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From a Fellow Wife – Suggestions VS Instructions

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From my dear sister in Christ, a Fellow Wife (this post is probably going to be most relatable to wives who were very controlling and outspoken whose husbands were more passive):

I have to share part of a conversation my husband and I had last night. He had made a comment earlier in the day that he wished I had listened to him and went to the Dr. sooner for my pain. I told him I didn’t remember him telling me to go. I remembered him mentioning it but not exactly telling me to go. I told him that I took that as a suggestion… you know, like when I say, “Maybe some Tylenol would help your headache” or “Maybe those socks would feel better with those shoes.”

He said, “Honey, what you take as suggestions from me are really directions I intend for you to listen to.”

I was surprised at this…. I have been happily listening to him when he told me something DIRECTLY. I have listened for his instructions willingly and happily and tried my best to follow them. But a lot of things I haven’t listened to – I have thought over them as I do any suggestion but not listened to because I didn’t understand they were direct instructions that were veiled as what sounded like a suggestion to me.

He gave me another example:

He said that when he suggests that maybe I should come home and go back to bed after taking the kids to school (which he only does rarely- maybe once every couple of months and usually when he notices I am exhausted in the morning) that he really means that. It isn’t a suggestion… I have heard him say that in the past and would say, “I would love to but I need to clean” or “I have work to do”.

I just thought I would share this with you. If it was news to me, I thought it might be news for other wives?

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

What an important conversation! I am so glad a Fellow Wife shared that with us. Greg and I went on a long walk that night and I asked him about this issue. I realized, “Hmm! I might have a problem here, too!” I told him I try very much to honor anything he asks me to do, but I wondered if I might be missing some things he really intends for me to do because  lots of times, what I hear are “suggestions” not “directives.” I shared with him that I would love any directives he thinks would be appropriate. I am completely open to any way he wants to lead me that he believes is right.

Greg thought about it for a bit and then told me,

“I think that when a man has been  passive for a long time, he probably is more likely to communicate with suggestions rather than directives.”

Interestingly, in the past week, Greg has been giving me, our children and even people at work more directives and has been stating his ideas, perspective and desires more assertively. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! He is not harsh, abrasive or aggressive about it. But I can just see him standing even taller. It is a blessing to me when he shares his perspective and his heart with me. I WANT to know what he wants and what he thinks. It is much easier for me to understand when he shares what he would like. I also appreciate suggestions, too. And I greatly appreciate his trust in me to make many decisions for myself. But I love it when he directly states his mind. It leaves no room for doubt or confusion in my mind. I am a pretty awful mind reader – so I appreciate direct, honest, loving, gentle, firm,  kind, truthful communication from my husband.

I personally do better if things are written down. Sometimes I can forget verbal suggestions or instructions. I often have to immediately write things down so that I don’t miss anything important and can remember to carry out whatever the task might be. Thankfully, Greg is very understanding of this and lovingly reminds me of things so that I don’t forget – which I appreciate so much! My memory is often not so sharp.

This past week, Greg has been more direct in telling me that he wants me to be with him more, that he wants more of my time and attention (WOOHOO!), what he wants the children to do, etc… He has been more firm about the children obeying quickly – which I love. It’s amazing to watch as God grows my husband into a stronger and more godly leader who knows how to use his God-given authority for the good, blessing, benefit and well-being of our family.

It has been 5 years and 4 months since the beginning of this journey. We are both still learning and have MUCH, MUCH more to learn. But it is exciting to get to walk this road together as a team and to watch God molding my wonderful man into the man He desires him to be. I feel like I am the most blessed woman on the planet to have this chance to learn to do marriage God’s way and to experience God’s power, love, peace and joy every single day.

AN EXHORTATION:

I wonder if your husband might be saying things that you think are suggestions or just his opinion – when, perhaps he is actually trying to communicate something he really wants you to do that is important to him?

I wonder if some of you might like to talk with your husbands about this (when he is in a good mood and not busy) and let us know how the conversation goes?

And, husbands, you are welcome to share your perspective here. We appreciate your masculine insights so very much!

127 thoughts on “From a Fellow Wife – Suggestions VS Instructions

  1. I guess I wonder at what point do you get to make your own decisions. I’ve tried very hard to keep the house the way he likes. ( Even though I would like it messier.) I’ve tried to train the kids the way he wants. ( Though I have failed so often as I don’t put things away all the time…) I’ve given up performances and things because he wanted me home. But here is a scenario where I put my food down and perhaps I shouldn’t have. My daughter had a violin teacher who is bad. Asking around there is only one other one in town and he is full. I found a music prep academy in a town an hour away. We did it for a year. Then he was asking questions and didn’t really like us driving that far. But I am the one who drives her. We do it during the day so that we are home in the evening. This teacher is awesome and he agrees that she has been playing SO much better. It is one day a week. When the boys were younger I was having to take them to soccer practices and baseball practices several times a week and on Saturdays. ( HIS choice. I hated doing it. I was so glad when the boys got too old and didn’t want to do that anymore, though my husband wished they could have. But he couldn’t come to any practices and only about 1/2 of their games!) This violin lesson does not interfere at all with family time like boys’ sports. He didn’t put his foot down on the matter, so I have continued for the past couple of years.

    So at what point is ok NOT to listen to their suggestions.. I just get so tired of having to do everything his way. I don’t get dates. I stay home with him because that is what he wants and likes. Where is the line? Oh and I wasn’t mean or anything. He just kept asking questions and I had an answer for all of them, which seemed to frustrate him. I normally just say yes sir and keep my mouth shut, but music is my field and it seemed reasonable. But maybe not.

    1. Elizabeth,

      That line is between you, God and your husband. You will answer to God for your obedience to Him. I don’t know the line. I pray God will give you wisdom about how to honor Him even when your husband has so many exacting standards. But – I would use extreme caution before going directly against our husbands unless they are blatantly asking us to sin.

      Please check out “Spiritual Authority.”

      It is GOOD for you to share your heart and mind and feelings and ask for what you need. It is important for you to use your godly influence. “A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage.”

      much love to you!

      1. Elizabeth,

        I hope you will remember, too, that most of my posts are written from the perspective of wives who have been very outspoken and controlling in the past with passive husbands. That is not your situation – so you may have to approach things somewhat differently as you learn to speak your heart and mind more and as you are also dealing with a husband who is extremely stressed out and depressed. Those factors are very significant and will require extra grace and wisdom from God for you to know how to approach him best.

        1. My husband is definitely not the passive husband. Even so, I have found your blog and resources to still cater very much to my marriage in theory. The big difference for me is that my husbands reaction to my disrespect is anger rather than passivity. In fact, the one season I thought he was finally “coming around” and seeing things my way (this was all wY before I started my pw journey and saw my mountain of sin) my husband gave up and decided to submit to me…and this was the season right before he left me 🙁 Oops, called that one wrong! Anyway…

          I agree my husband likes me to have thoughts and opinions; on the flip side though if I have a different answer/suggestion to everything he wants to do, he just gets frustrated and worn out! He felt constantly challenged when he really just wanted me sometimes to do what he asked and not rethink or challenge it. I liken it to what I want from my kids-not that he treats me like a kid but sometimes he just wants me to do what he asks, and I’ve learned that now. I guess you have to learn the balance of when to speak and when NOT to for your own marriage.

          The other thing he’s said is sometimes he has reasons but he doesn’t want to have to go into all of his reasons.

          Quite frankly I don’t think there’s ever a time to “make your own decisions” when kids are involved. They’re your (collective) kids so he has every right to speak into their activities as you, even if it doesn’t inconvenience him. He may have his reasons for not wanting you to drive an hour each way. But in my mind, if he ultimately says he doesn’t want that, then you can say, “after researching the options, there are no good lessons close. Would you rather she can have poor lessons close, the hour drive, or should we talk about not doing lessons anymore?” Then you get his ideas on what he thinks. This is the way to still have him decide but give him the options. If he wants your opinion or more info he will ask.

          Yes it’s inconvenient to need to have these discussions but marriage is a partnership. Some of the times I wounded my husband the most we’re making kid decisions without him…I had no idea. I’ve learned that he even wants a say in smaller things like getting their hair cut. We actually had an argument about it 3 weeks ago! I really thought they needed haircuts and my dad was coming for a visit. He didn’t think they needed it. We went round and round and he ended up feeling really disrespected that I couldn’t accept it was ok to not have them cut. I apologized for making such a big deal about it…and had to lay aside my pride in thinking my way was better. We had a difference of opinion but I believe I should submit even in small things and my marriage is much better when I can not make little deals big out of principle. The unity of my marriage is more important. He knows my opinion; sometimes he doesn’t. It’s prideful for me to think I always need my way. Another thing to lay on the altar 🙂

          1. Yeah I did end up caving and calling around one more time. He asked me if I found any teachers nearby and I said no..and he left it at that. I guess I should have given him the option. However, before the next school year I did ask him if it was ok to do the violin lessons and he said ok. But I’m not sure if he was happy about it or if he had any other choice. So it was ok for us to do the sports if I was unhappy about it but not ok for us to do violin if he was unhappy… I just feel like I’m the one that is unhappy all the time…at least about our family choices…

          2. It’s prideful for me to think I always need my way. Another thing to lay on the altar 🙂
            Emily I can agree with you here, my husband is the same way, he doesnt really want my opinions not unless he asks.

            I think April could benefit having a poll to see unpassive, passive dominant leadership, ect.

          3. Emily C,

            Yes, most men will respond to disrespect one of two ways – anger or silence/shutting down.

            Oh goodness, I am so sorry to hear how difficult things were. It sure doesn’t work well when our husbands resign themselves to submitting to us. 🙁

            You know what? I can identify with a husband who gets frustrated if every single decision he makes is always questioned or he receives an argument on every statement he makes. I get that in the pharmacy a lot from my patients! And I get it from my children at times. It sure wears me down!

            Yes, each marriage has a certain balance – and that balance changes over time and with different circumstances – this requires the Holy Spirit to empower us to know what is best at a given time!

            I like your suggestion about how to handle the lessons. I sure wouldn’t want to drive an hour away myself. But I get very sleepy when I drive – so I don’t feel like it would be safe for me to drive that much. Hopefully other women are not as sleep deprived and more alert than I am!

            I hurt Greg many times by not involving him in decisions with the kids, too. He eventually completely unplugged and stopped giving any input and just gave me all the responsibility. NOT GOOD.

            Now, I do submit even in the small things – the unity of our marriage has definitely improved dramatically!

            Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned!

          4. As I really read these comments I saw my husband in our past flip flop throughout our marriage to responding to my disrespect with both passivity and anger.in the beginning of marriage my husband had no problem giving directions or making suggestions but I had such an independent rebellious spirit that I was constantly bucking against His every opinion because of huge pride I always thought the way I thought was the right way and did not hesitate to let him know that. In the beginning years it was anger intensely and he would say things like . Jessica no one can make u happy or maybe y our married the wrong man. Instead of seeing that I was causing so much hurt and making him feel incompetent all I saw was the anger and I remained blind to my sin and felt like the victim.
            Then I believe he just got tired of fighting fighting with someone who was “always right” so that’s when he just let me lead but in His heart he explained to me that he began to resent me for this so although he was passive he was still angry. Angry at me and angry at himself for allowing wife to control him. Then he completely unplugged first emotionally then he left the house physically. It wasn’t until then that I finally heard what God was saying all along. GOD used our year apart to begin this change in me and teach me how to be a wife after His own heart.
            When I first began this journey my husband didn’t feel he was safe with me. But I kept my eyes on Jesus and he began to refine me and purify my motives to not be for changing my hubby or affirmation from him but to simply glorify God. He then began to open up and share with me when he felt disrespected or changes he wanted to implement in the home. He is leading us and I cry tears of joy because I’m so grateful to God for the grace he lavished on me that I don’t deserve. I was the one hindering the leadership I was longing for. Praise God!!!

            At first I think my husband was so happy to finally be in His role as leader without being fought that He was instructing me about every little thing. This only lasted for a season just like we as wives go through phases on this journey in learning balance and how to humbly follow and encourage our husbands leadership they a re learning too especially if they have been passive.

            My husband had been telling me that maybe I shouldn’t talk phone during the time I homeschool and that He likes when the kids are completely done with all school by the time he gets home because he doesn’t like us not being able to have freed up evenings. I thought this was just a suggestion. So i tried to implement some changes but didn’t make those changes a priority. Well just this Friday he sat me down grabbed my hand and told me he wanted to make some changes. He gently but firmed me told me the time to start school and to be finished and asked that I have no interruptions during teaching hours. I just looked at him with tears in eyes and . I felt so loved. A year ago I would have went into defense mode about how I’m so busy and don’t have time but in that moment I loving received his instructions and appreciated the straightforward way He communicated with me.God is so good im truly loving this new place and what he is doing in my marriage

          5. Jessica,

            WOW!!!!!!!!!!

            What an incredible story of God’s grace and mercy in your lives and marriage. Would you please allow me to share this as a post? I can do it anonymously?

            What a blessing!

            THANK YOU GOD, FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE in Jessica’s life, her husband’s life and their marriage and family.
            Thank You for working on her heart and giving her a new perspective and a beautiful, gentle, peaceful, biblically submissive, respectful spirit. Thank You for giving her husband strength to lead in a godly way. Bless this marriage and continue to use it for Your glory!
            In the Name and power of Christ,
            Amen!

          6. April,

            Thank you for your prayers for my hubby and i and also the time you took out to personally email with me for . A short while. I pray that God would continue to use you as branch he can flow through to bear much fruit. That many women can come like I did and eat of the fruit and in turn it bear fruit in their marriages and other women they come in contact with all for His glory.

            Of course you can share this. When my husband told me that he had to repent for allowing me to lead that really broke me. Instead of helping my husband glorify God I was helping him sin. I would love for women to “get” this sooner than I did and not cause as much damage as I did or be as blind as long as I was.

          7. Wow Jessica this is powerful, God is doing amazing things, so interesting and amazing how ur guy repented and how you see how u were a cause to his sin, the before and after is amazing.

          8. Kelly,

            I praise God for what He has done in your marriage, we serve a redeeming God! I think “But God” is my life slogan. When I was reading one of your comments about the blinds I too could relate. My husband likes the blinds flipped up when we close them, I like them turned down. So by habit I turn them down. One day when I was closing the blinds he asked me to please remember to close them up. I just smiled and closed them the way He likes and my heart was filled with joy because at that moment something as small as closing blinds could be worship to my savior. When I submit to my husband in big and small decisions with a joyful heart I am pleasing jesus and my desire is to make him smile and submitting to my hubby is a means to that end.

            God in His sovereignty has given me the husband that i need. I believe God tailor made us for each other. I now see my husband instructing me on even the smallest things is what I need to refine me and work rebellion out of me. I had a very independent spirit before I married. Submitting in my marriage has taught me how I am to submit to Christ. I have countless opportunities to crucify my flesh and display Christ like submission.

          9. Of course april, I really praise God for you and thank God for using this blog to connect so many women I am so encouraged and strengthened every time I’m on here.

          10. Kelly this made me smile!! We thank and praise God for blessing us by using our similar experiences to bring reassurance to both our lives

    2. Kelly and Elizabeth,

      Kelly,

      I love your heart for our sisters and your willingness to share your story and your experience! Thank you for wanting to bless others and encourage them and help them experience the joy and peace of God!

      Elizabeth,

      I know that you have been in a very painful place for a long, long time and that you are deeply hurting right now.

      All,

      I want us to be careful about directly labeling other women’s motives. I believe we can certainly speak to our own motives when we were in similar situations. And I definitely think that we can encourage and exhort our precious sisters in love to guard against sinful motives and to examine their hearts carefully for motives they may not realize they have.

      I have to constantly check my motives all day long every single day – watching for pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, disrespect, control, idolatry, selfishness, greed, rebelliousness against God and any lack of submission to God’s Word, etc…

      For me, when I realize I am discontent or unhappy – that is a big flag to me to check to see what my true motives are. Many times, for me, I will see that I started putting my husband or his behavior or his changing or me getting what I want or my pride or me having control up above Christ in my heart.

      You are both very important to me and I am so excited to see all that God is about to do in both of your lives! 🙂

      Big hugs all around!

    3. But this isn’t how it is at all.. He wants to have this giant farm even though he is gone 90 hours a week and I am left to deal with cows and such and I’m a city girl. It is his passion and I am only doing this because it gives him such pleasure.. He felt it was important for the boys to do sports, so even though I despise sports, I took them to 3 or 4 practices a week and games on Saturdays. He wasn’t able to come most of the time, but I did it because he felt it was best… I didn’t argue… I just don’t know how to not want anything for myself.. I guess it goes with the post she did today…somehow only Jesus has to be enough.. I have to pray that he will take my desires away. I am just so tired.

      1. Elizabeth,

        How much sleep are you getting, my sweet girl?

        How is your time with God going?

        Do you share that you feel overwhelmed? Have you had a chance to talk with your husband about what you might be able to take off of your plate?

        Much love!

        1. Elizabeth,
          It is ok to share your desires and feelings respectfully – your husband does need to know what you want. I know that it is hard for you sometimes to voice your desires. And with your husband being so exhausted all the time, I am sure it is a challenge to find a good time to talk.

          I pray for God’s wisdom for you!

        2. Not much.. hubby and I have been up since 2 the last two mornings… He reads to try and get back to sleep.. He worked all weekend… Don’t know that 2am is the time to talk…

          Time with God is going fine. I have my quiet time in the morning. I have been taking time throughout the day to sing praise songs to him. I have also taken time to just meditate on God’s love for me. Emily and I are talking as well and working through stuff. Trying to learn to accept the unacceptable.. My head knows a lot of things and thinks they are true, but my heart doesn’t believe them. I’m not sure how to make my heart believe them.

          1. Elizabeth,

            Do you have any godly women wife friends you can talk with, pray with, hang out with, learn from and grow with?

            Is it possible to increase the amount of sleep you are getting?

            I’m really glad you are spending time with God and focusing on His love and on praising Him.

            What things does your heart not believe, my sweet sister?

          2. Smile if you can figure that out then let me know. I sleep for 3 or 4 hours and then wake up and can’t go back to sleep. I have a lot of acquaintances, but in the position my husband is in I can’t talk to people intimately.

            Emily told me this which I completely agree with,but I don’t know how to get my heart to believe.

            BUT YOU NEED TO SEE GOD HAPPY WITH YOU THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN, AND ITS NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING YOU DO OR DONT DO; ITS BECAUSE IF WHO YOU ARE, BECAUSE OF WHO HE MADE YOU, AND BECAUSE OF JESUS. AND IF YOU MAKE PEOPLE UNHAPPY THATS OK! They’ll be ok! And so will you!! You need to be ok with people being unhappy with you! Your job is not to make people happy!

            So if I tell my husband ( or anyone else) how I feel and it makes him unhappy then it is ok. Of course I would say it in love. But if I say something like I feel very lonely spending so many nights by myself… I am not responsible if that makes him feel like failure or as he has told me that I have just added another thing on his checklist. of things to do. Or I don’t enjoy having to take care of the farm stuff. I would rather spend time with you and he says all you care about is having fun. I’m not responsible for what I say making him happy or even if he does see me as a disappointment. That is not my responsibility.

            My biggest struggle is that I need ( or I think I need, probably an idol) to see God with skin on. I need someone to hold me when I cry. Or think I do..

          3. And it’s not to say that you WANT to disappoint him, it’s just that you are not responsible for his feelings and emotions. You can tell him he’s not a failure and this doesn’t make him a failure in your eyes; but the truth is that you don’t like having to take care of the farm and you want to discuss other options. It’s not heavy handed but bringing him your pain and frustration and looking for his help. (And for other readers my all caps are out of context and I wasn’t yelling… 😊)

          4. Emily C.,

            Right! We want to bless our husbands. But there are times when husbands are depressed or struggling on their own and we cannot make them be better. We also are not responsible for their happiness or their emotions or their spiritual walk with Christ. Sometimes, it is so important for us to understand where our responsibilities end and God’s and our husbands’ responsibilities begin. It is most stressful trying to bear responsibility for something we actually do not and cannot control.

            A husband’s depression and exhaustion can have a profound impact emotionally and spiritually on sis wife. We want to make things better.

            I believe our focus has to be to please and obey God and seek Him first. Sometimes that will please our husbands, too, many times it will. But, there are times when our husbands aren’t pleased with us but God may well be. This takes great sensitivity to God’s Spirit for us to discern.

            I don’t sleep well either, Elizabeth. I can definitely relate!

            You are most welcome. I am so excited about this place for women to pray with, love, support , encourage and bless each other. I thank God for what He is doing here!

          5. Elizabeth,

            Sometimes we do have to share negative feelings and emotions with our husband. If we don’t, it can be dishonest. But it is tricky to get the right balance and approach at times. Sometimes, we must say what we need to say, and our husbands won’t like it. That doesn’t mean we are forcing them into anything. But it is important for you to share with your husband and not bottle things up, which I think you have tended to do, if I remember correctly.

            Does your husband work 90 hours per week every single week?

            Is he looking for a different job?

            Praying for God to open your eyes to some new ways to bless him this week. 🙂

            And for some new ways to rest in the love, victory and power of Christ yourself this week!

    4. Having desires is not wrong or sinful (or ego and pride). Some husbands are incredibly insensitive to their wives. We don’t know Elizabeth’s situation exactly, which means that she may very well be internally and externally very Christ-like, but in a place where she cannot change much more to make it better, but is waiting upon the Lord to change her husband’s heart. There are a lot of circumstances in life like this and going through them and struggling through them does not mean that we are sinning or that we have idols still in play. A struggle like this is very spiritually wearying and we should be encouraging her to wait upon the Lord not only for renewed faith, but also for joy and hope. And to have the strength to continue to walk faithfully and refrain from sin.

      Elizabeth, through a season of intense pain related to infertility, this chapter was a great help to me, giving me a sense of being loved by God despite being in circumstances He controlled that I could barely bear: Is. 43.

      Jesus can change the hearts of the most hardhearted people – despotic kings – as easily as he can move rivers of water. He caused pharaoh to even act against his own self interest. Hope, not in your husband’s love, but in the power and might of your Jesus. We don’t really know how Jesus is quietly speaking to your husband right now. The more hopeless a situation seems, the more real and powerful God’s promises become – read as many promises of the Lord as you can daily to imprint them and soon God will cause one or two to jump out at you. Have hope, my beloved sister, because God has heard your prayers.

      (Frankie, are you trying to say that the husband has a problem with the fact that the violin teacher is male?)

        1. Desires are based on things we value and love- I think that God gives us desires and that if we are offering our desires up to him the act of desiring can be an act of worship (if what we want is not sinful in and of itself). There are some things in life that I yearn for that I have little rational hope of getting. I don’t know how to explain this well, but it really seems to help if I worship God through those desires- the Lord of all things good, the author of them- instead of fight them, refuse to acknowledge them, and push them away (but this might not be helpful for you- fighting them may work better for you). Romance is an easy example- I think God is the author of that desire in me, it is something that is unrealistic in this life, but something about accepting that desire makes me love the God who created something so lovely, even if it is a made-for-heaven desire. I guess the end result is uncoupling of desire and expectation. Embrace the desire and worship God because of this good thing you can see and almost taste and the fullness of how beautiful it is. God made that. Worship the amazing, beautiful mind that brought that to life and can give it to you if he chooses. But you don’t have to allow any sort of poisoning expectation or negative feeling infiltrate or contaminate that desire. Does this make sense?

      1. It might sound funny…. but I never read your whole handle— I have been thinking of you as “Frankie” for a while now. 🙂 I misread the IC in thinking of the violin teacher as male. oops! It is nice to meet you too. Please do not misunderstand my comment as having any mean intent towards you. Blessings!

        1. Kelly,

          Food can be an idol, too. We can run to it for comfort and contentment. But it can not satisfy our souls! How I pray you will run to God. I pray some of what I have shared about fear today might bless, encourage and inspire you!

          I am so excited about what God is doing in all of the ladies’ lives! 🙂

  2. Thanks April and part of that was exaggerating. I do get to do some things I want. But just not some of them that I dearly want. Time to go to the prayer closet to ask God to take these desires away again.. I just don’t know how NOT to want certain things. Off to pray…

  3. do you know of any blogs or resources for people like me? So much of what is written is more for wives like you? Any ideas?

    1. Emily my husband is dominant(strong leader), and I am a recovering controlling dominant wife. If you want to chat I’m here.

  4. My husband has occasionally made “suggestions”, and then been unhappy when they were not followed. This sounds familiar.

    Sometimes too though, he is trying to value my feelings… And you can really tell he doesn’t like an idea, but he wants to let me do something I really want to, so he will say something like, “That isn’t what I feel like spending the day doing, but everyone else wants to, so that’s what we will do.” Then he still looks kind of unhappy, and is a bit on edge the whole time, but we all go and do it anyway. This is usually for activities that everyone else is interested in, but he is not, particularly. Not usually things that are life and death situations, or even slightly risky ones for the family. I try to enjoy that he is doing something for us, as opposed to focus on how un-enthused he looks.

    Whether it’s a suggestion or instruction seems to sometimes be some sort of an intuitive thing based on the events, his body language, and past experience.

    1. To Be His Clay,
      Yes, it can be so tricky to figure out sometimes. It sounds like in a situation like that – he is trying to love sacrificially to bless his family. I’m glad you don’t focus on how un-enthused he looks in those moments! Our husbands have their own battles and struggles to learn and fight through, too!

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Elizabeth, you and I (and plenty others, I’m sure!) need a Peacefulwife.com for dominating husbands! I wish I had the time and energy to do such a thing. And I have SO FAR to go in this journey. I certainly couldn’t speak from a place of authority and credibility. :)- Fortunately there is still SO MUCH to learn from April even though the personality types are reversed in her marriage.

    1. Jane Doe and Elizabeth,

      I do wish there was a blog for wives with more dominating husbands. Of course, I’m not sure a more controlling husband would allow his wife to write a blog about it! And, for wives who struggle to express themselves and speak their minds and hearts, I would imagine it would be harder for them to write a blog all about their thoughts and feelings. But – surely there are some out there! I would LOVE to be able to run some posts from wives who have been in this position who have learned godly ways to approach their husbands. Let’s pray together that we might find some resources because there are many, many wives in this kind of situation, too!

      Thankfully, God’s Word applies to us all. But – I realize that many wives may do better hearing things from wives who have similar circumstances to their own.

      One of my closest friends is in this situation – I pray that God might work in her marriage and that maybe one day she could write for me! But, she can’t read my blog at all. She says it makes her feel like she can’t talk or say what she feels. I don’t believe that is ever what I say! But – I know that my blog is not ideal for wives in situations that are very different from mine.

      Maybe some other wives will see this and point us all towards some new resources?? I pray God will open our eyes and help us find some godly mentoring wives who can help in these situations!

      1. April, I have a very strong husband. We have been blessed in the last few years to have learned to get along well and really enjoy our relationship. One thing I learned was he respected me more when I learned to confidently speak the truth in love and let him know my opinions had merit, too. The dear woman who had been counseling me was married to a quiet reasonable guy (lol), and her advice was always to submit to his opinions. Bless her, but that doesn’t work with my kind of man. And it eventually made me feel walked over and voiceless.

        He respects me more for standing for my principles and insisting he take my opinions to heart. That doesn’t mean my opinion trumps his, he is still the leader, but I do not allow him to ride over me.

        There are other things the Lord has changed in our hearts, but there is a big void in the christian counseling system for women who have overly strong UNpassive men, and there isn’t a one size fits all men way of living in that type of marriage. I do believe there is an art to it. And these men tend to get gentler with age, I find, which is encouraging.

        I feel completely cherished by my husband. But it wasn’t always that way, and learning to make him feel respected was a huge help,too. And that is always an ongoing learning process as I have a great propensity for sinning.

        1. Julie,
          You are absolutely right there is not a one size fits all approach for wives. Wives and husbands are different, personalities are different. A wife with a very strong husband will need a different approach than a formerly controlling dominating wife with a passive husband.

          If you have wisdom to share, I would love to run a post on this topic!!!

          Thank you so much for sharing!

          1. April,
            I would love to help if I can. It’s a pretty broad topic, being married to a very strong man. Is there something specific you’d like to address?

          2. Julie,

            It is a very broad topic!!! It could be a blog or a series of books by itself. I am so excited to hear what you might share. How about we start with a few topics, if you are interested, and see what other concerns wives may have?

            – how a timid wife can learn to know and speak her heart, mind, ideas and feelings when she has a very strong husband.
            – how a more quiet wife can use her God-given influence to bless her husband and bring more balance to the marriage.
            – approaching a strong husband when a wife has concerns about his plans or disagrees.

            I am not talking about physically abusive husbands here, just more dominant husbands who are already leading in a very strong way and who clearly express themselves but where the wife may be afraid to speak up.

            Do any of these topics sound interesting?

            Much love
            April

          3. April what do you mean by sharing feelings, can you elaborate here.
            Is there a difference between emotions and feelings in your eyes?
            Sometimes women can be very emotional and Satan can feed off this and give us lies, and also how can we speak our feelings, without teaching the man?
            I just want to know exactly what you mean, because some people can take this for a pity party adventure.

          4. Sharon,

            I don’t believe that a wife should “shut up and be quiet all the time” as some seem to think and that a wife should have no personality, no opinions, no desires, no preferences and no emotions. I don’t think that honors God. Check out “A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage.”

            But you are correct that we can go way overboard and expect our husbands to listen to our feelings and emotions for way, way too long, or we can try to demand that our husbands use our feelings and emotions as the sole basis for all decisions. That is not God-honoring either.

            There is a balanced place in the middle where a wife brings all of herself, her ideas, her dreams, her goals, her talents, her intelligence, her emotions, her perspective, her godly femininity and places her strength and support behind her husband’s leadership by God’s power working in her. From that position of being Spirit-filled and focused on bringing glory and honor to Christ, she can and (I believe should) often share her ideas and preferences and emotions so that her husband has all of the necessary information as he makes decisions.

            So, a wife may share, “I feel sad about X.” “I feel nervous about X.” “I feel afraid about X.” “I want to do this.” “I don’t want to do that.”

            BUT – then after she shares her feelings and desires (probably fairly briefly and concisely – i.e.: bullet points not a big long essay may be something her husband can hear the best, depending on her particular man), she can trust God to lead her through her husband if he is not asking her to clearly sin. Then a wife can even say, “I trust you to do what you believe is right in the sight of God.” or “I trust you to do what you believe is best for us.”

            Yes, our emotions can mislead us at times. I don’t believe our emotions should be the foundation or basis for decisions. But I do think our husbands deserve to know how we are feeling and what we think as we share our thoughts respectfully and with our trust in God, not in our own wisdom.

            I hope that helps!

        2. Julie, you wrote that “he respected me more when I learned to confidently speak the truth in love and let him know my opinions had merit, too.” I’d love to hear more about how you learned to do that with a very strong husband!

          Heather (HisHelper)

          1. Thanks, Heather!
            I hope the other wives will share what they might like to hear from wives who have stronger more dominant husbands as well. There is a huge need for godly wives to address these issues – I would love to start some discussions!

          2. Hi April! 🙂

            Yes! …and such a mixture of combinations! The first 16 years of marriage I was NOT a passive wife with my strong “command man” husband as it sounds like maybe Julie was…and you can imagine that was a recipe for MUCH conflict and frustration! So, I realize I have to tread very carefully here, and of course, he is still healing from a lot of hurt from my former disrespect. It would just be good to learn some skills in how to communicate with a strong husband in a way that is respectful, and so that I can still feel heard. Right now it seems silence in sharing my opinions is the only way to maintain the peace, though it has been good for me to learn to keep silent! A balance is what I hope will eventually happen!

            Heather (HisHelper)

          3. Heather,

            Yes, there are also combinations of controlling wives/dominant husbands and there are passive wives/passive husbands.

            There is also a process where we have to kind of overshoot one way and then the other as we learn – too much silence, too much talking … back and forth as we figure out where the right balance is for our marriage. It requires great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, that is for sure!

            Thank you for sharing!

          4. Heather, I am not timid or passive by nature. It did create some frequent and loud fights for years in our marriage before the Lord began to teach us some things. But first, I had to address this respect concept foremost, because without that no man is going to feel inspired to love a woman.

            April, I am praying about how to share here. This subject really gets me excited, to pass on some things that have helped us. My concern is to not share stuff that might feel hurtful to my husband if he read it. I’ve grown to feel fiercely protective of my man!

          5. Julie, Absolutely! The atmosphere in my marriage and home have gotten SO much better since I began to apply what I was learning about respect about a year and a half ago, and letting go of the idol I had made of having a good marriage and truly making Jesus the Lord of my life!

            I’m glad to hear that you are not passive either!—I have not run into many women with that combination of personalities in their marriages. I pray the Lord will lead you in discerning what and how to share with us the good things that you have learned in your marriage!

            Heather (HisHelper)

          6. Thank you for your prayers, Heather! We are sisters! I am close to two other women like us. I am sure there are plenty out there, but it does help to relate to others…..that is, if they are likeminded in wanting to find their wholeness in Christ, first and foremost.

          7. Julie,
            I’ve definitely found that there is a connection between us wives with dominant husbands! 🙂 I have one friend who has a very dominant husband, and her example of patience and cooperation with him has been very helpful to me over the years. It’s refreshing to have the opportunity to occasionally talk to her and know that we completely understand each other in regards to our husbands and our marriages.

            Heather (HisHelper)

          8. Julie and Heather, I am excited to see other dominant wives with dominant husbands out there! I am far from having this pairing figured out, and look forward to your insights.

          9. Senterwife, Great to meet you! I wish I had more productive insights to offer! 🙂 Right now I have really just backed away from proactively trying to improve my marriage (this tends to repel my husband), and focus very heavily on my relationship with Jesus. Out of that naturally flows more respectful communication and restraint in the words I use, my tone of voice and body language. The atmosphere in my home is so much more peaceful when I do.

            I’m learning to enjoy doing things by myself and/or with my children rather than lamenting that my husband is not doing things with us. (His job right now is very time consuming and stressful.) None of this, I suppose, has anything to do with my husband and I both having dominant personalities. (I am actually quite introverted with people outside of my own family—but I have been quite controlling/dominant in my marriage to a dominant husband!) That’s where I, too, am looking for more specific insights!

            Heather (ScottsHelper)

          10. Nice to meet you, Senterwife! I’ve been married almost 21 years to my high powered man and there are things that I still have to figure out as the come up. I suspect that will always be the case to some degree until we are finally set free from these bodies of sin! 🙂 But it is exciting to be able to talk with you likeminded sisters!

          11. I would love to give some suggestions! You can take or leave them of course! And while I am on “the journey,” I still have a relatively bitter heart so that may come out in my suggestions. But here is my heart nonetheless, where it’s at right now.
            1) Discouragement and depression. Living with somebody who wants to have their way and doesn’t really listen to your thoughts or give them much merit is a breeding ground for discouragement and depression. And so is doing all the advice and nothing really changing.
            2) Self-righteousness. It is hard not to think of this type of personality as “sinful” as opposed to just a personality type.
            3) Oneness. It’s hampered by a) the husband just making decisions without consideration of his wife and b) the wife’s need to emotionally disassociate to survive. So how do you achieve oneness?
            4) Regret. I used to have a large personality and love for Christ that has just been squashed even though he’s a believer too. He’s a more “introverted believer” and doesn’t appreciate the way I live out my faith. And the fighting. Ugh. (Which is getting a little better since Im being more self controlled.) So it’s hard to think of this marriage as a good gift from God.

          12. I understand these things you’ve listed, Jane Doe. The biggest thing that has helped me to release bitterness and overcome discouragement and depression is to earnestly seek a close relationship with Jesus. Knowing and experiencing His love and affirmation has done wonders in giving me consistent joy that is very resilient to the circumstances in my life!

            Heather (HisHelper)

          13. Jane Doe,

            I am so sorry you are so discouraged and down right now. 🙁 I wish I could hug your neck!

            How is your time and walk with God going?

            Husbands DO have sin, too. We are ALL wretched sinners. One of my favorite books is Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Keller. It is a very practical way we can apply the grace of Jesus that we have received to our marriages.

            Are you seeking a godly mentoring wife or Christian counselor? You have been struggling for quite awhile, it seems. I wonder if you may need some additional support?

            Much love to you!

          14. April, things are not “that bad.” But I sure do struggle with some stuff (feeling “duped,” God’s sovereignty, not feeling loved, etc.) that I feel like I will always struggle with. BUT, I have to say that though things are not perfect, I have been experiencing the peace of Christ like never before (and I’ve been a Christian for a long time), more and more often. I am slowly letting go of control and fear, and the peace that comes from that is, as you’ve said, “addicting.” Thank you for all you do. Keep reminding us of truths day after day, because our thick heads just need those reminders, and we eventually get it! We all appreciate you!!

          15. Jane,

            I’m there with you on struggling to not feel duped, etc. I started. “Sacred Marriage” this week and was struck by a quote stating that maiiage and family are the primary ministry in our lives send it pointed to the fact that whenGod said that Jesus was His Son in whom He was pleased, all we know is that Jeus was part of His earthly family. My marriage is hard. I would love to quit. But, I have hope that a God will redeem my marriage, that He will make me holy through these trials. May He change my husband, too, but I can’t dwell on that.

          16. Oh, Lucy, I hope you never quit! I adopt an eternal perspective more and more every day which makes it easier. It’s all about Jesus! You’re right…we’ve GOT to see our marriage and family as a ministry! It’s hard, because no matter how noble we think we are going into marriage, it really is about our needs/wants being met (in our minds), so it’s hard to make that switch and make it about ministering to our husband/family and being Jesus to them no matter how they treat us. My marriage has been very hard, too. I have a lot of bitterness about how things changed after getting married. But as I make it more about wanting my husband to be spotless on the day he’s called home and wanting him to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” it energizes me and gives me a purpose for how I “do” marriage. I have to think, “Okay, Lord, maybe you put us together just to get us both ready for eternity! Use me as you see fit!” (And he uses my husband to help refine me, too, because I need it desperately.) Because that is so much more important than earthly pleasure. Fight the good fight of faith! That’s exactly what it is!

      2. Kelly,

        I cannot begin to fathom Greg saying 90% of those things to me! You certainly have some challenges. But – I do know that our God is able to empower us to respond in obedience to Him and with respect and honor for our husbands, no matter what our particular husband’s personality.

        I am praying for you, my precious sister!

        Thank you so much for sharing.

        I am really glad that some wives with more dominant husbands are connecting with each other. This is a large need, and I want to have a lot more discussions about these issues!

        1. Kelly,
          I love seeing how God’s Word applies in every marriage and how God can give us the power to obey Him in each unique situation for His glory. This is just fascinating to me!

        2. 🙂 🙂 🙂
          April, some of those things sound very strange to me too…
          Kelly, you sure gave me a good laugh!
          But April, as you know, there are so many “versions” of people, and likely some of what Greg would say to you, is unimaginable to someone else. Kelly, you seem to have a “fun” spirit though, which helps you to deal with your hubby’s requests….

          1. prayinglikehannah,

            So true!
            We each have unique challenges, obstacles and blessings. And yet, the same Lord and godly wisdom for us all. We are all one in Christ.

            I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing how God works in every situation.

            Yes, my challenges were very different. I had to learn things like to
            – be still and not rush and push and run ahead
            – learn to wait for answers for 30 minutes/hours/days/weeks/months
            – accept that Greg shows love more by what he does and not with words
            – learn to translate Greg’s words into my language. When he says, “That wouldn’t bother me” or “I assume so” in response to me asking him for something, I used to get so offended! If I said those things, it would mean I didn’t want to do whatever it was. But I learned to translate his words into my language. So, now I know that those words mean, “Sure, April, that would be great!”

            I am glad we are all different and can all share our stories and can all learn and be inspired. 🙂 LOVE IT!

          2. Kelly,
            Nope…I had no idea at all that you could see my comments … 🙂 But I can tell you that even last night I was still laughing at some of the things you listed! ha ha 🙂

            Btw, Kelly – when I “picture” you reading the blog, I always “see” you sitting at your kitchen table with a coffee mug, early in the morning . Because you’re usually the first to post a comment bright and early, and you love to talk about your coffee. So even though, I did not know that you could read my comments, see I have read yours so much, that I even “know” you. Have a nice day! 🙂

      3. Kelly-
        Wow! There is so much to learn here! Had I read these statements 3 years ago… I would have been very righteous and sinful in my thoughts on exactly how you should “handle” your husband! Thankfully (thank God !) I have grown and continue to grow in Christ! I can see good wisdom in your husband’s instructions! There is much to be said in following directions. I am guilty of doing things “my way” and learning hard lessons, ie shrinking new shirts (one from our trip to another country yikes). I am seeing now that my husband has passive and dominant qualities !!
        Lord help me on my path! I am learning that my husband’s suggestions are meant to instruct and guide me. I love reading women’s stories. It helps me to recognize areas In my marriage that may need some attention that I’ve preciously overlooked!!

        April,
        Thank you for providing a God and Bible driven platform for us wives to pray and learn together!

        1. prayingwife79,
          You are most welcome! I am so excited that so many wives are able to have this discussion together, seeking God together and seeking to honor our husbands together. 🙂

      4. Kelly, your husband sounds a lot like my husband. He desperately wants to be the best husband in the world, but gets very stressed out and worried about all kinds of little things if they aren’t done in his very specific way. I am very busy, and very sleep deprived, and we have two very small children, and I tend to (unintentionally) forget these small details. They aren’t things that would naturally come to my mind, so when I am rushed and busy, it’s so easy to miss them. My husband used to think I didn’t care about him, because I wouldn’t “listen” to him about all the hundreds of details (something every 5 minutes), and I used to fight with him about him “complaining” all the time. He was very surprised that I couldn’t “change myself, even after so many years”, and couldn’t understand why I didn’t think the same way he did. Through circumstance, I have also ended up being quite isolated for a few years, which started to make reality a little fuzzy. I started to doubt myself, and became depressed, and felt distanced from God. We have gone through many stages together, with the “work on myself” pendulum swinging my way, and then his way, and then my way, and then his, and so on, and we are much better, but there is still such a long way to go. I don’t have all the answers yet, but have recently gained a lot of peace by the simple, realization that I am not defective just because I don’t meet his expectations, and he is not satisfied. What matters is that I am doing my best, and in the times he can’t see it, well that is between me and God, and him and God. I cannot base my value on a man’s imperfect evaluation, and I do not need to internalize my husband’s stress and take it on as my own. (Easier said than done sometimes).

        Also, I need to realize that there are deep seated reasons he is like this. It’s easier when I understand that my husband’s mother does exactly the same thing to him, and from what I have heard, her father was very much like that too.

        I try to notice the ways he shows he loves me, which are many, and keep them at the front of my focus. I have also had to have some sincere talks with him about how things make me feel, and he truly cares! Realizing how difficult it is for ME to change helps me to understand that it may take years for our marriage to improve, but my husband’s heart is there, and in God’s eyes, that’s what matters.

        I’d love to hear your tips, Kelly, and yes April, posts from wives with different kinds of husbands would indeed be helpful!

        1. To Be His Clay,
          I love what you are learning, thank you so much for sharing your story!

          Please pray God might bring us the wives He wants us to have to share with the wives whose husbands are more exacting.

          Thank you very much!

        2. Wow!! Can I relate to the frustrations that I couldn’t change myself or think the same way he does… Wow, and the details…

          Yet, I know he loves me very, very much. He would throw himself in front of a bus for me. He is really nice. He just NEEDS all of these little details to make himself feel safe sort of.

          April,
          Thanks again for letting us connect.

          1. Elizabeth,

            It’s lovely meeting you. I can only begin to imagine what it must be like caring for 3 children and a farm. I don’t have any animals myself, only two small children, and life is busy enough that I often feel I can’t keep up, even with just that. My mother has a farm, and I see her working almost all the time. She is bottle feeding a few goats right now, and last year she was raising chicks. My goodness, what she does looks like having several newborns that never grow up. She loves animals though, so for her, it’s great. Even with her kids all grown and flown, she had enough to do. She now has a lady who comes to help a few days a week, and it makes a huge difference. You moms with farms – wow! I admire you.

            I feel the urge to respond to your earlier comment about feeling so tired, and as though you are only giving. Of course it is important to rely only on Jesus for emotional security, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t communicate with our husbands about our needs or how things are affecting us. When I am feeling as though there are issues I really just cannot bear any more, I tell my husband, very carefully. With my husband, what seems to work the best right now anyway, is to think everything over very carefully – maybe for a few days if necessary, pray, and try to figure out exactly what I am feeling and why. Then, (ideally), to figure out what exactly I should tell him, and what I should definitely not say to him. After that, it has worked well to either write him a note, or speak to him, purely about what I feel, or what needs I have, or who I am. He tends to be very hard on himself, and he hears me loud and clear when I don’t speak anything that accuses or finds fault with him. It’s better if it’s all about me. Eg. “Love, I think I need to tell you how I’m feeling right now, I’ve just been so discouraged lately. … I’m feeling tired all the time and it’s going on and on and on, and I’m just getting more and more tired. I feel like I can’t keep up with everything. What do you think I can do? Is there something I could cut back?” (Hopefully he doesn’t answer to stop driving an hour for violin lessons). Affirmation also seems to be very important, because my husband will go and beat himself up afterwards, and tell himself he is the worst husband ever, and suffer throes of guilt.

            What works well for you?

            So glad your husband loves you so much!! I hope things get easier soon. Thanks for your comment and your understanding.

        3. Kelly,
          I love that your husband knows what he likes and what he wants and how to precisely articulate it. There is no guesswork involved. That is a blessing in so many ways!

          I love watching you and your husband grow, learn and honor Christ together!

          1. Kelly,
            God does know how to refine us. If only we would cooperate – the whole thing would be a much smoother process!

            Now that is love, my sweet friend – a husband who is willing to work nursery duty with his wife at church! Wow!

        4. Kelly,

          Love your perspective – enjoying the fact that you can meet his needs better than anyone else can, and he has taught you to have your own preferences. How wonderful! … Oh I wish I could remember every little detail like you sound like you can. I just get sidetracked so easily by all the interruptions that happen. How long did it take to rewire your brain? So nice that you are able to not take it personally.

          My husband doesn’t exactly ask me how I feel… He just sometimes notices that I look unhappy, and asks me about it.

          Thanks for all your valuable thoughts.

          1. Ooo, nice!

            I’ll have to try that sometime.

            Lol… Well I have officially met a wife whose man is more particular than mine – at least about food. I can really relate to his sandwich thing though. My sandwiches must not have the mayonnaise touching the lettuce because it gets slimy, and I have trouble eating it when the meat or pickles or lettuce or whatever are too big, because they pull out of the sandwich. You know what, you just helped me realize something… My husband KNOWS this…. Even though he barely ever does food preparation…. Wow. (He still sometimes puts my frying pan away by sticking it in the oven though, and then I spend about 45 minutes looking for it before remembering that my husband helped put away the dishes, and check in there). Love your writing style, Kelly.

          2. Kelly,

            “…your husband is very nice when he’s alseep!!!!!!?” I have one of those too!

            In counseling, the counselor called him, “a burnt & crusty marshmallow”. He might look fierce, but when you get to his heart, it’s as good as gold!

  6. As a husband, I think the suggestion means of leading wives may come from a desire to not be overbearing. I can also see how this could be confusing to the wife. I have had to realize my wife needs me to be more direct, and clear about what is a directive, and what is a suggestion.
    I think Greg is probably right that when husbands have been passive for a long time, it is harder for them to issue directives. So they go with suggestions. I think if wives would follow their husbands suggestions in the early part of their journey, as if they were directives it would help to build trust with their husbands much more quickly.
    Remember wives that Christian husbands are doing their best to reflect Jesus nature to you. In my experience, in my own relationship with Jesus, He only is as forceful as he needs to be. I want to be that way with my wife, so I struggle with a balance between being gentle with her as the weaker vessel, and being clear as to what I would like.Perhaps that is the problem in our issue with intimacy that I mentioned on another of your posts…Maybe I need to be more direct about what I want that to look like.

  7. I think this is true too. I’ve recently become more sensitive to my husband suggestions and even ideas because I thought that maybe it would help him with starting to make decisions. He is almost paralyzed when it comes to making even the smallest decisions so I try to take his ideas and suggestions when he has them.

    1. Jeanne, that is a great idea!!! Thank you for sharing. I think when a wife can take her husband’s suggestions and advice it would be very motivating to help him develop confidence as a leader. Especially when the wife has been leading and is stepping down, I think this could be such a great approach.

    2. At first, I went almost totally silent and didn’t share my opinions with Greg at all temporarily. I felt that I had done that so forcefully for 15 years that Greg may need some quiet to learn to know his own mind and heart. That is what I believed God wanted me to do. It may not be what He wants other wives to do. As Greg grew stronger and I learned to speak my heart respectfully, I began sharing my desires and feelings more – but in a very different way from before.

  8. I have a strong husband and I would be considered a passive wife until my ‘lines are crossed’ and then I become very aggressive . My husband makes suggestions and instructions to me and if I choose to ignore them they are casually spoken one or two more times until he has to ‘get my attention.’ Which is usually a scolding for me because I am not hearing. So during this scolding I would say how much I hate these scoldings and why couldn’t he just say them to me normally, and then he would remark how many times he had casually spoken this thing to me and how I had not heard them. And so he said, would you like me to tell you that this is one of those times that I have suggested to you something and I said yes, please do that. It took a few times for me to ‘get it’ but I have since been more aware to my husband when he casually mentions things and I have become more sensitive to his voice.

  9. Oh my goodness! Thank you FellowWife & April. You must live in my home. I have been desperate to follow my husband’s leading but never seemed to get it right. This made me look at what was going on & be honest with myself. Why did I “miss” the suggestions? Sometimes I’m thinking ahead & focusing on how I think something will go or should go (aka not listening). Sometimes I don’t quite understand what he’s suggesting & don’t want to look stupid (a hot button of mine). My husband has actually told me that he says things in this manner so I will think about what he’s saying & be responsible for myself, not relying on him to “pull my strings.” I realize this comes from his own background (aggressive father/passive mother) but as his wife I need to be sensitive to his style of leadership & not plaster my expectstions of how he should lead onto him. Oh! This is going to be a tough one to undo as there are years of bad habits & sin here. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post. Wow!

  10. As a languages student I learned that my husband language of respect and submission is the one that cost me so much to learnd it’s been hard to train my ears and my heart to his sutile suggestions his remarks and advice this maybe take me my all life to become good at it. Practice! Practice! April love your blog I read you daily much love and thank you for everything

    1. Ursula,
      Yes, we women can learn to properly translate our husband’s language in time. It is very much like learning a new language to learn to understand our husbands and to speak respect and honor to them. It DOES take practice!!!

      Thank you for this great analogy!

      Much love to you!

  11. I have a related question about directives.

    My husband has stated the following:

    1. I would like us to spend sunday tiding up the house so it is clean for the rest of the week (we don’t have kids yet so can get away without cleaning everyday).

    2. I would like us to only watch T.V on tuesday and thursday during the week.

    Which is great. I think these are great ideas. But I often find I will then have to become the enforcer of his own rules or he forgets about them (or doesn’t feel like following through) and we’ll just fall back into our old patterns.

    What do you thinl about a situation like this?

    1. lizbeth,

      Great question!

      Have you asked your husband what he would like you to do if he doesn’t feel like doing it (at a time when it is NOT time to do those things)?

      I don’t think that it is going to work for you to try to enforce his decisions. He is probably going to have to follow through himself. You can work on the house on Sunday. And maybe you can suggest something else you would like to do on the other evenings.

      It is frustrating when you are trying to follow, but the one you are following is inconsistent. Do your best to honor the directives he has given you – but then, I vote to honor him and treat him with respect even if he doesn’t follow through. These are not sinful things or life and death situations. Hopefully he will grow in his godly leadership in time. If you begin to lecture him or try to enforce these things, then you can easily become the “boss” or “police” or “mom” and that rarely works well.

      Much love!

  12. Well, I thought this was interesting and possibly applied to us, so I posed the question to my husband. We are doing so well as a couple, and our marriage has totally turned around since Dec. 2013. I have to say his answer kind of stung a bit. He basically said that anything he says to me that doesn’t directly involve him IS a suggestion. (He didn’t say it with any ill intent at all.) I’m hoping that as we continue to grow in this, he will feel more ownership over my well-being as his wife. I don’t think having that mine/yours mentality in marriage is fully God’s design, and I’ve always had a little nagging thought that the independent philosophy we both once had in our marriage was not right and could open the door to some bad things, which it did at one time. I just think maybe it will take time. I can’t expect him to feel naturally protective and empowered in 4 short months after I pushed all that away for 6 years. In a way, this reminded me of what good things might still be to come on this journey. 🙂

    1. H31,

      A lot of husbands (particularly passive ones) do NOT like the idea of taking on leadership in marriage at first. I have seen it take a year or several years for that idea to really grow on some husbands. But, I do think that as you take some of his suggestions and thank him for his leadership and wisdom and advice that it will help him to gain confidence.

      It does take a LONG time for a marriage to heal when the wife was controlling and dominating and the husband was passive (or, really, with any combination of personalities!). We all, men and women, are on a learning curve and all have thousands of miles to go on this journey to become more like Christ.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

      If you haven’t already, you may want to read my husband’s post “When She Surrendered” and my interview with Greg

      1. My husband is still shy at taking ownership and became very frustrated with me this weekend when I told him that I was more than happy to research with him and help us to make an informed decision on a pretty moderate purchase for our household but ultimately I wanted the decision to be his. It was more his area of expertise and leisure and I felt he would make the best decision for us. He seemed to get quite defensive and offended and stated that he wanted my opinion. I softly told him that I researched with him and offered input when asked… At the end of the day, I did feel like I can’t win no matter what I do. We are still changing and learning God’s way!!

        1. prayingwife79,

          It can be difficult at first to find the best balance. It sounds like you did a good job to me – that you researched and gave him your input. I have seen some husbands take a few months or a year before they began to feel confident in leadership. If he has felt very disrespected in the past, he may be afraid you might criticize him. Or, he may just really value your input and want to make the decisions jointly. You can give your input and allow him to make the final call. He may just not be used to this yet.

          Praying for God’s wisdom for you!

  13. When my husband and I were first married, 26 years ago, he was very controlling and I was very passive. Being passive didn’t mean I didn’t speak at times, but when I did what I said always came across as disrespect and as an attack on his character. I tried so hard to be respectful and loving, but it seemed it always had to be his way or no way. I was not allowed to have an opinion or make an appeal on any subject. I had to immediately obey—no questions, no buts, and no talking allowed. He went as far as to spank me when I was out of line and to ground me days from using the vehicle when I was late in getting home (no cell phones back then). He would often call me a wicked rotten sinner and tell me how terrible I was. I could go on and on, but I say that to say that after 27 years we have a wonderful marriage…. The biggest thing for me was letting him go and clinging to Jesus. The Lord, over time, began to change my husband, but it took me getting out of his way and allowing the Lord to work as only He can. By letting go, I mean I stopped begging, I stopped crying, and I stopped focusing on what I didn’t have and started focusing on what I did have in Jesus. It brought so much joy in my inner soul. My husband began to see this inner joy and peace and he says to this day that that is what began to change him and convict him of his own sin. Even though our circumstances were different than what this blog describes, so many of the principles are still the same. I still had erected idols and those idols had caused me to lose my joy and my reason for living. I went around depressed, un-happy and might I say very unattractive. Once that joy in my Savior came back I became more attractive to him. He says this joy was appealing to him, but it scared him because he began to see that I didn’t need him anymore (I still loved him and tried to bless him, but I stopped all the nagging things that repelled him and made me look overly needy). I am able now to speak much more freely and he now asks my opinions on many things, which truly amazes me. I use to come home from being gone all day and he never acknowledged I was there. It’s funny, now when I come home from being away I can’t keep him away from me. He follows me around like a puppy dog and wants to talk and see how my day went. Thanks April so much for your blog….now that my husband lets me talk more I do, but I still need to be careful that I always talk with love and respect. There is soooooo much that I learn from your blog and being a pastor’s wife I have found that this sight has helped me a great deal in understanding and counseling others. I thank the Lord for the blessing of sister’s like you, who don’t back down on the truth and encourage us in our walk with the Lord and with our husband’s. Praying for you and your ministry.

    1. Savedbygrace,

      Wow! You had quite a challenge. I am SO thankful you shared your story! What a beautiful end result. I just have to ask you if you might be willing to share a bit more of your story anonymously in a post for me? I believe other wives would be so blessed!

      I praise God for what He has done in your marriage and how He has healed you both and healed your marriage. WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!

      SO BEAUTIFUL!

    2. Saved By Grace,

      What an uplifting story of your marriage and how God satisfied your heart and worked to change Your husband’s heart. It’s always great to “see” what it looks like when Christ is our joy!

    3. WOW, SavedByGrace! What an incredible testimony and what a praise to see Jesus being your complete and overwhelming joy even in the middle of such an extremely difficult situation!

    4. Savedbygrace:

      Re this statement,

      “He went as far as to spank me when I was out of line and to ground me days from using the vehicle when I was late in getting home,” I have to say Oh my– wow! It is beyond my imagination.

      The point of your story however, is how God moved in your difficult situation, and I am happy that you now enjoy a beautiful marriage!

  14. Oh my goodness- 91 comments! LOL! I don’t have time to read them but I jumped back on because the hubs and I discussed this yesterday and I wanted to weigh in.

    I told him the story about suggesting the wife go to the doctor.
    He looked at me and said “she should have went to the doctor.”
    I’m like “really??? It was a suggestion. Almost in my mind like, I don’t really have an opinion cause it’s not my body but if you need to go to the doctor, I’m ok with it.”
    He said “Wow. Really? That’s insane. Sounds to me like she should have made an appointment… he said his opinion.”

    And so… we discussed how I need him to make statements and not blanket it with “maybe you should…. or you could try….” type of phrases.

    He said he’ll work on it.

    REALLY!!!!! GOOD!!!!!! INSIGHT!!!!! for us to talk about. Thanks so much!!!!

    1. Kayla~~

      I SO get what you think because that is how I thought. Why would you say “Maybe you should” if what you mean is “I want you to” but this is a situation where husbands seem to not speak as literally as I personally would like.

      I believe that it stems from our husbands trying to cushion directions with kindness and not go into overdrive in directing even though all the while we are hoping for more leadership and hearing things as a suggestion can throw us! It did me! I didn’t know!

      I am really glad you shared your husband’s take on it. It is another verification that this is a way that many men think- that when they suggest something, they truly mean it as something their wife should do.

  15. This is off topic, but I didn’t know where to write to you. I am married to a wonderful man who loves God. He is a hard worker…no one could ever call him lazy. He told me he feels unproductive if he isn’t busy. He works long hours and then spends time working on the car. It’s a hobby, but it’s also a necessity because we don’t have money to pay someone to fix it. He enjoys it though. He seems to always have a project going on. I feel overwhelmed with taking care of my 15 month old, taking care of the house and I’m exhausted by the end of the day. He doesn’t really help much because he’s always working on projects. He does put her to sleep a few times a week, but he doesn’t spend much time with her. We have no family anywhere near us so we have no help. We’re in a new city so I don’t know very many other women. I don’t know what to do. He knows that I would love to spend time with him and for him to spend time with our daughter, but he tells me that he is busy which he is! He isn’t doing nothing. He truly is that busy. I just feel like the projects take up his whole life. I don’t bring it up anymore because he knows how I feel and I don’t want to be disrespectful. I just feel overwhelmed and lonely. I feel like working on the car is the “other woman”. Am I just being completely unrealistic? I feel bad complaining because he isn’t being lazy. He isn’t sitting around doing nothing.

    1. Laura,

      I can relate! When our youngest was 8 weeks old to 22 months old – my husband and his dad were working on house projects. They were either fixing up our old house to sell, or completely renovating our new house. Greg was doing it for me. To make me happy. He and his dad did an incredible job! BUT – I was running on 2-4 hours of sleep per night for 20 months in 30 minute intervals during that time. Greg and his dad worked on the house 6 nights a week after work until midnight for a year and a half. Then they worked 4 nights a week until midnight for another 2 years after that. Then they worked 2 days a week for a year or so after that.

      I remember losing my temper so many times. I told him once, “I feel like a single mom. You’re not helping me at all!” I didn’t know until years later that my one comment destroyed him. He shut down. He stopped looking at me. He stopped talking to me. He “ignored me.” I demanded that he needed to spend more time with me and pay more attention to the kids. I demanded that God change him. I lectured Greg. I pouted. I cried. I raised my voice. I pleaded. I cried. I begged. Nothing. And those few days he wasn’t working on projects, he would watch TV and ignore me and the kids.

      It wasn’t until I stopped all the disrespect for a LONG, LONG time and learned how to respect him (which took over 2 years for me to even BEGIN to have a clue what that meant) that things began to improve. It took 3.5 years into my journey before Greg felt safe with me again. 🙁

      You can respectfully ask for what you want. Maybe you can sit out there with him and enjoy being with him sometimes as he works on the car. You can tell him, “I miss you. I’d love to spend some extra time together this week!” But then, please do not pressure him!

      You can support his parenting and leadership and thank him for all he is doing. You can tell him a few things each week that you admire about him. You can tell him how proud you are of him as a man, as a husband and as a dad.

      My husband never put the kids to bed for many years. He didn’t get them ready. He didn’t play with them much for years.

      But – when I began to support him as a dad instead of criticize him, and when I began to instruct the kids to obey their dad and honor him and I started to support him as a father – he began to plug back in slowly.

      I understand feeling overwhelmed and lonely.

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Do you have a church yet?

      What can you do to feed your soul and spirit?

      What can you do to bless your husband?

      What did y’all used to do together earlier in the marriage or when you were dating?

      Much love and a BIG hug, my sweet sister!

  16. Here is a situation I’m not quite sure how to handle. This morning a frozen glass bottle of water broke in our fridge. In the past I would have cleaned up the big pieces, thrown them in the trash & dealt with the rest after breakfast was finished & lunches were prepared. My husband prefers we deal with things right away & with a process that I have yet to remember because previously I thought following this was unnecessary, just a suggestion. This time I wanted to do it differently, so I said, “I”d like to learn how you’d like me to do this so I can take care of it in the future.” What he heard was the old me saying, “Tell me how to do it because I don’t agree with you & why don’t you just do it yourself if I can’t get it right?” I didn’t argue with him or try to be understood (Yay! A victory!), and proceed to clean up as he instructed me. There is so much disrespect in our history (& present as I learn to submit) that this is a common scenario these days. How do I walk this through daily & not lose hope? As I type, I’m confessing my frustration & the lack of respect that has lead to this point.something that happens so much these days.

    1. Sally,

      I love how you handled this!

      It is VERY COMMON for husbands to misinterpret their wives questions and statements at first as they seek to become more respectful because the husband still assumes that his wife is the same as she has been for the last X number of years. So, many husbands get offended at first, or think their wives are being mocking or sarcastic. That is normal. I think that you did a great job and I think in time he will see that you are sincere and that your motives and approach have changed.

      Eventually, he will start to get really confused. But at first, he will probably act offended, thinking you are being disrespectful. Just continue to do what you believe God desires you to do and seek to please God. That is the goal here.

      Much love!

      1. I so remember when I was beginning to lshow respect to my husband and how frustrating it could feel when he failed to recognize my intentions had changed. May I add that while it may take time for a husband to see our change, God sees and notes each tiny act of respect we show our husbands, and He promises to reward our acts of obedience in eternity! Oh, won’t that be wonderful?? Far more wonderful than even a husband’s love!

        1. Julie,
          PRAISE GOD! He does see! And He does notice! And He will reward us for our obedience! YES! That is our hope! That is our goal. That is our greatest desire – to stand before God one day and hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Not that we can do it on our own. We can’t. We are in desperate need of God’s Spirit every moment.

          But this is my desire for all of us – God, make us faithful to You!

        2. Thanks, Julie, for that reminder! Ultimately my audience is God. With that in mind, I’m definitely on an awesome path. I’m grateful for the reminder that He promises to reward our acts of obedience in eternity. Definitely keeps the daily struggles in perspective. You are awesome!

  17. Hello Sally,

    I’ve been following Peaceful wife for months but just decided to put in comments recently. My husband is a dominant, rescuer. He feels trusted when I do what he says without questioning it. That’s hard for me because heck, I’m an educated woman with a masters. I could make a ton more money than him if homemaking weren’t a greater priority. We are not to the point where he values my ideas. I’m sure part of this is because I didn’t say them in a way that he could hear them-for the last 11 years. (All he heard was disrespect) He also has to recover from thinking he has to be the rescuer in order to be valuable in our relationship or as a man. Right now I’m working a lot on affirming him (so he’ll hear me) and validating him (so he’ll feel that his weaknesses are accepted). when I verbally state what his good intentions are, the pros of his ideas and then follow with a “Would you consider x, y, z?” in order to help him get to his goal, he actually listens. I find I also have to recast some of how he sees my actions because our history has set his mindset on my “obvious” intentions, rather than simply a different perspective. After coming home from work, he pulled from the chicken on the stove (I was just about to go get the kids ready for bed) and I asked him if he’d like a plate. His response was, “Why does this annoy you?” I honestly replied, “No, I thought you might feel more comfortable with a plate.” this disarmed him. I’ve accepted that just as I needed training on Biblical submission, he’ll need time to trust my sincerity to actually bless him. All those little moments add up. I now practice good self care and quiet time with the Lord, but I also look for every opportunity to build him up to dismantle our old patterns of contempt. Luckily, all these new opportunities also add up.

    1. Oh, Refined! Are you in my life?! I really needed this today. A struggle this morning with communication (my BIG area of difficulty) occurred & I’m working hard at following God’s leading. But after 18 years, my husband’s been burned so many times. Plus he’s intuitive & quite good at discerning false motives. Yep, my husband hears my words through 18 years of disrespect. It will definitely take him time, if ever, to adjust his filters. I love the idea of recasting how he sees my actions. That means so much to me as verbalizing is a struggle & reframing my intentions will definitely help (words are his strength). I will be more focused on looking for opportunities to build him up & dismantle the old patterns of contempt. You are such an encouragement. Thank you for making my day a little brighter!

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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