In the beginning of this journey to become a godly wife, when you are seeking to allow God to transform your heart, mind, and life I have found the following things may be wise. (This post is specially geared toward wives who realize they have been disrespectful and controlling.) Of course, all of us ultimately need to follow the Spirit’s leading in any situation:
- It may be best not to talk to your husband about what you are learning spiritually (unless he specifically asks) for usually the first few months, possibly longer. And if he does ask about what you are learning – it can be wise to keep things brief for a number of reasons.
- Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things, especially if they are hurting because of our sin or they are far from God.
- Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things when they perceive that we are far from God or if they don’t hold us in a lot of respect at the time because of the way we have been treating them.
- When we are beginning this journey, we tend not to express ourselves very respectfully about what we are learning and we can inadvertently sabotage ourselves if we try to talk about it a lot.
- “I’m learning I need to be quiet when I think that what you are saying is really stupid.”
- “I’m going to respect you because God says I have to not because I actually respect you.”
- “Wow, it is really hard to learn how to genuinely respect you.”
- Most men would rather not hear all the mechanics of what we are learning. There are some very spiritually mature men who tend to be more verbal who may enjoy hearing some of what we are learning but that would be pretty rare.
- Keep the focus on your own heart, sin, and obedience to the Lord:
- In your private walk with Christ.
- Focus on repenting of any sin in your life every day. Invite God to expose sinful motives and thoughts.
- Pray for God to change you.
- Thank God for your husband and the good things about him.
- There may be a time where all you do is pray for God to bless your husband and you don’t pray for God to change him if you have been praying that with selfish motives in the past.
- Take responsibility for your spiritual well-being and growth.
- In any conversation you believe you need to have with your husband about spiritual things (unless he is involved in serious unrepentant sin against you that simply must be addressed sooner).
- Yes, he has sins in his life, too.
- But it is important to deal with the sin in your own life first so that you will have the clarity, wisdom, and credibility you need to discern how to approach his sins (Matt. 7:1-5 first, then Matt. 18:15-17)
- Also, before you repent verbally to your husband, consider reading this post, Apologizing Stories.
- When speaking with other people
- (although you may need to talk some about your husband’s issues with a godly mentor/counselor, you can still do so very respectfully).
- In your private walk with Christ.
- Let him SEE and experience what God is doing in your heart by your change in attitude, countenance, respect, kindness, patience, peace, joy, etc…
- Smile at him just to bless him.
- Welcome him home warmly.
- Use a friendly tone of voice.
- Cut out any negativity, criticism, frowning, yelling, scowling, eye-rolling, complaining and arguing. (Yes, this all takes the power of the Holy Spirit!)
- If he is open to talking about things that feel respectful/disrespectful to him, it would be great to hear his perspective and to gently ask questions sometimes about his thoughts. Not as an interrogation. But just with respectful, gentle, warm curiosity.
- If he does share some things, try to make those things priorities (unless he is clearly asking you to sin).
- Learn to recognize intentional and even inadvertent disrespect and cut all of that out of your life.
- Learn to think and speak in the language of respect.
- Be open to listening to his ideas, and seek to discover his masculine world as a “friendly visitor.”
- Take responsibility for your emotions.
- Think rightly about yourself.
- Receive good things cheerfully – compliments, gifts, acts of service, words of love.
- You will likely come across a lot of things as you learn and grow that he may need to learn, too, but I suggest refraining from trying to be his spiritual teacher. God can work on his heart in time and reach him in powerful ways you can’t possibly reach him.
- If you approach him as his spiritual authority, teacher, or preacher, it will probably repel him from you and from the Lord.
- We are not in a position of spiritual leadership over our husbands. God has chosen to give our husbands that role of headship.
- It is SO easy to come across as self righteous or prideful if we try to verbally teach our husbands.
- Especially when our wisdom is unsolicited.
- Especially at the beginning of this journey when we haven’t really figured out the whole “respect” thing yet.
- There will be plenty of things we can humbly share as a fellow traveler on this road later when the marriage has been healed as the Lord may lead – once our husbands are interested and ask for us to share.
- Our words as wives about spiritual things are a lot less necessary than I ever realized for many years early in our marriage.
- As he sees the godly example you set, it will preach a more powerful sermon to him than if you attempt to lecture him, preach at him, or teach him. Again, words are not usually that meaningful to men. They are much more impacted by changed actions and attitudes.
- Start a list of all the things you can think of that you respect and admire about your husband. Add to it all throughout each day.
- Maybe consider mentioning one sentence of something you admire/respect/appreciate about him each day.
- If you start thinking about all the things “he should do” – that is often a red flag to refocus on allowing the Lord to transform you first.
- It may be wise not to read books or sections of books that are about what husband should do if that is a trigger for you.
- Don’t be surprised if he is not very supportive of your changes at first. That is pretty common. Yes, it would be awesome if he could be super supportive. If he is not able to be in that spiritual place of strength yet, extend grace to him and continue to allow God to radically transform you to be more like Jesus.
- Focus on being a safe place for him emotionally and spiritually.
- Find all of your security, peace, joy, and identity in Jesus alone, not in what your husband does or does not do.
- Be sure to spend the time you need with the Lord to be filled up with Him.
- Don’t idolize your husband.
Don’t be surprised if, as God changes you, your husband gets confused about what on earth is going on. That is pretty normal. I have some posts listed at the bottom that address this issue.
If you have been on this journey for awhile, what are some pearls of wisdom you may feel led to share with our sisters who are just starting?
PRAY WITH ME:
Please give us the light we need each step of this journey. We yield ourselves fully to all that You desire to do in our hearts and minds. Cleanse us! Refine us! Purify us! We humble ourselves before You. Expose any sin and anything that is not from You in our souls and lives. Help us get rid of all of that. Help us to embrace Your wisdom and Your Spirit. Let us hear Your voice clearly and follow You wholeheartedly. Make us into the godly women You call us to be for Your glory! Use us to bless our husbands and families and those around us.
NOTE – There may be exceptions to some of the things I am talking about in extremely toxic, abusive situations. In such cases, seek the Lord’s wisdom and wise, godly, appropriate counsel one-on-one.
My book “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord”
I was surprised to discover that what my husband needed to feel respected really wasn’t a long list.