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What Headship/Biblical Submission Looks Like at Our House

 

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The concepts of the husband being the head of the home and the wife honoring his God-given leadership are big concepts. They are kind of like the words, “love,” or “respect.” There are a lot of ways we can live these things out and may ways to define these ideas. There will be differences in different marriages, with varying personalities, circumstances and cultures.

  • For some, a husband may be very involved in lots of the day-to-day decisions in a family.
  • For others, the husband may have more of a “hands-off” approach and give his wife wide spaces to handle most things as she thinks would be best with minimal intervention.
  • For some families, one spouse may be away for work for extended periods of time, so there may have to be different “modes” of how authority is handled depending on who is home and who is away.
  • Some couples may have a very regimented, formal way of handling decision-making or disagreements.
  • Some may be calm and laid back with a lot of give and take about decision and may be very collaborative.
  • Some couples may have an unspoken understanding about that the husband is ultimately in charge if they can’t agree but they don’t say that in words.

AT OUR HOUSE (This is how things are now, but it took at least 3.5 years into this journey before they began to look this way, some of these things have happened just in the past year, and we are both still learning and growing and always will be. Anything good in us is totally a Jesus thing, not an “us” thing.):

Greg’s Personality –

Greg is very easy going, pretty introverted, and needs some time to himself to recharge. He never micro-manages but trusts me to handle most things on my own. He doesn’t really like for me to ask him what I can do for him or for me to fuss over him a lot. Β He mostly just loves for me to be content, peaceful, stress-free, and happy. The other details aren’t usually a big deal to him. I used to ask him, earlier in my journey, to give me more feedback, more direction, and lists of things I could do for him to show him honor and respect. But that is just not what he likes. So now I accept what speaks respect and honor to him and his style of leadership and don’t try to respect him in ways that aren’t meaningful to him.

Division of Labor –

He now handles the finances (I gave that to him about 4 years ago because I realized I was being too controlling and OCD about it) – although I have access, too, and can look at things whenever I want to. We talk to each other before making big purchases. He also handles all of the house, car, and yard maintenance like he has always done. Sometimes he helps me out, without me even asking, with laundry – especially if I am working extra or if I am sick (that didn’t happen before I learned about respect). He works a full-time job and I work a part-time, usually about 12 hours/week. I also do ministry online about 30-35 hours/week that is unpaid. He takes the kids to school on his way to work every day. He helps our son, especially, with his homework and studying.

I usually do the shopping for groceries, the cooking, and most of the cleaning around the house. He goes to the flea market almost every Saturday and finds great deals for us. Interestingly, I used to try to keep the house spotless, but Greg prefers for me to do less housework because if I get too perfectionistic about things being perfectly clean, he feels that is stressful for him and for the kids. I usually pick up our children from school. I usually help them get ready in the morning and at bedtime and tuck them in (although as they get older, that won’t be as necessary). I share spiritually with our children often and they listen to the Bible on an app as they fall asleep each night. I pray with them at bedtime. Greg talks with the kids informally about biblical principles now in conversation. And he started doing a devotional book after supper that he picked out recently which has been great.

Making Decisions –

We have a very collaborative relationship now. We think of ourselves as a team knowing that we each bring strengths and weaknesses and we are better when we are together. Usually, if there is a decision to make that involves both of us, I will present my ideas, feelings, concerns, and wisdom to Greg and let him marinate on it for awhile without pressuring him for an answer. He needs time to process and research certain things. Then he will share his ideas and we will talk through the pros and cons. Usually, we can arrive at a decision with which we both are happy.

We don’t argue. There is no raising our voices (I was the only one who really raised my voice before God changed me). I can’t recall experiencing much tension for the past 3 years. Β We both feel safe with each other now. There is never any name calling, character assassination, complaining, or even anger now. If there are ever hurt feelings, we deal with it very quickly and before we allow ourselves to think that the other has malicious intentions, we seek to understand and we seek to assume the best. We trust each other now to know that we both love each other and wouldn’t purposely try to hurt each other.

I also understand now that the issues and decisions we make are not nearly as important as our obedience to God and our marriage. (This may be different for different couples, and at different stages of this journey) I have no need to fight or argue anymore. I simply respectfully share my side of things. He respectfully shares his. We have a discussion and we talk through anything about which we disagree – hashing through the pros and cons and our unique perspectives. We each value each other’s point of view.

Greg Defers to Me Often:

Sometimes we disagree about something that means a lot to me but isn’t as important to Greg. There are many times when he selflessly concedes to what I think is best or to what I or the kids need, even if it is not his preference.Β He is quick to try to do anything he can to meet my medical needs and even many of my preferences. He loves to see me healthy, happy, and content.

I Defer to Him Often:

If we can’t come to agreement and Greg feels very strongly about something – I willingly and voluntarily choose to honor Greg’s decision and trust God to lead me through him. Greg never has to say anything to me about it. He never demands his way. It is not a big dramatic thing.

I would usually just say something like, “I think X would be best, but I trust you. If you think this is best, I will support your decision.”

We have unity, love, honor, and respect during the entire process even if we disagree. I simply release the issue to God and to Greg once I realize that I have shared all that I need to share and if we do not agree. Greg knows that I trust him like this and it causes him to desire to really seek to do what is best for all of us and to not fail me. He cares very much about my perspective and my feelings. If he does decide to do something he knows I think is not best, it is only after much careful consideration and prayer and the sense that this is truly something God desires him to do. I pray for God to give Greg His wisdom. Then we move forward together.

Spiritual Issues –

If I start to have negative thoughts, feelings of disappointment, anxiety, fear, bitterness, or anything else – I try to get to my prayer journal ASAP and hash through those things with God, asking Him to expose any sinful motives or thoughts in my heart. This helps me be spiritually prepared for conversations and helps to prevent me from lashing out or saying anything sinful. It is much easier to address sin in my life when it first begins or when it is even still a temptation than to let it fester and then begin to flow from my body language, words, and actions. My goal is to immediately repent of any sin the moment I recognize it in my heart.

If Greg was asking me to sin or to condone sin, then I would have to stand against whatever he was asking me to do. Thankfully, that has never been an issue so far since I have been practicing biblical submission. But wives do need to be prepared to stand against sin if necessary (for more on that, please check out Spiritual Authority and Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.)

Submission to my husband is infinitely easier when I am fully submitted to Christ.

When I have laid down all that I have and all that I am before Jesus and am dying to self and taking up my cross daily and following Him, I don’t really care about getting my way or my will. My goal is to have God’s way and His will far above my own. So I am able to hold things of this world loosely and not get caught up in every little (or even big) decision, but rather I am able to allow God to work in my life to bring about His will in whatever way He wants to do so. Because I am not clinging to my own ideas, my will, and my desires, it is not a painful stretch to allow my husband to lead if we disagree. I am able to yield that issue to God and wait with anticipation to see what He is going to do through my husband’s decision. It is exciting to watch God work!

Greg’s Perspective Now –

Greg seeks to lay aside his will and seek God’s will so that he does what God desires him to do for our family and doesn’t lead us into a foolish, ungodly, or harmful choice. He tries to look at what he believes God desires and will most honor Him, knowing he is accountable and responsible to God for his decision. He wants to do what is best for our family. If I disagree with him, he takes extra time to really prayerfully consider things and takes my counsel very seriously and conscientiously.

Note – Our children do have tension with each other and with us at times. We try to help them work through that in godly ways. And we seek to be united in our approach to them which has helped tremendously. We still have lots to learn about godly parenting and godly marriage and will continue to seek to grow as spouses and parents.

YOUR TURN

I love hearing everyone’s stories. We are not all created to be cookie-cutters. God loves variety and uniqueness and we can walk in obedience to Him and yet still do things differently from other people. If you have begun this journey to be a godly wife and you are seeking to honor your husband’s God-given leadership in your home – I’d love to hear what headship/biblical submission look like in specific situations in your home, or what it looks like in a general description.

NOTE – Please specify if you would be willing to allow me to use your comment anonymously in a future post or even in a future book, potentially. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

RELATED:

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control Is a Process– by Nina Roesner

Stages of This Journey

My first stage – The Frustrating Quiet Phase

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Don’t Often Notice

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

My Husband Won’t Lead

Spiritual Authority

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

One Wife’s Obedience to God Radically Changed Her Marriage

98 thoughts on “What Headship/Biblical Submission Looks Like at Our House

  1. I am unequally yoked. I want to engage my husband in a calm manner, but he ofren pushes me, and now my teen daughter, to wrath. It is his way of either entertaining himself or paying us back for real and percieved offences. He is saved but very carnal. For the first time he is working his way through worldly concepts in search of truth, but this brings a lot of viewpoints into our lives, many of which aren’t godly. He challenges the moral compass of our children with crazy conversations and ideas, not to mention unorthodox behaviors. I get frustrated and angry because this is a 20 year relationship, and I thought a bigger change would have taken place already . I am pretty short tempered. I say what I’m thinking in a very sharp manner. The personalities I deal with are very tough and dominating, but sensitive. I often feel like if I wasn’t the way I am, sin would be running rampant in my home in ways I don’t care to describe. This puts me in a conflict because quiet and gentle is beautiful to God, but my marriage doesn’t seem to allow me to function this way.

    1. narivers,

      That sounds very frustrating. πŸ™
      Just so I can best understand how severe the issues are, are either of you dealing with active addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, unrepentant sin, or is there abuse going on?

      How is your walk with Christ? Would you be interested in talking about finding more healing for yourself in Him?

      What kinds of sin does he promote? How does he provoke y’all to wrath?

      Have you ever had godly counseling? Do you have a godly wife mentor?

      Praying for God’s wisdom and healing for you both, my precious sister!

      The book Sacred Influenceby Gary Thomas has some examples of real life wives who are handling husbands with bad tempers that may be very helpful. And http://www.leslievernick.com has resources for those dealing with toxic relationships that may be helpful, as well. So does http://www.focusministries1.org.

      Please compare everything you read to Scripture and do what you believe God desires you to do to honor Him. πŸ™‚

      1. Fortunately none of us have any severe addictions or mental disorders. I’ve been walking with price for a long time however I will say that it has been difficult lately fine too find quality time with the Lord. We are at a new church and my husband is attending fairly regularly with us. I made a vow that I would not join another church without him and I don’t want to break that vow. He promotes things like marijuana drinking fighting. He just likes to antagonize us by creating conflict over insignificant things.I would say the relationship is more toxic than anything because peace an agreement are hard to come by. Because we are actively raising young kids it is hard to relax and just let him be him. He doesn’t really protect the kids from the lifestyle choices that he still drawn to even though he is not in them nearly as bad as he used to be. He still present them with excitement and a smile which can be really interesting for teenagers.

      2. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR POST!!! Since I have joined your community I have often wondered what all you teach looks like in day-to-day life and more importantly in your household since you are instructing.
        😊😊😊. This really gives me a lot good ideas on how to approach my new journey and possible outcomes.
        Gratefully with love and respect

  2. I am unequally yoked. Our communication is dysfunctional at best. I married as a pregnant teen. We are 20 years in and things have hardly improved. My husband is saved be very worldly. He is an open door to sin for me and my kids. We are all being affected. I tried a quiet approach, but it didn’t last. I have a hot temper. I dislike it, but feel like I will drown in a sinful mess if I don’t constantly stand my ground against very dominating and manipulating personalities. Our moral compass is off due my husband’s leadership. He praises sinful worldly attitudes and provokes us to wrath for punishment or fun. He is not a monster, just very carnal with a dysfunctional background. It is hard to tell our children right from wrong without dad often being an obvious example of what not to do. I don’t know how to submit to this, so I’ve learned to be quiet more often than not, but I can only stand so much.

    1. Hello Narivers, I suggest that you read the story of Abigail and her first husband Nabal who also was a carnal man and did some foolish things to endanger his entire household. It was because Abigail was a woman of faith that she saved them from destruction. The footnote in 1 Samuel 25 explains something about her character when faced with the evil of her fleshly husband which is worth reading in full in the Amplified Bible…she never let herself be pulled down to his level. However she did what she could to serve this man. God eventually took care of his flesh, and then opened the way for her to be married to a man of the Spirit…our carnal husbands can too be won over by our conduct. Much peace and love today, I know you are in a difficult situation.

  3. We try to be mostly like you describe. It’s taken time. I’m very emotional, but have learned to control that and not use emotion as a weapon although it’s always a challenge, I come from a long line of vocal, emotional, strong women so patterns are hard to break. He’s pretty hands on, in most areas. We mostly decide things together but ultimately it’s him that will make decisions. I’ve been in childcare one way or another for 20 years so mostly he defers to me on parenting but his input and opinion is vital and he has challenged or disagreed and I’ve seen he is right. We try not to fight/disagree in front of the children, that’s taken a lot of learning and hard work.

    1. motherofmadcatsandbabies,

      It does take time to learn to respect our husbands and to be filled up with God and His power and to work together as a team. It takes time to learn to honor our husbands if we didn’t understand what that meant before.

      Thank you so much for sharing a bit about what the dynamics look like in your house. I praise God for the work He is doing in you both! πŸ™‚

  4. I dont pick up much sense of creativty in what you have written. I may well be very wrong here and may have not understood too well. But it comes across as though this is a clinical approach to marriage. But if has bought sucess and happiness then it clearly works very well for you both which is very good.

    1. Pamela,

      Thanks so much for sharing! πŸ™‚ I tried to keep things concise because it was already quite long – so what I shared was pretty bare bones. But – here is my perspective on this, for whatever it may be worth:

      For over 14 years in our marriage, I took over and tried to control things and usurp my husband’s leadership. When God opened my eyes to my disrespect toward my husband and toward Himself, pride, idolatry of self, control, lack of faith in God, etc… I began a journey to seek to understand what it really meant to respect my husband, to be a godly wife, and to honor my husband’s leadership. I had to very consciously tear out all of my old ways of thinking and rebuild from scratch with my new understanding of God’s Word. My goal in doing this was not to be creative – but to be God-honoring. I wanted to build my life on Scripture and on the truth of Christ.

      I know there are people who had a better understanding of biblical manhood and womanhood and God’s design for marriage who have not had to take all of the thousands of purposeful baby steps I had to take. For them, I am sure it will feel much less “clinical.” I know that it probably has come more naturally for some. My hope is that in describing each of these little baby steps, that it may be a blessing to some wives who don’t know where to start. And then, as others share, and there are more examples to look at, I think that will be an even greater blessing. Each story showcases God’s glory and His love in a unique way. πŸ™‚

      Now, I don’t consciously have to think through all of these steps anymore. We enjoy each other. We like to bless each other in lots of ways. My heart is filled with thanksgiving to God and praise to Him every day. I am overflowing with His love and peace. I’m extremely grateful for the healing God has brought to both of us and to our marriage. Things flow much more naturally for both of us now. But there was a time when things were quite mechanical as I was struggling and wrestling with learning these things, yes.

      Am I answering your question, or am I on a different track?

      Much love to you! πŸ™‚

  5. April, I love this post! I love seeing the dynamics of your marriage and your humility in the dealings with the children. I love that your husband values and honors your opinion so much and that he defers to you often. I think your marriage represents what a true Christian marriage should be. Ultimately a wife submitting on hard issues, but in most of the daily life, there should be mutual submission to each other. Beautiful.

    I’ll probably add more about our story later, but right now just quickly wanted to say thank you for sharing this.

    Oh, and I have often wondered if you’ve considered putting a donation link on your blog. I’m sure you have and God has led you not to at this point. Thank you for enjoying and being content with the spiritual rewards of what God is doing through you. You are a blessing.

    1. Jennifer,

      I can’t wait to see a comment about what this looks like in your marriage at this time. I love seeing how God works in people’s lives. πŸ™‚ Every single stage.

      It took some time to get to this place – and I am sure things will continue to improve and change – and there will be challenges that will stretch us and we will need to grow and learn many new things.

      A few people have asked us about a donation link. On the free WordPress sites, we can’t do that. We have been working on a new site where we will have that capability. But we ran into some major technical glitches a few weeks ago and things are in limbo at the moment. I obviously do this because I believe this is what God is calling me to do and I believe it is His will. I can’t keep all of these spiritual treasures to myself. But we do have a donate button on http://www.peacefulsinglegirl.com now. And if it is God’s will and the new site is able to launch, we plan to have one there just in case anyone wants to help us with the costs of running this ministry.

      I am very content without being paid anything. My reward is to get to see others experience Christ and submit to Him as Lord and to see His healing in their lives. I am amazed that He is allowing me to “store up so much treasure in heaven!”

      Much love to you!

      1. “and there will be challenges that will stretch us and we will need to grow and learn many new things.”

        Yes, and amen. I’m in that place right now. Rather painful. God is, I believe, taking me to a deeper level of surrendering even more desires (that are good, really) go and also learning how to bless when I’ve been hurt. Also being quiet and responding as Christ did at the cross as I’m in a place of being wrongfully accused or just being misunderstood and not cared for and loved as a wife should be in specific moments. πŸ™ It seems impossible, but with God all things are possible and that is my hope right now.

        I have so much more I could say, but this all feels so new that I can’t figure out the right words to put to it.

        If anyone feels led to pray for me, please, please do! I need them. Thank you.

      2. I’m glad that you will have the option to donate here soon and that it’s already on your other site. I pray that God blesses you through it. What you are doing here is much more than just throwing up a blog post and letting people comment. πŸ™‚ I’m sure you have saved many people a lot of money that would have been spent in counseling. I know you have for me.

  6. Wow thanks for sharing.
    I believe the way you and Greg partner
    together shows a very good example.
    It shows that you honor and respect his
    position as leader in your home, being able to trust his leadership, knowing that he seeks to do Gods will, and do what he believes is the best for his family.
    Knowing that he honors you, your gifts that you bring to the marriage; recognizes your God given talents, wisdom, counsel, ideas, contributions, etc, and doesn’t try to block and hinder them in the name of headship.
    I believe you’d be at rest and at peace even if your husband was not a godly husband, because you look to God, and seek to obey Him regardless.

    It’s important that a woman remain in good standing with God, and obey him regardless of what her husband is doing, but it helps a whole lot when she is able to submit to sacrificial, loving, godly leadership, the way God intended it, instead of self oriented, controlling, domineering headship.
    I believe God holds the man ultimately accountable for leading, while fully expecting the husband to lead PROPERLY. Headship is about servitude.

    It seems to be hard for some to comprehend that someone can be a leader and yet selflessly laying their life down at the same time, in their leading.
    But by God’s grace both husband and wife can grow and mature spiritually
    during the sanctification process, to eventually live out their lives and their marriage in a way that does not falsely represent Christ and His church and is pleasing to Him.
    April, I’m so happy to see the ways God has blessed and continues to bless you and your family. So thankful for you sharing with us.
    πŸ™‚

    1. T,

      I got to the point where I was content in Christ and in submitting to Him before my husband was a good leader. There was a LONG time in the beginning of this journey where Greg was still very shut down. And when he did eventually start to lead, it was a slow process of learning for both of us. I did have to learn to trust God to lead me through Greg before I was sure Greg could hear God’s voice well. He has gotten better and better at that as time has gone on.

      It does make it much easier when both the husband and wife are seeking to honor and obey God. Yes! But you are exactly right, even if our spouse is not walking in obedience to God, we can walk in obedience to Him ourselves. And yes, I agree that a decent man will respond to the position of headship with great humility not with being harsh, controlling, or domineering.

      The concept of a servant leader is a God thing, not a worldly thing. We don’t see this in the world, except for Spirit-filled Christians.

      You are most welcome. I’m glad that this was a blessing. πŸ™‚

  7. I’ve been fortunate to see my husband transform into a Godly leader for our family over the last 2-3 years. For a long time, my disrespect led him to feel like a horrible person – he didn’t feel he was able to approach God in prayer or participate in worship because he was such a “failure” to his family. (So painful for me to realize my contributions to this!)

    As I’ve learned to respect him and encourage him to make decisions without interfering, I’ve seen such an amazing change. At first he was reluctant (probably because he was waiting for me to jump in and tell him what to do and how to do it), but I worked hard to hold my tongue and allow him to make the choices he felt were best. When he realized I was going to defer to his judgment, he began stepping into the role I never thought he would fill.

    By getting out of the way so he can lead, I’ve learned a lot about his preferences and have benefitted greatly. For example, it’s very important to him that we go to bed at the same time every night. He rests better knowing everyone is settled in for the night and any strange sounds are something for him to investigate. For years, I refused to be “told” when to go to bed, but now I understand he is trying to protect me and ensure that our family is safe. We have a lot of great conversations during that time – conversations I missed out on for years because I tend to be a night owl. He generally doesn’t want to have deep discussions during the day, but prefers to kind of “empty his head” at night, and we’ve grown closer because (1) I’m not nagging him to talk about major issues or concerns all day and (2) we are spending time together in a way that works best for him.

    As a random thing, I’ve learned that my husband genuinely enjoys the chance to explain things to me. I’m the type of person who hates admitting I don’t know something (I’ll usually search online instead of asking questions), and I didn’t realize how this sometimes makes me come across as a know-it-all. I had no idea he interpreted this as disrespectful, but when I figured it out, I made a point to ask him questions about things like football, which he loves and I know nothing about. He has since told me that being able to tell me something without me interrupting him, chiming in with my own two cents, etc. has made him feel more confident that I trust him to make bigger decisions without going behind him and trying to interfere. Such a small thing but it made a big difference in our relationship!

    Our family dynamics are unique because both of us are self-employed. I work long hours in front of my computer, while his schedule is considerably more flexible. He takes care of many of my most dreaded household tasks (laundry, dishes, mopping) because he says he wants to take those burdens from me – this NEVER would have happened before I learned to submit to him and be respectful. He also takes care of anything to do with our cars, home maintenance, etc. While he controls our finances, I sit down every week and physically pay all the bills (per his request), then let him know our account balances so he can decide where best to use the remaining money. I also take care of our teenage son’s school-related needs (he is autistic and participates in an online high school program) and ensure he is getting his work done on time. The bigger cleaning tasks are mine, but since I’m not worried about the smaller parts I dislike, I dread cleaning less.

    Our son struggles a lot with spirituality because of his autism – he is a very black and white thinker, so he gets upset easily when he reads something in the Bible and doesn’t understand the context or the intention behind it. In those situations, my husband has really stepped up and is our son’s go-to parent for researching the verses and talking out the implications for our lives. This is a huge relief for me as I’ve always felt poorly equipped for those discussions; I want our son to be able to talk to both of us, of course, but I love seeing the two of them work together to understand what God is saying to us through various parts of the Bible. My son feels better, my husband feels needed/useful, and both of them have grown closer to each other than ever before. I’m able to be a better parent because I can stick to what’s in my wheelhouse without stepping on my husband’s toes.

    I feel like I’ve written a blog post here, but these are just a few examples of the improvements in our household since I learned to be respectful. It was absolutely impossible for him to lead our family until I learned how much damage I’d done by trying to take control. Once I was convicted of my selfishness and stepped out of the way to let God take care of it, He was able to put my husband in place to fulfill his role as leader of our family. We have been greatly blessed!

    1. The Restored Wife,
      This is AWESOME! I can relate to backing off and letting Greg learn to make his own choices without my constant input and that Greg began to slowly become such a strong, godly leader, too. I can also relate to the increased intimacy as you honored your husband. Greg began asking me to come to bed by 10 a few years ago. He NEVER used to care if I was in bed by a certain time – but now he enjoys being with me and I would have missed out on so much wonderful time to talk and connect and intimacy on every level if it weren’t for me honoring and respecting him and listening to his desire for me to be in bed earlier.

      I believe God’s design leads to the greatest potential for intimacy on every level. I know it must seem obvious – but I didn’t get this for so many years – that if I treat my husband well and treat him like a grown man and like someone I care about and respect, we will have a lot more intimacy. If I treat him like he is a naughty little boy, I look down on him, mother him, try to control him, and insult him – that doesn’t invite a husband to desire intimacy on any level.

      I would love to share your comment as a post in the future. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing!

      Much love!
      April

      1. No problem! I didn’t mean to write a book (story of my life) but I have soooo many thoughts on the changes I’ve seen since I found your blog. God has spoken to me so clearly through you and I’m grateful to have a chance to share!

        1. TheRestoredWife,

          That is exactly what I was hoping people would do. I want to be able to share other examples so it is not just me talking. πŸ™‚

          Ha!

          I’m thrilled about what God is doing in your life, my precious sister! I love hearing every detail.

          Much love!
          April

  8. I love this! Our marriages sound very similar, in the fact that this all seems rather ordinary to me, nothing dramatic, “normal” so to speak, but of course it isn’t ordinary at all! It is extraordinary to still be married, to be joyous about it, content. I can remember some rough patches, bumps in the road, and how I struggled to submit, how hard it was to pour respect over a husband who does not always have the softest manner himself. I remember praying a few times,”thank you Lord for this man who breathes well” because honestly breathing was about the only thing I could seem to find to be grateful for. It was enough, it planted enough seeds on the path towards gratitude, respect, submission, that even that tiny step helped to change everything.

    God is faithful, scripture is tried and true and it works, and there are great fruits to be found on the other side. Some people say marriage is about the initial romance, the honeymoon, and then things get hard and you must just settle for companionable silence or something. It has not been like that for me at all, marriage has just gotten better and better, romance stronger, and we have been greatly healed and blessed.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      Thank you so much for sharing! I think we have to get to a place in marriage where we realize we can’t do this in our own wisdom and strength. We come to the end of ourselves and realize we desperately need God’s help. Then He uses marriage to expose our sins and to help train us in holiness, if we will allow Him to. The healing God is able to bring, and the deeper level of love, respect, harmony, oneness, and intimacy that is possible in Christ are so beautiful. I long for every married couple to get to experience these things as “normal.”

      The last 5 years of our marriage have been my favorite BY FAR. It does keep getting better and better. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store!

      Much love!

  9. I had only discovered the peaceful wife approach a few years ago, and still have not got a good grasp on trusting God and being peaceful. But I have improved on not telling my husband where to park and a thousand other issues. I have ADHD and am verbally very impulsive and tend to be oppositional as well. If my husband says, I’ll take the garbage out, my impulse is to say, shouldn’t you wait until tomorrow so the raccoons don’t get in the can? And if he should say instead, I’ll take the garbage out tomorrow, my impulse would be to say, maybe you should take it out tonight, so the house doesn’t smell…I have just begun to observe this pattern in myself LOL!! Since I have stepped away from bills and other decision making, much husband has grown more confident and decisive, and much less passive. Now, I observe another pattern. If I say, I think you should eat before we go, he will do the exact opposite, almost without fail, and say, no, I’m fine, I’ll eat when I get there. Yet if I should say, let’s eat when we get there, he will say, I’m going to have a sandwich before I go. Hm. Very interesting. Almost like he is bound and determined, in a subconscious way, to flex his decision making muscle. And the Holy Spirit’s way of teaching me to hold back more, and wait. And be quiet.

    1. That’s kind of funny that last few sentences. I’ve noticed some similar things in my husband.

      I love that you are just noticing this oppositional pattern and I wanted to encourage you that God is obviously beginning to work in this area. And what He starts, He always finishes. Thank you, Lord!

      Thanks for sharing, liked your honesty. πŸ™‚

  10. I was in an unhappy marriage for 15 years, then divorced and single for nearly the same amount of time. Soon after my second marriage in 2015 I came across your blog. When we said our marriage vows I knew I didn’t have the slightest idea any more of how to be a wife, let alone a godly wife. I feel that I was truly lead by God to find your website. I began to study what it means to submit and respect my husband and prayed that I could make the necessary changes in my heart for a successful marriage.

    We are approaching our first anniversary and I can see how my attitude has been softened as I have made a dedicated effort to respect and submit to my husband on a daily basis. He is a soft spoken and spiritual man, and I can be a fiery vortex of frustration and anger! As we have worked through the issues of me integrating into his home and family, there have been many times I have felt bad about my behavior and upset feelings but he has lovingly forgiven me and allowed me to try again every time.

    It has taken me most of a year to learn to give my husband the time and space he needs to think things through and reach decisions. I have learned to give him my graciously worded opinion and step back, knowing that he will take what I have to offer very seriously in his thought process, but ultimately he may not always agree or do what I want. At first this was very hard for me to do, but as I have given him my trust and confidence, along with not pushing for my agenda and timelines, my husband has stepped more fully into the role of the spiritual head and leader of our home. His confidence has increased and our relationship has deepened and become far more spiritually and emotionally intimate, more than I could ever imagine.

    There is so much more for me to learn about creating a Christ-centered marriage. I know that it is important for me to know God’s will for me and I struggle with that a lot. My husband is LDS. I was raised in an LDS family but started attending an Evangelical Christian church a few years ago. We have a lot of conversations about spirituality and respect each other’s beliefs. It’s confusing to me at times and I know only God can help me find His path.

    I am grateful for the information and example that you share here. May God continue to bless you, and thank you.

    1. Tetonia,

      It is wonderful to meet you! πŸ™‚

      I love what you have been learning. This is awesome!

      The LDS church has a lot of wonderful qualities – so do the people who go there. I have many friends who are LDS. But the Jesus and God they talk about, although they use the same words, are not at all the same as the Jesus and God of the Bible. An unbelieving husband can lead a believing wife – but you will have to be careful not to embrace teachings that are not Biblical. I can get you some more resources if you are interested. πŸ™‚

      You can still honor his leadership in most things and be a godly wife for this man. We will pray that God will help him find the real God and the real Jesus of the Bible. I pray God will help things be very clear to you, my dear sister.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story! I love what God is doing in your heart!

      1. Thank you for your prayers and the offer of additional resources. I appreciate your concerns about the theological differences between the LDS faith and the Biblical godhead. I see many differences in the teachings and pray that God will continue to direct us both on the true path for good.

        My Christian friends in Salt Lake City thought I was nuts to marry a man who was LDS and asked me to reconsider the decision. My LDS acquaintances where I live now don’t know what to think of Christians in general and want me to “come back” to being fully invested in the LDS church. Perhaps some of this is prompted by fear.

        My husband and I take turns attending our respective churches together. He says he very much enjoys and ponders the messages that are given at the small Christian congregation we attend. We live in a little rural town in Utah in a saturated LDS population. My husband sweetly calls me a “Born Again Mormon”. πŸ™‚

        I feel God leading the path of my life, and I see His hand in so many ways. I am grateful for the experiences, and that the theological differences push me to turn to Christ and the scriptures for truth and light. I know that with time my understanding will deepen, and I pray that my husband will also be guided in truth and righteousness.

        April, I hope my comments do not come across as contentious. Sometimes I feel lonely and isolated in this community but I know that God has a plan for my life and I need to trust and walk in faith. Thank you for your response this morning, I appreciate you reaching out.

  11. I started reading your blog in Oct 2015. That’s when my marriage became extremely turbulent, almost overnight…raging emotions, insecurity, anger, mistrust and most important, fear of abandonment. And to face all this after 17 years of happiness, love and companionship, has been all the more painful.
    The reason I write today is
    A. To show gratitude for these circumstances, for they have shown me the areas I need to change – my anger, respect and tendency to control. But for the current mess in our lives, I wouldn’t ever have opened my eyes to the need for change in these areas. Yes, without realizing (and without ever intending to), I’ve been very disrespectful for 17 years. My husband gave me unconditional love, he also opened up a few times about how bad he felt about my temper, non-cooperation, etc. I couldn’t understand the intensity of his hurt, so I simply used to apologize for that one instance, without going deeper and understanding how much damage this was causing him and to our marriage. So I never made any lasting changes to my temper/habits, until Oct 2015 when he snapped. Now I’m at wits end because he is SUDDENLY “not there” for me, when just a couple months ago, he was ALWAYS THERE.
    However, fortunately, despite this mess, all is not lost because I do see some indications that he still loves me. Indications like
    01. Wanting me to sit with him during our morning Yoga session (a yoga guru comes home)
    02. Making sure (asking me sometimes) that I have taken my anti-psychotic (it was at his insistence that I went to see a psychiatrist and started taking the medicine 8 days ago).
    03. When I give him a good night hug, he hugs me back….although its an extremely cold hug from his side (lasts just two seconds, after which he pushes me and says, “go now”)…but nevertheless, better than Oct – Nov when it all started, when he wouldn’t even let me hug him)…..so reason to be grateful for whatever is still there 😊

    B. My second reason for writing today is to ask a few questions and seek clarity on what’s going on, from a detached perspective. As I mentioned, anger has been my biggest waterloo. But what my husband (and others) see as “anger”, is actually “fear” – fear of abandonment. This fear has been haunting me since all this started in October 2015. I’m trying hard to control this fear / anger (as well as its outer manifestations like throwing or breaking things, hurting myself to grab his attention – things he totally detests)….i do stumble at times, but overall I seem to be making progress – it has been 09 days since any angry bout from my side – the longest period of lull since it all started in Oct 2015. But this “feel good factor” doesn’t last long within me because, at times, I feel that my husband purposely tries to shake me out of my calm and unperturbed state of mind. When he sees me calm, he always says something or behaves in a manner he knows would hurt me and trigger off a negative reaction from me, so that he can say, “There you go again; I know you can never change!”
    For instance, just today morning, when things seemed good…we had our morning half an hour yoga, after which I gave him his cup of herbal tea, which he accepted with a “thank you”…..a HUGE motivator. It was a cold thank you, but at least he said it and I’m grateful. Then, our teenaged daughter woke up 10 minutes later than her usual wake-up time, and all hell broke lose – “she is not developing healthy habits because of YOU, she is lazy like YOU, all you can do is become dead weight on me that I need to keep lugging for the rest of my life”, etc etc etc. Now, with such outbursts, my biggest fear (abandonment) cones rushing back, and all my exercises of self control and self restraint, being peaceful and respectful – everything threatens to buckle under pressure. He himself says he wants to see me calm and peaceful, then why does he do this to ignite me? I know he is a busy man with huge huge huge professional responsibility. So maybe he is himself at a bad point with all this unpleasantness. Or maybe he has fallen out of love with me – the latter thought sends me the jitters.
    Is he trying to test me, by purposely pulling me down? This kind of behaviour really demotivates me when I’m still taking baby steps.
    Can you please help me understand what’s going on. Sorry if this piece of writing became too long and sounded like emotional gibberish, but I really need some perspective.

    1. Mitali,

      How thankful I am for your willingness to learn and to allow God to use this painful trial to help you grow spiritually! That is awesome!
      I’m glad that there are a few hopeful signs and that it seems your husband wants you to get better. πŸ™‚

      If you are expecting your husband to be faultless, completely supportive, without sin, and perfect – that is probably not going to happen. It would be awesome if he knew exactly what to do all the time and never did anything remotely provoking to your sensibilities. But he is human. And probably very discouraged and feeling very defeated as a man and husband. Please don’t try to find your security, acceptance, peace, strength, purpose, and fulfillment in him. Look to Jesus for those things, my dear sister. Seek to please Christ alone ultimately. Seek to find your contentment and acceptance and peace and security in what Jesus has done for you and in His character. Then you can be unshakable no matter what your husband does or does not do.

      If he criticizes you – ask God to show you if there is any truth in what he is saying -repent if there is sin in your life – and ask God to help you change. If the criticism is invalid, do not absorb it. Have you been practicing how you can respond calmly even if he is trying to provoke you? Are you talking with a godly counselor? He could be trying to test you – or he could be just very frustrated and doesn’t know what to do.

      Would you like for us to hash through some ways you might be able to respond when he says something inflammatory?

      Much love to you!

      April

      Another resource is http://www.leslievernick.com – she has a lot of posts and resources that may be helpful as you seek to handle your husbands’ comments and criticisms in a calm, godly way.

      If you haven’t read the posts on my site yet about fear and control, you may search my home page for “fear” and “control.” And also “people pleasing,” “guilt,” “playing the martyr,” “healthy vs. unhealthy relationships,” “control and boundaries.”

  12. This was a good post. It explained a little more into detail about yours and Greg’s roles. I’m in the middle of your book. I got it free on my kindle. It’s very well written and very well thought out. As a part time reader of your blog for almost 3 years it’s not that much new stuff to me. It’s a nice refresher and a nice way to have it all in one book instead of searching the blog for what I’m looking for. πŸ˜ƒ

    I have learned a lot through your blog. I don’t always implement things well but I’m thankful for what I’ve learned. πŸ˜ƒ The one thing I cannot get past is your trust in Greg to make a decision that you don’t agree on. I know you say it’s trusting God ultimately through Greg. But how can you say that Greg has no domination over you when he makes the decision against what you may want or think or feel like it could be a horrible idea?

    1. Tiffany,

      My hope is that the book has everything compiled together in order and in a systematic way that may be helpful – there are some newer things toward the end. I pray it will be a blessing. πŸ™‚

      To me, this issue is not different from how I would need to submit to other God-given authorities in my life. The government, my church leaders, my boss, or my parents (when I was younger and still at home) – may make decisions with which I do not agree. I am free to discuss my concerns and needs. I am free to share if I am extremely upset about a potential decision. But I can’t possible agree with every decision. I no longer feel compelled to try to make everyone submit to me as if I know best about everything. I understand now that I do know now best about everything.

      I do have to say that Greg is a very responsible, loving man. I know that he will try to do what is best. That helps a lot. I know he is not purposely trying to hurt me or our children. There have been a few decisions with which I really did not agree. Some examples:

      – I thought we should homeschool about 5 years ago and was very concerned about ungodly influences in public school. So far, we really haven’t had many problems at all with lots of ungodly influences, and I have seen a number of clear benefits where our children have gone to school. I also know that if something awful happened or looked like it would likely happen, we would revisit the idea of whether our children should be in public school and we may come to a different answer if circumstances change. I trust God with the outcome – good or bad, that He will use it for His glory. The sovereignty of God is where my peace comes from.

      – I wanted to quit work as a pharmacist and be home all the time. This would have put a pretty severe strain on our family financially. Thankfully, God has graciously provided a job for me over the past 4.5 years that I really do love and I have been able to minister to people there and see His hand working in having me there if I must work. I had an extremely stressful job before that – that I absolutely dreaded. It has also been a blessing for our children to get to spend some time on Wednesday afternoons and on Friday nights with Greg’s parents. They have memories they will always cherish from those times. I can appreciate that the things Greg wanted to do have merit, too.

      – Last year, I wanted to sell most of our stuff and move into a much less expensive and much smaller house so that we would have zero mortgage and would be able to be free to give more money and time to God’s work. I love the idea of minimalism and not spending so much time and money on things. The closer I get to God, the less I want anything to do with “stuff” if possible. I want to be free of things so we can concentrate more on God and loving and ministering to others. I know that if God desires us to do this, He can and will change Greg’s heart and that the timing will be perfect. If we do something this extreme, I would certainly want Greg to be wholeheartedly invested in the idea, too. God loves a cheerful giver. I can’t force him into a lifestyle like that if he is not onboard. We don’t have a large mortgage where we are. He has spent much of the past 9 years renovating the old house we are in now. I understand why he prefers that we stay here. He has invested a lot of blood and sweat here. We have lots of space, a great yard, a big driveway, and we are very close to his parents. We have room for friends to come here to play. The house is beautiful and wonderful. So I choose to be thankful that we are here and to trust God to lead us if He desires us to downsize in His timing.

      – I would not own a TV if it were up to me. But I acknowledge that if my children only had me as a parent, there may not be enough balance. I know that God uses Greg to help balance me out and to keep our children’s experiences from being too extreme. We do enjoy watching some science and nature shows together as a family – which is a blessing.

      – I don’t like giving our kids tons and tons of gifts for Christmas and birthdays (their birthdays are both right after Christmas) – I think it can easily promote materialism, greed, worldliness, and selfishness. Greg’s love language is giving gifts and acts of service. He loves to give thoughtful gifts and is great at buying gifts. I do not like buying gifts! I like getting rid of stuff, not getting lots of stuff – although there are some gifts I appreciate. πŸ™‚ Again, I believe God uses Greg to balance out some of my more extreme thinking. I tend to be very intense in my beliefs and thinking.

      I tend to want to make big sweeping sudden changes when I feel convicted about things. I have learned that if I do that to my family, it really stresses them out! It is really key that I die to self – I hold my desires loosely and am willing to allow God to have them and to work in them whatever He wants to do.

      Greg does not have domination over me because I willingly choose to cooperate. He leads me. He doesn’t force anything on me. I choose to follow him. I lay the issue before God. I lay the issue before Greg. I listen to Greg’s ideas and his wisdom and perspective. I confirm that he is not asking me to clearly sin. If he feels very strongly about something and we cannot agree, then I go to my prayer journal and yield the issue on the altar before God and trust that God will cause it to work out in the way that He believes is best.

      1. Tiffany,

        I think a short summary would be – humility makes this possible for me. And abiding in Christ and having His Spirit’s power makes it possible. I no longer assume that I am always right and that I always know best. I am open to the idea that Greg and especially God have wisdom from which I could greatly benefit.

        1. Thanks for taking time to reply April. You always do it with such grace. Submission makes me angry. It makes me feel less than. Like I’m going to be railroaded. I have learned from your site and have implemented some things. I’m just not giving it 100%. I really don’t know if it’s conviction from God or Satan wanting dissension.

          1. Tiffany,

            This concept is tough. And it often is very different from what we think it means. I know it took me 2.5 years to begin to feel like I understood what it meant and didn’t mean and another year before it felt natural and I really “got it.” And I was studying and praying about godly femininity and understanding being a godly wife for seriously hours almost every day for that whole time.

            To me, the place we must start is the lordship of Christ and then we must also address childhood wounds.

            Where are you with the idea of total submission to Christ as Lord? What if we just camp out there together for a bit? πŸ™‚

            What was your parents’ marriage like?

            Were you ever mistreated, abused or extremely scared as a child – maybe someone you trusted let you down or you felt you had to take over for adults?

            It is important to be honest, I am really proud of you for voicing your concerns. A lot of women misunderstand biblical submission and try to embrace it without knowing what it means, and then their understanding is destructive. That is not good! Let’s examine where the anger comes from and your motives and fears a bit. I would much rather women ask questions and wrestle through this stuff than to swallow something blindly and not ask these important questions. I want to know that you are doing what God is calling you to do, not what anyone else is asking you to do.

            Much love to you! I am so glad we can talk about these important concerns.

            Let me also mention, if my husband asked me to do something I truly believed was dangerous – like drive with the kids strapped to the roof of the car or something crazy, I would not cooperate with that. My husband has not ever been out of his right mind, he has not asked me to sin or condone sin, and he has not asked me to do something foolish. What God is asking of us is intelligent submission, not mindless and unquestioning slavery to our husbands.

            Much love!! πŸ™‚

          2. Here’s more honesty-Ever since I heard 1 Peter 3:7 preached I have felt women are supposed to be less than. No matter what version of the bible you read it says weaker partner or weaker vessel. I don’t want to be considered weak because there are many areas where I’m honestly proud to be strong. I know this verse also speaks of husbands honoring their wives but it almost seems to me in an under minding way. Like oh I have to be this big tough guy and honor and care for this poor delicate woman because she’s weak.

            My childhood was tough and a little chaotic. It was borderline on verbal, emotional and physical abuse from my mom to me. I was never the daughter my mom wanted. She was also jealous of my relationship with my grandmother who was her mother-in-law. My mom was sick a lot through my childhood. I have often felt I grew up earlier than most girls my age with the home responsibility I had and taking care of my brother who was 5 1/2 years younger. My dad had to work for health insurance. My grandparents did help us out.

            My parents loved each other but my mom ruled the roost until the day she died last year. She had cancer and was only 63. Even though our relationship was complicated I was there for her and was with her and other family when she died. I miss her and think of her everyday.

            I know I struggle with pride. I can admit my mistakes. I’m not in denial. I don’t really understand why I care to be right. My husband is a good man. He would never ask me to sin. He has let me down over many small things in the past. I have a hard time trusting him. Little things like just last week forgetting to give our son antibiotic for strep throat when I texted him to remind him. I was gone on an early field trip with our oldest son. So I fear trusting him in the way I feel your advising when I’ve got 18 years of not being able to trust in small things.

            I have been a Christian for a while. I know God has the power to turn my life in whatever way He wants. I feel that if I give my all to Him or to anyone really then I will be disappointed in some way. I know that sounds crazy because my head knows He is ultimately in control. But I have a wall around my heart and life that I feel needs protecting.

          3. Tiffany,

            My understanding of 1 Peter 3:7 is that women are physically weaker – I sure don’t have the muscle mass Greg does. I can’t lift nearly as much. But my understanding is that it is the idea of a wife being like fine china – more beautiful, more delicate, and with incredible worth in the eyes of God and of her husband. This doesn’t speak to a woman’s spirituality being “weaker” or her personality or talents being “weaker.” It doesn’t speak to her having any less value – in fact, she is called a joint-heir with her husband in Christ. She has totally equal worth and value in God’s eyes with her husband.

            You could choose to view it as if the husband is to honor his wife in an undermining way – but the God I know – the God of the Bible – doesn’t treat women in an undermining way. Jesus was always very respectful, honoring, kind, compassionate, loving, and gentle with women. Satan is the one who undermines women, who tries to convince them that what God said was not good. He has been doing that since Genesis.

            It sounds like you may have some pretty major emotional/spiritual wounds from your childhood. πŸ™ Have you worked through those things with any kind of godly mentor or trusted Christian counselor?

            What do you think about the way your mom approached marriage? What were the results? Is that what you want in your marriage?

            What do you want in your marriage?

            Have you ever looked at the way your parents lived and gone through their beliefs and ways of relating and chosen the things that are God-honoring to keep and kicked out anything that was not of God in your mind? Not to condemn them – but just to be sure you aren’t retaining ungodly ways of thinking and relating? Have you ever examined your beliefs about yourself, God, femininity, masculinity, and marriage in great detail? Allowing God to expose anything that is not of Him?

            Before we address your fear to trust your husband, I believe that we will need to address your fear to trust God. And, it seems to me that it is very likely that you learned as a young child that you could not and should not ever trust other people, but that maybe you could only trust yourself. Would you say that sounds possible?

            What do you believe about the character of God?

            Is He completely good? Or do you believe He really may have evil intentions toward you?

            What fears do you have if you were to totally trust Him with everything?

            What would happen if you gave you your sense of control over some things?

            Is it possible that you may believe that you know what is best for you better than God does?

            Is it possible that you may believe, in your heart (not your head), that God is untrustworthy or that He is “out to get you”?

            Do you maybe believe that if you trust God, He will purposely make your life worse and you would have to suffer more? Like if you trust Him, He will make someone die that you love or something?

            I’m going through a few common lies we tend to believe about God. But there are more than just these.

            Have you ever read The Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss?

            What do you think your lack of trust does to your relationship with God?

            What do you think your lack of trust in your husband does to your marriage?

            Are there things that could be even more important than your son getting every dose of his antibiotic? (And I am a pharmacist, so I definitely appreciate that getting every dose of an antibiotic is important.) But are there things that will matter more in the light of eternity? Is it possible that we could be focusing so much on small issues and being right about them, that we may miss the things that are actually the most important with our husbands and with God?

            I know that it is going to take a lot of deep thinking and prayerful wrestling over these things we are talking about. What I don’t want you to do is to just skim over things on a surface level and rush through them. I would love for you to be willing to go deep into your heart, mind, and soul – and to allow God to shine the blazing Light of His Word and His truth into the darkest places – and let’s see what kind of healing God wants to do in your heart. I am not going to push or pressure you. But I am honored to walk beside you and to help you hash through some of these tough beliefs and ideas because until we get rid of all of the wrong thinking, we can’t build on God’s truth properly. It is like trying to build a house on a crooked and messed up foundation. It won’t work. So before you try to build your concepts of biblical submission in marriage – it’s time to tear down all the old thinking about that and about a lot of other things, and begin to rebuild your concepts of God, His Word, yourself, His character, your nature, your identity in Christ, the Lordship of Christ, and the basics of relating to God first. Then when you have a solid foundation, we can begin to work on the concepts of godly masculinity, femininity, and marriage.

            Much love to you!

          4. Thanks again for your graceful response. πŸ˜ƒ You’ve given me a lot to chew on. I’d say out of all those questions you gave me I fear God will make me very sick with something like cancer if I trust him completely. I also fear what He will ask of me. I know all totally ridiculous. And it’s sort of weird because I don’t fear sickness in my life. It doesn’t consume my thoughts.

            I have heard of the book you mentioned but have never read it. I think I saw it at half price books recently. I may stop by there today and see if it’s still there. I checked my library and they don’t have it.

            I want you to know I didn’t yell or say anything to my husband about the antibiotic incident. I was just disappointed and know it’s just another thing I can’t trust him with. Yes I know it’s not a big thing in light of eternity. These incidents happen weekly or monthly. It’s a very good thing I don’t have to work outside of the home with responsibility I have here.

          5. Tiffany,

            If you find that book, I am not as concerned about the lies about children… but what I would really love for you to focus on are the lies about God, about ourselves, our emotions, womanhood, and marriage…

            I know for me, I believed I had to take responsibility for my twin sister and my little brother when I was pretty young. I thought I had to be the parent. I felt totally responsible for my siblings and that kind of “over responsibility” for a young child, in my understanding, almost always produces a woman who will feel that she must be overly responsible for other people in her life, who doesn’t understand God’s sovereignty, who trusts self, not God, in many ways. Your situation was much more difficult than mine was – so you may have even more healing to do about these things.

            I had two levels of beliefs. I had my conscious level of belief which was that I trusted God and believed His Word. But then there was the subconscious level that I really acted on but didn’t acknowledge. That was what produced the worry, the fear, the thoughts that I couldn’t trust God…. That deep level – the hidden motives of our hearts – is the level we must dig out and expose and hash through with God’s Spirit and His Word to find healing.

            It is fine to be disappointed about the antibiotic. I would have been, too! It is okay even to say that you were disappointed if you are in the right frame of mind with God, especially, and you are not lashing out. If our husbands fail us in small ways at times, that doesn’t mean they are completely untrustworthy. It could just mean they are human. πŸ™‚ These are opportunities to extend grace and to grow in our own faith and spiritual maturity.

            MANY people have all kinds of fears about completely trusting God. I personally had to write down all of my fears about God and then I had to look at what Scripture said about my fears and about who God is and all of His promises and I had to consciously decide, “Do I trust God and His Word or do I trust my fear here? If God takes me through my greatest fear, is He still good? Is he still who He says He is? Can He still use it for my good? Will I trust Him instead of myself? Why am I trusting myself? What power do I have? What power does God have? Who is scarier to trust, God or me? If I am trusting self, am I actually also trusting Satan?”

            There is much wrestling to be done to get to the bottom of these deep fixed beliefs. Take your time. I’m glad to help you hash through them here, too.

            Much love to you!

          6. Tiffany,

            OH! And if your understanding of God’s design is that women are “less than” – then I can assure you that it is not an accurate understanding. We are not “less than” we are precious, cherished, and most deeply loved by God and that is what we are to be with our husbands, too. πŸ™‚

      2. Wow, this was incredibly convicting for me. My husband and I do not have a contentious relationship. It is peaceful, and he is at peace in our home. But I do definitely see myself in what you said about minimalism and making big sweeping changes, only in our life it’s about food. I want to make big changes in our diet, moving away from industrial foods and towards a more ancestral/traditional way of cooking and eating, and I feel very passionate about why, but too often my instinct is to talk circles around my quiet, gentle husband and MAKE him see things my way, rather than trusting his leadership.

        My question for you, April, is this: how do I encourage him to lead when his own fear of failure paralyzes his decision-making? I actually see him as more competent to lead than he sees himself! I DO trust him! He’s wise, and thoughtful, and has fantastic instincts for both people and situations, but he doesn’t trust himself, so he often will put off decisions until it’s too late. I could give you countless examples. He so wants to do the right thing, but fear of getting it wrong, of messing up, just paralyzes him! How in the world do I encourage him, especially when it comes to time-sensitive things? Just as one example, I know he is fully capable of doing our finances. He’s frugal, and better with numbers than I am. But what I don’t want to do is set him up to fail — to play into his existing insecurities and make them even worse! The last thing I want to do is to exacerbate all of his baggage from the past and make him feel even worse about himself. But at the same time not putting my confidence in him can have the same effect. I just feel pulled in opposite directions. Any wisdom about our situation?

        1. a. nony,

          I have made similar changes in my diet since last May. And started trying to change our children’s diet this past fall. But just because I like sudden sweeping changes when my convictions change quickly – does not mean my family can handle that, too! I have had to learn to slow things way down and not be so completely narrow-minded on things that I believe in – like about diet. I freaked out my family! So I have had to learn to make some changes but they need to be much slower. I am doing the dramatic changes, but I am trying to give them more balance.

          Greg was in a similar place when I started this journey, that you are describing with your husband. Before I share anything specific, would you be interested in searching my home page for “lead” and “leader” and checking out a few posts. Then maybe we can talk about what you believe God is prompting you to do about this and how do you believe God desires to have you encourage your husband’s leadership?

          Much love to you!

          1. I did some reading and although I acknowledge that I could have blind spots about this (I certainly do, sinner that I am!), I wouldn’t characterize myself as a disrespectful wife, so some of the things about encouraging a husband’s leadership didn’t really resonate with our experience. I have never raised my voice to my husband, told him to “man up,” lectured him, or mothered him. I have never, ever complained about him to others. I don’t have anything to complain about! I don’t have unattainable expectations for him. I thank him sincerely and often for the things he does for me and for our marriage and home. I don’t think his ideas are ridiculous, or that I have to lead because I am a natural leader (although I am, and he isn’t). I DO trust him, and I long for him to grow into the kind of leader I know he can be, to stretch his wings and use the gifts God has given him. Apart from Christ, he is the joy of my life.

            I realize that I’m a sinner and that my big persuasive personality means that it’s easy for me to launch into convincing mode rather than listening to my husband. But more often than not, it seems like it’s his own inner fears and insecurities that are keeping him from leading. And this is my big tension — I feel like I can’t even say, “Honey, I want to submit to your leadership; I trust you,” without stirring those things up and making him feel like a failure! He has said before that he feels incapable of leading me, not because of me, but because of his own “weakness” or “immaturity”! Which is crazy to me. He’s a strong, wise, mature man and completely capable of “handling” me. I know that, and believe it, and treat him accordingly, but he doesn’t seem to know or believe it. Does that make sense?

            The longing of my heart for him is that he would see that how God has made him is good, and that he doesn’t have to change into a different person to lead well — that the gifts God has given him are a blessing to me and his friends and family and church, rather than as too broken or flawed to be of any value. And I don’t know how to go about encouraging him in that.

          2. A. Nony,

            Thanks for bearing with me and examining your side of things, too. I’m glad that you seem to be doing well there. That is awesome!

            Did he receive a lot of discouraging messages about his abilities in the past? Any major abuse or childhood wounds? Perhaps he won’t respond well to direct appeals for him to lead. But maybe some silent, wordless, baby steps?

            He has a job, correct? What does he do for a living?

            Much love!

          3. April,

            No abuse. A parent died at a key moment in his adolescence, but as far as discouraging messages — I just don’t know. I suspect he must have, but so far whenever childhoods/pasts come up, he just repeats that he had a “normal” upbringing. What kind of silent, wordless baby steps do you think would be helpful? I’m a talker, a word person in a big way, so nonverbal communication is not my strong suit. Ha!

            He works from home for right now — hoping to find a new job soon. He gets a great deal of satisfaction from his work.

          4. a. nony,

            I’m guessing he may be rather introverted?

            What are his gifts and talents?

            What are some things he handles really well?

            Does he respond to your sincere praise and encouragement?

            πŸ™‚

  13. Hi April,
    A few months ago I commented on one of yours posts and you recommended the book Surrender. I finished it and I want to thank you for that.
    I also want to thank you for this post. I know that I am far from perfect but I do feel like I have really improved my behavior toward my husband in the past 2 years or so. Most of the time, things are ok between us, although I really wish he would be a spiritual leader in our family. Although I wish for this and pray for it, I very rarely say anything to him about it. My concern is that about once a month or so, my husband will become very angry over something very minor (e.g.a spill in the refrigerator) and explode. He yells and calls me names. I feel like his reaction is completely inappropriate and uncalled for. I do not yell back or call him names but instead I become very upset and I often want to get out for a bit and take a walk (which is what I did a few days ago). I tell him how I feel and that it’s not ok for him to treat me like that and remind him that I don’t treat him that way. Then he often sulks or tries to turn it around on me. The whole situation is very upsetting. I am trying very hard to focus on what I need to improve and to pray and study the word more often but I still don’t feel like I should have to tolerate this. I’m not sure what else I can do. I suggested that he talk to someone because his reactions to minor upsets aren’t normal and I think he took offense so I dropped it. I grew up in a family where my father was very verbally and emotionally abusive to my mother and I really don’t want to live that way. Please pray for us. Like I said before, his temper tantrums don’t happen everyday and I am not afraid of him but when he lashes out at me, I find myself really disliking him. I think about how when we were dating and in the first few years of our marriage, he never acted like this and I feel like he tricked me into thinking he was a good guy. Please pray for us. I appreciate any advice you have to offer.

    1. Morgan,

      That would be difficult for a wife. πŸ™ Do you know what happened that seemed to trigger this change in him? Has he been going through extreme stress or is he on medications that have side effects, is he sick, is he involved in any addictions, or does he have any mental health issues?

      I pray for God’s healing for you both – and for His resources.

      I would encourage you to check out http://www.leslievernick.com – her site is about emotionally difficult/abusive relationships but the posts I have read seem to be about handling difficult people in a godly way. Of course, please compare anything she says or that I say to Scripture. But I think that site may be helpful.

      Also, Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas, deals with some marriages where the husbands have a lot of anger and they give some real life examples of wives responding in a godly way.

      Muc hlove to you!

      1. Thanks for your reply. I’ll be sure to check out that website & the book.
        My husband doesn’t have any mental illness and isn’t a drug user. He does however have a very stressful job that has become increasingly stressful over the years. He was promoted 6 months ago to a position that he had been working toward his entire career. His position is client focused and it can be very demanding. He works more than 60 hours a week, including extensive travel. He’s pretty much always on call & available to his clients including evenings and weekends. He’s an excellent provider and has been very generous with my extended family when they were in financial ruin. I really love and appreciate that about him. I feel like he’d benefit from more free time and establishing boundaries at work but he doesn’t seem to think that’s feasible at this time and I know I can’t push him.

        1. Morgan,

          How much sleep is your husband getting each night, would you say? As a pharmacist and as someone who has had extremely stressful jobs in the past – I know that when people are super stressed at work and exhausted, it tends to bring out the worst in us. It sounds very stressful. I’m glad you aren’t pushing him about trying to cut back at work, but if I had a job like that, it would be MUCH more difficult to be calm, peaceful, and filled with the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how I would even have the time I need with God in such a scenario.

          The book Sacred Influence will probably be very helpful if this is the situation right now.

          Is there anything you can do to promote him being able to relax and destress? Praying for God’s wisdom for you, my dear sister!

  14. Thank you April for sharing beautiful wisdom as usual. I and my husband are slowly working our way towards some of the things that you have mentioned, with God’s help. Our weekly disagreement rate concerning decisions has dropped from around 5 to 2. Now he makes most of the important decisions. Sometimes he does not explain to me why he has decided a certain way on something but as time goes by I realize why and I smile to myself and this makes me trust him even more and feel safe. Praying for him for wisdom and understanding is one of the most important prayer I must pray.
    Thank you April.

    1. Betty,

      Thank you for sharing! I am so glad things are going a lot better. That is awesome!

      There have been times when Greg “had a bad feeling” about something and wasn’t able to articulate his reasons at the moment, but I have learned to trust him and to realize that God may be prompting him a certain way. Often, he is able to explain later or something happens that makes it obvious God was leading him.

      Now, if he can’t explain his reasons, I completely trust him. I also know that God may be keeping us from an accident or from danger. Of course, Greg makes it easy for me to trust him because he has grown so much as a leader and is trustworthy.

  15. I just want to thank you for the suggestion of Nancy Leigh Demoss’s book Lies Women Believe and The Truth That Sets Them Free. I wish I had read it years ago. Wow can I see myself in so many pages. Does she eventually explain how to overcome these things. I mean I can say the truths out loud and tell myself over and over. I’m looking to apply them to my life. Thanks.

    1. Tiffany,

      I’m so glad this was a blessing to you, Tiffany. I think her book should be required reading for all of us before we get married! But then, we probably also need to re-read it every now and then, too. Just as a check up. πŸ™‚

      Primarily, I believe she describes what the truth is. There are some things she talks about application. I also have many posts about application of these things. If you need some posts, please let me know and I can direct you. For example you may search my blog for:

      – idol/idolatry
      – contentment
      – security
      – feelings
      – emotions
      – happiness
      – fear
      – bitterness
      – worry
      – anxiety

      Much love to you! We can talk more if you need to. πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks. I’m only 3 chapters into the book. I don’t identify with every lie in each chapter but the ones I do are very convicting.

  16. Thought I’d post a little on how headship/submission looks in our house….

    I still have so much to learn with letting my husband fully lead, but even with a lot of mistakes I’ve made in the past many years, I can share some of the ways that my husband leads and things I’ve had to submit on.

    My husband is not a believer. That will explain some of the things that I’m going to share. He is also very strongly opinionated.

    I have had to submit on things that I never thought I’d have to submit on. One of them is a current situation with our oldest who is engaging in some behavior that is definitely wrong. I have handed over the reigns pretty much completely to my husband in this area because I have never really felt supported by him when it came to the way that I was disciplining or training our children. It was causing a lot of tension in our home and I did not feel like we were in unity. This is still a HUGE struggle for me, I have to be honest. Talk about feeling like you are jumping off of a cliff. My husband rarely believes we should give our children consequences….even after we have told them or asked them to do something many, many times. But God has given me wisdom, I believe, and I have started to go to my husband and share “So and so did this thing again that we have asked him/her not to do. What would you like to do about that or what would you like me to do about that?”

    We are currently right in the middle of that with one of my children, like I’ve said. On one of the issues, he gave me some specific consequences to give this child. (yay). On another, he is going to let it go….and it’s a big one for me as a mother to let go and not pursue. But, I’m going to. (Can I say that it is a really big thing again. I think for some mothers, it would be one of those times where they would feel justified to stand up and put their foot down). God has taken me to a place of utter exhaustion in trying to figure this whole raising kids together and I believe that He is leading me.

    Even though I do not believe that my husband is handling some of this in a godly way, I can see how God has used this in our lives in many ways. For one, my son is being very honest with us about the behavior he’s engaging in which I do not believe would happen if I had it my way. I’d much rather put the fear of God in him but then I believe my son would just disengage and hide the truth. As it is, I am able to communicate my thoughts and my opinions to my son in a respectful, but also kind of a “warning” way (admonishing as we are called to do). Secondly, my trust is ALL in God — it’s certainly not in me, my husband, our wonderful parenting skills or anything else. I am much more compelled to pray for my children and I am utterly dependent on God to bring something good out of what looks like a messy situation. I’m also amazed how God has kept me from being bitter about all of this and has been faithful to keep letting me take these baby-steps of faith. He is holding my hand and rather than getting super bitter about it all (which I’ve seen happen in marriages where both spouses were believers regarding this very issue of how to raise children together), He’s even showing me how to respect my husband even more. Only God.

    There have been other times in our marriage where I have been very, very vocal (and looking back, probably not nearly as respectful as I should have been) about my desires for our children -whether it was something they were watching or wanting to watch, etc.

    Aside from raising our children, my husband has pretty much complete control of the finances. I have asked him a few times over the last year that I would like to know more of what’s going on and he has honored that by talking to me more about details, but still wants very much to be in charge.

    I absolutely have a voice in our marriage and he is very willing to let me choose many things, but the things that he feels strongly about are going to be done his way. This is good and sometimes, this feels bad to me like in areas of the way we eat, the time that is spent on media in our home, etc. It has been very hard for me to let go of what I believe is the best thing for our family and just entrust it all to God. If my husband doesn’t feel it’s important, any major efforts I’ve made to change things in that area don’t seem to be supported much by him and so I’ve kind of “given up” at times so that I will not become angry and bitter when things aren’t going my way and so I can keep my sanity!

    He allowed me to homeschool for several years when our kids were younger, but then I felt his approval waning and we moved on to other options. God gave me peace during that transition. He also was willing to place some of our kids in a private school because of my desires and so he definitely defers to me on important decisions at times….and in lots of smaller things, too.

    He helps out around the house especially when he has more time at home. He does this on his own and just naturally – he was a bachelor for several years before we got married and had his own routines of cleaning, cooking and doing laundry.

    My husband does not ever yell or command me to do anything, but I know very well what he likes and doesn’t. πŸ™‚ He is very patient with me even when I’m not doing my job well and gives me lots of grace. He is super quick to forgive when I apologize for something.

    I don’t know, April….any thoughts on what I’ve shared? I do feel like something might be missing at times, but mostly I believe this is where God has led us so far.

    1. Jennifer,

      I’m glad you let your husband know you would like to know what is going on financially and that he is being open with you about that. I also love that you have a voice. It is more of a challenge with an unbelieving husband, at times, but even with a believing husband, we will not agree on how to handle every situation.

      I don’t know what the situation is with your child, so I’m not sure that I can comment about how to best handle something like that – and I appreciate and respect your family’s privacy. I pray for God’s wisdom for you about this to know whether you need to respectfully speak up more about this or whether to wait and pray.

      I’m glad you were both willing to hear each other’s concerns about schooling and work together as a team. That is awesome!

      That is such a blessing that he helps a lot around the house. I also love that he doesn’t yell or make demands and that he is patient and full of grace. Wow. Praying with you for God to draw your husband and your children to Himself, my dear sister! Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. Thanks, April, for your thoughts and encouragement.

        I believe for now that God has given me wisdom with the issue with my son. As much as I’d like to put my foot down and demand something different, I don’t see something good coming from it – for either my son or my husband.

        Maybe the solution is for me to pray that God will intervene in whatever way He sees fit to change my husband’s and my son’s hearts. Sometimes, He does things gently and sometimes, we have to be shaken out of things strongly. He knows.

        As I write, I am remembering that a prayer that has been on my heart the last few days is that God would bring to light any hidden sin. I’m going to trust that God’s going to do something with that prayer.

        Love to you, April.

        1. Jennifer,

          God has an amazing way of being able to change circumstances in a blink of an eye, or to change people’s hearts. He can certainly intervene. I pray that He will – in order to draw your husband and son to Himself and I pray for God’s wisdom and strength for you to stay out of His way if that is what He is prompting you to do at this time.

          I pray for you to grow by leaps and bounds in your faith and in your prayer life and for you to rest in God’s love and provision. I pray for His wisdom and power for you to be the wife and mom He desires you to be. I pray for His Spirit to draw your family to Himself and to bring His kingdom and His will in every way into your family. πŸ™‚

    1. Tiffany, I would sure hope couples would attempt to pray over things and find win/win solutions before deciding that agreement is impossible. Sometimes God may prompt a wife to be silent. But generally, I believe it is our duty and responsibility to share our feelings, needs, concerns, and perspectives. We have “influence authority” with our husbands. They have “positional authority.” We are to be their most trusted friends and advisors. I have quite a few posts on this issue, if you are interested. πŸ™‚

  17. The author of the article states she doesn’t believe submission is that the husband has the final say in everything. You do. I know that your beliefs and guidance to others are that its after you have given your thoughts and ideas. I do see the authors and her husbands compromise of the work conflict as a win-win. The example of her friend wasn’t and I see your point on that. I’m just confused because I feel it seems there’s 2 different interpretations of scripture. I respect both of you. I have read books by the author.

    1. Tiffany,

      I think she and I have different underlying assumptions about “submission.”

      I teach that wives have “influence authority” (see A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage). I teach that biblical submission is not passivity. I teach that wives are to share their feelings, concerns, needs, etc. I teach that wives are to submit intelligently, and that submission to a human authority is not absolute, only submission to God is absolute. If a husband is leading his wife or family into sin or something ungodly, a wife may need to respectfully speak up and may need to confront her husband about his sin (Matt. 7:1-5, and Matt 18:15-17).

      I also teach that as we respect our husbands, we also respect God first, and ourselves.

      Then after the wife has shared all of her concerns, feelings, needs, wisdom, etc… And her husband has shared his. I am assuming they will pray about it and seek to find compromise. If compromise cannot be reached, then the wife defers to her husband. But there is input and discussion before that point in most cases unless there is an emergency and there is no time or God directs a wife not to share her input.

      In this article, it sounds like the women assume “submission” means the wife immediately defers to the husband with zero discussion and no attempts to compromise. That would be what I would call being a “doormat” or being passive.

      The example of the husband and wife compromising is awesome. And the other example, I would sure hope a wife would speak up if she had concerns and would not just sit and watch her husband destroy the family’s finances. I believe it is possible to address a situation respectfully and seek to work together to come up with a solid plan in most cases. πŸ™‚

      I haven’t read her other material to know all of her beliefs about submission, but in this post, she and I actually do agree, we just word things differently, I think. Please continue to prayerfully evaluate anything anyone says against Scripture for yourself! Do what you beleive God is calling you to do. The key is that we are sensitive to His Spirit. πŸ™‚

      1. Tiffany,

        Two places that have the best explanations of headship/biblical submission in my view are:

        Spiritual Authority
        The Danvers Statement

        Also, additional resources:

        search David Platt’s site http://www.radical.net for biblical manhood and womanhood, or for marriage, or for submission, or headship. Also search John Piper’s site http://www.desiringgod.org for the same words. And I love Wayne Grudem’s and John Piper’s approach, as well in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood chapter 1.

        1. Thank you again so much April. πŸ˜ƒ I have been reading your suggestions as well as googling some other articles. I’d say John Piper was the most quoted in many things I’ve read. No matter how much I read I just can’t get past the feelings of inferiority and even some anger with submission. I feel like if I go there I won’t be myself. I’ll ve some kind of fake version who is submissive on the surface but not in my heart. And really if my heart isn’t in it then it will show.

          I know I’m in sin with this issue. I know you and many of the other ladies speak of such joy and peace you have once you got this right in your marriage and walk with God. I just have a hard time really believing that I will experience the same. I have so much I need to work on about myself it’s overwhelming.

          1. Tiffany,

            I don’t want you to be fake. This is a very involved journey that involves ripping out everything we used to think and believe, almost, and replacing it all. It is PAINFUL! And intense!

            I want to help you hash through your anger and feelings of inferiority if you are interested. I don’t want to force things on you – this is going to have to be your decision. πŸ™‚

            But, one picture that helps me is couples ice skating – the figure skating kind like in the Olympics. Here is a video in case you haven’t ever really watched this before… https://youtu.be/7jE3njdpBEg

            What makes God’s design for marriage beautiful is the same thing that makes couples figure skating beautiful:

            – There is unity but the man and woman do not have the same roles. They have very different roles, but each one is honored and exalted by his/her own role. Together, they create much more beauty than they ever could alone or if they were both doing the same thing.
            – The woman submits herself to the man’s caring, thoughtful leadership. He leads the way and she trust him to twirl her in the air.
            – The woman is the one who gets the most glory, everyone’s eyes are on her. She is not demeaned, she is cherished and treasured.
            – If they try to reverse the roles and the woman do the man’s role, what might happen? Would they win any medals?
            – Both the man and woman submit first to their coach (like we are to submit first to God). They trust their coach and listen to him/her. When they do what the coach says and they follow the design for the man to take the man’s role and the woman to take the woman’s role and they do well, there is harmony, beauty, romance, and glory for the coach, the man, the woman, and the country.
            – Is the woman inferior because she doesn’t lift the man and because she has a different role? Not at all! She is the star!

            I didn’t know I would have joy and peace when I submitted to Christ. I was terrified at first. And I sure didn’t know I would have joy and peace when I honored and submitted to Greg. I didn’t think he could lead me at first. But he is doing an amazing job now! I wish you could experience a few hours in my soul so that you could feel what God’s presence, and His Spirit feels like -the peace that passes all understanding, the joy that is beyond description… that is part of knowing Christ deeply. He is the only place where those things are found because He IS Love, Joy, and Peace. πŸ™‚

            Remember, I am not talking about being passive and doing nothing and letting him run everything with no input from you. That is being a doormat, and it is a sinful distortion of God’s design.

            The amazing thing is, as you immerse yourself in doing things God’s way and in seeking Him and trusting Him – you do give up yourself. You give up your sinful self that destroys your marriage. But then you gain this new self in Christ that pours life, healing, and godly power to do good and to bless. It is awesome! I used to spend hours trying to make Greg do what I wanted and he just shut down more and more. I was afraid, lonely, upset, and bitter. Now, I simply say what I would like, usually just once, with a genuine smile and a friendly tone of voice that is sincere (although it did take time to retrain myself and to practice some of these things) – and Greg is willing to do almost anything for me. It is so much easier for both of us. We both feel valued, fulfilled, loved, honored, and cherished. Greg feels like his perspective matters and he has worth now. Sadly, he felt he had no voice for many years in our marriage, and I had no idea.

            Keep digesting. Keep digging. Keep talking with me. We can take this slowly. You need to address these concerns. I’m really proud of you for doing that. I want any woman who attempts to go on this journey to understand what she is doing and not to misunderstand in destructive ways.

            I felt exactly like that in December of 2008. I was completely overwhelmed by all that needed to change in my life. It was baby steps. Kind of like eating an elephant. It takes a REALLY long time!!!!!

            Much love to you!

          2. Tiffany,

            Have we talked about that a woman’s respect and willingness to cooperate with her man’s taking the lead is necessary for romance?

            Have we talked about that when a woman takes over and has control, there can’t be romance?

            It’s a very interesting topic! If you are interested, of course. πŸ™‚

          3. I have seen articles on your website about romance. That’s not my primary concern at all. I gave up on that a long time ago. We don’t get each other gifts. I have thought that a card was the least he could do for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, my birthday and our anniversary. But after reading some of your articles about expectations I don’t even care if he gets me a card anymore. If his heart isn’t in it then I don’t want it. If there is anything else you’d like to recommend to me in this area please do.

          4. Hi Tiffany,

            I hope it’s okay for me to say something here – your description of your thoughts about submission are very similar to the way mine were, so I can appreciate where you’re coming from. I remember scoffing at the idea that my husband would EVER “rule over me” or control me in any way! I didn’t like the idea of being what I thought of as a second class citizen in my marriage.

            I had a post recently here on April’s blog where I shared how that worked out for me. My husband felt so emasculated and discouraged, he completely gave up. We both made many mistakes, eventually leading to divorce. We were actually remarried 2 days ago (praise God) but only after a long, painful journey in which I learned the importance of submission – not in the horrifying way I always thought it would be, but in the way God intended.

            Here is an example of a situation where my husband’s leadership works when we disagree. Our living room furniture is in awful condition, so we decided to shop for new furniture last month. We have VERY different taste so I was dreading the idea of ending up with couches I don’t even like! We sat down and planned out a budget for new furniture, and my husband asked me what color I wanted. I told him I thought gray would look best with the existing walls and decorations, and he actually agreed with me on that part. However, when we went shopping the first day, he was drawn toward couches that didn’t match my taste at all. I asked what he thought about taking some photos that day, then going home and looking over them before we made any decisions, and he agreed. (In the past, I would have demanded this instead of asking him. It makes a big difference to him that I ask respectfully, and generally he goes along with my suggestions when I do this.)

            That night we looked through the photos both of us had taken with our phones. I told him I didn’t like the overstuffed/oversized look of most of the furniture he picked. I didn’t yell or attack him; I just let him know that the style wasn’t what I had in mind. I asked him what features he liked most about those particular couches, and he actually didn’t care at all that they were the overstuffed kind – he was more worried about the fabric (we have pets) and how easy it would be to clean! Once I realized where his mind was, we got online and found some options that had (1) the gray color, (2) the same type of fabric, and (3) a more streamlined look.

            He was still worried that the couches I liked would be uncomfortable, so we went back to the store the next week to sit on them and try them out. We were able to find a set of couches that met both our requirements, and even though he made the final choice, he was very concerned about making sure I was happy as well.

            That’s a small thing, but in the past it would have been a huge fight. I would have insisted we get the furniture I wanted without even understanding (or caring) why he was picking something else. I would have refused to even hear his opinion… I might have even insulted him by saying something like “Furniture is something the woman picks out, not the man.” None of these things would have made him feel respected and it would have driven a larger wedge between us as neither would have felt heard.

            Instead, as he has become secure that I trust him to make the best decisions for our family, he seeks my input MORE than he ever did before. He wants me to be happy and is careful to make wise choices. Not because I’ll make life awful for him if he doesn’t, but because we’ll get along so much better if he does. Before I submitted to him as the leader of our family, I would have never known he was trying to make my life easier by selecting a fabric that was easy to clean – I would have yelled and screamed to get my way and he never would have mentioned WHY he wanted the couches I didn’t like.

            Submitting was so foreign to me at first. I had no idea how to be happy in a situation where I thought I would never get to voice my opinions or make decisions. But the only thing that really changed is “how” I share what I think and how my husband reacts to it. He thinks of things that never even cross my mind and I learn so much from him now that I allow him the space to share without feeling like I’ll dismiss or attack him. It’s a difficult mindset shift but I have received nothing but blessings since I allowed myself to trust God’s plan for our marriage. Sorry for the novel but I hope maybe an example is helpful to you!

  18. That’s a loaded question. With God as I said before I am scared of what will come my way if I surrender my whole self to Him. I know that sounds ridiculous because He’s God. I feel I will have test after test to see if I truly mean what I say I mean.

    With my husband it would be very difficult to live (not in a suicidal way just generally) knowing he has the final say in everything. Even after me giving my opinion. I just don’t see how anyone can say I won’t feel less than. I will have no final say. Even if I know with all of my heart it’s a wrong decision.

    If I turn over all of this I won’t be me. And I really don’t know a lot about who I am anyway. But no one has ever loved me for me. At least I can have some sort of love for myself. I don’t know how people can say God loves unconditionally when He constantly wants us to change.

    1. Tiffany,

      It is scary to trust God at first, when we don’t know His character very well and we aren’t filled to overflowing with His Spirit and we have never experienced His love, grace, peace, and joy in meaningful ways. That is how I felt, at least.

      We do have tests when we decide to trust God. That is true. But the tests help us to grow in our faith and to become more like Christ.

      We think sometimes that we can avoid suffering if we don’t trust God and if we trust ourselves instead. Of course, we have no power to prevent suffering. We are not sovereign. When we trust ourselves, we trust an illusion – and, ultimately, we are trusting Satan. That one really shocked me. But those are the choices. I can trust God and die to my sinful self and let Him transform me to be more like Him – which is Life and Peace and blessing. Or I can trust self (and Satan). Satan’s plans are to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in my life and to keep me from the good God who loves me so much He came to earth and died for me so that I could be with Him.

      If you turn over all of this, you will lose your sinful self, yes. And you will gain your new self in Christ!

      God does love us conditionally. He loves us the same whether we accept His love or reject Him. But if we do receive Him, He transforms us to make us more like Himself, to purify us from sin, and to make us more and more holy. The only changing He wants for us is growth that is good and healthy. But He loves us even if we reject Him and even if we never change. We are the ones who benefit the most from allowing Him to change us.

      Do you have children, Tiffany? If so, what ages, please?

      The key is going to be to properly understand who God is and to get rid of the lies and warped thinking you may have about Him first. Because once you realize who He really is and how trustworthy, loving, holy, good, perfect, and incapable of evil He is, and you realize your other choice is to trust your own impotent self/Satan – the choice becomes a lot easier. And when you know who God is and how sovereign, powerful, just, and loving He is, you can entrusted your life to His hands completely, and you will only want His will because you will know His will is the best, even if it is painful at times. It will result in the best for you and glory for Him. And when you are in that place, you can trust Him to work through your husband to lead you. So that you realize it is not your husband who has the final say – it is God who has the final say. If you know who God is, that is a blessing, a source of peace, and joy.

      But if you don’t know God very well, these things sound very scary. I had to decide, will I trust God, or myself? Are my feelings the source of absolute truth and do I have power and sovereignty over my life or is God’s Word the source of absolute truth and does God have sovereignty? If He is who He claims to be, why would I trust myself? If He is who He says He is and His promises are true, do I trust Him even if I must go through my deepest fears?

      I had to realize – I don’t have control over much. I cannot protect or save my life or other people. Trust in self is actually very foolish. But it took wrestling and researching and reading the Bible and asking Him to help me understand who He is more clearly and who I am and to help me see my choices clearly.

      I have NEVER regretted my decision to fully trust Christ. Even if it costs me everything, I can’t regret it. Jesus is the greatest treasure. Nothing else comes anywhere close.

      That is the treasure I pray you will find, too. I’m here to talk any time. I am praying for you. Take your time. Think through things. Ask whatever you need to ask. Read the book of John if you get a chance. Ask God to speak to you.

      Much love!

      Much love to you!

    2. You will be more *you* than you ever have been, when you give yourself fully to God and allow Him control of your life. I know it doesn’t seem like that, but it’s true.

      I don’t know if I would look like it as God wanting you to change. The fact is the old you is gone if you have truly put your trust only and totally in Christ for your salvation. If that is true, then your sinful self (your flesh) has been crucified, dead and buried and you have been raised to new life in Christ. What God asks of us, then, is to live from the truth of this reality (Christ in Tiffany, with the personality, gifts, talents, etc. that He has given you). Until you begin to believe what He has said about you (you are loved completely and totally and are safe in and with Him, you are righteous in Christ, you are secure in Christ, etc., etc.) you will not have joy and peace because there is no joy and peace apart from Christ. You have to embrace all that Christ is in and for you for you to experience the freedom that Christ has already purchased for you.

      I promise you, there is nothing to fear with this beautiful God who loves you. Yes, you will experience trials and yes, there will be suffering. He does not lie to us about that (isn’t that great? You can totally trust Him because He doesn’t sugar-coat things!). But, the reality is we are going to face lots of trials in this life – either way. Not putting yourself in God’s hands doesn’t remove you from the trials and sufferings of this life. It just removes you from the blessing of resting in His love and sovereignty…and unfortunately, it sets us up for even further suffering because we determine to do it our way and hold on to control – and have to experience the painful consequences of our own way of doing things. God is too good and loves you too much to let you stay there. Oh, and let me just bluntly call it like it is….Satan is flat-out lying to you. Sometimes, it helps just to bring that out right into the light. He is trying to convince you that if you trust God totally, then God will require and demand of you more than you can give, or that God will test you with untold horrors. (I understand because I have bought into the same lies at times….and still hear the whispers of them at times).

      Take it from me, Tiffany…. If you are truly one of His (and I believe you are), He absolutely will bring you to a place of surrender. If I were you, I’d just trust that simple fact right now. Don’t try to force it, don’t feel condemned for not being able to “be where you should be” right now. Just simply tell him, “Lord, I want this in my life but I cannot do it. I can’t even surrender to You totally. But You have promised You will complete the good work You began in me and I trust You for that.”

      And guess what? With a prayer like that, you have surrendered. Surrender is just handing it over to God….He will do the rest. All He asks is that you are willing.

      And sometimes, I have to pray prayers like “God, I am willing to be made willing.” That’s all I have to offer Him and it’s enough. He delights in our admitting that what we have to offer in and of ourselves is inadequate. He is the Source of it all.

      I’m excited for you because He’s already begun the work!!!

      Praying for you today, Tiffany. I understand where you’re at. So many of us have been there and yes, it feels crazy scary. But, God has you. Just relax and rest in Him. He is so good. Believe it.

      Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

      1. Jennifer,

        Thank you so much for this! πŸ™‚ I’m so grateful that God is able to heal and transform our thinking, our hearts, our minds, and our souls. We all need Him so desperately! I totally agree that “I have been more me” since yielding to God. I am more and more the woman I want to be. I am more and more my true, most authentic self in the best way. God’s ways are good. His ways are wise.

        Satan wants to trap us and destroy us with His lies. I pray we will reject His lies and embrace God’s truth! There is no better place to be!

      2. I think that part of what makes it so hard to trust God as we begin this journey is just our total lack of experience with Him, at first. We can’t imagine what life looks like if we are abiding in Him. We picture going through all of these hard things in our own strength. That is truly terrifying. We don’t know how He will be with us and fill us. We don’t know that He will change situations and hearts. We don’t realize the miracles we have missed by not trusting Him. We think we are safer trusting ourselves, but we don’t realize that to trust self is ultimate folly. Trusting self is actually trusting the enemy and rejecting God. We don’t know what it is like to walk by faith yet, so we imagine laying down all that we are and then living as we always have. That would be awful!
        Thankfully, as we do learn to trust God, we learn how wonderful He is, and we begin to have some experience trusting Him, our faith grows. It becomes easier to trust Him as we know more and more of who He is and how He will keep His promises and be with us. We learn by experience that He is with us and we begin to anticipate all that He will do even when things seem to go “wrong.” We know that He has treasures for us in the dark days of trial. We know that is the time we will grow the most spiritually as we seek Him wholeheartedly. When we have His Spirit and His truth, we realize there is no where else in the universe we want to be than as close to Him as possible. β€œThe things of this world grow strangely dim” and all that matters more and more is Jesus.

        1. Yes and amen to all of this! The more we see God’s faithfulness in our lives every step of the way, it gets easier and easier to trust Him even when things look really, really bad at times.

          What’s really strange is when you start in some sense to welcome (or at least not fight against them so much!) the trials because it is in those times that the love and embrace of the Father are so tangible….it truly is the treasures in the darkness that you speak of along with the deeper knowledge of Christ that you come out with on the other side. It’s not that we ask for trials so we can go through that, but we have the promise that when the trials come (and they will!) we can go through them having full confidence that nothing will separate us from the love of God and that God really is doing something good here.

          “All that matters more and more is Jesus” . Amen.

          For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. Romans 11:36

          That’s my favorite verse. When anything starts to shake me, this verse settles me again. It reminds me over and over that He is in control and that everything…..everything… is under His control. And, I am a child infinitely loved by this God who has everything under control. It’s a very safe place to be.

          1. Jennifer,

            YES!!!!! It is an exciting adventure- we never know what God might do and what He has in store. But we know it will be good. Thank you for this!

      3. Thank you Jennifer for caring and all you said!! I don’t have much time today to digest it all but will look back over this sometime during the weekend.

  19. Thank you April and restored wife.

    April my boys are 11 and 8. They will have birthdays this summer.

    Restored wife I appreciate the story. πŸ˜ƒ I wouldn’t have handled the couch situation in the way you would have before your change to submission. I am respectful in many ways to my husband. Just not completely in everything. There are a few things that I just continue to have to fight for my way. One of which is family. He would not be fair at all about seeing my family if I didn’t fight for it. His family is everything to him. Luckily we don’t live in the same town as them or I’m not sure we would’ve stayed married.

    1. Thanks for sharing – knowing more about your situation is very helpful. Do you think he dislikes your family? Or is it more that he prioritizes time with his own family over time with yours? How does he react when you want to spend time with your side of the family? I’ve added you to my prayer list and would like to know more (if you’re comfortable sharing) so I’ll know how and what to pray.

      1. Thanks for the prayers. πŸ˜ƒ

        He just prefers time with his family. He doesn’t dislike my family. Although things have changed dramatically since my mom died this past September. I think in some ways he realizes that life is short and that my family does deserve preference sometimes. There’s just almost 19 years of marriage and almost 3 years of dating where this argument has taken place of our time revolving around his family. It will take some time for me to heal and really see that he’s trying.

        We have a unique situation where ALL of both sides of our family live in the same small town 2 hours away from us. So when we are there it’s a lot of back and forth. Sometimes I think it would be easier if our families lived in different towns where it may have been more even with splitting of holidays each year. But that will never be. I will be with his family when I have to. But my dad, brother, sister-in-law and nephew are all I have left. I’m spending as much time as I can with them when we visit.

        1. Tiffany,

          I’m glad that things have changed for the better, but I am so very sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. πŸ™

          It is difficult to divide time between both sides of extended families. That often brings a lot of tension and disagreement. Both families want to see you as much as possible. You want to be fair and see both sides as much as possible – but there is only so much time.

          I pray for healing for you about this issue, my dear sister. I pray that God might empower you to heal from any bitterness or resentment. I have some posts about those things if you are interested. I pray for a spirit of unity, love, mutual honor and respect in your marriage. I pray for you to be able to do the wrestling you need to with God.

          You have love and support here. We are all on this same journey, too. I’m happy to talk with you about anything. I’m always glad to pray with you. I desire nothing but God’s best for your life and for your family for His glory.

          Much love! πŸ™‚

    2. Tiffany,

      Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

      Such precious ages your boys are at.

      I had so many fears about what Greg would decide if I tried to follow or trust him. I believed he couldn’t hear God at the time I started (and he agrees). I believed he didn’t care about my feelings or happiness or wellbeing. I was actually wrong about that. It shocked me as God changed me how Greg began to soften to me and plug back in and how my feelings became so much more important to him. He came close to me again because he felt safe with me again. Now, it is super easy to just share what I want and what I would like – he bends over backwards to try to bless me now. We both feel heard, safe, valued, cherished, trusted, honored, and respected. That is the kind of dynamic I long for everyone to experience.

      I know the family dynamics can be tough. What I can tell you is, God can change your husband’s heart. God can intervene to cause situations to change. He is a sovereign God. He answers prayers of those who are obedient and faithful who are fully yielded to Him. It isn’t always in the way we would like. But there are miracles I missed out on for so many years in my marriage because I didn’t trust God, I trusted myself. I could be interesting to see what miracles God may have for you.

      Much love!

  20. I think that part of what makes it so hard to trust God is just our total lack of experience with Him at first. We can’t imagine life with Him. We picture going through all of these hard things in our own strength. That is truly terrifying. We don’t know how He will be with us and fill us. We don’t know that He will change situations and hearts. We don’t know what it is like to walk by faith yet, so we imagine laying down all that we are and then living as we always have. That would truly be awful!

    Thankfully, as we do learn to trust God, we learn how wonderful He is, and we begin to have some experience trusting Him, our faith grows. It becomes easier to trust Him as we know more and more of who He is and how He will keep His promises and be with us. And when we have His Spirit, we realize there is no where else in the universe we want to be than as close to Him as possible. “The things of this world grow strangely dim” and all that matters more and more is Jesus.

  21. I am just wondering no matter how different we are as people, we differ culturally and we differ in many ways, but biblical principles for marriage are the best to hold for a happy marriage.

    My husband is just the opposite of Greg, and yet he has the same needs of being respected and when I was disrespectful he went faar away from me and as God kept changing my heart attitude, I can see him change my husband too beautifully…

    It amazes me to see ashes turn to beauty when God is in control and when we make a conscious choice to obey him according to his word…

    1. Vinodhini,

      It is so great to hear from you! πŸ™‚ How I praise God for what He is doing in your life and your husband’s life! I know it has been a very rough couple of years. But I rejoice with you over the healing that is taking place! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!

  22. You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
    I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
    in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
    2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
    3 Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
    4 I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
    5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
    6 On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
    7 Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
    8 I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me. – Psalm 63

    LOVE THIS! Had to share!

  23. My marriage is very similar to yours. My husband is laid back (but can get stressed when feeling pressured), loves the Lord, and really desires to be a Godly husband and father. I am a little more type-A and love to-do lists. Just the thought of checking something off a list makes me giddy, haha! We have pretty traditional roles: He works full time and is the handy man around the house. I’m a stay-at-home mom who takes care of our daughter and the home (however, he’s always happy to help with anything I need and is so great with our daughter).
    Early in our marriage there was some tension between our personalities, because I would frequently nag him to get things done around the house and he would interpret that as me thinking he was lazy. I was so disrespectful to him, and it really stressed him out. I began reading your blog and the Lord did a huge work on my heart. He gave me a desire to serve and love my husband despite circumstances, because that’s how He loves us. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I have seen an incredible change. Now, I’m happy to say that our house is mostly peaceful and full of joy and laughter.
    (And your welcome to use my testimony any way you would like) πŸ™‚

  24. I am so blessed to have found your blog.
    I am just in the beginning of this journey, so a a lot of things i don/t quiet understand yet.
    I think i am pretty controlling about things that i feel like my husband should be doing. And now i am worried to tell him to do anything because i feel like it is my controlling issues coming through.
    one big issue right now is that his current job is not the best in terms if how much time it take away from family and other issues. so we agreed that he wants to find a new work but because he is still working he doesn’t have much time to do the job search, and we are in a tough money situation as well. so i am very worried about the fact that the job search is not moving anywhere, and i bring it up and he says dont worry. and after me bringing it up couple times in about 2 day period, kind of emphasising that this kind of thing needs to be put time into and reminding him that we don’t have money, he said he wants my help with job search, that i would send him links and he looks them over and lets me know where to apply. i did that and he hasnt responded. so i am very anxious about this whole thing and fee like i am being responsible and he is not. and when i mention it to him i fee like i am trying to take control. and its similar with other things. i fee like i am thinking about things and worry about problems and he isn’t . but also i am a stay home wife with no kids, and he is working a lot. please let me know your thoughts about my situation. i am not sure where the like between controlling and helping lays.

    1. Sofia,

      It is great to meet you, my sister! πŸ™‚

      I am glad you both agree that you would like him to be home more. That would be wonderful.

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      What are your biggest fears?

      What do you want in your relationship with God and in your marriage?

      What do you believe you need in life to be content?

      What is your general personality and your husband’s general personality?

      I would love for you to search my home page for a few things:

      – control husband’s job
      – control
      – disrespect
      – respect
      – fear
      – closeness in marriage
      – oneness in marriage
      – space

      If you ask a man who is working very long hours to look for another job, I think it would be wise to give him weeks or months to do that. Two days is probably too short of a time frame for him to suddenly have interviews set up.

      What are you doing with your time at home?

      What do you believe God’s will is for your time?

      Much love to you and a huge hug!

  25. Some additional resources for wives whose husbands are sinning against them – you may search my home page for:

    – Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin
    – 25 Ways to Respect Myself
    – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
    – Do I Condone Abuse?
    – Rage, Hatred, and Violence

    If you are experiencing emotional abuse, http://www.leslievernick.com may be a helpful site.

    If you are experiencing physical abuse – please check out http://www.thehotline.org

    If you feel that you can’t or shouldn’t confront your husband about sin, or that you just have to take abuse, please check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. http://ninaroesner.com/strength-dignity-ecourse/

    I don’t want anyone to be mistreated or abused in any way. I don’t want women to stay where they are not safe. Of course, all sin against others is abusive. I know we will all have to extend grace at times and that there is healing in forgiveness. But forgiveness and trust are not the same thing. If there is major unrepentant sin against you going on in your marriage, please seek godly, wise, experienced counsel. Praying for God’s healing and wisdom for each of you!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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