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!