A guest post:
This is my first time posting but I have followed your blog and been on the respectful wife journey now for about 3 years of my almost 7 year marriage. My husband is a “command man” and has quite a dominant personality he is always “right” and has little tolerance for people doing things that don’t make sense or are wrong to him.
I have struggled a lot to not shut down and become a doormat to avoid conflict and protect myself.
Over the years I have learned to “read” him a bit better.
- I try to hear his underlying problem rather than just get defensive at the way he talks to me when he has an issue.
- I try and apologise quickly for my fault and then drop the matter.
- This (past) time I didn’t take his attack personally, I kept calm and said my piece quietly but stood my ground.
Anyway, fast forward a couple of months and I was feeling like I had learned and changed so much that I was nearly at the end of needing to read this blog and working on our marriage as I thought I was turning into a pretty agreeable wife (not saying that things were perfect or that I didn’t still struggle with sin still, but I had put in so much work into being respectful). We were having a conversation and I said something about how I had changed in our marriage, he knew I read your blog but we never really had conversations about what I was learning.
He said to me, “What do you mean changed?”
It came out that he hadn’t even noticed how hard I had tried over the last couple of years, he had seen no change in me from when we were first married.
I must admit I was gobsmacked and it was totally disheartening.
Up until a week ago I was just numb and devastated about our marriage, and wanted to give up and just shut him out. During this time I have refined my motives, I am now doing this out of obedience to God, my relationship with Him has grown so much since that moment. Without that time I would have continued in my own strength trying to make a good marriage.
God didn’t let me take any short cuts.
While I was being outwardly respectful to my husband in my mind I would be thinking, “You are so mean,” and call him names silently. There was so much hidden sin and filth in my heart that had to go. I have pretty much 0% chance of things improving for me. If he hasn’t noticed a change in me then I can’t hope that he will respond in turn. I am okay with that now, I can’t be responsible for his poor reactions to situations, I was enmeshed with him and overly sensitive to his moods. I have now accepted him for who he is.
However, now instead of just feeling sorry for myself and keeping my hurt hidden I have committed to respectfully saying, “That was hurtful,” and then moving on. I am excited about my new relationship with Christ and that is my primary focus now. Being a wife is only part of who I am and whilst I will continue on my journey it will be with a different heart. It’s not a successful marriage story, but praise God for he has been faithful to me.
This wife may feel that hers is not a “successful marriage story” – but it already is a “successful discipleship story!” That is the most important thing! She saw that her motives and attitudes were still not right and needed to be refined. God often uses our spouses (and others) to be the “sandpaper” that helps to refine us and smooth us to be more and more the women He calls us to be. She is open to allowing God to use these difficult times and trials to mold her more into the image of Christ and to refine and mature her faith.
If we have struggles and we have times of pain, but God uses it for our growth and His ultimate glory – and He uses it to draw us much closer to Himself, that is success in His sight!
My prayer is that we might each be able to see that anything that draws us closer to Him, refines, and purifies us IS something that is accomplishing God’s good purposes in us! Let’s also pray for each hurting person here… that God might heal each spouse individually and then bring healing to each marriage for His glory!
QUOTE FROM ANDREW MURRAY’S BOOK, HUMILITY (chapter 11):
Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility. In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learnt to seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. He prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God, and the joy of heaven, that he would sell all to procure it. In his pursuit of it, and his prayer for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage; to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become his joy and only pleasure. He cannot yet say, “Most gladly do I glory in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.”
But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case? Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? That which brought Paul there – a new revelation of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the presence of God can reveal and expel self. A clearer insight was to be given to Paul into the deep truth that the presence of Jesus will banish every desire to seek anything in ourselves, and will make us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller manifestation. Our humiliations lead us, in the experience of the presence and power of Jesus, to choose humility as our highest blessing.
Why Do I Want to Change? – Peaceful Wife VIDEO (Youtube channel, April Cassidy)
Link to free download of Andrew Murray’s book Humility
Resource for emotionally abusive relationships www.leslievernick.com
Passive Aggressive Husband? – by Nina Roesner (author of The Respect Dare)