where to give to those in need (especially the closer they get to being married
  • a clear conviction to always speak the truth
  • transparency
  • the ability to share her feelings WITHOUT blaming her man for them
  • the ability to know her heart and politely, respectfully and calmly share all of the range of her emotions and to tell her man when she is happy, thankful, joyful, content, excited, afraid, lonely, sad, upset, angry, hormonal, hurting, etc. She reveals her heart kindly and is true to her feelings but does not share her feelings in a way that crush her man or make things his fault.
  • is willing and careful to guard her heart from other men
  • can take direction easily from her man and from authority figures
  • understands that the closer she is to being married, she will side with her husband, not her parents or his parents or her girlfriends
  • a solid understanding of covenant.
  • shares her desires and perspective peacefully, respectfully and with a pleasant tone of voice/facial expression
  • is able to respectfully appeal decisions she doesn’t agree with
  • Can respectfully, calmly confront sin if necessary without sinning herself – with the goal of reconciliation for the offender and herself but also the offender and God
  • does not seek revenge but leaves room for God’s justice and vengeance
  • Repays evil with good

Again, this list is not remotely exhaustive – but I hope it might prove helpful.

29 thoughts on “Signs

  1. Great post! I agree with your list and can see those tendencies (negative) in myself. The flesh always wants to control. But with God’s grace, we can trust God enough to follow our husband.

  2. Lol, that first list is quite confronting….I think I can put a tick next to just about every one of those!! Fortunately I can now tick a few of the ones in the second list…and in time I pray that I will be more recognisable by the second than the first list!

  3. April: Excellent list. I wish I’d had this back in about 1982.

    I can only think of three things to add from my experience, and these may only be different ways to say some of the things you’ve already listed:

    (1) Child of an alcoholic — typically increases the “control freak” tendency;
    (2) Legalistic/rigid upbringing;
    (3) Self-absorption.

    The ones on your list that really stand out to me are related to each other: “anxious and full of fear” and “does not grasp the concept of the sovereignty of God.” It’s easy to attribute the good things in our lives to God’s sovereignty; the acid test is whether she sees the hard things — including the really bad things — as also being from God. If not, it leads to fear and blaming others, reinforcing the need to be in control.

    1. Thanks, David!
      I could have used it myself in 1994!
      Sometimes I wish I could turn off my brain and go to sleep instead of thinking of more things to add to lists. But I have just got to add a few more, and I will add them to the post, too.

      I REALLY like what you said about the acid test – that is fantastic.

      The first list:
      – frequent unhappiness
      – the belief that she can and should try to change and control those around her (not just her husband, but everyone) and that by trying to control them she believes she is actually “helping” and doing them a great service
      – willing to go behind her man’s back in order to give to God’s work or charity
      – lying, or a lack of truthfulness
      – yelling/cussing/screaming/violence
      – tends to blame her man for her negative feelings and makes him “the bad guy”
      – repays evil with evil, tries to hurt her man when she feels hurt “so he will understand how much he hurt her”

      The second list:
      – a spirit of contentment
      – a quiet confidence that comes from within, but not arrogance – her confidence is fully in Christ
      – she takes responsibility for her actions and behavior but sees where her responsibility ends and God’s sovereignty begins and doesn’t get confused about trying to be responsible for things that only God can be responsible for
      – she knows how to give sincere praise and admiration and does so freely, she builds up her man and others
      – she gives encouragement
      – she has compassion and tenderness towards those in pain
      – she wants to be generous with those in need – BUT – she respects her man’s decisions about how, when, how much and where to give to those in need (especially the closer they get to being married)
      – a clear conviction to always speak the truth
      – transparency
      – the ability to share her feelings WITHOUT blaming her man for them
      – the ability to know her heart and politely, respectfully and calmly share all of the range of her emotions and to tell her man when she is happy, thankful, joyful, content, excited, afraid, lonely, sad, upset, angry, hormonal, hurting, etc. She reveals her heart kindly and is true to her feelings but does not share her feelings in a way that crush her man or make things his fault.

      1. a few more to the second list:
        – is willing and careful to guard her heart from other men
        – can take direction easily from her man and from authority figures
        – understands that the closer she is to being married, she will side with her husband, not her parents or his parents or her girlfriends
        – a solid understanding of covenant.

        1. Second list

          Will not cooperate with sin

          Is able to respectfully appeal decisions she doesn’t agree with

          Can respectfully, calmly confront sin if necessary without sinning herself

          Repays evil with good

          shares her desires and perspective peacefully, respectfully and with a pleasant tone of voice/facial expression

    2. David,

      So – if you have time – I am compiling a list of things that husbands feel would be respectful? No pressure. But I would love your input if you are interested! You can post here or email them. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Hi April,

    I just started reading your blog before the holiday and it has been an amazing learning tool for me. Thank you so much!

    Still, I didn’t fully realize the horrible level of my disrespect until I read this list. I feel like crawling under a rock when I think about how I came across to my old boyfriends. I’m taking this realization as a blessing though. I feel like God must have brought me here as a ” finishing school” of sorts to prepare me to be with the husband he’s made for me out there. I’ll keep praying and working on this. Please keep me in your prayers. Thanks again.

    1. K. T. Mitchell,

      That is just like me! I was married about 15 years before I saw this in myself and I was MORTIFIED! I wanted to go live in a cave by myself and never come out at first.

      But it is a huge blessing and now that God has opened your eyes – He will amaze you with all He has in store for your life. 🙂 We can’t repent when we don’t even know we have sinned. Realizing our spiritual utter poverty and brokenness is the very crucial first step.

      I’m so proud of you! And excited to see what GOd has in store!

      Let me know how you are doing!

  5. Hi April-

    ( I don’t know if my comment went through so I’m reposting).

    I started reading your blog over the holidays after I broke up with a fellow who told me I was disrespectful. Granted, he wasn’t the one because I refused to indulge in sin with Kim and he didn’t like that, but I could see that I made some mistakes I don’t want to make when I do find the guy that’s right for me. Your blog is a great learning tool. Thank you for creating it!

    Still, I hadn’t realized the depth of my disrespect and pride until I read this post. I felt like crawling under a rock when I think about how horrible I’d acted in the past with boyfriends. I feel like God brought me to this point as preparation for the man who will finally be a good match for me, despite those feelings, so I’m counting this hard lesson as a blessing. I’m going to keep praying and working on myself. I hope you can include me in your prayers too. Thanks again.

  6. I’d also like to say, how a woman/young lady treats her father is also a good sign of how she will eventually treat her husband. (It may not be apparent right away; esp. during the honeymoon phase).

    I still struggle with heeding my father’s warnings and wisdom but I do respect and love him more than ever before. I know that God has given my father wisdom in how he leads our family.

  7. Perhaps the most corrosive one on your list:

    ‘quick to repay evil with evil – tries to hurt her man when she is hurting so “he will understand how much she is hurting”’

    It’s the inverse of “blessed are the peacemakers” — including the promise that “they will be called the children of God”.

  8. My fiancee is exactly like the first list which has caused numerous fights and breakups, how do I adress it because she denies them, even claims being a higher level Christian than our pastor? At the end of every fight I have to submit otherwise she breaks up. This has happened probably close to 200 times over the last 3 years. What bothers me is that she wants to live close to God, but can not see past this?
    Please please help. cjlotz74@gmail.com

    1. Coenraad,

      It is a pleasure to meet you!

      You must love this girl a LOT to have put up with this much disrespect for so long.

      What is her parents’ marriage like? Does she have any history of abuse? Any addictions or mental disorders!

      What is your relationship with Christ like?

      What makes you stay?

      Do you believe you can change her?

      Are you aware that this is an extremely deep issue that goes to the core of her understanding of her identity, God’s identity and probably involves massive amounts of pride, idolatry of self and a very wimpy picture of God?

      Well… There is good news and bad news.

      Good news – God can open her eyes to her sin, convict her and change her.

      Bad news – you have no control over when or if that might happen.

      The dynamics in your relationship sound extremely toxic. I know she demands that you must submit to her. I assume you love her very much. But God gives the husband the leadership position, to lead in selfless humility, sacrificing himself to love his wife as Christ loves the church.

      The wife is commanded by God to honor her husband’s leadership and respect him.

      I believe you need to see real respect fr her and real heart change from God before being with her anymore.

      If you were to marry her – it would be torture for you the way she is now.

      It is better to live in desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.

      What have you said to her? Does she see her disrespect and control and pride?

  9. First and foremost, I gave my life to Jesus unconditionally. He is my rock, He is my everything. He died for my sins, and I have sins but I took it to Him, He forgave me and I forgave myself and I choose not to live in condemnation.
    Love her alot is an understatement! She brought me closer to God and I am in a place where I have such a close relationsnip wigh Him, it is toucning my soul.
    One second of experiencing the way she can be at her best outweighs all the bad times put together, thats why I am still around.
    Let me give you a quick background, she grew up distancing herself from everyone due to her stuborness, her mother, father and siblings called her names for that. Her mother is also like that, so obviously that is where it originates from.
    After school she joined a church performance group but ran away from that andher home to go into a lesbian relationship. That went on for 2 years and ended violently where she wanted to commit suicide. She recovered and rried a normal relationship. She controlled and manipulated this guy that there was nothing left in him but being backboneless. She then within that time being with him started a relationship with me, I objected at first, but she was so beautiful and convincing. Soon after our troubles started and it has never stopped. I have a history of porn addiction that I shared with her at the start of the relationship, and instead of suppporting me, she used it on a monthly basis as a control tool. Recently, I started using her old phone and found a porn clio of 3 women on there which she downloaded in thebeginning of the year. She denies it, although the facts are there. It is always a case of she can do what she wants and I am not allowed because whatever it is, I will use it for the wrong purposes she will claim.
    I do love her very much and I belive God wants me around to help her, but we recently broke up and she are swearing at me to get out of the house, it unfortunately takes some time to get a decent rental around here.
    She refuses me to lead , although she claims she wants it, shesys I am not strong enough to do so.
    I work i a hostile work environment where people are sometimes threatened by guns, and I discipline these people because I am a manager… so I know I cam lead

    1. Coenraad,

      I don’t give advice to men out of respect for scripture that says that women are not to have authority over men or teach men.

      I do sometimes offer insights about what may be happening with their wife/girlfriend/fiance.

      Is she willing to go to counseling? Is she willing to read Love and Respect? Or would she be willing to read my blog?

      These are VERY, VERY deeply rooted sin issues going on. The human heart is deceitful above all things. It is possible for a sinful person to have TONS of sin in his/her life and to be blind to it. I was.

      Until there is conviction and repentance and a willingness to get rid of EVERY trace of sin – God’s Spirit cannot fill a person and empower them to be the godly man/woman He desires them to be. So, you are left with dealing with the sinful nature being in firm control.

      I have no doubt you are strong enough to lead. The question really is, will she follow?

      And if she will not – it is going to be a very painful road.

      I’m glad to talk with her if she is interested.

      aprilc@sc.rr.com

      1. Coenraad,
        A really good test that may help here is to have her read Galatians 5:19-23.

        If she has ANY of the qualities of the sinful nature being in control – that is a flag to her that she is not Spirit-filled and not living in God’s power and in obedience to Him.

        Usually, women who are controlling have self as an idol and expect God and everyone else to submit to them as if they were sovereign. It is not a conscious thing, but they believe they have the right to demand people submit to them because they have themselves as god in their lives. I did this.

        Women in this situation are generally very anxious, worried and afraid. They also tend to hold bitterness and resentment and not forgive, as if they are above God- not having to obey His commandment to forgive.

        That may be a place to start.

        A believer who is living in accordance with Christ’s Word and teaching will desire to obey Him in ALL things and will want to repent of EVERY SINGLE sin. Unforgiveness is HUGE sin. We can’t be forgiven by God if we don’t forgive – Matthew 6. Bitterness is huge sin. Hatred is HUGE sin. I John 2, 3 and 4 describe that if someone hates a person, they can’t love God. And hating others = murder in God’s eyes.

        John 14 says that anyone who loves Jesus WILL obey Him. Anyone who does not obey Him does not love Him.

        Praying for you all.

      2. Coenraad,

        Shouldn’t be trying to get ready for work and answer comments, should I? Sorry for the multiple comments!

        But – one thing I have learned is that a woman’s level of respect and submission to her husband is a tangible indicator of her level of reverence and submission to Christ. Just like a husband’s love and selflessness and humility in loving and serving his wife is a tangible indicator of his level of love and devotion to Christ.

        One problem you are going to have here is that you are not married. Biblical submission is not a command for women outside of marriage. I do think that Christian women ought to begin practicing submission before marriage, but if there are a lot of areas where they can’t agree and won’t submit to their fiance – then marriage is not a good idea until she is able to respect her man as the God-given leader.

        If we have any sin in our life – including living together outside of marriage – we severe our fellowship with God. Our sin grieves His heart and we cannot have His power in our lives full blast.

        If Christ is LORD – we must be willing to submit to Him in ALL things. Or He is not really Lord.

        I pray that your fiance will be willing to get biblical counsel, godly counsel, maybe meet with a godly mentoring wife who practices respect and biblical submission. I have HUGE concerns about a potential marriage for you with the way things are right now.

        In Him,
        April

  10. I should add to that, that we have strong family values and I make sure we respect and keep to that. I ensure that we live in and for God and she also does that. Our main focus is Jesus and to bring up our 2 kids (which is from my previous marriage) as good Christian boys.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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