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The Powerful Concept of "Submitting Under Protest" – Part 1

couple at sunset

FIRST – I want to share a wife’s  comment I received this past weekend:

Very briefly I wanted to thank Peacefulwife. I discovered your blog on September 5, 2013. I applied everything I learned and am so grateful.

My dear husband passed away on November 10, 2013. Although my heart aches I can honestly say I have NO REGRETS.  My husband left this world knowing his wife loved and RESPECTED him! There was nothing left unsaid. He was only 53 and had an unexpected hemorrhagic stroke.

Dear wives no matter how hard and frustrating it may be to follow this Godly counsel, do it NOW!

We aren’t promised tomorrow.

God Bless!

———————–

Such a sobering thing to think about.  How I praise God that they had two months to get things right with each other and with God.  What an incredible blessing to be able to say, “I have no regrets” even in the face of the grief of losing her husband.  Whew!

I pray that each of us might live in obedience to God and in right relationship with Him and with our husbands and other people in our lives, that we might be able to say we have no regrets in the face of tragedy.

TODAY’S TOPIC:

Whether you believe your husband is watching “too much TV,”  shouldn’t look at certain things, is working more than you think he should, is not “involved enough” with the children,  is not “making you a priority” the way you want him to, or whatever the issue is – if you respond to him by yelling at him and demanding that he do what you want him to do,  that is going to be a destructive approach every time.  Not to mention – if we are yelling and screaming at our husbands – we are sinning against God and against our husbands ourselves.  That is NOT ok!  If God’s Spirit is in control of our lives, we will have His self-control and gentleness.

Here is one Christian brother’s perspective on this issue (he was responding to a particular wife’s situation – but I believe his counsel applies in many situations) that may help us to understand a lot better why approaching our husbands with demands and disrespect won’t work and is damaging to the marriage and to our husbands:

THE BLESSING OF A HUSBAND REFUSING TO RESPOND TO OUR YELLING AND SCREAMING AT THEM TO CHANGE

You should realize there is a silver lining in this for you, that you have not quite noticed yet. And that is the fact that your husband is not submitting to you, especially given the nature of how you are addressing him. If he was falling all over himself to please and supplicate to you, you would end up despising him.

One thing about women, they will forgive men for being bad, but they cannot stand a weak man. So for now, he is keeping the peace by not directly challenging you, but he not bowing to your demands. Good for him.

Personally, if my wife tried to get me to stop doing something by issuing a command, I would tell her:
“You’ve forced my hand. I am going to have to continue doing this thing, because I will not have you thinking that I am here to submit to your orders.”

  • For a woman to use insistence and demands to get her man in line is really no different than a man using similar tactics to get her to be intimate. Would you want to be bullied into sex? I think not.

Now, about his actions, if what you say is true (and it might be) , perhaps he needs to stop looking at those women on the TV.

But God is not a God of shortcuts, and God will not give you means to bypass his means and methods, and simply order your husband around like a child. If you want what you want, you are going to have to get it the “hard way”. God’s way.  And done in Christian LOVE, but love for both of you.

  • What you are not seeing is the kind of emotional violence you may be doing to your husband. You may feel completely justified in what you want, but bludgeoning him with scolding and shaming is neither loving nor respectful.

Let’s also realize an uncomfortable but truthful reality. Your husband is probably bigger and stronger than you. Do you notice that he does not use that physical superiority to control you? Some men do. Most women have zero chance in a physical altercation with a man. But on the flipside, women have the power to bludgeon with words in a way that many men do not.

So, in some households, the women are swinging away with their verbal and emotional fists, while their husband locks himself up, suffering the evil of being abused, and having no way to respond without being called an abuser himself. This one-sided dynamic pervades our society, where a screaming, yelling woman is perceived to be venting a legitimate grievance, but the same behavior from a man is “abuse”.

SUBMITTING UNDER PROTEST

And as I have said before, it is perfectly acceptable for a wife to submit “under protest”.

Like love, it is a decision, not a feeling. An act of one’s will.

In fact, submitting while respectfully protesting is better than just shutting up, since if you stifle your feelings, he may never pick up on the fact that there are things making you sad or hurt.

I’ll never forget what that pastor’s wife said:

  • “I am going to be a blessing to you no matter what you do”.

He said is was like a punch to the gut. I’m sure David felt the same way when he got called out for killing Uriah.

AN ANALOGY

I don’t want the following to seem like I am comparing women to children, because that is not the intent.

Many parents, especially mothers, have had their kids try the “I hate you, I hate you, I wish I had a different mom”, or some other tactic when they don’t get their way on something.

At first glance, some people might think that the pain a mom feels when she hears this is because her child is claiming to hate her. But this misses the reality of the situation. She knows her child, in fact, does not hate her.

The pain comes from realizing that someone you love would so frivolously use such painful words against you. The child, in this situation, knows they don’t hate their mother. But they want their way so intensely, that they are willing to use a tactic like this.

The child does not really consider the parent’s feelings, because mom (or dad) is so big, so tough, and the kid thinks “I can say this and it won’t matter.” So, the kid is venting their anger, or trying to manipulate, but is blind to the pain they cause, and the costs that are being incurred.

Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them. Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them.

Just as God gave men physical strength to use to bless their families through protection and provision, he gave women emotional skills to build up their husbands and children. A man should never use his God-given strength as a weapon against his wife, and a woman should never use her emotional skills as a weapon against her husband.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

If a husband allowed his wife to get what she wanted by pitching a fit, screaming, yelling, insulting him, calling him names, etc… he is “teaching her” that this is how to treat him and this is how to get her way. That is not a gift to anyone!  In fact, it would reward her sin and teach their children to use this behavior as well.

GREG WOULDN’T SUBMIT TO ME – PRAISE GOD!

I am BEYOND THANKFUL now that Greg would not do what I demanded he do all those many 14+ years earlier in our marriage.  If I was able to force him to do my will by using my words and volume and anger – it would mean he had no convictions or backbone at all.  In fact, it would mean he was a huge wimp.

  • How could I respect a man who allowed me to manipulate him into doing whatever I wanted with my poor behavior?

I couldn’t!

Now I realize that Greg stuck to his convictions and that he was showing leadership skills by refusing to allow my emotions and verbal intensity and even verbal attacks to move him.  And I also realize that if he had caved in to me, it would have created an even more destructive scenario in our marriage.

Now, I am thankful that I can respectfully share my feelings with Greg, but that he will do what he truly believes is best, even if he goes against my feelings and desires on a given decision.  WHAT A HUGE RELIEF that is!  My feelings won’t dictate our decisions.  My feelings can be kind of unpredictable and unstable.  I don’t want my feelings to be the ultimate litmus test and for me to have the final veto based on my feelings.  I want to have input and to feel heard, but I don’t want Greg to be a slave to my emotions.  I don’t want to be a slave to my own emotions!

MEN HAVE FEELINGS

Let’s keep in mind – that men DO have emotions and feelings.  I became convinced early in our marriage that Greg didn’t have feelings because he didn’t express them verbally and because he didn’t look upset when I would get upset.  He seemed totally unaffected by me or my feelings.  He never shared any feelings.  So I figured eventually that I could say anything and it wouldn’t phase him.

I was SO WRONG.

Men DO have feelings and we are able to deeply wound them with our words.  They don’t emote and respond the same way we do externally.  But they have tender hearts.

They can hear us just fine if we express ourselves respectfully.  We are much more likely to see them grant us the desires of our hearts when we approach them with civility, politeness, respect and a calm, pleasant friendly tone of voice.  They may need more time to think about things than we would.  That is ok!

The only power we have when we scream or attack verbally is the power to sever our husbands from us emotionally and spiritually – maybe even sexually if it gets bad enough.  Verbal attacks are very damaging to our husbands and our marriages.

  • There is really never a valid reason to scream and yell or berate our husbands or to attempt to belittle or humiliate them in order to try to get our way.  There is never a godly reason that gives me justification for attempting to force or control my husband into doing what I want to.  God allows us all the freedom to have free will.  He doesn’t force us into anything.  Am I above God that I should have the power to force my husband to do my will?  Nope!  Definitely not!  

When God’s Spirit rules in our hearts – He empowers us to have gentleness and self-control.

If we don’t have gentleness and self-control – we probably have a lot of sin on our hands to repent of and need to get back in right relationship with Christ!

RELATED:

Instead of Going on a Big, Emotional Tirade… 

0 thoughts on “The Powerful Concept of "Submitting Under Protest" – Part 1

  1. This is the part that I did not get for a long time and why I was stuck between being a doormat or a screaming controlling freak. Thanks to your help, I see now it is ok to say I don’t agree with that or I don’t like that or That is hurtful to me! And then continue doing what God requires of me and letting Him deal with my husband or me if I am wrong. What freedom that is!!

    1. Daisy Mae,

      Yes! Our perspective, desires, feelings and concerns are important! After the quiet phase, we can begin speaking our hearts respectfully. This is part of how we influence our husbands in a godly way. So we can be true to ourselves and respectful of them at the same time! 🙂

  2. This was me for the first six years of our marriage. I was so prideful and wanted my way and there were times my husband became passive and unplugged. He recently shared with me that He did this to avoid me exploding, it was just easier to let me have my way . BUT there were also many times he would respond in anger and now I see why, my disrespect was crushing him and no man wants their authority usurped. GOD has been so faithful to convict me of my sins cleanse me and fill me with His Spirit and enable me to respond in gentleness and kindness. This is huge I never thought my husband and I could have a conversation without yelling sadly I accepted this as normal 🙁 Praise God for His word and this blog. Just this past weekend I had a chance to apply this. Since beginning this journey God has showed me how my daughter has begun to pick up on my controlling and prideful attitude toward God given authority. LADIES THIS IS SO SERIOUS. we are training our children how to respect authority as they see the way we interact with our husbands. they will learn by watching us more than anything else. Well since I have , stepped down as the main disciplinary and let my husband lead in this area, he has really stepped up to the plate. I thank Him so much though I still correct and discipline my kids im not carrying the whole responsibility alone and it feels wonderful. This weekend my eldest kept getting in trouble for her disrespect toward her father. After one particular incident he sent her out the room and was preparing to discipline her in a way I felt was unnecessary for a certain offense and she had been in trouble all day. When she was completely out if ear shot I asked him if he had a second to talk and explained how I felt. He listened to me told me thank you but he felt that He was gonna handle the situation the way He felt led.He was able to do this because he has begun to feel it is safe to disagree With me now. Though it was hard I submitted and trusted God. I may not be right, just because he doesn’t do things My way doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Later that day my daughter came to us with tears and her eyes and said she thanked us because she knows we discipline her because we love her. WOW what fruit I would have missed out on if I would have continued to fight my husband on this. And we have seen such a dramatic change in our children respecting both of us since I began to respect and submit to my husband like Christ desires.

    1. Jessica,

      I am so thankful that you shared your story!

      Greg said the same thing – that he didn’t confront me or disagree with me because I was “a ticking time bomb” and it was easier to just let me have my way.

      🙁 That breaks my heart now!

      I am THRILLED about what God is doing in your heart and about what is happening with your children.

      Our children were young when God opened my eyes to respecting and submitting to Greg 5 years ago – 7 and 2 years old. But even as young as they were, I repented to them for how I had been treating their Daddy – makes me cry even now just thinking about what I have done to Greg to hurt him and the poor example I set for my babies. I apologized to them for my disrespect of their Daddy and for my disobedience to God’s commands for me as a wife and as a mom. I began to talk about that we were all to respect Daddy and that God made HIM the leader, NOT ME. And that I wasn’t going to be leading anymore. That Daddy was going to be in charge. I taught them daily how to respect their father – tone of voice, word choices, non-verbal body language. I was SHOCKED at how quickly they began to imitate me. They imitated my tone of voice, my words, my countenance. I had no idea how much I had been teaching them to disrespect their Dad – and God – and all people in positions of authority in their lives by my behavior.

      How thankful to God I am every day that He opened my eyes and shook me awake! Still crying as I type this.

      How I pray that I will be a godly example to my children of womanhood, being a wife, motherhood, godly submission to Christ and to those in spiritual authority over us and how God desires fathers and husbands to be treated.

      If I do nothing else right in my life, I want to please God as a wife and as a mother.

      And I am so thankful – that God has changed me. Because I know every day now – that I have no regrets anymore. That is TRUE PEACE. I know that if something happened to me today, or to Greg, or to our children – that I was as faithful as I could be in God’s power to honor, respect and love my husband and to set a godly example for my children and to love them and to try to teach them God’s ways.

      Whew!

      Going to try to get myself together now.

      I saw our children begin to respect Greg and myself so much more when I began to respect Greg as my husband and when I began to uphold his authority as the leader of the family and as their father.

      He has stepped up in ways I could never have anticipated over the past 5 years. Sometimes I think he is SUCH a better parent in many ways than I will ever be! He is so plugged in and involved now – before he was very unplugged and distant from me and our children.

      I have to praise God! What a blessing and treasure.

      Thank you for sharing, Jessica!

      I wonder if you might allow me to share this comment as a post? I can do it anonymously if you prefer.

      THIS IS GLORIOUS! THANK YOU, GOD for what You are doing in this wife, in her husband and in her family!!!!!!!!

      1. God led me to do the same things. To apologize to my husband and children who are 9,5,&2. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about the grace God has lavished on me to open my eyes now. We are expecting our forth child and because of what God has done and is doing he will born into a family where He has a beautiful picture of the gospel seen in his parents marriage. I praise God. Of course you may use my comment, I long to see God be glorified.

        1. Thank you, Jessica!

          AMEN! AMEN! I praise God with you that your children will all experience this “beautiful picture of the gospel in (their) parents’ marriage”!!!!!!

          I am going to include your comment in Part 2 in today’s post. 🙂

  3. April, the analogy to the child who lashes out that he hates his mother is really good. I had never explicitly thought of it like that before. I do remember thinking, in a similar vein, that her being right and getting her way was more important to her than me, or my feelings, or the truth (about my motives or character, which she would be impugning), or simple civility, let alone hard things like respect and submission. The husband who is on the receiving end of such a tantrum may realize (or hope) that his wife doesn’t really hate/despise him in that moment, but he knows that she doesn’t value him. But, eventually, he will no longer be sure that she does actually love him at all. From the male perspective, the fact that she is at other times willing to say that she loves him and the fact that she thinks or tells herself that she still loves him will become a falsehood to him — how can a Christian adult claim to love another while continually, knowingly, and deliberately disrespecting him (denying him the thing he most seeks from her) and abusing him?

    Here’s a concrete example: at one point while my ex and I were attempting to reconcile after her first divorce filing, in one of our good moments, she told me that whether we were together or apart, I would always have her heart. (I told her I preferred that we be together.) Sounds really good, right? But that was a fantasy in her head that was totally contradicted by her behavior, both before and after. I look back on that memory now as an example of how self-deceived she was. My belief is that she really didn’t love me in any meaningful way; otherwise she wouldn’t have allowed her disrespect and dissatisfaction to grow to the point that she was willing to divorce me without a biblical basis and then rush into a remarriage. At least to a man, or at least to this man, a declaration of love followed by such conduct is a false declaration of love. I hope your readers will change their behavior before it’s gone on so long that their husbands can’t trust their declarations of love.

    1. David J.,

      I’m so glad that you shared your story.

      It is so hard to explain how blind a wife can be to her own sin. I know that I didn’t see my sin at all. I only saw Greg’s “sin” – the things I thought he was doing wrong. I know that for me and most of the hundreds of wives I have now corresponded with – they either didn’t see their pride, their self-righteousness, their hatefulness, their disrespect, their control… or they felt justified in how they treated their husbands because of his “sin.”

      I personally was blind. I saw none of my own sin. ZERO. I didn’t understand Greg. But I didn’t know that I didn’t understand him. I assumed he was just like me and thought like me and felt like me and so I made so many inaccurate evil assumptions about his motives because he was not me, and he was not a woman. I had no understanding of how a man thinks or how a man processes decisions or emotions. Much of my misunderstanding of Greg was due to my own sheer ignorance.

      It is very hard to look back now and see how blind I was and imagine that I couldn’t see. But I could not see.

      I deceived myself and I swallowed so many ideas from our culture.

      I do want husbands to know that most wives do not maliciously disrespect their husbands. Most wives do not realize what they are doing. If they did – they would never be able to behave in these disrespectful ways.

      Most of the time, they are lashing out because they feel unloved and are hurting. Most of the time they have NO idea how different their husbands are, what their husbands need or how to approach men in respectful ways. I personally didn’t even really know what basic respect was.

      I pray that husbands might be encouraged – that once God opens their wives eyes – they will then see their sin and they will be mortified. Once God opens a wife’s eyes – she will repent humbly. I have seen it happen multiple times every day for a long time now. That is something I never get tired of – seeing God open women’s eyes. And I never get tired of seeing God do miracles. I get to see them every day, too.

      I count myself to be the most blessed woman on the planet.

      Thank you, David J., for the exhortation to wives. I know God will use your story to help open some eyes.

  4. This is an excellent post! ! ! There have been countless times when I have been verbally and emotionally beat up by my wife. When I am under attack, the fight or flight instinct kicks in. Since I can’t fight her emotionally or verbally and since fighting her physically is wrong and would land me in jail, my only option is to emotionally flee and shut down. My wife has no clue that her actions have pushed me away from her. She has total contempt for men who leave their wives believing that the wives are the innocent victims. However, in most cases that I know of, the wives drove their husbands away.

    Henry Cloud says that when you investigate a divorce and dig down below the surface, the cause is rarely financial problems or other common reasons. Those are symptoms of a deeper problem. He says that the number 1 cause of divorce is a power imbalance; one person is usually dominating the other.

    1. Joe,

      Most wives don’t know why their husbands shut down and become passive and unplugged. I sure didn’t! Greg didn’t tell me. So I was left to my own devices to try to explain his behavior. The only explanation I could come up with was “he must be unloving and selfish.” He didn’t tell me that I had disrespected him. He didn’t tell me that he didn’t agree with me – except for maybe 3 times earlier in our marriage where he insisted on things being done a particular way. I eventually submitted to him – but only after a lot of arguing, complaining, trying to make him change his mind and with great resentment and bitterness.

      Now, I am so thankful that he did stand up to me on those occasions. I would have destroyed relationships with our church and extended family at the time if I had gotten my way.

      I only wish he had confronted me sooner about my disrespect in general and my controlling behavior and pride. Like – 2 weeks into our marriage.

      Our culture teaches that women are morally superior than men. That is not true! But we all marinate in that and we begin to accept all kinds of lies and false ideas from our culture, and don’t even realize we need to question things.

      It is HARD to look at our own sin and our responsibilities as wives. It is PAINFUL to have to come face to face with the fact that we are wretched sinners. That is a severe blow to our pride. And it is one we desperately need.

      No one wants to be dominated or controlled. That does not make for a healthy marriage.

      Thank you so much for sharing. I am praying for you and for your wife – for God’s will and His greatest glory and for His wisdom, power, courage, love and direction for you, my brother. You are precious to Christ. Your wife is precious to Him, too. I can’t wait to see the things God has in store for you!

  5. I love the comparison of a man’s physical strength vs a woman’s verbal strength. I cringe thinking how I have verbally attacked my husband in times past.

    Since I learned to release my control on my husband (and am continuing to learn), there is much less conflict between us but when there is, it is very different. I have stopped being (as) defensive and have instead started listening instead of just hearing him…. I also have learned that I understand him much less than I originally thought I did so I take the time to ask him questions to gain a deeper understanding of what he means and really thinks.

    When I first began approaching him by listening and asking questions, I could tell he was defensive and expecting an argument. But once we both relaxed into this new way of communicating, we can usually walk away closer than we were before which is a very sweet blessing.

    1. a fellow wife,

      LOVE THIS!

      I am so glad you are listening and asking in genuinely curious and interested ways what he is thinking. I am thrilled about what God has been doing in your heart and in your marriage! These past 4 months have been incredible. I’m so glad I get to share this journey with you, my sweet friend!

  6. I know you didn’t want to seem like you were comparing wives to children…but that’s essentially what you did. Especially when you mentioned the ‘discipline’ example. That really disturbed me. You had me until that point

    1. laolu,

      A different example could be how a person treats his boss at work, or how a vice president approaches a president or how a member of a congregation approaches their pastor. If one of these people approached someone in a position of God-given authority over them with screaming, yelling, hatred, etc… would the person in authority be wise to give them what they want considering the manner in which that person approached them? Really, if ANYONE approached ANYONE with that kind of disrespect, it would be unwise to give someone what they wanted when they attempted to use such methods to get what they want.

      Obviously, a wife is not a child and does not need to be disciplined by her husband. That analogy cannot be carried very far, true. The husband is in a position of spiritual authority over the wife (I Corinthians 11:3). But a husband doesn’t discipline his wife. A wife is to honor and respect her husband because she reverences and loves Christ, not because she is being coerced, forced or disciplined.

      Thanks for your comments. 🙂

      1. laolu,
        I was just thinking – if a mom used this method on her children (and some moms do scream and yell) – that wouldn’t be a healthy way to ask her children to do what she wants either. Massive damage would be done to the children and to the relationship – whether the children were small or even if they were grown.

  7. i would love to know how this applies to an man who drinks every evening and doesnt believe everything the bible says and of course how a Christian wife then should accordingly behave.

    1. needinghelp,

      I Peter 3:1-6 is God’s prescription for believing wives whose husbands are far from God.
      This means that you don’t talk about God or what your husband “should” do morally. You don’t lecture, preach, nag or try to verbally force him to do what you want him to do. You live out respect for him and honor him as God leads you to through His Spirit living in you.

      If your husband is an alcoholic – then you are going to probably need some outside help – possibly from Al-Anon or from your local church.

      But even if he is an alcoholic – yelling and screaming at him would be extremely counterproductive.

      Are you safe? Are your children safe? If you are not safe – it is possible you may have to leave. You may need godly counsel about that.

      If he is drunk, you may not be able to submit to him during those times – since he is not in his right mind.

      If he is not drunk, but just has a few drinks every night – then my suggestion is not to comment on then drinking – but to pray for God to open his eyes.

      His greatest need is Christ. The most powerful tool you have to witness to him is your respect for him and your joy and peace in Christ.

      Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas has some real life examples of wives witnessing to their husbands in this kind of way – it is amazing.

      Much love to you!
      Praying for God’s wisdom, His power and for you to draw closer to Christ than ever.

  8. Wow.. This is kind of eye opening. At first I was a little taken back thinking to myself my husband accusses me of acting like a child sometimes but he’s crazy. Sometimes in an argument he talks to me as if I’m a child. I’m a professional person and very mature. In my mind, I do not act like a child.. I might be a bit strong willed, but childish?? Never.. or I thought never..

    Then I read this whole thing. I really recognized tactics that for some reason I only use with him. I admit, I have a hard time not getting my way. And I am not a good loser. I like to win every argument, whether I’m right or wrong. It’s my kryptonite!

    I have actually used the nuclear option of “I hate you”.. I have slammed doors not because I’m mad but because I know it’s his biggest pet peeve and makes him lose his cool and his mind. None of these things has ever, ever led to me actually getting my way. Quite the opposite. But I have never thought of that as a blessing.. Until now. I never thought of that as emotionally abusive to my husband. Equal to if he had hauled off and struck me. And he’s a big guy! But yet, I will poke that giant even knowing how wrong it is. That must be extremely frustrating for him. Knowing that he could physically stop me in an instant but verbally / emotionally cannot.

    I do think if my husband acted like a coward when I threw a tantrum we probably would haven’t have made it past year one. Sometimes I think he can be too stubborn at times but it probably pales in comparrison to what I can throw at him verbally. Instead of making a mental note of what gets to him and then putting it on my “do not do” list, I have put it in my aresenal of things to do when I’m losing the argument.

    My husband is a very affectionate man. He really does not like conflict with me. Don’t get me wrong, he’d slay a dragon for me if he had to but he’s very aware of his physical presence and how intimidating it can be to people and tries hard not to intimidate anyone with it unless there is danger.

    So, I know that I will try not to do this anymore. I also know that I may fail a few times. What is a good way for a husband to respond to this? What are tools that they can deploy to prevent it or stop it from getting out of hand?

    1. Gail W.,

      I am not sure I can speak for husbands or say what they “should” do. Jack or one of the husbands may be in a better position to do that.

      But – your job is to be so full of God’s Spirit that you have His self-control. It is not acceptable for you to treat your husband in these ways. It is your responsibility before God to monitor your own motives, thoughts, attitudes, words and actions and to please and obey Christ and to honor your husband.

      You are responsible to God for your obedience to Him. You are responsible to God to grow in your spiritual maturity. It should not have to be your husband’s job to police your behavior and attitude. You are a grown adult.

      I believe husbands have a responsibility not to cave in to a wife’s emotional abuse or verbal attacks and pressure and not to be swayed from their convictions by a wife’s mis-behaavior.

  9. As i spoke the last 10+ years my husband didnt hear me. The causes you explained so beautiful above, April! I quite often thought of him as struggeling with depression and being weak. But as you pointed out he had and has back bone. He never even once complied with my disrespectful demands.
    The beautiful thing is now as i am quiet he suddenly hears me. Amazing stuff!

    1. daniella,

      So many women balk at God’s commands for us to respect our husbands and honor their leadership – but we don’t understand that God’s ways work! Ours do not! When we are willing to do things God’s way, even if it doesn’t make sense to us – amazing things can happen.

      I’m so glad that you are able to see the truth now. And I am glad that you are able to thank God for your husband’s leadership now.

      How I wish we all understood all of this when we first got married! But I thank God and praise Him that He is opening our eyes now. I am thrilled that you are obeying God and that your husband is able to hear your heart so much more clearly now.

      WOOHOO!!!!! 🙂

      1. Yes! Truly amazing things are happening when the Holy Spirit takes over! How i could ever think that i am a better teacher than our Lord Himself. Shame on me. The sad thing is that in the country i live in the concept of humanism and feminism invaded the church sooo much that the ladies are missing on the blessings of biblical submission, its a taboo topic i would say.

        1. Daniella,

          Yes, how could we think we are above God’s Spirit? And yet, we do! I sure used to think that was my job.

          The same thing has happened in the church around the world. :(. Women are missing the blessings of God’s design and wisdom, so are men. I pray that this generation will be raised up by God to return to His truth no matter what the world says. 🙂

      2. It is so sad how feminism and humanism has invaded the church. I read a book several years ago called “Why Men hate going to Church.” The author builds a case for how the church has become a feminized institution. Among other things he gives examples of the type of songs we sing, to singing at octaves that are too high for most men to the volunteer needs being more feminine in nature. He also argues that men are looked at as the cause of problems in marriages. I have cringed numerous times when my Pastor, whom I have the utmost respect for, tells wives not to submit to their husbands unless we deserve it. He has never told husbands not to love their wives unless they deserve it. Sin is sin. Both husbands and wives sin in their marriages but women’s sin is rarely addressed. I believe this is a big part of the reason why the divorce rate among Christians is the same as among non-christians.

        1. Joe,

          This breaks my heart! How I pray God will open the eyes of His people to His Word and His truth.

          I pray the strongholds of the enemy and ungodly influences of our culture will be torn down – that we might repent of our sin before God and embrace His ways and His wisdom and sever our friendship with the world’s wisdom and it’s ways.

  10. Try a week of not doing it, and see if he notices. Instead of worrying about winning arguments, see if you can keep the argument from ever starting. You do this by remaining open to all sides and all outcomes.

    If you stop acting and thinking of him as an “opponent”, you may find that he also stops appearing to be one.

    But as a leader, he can’t afford to back down (if he is worthy of the position).

    Don’t put him in a position where he has to hold the line, and you may find that the line disappears.

    1. Thank you so much, Jack!

      Love that… “Don’t put him in a position where he has to hold the line, and you may find that the line disappears.”

      I also agree that as wives stop presenting themselves as if they are challenging their husbands or opposing their husbands, it is often possible to be “teammates” again.

    2. Sort of Chicken and egg I suppose. I guess I have behaved more like we are on “oppossing sides”. Probably evident by how often my husband says things like, “I’m not the enemy” often. Or my personal favorite is when he says, “put your horns away before this gets out of hand”.. This blog has helped me reverse my usual reactions on that trigger. Most of the time. Not all of the time because its not like I always have it handy.

      Don’t get me wrong we don’t argue a lot, anymore, but it seems like when we do slip back into it, it’s earth shattering or it esculates to that anyway. Most of the time, we have a lot of fun together. We like the same things in terms of activities, movies, TV shows, etc. We just don’t fight nice. Or I don’t fight nice for sure.

      Ultimately I still have no excuse for throwing out the hate word or doing things that I absolutely know will set him off. I didn’t think of it in terms of how you put it Jack. I just thought he was being a stubborn jerk rather than me putting him in a position where he has to hold the line.

      I would definitely prefer “the line to disappear” because I can feel my defenses go up the minute we enter that power struggle. But I can definitely see why my husband can’t afford to back down in those circumstances. Logically, I can also see why it’s a blessing, it just doesn’t “feel” like one when “it’s happening”.. 🙂

      I don’t worry that our marriage will fail, but being a new believer, there’s been a lot of changes going on. Sometimes it rattles me. Trying to hold onto some of the old me I guess. Nothing good or important mind you, just some of the old me in general. It is seriously not easy to keep things in check for someone who is very strong willed. These last few weeks I’ve definitely messed up more than once.

      1. Gail W.,

        This is a long process of sanctification. You will not be perfect. But you will grow in maturity as you submit yourself fully to Christ and allow Him to remove the sin and filth. In time, the stumbling will be less and less, generally.

        This requires killing our pride. And it requires nailing our old self to the cross. I personally need my hammer ready at any moment so if the old self begins to take over, I can nail that nasty thing back to the cross right away!

        This requires embracing humility and hating our pride.

        Those are very old habits, and the old self does not want to die. It is a battle. But it is SO WORTH IT to kill the old self and embrace God’s wisdom. 🙂

        I’m so excited about what God is doing in your heart, Gail!

  11. April I am thankful to the Most High that I found your blog, it has given me a lot to think on, and more clarity as to real life applications of what the scriptures speak about women submitting to their husbands.
    It’s been a struggle, but I have hope to be victorious in Christ Jesus in the end.
    What do you, when your husband tells you to shut up, he doesn’t care what you think, he doesn’t care about your feelings, that you just need to be quiet and shut up? When you weren’t able to voice your intents that they were good, to make sure you understand what he said or even finish a few sentences before he tells you to shut up?
    What do you do when you don’t have any friends, or family (they all fell away when you came to Christ and you don’t want to be unequally yoked with unbelievers), you have a part time job, and other than a few walks to coffee shops or the store that is basically your only time out of the home, and exercise, and your husband starts telling you, you can’t go for walks or can’t go out? I don’t have a license and am not allowed to get one per husbands order at this time.
    Sometimes I really feel like I just don’t want to be around my husband anymore, sometimes I really feel like a prisoner, sometimes I think maybe my only escape from him would be to work more hours at the expense of my body because the job I have is very physically and emotionally demanding, but maybe it would be better than being at home with him that is if he would allow me to work more hours.
    Sometimes I feel like I just want to stop loving him or caring about him, but still be obedient to the Most High.
    Mind you, my husband has some good qualities, and I know I am FAR FAR FAR from perfect.
    I just don’t know how to handle situations like this.

    1. NeedingCounsel,

      It is wonderful to meet you! 🙂

      How is your relationship with Christ?

      Does your husband have a relationship with Christ?

      How often is your husband saying these kinds of things? What do you say first before he gets angry?

      Please check out the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect and respect and see if your husband might be feeling disrespected?

      What was his parents’ marriage like?

      What was your parents’ marriage like?

      How long have you been married?

      Has it always been like this?

      Does your husband have any addictions, mental disorders or is he involved in infidelity or porn?

      Does he physically abuse you?

      Are you safe?

      Has he always been this controlling?

      Why does he say you can’t go out and can’t get a license?

      Much love to you! 🙂

  12. Gail-

    First, we have to do away with the false notion of equality. There is no equality in relationships. It just does not exist.

    Feminism has steeped our culture in this idea that women “need” to be equal to men, which has caused women more than 50% of the ensuing heartache.

    Essentially, the feminists are secretly whispering in womens’ ears “go ahead and finish the work that Eve started”.

    But despite all protestations to the contrary, women always seem to seek out men that do NOT treat them as equals. Go find a dozen super pretty girls, and you will notice that few of them are in relationships with sweet, supplicating “nice guys”. Some of them might even be with an abusive monster. Why is this? Because women love strength in men. Male strength is catnip.

    Super-attractive women don’t LIKE being with an abusive jerk, but they will choose that OVER being with a milquetoaste guy who dances around like a monkey trying to please his hottie girlfriend by accommodating her every desire. Oh, we may wish it was some other way, but anyone with functioning eyeballs knows otherwise.

    How does this apply to you?

    Well, I suspect that you are used to being the dominant one in your other relationships. Women, typically don’t use physical force to define dominance, they use emotional and verbal force.

    So, you keep taking a run at him to see who is the pack leader in your little group of two. In a more brutish society, a man would use his physical power to overwhelm the woman and very neatly demonstrate exactly who is the king dog.

    However, our modern culture, coupled with Judeo Christian ethics has trained such coarse and brutish violence out of most men.

    However, the women get to play by different rules, because feminism teaches that to be difficult and confrontational is “empowering”.

    The problem is that people do not want to discipline their flesh, their carnal mind.

    Hey, I wish that salads tasted like candy bars, but I have to discipline my flesh to eat healthy. I have to say no to cookies and yes to carrot sticks.

    Over time, my flesh is more at peace with those things that are good and right for me. But it would not take long to retrain myself into sin, right?

    This may help:

    One of two conditions exist. Either (1) you actually DO have the power to control your reactions and escalation, or (2), you do not.

    If you DO have the power to discipline yourself to be a respectful wife, then you have no excuse for not doing so.

    If you do NOT have that self-control, then your husband is already the defacto leader and has demonstrated his qualifications to lead, because he is not escalating to physical retribution. A man can win every time, if he wants to, because once provoked sufficiently, we are bigger, stronger, faster, and far more capable of aggression than even the loudest of the girl-power chorus.

    So be in admiration of his self-control and his willingness to respect and honor your area of vulnerability, even when you are not capable of respecting his.

    1. Jack –

      That’s very good. Very insightful actually. Yes, I would have to say that I have been the dominant one for a long, long time both in other relationships and in the home in general. My husband and I did not meet until we were in our 40’s. So we both had our own lives well established when we got married. We didn’t get married because we “needed” to for finances or children or anything. We got married because we really wanted to. I don’t think it occurred to us that we were also bringing our junk along with all the great things we were.

      You are correct about what feminism teaches women. It’s very confusing and destructive actually. If I had a time machine I would go back to the time of the bra burners and tell them to stop! Because in the future we have to deal with the sissy’s they created and the disfunctional female population as our friends. My mother was not a feminist. Quite the opposite. And my parents have a very happy, loving 65 year old marriage. Until recently I always thought my mom was a weak woman. I really didn’t understand the strength it must have taken her to do everything she does. Society tells us that we should be the opposite of that.

      I would like to think that I do possess the power to control my reactions in our marriage. I certianly posses that in every other area of life. So it must be there. And again, you are correct the times I do not control that and he controls his physical response (which anyone with eyes can see is not easy for him) then he already is leading. I never thought of it before as him respecting my area of vulnerability and me actually attacking his area of vulnerablity. I don’t generally think of him as actually having “vulnerabilites”.

      I have gotten to a point where most of the time, I can control my mouth. I say most because I do have a bad day here and there. But I realized that it’s generally not when he’s wrong that I argue the most. I seem to be arguing the most when I’m wrong. I guess that is what April calls “the quite phase”.

      I had to laugh when you used the “pack leader” reference. Just last week we had a small battle and after we were calm for an hour or so he turned to me and said, “You may be the lead dog at work but you will never be the “lead dog” here, you only fustrate yourself when you try. It doesn’t frustrate me, I don’t even break a sweat. I can do this for 50 years, can you?”.. It made me laugh when he said it and it made me laugh here.

      I also wish salad tasted like candy bars. If my husband could make that happen he’d truly be “my hero”.. 🙂

      Thanks for the great advice,
      Gail

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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