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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

11 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. 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…”

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

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