What did my disrespect toward my husband look like for the first 14 years of our marriage?
I didn’t do the super disrespectful things that I saw a lot of wives doing. I wasn’t at a “Jerry Springer Show” guest level of obnoxiousness. I thought of myself as a good wife.
- I didn’t cuss at him, threaten divorce, call him names, or trash him on social media.
- I didn’t go behind his back with spending or act irresponsibly financially.
- I didn’t cheat on him, although early in our marriage I realized I had feelings for another guy at one point. That actually freaked me out and I learned to guard my heart after that.
- I didn’t hit him or get violent.
- I didn’t throw things (except for one time our first summer when I threw a pair of clean panties at him when I was folding laundry. It didn’t hit him or physically hurt him, but my heart attitude was definitely not right.)
My disrespect was more subtle and maybe even socially acceptable in our culture. But it was still very hurtful. A marriage can’t thrive without both people treating each other with love, honor, and respect.
I had no idea that I was disrespecting him.
Ways I Disrespected and Hurt My Husband
- I undermined his authority as a dad and overrode the decisions he made as a parent.
- I had a critical spirit and looked down on him like I was so much more spiritual than he was.
- I asked him to lead or make decisions or for his thoughts but when he didn’t immediately respond, I steamrolled him and took over. (I didn’t realize his type of introverted personality generally takes some time to process and think through things.)
- I had a negative attitude and complained about him a lot to his face and to everyone else in my life.
- I tried to pressure and force him to do what I thought we should do.
- I was contentious and argumentative.
- I believed I was, essentially, always right and if he didn’t agree with me he must be wrong.
- I subconsciously expected him to basically do anything I wanted.
- I answered for him if we were with other people and I didn’t think he answered fast enough.
- I treated him like he was a little kid and I was his mom as if he couldn’t manage his life without my instructions.
- I didn’t think he had any wisdom to share with me.
- I approached him with a whole lot of pride and self-righteousness in my heart.
- I assumed the absolute worst about his motives, wrongly, and acted like my wrong assumptions were facts. (Later I discovered how completely off-base I was.)
- I acted like his prosecuting attorney rather than his friend and teammate.
- I wanted his attention and time constantly and got offended if he had other things he wanted to do.
- I raised my voice at him in exasperation.
- I spoke with an angry/irritated mama tone of voice a lot.
Then I was shocked that he shut down and really didn’t enjoy spending time with me. I thought he was very unloving and he was the one who needed to change.
Greg didn’t confront me about the things I was doing that were disrespectful. And I seriously couldn’t see it. My pride blinded me.
I Thought I Was a Wonderful Christian Wife
Boy was I in for a surprise when I began to pray in October of 2008 that God would show me if I was doing anything to help create the wall in our marriage. That thought had never occurred to me. I thought I had been the most perfect Christian wife.
I mean, I read my Bible every day. I only listened to Christian music. I was at church 3 times per week. I could quote tons of verses from the Bible. I really did love my husband and wanted our marriage to be strong. I thought I was helping our marriage and pushing us toward God.
In reality, I was repelling my husband. He didn’t feel emotionally safe with me and he shouldn’t have. I wasn’t emotionally safe.
I just had no clue how much damage I was causing or that I was even doing anything wrong. And I had no idea how much I was grieving the heart of the Lord.
All this stuff was my sinful nature being in control. I didn’t have the fruit of the Spirit blossoming in my life (Gal. 5:22-33). I wasn’t loving Greg with the divine agape love of Christ (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
The Lordship of Christ Was Missing
That is because I wasn’t fully yielded to the Lordship of Christ. I kind of missed that part of Christianity. I said, “Jesus is my Savior and Lord,” but I didn’t live for Him as LORD of my life.
I wasn’t dying to my old sinful self and desires. I was all about my will, self-exaltation, self-justification, and self-seeking. I said I trusted God, but the fruit of my life revealed that I was trusting myself — not God.
I’m so thankful the Lord so graciously opened my eyes in December of 2008 to my mountain of sin so I could humble myself and repent and receive Jesus’ forgiveness.
I also immediately repented to Greg and decided to try to understand how to be a better wife to him. Even though he couldn’t explain what respect/disrespect was and I had no clue. I decided I was going to find out! Whatever it took.
He forgave me. Like in 3 seconds. For over 14 years of constant disrespect and hurting him. That blew my mind!
I couldn’t forgive him for small things. I held onto resentment and bitterness for years. Maybe he was more spiritual than I thought. And maybe more spiritual than I was.
I finally saw that I didn’t have any righteousness or goodness in myself. I needed Jesus to help me desperately!
It took time for him to feel emotionally/spiritually safe with me. I needed to show the fruit of repentance, too.
My Big, Scary Decision
Then I decided I wanted Jesus to be in charge, not me. I decided to let Him sit on the throne of my life and trust His wisdom and His Word from that moment on.
I determined I was going to seek His will and His path for me and do things His way even if it didn’t make sense to me at first. And I would trust Him with the results.
It was scary at first! Giving up my illusion of control. I kind of felt like I was leaping off of a huge spiritual cliff, to trust God completely instead of myself. But it was the best decision I have ever made.
That was the beginning of my journey of spiritual healing and growth. And the beginning of God’s healing for our marriage.
Now that I have tasted and seen how good God and His ways are, I never want to go back to my human wisdom or living for self again.
Do any of these things resonate with you?
What kinds of wisdom have you learned about treating your husband with honor?
THE ABCs OF SALVATION
A = Admit you are a sinner and you can’t be perfect and holy enough in God’s eyes to be right with Him on your own. Turn away from your sin.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
B = Believe that Jesus (God in the flesh) died on your behalf to pay the price for your sin and to give you a way to be right with God – to be forgiven. He lived the perfect life you couldn’t live. He died the death you deserve and rose from the dead in victory over sin, death, and the grave on your behalf!
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
C = Confess that Jesus is your Lord – this means, Jesus is now your Master and you live your life for Him and His glory rather than for yourself. You say it out loud to others and you live it from now on. You lay down your will and your desires and follow Him, inviting Him to direct and use your life for His will.
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” Rom. 10:9-10
For all the baby steps I took and the life-changing truths God revealed to me on my journey, check out my book, The Peaceful Wife.
Amazingly, God has used my failures and mistakes to somehow bless other wives and marriages. My deepest desire is for everyone to experience the abundant spiritual life, healing, peace, and joy of knowing Jesus. And to see what He can do in our marriages for His glory.