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Giving Friends Godly Marriage Advice

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ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:
I am taking an email vacation until January 6th.  I hope to continue to post and you are welcome to comment here.  But I would greatly appreciate if you could hold emails until January 7th.  Thanks so much for your patience and understanding!
 
TODAY’S TOPIC – GIVING OUR GIRL FRIENDS GODLY ADVICE
** It’s probably best for us as women not to attempt to give men marriage advice – that can get really dicey and present too much temptation sometimes – especially if messages or conversations are private.  Maybe we can refer men in need of godly counsel to a godly pastor or counselor or godly mentoring husband.

As believers in Christ – I believe it is our responsibility and duty to love others and point others to Christ and His Word when they are hurting, troubled, scared, upset, being sinned against, sinning against someone else – and in all circumstances.

Unfortunately, many women today – even women who claim Christ – get together with girl friends and bash their husbands together.  One will complain about something her husband did or did not do, and others will say things like:

  • “You shouldn’t have to take that!”
  • “You deserve better.”
  • “How dare he do X!”
  • “You should just leave him. I would. That’s exactly what I would do if I were you.”
  • “He’s worthless.”
  • “He won’t mind if you tell me that secret he shared with you.  He’ll never know.”
  • “If you were my FRIEND, you’d come with me Friday night out  Mexican food.  Why do you have to get your husband’s permission for that?  He’s a father, he should have to watch the kids by himself sometimes.  Why should you have to give him any notice?  What are you, oppressed?”
  • “Don’t listen to him!”
  • “That was SO stupid!  Why would your husband do that?”
  • “Men are idiots!”
  • “Why does it matter what your husband wants to do?  YOU’RE THE MOM HERE.”
  • “You have to yell and cuss at men sometimes, they are too dumb to understand if you talk to them nicely.”
  • “Who cares what he thinks about this issue – you’re clearly right and you should do what you want to.”

WHAT TOXIC POISON WE DISPENSE TO OUR FRIENDS WHEN WE SAY THINGS LIKE THIS!

Really – it is toxic poison for us to even LISTEN to other women say things like this.  It’s just wrong.  To even listen and not confront such statements is to dishonor God and our husbands, in my view.

How I pray that we might be careful to respect and honor our friends’ husbands as the head of their marriages and if we cannot show respect for our friends’ husbands- maybe we ought not be listening to their marriage issues, but refer them to seek godly counseling!

My friend does not have a covenant with ME.

She has a covenant with her husband and God.

It is a SIN for me to attempt to separate what God has put together.

2Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

3What did Moses command you?” he replied.

4They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

5It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’a 7‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,b 8and the two will become one flesh.’c So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”  Mark 10

I may point my friends to God’s commands for us as wives in Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3, I Corinthians 13:4-8

I may, as I hear God’s Spirit,  gently, lovingly, humbly but firmly rebuke sin (of course, I need to have all the sin out of my own  “eye” first – Matt 7:1-5):

I MAY PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER TO

  • PRAY with her – for God’s will, His glory, her obedience, for her to be convicted of any sin and to live in the power of God’s Spirit
  • listen to her concerns but keep directing her back to scripture, faith in God, trust in God’s sovereignty, obedience to God’s Word
  • not minimize her feelings – be understanding of her emotions – but realize that emotions are not always a source of truth
  • help her to examine her true motives
  • respect my own man, and not disrespect him by sharing confidences he has shared with me that he wouldn’t want others to know
  • uphold her husband’s authority as leader in the marriage
  • uphold her husband’s authority as a father
  • be available to her if her husband is supportive of my friendship with her
  • help her in practical ways if she is exhausted and needs help with some chores or childcare, etc…
  • direct her to godly, wise counsel if she is actually in serious danger
  • uphold  and honor her marriage vows and covenant
  • remind her of the good things her husband has done for her throughout their marriage and also recently
  • help her to see things about her husband to respect
  • tell her the things she is doing RIGHT!  Affirm her and encourage her!
  • help her to see other ways of looking at the situation, maybe to help encourage empathy for her husband’s masculine perspective
  • help her to think about ways that her husband may be good willed towards her instead of assuming the worst about him automatically
  • share stories of God’s ability to heal and bless and restore marriages
  • encourage her to focus on her own relationship with Christ and her obedience to God and her sin
  • ask her how her time with God has been going
  • help her to take responsibility for her own sin and her own obedience to Christ and not make excuses for herself
  • encourage her to repent to God and to her husband if she is guilty of any sin – without justifying her sin
  • ask her if she has been eating well, sleeping enough, if she is hormonal right now, if she is sick – these things make everything look SO MUCH WORSE than they really are!
  • help her to dissect the lies her feelings may be telling her from truth and reality if applicable
  • direct her to godly books, blogs, resources that support scripture and godly marriage
  • encourage her to focus on the good things in her husband
  • encourage her not to argue or complain (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • encourage her to develop a thankful heart and focus on Philippians 4:4-8 and 12-13
  • encourage her to never repay evil for evil but to repay evil with good (Romans 12:9-21)
  • encourage her to think through how she can love with God’s kind of love in this situation (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • let my friend’s marriage be much more important to her and a bigger priority to her than my friendship with her. I won’t push her to do what I want her to do if her husband is not on board with it.
  • respect any limits/boundaries my friend’s husband may have requested her to have
  • help her to understand masculinity better so she can understand where her husband is coming from instead of assuming he thinks just like she does (For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn)

I also pray that we will seek to help our friends find things to respect and point them to God’s Word and to obedience to Christ.

Many marriages could be saved, I believe, if we as godly women will point our friends to obedience to Christ and God’s Word instead of to disrespect, control, rebellion against God and divorce!

RELATED:

The Bible and Divorce

Some of the Bible Verses I Use As the Basis for My Suggestions

Do Not Expect Outside Support – but WE ought to be giving other wives and women godly support!

My Favorite Marriage Books

When My Man Hurts Me, What Does God Want Me to Do?

52 thoughts on “Giving Friends Godly Marriage Advice

  1. April,

    I think we also have to avoid the trap that some of our women friends unintentionally or sometimes intentionally lay out for us. That’s the one where they try to get us to engage in husband bashing. It can make us doubt the stability of our own marriages.

    I have a friend who is very insecure. She’s been burned in past relationships. She sneaks and checks her husbands phone and email and all that sneaky stuff. I don’t do that. I have no desire to do that. If Mark was doing something behind my back, he’d probably get away with it. But guilt would eat him up anyway and he’d end up telling me. She even put a key logger on her husbands computer for awhile. It’s smart to monitor a kids activities online and check friends lists and stuff that they are doing and seeing.. telling them of course because it’s for protection not catching them at something. But it’s wrong to do it to your spouse.

    Anyway, she talks about these things and she never finds anything wrong. I tell her all the time, first of all it’s just plain wrong. The mere fact that she CAN check his phone and email and facebook shows that he probably has nothing to hide. If he did he would lock it up like fort knox. Secondly, if he was doing something he could delete, clear it and/or still hide it. There’s a million ways to cover tracks.. but the reality is her husband is a nice guy but he’s no genius and probably couldn’t get away with anything if he did do something wrong. Thirdly, she would not want to pay the price for everything an ex girlfriend did to him.

    I’m pretty sure women can be far more devious than most men could ever think of being. They wouldn’t expend the energy and they generally lack any catty qualities. Especially if they are manly men.. If someone is not going to be trusted it should at least be for something they actually did to break trust. Not pay for someone’s mistakes that they didn’t know and didn’t have any say so in you dating that person in the first place.

    But when we are talking at times when this behavior cycles.. I call it her crazy cycle. she starts to “what if” me.. I hate being “what if’d”.. What if Mark did this.. What if Mark did that.. How would you know, what would you do, etc. etc.. As supportive as we need to be with girlfriends that sort of thing we also have recognize and nip it! The first time it happened I started to provide answers! I had to step back because my mood and the way I was viewing Mark was kind of declining. The last time it happened I had to point it out to her and set a few guidelines. I want to be supportive to her and help her with “her issue”. And it is her issue not his. But we can’t two way husband bash.

    Mark and I have a couple that are our best friends. Sometimes the husband will give me advice on an issue and how to deal with it. But it really depends on what the topic is. But I would never ask either one of them for advice about something or tell them something that they couldn’t talk to each other about. That’s always another thing that’s awkward when someone does to you. I definitely agree with you that women have to be very careful in that situation. Like the first rule of thumb would be don’t ask advice or even take advice from a man who verbally wife bashes either. It introduces a risk and it’s probably not going to be good marriage advice..

    See my posts are never short.. 🙂

    Gail

  2. Proverbs 12:4-7 AMP
    [4] A virtuous and worthy wife earnest and strong in character is a crowning joy to her husband, but she who makes him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. [5] The thoughts and purposes of the consistently righteous are honest and reliable, but the counsels and designs of the wicked are treacherous. [6] The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them and the innocent ones thus endangered. [7] The wicked are overthrown and are not, but the house of the uncompromisingly righteous shall stand.

    Proverbs 31:11-12,26-27 AMP
    [11] The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of honest gain or need of dishonest spoil. [12] She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her. [26] She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness giving counsel and instruction. [27] She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.

  3. A very good post, April! I recently lost a close friend (I believe God removed her from my life) because I wouldn’t spend enough time with her. I’m recently engaged and am putting my family’s needs before anyone else and she did not take it well. She’s not a Christian and she’s been married for years and she was used to me being there for her at the drop of a hat. But she sent me a”goodbye” text that was do docile that it was unlike her. I knew it was God letting me know its okay to put this friendship to rest.

  4. we need to be careful here. this trust issue is something a dear sister called me out on. trust is not a requirement in the Word regarding marriage. it doesn’t have to be earned or even given– even though we do continue to do so inevitably.. ultimately our Lord is the only one that is trustworthy. i am not to hold my husband to some elusive varying standard of “earning my trust”. it seems that often repentance and forgiveness are synonymous with trust. this is no bueno.

  5. When Gail comments, it’s like getting two blog posts for the price of one! 🙂 Thanks. April.Thanks Gail. 🙂

    Yes, I am guilty as charged with this one. I considered myself a good enough Christian woman, but when my friends husband-bashed, I was there with them, comforting, consoling and siding… which is what friends should do of course, except that, I also was one with them in putting down, laughing at and shaking my head at their husbands’ misdeeds and mistakes. 😛 I never mentioned bad things about my own husband, but I was quick to ride along with their own husbands-bashing. What I know now is that once the husband-bashing-roller-coaster starts again, I should get off it quick!

    1. Veronica,

      Good plan! Or, you can even gently confront and say,”Let’s focus on things to respect about your husband” or “I’m sorry, I can’t listen to you tear down your husband. It’s not right.”

      Much love!
      April

    1. David J,
      I used to “counsel” my friends to disrespect their husbands and to take control – just like I did. 🙁 I am so ashamed of that now. I had to go to my friends and family members and repent to the wives and the husbands for my disrespect and control. I caused a lot of damage to some marriages by my ungodly counsel.

      Unfortunately, many wives put more stock in their girlfriends'(or family’s) advice and opinions than they do in their husbands’ counsel and opinions. It can be very easy for a girlfriend or two to dominate a wife’s thinking and turn her even more against her husband than she already was and to goad her on to rebel against him, not forgive him, disrespect him and usurp his position of God-given authority.

      Girlfriends wield enormous power in each other’s lives and marriages. How I pray that we might only use this power to influence our friends for good.

      Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your wisdom.

  6. I have been avoiding a long time friend lately while I strengthen my new respect muscles. The last time I was around her and her husband I cringed to see how she treated him and the look on his face and his countenance. How do you approach this sensitive subject? Would I have been receptive to the truth before God enlightened me?

    I have been praying for her/them at this point. My husband and I both love them and cherish their friendship. Maybe I will tell her about my own conviction and how God has been changing me and how wonderful it has been in my marriage and walk with Jesus and see where that leads. Would like to have some advice.

    1. learningever,

      Once God opens your eyes to the total famine of respect for husbands and men in our culture- it is pretty mortifying. You will see it everywhere. And it will REALLY, REALLY bother you. It sometimes takes all my self-control to not run over and say something to a woman who is screaming and cussing at her husband in public. But – I know that I can’t just butt into people’s lives like that. So I pray for God to open the wife’s eyes.

      With your friends, you can talk about what God has been showing YOU. You can talk about how God convicted you of your sin and what your sins were. Then we will pray that God might open your friend’s eyes, too. But, if she is not open to listening about stopping disrespect and about respecting her husband – it could be wise not to spend a lot of one on one time with her as you learn to stop disrespect and learn to respect.

      You can certainly ask your husband for his advice or what he thinks would be best about how much time you spend with her.

      You can also recommend my blog or other blogs or books to her that have blessed you. Most women are very open to reading marriage books – if their girl friends recommend them. Love and Respect is a great one to start with – by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. That is the one God used to open my eyes to my sin.

      If you believe God is nudging you – you could actually say – maybe at some point after you have talked about what you are learning… “You know, I couldn’t help but notice how your husband’s expression fell when you said X to him a few weeks ago. I felt so sad! You’ve got a really amazing man there. I would love to see you focus on all the many things he is doing right. I bet a little genuine respect and admiration from you would probably inspire him to be more and more the man God desires him to be. You have an incredible amount of power to influence him in a godly way if you use encouragement, praise and blessing instead of negativity, criticism, scolding, etc.”

      Praying for you and for your friend and her marriage! 🙂

      1. Wow April,

        That is the perfect thing to say to girlfriend you see behaving that way! I love, love, love it. If someone said that to me, i would change it immediately. Our friend Scott used to tell me all the time that a man will slay dragons for his wife if he feels respected. Even if the only good thing you can say is that he ties his bathrobe better than anyone you know. It’s amazingly true too..

        1. Gail,
          Do you have any info on domestic violence laws when it is the woman who is abusing the man? Any resources I can check out if I were to write a post about wives not physically abusing their husbands? Thanks!

  7. Yes, women love it when their women friends recommend books. We have a lot of influence over our friends and that’s a good thing if it’s done correctly. I do think how we counsel a friend and what tools we utilize depends a lot on where they are spiritually. I don’t necessarily mean whether they are Christian or non Christian either.. Agnostic friends wont hear anything you say if you quote scripture before the time is right and some of the most seemingly “Mature Christians” are just a hot mess. They probably know every scripture by heart and were baptized nine different times but in the next breath will throw out scripture to justify their behavior. I know personally, I can’t keep up with that. When I read the bible it was specific stories and specific people that stuck with me, not line and verse. I know some Christian women who will gossip about who’s sinning and how often. Or they “worry to God” when they think they are “praying to God”.

    Mark and I have a few really good friends that are mentor couples for us. I think just as women have to be careful about how we counsel our friends, we also have to be very, very careful about who we go to for advice ourselves. And know why we are talking about an issue. There is a huge difference between I want to vent all my frustrations that I feel about my husband or I honestly want good advice on how to approach or handle a situation. If it’s just venting, it probably should be done in a private journal or something. Because if you vent you will not talk about the situation fairly and you will hurt your husbands image and reputation. Everything someone says when they are venting has a certian spin to it. You can’t help someone who is venting because they are not open to solutions and suggestions at that point.

    If we want honest feedback about a situation, we are more likely to provide all the facts and in a calm, fair manner. But sometimes our “best friend in all the world” or a relative may not be the best person to give us that particular advice. We have a couple that are good friends who I can say without a doubt will provide solid and honest advice. Sometimes she is the best person to give me advice about something but other times he is. And yet other times / situations they both have great ideas. That makes them trustworhty friends.

    The best thing we can do if we are friends with a couple that is going thru turbulence, is pray for them and be a really good example. What they see in our marriages they will ask about (which opens a door for discussion without butting in) or they will imitate. I know it can be uncomfortable to be around it. We have a friend who always has a huge “honey do list” for her husband. Every weekend. And she gets mad and nags at him a lot. It’s awkward. Drives my husband crazy. I try to make her laugh at herself but I do tell her when she complains that no human can live up to her expectations. She couldn’t even live up to her own expectations! He’s not making her mad, she’s making herself mad.

    Mark and I don’t make lists for each other. Ever. We don’t have the same priorities about what needs to be done. He takes care of what he sees and I do the same. But we agree on one thing, the dishes and laundry don’t feel a thing if they are neglected. The kids, the grandkids and us as a couple do.

    Trust is also a touchy thing. I agree the only requirement is to trust Jesus. I have to always remind myself that Jesus is “trustworthy” and everything I know tells me this. We are not required to give our spouse trust but we should. And when one of us falls down, we should always work on rebuilding it. We often give more grace to strangers than we give each other in a marriage. I’m not perfect, my husband is not perfect.

    If either a husband or a wife breaks trust in a marriage it takes work on both sides to restore it. But you don’t throw it all away because someone broke trust. It’s bound to happen in the best of marriages at some point. The person who broke trust has to work to be “trustworthy” again and the other has to be able to cough up a little trust as it is earned again. I broke trust in our marriage and now Mark does this little thing where when he feels concerned about trusting me but knows he should.. he reaches in his pocket and acts like he’s handing me something and says, “here’s a little trust, don’t lose it”.. It’s cute. It makes me realize how valuable that little bit of trust he’s giving me is to him. And it lets me know that everything I did to restore trust is working.

    I don’t know if I would ever tell a friend to get a divorce. I don’t think any situation is beyond repair anymore. I think it’s because I now know how drastically God can shake even the worst things out of us. I know the magnitude of his power to change us. I know what’s like to actually have both a fear of God and a love for God. And what that does to influence our behavior. I think people with anger problems can get control of them and change and sometimes that means a wife needs to make smarter choices and not provoke it. (cause we do that and then act offended when a man loses his cool). God can heal marriages after an affair and change a heart that is prone to cheat. He can heal marriages where a spouse is addicted to porn (soft or hard still the same) or where a spouse uses sex as a weapon. Either doing it or witholding it.

    Addicts can be changed by God. I use to pray that my daughter would come home and be free from her addiction and that her addicted boyfriend would get hit by a train. Instead, God brought them both out of their addiction and made him a permanent part of my family. 🙂 Good thing his mama was praying harder for his salvation than my prayer that get hit by a train. But I’ve never seen a man change so much out of love for my daughter and their new baby. I would not be prouder of him if he were a Havard graduate. My son in law loves to tell this story. They are going on 10 months sober now. He was in his addiction for 10 years. My daughter about 2 years. I can’t believe the change sometimes but it is all 100% Gods hand in it.

    So, there is absolutely nothing we cannot help our girlfriends recover from. Even if their husband leaves them and does bad things, if they have a chance to reconcile we should support that. If we have a girlfriend that talks about how she’s divorced and loving every minute of it, she’s lying! She needs a true friend who’s honest with her but frankly that’s a sign of emotional crisis right there. She may look great or ok but there’s a trainwreck around the corner for her.

    1. Gail,

      Thank you SO much for this! AMEN! AMEN! God is SO VERY ABLE! I have seen Him heal just about every imaginable awful scenario in marriages and families, too – and I put nothing past Him! 🙂 I would love to see divorce not even be a part of the church at all, myself – as we trust God to work in our families and husbands and in ourselves.

      And YES! We need to not “vent” to other women – and be extremely careful how we speak about our husbands even if we are seeking godly advice – holding him in honor and respect at all times.

      I love what your husband does “here’s a little trust, don’t lose it.” That is awesome!

      Thank you for sharing your daughter’s story and her husband’s story. Wow!

      God is so very good.

      This is beautiful, Gail!

      1. April,

        It’s funny about my daughter and new son in law… We were in church the weekend my husband was on his retreat. The son in law was sitting next to me and there was nobody on the other side. Our pastor said, “I want you to look at the person next to you and tell them how happy you are that they are in your life”.. Shawn looked at me and said, “Go on….. ” I told him, well, I’ve stopped praying for you to get hit by a train.. He said, “I’ll take it!”..

        At the time, I was just thinking he is not good enough for my daughter. I never thought in a million years that we could love him and support him in ways that his life could be changed. I also never thought of the fact that he is someone’s son. Some other mother, just like me, was praying for a miracle and an end to a long painful road. His mother is so loving to my daughter and our new granddaughter.

        This is one of those moments of proof where God’s plan, with all it’s pain along the way, was so much better than my plan. I was just trying to save my daughter. God was trying to fix like 6 things with one shot! So I had to reach in my pocket and say, “God, here’s a little trust…… ” 🙂

        Gail W.

  8. Gail, maybe you should start blogging! You write beautifully — with much oomph and candor with loads of wisdom. 🙂 It could be something directed towards those who lost their way or have denied God but are finding their way back Home… I would read yours too! God bless you more!

    1. Nikka,

      My dog Brutus used to have a political blog. But then years later Disney came out with Dog with a Blog and he felt cheated.. If I did a blog about converting from athiesm to Christianity there would be a lot of angry athiests attacking it. So, it’s not a half bad idea… It would keep Jesus on their mind wouldn’t it? I’m going to talk it over with my husband. He’s really good at web design and has great ideas about how to set stuff like that up.. I have to evaluate the timing tho too. Because I don’t have an aresenal of knowledge either. But I know people who do!

      I’ve shared April and Gregs blogs with many people. I wouldn’t want to do a blog unless it was going to be this insightful.

      1. Gail,

        I would be glad to run some of your posts whether you have your own blog or not! 🙂

        Ha! Love the story about your dog. 🙂

        Please pray that God will empower Greg and me to be faithful to Him and to His Word!

      2. I hope this time around, Brutus wouldn’t be the one writing blogs on “From Atheism to Christianity!” LOL. You are too funny. I will pray for and with you on this. I would love to have atheist friends be directed to your future blog, should God so will it. 🙂

    2. Gail I wish I could repost what you wrote in the comments, u and peaceful wife make a great team, u both break down things wonderfully.

  9. Just as you are, dear April. 🙂 Here’s to more and more godly women following in your footsteps, with all eyes directed towards God. 🙂 God bless all of us, peaceful wives or peaceful-wives-in-training! 😀

  10. I will share one.

    I remember being at a couples’ party where the wives were trading stories about how forgetful their husbands were in getting the garbage out. I’m sure most have heard this type of thing before, “How can he remember who won the World Series in 1978* but not remember that Sunday night is trash night, as it has been for the past 15 years?!”

    Now. I may have my faults as a husband and father, but forgetting about garbage night is not among them. In 10 years, I can count the number of garbage collections I have missed on one hand.

    But my wife did not take advantage of this opportunity to brag about me. In fact, my sense was that at that moment, she wished I wasn’t so diligent about taking the trash out (or wasn’t sitting in the next room) so she could join in the complaining.

    I wonder how it would have been received if she *did* brag out me. If she *did* say, “Well, John never misses a garbage day.” Would it have been disrespectful of the other husbands? Would the other wives have seen her as putting a wet blanket on their “good time?”

    But that is the culture we are in. And it does hurt.

    *the Yankees

    1. Johncmg,
      HA!

      I love that you remember who won the World Series in 1978. You remind me of Greg! He can remember almost any event by what football/baseball/basketball game was on that day and what the score was. I don’t have that ability!

      I remember in the earlier years of our marriage, that my close friend was having a very hard time in her marriage. I actually tried to think of things to complain about my husband so that she wouldn’t feel so alone in her misery. I know. That is crazy! I wouldn’t take that approach now! I mean, if a wife was very down and her husband is cheating on her, I wouldn’t gloat or throw anything in her face about my marriage being better than hers. But – sometimes, in an attempt to show sympathy and empathy with other women, we can throw our husbands under the bus. That’s not good!

      That would have been a great time for her to say, “My husband is the best about remembering to take out the trash.” – But it is true that there will be some wives who would be offended at that kind of optimism and thankfulness.

    2. John,

      That’s an awesome story! I’m sure your wife was proud on the inside. I brag about the fact that my husband always brings in the groceries. He never lets me carry them. And when he actually goes to the grocery store I love it when women come up to us and ask if he can reach something on that top shelf for them. I’m like, that’s right, he’s tall.. And he gets to feel like a hero. Little things really but it makes me wanna go give him a hug right now…

      Gail

  11. April,

    I’ve been out of the loop on the legal side of the domestic violence issue. I’ll see what I can dig up. I think I still have contacts from some advocacy groups.. I do know that in recent years I have seen some changes in the laws. I try to keep up with reading bills that are introduced in Texas legislation. There is a drive to move away from the no tolerance policies and the culture and legal system is shifting in some states towards holding women equally accountable. So women who think they will damage a man’s possessions because they are angry are now starting to be held accountable instead of people looking at it as a “woman scorned”..

    Women’s programming on TV is the worst. When I see that stuff being portrayed on TV I often write the network. Just to ask them why they didn’t add the part where the woman is hauled off in handcuffs for committing aggravated assualt or destruction of property. Or embezzlement when she cleans out her boyfriends bank account. And if her kids witnessed it, for the love of God why does she still have custody.

    We gotta stop watching that stuff, object to that stuff and demand better.

  12. What can we do, if anything, when we simply witness our friends’ treatment of their husbands? Or we see our family members (such as my mother) speak to their husbands sarcastically, breaking them down?

    With my friend, she is fairly self-confident and I think she might take it okay if I were to point it out, but I’m not sure it’s my place to pull her aside and say, “You know, it was really kind of disrespectful the way you said that to your husband.” I don’t want to come across as self-righteous, like I have it all together, when God is fully aware of my failings.

    With my mom, she is so very, very sensitive that if I even suggest she might have said something rude or disrespectful, she would get so incredibly offended and self-deprecating that it wouldn’t help their situation. My parents are both incredible, selfless people, but I can see how my mom’s treatment of my dad (thinking she is just being amusingly sarcastic) is hurtful.

    Do I simply pray? I’ve pointed them to blog posts before and tried to engage them in Bible studies like the Respect Dare. We’re starting another study (my mom, my friend, AND my sister-in-law!) in January through the Unveiled Wife using her book called Wife After God. Is there anything more I can do?

    1. Melissa,

      This is a great question!

      Once you see disrespect and how much it hurts husbands, you begin to see it everywhere and it is like nails scratching a chalkboard.

      It can be very tempting to run up to any wife you see disrespecting her husband and say, “NO! Stop! You are destroying your man with those words!”

      But, that probably won’t go over very well. I have to stop myself, realizing it is not my place to approach strangers about this.
      🙂

      If it is a close friend, or your mom, you may be able to broach the subject. But, women who are controlling tend to be pretty offended by criticism from anyone. They usually believe they are “right” and will tend to defend themselves if they feel attacked or confronted.

      It is possible that you could gently say something like, “Hmmm…. How did your husband react when you said that? I wonder if he might have been hurt by those words?”

      Or, what may be even more effective could be to share a story about similar things you used to say, and then share how it made your husband feel and talk about what God is teaching you and pray that she will connect the dots in her own life.

      There are times when you may have to wait for a friend or relative to approach you about their problems, especially if you have tried to bring up the subject before and they didn’t listen. That gives you a wide open door to talk about respect and disrespect and honoring a husband’s God-given leadership.

      A girl friend or female relative has an incredible amount of power to be a voice and a “translator” for a hurting and disrespected husband. It will take sensitivity to God’s Spirit to know exactly what to say and when and to whom.

      Sometimes I wish we could we ourselves on camera. I think we would see how abrasive and hurtful we can be if we had to see our expressions and hear our tone of voice and words in an objective way like that.

      If you are actually there when a woman says something disrespectful to her husband, you may want to say something respectful to him to try to set a godly example to steer the woman in a better direction. This can also work if she is just complaining to you. Help her to see the good points in her man.

      Ie:
      Wife to husband: You hardly ever help around the house. You just leave everything to me.
      You: I remember how he did X last week. I think he helps you quite a bit.

      Wife: You need to get a second job so we can have a nicer house, too!
      You: Your husband is a great provider. He takes very good care of your family.

      There may be times you can say later, “Your husband’s face fell when you said X. I think that really hurt him.”

      Or, “I wonder if your husband might be more receptive to your feelings/needs if you approached him like this…”

      There will be some women who will get really offended if you talk about them respecting their husbands. But if we as girlfriends and family members don’t say anything, who will?

      If a wife tells you something her husband said he wants her to do and she says it’s a dumb idea or something, try to support her husband’s request, “I think his idea has a lot of merit. I think it is totally worth trying things his way. That would honor him and God. Let’s pray together for God to give him wisdom about this.”

      1. Melissa,

        You could also say,
        “hmm… That seems harsh.” In response to how she talked to or about her husband.

        Or
        “I know husbands seem really tough on the outside, but they have feelings, too… I am afraid those words may have wounded him. I know if I say things like that to my husband, it makes him want to shut me out of his heart.”

      2. Melissa,

        5 years and 2 months ago – 2 months before God opened my eyes to my disrespect… I was complaining to my friends about something Greg did – a sin of his. One godly friend said to me, “My husband would not want me to share that kind of thing with other people. It would really upset him.”

        I was in shock. I hadn’t really thought about how Greg would feel if I was telling other people about what he had done. I wanted sympathy and support and encouragement, but I was destroying my husband in the process.

        I really thought about her words a lot – I think they were part of the catalyst that God used to open my eyes to my own sin.

        I am SO THANKFUL that this friend did not back down and that she gently, lovingly told the truth.

        I think it will be important for us to gently rebuke our sisters in Christ and to love them – but not withhold life-giving truth from them.

      3. Thank you! Those are great suggestions. You mentioned if I am actually there when she says something disrespectful that I may want to say something respectful to her husband as an example – my concern with that is it may come across as “flirty”. Our society is so lacking basic kindness and respect that any evidence of it is viewed as unusual and considered flirty. That’s why I tend to not really speak to the husbands of couples we spend time with. I try to speak to the wife most times. I know many women take my husband’s friendly attitude as flirty although I know it is simply his personality to be kind and to be a gentleman.

        I do love the suggestions to mention that his face fell, or his demeanor seemed to change and he got quiet! Most of the things I witness aren’t about constructive topics that they could approach differently; rather, they are situations where they berate their husband for turning down a street the wife wouldn’t have, or talking with food in their mouth, or some other silly thing that should simply be ignored rather than pointed out, made fun of, and received remarks of exasperation.

        1. Musicow2,

          Sometimes, it can be wise to approach the wife later in private. There is an issue sometimes with trying to support the husband in public, it is possible for it to seem like you could be admiring him.

          What does your husband think about these situations?

          1. When I have mentioned it, he has agreed that the wife’s behavior is disrespectful and he has been encouraging of my efforts to forward blog posts or ask them to join Bible studies with me.

          2. Musicow2,

            There can be times when you can say something like, “I bet his way would get us there just fine, too.”

            If you have a talk about things with the wife privately – it may be that, if she is receptive, you can work out a subtle signal word/phrase to say when you are together with her husband to gently steer her back to respect.

            ie: you could work out that you will say something like, “You know, your hair is looking LOVELY today. Mom!”
            And then she will be able to realize what she is doing, and maybe she can apologize to her husband then or later and get back on track. 🙂

  13. I feel a caution coming on. Sometimes what we may think is disrespectful may not be. For example; sometimes my husband makes a joke about my cooking. There are people that think it’s disrespectful, I think it’s not. What I think is he’s teasing me about my lack of culinary skills. I know my cooking is bad, even my dogs won’t eat my cooking. I was asked once if I wanted to make a desert for a bake sale by a woman who did not know me very well. My husband laughed out loud and she did that teeth sucking thing like she thought what he did was awful.. I just said, “He’s not even kidding, you’d be better off if you ask HIM if he will make a couple of his awesome cheese cakes. He’s the cook in this duo”.. So, she asked him (with a little bit of disgust) and he said “No, thank you”. I never got invited into that circle of women again but neither did he. He was kidding, he would have done it but she just took everything he did and said to heart.

    I think it should always be addressed in private. If the husband feels disrepected he’ll bring it up either right away or when they are alone. If not, maybe he didn’t see that particular thing as disrespectful.. Also, if it’s blatant disrespect, you don’t know what’s going on when you see that behavior manifest. It may be that your friend needs advice on how to handle a much bigger issue. Maybe they had an argument right before.. Maybe something worse happened. She’s not going to tell you if she’s called on it right there. Personally, I would not call my husband or anyone else in public and I wouldn’t want it done to me.

    I have realized something as I have been reading different disrespectful actions of others. A lot of these things are things my husband says to me or does to me. The hen pecking and nit nagging results in me not wanting to hug or cuddle with my husband. It results in me wanting to remain busy and not have time for him. It results in me being disrespectful or sharp tongued with him. There’s only so much anyone can take of hearing daily the things they are not doing enough of or good enough. I get that. But I’m sure if someone confronted him in front of me he would get upset. I’m sure if someone called him out on it even in private he may not be open to hearing it depending on who it is and how it’s done.

    I’m not saying that’s an excuse for me to be disrespectful back to my husband. I’m also not saying that some of his points are not valid. They may very well be but I can’t always hear it thru the other negative noise that he throws at me. I assume husbands on the receiving end of this feel the same way. I did have one friend of Mark’s tell me that he (my husband) is working through a lot of “bitter roots” from relationships past. And that was part of why he acts that way and I should resist becoming part of that. Keep myself from getting engaged in an argument. I was ticked off when he told me that. My first response was, “I can’t poor baby that” and he needs to grow up and get over it. Why should I have to be the first one to change? His response was along the lines of, “Because you can.. Because your able to and he’s not able to right now”.. He said you can be right or you can be happy but you can’t be both. Longer response but that was the gist of it.. It took me at least an hour of defending myself before I realized our friend was right and I needed to figure it out first.

    My point is, sometimes our friends are right. They are going thru something real with their husbands. Not all husbands are trustworthy and some are harder to respect than others. You may be calling your friend out on just plain bad behvior that she needs to own and address. They may be at a place in their marriage where she has to remember some of the good things about her husband. Everyone has some good qualities. But there may be a bigger issue that you may need to work through with her and help her apply solutions to real issues.. They may also be things that she’s embarrassed to talk about or doesn’t know how to talk about.

    If you had a discussion in private with your friend and she told you the reason she was angry at him was because he struck her or he cheated on her or he is doing drugs; how would that impact the advice you give her? If you call her out in public or fill in for her by showing her husband respect in her place do you think she’s coming to you with that very serious issue? Probably not. The advice you give your friend depends a lot on where her relationship is with Christ, where her husband’s relationship is with Christ, what the core issue she’s dealing with is and what your friendship can bear in the way of honest talk…

    Also look at things like did this behavior just start or was it always there as long as you have known her? There are changes in a woman (as described above) that happen at older ages. My sister was going thru menapause recently and I’m telling you, we did NOT talk about it when it was “happening” if you know what I mean. We waited until she was able to talk thru it and then got her some medication to help her thru menapause.

    The important thing to keep in mind is to actual be a friend. Not an accuser, not an enabler but a true friend. Not for a moment, not for a day but for the entire lifetime of that friendship.

    And in the words of Forrest Gump… That’s all I got to say about that.. 🙂

    Gail

    1. Gail,

      There are absolutely times that we cannot say anything to a wife about her behavior in public.

      I think we may have a little more leeway with a best friend or possibly with a mom. But, we don’t want to disrespect them, either.

      And for those who are not as close to us – we will generally have to wait until they approach us asking for advice before we share unsolicited advice with them.

      One thing I have learned – until God opens a woman’s eyes, she cannot see – no matter what I say or how many times I say it! 🙂

      There are things that are disrespectful to almost anyone across the board, and then there are individual and unique things that are different for each person. So it is very important that we learn what is disrespectful and respectful to our husbands in particular.

      Menopause makes things incredibly difficult for marriages – and for all of a woman’s relationships at times.

      It would be very wise to listen to our friends and understand the whole situation before we comment. There may be times that prayer is our most effective and only weapon.

      This is why it is so important for us each to be in God’s Word each day and in tune with His Spirit so that we can clearly hear His promptings in each situation. 🙂

  14. How true that is April. We do have one couple that we are friends with that we are very open with. They know when we are struggling and can absolutely be honest with either of us when they see something. One thing that I love that they do is they will relate something from early in their marriage that is comparable. Or sometimes it’s just an honest, “You are wrong or you’re both wrong”.. It definitely depends on where the friendship stands and how well you know and respect each other.

    But I have to say, most of what I learn from them is the way they act and not what they say and don’t say..

    I know they pray for us a lot. One thing Mark and I do not do is pray together. He is not comfortable with that. I don’t really know why and I wish he was comfortable with it but I suspect, like me he feels like he is not good at praying. Even though he’s been a Christian all of his life and me just a short while maybe even some lifelong Christians are insecure about praying too.

    1. Gail,
      That is interesting that you learn by them mostly from example. I love it!

      My husband doesn’t like to pray out loud to this day. So, I don’t push or pressure him. I trust God to work with him on that. He’s been a Christian for decades and his father is a pastor – but he prefers to pray in private.

  15. April,

    Wow, I didn’t realize that even mature Christians can experience that! My husband cracks up over a comic routine that Michael Jr. does called “Pray with Your nieghbor”.. That sums it up pretty well. If you get a chance to youtube that it will give you a chuckle..

    1. Greg said something to me many years ago – when I was pressuring him to pray with me – “If I pray out loud with you, I’m not sure who I’m praying to.” I didn’t understand it at the time – but now I understand that it would mean he may feel like he has to pray more for “show” or that his motives may be tainted. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for him to pray with me out loud every night, or once a month, or something. If I ask him to specifically pray for me, he usually will. But I don’t make a big deal of it anymore. I do know that he is praying – and I know God has him. That is what is most important to me. 🙂

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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