I am taking an email vacation until January 7th. I plan to continue to post and will respond to comments as I am able – you are welcome to comment any time. But if you can please hold emails for me for a few weeks, I would appreciate it. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
From a wife and sister in the Lord who is beginning to understand:
My husband and I are both Christians who are walking with the Lord and I’d say we have a “good” marriage but we are always wanting it to be great!
- We have only been married 3 1/2 years but my husband has always been telling me that I’m disrespectful, controlling, and that I “argue” with him a lot.
I just thought he was totally crazy about the control thing and I thought he was just paranoid about being controlled! In fact, I thought he was leading and was a great leader. It wasn’t until reading your blog that I realized how related the issues of disrespect and control are and how intertwined.
- I read Love and Respect (by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs) twice, we took the conference.
- I read “For Women Only” (by Shaunti Feldhahn)
- I’ve read various other books on marriage
I have not been able to get a clue of what is respectful to my husband!
Yes, we have spent HOURS talking, discussing, arguing, crying, and yelling at each other over what is disrespectful to him and what is not. Obviously, it is frustrating to him that I don’t “get it.” Your blog, though, has been the first thing that gave me a CLUE!
Like I said, we are not stereotypical. My husband does NOT withdraw or get silent whenever I disrespect him. He ALWAYS tells me and I always tell him when he’s unloving and I think that is why our marriage is still “good” even though we do fight a lot, it is because we don’t keep anything in the dark!
I finally found out what he meant by “arguing” by reading your blog. I seriously had NO IDEA!! I didn’t understand why he would get mad when I “shared my feelings” with him until reading your blog. I felt absolutely baffled by it! He also notoriously calls me “negative” and tells me I “complain” a lot, which would make me furious! And so I would defend myself thinking that he would then see that he was hurting me and fall on his knees to apologize.. I had no idea that I was actually perpetuating the disrespect by defending myself. This is still the hardest thing for me because I hate being wrong and being the person who needs to apologize, etc.
One of your most helpful posts for me was about when he says something hurtful to just say “I’m hurt” and quietly walk out of the room, respectfully. Of course, I always want to sit down and have a huge heart to heart if he says something hurtful and then he feels disrespected! I can’t count how many nights we have spent fighting because I wanted to tell him how hurt I felt and he thought I was nagging him! That was also totally perplexing because I would be like, YOU hurt ME and now I’M A NAG?!?!??! So confusing!!!!!
A NEW APPROACH
The first time I tried this, I said “I’m hurt” 3 different times the same night and then walked out and he yelled a few things at me as I walked away but I never said anything back (which is a miracle for me! I’m a fighter!).
A few hours later, he turned off the TV and told me to come over and that we needed to talk!
He said he knew something was bothering me and wanted to hear about it and so we ended up having that heart to heart.
One other huge break through, I have tried many times in the past to tell him things I do respect about him but he has never believed me and he knew I was just doing an exercise I read in a book or something. However, after reading your blog and comments on there, etc, I realized that he has never withdrawn from me or our boys and he has never stopped leading, even in the face of my disrespect and attempts to control.
- So I told him that I was very impressed that he still continues to lead, to tell me my sin, and to try to engage in the family even when I’m wrong and even when most men do the opposite.
His face changed and he thanked me and said that he felt very respected from that comment!
That is the first time he has ever said that!
He’s always thought I was being phony when I try to compliment him.
A BABY STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
One small victory today… we are moving next week and our house is a disaster and we’re packing most of our kitchen stuff up. I asked if we could go to our favorite Mexican place for lunch since we don’t have much food left in the house and I stated my reasons for wanting to go today versus another day.
He said, “No, we’ll go tomorrow for lunch.”
And I said “Ok!” in a happy tone and walked off to keep packing.
Throughout the morning, I kept thinking of more reasons why today is the best day to go instead of tomorrow. But I remembered words from your blog and I refused to say any more of my reasons (I had already given several when I first asked) and then…
Instead of eating my PB sandwich in a depressing way and mentioning how much better the Mexican food would be (many thoughts like that kept coming into my head and I’m used to just blurting them out, not even thinking about it!) I kept it to myself!
And then all afternoon, I kept wanting to say, “So… did you notice anything different today… ” hahahah!! But I had to get a hold of myself and say Look! You’re doing this for the Lord first and your husband second and not for yourself! It’s not about how much praise you get for it! So that is my mini-success of the day. (:
And no fighting occurred today.
I am so thankful that this precious wife allowed me to share her story! And PRAISE GOD her husband does not become passive but continues to attempt to lead in a godly way! THAT IS AWESOME! I’m so proud of him!
In the beginning when we are just learning to give up disrespect and what respect means and to stop arguing and complaining, this is exactly how our thought processes will go. I love how this wife shared – she articulates what almost every wife experiences and feels on this journey in the beginning at some point.
But watch how God is beginning to help her to understand her husband and how she is consciously letting go of control and consciously learning to approach her husband with respect and the new, healthier internal dialogue she is having with herself now. This is really key, ladies! And I am SO proud of her for not demanding or asking for affirmation from her husband. She is doing what God commands her to do as a wife – respect her husband and honor his God-given leadership. God will reward her for her obedience in heaven. She is not doing this for accolades of praise from her husband – she is doing this because she wants to obey God. I’m really glad she caught her motives and realigned her sites to keep her eyes on Christ.
PRAISE GOD for what He is doing in this wife’s heart!