Prayer for the Victims of Abuse and for Abusers

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RESOURCES:

www.focusonthefamily.com has a one-time free counseling service and a Christian counselor referral service

The Salvation Army (for counseling on a variety of severe issues)

YWCA – may have shelters in certain areas for abused women and children

Nina Roesner’s e-course Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity may be helpful for women in abusive situations (and there is private support from wives who have also experienced abuse)

God revealed something to me at a prayer conference at our church Friday night. I’m sure many of you have read my posts about how I believe that wives who are in abusive relationships or who have severe issues in their marriage need to seek godly, experienced, appropriate, one-on-one counsel. I still believe that is wise. I know that I probably don’t have the background and all of the understanding to best advise women who are experiencing severe problems in their marriages (real abuse, infidelity, drug/alcohol addiction, uncontrolled mental health problems, severe sin issues). There are times when separation is most necessary, unfortunately.

But, God showed me that I do have something to offer to my precious sisters and brothers who are victims of abuse or who are the abusers and those who have severe marriage issues. I can pray. We can pray together. This is an intense spiritual battle, after all. No, I don’t have all of the answers. I don’t have all of the resources. I don’t know how the legal system works. I don’t have all of the wisdom or all of the understanding in order to give specific advice to victims of abuse in various situations. I may not understand all of the filters and paradigms of those who have been victims of abuse. I may not accurately predict how those who are have been abused may interpret all of my words about marriage. But – what I do have, I want to share with y’all.

Please join me in praying. And, please feel free to add your prayers for these precious men and women in the comments.

Let’s surround these who are hurting so much with the power of God and of prayer together, church!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17

 

Almighty God,

You alone are the sovereign God of the universe. You are the Creator of galaxies. You hold every star, planet, comet, molecule, and subatomic particle in Your powerful hands. You know the stars each by name. You alone are God – there is no other. There was never a god before You. There will never be a god after You. You are the beginning and the end. You are the Wonderful Counselor. You are the Prince of Peace. You are the Great Physician. You are the Mighty God Who Saves. You are our Rock. You are our Fortress. You are the only source of truth and love. You possess all wisdom. You possess all understanding. Nothing escapes your notice. If we rise to the heavens, You are there. If we make our bed in the depths of the grave, You are there. Where can we flee from Your presence? You are everywhere. You are all-knowing. You are all-powerful. You will accomplish Your good purposes.

How we praise You that no human, no demon, no power or principality can ever thwart Your plans. No sinner is beyond Your reach. No human evil is too great for the blood of Jesus to overcome. The blood of Christ is able to cleanse all of our sin. We are all in desperate need of Christ. You are more than sufficient for us!

You love marriage. You love families. You hate divorce. You hate all sin. You hate violence. You hate people hurting one another in any way – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, physically, or sexually. You long for every marriage to represent the intimacy between Christ and His church, to bring You great glory. It is the devil who wants to steal, kill, and destroy each of us, our marriages, and our families. Let us cooperate with You to heal and bless marriages, let us never cooperate with the enemy!

Lord, we lift up some very broken and hurting marriages and families to You today. We lay them at Your feet in the throne room of the highest heaven before You, the Most High God. We cannot fix these precious people for whom Christ died. We cannot heal them. But You absolutely can. They are not beyond Your reach. Wives cannot fix abusive husbands in their own power, wisdom, and strength. Husbands cannot fix abusive wives on their own. We cannot even fix or save ourselves. But You are the God who saves! You are the God who heals! You are able to change people by the power of Your Spirit working in them. You are able to turn wretched sinners into holy saints! You are able to change a person’s nature completely. You are able to destroy sin and death – Jesus already has done so on the cross! You are able to radically change sinners and evil people and broken, hurting people into people who demonstrate the very heart and mind of Christ. In Jesus, there is NEW LIFE! The old has gone, the new has come! In Jesus, You are able to make anyone a NEW CREATION! How we praise and thank You for this amazing miracle!

We lift up those who are being or have been abused by their husbands/wives/parents/others. We lift up those who are experiencing severe problems in their marriages. The spiritual, emotional, and mental damage that true abuse causes is so very devastating, Lord. And it is so rampant today. How my heart breaks and how I just weep for those who are being (or have been) mistreated – whether as children or as adults. I know that Your heart is greatly grieved over this oppression and cruelty. This is not Your will for anyone. You want all of us to have godly families that are healthy, vibrant, and flourishing. You desire all of us to walk in obedience to Your ways. You are a holy God. You cannot tolerate any sin. You will not ignore the cries of victims and You will not ignore the sin of abusers. You desire justice. You do not ever condone or wink at any sin. 

Some of these precious people are hurting so very much, Lord. The wounds are grievous. Draw them to Yourself. “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. I pray that each one of these dear souls will find his/her worth in Christ. I pray that they will each find Your healing mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, and spiritually. I pray that You might provide the resources they need, the love of Your body, the wisdom of God, the power of Your Spirit. I pray that You might help them to take each thought captive for Christ. Help them to see any lies they are embracing from the enemy of their souls. Set them free from spiritual oppression. Let them see that the shackles and chains that have bound them in the dungeon have fallen away and that the dungeon door is open. They can find freedom, joy, peace, power, and healing in Christ! If they don’t know You and don’t have a relationship with You, let them come to You even today, Lord! Help them to have power over the wrong thoughts and ungodly ideas that hold them captive through Your truth and Your Spirit. How I pray that You might heal their wounds and bind up their broken hearts and let them stand firm in Christ. Let them know their worth in Christ! 

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Through Jesus, we are all more than conquerors (Romans 8). Let us each know our worth and value in Christ Jesus! Not by any power we possess or by our wisdom or goodness, but because when we come to Christ, all we have is His and all He has is ours!!!!!! Jesus, we give you our brokenness, our weakness, our infirmities, our lack of wisdom, our faulty thinking, our burdens, our scars, our wounds, our sins, our loneliness, and our powerlessness. You take all the mess that we are and all of our sin on Yourself. You nailed all of our sin to the cross with You, Jesus! We then died with You and were buried with You and we no longer live. We are now dead to sin and to this world. Now, we are alive to God in Christ. Now, we possess victory over sin and the grave! (Romans 5-8) Now, You live in and through us. Now, we have access to all that You are and all that You have. Now, we can clothe ourselves in Your righteousness, holiness, goodness, and power. Now, we can pick up Your strength, Your power, Your love, Your understanding, Your wisdom, Your plans, Your purposes, Your priorities, Your healing, Your goodness, Your Spirit, Your riches of heaven, Your abundant spiritual life, Your Living Water, and Your intimacy with the Father. Now, You live through us. We are children of the King of kings and Lord of lords! We are no longer paupers! We are no longer destitute! We are children of the Most High God when we are in Christ!

Where there is demonic oppression, I pray that You might reveal that to these who are suffering and set them free by the power of Jesus. I pray that each of us might submit ourselves fully to You as Lord. I pray that each one of us might entrust ourselves to You and I pray that we might then resist the devil so that he will flee (James 4:7). We must be fully submitted to God, then You give us the power to resist the enemy. Give these who are suffering mighty prayer warriors to surround them with prayer. Give them godly mentors. Provide all of the resources they need to find healing, rest, peace, and recovery. Give them wisdom about exactly what to do and when. Help those who are being mistreated to know when they should stay or when they should leave. Give them the words to say. Let them trust fully in You and let them see clearly what You desire them to do and hear Your voice and obey You. Give them big faith in You. Show them how they need to speak and act and live. Give them the power of Christ to overcome the darkness, to pray with fervency, to overcome the forces of evil that wish to attack, steal, kill, and destroy. Let them soak up Your Word and abide in You constantly and in prayer. Empower them to live by Your Spirit and to have the victory that Christ has won on our behalf.

I pray for the abusers. These people are also precious to You. You love them. Jesus died for them. Yes, they are wretched sinners – as we all are apart from Christ. But praise God!!!! They are not beyond the reach of Jesus!!!!!!  They are wayward and lost – and God longs for them to come home. We as people cannot change them. We as humans cannot save them. But You have the power to save and change these people. You have the power to turn them from abusers into sons and daughters of God! That is the greatest need of every person on the planet. Lord, many of these men and women have been abused themselves. Many of them are being oppressed spiritually by demons and sin. Some of them are in bondage to addictions to drugs or alcohol. Some of them are mentally ill. Some of them have embraced bitterness, anger, revenge, hatred, and evil and have given the enemy a great foothold to build a fortress in their hearts and lives. All of them are deeply wounded. They are hurting. They are angry. They don’t have any hope. They are imprisoned.

Lord, how we join hands together around the world and pray for Your Spirit to draw these men and women to Yourself. Open their eyes to their sin. Convict them of their sin and show them the path to Christ and to salvation! Let them see Your holiness and Your love for them. Let them grieve over their sin and the hurt they have caused to You and to those they love most. Let them understand what Jesus did for them on the cross! Let them see that forgiveness and a new life is completely available to them by the power of the blood of Jesus alone! Let them come to Christ and turn from their sin and abusive ways. Let them find freedom from the spiritual oppression and prisons they have been in for many years. Let them become new creations in Christ for Your greatest glory! Give them the godly mentors and resources they need to grow in Christ and to become godly men and women who are faithful to You and who live holy lives of love for Your kingdom!

We cannot save anyone. But You can. We cannot heal. But You can. We cannot overcome demons or strongholds of sin. But Jesus can! And when we are in Christ, we have all the power of heaven and You give us total access to Your throne room. You allow us to come before You confidently and boldly in prayer to ask for mercy and help in times of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Our faith and confidence is not in our human wisdom. Our faith and confidence is not in our own human strength. Our faith and confidence is in You alone, Jesus! You are Lord, even over the demons. They tremble before You. They are under Your authority and they must obey You. They cannot do anything apart from Your permission. And if You tell them to leave, they must flee.

I pray that You might give salvation and spiritual healing and freedom in Christ to these among us who are living lives of violence, hatred, and sin and who are deeply wounding those who love them. Open their blinded eyes. Let them see with Your eyes. Wake them from their spiritual state of death to new life in Christ Jesus! Let them come to Him as Lord. Heal them. Cleanse them. Bind their wounds. Transform them radically by the regenerating power of Your Spirit. Let them become godly men and women who storm the world for Your kingdom and Your glory.

Heal these broken marriages. Heal these broken souls. Heal the broken children, men, and women. We trust these marriages and families to You. We pray for healing for the husbands, wives, and children. We pray with huge faith for a mighty movement of Your Spirit among us to bring people to genuine repentance and to new, abundant life and healing in Christ Jesus.

In the Name and power of our Lord, Jesus Christ and for Your glory and Your purposes to be accomplished,

Amen!

RELATED:

Gary Thomas’ article “Enough Is Enough” about wives who are being abused by their husbands

Authority and Submission by Watchman Nee – The last third of the book describes the necessary qualifications for someone in a position of God-given authority and includes incredible humility, a very strong connection with God, gentleness, and the ability to let people make their own choices to follow or to rebel and to trust God with the results. Nee gives biblical examples of authority and submission in very difficult situations and demonstrates a godly way believers can handle both of these roles for us to examine. He is also quite opposed to anyone saying, “I am the authority, you have to do anything I say.”

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

What Does God Say About You? (your identity in Christ)

Prayer for Those Addicted to Porn and Those in the Porn/Sex Industry

Prayer Day – consecration

Prayer Day – humility

Prayer Day – praying in faith not fear

Prayer Day – Praying from an Obedient Life

Prayer Day-  Praying with Respect

How to Pray for Your Husband So That God Will Hear

Why I Don’t Write for Women with Abusive Husbands – I don’t have experience with abuse myself, and some women in abusive marriages may mis-hear what I say when I talk about biblical submission or respect. I don’t want to further harm my already deeply wounded sisters. I encourage women who are truly being abused to seek godly, experienced, biblical counsel and appropriate help from the authorities when necessary. Please see some resources on this post I have linked. I don’t want anyone to be abused or to be unsafe. The posts I have about our walk with Christ may be helpful for all wives, but posts about respect and biblical submission – I write from a slant of having been a dominant, controlling, disrespectful wife, with a passive husband. Sometimes women with abusive husbands or women who are “too submissive” may misunderstand my posts because of different filters and paradigms they may have and because they will be approaching becoming a godly wife from a different angle than I do. I desire men, women, and children to be safe.

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

 

Some Questions from a Wife with an Easily Angered Husband

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Some questions from a dear sister in Christ (men and women are welcome to share any godly wisdom y’all may have about these issues):

1. How do I handle it when my husband asks my opinion, or my preference, and when I share it but it is the opposite of his, he then tells me that I am not letting him lead, that I’m always wanting to do things my own way? I feel like I should maybe take a while to be quiet and not give my opinion, and go along with whatever he wants to do rather than sharing my preferences.

There are many stages of this journey – for husbands and for wives. Many husbands have very little experience in leadership and they have a learning curve just like we do. Men will not automatically be awesome, mature, godly leaders. They must grow into this role. And, there is a long time period when wives begin to change where husbands are very skeptical about the changes that are happening and are not ready to trust their wives yet or feel safe with them.

  • If a wife has been very disrespectful and controlling for a long time, there can be a time period where it may be wise for her to not share her opinion IF God leads her to do this.

This would only be for a few weeks/months. My husband tended to be very passive. When I began to submit to him and step down and stop taking control, I didn’t give my opinion about a lot of things for awhile. I wanted Greg to have the chance to be able to learn to decide things on his own without my constant input so he could get to know his own mind for awhile. Then, in time, I began to share my needs, desires, ideas, concerns in a respectful way.

That may not be the route God leads every wife. If a husband is more dominant, he may already know his mind and it may not be necessary for a wife to have a time of refraining from giving her opinion about things. When there are different dynamics and personalities – wives may need to approach things differently. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all journey.

There are multiple issues going on here. There is the issue of how and when the wife presents her desires, needs, ideas, and concerns. And there is the issue of how her husband responds at the time. Wives have no control over a husband’s response. We are responsible for ourselves to do the right thing on our end of the marriage and to honor, please, and obey God. I don’t like the idea of a wife not sharing her input – except possibly as a temporary measure.

How a husband responds may reveal his own issues. A wife cannot prevent her husband from getting upset if she doesn’t agree with him. Disagreeing is not the same thing as disrespecting. A wife may disagree with her husband but that has nothing to do with her ability to honor his leadership or her ability to respect her husband. As a husband sees that she disagrees with him respectfully, but still honors his decisions, he will – hopefully – in time, not get so upset.

It may take time for a husband to believe that his wife can disagree with him now AND still respect and honor him.

If a husband responds that his wife won’t let him lead because she disagrees with him, she can calmly, briefly, respectfully, gently, humbly say something like,

“I’m simply sharing my concerns with you. I plan to honor your leadership. I realize you are ultimately accountable to God for this decision, not me. Thanks so much for listening to my ideas/concerns. It means a lot to me that you would consider how I feel when we are facing a decision.”

(If a husband is not close to God, I would not mention God in the statement above.) And then – if he is not asking her to condone clear sin or to commit clear sin  – she can pray for God to give her husband wisdom and cooperate with her husband’s leadership. (If a husband is not in his right mind due to drugs/alcohol/mental illness/severe sin issues/abuse, etc… wives – please seek appropriate, godly help, ASAP!)

2. My husband is a leader at church, has been baptized, and is a strong leader at home…but he gets angry easily, and often times when problems arise will say things like, “I know what the *Christian* thing to do here is, but that just isn’t realistic.” He has called me naïve for responding to ignorance with kindness. He tends to be extremely intolerant of anyone with a viewpoint contrary to his, or who handles something differently than he would. Is this a situation – even though my husband is a Christian – where I should try to “win him without a word” and not speak of how God’s word says we should react to things, or treat people?

Husbands have sin issues, too. Husbands are not always right. They have a lot of room for sanctification, just like we wives do. When a husband gets angry easily like this, it can be scary for a wife. My thoughts, for whatever they are worth, are that a wife could:

  • continue to respond in the power of God’s Spirit
  • stay close to God herself
  • seek to be sensitive to God’s Spirit’s prompting about what to say, what not to say, how to say it, and when to say it
  • share her ideas if her husband directly asks for her opinion in the way that God inspires her to
  • pray for God to work in her husband’s heart to accomplish His good purposes, to sanctify him, and to give him God’s wisdom
  • trust God’s Spirit to do the work of conviction in him
  • pray about how she might bless her husband as he is learning and growing
  • seek God’s wisdom about if/when/how she needs to address what he is saying or sin in his life (Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin)
  • focus on I Peter 3:1-6, I Corinthians 13:4-8, Galatians 5:22-26
  • focus on being the wife and woman God commands her to be, knowing she will be accountable to Him for herself independently, no matter what her husband does or does not do
  • realize that ultimately she answers to God not to her husband – it would be ideal if she can please both God and her husband, but if she must choose between the two, she must choose Christ in a humble, respectful, gentle way (for more details about this, please see Spiritual Authority)
  • there may be times when God impresses on her heart to say something, there may be times when God impresses on her heart to leave him alone and allow God to handle it without any verbal input from her
  • remember that the closer a husband is to God, the more he can hear his wife about spiritual things, the farther away he is from God, the less her words about spiritual things will help and the more they might hurt (I Peter 3:1-6) – in those times her godly attitude, behavior, and respect will be much more powerful than her words to her husband

3. If a husband screams and yells, what can a wife do?

This will depend on your specific husband’s personality, how severe the yelling/screaming is and what works best for both of you and your particular personalities. Some possible suggestions that have worked for different wives – not all of these will apply in every situation:

  • stay calm yourself
  • calmly ask your husband, “Please speak in a normal tone of voice.”
  • say, “It scares me when you yell at me.” or “I feel afraid when you yell at me. That makes it hard for me to trust you and hard for me to listen well. I don’t want to feel afraid of you.” – for some husbands, telling them they scare you makes things much worse, please see the comments.
  • say, “Please don’t yell at me. I want to hear what you are saying, but I can’t hear your message when you yell/raise your voice at me.”
  • say, “I would appreciate it if you would please speak to me more gently, please.” (If you yell and scream at your husband often, please correct your own sin way before you attempt to address his! Matthew 7:1-5)
  • sometimes a firm, confident answer works best
  • sometimes a gentle whisper works best
  • sometimes silence works best
  • say, “I’d like to talk about this – but I think we may need to cool down a bit first, please.”
  • say, “I can hear you so much better when you talk to me more gently.”
  • avoid sarcasm
  • avoid responding sinfully yourself – avoid yelling, don’t throw his faults/his past sins in his face
  • don’t seek vengeance (“Do I Have the Right to Punish My Husband?”, “I’ll Show Him!” Why Revenge Kills Relationships)
  • sometimes a husband won’t respect a wife who will “allow him” to yell and scream at her, but he will respond to her setting firm boundaries, i.e.: “It is not ok for you to treat me like this. I’m going to leave for awhile and then maybe we can talk about this in a few hours/tomorrow.”
  • there is really no reason, in my view, for a husband or wife to yell and scream – that is disrespectful no matter who is doing the yelling and screaming and does not display the power of God’s Spirit in our lives – He gives us the power to have love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
  • calmly excuse yourself (some husbands get more angry if a wife tries to leave, this will require godly wisdom)
  • gently ask to have some time to calm down and resume the discussion again at X time
  • diffuse the tension with humor (this only works on certain husbands and only with certain kinds of attempts at humor – certainly don’t attempt to make him the object of a joke – a wife’s attempt at humor in this situation may cause some husbands to feel even more disrespected and angry)
  • I don’t recommend yelling and screaming back at him, that is usually like pouring gasoline on  a fire
  • it’s probably best not to try to defend yourself, explain yourself, or try to prove your point to him when he is this riled up – he probably cannot hear anything you try to say at this moment
  • it could be wise to repeat back to him what you hear him say with some husbands
  • it could be wise to wait until another time when he is calm for you to share your ideas, thoughts, concerns, and perspective briefly, preferably after you have done a lot of praying for God’s wisdom
  • if he tries to leave, let him go so he can have time and space to process – do not follow him!
  • if he goes silent, give him time and space – unless you know you need to apologize for something, then apologize briefly without justifying or explaining why you did something that upset him (the more we explain and justify, the more disrespectful we often sound to our husbands)
  • if you did something wrong, briefly apologize – but you don’t have to take responsibility for things that you didn’t do or if you truly didn’t do something wrong
  • you may need to talk to a godly wife mentor, or comment anonymously here, but don’t go tell everyone all the hateful, mean things your husband said when he was angry
  • keep in mind that sometimes men don’t mean what they say when they are very angry (sometimes women don’t either) – that doesn’t mean it is ok for them to explode – but it does mean that it may be wise not to take everything they say super personally
  • some couples do better if they write out their concerns and thoughts and aren’t interrupted
  • some couples do best if they each take turns taking 1-2 minutes to talk while the other one only listens

If a man is yelling and screaming and is totally out of control – that is because the Spirit of God is not in control at that time in his life. His response is about HIS character, not yours. Don’t purposely try to provoke him. Seek to honor and respect him and to not sin against him. But don’t take responsibility for his behavior and sin.

This is a situation where a wife will need extreme sensitivity to God’s Spirit. Some husbands respond best to a direct, respectful, firm, polite confrontation. “Please stop yelling at me.” “Please speak to me in a calm tone of voice.” “Please don’t raise your voice. I care about what you want to say. I promise I am listening.” Some husbands would get even more upset if a wife tries to leave. If you are in any danger, please get help ASAP! (I am not writing for wives with abusive husbands. – please check this post for resources)

Let’s keep in mind that anger is often a secondary emotion to pain, hurt, disappointment, or sadness. Men don’t usually cry in our culture. When men are upset, they are more likely to shut down or explode. What is the REAL issue? Is he hurting in some way?

Sometimes, if we can hear our husband’s real message and address that, we might be able to diffuse his anger. If he feels understood, he may calm down.

ie: If a husband suddenly gets angry, a wife may want to check to see if she just did something disrespectful. She may even want to ask what Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ suggests in Love and Respect, “That felt unloving, did I do something disrespectful just now?” Or, she may just want to say, “Yikes! Was what I just said/did disrespectful to you?” If it was, please simply apologize, take responsibility for what you did and don’t justify yourself or explain why you said/did what you did. Or, a wife may just say something like, “Hmm… something has upset you. Could we talk about it?” (Different husbands need different approaches.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that if we are unknowingly coming across disrespectfully, our husbands may respond in anger. Their emotions are their issues. We are not responsible for them emotionally. However, we are responsible TO them to treat them with honor, godly love, and respect. Sometimes our men are responding to the messages they think we are sending. If we are being disrespectful, it may be a good thing for us to work on getting rid of any intentional or unintentional disrespect and to focus on learning what respect means to our husbands.

  • Several wives have shared that their husbands scream and curse at them for prolonged periods of time, even waking their wives up to yell at them for hours.

That is NOT ok. I don’t believe husbands or wives need to yell and scream at each other – ever. But screaming for hours?!?! Greg and I talked about that scenario and we both agreed that if a spouse is yelling and screaming for hours – that is emotionally abusive – and I don’t use that word lightly. (If that is your situation, you may want to check out some of the comments on this post, you also may need to seek out godly, experienced, appropriate help ASAP.)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

verses about anger

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I’d love for some wives (and husbands) with godly wisdom to share how God has lead them to handle this kind of very difficult situation. This is not a one-size-fits-all issue. How I pray we will each be very sensitive to whatever God may be speaking to us in each circumstance and in each moment, that we might walk in the power of His Spirit and in obedience to His promptings.

RELATED:

Got an Angry Husband? Nina Roesner shares some powerful examples of different ways God has led wives to respond to angry husbands. This is SO worth your time!

A Beautiful, Feminine, Godly Example of How to Handle Conflict

How to Deal with Conflict in Marriage – by Daniel

Honoring Christ, Our Husbands, and Our Marriages in Conflict

Conflict Resolution in Marriage – by Rev. H.A. Weaver

A Wake Up Call for Wives – let’s be sure WE are not emotionally or verbally abusing our husbands or yelling and screaming at them!

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

A Wife’s Influence Authority  -Rev. H.A. Weaver

Responding to Our Husbands’ Constructive Criticism – video

What Does the Bible Say about Anger – www.gotquestions.org

How She Apologized for Her Disrespect – Calming the Storm – guest post

Sacred Influence – by Gary Thomas – describes several wives and how they respond with honor, love, respect, and godliness to their angry husbands

Why Don’t I Address Women with Abusive Husbands?

 

Because I haven’t been abused, and because I was a dominant, controlling wife – my slant and approach are going to naturally be from the perspective of a wife who was not abused and who used to be dominant, controlling, and disrespectful with a husband who was passive and unplugged. Every writer has a slant. This is what I know. My blog will probably fit women in this category better than with any other marital dynamics. Even for wives who are not being abused but are just more timid, introverted, shy, overly submissive, or passive with dominant husbands – some posts on my blog may not be the best fit. (The posts about our relationship with God may be a fit for everyone, but here – I am talking about some of my posts about respect, conflict, and biblical submission, especially.)

Women who tend to be too quiet, “too submissive,” or “too respectful,” will have to approach many topics from an opposite direction than I do. They may need to learn to speak up more, to share their feelings more, to plug in more, to be more involved, etc… I try to have guest posts from wives with various marital dynamics to help wives in different situations. The reality is that many rather controlling/dominating husbands will not allow their wives to share what they have learned in a blog, even anonymously. And many wives who tend to be “too submissive” or “too respectful” tend not to be very verbal and don’t want to write posts.  So – it can be more difficult to find resources for certain marriage dynamics.

The abuse issue is so much more complex than a simple “dynamics” issue. Let me be very clear-

I don’t EVER condone any sin against anyone. No one deserves to be sinned against or abused in any way.

Abuse is always sinful.

A good definition of abuse:

Abuse is “fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself* as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control.”- cryingoutforjustice.com. When leaders see abuse defined they are responsible for that knowledge. When targets of abuse see it defined, we realize that we cannot cause abusers to abuse. – Ellie from www.cryingoutforjustice.com

  • To me – it seems that abuse an issue of idolatry of self and a demand that one’s spouse “worship” oneself, as well – to the detriment of the other person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or physical well-being.

I don’t condone lust, gossip, greed, pride, self-righteousness, materialism, selfishness, hatred, unforgiveness, malice, control, resentment, bitterness, stealing, hurting someone in any way (emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, or spiritually), violence, infidelity of any kind, idolatry, or any sin. Sin always hurts the one who is sinning, it hurts those who are sinned against, and it grieves the heart of God. No sin is ok. God never gives any of us a free pass to sin.

Some of my posts may apply to everyone – particularly the posts about our relationships with Christ. But some of my posts about marriage, respect, biblical submission, etc… may not be a good fit for certain women.

REASONS I DON’T WRITE FOR WOMEN WHO ARE ABUSED:

1. Some women believe they are being abused but they are not. Some of these wives are actually controlling, manipulative, and disrespectful and their husbands are desperately trying to get the family back on track with God’s Word.

This word, “abuse,” is so overused today. Many women use this word just to garner sympathy or justification for the way they mistreat their husbands. Some of these wives are actually abusive toward their husbands in various ways. They may believe that all of the problems in the marriage are their husband’s fault and take no responsibility for their own sins or their own obedience to God. That was me!

Almost any time that someone wants to blame someone else 100% for all of the problems in a marriage, that is probably a red flag. When two people are married to each other, they will usually both have issues they need to address (of course, there are some rare exceptions where there is severe abuse going on). Some wives in this group have husbands who are truly just trying to lead in a godly way and who ask them to do things like:

This group of women may wrongly call these kinds of things “abuse.” If anyone asks them to look at their own responsibility and accountability to God, to God’s Word, or in the marriage, they get very defensive. This particular group would probably actually benefit greatly from reading my blog. I don’t want to send them away. These are some of the very women I know God has called me to reach in this ministry.

2. Some women are targets of abuse by their husbands but do not realize or acknowledge the abuse to themselves.

They may believe their husbands that all of the problems in the marriage are totally their (the wife’s) fault. They may not realize the manipulation, brain washing, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse, or even physical abuse that is going on. They rationalize the abuse away and think that if they were just more respectful and more submissive, then their marriages would be great. They don’t see their husband’s part of the problem in the marriage. They take full responsibility for every problem in the marriage themselves and believe their husbands are completely innocent. They cannot correctly identify sin in their own lives or in their husbands’ lives.

For these women, reading my blog is not a good idea. It is easy for them to read what I say and “hear” that if only they were more godly wives, everything would be better in their marriages. They make no allowance for the issues that their husbands are responsible for and are overly responsible for every problem themselves. Of course, husbands in such situations often endorse my blog heartily and use my blog as “proof” that all of the problems in the marriage are the wife’s fault while these husbands take zero responsibility for becoming the godly men God calls them to be. That really upsets me! Men are also called to obey God and to love and honor their wives. Just because I only teach women does not mean that men are off the hook before the throne of God. They have even greater accountability and responsibility before God than wives do!

Everyone is welcome here. I love ALL of my sisters and brothers! But I want to be sure that everyone benefits from being here. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand or to be hurt in some way because her needs are different from the things I am addressing. I want each woman to find the help she needs to find emotional, spiritual, mental healing. And I know that each woman has different needs. I do have limitations. God does not. But I certainly do. I am not a professional or certified counselor. I am not a pastor or a theologian. I have not been trained in dealing with severe marriage issues. I am just a wife who wants to share what I have learned and share my journey with others to bless them. But I realize my blog may not be the best resource for everyone and every possible situation.

3. Some women are being targeted by abuse by their husbands in some way but are not honest with me about the abuse.

They don’t tell me how bad the problems are. They tell me that things are going much better than they really are. I appreciate wives wanting to be respectful of their husbands. But, I cannot know how severe problems are unless wives tell me what is going on and give me an accurate picture. Of course, I have no way to know when wives are telling me things that are not true. Some wives expect me to magically know that they are leaving out critical details and that what they do tell me is very sugar-coated. They expect me to give them appropriate advice without me having any idea what is actually happening. They sound like they only have minor issues then are upset that I didn’t figure out the truth and say that I told them to submit to an abusive husband. I don’t tell wives to submit to a truly abusive husband. I tell wives in that situation to find appropriate help! (For more details, please see the bottom of “Spiritual Authority.“) This is just not a reasonable expectation for people to have of me. I am not omniscient. I have no mind-reading abilities. I depend on women to be honest with me about what is actually happening.

This group of women will not benefit from reading my blog and will need specialized and individualized assistance from someone who is spiritually mature and who can get to know them and their particular situation in person and with whom these women are willing to be honest.

I believe that women do need to take personal responsibility if they seek counseling that what they are telling the counselor is accurate and truthful. It is not being disrespectful to be honest with a counselor when you are seeking help for your marriage.

4. Some women are honest about how they are being mistreated in their marriages but are so afraid that they cannot go into much detail.

It is very difficult for me to address problems that are not fully disclosed. I understand why many women would not be able to share many details and that they are afraid of their husbands finding what they wrote. That is a very legitimate fear in cases of real abuse. These wives DO need to be extremely careful what they share online in a blog format where their husband may see what they have written. But, just like with #3, I am not very good at mind reading, and, without the entire picture, I will be quite limited in what I could share that might be helpful. If I don’t have all of the information, I may make wrong assumptions and may give advice that would not be appropriate. I don’t want to mislead anyone or misdirect anyone ever. I want everyone to find healing and to find the power, love, mercy, and grace of God, and His wisdom.

Again, this group of women will need specialized, specific, individualized help from someone who is very spiritually mature and experienced with dealing with abusive situations. My blog is not a good fit for women whose husbands are abusive. They hear me saying things that I don’t say and never intend to say. I don’t want to cause harm. That is my first priority – to do no harm to my sisters. I want everyone – men, women, and children – to be safe.

5. Some women are targets of abuse and do share about it in detail.

Because I haven’t been abused and haven’t spent years studying about abuse, it can be difficult for me to predict how women who really have abusive husbands might take what I say. Their paradigm and “filters” are so very different from mine. Sometimes, women in actual abusive situations think I am saying that they have to just stay there and be severely mistreated and take the abuse. I NEVER EVER say that. There are times when separation is very necessary, as much as I hate that and wish that every marriage could be healed immediately. But women who have been abused hear me talking about “normal” situations and just normal respect/biblical submission issues and hear vastly different things than I ever intended. My talking about normal situations can be triggers for women who live with abusive husbands. They are going to need very specialized resources and help from people who are familiar with abusive situations.

My blog is not a good fit for women with truly abusive husbands or who are dealing with husbands with uncontrolled mental health problems, active drug/alcohol/gambling/sex addictions, infidelity, or major sin issues. It may not be safe for a wife to submit to a man who is not in his right mind – as men in these situations may not be. I am just not able to address severe marriage problems in a blanket way and would strongly encourage women in any of these situations to seek godly, experienced, spiritually mature, biblical, personalized, one-on-one help. I can help wives in such situations with their walk with Christ, but I am not prepared at this time to give specific marriage advice to women in these severe situations.

Why I Don’t Recommend Many Resources Specifically

If I were to recommend a website or book – I am then endorsing every single word in that website or book. I am also endorsing the way that the women in each of these groups would “hear” every word in each website or book. That is a very tall order. Readers sometimes share comments on my posts about abuse and share resources that helped them. That is awesome. Y’all are more than welcome to share resources that have been helpful. But there is no way that one particular resource would be appropriate for women in all of these different groups – or that women in all of these categories would be helped by one particular resource. There is also no way for me to anticipate how each women in these various groups might take what is said in different books or websites.

I encourage women who are actually being abused to seek out godly one-on-one counsel with a trusted, mature believer who can help each particular woman find the resources and support she needs individually.

For women in difficult marriages, you may find spiritual healing for yourself in Christ in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

The Salvation Army has counselors who are able to help women who are really being abused.

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline may be a necessary resource for women who are in true physical danger

www.thehotline.org

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Please check out the resources listed in the comments on this post – please read any resource prayerfully and compare it to the truth of God’s Word!

RELATED:

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

What Does It Mean to Be an Ungodly Woman?

Godly Femininity

A Wife Responds Beautifully to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

“I’ll Show Him!” – Why Revenge Kills Relationships

Greg circa 1996
Greg circa 1996

ADMIN NOTE:

I appear to have the flu or something similar. My temperature was 103.1 yesterday. I will get to the comments when I am feeling up to it. 🙂

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Some wives decide that when nagging, attempts to control, criticizing, lecturing, demanding, negativity, disrespect, etc… don’t work – that it is time to resort to punishing their husbands in order for the wives to get their way about an issue. Some punishments I have seen wives use include:

  • withholding sex
  • withholding affection
  • withholding attention (cold shoulder treatment)
  • refusing to cooperate with anything their husbands want to do
  • poisoning the children against their dad
  • withholding all respect
  • withholding praise
  • withholding any encouragement or admiration
  • being very negative, harsh, critical, cold, hateful, and mean
  • doing something to try to hurt her husband and make him as miserable as possible

For a bigger list of examples of ways wives sometimes try to punish their husbands, and for a more detailed discussion about God’s instructions to us please see the post from earlier this week. (Of course, sometimes husbands resort to similar tactics that are equally destructive, as well.)

Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears hers down.

I used to think, “I am hurting so much. I feel unloved. If only I can show Greg how much I hurt, then he will love me again!” Of course, he always did love me, he was just not responding the way I wanted him to. He was showing love in his own way, that I didn’t even see for a long time. He was also a man – not a woman – and I misunderstood him SO MUCH!!! I thought he would think, talk, and act just like me. He is very different from me. Turns out, that is a good thing!

I thought that Greg didn’t understand that I was hurting, so I needed to up the volume and emotional intensity. I didn’t realize he could best receive my message at a very low volume and low emotional intensity. All I have to do is say, “That hurts,” “Ouch,” “I am feeling lonely right now,” “I would love to spend some time with you,” “I wish we could have some time to talk/emotionally connect,” “what I heard when you said X was this…” I also had no idea that Greg always felt connected to me, and that words we shared had nothing to do with how bonded he thought we were. I had no idea that some people bond without words!

I thought, “If only he knew how much I am hurting and how unloved I feel, Greg would feel horrible and he would fix everything immediately, right?” I made him responsible for my happiness. The crazy thing is, I truly convinced myself somehow that if I lashed out at Greg, that he would suddenly be convicted, see my pain, see how unhappy I was, fall to his knees at my feet, beg for my mercy and forgiveness, and promise to do anything I wanted in order to make me happy.

I also thought that Greg was so strong that it was impossible for me to hurt him. He didn’t express and emote like I did, so I assumed that meant he was invincible. I was so very wrong! I wounded him deeply. He never said a word about it. He just shut down and pulled away. Then I labeled him as the bad guy who was being “unloving.”

What I expected to happen was a story line for a fictional Hallmark movie. My expectations  were NOT reality, my precious sisters! This is not how real men respond to their wives’ attempts to punish them or lash out at them.

Do we even realize that it would be a total  disaster for a husband to give a wife what she wants if she is using a destructive, sinful approach? If a husband gives in to poor behavior like this, he will help to create a selfish, prideful, hateful, manipulative, controlling, disrespectful monster. And even worse, his wife will lose respect for him if he allows her to mistreat him like this. Really, no wife would want her husband to use this approach on her, either. If we purposely try to hurt someone, that never builds intimacy.

If we sin in response to feeling unloved, all we can do is trigger a downward spiral in the marriage. All we can do is cause more damage and destruction. Sin always hurts others, God, and ourselves. Always. My sin will only widen the chasm between my husband and myself. Adding more wrong and pain never brings healing. Hatred and unforgiveness never bring love. Sin never brings peace, joy, and harmony. God is very clear about the results of sin – death. Sin will destroy our relationships and our lives.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON THE RECEIVING END OF THIS?

Think about a woman in your life who has been controlling, critical, bossy, and negative. Maybe it was your mom, your mother-in-law, your older sister, a coworker, your boss, a woman at church, or a neighbor. Think about a time that you did something this woman did not want you to do and she let you have it and tried to make your life miserable. Think about the negative comments, the glares, the hateful tone of voice, the gossip against you, the disdain, the contempt, the pride, the arrogance, the hatred, the bitterness, and the resentment you experienced from her every time you saw her. Maybe she even shunned you, unfriended you, and refused to speak to you in true Hatfield and McCoy style.

Maybe for months or years this is how things were and she was a constant source of friction, tension, aggravation, and pain in your life. Now think about how you felt about this woman after she treated you this way for awhile. Did you spend a lot of time thinking about all the ways you wanted to show your love for her? Did you spend hours every week trying to figure out how you could spend more time with her and get to know her heart better? Or did you dread hearing her name and dread seeing her phone number on the caller ID? Did her hatred draw you to her and create greater closeness, or did her hatred and attempts to punish you repel you and make you wish you never had to see her again?

If you caved in to this controlling woman’s demands and gave her what she wanted after this awful behavior, what kind of relationship would that be? And if you caved in to her and did things she wanted you to do, would you be doing them because you truly loved her, or just because you felt guilted and pressured? Is that real love? Is this real intimacy? Will she suddenly be kind to you for real for the rest of her life from that point on? No. You know all too well that it is just a matter of time before there is another thing she will want you to do that you don’t want to do – and the crazy cycle starts all over again – until you eventually decide you can’t take it anymore and break off contact with her, most likely. We put our husbands (and ourselves)  in a total no-win situation when we try to punish them or take revenge.

HATRED REPELS – LOVE AND HONOR ATTRACT

Now, think about a time when someone truly loved you even when you didn’t deserve it. Maybe you were a rebellious teenager, and yet, your parents continued to love you even when you screamed, “I HATE YOU!” to them. If you were mistreating your parents, but they continued to do the right thing and to extend, love, mercy, and grace to you, even as they sought to lovingly correct you, didn’t that eventually draw you to them? Of course, they may have had to set up some boundaries wtih you.

It is human nature that we feel repulsed by those who mistreat, abuse, sin against, and hate us. How could we ever think that our hatred and revenge would heal our relationships? It is also human nature that we feel drawn toward godly love, honor, genuine respect, acceptance, blessing, friendliness, real smiles, and pleasant people.

God is love. God is peace. God is the Lord of harmony, unity, reconciliation, beauty, love, and honor. When we love as He loves by His power, we don’t lose power. Thankfully, God’s Spirit can give us the power to respond with His love even in the face of sin, hatred, criticism, negativity, bitterness, and malice.  The only power we lose when we do things God’s way is the power to destroy ourselves, our husbands, and our marriages. But we gain the power of heaven to breathe healing, life, love, and hope into our lives, our marriages, and our husbands’ lives.

April around 1997
April around 1997ish

“Do I Have the Right to Punish My Husband?”

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First, let’s define “punish” so that we are all on the same page.

Merriam Webster defines “punish” as:

transitive verb
1
a : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation
b : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation
2
a : to deal with roughly or harshly
b : to inflict injury on : hurt

I think we can all agree that God does not give believers  the “right” to  “deal with roughly or harshly,” “to inflict injury on,” or to “hurt” someone else. The two greatest commandments in Matthew 22:37-40 are to love God with all our hearts and to love others the way God does.

Love does no harm to others (I Corinthians 13:4-8a, Romans 13:10).

What about imposing penalties? Do I have the right to impose or inflict penalties on my husband or to seek retaliation if I am hurt by him in some way?

WHO HAS AUTHORITY TO DISCIPLINE OR TO PUNISH OTHERS? (There is a discussion about the difference between discipline and punishment at the bottom of the post.)

According to God’s Word, God has the ultimate authority to punish or discipline people. God alone has the right to decide what is right and wrong. God decides what punishment a person, city, or nation deserves. God also delegates certain human authorities who have the authority to punish, discipline, and/or lead certain people according to His design for order. (For more detail on this, please check out Spiritual Authority.)

Note. For more about husbands’ responsibilities, please see the section at the bottom of the post (for some of you, this is a trigger, so please don’t read the very last section). For more about wives’ authority, please check out “A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage.” Wives do have authority to address their husbands’ sin, please see below. However, the farther a husband is from God, the less he can hear his wife’s words about spiritual things. If my husband is far from God, God’s command for me is I Peter 3:1-6.

“SHOULDN’T MY HUSBAND TRY TO MAKE ME HAPPY MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?”

A husband’s primary responsibility is to honor, please, and obey God – that is every believer’s primary responsibility. A wife’s primary responsibility is also to honor, please, and obey God. Ideally, we can please God and please our spouses, but if we must choose, we must choose to please God. 

Most husbands truly want their wives to be happy whenever possible. Many husbands measure their success as men by their wives’ happiness. (This is not always an accurate measurement – by the way – of a man’s success. God is the only one who can accurately measure a man’s “success.”) A wife’s happiness can be wonderful when she is happy about godly things. But a wife’s happiness must NEVER come before a husband’s obedience to God, God’s will, the Spirit’s leadership, and His Word.

A wife (or any believer) who is walking in the power of God’s Spirit can and will have joy, peace, and a thankful heart no matter what her circumstances may be at the time.

“I KNOW GOD’S WILL BEST!”

Sometimes, we think we know what is best for us and we think if we had our way that everything would be great. We may think we have more wisdom than our husbands and more wisdom than God. Sometimes God will lead our husbands another way, give them wisdom we cannot see at the time, or prompt them in ways we don’t understand until later. I pray we will not attempt to insert ourselves between our husbands and God and attempt to derail our husbands from doing what they truly believe is best, right, and most honoring to Christ. We can do incalculable damage if we do this! And, please keep in mind, that God can and does lead believing wives through unbelieving husbands. God is sovereign. We can rest in that. 🙂

Human happiness does not come first. God MUST come first. Always. We are no longer seeking to please people, but to please God! (Galatians 1:10)

WHAT DOES GOD SAY WE SHOULD DO WHEN SOMEONE SINS AGAINST US?

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14, 17-21

We, as followers of Christ, can trust God with vengeance and retribution for those who sin against us. Ultimately, all sin is against God. Revenge belongs to Him alone. And we must trust the government to act on God’s behalf to carry out punishment for criminals.

Verses about God taking vengeance

If I assign myself authority to judge someone, to take vengeance, and to execute punishment – I am putting myself in God’s place in a sinful, prideful way.

I DO NOT HAVE AUTHORITY FROM GOD TO PUNISH MY HUSBAND

God does NOT impart to me the right or authority to punish anyone – including my husband. As a believer, I am not the judge or executioner for anyone (unless that is my job with the government and I determine or administer punishment for criminals who have been convicted by a court of law – and even then, I would be disqualified from judging or punishing my own husband in our society, at least).

IF MY HUSBAND WON’T DO WHAT I WANT HIM TO DO

If my husband is not asking me to clearly sin or to condone sin, God commands me as a wife to honor my husband’s leadership, to respect him, and to biblically submit to his decisions – even if I disagree with him. This does not mean my husband is “always right.” It means I am submitting myself to God and obeying Him because I love, respect, and reverence Him and because He is worthy of my obedience.

My recourse is to take this issue to God in prayer. It is my responsibility to share my heart, my desires, my perspective, my needs, my wisdom, and my emotions with my husband respectfully. If he decides not to do what I think is best, and he is not asking me to clearly sin, I cooperate with his decision because I want to walk in obedience to the Lordship of Christ in my life.

God can change my husband’s heart if a change is necessary. God is sovereign, and He has the power to lead me through my husband in ways I cannot begin to imagine. Will I hold my will loosely and seek God’s will above my own? Will I trust God? Will I submit to Him as LORD? Am I willing to die to myself?

I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO JUDGE MY HUSBAND’S GODLINESS

If my husband doesn’t do what I want him to do right now, I may be tempted to think “he is ungodly,” “he needs to change,” or “he is unloving.” I can sometimes see fruit in his life accurately – but I am not God and I am not privy to all of my husband’s motivations or to God’s view of my husband’s heart. I may be tempted to think I am the only one who can rightly interpret Scripture and that I know so much better what God’s will is than my husband does. How I must guard against such pride and self-righteousness! I may not be able to judge properly. Only God can truly know and accurately judge my husband’s heart and His will in a given situation – unless something is clearly explained in God’s Word. If I want something that goes against God’s Word, I do not have to wonder if that thing is God’s will. It is not.

I used to judge and condemn my husband constantly. 🙁 I know now that I was very wrong so many times. May we not judge our husband’s “godliness” by measuring whether our husbands will submit to us or do what we want them to do. Let us allow our husbands the freedom to seek to do what God calls them to do and let us place our happiness and our will on the altar before Christ. This is what it means to die to self and to take up our cross daily and follow Christ.

CHECKING MY MOTIVES

If I am doing something with the purpose of:

  • hating my husband
  • desiring to hurt my husband and cause him pain – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually
  • desiring to punish my husband or take revenge
  • acting out of unforgiveness, bitterness, or resentment
  • holding a grudge
  • being jealous
  • turning others against my husband
  • causing division, contention, arguments, strife, and factions in my home, marriage, or family

… I have major sin in my heart. These are the fruit of the flesh God describes in Galatians 5:18-21.

WHAT A WIFE MAY DO IF HER HUSBAND IS SINNING AGAINST HER (A husband would have the right to do these things, as well, if his wife is sinning against him.)

A wife attempting to punish her husband is very different from a wife handling her husband’s sin according to God’s Word in such a way that her motives, words, and actions honor Christ, honor her husband, honor her marriage, honor her children, and honor herself:

1. A wife may respectfully ask her husband not to sin against her. (Matthew 7:1-5, Matthew 18:15-17)

2. A wife may confront her husband humbly, gently, respectfully, and firmly about his sin with godly, loving motives, desiring to see him restored to fellowship with God and with herself (a husband may do this, as well).  (Matthew 18:15-17) She may need to involve church leaders if he doesn’t respond to her approaching him privately about her concerns first.

3. A wife may need to remove herself from a dangerous, blatantly sinful, truly abusive situation or a wife may need to remove herself from a situation where a husband is an active drug/alcohol/sex addict or is involved in unrepentant infidelity. (Matthew 18:15-17, I Corinthians 7, “Do I Condone Marital Rape and Abuse?“)

RELATED:

“I’ll Show Him!” Why Revenge Kills Relationships

What Does It Mean to Be an Ungodly Woman?

Godly Femininity

When My Spouse Is Wrong

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Are We Responsible for Our Spouse’s Happiness?

Why Should I Have to Submit to My Husband in the Little Things?

If your husband is asking you to sin, please check out Spiritual Authority.

Greg and I don’t find Scriptural justification for a husband to punish his wife physically. We do not ever condone “domestic discipline.” In our view, it is warped, abusive, and unbiblical.

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Extras…

PUNISHMENT IS DIFFERENT FROM DISCIPLINE:

www.biblestudytools.com defines “discipline” in detail here and how this concept is used in Scripture in the Old and New Testaments

Let’s talk about discipline from a biblical standpoint because God does chastise and discipline those who belong to Him. He also punishes sin and sinners.

God punishes sinners –

His motives are to execute holy, fair, perfect, and righteous justice. He is the Judge. God is love, but God is also completely just. He will not tolerate sin. He does not make excuses for sin. He does not ignore sin. All sin offends God and is primarily against God. As Creator, God, and Judge He has the authority to correctly and rightly judge each person against His Laws and His standards and He alone has the right to execute punishment against sin.

And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17

The wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a)

This death that we eventually earn with our sin (our wrong doing) is both physical (we are separated from our body) and spiritual (we are separated from God now and after this life in hell).

Thankfully, Jesus suffered the punishment that we deserved for our sins. Jesus took God’s punishment for our sins on Himself. If we receive the gift of His death in our place and we give our lives to Him to be our Savior and also our LORD (the One in charge of our lives from this point on), we do not face or experience God’s punishment for our sins. (We may still experience earthly consequences or discipline, but not punishment.) THIS IS GOOD NEWS!

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

God disciplines His children –

His motives are His incredible love for that child and the child’s greatest good. God makes a distinction between those people who belong to Him and those who do not. As a parent, I have the responsibility to discipline my children, but not to discipline someone else’s children. God disciplines us to help us mature in our faith (Hebrews 12, James 1, I Peter). Just like a loving father disciplines his children and does not allow them to destroy themselves with poor choices, God disciplines us. Discipline is about God training and teaching us His righteousness and holiness. Discipline is about correcting our mindset, our motives, and our behavior. It is about sparing us from death and disaster. God’s discipline of us is designed for our ultimate good and God’s ultimate glory. His Spirit has the power to convict us of sin, to bring us to genuine repentance, and to give us victory over sin.

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. Proverbs 19:18

————

SOME WAYS WIVES MAY ATTEMPT TO PUNISH THEIR HUSBANDS TO TRY TO HURT THEM IN SOME WAY

  • withholding sex
  • shaming them on Facebook
  • telling other people things that their husbands desire to be kept private
  • withholding affection
  • refusing to cook
  • thinking, “I’ll show him!” or “I’ll teach him not to mess with me!”
  • refusing to clean
  • refusing to work
  • complaining
  • arguing and being contentious
  • purposely making a mess for him to clean up
  • spending more money than the couple can afford to spend, willfully driving her husband into deeper debt
  • humiliating him in front of other people
  • attempting to turn other people against their husbands (in the family, the extended family, at church, at work, in the neighborhood, etc…)
  • refusing to take care of the children
  • refusing to eat together
  • refusing to talk
  • refusing to cooperate with their husbands’ God-given leadership when their husbands are clearly NOT asking their wives to sin or to condone sin
  • disrespecting their husbands
  • trying to control their husbands
  • attempting to get their husbands fired
  • yelling, screaming, cussing
  • violence (throwing things, hitting, pushing, slapping, etc…)
  • threatening divorce
  • leaving (with the purpose of causing pain)
  • throwing all of his belongings out the window or putting them by the road
  • having an affair in retaliation

————–

  • I cannot love God and hate my husband.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:20-21

  • I cannot cling to a desire to hurt my husband and obey God’s greatest commandments.

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

  • I cannot cherish unforgiveness in my heart and follow and love Jesus and be forgiven by God.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:12-15

  • I am not my husband’s judge or executioner.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. Romans 14:10-13

As the head of the home and marriage, a husband (for more, please see “Spiritual Authority“):

– may give directives as long as he is not asking his wife to condone sin or participate in sin (“Please do this/Please do not do that…”)

– may give consequences within limits of Scripture (i.e.: “because you cannot control your spending, I don’t want you to use your credit cards anymore”)

– has the final say in decisions (I know that you really want to do X. I have taken your feelings, desires, and needs into account. But I believe that it would be most honoring to God for us to do Y right now.”).

– may lovingly correct, confront, or rebuke his wife if he sees sin in her life – as believers, we do this for each other humbly, graciously, gently, respectfully and only after we examine our own hearts for sin first – Matthew 7:1-5. (I am concerned that there may be some bitterness in your heart toward your mom. Let’s talk about what’s going on, Honey. Bitterness is so toxic, I don’t want to see you consumed by that poison.)

– has the responsibility to love his wife as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her – this does not mean a husband must love a wife in the way she wants to be loved or that a wife must always “feel loved” the way she wants to feel, but that the husband seeks to truly love his wife the way Jesus loves His people by the power of God’s Spirit (I Corinthians 13:4-8a).

I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually – Part 1

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I am not the Holy Spirit. It is not my job to convict my husband – or anyone else – of sin. And it is not my job to make people repent. I don’t get to make people’s decisions for them. I am not them. I don’t have the right to usurp their free will. Even God does not usurp our free will. He allows us to make our own choices.

My husband is not also not the Holy Spirit – and he is not me. I cannot try to make him responsible for me spiritually. He doesn’t get to make my decisions for me.

Yes, he is in a position of delegated spiritual authority over me. God can and will use him to lead me and even to teach me some spiritual things – especially if he is a believer. (I have seen God use unbelieving husbands to speak sanctifying truth and even give godly rebukes to their believing wives sometimes, as well.) God may also use spiritual leaders at my church to help guide me and to teach me spiritual things. But, ultimately,  I must weigh what my husband and pastors/teachers/mentors say against God’s Word and seek to obey God to the best of my understanding as I seek to be filled with God’s Spirit and to handle His Word rightly. God, His Spirit and His Word are higher authorities in my life than any human. I am accountable to God for my obedience and my sin. Those in positions of leadership are accountable to God for their leadership, their obedience and their sin.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. I John 4:1

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

 I may need to confront my husband  about sin in his life, when appropriate and necessary, once I have taken care of sin in my own life. (Matthew 7:1-5, Matthew 18:15-17) However, my primary responsibility is to ask God to show me my own sin so I can repent of anything that offends God in my life and focus on walking in the power of God’s Spirit and in obedience to Christ myself. God hates pride and self-righteousness and loves those who are humble before Him and others.

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

I may gently, humbly, respectfully confront sin in the lives of others, as I am sensitive to God’s Spirit, walking in obedience to His Word and to His promptings at appropriate times when necessary, but I must leave the results with God and the people involved. I can explain something ten times a day about God to a wife every day for 6 months, but until God opens her eyes, she cannot see or understand.

I cannot open anyone’s  eyes to God and His truth. I cannot even open my own eyes. That is the Holy Spirit’s job.

MY RESPONSIBILITY

My job is to point people to Christ, to share His Word, to obey God, to love them, to love God, to be filled with His Spirit, and to be fully available and useful to Him. But He is the key here. Not me. He doesn’t NEED me. He loves me. He can use me. But He doesn’t depend on me – as if His plans would all be thwarted if I mess up. His sovereignty and my free will work together in ways my brain cannot begin to fathom.

I need God desperately and depend completely on Christ.  I must do what God calls me to do to share with others and then leave them in God’s hands and trust and pray that God will open their eyes in His timing. I rest in His sovereignty and let Him carry the weight of other people’s problems and their souls. I cannot carry that weight.

When it comes to pointing a husband to Christ, God gives wives a very specific way to do that – it is without our words about spiritual things, but through our respectful, pure, chaste behavior. I Peter 3:1-6. If I want to point my husband to Christ, I must trash my own way of doing this! My way, in my human wisdom, will only repel my husband. If I am to influence my husband for Christ, I must be willing to do it God’s way!

  • The decisions other people make belong to them, if they are grown adults.
  • My decisions belong to me.
  • Their decisions are their own to make whether they do what I want them to do or not. They will face the consequences for their decisions. They will answer to God for their decisions. I don’t have the right to try to use manipulation, guilt, playing the martyr or people pleasing to try to get my way.
  • I cannot force anyone to do anything. Of course, I may experience some of the painful consequences of the sins of others. That is going to happen at times as we live in relationships with sinners. And others are going to be hurt by my sin at times, too. Thankfully, God is “so sovereign” that He is able to even use what others intend for evil against me for my ultimate good and His glory if I belong to Christ (Romans 8:28-29 and Genesis 37-40, the story of Joseph). He is able to do the same with my sin, too, I am so thankful!
  • My goal cannot be to “always avoid pain” and “never let anyone sin against me.” My goal must be to trust God to empower me and to be with me – to walk through whatever may come. If someone is severely sinning against me and is unrepentant even after I follow Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:15-17, I may have to set appropriate boundaries until he/she repents.
  • My decisions and the consequences of them belong to me. Other people cannot force me to do things, God gives me a free will.
  • I can chose to follow and honor my husband’s leadership if he is not asking me to clearly sin or to condone clear sin or to do something illegal or seriously dangerous and if he is in his right mind (not high, drunk, mentally ill, physically abusive, etc…). But I do need to be able to decide to obey God rather than men if someone in authority over me (the government, my husband, my boss) asks me to do something that blatantly goes against God’s Word. (for more on this issue, please check the post Spiritual Authority)

WHAT I AM ACCOUNTABLE FOR

  • I am responsible to God to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and to love others with His love, including to love Greg with the agape love of Christ (Matthew 22:37-40, I Corinthians 13:4-8) no matter what anyone else is doing or is not doing. (For wives who are in actual danger, please see the note at the bottom of this post.)
  • I am responsible to be the wife and woman God commands me to be in His Word no matter if no one else in the world is seeking and following Christ, no matter how badly the generations before me dropped the ball, no matter how ungodly/godly the examples I had in my life were when I was growing up and no matter what my husband is/is not doing at the moment.
  • I am responsible to examine my own motives and to confess any sin, to turn away from it and to be in right relationship with God through the power of what Jesus did for me on the cross independent of what anyone else is doing.
  • I am responsible for my motives, attitudes, actions, behaviors, sin and obedience to God even when others sin against me. There is no “free pass” for sin available to me. God always hates all sin.
  • I am responsible to tell others directly, and usually – privately,  if they are wronging me or sinning against me so that they have a chance to make things right (Matthew 18:15-17).
  • I am responsible to forgive others’ sins against me (that does not mean I must trust them until they are willing to rebuild trust, my trust is to be fully in God) if I want God to forgive me (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • I am responsible TO others to love them with God’s love and to treat them with honor (The 2nd greatest commandment God gives us is to love others, Matthew 22:37-40) – but I am not responsible FOR them or their decisions or to try to rescue them from the consequences of all of their poor choices.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Other people are responsible for these things in their own lives. We each own our own sin and our own obedience to God. God will judge us individually.

I can and should share my desires, needs, feelings and ideas. I can share God’s truth. But it is wrong of me to attempt to force my way on others. God doesn’t force Himself on us. He is a Gentleman. He allows us to have free will. He waits for us to invite Him into our lives voluntarily – at the prompting of His Spirit’s call. I don’t have the right to try to take away another adult’s free will.

No one has the right to take away my free will, either.  My husband can ask me to do something, he can direct me to do something. But then I ultimately have the choice as to what I will do and I will bear the consequences for my choices. Of course, if anyone makes sinful choices, they will suffer for that, those around them will suffer and God’s heart will be grieved. Sin hurts everyone and is a toxic poison to all of our relationships.

As a believer, I willingly sacrifice my will to my Lord and choose to die to self and live for Christ. Now I live for His will and His desires, not my own.

RELATED:

When My Spouse Is Wrong

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

I Am Responsible for My Emotions

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean That I Can’t Say How I Feel or What I Need?

My Husband Gets Angry When I Respectfully Disagree with Him

DISCLAIMER:

If your husband is extremely controlling (i.e.: monitoring your every keyboard stroke, monitoring every conversation you have, monitoring where your car is and where you are every moment of the day), has a violent temper or is physically hurting you, please seek appropriate counsel and help. Some abused wives think if they were “more respectful” their husbands wouldn’t be abusive – that the abuse is “their fault.” That is not true. Abusive husbands (or wives) who are very controlling or physically abusive need help. They will be abusive no matter what their wife does because often there are major issues in their own lives. A wife could purposely try to rile up the anger of an abusive husband. That is unwise. But abuse is about something going on in the abuser’s soul –  that is how he would treat any woman to whom he was married.

In a similar way, I would have been a controlling, disrespectful wife no matter to whom I was married – because my sinful nature was bent that way.  We need the power of Christ and His blood shed for us to overcome the power of sin in our lives.

If your husband demands respect in a violent way or tells you that you are always 100% of the problem in the marriage and never takes any responsibility for his own sin and/or you are not safe, please seek appropriate counsel or get somewhere safe ASAP if you are truly in danger. Contact the National Hotline for Domestic Violence if you need to.

  • A wife’s respect and biblical submission can bless most husbands and can be healing in most marriages. But a wife’s respect and biblical submission cannot “fix” violence, alcoholism, drug addictions, mental health problems or real abuse.

I believe a wife can act with respect, as in – she doesn’t have to sin against her husband even if he is abusive. But, she may need to set up boundaries or possibly leave if she is in true danger. If this is your situation, my heart absolutely breaks for you, but please don’t read my blog and quickly seek appropriate help! God is able to heal you and transform you. His Word is powerful and healing for us all. But I am not experienced with abuse and you are going to need very specialized, experienced help.

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

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Spoiler alert – ladies, I am going to be talking about godly husbands in the last half of this post. Please don’t read this post if that is a trigger for you.

My blog is written for women. It is my desire to fulfill my calling in Titus 2:3-5 to point other wives to Christ and His Word and His design for us as wives in our marriages. Of course, lots of men read my blog, too. I welcome them here. Many of them have found hope and healing in Christ. And many husbands use my site to “reverse engineer” things that are helpful to them or to better understand the challenges their wives face. I have seen God heal quite a few marriages and work miracles when a number of husbands focused on walking in obedience and submission to Christ themselves and on loving their wives in a godly way –  and I am so thankful for that!

However, there is a small percentage of men who twist my blog and my words  to attempt to force and demand respect and submission from their wives and to justify marital rape, violence and corporal punishment of their wives.  And there are some women who think that is what I am saying, as well. How anyone could read what I write and deduce this, I truly cannot imagine. I know that it is only a small minority of people that I am addressing here, but, this issue is too important for me to ignore. I have addressed it before. I am sure I will need to address it every so often again, unfortunately.

This upsets me GREATLY.

Let me be as clear as I possibly can about this.

  • I NEVER condone violence, abuse, screaming, cussing, throwing things, insults, hatred, threats of divorce, threats of violence, unforgiveness, resentment,  disrespect, manipulation, control, deception, addictions of any kind, bitterness, cruelty, self-righteousness, pride, idolatry, apathy, passivity, greed, pornography use, self loathing, arrogance, malice, slander, gossip, infidelity or any sin of any kind being committed against any husband or wife.
  • God hates all sin. I hate all sin. I don’t want anyone to be sinned against. Sin always hurts the sinner, the one being sinned against and grieves God’s heart. Any sin is destructive.
  • I don’t condone one spouse trying to force or coerce the other spouse to do anything against his/her will.
  • I don’t condone any spouse withholding sex to punish, using sex as a weapon, demanding money or things in exchange for sex, or using sex to manipulate his/her spouse.
  • I NEVER condone marital rape.
  • I do NOT give permission to anyone to use my words to support these selfish, destructive, abusive and sinful acts.

My prayer and desire is that every husband and wife would give and receive love, honor and respect to and from each other.

I want everyone to have healthy, joyful, vibrant marriages! And I want everyone to grow and flourish in their walk with Christ. That is why I do this ministry. We are ALL wretched sinners, desperately in need of Jesus in our lives. He is able to give us victory over sin as we fully submit to Him as Lord and yield control of our lives to Him!

I write for women, primarily for women with a tendency toward being Type-A, controlling, outspoken, take-charge, dominant and assertive. I have never been abused by my husband. In fact, he doesn’t even raise his voice at me. And he didn’t raise his voice, even when I was at the height of my disrespect.

I am not writing for women whose husbands are abusive, violent, mentally ill, addicted to drugs/alcohol or involved in active infidelity. I know that God’s Word always applies to all of us. But I don’t have the experience or the training to handle severe situations and I know that my blog is not a good fit for many wives in such situations. These precious women are going to need very specialized, experienced counseling that I just cannot give.

HOW GOD REQUIRES AND COMMANDS ALL BELIEVERS TO TREAT OUR SPOUSES AND EVERYONE ELSE:

Every husband and wife could put his or her name in the place of love in the passage below. That is how God wants us to treat our spouse.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8

This is the “agape” love of God with which God commands us all to love every other human being. And this is the word for “love” that is used in the commands God gives to husbands in Ephesians 5 to love their wives as Christ loved His church and gave Himself up for her.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, Ephesians 5:25-33a

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

 

THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST (So that I present a balanced view of marriage for any wife who may have missed this, husbands have responsibilities, too. Many more responsibilities and much more accountability to God than wives have)

  • A husband is to imitate the very example of Christ’s selfless, humble, powerful, sacrificial love for His church in Ephesians 5:22-33.
  • Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. I Peter 3:7
  • Jesus is always a Gentleman. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Rev. 3:20

Jesus doesn’t force Himself on us spiritually. He does not force spiritual oneness and intimacy on anyone. He waits for us to invite Him in.

A godly husband never forces himself on his wife physically. He treats her with honor and gentleness because of His love for Christ, his willing submission to Jesus as Lord and out of obedience to God’s commands for him as a husband.

BEING A GODLY WIFE HAS TO BE A VOLUNTARY DECISION JUST LIKE BEING  A GODLY HUSBAND HAS TO BE A VOLUNTARY DECISION – WE  EACH ONLY CONTROL OURSELVES!

We don’t get to force our decisions on other people! Each person has his/her own free will given to him/her by God. Each person has the right to make his/her own choices.

I do write about women joyfully and voluntarily respecting and honoring their husbands’ leadership. But that is not something that a husband can force his wife to do. He can ask her. But he is not free in Christ to beat her, sin against her, abuse her or rape her to make her do what he wants. Her respect and biblical submission are an act of her free will and these are to be based on her love and reverence for Christ, not because she is being threatened with violence or some kind of awful punishment.

Please note that in Ephesians 5:22-33, wives are given commands to do certain things of their own accord in the marriage. Husbands are given commands to do certain things themselves in the marriage. There is no command for “husbands to force their wives to respect and submit.” And there is no command for “wives to force their husbands to love them as Christ loves the church.”

A wife who is forced by violence into “respect and submission” is being mistreated, not like a woman with equal dignity, value and worth. That is very wrong! That is NOT God’s design for marriage. A wife in a situation like this needs to seek godly, experienced help. If anyone, a husband or a wife, is actually being abused, please seek safety and appropriate counsel ASAP!

I do write about wives seeking to be available sexually to their husbands, in accordance with I Corinthians 7:1-5. But…

There is a world of difference between a wife voluntarily making herself available sexually to her husband and a husband forcing himself on his wife.

 

A GODLY HUSBAND’S TESTIMONY:

Here is an email from a husband who has had an amazing marriage with his wife that spans many decades (40+ years). He and his wife got the love and respect stuff right from the beginning. This is how marriage is supposed to be. They are such a beautiful example for us to emulate. Thank you to this husband for sharing this story of a healthy, vibrant marriage!

April — Your article on keeping the marriage bed pure is sooooo very on target.
I wanted to just share with you personally that after the words “I love you,” spoken to me by my wife, one other statement stands out as supremely important.
On one occasion after we had been married a couple of months I asked her if she might be available that night. Then the wonderful words:

“I’m always available for you.”

What a joy to my soul! (And she has always, always been true to those words!)
Now, that works perfectly for us because I try to be very sensitive to her, to her emotional and physical state, etc., and to avoid “wearing out my welcome.” Yet the confidence, and I took it as a matter of respect also, that those words instilled in me have been a solid and much appreciated rock in my relationship with my dear wife. Just wanted you to know.

PS — I don’t believe that most wives have a clue as to how much their willing availability to their husbands would mean to the quality of their relationship. It is HUGE.

AN EXCERPT FROM REV. WEAVER’S CLASS NOTES ON SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY – THIS PART IS FOR HUSBANDS

There are at least three requirements for an individual to properly operate as a delegated authority.

1. He must remember that all authority comes from God. They are therefore only a representative of God.

2. As God’s representative, the person must deny himself.

3. The person must constantly keep in fellowship and communion with God.

We should always remember that since we are only representing God and not ourselves, that all individuals in authority will be held to a higher standard of accountability for the proper conduct of their responsibilities in leading others.

The most comprehensive statement defining the basis of the levels of authority is stated in the I Corinthians 11:3 passage quoted above. This is a principle of Scripture that transcends time and culture. This delegated authority by God is based on His sovereignty, His glory, and for our good. It is not based on the value or merit of any individual over another individual or one gender over the other.

A godly man will respond to being in a position of delegated God-given authority with great humility.

RELATED:

Please note how gentle, kind, thoughtful, loving, soft-spoken and humble my husband is in his post.

Gary Thomas – Enough Is Enough about how we should look at abuse in marriage. God hates abuse and He loves people, even those who are being abused. Let’s seek to get people to help and safety. No one should be unsafe in his/her own home.

Nina Roesner has a powerful e-course called, Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity, that is especially helpful for women who are experiencing some kind of abuse in their marriages. It directs women to healing in Christ and then He gives them the power and wisdom they need to deal with the challenges in their marriage. She is seeing a lot of women’s lives transformed and marriages healed by God’s power.

7 Basic Needs of a Husband and 7 Basic Needs of a Wife – Rev. Weaver

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Usually today is prayer day. But my schedule has been suddenly disrupted this week – which is fine. God is certainly sovereign over that.

I have been wanting to share this post and am so excited to get to share it today with you.

From Rev. Harold Weaver’s marriage class, posted with permission. (Rev and Mrs. Weaver celebrated their 50th anniversary about a year ago.)

Ladies,

Please focus primarily on the needs of husbands. 🙂 If we allow ourselves to get too caught up in our own needs, it can often lead us to spiral into sin – particularly for wives who have tended to be controlling/disrespectful. I know it can for me! If things are not going well and you are feeling very discouraged or unsatisfied in your marriage, I encourage you to skip the needs of a wife and go directly to the needs of the husband – if you have already shared your needs many times, in particular. It is entirely possible to turn these legitimate needs into idols (things we put above Christ and seek to fulfill in illegitimate ways) if we are not careful to find all of our contentment, identity, security, peace, joy, purpose, acceptance, strength and hope in Christ alone. I have linked the class notes for each of the husbands’ needs so you can find out much more detail about each of the points about husbands.

Each of the basic needs of a husband has a link to the class notes on that heading that may be very helpful, as well. Enjoy!

7 BASIC NEEDS OF A WIFE

1. A wife needs the stability and direction of a husband who is functioning as the spiritual leader of his family.

2. A wife needs to know that she is meeting vital needs in her husband’s life and work that no other woman can meet.

3. A wife needs to see and hear that her husband cherishes her and that he delights in her as a person.

4. A wife needs to know that her husband understands her by protecting her in areas of her limitations.

5. A wife needs to know that her husband enjoys setting aside quality time for intimate conversation with her.

6. A wife needs to know that her husband is aware of her presence even when his mind is on other matters.

7. A wife needs to see that her husband is making investments in her life that will expand and fulfill her world.

7 BASIC NEEDS OF A HUSBAND

1. A husband needs a wife who respects him as a man.

2. A husband needs a wife who accepts him as a leader and believes in his God-given responsibilities.

3. A husband needs a wife who will continue to develop inward and outward beauty.

4. A husband needs a wife who can lovingly appeal to him when he is going beyond his limitations and wisely respond to those who question his ideas, goals or motives.

5. A husband needs quality time to be alone with himself and with the Lord.

6. A husband needs a wife who is grateful for all he has done and is doing for her.

7. A husband needs a wife who will be praised by other people for her character and her good works.

 

 

Can a Wife “Overdo” Biblical Submission? – By Nikka

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By my dear friend and sister in Christ, Nikka, from the Philippines. You can find her blog at www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com

Let me begin this post by saying that I am an “ALL or NOTHING” person.

My husband usually teases me that I may be “bi-polar”.

I  am either TOO HAPPY or TOO SAD.

I am either TOO INTENSE or TOO UNPLUGGED.

I either LIKE something or HATE something.

I have to give it my 100% best or I don’t give it my time of day.

There is usually no middle ground with me.

I am awful at MODERATION.

Trying to find a BALANCE is an art that I am constantly trying to master.

So, given this “character flaw”, can I overdo this submission bit?

Can a wife overdo submission?

The answer is YES.

A wife can overdo submission and cross over to being a DOORMAT.

Photo Credits: Classy Career Girl

Thank God, I do not desire to be anybody’s foot rug, so on this particular important life-changing decision, if I am to err, I will err on the side of caution — caution against being an abused wife.

First, let us define some terms once more.

Biblical Submission, according to reason4living.com  is:

“… an act of the will — it is the result of a choice, a decision.  The act of submission can only come from a choice that a person makes.  Submission cannot be enforced upon a person.  Either a person submits of their own free will or they do not submit at all.  Submission is a gift that one person chooses to give to another person.  By contrast oppression is the act of extracting something from a person against their will.  Submission and oppression are, therefore, opposite qualities of a relationship and not even remotely similar.
With 3rd baby, Reuben

The submission of a godly wife is a glorious thing that is intended to help her and her husband to have a contented life together.  Problems in life and in marriage are more or less inevitable but when a woman is submissive to her man it is much more likely that those problems can be resolved harmoniously, without unpleasant quarrelling and without bitterness and resentment.  Those people who look down on biblical submission as if it were something demeaning, degrading or humiliating are merely showing that they have no understanding of what biblical submission is and that they are quite ignorant of its power.

If you are a Christian wife who has been feeling uncomfortable with the Biblical command that you submit to your husband, then I hope these statements have perked up your interest and given you a glimpse of the bright cheerfulness ahead. Being submissive to your husband does not mean that you should be an empty-headed bimbo, or that you should have no opinions of your own, or that you should be like a doormat.
If you are a Christian husband I hope that you will take care to understand the nature of submission and be careful to understand your responsibilities in response to your wife’s submission to you.  A submissive wife is not a justification for an abusive husband. God commands men to love their wives with the same kind of love that he [God] gave to his people … that’s a pretty tough assignment to give a mortal man and it doesn’t include the possibility of abuse.”
(Italics and bold letters are mine.)
Family Picture – 2010

Sadly, I was one of those “ignorant detractors of submission.” I did not have any godly role models to follow and no godly marriages to pattern my own marriage from, that’s why “submission” to me was an alien, scary and outdated concept.

Had I known then what I knew now, I would have saved myself from a LOT of heartache in our nine years as husband and wife. Three of those years from 2009 to 2011 were the most difficult emotionally. They were when I was most controlling and my heart was at its “fullest” in terms of bitterness, resentment, fear and fault-finding. 🙁

What then is a DOORMAT?

According to Merriam-Webster.com a doormat is:

– one that submits without protest to abuse or indignities or
– someone who is treated badly by other people and does not complain

Photo Credits: Ann Cutting 

April explains it well in her blog post on “Doormats Don’t Glorify God Either”. I will share with you an excerpt of that article:

“It is true that being bossy, condescending, controlling, scolding, critical, negative, nagging, argumentative, contentious, etc… as a wife is extremely dishonoring to God.  But having NO thoughts, NO opinions, NO dreams, NO feelings, NO input, NO personality, NO contributions to the marriage and family as a wife  – well, that doesn’t honor God either!

To label being a slave or doormat as being a ”submissive wife” will also repel many people from the gospel of Christ!  A wife MUST be her own full, strong, vibrant person in order to properly complete and complement her man!  There may be specific situations where we keep our thoughts to ourselves and allow our husbands to make decisions on his own – we must be sensitive to God’s Spirit, of course.  But most of the time, our input is extremely valuable in our marriages – it is our motivations, and our respect for God and our husbands that are the key.”
(Italics are mine.)

Photo Credits: The Snooze Letter

To add, Nancy Leigh de Moss, author of ‘Lies Women Believe’ wrote that there are four LIES ABOUT SUBMISSION.

Lie Number 1: “The wife is inferior to her husband.”

The Scripture teaches that both the man and the woman are created in the image of God, both have equal value before God, and both are privileged to be subjects of His redeeming Grace through repentance and faith (Genesis 1:27Galatians 3:281 Peter 3:7) The responsibility of the wife to submit to her husband’s authority does not make her any less valuable or significant than her husband.


Lie Number 2: “As head of his wife, the husband is permitted to be harsh or dictatorial with his wife.”

Husbands are commanded to love their wives as they love themselves, in the same selfless, sacrificing, serving way that the Lord Jesus loved His Church and laid down His life for it (Ephesians 5:25-29)

Nikka and Dong – Dec 2010

Lie Number 3: “The wife is not to provide input or express her opinions to her husband.”

God created the woman to be a “helper suitable” to her husband. That means, he needs her help. He needs the input and insight she is able to bring in various situations. It also means that once a wife has graciously and humbly expressed her heart on the matter, if her husband chooses to act contrary to her counsel, she must be willing to back off and trust God with the consequences of her husband’s decision.

Lie Number 4: “The husband is always right.”

The apostle Peter specifically addresses women whose husbands “do not believe the word.” The husband may be unsaved, or he may be disobedient to God in some area(s)of his life. According to 1 Peter 3:1, the number one means of influencing such a husband is not through tearful pleading, irresistible logic, or persistent reminders; rather, it is through the power of submission:

                                             1 Peter 3:1-2

3 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your 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, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”
8 months pregnant with our 3rd –  March 2010

So, to the question, can a wife overdo submission, the answer is a resounding YES.

Can a husband overdo dominance? The answer is YES too.

7 months pregnant with our 2nd -2007

To somebody like me who is an ALL or NOTHING sort of gal and who finds it hard to stay on middle ground, you might think that now that I am being submissive, I might risk becoming ‘TOO SUBMISSIVE.’

One good thing, I think, from being used to getting my way AND being bossy (hehe), is that I couldn’t for the life of me imagine having no opinion, no say, no input on anything. I have never been a doormat and I am not going to start now. 🙂

But to those wives who are more passive than aggressive, who may have problems with self-esteem, of questioning authority or of simply speaking their mind, I pray that you find it in yourself to come out of your shell and be that significant other of your husbands. You are significant! You are important! Your thoughts and feelings matter!

If you have given up your influence on your marriage, you might want to read April’s post on that. She gives some practical tips on how to move from becoming a DOORMAT to becoming a wife who MATTERS to her husband. Click the link here.

I guess in life, for us to be able to function at our most comfortable and healthy level, one really has to find the right BALANCE. That, I am learning now as a former controlling and now converted peaceful wife. 😉

There is one passage though in the Bible, wherein being neither here nor there is considered contemptible, and that is with regards to our FAITH.

http://sfodan.wordpress.com

                                                      Revelations 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

                                    Rebelasyon 3:16

Kaya sapagka’t ikaw ay malahininga, at hindi mainit o malamig man, ay isusuka kita sa aking bibig.

(For a more detailed explanation on this verse from Revelations, please click this.)

Finally, and here, I am overjoyed to know that I can use my ALL or NOTHING nature to its maximum capacity – giving it my ALL rather than NOTHING….

I can go OVERBOARD with my LOVE FOR GOD! 🙂  

Photo Credits: Framed Art



               Matthew 22:37
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

                   MATEO 22:37

At sinabi sa kaniya, Iibigin mo ang Panginoon mong Dios ng buong puso mo, at ng buong kaluluwa mo, at ng buong pagiisip mo.

This one I can NEVER overdo. 🙂

This one I can give my 110% best! 🙂

Photo Credits: Nice Ideas For All

May we all be richly blessed! 🙂

RELATED:

I Don’t Want to Lose My Voice in My Marriage!

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always “Right”

The Powerful Concept of Submitting Under Protest – Part 1

The Powerful Concept of Submitting Under Protest – Part 2

A Wife Heals From Deep Childhood Scars

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God has blessed us with MANY stories from so many wives recently who are sharing what He is doing by His power alone in their lives and marriages.  I know that this wife’s story will touch and bless you.  Thank you to her for sharing!
————-
I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude to you and the work that you are doing. I am 33 years old and I too have begun the journey to become a peaceful wife, and intend to see it to the end.
I have been receiving a calling to go into ministry over the last couple years but deep down the Spirit was moving me that my relationship with my husband needed to be repaired before I could minister to others.
It was by pure happenstance that I came across a video of yours on Youtube. At first I must admit that I was more than skeptical at your message and thought that you were cut from a different type of cloth :-). But as I listened more and more, Jesus spoke to my heart and I saw the truth.
As I began readjusting my heart and my attitude, like so many others, I am seeing immediate improvements in my relationship. My husband who had begun shrinking away from me, became once more the man I fell in love with. Amazing, thoughtful, loving, incredibly helpful and supportive.
But how did I get to that point of being so proud, controlling and almost resentful of men that I kept reminding myself to prepare for the worst?  Well, I hope my story can help someone else who has a similar past.
My Story:
At around the age of seven, I was sexually abused by my neighbor. The abuse lasted for a couple years and only ended when my family moved away. I had pushed the memory into my subconscious but unfortunately it all came rushing back when I saw the person again at around 16 years old. After that, it would be an understatement to say that my teenage years were rife with issues, I was constantly rebelling and getting into trouble. Added to that my dad was very verbally abusive to my mother, I remember how he would shout at her and embarrass her constantly.

I remember making several promises to myself that I would NEVER allow myself to be weak, to be powerless and taken advantage of as a woman.

  • I developed a strong and domineering personality, an attitude which propelled me at work, as I am now a successful professional.
  • But my personal life and connections suffered tremendously. I was very suspicious of people and expected the worst. When I let myself love (as with my husband) I only allowed myself to love up to a point and of course expected, and prepared for, the worst.
Within recent years, and after recommitting myself to God, I have been breaking down my many walls with His help. I admit that this one was the hardest.
How could I let myself “submit” to a man? After all I had been through?  It was a very hard pill to swallow.
Having started on my journey, I can honestly say that It has been quite liberating. I am learning to trust all over again. Like a baby learning to walk, I am
  • trusting that God will not let me fall and that he has blessed me with a husband who will hold my hand through it
  • learning that love and trust is not a sign of weakness but rather a gift from God
  • learning to relax and let peace and respect fill my marriage
  • learning to take instructions and corrections (a biggie) from my husband and recognizing him as the leader of our home, after 10 years of marriage.

I can’t wait to start my ministry and give witness to yet another testament of God’s love….He really is a chains-breaking God!!