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The Respect Dare Day 27 -Being on His Team in Tough Times

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Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Is there a time when your husband was struggling with problems at work, health issues, or some kind of spiritual battle? How did you respond?

Let’s look at two different wives’ responses to their husbands during a time when his job was precarious and he was very stressed (these are fictionalized accounts and names – but are based on real life situations):

1. Shelly and Scott –

Scott’s boss seemed determined to try to make Scott, a manager, look bad. He wrote him up for some very minor issues and made a habit out of screaming demeaning things to Scott and even insulting him in front of the employees he supervised. Scott knew that his job was on the line every day when he went in to work. The stress was definitely affecting him. He was starting to have symptoms of stomach ulcers and migraines. He would just get a new job if he could, but with the economy the way it has been the past few years, there were no other jobs like his to be found. Scott knew his wife and children depended greatly upon his income and he felt a huge weight of responsibility to provide for them well and to protect them financially. Losing his job – in his mind – would mean total failure as a man and as a husband and father. He tried to pray. Sometimes he could barely find the words. He was getting really worried that any day now he might be fired. Often, he would come home and just sit in front of the tv all night – trying to distract himself from the burdens on his shoulders. He became withdrawn and depressed.

Shelly noticed how stressed Scott was and had been listening when he talked about his boss at work and how difficult things have been. She prayed for him daily and trusted God to work in his job situation. Shelly also made sure to give Scott more grace during this time – understanding that he had so much on his mind. She didn’t criticize, lecture or give him unsolicited advice. She just told him she had faith in him to handle himself with integrity and that she knew he would do a great job. She talked about the things she genuinely admired about him. She thanked him for providing so well for the family, and made sure to be available to listen if he wanted to talk. She also made sure that she spoke highly of him to their children and others. And she often volunteered to give him a massage and joyfully made herself physically available to him. She had to pick up the slack a bit more around the house because Scott was so down. She was also very careful to cut her spending as much as she could (without complaining) to ease some of the financial stress on Scott’s mind. She understood why he felt so overwhelmed. Most of all, she trusted God to work in his life and to lead him according to His will – so she didn’t freak out herself, but trusted in God’s sovereignty.

2. Betty and Will

Will had a similar situation at work as Scott’s. He was very concerned that he may suddenly lose his job, the family’s insurance coverage and financial security. As the intolerable situation continued on for many months, he sank into depression. Going to work was a nightmare. He felt completely disrespected there by his supervisor even though he was very competent in his field and his employees respected him. The supervisor was intent on trying to make Will look bad to the “higher ups” and to his own employees. He also blamed Will for things that were actually the supervisor’s own fault. Will knew that if he lost his job, the family wouldn’t be able to afford their mortgage or groceries or have any medical insurance. He got irritable at home a lot. He wasn’t sleeping well, was having trouble concentrating and began having a lot of stomach pain. He often snapped at the children. He rarely shared his job situation concerns with Betty. He learned long ago that it was not safe to share vulnerability with her. He was having trouble trusting God to provide for him and his family and sometimes thought that it might be better if he was dead. He told no one about his despair and about the crushing weight he carried.

Betty noticed how irritable and withdrawn Will was and started complaining to her family and friends about what an unloving husband he was and how he had forgotten her birthday. She even posted comments on Facebook about what an uninvolved father he was and how unfair it was that she had to be married to an “idiot like him.” He overheard her on the phone talking to her best friend from church, “Some ‘Christian husband’ Will is! He doesn’t even pray with me. And he doesn’t spend time listening to my feelings. He completely ignores my needs. I wish he was like your husband. You have it so good. I’m totally jealous of you. If I had known marriage to Will would be like this, I never would have married him.”

Betty tried to make Will talk to her about things, and when he shut down, she would criticize him as being a “failure as a husband” and in her pain, she told him, “You’re never going to amount to anything!” She told him often all the things that she expected him to do for her and how disappointed she was that he “wouldn’t even try to be a decent husband and father.” Then she would say things like, “If anything is going to get done around here, I’m obviously the one who will have to do it. I can’t trust you with anything! Why on earth did I ever marry you!?!?” She told him, “If you were a REAL man, you’d help me with the chores every night, you’d play with the kids for at least 30 minutes, you’d read the Bible to us and pray with us and you’d write me an email every day telling me how much you love me. You obviously care NOTHING about me or the kids. All you do is watch tv at night. What kind of awful example is that for our children? And why haven’t you taken out the trash yet? I told you to do that 10 minutes ago!” She became convinced that he was the worst husband on the planet and made sure he knew exactly how she felt. ย She got upset if he touched her after how unloved she felt. ย So she would tell him she was tired and needed to go to sleep. That would show him!

QUESTIONS:

1. Which wife do you relate to most and why?

Even just a few disparaging comments from a wife to a husband in private can bring him down. Sometimes seemingly innocent remarks on our end can feel like a knife in our husbands’ backs. It doesn’t have to be as severe as Betty’s example here for a husband to feel disrespected, betrayed, hopeless and paralyzed by failure.

2. If you were a husband, which wife’s response would most inspire you to get through that difficult time at work and which wife’s response would make you feel even more despair? Which wife most honors Christ in her approach?

3. How can you bless your husband and promote unity, encouragement, faith in God, trust in your husband and how can God use you to inspire your man in a difficult time you may be facing?

4. Does your husband know that you “have his back,” that you are “on his team”? If so, how does he know? If not, what might God want you to change to create a team spirit in your marriage?

5. Does your husband know he has your support even when things go wrong and even if he makes a mistake? How does he know? What could you do to show him?

6. Does your husband know that you have plenty of grace, mercy and forgiveness available for him when he messes up? Or does he know that you will hold him in contempt if he makes a mistake?

DARE 27 in The Respect Dare:

1. Make a list of the ways your husband has hurt you – then choose to forgive him and destroy the list

2. Make a list of the ways you have hurt your husband (even if you weren’t aware that what you said or did was hurtful at the time or you were responding out of feeling unloved or hurt). Pray about showing the list to your husband and apologizing (once and without explaining or justifying yourself) for hurting him and not being on his team and supporting him when he needed you. Ask for forgiveness

3. Tell your husband that you are on his team and you want to support him from now on. From the Respect Dare, “Tell him you would like to do whatever it takes to become the person he trusts the most and considers his most valued confidante.”

4. Let him know you will pray for him and he is always welcome to share prayer requests with you.

Ask God to empower you to be the wife of His dreams and to learn to be a shoulder your husband can lean on in times of struggle and difficulty.

SHARE:

What is God showing you through this post today?

What do you believe He wants you to change?

How might you be able to show your husband support right now?

Need some encouragement? You are welcome to leave a comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

21 thoughts on “The Respect Dare Day 27 -Being on His Team in Tough Times

  1. Sounds simple enough, but I failed when I had the chance. Now I know better, and am so sorry but it’s too late. I was dealing with him having a mental illness, but I still did not choose to love him the way he needed. I didn’t even know that I was making things worse, cause he was too scared to tell me. Instead, he had an affair. And now he does not want to end it, even for our children. He’s in too deep and does not want help. The devastation from such huge sin is astronomical. I just want my family back.

    1. MD,
      This stuff does not come naturally – especially when we are hurting ourselves. I pray that God might show you the path towards healing for yourself and your relationship with Christ and for your marriage. I pray God might draw your husband back to Himself and that he might be reconciled with Christ and become the man God desires him to be.

      Thank you so much for sharing – what a heart wrenching story. ๐Ÿ™

      I wish I could hug your neck.

      I am here if you want to talk!

  2. April…
    These dares just keep building on each other shining the light on my sin! First, I was to list ways my husband has hurt me and it all boiled down to verbal attack and minimizing me. My response to this has been to become quiet, emotionally absent, and co-dependent. I have had close friends tell me that I used to be the strongest, self-confident woman that they knew but now they don’t recognize me. Ouch! …and now I’m doing a dare to save my marriage that requires biblical submission – isn’t that what I’ve been doing? Next, list the ways I have hurt my husband. I stopped after a dozen…..I can see that change needs to begin with me but I am resisting. I have heard my husband say for so long that “I’m the problem” and now I have to tell him he is right? Is it my pride that is keeping me from seeking forgiveness from God and my husband? What am I afraid of? What am I protecting? …Cathy

    1. Cathy,
      Yes, they do build on each other and God’s Word shines very brightly into those dimly lit corners of our soul that we hadn’t really paid much attention to for years.

      Nope. Biblical submission involves bringing all of your personality, strengths, ideas, opinions, feelings, faith and all of yourself to the marriage. You will learn a new language of respect and honoring your husband’s God-given leadership. And you will learn to express your desires and needs and concerns in a respectful way in a way your husband can most easily process and appreciate and hear.

      Submission does not = giving up your influence, voice and perspective. It involves harnessing all that you have and all that you are to bring good and benefit to your husband, marriage and family by God’s power working in you. ๐Ÿ™‚ You will die to your old sinful self and live as your new self in Christ. It is a total renovation of the heart, mind and soul!

      You were both wrong in many ways. It is not 100% your fault.

      But you can apologize for your part without justifying or explaining it. That is a huge step towards healing. He may apologize for his part, he may not. His response isn’t your responsibility. Your responsibility is to be accountable and responsible for your sin, your obedience to God and your part in the marriage.

      “I realize now that I have sinned against you and hurt you by doing X, Y and Z. I see my disrespect and control very clearly now. I am SO sorry for how I have hurt you. I want to learn to be the wife God wants me to be. I want to respect you and learn to honor your leadership.”

      Then, that is probably the end of the apology. Time to repent to your man and to God and then seek to please God alone!

      Most likely you may be protecting idols that you were unaware you even had – possibly:
      – bitterness
      – control
      – being “right”
      – being the victim
      – looking at yourself as more “holy” or more “spiritually mature” than your husband
      – thinking you were “closer to God” than he was
      – wanting to do things your way
      – wanting to feel loved by him

      Those are my guesses based on what I had as idols and what I have seen in many other women.

      Ask God to show you what idols you may have…. what is more important to you than intimacy with Christ? If you believe you need something to be content – and it is not Jesus – that is probably an idol.

      If you want something so badly you are willing to sin or disobey God in order to get it – that is probably an idol.

      1. So…..many idols. Everything listed above and more. It is encouraging to know that I’m not on this path alone. Thank you for your support.

        1. I have a lot of experience with this! Fortunately for you.

          You can search “idol” or “idols” on my home page – that will bring up a number of posts that may be really helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. The only thing I would add is that it’s possible to be almost as damaging, if not just as damaging, to the husband’s spirit by taking a course in between the two examples above. You wouldn’t need to complain publicly, just to him. Be physically unavailable to him or, just as bad, be grudgingly available because of his down mood. Tell him directly or just give him the impression that you will hold him responsible if he does lose his job or otherwise suffer financial downturns — that you will resent it, punish him in all those subtle ways you can punish him, and/or maybe even leave him. Maximize the pressure on him and let him believe that he’s on his own to “fix” this.

  4. This situation is very topical for me because my husband has just gone through this very situation. He lost a major contract last month. He was treated very poorly and is still owed money. Thankfully I recognise myself a bit more in the first example than the second. I made a really strong effort to support him and encourage him. He is so discouraged about it. I do believe in him and his ability to create another income stream and I think he feels supported too.
    A few years ago though it was a different story. He wasn’t working much due to mental health stuff but I wasn’t patient or loving to him and I criticised him for not having a proper job. ๐Ÿ™ I think that even though I am trying today, he still feels the sting of that big fight. He is still building up trust in me and that is understandable.
    Recently I’ve been trying hard to listen to him instead of trying so hard to be heard first. I’m hearing his pain at feeling disrespected both at home and at work. Really truly truly I want to make it better.
    He is really angry at his old employer and is taking action against them which is really tumultuous; at a time when I’m trying to speak only loving helpful things I need to listen to him as he goes over the case and I get really angry. So I turn to Proverbs 6:16-19 that talks about what makes God angry. I recognise some of the Director’s qualities and actions in this verse and try to focus on those things. Through prayer and scripture I don’t have to rely on my own strength. I can support my husband and focus on Gods word.
    In my family the list of wrongs on both sides is ridiculously long. My hurts can be boiled down to one thing.
    I hurt when he criticises with words that seem to breath violence for things that he is equal in falling short.
    I have hurt him by
    – taking him for granted expecting him to meet every one of my needs
    – being lazy and selfish
    – never listening to him
    – criticising him when he falls short
    – expecting him to always understand me but never empathising with him
    – making myself an idol and presuming that he would never be unhappy about it.
    – calling him a hypocrite
    I’m going to ask forgiveness slowly on these. Too many words will make him jump to defensiveness. And with good reason. I need to demonstrate consistently loving behaviour much more. There’s nearly 18 years of disrespect to make up for.
    Phew! Does this Respect thing get easier? It’s so painful digging up all these sinful attitudes every day.
    Think I’m in the right track though. Thank you April for being there to support and listen.
    ThxTam

  5. Hi April, I have an interesting question for you!
    Last year, my husband left his job of 10 years because he was so overworked and the environment was so toxic that he simply couldn’t take it anymore. It was very scary and uncertain because we were without an income and had very little savings. I confided in a friend from Church about what to do, and she encouraged me to support him in all of his decisions, so that is what I did. I did whatever I could to ease his stress and make him feel respected through this terrible time.
    However, the same friend told other parish members and they formed a “prayer chain” for us. I know her intentions were good, but my husband is a very private person so in a way, I regretted that our situation had come out to people.
    She also gave my husband and I $100.00 to use towards groceries. Then, a couple of other people from the prayer chain gave us gift cards to get us through. When I excitedly showed my husband, he cried like a broken man. It made him feel worse that these well-off people were helping us out, something that he felt was HIS job alone. Things are better now, and he is at another job, and we are still struggling financially since he is making about half of what he used to. However, to this day, he no longer likes to associate with these friends of ours. He is friendly to them, but I feel that he is embarrassed by their knowledge of what had happened and by their assistance. Should I have refused the money? Not said anything at all about what we were going through? Or should I have just kept the money and not told my husband that they were helping us out? I know there is nothing I can do about it now, but I feel like I inadvertently disrespected him somehow by telling other people our problems.
    Thank you for listening to my story! Any advice would be so appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mrs. G

    1. Mrs. G,

      Well – it is a bit too late to fix this now – but I do think I understand what is going on. For most husbands, they see themselves being the provider financially in the marriage as their biggest contribution many times as a man. And, for many men, their identity is very wrapped up in their career and in being able to provide well for their family. This is one of the biggest ways men try to show their love for their wives and families.

      In fact, I have read about situations where it is often easier for men to face terminal cancer than it is to face losing their jobs or having to quit and be unemployed. That is how big of a deal this is. I think it may be comparable to how a woman might feel if she had a miscarriage – that is the severity level in a man’s mind for him losing his job.

      So – although I am sure that the friend of yours had the best of intentions – and the people at your church wanted to help and love you both – it was a reminder to him that he was “a failure” in his mind. And that is a very tough pill for a man to swallow.

      It seems like if this were to happen again, that it may be better not to tell others at church about it.

      If you have not, I would recommend a brief apology:

      “Honey, I want you to know that I am so thankful for the way you provide for our family. I had no idea how disrespectful I was to you last year. I get it now. I won’t make that mistake again. I am totally on your team. I believe in you. I trust you. And I have every confidence in you as a man and as a provider. Thank you for being the man you are. I’m so honored to get to be your wife!”

      I wouldn’t make it be much longer than that. And it may be best in a card or email – give it to him – then don’t say anything else about it. He may never mention it. That is ok.

      What do you think?

      Much love,
      April

      1. Thank you so much for your advice, April.
        My husband and I talked about this and I did apologize for revealing too much about our situation. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I really need to ask his permission before I share personal things about us and our family.
        He said something very interesting which really stuck. He said that “the best kind of charity is anonymous”.
        It made me take a good, long look at our social circles at church and the potential dangers of gossip being disguised as prayers, good intentions, and charity. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful that our friends helped us out and I’m sure that they only saw the good in their actions. But through the mask of good intentions, I MYSELF have been led to tune in when I hear of people going through difficult times. I’m sure that I know many personal things about many church members that they have no idea I am privy to, all in the name of good intentions.
        So, I’m going to make a resolution to be much more discreet, especially where my own family is concerned.

        1. Mrs. G.,

          I think your husband shared some profound wisdom with you about how he thinks and also about what is wise in the church circles we have as women.

          Thank you for listening and taking him seriously and for apologizing to him.

          Great job!!!!

  6. This post is showing me the difference in a godly wife and an ungodly wife’s response to her husband And things she may or may not know about her husband. Wives don’t always know what their husbands may be going through but the response to negative or positive situations is up to the wife.

    I can show godLliness by being positive

      1. โ™กโ™ฅ you’re a great teacher. I thank God For you always.
        Thank you for allowing the holy spirit to work through you!

  7. Listing down how he has hurt me and I see some very serious issues there that he needs healing for. I know it says to throw it away after writing it but some of it needs to be addressed. We are in counselling and we need to work on the issues. I also think I’m not ready to forgive some of the stuff yet. I will pray and as for help to forgive, I will also put it on the foot of the cross. But as a dog keeps returning to its vomit, I can’t keep letting my husband treat me the way he has been treating me.

    1. Adele,

      If there are really serious issues, you may need to bring them up. Counseling might be a good place for that. I pray for God’s wisdom for you, my dear sister, and for His healing for you both.

      Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin
      25 Ways to Respect Myself

      You are also welcome to search my home page for:

      – when my spouse is wrong
      – bitterness
      – forgiveness
      – abuse
      – anger
      – conflict

      If there is a lot of emotional abuse coming toward you, http://www.leslievernick.com may be a helpful site.

      Much love to you!

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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