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The Crackers for Breakfast Incident – GodlyWifetoBe

 

photo credit www.snackpicks.com
photo credit www.snackpicks.com

Godlywifetobe began this journey to become a godly wife a few months ago. She is married to an unbelieving husband and things have been quite tense at times. For more of her story, please click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE:

So we all know when we step up Satan doesn’t like it. Here was my morning before work…

Hubby had 4 days off and takes the kids to school so I didn’t have to rush them out an hour before school starts. He woke up and found our daughter eating some dip and crackers for breakfast (there was no bread and she hates cereal). He proceeded to angrily tell her that she was a joke and she better not eat it again. Daughter started crying and looked at me.

So I said, “There was no bread and she doesn’t eat cereal.”

He said, “She better start eating cereal or she gets nothing.”

I quietly mentioned that what she was eating had less salt and sugar than cereal so it wasn’t unhealthy. He turned away and ignored me. Then he went to make a coffee. Our son had the white sugar yesterday and I couldn’t find where he put it so I put raw sugar in the bowl. Hubby freaked out because he hates healthy sugar and said, “You can’t get anything right.”

I said, “I know you don’t like that sugar but I can’t find the white sugar and when I finish work today I will get some white sugar for you.”

He mumbled something about, “This is what I’ve put up with for ten years.”

I just left the comment.

Then he said, “You can take the kids. I’m not taking them.”

The kids had only just gotten up and were eating cereal and I was about to leave for work. There was no way I could get them ready and not be extremely late for work. I said, “That’s not fair. The kids aren’t ready.” He ignored me so I gathered my things, kissed the kids and tried to kiss hubby for thanking him for taking them but he pulled away. That was all. I don’t know how I could of handled that mess better?? What do you think?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Ok… what I am going to suggest is going to be a radically different way of approaching things.  Have you read my post “respecting our husbands as fathers“? I’d like for you to focus on honoring your husband’s parenting and leadership, even when you don’t agree (unless he is clearly sinning or they are in actual imminent danger). My goal is to help us live out God’s commands for us as wives. Always listen to God’s Spirit and be in tune with Him, abiding in Him, feasting on His Word, fully submitted to Christ – and He can give you His wisdom and prompting in each situation.

Please don’t contradict him, undermine his decisions or question him in front of the kids. That is major, major disrespect in a man’s world. When your daughter looked at you after her dad reacted (maybe overreacted) to her breakfast choice, you could say something like, “OK, sweet girl, you heard Daddy. Let’s try cereal this morning. I will pick up some bread tonight.”

If you want to talk with him about the nutritious content of crackers vs. cereal or that he was overly harsh with her – do it in private, please.  (Please check the comments on the post for more details about talking to the daughter separately to try to handle the damage her dad’s harsh comments have caused. We will probably need to do a separate post just about this issue.) A wife could approach her husband in private and say something like, “I am totally willing to support your authority and decision as a father. If you don’t want our children eating crackers for breakfast, I will be sure they don’t. I can’t support you calling our children names or telling them they are ‘a joke.’ That was hurtful. I would really appreciate it if you would let her know that you truly do love her and that you don’t really think she is a joke.”

Then, her husband may apologize to their daughter himself. That is my prayer – that he would do that. And then the wife may want to also address things individually with their daughter later and talk about her great worth in God’s sight and that she is precious, and she is not at all “a joke.”

Were you “right” about the cracker thing?  Yep.  My son eats crackers for breakfast sometimes, I have no problem with that. But if you focus on the little issue, you can make being right about the nutritional content of crackers vs. cereal more important than your husband, obeying God and the unity of your marriage. I have SO been there and done that! If you want to heal your marriage and see God work, I Peter 3:1-6 and Ephesians 5:22-33 (just the part for wives), Galatians 5:22-33, Philippians 4:4-8, Romans 12:9-21 and I Corinthians 13:4-8 and Proverbs 31 are going to be great places to focus.

I doubt he would have gotten as upset about the sugar if you hadn’t undermined him as a father right before that. But, now you know that white sugar is a really big deal to him, so, you can instruct your children about the importance of keeping the white sugar in a certain spot in order to show honor to dad.

I am glad you left that comment alone, because, from his perspective, he was already feeling  very disrespected – so if you had gotten defensive, or angry, it would have probably sent him way over the edge.

Instead of, “That’s not fair…” I would suggest saying something like, “I would absolutely love to do that for you if the kids were ready. But since they aren’t, maybe I can make it up to you tonight?” 😉

Maybe if he hadn’t felt so disrespected in front of his daughter, he wouldn’t have made an issue of taking the kids to school? I believe that as he finds that you are honoring him, supporting him as a dad, listening to him and teaching the children to respect him, he probably won’t be as harsh eventually. But we will pray for God to work in his heart and for God to give you His wisdom as you seek to breathe healing and blessing into this marriage and your husband’s life and your family.

 

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE

Thanks. That makes sense. I normally try not to correct him but it was hectic and he woke up in a bad mood and I just wanted things to settle. I do contradict him at times though. Mainly because he’s not normally around and the things he says can be unreasonable. I don’t know how to address things in a different way. But I will try to be more mindful of what I’m saying/doing! I don’t tend to think playful when I’m being confronted about something lol. I know what you mean though.

I definitely see that the sugar comment and then him saying he didn’t want to take the kids was because he felt disrespected. It would be so much easier if he just said what was bothering him.

Thanks April
I’ll check out that post now.

A FEW DAYS LATER – FROM GODLYWIFETOBE:

I’ve had a few times this week where I’ve been tested in my new walk. I’ve tried to use what you’ve taught me, what the Bible says, and I haven’t been distraught and anxious or angry and bitter. I’ve remained calm and in control and I know it’s Christ in me, allowing Him to change me!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

WOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!  Thank You, God, for what You are doing in this precious sister’s heart!

To other wives,

It may be wise after a situation like what happened that morning for Godlywifetobe, for a wife to apologize to her husband for undermining him in front of their daughter. It may even be a good idea for her to apologize to her children for doing this, too. If a wife can approach her husband humbly about this and own her own part in the conflict, he may apologize for being so harsh without her even mentioning anything. She might briefly, humbly, calmly address her concerns at some point, in private – but in more of a “request” or “suggestion” mode not as a confrontation.

However with an unbelieving husband and in a marriage where things have been very tense for quite some time, especially if she has been undermining his authority as a husband/dad for years (as is the case here), a wife may decide not to address the concerns she had that morning yet. She may want to wait for awhile until she has been showing him real honor and respect as a dad in front of their children and  see if he continues to be overly harsh with the kids over the course of a few weeks. He may change his approach and soften the harshness on his own when he realizes his wife supports him as a father. This is where we need to carefully hear God’s Spirit about whether to address something right away or wait for a more effective time.

A husband may not care much about his wife’s feelings or concerns if he is far from God and he has been feeling extremely disrespected by her. But as he sees that she is changing and seeking to honor him, his heart will likely soften to her and the children over time. As she e follows the prompting of God’s Spirit, she will be able to say something like, “Honey, I appreciate you being such an involved dad. Sometimes, as a mama, I wonder if it may be possible that a more gentle approach may be equally effective. But I trust you to do what is best for our kids. I know you know a lot more about being a dad than I do.” Or, the wife may say something like, “I know you really love our kids and would do anything for them. I am concerned about Sarah today. She seems to feel pretty hurt about being called ‘a joke.’ I know you love her very much. I’m sure you don’t want her to ever feel hurt by you.” And then a wife may decide to leave the subject alone and allow God to work on her husband’s heart about how harsh he was. Or, sometimes a wife may decide to ask (respectfully, not in a demanding way)  her husband to reassure their daughter of his love and to ask him if he would consider apologizing to their daughter. This is where we must each be very sensitive to God’s Spirit about what to say, how to say it and if we need to speak or be quiet.

The great news is, once a husband has been really feeling respected and honored and knows his wife supports his authority in the family, all she will probably have to do is just look sad when he talks to the kids too harshly, and he will probably notice and apologize or even change his tone midstream. If he doesn’t pick up on how harsh he was, and she has been respecting him for quite some time and he feels safe with her, all she would have to do is say, “Honey, I am feeling sad about the way you talked with Susie today. I think her feelings are very hurt.” And a husband who knows his wife is on his team will probably do anything he can to  try to make amends with his daughter. There are times when this approach may work well even if a wife is new to respect and biblical submission.

Back to the story in question where the husband is an unbeliever, whether he apologizes or not is not our primary concern. It would be wonderful if this husband did apologize. But as disciples of Christ, our own obedience to Christ in all that we do is our primary concern. I talk a lot about how we as wives can repent for undermining our husbands’ authority and how we can begin to teach our children to respect their father and his authority and why it is SO CRITICAL for our marriages and for our children that we do this well in the post “Respecting Our Husbands as Fathers.”

If a husband does not know Christ, the way a wife can influence him to come to Christ is to show him honor and respect and to support his authority as a husband and as a father in the home.

You may want to check out the post my brother, Nathan, wrote about “When My Spouse is Wrong.

AN UPDATE FROM GODLYWIFETOBE TODAY:

To let everyone know…I did apologise but he didn’t. I know I did the right thing though by saying sorry. Another incident happened the other night where I was about to override what he had said to our son but then I saw hubby’s face and stopped and supported what he said. Things didn’t go better that night but it was a victory for me.

————

*** If a husband is mentally ill and not in his right mind, or addicted to drugs/alcohol or is sexually/physically abusing the kids (not just a spanking, but really hurting them) – please get outside, trusted, godly help. I am not writing for wives in these kinds of extreme situations. You will need one-on-one experienced, appropriate help.

103 thoughts on “The Crackers for Breakfast Incident – GodlyWifetoBe

  1. To let everyone know…I did apologise but he didn’t. I know I did the right thing though by saying sorry. Another incident happened the other night where I was about to override what he had said to our son but then I saw hubby’s face and stopped and supported what he said. Things didn’t go better that night but it was a victory for me.

      1. Thanks April.

        It is a challenge to stop and change your behaviour. As the main parent about 90% of the time I’m used to doing things my way and handling the kids a certain way. I can see how this can be disrespectful. I’m not meaning to be in my heart, but it comes across that way. So I’m trying hard to step back and follow his lead 🙂

        I’m not seeing a whole lot of fruit from my efforts but I notice sometimes he changes his tone or behaviour after I’ve stopped myself. Baby steps, but they’re steps moving forward 🙂

        Thanks April for everything you are to me. I’m so blessed!

        1. Godlywifetobe,

          You have only been focusing on respecting him as a dad for about a week now, right? This will take some time. That’s ok. He will need to see that the change is for real and permanent. But I am so excited to hear that you are seeking to honor God and your husband. I pray for God’s wisdom for you about exactly what to say and not say with your husband and children to most bless each person in your family. 🙂

        2. This is by far my biggest challenge too, I’ve done 90% of the work with three kids and a husband on deployment every other year. I took serious control over all aspects of my household because “someone had to do it”. I was the command wife and ohhhh how that didn’t work lol!!!!! At least not once he stayed home for more than a minute!! With Gods grace and love and wow, so much patience on His part, I have come a long way!!

          Aprils advice is spot on, support in front of the kids-talk to the child and husband later, alone. And still support your husbands ideas, just not the name calling. I have created a teenage monster overflowing with disrespect for her dad and I know IT’S ALL MY FAULT because I unknowingly set that example 🙁 believe me when I say, it’s much better to work that out now before you hear things coming out of their mouth that used to come out of yours 🙁

          1. Marinewife,
            Thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate you sharing what you have learned the hard way. I hope to learn from you and take your wisdom to heart!

    1. I am glad to see some else gaining victory. It helps when I remind myself that I am not fighting against flesh and blood and that my husband is not my enemy. These types of situations are either tests or temptations that pull on our old sinful nature. I know we all want our situations to resolve quickly, but we really don’t know if we are dead to self in an area unless we no longer respond to the stimulus. It helps me to remember that the change I am seeking is not about my husband but me conforming to the image of Christ. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

      1. Amen! Great advice.
        I used to say that but didn’t really have that reality in my life. Now I do. It’s not about my husband. It’s about me and being made to be more like Jesus.

  2. Thanks Godlywifetobe and April for this testimony. I do think it really helps to have real example and see what we could do better. God bless you Godlywifetobe. It is already 1 year and an half I am in this journey and I still time to time do a thing without realizing it is disrespectful. God bless you 🙂

    1. Thanks for your encouragement.

      Yes I learn from reading peoples examples too.

      Praying for you as you continue in this journey that it blesses your spouse and those around you!

    1. AMEN! God’s word is replete with stories of how the saints were victorious thru HIM. We will all have ‘ fiery furnaces’ or ‘walking on the water’ or ‘going to see the king’ or ‘miscommunication’ or ‘feeling alone or unloved’ moments but HE is with us always even to the end of the earth.

      Hebrews 10: 24 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” (ESV)

      OR “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”( NLT)

  3. This was a great example of how obeying the scriptural command to respect your husband can be challenging, but I’m so encouraged and glad that you’re making progress, godlywifetobe! Just a suggestion from a grandmother here on what works to make mornings far less stressful: try to establish routines for yourself and the children and lay out clothing, breakfast items, etc. ahead of time. I also found that vowing to never go to bed with a messy kitchen made it so much more pleasant and peaceful in the morning. Many nights I was bone tired, but in less than fifteen minutes the dishwasher could be filled and everything wiped off and put away. This suggestion may not apply to you at all, but for those wives who are experiencing chaotic mornings, this may help some. My whole day was happier and more peaceful and my husband and children were less irritable when the household ran smoothly.

    1. Elizabeth,

      Yes, it can be REALLY difficult to respect and honor our husbands when they are very harsh with our children. That is a big test. Thanks for the great tips!

    2. Thanks for the tips.
      Yes I’m pretty organized with those things you mentioned. It’s getting the kids to actually DO what they need to that’s the challenge 😉

  4. I know this is a blog about marriage & being godly wives, but April, do you mind addressing the emotional needs/issue of a child who is treated harshly by their father and looks to the mother for support, etc? This post gives great advice as to how wives can respect our husbands in a harsh situation. I’m wondering what you may suggest for follow up care for the child if any, especially if the father is a professing believer. Great post…I love real life examples! So helpful to know we all have struggles and thankful to know Christ is available to help us through each one! 🙂

      1. Gail,

        I love you and you are always welcome to bring up anything you think should be brought up. This is a really important point. I definitely need to talk about it. You are such a blessing to me. Thanks for sharpening me.

    1. KK,
      I think a mom can take the daughter aside, hug her and say, “You are so precious to me and to God. You are not a joke. Let’s look at what God says about you in His Word. I will talk with Dad about what he said. I am so sorry you are hurt.

      And the wife can address this with her husband in private. Something like, “I want to support your parenting decisions. I understand if you prefer our kids not eat crackers for breakfast. But I am concerned that our daughter feels pretty hurt about being called ‘a joke.’ I know you love her and don’t want to hurt her like that. Maybe she would appreciate hearing how much you love her and how valuable and precious she is and that you don’t really believe she is ‘a joke’?”

    2. KK,
      For a father who is a believer, I think a wife who has been respectful for quite some time will probably only have to look sad when he talks harshly to his children, and he will realize what he did and probably apologize.

      If he doesn’t catch on, she may approach him privately and say something like, “Honey, I am concerned about Sarah. I think that comment about her being “a joke” really hurt her. I know you love her with all your heart and I know you don’t ever want her to feel hurt by you.”

      If he is a believer, that will probably be all a wife would need to say for him to get the point and think about what he can do to try to make things right.

  5. Ok, nobody get upset when I say this. I honestly am trying to say it as nice as possible.. 🙂

    Is it just me or does anyone else have a problem with a father telling a child “she is a joke”? Especially a daughter. That really stuck out to me and it just feel’s like an adult bullying a child. I don’t know how old the daughter is but I am assuming she’s still young because she goes to school.

    I understand it’s important to pick your battles and choose the hill you are willing to die on. What kids eat for breakfast and making sure you know where the white sugar is are not worthy battles. I mean there’s a lot of little things where I want to ask my husband if his legs are painted on. But I don’t. I just find or get him whatever it is he can’t seem to manage by himself. I’m no worse off for it, it doesn’t hurt anyone else and it makes him happy. So no harm, no foul.

    But picking on and throwing insults at a kid, by an adult, I would nip that. That’s the kind of stuff from fathers that leads to young girls falling for any words of affirmation from any boy and doing anything to get it. That’s baggage that they are taking with them into relationships and marriages. And it’s the worst kind and the hardest to unpack. I’m watching my husband unpack that kind of baggage now from almost 30 years ago. A lot of it is, “stuff my dad said” and “stuff my teacher said”.. And he was in the army and those two things by far top “stuff my drill sergeant said”.. He’s not even bothered by anything from the army because he was grown by then.

    Maybe that is just me but I would address it. Now, I would address it in private with both of them. Because otherwise it will be more damaging for her to hear him defend his position that she is a joke. And her getting further hurt will result in them arguing with each other.. But I would also want him to know that it’s not OK to do that. And I would want her to know that God doesn’t make jokes or junk.

    When it comes to him not apologizing, I can relate. My husband is not a good “verbal apologizer”. Sometimes you have to look for the apology in other things that they do. And sometimes it is very, very subtle. For me, if my husband doesn’t “tell” me he’s sorry but he “shows” me he’s sorry it’s just as good if not better. If he doesn’t do either, I’ll forgive him because he really doesn’t know or understand what he did in that case. He will eventually. And then he will tell me or show me he’s sorry. 🙂

    We forgive people all the time who never say they are sorry. The concept should not be foreign to us. We forgive people when they cut us off on the freeway or bump into us in a crowd or talk during a movie or any number of things. It’s really no different when it’s family.

    Gail

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Hubby does like to cut us down with his words and that’s why I jumped to defend her. I didn’t speak to him about the words he used, but I think it’s important that I should have. Most times I do tell him to watch what he is saying as it’s hurtful. I do tell my kids how wonderful they are and often I’m the one patching things up behind the scenes telling the kids Daddy loves them, he’s just frustrated or angry, and we can pray for him.

  6. Kelly,
    Yes, I hope wives will listen carefully to God when approaching their husbands and children about an issue like this. My examples may not be the best approach in every situation. But God can give us His wisdom about when to speak, what to say and how to say it as we seek Him with all our hearts. 🙂

    And we will need to be careful about motives and tone of voice.

    1. Sometimes yes he does do it with actions. I think in our 11 years of marriage he’s said the word “sorry” maybe 5 times maximum. Sometimes he will later on take the garbage out, or put the dishwasher on, or iron his work clothes that I had out. I know then that he’s remorseful. It would be easier for him to say “sorry” though :p

      1. Things like that hurt me. When they just jump automatically to yell at them or punish without seeking an explanation.

        I’m not good at holding my comments in when that happens. I will defend my child in front of them so they know I’m their protector and they can come to me when they need help.

        On the flip side I see how a husband would see that as belittling or disrespectful.

        Oh I just wish it was easier. That my husband would have more patience, kindness and grace.

        Sorry, having a sad moment today thinking about it all.

        I want to honour God. I want to protect my kids hearts and minds. It’s a tough position to be in.

        1. Godlywifetobe,

          It is definitely a tough position to be in. I am so thankful you are in God’s Word and prayer and seeking Him with all your heart. I know His Spirit will be able to give you wisdom about what to say and when. I pray for healing for everyone in the family and for God’s greatest glory.

          Sending you a huge hug!

          1. Thanks April
            I’m praying God continues to speak and guide me through His Word because on this I feel a little lost.
            Having being brought up with verbal, emotional and physical abuse from both my parents, it strikes a cord in me when I see it happen.

        2. Aren’t we as parents mandated to protect and love our kids though?

          I know what you mean, that God is our ultimate protector, but he uses humans too?

          1. Yes I’ve been a “reactor” and it hasn’t got me anywhere. I need to be the peacemaker and surrender to God… I’m trying!

          2. This is the post “When My Spouse Is Wrong” written by my brother, a very godly husband and father, Nathan. It is not particularly about parenting, but about marriage and about being married to an unbeliever:

            There is one major point that can lead this question down one of two paths. Has the spouse been redeemed by the atoning work of Christ on the cross? This point needs to be extremely explicit. This does not mean church attendance or a life devoted to religious church culture. It does not mean trying to do the right thing. It means understanding how big God is and how fallen we are and that only by Christ being crushed on the cross can He redeem our life. 2 Peter 1 gives a great list of fruit of the spirit then in verses 8-9 it shows that if you are not increasing in the spirit then you either do not have the spirit in you or you have become so nearsighted that you have forgotten that you have been forgiven.

            His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of of our lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is near-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. II Peter 1:3-9

            We can not expect non-believers to follow God’s word…it is foolishness to them. If a couple is unequally yoked, they are in for hard times. The burden is completely on the believer to live a life of love in patience regardless of the spouses actions. 1 Cor 7:13-16 is where Paul gives instructions for Christians with unbelieving spouses.

            And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? I Corinthians 7:13-16

            1 Cor 5:9-13 tells us not to judge unbelievers but that we do have a role to play in holding believers accountable. Now, the primary role of the spouse is to be love to them, to extend limitless grace and to endure all things. But, when a believing spouse is constantly going against a principle of God’s word it can fall to their spouse to point it out clearly and concisely in love. This cannot look like nagging and cannot be in response to an offense. This should probably be coordinated with a date and lovingly present the pattern that is in offense to God’s word. Once it has been brought up, that needs to be the last time it’s said. Both spouses need to be surrounding themselves with mentors and same sex accountability where these things are discussed.

            Other than that, it is the responsibility of the husband to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Just like Christ’s love is unwavering in our unfaithfulness, we are called to the same love. I would not advise confrontation on specific issues until they become more than isolated events. As we are all married to sinners, the burden is on us to overlook individual offenses and constantly extend overwhelming grace.

        3. GWTB,
          I could have written this comment. I’m dealing with this same thing. I just wish my husband wasn’t so harsh with our daughter. Its like she can’t do anything right. I want to support him, but its so hard because I want to protect her. I know the things he says can have a lasting effect on her that he isn’t realizing. Very tough position. Praying for you this morning.

          Jeanne

        4. I disagree there., I AM the protector that God gave my child and my grandchildren. To not protect our children is absolutely not right. I would never tell my husband how to handle his kids and he doesn’t tell me how to handle mine. We support each other in that regard. But if anyone ever tried to hurt any of them, they would wish they hadn’t. I may look like a poodle but I will become a pit bull if someone tries to hurt my child or my step kids.

          We are lucky that my step kids have an awesome mom. If they didn’t and there were safety concerns we would try to do something about it. However, there is a limitation to what you can do.

          I do agree with April however about causes for making someone snap at the family. I know if I feel nagged about every little thing (even if it’s unintentional) I start to get edgy. There are some areas where we just have different ways of doing things and one way over the other is not wrong or right. Those things, we have to learn to let go or marriage will become irritating.

          I do think making statements to kids that are hurtful is not situational however. I think it’s more that we parent the way we were parented. For example: When my daughter used to say “I know, I know” when I would correct her. I would say, “If you truly knew I would not have to repeat it.” That was directly from my mothers mouth. When someone uses a specific phrase such as “You are a joke” or “Don’t be stupid” that is generally stuff one of their parents said.

          Here’s the dilemma in that. Whether it’s wife to husband or husband to wife regarding this type of thing. A spouse has an obligation to protect the children emotionally from these blows AND not be silent to the other parent about how wrong it is. But they also have to understand that their spouse is dealing with some bitter roots issues that they may not even realize. Men have a particularly hard time dealing with these things because they are told to “man up” from the time they are old enough to walk and talk. Incredibly unfair to tell a toddler to “man up” but it happens.

          So, there is a balance that it has to be approached with. Firm in that it is not acceptable but loving in that way that you understand its a deeper issue that your spouse is probably not even aware exists. And nothing is going to heal that wound unless they get closer to God and restore their identity in Christ. That’s hard to do if your identity has been cursed at critical times in your childhood. Sometimes unintentionally and sometimes not so unintentionally.

          Gail

          1. Gail,

            I think you explained this very well – it is a difficult balance to achieve, I believe one that is only possible through God’s Spirit working through us.

          2. My hubby was not told things by either of his parents like he speaks to me or our kids. He can’t blame that on his parents. They are pastors and he has told me they never spoke like my parents spoke to me.

          3. Gail,

            I see your concerns my fellow sister in Christ. The things you mentioned were so similar to the fears i had about my children when my husband left us… the damage it would cause them and even things that were said in anger that i know hurt them BUT GOD!!!!!! He is our redeemer and bigger then anything we will ever encounter in this life. He is able to heal every wound and open our eyes not to define our worth in anyone but Him. I know a child may not be able to articulate that truth just yet but that child is in His mighty hands. I think Nikka’s response to my comment on another post is very fitting

            Thank you for sharing your story. I especially loved that part where you said that “The enemy kept whispering that my children would be permanently damaged but He is a liar.”

            So true! How many times did the enemy taunt us to think that we are “broken goods” and we have the “right” to get mad, get even, and wallow in self pity! How many times did the enemy have us believe that since we had a “broken childhood”, we could blame our childhood for the present problems that continue to crop now as adults?

            It is so convenient to blame our circumstances for what and who we are now. But, that too is a LIE.Only we are accountable for our actions, no matter what the circumstance. The Truth is, if I may borrow Nancy Leigh de Moss’ words, that we can trust a wise, loving, sovereign God to control every circumstance of our lives. Joy, peace and stability come from believing that every circumstance that touches our lives has been filtered through His fingers of love and it is part of a GREAT, ETERNAL plan that He is working out in this world and in our lives.

  7. I just wanted to share a praise with you all. Today, for the first time in over a year, my husband initiated going to Bible study and church. He even agreed to go to lunch with a new group of people. All of these things are HUGE answers to prayer, but what is even better is that I didn’t nag or push him. I actually let him lead and he did.

    We have had more fights over these things than I care to admit…but to see myself stepping back, even just some times, shows God at work and that is so exciting!

  8. I have witnessed my husband coming off a little harsh to our children, in a similar way as godly wife to be describes here. It took restraint, but I didn’t address it in front of the kids. On one occasion, he apologized himself with remorse without a word from me. On a separate occasion, I told him that I thought he had hurt our sensitive son’s feelings…my husband disagreed that he was over the line, but I reassured our oldest later and privately that all was well, and the moment was tense, it wasn’t meant to harm. There are many ways to honor God, our husband and our children. I praise God that He continues to work in me that I might be mindful of my words, before blurting disrespect towards my husband. Thank you ladies for the real life examples !! These help tremendously.

    One question on the unbelieving husband…can you appeal to sense of right and wrong without the balance and belief in God?

    1. Prayingwife79,

      Thank you so much for sharing! I appreciate many wives sharing their stories because I believe there is value in hearing different perspectives and hearing from women with different personalities who have husbands with different personalities and who are at various stages on this journey.

      I think most moms are pretty sensitive to their husbands being harsh with our children. We don’t like it!

      I love how God has been working in your husband’s heart without you having to say anything at times. I also love how you handled the time when your husband decided he wasn’t “over the line.”

      I believe sometimes God may inspire our husbands to be more strict or firm on some things for our children’s benefit, that maybe we as moms can’t see at the moment. Not that a dad should be harsh or call a child names or crush a child’s spirit.

      There is a fantastic real life example of a godly wife influencing her husband when she felt he was too harsh with their son in the book Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas.

      I do think a wife with an unbelieving husband could appeal to his sense of right and wrong or to the idea that “I know you really love your kids.” Or even possibly, “I know you are a great dad” or “I know you are a better man than this.”

      I am glad we are having a discussion about this. And I appreciate different ideas, angles and suggestions.
      Thank you so much!

  9. GWTB,

    I am so heart glad for your being able to change your approach. It can be so dang difficult when you are fighting your own sinful nature while having to respond humbly to someone whose actions make you feel all stirred up inside. I have struggled greatly with this over the weekend.

    Keep up the good fight within yourself.

    With love and prayers. ❤

  10. The daughter needed defending. The husband was being (and probably IS a jerk). To pacify the husband at that moment in time (and ignore his verbal abuse of the daughter) is just plain wrong. I don’t see how this honors God OR marriage!

    1. Married Many Years,

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂 yes, the daughter needs defending. But this man needs Christ, too. I believe a mom can bless and support her children and husband by God’s power to create a win all the way around. God’s command for wives whose husbands are far from Him is found in I Peter 3:1-6. That is the most effective way a wife can influence her husband for Christ. He will respond to her genuine respect for him and God’s Spirit living in her creating a peaceful, gentle spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear.

  11. We will agree to disagree on this. He was being a bully. There are laws being enacted in state after state to protect kids from bullies at school. What message does it give the daughter if her dad can bully her and no one defends her…but the same behavior at school would be against the law?

    1. Married Many Years,

      I am not saying the wife should do nothing. I gave many examples of what a wife could do – and I am sure there are many more ways I haven’t mentioned. I believe the wife CAN defend the daughter – but also not undermine the dad in front of the daughter. I don’t want any child to be mistreated by his/her dad. And I think that a wife can honor God in how she responds to her husband and how she responds to her children. I also have seen many times that once a father feels genuinely supported and respected by his wife, that he almost always softens toward the children. Then the wife has walked in obedience to God about how she treats her husband and her children and the marriage and entire family is strengthened.

      Another thing a wife could do would be to approach her husband in private and say, “I am totally willing to support your authority and decision as a father. If you don’t want our children eating crackers for breakfast, I will be sure they don’t. I can’t support you calling our children names or telling them they are ‘a joke.’ That was hurtful. I would really appreciate it if you would let her know that you truly do love her and that you don’t really think she is a joke.”

      Then, her husband may apologize to their daughter himself. That is my prayer – that he would do that. And then the wife may want to also address things individually with their daughter later and talk about her great worth in God’s sight and that she is precious, and she is not at all “a joke.”

      Much love! Thanks for the comments.

      1. I think that it will be very key for a wife who has been undermining her husband’s authority as a father and who has been disrespecting him and trying to control him but is now on this journey to become a godly wife – for her to approach him with great humility, respect, gentleness and softness. If there is any trace of pride on her part or of self-righteousness, or that he can tell she thinks she is “better than him” – I don’t think he will be able to hear her heart. This is where it is necessary for us to apply Matthew 7:1-5 and check our own “eye” for a log before we attempt to remove the “speck” from our husband’s eye.

      2. Pressed enter too soon :p
        Great ideas April. I will definitely need to say this to hubby as he quite commonly will use names that hurt the children when disciplining them.

    2. Married Many Years,

      It probably would have been worse for the daughter to have the confrontation there at that time. It was already raw and kids tend to feel like all arguments between parents are their fault in the first place. Imagine if he followed up with affirming the comment in her presence? It would have been worse.

      I think the best move in that type of situation is to take the child aside and comfort and reassure and then address the other parent when the kids are not around. But address it, I would..

      You are correct that he was being a bully. I cringe when I see fathers or mothers do this. Like in the store or restaurants or at church. Words hurt but they hurt more when they come from a parent. I was so fortunate that my dad was always speaking great stuff into us. My husband’s dad, not so much. Kids really carry that stuff with them into the rest of their relationships.

      I would probably disagree that this type of situation is a I Peter 3:1-6 type of situation. It sounds more like a Matthew 18:15-17 because that type of thing has a long lasting impact on children and it is harming another person. There is a time when your actions need to speak louder than your words. But then there is a time when you need to have to face and deal with that conflict. Sometimes not confronting or addressing something that needs to be addressed is a worse sin.

      Gail

      1. Gail,
        I totally agree the husband was wrong in his approach. I also agree that a wife confronting him in front of the child would have only escalated the situation and the damage. Thank you so much for sharing!

        My greatest concern in this particular situation is that if a husband has been feeling extremely disrespected for many years – it will be difficult for him to take correction from his wife. But – as she continues to show respect and honor to him, over time, I do believe he will be able to hear her words.

        A wife does have options about how to attempt to address this situation that are respectful, God-honoring and husband-honoring that also allow her to seek the best interests of her daughter. She certainly can attempt to address it right then, even if she is new to this journey.

        Praying for God’s wisdom for each wife.

        Thank you!

        1. I need to be more prayerful and spirit led in these situations so I don’t just react to what’s happening but think of the bigger picture. Honoring God, respecting my husband, and making sure my children let go of the words they hear.

  12. When my husband felt more disrespected, he’d see me as the bully. Anytime I was firm with the children he’d act like I was abusing them. (It is interesting that growing up he did receive some abuse from his dad. Whenever he was harsh with our children it was excusable- no matter how bully-like he was being.) My parenting style hasn’t really changed but I make sure that I speak out my own feelings if I’m frustrated with a behavior or disappointed with a certain outcome. That way he doesn’t misunderstand my tone or intentions.

    He does a nice job of talking through emotions with the kids and does this MUCH MORE now that he’s feeling more respected. He looks at me alot (for support?) when he talks with the kids this way and I often thank him for how he handled this or that situation, even if what he contributed was minor. Today he actually came and gave me a hug following a small bout with my youngest. Sometimes I now feel he can be a bit harsh on the opposite end of the spectrum; like when the kids don’t do what I ask right away he get’s on them fast. Funny how things can change. Not really. That’s all God’s grace that things can change.

    I have a very quiet, layed back girlfriend who wed a very intense guy. She’s had to do a lot of cleanup on his behalf over the years and due to her patience and respectful influence, he works really hard now to respond to the children with gentleness. She addressed his volume, cutting remarks, tone, etc. the same way April suggested. It took awhile but it has worked very well.

    PS. I’m all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about Kelly’s husband’s apology. Beautiful.

    1. Thanks for sharing that.

      I do need to address his tone, words because it does hurt our children. I will always reassure our kids in private if they come to me upset but I do need to go to my husband in gentleness and explain the hurt/damage that happens when he is harsh, mean to the children.

      I need prayer about this that he accepts it in the manner it’s said!

      1. Honestly, I’ve spent waaaay much more effort verbally pointing out what he’s done right and thanking him for everything. I’ll tell him about how the kids told me they did a certain soccer strategy because of him or how lucky they are to have a dad who does such and such. He doesn’t say much but he’s becoming a softer man all-around and looks for opportunities to jump in with the kids in a really positive way. He usually feels automatic shame when I point out, even slightly, what he’s done that may be hurtful or questionable. For awhile that shame turned right into anger. Now it’s more likely to cause distance.

        I noticed, too how much his tone and demeanor is effected by my moods. I’ve just accepted that he’s sensitive to my darker moods and I need to be aware, as much as possible, when I’m having a HALT moment (hungry, angry, lonely, tired, etc ) because I don’t want to set us up for failure. We are newbies at this whole emotional literacy thing.

    2. Refined,

      Thank you so much for sharing! This is very helpful.

      I believe that wives are better mothers when they know they are loved and supported and honored by their husbands. A wife who feels unloved by her husband will probably tend to snap more easily at her children, even though she loves them. And I believe that husbands are better fathers when they know they are loved, supported and honored by their wives. When a husband knows his wife cares about his opinions, his feelings, his authority in the home – he will probably not feel the need to be as harsh and he will eventually care a lot more about how his wife feels about how he handles the children.

      I saw the same thing you are describing with my own husband. When I began to tell the children we were going to honor their Daddy and show respect to him and watch our tone of voice and obey him, they began to respect both of us more. And then Greg began to plug in as a father so much more than he had before. He also began to back me and support me as a parent and he looked to me for feedback on how he handled various situations. It was so much better for all of us. 🙂

      It can take time – especially when a husband is not a believer and he has been feeling disrespected for many years. But I believe God can bring healing to the whole family as a wife seeks to obey Him and walk in His Spirit, abiding in Christ daily.

    3. Ha!
      I can definitely say that I think I’m the junior Holy Spirit. 🙁
      I heard a pastor say he met a woman who thought she was the 4th person in the Trinity. And while we laugh, a lot of us wives are guilty of that!
      Thanks for the reminder.

    4. Kelly, you just make me smile. It’s so awesome being on this side of that initial hump. It was so hard for so long. I love hearing about how other marriages are also changing, really changing. This is why I can hear Godlywife (tobe)’s stories and feel a bit of excitement for what could be in store.

      Godlywife, you rock!

  13. Wow. I would fall off the chair if that happened here 🙂 I’m so glad to hear your story. What an encouragement to keep going and love our husbands

  14. It’s interesting — I easily recognize that the husband in this case was acting like a jackass, but then I wonder what I thought if the situation were reversed.

    Indeed, when I first saw the headline, I was sure it would be about a wife who “caught” her husband feedling (or allowing) the children to have crackers for breakfast, and was furious at him.

    Of course this is a bit of a cliche — like the Bill Cosby story about feeding his children chocolate cake for breakfast.

    In any instance, at least in the mainstream media, there would be little the wife could do in this situation that would be considered out of bounds, the actual nutritional content of the crackers notwithstanding.

    He gave the children crackers for breakfast! What a moron! This is why I have to do everything myself! I gave him one job…

    It’s interesting to think about…

    1. Lol you’re right…it would normally be the man giving that type of thing in the mainstream media. And normally he IS the one. I’m not sure why he decided to challenge this on this particular morning. He had a phone call from work and then came into the kitchen. So I either think it was he was in a bad mood from the phone call, or it was an attack from the enemy…

    2. John.

      That made me laugh. And not just because I love that Bill Cosby routine. But also because I also initially thought it was a story about dad feeding kids crackers for breakfast..

      Gail

  15. Your husband is being abusive to you and to your child. If you want to use the Bible to concoct a new approach to his abuse, I am sure you can find a way.

    God does not condone abuse. God does not justify abuse or find workarounds to treat men like gods especially when they behave like children instead of men. Children need to see their parents in the image of God, not gods, and if parents cannot reflect that, their children will look elsewhere for those models.

    It sounds like you are looking for someone to guide you. God guides us. We know that abuse, emotional and neglect, have as much impact on development as sexual and physical forms of abuse. God gave us the ability to learn that reality through many generations of people justifying what they learned from their parents without new awareness, to the detriment of their children. Those same generations rely so heavily on the Bible instead of the Word in it, because their own parents could not reflect God’s image. Use your new awareness to guide you. Ask yourself, how would God behave?

    There is no victory in allowing your children to be abused as you are allowing yourself to be abused at the same time. They are learning neither of you are safe and neither of you can protect them and that love is painful. Those lessons will not help them to follow God or to not be abusive to themselves as they grow.

    This is difficult stuff. You teach them what you want them to learn through your actions not what you say or don’t say.

    1. Ingvarda,

      The Bible does not condone sin or abuse. You are right! And I am not condoning sin or abuse against anyone. A wife can walk in the power of God and do what is honoring to God in each situation and what is best for her husband and her children and God can use a wife to bring healing instead of destruction in a difficult situation like this as she abides in Him and listens carefully to His prompting.

      1. The difficult and frustrating thing is that a wife does not have control over her husband. She can address what he is doing and ask him to change. She cannot change him. She will have a MUCH greater ability to influence him as she does not respond to his sin with sin of her own. God’s Word does give commands to wives and we have the most power of His Spirit as we walk in obedience ourselves to God. God is able to convict people and open their spiritual eyes. We cannot do that for others. We can’t even do that for ourselves!

        A godly wife can honor and respect her husband’s position as husband and can treat him respectfully without respecting his sin. And she can address his sin against their children without sinning against him. She can also trust God’s Spirit to convict him and open his spiritual eyes and bring him to salvation in Christ as she seeks to be the woman God calls her to be.

        God does not ever condone sin – not our husband’s sin and not our sin. One sin separates us from God and causes us to be condemned before a holy God. We all desperately need the blood, mercy and grace of Christ. None of us are good in God’s sight – not one. We are all wretched sinners. As Gary Thomas says in Sacred Marriage “we are never more tempted to sin than when we are sinned against.”

        My prayer is that we as wives will be so in tune with God’s Spirit that He can give us the power and wisdom we need to walk in obedience even when our husbands are wrong and that He will give us wisdom about exactly how and when to approach our husbands and how best to address our children.

        I want to see this husband come to Christ and these precious children come to Christ and this marriage to become a godly marriage that brings great glory and honor to Christ. Our God is able to do that.

        A fantastic resource for becoming a godly wife or husband is “Grace Filled Marriage” by Dr. Tim Keller. He explains how a spouse can extend the grace of God to his/her spouse in very practical ways.

  16. Jumping in a few days late on this one…
    This issue hits close to my heart because I’ve dealt with it in my household for a long time. My husband is a believer but it still rears it’s ugly head.

    I very much agree with Kelly’s whole approach. This is my experience….

    There is a whole lot of the word “abuse” being thrown out. I want to throw out an outside the box though – what if we viewed our demeaning and undermining our husbands in front of the children as abuse? What if we actually saw that action as more harmful to our children?

    My husband and I have this conversation often after I jump up and defend them – again – in front of him. He tells me after that he always knows that he is in the wrong and goes back to apologize – he doesn’t need me to be his “junior holy spirit” as you have mentioned. It damages them and him and our relationship AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP when I do that. It speaks to their hearts so much more to have him go back and apologize to them independently, rather than being bullied or forced by mom. How emasculating to be forced like a little boy to apologize. I know how I feel when he does that to me in front of the kids… I feel like a six-year-old little girl again. I don’t want to make him feel the same way.

    I surely do not condone abuse or bullying or anything… But I think we are really quick to throw those words around. When we team up with the kids it works for more against us and for us. There’s just as much therapy to be done in the future unpacking those issues. I know – I’ve been there. That’s part of why I am here 🙂 Thats why I almost got divorced.

    We are not perfect parents at all but if we can put the importance of modeling a good marriage over the importance of defending our kids then I think half the battle is already won.

    PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND… I have three children and I love them more than I could possibly express. It kills my heart to see them hurt by hubby’s words (but I do it too sometimes 😔) But it warms my heart to see how God protects and heals them from our humanity – BOTH OF US. I know each situation is different and there are definitely extremes where this wouldnt go… But I just encourage some out there to reframe the damage we are actually doing when we unite with our children in this way.

    I’m sorry GWTB…praying for your wisdom as you continue this journey xoxo

    1. One other quick note…I also encourage my kids to bring their hurt to their dad…if they come to me and say “Daddy said x” or “daddy did y” I tell them they need to talk to him or tell him that hurt your feelings or you didn’t like it…it’s more tender coming from them, they are empowered, and then it’s not a gang up. Then he sees the hurt he causes too. Then they can reconcile together…

  17. I have mixed feelings about today’s entry because I normally agree pretty much 100% with your posts, April. This one, however, I can’t totally agree with.

    While I agree that arguing and disrespecting one’s husband in front ot the children is rarely productive and should be avoided, there are situations where children can see the obvious, OTT unfairness of a situation (even with a parent) and need to appeal or receive comfort from the other parent. That’s probably why this child looked to her mother because what she was hearing seemed hurtful and extreme for the situation.

    Let me give you an example of my husband’s childhood. When he and his brother and sister were kids, their mother worked FT. When she would return home tired and cranky at the end of the day, she’d go absolutely ballistic if there was a peanut butter knife or bread crumbs on the counter or if the house was messy in any way. She’d scream and rage all the time. She was well known in the neighborhood as a screamer. When she’d discipline the kids, she’d swing wildly and was completely out of control much of the time. The kids much preferred their dad to discipline them since he was always calm and in control. As my husband and his sibs grew older, they’d go to their father to intervene when their mother was particularly harsh yet their father would always, always take up for her and defend her. They’d look at each other in shock as if to say, “Are we living on a different planet? How can he not see this?” To this day, four years after his death, they miss and love their father because he was a wonderfully kind man yet they STILL wonder why he never seemed to stand up for them against their mother.

    I’m not saying that Godlywifetobe’s situation will turn out like this at all. I certainly hope not. I’m just wondering where to draw the line at knowing how far to intervene, especially when a child is seeking some sort of validation at the point when it’s needed. To be honest, I don’t think I could have handled the situation in the heat of the moment as calmly as Godlywifetobe did. I’d try to diffuse the tension as much as possible, of course, but I’d still want my child to know that I was on her side.

    1. Elena,

      Thank you so much for sharing! I hope you might check out the comments where I addressed the issue about the mom talking with the daughter in more detail.

      1. And what I hope to do is to help empower wives to show their husband and their children that they are on all of their sides, to create unity instead of division.

        1. LOL, I knew as soon as I sent my message that the end of it was probably worded wrong. What I meant to say was that I’d want my child to know that I validated her and that her dad might be having a bad day, that the situation had more to do with him and less to do with her.

    2. Ladies,
      Let’s definitely do a post just on the topic of how godly moms/wives can help their children when a dad is being harsh without undermining our men. This topic deserves a post all by itself. I would love to share some of your comments, too!

      1. April, you did a wonderful job of addressing my question as to how to handle the hurt of the child when disrespected by their father. I feel I opened a can of worms by my asking, but my desire is to truly know how to balance respecting him and letting my children know what is acceptable behavior (not that I am perfect by any means!!) from a parent and caring for their feelings. I appreciate your God-given wisdom so much as well as the incredibly sweet spirit you always deliver your responses in. God bless you and may He continue to guide you in ALL that you do!
        Thank you!

        1. Thanks, KK. 🙂

          This is not a can of worms at all. It is a very important topic. I just usually try to keep my posts centered on marriage rather than parenting. But obviously these roles intersect quite a bit.

          I am excited about addressing this issue and sharing some other wives’s thoughts as well. My children are still fairly young, 7 and 12, so I do not have all of the experience yet that many wives have. But I definitely agree this is a critical topic and I hope to send out a request soon for wives to share the wisdom they have learned in their own marriages about this. Maybe we can hear from a wide variety of perspectives and different situations. 🙂

          1. Great idea April,

            I have seen God dramaticaly change my husbands approach to our children he used to be a lot harsher. I think there definetly has to be some correlation to my respecting him as a father now because thats when he began to change and be open to receive suggestions or concerns i have about his parenting. I think before God began to change me my husband was trying to prove any way he could that he was the father and the head of our home, because of the way i had usurped his authority he often expressed this God given desire in sinful ways. Because of my lack of respect He was starving for it and began to demand it from his family but that radically changed by God’s grace. What my children see is the power of Christ to change their parents lives. I felt that they would be damaged but they instead see the truth of the gospel shining brightly they got to experience first hand the miracle working power of God to transform their parents before their eyes.

          2. Jessica,
            This is beautiful! I hope you will allow me to share! Thank you so much for allowing us to see how God has healed this issue in your family. He has done a very similar thing in our family, as well.

          3. Of course you can share this April, i would also like to add that when i thought i was protecting my daughter i really ended up harming her. Because i didnt do it Gods way and bring her to His word or talk to my husband in private i taught my daughter to disrespect her husband and i was teaching her also how to undermine her husband in the future which is just as important for God to heal as harsh words being spoken to us. I dont think God would want me to condone my hubbys sin or just ignore it and the effect it has on the children but there is a godly way to do it.

          4. Jessica,

            Thanks so much for allowing me to share your story!

            I agree with you – I, too, harmed my children for years by undermining Greg’s authority and criticizing him if he tried to be involved. I hurt their ability to respect their dad and their understanding of God and marriage.

            I don’t want us to harm our children in any way. I don’t want them to be harmed by their dads either.

            Of course, all of us as parents are sinners, so we will sin against our children – mothers and fathers. And we will all have repenting and apologizing to do at times. But God is available and the finished work of Christ on the cross is available and ours for the asking. We can address our husbands and children in a godly way that will reap benefits and healing for everyone, bring unity to the entire family and bring honor to God. That is my desire to see healing in all of the relationships in every family.

  18. Thanks for the reminder & encouragement that little steps (sometimes only seen by God!) do demonstrate progress & are awesome! Such a timely post.

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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