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List part 2

Wives Respond to the “The List”

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One of the most popular posts on my blog is the one where a number of husbands share what they feel is disrespectful. Some women get pretty upset when they read that list and think that “men just have super-sized egos.” Some think that these men are “whining and complaining” about a bunch of “really small, unimportant things.” Some women think, “Every wife does a lot of things on this list. These husbands just want fake ‘Stepford Wives’!” Some wives think it is impossible for a woman to avoid all of these things because they have never seen a wife who wasn’t disrespectful to her husband in many of these ways. Some things on this list may not seem like a big deal to us, but if they are important to our husbands – I pray we might be willing to consider how they feel.

I have a similar list on my husband’s blog about things husbands do that make their wives feel unloved. It’s a long list, too. I imagine some husbands may think the same kinds of things, “No husband could avoid all of those things that women think are unloving!” Or,  “Every husband does some of those things sometimes. Why do women make a big deal out of things that are so small?” These things may not seem like a big deal to our husbands, but if they are important to us – I pray that our husbands might be willing to consider how we feel. I know we would all greatly appreciate that kind of thoughtfulness and consideration coming our way. So would our husbands.

Our culture says that men and women are equal and therefore – the same in every way. Or if they are not the same, they should be the same in every possible way. This usually means – we think that men should change to be more like women in our current culture, by the way. I never realized how differently men think from women until I read some books on the issue (Shuanti Feldhahn – For Women Only, His Brain, Her Brain – by Dr. Walt Larimore MD, How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen, and Listen So Your Husband Will Talk – by Rick Johnson) 

God did make us equally valuable in His sight as men and women (Genesis 2, Galatians 3:28) – but we are very different and have different needs and roles in a number of ways. Those differences are GOOD! Let’s celebrate and embrace them!

I’m thankful to be able to share with you that in the power of God, He is able to change us and He is able to empower us to learn to stop disrespectful things and learn to interact in genuinely respectful ways with our husbands.

We don’t love or respect our husbands because they deserve it – we respect our husbands because Jesus deserves our highest reverence. The way I treat my husband is a tangible indicator of my level of reverence for Christ and my love for Him. 

My level of respect isn’t really about my husband and what he does or does not do. It is about my level of reverence for and submission to Christ as LORD in my life. It is about the Holy Spirit being in control of my life, not my sinful flesh. The particular things I respect my husband for are about him as I look for the good things in him. But even if he is in unrepentant sin, I can still respect the position he holds as my husband. My level of respect for my husband is about my character and my walk with Christ.

WIFE 1:

I really appreciate the list [that husbands shared].

I would consider myself to be a respectful wife, and I’ve made conscious decisions to avoid certain behaviors that I know are disrespectful; for example, I don’t bash my husband to my girl friends and get uncomfortable when they do (which isn’t often–I have good girl friends). But anyway, I saw a lot of things on that list that I do. I just had no idea they were also disrespectful. I agree that those of us under 50 may be just misinformed and have never seen an example of a wife treating her husband with genuine respect. I don’t want to say I never have, but it’s not what was modeled to me growing up, and of course, we all know about feminism. It’s taken such root in society that you look at a list like that and question: Is that right? I think it’s neat that the book “The Surrendered Wife” is written by a self-described feminist (Laura Doyle). She does a great job of sorting out the issues of how equality in the workplace may be a worthy goal, but it doesn’t address marriage dynamics.

I also want to say that if I’d come across your blog a year or two ago I would have had a much more defensive reaction, and I can see myself in some of the comments that are more argumentative. I really never liked the phrase “Biblical submission” or even “submission” in reference to myself as a wife. I finally figured out the reason, thanks to the Surrendered Wife book (from April – please keep in mind that although The Surrendered Wife is a very helpful book, it is not written from a biblical perspective, and does not promote Christ, the authority of God’s Word, or biblical submission in marriage. There are some really great things in that book, and there are some things we will need to filter out as believers in Christ).

All along, I was sure that being submissive (giving up control) meant being stripped of my power (not so much by my husband but maybe by God or myself).

As a kid who among other things felt she had no power in her family of origin–I’d made requests and suggestions which in retrospect were very mature and assertive as a child and was massively shut down, getting the clear message that my opinion didn’t matter and I had no influence or power in that household and that feeling carried well into adulthood.

  • The last thing I wanted was to also be powerless in my marriage.

I also made the mistake of equating power with control. Reading Laura Doyle’s book helped me realize the two are not the same–that in fact, relinquishing certain types of control actually was my key to more power than I ever imagined (I’m married to a good man).

It also hit me that I have an incredible amount of power over my husband right now.

My words and demeanor literally have the power to build up or destroy him (not immediately, but over many years). That’s very sobering. I’ve been married for close to fifteen years now and all this time I’ve been wielding my power in a very clumsy and often destructive way, mainly because I didn’t know how to use it properly–kind of like a ten year old driving a car without being taught to drive.

Another reason I probably wasn’t ready to get this information until now is that God had more foundational work to do with me first–much of it being of the healing variety. But I’m ready now, or at least I’m open to the possibility that this Biblical submission thing could also apply to me 😉 I mention this as a kind of suggestion for anyone out there reading this material and having a strong negative reaction to it. It may be that God has some work to do with you first… [and to seek to be]... open to God’s will for your life in general and [trust] Him to have your best interests at heart.

WIFE 2 (in response to WIFE 1):

I can so relate to your comment. A couple of years ago I would not have been able to even consider this list. I may have seen myself but would not have been willing to do anything.

Now that my marriage is at the end and my husband has gotten healthy enough to say that he will not tolerate my brokenness, my whole world has collapsed around me. now I am more than willing to change my disrespectful nature – yet my husband says it’s too late.

I grew up in a home full of disrespectful adults. I didn’t notice that what I was doing was hurtful. My behavior was almost automatic, and probably a way I have coped with stress and conflict.

I can only pray that the Holy Spirit continues to work in me and work in my marriage. I need His grace more than ever.

FROM APRIL:

Please join me in praying for these wives and countless others who are realizing now that they may have hurt their husbands unknowingly for many years. Let’s surround them with pray for God to draw them to Himself, to restore them to fellowship with Him, and to empower them by His Spirit to become the godly women and wives He desires them to be. Let’s pray for healing for their husbands as they are deeply hurting and for reconciliation for their husbands with God if needed. Let’s pray for restoration and healing for these precious marriages that they might become strong, vibrant, and healthy and that they might bring great glory to Christ!

RELATED:

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Signs Your Husband May Feel Disrespected (and Unloved)

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Can You Overdo Respect in Marriage?

Join the Peacefulwife for “The Respect Dare” with Nina Roesner

17 thoughts on “Wives Respond to the “The List”

  1. Thanks to April and these lovely wives for sharing. I see so much of myself in their writing and how God is increasing in my marriage since I’ve been open to allowing Him room.

    God bless

  2. Thank you for always reminding women the reason why we should be submissive to our husbands. Because of our flesh, I feel its easy to think “well, he doesn’t deserve it”. But we need to remember we are not doing this souly for ourselves and our husbands but to God. Thank you for always reminding us of this.

  3. I agree with lillianl17… I have, in the past, been convicted of my inability to keep the house clean, and as a result, vowed to be better at it. Then my husband would leave a mess somewhere and all of those good intentions went out the window. It was now, “I can’t believe he’s taking me for granted!” and I always got to the point where I just “gave up” and decided “If he’s not going to try, then neither am I!” The reason it was so easy to give up is because I was doing it for me (because I was tired of seeing how messy the house was) or for him (because HE was tired of seeing how messy the house was). I’d left out the MOST IMPORTANT Motivator, so of course I tired easily!

    This summer (in particular) has been different. Every now and then, I still get a sneaky thought about how a mess was left for me, but I quickly rebuke it by reminding myself: “You’re not doing this for you. You’re not doing this for your husband, even, though it IS a good thing to bless him by giving him a clean house to come home to. You are doing this because this is what the Lord wants you to do. You’re doing this because your Savior, who humbled Himself and suffered unimaginably on your behalf, delights when you follow His commands. It doesn’t matter what other people do: you’re not responsible for them! 🙂 YOU know this is part of God’s desire for your life, so it’s YOUR job to do it!” When I put things into perspective (not doing something “because I feel like it” and not doing it for another flawed human being, but doing it for the Perfect One who laid down His life for me) it is MUCH easier to do the thing that needs done, and to REJOICE as I do it! 😀

    LOL I’ve been putting off going to the store and doing Price Matching… I’m definitely gonna have to do that now. 😀

  4. I have been reading Created to be his helpmeet this summer.I was out searching online for more of this type of teaching and found your website.I like that others are finding out like me what real submission looks like and should be.I feel the Lord working in me to will and to do of His good pleasure.Thank You Jesus for never giving up on me!Though I know I still have a ways to go.I feel like I have a peace that can only come from God.It comes from knowing and obeying God’s word.From realizing I am not alone in my struggle to be all that He has created me to be.He is with me and will never leave me nor forsake me.There is a security that comes from being in submission to Him and to my husband that I could not find anywhere else.I pray that God will continue to do His work in me.And that others will see His light shining in me.Praise Jesus for all He has done!And thank you for your testimony of how God has worked in your life.May He use me one day to be an encouragement to someone else thru what He has done in my life.

    1. Alicia,

      I’m so thrilled to meet you and excited to hear what God is doing in your life, my dear sister! 🙂 What a beautiful heart for Christ you have. I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for you!

      1. Thank you for your ministry!I feel like there are many wives out there who need to hear this message of obedience to God.Godly submission is definitely freeing as we give Him everything and hold nothing back in service to Him.It is difficult sometimes to know what to do.But in those moments He has reminded me to ask wisdom from Him as James 1:5 says to do.He will not leave us confused and worried.He loves us and will give us the wisdom we need to make right decisions.Please pray for me that God will continue to give me wisdom and that I would heed His voice in all areas of submission to my husband.To do what Philippians 4:6-7 says to do.May God be glorified in all I say and do.Praise Jesus for His grace and mercy towards me!

  5. That’s a really good list. When I first got married I did not know that men needed to feel respect to feel loved. Even though my husband kept telling me, it took a while for me to believe him, because everything in our culture, on our TV’s, often in the homes we come from, teaches us the precise opposite.

    I can see my younger self in both of those wives, this resonated “I also made the mistake of equating power with control” and also this too, “I didn’t notice that what I was doing was hurtful. My behavior was almost automatic…”

  6. I need some help with a situation. My husband makes videos for his youtube ministry.
    He’ll ask me to review them before he posts them and they have all been great. Well all of them but his latest one.
    I critiqued his mannerisms and lack of focus as his notes were off to the side and he kept looking there and also out the window because he said he kept hearing something outside.
    The thing is that he asked me to critique it. So I’m confused if I should have let it be or if it was right to give my honest opinion.

    1. Sandy,

      If he asks you to critique it, I would assume he would want honest feedback. I suppose it could depend on the particular man to some degree. But I don’t think it is wrong to share the issues you did if he asked you to critique his video, particularly if you did so respectfully.

      Much love to you!

  7. My husband is very passive. He is shy, quiet, and doesn’t express his feelings well. Communicating has always been difficult with him because he doesn’t like to express himself . I am completely different. I am a firecracker, always exploding at the mouth with how I feel and not afraid to say it. We’ve been married for 7 years now and the last 4 years have been quite miserable to say the least. My husband finally (and I say finally because it needed to happen) came home from work one day and said, “I dont want to be with you anymore. You are controlling me and I can’t live like this anymore.” He also said he feels like he cannot connect with God if he is with me, that he needs to be alone. ( I didn’t realize I was distracting him from being able to think clearly)
    When he said those words it opened my eyes. Instead of trying to figure things out and come up with answers to every question I looked within myself and had a moment. One morning I ran across your video on Youtube about respecting our husbands. It wasn’t then until I realized I had been disrespecting and controlling my husband the whole 4 years. I realized that I had been hating him and thinking nothing but negatively towards him. He is a believer but I must admit we haven’t been going to church as we should and we both came to a point where we both felt lost. I also came across your video on Youtube on how to apologize to your husband. And that is what I did. After sobbing and apologizing to him about my horrible ways of controlling and not submitting to him like I should, he forgave me. Every single day I am growing more spiritual and loving towards God. I talk to God all day. Instead of always worrying about what my husband is thinking or what are we going to do , I put all my focus on pleasing God and being respectful towards my husband. I can feel his spirit within me.

    April I just want to thank you so much for providing such a wonderful website and videos for the woman that feel like there is no hope. You have no idea how this has changed me and my view on everything. Our God is an awesome God.

    Sherry

  8. I appreciate the insight provided by the list. I agree with the biblical principles you identify in each of your posts. I struggle with the seeming imbalance between your posts identifying an abundance of things wives do wrong and the brevity and scarcity of posts by you or your husband about what the husbands do wrong. With the list of this discussion, the list of signs that a husband feels disrespected, and the 73 item list for how to be a lonely, frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, worried wife, compared to the 14 item list of things that make most wives feel unloved and hurt, the tone and appearance of your blogs give the impression that the majority of problems in marriage stem from failures of the wife while very few problems are a result of the husbands behavior. I earnestly seek to live a life in submission to God that brings glory to Him each day of my life but I struggle under the weight of your posts which seem to place the greater responsibility for our marriage upon my shoulders. Do you have any suggestions for me to deal with these struggles?

    1. Donna,

      Thanks so much for sharing your concerns!

      My goal with wives is to be as thorough as I can be – with the things God has revealed to me in my own life and in Scripture. It may be the pharmacist in me – but I like to give more information, rather than less. My primary ministry is for women – based on Titus 2:3-5. I have written a handful of posts for my husband’s blog to try to give a feminine perspective there. I don’t tell my husband what to write about on his blog – and he doesn’t have nearly the time to devote to blogging that I do. Not to mention, most of his readers are women – unfortunately.

      One reason that the post for men about things that make wives feel unloved is shorter is that I have tried writing longer posts for men – that post was much longer, in fact. But they tended to get very overwhelmed by the volume. I try to be more brief if I do write for men. But I also keep in mind that I don’t have Scriptural authority to teach men. I was writing lots of posts teaching husbands 3 years ago – when God showed me two passages in the New Testament about that women are not to teach men or have authority over them. So I repented of that to all of my readers and immediately stopped and took down the posts.

      My husband’s blog is his own thing. He may write whatever he believes God desires him to. I spend about 30 hours/week on my blog ministry. He maybe has an hour per month or every two months. Blogging is not his primary calling. His primary calling is to help me and be my tech guy! 🙂 Currently, between my two blogs, I have about 50,000 hits per week, he has a very small fraction of that and that is fine with him.

      My job is to do what I believe God has called me to do in teaching wives and women. I want to be obedient to Him and faithful to His Word and I don’t want to leave anything out that is important.

      I have had a number of men complain, too, that there is no comparable site for men as what I am writing for wives. I can’t really control that – my calling from God is specifically to teach women. We can pray together that God might raise up men to teach and disciple His men.

      There are resources to help men learn to become godly men and women to become godly women – these resources are for both men and women:

      Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – John Piper and Wayne Grudem
      Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – Secret Church series by David Platt (available on Youtube or http://www.radical.net)
      Radical – David Platt (a book about true discipleship in Christ)
      Crazy Love – Francis Chan (true discipleship in Christ)
      The Normal Christian Life – Watchman Nee
      The Necessity of Prayer – E.M. Bounds
      Love and Respect – by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
      The Grace Filled Marriage – Tim Kimmel
      His Brain, Her Brain – Dr. Walt Larimore MD
      For Women Only – Shaunti Feldhahn/ For Men Only – Shaunti Feldhahn and Jeff Feldhahn
      The Christian Marriage Blogger’s Association has a number of sites for husbands, as well
      http://www.brentriggs.com has a blog as a pastor and addresses men’s and women’s issues

      But here is my concern. If we are focusing on what our husbands “should do” – we tend to ignore what we should be doing. Or, that has been my experience with myself and with hundreds of other women I have talked with. It seems to me that we have the most power in Christ when we focus on trusting Him to work in our husbands’ lives and we focus on allowing Him to change us to be whatever He desires us to be.

      I realize that my blog is very one-sided. That is intentional – because I only teach women. But the fact that I am called only to teach women does not negate what God’s Word commands for men. God’s Word still stands for them and they have greater accountability and responsibility before Him as the leaders in the home.

      There are a few posts on my blog written by a minister at my church that are more balanced and address both husbands and wives – I have them at the top of my home page for that reason:

      Spiritual Authority
      A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

      Both husbands and wives are sinners. We are all equally wretched before Christ on our own. We are on level ground at the foot of the cross. Men are not better than women. Women are not better than men. And what Christ commands is the same for all of us – total submission to Him as Lord. Many of the things I write about would apply to men, as well. And a lot of men actually do read my blog and glean from it.

      We will each answer individually for our sin and our obedience to Christ. It is my goal to train women in discipleship so that God might say to each of us, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” That is my ultimate aim – that our lives might completely honor and please Christ alone. That is also my prayer for our brothers in Christ, as well!

      I hope that might clarify things a bit. Please let me know if it does. 🙂

      Much love to you!

      I also address some of these issues in the post
      Why Do I Have to Change First?

  9. Thank you so much for the booklist and I have the blog pulled up to look at (brentriggs).

    I don’t have big enough words to thank you for your directing us to David Platt. We try to watch one each morning. Found one hubs likes-WOW

    I can really identify with Blessed One. Housekeeping and I have always had a conflicted relationship.

    I do respect my husband very much, so there has not been much conflict there altho I have been refining things and hopefully becoming more sensitive.

    Our neighbor just came over to ask DH’s help with something and we were in the middle of watching Rev Platt. He is used to DH helping him right then and there. DH told him we were watching a sermon (language barrier, he may not know that word?) I grew frustrated that DH was being sidetracked and called out for him to pause it. oops. He was handling it and I spoke out of turn, it did annoy him. I felt so sorry when I realized what I had done. esp interupting the 2 men.
    I hope and pray I learn from this, to check my words esp if I am irritated.
    We do not mind helping this young family….it was just a matter of timing.

    But I still mind that we did not have our usual time of discussion together after the teaching finished.

    1. Tena,

      You are most welcome. I love listening to David Platt. Greg, my husband, introduced me to him. He is my favorite pastor/Bible teacher.

      Interruptions can be frustrating, absolutely. I’m sorry things didn’t work out for y’all to have a discussion later.

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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