Skip to main content

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Say How I Feel and What I Need?

image

Nope.

We CAN say what we want, how we feel, what we think, what our concerns are and what we need.

(Please keep in mind that when I talk about submission, I am always talking about the biblical concept, not the worldly definition. For more about biblical submission, please read here.)

We have total freedom to do this! I don’t know a healthy husband who wants a wife who has no thoughts, no opinions, no desires and no feelings. In fact, I believe it is our responsibility and duty to share these things many times – but in a way that is respectful and honoring to God and to our husbands and in a way that doesn’t involve sin. We can have pure motive as we give God’s Spirit total control in our lives so that eventually our only motives will be to love,  please and glorify God and to love, honor, respect and bless our husbands.

Do I do this perfectly?

Nope.

None of us will be perfect until we are in heaven.

Can God give us victory over sin?

YES!

MY PERSONAL WEAKNESS

God is continuing to transform me. I can ask Greg for things I want and need. And I do that every so often. I do fine if I ask for what I want and then drop the issue in my mind and heart and resolve to be content with or without whatever I asked for. But, for me, if I allow myself to dwell on my needs or marinate on thoughts about what Greg “should” do, I can get into trouble and slide into sinful motives very quickly. I have to remember that I cannot FORCE Greg to do what I want him to do. Truthfully, I can be pretty insatiable emotionally and spiritually if I try to look to Greg to meet all my needs. Only Jesus can truly meet my deepest emotional and spiritual needs. (Please note – I am not talking about severe marriage issues here! If there are very serious problems in your marriage – drug/alcohol addiction, mental health issues, actual abuse, infidelity, please seek godly, experienced help in person from someone you can trust!)

I started to slip a few days ago into obsessing about wanting Greg to do something. Maybe you don’t have that problem. But I sure do. I must always watch and check my motives and lay every thought before God, shooting down any ungodly thoughts, repenting of any evil motives and asking God to purify my motives and fill me with His Spirit. I have to have serious time in prayer and in God’s Word often – to maintain spiritual nourishment.

The second I take my eyes off of Jesus and begin to expect Greg to make me happy and meet some deep spiritual need, I start to spiral downward. I know that there are some things I cannot put into my mind. Even one sentence in a book, blog or sermon about “what godly husbands should do” (that is not something my husband usually does for me) can be a trigger for me, a temptation into sinful thoughts – pride, self-righteousness, entitlement, idolatry of my husband or of being in control, selfishness, resentment, bitterness, etc…I have to catch those thoughts immediately and repent and replace them with God’s truth and set my eyes firmly on Christ alone to meet my needs. Then my feet are on solid spiritual ground again – the Rock of Jesus. I do much better if I just don’t allow myself to focus on what husbands are “supposed to do.” Maybe you can read a whole book about how husbands should be godly husbands and it doesn’t phase you. That is awesome! But for me – I know I can’t go there. I also like to avoid romantic movies and books to avoid temptation to compare Greg to some fictional romantic lead. That way, I can be content with what I actually have and thankful for my particular husband and his strengths without adding fictional or unrealistic expectations to him.

I cannot personally approach Greg  about my feelings and desires if I have my heart set (with sinful motives) on what HE should do for me. It will inevitably be a disaster!

If I realize I am getting trapped in that issue of thinking about what Greg should do for me, I have to go to prayer immediately, repent to God if I have sinned in my heart and begin to focus on all of my many blessings and all that I am thankful for and all the things Greg does do for me and all the things I do respect about him. I must focus on finding ALL of my joy, contentment, acceptance, love, identity, purpose and strength in Jesus. I know I need to concentrate on what God asks ME to do. Then God gets me back in balance – usually – before I even say anything to Greg. This time, I did say a few sentences that started drifting toward sinful motives after I asked for what I needed and wanted, then realized what I was doing and repented. I have to have God’s power to do this. I can do nothing good in my own strength!

SUBMISSION IN THE BIBLE, FOR THE BELIEVER, IN MARRIAGE

Submission in the Bible began with the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. The Son submitted to the Father because He loved Him. They were equal in value and equally God, in fact, they are One. But, Jesus submitted to the position of authority of the Father. Did Jesus share His feelings, desire, concerns and needs with God? Absolutely!!!! He was a man of fervent prayer. Did God listen to Jesus’ prayers? Absolutely!!!!!! But Jesus said, “not My will, but Yours be done.”

When there was a conflict between Jesus’ will and God’s will, Jesus voluntarily chose the Father’s will because He loved Him and because He loved us. (Please read John 17 to read how Jesus shared His heart, needs, desires and concerns with God passionately, intimately, boldly, respectfully and lovingly.)

Submission for a believer begins with our yielding to the Lordship of Christ Jesus. Does He allow us to share our thoughts, desires, concerns, emotions and needs with Him? Yes! He already knows all of these things, but He delights in us connecting with Him and loves for us to pray to Him. (Please read “How to Pray for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear” for more about how to pray. You can also search “prayer” and “pray” on my home page for posts that may be helpful about how to approach God and how to pray fervently and effectively.)

If there is a conflict between our will and God’s will, a believer is to submit to God’s will. Ultimately, that is what we are all to seek above all else, God’s will and God’s glory.

Submission in marriage begins with a wife voluntarily choosing to honor her husband’s God-given leadership. A husband cannot force biblical submission. This is something a wife chooses to do out of her love and reverence for Christ.. Not that the husband is God. A husband is NOT deity! Some people think that if a wife submits to her husband, she is worshipping him as a god. No! That is NOT AT ALL what the Bible teaches! He is just a human being – a sinful and imperfect one – who has been given the position of authority and leadership in order that he might protect, provide for, nurture, lead and guide his wife and family. For more on all the different kinds of human spiritual authority (pastors, church leaders, government leaders, police, military, bosses, husbands and parents), please check out this post.

A wife is free to share her heart, her thoughts, her concerns, her feelings, her emotions, her needs and desires with her husband. And, she is free to share all of these things with God, trusting God to ultimately be the One to meet all of her needs through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

 

If a husband and wife don’t or can’t agree, then a godly wife voluntarily chooses to honor her husband’s decision, trusting God to lead her through her husband.

SHARING OUR NEEDS AND DESIRES

The key for a godly wife is that she is sensitive to God’s Spirit and His prompting about exactly what to say, when to say it, how to say it, when to not say anything and what is worth talking about vs. what is not worth talking about at any given time.

When a godly wife does approach her husband to share, she does so from a place of:

  • spiritual strength – being filled with the power of God’s Spirit and all of His fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23)
  • God’s love motivating her – I Corinthians 13:4-8
  • refusing to use sinful motives or sinful words or actions to attempt to get her way (she does not resort to humiliating, criticizing, demeaning, belittling, making fun of, bossing, controlling, being violent, arguing, disrespecting, complaining or judging her husband. She does not allow herself to be motivated by resentment, fear, bitterness, hatred, apathy, vengeance or anything that would grieve the heart of God. For more details on the sinful nature, please check out Galatians 5:18-21 or II Timothy 3:1-9 )
  • knowing her old sinful nature is dead and buried with Christ so she counts herself dead to sin and her old self but alive to God through Christ Jesus (Romans 6)
  • total submission to Christ as Lord (James 4:7-10)
  • being ready to extend the same lavish unconditional love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that she received herself from Christ (Matthew 6:14-15)
  • God’s wisdom which is much higher than the wisdom of people (James 1:5-8)
  • seeking God’s will above her own (Luke 12:31)
  • seeking to honor, bless and respect her husband and to obey God (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • leaning on God’s wisdom and not trusting her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
  • meekness – this is strength under control or “bridled strength.” The picture is that of a wild stallion who has been “broken.” His will has been broken so now he uses all of his strength to accomplish what his owner/rider instructs him to do. This is what we do for God. Our will is to be broken and we submit our will to His, allowing Him to control our lives, our thoughts, our desires, our actions and our circumstances and giving Him total access to everything we possess. (I Peter 3:4)
  • no fear, because all of her trust is firmly placed in Christ, so she overflows with His peace because she trusts in God with great faith (I Peter 3:6, Hebrews 11:6)
  • faith that God will use all things for her ultimate good and His ultimate glory even if she does not receive what she wants in a given situation (Romans 8:28-29)

There are times when a wife knows God is prompting her to wait and not verbally address an issue. This is particularly true when a husband is far from God. In such situations, God’s commands for wives are to win her husband without a word by their reverence, purity and godly behavior (I Peter 3:1).

There are times when a wife knows that God is definitely prompting that she needs to say something specific right now. There is not a formula for knowing what to say and when that I know of. This is about us growing in our relationship with Jesus and learning to depend on and trust in Him and learning to hear and listen to His voice alone. This means we have to spend TIME with God in prayer, seeking His presence, seeking His truth, asking Him to change us and feasting on His Word. THAT is where our power source is. If we try to do this without the power of God’s Spirit and His Word, we will not have the spiritual nourishment and strength we need and we will be much too weak!

SHARE:

How have you learned to share your heart, needs and desires in a godly way in your marriage? What are your temptations that trip you up? What approaches don’t work with your husband? What approaches do work and bless both you and your husband?

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control Is a Process

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right

Submission Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

The Secret of Submission

Can You Overdo Respect or Submission in Marriage?

Fear Fuels Our “Need to Control

To Speak or Not to Speak

The Frustrating Quiet Phase (this is only a phase early in the journey, it is not a permanent thing!)

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

When My Spouse is Wrong

 

84 thoughts on “Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Say How I Feel and What I Need?

  1. This was SO good, “Even one sentence in a book, blog or sermon about “what godly husbands should do” (that is not something my husband usually does for me) can be a trigger for me, a temptation into sinful thoughts – pride, self-righteousness, entitlement, idolatry of my husband or of being in control, selfishness, resentment, bitterness, etc”

    For 23 long years, I read EVERY marriage book I could get my hands on but they all addressed how husbands should act also so I would focus upon that and decide how far Ken was from being the “ideal” husband so I would be mad at him! This is why I LOVE Debi Pearl’s book and it changed my marriage. She pointed her finger directly at me and my sin, something I badly needed; to take my eyes of Ken and his faults and put them on me and my faults since I am the only person I can change!

    1. Lori,

      I had no idea how toxic that stuff was for me for so long. Greg could be doing 87 things well, but I could so quickly focus on the one or two things he was not doing and then label him a failure and store up resentment, judgement, disapproval and disrespect in my heart. Now, I try to not read things or hear things for husbands. And, quite honestly, I wish that wives were not in the room in marriage conferences and sermons that address husbands. Those instructions to husbands can become ammunition we use against them, unfortunately. Yes, I personally need to see my own sin and God’s commands for me and my responsibilities. That is where my power is in God as He changes me and I yield totally to Him. Now, I can even thank God for any weaknesses my husband has, knowing God will even use those things to sanctify me and make me more like Jesus.

      Thank you do much for sharing!!!! I praise God for the way He used Debbie Pearl’s book in your life!

    2. My experience was the same, Lori! Oh, the massive library of marriage books I’ve had on my shelves! 🙂

      For some reason (probably my extreme stubbornness!) my first reading of Debi Pearl’s book years ago did little to help me. I remember reading through it on a cruise my husband had taken me on, and in my pride thinking I was doing the things Debi talked about, when the whole time I was so far from being submissive and respectful of my husband. I was SO blind! Can you imagine reading Debi Pearl and thinking you were getting it right?! 😉 I pretty much ruined that cruise for us, I was that horrible!

      But, after more years of many tears and frustration, and with the help of the Peacefulwife blog, the Lord worked on my heart, helping me understand this is not about a 10-step process of things that I need to do to force a better marriage (I had already tried in my own strength to no avail), but it is all about my relationship with Jesus, allowing HIM to expose my sins and refine me. So, when I picked up Debi’s book years later, everything about Biblical submission and joy finally made perfect sense. I was finally reading it from a heart bent on desiring above all to obey the Lord out of complete gratitude for His love for me in saving and keeping me, not for what I could selfishly get out of my marriage.

      Debi’s straightforward, bottom-line approach was exactly the way I needed to hear the truth about what it means to be a helpmeet to my husband. I am so thankful to Debi AND April for being bold enough to print the not only marriage-saving, but life-saving truths contained within scripture!

      -HisHelper

      1. His Helper,
        I just googled Debi Pearl and read in a review of her book some horrible things about what she says about child-rearing and women being in abusive marriages. I haven’t read her book, but now I am thinking it is not for me!!! Just wondering what you thought….

        1. Hi Amy!
          There has been an outright attack on the Pearls for many years, no different from the attacks April gets here (but we don’t see on this blog because the ugliness is moderated!) from people who have no respect for God’s Word, and who have a deliberate agenda to stop anyone who believes differently from them The Pearls do promote Biblical corporal punishment within the context of a joyful home, not child abuse, and a wife’s Biblical submission, not the abuse of women in marriage. I believe I read not too long ago that the materials written by the Pearls were thoroughly reviewed by an agency in the state of Tennessee, where they live, and their teachings were found to be completely acceptable and compliant within the law. It is the person who picks up a book, any book, and misconstrues or takes out of context what is being said that gets one in trouble. That is not the fault of the author, and does not negate the necessity of difficult subjects being addressed in writing. As with ANY book, you must weigh what is says with wisdom and prayer as to what applies to YOU. Not every word applies to every situation!

          One criticism of the Pearls is that they do not “sugar coat” what they say. They speak with confidence and out of an urgency to help people whose marriages are failing and need to “wake up” to the truth. That awakening is not always pleasant, and each person may not need to be admonished for every topic addressed in the book. I think that is where people become “offended”–Sin is pointed out, which is painful, and on the other extreme, if you are not in need of changing in a certain area, what Debi says may sound more harsh than you needed to hear. I hope that make sense! The Pearls are humans, and not God, and therefore, you need to “chew the meat and spit out the bones” as far as anything they say. It will not apply to all people in all situations, any more than April’s blog or any teaching does, nor can it be completely comprehensive and cover each and every obstacle and issue you may be facing! Debi ONLY addresses those things a wife has control of. Some assume that means she is blaming the wife for every problem in the marriage. On the contrary, she is empowering women to change those things they can, and very likely this will positively affect the marriage.

          If there is one thing I don’t think Debi emphasized as much as I wish she would have (I do remember her saying it at least once) is that our sole motivation should be in loving and serving the Lord, rather than to attempt to improve our marriage. I know that fixing marital problems is the bottom line for many people, but, for me, having a good marriage was an idol. It wasn’t until I saw God’s great love for me, and His desire to have my whole heart, that I realized I had gotten the cart before the horse. As I wrote above, because I still had selfish motives and extreme pride the first time I read Debi’s book, it really was no more than an attempt to manipulate my husband into changing. I am so glad God did not bless that! So, God allowed me to go deeper into my misery until I understood my sole identity is in Him alone! He is my hope, my peace, my strength, my joy. So, when I read the book years later, with that as my focus, the concept of submitting to my husband became a beautiful thing, because in doing so, I am honoring the most important One in my life…my Lord. My husband, in turn, gets to reap the benefits too! 🙂

          That’s probably more than you wanted to hear, but that’s been my experience with the book!

          Love,
          -HisHelper

        2. Amy,

          I suggest you read her book and decide for yourself! The Pearls have raised 5 godly children who walk in Truth. They all are very happily married. They have a loving, warm marriage that has lasted MANY years. They have a powerful ministry that is spreading the Gospel ALL over the world. Look at the fruit of someone’s life rather than the filth that is spewed from those who hate the Pearls. You may not agree with everything they write, but is there anyone you agree 100% with?

          1. By the way, Amy, there is SO much filth spewed out on the Internet against what I teach! Anyone who teaches God’s Truth without watering it down is going to be hated by the world. It just might be a good sign! 🙂

          2. Amy, I agree with Lori and HisHelper. I like the book and think it has a lot of common sense biblical truths in it.

            As I stated before about the book, there may also be a cultural aspect that is hard for some to understand that she is not being mean. For me, being from the south, I don’t think the phrase “I would like to ring her neck” means she wants to do serious bodily harm to someone. 🙂

            But, if you get to the root of what she is teaching, you will see that is very similar to what April is teaching about marriage.

        3. I have read the Pearl’s parenting book…. I do not know anything about her marriage book nor have I read it. The Pearl’s parenting book is definitely different and I did not like it. I was actually appalled by it. I still have it here and plan on throwing it out. Their ways are a bit extreme and not for everyone so be forewarned. For instance there is a part in the book where they let their small daughter fall into a lake or river or some body of water and let her “drown” for a few until they helped her so she wouldn’t do it again. That seems to be their approach. They set their children up for things, such as putting something very tempting in the room for them to touch and when they do then you discipline them as to teach them not to ever do it again. I do not particularly agree with that nor would I ever do it. I find it worrisome for getting into the wrong hands of people who are abusive or tend to be on a super strict side, etc. I do not find that part biblical at all. My opinion though.

          1. Maybe there is a difference in perspective for city folk vs. country folk here (or maybe it’s something entirely different), but I think it’s important to take into consideration the context of the environment in which the Pearls were raising their children out in the country without the luxuries of most modern homes.

            Proactive vs. reactive parenting was actually wise as far as preventing a drowning, should the child wander off to a pond that is not fenced in, by allowing a child to, in a very controlled situation, learn the discomfort of getting water up her nose when she went into the water (I cannot imagine they would ever let their child drown or even partially drown or be injured in any way–that would be obviously foolish, immoral and abusive), or to set up a situation to train a child not to touch the wood burning stove in the middle of the room, rather than to wait for them to touch that very hot stove and suffer a terrible burn. It has been many, many years since I read their child training book, and I remember not agreeing with everything they wrote, but I think the point was that it is possible to train preventatively and not wait for a tragedy to occur. And if it is possible to train a child not to touch danger, it is possible to teach them the meaning of “no” in other instances too. That’s what I took away from it anyways. That, and how important it is to enjoy your children.

            You do raise a good point in my mind. Common sense is becoming rarer to find in people these days. So, yes, if you lack it, you’re likely not going to be able to discern well how and when or even if you should use some of the various tools of information the Pearls present in their book, which really is not much different from the common sense parenting by which my grandparents and the generations before them were raised quite successfully.

            -HisHelper

          2. I agree with you completely HisHelper. There is a cultural difference. I don’t agree with all the Pearl’s parenting advice either but I see wisdom in some of it too. I was raised in the deep south. Guns were loaded and in full view. I was taught to respect them and not touch. Some people would think that is crazy but it was normal in my culture. My daddy threw me in the river to teach me to swim and ignored me. And I swam and I grew up on that river most of my childhood and swam and skied and fished and I love it to this day. My daddy is one of the kindest men I know but he knew what I needed. I learned the difference in good snakes and bad ones and how to kill the bad ones. But on the other extreme my daddy refused to teach me how to change a tire…ladies don’t do that….find a man. Thank goodness in the south someone always stops when you have car trouble. 🙂

          3. Shana,

            I know this is an old post, but I had to agree with you 100% on this subject. I read “To Train Up A Child” as well, and I could almost see my own mother, with whom I have a very difficult relationship. I am the caregiver, and was very suicidal as a teenager/twentysomething. Only getting hold of some books by Bishop Sheen and listening to some of his “Life Is Worth Living” talks really pulled me through. I never dared confide in my parents, and when Bishop Sheen reminded me in his writings that real love is an act of the will and really has nothing to do with the emotions, then I was able to really love my parents — meaning want what is best for them, wish them well, and hope for their eternal salvation. I didn’t have to necessarily like them. I lost all confidence and affection for my parents, feared them terribly, and felt completely alone growing up. I have warned many people about that book, as I believe it to be dangerous for some children, as it was for me, putting me into a serious depression.

            “Created to Be His Help Meet” also did me more harm than good, as it simply reinforced the message that I was the problem, and that if I just became a robot doing the will of the authority figure, then everything would be fine. I felt like I was in a prison that I couldn’t get out of; first under my parents’ thumb, now under my husband’s. I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up.

            Their books can easily fall into the wrong hands, which is why I, personally, tell people I have known to avoid them. But that’s just me. They are dangerous for me. If you are a quiet meek type already, these books would be unsafe, but if you are a person who tends to be bossy and throw your weight around, they may help balance you out properly.

            (Nota Bene: This is my experience with the Pearls’ books, not a commentary on what I have read here on April’s blog.)

          4. Because of the reasons you listed, Shana, I also could not recommend this book to others. I think we have enough teachable moments with our children with just regular life and it bothers me to think that parents feel they need to set up situations to “train” their children to obey. I just can’t line that up with the way I interpret the Bible and God’s amazing grace for His children.

            Again, life itself holds many, many opportunities for training. If I err, I would rather err on the side of grace on this issue.

            I read all of Debi Pearl’s marriage book and some of the parenting book (couldn’t get through that all the way based on the way it was making me feel). From what I have read of their writings, I think my main takeaway is just a lack of grace in the way they come across. As a matter of fact, this is one factor that will make me quickly walk away from putting myself under someone’s teaching or influence. If their conversation is not grace-filled, but rather strict and very hard-line, I just move along.

            April’s responses and posts, on the other hand, are the exact opposite and are very grace-filled and humble.

  2. Yes, I like to listen to podcasts and I always just delete the ones about what men should do. They always had me in tears. I just cannot go there.

    So I guess if it is something you need then how can you be happy with or without it. Just for example sex, in a way that is a need, a need only your husband could meet, how could you be happy without it….

    1. Elizabeth,
      I wish no spouse ever had to face a situation like this. But reality is that many husbands and wives do face periods of forced abstinence in marriage due to a spouse being away, medical problems, spiritual issues, conflict, etc. God can give us contentment even in these times as we submit ourselves and our sexual desire to Him just like He can with our single brothers and sisters. It is not ideal. It is not God’s will for us to have sexless marriages. But sometimes there are things we cannot control and our Jesus is sufficient even then as we lay our needs before Him. He can give us His joy and peace even in difficult circumstances and empower us to live in purity and chastity. And yes, I have experienced this. Much love to you!

    2. Elizabeth,
      Those things always made me cry in the past, too. Now, I don’t cry – but I still face too much temptation usually if I listen to them to sink into sinful motives.

      You know what else used to mess me up? Songs on Christian radio stations about a husband loving his wife. The one “lead Me with strong hands” was one of the worst!

      1. Oh, yes…that song (as beautiful as it sounds in theory) does not help at all. I have to skip it when it comes up on Pandora! 🙂

  3. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. I’m guilty. One thing I’ve done to focus on the positive is I started a “Gratitude Journal”. I have my regular journal, but I have one completely separate. I try to write every day the things my husband has done that I am so very thankful for. Even the smallest of things really help change my focus. The other thing I do is repeat, “Love him anyway”. It’s a wonderful reminder that he may not be doing what I think he should be doing, or I may be feeling a bit unloved, but it keeps my focus. Thank you April. Great post!

      1. Yes! Do not delay! I did this for over a year and it made such a difference for me! To have to look for something good every day really changes the way you think. I need to start it up again, too! 🙂

    1. Catherine,

      I started a journal like that on January 1 of this year, specifically thanking my husband for certain things every day, and I’m going to give it to him on January 1 of next year. An entire year of gratitude. I may do it every year, I’m not sure. Something to think about as a gift since you’re already doing it! 🙂

  4. April, me too! If I read stuff like romance novels or Christian marriage books on how a godly spiritual man is supposed to lead, be, say or do, it breeds dissatisfaction and discontent for me, and that’s just the minimal stuff! I think those of us who are very idealistic and can fall into perfectionism are esp. vulnerable to this. Good article, esp. the line Lori quotes from it.

    1. Patricia,

      Yes! Discontentment and dissatisfaction. That is exactly what happens to me, too.

      Thank you for sharing! I am beginning to see this may be a bigger problem for many other wives than I thought!

      1. Patricia,
        I mentioned what I write about today to Greg a little while ago and how surprised I was how many other wives have the same triggers. And he, without seeing your comment, said “well that makes sense. Especially since many wives are perfectionists who tend to be controlling.” Hmm!

        Very interesting!!!

  5. Even one sentence in a book, blog or sermon about “what godly husbands should do” ..and then have to suffer through reading on your site about other husbands who say “We want to come home and see our gorgeous wives and know that we work and bust our butt for these beautiful women…” uhh…no. can guarantee my husband doesn’t think that. Maybe next time post a spoiler alert for wives to skip the post if info like this is a trigger. Other than that, thanks for the blog. Am learning much.

  6. Me too, April. I have to be very careful about what I read and listen to. Even yesterday (as I commented on Lori’s blog about allowing Satan to steal our joy) it was as if my joy toward my husband and children was suddenly zapped. I have not felt that kind of attack on my joy in a long time. I had to do some serious examining of my heart and found some wrong expectations of my husband in a project we were working on, and in allowing that project to become more important than my relationship with my husband. How suddenly these thoughts can sneak in and get a hold on my heart! Happily, my joy returned by the end of the day once I repented from sin. This is God’s chastening and refining of me, I suppose. He takes sin seriously, and I know He knows I desire to be made more and more like Him, so He does what He needs to do to accomplish that, as painful as it may be at the time!

    -HisHelper

    1. HisHelper,
      Thank you for sharing both of your comments. I am sure many wives can relate.

      I definitely want to study more about what creates temptation for us as wives so we can talk more about this. Seems to be an issue for a number of us!

  7. I was in the car with my best friend and her husband one day. He was driving through NJ traffic trying to drop us off at a restaurant so we could celebrate my friend’s birthday. (my husband was home with our kiddos.) I noticed how well he handled the traffic, people cutting him off, the stress of being late. He was calm competent and even funny!!!!
    I started feeling so upset because this is a weak area for my marriage. My husband gets crazy in traffic and stressed out! He swears at other cars! I hate it and usually end up yelling at him which of course makes things worse. (fun times!) So I started feeling insecure about my marriage and wishing my husband could be more like hers.
    Once at the restaurant I commented at how great her husband is! She turned to me and said,”Yeah, he is great when you are around!!” It turns out that they had had a huge fight before I arrived at her house. He had even punched a wall! She told me that he only drives so calmly when I am in the car with them. It was a HUGE revelation to me. Now whenever I start to compare my marriage with someone else’s I keep that in mind. Things are never what they seem. Other people let us see their best parts, like their holiday snapshots. We compare their best snapshots (because really all we see of others’ marriages are snapshots) with our worst shots. I was comparing her husband at his best with mine at his worst. Not to mention I was doing this while my husband was happily at home with our 3 young children so I could go out to a fancy restaurant and celebrate my friend’s birthday.
    UGH.
    So I guess to the point of this post, I am always tempted by the sin of real life comparison. I am always observing other husbands and wishing mine would do this or that like them. Movies or songs don’t bother me, I can disregard that as fiction. It is the real flesh and blood so called perfect husbands that get me.

    PS: April, you posted somewhere an example of what to say when it seems like a husband is driving like a maniac. I can’t find it anymore….I meant to memorize it. It was so nice and respectful. Do you remember that post? I would love to re-read it. Now I just close my eyes and pray!!!!!My husband’s driving makes me crazy! (I drive like my grandmother, I admit!)

    Amy

        1. Amy,
          Maybe this is the comment of mine to which you were referring?
          ————
          Has your husband ever caused a wreck in the past?

          If not – then reading or closing your eyes or staying busy concentrating on something else might be a good distraction. Laura Doyle, author of “The Surrendered Wife” learned to close her eyes to keep from telling her husband how to drive. 🙂

          You can also gently say something like, “I know that you have things under control when you are driving. You probably have much better reaction times than I do, so I am sure you are keeping us safe. I know that is your highest priority. I am sure I am hyper-sensitive about this, but it would give me a lot of peace of mind if you would keep more distance between us and the next car. Thanks, Honey!”

          And then, let him think about it and decide what he wants to do.

          Here is an awesome post about a wife who used to be the Professional Parking Consultant.

  8. I just want to thank you so much for this article! I have been married almost 20 years to a strong-willed, but loving man and up until a few years ago, I fought him each step of the way in his manhood. That’s what I grew up with and all I had known. Even after becoming a Christian 15+ years ago, I felt women should have say within their household and everything that entails (finances, how the children are raised, etc) almost to the point that the final decisions were theirs, not their husbands. This destroyed my husband and put us through 10 years of great turmoil and utter distance emotionally and physically even though we remained in the household. Eventually he could take no more and he left, filing for divorce. My pride blamed him for not obeying God’s wishes to stay married, for not being “kind & loving enough”, for being too distant, uncommunicative, etc, etc. The list went on and on. Thankfully, the Lord intervened after 8 months and essentially broke both of us. To be honest though, it was more me than him. Yes, he was able to see that I could be a Godly wife, but I had to give up my pride and willfulness to have my own way. Then I was able to see my dear husband for who he really was, a truly loving man, who provided unselfishly for his family daily with little encouragement from me at best, and undermining him every step of the way at worst. The Lord changed me and that allowed my husband to flourish and be who God wants him to be.

    This last year though has been quite rough as we embarked on a MAJOR remodeling project and my husband decided to leave his well-paying comfortable work-from-home job of 13 years that he hated to just take some time off. In the 10 months he was home/not working, I “expected” certain things. When the project progressed slower than I expected and I found out he was not actively pursuing another job, I found myself being snippy with him and distancing myself. I was no longer the loving, understanding, submissive wife, I was slowly becoming my old self. I didn’t take into account just how draining his old job had been on him and how the years of toll had worn heavily. We had money saved for a time such as this, so he didn’t “need” to go back to work immediately, but I didn’t want to make any changes in our lives that his staying home for any extended period might require. I also became a complete perfectionist about every aspect of the remodel, rarely taking into consideration that he was the one doing all the actual work and had all the experience and knowledge. I also rarely took into account the difficulty in some of the things I was asking for. He in return was starting to become the man “he” had been before, distant and snippy with me.

    My husband had a plan for both his career and the remodel’s progress which although not what I had planned, worked out just fine. The problem is that my insistence on getting my own way has started to cause problems once again, not as bad as the first time, but still there nonetheless. So thank you for your article, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me and my marriage. I will take it to heart and with God’s leading, make the changes I need to for both Him and my husband.

    1. Missi,

      Wow!!!! Thank you for this!! I love all the stories wives are sharing on the post today. Would you please consider allowing me to share this as a post anonymously? I believe many wives would be greatly blessed by your story!

      I am so excited about what God is doing in you! I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for you, your husband and your marriage!

  9. Loved this! Going to my husband with my needs or wants in a login way are MY DOWNFALL. Unfortunately in this area I feel my emotions lead me instead of God’s spirit, mainly because my feelings are easily hurt by my husband for some reason? Even if he is not meaning to, it can ruin my whole day, ruin my thoughts toward him and ruin how I treat him for some time after the incident. If he says Something even slightly unloving or if I request something and don’t get it I become very down and think and look down upon my husband. It almost feels like an emotion I can not control. I have noticed the FEW times I am able to respond with respect or ask with respect, my husband is completely loving. I need to spend more time in prayer about this bc i don’t want to miss out on good times with my husband bc of my sinful or selfish motives, I want to completely die to self but it’s still a struggle.. been on the respectful journey almost a year now. Anyways can’t wait to hear how some other wives do this, and prayer for me is appreciated.. I want to get off the emotional rollercoaster that sometimes runs my life!
    God bless

    1. Learning wife,
      I can so relate to you!!! I am sure most wives can! This is such a great description of the struggle and battle we almost all face.

      I invite you to search my home page for “feelings” and “emotions” and “PMS.” I think there may be some posts that bless you here.

      As you continue to allow God to refine your motives, He can help you get rid of any sinful motives until your motives are only to love and honor Him and to love, bless and honor your husband.

      I am praying for you!

  10. Dear April, you know some of my background and the current struggles I am going through and I find reading this contribution on the blog so very challenging! If I am to “to share her heart, her thoughts, her concerns, her feelings, her emotions, her needs and desires with her husband” then I am hoping deep down, that out of a loving response my husband would settle for a compromise, a solution we are both happy with. I am not asking for anything sinful from my husband, but when he says how much he loves me, but that he cannot meet me on any middle ground I really struggle and indeed all those nasty things, such as resentment, anger, etc come to surface. I have learned over time to take these more quickly to the dross, and thanks to you, not to dwell on them and to repent of them. Still, I am struggling big time….
    What’s worse, I am thinking, Lord I have cried to you over this issue so much, why have you not heard my cry, softened my husbands heart, so that he would be ready to compromise….
    I know that God may well be telling me, that I just need to submit, and that is the bitter cup, I have to drink. But for the moment I am really struggling with that…..

    1. Manuska,
      Yes! This is challenging. We all want what we want. We don’t ever want to be deprived of anything we think is best or that we want.

      And yet, there are many times God calls us to face not getting our way so that He can refine our faith or give us something better than what we asked for or to make us more mature and more like Christ.

      What you are asking your husband for is not sinful. No. Not at all. What he wants is not sinful either. But where you will have to be so careful is your response and your thought life. It would be very easy to let sinful thoughts consume and destroy you and then explode all over your husband. That is not ok – not for any of us.

      I pray that God will change you and your husband for His glory. I praise and thank Him that He is using this situation, painful as it is, to refine you and to bring the dross to the surface so that He can skim it off of your soul and purify your faith and make you stronger and more like Jesus.

      Standing you a huge hug!!!!!!

      Much love
      April

  11. I love this, April. I’ve always been the sort of person who was aware of what other people (in particular, couples) have and so the roots of discontent can grow very quickly if I allow comparisons (or perhaps covetousness is a better word) to happen.

    I can tell you from almost 27 years of marriage (this month!) that:

    1. Comparisons to other marriages are never productive;
    2. The grass is never greener on the other side. Even if another couple seems to have it all, they may also have something lacking that I cannot see. Likewise, my marriage may very well be stronger in different areas;
    3. Preconceived expectations of my husband are just setting myself up for disappointments (not saying we shouldn’t expect a certain standard of conduct from each other); and
    4. All I can change is myself. It’s up to God to work on my husband. 🙂

    I very much agree that Hollywood movies and romance novels can be marriage poison. I believe they’re breeding grounds for discontent. I can’t say that marriage books trigger me, however. My husband and I read The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace and the companion book, The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott together and we loved them. There was no, “You should be …” or “You should do …” because we were so busy feeling amazed, humbled and convicted by what we read.

    I do read a lot of marriage blogs and have learned a lot from them. I just think for me, it has taken a certain level of maturity and growth to get to where I am today. Do I wish I had known these things 27 years ago? Do I wish I hadn’t ignored all the marriage advice I was given at the time? Yep, but again, it’s all about maturity. I’m just thankful God hasn’t given up on me!

    1. Elena,

      I love this so much!!! I can see all the wisdom God is storing up in you. What a treasure and a blessing you are! I wonder if you might allow me to share this comment anonymously on my Peacefulwife Blog FB page, please?

      I appreciate your time and willingness to share all you have been learning!

  12. April, I don’t know how to answer the Trigger Survey. I don’t know if my trigger falls under “other” or even if it is a bad trigger I should avoid.

    My trigger is I want the man I married back. That man was sweet, romantic, and giving. I grieve for that man I lost. Now he is distant, angry and unloving. Not always unloving and angry but always distant.

    1. Daisymae,

      So, good memories from the past are a trigger for you, it sounds like?

      Many times, as God transforms us, that man we fell in love with returns. But it does take time. It is difficult to choose to accept him as he is right now even if he never changes, and to choose to respect and honor him right now, knowing what he used to be like. But – with God, it is definitely possible! I am so excited about what God is doing in your heart and life!

      1. April, I do understand all that and I take responsibility for my part in that.
        I guess my question is, Is it wrong to think about it and let it be a trigger? Is it wrong to desperately want that back?

          1. I know that for me, I can’t focus on what I don’t have right now, what I used to have or what I want to have. I do best when I focus on being thankful for what I have and content in Christ even if nothing else ever changed.

            If some thought triggers sinful thoughts in my mind – that thought for me is a trigger that I need to avoid. If I allow myself to wallow in those thoughts, I will end up falling into sinful motives and thoughts. And that quickly leads to disrespectful and sinful words and actions.

            Great comment! I am sure many, many wives have the same issue.

          1. Here is something to think about –

            Many, many wives I have met want their husbands to be the way they used to be back when they were dating or first married. Ironically, many, many husbands I have met wish their wives were the way they used to be back when they were dating or first married, too.

            Thankfully, as God changes one spouse and begins to heal one end of the marriage, our marriages can be restored and can be even more amazing and stronger and better than they were in the beginning. I’m so thankful we serve a sovereign, powerful, mighty, loving, patient Lord. As we seek Him first, and trust Him with the details of everything else, dying to self and holding all things loosely in our hands but Jesus, God begins to work miracles.

          2. Daisymae,

            Isn’t it strange that our husbands have to go on the same journey we do? Theirs is just as painful, too. But, God will use our sinfulness in marriage to refine and sanctify us all if we are willing.

            I think this insight can help us approach our husbands with a lot more empathy. To realize, they feel the same pain we feel in the marriage, longing for the time when things were better. Now, we can work together to rebuild our marriages on the solid Rock of God’s Word. And we can have a win/win instead of the same old lose/lose. AND, when we obey God, HE wins, too! And so do our children and everyone around us. 🙂

  13. My trigger is expecting my husband to behave as lovingly as I think I would if the tables were turned.

    If I think something is inappropriate, I think he should feel the same way and avoid it accordingly. If I would forgive him for a simple mistake, I think he should forgive me just as easily and not get as angry as he does. If I would make something a priority, I think he should make it a priority as well.

    I’m noticing that more and more lately. My husband says that I have never been disrespectful to him. He has commended me, privately and publicly, for being a submissive wife. But he has also gotten frustrated with me when I simply say, “Okay” to times when he needs to work late or on the weekends. He says he can hear in my voice that I’m not happy with it – and I’m not. I’m trying to be submissive in those times, but I want him to make the same choices I would make.

    Yesterday when he decided he needed to go in the office (on a holiday) for a few hours, I made a very strong effort to really be okay with it. I offered to go grocery shopping then since I know he doesn’t like to. I prepped some food and snacks for him when I got home. When he called, I asked how much longer he might be but stressed that I wasn’t rushing him. He said about another 1 – 1 1/2 hours and asked if that was okay. I told him absolutely, take as much time as he needed – and he came home sooner than I expected.

    I have GOT to stop expecting my husband to react like me. It’s like I think I’m some perfect example of godly love, forgiveness, and correct priorities, so of course he should follow my example and want what I want and think how I think.

    And it’s time to go pray some more… 🙂

    1. M,
      This is really good. Expecting our husbands to be us. I can absolutely relate to that!

      I did this. I expected Greg to have my priorities and my way of looking at things and to respond with my vocabulary and my style of love. And I was UPSET when he didn’t act and think just like me. I assumed he had evil motives when he didn’t live up to my expectations. Ugh. I was so wrong!

      It’s ok to say, “I understand you need to be in the office. I support you completely if you need to be there. But, wow! I sure do miss you when you are gone.”

      I love how you handled things this last time.

      If it were up to most of us, we would spend hours every day emotionally connecting and being affectionate with our husbands. We hate to be apart. But I am proud of you for allowing him to do what he felt he needed to do for work. That is awesome!

      Thank you so much for sharing! This is very important stuff. I know most wives will completely relate!

      1. I like your suggestion of what to say. I will have to make sure I express it to him that way!

        The wonderful thing about my husband is that he’d planned on going to the office early yesterday morning to allow me to sleep in, but there was a helicopter hovering in our neighborhood and he didn’t want to leave me alone in the house if there was some kind of police activity happening. So, he had to go to the office later in the day.

        My husband really is incredible. ESPECIALLY because he is NOT me! 🙂

        1. M,

          Yes! When we realize that it is a GOOD THING that our husbands are MEN, not women, and that they are different from us – that helps so much!

          Aw! That is so sweet that he wanted to stay and protect you! WOW! 🙂 Big points for your hubby on that one!

  14. Thanks April. This post is really helpful. I guess that for me too, I try to not think of what a husband should do, even what is written in the bible because my husband, even if he loves me and has grow quite a lot in our more than 2 years of mariage, is far from that. But so many often, instead of respecting him, I don’t realize that I disrespect him and hurt him. So as you said many times, I try to see my side first.

    It is still hard for me when I ask my husband and he doesn’t do it. An exemple: since about 4 months, I asked my husband to put some dark curtain in our room. It will take him less than 10 mn to do it. I asked many times. Nothing. I sleep with a mask cause the light is so strong in our room (which he thinks is not) that he wakes me up very early if I don’t. I let it go for a while and last week, knowing he will travel to Africa for more than a month (he left 2 days ago), I asked him again. No answer. Then, I offered to pay someone to do it (I know, it might be perceive as disrespect) cause he wasn’t doing anything about it but he refuse.

    It’s hard cause it will be so much better with it for me. He thinks that if he doesn’t put them I will learn to sleep without a mask but did try and didn’t work cause I was waking up very early and got so tired. Today, I even had the thought to try to do it myself even if I’ve done it only once. I will be even nicer with curtains.

    It’s why sometimes it’s really hard and frustrating to submit but I must admit that many times, he took a decision, I wasn’t happy about it and told him that another way would have been better, but at the end, most of the time he was right and I let him know that’s why it was good to submit to him cause at the end, it was really the best decision.

    1. Sonadewonderful,

      I’m so glad to hear from you!

      I know that the situation with your husband is VERY, VERY tough. I am sure that any wife in such a situation would feel greatly discouraged at times. I know this is a small example of some of the issues y’all have been struggling through.

      I am encouraged that you want to honor God and submit fully to Christ and that you want to honor your husband – even though, sometimes, he may not deserve it in your eyes. How I pray that God might continue to refine you both and equip and mature you and fit you both for His kingdom’s service so that you can impact the world powerfully for Christ!

      Thank you for sharing. Maybe you can put the curtains up by yourself – or at least a blanket or quilt or something to keep the light out. I definitely understand that sleep is very important! It is extremely hard to respect our husbands when we are chronically sleep deprived.

      Thank you for seeking to honor your husband, even though he is very imperfect. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you both!

  15. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    Ladies,
    If reading about preparing for marriage is a trigger for you, you may want to skip this one. But, I talk about some of my own triggers in this post, as well as where submission starts and what it is in relationship to Jesus and God, the church and Jesus and then wives and husbands. I think it is a good foundational post to help us have a right understanding of what submission, in God’s definition, is about. Much love to you!

  16. When I married my mother in law said to me “he’s your responsibility now, I couldn’t get him to listen to me.” I read so many marriage books and listened to preaching on godly marriage and felt so discouraged. I couldn’t change my essentric man. He will not fit into the mould. I’ve learnt to love his differences (over many years) and not nag. Other expect me to have control over him though(my mother in law and mother included) and that’s frustrating. He’s a good man, but not a conformist. This is my second attempt replying to your post. If I replied twice I apologise as I thought I deleted the first attempt. Thanks for your blog. I’m learning so much😊

    1. Charli,

      Oh, goodness! Sounds like he came from a bit of a matriarchal family?

      I’m glad that you have learned to appreciate your husband and not nag or try to control him. Extended family can get pretty brutal about things like this. I have some posts that may help.

      Respecting Our Husbands Around Extended Family
      Don’t Expect Outside Support
      Handling a Controlling Mother as a Team

      And, some other things you may want to search for on my home page search bar:

      – people pleasing
      – control and boundaries
      – playing the martyr
      – guilt
      – bitterness
      – fear

      Much love to you!

  17. What do I do when I am applying these things and it isn’t so much that my husband isn’t responding to my efforts. It’s that my husband has really detached from the marriage altogether. He has moved out. He says he wants to stay married, says he loves me but is hurt by me which is justified. I know it takes time to earn that trust back but it’s seeming more and more that my husband is moving on without his marriage.

    1. Mo,

      That is a tough situation – and one that many believing wives today face. 🙁 As you continue to seek to become the woman and wife God calls you to be, and as you trust God to work in your husband’s life, God absolutely can work and bring healing. Show him that God is changing you. It will take time for him to feel safe again. A long time – probably months or years. But God can heal this rift.

      Are you aware of all of the reasons why he feels hurt? Are you working on them and allowing God to change your heart, mind, and soul?

      You cannot control him – but you can trust God and allow God to transform you. That is best for you spiritually and it is the path that may bring your husband back.

      You may search
      – peaceful separated wife

      on my home page. I believe those posts may bless you. 🙂

      1. Bless you too.
        Yes, I hurt him. Deeply. I need to humble myself more. Im so lonesome for my husband. I hope he can forgive me. I want God to change me more. When will I get the peace from God? I need God’s wisdom and peace

        1. mco106,

          As you get rid of the sin in your heart and allow God’s truth and light to shine in the darkest places of your soul, and you give Him full control and access to everything. He begins to rip out the sin and wrong thinking. Then as you begin to obey Him and walk in the power of His Spirit, that peace and joy will come.

          When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?

          Much love to you!

        2. mco106,

          Have you repented to your husband for your sin against him? If so, how did you do it? If not, you may want to read “Apologizing Stories” before doing anything specific.

          What does your husband say he needs?

          How do you plan to embrace humility rather than looking down on your husband as if you are better than he is?

          Sending you a huge hug!

          1. Thank you. Yes, I am owning my sin and asking for forgiveness. I have genuine remorse and I think my husband feels that. Or sees my remorse rather

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.

%d bloggers like this: