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Why Some Husbands HATE It When Their Wives Read Marriage Books/Blogs

translation
Sometimes husbands get VERY upset if they find out their wives are reading any “self help” books or blogs about marriage.
Let me see if I can explain what may be going on in a husband’s mind after having some conversations with Greg on this topic.   He used to HATE when I read marriage books.
I think that men don’t usually seek help unless they have a problem they truly think they can’t solve.  I believe that husbands assume that wives do the same thing – but we are just always looking to improve – even if things are really good.  That one misunderstanding causes a lot of problems!
Husbands may associate their wives reading marriage books as meaning:
  • she doesn’t accept me for who I am
  • she wants to change me
  • she thinks I am a failure as a husband or as a man
  • she’s going to start doing psychological experiments on me again, and when I don’t “respond the right way” she is going to be angry
  • we are about to have a lot of fights
  • she is going to have even higher and more unrealistic expectations of me than she already did
  • only people with serious marriage problems need marriage help – she must think our marriage is awful
  • she is going to focus only on what she thinks I do wrong and not see the things that she does that hurt me
  • she is going to try to control me even more than usual
  • she is going to listen to the author of that book instead of caring what I think and how I feel
  • she thinks I’m a loser (from a comment on this post)

Some husbands have not experienced their wives reading a book about learning to meet their husbands’ needs and learning how to understand their husbands, empathize with them, respect them, cooperate with them and honor them.

Here is something I think is interesting.  Greg told me recently that he never prayed for God to change me during those 14+ years I was so disrespectful, prideful, controlling, unforgiving, impatient and self-righteous.  He believed me that he was the problem in our marriage, just like I had told him that he was. 🙁  He never thought about wanting to change me.  He never thought of me as being disrespectful.

He knew I was arrogant – which I was blind to at the time.  But he felt he was not worthy of respect and that he did not deserve to ask for my respect.  🙁 He believed me that he was far from God and felt it was impossible for him to try to be close to God the way I was.  Yikes!  Of course, now I know I wasn’t too close to God myself all those years, even if I did pray and read my Bible a lot.  My disrespectful, condescending, self-righteous words and attitude affected him greatly.

I guess all of those reasons explain a lot about why he was shut down, didn’t look for help and stopped trying.  How it breaks my heart now to know my husband felt all of these things for so long.  It is scary and sobering to realize the power I have as a wife to destroy my husband and marriage.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish woman tears hers down.  Proverbs 14:1

If what I am doing to try to be close to God results in me being bitter, resentful, angry, upset and disappointed – I am NOT going the right way!  I may have sin in my heart – idols, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, selfishness, etc…

  • If I am truly drawing nearer to God – His Spirit will fill me with increasing grace, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  If I am getting closer to Him, I will obey Him in everything.  If I am getting closer to Him – I will have forgiveness and perseverance.  I will become more and more like Jesus if I am really growing spiritually.

IT  IS POSSIBLE FOR HUSBANDS TO LEARN TO LIKE SOME MARRIAGE BOOKS AND BLOGS!

Once I read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – Greg quickly decided he LIKED this kind of marriage book, and he started a search for more books so that I could learn more about respect and biblical submission.  I asked him to see what he could find.  I had no idea where to look.  He bought me a few dozen books in the 2 years after that.

If I focus on my own obedience to God, my relationship with God and I accept my husband and don’t try to change him – that is the ticket!  I don’t even read the parts that are about what husbands “should” do anymore.  It is better for me not to go there – even now.

Now he is happy to see me reading marriage books – as long as I am focusing on what I can do on my end of the marriage, not trying to change him.   He even blogs about marriage for husbands now AND he reads marriage books himself!?!?  The ones for husbands! That is SO CRAZY!!!!!!

Such a God thing  – to take my husband, who used to HATE marriage books and was so shut down for many years and so wounded and passive after all of my control and inadvertent disrespect – and now he is such a godly, strong leader in our home, and is willing to write about godly marriage for men.  It still blows my mind every time I think about it!

Greg doesn’t think that most husbands will be open to the idea of any marriage book, blog or whatever being worthwhile until he sees real, consistent change in his wife over a significant period of time.  Greg said husbands know that they aren’t going to change even if their wives want them to.  And they are afraid of their wives changing and being different from normal.  Most men hate change – even potentially good change.  Change can be scary.  Old ways are familiar and they feel they know what to expect.
But –

A wife becoming respectful and honoring his leadership is the kind of change a husband would welcome… as he begins to see that it is for real and permanent.

“Should I tell my husband that I read your blog?”
MANY husbands WANT their wives to talk with me or read my blog, but their wives won’t.  Most husbands, once they read a few of my posts – are ecstatic to have their wives read my blog and the books I recommend.  A rather large number of men read my blogs – which is extremely unusual in the marriage blogosphere.  Most likely, your husband will eventually be glad you are reading my blog (and certain books and blogs) if you really seek Christ and seek to obey His Word as a wife.  But is it wise to talk about it????
  • If a husband is close to God – he can probably handle his wife talking some about what she is learning – especially if she is able to talk about it in a non-blaming, respectful way.
  • If a husband is far from God – talking about what you are doing spiritually is probably going to repel him. I would suggest NOT talking with him about what you are learning and doing to grow in that situation – following I Peter 3:1-6 for wives whose husbands are disobedient to the Word.  I am not saying “don’t grow spiritually” – I am saying, “don’t use words to tell your husband about what you are doing.  Words don’t mean a lot to most men.  What will impact him and preach a much louder sermon than any lecture, nagging or verbal preaching ever could  – is your respect and joyful cooperation with his God-given leadership (unless he is asking you to clearly sin).
My calling is to seek to be a godly mentor to wives as the Titus 2:2-5 mandate gives to older wives. (I am 40 and have been married 19.5 years.  I have been on this godly wife journey for 5 years this December. Anything good in me is ALL God.)
Titus 2:3-5

3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Here are some of my goals:
  • I want to always point wives to God’s Word to live in complete submission and obedience to Him – having Jesus as LORD.
  • I desire to encourage wives to be filled with God’s Spirit to have the power and freedom  to do what God commands us to do – that we could never do in our own strength.
  • I want to always uphold husbands’ God-given leadership positions in marriage/family.
  • I want to always uphold a wife’s influential authority in marriage and teach women how much more powerful our godliness can be in our marriages to build up and bless and to eliminate the destructive power of our old sinful nature by dying to self and living under the Lordship of Christ.
  • I want to seek to encourage wives to respect their husbands and biblically submit to their decisions (unless they ask their wives to clearly sin).
  • I seek to address wives’ sin that many of us tend to be blind to in our culture – pride, self-righteousness, idolatry, disrespect, control, etc…
  • I do not talk about what husbands “should” do or tell  wives to try to change their husbands.
  • I don’t teach men.
  • I strive to tell wives to accept their husbands, respect the good in them and be thankful for them – even if their husbands never ever change.
  • I desire to encourage wives to be humble before Christ and before our husbands.
  • I seek to encourage wives to bless their husbands and to be joyfully available to them spiritually, emotionally, mentally and sexually whenever possible, to do good to them, to cut out all the sin in their own lives by the power of God regenerating their minds and souls and to become the woman God desires them to be.
  • I hope to expose some of what wives do that comes across as disrespect that we are unaware of so that we can learn to cut out all unintentional disrespect.
  • I encourage wives to spend PLENTY of time with God, reading His Word, laying their lives down to Him, trusting Him and praying.
  •  I especially encourage wives to ask God to change THEMSELVES.

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