Greg and April on the church steps 5-28-1994
- 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. (part 3)
- I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all. (part 3)
- My husband isn’t changing at all. (part 4)
- Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (part 4)
- But I’m right! (part 5)
- I’m so scared to give up control! I should be in charge. Everything will fall apart if I don’t take charge! (part 5)
- He doesn’t deserve my respect! (part 6)
- My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (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?
We are continuing the series of FAQs that I hear from wives. This has to be one of the most common questions I hear.
He’s the one who is being so unloving! He’s the one who is far from God. He should have to change first. This isn’t fair that you say I should ask God to change me first!
It’s always easier to place all the blame for our relationship problems on the other person and not look at our own responsibility or our own sin. That is human nature. I see it in my children!
“Mama! He hit me!” And, of course, my daughter conveniently leaves out everything she did to her brother. Our son does the same thing. I remember a few years ago when our son was 8 years old, he came running into our bedroom and said his sister “sat on my face!!!!!!”
Greg and I were shocked that our 3 year old would do that. So I asked, “What did you do to her?” He said, “Well, I was pretending to sit on her head. But I wasn’t actually putting all of my weight on her. But she put all her weight on my face!”
Mmm Hmm. I can’t IMAGINE why your sister did what she did. It is such a mystery, son!
It’s much easier to point at my husband and tell God, “He needs to change! Look how sinful he is!” In fact, that is exactly what I did for over 14 years in my marriage. Guess where it got me?
My focusing on my husband’s sin caused me to:
- ignore my own FOREST of sin
- ignore my own responsibility to God
- ignore my own obedience to God
- develop a huge amount of pride
- become self-righteous
- become a powerless victim – forever waiting on my husband to do what I wanted him to do before I could ever be content in my life.
- break my fellowship with Christ
- lose the power of God in my life
- lose my influence for Christ
- destroy intimacy on every level in my marriage
- cherish resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness
I can’t think of ONE good thing that me focusing on my husband’s sin and ignoring my own sin accomplished.
Let’s talk about what is “fair” for a moment. If I want “fair” – here is what is fair:
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
- The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) The things I have done wrong in God’s sight have earned me hell. If I have even just one sin in my life (like Adam and Eve did) – according to the holy God and Judge of the universe – I deserve death and separation from Him forever. God cannot tolerate sin – any sin – in His holy presence. He cannot ignore it. Someone has to pay for it in blood. And I have infinitely more than just one sin in my heart. I deserve condemnation.
- As a sinner – I don’t “deserve” anything good from God at all.
- Because I am a sinner, I have no “rights” before God.
THANK GOD that Jesus was willing to step in on my behalf and take upon Himself all of the sin of my entire life and stand in my place, receiving the full wrath of God that my sins deserved. That is CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is INSANE that Jesus would love me that much! I did NOTHING to deserve His love. I owe Him MUCH. I have been forgiven MUCH. Now, I am free from the penalty of sin. God has given me eternal life with Him through Christ – not because I deserve it. I don’t! He does this because of His great love for me and because Jesus paid my massive debt to Him in full – and I have received that gift by faith.
This is so much better than if I had won $400 million in a lottery! I truly GET this now!
I am no longer condemned before God! Now – because of my overwhelming gratitude, thankfulness and joy – I am His servant, ready to do anything He asks of me! There is nothing He could ask me to do that I would not be willing to do after all He has done to rescue me from the gates of hell and to give me abundant spiritual life here and life forever with Him in heaven.
I don’t obey Him to be made right with Him. I don’t obey Him to try to earn heaven. Jesus alone earned heaven. God now sees Jesus when He looks at me! Just because I put ALL my faith in Him and made Him my LORD.
I obey Him because of what HE has done for me and the scandalous grace, mercy and forgiveness He has lavished on me, a wretched sinner.
WHO AM I TO DICTATE TO GOD WHAT HE SHOULD DO?
Why on earth would I not be willing – after all that Christ has done for me – to humbly and joyfully do ANYTHING He asked me to do? Why would I want to sit around in my own sin and not repent of my own sin and demand that God must change Greg first? That just doesn’t even make sense at all!
“Jesus – leave me in all of my sin and filth and clean up my husband first! Don’t touch me until he is all cleaned up.”
If I really and truly “get” what Jesus has done for me – I am going to be raising my hand as high as I can saying, “Oh, Jesus!!!! Pick me!! Pick me! Change ME first! Get rid of all of my sin first! Don’t let me stay in this filth and nastiness another minute!!!! Show me what you want to change in my heart! Make me the woman You desire me to be! I don’t care what it takes. I don’t care what You ask me to do. I don’t care how much it hurts or what the cost is to myself – I want to please and honor You with all my heart and life!!! You do whatever You want to with my husband. I trust him to Your hands. Just don’t leave me here. Change me!”
What if God wants to change me first and wants me to obey I Peter 3:1-6 UNTIL…. Until the day I die. Until the day my husband dies. Ok – if that is what God wants – that needs to be ok with me. I want to trust Him and obey Him no matter what the future holds and seek His highest glory.
What if His greatest concerns with me are for me to learn to:
- die to self
- live as a daily living sacrifice to Him
- humble myself and focus on my own sin, my own attitudes, my obedience to Him, my heart and my life
- become a godly woman and wife no matter what my husband does or does not do – because I want to please and honor Jesus more than anything in my life
- obey Him and allow Him to take me out of the way so that He can reach my husband
What if I am standing squarely in God’s way in my husband’s life? What if my sin (pride, disrespect, contentiousness, control) is keeping my husband from hearing God’s voice? What if God wants me to change first because I am causing destruction and damage in my marriage and in my husband’s soul?
In my marriage, that is exactly what was happening.
Here is why God wanted to change me first (- one of the reasons, at least. I am sure there are many I don’t even know about.):
- Greg told me years later that when I stopped all the criticism, negativity, lecturing, telling him what to do, all the disrespect… that it was like someone “turned off the static on the speaker in his soul that had God’s voice.” He began to hear God’s voice again for the first time in many years.
- Then, he said, when I began to add the positive things – the encouragement, the praise for what he did right, the genuine admiration and building him up with my words – it was like someone put an “amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice.”
What if God knows that He needs to change me first in order to reach my husband? Isn’t that totally worth it? If there are things I can do to become God’s partner and to cooperate with Him in drawing my husband to God and to myself – I would be crazy not to be willing to do those things – whatever they might be.
Here is God’s prescription for us- His commands for us – when our husbands are far from Himself:
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. – I Peter 3:1-6
This is ALL about Christ, my precious sisters. It is all about HIS glory. It is not about us. 🙂
Much love to you!
GOD HAS BEEN AT WORK IN AMAZING WAYS THIS WEEK!
I would love to hear your story. What is He teaching you? What is He doing in your life.
If there are things you want to talk about, please reach out and let me know. 🙂
I am so glad we are on this journey together?