I share a lot of success stories and light bulb moments that wives have. Those are really inspiring. I love seeing what God is doing and when things seem to start to go well.
But you know what? I get WAY more emails that are full of pain, frustration, angst, and struggle. But I don’t share those. I guess, primarily, because I don’t want to ask a wife to put that up in public – her lowest moments and biggest struggles put on display. Sometimes wives do talk about their struggles in past tense in the emails I post.
I believe that for a woman to learn to respect her husband and honor his God-given leadership in the marriage is one of THE BIGGEST TESTS OF FAITH IN CHRIST a Christian wife will probably ever face!
In learning to respect my husband – I really learn to respect God. In learning to submit to my husband, I first learn to submit to Christ. What an incredible road we are on!
But I want to be sure you know…
STRUGGLE IS NORMAL ON THIS JOURNEY OF BECOMING A GODLY WIFE AND IN BECOMING CHRISTLIKE:
This is the life-long journey of sanctification.
- Most wives make a LOT of mistakes – especially at first. Since we are human – we will always make some mistakes and sin sometimes. Until we get to heaven!
- The first month or two is often the hardest, sometimes the difficult time lasts longer than that – it just depends on a lot of circumstances and the attitude of each woman and her husband how long the different phases last. For Nina Roesner’s (author of The Respect Dare) explanation of the usual stages of this process, please read here)
- Most wives want to just flip a switch and suddenly be the most godly wives ever. It does NOT work like that!
- Most wives that write to me say, “I must be your ‘worst student ever’!” When they tell me about a disagreement that day that didn’t go well and recount the ways they were disrespectful or controlling.
- This takes TIME. A lot of time. MANY months and most likely many years before it really feels “normal” and “natural”.
- We will stumble. Then we get up and apologize to our husbands and repent to God and keep going.
- We are actually talking about the process of sanctification – where God makes us more and more like Jesus. It is a life time of learning and growing.
- Things go more smoothly when we have an attitude of humility before God, and a willingness to learn.
- We will NOT make progress if we hold on to sin – unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, putting other things ahead of God in our hearts, rebellion against God and His Word.
- Some wives embrace God’s design and try to learn it all at once and change everything right away. That can be REALLY overwhelming and is actually impossible to do. This is a long journey of many thousands of miles, not a sprint.
- Some wives hate God’s design and feel angry about it and rebel against Him and turn and go their own way. For some, they have to really hit rock bottom before returning to Christ.
- EVERY wife will need to apologize A LOT when she sins against her husband and God. But eventually, the taste of humble pie will grow on you!
- Most of us will have husbands who don’t respond for awhile. Their reactions can range from seeming indifference, anger, sadness, gratitude, joy… and our husbands’ reactions may change along the way. They may feel confused. They may not understand what is going on. They may get angry when we mess up – thinking it means we haven’t really changed – when, in fact, we HAVE made a lot of progress, but they don’t understand the process.
Encouragement for Struggling Wives
When things are not going well, and a wife messed up again, and she is feeling overwhelmed and inadequate and like she will “never get this right…”
I tell wives things like:
- None of us can do this in our own strength!!!! We need Jesus and His Spirit EVERY SECOND of EVERY DAY!
- You aren’t going to be perfect. That is ok! You will need to give grace to yourself.
- Your husband is not going to be perfect. He needs a lot of grace from you.
- This is like learning a foreign language – it takes time, study, practice and also a lot of prayer and dependence and trust in God.
- Other women and extended family and friends will probably NOT be very supportive. God’s ways appear like foolishness to the world, even to many believers in our culture, unfortunately.
- Find a godly mentor wife if you can who you can meet with once a week or so and learn from her example. Be sure she lives out respect and biblical submission and has a very intimate relationship with Christ herself!
- Don’t look to carnal women and disrespectful women for advice or counsel!
- Thank God – we have Jesus’ blood to cover our sins! WOOHOO! PRAISE GOD there is forgiveness, mercy and grace for us in abundance, if we will just tap into it.