Sometimes it can be so difficult for us to tell the origin of a problem in our thinking and behavior. Is it a spiritual issue, a medical issue, a side effect of a medication, a nutritional issue or a combination? These things can be tough to discern – which is probably why Jesus instructed us not to judge others. How can we possibly know all the things that may be going on in a person’s soul, mind, and body at a given moment?
As a pharmacist, I am aware that sometimes behavioral/emotional problems can stem from people eating things with food coloring (especially red #40), preservatives, or just a lack of a healthy diet in general (our normal Western diet is probably the worst diet in the world nutritionally, unfortunately).
Sometimes emotional/behavioral issues come from things like thyroid problems, messed up hormone levels, PMS, brain cancer, sleep deprivation, not enough time in the sunlight, other kinds of tumors, strokes, low oxygen levels, illness, pain, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and a whole myriad of health problems. Of course addictions to drugs/alcohol or to anything, really, can greatly affect mood and emotions, often creating irritability or even hostility.
Other times medications create mental/emotional/behavioral issues – antihistamines, decongestants, birth control pills, narcotics, prednisone, energy drinks, and others. Sometimes the first few weeks someone is on certain meds for depression or bi-polar or other psychiatric meds can create major mood issues and even thoughts of self-harm, the same can also happen when these drugs are quickly discontinued. (My purpose in this post is not to give medical advice. I just want people to realize that there are many medical reasons for emotional/behavioral issues – please talk with your doctor or pharmacist about medications or diseases that may be causing a problem for you. Some medications cannot be abruptly discontinued – especially psychiatric meds, some blood pressure meds, prednisone, some narcotic pain meds, etc… Talk with your doctor before discontinuing any prescriptions.)
Some people find great improvement in their mood and attitude when they “eat clean” – you can google that phrase or “clean eating” for lots of resources. The basic idea is that you try to eliminate preservatives, artificial colors, refined sugar, refined white flour, genetically modified foods, unhealthy fats, additives, and chemicals. Instead, the goal is to eat lots of fresh vegetables, some fresh fruits, certain dairy products, fermented foods that have naturally good bacteria, whole grains, low-fat meats, and healthy fats. (I have actually started doing this myself in May of this year.)
Sometimes there are things that are solely spiritual issues. We are going to be talking more about how to address spiritual issues in future posts. And sometimes it can be a combination. I have seen wives with major health issues improve physically as they dealt with lies they were believing spiritually and I have seen some women’s health issues improve dramatically when they release bitterness. It is all connected – body, mind, and soul in ways we will never fully understand in this lifetime.
I believe that this wife’s story below is an important one for us to consider together. The root of the problem that God showed her may not be the same issue for every woman experiencing difficulty showing respect to her husband – but I think it may help us to consider when a medical/nutritional evaluation may be in order. I pray this post may be a blessing to many:
I guess I feel really conflicted and confused about my experience with peacefulwife.com and the way God used it in my life. As you know, when I first found your website my husband and I were basically starting over completely as far as having dealt with our past and learning to be real and intimate and close again. I had to learn how to relate to him through negative moments while staying close, and your website offered a lot of constructive advice on how to do that.
The problem I had, which was a very serious one, was that I could not live it out. I would read your website, feel like I had learned a lot, totally agree with the solutions and ideas you were offering, commit to putting them to action, and then when a negative moment came, I would completely and totally lose it.
In fact, I lost it a lot, even in moments that didn’t seem to be negative or have any real significance at all.
It would be like a storm cloud appearing on the edge of the horizon of my emotions, and I would self talk and self talk and pray and negotiate with it but it would finally overtake me and I would completely freak out. I would perceive my husband to be my enemy and he always knew I was “altered” when I told him “You’re my enemy” and then would spend the next few hours in a dark, miserable mood.
I could usually hear my smothered voice trying to self talk myself through it saying, “You should really apologize!”, etc, but it didn’t matter. I could not do it, and even if I somehow managed to get some humble respectful words out, the darkness would not lift off me and inevitably the next moment I would continue lashing out at my husband.
I was so angry with myself for failing at being a respectful wife.
I didn’t understand why this advice worked for everyone but I was so unusually, wildly sinful that I couldn’t even learn helpful strategies and use them. I beat myself up for days after every failure and sometimes wondered if I was even saved because I wasn’t growing in this area at all. I wondered why God was ignoring my constant prayers begging for His help.
It got worse and worse until I had an episode that lasted about a day and a half. Then my therapist referred me to a psychiatrist with my husband’s full support. Unhappily, I waited for the day of my appointment.
During this time, I developed aspirations of getting back to my “dream weight”. This led me to totally overhaul my diet, go back on weight watchers, and this led me to drinking green smoothies for breakfast.
After a week of green smoothies for breakfast, I suddenly realized I hadn’t had a single episode all week. Then another week. Then another! My husband even let me cancel the appointment with the psychiatrist because he noticed such a change in me!
It’s been a few months and I no longer have these episodes. I still struggle with respect in my words and actions sometimes, but now it’s on a “normal” level, and I am actually capable of listening to my own self talk and modifying my behavior.
A little trial and error has revealed that the key is the green smoothies. A few times I have not had them during the weekend or missed a day and would quickly slip back into perceiving my husband as my enemy.
I have a friend who is finishing up school to become a nutritionist and I recently asked her why I needed 3 cups of spinach a day to stay sane. She told me, “B6 and Magnesium! It’s like psychiatric medication when taken together!” Well, everything in the smoothies I had been making was a huge dose of B6 and magnesium.
After she told me this, I did some research online and found out the B6 and magnesium are hugely effective in dealing with a lot of emotional problems including “hyperemotivity”. I was really amazed that God had led me to effective, affordable medication with no side effects!!!
So now I’m not sure how to think about the year I spent struggling desperately and failing consistently to be a good submissive and respectful wife. I was SO angry with myself and SO sure that I was the most grotesquely deformed sinner in the whole world and America’s worst wife and everything I hated and didn’t want to be.
In reality, the whole time it was a health issue, probably related to the fact that I had just gone through my second pregnancy.
The other night I was talking to my husband about all of this and he told me that over the last year my respect had been what enabled him to grow so much as a man. I was like what respect??? I was such a failure! However, even though I completely failed at the letter and law of being a submissive, respectful wife, because respect and submission were in my heart that was enough for him and he responded to it.
I guess the biggest part that confuses me is why (I felt) God asked me to do something (be a respectful wife) that I physically could not do, and let me struggle with that for a year before actually enabling me to do it. It was a very rough year for both of us.
I pray this story might be an encouragement to you. I’d love for us to take good care of our bodies and get the healthy nutrition, sleep, and exercise we need. I would also like to see us take good care of our souls and spend a lot of time resting in Christ, depending totally on Him to work in us not on our own self-effort, and living in constant and total surrender to Him.
The truth is that none of us can be godly wives or women on our own. We are all completely desperately in need of the Holy Spirit to work in and through each of us. And, we may need some medical help or nutritional support, as well – depending on our unique circumstances.
Much love to each of you!
THIS WIFE’S SMOOTHIE RECIPE:
half an avocado, juice of one lemon, a cup of frozen mango or pineapple, a frozen banana, three cups of tightly packed fresh baby spinach, and a cup of water. That makes two servings 🙂