We are talking about some FAQs that I get from a lot of wives who are just beginning this journey toward becoming godly, respectful, biblically submissive wives with peaceful and gentle spirits who do what is right and do not give way to fear and are very beautiful in God’s sight.
- This seems like more than I can handle (part 1)
- When do I get to the “peaceful” part? (part 1)
- I don’t want to lose my voice in my marriage. (part 2)
- I feel like I am losing myself. (part 2)
- I feel so lonely.
- I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all.
- My husband isn’t changing at all. Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (Part 4)
- My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (Part 4)
- But I’m right! (Part 5)
- I’m so scared to give up control! Everything will fall apart if I don’t take charge! I’m the better leader! (Part 5)
- He doesn’t deserve my respect! (Part 6)
- Why can’t HE change first? Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving? (Part 7)
5. I feel so alone on this journey.
There are a number of reasons why some wives will feel this way as we seek to become the godly wives Jesus desires us to be.
- Being a godly woman goes completely against the world’s wisdom, our culture’s wisdom, our friends’ and family’s wisdom. There will not be a lot of support for wives who make this journey, even among most people who claim to be Christians. Unfortunately, many people who claim Christ today do not live in obedience to His Word and do not live with Him as Lord. Finding godly mentoring wives who actually do respect their husbands and honor their husbands’ leadership can be almost impossible even in many churches. If you start talking about respecting your husband, some people will get upset – particularly other women. And if you actually talk about biblical submission or honoring your husband’s God-given leadership, there are women, even in the church, who will insult you, become very angry, verbally attack you, ridicule you, say that you have joined a “cult” and will pile contempt on you. We aren’t used to being persecuted as disciples of Christ in the West today. Part of the reason we aren’t persecuted much is because our “Christianity” has been watered down by so many ungodly influences and ideas that many of us don’t live much like Jesus did and don’t obey much of what He has instructed us to do. But when you begin to submit to Christ in everything, including how you treat your husband and how you honor your husband’s authority in your marriage – you will be DIFFERENT. You will be very noticeable. And you may well be a target of verbal persecution. That’s ok. Jesus said we would be persecuted in this world. He sure was! If we think we are living for Christ and no one ever attacks us for the way we live – something is probably wrong. The world does not understand God’s design for marriage – but the world is drawn to Christ when we live out God’s design for marriage! (Titus 2:5) The gospel of Jesus is glorified when we cooperate with our husbands’ leadership and respect them.
- If you are like me – I took several big steps back from almost everyone in my life when I began this journey. I realized that there was so much sin in my heart and it was spewing out of my mouth constantly. I didn’t want to say something sinful. So during my “Frustrating Quiet Phase” I became quiet not just with my husband, but with everyone. I needed to learn God’s wisdom and discretion. I didn’t trust myself to talk because I knew something disrespectful of my husband would come out if I tried to talk at all with my family and friends. Ideally, you will have a godly mentoring wife you can meet with, pray with and learn from. If you don’t – that is why I write this blog. I didn’t have a mentor either. It was just me, Jesus, God’s Word, prayer and 30 books about godly femininity and marriage in 2 years.
- This journey is also lonely at first because you have to give up your desire to “feel loved” by your husband if that has become an idol for you. Your marriage is probably a bit rocky in the beginning of this journey, anyway. That is why you were looking for help. And suddenly, you aren’t sharing every thought you have with your husband. You aren’t sure what to share and what not to share. If your husband is far from God – it is generally wise NOT to share much verbally about what you are learning spiritually (I Peter 3:1-6). He can hear your actions, attitude and behavior much more clearly than a long explanation of what you are learning spiritually at that point. If your husband is close to God, you may be able to share some of what you are learning – but in the early stages, it is very easy for what we are learning to come across disrespectfully to our husbands, so we have to be SUPER CAREFUL!
Whatever you do, PLEASE do NOT say things like,
– “So, I am learning that I have to respect you even when I think your ideas are really stupid.”
– “I am going to try to trust you now even though you have given me so many reasons why trusting you is a ridiculous and foolish thing for me to do.”
– “The Bible says I have to respect you even though you totally don’t deserve my respect at all.”
– “I guess I have to let you be the leader now – but I know you’ll just mess everything up.”
It is better – MUCH BETTER – if we are not sure what is respectful and disrespectful at first – that we not say anything than to say something even more damaging like these statements above.
- At first, you haven’t learned yet how to find all of your contentment in Christ – so there is a time of figuring out how to do that, and before you get to that point, it can feel lonely.
- You begin to see the disrespect in other marriages and in your friends’ conversations. You start to see how almost all other women bash their husbands, put them down, criticize them constantly, disrespect them blatantly, make jokes at their expense, treat their men like they are stupid idiots – and you realize – “I can’t be as close to these friends/coworkers/Bible study members as I have been. They are an ungodly influence on me.” Husband bashing and having a judgmental, critical spirit is very contagious. We cannot afford to closely associate with women who encourage us to disrespect our husbands.
In time, you have incredible fellowship with God – which more than makes up for the loneliness with others, in my view. And, in time, most likely you will also have much closer fellowship with your husband – which is way better than having a lot of women friends, anyway, in my book. And then, in more time – God may give you a ministry to other wives or He may give you godly friends you can enjoy.
6. I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not going to say anything at all.
There may be a brief time when this is necessary during the Frustrating Quiet Phase.
I have tons of posts and resources to help you learn to say things respectfully (please scroll back through my Blog Timeline at the top of my home page or search for topics on the search bar on my home page). And, if there is something specific you want to say to your husband, but you aren’t sure how to word it, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to give you some suggestions. 🙂 You may leave comments on this post or any post – and we will hash through the issues together. 🙂
I also have a lot of video posts on my Youtube channel “April Cassidy” where I demonstrate how to have a respectful tone of voice that is friendly and pleasant – not angry and condemning. I also talk about nonverbal disrespect and how important it is for our facial expressions and body language to convey genuine respect. I have a video about how to ask for things so that your husband wants to say yes. I am not saying he WILL say yes. I am saying he will want to say yes if he can if you approach him in a feminine, friendly, respectful way.
Here’s the thing. You can’t fake respect for your husband any more than he can fake love for you. MEN CAN TELL! If you are not sincere, if you are just using flattery, if you actually don’t respect him but are trying to be respectFUL, it won’t work. Your husband needs to see that you can find REAL things about him to respect, appreciate and admire.
Your feelings, desires, opinions and perspective are important! Your husband needs your input and needs you to be plugged into the marriage. He doesn’t want a woman who has no thoughts, no opinions and no personality. He loves YOU. It is possible to learn to speak your mind and heart in respectful ways that your husband can best hear. This will involve things like:
- saying “I want” or “I don’t want” things (Laura Doyle The Surrendered Wife – not from a Christian perspective, so weigh each statement carefully against scripture!)
- saying “I feel ____” “I feel sad.” “I feel lonely.” “I feel happy.” “I feel nervous.” (The Surrendered Wife)
- giving requests and suggestions instead of demands and directives.
- saying what you want to do but then saying, “Whatever you think is best for us. I trust you, Honey.”
It is important that you keep your primary motive as being “I want God’s will above everything else. I trust God to lead me through my husband, even if I don’t agree at the time.” If your husband is not asking you to clearly sin or condone sin, share your heart and what you want, but then if he still feels strongly that he should decide another way – graciously trust his leadership and allow God to work in his heart. This means that I am ok if I get “my way” or not. Because I trust that God is able to bring about His will in ways that I can’t begin to understand as He leads me through Greg.
A Real Life Example of Respect and Submission – check out the little miracle that I got to witness because I trusted God and respected and submitted to Greg.