Skip to main content
pensive-1434200

Why You May Want to Keep This a Secret for Awhile…

pensive-1434200

Husbands have a God-given need for respect.

If I can’t trust the perfect and only God who completely loves me and died for me, if I can’t submit fully to Him as Lord and reverence Him, if I don’t know my infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t know my husband’s infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t understand what the concepts of respect or submission are, or what character qualities are even worthy of respect – I am in big trouble. There is no way I can genuinely honor, respect, and biblically submit to my imperfect human husband – even if he is the most amazing man on earth.

This isn’t because there is nothing to respect in my husband, but because there is so much spiritual work to do in my own life. Whether I am too controlling and disrespectful, or too passive and “overly respectful and too submissive” toward my husband… we all need God’s healing in our own souls as the first step of this journey.

  • I had a lot of work to do with God before I could begin to be capable of truly respecting and honoring my husband.

I talk a lot here about that our motives for respecting our husbands and honoring their God-given leadership must be our desires to:

  1. please God
  2. bless our husbands

BUT – If you say to your husband, “I will respect you, Honey, because God commands me to,” that would feel very hurtful to him.

As wives, we would be horrified if our husbands said, “I love you because God says I have to,” right? We want our men to think, “I GET to be married to her and to love her!” Not, “I have to be married to her and I have to love her.” Our men want to know that we genuinely respect real things about them and that we honor their leadership because we trust them – not just because we love, reverence, and submit to Christ. Of course, most of us can’t really start here  – this is the goal, but there are many steps we must take to get to the place where we can really become godly wives who know how to do all of these things and have the power to be able to do them.

I need to be able to be a whole and healed woman (or at least, beginning to heal) – before I can respect or honor my husband properly. My primary purpose is to know and love God and to bring glory to Him. One secondary purpose is that I have the ability to be a godly wife because of Christ living in me. But even then, I can’t meet the deepest needs of my husband’s heart. Our deepest needs as people are met by Christ alone. I can’t be God to my husband. What I can do is come to the marriage from a position of great strength in Christ, knowing my identity, filled with God’s Spirit – then I can bless my husband and begin to breathe God’s healing and life into the marriage because then I have the power to do the things God calls me to do. I hope this makes sense.

As one husband shared, “Husbands don’t like ‘duty sex’ or ‘duty respect and submission’ from their wives.” Can we blame them? Wouldn’t we feel the same way if our husbands said something similar regarding their love for us?

Sometimes – with our husbands – less verbal/written information from us can be better about this journey… especially at first. Honestly, most husbands would probably be appalled to know how difficult it is for us wives to learn to respect them and honor their leadership. This isn’t because of any faults in them, generally, but because of the battles and struggles we face ourselves. Unfortunately, a wounded husband may not be able to see this – and would likely take it very personally that his wife doesn’t or can’t respect him.

WHEN WE ARE FIRST LEARNING, OUR WORDS MAY MAKE THINGS WORSE

Sometimes, there are ways we could share with our husbands that would be very hurtful before we begin to speak the masculine language of respect fluently. If you say things like:

  • This blogger lady says I shouldn’t tell you how dumb I think your ideas are.
  • God doesn’t want me to take over for you, even though I really don’t think you can handle this situation. Wow! It is so hard not to just jump in and do all of this myself!
  • I’m trying to figure out what things I can respect about you, but I can barely think of anything.
  • I am going to try to start respecting you now. Man, this is going to be TOUGH!
  • I’m going to try to stop being mean to you so that you will do more things for me.
  • I’ve decided I am going to try to respect you more even though you don’t deserve my respect.
  • I don’t actually trust you, but I am trying to trust God to lead me through you. So, I am going to cooperate with you even though I really think your ideas are terrible.

… try to guess how disrespected and insulted a husband might feel and the massive chasm these kinds of words could create in a marriage.

If these things don’t make you cringe – try imagining a husband saying these same things about loving his wife. That might help put it in perspective a bit more.

DON’T TALK ABOUT IT – JUST DO IT!

Most husbands don’t want to hear about what we “are going to do” or why we are going to do it or why we don’t want to do what God commands us to do. They just want to see our transformed attitude and life as God works in us. They don’t need a verbal play-by-play of what God is teaching us.

There may be exceptions – super spiritually strong husbands who understand the complexity of this journey and who don’t get offended when wives are struggling at first to understand who may be able to help their wives process these things. Or, God may prompt a wife to share something about what she is doing if a husband is continuing on in unrepentant sin. God may give you a very respectful way to share this. That’s fine. Please listen to God’s voice much more than my suggestions!

If you have a husband who is deeply wounded from years of disrespect and control from his wife and who may even be drowning in shame himself – adding more insults does not move things forward, it just sets you back many more weeks or months in healing his soul and the marriage.

(By the way – husbands have a very similar journey to make with God to learn how to truly love their wives that causes them to have to go through just as much contortion and changes as we do on our journey. All believers go through this painful, but necessary, process of sanctification where God refines and prunes us to make us more like Christ.)

One day in the future, when the marriage is much more healthy – you will probably be able to share more about your journey with your husband. And by then, you will be better equipped to share about it in ways that don’t insult him but actually honor and delight him. Then you can celebrate – together – all the miracles that God has done in your lives and in your marriage!

Much love to each of you!

NOTE:

  • We reverence Christ first as Lord and King.
  • We respect ourselves as daughters of the King and find our identity and worth in Christ alone.
  • We respect our marriage covenant.
  • We respect our husbands because they are our husbands and we seek to find the good in them.

Sometimes, it seems that women think that if they respect their husbands, they must disrespect one or more of these other things. No, not at all! And please remember that we are to hate sin, as God does… we don’t have to respect our husband’s sin. We can respect our husbands, God, ourselves, and our marriage while we stand against things that the Bible calls sin.

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

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

The Respect Knob

To Speak or Not to Speak?

GENERAL DISCLAIMER FOR MY BLOG

If you are a wife who has severe emotional/spiritual scars, your husband is extremely controlling, you are experiencing severe issues in your marriage, or you think that “respect” means, “I have to do whatever my husband says and never say what I need, be quiet all the time, give up my personhood, smile in a fake way, and suffer,” – please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate one-on-one godly counsel. There are some wives who misunderstand what respect and biblical submission means – and my words – in very destructive ways because of the filters and severe wounds they have. Things that a healthy wife would be fine hearing and understand in a good way may crush the spirit of a wife who hears it incorrectly. That breaks my heart!

If you think that I am saying you “just need to take abuse” and you “shouldn’t get to ever share your concerns, needs, and feelings” with your husband, or “you aren’t as valuable or as important as your husband,” or “you aren’t a real person” – you are misunderstanding me greatly. These are not the messages I am trying to convey to anyone! If you think that is what I am saying, please stop reading my blog and seek resources that will better help you understand God’s Word and His design in your particular situation.

Ultimately, we must always each test anything that anyone else says (including myself) against Scripture. And we must each make our own decisions about what we believe God desires us to do. If you believe you are hearing destructive messages from me, leave a comment and let’s talk about it to be sure there is not a misunderstanding. 🙂

104 thoughts on “Why You May Want to Keep This a Secret for Awhile…

    1. RamonaQ,

      Yep. When we still don’t really understand the difference between disrespect and respect, we can THINK we are being respectful and not even realize that we are still oozing with disrespect. That was me, too. That is why it was better for me not to try to explain what I was doing. I wasn’t used to “keeping secrets” – and it felt strange not to constantly tell Greg every thought I had. But it was a MAJOR step in healing for my husband when God empowered me to stop saying the unwise, destructive things. That was the first step, actually – to try to stop the massive bleeding that my hurtful words were causing.

      1. I can totally relate to “not wanting to keep secrets and not being able to tell my husband every thought I have” but i can understand how important that major step would be for healing in my husband.

        1. fam6,

          As we learn to develop godly discretion and wisdom and how to filter our thoughts and remove the sinful or disrespectful ones – then we can share more of our thoughts with our husbands. But until those filters are in place, it can get tricky.

  1. My husband and I are in a very estranged place in our marriage. We have never been on the same page spiritually, but now it’s even more so. Six months ago he had an affair. I’ve forgiven, but forgetting is very difficult. I’ve made every effort to be kind, but he says that I don’t show him any love or affection. This may be true b/c I’ll admit that my heart is guarded. I’ve also been getting my priorities in order…putting God and my healing and spiritual growth first. While my husband says that he understands this, I believe that this is why he is feeling neglected. I’ll admit that I do not respect my husband and I am honestly at a loss as to how to turn this around. He drinks alcohol on a daily basis (he is not violent, but it isolates and depresses him), he seldom takes the kids and I to church, and he constantly makes me feel like a bad wife b/c our sex life isn’t as active as it once was.
    We had a huge fight the other night. I told him that he was no longer my priority or my problem. He is the husband and he should be leading and taking care of me. I am exhausted and literally feel like I have nothing left to give to this marriage.

    1. Jess,

      Oh goodness! Such an incredibly painful situation. I don’t know that you can forget an affair. There is a lot of rebuilding of trust that would be very necessary to heal such a breaking of the marriage covenant. I’m glad you want to forgive. I know that God can absolutely heal and restore marriages after an affair – I have seen Him do it many times.

      Would you be interested in talking with me a bit about some things you may be able to do on your end to move toward healing?

      Are y’all receiving godly counsel to help you both navigate this and get the marriage out of the deep ditch back onto a healthy road?

      What do you desire to happen in the marriage?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Did y’all ever have a time of separation during or after the affair?

      God doesn’t command us to respect sin. You don’t have to respect your husband’s affair. And you don’t have to respect the fact that he drinks alcohol or that he doesn’t want to go to church much.

      What are some of the strengths he has?

      Is it possible he may be drowning in shame?

      Sending you the biggest hug!

      1. April, what do you mean by(not) respecting that he had an affair or that he is drinking or not going to church?

        I have told my husband that I have forgiven his affair and I will not bring it up again to him (at this point since he is drowning in shame) until he turns back to God and HE brings it up. I just can’t do that to such a broken man.

        Also, with the daily alcohol drinking (excess)… I told him that I understand why he feels he must choose it, although I do not agree with it. I do fetch him a beer if we are together ALONE. He refuses to drink in front of the children.

        I don’t “think” I respect his choices of ANY of the blatant sins he is participating in, but I do not judge. I try very hard to school my face to remain pleasant and peaceful and not grimace or sneer when he drinks or does the other things he is involved in or confesses what he’s been into.

        I believe that because I have reassured him that I will not judge him for his struggles, he has started confessing them to me almost on a daily basis! He has also stopped drinking into the early morning hours and has been home by midnight the past two nights.

        1. DW,

          God doesn’t call us to respect sin or to love sin in ourselves or anyone else. My husband is commanded by God to love me and I am commanded by God to respect him – but as believers, we are to hate sin. We can love and respect a person and we can respect a person’s freedom to make his own choices without loving or respecting their sin. God loves us and respects our free will, after all – but He hates our sin and calls us to repent.

          I can respect the fact that my boss is in the position of being my boss. I can love my child because he is my child. But if my boss is embezzling money from our company – and I know about it – I may have to do something about it so that I am not cooperating with him in his sin. If my child is involved in porn, I can love my child with all my heart – and hate the porn addiction and seek to get my child the help he/she needs.

          I know that you are doing what you believe God desires you to at this point. And I am glad that your husband is confessing sin to you. That is a good thing that he is not hiding it. I support you doing what you believe God is prompting you to do.

          But there is a difference between respecting our husbands and honoring their sin.

          Here is an example:

          If a husband brings home a prostitute and the wife rushes around to tidy up the house for him and this woman, and hurries to cook them a lovely dinner while the husband and prostitute are committing sin in the bedroom, and then the wife smiles and serves them a delicious meal and sits and talks about how wonderful it is that they are doing what they are doing – that would be a problem. Wouldn’t you think?

          We can hate our own sin and our husband’s sins, and the sin of others. And we should – because God hates sin. We don’t need to make provision for other people to sin or help them to sin – buying alcohol for an alcoholic, covering up with lies to our husband’s boss if our husband is addicted to drugs, excusing sinful behavior as if it is fine and not hurtful, etc…

          If a husband has an affair, a wife is right to be upset, sad, angry, and broken about that. He broke their marriage covenant. That is not okay. I don’t think it is wise to gloss over sin and pretend that it is not destructive. It would be wrong for a wife to say, “Honey, it’s fine that you had an affair. No big deal. Let’s be sure to get a picture of you and your girlfriend to put with the family photos.”

          No, a wife would want to show respect for God, for their marriage covenant, and for herself by not approving the sin. What he did was disrespectful and dishonoring to her, to God, to himself, and to the marriage covenant. In many cases – God may prompt a wife to say something like, “I love our marriage covenant and want to honor it. I will not live together as husband and wife with you unless you stop the affair and agree to honor our marriage covenant, me, and God. I want to be the wife God calls me to be. But I am not going to live in this situation.” She can still seek to respect the good that is in her husband and his position as her husband. But if he violates the covenant, she may have to remove herself until he repents and demonstrates that he is seeking to rebuild trust. She is not to approve or condone his sin. She can seek to see him with God’s eyes and provide a godly example in her own life for him to see.

          This does not mean she is justified to sin herself – to become bitter, full of contempt, hatred, and unforgiveness. God does command us all to forgive those who sin against us so that He will forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). But she is justified not to trust him until he repents and shows fruit of repentance and a changed heart and life.

          I don’t know exactly how God may desire each wife in each situation at each moment to handle such situations. This would require intense prayer and sensitivity to God’s Spirit about when to wait and pray and when to speak up and address sin directly.

          But I do want wives to know that they don’t have to embrace a husband’s sin and somehow try to convince themselves that their sin is beautiful or honorable when it is actually wrong.

          With the going to church thing – a wife can respect her husband’s God-given free will and ability to make his own decisions, but she doesn’t have to agree with his decision or necessarily stop going to church herself. She will seek to honor Christ first and follow Him above respecting her husband. She will try to respect Christ and her husband, but if the two do not agree, she may have to choose to honor Christ rather than her husband in particular situations.

          Does that make sense?

          I’m glad that your husband seems to be doing better. That is awesome!

          For more on this topic, please check out Spiritual Authority.

          1. A book that has some powerful real-life examples of wives respecting God and their husbands but not their husbands’ sin is the book Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas.

          2. Thank you for recommending this book! I’m on page 28 now and loving it. It was on my wish list on Amazon so I went ahead and purchased it for my Kindle. I appreciate your book list that you have on your blog too. I have read several already. I can’t thank you enough for being such a willing vessel to minister to us.

          3. DW,
            I’m so glad that this is a blessing to you! Maybe you can recap that skiing scene more accurately for us when you come across it. 🙂

            So glad this is all a blessing to you. Sending you a huge hug!

          4. I discovered our public library has Gary Thomas’ book. I thought I’d remind those of you fortunate enough to live near a good library to check there if you can’t spend money on books now. I’ve found a number of books from April’s reading list at ours.

          5. Wow, April, thank you for being so thorough in explaining “respecting sin”. This was very helpful.

            I totally agree with you that we have to seek God in how to handle situations as they arise in our OWN marriages. Each will be similar but not exact. I have had to be extremely careful in not practicing the advice given out by well meaning people (not many know anyway) without first seeking God. My knees are becoming calloused as I seek His way daily, hourly, minute by minute some days. My journey is so different from others. I only want to do it His way!

          6. DW,

            God may want you to be quiet and just wait. I can totally see where that would be the best route in some situations – and how God might use that so that a man can hear His voice more clearly. Then there have been other wives where God lead them to separate over a husband’s unrepentant infidelity – and God used that to wake the husband up. There is a husband who reads my blog who has shared that he needed that wakeup call.

            So – yes! Seek God for yourself and do what He is calling you to do today. It may be a different call tomorrow. But just keep honoring and obeying what you discern to be God’s will.

            I pray for His wisdom for you, as well!

            Much love,
            April

      2. I am humble enough to accept advice on what I can do on my end! 🙂

        We have not had counseling, I’ve wanted to, but he has always made one excuse or another to not go. I’ve actually been contemplating just going alone.

        We were only separated for a week. I was actually not ready for him to come home (it was the most peaceful week ever), but our son kept asking “when is daddy coming home?” It broke my heart so I caved even though I wasn’t ready.

        My walk with Christ has never been stronger! And I honestly think that is a big part of the problem. My husband doesn’t feel the convictions that I do. I am strong in my faith and he is under spiritual attack. The biggest problem with this is that he isn’t willing to do the things that he knows will help. So we just keep repeating this circle. (Did I mention the 1st infidelity five years ago!?!)

        I’ve went thru every emotion possible over the past 17 years, but this is the first time I have been truly angry. I don’t see any strengths or positives in him anymore, I don’t see anything but a big ol’ hot mess of a man. I feel nothing, zip, nada when we kiss, etc. I actually dread going home b/c the air is so heavy that I feel like I can’t breathe.

        I just desire whatever God wants me to do, but I’ve never felt a strong command to either stay or go. My brain says stay for the kids, but my heart says that enough is enough, just leave and have peace.

        1. Jess,

          So, he is not a believer, correct?

          Then, spiritually – he is very lost, and even, “dead in his transgressions.” Perhaps – he can’t hear God’s voice at all?

          Your spiritual strength is not a problem. But we will talk about that…

          He can’t lead the way a godly man would lead right now – because he doesn’t have God’s Spirit – if I am understanding that he is not a believer in Christ. You are the only light for Christ that is shining in your family at this point. God can lead you through your husband – in a sense – which we will talk about in a bit.

          But first, what do you believe God’s greatest desire is for your husband?

          How does God see this man?

          Why might God have you in his life?

          What do you believe you need in order to begin to rebuild trust? It seems that maybe y’all rushed into getting back together. Are there some steps in healing that you may need to back up and work through?

  2. I’m very glad this was discussed over the last few days, especially in April’s way of translation for us women. I was probably on the verge of saying something like ” I love you no matter what because God commands it, and I love God”, to my frustrated, lost, confused and discouraged husband whim I have disrespected for 19 years. This probably prevented me from a major setback or a complete rejection of God or anything regarding God. Whew! Out Lord has some serious chess games going on up there! I see how you put Anonymous and April to work for us newly respectful wives, Lord, very clever! Thank you very much anonymous and April.

    1. Lmsdaily115,

      I’m so thankful for God’s timing! And glad that you didn’t say this to your husband. It wouldn’t probably make sense to him at this point, and may hurt him.
      Yes, God has an amazing way of orchestrating things, doesn’t He??? He is SO good!

      Glad this was a blessing!
      Sending you the biggest hug!

  3. Great post. Unfortunately my own husband had to say this to me several times, “I love you because God says I have to.” It was a bit hurtful but necessary. There were several times I gave my husband nothing to love and all he really had to hang onto was commitment, his honor, a desire to please God. I suppose many marriages will experience moments like that. It was very convicting however, to realize this man was going to do the right thing by me no matter how he “felt.” He really taught me something there, that love exists beyond feelings and emotion. In the face of that kind of integrity I just kind of crumbled and realized I owed him something in return, I needed to do things that would be pleasing to him.

    That is not unlike my relationship with Christ, although it’s on a totally different level. When confronted with the love and mercy of Christ, you just have a desire to seek His favor, to be pleasing to Him.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      We all will have plenty of opportunities in marriage to learn to give respect and love even when the other person doesn’t deserve it. I’m glad your husband decided to do what was right, even though he didn’t feel like it! I praise God that God used this example in your life. That is awesome!

      One spouse’s obedience to God – even when the other is not obeying God – is a vessel to bring healing and God’s power into the marriage.

      Love this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. We reverence Christ first as Lord, Master, and King.
    We respect ourselves as daughters of the King, finding our identity and worth in Christ alone.
    We respect our sacred marriage covenant.
    We respect our husbands because they are our husbands and we seek to find the good in them.

    But our respecting our husbands does not mean we disrespect Christ, ourselves, or our marriage covenant. And we are never commanded to respect sin.

  5. April, you are continuing to teach heresy that God died…..God can never die. Jesus died on that cross, the man Christ Jesus….Gods Son, God’s holy servant, the man from heaven …..JESUS IS NOT GOD! Teachers will receive a harsher judgement. Please study and pray to be truly approved otherwise your whole ministry is built on sand if you dont teach the real Jesus.

    1. Stephanie,

      Thank you for your passion for truth and for God and Jesus. And yes, those who teach will be judged more strictly. That is very sobering – and something I keep in mind daily and prayerfully.

      Here is a link to verses that teach that Jesus is God – that they are One, that Jesus is fully man and fully God. He is Emmanuel, “God with us.”

      Some other resources on this issue:

      http://www.gotquestions.org/is-Jesus-God.html
      https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/jesus-is-god/is-jesus-god/
      http://www.gotquestions.org/divinity-of-Christ.html
      http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/by-topic/the-deity-of-christ

      I pray that God might make things clear to you and give you His wisdom on this foundational issue.

      My beliefs are in line with The Gospel Coalition’s Confessional Statement. I pray that you might continue to study and seek to know and understand the truth about Jesus and God. That is an incredibly important topic. Thank you for sharing your concerns. I have studied this topic at great length and am not persuaded by the arguments that Jesus is a man and that He is not divine.

      I am not going to be able to give your view a platform on my blog. I believe that it is false teaching. The hallmark of a cult is that it does not claim the deity of Christ. May we all know the Jesus of the Bible and the real life and real love He alone can bring.

      Much love in Christ!

    2. Praying for you Stephanie. You have been miss-led. Jesus is God. 3 in 1. Period. I pray you can hear the true scriptures, from the Bible, and accept this basic tenant. In Christ, My Lord and God. -T

  6. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your marriage.

    I’m 42 and in my first year of my first marriage. It is my husband’s 3rd! I could go on in a lengthy email about us but I won’t.

    Your blogs are encouraging and make me feel not alone:)

    I know God is working in our lives.

    Wendy Jones

    >

  7. Hi. How does one respect her husband if he uses coarse language and name calling? He’s sworn at me, and called the kids and I names like stupid, idiot, dumb, moron….He’s always sorry, but it happens again. He is really struggling(kinda having a mid life crisis, dealing with a harsh childhood), and when he gets anxious, he gets angry and harsh with his words. Its really affecting the kids and I. I love him, but sometimes don’t know if we can stay together, I am really worried about the impact this has on the kids. How do I respect him, and yet get him to change the way he speaks to us as times.

    1. I deal with this as well.

      Learn that you are not responsible or have to “correct or fix” his reactions. But you CAN control your own. Don’t lash out, teach lessons, or bicker back. You can respect him as a child of God, just Like you, but you Don’t HAVE To Respect his sin. Remember, God is the only one who has the authority to deal with sin, not you or any other human.

      Look for comfort and a definition of who you are from God, not from your husband. By not picking up the tug-o-war rope, he will not be able to place blame on you. He will only be left with his own guilt of his actions. He may be more angry at himself. However, he might not know how to fix it. Is he close to God? Does he have a godly male mentor?

      April has a great post about how men deal with shame. Her husband does as well.

      You need to run YOUR race, your husband will have to run his. When we each stand before God at the end of this life, we will only be answering for our race. It won’t matter if he treated you wrong or didn’t give you what you needed. Your reaction and how you honored God will be what He looks at. Your husband will have the same trial. Only God can help save him. If you are the example to imitate, he most likely will follow suite.

      Hope that helps.

      1. LMSdaily115,

        I know you have fought tooth and nail to learn these pearls and truths in your own very difficult situation. Thank you so much for reaching out to bless our sister, aquamama. Love this!

    2. aquamama,

      That is a wonderful question! You don’t have to respect the language and name-calling, of course. But you can respect him and realize that there is a lot of pain and dysfunction behind those harsh words. I love the real life example in Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas of a husband who began to berate his son when they were skiing – and the wife calmly skied over to her husband, lovingly put her hand on his chest, and said something to the effect of, “I know what you had to deal with when you were a boy. It was tough on you. I know you will choose to be a better kind of father for our son.” Her husband softened and changed his approach with his son.

      I read the book a few years ago – so, the quote is not anywhere near word for word. But it was a very sweet moment, and a glimpse – for me – of what a wife’s respectful approach and gentle touch can do.

      I would suggest speaking to him about this sometime in private. Approaching him after much prayer, with great humility, compassion for the pain he has experienced, and respect for the man God loves – and then seek to inspire him to be the man God calls him to be. Not with shame, nagging, a critical spirit, or condemnation – but with encouragement, understanding, and affirmation. Does that make sense?

      You could approach him in private sometime and share the things you admire about him and the things that are good about his fathering skills. You can say something like, “I know that you have such a good heart toward our children. I know you want to raise them to do the right thing and to behave well and to make us both proud. I know I have a different perspective as a mom. Maybe I might be too softhearted. Sometimes, I am concerned that you may be a bit harsh with the kids. I don’t want them to feel discouraged. I want to be sure they know how much you love them. But I also know that you know more about being a dad than I do. I just want you to know that I love you and I am glad we are on the same team together. I’m praying for us both as parents.”

      God will give you the exact words and approach as you seek His wisdom and are filled with His Spirit. It may be a totally different approach than this. That is fine! Follow what God prompts you to do, my sweet sister!

      Much love!

  8. Hi April. I don’t understand why a husband would feel bad if his wife said she was only obeying or respecting him to serve the Lord. Wouldn’t he want to know that she would do her duty to him no matter what he does or doesn’t do? Isn’t our submission all about Christ and has nothing to do with our husbands? Or is this more about our attitude towards our husbands and having a joyful and willing spirit? It seems prideful to want our husband’s to love us for us and vise versa.

    1. Lara Hazzard,

      For many men, they haven’t done a lot of studying on this subject. Some may not even be believers. Or some may be faltering in their faith, or even drowning in shame – as we talked about last week.

      Men know they need respect. Some men who are Christians realize it is a command for wives to respect their husbands. But they may not have examined all of the intricacies that are involved in motivations with this. They may just want the reassurance that their wives see real good in them. It can sound like an insult to a man if the only reason his wife wants to respect him is because “she has to.” He wants to know that she supports HIM and admires HIM and that she respects him because she wants to and she values him.

      In the future, he may see all of the “behind the scenes” stuff that is involved in a wife being right with God first.

      But most husbands simply want their wives to really respect them. Just like most wives simply want their husbands to really love them.

      Does that make sense?

      It is not wrong for a wife to long for her husband’s love. The marriage covenant is supposed to be reciprocal. The problem is when we want our husband’s love more than God’s love or we are willing to sin to try to make our husbands love us or we try to control them or manipulate them into loving us. It is not wrong for a husband to long for his wife’s respect. It is a matter of where that desire is in his priorities. But that is something that is between our husbands and God.

    2. Lara Hazzard,

      Oh! AND… the awesome thing is that what God empowers us to do is to have REAL respect for our husbands that is genuine in our hearts and that feels and looks genuine to them. So – when we are walking in obedience to God – our husbands do get to feel truly respected and honored by us because we have God’s eyes, His love, and His perspective for his son – even if the son is a prodigal.

    3. It just seems like respect should be automatically given because of a husband’s position because its a commandment from the Lord, and the good feelings that we feel towards our husbands because of their many wonderful qualities make it easier to do that duty. It just seems like if our level of respect has anything to do with things that they do or don’t do or qualities they have or don’t have that it would greatly dishonor the Lord because it wouldn’t be fully for Him. And our husbands shouldn’t feel slighted to know that they dont have to earn our respect. So is it a need for men to feel like our motivation is about them? I hope I’m not totally misunderstanding your point 🙁

  9. A note, ladies,

    If your husband is involved in severe unrepentant sin – there may be some times that God will prompt a wife to gently, humbly, but firmly confront her husband. She may need to say, “I’m going to continue to honor our marriage covenant out of reverence for God. What you are doing is destructive. Please stop. Let’s start over and rebuild and make our marriage strong together. I want to be the wife God wants me to be and that you need. I want to respect and honor you. I don’t want our marriage to fall apart. I know that you have your own choices to make. But my choice is to continue to seek to honor you and God in our marriage covenant.”

    There are other times God may prompt a wife to be silent and wait.

    The main point of today’s post is that sometimes, when we are first learning, we may inadvertently try to explain ourselves in a very disrespectful and counterproductive way.

    Listen to God’s voice above any suggestion I ever make!

    I hope this makes sense!

      1. Lara Hazzard,

        Respect should be unconditional in marriage just like love is. We do respect and honor our husbands because we respect and submit to Christ. But there is another facet to respect, just like there is another facet to love – which is the interpersonal facet. There are specific things that I truly do admire about my husband- his work ethic, his talent with renovating the house, his intelligence, his kindness, his parenting abilities, his patience, his faith in God, his creativity, his artistic abilities, his technological skills, etc…

        A husband wants to know that there are specific things about him that his wife does admire and respect – and that she could admire and respect those things even if God didn’t command her to respect him.

        I hope that makes sense.

  10. Don’t talk about it – just do it…..

    That is probably the very best advice I have ever seen you give to women regarding their dealings with men. Women respond to conversation, men respond to action. What a lot of people forget is that, in a man’s world, talk is very, very, very cheap. Cheap to the point of being one of the worst currencies on the planet. Here’s why.

    1. Actions speak louder than words, by orders of magnitude.
    2. If you say something that you can not live up to, you break our trust.
    3. If you say one thing, but do another, you are a hypocrite, and break our trust.
    4. If you are doing something, and feel the compulsive need to talk about it, it feels like you are either bragging or trying to rub our nose in it, depending on the context.

    Some scriptures to keep in mind. (Matt 5:33-37, 6:1-7, 21:28-32; Mark 7:6 (referencing God, but the principle applies); 1 John 3:18; James 3:13)

    1. ravaught,

      I’m so thankful you shared this!
      You know – you have this way of just cutting to the chase and explaining a masculine mindset and perspective very clearly.

      I would love to quote you from this comment, if you would please allow me the honor. 🙂

    2. I’m pretty sure my husband would totally agree with everything you said if he read your post. Thanks for clarifying to me what he probably can’t express to me right now. He uses the phrase “more than words” to explain this concept (from the song by Extreme).

  11. Interestingly, I was just listening to a John Piper sermon today about desiring God (as I’ve mentioned before, HOW to experience joy in and desire God passionately is a real head-scratcher for me), and his words about God insisting that we experience joy in who He is resonated strongly with your words today about husbands wanting their wives to respect them, each for his own sake, not just as a generic or symbolic leader of the marriage covenant. Marriage really is a reflection of how God wants us to know Him! How good God is, that He made men and women for each other, to help us understand Him better!

    I can guarantee you, I don’t want to be a mere duty to my husband… especially since he’s not a believer and we’d only be relying on his emotional whims of duty, not on a scriptural command that he love me. I DO get the point that actions of love and respect are owed to a spouse despite how one happens to feel, but surely duty is only for (hopefully!) brief periods when you just can’t muster up genuine respect for your spouse? It’s the spirit of joy and desire that makes a marriage good and vibrant, and our marriages are to be reflections of our relationships with Christ. Seeking pleasure in God and His commands is the best way to glorify Him, and finding joy in your husband is the best way to satisfy him!

    1. peregrine042,

      Oh, this is REALLY good!

      I LOVE seeing how learning about being a godly wife teaches us about being better in our relationship with God and teaches us about God. And I love how learning more about relating to God properly helps us better understand God’s design for marriage.

      This is so neat. 🙂

      Thank you very much for sharing!

  12. My husband is so angry and hurt with me this morning. He continues to accuse me of having an affair, is angry that I didn’t show up over the years when he needed me, angry about money. This morning I put my arm around him and he removed it, answered questions with a sharp tone, and when I confronted him he lashed out. I am so afraid he is going to leave me. I won’t let Satan have my marriage and my family. I have already allowed Satan to infiltrate my life and marriage without knowing that he was.

    1. Betsy,

      I can’t imagine how difficult this would be! Being falsely accused of an affair would be terribly painful. Is there anything you can do to assure him that his belief is not true?

      Ladies,
      Let’s surround Betsy with prayer today.

      Lord,
      We lift up Betsy and her husband to Your throne room in the highest heaven where You reign in sovereignty, majesty, might, and power over all of the universe. You are sovereign over Betsy’s life. You are sovereign over her husband’s life. You have good plans for Betsy to help her grow in Christ and to use her for Your good purposes and for Your Kingdom. Her husband is hurting and deeply wounded. Please give him Your spirit of clarity to see the truth. Help him to see that You are changing Betsy’s heart and life. Help him to see Christ and how desperately he needs You. Let him see his anger is unjustified. Help him to take a step back and be still before You and really understand what is going on. I pray that You might bring him to Christ and heal him. Change his heart, Lord! Align his soul with Yours and his desires with Your own.

      I pray that You might continue to fill Betsy with Your power, Your Spirit, Your love, and Your wisdom. Let her walk in obedience and holiness. Let her hear Your voice behind her saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Help her not depend on her husband’s feelings or his behavior for her security – but only on You. Let her walk in Your perfect peace and joy. Help her to be confident that You are her Rock, her Refuge, her Shield and Defense, and an Ever Present Help in Trouble. Let her praise and thank You for Your goodness today! Let her rest in Your sovereignty and trust in You to work in her husband to accomplish Your will. Let her be excited with anticipation to see what You will do in the midst of this trial. Let her speak the words You desire her to speak and be silent when You prompt her to be silent. Let her see her husband with Your eyes and love him with Your love. Let her faith greatly increase and we thank You that You will use this experience, even today, to bless her and to help her mature in her faith and trust in You. Let her husband be confused by all that you are doing in Betsy’s life and may You use her example draw him to Yourself.

      We pray for You to shoot down the enemy in this marriage and to bring about victory for Christ!

      In the Name and power of Christ Jesus our Lord,

      Amen!

    2. Betsy,

      I’m so very sorry you’re going through so much pain this morning. Keep steady in your faith and love, and know you are in my prayers. Elizabeth

    3. Betsy,
      For many years my husband accused me of having an affair also and I ended up doing so many years later. Come against that in the name of Jesus. Do not let that get into your spirit.

      I am dealing with a VERY drunk and angry spouse this morning too. He is angry today that I was “distant” for the last ten years (during which time I was extremely sick and had several major surgeries) and have now shown up on the scene “all supportive and respectful” and he says to me today its too late, he wants to give up and die.

      Give your fear (of him leaving) to the Lord. Place your life and marriage in His hands as I’m having to do the same at this very moment. My husband is out driving intoxicated (and blubbering over me right now) during the lunch rush on a Friday. Every few minutes I breathe a prayer, ” God, I give you my husband. Watch over him. Let your will be done in his life. And keep everyone protected from his vehicle. ”

      Praying for you, sister.

      1. Oh my poor sweetheart. I pray for you and the hurt you and your husband are going through. Lord, please send your angels to guard him and the people in his path. Lord, please give comfort and direction to DW during this test of faith. Amen.

      2. DW,

        Oh no!!! I am so very concerned about your husband’s spiritual, emotional, and physiological state!!! How I pray God will open his eyes and get him off the road. How I pray God will provide the help he needs and give you His wisdom about exactly what to do.

        A lot of husbands get really angry when a wife wakes up and begins to change. They seem to think that their wives could have done that much earlier but chose not to. Usually, we didn’t know how to wake ourselves up – and it took God to wake us up. So – although I can understand a husband’s frustration – I wish they could be thankful that God did wake up their wives now. But we can’t control how our husbands may react.

        This is a scary situation. For your husband’s safety and for the safety of others. Is he safe at this time? Do you need to alert the police? Is he part of a recovery group like Celebrate Recovery? Is there someone you can contact from there? Or The Salvation Army may have counselors that might help.

        Please give us an update as soon as you are able.

        Ladies,
        Let’s all join together in praying for the safety and conviction of this husband and that God might prevent him from killing himself or anyone else accidentally or on purpose – and that He might bring this man to conviction and repentance and godly sorrow – so that he might find healing and regeneration in Christ. And let’s pray for God’s power and wisdom for this precious wife – that she might honor and please Christ in everything she does and that she might have wisdom about what God desires her to do and what He does not want her to do!

        1. Thank you for praying April. I have contacted my therapist and started to talk about a plan of action to take to ensure my husband’s safety and those around him. I’ve also spoken with his brother. We, my brother in law and I, had originally agreed that I would only work on me and the marriage and let other issues rest for a bit in order to rebuild my husband’s trust in me. My b-i-l says to let him handle this for now. I’m hoping my brother in law will see this through but I’m believing that God WILL show me when I need to step up to the plate and intervene.
          Side note: My husband did not drink last night and was home early because he said he “just wanted to be with me”. That was a nice treat.

          1. DW,

            I am so thankful that your husband and everyone else on the road was safe. That was scary!

            Your brother-in-law is going to handle intervening with your husband about the drinking and driving?

            I join with you in praying that you will hear God’s voice and prompting clearly about when you need to intervene.

            I’m glad that he didn’t drink last night and that he just wanted to be with you. How did things go? That sounded like a big improvement!

            Love,
            April

          2. April, I haven’t spoken to my b-i-l anymore to know his plans. Last night we were both tired and just went to bed. He was struggling with withdrawals but still wanted to be “with me”. We are supposed to go away for the night but he is still feeling poorly today. I’m wondering if he is trying to wean off the alcohol by himself. I can’t be sure. Currently, I’m awaiting his call or text to inform me of our evening plans. I’m trying not to expect anything and I keep telling God, “your will, not mine”.

            Side note: I skipped ahead through the book “Sacred Influence” to read testimonies. I was very much encouraged! I’m going back to the beginning to read now. I have a feeling that my husband is going to cancel our plans so I want to be ready with an alternate plan for myself tonight….reading 🙂

          3. DW,

            I’m glad that you are focusing on God and His will and so glad the book is encouraging! That is what I did – I would read, study, pray, journal, and spend time with God with all the extra time I had in the beginning of this journey. So many precious times with God!

          4. April, he canceled because he felt poorly and then texted me late in the night and said he was going to go away for the night alone to where we had planned. My spirit was crushed to say the least. It took everything in me to not lash out in anger. I did let him know how disappointed I was because I had my hopes set on getting away with him because the kids were going to be away also. He just said, “you can go next time.” Today, I am just resting in Him and tearing out the idols I have made…again. What a journey this is! Thank God for the peace He gives me!

          5. DW,

            I’m so sorry you were so disappointed. 🙁 And that he decided not to take you with him. I’m glad you didn’t lash out in anger but I am also glad that you shared your feelings of disappointment. How I pray for healing for you both!

    4. Betsy can i ask why, your husband thinks you’re having an affair? Does he have PTSD or some other type of mental illness? You may have shared this before, and I missed it. If so, I apologize. Maybe something to consider, an affair doesn’t have to necessarily be sexual, or even emotional. It can be an institution or organization. For instance, I once thought our church, was more important to my wife than our marriage. Note I said our church, NOT Jesus himself. i would not expect my wife to put myself before Jesus. However, anything else I WOULD expect to come second, just as anything else in my life comes second to her.
      If I’m totally off base here, I apologize, I only mean to help. I simply can’t understand, why a husband would accuse a wife of an affair given no reason to think it’s possible.

  13. In reading this, along with the comments, I had a couple of thoughts I’d like to share.
    First April is absolutely right that as men, we need real respect not lip service. This should not be as impossible as some make it sound, otherwise you would not have married him in the first place.
    Secondly,this has more to do with a heart and attitude change, than a to-do list.Even if your husband, is weak in his faith, or not even a Christian, God can and does work through him to lead you. I know many of you wives are hurting, and I don’t want to minimize that. Your husbands are hurting too. So many times, i think Satan gets us to view our spouses as the enemy, because of X,Y, or Z. Like or not, when we become husband and wife, we become one flesh. Unequally yoked or not, we are still one flesh.

    Both I and my wife have been guilty of behaving as if we are separate entities within our marriage. Meaning if I felt she was being manipulative, I felt justified in disregarding her needs, because of how she was expressing them. Likewise my wife has distanced herself from me, because she felt I was far from Christ. I would encourage wives to adopt the point of view, that rather than I’m hurting, look at it as WE are hurting, as husband and wife.

  14. April, thank you for the recommendation of ‘A Grace Filled Marriage’. I just got ahold of a copy…it’s been on my to-do list for awhile. I’ve learned how to love (that was easy), I’m learning to understand respect (not so easy) and I see the dire need for learning how to give grace when our spouse gets to a place of trusting again with his mistakes, vulnerabilities, etc. HUGE and who knew? I think my spouse assumed I would know how to do these things since I presented myself as a happy Christian. We all have so much to learn.

    1. Refined,
      How I long for all of us as believers to know how to extend grace like this! I think this is a book every Christian spouse needs to read. So glad it is a blessing! YES! We all have much to learn and we will continue to learn as long as we are here – and probably we will get to learn an awful lot in heaven, too!

  15. PW,
    You asked me to weigh in yesterday. I took off the morning this post went up and have been traveling with my family since but I’ve tried to follow via my phone but am not comfortable posting from there.

    As always, good post. It did address some of what I was trying to say on a couple posts previous.

    I do agree that actions speak louder than words- this is a biblically accurate statement to it’s core. So it wives actions will carry more weight than empty promises and certainly more than hurtful, disrespectful words. But, scripture also teaches us the power of words- not just in the negative sense but in a positive sense. Both Proverbs and Paul’s letters are heavy on this teaching. So while I agree that if like your momma taught you, you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all, it would be far better once you can get to a place to use your words to build your husband up.

    I will simply say this, without hoopla, I am the most respected man I know. Both from my wife, children and in my work. I am very blessed. And yet most days are a battlefield for me and my respect tank barely stays above empty. The daily life of a man who loves his wife, leads his family, provides and protects & all the things that go into that are a soul trying, crushing, battle that society and most every institution & authority(often including the church) is all to willing to try and crush, humiliate, defeat and undercut at any opportunity or turn in the road. To say it’s a thankless job would be the understatement of the century in America 2015.

    I know many men. Men from church. Men from business. Men who do work for me. Neighbors. I know for a fact most receive far less respect than I do and to be perfectly honest I’m not sure how many of them make it through the day. I see how their wives, children and society treat them. I know the ones who I interact with daily, whether above me or below me on the business food chain are deeply loyal to me because I show them respect with my actions AND with my words because I have learned how important that is and both what it does to a man and what kind of behavior and loyalty it brings out. Most will rarely get but a taste of it. I get far more and as I said, I barely stay above empty.

    My wife is the most respectful and submissive wife of any wife I know. She is a true treasure beyond words. But she is not very vocal. And the words I usually hear in my head echo from the many years she was not respectful- words that cut to a man’s heart and tear him to the core. All these years later I still hear those words- not because they are repeated anymore but because my nonvocal wife only became vocal when screaming mad. So the words I’ve heard and the words stuck in my head continue to haunt me because they have not been replaced with respectful words no matter how her actions speak otherwise.

    Twice in the last month, as she met with other wives and encouraged them to treat their husbands respectfully, she later relayed the dialogue to me and twice she stated to these wives and telling me without thinking anything about it, “Yes, it’s difficult to be a submissive wife, but my marriage is so full of peace and joy…” And even that simple statement cut at my heart. I know I am overly sensitive because of those voices in my head.

    Even though I know I am a difficult man to live with, being one of those ornery “command man” types. But I also know that I have given my life, quite literally risked it many times over and laid down my life for my wife and family. No amount of blood, sweat or tears has been spared to love, serve, provide for, protect or care for them. So even though I know life is not easy and quite frankly, I am not easy. It’s hard to hear how difficult it is simply because no matter how many actions I see from my wife, without words to outweigh the hard words on the scale of my heart and mind- it’s a tough thing for a man to hear. Even to one who is the most respected man in & out of his house that he knows. Let alone to the many men who have barely tasted respect due to the culture we live in- in marriage, in family, in church, in society.

    Words are powerful, use them to build and not to tear down. Mean them most certainly because your eyes give you away if you don’t and then we don’t trust your words even when you get around to saying them. But only stay quite as long as you have to to not tear down. For our wives words cuts us in places that no one else can ever touch and they can heal & build us up in places that no earthly person can ever touch also. It’s your choice and with irony I will end it by saying, “Yes I know it will be difficult.”

    God bless-

    1. Anonymous Today,

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I appreciate your perspective so very much.

      It is interesting to me to see how different men receive and perceive respect. Makes me kind of smile to read your words – because I tried so hard to give my husband respectful words in the beginning of my journey – and he hated it! I am a words person (I am sure that is a shock) – and gave him tons of words of affirmation and respect, and he didn’t seem to care or even notice. Greg is NOT a words person. Although, I am sure he does appreciate some sparing words of honor, respect, and appreciation. But I try to force myself to keep it to just a sentence or two per day. He does not like me to gush over him verbally. I am glad to know that some men do appreciate and need words of respect. That is going to be very helpful for some wives.

      Thank you for sharing that even those words, that I am SURE your wife did not mean with any disrespect or malice whatsoever, were cutting for you. I think that submission to Christ can be painful and difficult many times – that alone makes being a submissive wife difficult. But there are scary things in submitting to our husbands that don’t really have much to do with our husbands – it is just the feeling of not having control that is scary. Not to say we don’t trust our husbands, or God. It can just be difficult to think you see the way that is best and then to have to go a way that you don’t agree with and can’t see how it might work out. It is VERY faith building, though, I can say that. And it is GOOD for me as a believer to learn to depend on God to lead me through my husband even when I don’t understand. This really tests my faith and helps me grow. I am so thankful! I don’t know if that makes sense.

      But I think it is good for us to know how our husbands might take that. It is also important for us to realize how painful our disrespectful words can be – even years later – even after we have changed. I think most wives would want to erase those words from their husband’s memory so that he never had to replay them ever again.

      In the beginning of this journey, a lot of wives still really do not “get” disrespect and respect – and inadvertently say very hurtful things. That is what I want to prevent. But then, as they learn to stop the disrespect and begin to build up an arsenal of ways to positively show respect – they can absolutely begin to share affirming, respectful, encouraging, positive, honoring words in the way their particular husband receives best.

      I love this:
      Words are powerful, use them to build and not to tear down. Mean them most certainly because your eyes give you away if you don’t and then we don’t trust your words even when you get around to saying them. But only stay quiet as long as you have to to not tear down. For our wives words cuts us in places that no one else can ever touch and they can heal & build us up in places that no earthly person can ever touch also.

      Thank you for sharing, our brother!

      1. PW,
        In my experience most men respond positively to words of respect. For some like Greg they could take it or even leave it- but interacting with hundreds of men a year I know that for most they do react to them as long as your actions and intentions line up with them.

    2. Anonymous,
      Thank you for speaking up. My husband is a “command man” and has been very difficult to live with all these years because I never quite “understood” how to relate to him and only just now started speaking and showing respect. He struggles with the voices in his head..once I told him that they were Satan’s voice and he looked me square in the eye and said, “no, they are your voice and all the words you’ve spoken to me over the last 20 years.” My heart broke. I bawled like a baby and repented.

      He began sharing all these cutting degrading remarks I’d made over the years. I cannot believe I was so hurtful. I’ve made it my mission to only speak words of encouragement to him. I’m not sure but I wonder if that’s why he is falling in love with me again (his words). He still battles the voices from years past. It will be a long road for both of us to recover from our sins against each other and the hurtful words we both spoke.

      But I will say this, to all women, as we look for the good in our husbands everyday, speaking words of encouragement gets easier and easier. I try to see through the hurtful words my husband speaks and see the heart that they are coming from. If I keep my focus on how God sees him as his precious son, it is a joy to encourage and bless him.

      1. DW,

        I read this comment this afternoon – and it blew my mind. It has haunted me all day.

        You know, I think you were both right about whose voice that was. I believe that Satan LOVES to speak accusations through wives to their husbands. I’m so glad your husband was able to articulate this truth to you and that you repented. Praise God for that!

        I wonder if you might consider allowing me to share a bit of your comment in a post? No pressure – if you would rather I not – that is totally fine. This is just VERY, VERY powerful.

        It is easier to find good things the more we look for good things. Whatever we nourish will grow – good thoughts toward our husbands, or bad thoughts about them.

        Thank you for sharing. Much love to you!

        1. April, you may share. Thank you for asking.
          Is it possible to revert back..I mean for husbands? Maybe he is just having a bad few days but he is totally different toward me since taking off without me. He only texts when he has a question and will not answer my own texts of questions. He also told me to “chill out” when I asked him why he was ignoring me. When he got home at 2 am and I apologized for something i said that he got offended about a few days ago, he rolled his eyes and said a curse word and said, “ugh, you are so random”. Then this morning when I got up early, kissed him, told him I love him (this is a daily thing), he said, “stop, will you?” My heart is hurting this morning.

          1. DW,

            I don’t know what is going on with your husband. Not sure if he is feeling smothered? Perhaps he needs a bit of space? I pray you will have some time with God to really seek His face, His wisdom, His love, and His presence and I trust that He will give you direction about how to handle this exactly.

            I’m so very sorry for how painful things have been. I am sending you the BIGGEST hug today!

            Much love!

          2. OK, I don’t have FB but I will see if I can read it through my daughter’s account.

            Things are not good and I’ve had 2 days of crying BUT he is just testing me, I believe. You see, I have to pursue him because the minute I stop…
            He texted me this today after he told me to chill and I stopped texting and sending him selfies: ” I knew you wouldn’t last long. I pursue you for 20 years and you are ready to give up if I don’t respond as fast as you want. If I can’t meet your needs, you are ready to go find someone who can.” Seriously? I tried to get him to explain what he means whenever he says “chill” but I think he wants me to read his mind. I assumed it meant “quit asking or telling me you want to see me and stop sending selfies”..but obviously not… because he was highly offended when I said I was going to just wait for him to text me and let me know if he wants to see me.

          3. DW,

            Ok, now – this is just playing games – it sounds like to me. I vote to believe what he says and respond accordingly, not to try to read his mind. It is his responsibility to say what he needs and wants. It is not your responsibility to understand mind games, in my view.

            Praying for wisdom for you, my dear friend!

            My prayer is that you will seek to honor Christ. I don’t know if it is possible to please this man right now – but it is possible to please Jesus. He is ultimately the only one to whom you will answer. Praying for him to see what he is doing and to stop the games.

            I don’t believe it is necessary to defend yourself in such a situation. Sometimes expectations can be unreasonable. That would be very frustrating and confusing. Goodness!

            Much love to you!

          4. DW,

            It seems to me like a wife could say, “Honey, I am not very good at reading minds. I’m going to believe and respect what you tell me. Let’s both just seek to be honest with each other. If you want something, it is okay to tell me what you want. That is the best way for me to understand you clearly. If I want something, I am going to be upfront about what I want or need.”

          5. DW,

            About 3000 people have read the part of your comment I shared on FB. It has impacted a lot of people already, my dear sister. May we be very aware that the enemy would love to speak through us – and may we refuse to be useful to him, and only be useful to God. 🙂

    3. Anonymous Today,

      Thank you for weighing in. I was especially touched by your reaction to your wife saying being a submissive wife was difficult but rewarding. I understand how that could be painful to hear. I agree with April’s response on that.

      From my perspective, it doesn’t matter who I would have married, there are moments where submission is hard because it means relinquishing my will, my ideas, my control. It does come down to trusting God to lead through my husband when we disagree, and that’s an ongoing test to my faith because I know people are fallible–so do I trust God to override that or not? You probably already understand all, but I wanted to respond anyway.

      Also, what you shared about your work and how you give your life for your family, that was well-timed for me. My husband gets beat up regularly at work. I hear the conversations when he’s on the phone. He will get more of my verbal encouragement this week because of your reminder.

      Thanks again for sharing.

    4. Thanks, Anonymous Today, for sharing again.

      Again, your post from several days ago was really used by God to show me that my heart was not truly respecting my husband …. since that time, I’ve been asking God to change my heart so that the respect is sincere and effortless and while I’m at it, I’m asking Him to give me sincere love for my husband as well. (Romans 12:9). The fact is that I have been so focused on my hurts that even though I was going through the motions of trying to love and respect, they have not been sincere or from the heart. I am aware that my husband has felt that they have not been sincere. And normally, I would just run to him with a bunch of words telling him I’m sorry and try to change, but I have done that so many times in the past. I just need to show him and am counting on God’s grace to come through to do that. So, I’m very thankful for your perspective.

      I’ve thought of your posts a little bit the last few days – thinking about the flip-side of this issue from a man’s standpoint. Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church, to live with them in an understanding way (1 Peter)….in Proverbs, they are called to delight in the wife of their youth. I was thinking that as much as it hurts you to hear the words from your wife that she struggles with submission, I *think* (I could be wrong!) that you could see how sometimes you naturally probably don’t understand your wife (especially when she frustrates you) or delight in her the way you did when you were dating, etc. I only bring that up because sometimes seeing how you struggle with meeting God’s demands in your own strength in relation to how you should treat your wife can help you not feel so hurt when she says those kinds of comments. As always, God gives us commands that don’t flow naturally and can only be lived out as His Spirit empowers us. (He supplies what He demands).

      Also, was thinking of how just as wives will always be let down in some way if we are looking to our husbands to meet every need of ours (security, love, emotional fulfillment, etc.), it seems like men struggle with really needing respect and honor and we wives will never be able to fill that all, either. We are called to do it, yet, only God will be able to meet that fully in a man. I ran across this verse this morning in Psalm 62:7 “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

      That got me on a path of thinking, too, that we wives should absolutely respect our husbands, but we can also put a lot of pressure on ourselves thinking that if we “get it perfect”, certain results will be obtained. So, in some ways, this was freeing, too, to remember that just as God alone can meet my needs fully, I will never be able to provide enough respect for my husband on my own – he will only be totally fulfilled in that area as he understands his identity in Christ, too.

      I hope none of this as coming across as disagreeing with you or arguing a point. It’s just that your posts got me thinking through some of this and it seemed like I should share.

      Thanks again for your perspective that helps us to understand our husbands better. I know we all appreciate the perspective from our brothers in Christ that we get in the comments section.

  16. Hi April,

    I have found your blogs to be very helpful for my relationship with my boyfriend (respect, not being controlling, etc.). Thanks for writing! 🙂

    I have a question that I’d very much like your opinion on. My guy is a Christian and loves God, but he is relatively new to Christianity (two years) and no one in his family is Christian, so there hasn’t really been anyone in his life to set an example for him that way. He has a lot of faith in God, but there are times on occasion when we disagree about faith-related things, i.e. the importance of reading the Bible (really important vs. something that’s good but not incredibly important). When he voices an opinion, I feel obliged to share mine too, partially because I know we are supposed to share our thoughts respectfully, and also because I think that, because of my longer time in the faith, I may be able to help him understand things in new ways or to correct misconceptions.

    He has a natural tendency to debate issues; he finds that debating helps him consider the issue more fully. So if I express an opinion contrary to his, he frequently tries to present a counterargument. My natural tendency is to want to present a counterargument to his counterargument, particularly if I feel I haven’t explained what I wanted to say properly the first time. This can go round and round for a long time. At what point do I become disrespectful? At first, I can generally voice my counterarguments respectfully, but eventually, I become more frustrated and less respectful. While he is completely fine with me debating him and says he does not feel disrespected, I feel bad because I feel like I eventually become disrespectful, and I feel sad debating instead of discussing or letting it go, because I feel like there’s conflict even though he doesn’t feel that way, and I also know that being quiet can also be beneficial to a man. I want to show him my opinions, but I know I am not supposed to try to be his Holy Spirit.

    Should I just say what I think once? Twice? Until my voice doesn’t sound respectful anymore? If I decide to stop talking, how can I politely let him know that I’m not going to say anything else? How do I close a conversation / debate like this? When should I try to close one? Should I instead just let him keep talking until he can’t think of anything more to say or until he asks for my opinion? I just want to handle this in a godly way. What do you think?

    Many thanks <3

    1. Flower,

      I think you can have respectful disagreements and discussions. But if you are beginning to feel frustrated or angry – or you can’t maintain a controlled tone of voice. It may be time to say something like, “Thanks for talking with me about this. I think I need to stop now. But I really appreciate you sharing your insights with me.”

      It will be important not to try to be His Holy Spirit and not to look down on him or think you are “better” than he is. Does that make sense?

      Great questions!
      Much love to you!

  17. Hi April,
    First I would like to thank you for this blog.. It is an eye opener for me! Esp on being disrespectful and controlling..
    I am married for more than 2 years now.. I know it’s a lot of adjustment going on.. I think the lucky part is that my husband is very vocal to what he feels.. We are still in a long distance relationship.. I am an Asian and he is American but decided to stay in Asia.. He comes home at least every 2 months and stay 2-3 weeks or a month..
    He just left to work again and be back in a month but this time we had into more arguments… He clearly stated that I am controlling , dominant (treat him like my staff at work) and disrespectful to him since January and he want me to change… And be submissive and respectful to him… And if I won’t change we might go separate ways…. At first I am scared but resistive coz I know I am not that person until I read your blog and I am guilty! As I go on reading a lot on your post and in a start of my journey to be a godly wife… I would just like to know the difference in my situation…
    I can say My husband is alcoholic.. Sometimes he admits he is… But he is never violent… But since he is vocal to his feelings he tend to say it too harsh for me if he is mad or remember a disrespectful manner that I did… And he is always grouchy in the morning and grumpy if he can drink at night… Tend to threaten me sometimes that he will leave or divorce me if I am controlling and needy…. ( my point is I want him to stop drinking) Other than that he is a good person..
    What I just want to know before I go on reading all the blogs and post… If I do need to seek a professional advice on this matter (him being alcoholic) or just be submissive and learn how to respect my husband… And trust God in changing him…

    1. PD,

      It is so wonderful to meet you! 🙂

      I’m excited about what God is beginning to do in your life. That is awesome! But I am glad you are asking about this important concern. This journey to become a godly wife does get a bit more complicated with a husband involved in alcoholism. If it is okay with you, may I ask you a few more questions to get a better feeling about how severe the alcoholism is and how you are doing spiritually before I answer, please?

      Much love to you!

      1. Hi April,

        My husband drink beer everyday unless he feel sick .. If he has a work the next day he only drinks 3-4 beers and he never missed a work day or got late even if he got so drunk that night.. Which that makes me a little proud… (Responsibility at work).. But he drinks more than he can everyday if he is on vacation which most of the time with me.. Around 12 beers or hard liquor…sometimes if it’s not enough he insist to go and buy more at midnight which I would drive for him instead of him driving… I partly have given up on asking him to stop… I let him do what he want on that but I get mad if it affects us… Finding him most of the time sleeping on the couch coz he is so drunk… Which partly a reason of me disrespecting him..

        I am really guilty on overpowering him and not trusting his capacity to lead our life bec of this situation… How can I trust him if all I see is a drink on his hand… He gets so mad if I say something about his drinking… Bec honestly he is a provider..

        On my spiritual aspect… I am a catholic. I pray a lot everyday… If there is something I don’t know how to decide I always ask God for wisdom.. I also pray a lot for my husband and sometimes pray over him while he is sleeping 😊… But as I read thru your blog I feel a bit wrong on how I pray… How I ask God on dealing with our marriage… I have prayed and prayed for my husband to change but not seeing myself on what I have done so wrong to him… But I know I am in my journey…
        I really appreciate your concern… And thank you!

        1. PD,

          It is not really possible to submit in the “normal way” to a husband who is a slave to alcohol. It sounds like he is drinking quite a bit – :(. That is a big problem. I understand that you want him to stop. It is a LOVING and GOOD thing that you want him to stop. But the problem is – you can’t make him stop.

          Have you ever contacted The Salvation Army or Celebrate Recovery about their programs to help people with addiction?

          I’m sure there are things you can do to become more the woman and wife God wants you to be. But even if you do that, it doesn’t mean that your husband will change.

          There can be times (after much prayerful consideration) when God may prompt a wife to say, “I can’t live like this. I love you. I want this marriage to work. But I need you to get help or I can’t continue to stay here. I want to respect and honor you as the head of our home. But I want it to be the real you that I trust, not the alcohol. I can trust and respect you if you are sober and committed to staying sober. But I can’t trust alcohol to lead me.”

          This would be something to pray about – and you may want to check out “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

          I would encourage you to check with one of those organizations I mentioned to get some help. This can be tough for a wife to handle on her own. I pray God might give you much wisdom, my dear sister! And I encourage you to seek to continue to grow in your walk with Christ no matter what your husband does.

          If you do separate – the goal is for him to find healing and to be united with Christ and for eventual restoration of the marriage.

          1. PD,
            Ultimately, you are submitting to Christ and seeking to please Him alone. This means you don’t want to enable your husband to drink. You want to show love in a godly way, which includes asking him to respect God, to respect you, and to respect himself.

            You can treat him reapectfully and seek to see the good in him. But you may not be able to always follow him because of the alcoholism – particularly if he is not in his right mind or asking you to sin or condone sin. This will require incredible sensitivity to God’s Spirit to figure out exactly how to do this if you believe God wants you to stay. If you believe God wants you to go, you can do that respectfully with the prayer that God might use this as a wake up call.

            Once your husband is willing to get help, you can support him as much as possible. And once he has been sober for awhile, you may be able to begin to follow and honor his leadership in a more “usual” way. But it may be a slow process of rebuilding trust.

          2. April, my husband IS an alcoholic. I am finding that being married to an alcoholic is a lot of work but it is rewarding in that God uses my husband to show me my motives in being a godly wife.

            I have a counselor I speak with that encourages me, just as you do, to hear God for myself. Because my situation is vastly different than ” a control or respect problem” it is CRUCIAL that I quiet my spirit and listen for His voice in what my next step is. So far, He has said that I am to continue showing him respect, grace and mercy. I am the closest example of Jesus to him. I need to mirror God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. This is taking up my cross and following Christ. The moment I get “in the flesh”, I crumble and start panicking. But as soon as I breathe deeply of God’s spirit telling myself that He is a good God and that nothing is wasted and He is on the throne, I start to feel my blood pressure drop.

            This is not an easy walk. Some days I wake up and think, “God, how did I end up here?” Last year my husband was in the ministry, now He refuses to open his Bible and participates in sin willingly. But unlike last year, today, I have true peace, today I have joy (although I will admit that its a struggle to keep an attitude of joy), today I have more love for my husband than I ever thought was possible. God IS good, all the time.

          3. DW,

            I am so glad you are seeking to hear God carefully. That is awesome!!!! Praying for God’s power and wisdom for you and for His healing for your husband! Thank you so very much for sharing, my dear sister!

  18. This requires caution – most people can’t really fake admiration or respect, since it needs to be sincere to be meaningful.

    It is a thin line to walk, because someone may WANT to show respect or admiration but they do not feel that way inside yet. Best to do this in very small steps, no matter how you may want to suddenly send a wave of admiration someone’s way.

    Small things and small amounts will be more believable, otherwise you run the risk of appearing to be patronizing “good boy!!” – like a puppy. You can see how this could backfire.

    I think the best way to change ourselves is to work on the inside thoughts – the narrative, the story we tell ourselves about our situation, and our spouse. When the inside view changes, the outside, observable will change, and more believably.

    It takes longer, but will be much longer lasting. I pray that I am able to take my own advice on changing the inside first. 🙂

    1. Jack,

      Oh man! I am not good at small changes and slow changes. I like to try to change everything at once. But even in my own family the past few weeks, I am learning that big sudden changes stress out my family. This is good advice. 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing!

    2. Actually, feelings FOLLOW actions. So yes, sometimes we need to “fake it till we make it”. However, it’s the give and take of a relationship that requires grace, positivity, mercy and a willingness to see the good in people that connect us to each other. Jesus was the perfect example. I’m sure he endured lots of in genuine worship but many actually grew to love and respect him. It’s the baby steps that keep us moving forward.

      Sometimes it is hard to trust others, especially other humans because we know they can fail us. That is where grace and mercy within ourselves needs to grow. We can only trust fully in God and His Neverending love for us, but out of appreciation of His love, we are commanded to love others, even if we don’t feel like it or think others deserve it, we do it for God. I am wold think many feel the same, but it’s the desire to be a good and faithful servant for God that we learn to love others as He loves us. We find, through this journey, that as we give away, we receive back. To get love, you have to give it first. We all learn to grow in this way if we are going to truly have a relationship with God. The physical appearance or other fleshy and worldly issues just seem to not matter anymore (or as much) when we are truly walking with God.

      1. LMSdaily115,

        I was thinking about you and praying for you this morning, my sister! Thank you for sharing these insights!

        How are you doing today? How may we pray for you?

        Much love to you!

        1. Thanks April.

          I have been reading posts. Just trying to rest in God. I’ve been praying for all of you in SC and those hurting people out there.

          On a personal note. I feel stuck. I guess I could use some prayers for discretion and courage. I think I need to strike up a conversation with my husband to see how he is feeling. It’s pretty much been courtesy conversation. We had a nice weekend. Went to a wedding, went up north with kids and friends. I was very respectful and joyful. He pretty much ignored me and wouldn’t look at or acknowledge me. However, I could still be happy where I was and with God holding me close to him. I can feel emotions welling up inside. I broke down in the dressing room trying to buy a dress for the wedding. It felt so useless to try to look beautiful for a husband who doesn’t see you or care. Won’t even let out knees touch. It’s so hard to be rejected and neglected and ignored daily.

          I try to look at any positive. We did things this weekend, he was involved with the family, even if it was for his birthday, I have been walking and praising Jesus during my time with him. I’m hanging in there, but I don’t know the next move for me. I am sure I need to tell my dh how I am feeling…the above emotions plus starting to feel resentment, unappreciation etc. But I also feel like I just need to wait…give time, space, not complain, be happy where I am. I am actually scared to talk to my husband, I don’t want to squash any small good growing things, but then there is this obvious sin-elephant in the room.

          Paul implored the Corinthians to deal with sin and not ignore it, but also to overlook small sins out of love. I don’t know how to set a healthy boundary with my husband right now. I feel like we need a separation, but I can’t tell my motive for that. Is it just my impatience at this situation? Is it out of love? Is it because I need to stop letting myself be taken advantage of? I am praying for these answers, but things seem quiet. I guess I can only trust that God will nudge me in the direction He wants me to go. Such muddy waters! Such stormy emotions. I feel very much like a walking, living catastrophe that you all are living down there. A mess with much to fix, but somehow doing God’s work. Peace and love to you all.

          1. LMSdaily115,

            I know my tendency when I feel stuck is that I want to just run 100 mph in the first direction that “I think” would be best. Of course, I can tend to make a big mess by doing this.

            Sometimes God desires us to speak up. Sometimes He calls on us to wait. Sometimes we are to move, and sometimes we are to be still. My prayer is that you will hear His voice very clearly and that you will not do anything that is not of Him. But that you will fully follow on the path He has for you. 🙂

            Sending you the biggest hug! And praying for God’s clear wisdom and direction. If you don’t feel a clear sense of direction about having a conversation or leaving – I wonder if it might be wise to wait until you do have a very clear sense of God’s prompting?

          2. So, God nudged me to talk. After my husband came home late when he had the kids, this keeping his parents out late, he riled lots of people up. I hugged him, I said I love him. I don’t know how to help him but I want to. I told him this needs to stop. It’s not good for anyone. I stood my ground. We talked some. My husband is hurting so much, it aches. At this point, I have learned my boundaries. I know God wants him to hesl. I know He is using me while training me and healing me too. I’m filled with live more my husband, but more so, love for my Lord. I think it will get worse before it gets better. There is so much spiritual warfare going on in him. I am so thankful God was with me to help me change. I just need prayers that my husband finds God to help him through this too.
            Seek and ye shall find me.

          3. LMSdaily115,

            Now THAT sounds like a wonderful approach! I LOVE IT! It was so obviously Spirit inspired. How did he respond?

            Praying for God to deliver him. But how I praise God for giving you wisdom and just the right way to lovingly, respectfully, but firmly approach him.

            WOOHOO!

          4. He responded stiff as a board. The next morning we talked. He feels he is letting everyone down. Last night he texted he was on his way home. Trying to get home to see us, but still has lots of work to do. He kissed me on the head the next morning. I was left in wide eyed wonder at that.

  19. Hi April!

    I just want to say I’m truly thankful to God for bringing you on my path. I have been listening to you for about a year now on YouTube and have been reading your book the last few weeks. I was already a Christian seeking “biblical submission” when I was led to your posts. God has greatly used yours and Greg’s testimony to open my eyes to what respect means to men and I’m grateful. In the last few weeks I’ve really had my eyes opened more and more to the hurt I’ve caused my husband in being disrespectful to him, and even though it grieves my heart to think about it I know God chastens us in love as the wonderful Father He is to work it out for our greater good. Now that I know the truth I’m looking forward to allowing the healing to begin even though I feel satan now wants to try harder and harder to get me to stumble. I need strength through Jesus and I just ask that you would lift me up in prayer.

    God bless your family.

    1. Ashley,

      Oh, yes, Satan will attack when you are beginning to surrender more to God. I’m so excited about what God is doing in your heart!!!! WOOHOO!

      I pray for God to continue the good work He has begun in your life and in your marriage and pray you will continue to invest in Christ and in finding all of your contentment, purpose, joy, peace, and strength in Him alone. I pray you will be patient with yourself and with God through this long journey and that you will enjoy each step and yield fully to Christ and His wisdom. I can’t wait to see His plans for 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.

%d bloggers like this: