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When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

 

This is such a serious issue. How I pray that God’s Spirit will be very much involved to help me write and to help each of us understand things clearly. I have had many women read a bit about biblical submission and conclude that submitting to our husbands means things like:

  • My husband is my absolute authority not a God.
  • I have to do whatever he says no matter what.
  • I can’t voice any disagreement with my husband, that’s disrespectful.
  • I have to follow him into sin.
  • I have to treat his words as if they are always the very words of God even if he goes against the Bible.

I don’t believe this is what Scripture teaches at all.

With almost every biblical principle, there is balance. If we veer to the right or the left of what the Bible teaches, we will end up with a destructive false teaching. So let’s always “test the spirits” as Scripture says. Let’s not just believe anything that any human teaches. Let’s compare everything to the Bible and pray for God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom and discernment that we might handle His Word rightly. It is impossible to delve into all that marriage means in one post – so please take lots of time to study this issue and to seek God’s truth wholeheartedly.

Note – There is a danger with a post like this that a wife who is not abiding in Christ and not seeing clearly spiritually may try to use this list to justify her own sin or selfishness. Let’s keep in mind that ultimately our submission is to Christ as Lord – as men and women. And let’s be sure we are hearing God’s voice clearly, not listening to the enemy’s lies or walking in the power of the flesh so that we can clearly discern God’s voice. Let’s ask God to purify our hearts and motives and to expose any sin or wrong thinking we may have. The goal is that God might say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant,” to each of us. Let’s desire obedience to Him above all else. 🙂

TIMES THAT I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT SUBMIT TO MY HUSBAND

I am posting this with my husband’s full support and knowledge. Greg wants me to be sure to emphasize, “A wife will need godly discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit in some of these situations. Sometimes things are gray, not clearly black or white.” We all need God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom as we seek first of all to submit to Christ as Lord. Ultimately, we will each answer to Him. I want us to handle His Word and our decisions rightly in His eyes. We need to be abiding in Him and we need to know His Word well and be seeking Christ far above all else so that we can hear His voice clearly.

I Would Not Voluntarily Yield to My Husband’s Leadership If:

  • He was very mentally ill and not in his right mind (psychotic, manic, extremely depressed, suicidal, schizophrenic, hallucinating, etc…)
  • He was on medication that was causing him not to be able to think properly (like he was not in touch with reality after anesthesia) or he was high or drunk.
  • He had an illness like dementia that caused him not to be in touch with reality.
  • He was truly endangering himself, me, or others. (He was doing something very foolish or reckless like asking me to get on the roof when I was 9 months pregnant or saying we shouldn’t put the babies in carseats.)
  • He was asking me to condone clear sin according to God’s Word – not about my personal convictions, but clear sin.
  • He demanded that he had absolute authority over me and was to be my primary “lord.”
  • He was threatening harm to me or my children, brandishing weapons,  or he had rage so out of control that I felt that I or our children might be seriously in danger.
  • He was asking me to do something I literally could not do. (i.e.: drive a stick-shift that I have never learned how to drive, pick up a 300 lb couch, speak German fluently when I haven’t learned German, etc…)
  • He was asking me to jeopardize his health and safety. (i.e.: he obviously was extremely sick or injured and needed to go to the ER but insisted that he didn’t want to go.)
  • He was asking me to commit clear sin according to God’s Word – (idolatry, immorality, stealing, lying, hatred, greed, criminal activity, lust, unforgiveness, gossip, slander, drunkenness, using illegal drugs, having an abortion, participating in pornography, etc…)
  • He was obviously demon possessed.
  • He was involved in a major drug/alcohol/gambling/sex addiction and the addiction was in control of his life.
  • He was abusing me or our children. (see note on bottom of post about abuse)
  • He was leading me into a false teaching or a cult.
  • He wanted me to do or condone something illegal (unless it was to smuggle Bibles into a restricted country or something similar where the law was against sharing Christ).
  • He was involved in unrepentant adultery or other major unrepentant sin.

Note – I haven’t been in such a situation with Greg so far, but if I did face something like this, I would not be able to just blindly follow him. God requires intelligent submission of wives – or we will face consequences like Sapphira did when she followed her husband into lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5. Abigail is a great example of a wife who honored God and who did not follow her husband’s disrespect toward David in order to keep the males of their household from being killed in 1 Samuel 25.

There are some situations where a wife may be able to stay in the home and honor his leadership concerning non-sinful things. There may be other situations where things are so toxic that she prayerfully decides to seek a separation in hopes that her husband will repent and find the help he needs and that they can rebuild a stronger, more godly marriage in the future. Separation is not ideal, but it is permitted in 1 Corinthians 7 and sometimes it is very necessary.

I could still have a desire to be able to honor my husband’s leadership and a heart that anticipates being able to honor him again. But before I could honor my husband’s leadership in cases like the ones above on my list, I would need to see that he was back in his right mind. I would need to see clear repentance and fruit of repentance if he had been involved in major sin. If wives are dealing with issues like this, I believe they may need godly, appropriate outside help to help them navigate these kinds of issues and find the help for their husbands that they need spiritually and medically – depending on the situation.

To me, this would be similar to a situation where my husband is driving the car. I don’t grab the wheel from him because I would wreck the car if he is driving even though I am a very responsible driver, myself. I can’t drive well from the passenger’s seat. However, if my husband were to pass out or become incapacitated, I would certainly try to grab the wheel then and bring the car safely to a stop, if at all possible.

We also need to be sure that we are not endangering our men, abusing them, sinning against them, trying to lead them into sin, or continuing on in unrepentant sin ourselves, as well. And if we are involved in addictions or we need help spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, we need to be sure to reach out for the help we need. I don’t want to ever see anyone in danger from family members! Home should be the safest place on earth, brothers and sisters!

WE ANSWER TO CHRIST ABOVE ALL

Ultimately, we must each study to “show ourselves approved workmen” before God. We will answer to Him alone for all of our motives, thoughts, words, and actions. So will our husbands. I want us to obey His Word above all else.

There are some who teach that submission/authority in marriage is about a husband lording power over his wife. That is not how Jesus describes authority in His kingdom to His disciples in Matthew 20:25-28. There are some who teach that husbands have no authority or that husbands and wives have “equal authority” to lead. I also don’t see how that is biblical when we read passages that clearly teach that husbands do have authority in ways that wives do not (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:1-7). We do have equal value in Christ and yet we have different roles. But there is to be mutual unconditional love, and unconditional respect flowing both directions in marriage. We are to treat all others with honor, dignity, gentleness, 1 Corinthians 13 love, and respect if we love and know Christ.

Even though husbands have a God-given position of authority, it is not a position of absolute authority. God doesn’t ever give a human a position of absolute authority. All authorities on earth answer to Him and He has put all authority in heaven and on earth under Christ’s feet. Human authorities often answer to other earthly God-given authorities, as well. Husbands answer to the church, the government, and the police, for example. If there is abuse going on, these other authorities are there to help stop that. Any human authority must have limits. We know that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” for sinful humans. Thankfully, God’s Word has answers for us – I share some resources below that may help, as well.

I pray you will take the time to really study this issue and seek to understand God’s teaching rightly. Misunderstandings on this issue lead to great dysfunction and harm to husbands, wives, children, and the Body of Christ.

WE CAN BE GODLY WOMEN NO MATTER WHAT OUR HUSBANDS DO

If our husbands are involved in unrepentant sin or are not in their right minds, that does not mean we get to sin against them. It doesn’t mean we get to treat them with contempt or disrespect. But it does mean that we may have to spend much time wrestling in prayer to discern God’s wisdom and direction for us and how to best handle these very difficult situations. There is not always a one-size-fits-all formula for what a wife should do. If things are VERY bad, she may need to separate. Other times, it may be more of a gray area. She may need to lay down boundaries, “I want to honor your leadership, but X needs to be taken care of so that we can rebuild trust.” I would encourage women with extreme situations like this to seek one-on-one, experienced, godly counsel.

Much love!
April

For More Clarification on Spiritual Authority and Biblical Submission:

NOTE – please compare EVERYTHING any human author says to the Bible, my precious sisters!

Spiritual Authority – by Rev. Weaver from my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver from my church

What Does “Submit in Everything” Really Mean? The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission by Steven R. Tracy – Overall I agree very much with this paper, there is only one point towards the end that says if a wife ever disagrees with her husband on anything, the husband should always seek outside godly counsel before leading in that direction. I can think of some possible exceptions to that. If you want to talk about that, please let me know.

The Danvers Statement  – from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

My Husband Gets Upset If I Respectfully Disagree with Him

What Is Biblical Submission?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Do I Condone BDSM or CDD? – (The short answer is – no, those things are not what I am teaching at all.)

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always Right

What Biblical Submission and Headship Look Like at Our House

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

The Pendulum Effect – men and women must avoid being dominating and avoid being passive

Godly Leadership

Healthy Relationships

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Do I Condone Abuse?

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Secret Church – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – David Platt

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – April Cassidy  – There is a whole chapter on submission in marriage, after a whole chapter on submission to Christ as Lord.  I talk about what biblical submission is not, and what it is.

  • It is not an invitation to abuse.
  • It is not agreement.
  • It does not mean I can’t have my own opinion.
  • It is not mutual (in the way that many evangelical feminists describe it).
  • It is not absolute.
  • It is not related to value.
  • It demonstrates trust – in God but also in our husbands.
  • It allows God to work.
  • It promotes real romance.

 

DEFINING ABUSE:

I want to be clear about a definition of “abuse.” This term is so overused. Some women who truly have godly husbands claim their husbands are “abusive” because their husbands want them to check with them before the wives making purchases over $500 or because their husbands would like them not to show rated R movies to their young children. These kinds of things are not abuse! That is godly leadership. Other women don’t think they are being abused, but they really are and don’t recognize it. Other women truly are being abused, severely sinned against, and mistreated, but think they have to stay and take it. They think that is what “submission” means in Scripture and are told they are “bad wives” or “sinning against God” if they leave.

thelawdictionary.org’s definition of abuse – “Cruelty that causes harm to another.”

legaldictionary-thefreedictionary.com’s definition of domestic violence – “Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence.”

I would argue that all sin is abusive. All sin causes harm to those we sin against and to ourselves – as well as our relationship with God. But there is a continuum and  progression of sin where it becomes more and more toxic. There is a point at which it can be too poisonous for a spouse and/or children to stay with the abusive spouse. Sometimes both spouses are abusive.

What is the Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence – by www.gotquestions.org

www.leslievernick.com – for Christians in emotionally abusive situations

www.thehotline.org – a secular resource for those in physically or severely emotionally abusive situations

113 thoughts on “When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

  1. I would add, if he is unapologetically lying. If he cant be trusted, tells lies frequently, and you are unable to discern truth because of his lies, i would be very careful about submitting to him, until you have asked God for clear understanding of the truth. I didnt know my husband was lying, but my gut kept telling me he wasnt being completely honest. I begged God for truth, and things started to become clear. It was not good.

    1. Emily,

      That is a good point – I guess, to me, it would fit under the stuff about him being involved in major unrepentant sin. Yes, if a husband is a habitual and unrepentant liar – repentance would need to happen and trust would need to be rebuilt.

      Thank you for sharing. How this breaks my heart!

    2. When I used to be very disrespectful to my husband, I often “caught” him lying, usually about little stuff, but sometimes over bigger stuff like a really expensive purchase. I found out that when I started to respect him more, he stopped lying and hiding things from me, because he wasn’t afraid to tell me the truth. He lied, because he didn’t feel safe talking to me about things. I was more of his mother figure. I’m not saying it was okay for him to lie or that I agree with it, but I can understand why he did it now. We all have to answer for our own sin.

      1. LinseyAK,
        Thanks so much for sharing this experience! That is awesome that he felt so much safer and that now you can trust him so much more. Praising God with you! What a win/win!

      1. I had a gut geeling for a long time. I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. I begged God to show me the truth. And He did. And it was not at all what I was thinking. And eventually the truth came out about a lot of things. And my gut ended up being right. Trust your intuition. It may be telling you something is wrong, and you may not have any “proof” of what it could be, but trust that there us something. (One time i just had a “feeling” that i needed to look in an old cabinet in the basement. I didnt know why, or what i was looking for, and then i found 5 maxim magazines. I had no idea my husband was using pornography.) Ask God to reveal the truth. Pray for discernment. Pray for wisdom. Ask God to protect you emotionally and physicaly from whatever it is. (my husband was having affairs- and thank God I didnt end up with an STD or something!) God will not let you down. It may take time, and it may not happen they way you expect, but God will bring the truth to the light.

      2. Victoria,

        I know your comment was directed to Emily. But I would also strongly encourage you to do all you can to be strong in Christ and filled up with Him. Then you will have His wisdom and discernment to see clearly what is going on and to know how to respond.

        If you need any direction to find spiritual healing and rest for your soul in Christ, please let me know!

        Much love to you!

    3. I found some inappropriate pictures on my husbands phone. I approached him with it and He explained himself and doesn’t know why these keep popping up and has deleted over and over. He has confessed in the past already of these things and so I moved forward from it however his past seems to haunt our lives over and over In different ways. I am beginning to not believe him. We are both believers. I am confused how to deal with this matter since he’s told me he has no idea what happened. He can’t explain it himself. Appreciate some neutral biblical advise. Thanks

      1. Becca,

        Yuck. 🙁

        I will say, I accused Greg of something because a picture came once on one of our devices, and I eventually found out one of our children was reading an ebook and clicked on the dictionary and then on google and a very inappropriate picture came up. Took days to discover that is what happened.

        At this point, I don’t know if your husband is telling the truth or what happened. I am praying for a God’s wisdom and clarity for you, my precious sister.

        Ladies,
        Please join me in praying for Becca! If you would like to share a prayer, that would be great.

          1. Becca,

            Praying for you to have some time to really connect with God and to seek Him. Deal with anything in your heart. Then ask for His clarity so that you have His wisdom and Spirit to deal with and to see your husband’s situation correctly. Sending you the biggest hug!

          2. Hello april. Sorry I’m replying to a different comment. I didn’t see a reply button on your other comment 😊

            I am feeling a lot more at peace with the thought that this is out of my control so I gave it to the lord. I have to say it was really hard to pray and give my all in prayer because I was just numb and that’s why I just had to get some prayers from you women of faith to help me get through that short moment of shock. I can’t make my husband tell the truth nor can I accuse him of anything if he’s already told me this isn’t true.
            The Lord is teaching me something and I’ve got to continue to persevere, trusting the initial will for our marriage. Keeping my focus on what was set out for us. I thank you women for your prayers even if it’s for the peace in my mind so I can focus on the lord. The enemy could be telling lies and possibly just messing with us because of our past. Either way I’ll persevere and become stronger. I did not mean for this to be so long. Lol. Thanks again April. God bless. I pray everyone here will walk consistently and grow in knowledge with the lord.

          3. Becca,

            Wow. God is working so powerfully in your heart! You may write long comments, that is totally fine. I am praying for you today! Please let us know how you are doing.

          4. April
            Wow I didn’t think youd remember me. Lol. Thank you so much April. Yes I’ve come a long way with my faith and reading and desiring knowledge all the time! and My husband had come closer to the lord as well. We have such a long way to go like we all do however I finally see the Lord in our marriage. Now for these trials…… Til next time lol. Thank you! God bless!

      2. This is a red flag. The best thing to do is step back, detach emotionally from the issue, and watch for changes in behavior. Confront him on these things when they happen, but refrain from any accusations until you can calmly assess his actions. If he continues to give you access to his phone, computer, and emails, and he genuinely appears innocent, then he is probably telling you the truth. But keep your eyes open for any secrecy, accusations of invading his privacy, or changes in his emotional connection to you. As someone who has been through this myself, I cant stress enough to keep your emotions to yourself on these matters. If he is lying, your emotions will only make it harder to discern truth. Pray for wisdom, understanding, and discernment. God WILL give those to you when you ask.

        1. Thank you. I appreciate this. Feeling more peaceful compared to the other day and have given this to the lord. Not much I can do but do that. There’s so much we can praise the Lord for in our marriage So i need to focus on that since I’m still persevering to whatever the Lord is teaching me right now. Very thankful.

      3. Becca, when you say he confessed in the past, did he confess on his own or after you found something similar?

        I’m praying for you.

  2. I’ve been following this blog for a long time, and I have definitely found myself in a position outside of the Biblical submission category. Last night my husband verbally abused me and started to throw something at me, but stopped himself, all because I didn’t seek him out to see if he needed help moving some boxes and furniture. He said terrible things to me, which I won’t repeat here. There’s no way that I can begin to submit to him Biblically, as he did these things both to me and in front of our children. All day today he hasn’t spoken to me and acts as though nothing happened. He has yet to offer an apology.

    My wish for all of you, my sisters, is that you may continue strong, step by step, in your journal for submission. I must leave this journey now, but I do have a clear understanding of what it is supposed to look like. Please pray for me that one day I will be able to resume, walking side by side with the man who is supposed to lead us prayerfully and reverently.

    1. Gamama,

      This makes me so sad. 🙁 Praying for God’s wisdom for you and for God’s healing for you both, my precious sister. I can understand if a wife may feel that she needs to separate in such a situation – until there is clear repentance and fruit of repentance, certainly. I pray that God might bring about healing in His timing so that you can live together again but next time in a healthy way in harmony and peace.

      1. I added something to my list – if my husband was threatening to harm me or our children or his rage was so out of control that I was afraid for our safety, that could be a reason I would consider separating until my husband was able to have more self-control and was getting the help he needed.

        Separation is not ideal, but it is permitted in 1 Corinthians 7. There are some cases where it can be necessary. I pray for God’s wisdom for each wife about what steps to take in such difficult situations.

  3. I pray tou find strength in Christ, no matter what the future holds for your husband. We are not responsible for our husbands choices. No matter how “good” or “bad” of a wife we may be, our husbands are still going to held accountable for their own choices. They are supposed to lead, and we are supposed to follow. When that gets distorted with sin, all we can do is trust that God knows what it is going to take for our loved ones to seek truth and repentance. I have been divorced since May. I am not responsible for the choices he made that led us to this situation. I prayed and prayed for my marriage to be saved. I tried to be “more respectful” and “more submissive”, but that doesnt work in abusive relationships. All we can do is ask God to remove us from the destructive situation and help us do what is right in His eyes. Incant lead my husband to Christ, but i can influence him. He has hurt me to the core, but i am still gracious to him, i speak kindly to him, and i love him enough to pray for him. I give him respect as the father of my children. And i approach him withbself reapect and assertiveness when he does or says things that neednto be confronted (regarding my kids). Its all i can do. The rest is all in Gods hands.

  4. This was a post on facebook- “visionary womanhood”. If younare in, or have gotten out of, an abusive relatiinshio, you may relate to a lot of her posts.

    “One of the Bible passages that I was hit upside the head with again and again over the years was 1 Peter 3:1 “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives…”

    The message communicated to me was this: “If your husband is doing something that *bugs* you (yes – this is how they defined his behavior), you must win over his heart without saying anything. No need to give him feedback. That just turns him off and makes him want to keep *bugging* you. Instead, do whatever he wants, and if he doesn’t tell you, do you best at guessing what it is he wants, and try to do that.” In other words, shut up. Because when you don’t, you are asking to be *bugged.* It’s your fault. If you were a rock star wife, you wouldn’t be having all these problems. Or if you were more content and obedient to the Bible, you wouldn’t be having all these problems. It was a death sentence.

    A big part of my journey has been taking all the Scripture that was twisted and used to hold me hostage and figure out what God was trying to say – rather than what men are trying to say. So this verse is communicating that when we try to force our Christianity on others, it’s a turn off, and it will backfire. People want to see authentic Christianity LIVED OUT. That is winsome and attractive. That is our opportunity to demonstrate God’s heart for mankind. An unbelieving husband may be “won over” to Christianity simply by observing it lived out in her life.

    So what if your husband is a self-proclaimed believer? What if he is already “won over” to Christ? I believe all the “one another” verses in the Bible apply to a couple (both believing spouses) if they are also brother and sister IN CHRIST. All the verses about accepting correction and wisdom and admonishment from one another apply to both spouses. Not just Christian wives. The few verses specifically about marriage do not trump the entire rest of God’s Word to all Christians. Marriage is the place where all of God’s Word can be reflected in all its glory when it is done right!

    When a self-proclaimed believing husband sins against his wife, his wife has an obligation before God to let him know. Why? So he can repent of his sin and the relationship can get back on track. We can’t read one another’s minds. We use language and communication for a common sense reason. The idea is to promote healthy, open, honest relationships. The entire thing breaks down when one spouse refuses to enter into this kind of relationship. Just because someone repeats vows at a wedding ceremony doesn’t make them a covenant keeper. And when a covenant has been broken again and again with no effort to repair and restore, it’s time to honestly assess the reality that the marriage is a mockery of God’s Word and a living lie that spreads poison to everyone around it.

    Just a few thoughts I had this morning while eating waffles.”

  5. Thanks, April, this is an issue that is always heavy on my heart. Submission is a lovely, woman affirming biblical practice, so it grieves me when it is twisted or worse, used to justify abuse. I try to keep it in the right order in my mind, so submission is first for God, second because it is beneficial and affirming to us as women, and lastly because husbands can also benefit from having a wife with a sweet and gentle spirit that does not give way to fear.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      YES! This issue is always heavy on my heart, too. I have had women completely misunderstand me in the past and I don’t want to see that happen! I never want anyone to stay in harm’s way thinking that is what it means to be godly.

      It is ironic to me that a husband’s God-given authority – intended by God to empower a man to protect and provide for his wife – could be used to justify abuse. I don’t EVER want to see that happen! A husband is not supposed to harm his wife. He is to love, nurture, cherish, care for, shepherd, and provide for her selflessly for the glory of God. I also don’t want to see husbands living in dangerous situations with abusive wives. We are all supposed to treat each other with love, honor, respect, and dignity. The family should be the SAFEST place in the world! Not the most dangerous!

  6. My Husband choose our sons school. He did not heed the warnings he received from various Persons around us. I begged him to inform himself by outside sources(no, a school advertisement is not objective!) He did not budge. I submitted under protest but told him that I would be there for every parent teacher meeting where i will make my voice be heard., I will sit in on lessons and I will hold the teachers accountable (School believes in reading and writing not until 3rd grade, gymnastics all day long, there are horror stories about people getting huge debts to satisfy school board etc.) In the end all that is left for me to do is pray that my husbands decision will not destroy us and our children.

    1. Fiona,

      I can definitely tell that you are NOT happy about this decision. It sounds like you have some very valid concerns. I’m glad you shared your concerns with him, hopefully respectfully.

      It sounds like maybe you have quite a lot of fear about what could happen with your son academically and what could happen with your family financially.

      Would you be interested in praying together with me about these important concerns? And would you be interested in a spiritual check-up? I find that it is so critical for us as wives to be as close as possible to Christ so that we are able to respond in His power and to hear His voice clearly during times of trial and tension.

      Much love and the biggest hug to you! Thank you for sharing this situation with us. I am glad you want to honor your husband’s leadership and honor Christ even though it seems very difficult at the time.

  7. April,

    There is much to agree with in your post, however, you might appreciate being warned about some bad and widely used information re: “abuse”.

    Many “christian” abuse advocates use or refer to an abuse charlatan by the name of Lundy Bancroft.

    Leslie Vernick does, to some degree, as do the late Catherine Clark Kroeger and her co-author Nancy Nason-Clark.

    The problem is, Lundy Bancroft is both a cult founder of his own personal cult, “nature’s temple”, and his “research is junk research.

    Here is the link to Lundy’scult:

    http://transitiontoanewworld.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-spiritual-community.html

    As to the junk nature of his research, the one star Amazon reviews of his book “Why does he do that?” are quite telling and accurate. Lundy Bancroft is a deceiver.

    In any case, Jesus, in the Word, tells all fellow Christians how to deal with sin, in Matthew 18:15-17.

    15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

    The progression is from individual to full church. This is the Word grounded way to deal with any sin, abuse included.
    So many messy situations are created re: alleged “abuse”, when Christians do not obey Jesus in this area.

  8. My worry with lists of reasons is that instead of the non submission being the exception the headspace moves from one of submit unless there is a really good reason not to to one of checking down the list to see if he has ticked all the good boxes and zero of the bad boxes. With a long list of bad boxes one is sure to find a short coming and hence a reason not to submit. He is human after all.

    1. Krissy,

      I wish I could have all of my posts about biblical submission together – but that would be a book!

      The reason for my writing this post is because some wives have been writing saying to me, “I have been submitting to my husband. I do everything he says. I never say what I think. I act happy even when I am not. I try to be fake just to make him happy.” Or “I let him hit me. He is manic and wants to quit his job and wants us to live under a bridge…” Those kinds of things. I believe there does have to be balance to the teaching about spiritual authority and biblical submission. Some teach that submission on a wife’s part is absolute. She can never question her husband or share her wisdom and she must follow him into sin and she must allow him to beat her and just suffer “for Christ.” I don’t believe those ideas are scriptural. I am praying our sisters will read many of the other references and resources to be sure they understand the bigger picture and not use this one post alone to make decisions. And more than that, that they will read the Bible and spend much time wrestling in prayer allowing God’s Spirit to regenerate and transform their souls!

      Is there a danger that a wife may use a list like this to try to justify her own selfishness or pride? Yes. There is. I will make a note about this in the post. My prayer is that wives will realize that we are responsible to God for our obedience and that we must be abiding in Christ and filled up with Him and His Spirit so that we can clearly hear His voice and that we will desire only to please Him. It is only when we are seeing with His Light that we can see correctly to make wise, discerning decisions about anything – including this issue.

      A wife who is not seeing clearly would be able to justify sin and disobedience to God. Yes. 🙁

      I think it is critical that we remember our ultimate submission is to Christ as Lord of everything in our lives and that our heart should be that we long to bring joy to Him and we want to do what is right in His eyes.

    2. A woman (or man) who is living in the power of the flesh rather than under the control of the Holy Spirit can misuse and misunderstand Scripture and any post written about Scripture. Scripture is rightly spiritually discerned by the power of the Holy Spirit alone.

      It is critical that we each know God, yield fully to Him, abide in Him, and listen to His voice alone. Otherwise, we are walking in darkness and we will not know where we are going. We will make destructive choices when we are walking in darkness.

    3. How I pray that we will ALL – men and women – live in the power of the Spirit – filled to overflowing with God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I pray we all will treat others with respect, honor, dignity, and godly love as described in I Corinthians 13:4-8. I pray we will all seek Christ far above anyone or anything else and that we might see a massive Great Awakening in our midst. 🙂

    4. Krissy, I’m a little confused about your comment. In the list that April gives, these are pretty major situations. How would a list like this help a woman to come up with excuses about not submitting? Do you disagree with April’s views about when not to submit?

      Maybe I am misunderstanding your view here.

      1. You are absolutely right that the list contains some pretty major things in fact all of the items listed are serious.

        Having thought about it a bit more, I think my main concern is not so much saying these are situations when I would not submit but more that if one were to approach the relationship from the point of view of a check list.

        So from the point of view of a discussion, the list is fine. The problem for me is as I mentioned, if it is used as a checklist.

        My feeling is that if something is big enough to result in non submission then it’s more than just not submitting it’s saying there is a real problem here and at a minimum some hard work or possibly separation is going to have to happen. I was a bit worried that the list might be seen as a submission check list that gets whipped out every time the wife feels a little challenged. You know I wont submit to that demand but I am still in submission to my husband.

        1. No one should be submitting to any demands of a husband. Submission is not a command. It is an invitation. Submission is a gift we give our husbands. When we get married, our Christian husbands are called to love whether or not we submit. (and we are called to submit whether or not they love). The gift is what makes it easier for the other spouse. Our submission makes it easier for them to love. Their love makes it easier to submit. Let us not forget- scripture calls us to love one another, and to submit one to another. It is not a sole command of husbands and wives. It is a lifestyle of the believer.

          1. MHMC,

            I want to give you a little something to consider here. I know it is easy to make blanket statements. And I am very aware of the really tough situation you have been through.

            But – even in this issue, I think we have to keep balance in mind.

            Imagine a godly husband finds his wife is texting a man inappropriately. Would he be wrong to demand that she stop? Would a wife be wrong to demand that her husband stop in a similar situation? We could argue semantics about what the word “demand” means. We could say a believer should never demand anything. Maybe they shouldn’t. But – if a husband found a wife was committing some significant unrepentant sin, certainly he would be right to address it and to insist that she stop. And she would be right to honor his leadership in that area.

            I would really love for us all to be careful about blanket statements. They are easy to make, but I want to be careful if we are giving counsel to others about such serious topics. I don’t want any of us to put a stumbling block in anyone else’s way or to give advice that may lead someone to make an unwise or ungodly decision.

            Yes, ideally, believers probably wouldn’t usually make demands of each other. But if a husband does insist on something rather forcefully – and what he is seeking to do is right according to God’s Word – is it right for me to tell a wife to go against her husband in that situation even if he could have presented the issue more gently?

            There are all kinds of people who read here with all kinds of backgrounds, filters, wounds, belief systems, and pain. I just want to be careful in how we approach things.

            God does not command husbands to command their wives to submit to them. True. But He does command wives to submit to their husbands – of course, we need a right understanding of exactly what this means and doesn’t mean which seriously takes almost a book, in my view, to talk about. True, the commands God gives husbands to love their wives are unconditional. And the commands God gives wives to respect are unconditional. The submission thing does have qualifications in that ultimately our submission is to Christ in an absolute sense, and husbands are not deity.

            We are to all be filled with the Spirit, to love with agape love, to treat others with gentleness, honor, dignity, and respect, and to approach each other with humility and kindness. Yes.

            Okay – I think I am going to bed! 🙂

            Much love!
            April

          2. April, i guess i dont consider that a “submission” issue. A married woman texting another man for anything other than innocent reasons (work, asking a general question, group text, etc) is doing something wrong. Whether or not her husband demands that she stop, she should stop. HOWEVER, my comment still stands. Even a husband cant demand that his wife do something and expect her to just follow, even in this case. (bear with me here).

            The husband demands the wife stop.
            She says no.

            Now what?
            Obviously she is being unsubmissive, but it goes deeper than that. If she velieves she is doing nothing wring, and her husbands demands go against her free will and right to make choices for herself, does she not have a right to disagree? Yes, it may cause tension and marriage problems in the long run. Yes, she may realize that after the fact. Or maybe she is already aware. Either way- my point is, we cant firce people to act outside of their own feee will. I can demand my kids do thi gsball day ling and scream disrespect until im blue in the face. But the only thing that changes anything is if I put down boundaries that protect my choices.

            I dont havr to submit to anyones demands.

            But i can choose to submit to their demands.

            Whether my choices are right or wrong, my choice to submit is still a matter of free will. It is not a command. It is a gift.

            And if a husband has proven himself untrustworthy, My gift of submission is not going to be given as freely as when a husband is more trustworthy.

            If i am commanded to submit, even to an abusive or untrustworthy spouse, then i am no longer in control of my own choices or my own safety. (this is where the church is guilty of putting women back into abusive marriages!)

            The issue needs to be my sin. Am i sinning? Then i need the holy spirit to convict me (not my spouse). Am i making a choice to protect myself by not submitting? Then i need to be given that option. Is my husband making a demand (which in and if itsf is an immature, controlling way of getting someone to do something for you), but he is trustwirthy, I understand where he is coming from, and i have complete free will to give my gift of submission? Then i will do so- out of submission to Christ.

            Submission is highly recommended. Paul said in the Bible, “wives, submit to your husbands as is pleasing to the Lord”. It is not something some man thought up to give men more control over women. BUT, God cares about whether or not you are being controlled. He does not expect us to use submission as a blanket expectation. It is still a choice. I believe this has to be clear to anyone who is struggling in marriage. When both spouses are willing and motivated to do as God says, submission will work. It will be your best bet. It will help both of you learn to grow closer to God. But a woman whos husband manipulates and controls her- submission only gives HIM more freedom to sin. A woman has to know its a choice- a gift. A way to submit to God. But we do not need to SURRENDER ourselves to our husbands. I believe that can actually be a back door to idolatry.

          3. MHMC,

            Ok! I think I am following you now. A wife doesn’t “have to” submit as in she is not forced to submit, she chooses to submit. It is a choice on her part.

            Thank you for clarifying.

        2. Krissy,

          There is always a danger in turning things into check lists and our not having the right heart motives. It is so key that we are abiding in Christ and hearing Him clearly and walking in obedience to Him.

  9. I have to admit, reading some of the comments makes me very frustrated. I think April does a fantastic job explaining Biblical submission, and it is most appreciated in the context of a marriage where both spouses are believers.

    But that is not always the case. Not all Christian women, who want to practice biblical submission, are married to Christian men. And in some of those cases, the men KNOW that submission is expected of women in the church, and they abuse the willingness of their wives to do the right thing without ever meeting that submission with biblical headship or love.

    I am not giving anyone an excuse to be disrespectful. We will all be held accountable for how we lived, how we loved, and and we obeyed and remained faithful to Christ. But I just want to say this- if youve never experienced an emotionally/psychologically abusive relationship, you will never understand the need for a woman to hear this teaching that April has presented. I am one of those women. I was married for 16 years. I wanted to follow Christ, and I wanted to be obedient to Gods word. I didnt do it perfectly, and thats where grace is needed in marriage. We are all learning how to be biblical partners.

    My husband lied from the start. I met him in church. He presented himself as a believer. We dated for over a year. He lied about his sexual past, he lied about his feelings for me, he lied about his dreams for the future. What i have discovered after 16 years of marriage is that he was actually an atheist, and now doesnt know where he stands with God. He has not been faithful in thought or in deeds, he has betrayed my trust on numerous occasions, and at one point his action led to me losing my job. Since our separation (less than 10 months ago) he has had two girlfriends, one of which he has already introduced to my children, and actually subjected my daughter to having to “hear” them from her bedroom during a “sleepover”. The man i submitted to, trusted, and did my darndest to show respect to over the years, has simply decided to stop playing the role he pretended to play all those years. Non of this is a result of MY lack of respect or submission. Regardless of how we perform as wives, no one has the right to blame a wife for her husbands lack of discernment, his poor choices, or his outright disobedience to God. At some point, we have to be willing to accept that if our husbands wanted a healthy marriage, they would be willing to put in even a fraction of the effort us wives have put in.

    The emotional pain i experienced from a constant display of rejection, neglect, and apathy over the course of 16 years left me very broken. Very shamed. I blamed myself. If only I did x, y, or z. But thats satan lying to me. I allowed myslef to be deceived by this man. God wants us to live in truth. I allowed myself to be hurt, over and over, by this man. God wants us to judge by someones behavior if they are truly who they say they are. God says over and over that he who does not love does not have God. He says, “husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church”, he says he who hates his brother commits murder in his heart. When a man (or woman) does not have God, they are not able to love like Christ. And if they refuse to live peacebly with their partner, 1 Corinthians 7 says to let them go, for we are called to live in peace. God does not value the marriage relationship MORE than the people being hurt within that marriage. Marriage is to be seen as holy, but those living in sin dont see it that way. They abuse their priveledges as the receivers of the blessing which comes through their believing partner. And when that happens, sometimes God releases the believer from the marriage in order to save them from the abuse. My husband chose to leave. I hung on with every ladt ounce of faith i had. But ultimately, God gave him over to his sinful desires, and he sought a life of worldly passions over obedience to God. Dont condemn someone for leaving an abusive marriage. And dont tell someone the only reason to leave would be if there was physical violence. Sometimes the psychological suffering is worse than any physical suffering they might have endured. If a woman is truly living in Gods word, and is truly following the leading of the holy spirit, she will wrestle with what to do in an abusive marriage. She may wrestle with it for years before she ever decides to get out and protect herself. The hardest part of leaving is wondering what God will think of her. The best thing we can do for those women is pray with them, understand the pain they are experiencing, understand what a spiritual struggle it is for them. And if you cant give her compassion, empathy, or mercy, dont say anything. Because we have judged ourselves more harshly than you could ever judge us. And your condemnation only pours salt on an open wound and convinces us in our own minds that our self-condemnation is true.

    1. I’m so sorry, MHMC. It is stories like yours that make me hesitant to speak about submission because the last thing I want to see is women blaming themselves for things that are beyond their control, or believing that never ending lie from the enemy, “you caused the abuse, you just weren’t submissive enough.”

      Especially important to me is that women understand that Salvation itself is not based on submission to husbands or having a husband at all. Christ loves us, He does not condemn us for the things we struggle with.

    2. MHMC,

      Thank you for sharing your story and perspective, my dear sister!

      You are right that what he does and thinks are his responsibility. You are not responsible for his sins or for him pretending to be someone he was not. And you can’t “be respectful and submissive enough” to change him. A wife’s godly example may influence a husband to want to change and may bless him. But it is not like a wife could “be godly enough” to make or force her husband become a godly man. We don’t have that much power! We can’t make decisions for other people. We can be responsible for our part, but we have to detach ourselves emotionally and spiritually from our husbands or from thinking that we can or should be able to control them or be responsible for them.

  10. I have been talking with a number of women in recent weeks who have or have had husbands who were very hateful, cruel, harsh, mocking, etc… often unbelieving men – and I seem to be noticing some common thread that concerns me.

    – The idea that a believing wife will “do anything” to keep her husband there.
    – The idea that she can’t ever say anything that may upset him as if him being upset would be unimaginable and completely unbearable.
    – The idea that “submission” means walking on total eggshells and doing whatever he wants no matter the cost.
    – The idea that “submission” means completely giving up her influence, her personhood, her ideas, her feelings, etc… to the point that she becomes a “shell” of a person.

    It is really easy to put our husbands above God in our hearts – but that is always going to be a destructive way to live.

    Scripture does say if an unbelieving spouse wants to go, let him go. I don’t think a believing wife has to grovel at her husband’s feet to try to make him stay. If he is not willing to stay, a believing wife can let him go with grace, dignity, poise, and peace – knowing she is doing what God calls her to do and seeking to please Christ above all. She is not responsible to make him stay. She is not responsible for his choices. She can seek to be the woman and wife God calls her to be and to walk in obedience to God. But she doesn’t have to cling to her husband as if everything will completely fall apart if he is not there. Not to say this would be easy and not be painful. It would be very painful – BUT we are not hopeless and helpless even if a spouse leaves. Not if we have Jesus! How I long for Jesus to be our only source of identity, security, peace, power, purpose, and joy. If we have Him, we have everything!

    1. An addendum to your last comment- when husbands use control and manipulation in their homes (and there are a variety of ways and reasons this happens) a lot of times the wives have been conditioned to walk on egg shells and “do anything” to avoid his reactions, his criticism, his anger, or his rejection. (Mine used silent treatment when he didnt get what he wanted). Wives may not rrealize or understand they are putting their husband or marriage above God, because in Trying to be a “good wife” theyve been manipulated and controlled by a man who wants to be treated like a god. This is where a very strong Biblical understanding is needed. We need to read our Bibles! We need to ask God every day for wisdom and discernment. We need to put all our trust in God, all of our needs in Gods hands, all of our fears at his feet. If we dont do this every day, we will be deceived. And unfortunately, some of us have been deceived by the people who were supposed to be trustworthy and love us.

      1. MHMC,

        Because I haven’t been in this kind of situation, I depend a lot on wives who have been in the trenches like this to help me understand better how a wife thinks and feels when a husband is controlling or manipulative.

        What do you believe are some red flags to help a wife see that maybe she could be putting her husband above Christ in her heart when she is facing this kind of treatment? (If you are interested in discussing this with me.)

        And YES!!!!!!!! AMEN! Strong biblical understanding is what we ALL desperately need. We all need the power of God’s Spirit and His discernment or we can’t see clearly and we will make destructive choices as we stumble around in darkness blindly.

        1. I think a HUGE red flag is fear. If you fear your husband, his reactions, losing the relationship- anything- You need to pray about it. Ask God why you fear, because perfect love casts out fear, and if you have fear for your husband or marriage, that is not love, and you are not loving God more than your husband if you let fear of your husband trump your fear and reverence for God. Another red flag is excuses. As an abused woman you have been manipulated to believe you cant tell anyone the truth of what is happening. So when others see symptoms, and you make excuses, thats an obvious sign you are denying the truth. Jesus is the truth. You cant be following Christ and living in denial.

          1. MHMC,

            This is really helpful. Thank you for sharing these things. I am praying about writing a post on this issue soon with the help of some of the ladies. Would you consider allowing me to quote part of this comment?

          2. Yes, fear was a huge factor in most of my marriage. Fear of his reactions when I tried to share my feelings. I kept tweaking and tweaking my delivery of that, thinking it must be me, I must be doing something wrong. And, yes, it is true that many times I would come at him in anger after he had hurt me (these weren’t petty things, either – they were things that would make any wife or husband angry because they threatened our marriage). But, even as I learned more about respect and how to approach these things in a better way, I started realizing that I would never reach the perfection status that would allow my husband to finally listen to what I was saying. My husband was never physically abusive, but I still had a lot of fear because he would shut me out and ignore me for days if I upset him and there were subtle things he did and phrases he used that made me feel really bad for sharing my feelings about something hurtful that he had done to me. I was full of fear of losing the marriage, fear of losing my family. God had to take me to a place that I had to surrender it all to Him and He delivered me from all of that fear! Now I can walk in truth and am free in Christ in my marriage! I no longer fear what my husband thinks of my relationship with Christ, I no longer fear his reactions if I speak truth that needs to be said to him (not trying to save him or preach to him, but just truth about things in our relationship or with our kids, etc.). And, my anthem during that whole process became the song No Longer Slaves to Fear. That became like a prophetic song in my life that God made real for me.

            God wants His daughters (and sons) to live free in Christ. That’s a huge red flag there, I think – If you do not feel like you have the freedom to be yourself and are always trying to “soften” your Christian walk so that it isn’t offensive, something is probably off. I think we are to live boldly for Christ and I also believe that that is why those verses are there in 1 Corinthians 7 about an unbelieving spouse leaving…. the Christian’s life will be so different that it will repel some unbelieving spouses and will cause a permanent separation in the marriage. That’s not a popular topic in Christian marital teaching, but it is absolutely biblical.

            It is a painful process and doesn’t happen overnight, this being able to get to a place where you are willing to lose it all and you choose to follow Christ wherever He leads and start living from an authentic place instead of sweeping sin and issues under the rug or letting someone keep trying to convince you there’s nothing wrong (when you KNOW there is something wrong). God is the one who has to do it, really, but we have to cooperate and go through the painful places so that He can lead us on to this beautiful freedom!

          3. CIC,

            THIS gets to the heart of the matter, in my view! You had to deal with all the fear and decide that God’s approval was all that mattered ultimately. That you don’t have to live in fear of your husband or his approval or his thoughts as if he will judge you when this life is over. Yes, be respectful of him and seek to treat him as God desires you to. But a husband should not be on the throne of a wife’s soul. Only God should be there. If a person is there, whether it is my husband, myself, the president, or anyone or anything in this world – it will destroy us.

            Yes! There are unbelievers who will be repelled by a believer’s godliness. Absolutely. Jesus says that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. We are the aroma of life to those who are being saved, but the stench of death to those who are perishing.

            God instructs us to live at peace with others as far as it depends on us. But there are things that don’t depend on us. We can and should be responding in the power of the Holy Spirit and in God’s love, truth, and wisdom. We can treat others with respect, dignity, and unconditional 1 Cor. 13 love. But we can’t make them accept our love. We can’t force them to love us in return. We can’t make another grown adult’s decisions for them. They have free will.

            I believe that the way a spouse acts when he/she is full of fear that the other spouse may leave will always be destructive. But when that spouse releases all fear to God, then he/she can act in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is the goal! Our motives have to be to love and please Christ and to love and bless others. Not fear, not worldly guilt, not bitterness.

            Thank you for sharing!

          4. April, yes, I was thinking about that this morning…..this is what it boils down to, I think. And, I think you are right….if you are operating in fear, things will only get more and more destructive or “break down”. But, when God sets you free from that fear and you are willing to follow Him at ALL costs, then yes, you can move and operate from the power of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean that things are all going to be rosy and pretty and pain-free, but you WILL have an underlying peace and assurance from the Lord that He will never let you go, *He* will never be unfaithful or leave you, and you can begin to see the reality of the spiritual warfare you are in, as well. May God continue to bring this freedom to many, many more brothers and sisters who visit your blog, April — well, for that matter, everywhere!

          5. CIC,

            Okay, I think I have a clear direction for a post on this! THANK YOU!!!! I know we will need to have many more discussions. But I think this really helps me get started.

            I idolized Greg in this way – “He better do everything I want him to do to meet my deepest needs, or else.” I expected him to be Christ to me, and to meet needs that only Jesus can meet.

            But maybe in some of these situations, it could be the husband who wants or even demands to be idolized, or it could be the that a wife idolizes her husband in a different sense, “I have to have him stay in the marriage, or life is not worth living.” As if him being there is the absolute most important thing in the world.

            I think there is incredible power and freedom to be able to say, “You are free to go if you don’t want to be here.” Then the weight is on the husband, not on the wife, to decide what is actually most important to him. Then he stays because he wants to, not for any other reason. And then the wife is no longer held hostage. Fear always holds us hostage. If we are doing things out of fear, we are going to make some very wrong choices and we will destroy our relationships. We will sabotage ourselves.

            Yes, she wants to follow Christ at all costs, not save the marriage at all costs. Such a difference!

          6. Yes, of course you may! I like the insight that is happening here!!! The fact that fear is a huge part of this and also…..YES to the fact that some husbands are wanting to be idolized and that is how it looked different from your situation.

            I know I’ve shared this on here before, but my husband actually said to me as I was getting stronger in Christ and he could sense something was changing….”I want you to worship me”. Yikes!!!! God got my attention big time with that statement. I calmly but strongly said something to the effect that I would never be able to do that for him. I brought that up in counseling and my husband said he was joking, but still. Red flag.

            As far as idolizing our husbands so much that we think we couldn’t go on in life, I know another big thing for me regarding this was that I was a very insecure person. My security was resting on my husband’s love for me and that is a very, very shaky and doomed-to-failure kind of foundation. I think equal with dealing with fear is that every Christian has to find their security and worth in Christ alone. And God will absolutely do this in His children’s lives, one way or another, I think. It might come through marital problems or probably whatever it is that you are finding your security in. If we have not come to a place, like Paul, where we can say “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”, then this is something that has to be worked out. We have to be absolutely unshakeable and convinced that God is never leaving us and loves us with a love that cannot even be measured! We also need to be convinced of our righteous standing in Christ before God and in the finished work of Christ. Then our foundation is sure and strong.

          7. A prayer for each of us:

            May God overwhelm each of us with a revelation of His infinite love and grace for us in Christ. And, as He sets us free with that knowledge, may it affect all of our theology to line up with His heart – that we might get past the “letter of the law” and understand God’s heart and intent for His children.

          8. HH, I know… Great song, right? My favorite part are these lines:

            “You split the sea so I could walk right through it, You drowned my fears in perfect love. You rescued me, now I can stand and sing, ‘I am a child of God.'”

            I am still awestruck when I think of all God did for me and how different I feel and am now. It’s almost like being born again… again. He is so worthy of our trust.

          9. I’m really blessed to have watched part of your journey. I still have some fears I am working through but am excited to work through each one. HH

          10. HH, you know that we are all so blessed to get to see a part of your journey unfold as well. I am already celebrating the good that has come and know that there is much more to come.

            It’s a sweet blessing to hear you share your wisdom, to watch how God has changed you so much the past few months, to hear your male perspective that we wives really need at times…. Thankful for God’s design in bringing us all here.

          11. I am so glad CiC! Have I really changed that much? It is a little hard for me to see as I am ‘on the journey’ so to speak. I am glad if it is showing because I want to just ooze God’s love 🙂 I think one of the biggest changes that I have felt in myself is that I joined this group feeling a bit like a victim but I now have such a deep awareness of my own contributions to my situation and how much I need (and have) God’s grace that I cannot help but feel compassion for my wife instead of bitterness.

            I have needed a woman’s perspective for a long time also and this platform has allowed me to ask questions that I simply wouldn’t ask the women I know. Respect you guys all so much. Also, I have just been praying for you, your husband and I felt led to pray for your children tonight. HH

          12. HH,
            UM… YES! You have completely changed from what I can see. The fear that used to consume you has melted away. God has completely changed you and continues to change you. You are not at all the same man you were when you first began to comment. I love watching God transform you. It is beautiful!

            So glad this place has been a blessing. You have also been a blessing and encouragement to all of us. Thank you, our brother!

    2. My husband threatened divorce (not always that directly, but it was very much implied) many times over the last few years as I started getting stronger in Christ and was standing in truth about the things that were happening in our marriage. Of course, this brought a lot of fear in my life….but eventually, I just started to let him know that he was free to go. This took him back every time I told him that. He was so used to me adjusting my behavior to keep that from happening. But, I think what I said and did was rooted in God’s Word and from His Spirit.

      As Christian wives of unbelieving husbands, we need to realize that these verses are in God’s Word for a reason. He may be saving some years of heartache and struggle. And, really, those verses are just as much of a command as any other directive/command in the Scriptures. If an unbeliever wants to go, let him go. I know it’s not a popular view in the Christian culture of “marriages are worth saving at all costs”… (April, I know you do not teach this and I so appreciate that). God is infinitely above marriages and our marriage or husband should never take His place.

      1. CiC,

        Please keep writing what the Lord leads you to put on your heart.

        I have been praying very much for direction and understanding and I believe that the Lord is using your words to help shape my thoughts, understandings and to help me find more of Him.

        Your thoughts on fear, dependence, emotional abuse, all sorts of things are very helpful to me.

        HH

          1. Thank you Amanda. I will read it thoroughly.
            I have not joined into this discussion much but I am reading it intently and praying a lot for God to guide me into all truth.

            I can see so much fear in my marriage, right from the word go and from both of us.
            I can see how that fear led to the breakdown and separation.
            I can see how my security was bound up in my wife and how I tried to control her to ensure I was ‘safe’.
            I can see how her security as bound up in me and how she tried to change herself to keep secure.
            I can see how that didn’t work and then the pendulum shifted to her trying to control me to ensure she was ‘safe’.
            I can see how then I tried to change myself to keep myself secure.
            I can see how this fear led to all kinds of different ways to control and manipulate each other and eventually it all just collapsed.

            Much thinking. Much love to all. HH

          2. So grateful you can see this. I can honestly say that i relate to this. The pendulum swinging to feel secure. Dear brother, I pray God blesses you for your humility and willingness to to have your eyes opened to the painful truths in your marriage. Only good can from a humble, willing heart. If I may offer a word of encouragement- dont give up. It may seem worse before it gets better, but as God tries us by fire, he can burn away the dross and we become pure gold in His sight. I pray as you go through the refining fire you can trust that God is removing the old, and clothing you with a new, better experience in Him.

          3. HH,

            I have to say that God has spoken to me through this comment!!! TY JESUS! I see in my own marriage the exact elements—— fear from both sides—and both sides trying to secure themselves in our marriage—– I see my husband as unknowingly using control/manipulation out of fear to feel secure in our marriage! And all the while, I’ve been striving to change in order to keep my husband and feel secure!!! And how I have used control out of fear to feel safe in my marriage as well! I see my husband trying to change to keep me in a sense—- all out of fear!!!

            This is a warning to me from God Himself through you, HH! Thank you so much for openly sharing this! I will be thinking about this a lot.

            I am so glad that site was a blessing—- I pray God will use it to further you in Christ and in your marriage!

            Blessings brother,
            Amanda

          4. HH,

            Yes, fear leads to destruction. Fear is not of God. When fear controls us, the enemy has us where he wants us. He can get us to justify practically any sin when fear is our motivation.

          5. Amanda,

            That site is wonderful. I believe it is an answer to my prayer for God to lead me.
            Thank you for listening to the prompting of the Spirit and sharing the site with me.
            I will be spending much time praying about the contents.

            In Christ,
            HH

          6. MHMC,

            There’s so much more going on than what I can share publicly. At what point does one give up?

            HH

          7. HH,

            My dear brother! How my heart aches for your pain. 🙁 I don’t believe we ever have to give up on God. There are certainly times we can’t trust people. Several of you are going through extremely difficult trials this week.

            I am praying for you!

          8. It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse…….I haven’t shared with you half the stuff that’s happening…….I honestly am struggling to understand sometimes why. HH

          9. Lord,

            Several of our brothers and sisters are hurting so very deeply. It seems like the enemy is winning. When we look at circumstances, there is no hope to be found. The storms are severe. The pain is excruciating. Help us come together in unity against the enemy in the lives of these precious brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us join hands around this world in one Spirit and one mind and heart. Your love is unfathomable. We praise and exalt Your Name for Your goodness! We trust ourselves and our situations to Your sovereignty. You alone have ALL power. You alone have ALL wisdom. The demons tremble at Your Name. They cannot even do one thing to harm us apart from Your will. And whenever there is suffering, we have Your precious promises that You will use it all ultimately for Your glory and our good.

            There are several spouses here who are far from You. Lost sheep who have wandered and gone their own way in stubbornness and they have fallen down into deep ravines. And You are the Great Shepherd Who is willing to leave the 99 and go after the one. We lift up HH’s wife to You. We pray for You to bring her to her knees in repentance and genuine salvation in Christ. We pray for her to see her sin and to be repulsed and convicted by it. We pray for her to see Jesus as He truly is and that You might open her eyes so that she sees her desperate need for Christ. The enemy has her and many others in his snare. But she, and many of the wayward husbands here, are not beyond Your reach! Your arm is not too short to rescue them. Your timing is perfect. We praise You that You are worthy of our full trust. We lift up Becca and her husband to You and pray for Your wisdom, discernment, and clarity for Becca about how to move forward.

            We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are hurting and suffering in this intense spiritual battle. We wrap Your love, joy, peace, strength, hope, wisdom, discernment, and power around them together in prayer. Let them recognize the voice of the enemy who wants them to be beaten down, discouraged, and destroyed. Let them recognize his voice and reject him, yielding fully to You in submission and trust. Fill them with all of Your Spirit and all that Jesus has provided for them on the cross. Let them begin to recognize what Jesus has truly done for them and what they possess in Christ! Let them see that the gates of heaven are open to their cries and that You care about their pain and You are here with them. Give them the exact prompting they need. Give them the support and resources they need.

            We lay down each of these situations before You as You sit on Your throne, Lord Jesus, with blazing eyes of fire and skin that looks like molten bronze. You are dressed in majesty and splendor. Your tongue contains all of the power in the universe. You are King of kings and Lord of lords. No enemy can defeat You. And no enemy will defeat Your Bride! When Satan attacks us, You take it as a persona attack on Yourself and You come to our rescue.

            Help these dear brothers and sisters to have the time they need to rest in Your love and care this week. Lead them beside the still waters. Show them the green grassy areas. Restore their souls. Use this time of great testing to polish them into beautiful, dazzling diamonds for Your kingdom. Help them keep their eyes on You alone, Jesus! Let them feed abundantly on Your Word. Let them drink from Your fountain of Living Water.

            We can’t wait to see what You are about to do in these situations. And we surround these hurting believers with love, prayer, support, and encouragement. Show us how we can most bless each one here who is weary.

            In the Name and power of Christ,
            Amen!

          10. Amen.

            HH, God is the lifter of your head. Praying that He will give you fresh hope and joy in the pain today.

            I’ve been thinking….it’s time for another PW fast for those who are led. What do you all think? I know we can all do this individually – but I love the idea of fasting corporately for marriages and entering into the battle with the weapon of prayer in this way.

            If the Spirit is leading, then let’s follow. If He’s not, don’t force yourself.

            2 Chronicles 20:12: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

          11. Thanks CiC. My son is starting to blame himself for our separation 🙁 Lord, please give me all the wisdom and compassion I need to stand and do what you call me to do. Please give me an opportunity to make good for all of the hurt I have caused. Please open all of our eyes to you. HH

          12. HH,

            Children are so prone to do that. 🙁 Breaks my heart! I am praying for you and your children – and your wife, as well. I know God hasn’t forgotten y’all. I know He is at work even though the darkness is so thick, it is hard to see His hand right now. The enemy would love for you to give up on God and give up your faith in Him. Then he could laugh in God’s face, the way he wanted to with Job. But God knew Job would be faithful to Him. And God knows you will be, too, my brother, no matter what the enemy throws at you. God will give you the power to stand firm in Christ.

          13. HH, oh, I know that has to be incredibly painful. I’m sure you are doing this already, but I encourage you to keep those lines of communication open with your kids. I think sometimes we think it’s better not to speak about the “elephant in the room”, but there’s so much healing that can happen in age-appropriate, open, honest and sensitive conversation.

            I was telling a friend just the other day about my youngest daughter’s very visible sadness during the dark parts of our trial. She asked if I’d spoken to my daughter about all of that recently and I haven’t. She encouraged me to do so and this conversation with you is reminding me again. I probably need to talk to all of my kids. I wish I had addressed their pain better during it all. I did speak to them a little at the beginning and was always outspoken about the fact that God is in control of the situation and was going to bring something good out of it. My youngest is very closed off about expressing her emotions so even when I tried to talk to her during that time she looked so sad, she didn’t open up at all.

            I’ll pray for you for wisdom and pray that your son will not buy the lie the enemy is whispering in his ear. This is a spiritual attack on your son and you have the authority in Christ to stand against it. Praying over your son (when he can hear you) could be a very powerful weapon to combat this attack of the enemy, if you haven’t already done so. (although I am wondering if it would be better to stay away from “attack of the enemy” kind of language, and instead focus on God’s truth as you pray…?)

            Hmm, and now that I’ve typed that out, I’m thinking I may need to do the same about my daughter and her closed off emotions…

            Praying for God to encourage you today, HH. I hope you will take some time to enjoy the things God has made you to enjoy (music, nature, whatever it is for you) and rest in His presence.

          14. CiC, I have shared with the kids that mummy won’t be living with daddy anymore. They ask why. I do not know how to explain that in a way that doesn’t cause resentment. HH

          15. HH,
            Not sure if this would be an approach God may prompt anyone to take, but perhaps something like – “Mummy needs our prayers and love. Let’s pray for her now.”

            Praying for God’s wisdom about how He may desire you to discuss this with your children, HH, and others who are in similar painful situations.

          16. Had a lot of discussion with my counsellor today.

            He said something very interesting. He said he feels that whilst a lot of my pain is from experiencing real and genuine hurt over DW’s current actions and decisions, he feels that part of my pain and fear is that I may be still trying to control the outcome by “blaming her current behaviour on my past actions and therefore holding myself responsible for her decisions now in an effort to still try and control the outcome and play God”………..Ahhhh!

          17. HH,

            Hmm… do you believe that this may be true?

            I know that a lot of us more “controlling types” tend to take too much responsibility for others. I know that is a struggle for me, too. Praying for God’s wisdom and discernment that He might shine His light on your heart and help you to see clearly what is going on so you can have His perspective and know how to think rightly and approach this in a way that most honors Him.

          18. April,

            I think there may be a measure of truth in it, yes. I wrote down what he said and I am going to think on it a bit more. If it is, I do not think that it is a conscious thing.

            HH

        1. God is doing something big. You keep writing, too….the sharing and relating that is happening here is God’s design for His Church. And His revelation doesn’t come to one or two or a few people alone. It’s revealed in pieces to all of us and as we share and encourage and pour our hearts out, He gives us deeper revelation into His heart and purposes and plans. The complete picture comes to light as we all share what He is teaching us. Love your comment about how you can see fear on both sides. That comment was used by the Lord for me, too.
          Lots of wisdom there.

  11. April, CIC, all who are commenting,

    YES. It really does boil down to fear. wow. Isn’t that what I said on that other thread of comments that started all this lol? I was sharing with everyone how lately I’ve had issues with fear and was starting to be controlling out of that fear!

    I did not see this before—– but it is the truth. Thank you! It is that fear behind what my husband will do, will say, will think—– it all has to do with HIM. This is not the first time I’ve realized this, but now I see how fear is behind ALL of it! And we know that God has NOT given us a spirit of fear! It is all the devil. all of it.

    I think like MHMC said, there are times that women are conditioned to this fear in their marriages—- and I know I’ve experienced that. Being threatened to be divorced and abandoned repeatedly will strike some fear in any woman’s heart I would think. Out of this conditioned fear, I strove to be perfect to keep my husband around, and of course I couldn’t do that.

    Sadly, I see my husband using fear to condition my son sometimes…with behaving in school, etc. He’s trying to control his behavior by making him fear the very worst consequences.

    We have two ways to operate in life—out of FEAR or FAITH.

    The only One to fear is GOD and when we fear God—we will live right. Fear men, and our life falls apart!!!!

    We are obviously called to walk by FAITH in life—not by sight—and not in fear!

    This has all been a faith matter in my life. A test of my faith!

    At the same time—— I still struggle with finding the lines here.

    What if your husband is insisting that he is not trying to control you in any way?

    What if he truly believes that he is not doing anything wrong by criticizing you and joking harshly with you sometimes?

    What if he is insisting that he supports your feelings and basically telling you that how you feel about the relationship is not actually true?

    As I thought on this yesterday, the verse about knowing a tree by its fruits came to mind. So I read it and thought on that.

    But then I thought, well if that’s the case, then my fruit isn’t that much better, so can I really judge my husband?

    I think it all goes back to the fear thing, and whether or not I am really in a place where if my husband left, or whatever he does—- I can honestly sit back and say, I TRUST GOD, and I’m not giving into these lies, etc.

    Any thoughts anyone? 🙂

    Love,
    Amanda

  12. Sisters and brothers,

    I know that we will all have different ways of looking at and thinking about certain things. I’m thankful that in Christ we can have unity even while we are not all exactly the same. I try to give leeway to permit many views so that we can all be sharpened. I don’t ask that anyone agree with all viewpoints that are shared. I think it is helpful to hear others’ perspectives and ideas and to prayerfully study for ourselves.

    I’m so thankful we are all on this journey together and greatly appreciate everyone’s contribution to a lively discussion!

    Much love!

  13. April, I think the conversation has reached it`s healthy limit, which I`ve indicated to Tyler. Beyond this it will be just so much theological wrangling and arguing which beyond a certain point, ceases to be productive or godly for all involved. I think at this point, that it would be healthier for him to engage on these issues with a more mature godly man. For me to continue beyond this I feel would be going beyond the bounds of both feminine nature and godliness 🙂

  14. April,

    You truly reflect Jesus and I.just want to.personally thank you for your patience, love and perseverance. It must be very draining for you at times. Please continue to fight the good fight and drown out the darkness with the light and love of Our Savior.

  15. Great advice.
    Thank you for sharing from the wife’s perspective and let me offer 100% agreement from another husband. The command to ‘love your wife as Christ loves the Church’ is enough to make any husband who actually understand more than a little nervous. Like God said in Genesis ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ so we really can use a ‘suitable helper’.

    It is hard to lead if no one is following, but leading everyone off a cliff benefits no one.
    God Bless,
    Arthur T. Pollard

    1. Arthur Pollard,

      I really appreciate your perspective. Yes, a man who truly sees even a bit of his responsibility before God would approach this with reverent fear of God, great humility, and trembling.

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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