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“If I Respect and Honor My Husband, Then God Owes Me a Godly, Loving, Wonderful Husband, Right?”

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For wives who have a history of being controlling, sometimes we  latch on to God’s commands to us to respect our husbands and to honor their headship and spiritual authority in the marriage and assume that if we do these things for God, then “God owes us,” as if it is a business transaction. I do this for God, then He gives me what I paid for. We may think, maybe subconsciously, that we can manipulate God and our husbands to do what we want them to do or that we can force them to do our will and submit to us. We may think we are entitled to be in control if we obey God outwardly.

Sometimes women will think:

If I respect my husband, honor his headship and if I obey God in my life, then God HAS to give me what I want – a godly, loving, attentive, affectionate, romantic husband (by my definition, of course). 

There are many promises of various kinds in Scripture.

1. Some of God’s promises are unconditional:

  • The promise God made to never destroy the earth again by a flood was an unconditional promise of God for all mankind that does not depend on us whatsoever. Genesis 9:13.

2. Some of God’s promises are conditional. We must fulfill God’s requirements in order to receive that promise – these promises often begin with “if” and conclude with a “then”:

  • If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14
  • If we confess our sins, (then) he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
  • So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, (then) you are not under the law.The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.But the fruit of the Spirit (from PW – this is a promise of God that we will have these things if we allow His Spirit to fill us and be in control) is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16-24

 

 

3. Some things in Scripture are principles, not promises. They are not guarantees of a particular outcome. And some of these principles are commands that God gives us that He requires us to obey regardless of the outcome in this lifetime.

That is what I believe the commands for wives and husbands are in marriage.  God commands us to do these things to bless our spouses, marriages, children, the church and unbelievers and to bring honor and glory to Him. We have the best possible chance at a godly outcome and we open the door for God to pour healing into our lives when we walk in the power of God’s Spirit in obedience to His Word. We certainly cannot expect to receive answers to our prayers if we walk in sin, rebellion and disobedience. If we refuse to obey God, and we disrespect our husbands and cut them down and usurp their authority, we will put a big stumbling block in their way that may help to repel them from us and from God. And, if we walk in sin like this, we forfeit being filled with God’s Spirit because our sin has grieved His Spirit and we forfeit the fruit of His Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

When we obey God, we show that we honor and love Him as LORD. We also allow His power to flood our lives. And He will reward us for our obedience in heaven when He judges what we have built here on earth in His kingdom.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.  If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. II Corinthians 3:10-15

Also, Jesus counts whatever we do for other people, including our husbands, as if we are doing those things for or to Him (Matthew 24:31-46 is the parable of the sheep and the goats).

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 24:40

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” Matthew 25:45

When God commands us to:

– respect our husbands and submit to them as head of the marriage/family (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6, Colossians 3:18, I Corinthians 11:3, Titus 2:5) and love others with the love of God (Matthew 22:38, I Corinthians 13:4-7)…

There is no “if” and “then.”

God does not say, “If a wife respects her husband and submits to him, then her husband will always come to know Christ or will always respond to her in love right away or will never sin against her ever again.”

I Peter 3:1-2 says:

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

It does not say “they WILL be won over.”

This is the best approach we have, the most powerful approach, the only God-honoring approach. If a wife desires for her husband to come to Christ, it will be as she obeys God for the rest of her life in this if necessary – until God opens her husband’s eyes, he repents and turns to Christ. But this is not a guarantee. I have seen God work through a godly wife many, many times and use her as part of the way He draws a wayward husband to Himself. I don’t want any wife to ever give up on her husband, but to continue to seek to set a Spirit-filled, godly example and to pray for God to draw him to Himself. We pray for God’s will and we know it is His will that all repent and be saved and that none should perish (I Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9)

  • When God says, “Wives must respect their husbands” in Ephesians 5:33, He does not say, “If wives respect their husbands, then their husbands will always love their wives and wives will always feel loved and they will always have all the romance and emotional/spiritual connection they want.”
  • When God says for husbands to “love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it” in Ephesians 5, He does not say, “Husbands, if you love your wives as Christ loved the church, then your wives will always treat you with the utmost respect and honor and they will cooperate with your God-given headship every moment of every day and you will never feel disrespected in your own home.”

It is simply a command. There is no attached promise of earthly outcomes.

Sometimes, commands do have promises attached.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

Sometimes commands are just given by themselves without any specific promise attached to our obedience. He is Lord. He knows best. He has all wisdom. We do not. He knows what is right and what is sinful. God is revealing biblical principles to us for how marriage works best and how He might be most glorified in our lives, marriages and families. But this is not a guarantee that IF I obey God’s commands, THEN my husband will change the way I want him to when I want him to. My job is to obey God and then I trust Him with the results.

How I long for us to guard our hearts against testing God, making demands that He fulfill our desires the way we want Him to before we are willing to trust Him. May we never do this!

God will change ME as I seek Him with all my heart. That is a guarantee. That is the process of sanctification. But I must leave my husband in God’s hands, trusting Him to work in his life for His will and His glory, praying for God’s greatest purposes to be accomplished in his life.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

MY CONTENTMENT
I am able to be content in whatever circumstances I may find myself because I have Christ. He is the key. Not my husband or my situation. I can be overflowing with the love, joy, peace and abundant life of Christ and the power of His Spirit even in very trying, difficult circumstances. Even if I feel unloved by my husband. Even if my husband is not meeting my needs and I am emotionally hungry. Jesus is enough. He is sufficient for me.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13

MY MOTIVES

If my motives are, “God, I will obey you IF you change my husband and make him love me more and make sure I feel loved all the time by him” – I am asking with wrong and selfish motives (James 4:1-10) and I should not think that I will receive what I am asking from the Lord in that case.

God does not owe me anything.

He gave me salvation through Christ, when I deserved condemnation and hell, which is more than enough cause for me to praise, thank, love and serve Him every moment of the rest of my life even if He gave me nothing else! God does give me certain unconditional promises that I can trust and cling to. He also gives me conditional promises and I am welcome to fulfill my part of the conditions, then I can trust Him to fulfill His promises in His wisdom and His timing.

  • But when it comes to my obedience to Him as Lord, He does not owe me anything for my obedience to Him.  Jesus describes a proper, humble attitude for me to have as God’s servant in Luke 17:

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. ” Luke 17:7-10

My motives in obeying God must be simply, “I love God. He is my Lord. I long to please Him more than anything in this world. I am fully available to You. I am Yours. Use me however You will for Your glory.”

Yes, I will receive rewards in heaven for my obedience. But I may experience difficulties, suffering, persecution and trials here on this earth. Some people will hate me because I love Jesus, possibly even my husband or my family members. Jesus calls me to die to my own will, my desires, my dreams, my expectations, my purposes, my plans and my self. Then I live only for His will, His desires, His dreams, His plans, His purposes and His greatest glory.

– “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” John 14:23-24

– “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:37-42

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27

Lord,

How I pray You might expose any sinful, selfish or hidden motives in our hearts by the power of Your Word. Convict us of any sinful thoughts. Empower us to turn from our selfishness and let us seek to love, honor and obey  You just because we love You and want to please You more than anything. Refine our faith and purify our motives. Make our lives honoring, holy and pleasing in Your sight.

We trust our husbands to You, Lord. We cannot change them. And we do not seek to obey You so that they will change and be what we want them to be. Let Your will be done. Let Your Name be glorified in our lives and in our husbands’ lives. Draw us and our husbands to Yourself. Let each of us know You deeply and experience the spiritual abundant Life You offer to each of us.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

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The Idol of Romance

God, Don’t Waste My Time

Respect Doesn’t Work on My Husband

An Interview with My Husband – Understanding a Passive Husband’s Mindset

DAVID PLATT “Triumph Through Temptation”

DISCLAIMERS:

If you have severe issues in your marriage – if either you or your husband are violent or extremely emotionally/spiritually hurtful/abusive, if there are addictions to drugs/alcohol or infidelity going on or if there are mental health issues, please seek in-person, experienced, appropriate, godly counseling. Involve the police if necessary if you are seriously in danger. Don’t stay in a dangerous place. Get somewhere safe if you are not safe. I do not condone abuse of any kind against anyone. Yes, as we obey God ourselves, God may heal marriages. But a wife’s respect and biblical submission cannot “fix” a violent man, or an extremely controlling man (i.e.: who monitors your every phone call and keyboard stroke and who tracks you every moment of the day with a GPS tracking device). If a man is not in his right mind, it may not be safe for a wife to submit to him.  I am not writing for these severe situations. God is able to heal and His Word is sufficient for all of us, but I don’t personally have experience with any of these issues and I don’t want to give any advice that might be harmful to wives in such situations.

50 thoughts on ““If I Respect and Honor My Husband, Then God Owes Me a Godly, Loving, Wonderful Husband, Right?”

  1. What a GREAT reminder, made me cry as I read it, because of the joy in obeying the Lord just because we love him not because we want something from him or that we can demand it. He is faithful. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Marcy,

      We do not feel very loved if our husbands or children or others only love us if we give them something they want from us. Love with strings attached is not real love. I am sure God feels the same way. He wants us to love Him for who He is, not so that we will get stuff from Him.

      I’m so glad this was a blessing to you. 🙂 Much love!

      1. Hi there, I have been trying to find a blog to answer this question….

        My husband plays poker occasionally and half the time for charity with a 20$ buy in and only plays if we have the money.

        I have stated my opinion about this and he knows what the bible says and is a Christian. He does not have a deep relationship with Jesus but is trying.

        I don’t judge or say anything to him when he goes. The issue I’m having now is that he wants to “host” one of these poker nights in our house.

        So do I just submit to this and risk the possible negative affects on our 12 year old son that has a calling to be a Pastor and possibly damage our witness as a family? Do I just submit even though the Bible is clear about this sin?

        1. Monica,

          How about this, let’s start with what the Bible says about gambling. Would you please look up the verses that concern you and share them here, and we can discuss them?

          Much love to you!

  2. This post is exactly what I’ve been doing incorrectly in my life. Not that I actually prayed to God that if I obey Him, that he should make my husband Godly, loving and compassionate. But I would always revert to being angry or sad that my husband didn’t give me what I needed. When in actuality, all I need, I can get from Christ. Yes, I’m still human, and I am a little emotional when I’ve something that should get a positive response from my husband and I don’t. But nowadays, I’m so much more thankful and joyful that I’m fully aware of God’s presence in my life, that I don’t allow it to get to me as much when I don’t get the response that I was looking for from my husband. Thank you for sharing and thank you for this post. TGBTG.

    1. Lashawn,
      You are most welcome! I went through this stage myself in this journey – having to realize that God is enough. That I am not obeying God in order to get my husband to meet my needs. That was a difficult realization. And it was awful to realize what my motives truly were.

      But what blessing and joy there is when we just love and obey God because we love Him and want to please Him and we have no other motives. That is the place I long for all of us to be.

      Isn’t it wonderful that we can still have God’s joy and peace no matter how our husbands respond!?!? No one can take the power of God’s Spirit and His gifts from us.

      I’m so glad this post was a blessing. Sure wish I could have read it about 20 years ago myself!

      Much love!

  3. Great reminder to us wives who may begin to believe that marriage is supposed to be flawless and fulfilling to the core of our hearts. This doesn’t negate the fact that marriage is wonderful and filled with intents from God – but it is not God.

    Thank you for writing about this – it came at a very timely manner for me.

    1. Jessica,

      Marriage is a beautiful gift. And it can bring us much joy as we live it out by God’s design. But it is not God. Marriage alone cannot satisfy. Husbands are not God. They cannot satisfy the deepest needs of our souls. Exactly right.

      God alone is God. I pray we will keep Him alone on the throne of our lives.

      Much love to you!

  4. It is a fact that I am loved by God, but who am I to make demands of the Lord? Sometimes we treat God like our daddy who we can have wrapped around our little finger. He is our Father, but Father Almighty and I am His servant. Great post, April. Thank you for the continued encouragement to stay the course and keep our eyes on the real prize.

    1. Refined,

      We are deeply loved, cherished andwell-cared for. But God also disciplines us for our good and doesn’t allow us to be spoiled, selfish or demanding. Sometimes, I like to picture the way Jesus is described in Revelation when I am picturing entering the Thrine room of heaven. And I like to picture the way Isaiah describes God. And really focus on the awe, sovereignty, holiness, majesty and power of God before I address Him. I want to be sure I alproach Him in proper reverence and healthy fear. Yes, He is my Daddy. But He is also King of kings and lord of lords. I cannot forget that or be flippant or casual in my approach.

      I always love hearing your thoughts! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  5. I have been reading this blog for quite a while now – perhaps two years – but this is my first time commenting. I am not married, or even dating, but find this blog helps me think through a lot of general things a woman who is a follower of Christ struggles with – married or single. I would like to ask a question:

    April, how did you, or any of the other ladies, come to “long to please God more than anything”?

    I am not there, but would like to be some day. I do, with the help of the Holy Spirit, try to obey His commands, although I am no where near perfect. However, I find that I am not motivated by love, but by a heavy sense of obligation that is somewhat rooted in gratitude but is probably also rooted in I don’t know what exactly …

    If you ladies wouldn’t mind, I would like prayer for a reorientation of my mind and heart toward following God’s commands, particularly the one’s He has given just for me to set me apart. I would like my motive for obedience to come to be love for Him instead of what it is now – which is more like indentured servitude with no joy.

    I know that we are saved by grace and not by works, but part of me feels like, “Well if you are grateful to God for saving you by grace, and you ignore His commands and do whatever you want/what makes you feel good, how grateful are you really?” It’s like a tyranny of gratitude.

    1. dr 2014,
      You are always most welcome here, my precious sister! 🙂

      I think a big part of my desire to please God more than anything came from God convicting me powerfully of just how much I was a wretched sinner. For most of my Christian life, I didn’t really think I was a “big sinner.” I accepted Christ when I was 5. I never got in a lot of trouble at home or school. I didn’t get into drugs, alcohol, partying or sex outside of marriage. I made all As. I studied hard. I was friendly. I was a leader in my church youth group. I didn’t think I owed God much and I was quite prideful, self-righteous and completely blind to my sin of pride, self-righteousness, idolatry of self/happiness/romance/my husband/marriage, unforgiveness, bitterness, gossip, resentment, unbelief, disrespect, control, disobedience to God’s Word, rebellion against God, lack of faith, etc…

      When God showed me my sin in December of 2008 – I was mortified. I finally had to come face to face with the fact that I wasn’t an awesome Christian. I was a wretched sinner. I didn’t just owe God about $200 worth of sin debt. I owed Him BILLIONS.

      I began to realize just how much Jesus had done for me. And when I saw how truly great my sin debt was and that Jesus paid the entire debt and extended extravagant love, grace, mercy and acceptance to me in spite of that, I began to love Him so much more.

      Jesus said “He who has been forgiven much loves much.” I used to think I couldn’t love Him as much as “those big sinners” who had done “really bad things.” But God showed me I WAS a big time sinner. When I saw what I truly owed Jesus, I began to love Him much.

      Do you have a lot of fear in your heart, still?

      Are there pieces of yourself you are holding back?

      What was your relationship like with your parents?

      What do you believe God’s character is like?

      Lord,
      I lift up this precious sister of mine to Your throne room in heaven. I love that she wants to be motivated by love not obligation or duty or fear. Open her eyes to anything that she is holding back from You. Open her eyes to any sin she may be cherishing in her heart, any wrong motives. Open her eyes to any lies or worldly ideas she has about You or herself. Help her to reject the lies and embrace Your truth alone. Give her a heart that loves You deeply. Give her BIG faith. Help her to love what You love and hate what You hate. Give her a burning passion for Jesus, for what He has done for her on the cross, for the unfathomable gift of the love of God for her. Transform her. Conform her into the image of Christ. Illuminate her soul with the blazing Light of Your Word. Set her on fire with passion for You.

      In the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

      Sending you the biggest hug!

    2. dr2014,

      I’m praying for you, too!

      I’m confident April is more equipped to help you with your question. But I will offer from my own life.

      For many years it was fear of God that motivated me to keep His laws. As I began to understand how much He loves me in spite of my daily sin and failings, my love grew more.

      Over the years I have experienced deep sufferings–my own cancer; life threatening chronic illness of my husband that can be extemely lonely when he’s in a hospital suffering and I cannot help him; loss of those closetst to me, etc…..My love for God grows deeper and sweeter with each dark season in my life because He comforts and strengthens me through it. He amazes me with His gifts of encouragement through His word, and how so often when I think I can’t handle it any more, He sends His love in tangible ways through others brought along my path, through the beauty of nature to enjoy, through music that ministers to my heart; through a timely sermon online, etc..

      With each new loved one in heaven, heaven is more real and sweeter in my heart. As I become increasingly and acutely aware of how sinful I am, and yet in His mysterious act of love and forgiveness He chose me, I am deeply humbled and grateful and so full of joy at his mercy on my wretched soul. He’s my best friend and an awesome God. He created me for Himself and I don’t want to waste the very purpose for which I was created—to love and serve Him and to serve others.

      Love to you….Julie

  6. I feel that this came at the right time. The one area I have resisted giving up control, is moving out of State. We have 3 kids (8,6,and 3) that are in school and the idea of moving makes me so anxious for the kids and for me. I have such discomfort over this and as I read the surrendered wife, and love and respect and created to be his helpmeet, I finally said ok and now it looks like it may happen soon. I am so unhappy and I know that my behavior is paramount in regards to respecting my husband and so I don’t give my children the idea that moving is a bad thing… ANY ADVICE would be appreciated as I have been fasting over this and this is a major stronghold over me. When I became a mother I knew I would never ever want to pull my kids out of their schools. Thanks for reading this and I have such gratitude for your blog! It really has helped me and my entire family .

    1. Hi Rebekah, so sorry that you’re having to move soon and it is not what you want for your kids. It is always hard when life doesn’t turn out as we plan! My husband and I are moving overseas to a developing nation as missionaries in just 3 months and it’s definitely getting scary when I think of our 2 children! Although I am completely in favor of our move and I know 100% God is calling us there (and have no qualms with my husband about it), I still get scared/grieve what I believe my children will lose. The truth is, even though God put me in an authority role over my children here on Earth and therefore I do know some of what is best for them, God ultimately knows what is best for them. He loves them more than I do and He can protect them better than I can! Thank God! And God also put our husbands as head of our households and family! I find it easier to trust God then my husband sometimes because I know that God only has our best interests at heart and He cannot sin! Therefore, I know for sure it is best for my children to live overseas, even though my feelings tell me it isn’t and even though I have different fears. Fear isn’t from God anyway. Maybe God wants to teach your children about change, loss, etc through this move. Maybe He wants to teach you some things too, who knows. But one thing is for sure: You can absolutely trust God with this move!! He is with You the whole, entire way. (and even though you haven’t said it outright, it’s very likely your kids can pick up on your distrust in your husband)

    2. Rebekah,

      My Daddy was transferred from PA to SC when I was 14. We moved in April of that school year. My twin sister and our younger brother and I were UPSET to say the least. My parents acted excited about the move. I learned later my dad was not happy about it at all.

      Turns out, God was sovereign over the whole thing. 🙂 it was the biggest blessing on every possible level for each of us in our family. We could not have predicted what would happen. But I met my husband the nest year when I was 15. My sister met her husband our first day at school in 8th grade. They didn’t date for several years. We all had a much better school experience in SC than we had in PA. We all got full scholarships. We all made amazing godly friends. We have had very good churches. My parents started a business here that has done extremely well.

      This is an incredible opportunity to trust the sovereignty of God and to treat this like an adventure. I learned to be very friendly to new students because I knew what it felt like to be “the new kid.” I am so thankful we live where we do now.

      Having to leave a school and friends is not the worst thing that could happen. Sometimes, there are many blessings in a move that you won’t be able to see until you look back.

      Sending you a huge hug and praying for God’s wisdom and for you to use this as an opportunity to live in God’s peace as you trust His sovereignty and leadership and model living by faith for your children. 🙂

      Much love!
      April

  7. Hi april,

    As ever your post is God sent. God performed a miracle in my life and brought my husband back for a seperation. Of over a year. It is very tough still and there are things that my husband won’t talk about but I am trying to leave that to God. Recently I have started seething about these things and have had bitterness in my heart. My husband says I am spikey and I am not being a Godly wife. This post was exactly what I needed. I find it so hard to do things just for God and long to please him more than anything. I look forward to your post later. Thanks again

    1. Sarah,
      I’m so thankful God used this to point you to Himself. And WOW! PRAISE GOD for the healing He has been performing in your marriage!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Bitterness is very, very toxic. I used to cling to it for years. 🙁 Even just a tiny trace of bitterness can grow into a poisonous tree that destroys your walk with Christ, your relationships with others and robs you of all of the good things God desires to give you spiritually.

      I have some posts on bitterness.

      You are welcome to look up these terms on my home page:

      – bitterness
      – forgiveness
      – fear

      Much love to you!

  8. Hi April,

    we recently starter studying Ephesians and my attention was caught by verse 5:21, I didn’t noticed earlier that this is just before requirements for husbands and wives. What do you think this “submit to one another” means in context of marriage?

    Thanks for your blog! God bless 🙂

    1. Lilli,
      I believe that verse 21 is referring to the rest of the chapter before it about how we treat one another in the Body of Christ. Then verses 22-33 specifically address husbands and wives in marriage. However, all of us in the Body are to submit first to Christ. And we are all to put others before ourselves.

      Many people include verse 21 with the marriage verses to argue that marriage is to be about “mutual submission.” But there is no verse that specifies that husbands are to submit to their wives as the spiritual authority. So, I don’t agree with that interpretation. And my greatest concern with including verse 21 in the passage about marriage is that many women cling to that verse as if it is written to husbands and wives specifically and then completely ignore verses 22-33 that are very specific about marriage.

      Husbands are to love their wives with the agape love of Christ (I Corinthians 13:4-7) and they are to be selfless and sacrifice themselves, laying down their lives for their wives. Sometimes selflessness may look a bit like submission. If a wife really wants something or really doesn’t want something, a godly husband will certainly consider her desires and her best interests. But then he is accountable to God for his use of headship and authority. He is to provide for, protect, nurture, cherish, lead and guide his wife. Sometimes husbands may make decisions that their wives don’t agree with at the time, but they are to seek to please God first, not their wives. They are to do what is right in the eyes of God above all else.

      I hope that may be helpful.

      Much love!

  9. My husband is only loving towards me when I am respectful to him. He very rarely helps, or does something nice or even says I love you if I am not respectful.at first I thought it was great, I figured out how to make my husband love me, but now I realize he has only a conditional love for me, why is this? Bc I feel I love him at his worst. But when I’m having a bad day he stays far away. This makes me very sad…

    1. dearbeth,

      I would imagine that you both have issues here. But, you can only work on your own sin issues and your own obedience to God and your motivations. You can ask God to help you love and respect your husband and God unconditionally. God can and will use your husband’s sin and mistakes to help sanctify you, thankfully!

      I am going to guess that your husband doesn’t feel unconditionally respected by you just like you don’t feel unconditionally loved by him. Most likely, you are both hurting one another and falling short of being the spouses God desires you to be. That is usually the case, at least. As you focus on your side of the marriage and your obedience to God and purifying your motives and being filled with God’s Spirit just because you love God – not to “feel loved” by your husband – we will trust God to work in your husband’s life to convict him of his own sin and to sanctify and refine him.

      You are both sinners. Two sinners being married is painful. Thankfully, our God is able to make something very beautiful from this. My suggestion is to focus on the good in your husband and the Philippians 4:8 things and to realize that when you feel he doesn’t love you unconditionally like “he should” that he could have similar complaints about your respect level for him – and that your power is to focus on your own walk with Christ.

      As you allow God to transform you – your attitude and faith and unconditionally respectful approach may be something God uses to bless your husband and to convict him of any sin in his life. But even if your husband never changes, you can seek to be obedient to God and to love and please God, knowing He will reward you for your obedience to Him when you stand before Him one day in heaven. That is the highest goal. 🙂

      I would highly recommend reading Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Keller.

      Much love to you!!!!

      April

      1. Yes I suppose you are right, April. My husband will tell me sometimes he loves me more than I’ll ever know. I think to my self this is true because you never show it. Well rarely, not never, but he is such a loving person towards everyone I see him interact with, but then when it comes to me he will yell and scream if he’s mad? Why does he only do this to me. Also it’s very easy for me to be respectful to other people and other men but hard for me to be respectful to my husband always? I hate this 🙁

  10. Thank you again, April, for allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your words and touch the hearts of many. Especially my own. These past couple of weeks have been a journey like no other. A journey to know the heart of God for me as a wife.

    You wrote “My motives in obeying God must be simply”. As a wife, I have had to take a very long hard look at my motives for my speech and actions towards my husband. At the surface, I believed them to be pure. Our Father has shown me otherwise. Was I acting respectful and obedient to get something for him. Was a saying the right words to him to get a specific response. When I got to the nitty gritty, it was not a pretty sight.

    As I have been co to using to meditate on 1 Cor. 13:4-7, The Lord continues to bring me to scripture on love. All I do should be out of pure love. If I love The Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind, respecting my husband will not be a duty but a desire to be obedient to the Word of God.

    Just yesterday I was meditating on Titus 2:3-5. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    “That the Word of God be not blasphemed” – wow!!! Puts a different perspective on being a submissive and respectful wife. Not to get something from my husband, but to NOT blaspheme the Word of God. This passage is still whirling in my head. Have I thought myself so deserving that a reason to be submissive and obedient was to “get something”. Yes, I did. As The Lord has been taking me “willingly” on this journey of respect and submissive wife, I am uncovering a deeper love for my Lord. I want to be obedient to Him. I want to submit to Him. This is what He asks of me. Who am I to question His Word?!

    My husband deserves this kind of wife. A wife that is respectful and submissive because that is what God says to be. Simple as that. Well, only simple when I get my human wisdom out of it.

    1. Kporth,
      YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      You are seeing it!!!!!!!!!

      WOOHOO!!!

      This is so powerful. You are beginning to see God’s design and wisdom. The goal is not for us to have self-gratification. The goal is to build up the kingdom of God and to not allow God’s Word to be maligned or blasphemed because of our disobedience to Him.

      LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Thank you so very much for sharing!

  11. We show love to our husband’s by submitting to them and respecting their position, but if we expect something in return we are defeating the purpose. Charity does not seek it’s own way and is long-suffering. We are required by Christ to love even the unlovely. So we as wives should go on respecting and honoring our husbands, even if they don’t show love to us the way we want them to. That is real, agape love. The kind of love that pleases our heavenly Father. And pleasing Him should be our main goal as believers.

    1. Beth,
      Yes!! Amen! This is not the kind of love we see portrayed much in our culture, even in our churches, sadly. But this is exactly the kind of love God requires of us and it is the love He has for us, too, thankfully!!!

  12. Jen and Peaceful wife,
    Thank you for your words of wisdom. I feel much better and have already had some nice conversations with my husband. I know this is a chance to grow and the idea that I distrust my husband makes me feel sad. I take your advice seriously and wanted to say thank you for your response.

  13. I have a question, off topic. I understand the Bible says women are not to teach or usurp authority over men, but how does that play out in everyday life? Does that mean in church and marriage advice, or everyday household tasks? Specifically my husband and I are friends with a couple up the street, they have a terribly “modern” marriage that’s working for them. She has her workshop where she builds furniture to sell, he works and comes home and does the cooking and takes care of their kids. She has no interest in the kitchen. This is working for them and they seem happy. The problem I’m having is since he is the cook at their house and I am the cook at our house he’s been asking me how I do things. He’s interested in canning which I’ve been doing for a while. He wants me to come over and can one day to show him how it works, each of our spouses would be present so it’s not like we’d be alone. In a perfect world the wife would be the one interested in cooking and we’d have a kitchen day together. This is the only area where he looks to me for advice, otherwise he’s my husband’s friend and they go out hunting and fishing while I hang out with his wife. Can you help me untangle this knot?

    1. SouthernWifeinTraining,
      If both of your spouses will be there, I see no problem with you showing him how you can things. The issue about not usurping a man’s authority – from my understanding – is in relationship to our own marriages and not teaching them or being in authority over them at church. 🙂

      1. Thank you for your answer. This is the first chance I’ve been back online since I asked, we’ve been dealing with a personal crisis.

          1. Sadly it took something tragic to get our marriage back on track. We’ve never been closer and we’re talking through everything we’ve been avoiding for years. It took the miscarriage of our first pregnancy to wake us up. We’re heartbroken, but depending on each other and God to get through.

          2. southernwifeintraining,
            Oh no!!!! My precious sister!!!!!! I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. How I wish I could hug your neck! I am glad you are coming together in unity in the midst of your grief. I pray for God’s greatest glory in your marriage and in your walk with Him! Thank you for letting us know so we can pray with you.

  14. Hello there Peaceful wife,

    It’s true that when we obey God, we do it out of love and not out of receiving something out of it. There are promises in the Bible but God does not allow us sometimes to see them immediately for the purpose of strengthening our faith. In addition to that, obedience out of sinful motive (eg. so God can change our husband) will be tested on fire and sooner it will reveal it’s true color.
    But be not discouraged also, promises in the bible are like bankcheques, you write the amount of obedience you did and you can definitely encash it . Our part now is to wait when.
    Then again remember Abraham, to whom a promise (to be a father of many nations)was given. A promis he will see and with faith believe that his only son Isaac is the fulfillment of the promise. The fulfillment of a promise is not always the way we expect it to look like. Sometimes the fulfillment is already there we just refuse to see it.

    Praying for more godly posts from you.

    Alpfae

  15. Great post. So much truth. I purposed about a year ago to love and respect my husband unconditionally. Without expectation. But recently, I’m starting to see there’s one area I’ve reserved for myself, holding on to expectation and wanting it to happen my way. Respect? Ok. Unconditional love and devotion? Ok. My trust? Nope.

  16. Cont….
    And I’m still wrestling with I Cor. 13. Love always trusts. Well, I want to see my husband try to earn my trust back. And I haven’t wanted to accept restoration in any other package. But the lesson keeps repeating. If I bring up the rebuilding of trust, he either promises accountability and reassurances he doesn’t keep, or flies off the handle. And then, because of our thin skins and thick skulls we are set back a little. 🙂 so maybe trust… Is a choice. Like respect. I have to accept that my husband just doesn’t respond well to this. It’s not helping. I just watched the Jimmy Kimmel video where parents tell their kids they ate all their Halloween candy. The kids reactions are mostly upset – even knocking chairs over!- but a few just say, “That’s ok!” And it melts the heart. Well, when I want to discuss him “winning” my trust back, I want him to be the personality that says, “that’s ok!” But instead he’s knocking verbal chairs over and throwing verbal plates. 🙂 it’s acceptance time. Love always trusts. This could be harder than choosing to respect. Choosing to trust? I feel I’m stepping out onto a new journey. Here I go. 🙂

    1. H31,
      I have some posts about trust. You can search “trust” on my home page – and I have some videos about trust on my youtube channel “April Cassidy.”

      I believe that love primarily trusts in God. There are times we cannot safely trust in people. God often commands us to trust Him and not to trust people. I want us to seek to trust our husbands whenever possible. But, if a husband is definitely not trustworthy, I don’t think that means we should trust him. But we can trust God. I hope that makes sense!

      For me, I didn’t trust my husband when I could have trusted him. That is a problem, too. My lack of faith and trust in him was damaging. Of course, I also lacked faith and trust in God, and I had to correct that first.

      Many husbands feel very disrespected if they know their wives don’t trust them.

      Is there a legitimate reason why you cannot and should not trust him? Can you focus on rebuilding trust without using those words?

      Praying for you my precious sister!

    2. H31,
      For instance, I have heard wives whose husbands are committing adultery talk about that they will just trust their husbands – no matter what. I don’t think that is appropriate or wise. One wife told me that her husband would bring women off the street into their bedroom and she respected and trusted him by making supper for them. Um. No!!!! No. No. No.

      There are times when trusting a person would be unwise – when they are involved in unrepentant sin like that, for instance.

      I did a word study on trust. That may be an interesting one to do – to use a thesaurus or a http://www.biblehub.com and search all the verses that say “trust” in them and study what God’s Word says about trust.

      1. Yes. He is working on a porn addiction which involved lust and dabbling with other women for 2 years now. He has been inconsistent in his recovery and has lied to me multiple times. He does not walk in transparency and it’s hard for me. He is making some effort, going to group sometimes and he has sworn off some behaviors altogether. So it’s better. And I agree. It’s like a trust in God that translates into a lack of fear of man. (If that makes sense). But my checking in and suspicion just makes it worse even if it’s infrequent. He resists it all. I have to ask God to help me ward against suspiciousness and fear. Thank you for praying.

        1. H31,
          I am glad he has a group to go to. And that he has sworn off some behaviors. I hope you can praise and thank him when you know he is being trustworthy. Hearing when he does things right may be a lot more motivating than feeling constantly condemned.

          Yes! Trust in God can absolutely help us not be afraid of men or circumstances.

          Is he staying accountable in his group?

          Is there any support for the spouses?
          Praying for you both!!!!

          1. I really don’t know if he stays accountable. He doesn’t keep me in the loop. I’ve tried counseling and a wives group. But this blog has helped me more than any of that over the past year. 🙂 I will look into your posts on trust. I can also remember to work on my OWN issues rather than keeping an eye on his. Easy to say now, hard in the darkest moments.

  17. April, I know you speak a lot about how we are still called to give our thoughts and opinions, and share our desires…but what do I do when my husband seems to be annoyed by them?

    Maybe I’m approaching it the wrong way, I don’t really know.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    1. His daughter from his first marriage is inviting us to her wedding. There are MANY issues with her mother and brothers. My husband is fearful of anything disruptive that could damage her wedding. He says no matter what, it would end up being his fault. My response was, would his daughter think it’s his fault, considering she knows full well what the issues are and she has spoken to her mother and brothers and told them she’s inviting us anyway? My husband told me that I “have a rebuttal for everything” and I didn’t really understand the dynamics. I felt like I was just voicing a thought, an alternate point of view that I was hoping might be reassuring.

    2. I have a huge family that gets together for all holidays, and as we know Thanksgiving (in the US!) is coming up. Additionally, my husband and I serve at church and we have already committed to serving that Sunday. My husband is very, very resistant to plans and hates when I ask if we can RSVP yes to a party a month in advance, because “we don’t know what we’ll want to do that day”. So he tends to make last minute arrangements, and he asked if I’d want to take a trip Thanksgiving weekend. I would rather not, because I’d like to spend it with our family as usual, I’d like to keep our commitment to serve at church that Sunday, and my daughter is with her dad that weekend so we would have to tell him we’re using one of our allotted vacation times. I didn’t answer him in that manner, giving him a list like that, but I just said well, I’m not sure because there’s this, and this, and this. He got upset and told me I always have some kind of argument to make and how is he supposed to be the head of our household if I won’t let him? I told him I would do whatever he felt was best for us if he decided we should go on the trip, but he was annoyed with me and hasn’t brought it up again.

    3. He asked me over the weekend to work on setting up direct debit for a debt that we owe. I went to do that today and texted him before I submitted it just to confirm he still wanted me to (I have a horrible memory, and a lot of the time he will tell me that I must have forgotten what he said – but sometimes when I ask to double-check he gets annoyed with me, so I feel like I can’t win…), and he asked me to wait until next month to do it. I said that was fine, I will do that, but also wanted to let him know that we would probably be taxed on the debt if we waited longer. He told me to just do whatever I wanted to then. I said I was fine waiting, I just wanted to make sure he had all of the information. Should I not have made the comment about us being taxed? He seemed annoyed, like he thought I was arguing with him about waiting another month, but I don’t know how else to present that information to him other than saying, “Okay, but just so you know…” How else should I have done that, or should I have withheld that information?

    These are only a couple recent examples, but it seems like this happens a lot; he will ask my opinion and if it differs from his, or if I try to make sure he has all of the information available in case it’s important enough to change his mind, he says that I’m being argumentative. Is God trying to teach me right now to keep quiet, to agree with whatever my husband says for the time being? I just don’t know. Sometimes I feel he’s being very hard on people and assuming the worst of them when people probably just forgot or meant something entirely different, but I don’t feel like I can share my opinion about things like that without him getting upset with me.

    My husband is truly a wonderful man, and I just want to know how I can bless, honor, and respect him better. I need some objective points of view about what I may be doing wrong and how I can improve. He deserves that!

    1. M,
      I had some extra time this morning, so will attempt to tackle these issues… 🙂

      There can be times when silence is best – that will take sensitivity to God’s Spirit to know when for sure we should just not say anything. It may be that issues about your husband’s daughter could be one of those things. How long have you been on this respect journey? Sometimes, in the beginning, silence can be more necessary than later – I hope that makes sense. Especially if you were very vocal before.

      1. Your response doesn’t sound disrespectful to me. But, your husband may be very sensitive about this issue. Maybe he needs some time to think about it. And, ultimately, this decision needs to be his, in my view.

      2. So, your husband is more spontaneous in his personality. My husband is, too. I think it can be important to try to work with that personality trait rather than to fight it. I do think it is ok to share the options that are available and to say what your preferences are. I wonder if he would respond better to, “Here are some options for that weekend. Here is what I would prefer. But, I will be happy to do whatever you feel is best.” Keep in mind, as well, that it will take time for him to develop confidence as head of the home and leader. Sometimes, you may not be doing “something wrong” but he may still get upset. It may not be about you. It may be something he is dealing with.

      3. I think it is important to be sure he has all of the information. I don’t see where you did anything wrong there.

      I can’t hear your tone of voice or see your body language – but – these may be some of his growing pains. It can be difficult at times to see where our responsibilities end and our husbands’ begin. But, I think that you are doing well – from what you are describing. It may just be a time of adjustment. And he may be taking you as arguing with him, when you truly aren’t. Hopefully, in time, he will see that you are not arguing. It may be that you can preface your opinions and additional information with something like, “I am totally on board with whatever you think is best about this. Here is some information that could be important.” And then, maybe he needs some time to process things?
      I wonder what will happen if you don’t bring up the Thanksgiving thing again and wait to see what he does/says?

      With the wedding, it sounds like your husband has been pretty severely burned before with his ex. Could be wise to let him just think about that and not pressure him about it?

      With the money, you can approach him again, maybe in person? And say, “I am totally fine with waiting until next month, I just want to be sure I understand what you would like me to do.”

      You may even say, “I know I used to argue with you over things. I really don’t want to argue or be contentious anymore. When I share my preference or extra information, I don’t intend to do that to pressure you, but just to give you all of the information you may want to have.”

      But, ultimately, more than my advice, sensitivity to God’s Spirit will be key!

      Much love!

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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