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a pic I took of a "wedding cake topper at Wal-mart

"My Husband Can't Make Me Submit to Him or Respect Him!"

a pic I took of a
a pic I took of a “humorous” wedding cake topper at Wal-mart

Oh how the picture above makes me cringe and breaks my heart!

Sadly, this was me for the first 14+ years of our marriage. 🙁

Note: This post is not for wives whose husbands are violent, or who threaten violence, who are actively addicted to drugs/alcohol, who are living in major unrepentant sin, or who are experiencing uncontrolled mental health issues right now. If this is your situation, please seek God and seek godly, biblical, trustworthy counsel in person to help you walk through these extreme situations. There are times when a wife may not be able to submit to her husband in such situations, but may need to reach out for help. (For a bit of clarification on the difference between an abusive husband and a decent husband who is trying to lead his wife in the right way, please see the bottom of this post and also please read last Saturday’s post – Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission.)

HUSBANDS HAVE A GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBLITY TO LEAD (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18-19, Titus 2:5)

If my husband has the courage to say to me, “You are being disrespectful.” Or “You are not honoring God’s Word,”  (whether he is a believer or not) – I need to take his rebuke seriously.

  • Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Prov. 15:31
  • Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Prov. 15:32

If my husband’s rebuke/criticism has merit according to Scripture, then I need to repent to God and to my husband and ask God to help me change and stop my sin. God wants me to live a life of obedience to Him in holiness by the power of His Spirit regenerating my heart, mind, and soul. I have no excuse to continue on in sin if I belong to Jesus.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 1 John 3:7-10

I cannot cherish sin in my life and be right with God. I cannot embrace rebellion against God and be God’s friend at the same time. I must choose sin or Jesus. I cannot have both!

If my husband tries to lead and I say, “You can’t make me submit to you!” What does this reveal about my character and my walk with Christ? Who is in charge of my life? My flesh or God’s Spirit? 

No, my husband cannot violently force me to submit to him – that would violate my free will. I cannot violently force my husband to do anything either or violate his free will. But if Jesus is my Lord – my greatest desire will be to seek to submit fully to Him and to obey Him – out of gratitude for all He has done for me. If I refuse to obey God’s Word, I am destroying my fellowship with God and my marriage. I will answer to God for this and He will be rightly displeased. I tremble at that thought! I long only to please Jesus with all my being! Let’s imagine for a moment that a husband is being unloving, passive, or dominating and harsh  – walking in disobedience to God’s Word. How would a wife feel if her husband said one of the following things?

  • You can’t make me love you!
  • You can’t make me lead in our family. I don’t care what the Bible says.
  • You can’t make me stop screaming at you and going into a rage. I’ll be harsh all I want! I’ll treat you like a slave if I want to.

My husband is right to point out my sin. That is the loving, godly thing to do!

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

How I WISH Greg had confronted me about my sin during those first 14 years of our marriage (disrespect, control, pride, self-righteousness, selfishness, bitterness, resentment, gossip, etc…).  Perhaps God would have used his leadership and wise rebuke to wake me up and spare us both the pain of my sin. A godly man or woman does not ignore sin. God does not ignore sin – and God is Love. God is also holy and God speaks truth. His followers are to speak the truth in love and to warn our brothers and sisters if we see them heading down a dangerous path away from the Lord. Wives also have the freedom to respectfully confront their husbands about sin.

A CHRISTIAN HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE: 

As a husband who was married to an unsubmissive wife for many years, I was taught that submission was voluntary so leave your wife alone and just love her. Unfortunately, I was not taught the full truth that many wives will not voluntarily give their submission or respect to a husband because they have a sinful desire to remain in control. It is not until a godly wife is confronted with her sin that she can begin to see clearly that her submission is indeed to be voluntary to her husband, but such submission is a mandatory act demanded of her Lord and Savior. It is in no way optional, except if a Christian wife wants to live in sin.

Don’t get me wrong. The same is true of a husband who is doing or saying unloving things to his wife. He too must understand that loving his wife, no matter how difficult she may be, is a mandatory demand made by His Lord. But a Christian husband should not be ashamed or bashful to ask a Christian wife to consider what her Lord asks of her – as it unlocks a marriage to far greater joy and happiness. A Christian wife may do the same in asking her husband to love her and treat her gently. Neither must live perfect lives to be able to point out to the other their sins. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)

There are many wives who desire to be far more submissive and respectful but are seemingly incapable of moving fully forward because their flesh controls them. It is here that a Christian husband should show leadership in discussing with his wife the Biblical roles and point out to her the times she is being unsubmissive and disrespectful. Calling her out on her willful disrespect in private is vital to helping her overcome her fleshly sins.

Awareness is the road to change and when husbands are afraid to ask their wives to obey Jesus, they are not displaying the headship role God has given them.

Three times I reminded my wife that the God asks her to be submissive, and she said, “Yes, but you can’t make me!” My response was, “You are correct, but you need to talk to God about this.” The Holy Spirit inside spoke to her and convicted her that, indeed, even if her husband was not perfect himself, she had no choice but to obey the Word of God is she wanted to walk in righteousness.

PS:

Sometimes husbands demand more than a wife can possibly do. There can be times when a wife may need to say, “I want to honor your leadership. I want to respect you and follow you as leader in our marriage. You have asked me to work full time, have the house perfectly clean every day, lose a lot of weight (which requires me to have time to shop for healthy food, cook healthy food, and exercise for 30-60 minutes 5 days/week), take better care of the children, and have time and energy for sex. I’d love to be able to do all of the things you want me to do. But I think this is too much. What can we take off of my plate so that I have time to do the things that are most important and do them well? I would like to step down to part time at work so that I can take care of these other important things.”

A wife does have freedom to share her concerns, needs, desires, ideas, and her perspective!

FROM A BROTHER IN CHRIST:

God does not force us to submit to him.

Also, if is forced it is not submission, it is coercion. Submission means nothing unless it is an act of a person’s free will. It would be like forcing a person to love you – it would not really be love.

 

RELATED:

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

Responding to Our Husbands’ Constructive Criticism – VIDEO

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

My Husband Won’t Lead

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More

Is Respect Optional for Godly Women?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sins

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Overcoming Bitterness

——————————

FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION – SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND AND A NON-ABUSIVE HUSBAND: Examples of My Definition of “Abuse” Would Be If a Husband:

  • demanded 100% unquestioning obedience even if he asked his wife to clearly sin against God, i.e.: “You will do everything I say or else!”
  • said, “You have no right to any opinion. You may not speak at all.”
  • said, “You may not talk to anyone but me ever.”
  • threatened or carried out physical violence.
  • forced his wife to cut all ties at church, with her family, with her friends, and with everyone but himself so that he could completely control her all the time.
  • demands his wife to worship him in place of God.

I would like to encourage wives who are truly being abused to find appropriate help and to get somewhere safe ASAP!

What is much more common is that wives have decent husbands (Christian and even non-Christian men), but if the husband attempts to lead – the wife accuses him of being “abusive” and/or refuses to honor his leadership. Some Wives Claim Their Husbands Abuse Them If Their Husbands:

  • don’t agree with them.
  • ask or tell them to do something they don’t want to do.
  • confront them about their sin.
  • are firm about that their sin is unacceptable.
  • tell them they were being disrespectful or unsubmissive because the wives actually were being disrespectful or unsubmissive.
  • ask them to keep a record of what they spend.
  • ask them to spend less time at church (i.e.:  a husband may say, “I think that our family is suffering because you are spending 4 nights/week helping at church. I want you to cut back to one weeknight at church and be home with us the other evenings.”)
  • don’t have the exact same personal convictions.
  • get upset with them about legitimate concerns.
  • ask for their wives to meet their needs sometimes that may be different from a wife’s needs.

These things are not abuse, my dear sisters!

82 thoughts on “"My Husband Can't Make Me Submit to Him or Respect Him!"

  1. What about when the husband expects the wife to bear the burden of financially supporting the family AND fulfilling all the duties at home AND expects perfection in appearance of the home. My husband is angry with me for putting on weight, but I have told him the stress is more than I can bear, and my weight reflects that. I am currently making some drastic diet changes trying to see if that will reduce the amount of weight I gain due to stress, . I do not see the stress going away. He wants me to work full time and earn more, so I work a second job on weekends. How can I do that AND spend time with the home chores AND be with my family AND commit to time working out AND spend time in devotions. I cant do it all so something ALWAYS gets neglected. For many years that something was my own health. Now im putting my health at thebtop of my priorityblist, trying to lose weight, butbi feel so neglected, used and rejected that sometimes i wonder if its really worth the effort. Im lonely. My husband hasnt touched me in over a year, and still wont, even if I come right out and ask. Im earning twice as much money, im delegating housework to me teenager, and trying to eat healthier and get some exercise. But still, hes not interested in me. I dont knowwhat else he wants. Ive changed so much over the last couple of years, putting off anger, control, and becoming more respectful, but at the same time learning not to be an enabler (im quite codependent at times). Sometimes I just feel like all the effort, sacrifice, and struggle has been for nothing- cuz im still rejected and unloved.

    1. MHMC,

      There are times when husbands ask for, or even demand, more than a wife can possibly physically do.

      It can be necessary for a wife to say, “I really cannot do everything that you are asking me to do. I wish I could. But I just physically can’t do all of this. What can we take off of my plate so that I can do the things that are truly most important? I believe I need to have more energy and time to take care of my health and my weight. I also believe I need more time with our children and more time to take care of the home. I can’t work 2 jobs and do all of these other things, too. I think I could do the most important things around the house and in taking care of my health and weight if I was working one part time job. Trying to do all of this is very stressful for me.”

      I know that there have been some pretty major issues in your marriage – and I think that it may be necessary for you to seek a godly counselor to help you work through these issues and to pray with you about how to approach the dilemma that you are in.

      I am praying for God’s wisdom for you, my precious sister! Ultimately, your job is to please Christ, not your husband. Does that make sense?

      1. MHMC,
        I’m also going to see if we can get some of the godly husbands’ perspectives on this important issue. And I added a bit in the post about when husbands make unreasonable demands, as well.

        Thank you so much for bringing up this discussion! It is much needed!

        1. I agree to a large extent with Lori Alexander about the husband needing to be the primary bread winner. Sometimes families fall on hard times, and the normal ‘order’ of things is broken, because everyone has to step up to do what needs to be done to keep a roof over everyone’s head and food on the table. The ideal, though, is that a man be able to provide for his family.

          It seems like there is a lot of dynamics you have which makes it hard to unpack, so I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with what you’re going through.

          Is there anything you can do to financially ‘rearrange’ the family’s budget so the level of income can drop? Are you busting your tail simply for material things like car payments when a simple $3k car might work? Are you house-poor because it takes too much a portion of your income? I don’t know the dynamics, so these are rhetorical questions for you, not things you have to answer publicly.

          Lastly, and I hope you do this respectfully to your man, but it might be time for you to ask him to be a man. Barring some disabilities or something, he should be out there working full time, and if that doesn’t make ends meet, perhaps you can cut your work to part time, or maybe he can get the second job. That way your vocation can be to be the world’s greatest domestic engineer.

          God bless! Keep seeking Christ!

          1. He works full time. When I was part time we made ends meet. It was hard, but we survived. The problem is, he doesnt want to survive. We have very few expenses, other than what most people have. No car payments, a small amount of credit card debt. House payment less than $400 a month. His mother worked full time on 3rd shift, and she still had a garden, cooked every meal, kept the house in order, etc. He wants me to be in the same position she was. I have told him I dont want to do things the way his parents did- mostly because they are very open about how unhappy they’ve both been. I dont want that. But he threatened divorce if I didnt make more money, so here I am. Working all day while he is at home, caring for my children, and then expecting me to fall back into the mother role as soon as I walk in the door. He gives me looks of disapproval, avoids intimacy, and insists on me paying back our savings of everything that we used up while I was unemployed (after a job loss, and loss of potential job after that). Its been a rough couple of years, and I feel the pressure being put on me to set things back the way they were. I know its wrong of him, but there are days I fear he will kick me to the curb if I refuse this obligation. It is heartbreaking. I cry every day. And he doesnt seem to desire to improve his own behavior. He is polite to me, he doesnt yell, or argue- but there is no romantic feelings. Its like we are brother and sister, or room mates.

          2. I’m sorry to hear about that struggle.

            As a man, what I would like to hear is something like this, and it doesn’t need to be an accusation of his behavior, but instead an assertion of your needs and desires.

            Say, “I want X” and list the end game you want to accomplish with him. Whether it be home full time, part time, or whatever blend you desire.

            Then ask him what you two can accomplish as a team to make those things come true. Ask him what financial goal you want to accomplish when he’ll bless and be in agreement with you cutting back. That way he still has his input, but you also give him the opportunity to come toward you by asserting your needs and letting him provide.

            Does that make sense? Perhaps agree on an amount to save in a ‘rainy day fund’ (5 grand, 10 grand, whatever reflects your needs) and get certain home maintenance goals accomplished (roof, windows, etc), and then once those goals are accomplished, you can stay home?

            It is really great for men to have a target we can focus on instead of constantly living in a static state. The other great part is that you can quantify exactly at what point you’re in agreement (ahead of time – no surprises) and that when you DO accomplish that goal (together) then he has the opportunity to give you grace, and it’s not done in a coercive way, so he still feels like he’s leading.

          3. How did I miss this one? I’m sorry, MHMC.

            You know, you have been giving and giving and trying to do all of these things for a really long time. And you and I know the reason you lost your job before – that he really can’t blame you for that.

            Obviously, this would take much prayer.

            I think there can be a point where God may lead you to say something like, “I don’t want a divorce. I love you. I want to see our marriage heal and be stronger. Right now, I am beyond exhausted and depleted and just can’t continue to run myself to death at this pace. I believe I need to quit the extra part time job for my own mental, spiritual, physical health, and sanity. I would love to do everything you want me to do perfectly, but I am not okay. Something has to give before I make myself really, really sick.”

            Of course, please go with whatever God prompts you to say, not my words!!

    2. MHMC,

      Just yesterday I wrote a post that Men are commanded by God to be the providers of their families ~
      http://www.lorialexander.blogspot.com/2015/07/men-are-commanded-to-be-providers.html

      It breaks my heart when husbands ask women to bear the consequences of the curse given to men along with their curse, thanks to the women’s right movement. If he is a Christian, respectfully show him the verses that God commands men to be the providers. A woman who has to work full-time, plus keep up the home duties and keep herself healthy is given an impossible standard to meet since we are “the weaker vessel.”

      1. Thank you for sharing, Lori.

        Many, many women are trying to carry the load of both curses today. It is completely exhausting!

        Praying for women who are struggling and seeking to find godly balance.

    3. If I may, you should probably confront your husband with pure logic and leave the emotional things for another time. Here are a few points you could consider, but please note that most/all of them will still require effort on your part to make them work properly:

      – Point out that a wife that works at home can often more than compensate for the loss of income by doing things at home that you would normally need to pay for (i.e. cooking, cleaning, repairing/maintaining clothing, and other home maintenance.) Proverbs 31

      – Point out that you will have more time to cook/grocery shop, which will reduce the food bill, improve the health of everyone in the home, and help with the weight loss.

      -Point out that you will also have the additional time to exercise etc.

      -Point out that working one job and progressing along that career path is likely to be far more lucrative financially than working multiple jobs, which will leave you burned out and unable to progress in your career.

      -Ask him why the responsibility to support the family financially is falling on your shoulders. That is the husbands responsibility.

      1. Lived it. I was happy, he wanted more. I was the wife who baked, cooked healthy meals, canned and froze food, had a garden, helped with yard work, and managed everyone’s schedules. We didnt have much money, but we didnt really need it. He wanted more. He didnt want us relying on him, he felt he was sacrificing too much of his own wants. So now, he has money to play with, and I work to put money away and pay off debt. Believe me, if I thought he’d hear me, I’d have the conversation again. He knows I do not want a career. He knows I do not want the stress of a full time job. But its not about me, its always about what he wants- and this is what he wants.

        1. MHMC,

          I pray that God might give you wisdom about how/when to approach this issue again. I don’t know that a wife could continue on like this indefinitely. I know things have been VERY hard. 🙁

        2. I didn’t read this right until after I answered again above, but I would REALLY suggest that you and your husband go through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program. It will really reconcile these disparate financial goals. He needs to lead, but it needs to be servant leadership, very mindful of your needs and desires. Could you get him to go to that with you?

          1. Honestly I have no idea. It took him two years fo finally agree to some marriage counseling. We set a number of visits, and when that j Umberto was ip, that was it- he was done. Im assuming because it has to do with money he would do it. I also think he has convinced himself that im the problem financially in our marriage. At one point, after saving every tax return, Christmas checks and bonus check in savings for 10 Yyears, we had a rainy day fund of $15,000. When I lost my job and couldn’t get another job for a year, that money was ourbread and butter. By the end, we were on food stamps then I finally found a temporary pposition making $10 an hour part time. I took another job on the weekends to help, and was working 7 days a week by this past May. He, however, work 3-12 he shifts a week. Thats it. He starts school in the fall, but hasnt picked ip any extra shifts this summer, and has started numerous hobby projects. I feel like hes just filling his time and wasting his money in order to avoid me. Then he blames me when I have no interest or energy to look my bestx or keep the house nice. I know he resents me because I questioned his faithfulness a year ago. He was showing a LOT of signs as one who is having an affair, and has since stopped doing those things. He also bought “divorce for dummies”‘ which really put me on the edge of panic. I suffer an immense amount of stress right now, both personally, and in my career, and many days feel the pressure of panic on my chest. I pray, I try to relax and calm down, but the anxiety is still there. When I mention it to him, he sighs loudly and avoids the subject. The problem isnt money. We both are able to work and save, cut out expenses and sacrifice frivolties. Weve done it our whole marriage. The problem is, at some point, he felt like his life disnt amount to much. Pride snuck in, and made him see the small bank account, thankless job (car mechanic), fat wife, and run down house, and felt he was owed more than he got. He felt entitled to a better life and decided he would pursue it. And left me her ex in the dust picking up the pieces.

          2. That’s really the truth, money problems and money fights are often symptoms of deeper problems, not problems intrinsically of themselves. This money program really might help unpack those issues and get the money fight out of the way so the roots of issues can be handled. I don’t want to disclose too much personal detail, but we got on the program, things shifted. Where my wife used to complain about superficial money things, those problems were resolved, and it shed light on the systemic problems of sin in both of our hearts. Pride, envy, contempt, etc.

            Well God bless you. Persist!

          3. MHMC,

            I really wonder about his threat of divorce if you don’t make “enough money.” That is certainly not a biblical reason for divorce. If he were to leave you for that – because you can’t possibly meet all of these expectations and demands – he will answer to God for that.

        3. Well, there isn’t much you can do with that, I’m afraid. I would suggest that perhaps you could try to see things from his perspective, not to condone it, but to understand it better. There may be some key component of his attitude that you are missing.

    4. Hi MHMC,

      I am sorry to hear about your situation and would encourage you that our life here on earth is perhaps the only testing grounds we will have for eternity to test our love and faith for God. The Saints of old are our example of faith who fought through the troubles of this earth obediently and joyfully to stand before Jesus and hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

      Certainly your woes are real, and you must continue to try to move your marriage and husband prayerfully forward while never losing hope. Hope is another word for faith.

      What I have seen in marriages like yours is that if one spouse was pretty difficult with the other for years, then they start making good changes for the better, the other spouse often holds deep seated resentments and each time you go back into an old habit in any way it triggers the past emotions. My wife changed dramatically as you have from being controlling and disrespectful to being respectful and submissive, but it took me a year or two to realize that she had changed, but I had not.

      Stick with your changes and go a step further to keep talking to your husband about what other good changes he would like to see in you that can make a difference to him and your marriage. But apologetic for the years you were not the wife you should have been to him. Hopefully if he knows you are wanting more from your marriage you can ask him if he will work on 2-3 things for you and the marriage. Ask him playfully and joyfully, not expecting change, but hoping for it.

      Allow God to work in your husband’s heart and mind to change him, but remember the days you were stuck in your bad attitudes and how long it took to change them. You can win your man by your behavior as this has proven true in the lives of many believers, but you must allow the Spirit to move in him in God’s timing, not yours, recognizing that God is using this to grow you closer to Him and make you more godly, if you choose to allow Him to first do his mighty work in you, and then i your husband.

      Remember, have few expectations for change in others, but always hope for the best and give them time and space to change while always doing your part to honor the Lord. There is no other option for a Believer, but to believe and do things God’s ways, then let accept that what He gives will always work out for our good in this life or the next.

      1. Dear MHMC
        My heart breaks for your situation. Be assured that I, and I’m sure many many others on here, are praying for you.
        Just hang on tight to Jesus. And know that all of our troubles are temporary. Paul calls them “our light and momentary troubles (which) are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” 2Cor 4:17 And Paul sure knew about troubles!
        Jesus knows what you are going through and how you are suffering, and He will never, ever leave you alone in this.
        I love what Happyhusband says above:
        “Remember, have few expectations for change in others, but always hope for the best and give them time and space to change while always doing your part to honor the Lord.”
        God bless you and your family. I am praying for you and for your husband x

        1. Thank you very much for the kindb words and encouragement. Some days it really helps to get through. I have changed my expectations so much. I dont know what the future holds, but I fight for my marriage because it is Gods will. Whatever happens at least I know I did everything I could. I appreciate the prayers, I it gives me hope. Please continue to pray- for strength, for faith and trust in God, for good change, and for healing and restoration. Thank you.

    5. April, I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of abuse. It seems like all the conservative Christian marriage blogs and websites have very strict boundaries regarding what constitutes abuse (and I’m speaking from the place of being a conservative Christian, myself). Most seem to suggest that physical attack is the only thing that constitutes “real” abuse (I’m glad to see that you’ve widened the boundary some). I get it…we know that God hates divorce and we know that we have power to live through a difficult situation through his spirit. And Christian leaders don’t want to do or say anything that would give people an easy out, because when lines get blurred and we live in the gray, people will take advantage of God’s grace.

      But I have a feeling that there are many women who live in a middle place between a man who says, “You have no right to any opinion. You may not speak at all” or “Worship me, not God” and a godly man who is kindly asking for his contentious wife to follow his lead. A man may not actually say, “You have no right to any opinion. You may not speak at all” or “You will do everything I say, or else,” but he can certainly imply it by other means of manipulation and mind games. A man may not lay a finger on his wife, but he can treat her in such destructive ways that would make her want to take her own life. We’ve all seen this. I don’t think there are any easy answers, but I just think there needs to be more grace with the term “abuse” for situations where men may not harm physically but cause much harm–a slow death, even–mentally and emotionally.

      In MHMC’s case, I see a ringmaster making his subject dance around to the point of exhaustion. And no matter what she does, it’s never good enough and she is never loved. This is evil behavior. The average person can’t keep this up for long without nearly going insane! Why is this not considered abusive??

      1. Anon,

        There is a continuum of sin. In the middle gets hazy and can be really difficult for outsiders to know what a wife should do. This is where a wife may need trusted godly counsel and it is also where it is so critical for her to hear God’s voice clearly and follow His direction and guidance for each situation.

        I don’t like what MHMC is describing that her husband is doing at all. All sin is abusive. This is certainly abusive in some sense – maybe not the extreme sense – but it is very hurtful.

        The problem is, I don’t know what God is leading her to do. How I pray that God will give her the wisdom she needs.

      2. “very strict boundaries regarding what constitutes abuse…Most seem to suggest that physical attack is the only thing that constitutes “real” abuse…he can treat her in such destructive ways that would make her want to take her own life…I just think there needs to be more grace with the term “abuse” for situations where men may not harm physically but cause much harm–a slow death, even–mentally and emotionally…no matter what she does, it’s never good enough and she is never loved. This is evil behavior. The average person can’t keep this up for long without nearly going insane! Why is this not considered abusive??”

        I have a theory that the feminist movement in all its rage has now spawned what I term a “masculinist” movement, which, rather than being a movement to restore order, is simply the male counterpart to radical feminism. What we are seeing is a situation in which the men are so angry at what radical feminism has done that they have become embittered and enraged, and thus formed their own masculinist movement (that is a very run-on sentence there…) Some of the men involved have also very shamelessly committed adultery, and are trying to quiet their consciences by venting anger — you can tell — instead of really repenting of this sin.

        Both feminism and masculinism are destructive, feeding off one another to destroy families. Masculinism can be very attractive to some — it features men standing up for themselves and taking the lead, and many women support it. But the cost of it is women who are required to dance attendance night and day on their husbands, who, instead of realizing that the current climate cannot support that — their wives must homeschool, and homeschool well; there is no room for sloppy homeschooling right now; we are hanging in the balance — and balance their leadership with the love and tenderness their wives need now more than ever, become ever more overbearing and oppressive.

        We need the loving leadership now more than ever before. We need understanding more than ever before. Never before in history has a mother been charged with the ENTIRE education of the children; not just in life skills, but in a university prep education that will keep them on a par with their brick and mortar educated peers. I’m not saying this because I think everybody should go to university. I’m saying this because our liberties are in the balance now with the Supreme Court decisions of late. First there was the HHS mandate; now the same-sex “marriage” decision. Mark my words; they will come after churches first, then homeschoolers next. We HAVE to be sure to protect ourselves by responsibly educating our children so they don’t have a leg to stand on. Yes, that means calculus in the senior year, and foreign language, etc., if the child is at all in any way capable. We have to perform above and beyond. We have to pray and work — pray like it all depends on God, and work like it all depends on us. I know a lot may disagree with this, but this is the perspective I’m coming from (I’m a former elementary school teacher also).

        We can’t dance attendance night and day on our husbands, baking from scratch every day and everything absolutely perfect, when we are up against this pressure. Most of our husbands were the ones who decided homeschooling was the way to go (I was more the “let’s gauge it year by year” and he was emphatic that there was no other option, maybe your story is different). But there is no room for either feminism or masculinism in this scenario.

        It took me a few months, but I finally figured out that masculinism is now the new feminism — both are going to destroy America, if we let them.

        Pardon the long comment. 🙂 By the way, if you aren’t a member of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association), I strongly encourage you to join. Right now if you join for five years, you can get a copy of Michael Farris’ (one of the attorneys for HSLDA) “Constitutional Literacy” course for your kids. It looks like a wonderful bargain….and Lord knows we need Constitutional literacy these days….

        1. Homeschoolcatholicmom,

          Without Christ and His Spirit in us, human hearts have almost endless capacity to abuse, destroy, and hurt each other. How desperately we all need Jesus individually – and as a country and a culture! Apart from a massive movement of God’s Spirit in our midst, we will most certainly destroy each other.

          All sin is abusive on some level. All sin hurts others. All sin grieves God. All sin hurts the sinner, himself/herself, too. If only we could grasp how awful every sin is and how reprehensible and how much God hates it. God hates when husbands are hateful, harsh, oppressive, bitter, resentful, addicted to porn, unplugged, controlling, manipulative, withholding sex, argumentative, unkind, unloving, disrespectful, not fully submitting to Him as Lord, apathetic, etc… And God hates when wives are hateful, harsh, oppressive, bitter, resentful, addicted to porn, unplugged, controlling, manipulative, withholding sex, argumentative, unkind, unloving, disrespectful, not fully submitting to Him as Lord, apathetic, etc… None of these things are ever ok to our holy God.

          I would like for husbands and wives to just not sin against each other at all – ever! Wouldn’t that be amazing!?!? Let’s all get started on that plan right now! 🙂

          We do need loving leadership and understanding now. This is too much pressure for women – to homeschool, work, take care of the home, cook, take care of themselves, sleep, care for all of the children, exercise, shop, etc… How I long for us to all slow WAY, WAY down. The busyness will destroy us. God’s two biggest priorities for us are to love Him wholeheartedly and to love others as ourselves. Some of this other stuff has to go. Relationship with God takes time. Relationships with our husbands and children takes time. We can’t have it all – not all at once! But we can have the most important things.

          Our husbands also have legitimate needs, as well. We all do!

          Yes, there is great likelihood that churches will lose their non-profit standing and that church buildings may become a thing of the past – forcing us into home churches again, and maybe there will also be intense persecution of Christians here like there is in other parts of the world. How I pray we will trust fully in Christ and walk in His power and in obedience to His direction for us each day – completely resting peacefully in His sovereignty, provision, and love and accomplishing the tasks He has set before us to do for His kingdom.

  2. Lori, good comment. I am thinking too that a man who is offloading manly responsibilities onto his wife will likely deep down know this is wrong and feel guilty even though he justifies it, when the real issue is that he is running from his own responsiblities this way. I am sure that men are affected as far as sexual attraction goes, even when they force their wives into a mannish role the wives don’t actually want. Some guys who have issues with having lacked female nurture, and/or who have bitterness and resentment towards a mother or other important female over things such as perhaps feeling unloved and rejected, will manoever their wives into playing the role of mother/female provider and then resent them for it and lose all sexual attraction.

    It’s a no win position for a wife, because if she refuses, he is angry because another woman is refusing to nurture him and if she complies, he is angry because he is now being treated like a child, even though he has put her there and deep down he knows that he is stuck in an immature state in which he is not living up to God’s calling for him to be a man and put away childish things. No one wants to sleep with their mother.

    The same is true of women who are looking unconsciously for the male strength and protection they lacked from a father. Mix fatherhood with marriage and you have a kind of emotional incest that peverts the relationship. This can have a huge effect on attraction when one mate is forced into a parental role and the other is playing the role of the dependent child. Even though both may complain bitterly over the backwards roles, there is a payoff in this kind of sinful relating that removes motivation to deal with it. Of course its a form of idolatry and we have to deal with it by turning to Jesus for the healing and change. Dumping all that on our mates keeps them and us strapped in an endless cycle of hurt, hate, demand, unforgivness, graceless expectation, reward and punishment etc.

  3. PW & MHMC,
    Probably no husband reading knows enough of your story to make an informed guidance. We don’t know enough about him or you. We don’t know the load he carries or circumstances or backstory.

    But if I were going out on a limb and making some assumptions that your husband was in his right mind, not an addict, etc.

    It sounds like an unbearable load. Most husbands I know would want to hear from their wives (her thoughts, needs, and desires on this) and make sure that she was taken care of and happy. Even husbands not mature enough to see the problem, don’t want to harm their wives. You have to communicate with your husband if you haven’t. So the problem comes down to one of three things as far as I can see it.

    One, we aren’t getting the full story-purposefully or unpurposefully and therefore cannot make a judgement. Maybe there are circumstances that change the whole perception. Getting the full story is hard to do in real life, let alone over the internet.

    Two, he doesn’t care about his wife. While not rampant, it certainly happens way more than it should. Some men are just selfish and sinful. Some have been hurt by their wives. In either way the best chance of success is to heap burning coals on his head by being the most loving & respectful wife possible- few things change a man like that (only God & being a father, and if I’m being honest I’ve seen women change men by their behavior just as much as the other two). He also needs some sound counsel. And please forgive me for being blunt, but men don’t trust professional counselors like women do. We think most of them rank only slightly above lawyers. Finding someone that he respects enough to listen to is the tricky part. 85% of them he either won’t see, won’t listen to or further more will harden his stance.

    Or three, he is not mature enough to realize what he is asking or not mature enough to listen. You’re best medicine again is to be the wife that he cannot argue with and does not want to hurt because you are so good to him and to pray that God would bring someone that he would listen to. A father, brother, mature friend, mentor, pastor that can give him guidance.

    May God grant you the wisdom, peace, patience, strength, humility and endurance to deal with such a tough situation. And may God act mightily in your marriage.

    1. Should further add that I don’t think or know that this is necessarily the case in your your situaiton, MHMC, its just a configuration of issues I am aware of in some situations I am directly witnessing around me right now, but there are of course other reasons that create situations as you describe! Regardless, nothing is beyond God’s abilty to intervene and bring healing change. Praying that Jesus intervenes in your situation and gives hubby eyes to see (((( ))))

  4. Good post. There are some men who expect too much, who have major issues of their own, and there are men who are abusive. My own husband was none of these things however, but still I struggled to grasp submission. Without him pointing these things out, disrespect, defiance, being uncooperative, I would never have known. He would have bottled those things up and grown resentful and I would have gone right on doing them, becoming more and more miserable in the process.

    I think many men don’t realize that women, especially young women of today, really have no idea how to treat husbands, how to create peace and harmony, how to be encouraging and loving. What’s sometimes missing when we say “submission is voluntary,” is husbands knowing inside of themselves that they have a right to ask for it. In fact, they are called to ask for it. Whether you call it yielding or cooperating or submitting, it’s kind of a vital part of relationships between men and women.

    1. I am commenting anonymously because I do not wish to reveal identity. Thank you, PW.

      There is, unfortunately, a growing number of men who, while they very seriously take their responsibility to provide and are very traditionally-minded in that regard, have almost impossible expectations in every other respect. I don’t know how many of you homeschool, but I have five who are schooling come fall — grades 7, 6, 4, 2 and K. It is a whole separate second fulltime job. This, of course, does depend on what your goals and expectations are, but our goals and expectations include university for everybody, which means private liberal arts college for the girls (we have two girls so far, the rest are boys — so far). They are all very close together. I gained weight as well with the kids, and they play sports and musical instruments. I get them to the sports practices, volunteer at the music academy where they at least have full scholarships which are renewed yearly, but we have to volunteer to get these scholarships. When you live on coffee and are working on the lesson plans, scheduling standardized testing and dealing with the looming college requirements, high school diploma requirements, and thinking about prepping your kids for the SAT because they are expected to get into a top-notch institution, which means they need full scholarships because there is no way you can afford it, as well as making sure your husband has a packed fresh lunch every day and a hot breakfast, then be sure that the house is clean and well-organized, plus try to train the kids to help you, which is often one of the most trying aspects of training children — I mean, seriously, the weight just doesn’t come off. They are oblivious to the fact that our estrogen levels are not conducive to a lot of weight loss anyway, and when you’re trying to cram it all in, how do you expect those estrogen levels to level off?

      We aren’t exactly bingeing on sweets. I will give you that we drink far too much coffee and end up mindlessly nibbling on anything that seems like it will boost our energy levels a little bit more so we can fit more in to the day, but we are definitely not lazy, gluttonous women.

      My husband definitely knows he has the right to ask for submission, and I know I have to give it, but how long can it go on??? I don’t know if you have ventured into the manosphere, but it’s pretty much a place where, if you’re a woman, you want to find the nearest Jim Jones Kool-Aid and end it all, because there is no way these folks can be pleased, and if your husband is that type of man, you, frankly, are screwed (please pardon that term as I do not like it at all, but I couldn’t think of another term that was more succinct).

      MHMC,
      I will pray for you. My own situation is similar, my husband doesn’t want to touch me, either, even when I beg him. I learned that asking/begging is the worst thing you can do. Be sure to be very formal and very careful in any situations in which interacting with a man other than your husband is unavoidable; be sure at least one other person is around. You can easily become attracted to other men when your husband refuses to have anything to do with you. Pray every day, DON’T neglect that. Ask Christ to be your Bridegroom. Have a very structured day and stick to that structure. If you can’t sleep at night, read some very boring non-fiction (I personally recommend a financial journal in which the prospects for your IRA are discussed; you’ll be out cold in ten seconds. 🙂

      1. Anonymous,

        My advice to you would be to cut out some of your activities. Your children don’t need to be involved in everything! Why do they need to go to top-notch institutions? Why not community colleges that cost so much less? Why such high expectations on your children? We are commanded to raise our children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, not to achieve great success in this life. Yes, they should be taught to work hard and do their part, whatever the Lord calls them to do, but your plate is WAY too full. You are called to be a keeper at home which includes taking good care of your husband, children and home. I think you could easily accomplish these goals if you slowed down, pursued peace and listened to the still, small voice of God.

        1. Lori,

          The local state university tuition has increased over 10 times since I was in college 25 years ago. We are saving for our children, but there is a very good chance that they will need to go to the community college for at least the first 2 years. Honestly. the university is so godless, and a four year degree in some cases can be so worthless – I am praying for God’s wisdom and provision, even if it doesn’t include college for our children. I can be open to that.

          I think it is possible to make education an idol. I know that I have had to fight that temptation with our children. A good education is awesome. But do they have to have the absolute most expensive education? What is our goal? Godly children, or highly educated children? The two don’t necessarily go together. IF my children were to get a community college degree and support themselves that way – I am happy with that. I would actually rather they do that than send us or our children into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt – and then they may not even be able to get a job anyway.

          It helps me to keep in mind my end goal – God’s glory in their lives.

          A book that is very helpful on this issue, in my view, is The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn. She helps us as women to look at our priorities and compare them to Scripture and see what things may be good, but may be too much, that we may need to let go of. I think this is an epidemic issue today.

          Praying for wisdom for you and your husband, Anonymous!

          1. Two of my children went to our community college which was $400 a semester! One of our children never went to college and one of them is an orthodontist! Three of them attended BIOLA {Bible Institute of Los Angeles} for a few years but I would NEVER send one of my children to the secular universities, especially before the age of 20 or 21 and never pay to let them live in the dorms. Dennis Prager made this statement and he’s not even a Christian, “Conservative, Christian parents sent their children to Universities and wonder why they come out left-wing liberals!” They hate everything we stand for and have taught our children. Going in deep debt is not wise either. The Lord will lead you since I know you seek Him and His wisdom!

      2. Anonymous,

        Are you working full time and homeschooling 5 children, as well?

        Have you talked with your husband about that this is all just too much? What does he say? What would you like to drop? It seems that the expectations are just very, very high and unachievable in this situation.

        Are all of these expectations his, or are some of them yours?

        How much are you sleeping, my precious sister?

        It breaks my heart that your husband is not touching you. 🙁 I am so very, very sorry to hear this.

        Praying for wisdom for you!

        That is great advice about not begging, and about avoiding temptation from other men and about daily prayer and abiding in Christ.

        Much love to you!

        1. Nope, I don’t work full time. I did work part time for a while, but that was due to dire necessity and it was a lifesaver. I’m a stay home mom full time.

          I tried to respond to Lori, but the comment wouldn’t take. Lori, what you said admonishing me about finding peace and listening to God’s voice is not appropriate. Private prayer and Scripture reading is top priority in my life. My husband expects the children to get into top notch institutions; I attended the community college, but he says, and please don’t take offense at this, but his words are to this extent, “the community college is for losers”. This is what I am dealing with. We are also the only homeschoolers in his family, and he is trying to prove to them that this is a superior form of education; he has a lot to prove here, so this is where he’s coming from. The one sport everyone plays is soccer — I have boys who want to play football, and I said no. I couldn’t drive to all the extra places. There are two instrument choices and that’s it. The sport is for exercise, the instrument is because musical literacy is as important as the multiplication tables, for us. We aren’t asking for modern day Jascha Heifetzs here. Please do not assume automatically that a woman who has a lot on her plate is not paying attention to God and needs admonishment. I have highest regard for you, but you can be greatly offensive at times, especially in telling others what to do without knowing clearly what their situation is. Please take this in the spirit in which it is written, I have no intention of offending you, just pointing out how you can come across.

          I have high expectations as well, but I certainly have no problem with my children going to the community college. If we could eliminate that full scholarship expectation and have a little fun together that is truly fun for everyone in the family (meaning I would like to have a little fun too, I’d especially like to have fun with my husband), 90% of my stress would be gone, gooone, goooone…..I’d love a good laugh with my husband. 🙂 I’d love some fun and some flirty romance. 🙂 Oh, yeah I would! 🙂 I’d love to just leave some of this stress behind….

          …but, ain’t happenin’. It’ll be okay. 🙂 I don’t sleep too well, I really crave intimacy with my husband a lot and so don’t sleep very well. I do extra chores so I can keep my mind occupied and stay out of temptation. My husband says I must have a guilty conscience because I don’t sleep well. To each his own.

          1. Anonymous,

            I’m sorry if I offended you. It was not my intention. Please forgive me. God just commands that we pursue peace and listen to His still small voice and sometimes we all need this reminder. I sure do, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed with the circumstances in my life as you are. I was trying to encourage you, not judge you. I’m very sorry you don’t have intimacy with your husband. This would be difficult for any woman to bear who desires it.

          2. Anon, I really hear you when you say,

            “I don’t know if you have ventured into the manosphere, but it’s pretty much a place where, if you’re a woman, you want to find the nearest Jim Jones Kool-Aid and end it all, because there is no way these folks can be pleased, and if your husband is that type of man, you, frankly, are screwed…”

            That is the truth and it needs to be spoken. I’ve ventured into the manosphere a few times and one of the hidden benefits is that it sure did compel me to appreciate my own husband more, to be be filled with much more gratitude about having been so blessed. He may not be perfect, there may be challenges, but it could clearly be so much worse.

            Often it seems like men there want submissive wives, but they do not grasp that they must provide the safety and the framework to help make that possible. Being gifted with a wife’s submission is not permission to pile endless responsibility upon her, to fail to address her emotional needs, her sexual needs, to make the entire marriage a marriage of me, myself,and I.

            My only suggestion for you is to calmly and logically explain to your husband, with no emotional investment, that your burden is too heavy, that your hands are too full, that you desire more time with him. I don’t know if it will work, but I do know my own husband often overestimates my capabilities and genuinely does not always recognize that he is expecting far more than I am capable of giving him. Children can so easily become a replacement for marriage and before you know it we are investing everything we have into them rather than into each other.

          3. Anonymous,
            I can’t find that comment. 🙁 I’m sorry.

            But I am actually encouraged that you were able to stand up for yourself to Lori when you felt you were being disrespected. I don’t think she intended to hurt you at all. But the fact that you CAN stand up for yourself in this way tells me that you can learn to speak up for yourself in your marriage, too – especially as God directs you. 🙂

            My prayer is that you might not be overcome by fear – but led by God’s Spirit each step of the way. I want to see you and your husband healed and your marriage greatly strengthened and blessed!

            Much love to you!

            April

            Overcoming Fear

          4. Got a point there…..that was an interesting observation. Maybe I should investigate this a little more…..

          5. Well…..I did this evening, when yet another criticism was offered to the dinner I prepared (homemade pizza topped with onion, bell pepper and mushroom, spinach salad and leftover pizza dough fried w/honey drizzled on top). I am pretty much used to criticism, except that it’s encouraged my children to criticize the dinners and meals prepared, and they are refusing to eat food prepared for them, and get picky.

            I said that I believed that the cook — regardless of who it is, it could be me, my daughter or my husband (he loves good food and learned a lot watching his Mom; he likes to cook sometimes for relaxation) — should be complimented, not criticized, for the contribution to the family. If someone had something to say about it, it should be mentioned in private after the meal is over. I was informed that he’d say whatever he liked whenever he liked in his own home. And then proceeded to tell me the dough was too thick, the sauce too watery and there wasn’t any meat on the pizza.

            I pressed on and mentioned that I believed this was rude; he said that I was encouraging people to lie, and he’d tell the truth, and if I couldn’t handle the truth, I could leave the table….this was all in front of the kids.

            He’s a number of inches taller than me, and definitely stronger, so there’s not much I can do short of getting myself crushed. Guess I’m out of luck.

            And yep, I know all the admonishments — put meat on the pizza next time, make your dough thinner….I do often put meat on pizza, I used up what we had at the moment and there wasn’t sausage defrosted at this time. For some reason pizza dough, in my case, just gets very puffy, even when I cut the yeast. I am not amenable to a single other admonishment.

            I am just very, very lonely…..

          6. Anonymous,

            Well, that didn’t go very well. 🙁 But I think it could have been worse!

            It is fine to ask for more support instead of criticism. Might be wise to do it in private. Calling him rude may have been a bit inflammatory – especially in front of the children. Him rebuking you so strongly in front of the kids – also very inflammatory. 🙁

            But – I am glad you tried to express your needs. I think that is a good thing. I know you have gone a really long time without saying anything when you are feeling disrespected and unloved.

            Do you ever genuinely compliment and admire him in front of the kids? If not, maybe if you model this positive behavior, it may be a blessing to everyone? Maybe you are already doing this, I don’t know. Forgive me if you are!

            Are you saying that you believe he would physically hurt you? If that is the case, I really need to know that ASAP before I say another word!

            I’m seriously not worried about how you make pizza. I agree that constant criticism can feel very hurtful. Does he believe he is helping you by telling you how to make things better? Or maybe he is super picky and it is about his perfectionism, not really intended to be negative toward you?

            My concern is the unhealthy dynamics in your marriage – not how you make your pizza crust or whether you put meat on your pizza. He sounds rather perfectionistic. Is that correct? Does he make pizza sometimes?

            What is his general emotional/mental state around you and your children?

            How does he treat people at work?

            What was his parents’ marriage like?

            What body language and facial expressions do you usually use when he criticizes you? Do you respond verbally at all normally? How would you usually have handled that minor criticism about the pizza?

            Is the pizza a 10 out of 10 for your husband on the scale of priorities and importance of issues in life? Or was he just expressing his preferences? I don’t know your husband, so I am trying to get a better feel of his personality and temperament.

            It’s going to be really important to spend a lot of time in prayer seeking God’s wisdom before approaching him about this, if you believe God desires you to talk about things. For instance, God may lead you to gently, respectfully but firmly say (in private), possibly casually as you walk in the room with laundry or something, “I value honesty and truth telling, Honey. I want you and our children to feel free to share your concerns about things. But at the same time, I would really appreciate if you could please verbalize some support for me at least as often as you feel you need to criticize me. That would be great! Thanks so much… So, I was heading to the kitchen, what can I get for you?”

            When he argues, maybe God might prompt you to listen quietly and calmly. Then what if you said something in a friendly tone of voice like, “I hear you saying X. Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I will prayerfully consider each of your points. And thanks very much for listening to my concerns, as well. I appreciate it!”

            I really wonder if you used a tone of voice and facial expressions as if he was listening and you show appreciation for it – how he might respond. Any other wives or husbands have any insights here? Maybe he doesn’t realize how negative and critical he is? Maybe he doesn’t realize you have totally shut down and how unhealthy you have been? Maybe he doesn’t realize how harsh he sounds and thinks he is just having a normal conversation? I know a lot of husbands like that. They sound so angry to other people, but this is how their family of origin spoke to each other and they don’t think they are coming across as angry at all. Sometimes if we had cameras on us, we might have to see how we really sound to other people!

            Or, “I’m glad you share your concerns with me. I should have shared my concerns with you in private instead of at supper. I apologize for that. I want to be able to begin to vocalize my feelings, needs, and concerns to you and will do so in private if at all possible from now on. I want to respect and honor you and I also want to be able to respect and honor myself. I think I have gone way too passive in recent years, and that is not healthy at all for me or for our family. Thanks for listening!”

            Again, God may give you very specific words and timing. He may give you a very specific tone of voice to use. Your husband may get upset. He may not. I don’t know. What is the worst thing that has ever happened when you tried to share your concerns in the past?

            Brothers and sisters,

            Do any of you have suggestions for how a wife can handle constant criticism from a more dominating husband? Maybe even what this wife could have done differently in this scenario?

            Praying for God’s wisdom for you!

          7. Anonymous,

            Oh! And some husbands actually respond well to humor in moments of tension like this – not mean-spirited or sarcastic humor, but playful humor. I have never tried this, because Greg doesn’t ever get very riled up. S So I haven’t had any opportunities. But sometimes, for some couples, this breaks the tension and both people laugh and things are fine after that.

            This would require knowing your particular husband very well and probably still a lot of prayer! Not all husbands would like that approach. Some may feel disrespected, but others may love it.

            How does his mom respond to criticism from his dad?

            The more we know about his family of origin, the more we can understand what seems “normal” to him.

          8. Another option to the pizza criticism:

            “Thanks for letting me know your preferences, Babe.” and smile.

            Then, when he cooks or your daughter cooks, model showing appreciation and giving compliments to them.

            This issue is actually pretty small in the grand scheme of the universe. I know that you have had a LOT of criticism to deal with. If it was one isolated incident, it may not have bothered you. When you have been feeling criticized constantly, one more criticism can feel unbearable.

            I pray for God’s wisdom for you about which issues to address and which to let go.

            I am praying for you tonight!

            Thankfully, we are not alone!

          9. His grandmother made pizza once a week, and the leftover dough was always fried and drizzled with honey, one of his favorite memories. While I can’t always make pizza every week (his grandmother by that time had all grown children and as she was illiterate, she did not homeschool), I try to do it at least twice a month. The kids all love “pizza fritta” (fried pizza dough) and I know he enjoys sharing that memory with them. No, he doesn’t make pizza as he can’t bake; I do all baking (my daughter also does, but I still do the majority). But he can cook, however, and his cooking is a thousand times better than mine; he lets me know it is, too (think a master chef on one of those food shows; watching gourmet food shows is something he loves to do, probably more than watching sports). In his eyes, love is measured by one’s cooking, and if your cooking isn’t absolutely great, then you don’t love the people for whom you are cooking. Cooking )and also housekeeping, to a slightly lesser degree) are his only measuring sticks for a woman’s love for her family.

            I’ve made an effort to be sure to compliment every time he cooks for us (and it is genuine; it is GOOD). He could own a five-star restaurant and has given it consideration, but has decided now isn’t the time to go into self-employment. However, if he does decide to open a restaurant, I know it would be a huge success.

          10. Anonymous,

            Sometimes those who are able to do something really easily don’t realize that not everyone has the same abilities. I used to ask Greg to write me love letters for Valentine’s Day or Christmas. He would stress out – and I couldn’t understand because I was “just” asking him to do something really “simple” in my eyes. But he said, “Words come easily to you – especially about emotional things. It would be easier for me to build a set of shelves than to write a love letter. What would you think if I asked you to build a set of shelves to show me that you love me?” Um… yikes! I would NOT be good at building shelves! So, I am thinking Greg would just feel pretty unloved if that was the measuring stick of my love for him.

            That is very interesting that to him, cooking and housekeeping is a measure of a woman’s love for her family. I think it is wonderful to cook delicious meals for our families. But I also think it is possible to have the bar set so high for us as wives that we can’t reach it. I don’t want to see that much pressure on any wife.

            I pray that he might be able to offer you some grace to not be as perfect as he is with cooking. And I pray that y’all might have some FUN together as a family and a couple sometime. Praying that you might all be able to enjoy each other and relax and appreciate these precious moments together.

            Asking God to empower you with His wisdom!

            Much love to you! Please let us know how we can support you and pray for you.

          11. “I am just very, very lonely…”

            Anon, we are never alone. Christ sees us and loves us and even collects our tears in a bottle. He knew persecution Himself and loneliness. You may feel lonely, but lean into Him, you are never alone.

            I say this not because your husband is right, but to help you protect yourself from the hurt that is happening. If you can detach emotionally from what is happening, try to take yourself out of the picture, and recognize that this is not about you. Pretend as if this situation has nothing to do with you at all. Don’t take it personally (even though it probably sure feels personal.) Put yourself in his shoes, empathize, try to imagine what it might be like to be him as lovingly as possible. Try to discern what motivates him, what do you imagine he needs. His words may simply be glib or thoughtless or he may be actually seeking your attention in an inappropriate way. Perhaps he’s feeling insecure and trying to pick a fight, so he can feel better about himself, so he can dominate you

            I don’t have any of the answers to any of those questions, I just know that sometimes we can get so raw and wounded, we really have to pull ourselves out of the situation emotionally in order to see it more clearly. Toss aside any thoughts of blame including self blame, and just try to observe what is happening. Sometimes that can help.

          1. Asbolutely, that would make a huge difference. The one other thing is that I wish he would understand that I am not his mother and my cooking is going to be different, even when I use her recipes. Even his aunt’s cooking is a little bit different (and he loves her cooking).

        2. “Have you talked with your husband about that this is all just too much?”

          We don’t really talk at all anymore. It doesn’t work well, and we are too different, so I just don’t bother anymore. When I did try to discuss it, it didn’t go well, and I spent a great deal of time backpedaling and trying to re-explain myself to the point that it got ugly, so I dropped it fast before it got any worse. I don’t know the words to use, and I utilized all the “pick the right time, use the right words, etc.” techniques, which I found to be very stressful because no matter what I tried to do (one time I wrote it out and carefully rehearsed for a week before I approached him on it, after rereading and rewording and speaking aloud in front of a mirror, no less), it ended up going very, very wrong.

          I just chalked the whole admonishment to wives on waiting for the right time and setting and watching the wording, up to experience, and shut down. It was too stressful to meet all those criteria and still having it go very badly. And when it goes badly, usually burdens are compounded, which I don’t need, so it’s a lose/lose either way.

          1. Anonymous,

            The red flags go up for me when a wife doesn’t share her needs or concerns and doesn’t feel safe to disagree with her husband and just shuts down like this. That is not a sustainable way to have a marriage. 🙁 I know it seems safer to avoid conflict in the short term – but if you are not giving your input at all, my fear is that this could become a tyrant/doormat kind of situation and that is not good for anyone.

            I know that it can be really scary to say something that needs to be said. I hate conflict, too! But there are worse things than conflict. Avoiding conflict allows sin to fester. That is not a good thing. And how can your husband make the best decisions without your influence and input and participation?

            I don’t know if you are unsafe – and that is why you are afraid to say anything? In that case, how I pray you will get appropriate help ASAP! Or is it maybe that you have a great fear of your husband being upset temporarily? Is his approval super important in your mind? Like maybe you think it is not ok for him to be upset for awhile? Or that seems too scary? It is possible for a wife to share things well, and her husband to still get upset. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t share. Does that make sense? Him getting upset is going to happen sometimes.

            Ultimately, your goal in being a godly wife isn’t to please your husband, but to please and honor Christ – even if it upsets your husband. It is not good to lay aside your personhood in this marriage. I am very concerned for the high level of dysfunction that you are describing – that you just shut down and don’t share anything of yourself. I know wives who have done this. It does not end well. There is often so much stress, that they get very sick emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Their children suffer, too. And their husband suffers because he is not receiving the input he needs to be able to grow and be sharpened.

            Did you feel safe to share your feelings, needs, and concerns when you were growing up? What were your parents’ dynamics like?

            What was your husband’s parents’ marriage dynamics like?

            If you don’t believe you can share with your husband, is it possible to seek out a godly mentoring wife or biblical counselor to help you walk through this process and to pray with you?

            I want you to be able to share your thoughts and needs with your husband safely. This is REALLY important for everyone in your family that this dysfunction be healed.

            Praying for God’s wisdom, strength, power, and direction for you, my precious sister! He is able to lead you and empower you on this journey!

          2. Anonymous,

            I know exactly that experience of no right time, no right words, no right delivery, etc… And I eventually found myself shut down, too. It’s a sad place to be.

            There are too many details to explain what we went through, but that’s no longer an issue for us. By God’s grace, through many prayers, and God’s working in our hearts through various means, He restored our marriage. I pray this may for you, too. I’d lost hope at one point but I kept clinging to Jesus. He became dearer through my pain.

            I’ll be praying for you throughout today for God to do far more than you ever imagine, in His time.

            Sending you love…

          3. But I hasten to add that there was never any violence or threat of such in our marriage. April’s comment above posted while I was typing. In a case where those things are happening, that’s a complete game changer.

          4. Anonymous,

            I am not endorsing shutting down. I did that for a brief season, and I don’t believe my behavior was God honoring in that. I know where my heart was as I chose that mindset and it was not coming from a place of Godliness in me. My sharing was to let you know you aren’t alone. Love to you…

  5. Thank you to all who have responded to MHMC. I appreciate it so much!

    I pray for her, and many wives in similar positions, that God might give them and their husbands wisdom and bring healing to the marriages. That is a very tough situation for a wife to be in.

  6. All,

    Wives need the freedom and safety to be able to share their needs, ideas, concerns, suggestions, and perspectives. A dynamic where a wife says nothing and gives up all of her influence is deStructive to the marriage just as much as a wife becoming controlling and disrespectful. And a dynamic where a husband is passive and gives up his leadership is also destructive, just as much as a dynamic where a husband is a harsh, selfish, and controlling.

    All of us, men and women, in our sinful flesh, tend toward passivity or control. There is this place in between those sinful extremes where we soar on wings like eagles by God’s power. We are neither too passive, nor too controlling – but we reflect the character of Christ. That is the goal! And none of us can do it in our own power.

    1. I agree April, and had added to my second comment before your last one appeared, but it went “poof!” and disappeared when I hit post comment. 🙂

  7. Praising God for how He has redeemed your life, April. And using the things He has taught you and continues to teach you to help so many women. I love how your website is filled with scripture, testimonies and bold prayers. The Lord is helping me be a more submissive wife through your testimony. The wedding topper is a sad representation of much of our culture, and a good picture of what we as Christ followers do not want to do. God bless your ministry!

    1. Amber Paulsen,

      Thank you so much for praising God with me! I am so thankful for what He is doing in your life and marriage. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers!

  8. April,
    Some of these conversations have me thinking about things I haven’t thought about in years.

    It would help clarify my thoughts if you could talk a bit about where the lines are drawn between thinking we need to play Holy Spirit, and then when it becomes necessary to respectfully confront sins in our husband’s lives.

    And as always, we are not talking about violence issues, which is a whole other topic.

    1. Julie,

      This is where much prayer and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is most necessary. Two wives can be in similar situations, and God may prompt one to say nothing, pray, wait, and seek to respect and honor her husband. God may prompt another to confront her husband or to set limits. And there may be different prompts from God for the same wife at different times, even.

      I have a post, “To Speak or Not to Speak” that may be helpful.

      The post, “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin” may also be helpful, as well as the post on Righteous Anger and Jealousy.

  9. From a brother in Christ, Jack:

    God does not force us to submit to him.

    Also, if is forced it is not submission, it is coercion. Submission means nothing unless it is an act of a person’s free will. It would be like forcing a person to love you – it would not really be love.

  10. I have seen that when husbands have felt disrespected by their wives for a really, really long time – they may react to even the smallest hint of disrespect as their wives try to change. I think of it as they have a spiritual/emotional “sunburn.” I think the same is true with wives. If we have felt disrespected and/or unloved for a long time, a situation that might not normally be a big deal can feel like a big deal, or like “the straw the broke the camel’s back.”

    Praying for God’s wisdom for those who are suffering and hurting – and for Him to give each of us His heart, His mind, His eyes, His love, His power, and His perspective. May He empower us to be faithful to Himself!

  11. I feel truly sorry for anyone who believes this absolute swill you uneducatedly spout all over your blog. You are the most judgemental person I have ever heard of! You talk about how every other religion supports terrorism? Are you kidding me? What exactly are you basing this on? Because they believe a little differently than you, it makes them a terrorist? You are everything that is wrong with this world. You preach about
    Submitting to your husband. Are you so backward that you honestly believe that women are inferior to men? You are TELLING women to allow their men to control them and psychologically abuse them. Women are strong and have their own voice and can stand on their own two feet. I am sorry that your husband clearly manipulated you into believing that the only way to be happy is to allow him to control you. You need to speak with a therapist or get help somewhere. How dare you tell women they should be abused by their husbands. Where are you getting your facts about psychological abuse, terrorism etc? I would love to see the research. Please include a bibliography in your response. While you’re at it, do your research on other religions. Insulting another man or woman’s religion insults everyone’s. I really hope no one blindly believes your falsifications.

    1. Kathleen,

      Thanks for sharing your concerns!

      I cannot ever recall making any statement that “every other religion supports terrorism.” I remember one of my commenters on one of my posts about why I wear skirts saying something like “all Muslim clothing sites or businesses support terrorism.” I don’t know if you are thinking of her comment? I seriously doubt that her comment is true. And the idea that all other religions support terrorism is not a thought that has ever gone through my mind. I am not privy to any behind the scenes information to know who supports terrorism, nor do I speak about terrorism on my blog. I have never even researched that issue. The only time I can think of that I speak about terrorism – is that I encourage my readers to pray for Christians who are being persecuted by terrorists and to pray for the salvation of terrorists. Perhaps you can cite the post to which you are referring?

      I do make the claim that the Bible is the only source of absolute truth and that Jesus is the only way to salvation – because that is what He, Himself claims, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 Everyone from every religious background is welcome here – and it is my prayer that everyone will find the salvation and relationship with God that is available through Jesus alone. If there was another way for people to be made right with God, Jesus would have surely found it when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for “this cup” to be taken from Him. God made it clear that there was no other way for us to come to Him. But how I thank God that He has made a way for us to know Him, to love Him, and to be with Him – in spite of our failures and unworthiness!

      If you will take the time to read my posts about biblical submission and spiritual authority, you will find that I teach what Scripture does – that women and men have EQUAL value in God’s sight. They were both created in the image of God -Genesis 2. And there is no difference in Christ in value between men, women, slaves, free people, or any race (Galatians 3:28). I NEVER teach that women are inferior to men or worth less than men. I teach what the Bible does that God’s ways are much higher than any human ways and His wisdom is much greater than ours – male or female.

      I teach what Scripture does – that we have equal value, but different roles in the church and in the home. It is not a matter of equality or inequality. Submission begins in the Godhead where God the Son submits in love to God the Father. They are equally God, but there is a different role of loving authority vs. glad submission. In God’s economy, submission has nothing to do with a person’s worth or value. Marriage is to reflect the Godhead in this way, and marriage also reflects the relationship between Christ and the church where the husband is to represent the loving, humble, selfless leadership, provision and protection of Christ and the wife is to represent the respect, honor, submission, and love of the church for Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33). Marriage is a “king/queen” relationship not a “king/slave girl” relationship.

      I also NEVER teach that women are to “just take abuse” from men. I have numerous posts about how I never condone or support abuse of any kind or sin of any kind against anyone and probably close to a hundred disclaimers about that throughout my posts. You may search my home page for “abuse.”

      I DO teach that women are to be strong in Christ and that they are to have their own voice and I talk about, over and over, that women are not to become passive doormats, or to give up their personhood, but are to use their GOd-given influence and godly femininity to honor Christ and to bless their husbands and families.

      I do teach that as believers in Christ, we are to give up the power of our sinful nature to destroy ourselves, our husbands, our marriages, and families (men are to do the same thing, but I only teach women). But we gain the power of God to build up, bless, encourage, inspire, and benefit our husbands, marriages, and families.

      My husband never asked me to do any of this. God showed me the sin in my heart in December of 2008 – all the pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, unforgiveness, desire to control my husband and others, lack of faith in God, disrespect toward God and toward my husband, gossip, judgmental spirit, critical spirit, negativity, complaining, contentious spirit, etc… And God showed me that He wanted to change me. My husband never said a word to me about my sin and never said I was disrespectful or that I needed to submit to him. This is all about my relationship with Christ and submitting to Him as Lord of my life – it really isn’t about my husband. Any man or woman who follows Christ must submit to Him as Lord of their lives and walk in obedience to Him out of gratitude for all He has done so graciously for us on the cross to make a way for us to come to God.

      After God spent a few years changing me, He began to heal my husband and our marriage. We now have the intimacy and harmony I had always wanted but could never achieve by trying to control my husband. I can’t keep the treasure of Christ and the wisdom of God’s design for marriage to myself.

      I am not exactly sure why you believe the things you do about what I teach – but I am glad you commented. May you find the hope, joy, life, and peace that is found in Christ Jesus alone.

      Much love to you!

    2. When a woman becomes a follower of Christ, the desire to live according to Him becomes greater than the desire to live my own way. The closer I get to Christ, the more I want to do what is right. Many women here have broken marriages. Not necessarily abusive, but broken, none the less. We can either pack our bags and move on, which we have that right – or we can do everything possible to restore the relationship before we give up. For me, learning to submit is about learning how to see my husband as a human being, with feelings, thoughts, and heartache, and learning to respect that. Learning that I dont have the final say, or the authority to make all the decisions. Learning to encourage him as the leader he is meant to be so that I can be the helper, encouraged, and supporter I am meant to be. It’s a journey. Thev problem isn’t that I think I’m less than my husband. The problem is for too long I thought I was better than him. And that is the sin of pride and arrogance.

  12. Thank you soooo much for this post!!! I am in tears… I am a young (25) Stay at home wife/mother who desires Strongly to be obedient to my husband and most of all to God. It has been difficult these past four years I’ve been married to relinquish control, love and respect my husband as the head home. I was raised by my father who taught me to be dominant and not allow a man to rule over me. Although I know that that is not biblical it was still implanted in me to not let a man control me or take the lead in any way… I was saved when I got married however old habits die hard and our marriage has suffered because of my extremely dominant ways. I have been looking for different ways to get help with this. It has been a true struggle and I’ve done everything! Prayer, fasting, seeking the Council of my pastor and His wife. I am now at my Breaking Point and this article has helped me in more ways than one can imagine. Praise God for you and your husbands Ministry. And thank you again for choosing to submit to your husband and ultimately to God.

    Forever Grateful!!!

    Dj. P

    1. DJ,

      I am so glad this was a blessing. I have lots of posts here in this topic. Please search “the Pendulum Effect” on my home page and “Godly Femininity,” perhaps those might be a blessing, as well. And, of course, you can search “disrespect,” “control,” “fear,” “submission,” and “idols,” as well.

      Let me know how you are doing!

      Much love!
      April

      1. Hi MAm,

        Yes im also a wife that has a problem submiting or respecting a husband, sometime i feel a rage and i hate him so much somtimes- i thought i was’nt normal anymore.. and i feel resentful and angry all the time in little things coz i hate him that much. HE always lied tome and especially on taking drugs even i caught him many time,but he wants to deny and deny he even doesnt care how i feel and expect me be good to him.and one more thing i hate is that he only talk or nice to me when he wants to sleep with me…i feel abuse Am I?
        Pls help me.

        1. Mercy,

          Goodness. 🙁 If there are drug addiction issues and lots of lying going on – I would encourage you to find a godly counselor who can get to know your situation one-on-one who can help you work through this.

          If you are interested in finding spiritual healing for yourself in Christ, I can point you toward Him. 🙂 Would you like to do a spiritual check up with me?

          Much love to you!

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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