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The 10:00PM Rule

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I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. I am just an ordinary Christian wife. My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules and they are not guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not. I write specifically for wives who tend to be controlling and dominating. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that my blog is not a good fit for them. If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! My blog is not written for wives who are abused.

 

Many years ago, before I understood about respect and biblical submission, probably at least 8 years ago or more… Greg made a rule for us after one particularly frustrating late-night discussion.

I tended to want to have deep discussions a lot.  Especially late at night.  I also tended to try to press Greg for answers back then – not realizing that he needed time to think about things and that the more I pressured him the harder it was for him to think.  The more tired we were, the worse things would go.

Greg realized that after about 10:00pm, a deep discussion usually did not end well.

So, he decided that “We aren’t going to have any more deep discussions after 10:00pm at night.  Nothing good happens after that time in a deep discussion.”

That was actually some really godly leadership he showed that day!

We BOTH benefitted from this rule.

  • I learned not to start discussing a big, emotional, deep issue late at night.
  • I learned to wait for a better time when we were both more well-rested.
  • I learned to enjoy the last 2 hours before we went to sleep and be at peace during that time and savor our time together instead of getting upset and frustrated.
  • We both got to have a lot more peace in our marriage and in our own minds.  Of course, back then, sometimes I didn’t know how to be at peace in my own mind and would still think through deep discussions by myself.  But – things did go much better!

HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?

Well, since I have been on this journey the past 5 years learning to be a more godly wife, to respect Greg, to honor his leadership –  and since I have learned so much more about him, about myself, about God’s design for marriage, about godly femininity and godly masculinity… a lot of things have changed in our relationship for the better.

We don’t really have many frustrating conversations these days.  (I can think of 2 very brief ones in the past year, and they were resolved quickly.) Why?

  • I assume the best about Greg.  I  know he loves me, even if he does things I don’t understand.  I keep that in my mind all the time, that he loves me and is good-willed towards me.  That made a HUGE difference!  Most husbands and wives truly do care about and love their spouses – Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs confirms this.  (I’m reading a new book by Shaunti Feldhahn, “The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages” – her surveys also confirm this!  You have GOT to check this book out.  I can already tell it is a must read!)  Even when I might not FEEL loved, I can remember that Greg does actually love me and now, after a lot of experience, I know that he wouldn’t intentionally hurt me.  My knowing that and assuming the best about him makes ALL the difference in our marriage.
  • Now, I don’t ambush Greg (at any time of day) and announce, “We have to talk right now about X!”  Now I know that my particular man needs time to process and think through ideas before he knows how he feels about them.  He doesn’t think just like I do.  That is ok! In fact, it is a BLESSING that he is very careful, thorough, methodical and slower in thinking through things.  I tend to make more rash, hasty or emotionally-drivien decisions.  I thank and praise God that He, in His wisdom, gave the leadership position in our marriage to Greg, not to me!  So, now, when there is something to discuss, I find a good time and just casually mention whatever the issue is to Greg and share what I would like to do.  But then I leave it with him and let him think about it as long as he needs to.  He usually gets back with me when he is ready to talk about the issue and he knows what he thinks would be best.  He shares that with me.  I share any feelings I have about his ideas.  Usually, we end up agreeing.  But if I don’t, I tell him something like, “I would rather do X, but I trust you to do what you believe is best.  I will support your decision.”  End of discussion.
  • I don’t try to change his mind.
  • I seek to treat him with great respect.
  • I don’t assume I am always right and he is always wrong anymore.
  • I don’t try to control things and force my way.
  • I trust God in His sovereignty to direct Greg to cause His will in our lives, even if I don’t agree with the decision at the time.  (If Greg asked me to clearly sin, I would have to refuse.  But that hasn’t ever happened for us.)
  • When I am hormonal – I usually catch myself within a few sentences.  I ask Greg if he thinks I sound hormonal.  If he does, then I trust his perspective more than my feelings that day.  I will say, “Do you think I need to be upset about this issue?”   He’ll say, “Nope.”  I’ll say, “Ok.  I won’t try to figure this out today.”
  • I know that my husband has a lot of wisdom and that I can trust him.
  • I approach him with humility
  • I don’t carry the weight of the family and marriage and all the decisions anymore.  I know Greg will answer to God for these decisions, not me.  I stepped down years ago and seek to honor Greg’s leadership.

We do have amazing discussions about many deep topics.  I do like having deep discussions – but they don’t turn into disagreements or arguments and Greg doesn’t shut down anymore.

  • Now we know we are on the same team.
  • Greg is almost always available to talk with me when I want to talk now.  He knows he is safe with me and that I am not going to verbally attack him, criticize him, blast him, humiliate him, tell him what to do, overpower him with my verbal abilities or hurt him emotionally or spiritually.
  • He knows without a doubt that I respect him, trust him, have faith in him, admire him and will joyfully cooperate with his decisions.
  • I know without a doubt that he loves me, wants me to be happy as much as possible, wants what is best for me and will lead in a selfless way.

After 10pm (the hour or two before we go to sleep) at our house is a special time of Greg playing with my hair, cuddling with me, having conversation, laughing, relaxing, touching and enjoying each other.  It is my favorite time of the day now!

39 thoughts on “The 10:00PM Rule

  1. I would love to get to the point that our evenings are spent touching and being close. We sit together in the living room and enjoy this time a year watching football together. But, he is in his recliner and I am on the couch. I have told him several times that I would love for him to sit with me but he says he is too comfy in his chair. He used to want me to be right beside him all time but that has change. I hope I can get that back.

      1. That is exactly what I have been thinking! When we can afford it, that is the first thing I am buying!

    1. I can relate to this, Daisymae. My husband and I used to sit together on the couch, cuddling while we watched tv/movies or if he was watching sports, I’d cuddle with him with a book. Now he sits in his recliner zoned into his sports and his iphone. I don’t know if he’s even aware that I’m here! I make an effort to be in the room and available, even if there’s something else I’d rather be doing, because I don’t want to miss any chances that might come up to connect with him! I like your perspective, too, Dee. It makes sense that this is my husband’s way of avoiding me/protecting himself. Complaining and nagging would be counterproductive and so I, too, will wait and pray that he will one day feel safe with me to open his heart again.

    2. Hi, Daisymae!

      I understand your feelings because I am in the same boat with you. I sit on the couch while my husband sits in the recliner. Here is how I have learned to handle this, if it helps you.
      -I realize it isn’t personal. He just likes his chair. 🙂
      -Sometimes I go sit with him or sit on his lap.
      -I just enjoy being in the same room with him and try to focus on being thankful that he wants me to sit down and spend time with him, even if we are in different spots.

      Love,
      A Fellow Wife

  2. Daisy Mae, I’m sure if my hubby had a comfy recliner chair of his “own” he would probably spend alot of time in it, don’t take it personal… He just likes his chair. I’m sure he wouldn’t have a problem cuddling with you, I definitely have got use to not cuddling as much, as we did in beginning of our marriage, I sometimes wasn’t it, but then I also can’t be selfish at the fact that my hubby may want to sit by himself, maybe you could sit on his lap from time to time on his recliner.

    1. I do go and sit on his lap sometimes but sometimes he likes it and sometimes it annoys him. Since I am working on “not pursuing my husband in the wrong way”, I don’t do it too often because I don’t won’t to get a negative response.

  3. I think you have a great blog and I’m pleased to follow your posts… One of your lessons here resonated with me, as it’s something I learned and shared in my post “As Gracious As God” at ufuomaee.com. It is so surprising how much we actually have comfort in thinking and expecting the worst in men, rather than believing that we are truly loved and hoping in the best! I am enjoying a peaceful marriage and trust that with sustained effort it will remain peaceful 🙂

    Great post! God bless you.

    Love in Christ, Ufuoma.

    1. Ufuoma,

      I don’t think we even realize how much we tend to do this. But it is so destructive when we automatically assume the worst. That is not love! How I pray we will learn to give the grace of God to our husbands and to assume the best. It makes such a difference in the tone of our relationships.

      Thank you for sharing, 🙂

  4. Hi April. Thank you very much for your excellent blog teaching and challenging women to really love and understand their men.

    My almost 20 year old daughter asked me a question that ties in with your comment today, “We do have amazing discussions about many deep topics. I do like having deep discussions…” Since the Lord has not allowed me to have long term female friendships where deep sharing has occurred, I was not able to answer her question and thought that I would ask you.

    Her question was, “How does deep conversation differ between female friends and one’s own husband?” My man is a talker, able to communicate deeply and spiritually as well as listen to me and really dialogue. Thus, I do not know what it is like to need females for communication. Any thoughts or answers for her??

    1. Rose,

      Deep conversation with female friends and with a woman’s husband can be very similar as far as topics and things that are shared. However, a woman can probably go into more detail about emotions with her women friends and more detail about other people or feelings and relationships. A husband may not want as much detail, so a woman may want to be a bit more brief, depending on the topic, with her husband. If it is about biblical stuff, then detail may be fine if he is comfortable with that. But, a woman must be careful not to allow her friends to sway her away from her husband if she is married. And she must choose friends who will honor her husband and respect him and her marriage vows. And when a husband is talking, there will be an even greater level of respect for him than a woman would have for her female friends. And, of course, a wife will need to honor her husband’s leadership in a way that she wouldn’t with friends.

      Much love to you!

  5. Peeps,

    A lot of men feel this way, especially when they are stressed. To him, it shows you trust him when you don’t have to know every single detail, it sounds like. 🙂

    1. Yes he did say it was a trust issue, but I did just want to see if that was the main cass. So thanks, yes I need to trust him.

  6. Marie,

    Funny how we can get so fixed on one thing – like a rule or curfew – that we might miss something even more important – ice in the road. I can relate to that example!!!!

    I am so excited about what God is doing in your heart and your marriage.

    Thank you for sharing!!! 🙂

  7. Like you, I used to eyeball my husband and say “no sex after 10pm”. Part of my submitting to my husband has been to strip any “rules” I have imposed concerning sex. I did not realize that these rules were keeping my husband from even trying to be intimate! Instead, we have a “9:30” rule. Our goal is to be in our bed at 930 each night. If we choose to watch TV or read or surf Pinterest we do it together. It is our dedicated time with each other. I have also vowed that if he initiates sex, I will submit to his desires and not let my excuses (too tired, feeling fat, I have not spent any time with you today and the last thing I want you to do is touch me etc…) speak for me. In doing so, I open myself to him freely. I cannot tell you how this has transformed our sex life. Since we are together and have some alone time before sex starts, I feel connected to him. Since I am not always saying no, he initiates freely and joyfully. He actually told me when he used to hint about sex, he had armor on prepared for the bullets of reasons for no to hit. Now, he lets his guard down. We have relearned how to enjoy each other again. This is just another example of why submitting and allowing him to lead has transformed our relationship.

    1. Sara,
      This is soooo important. Breaking down all of our “rules” and allowing our husbands (and our Lord!) to lead us is so freeing! Thank you for this powerful example 🙂

      1. I didn’t realize how many rules I had instituted until I stopped saying no and started saying yes. I realize now the obstacle course I built between he and I.

        1. Oh, my goodness! Thanks, Sara, for saying this. I needed to hear about the rules. In order for me to feel more successful in the world, I think I have made too many rules. This is definitely not a servant’s perspective! Yikes! I’m going to have to start saying, “yes,” instead of immediately figuring out how it will work best for all of us (aka me!).

      1. Marie,

        I am so glad you are just seeking to honor and obey God and bless your husband and wait patiently. That is a beautiful spirit. I know God is working in your husband, even when you can’t see it. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you spiritually in 2014!

    2. The key to my “yes” is my husband who is tuned into my needs too. He read my post and laughed that I made him sound like it was his time and his schedule! He knows I get up at 5 am each day and knows my sleep is valuable! Being in sync is key!

      1. Sara
        Yes, that is how things should be! 🙂

        But, what a wonderful gift to be able to give our husbands, our willing, joyful receptivity to them sexually, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. A wife’s receptiveness to her man is a powerful thing. 🙂

        I am glad you are working as a team and he loves and honors you, too!

  8. Wow. This resonated with me in a different way. I am hesitant to have deep discussions with my husband because he is very intense, wise & can go very deep quickly. I struggle with feeling stupid & shallow. I now realize I have idols in the way (being seen as full of wisdom & able to think as quickly & deeply as my husband, as if I can control his opinion of me!). I am now realizing that I need to verbalize my desires to have shorter discussions earlier in the evening (explaining why) & if he decides this is not what he thinks is best then I need to trust God that He will give me the clarity & stamina for these conversations. Wow! Once again you have touched on another area where I’m trying to be in control. Thank you!

      1. Thanks, April. I’m wondering if you have any blogposts or thoughts about deep conversations with husbands? Like Rose, I have a husband who is able to communicate deep feelings quite well & actually thrives on this. I am definitely struggling in this area & would like to grow here. I grew up with no modeling of this & was surrounded by guys who didn’t “go deep.” Now I feel like a fish out of water but want to bless my husband & am not sure how.

        1. Wow – I think I just hit on an idol here. I am trying to be as smart as he is in areas that are of importance to him & that he has a deep knowledge of. There’s no way I can be this way but having some knowledge so I can really listen & really understand what he’s saying makes so much sense & is ok! I don’t have to be a genius, I just have to demonstrate I care & am interested. Awesome! Thanks! 🙂

  9. Praise God for your victory over this! As a newlywed, I feel like sometimes my hubby and I are where you were at many years ago. But I have learned so quickly the destruction that comes when we try to resolve issues too late at night. I have learned to be patient, wait, and stay silent until it is the right time. Sometimes its pretty hard when something is pressing on me, but since I’ve seen what happens when I push too much, I’d much rather just be patient! I also believe it is vital to *say goodnight* and *tell him/her you love them* before sleep. We are never promised another day, and there is nothing too serious or bad that should push us away from acknowledging our love for each other.

  10. Confused,
    “You won’t have to live a boring life that goes nowhere. I was afraid of that, too. It has NOT been a problem. God is totally capable of working in your life so that you can serve Him and love other people. He will open the doors. But it is time to stop running ahead and wait patiently on Him.”

    April is SPOT ON here. I also married a “boring” man who can easily keep himself occupied with his electronics. He can actually keep himself occupied for long times with many things. He has a very patient, careful, and thorough personality. He takes A LOT of time to do things that I could do very quickly. He also takes a lot of time to do things I care nothing about. BUT I’ve seen how the Lord has blessed our family through my husbands interests (my teenage sons are just like their daddy 🙂 He has also helped me slow down and appreciate some things I would’ve buzzed right by at MY speed!

    I know how suffocating this can feel when you just want to MOVE and he will NOT. You want to GO OUT and he wants to STAY. This can be SO HARD. When you are ready, ask the Lord to help you let go of ALL of your expectations for your husband and marriage. Then just wait. Yahweh CAN and WILL provide for your EVERY need. If you’ll trust Him. He made you and He knows you just how you are. Trust in HIS timing. I will be praying for you 🙂

    1. Fallen short,

      Now I appreciate all those qualities in Greg. But I definitely had the same fear. I didn’t think Greg would lead me anywhere. But I decided if God wanted me to wait right here until I was 80, ok, then I will wait. I was determined to do things God’s way from that point on.

      Greg does take things much slower than I do. Turns out, it makes him a really wise leader. He is very similar to your husband, fallenshort!

      In time, I learned that it is in the waiting that I get to learn the most about trusting God.

      Thanks for encouraging our sister!

  11. I definitely needed to read this today! I am the queen of late night attacking. I would ignore him all day, stay silent, and then about an hour after we laid down in bed, I’d let it all flood out. We would stay up ’til all hours of the night, discussing, but it was mostly me discussing and him trying to soak it all in. Thank you!

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