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A Wife Begins a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words

I am so thankful to this precious sister in Christ who has allowed me to share some of what God has been doing in her life and heart. It’s a blessing to get to hear from wives in every stage of this journey. Perhaps you may want to join her with this amazing idea? In fact, this would be a WONDERFUL Valentine’s gift to your husband!
Remember – the goal is not to change to get your husband to change, but to allow God to transform you! Check out this wife’s journal and observations for the first 10 days or so of her journey:
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I have been reading your blog posts and realizing some things. I actually have even started a corporate fast (for 21 days) with my church but instead of food…
I have decided to fast from the following:
It has been 3 days of doing none of this to my husband and it has been HARD but I told myself if I mess up the fast I do not get my morning coffee (which is my favorite and the first thing I thought to fast). None-the-less I actually already notice a change in him a bit. His demeanor has actually been quite different like even after just a few days of this. I do have to say I am shocked. I always realize probably 80% of the things I say to my husband involve the above. But I think I am on the right track?
DAY 4
Sometimes I feel so empowered and close to God and then other times I feel like so low and dumb like why do I have to change and he doesn’t but I understand fully that is not the right mindset. It’s just hard.
My husband is cuddling me a lot more lately though.
DAY 5
He is still sleeping now at noon (after staying out very late with friends – again). I am with my coffee and Bible and praying for God to get me through today. I know I can’t continue mothering him. I know he has to make his own choices. It just hurts. To him, it is no big deal at all. He works 50+ hours a week and provides well.
I can tell you this much. I am not even going to bring up the fact he came home late. I’ve done it a million times in the past and where did it get me? Nowhere!
Time to try something new.
This will be so hard and I will want to be sarcastic! In the past I’ve even taken stabs at his manhood bc he has chose staying out late with guys over his wife, what kinda man does that? I’d say… “a gay guy?” I’m sure that didn’t help. I really can be so mean to him but it’s because things hurt me.
Even though I am upset, I am determined to stick with this fast.
I want change in my heart and my husband’s, so I know something has to change. Maybe when he realizes I no longer bring it up and nag and complain he may actually be able to hear God say it’s wrong? Or hear his own thoughts on things? Like you were saying.
DAY 6
I began reading “The Surrendered Wife,” by Laura Doyle and gave the finances over to my husband as she instructed. (From Peaceful Wife – this book helped me in so many ways in my own journey, but there are some things that are not biblical that have to be filtered out.)
He didn’t take it well. I mean he didn’t say much but just, “Ok,” and ended up leaving without telling me bye. When I called him he just said he was a little confused and that he would talk to me about it later when he got home.
  1. I control everything.
  2. I monitor what he does and spends.
  3. It creates that mother/son type relationship I hate.
  4. I thought he’d be happy to give all that up but I’m thinking he probably just is looking at it like he now has more work.
Laura instructs to just simply say, “I know you’ll fine time, you’ll do much better than me,” and leave it at that but now I feel like I should explain to him since he seemed upset.
LATER THAT DAY
After he came home I continued to be my “new” self and he didn’t ask about it. He took me on a date and never brought it up. I just kept practicing receiving and being sweet. On the way home he did tell me a whole long story about why he spent so much money yesterday helping a friend. 😂 He probably thinks I was mad about that and decided to give him all the financial burden as a punishment. I do things like that. But I just said, “Oh, that was nice of you!”
Idk, I actually feel very far from my husband right now. It’s almost like he has a wall up. He may feel very confused or that I am very different but I thought it would draw him towards me but he seems very distant.
Some things I am praying for as I fast:
  • Radical change for me. Extreme peace in my heart, that come only from the Lord, relinquishing control and idolatry of my husband. Being peaceful and fun and not uptight, worried, mad, and stressed all the time.
  • Radical change in my husband. His walk with the Lord and how he hears him, radical change in how he sees and handles finances.
  • Passion and intimacy to be restored in our marriage.
I actually, right now, feel far from my husband but close with the Lord.
It’s interesting. I feel a peace from God since I haven’t been controlling. I thought it would be a lot harder, and maybe it will be at times,  but I am a goal setter and I set out to not complain, criticize, judge, or be sarcastic for 21 days and I’m sticking to it. Throw in releasing control and being feminine and I think my husband is very confused.
I wish I could just tell him what’s going on and ease his mind to try to draw him close to me. Because right now is almost seems I know something he doesn’t and we feel distant but I know that’s probably not the best.
I’ve been reading your posts and the 8  Powerful Keys to Peace have been amazing to learn. Will be reading more today as I spend my quiet time with God!
I know this will be a hard road. And won’t always be easy. I got to this point where I realized I was upset I even married my husband and was trying to almost justify a divorce. And I realized that was so wrong and unnecessary and I was willing to change if that’s what God wanted. I am ashamed I thought that way. Especially after being able to, for the first time in a long time, see glimpses of what a good man my husband is and can be. (And I do mean only mere glimpses) but still they are there. And I’m taking this as God opening my eyes. And changing what I see.
DAY 7
I am really desiring intimacy, and even though I’m changing and being much better, it’s just still not there. But I am trying to remember, like you said, it’s been years of disrespect so he may not come around (quickly).
Also, this is strange, but as I’ve been spending more time with God on this subject of me as a wife it’s almost as if all these past incidents are being brought my mind, times when, at the time I saw myself as completely justified and mistreated and now I’m seeing myself as an ugly beast. Ways I’ve treated my husband in the past, and hateful things I’ve said.
Gosh, this is so embarrassing and I feel deeply like I want to cry and repent to him but I’m afraid to do because I’m not even sure myself if I’ve changed 100% and I don’t want to risk saying sorry and then doing something so disrespectful and harming again.
I feel as if I’ve truly harmed my marriage. And destroyed intimacy.
I haven’t apologized yet! I am just sticking to my fast and trying to hear from the Lord.
My husband has been in our bedroom all night with the door closed playing video games. I do know he had a hard day at work. He works outside and was very cold today. I had a homemade dinner waiting for him.
Before he went up to play he:
  1. Hugged me and kissed me and squeezed me.
  2. Fixed up the TV for me so I could watch a show I wanted to watch.
  3. And smiled at me.
I was super thankful!
That’s great and I didn’t complain about him saying he was going to go play for a little but I feel myself feeling all that aggression toward him again for choosing things over me. For not pursuing me sexually or wanting to spend time with me instead of video games.
10 STEPS BACKWARDS
To be honest, I completely messed up last night. My husband came home and cuddled me for like 2 hours, while he watched a movie. He did cuddle me, but I didn’t go for it. The whole time all I was thinking was I just want to get up and do something. I’m so annoyed this is every night he just wants to sit here and watch TV.
Finally, I brought this all up. I told him he’s never romantic. It was like word vomit and after almost 2 weeks of being respectful, I caved. He seemed mortified and told me I don’t want real life. Real life is him coming home from a long day and cuddling me when I want. Candles and flowers – that’s just not real. I get it but every now and then? He said he was sick of always feeling like he’s doing something wrong.
A BIG SURPRISE A FEW DAYS LATER
I decided to not say anything about the night before! Though he slept in, I got up and cleaned, had some Bible time and to be honest really felt some anger brewing in my heart. He hasn’t been seeking God the way I wish he would be. And then seeing him stay up late once again for something silly like video games was getting to me. I didn’t feel like even being near him.
THEN I started a gratitude journal. I wrote down all the things recently he’s done that’s made me happy, proud or impressed me:
  • He asked me to pray for his desire to read his bible.
  • He fixed our car when it was broke down.
  • He recently bought a book about prayer.
  • He’s been working so hard at work.
  • He’s been taking over the finances better than I ever thought he would!
After this, I felt a desire to go lay with him in bed. His sleepy eyes saw me and the first thing I did was SMILE. He smiled back, and I was so shocked by this but he immediately started kissing me and making love to me.
It had been about 3 weeks.
I think he is attracted to my quietness, my not having an opinion about EVERYTHING. My smile.
I wasn’t even thinking about sex at all and he made it happen! I was taken back but thankful for my time of being thankful because it completely changed my mindset!
(From Peaceful Wife – Our husbands are much more attracted to us when we act soft, gentle, feminine, and peaceful than if we throw verbal knives at them!)

SHARE

If you would like to share some of your journey and things you have learned along the way, we’d love to hear about it!

Or, if this wife’s story has encouraged you to try something similar, we’d love to hear about your plans, as well.

Note – I will be responding to the comments (Peaceful Wife), not the author. Thanks! <3

RELATED

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord (my book that outlines how to start this journey)

Stages of This Journey

Apologizing Stories – why some wives apologize immediately, and some wait until later

Why It May Be Wise to Keep This Journey Secret at First

Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Try to Change?

Respect, Biblical Submission, and Intimacy  – Yes! There is a connection!
Let’s Talk about Sex! (a link to all my posts about sex)

Handling an Unwanted Divorce with Christlikeness

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Here is a question from one of my readers, followed by a response from a Christian brother who has been down this road and who has decided to entrust Himself and his children to Christ. I appreciate his willingness to share:

The Question:

My problem is an unrequited divorce. I know how God feels about divorce and I want to fight for my marriage. We have two young children. If there is any ounce of Christianity left in my husband, then he doesn’t seem to care that God hates divorce. 

He has moved on and is dating a non-Christian woman whom he allows to be with our children. We aren’t even divorced yet! I am afraid every time they go with them. 

I pray. I go to church. I pray. I talk to the members of my church. We pray. What else can I do? My children are court-ordered to see him and be exposed to their sinful, adulterous relationship. 

He and I have a terrible relationship and I don’t know how to get it back. We don’t communicate well, so we’ve stopped talking unless it has to do with the kids. Even talking then is strenuous. 

Should I be trying to tell both him and his girlfriend about divorce and its consequences? I’m trying my best law-wise to keep the case going so we don’t divorce, giving God a chance to reach him before that. And of course, I pray. 

Please help. 

 

The Response

Dear reader of April’s blog,

April has asked me if I was willing to share some of my experiences with unrequited divorce, and how God has led me to particular conclusions related to your questions. It is something that I have had to work out through my own unrequited divorce.

I am writing this three years after my own divorce. My divorce was unwanted by me, but my spouse was determined to leave. Communication before she left was awful, with threats about affairs being made and carried out multiple times. Before and after our separation, she entered a path of multiple one-night-stands and had a quick succession of short-term, live in boyfriends. Our children have seen and heard things that no child should ever have to see. Many men have come and gone from their lives in the three years since our separation. Currently she lives with a man who is not a believer and this appears to be a more long-term relationship heading towards a marriage. We have legally divorced, sold our family home, moved to different towns and have shared care of our children.

What I write comes from a place of deep hurt and personal experience with the situation that you are in. I have spent many, many hours in tearful, prayerful consideration as to how to deal with these situations as they arose for me. I have prayerfully considered all that I have written here, and I believe that the advice I am going to share is biblical advice.

(From Peaceful Wife – I encourage every wife in a situation like this to search scripture and to pray for God’s leading and wisdom for her. Ultimately, what you choose to do is between the Lord, your husband, and yourself. Reach out to trusted, mature believers/counselors for prayer and godly wisdom. And, of course, if your or your children are truly in danger, please contact the proper authorities.)

Fighting a divorce when a spouse is determined to leave

One of the things we may be most tempted to do when our spouse tells us they want a divorce, is to fight against it. This is a natural inclination! We don’t want a divorce, we don’t want our world shattered and we know that God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 tells us this.

“For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”

It is right and good to hate divorce, it is the sundering of a covenant that is supposed to be lifelong and holy, and all parties involved in a divorce suffer because of it.

When my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce, I felt total, debilitating fear. Everything that I believed to be true was a lie. All my security was taken away. So initially I fought for the marriage tooth and nail, with fear as my primary motive.

But, in fact, me fighting it just strengthened her resolve to go through with it.

The biblical principle that became clear to me through these situations was this. We do not have the ability to control our spouse’s decisions, and we should not try. Trying to fight a divorce when your spouse is adamant that they want to divorce is a form of control, and if they are not wanting God’s design for lifelong marriage in their life, then they will only fight that control even more. They are already rebelling against His will in their life, why would increasing the ‘height’ of what they perceive as walls to limit their freedom do any good? It won’t!

I believe this is the principle that is laid out for us in 1st Corinthians 7:12-16

“To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

An Example from My Own Life

This experience is burned in my mind, it is one of the times that I knew God’s presence so, so strongly. I was working alone and all of a sudden the scripture, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” came into my heart. I felt strongly that God was reassuring me of His presence and lifelong care, warning me of something to come and to let it happen and trust Him.

Minutes later my ex-wife rang me. She threatened to have another affair and told me she was going to force me out of our home. I responded with these words, “I am not leaving you or the children, I love you and I am committed to you and our marriage. But you are free to leave if you want to, you have the freedom to choose.”

Even though my response was clearly giving her the freedom to leave and was not a response of control in any way, she still responded by telling me that I was being horrible, and she stepped up her efforts to force me to leave, including trying to manipulate me into an affair. Many years later, she told me that she did not want to be seen as the “bad one,” so she was trying to get me to cheat and leave, but in her heart she knew she was leaving no matter what. When a person is committed to the path that they are on, they are not willing to listen to advice contrary to it. If I had of said that I would try to stop her leaving, it would have escalated the issues even more.

Dear reader, I am not suggesting that this is easy to do! Every fibre in your body is (rightly) hurting and hating what you are going through. Your natural inclination is to fight, fight, fight to save the marriage you dreamed of having. I hurt with you and for you, but I am certain that the biblical principle is to let your husband make his own choices. What does this mean practically, when it comes to the legal side of the divorce?

I am not sure what the laws are in your country, but in my country a couple can apply for a ‘no fault divorce’. This can be applied for by the couple together, or by one member of the marriage. If it is applied for by one spouse only, the other spouse has the option to contest the application or accept it.

My ex-wife asked if we could apply for a joint divorce, and after much consideration and discussion with my counsellor, church leaders, and much prayer, I decided on the following approach. I told her that I would not apply for a joint divorce with her, because I had made my marriage vows and I intended to stand by them. I told her that if she chose to apply for a single applicant divorce that I would not fight her application for a divorce because she had the right of free choice, but nor would I support it. I believe this to be consistent with the biblical principles of honouring my marriage vows, of showing Christian love and giving freedom of choice. (Incidentally, the outcome was that she did apply for a single applicant divorce, I did not fight it and she was granted it). I do not believe that God would have you fight to avoid a divorce. I believe that God would have you graciously allow your husband the freedom of his choice, and leave the outcome in God’s hands.

Trying to tell the wayward spouse what to do and/or preach at or lecture him/her

One of the things that it is tempting to do, is to lecture our spouse as to why they are making the wrong decisions. Even if we have decided that we need to give them the freedom of choice, we are still naturally inclined to point out to them why their choices are wrong. I did this:

I pointed out to her that she had made wedding vows of fidelity for life.

  • Her response was “I didn’t mean them, I just decided that I was hot and you were hot and we had to be married to have sex”.

I pointed out to her that the Bible taught that God hated divorce.

  • Her response was “So what, I don’t think I believe in God anyway”.

I pointed out to her that the divorce would hurt our children so much.

  • Her response was “It’s too late for me to reconsider anything”.

I booked a counsellor to talk things through.

  • After a couple of sessions her response was “He’s an old man who doesn’t know anything”.

I told her that I was willing to forgive her affairs, sell our family home, move interstate so she did not have to deal with the shame of some of her more public actions, and start afresh.

  • Her response was “No, I just don’t want you. I want to hurt you”.

See the pattern here?

I don’t know your spouse, and I don’t know the dynamics of your relationship and communication. But what I do know is that if he is willing to leave the marriage and live with his girlfriend, then no amount of lecturing from you will change anything. You can tell him and his girlfriend that the divorce is wrong and the consequences of it until you are blue in the face, but it won’t change anything.

Only the Wise Listen to a Godly Rebuke

A warning is only of any value to someone who is on the same team and is listening out for it, willing to hear the voice of reason. Proverbs 9:7-8 says

“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.”

Trying to tell a wayward spouse what to do is about as useful as cooling down a hot meal with a blowtorch. In the same way that a spouse who does not believe in the sanctity of marriage will only rebel against fights to save it, a spouse who is not willing to listen to reason will not listen to you lecturing them or telling them that any of their decisions are wrong.

Consider King David for a moment. He was fixated on Bathsheba, he lusted after her and was willing to kill to have her as his wife. If the prophet Nathaniel had lectured him about what he was doing, what do you think his response would have been? I suggest that if he was willing to commit murder and adultery to have Bathsheba, which he already knew was wrong, then someone telling him that he was doing the wrong thing whilst he wanted to do it would have had zero effect.

And yet, at the right time and with the right word from God he was convicted of his sin, and broke down in repentance.

It is not love to ignore the sin of our spouse, but our relationship with our spouse is different to our relationship with our children. With our children, we have a responsibility and a right to instruct them, to teach them, and to correct them. If this is done with love as the motivation it is a good and right thing. However, we do not have the same sort of parental authoritative relationship with a spouse, and certainly not with an ex-spouse. I think we need great discernment to know when and how it is a loving time and place to share with an ex-spouse what impacts their decisions have made. I believe, and have experienced, that God can and does open doors at the right time to share these things.

Dealing with your children being with the ex-spouse’s current boyfriend/girlfriend

This is one of the hardest things to deal with. Not only are you dealing with the betrayal of one who promised to love you for life leaving, not only are you dealing with the hurt of another partner (or partners), you are also dealing with the confusion and hurt of your children. The innocents.

The truth is, divorce hurts children very, very deeply.

Even though it has been three years since my divorce, my kids still hurt from it. I believe they always will. The tears they have shed, the questions they have asked, the memories of their little bodies clinging to mine as they tried to work out why mummy left, still hurt me too. I am a father who wishes to protect his children from hurt, and yet, here I am having to protect them in some ways from the one who is supposed to nurture and love them?! How do I do that? I too have been afraid for my children, (particularly for my daughter), who are growing up living with men who are not their father or brothers. How do I teach my children good values, when they are growing up surrounded by bad values? How do I set appropriate boundaries with them, when they have different or no boundaries with their mother?

These are Very. Hard. Questions.

I found inspiration in Mother Teresa. Someone shared with me an experience she wrote of, where someone asked her how she coped with all of the suffering of the children in India. They asked her “Don’t you wish you could save all of the children of India?” Her response was “Of course I do”. They then asked her “How do you keep going when you know you can’t save them all?” Her response was “I can save this one.”

What this experience showed me, is that I can only do what I have the actual capacity to do. I cannot make a difference with what goes on with my children’s mother. I cannot change the fact that she is likely to have many boyfriends, and the children will see this. I cannot change the fact that she smokes around them, swears around them, is happy to live in an unbiblical sexual relationship around them – because none of these things are considered by the laws of our country to be reason to remove a child from their mother (unless there is actual abuse going on, in which case I have every legal right to intervene). But what I CAN do, is provide an environment and sanctuary where they can experience and see a difference.

I can make a difference to them when they are with me.

I can live a life that is pleasing to God, with appropriate boundaries on my own relationships (incidentally I have not had any relationships since our separation). I can eat good food, teach responsible alcohol consumption, provide a smoke free environment. I can make a difference to them, with me.

I also believe it is absolutely appropriate and right to continue to teach your children about right or wrong values, even if their other parent is not living those values. It is not love to allow someone you have a responsibility to teach to believe that something bad is good. The primary consideration once your spouse has divorced you, in my view, is what is your responsibility towards your children.

Creating productive communication with the ex-spouse

As I was writing this for April, I had a conversation with my ex-spouse. It began with her letting me know that she had booked my son in for some dental work this week. It continued into a brief discussion where she said she had been proud of him for the way he played with a disabled child last week, and she said he had a kind heart. I responded by saying that he does have a kind heart, and I think he got it from her (because underneath all of the horrible things that have been done, she does have a kind heart). She melted, and apologised again and again for all the things she has done that has hurt me.

We talked some more about the kids, their future, and our future. We talked about ways that we try to build up each other in our children’s minds. I pointed out in the conversation that I could not support some of the things she is doing, such as her smoking, but that I have shared these things with the kids in a way that shows them that we all love her. She acknowledged again that she takes responsibility for all of the wrongs she did to me. This is not the first time she has apologised for what she has done. I have had many opportunities to talk about things that have hurt me, and she accepts hearing it now. She reiterates again and again her desire for me to have a happy life. She is changing.

What has brought about this change? How can we communicate about the children like that now, when we weren’t able to 3 years ago?

One of the fundamental principles that I believe should guide our responses in all communication with all people, is love. Whilst it is true that love speaks the truth, when we speak with love we also have discernment as to when we speak, who we speak to, and how we say it.

If the motivation for us saying something to our ex-spouse is fear, then that is a good sign that we are probably not speaking in love.

We will likely say something that is truth (such as the divorce is hurting the children), but it will likely be said in a way that achieves nothing. If we want to say something and it is marked with peace, love and joy, this is likely a fruit of the Holy Spirit in your heart. And it will bear fruit, which will be seen in your ex-spouse’s response. As I have slowly learned this principle, and have practised thanking her for the things that she DOES do for the children, things have slowly changed.

Reader, I am not going to pretend for a second that this was easy to begin with. When your spouse/ex-spouse is doing things that rip your heart to pieces, it feels almost impossible to see anything positive in them at all. But what I found, was that as I spent time in prayer and worship of the Lord, he enabled me to see her as a lost soul, and I began to hurt for her and for the decisions she was making. I began to see that we were both the same, both people who desperately needed God’s forgiveness and grace for our lives. I began to love her with a love that I hadn’t ever felt before. I understood how Christ could be on the cross hurting for the people who were killing Him.

And that is the key. Knowing Christ. The more I have surrendered my situation to the Lord and allowed Him to work, the more fruit I have seen in my life and hers. He has directly shared to my heart times when I just KNEW it was the right time to say something, and the responses to these conversations have been fantastic.

I ask you this, what can you actually do of your own strength that will change the mind of your spouse? The answer is nothing.

Any change that comes will come as a work of God in their heart, as they, themselves, are willing to listen to Him. Creating productive communication with your spouse is a matter of experiencing Christ yourself, practicing His principles of love and respect, and trusting Him with the outcome, even if you don’t see any changes for a long, long time.

I received a letter from my daughter two weeks ago. She is 6. It had her beautiful handwriting on the front of the envelope, where she had carefully written out my home address. It was a handmade card, with a picture on the front that she had drawn. Inside it had these four words “I love you Dad.” Do you know why I got that letter? Because it was the weekend that I did not have custody of my children, and their mother had organised this letter to be posted to me. She has photographs of me with each of the children next to their beds, so they can see me before they go to sleep at night. She will randomly text me, thanking me for things like teaching her how to drive a car. Things have changed. There won’t be a reconciliation of our marriage, but there has been such a softening of her heart over time, a reconciliation of friendship of sorts. We work together for the children now.

There is a scripture in 1stCorinthians 13 that says this, “Love never fails. Love may not restore your marriage, there are some things that have lifelong consequences and divorce is something that sometimes can’t be avoided. But I can promise you that love will produce fruit over time. It will first produce fruit in you, as you begin to understand the depth of the love of God in you. And it may well begin to soften the way for better communication with your husband also.

I am praying for you.

NOTE FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Ultimately, each spouse in a situation like this will need to seek God wholeheartedly and seek to follow the Word of God and the Spirit’s leading. There aren’t super easy formulas and pat answers. This husband truly has sought the Lord with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength. As he was willing to lay down his will and his life in absolute surrender to the Lord, God has given him wisdom each step of the way. He trusted God to work in his wife’s heart. Because it is only God who can open people’s blinded eyes and raise them to new life.

I believe that as we learn to depend on Christ and we determine to seek to follow and honor Him above all else, He can show us His path for each of us.

The greatest goals are eternal goals. Things like – our spouse’s and children’s salvation. We can continue to pray for these things and allow God to use us however He sees fit to pray and to set beautiful, Christlike examples for everyone around us to see.

If you are facing severe issues in your marriage, please reach out for godly, experienced, wise one-on-one counsel if you need to – with a counselor you trust. And please seek to be as close to the Lord yourself as possible.

SHARE

If you have been in a situation similar to this and you believe that God has given you wisdom you would like to share (that aligns with scripture), you are welcome to share some general insights and spiritual treasures you have received.

If you would like prayer for your situation, you are welcome to ask for prayer.

However, I’d like to stipulate that we (the author of this guest post, readers, and myself) not attempt to give specific advice to people in the comments about their particular situations. A public forum like this is not a great place to share all of the details of a spouse’s sin. That is better done in private with a trusted, experienced counselor who can get to know your specific situation in person. And sometimes, if a person gets a lot of conflicting advice, it can be more confusing than helpful.

RELATED

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done!”

Should You Try to Please or Keep Your Husband at Any Cost?

Influencing an Unbelieving Husband for Christ

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

FreeinChrist Fights Divorce with Heavenly Weapons

FreeinChrist Stands for Something Way Bigger Than Her Marriage

A Peaceful Divorced Wife – Kristen’s Story

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story – by The Restored Wife

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

A Prayer to Change the Spiritual Atmosphere in the Home – by Radiant

Praying for Your Husband and Children

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

Contentment on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up, ladies! With all the pressure and expectations that come along with it.
Sometimes, we may be tempted to judge our husband’s love for us or the strength of our marriage based on if we get just the right gift. Special, costly gifts and things our husbands give us can be fun. But let’s remember that our relationship, marriage, motives, and how we treat our husbands are far more important than exactly how we celebrate on one day.

Appreciating Our Own Husbands

Our husbands show love in many ways that advertisers never portray. Everyday kinds of ways. And sometimes, heroic kinds of ways. These gestures of love are important! Probably more important, in the light of eternity, than whether they pick just the right card that we would like or whether they give us a new diamond necklace.
I’m so glad our worth as women doesn’t have to all hang on this one day!
Our worth comes from Jesus and His incredible love and sacrifice for us. Anything else is icing on the cake! Each husband has his own strengths, talents, and ways of showing love.
Thankfully, we can learn to receive love in the ways they give love.
It is amazing how much more loved we feel when we learn to see and appreciate what our men do to try to show us love. Even if it is not our favorite way of receiving love. We might discover, their ways are pretty amazing, too. They do things for us all throughout the year. Think about the kind things your particular husband does for you – and write them down.
Consciously choose to be thankful for the man you have.
In Christ, we don’t have to measure our husband’s love by whether they meet all of the standards of advertisers on TV and billboards for this day. We can be free from worldly expectations and dictates. We can choose to love, appreciate, respect, and honor our men for the ways they show love to us every day of the year. We don’t have to compare them to anyone else – real or fictional.
We get to decide whether we will set the emotional thermostat in our marriages to warm and inviting or cold and resentful. We can also learn to give love to our men in the ways that are meaningful to them.

The Most Important Thing Is Our Attitude

We can approach this day with a grateful heart and contentment.

Instead of focusing on ourselves or on our culture’s very rigid expectations for this day, I’d love to see us take some pressure off of our husbands – and ourselves. Sure, we can sweetly ask for things we would enjoy. (With a pleasant tone of voice and a smile):
  • Babe, I would really love to do X.
  • Honey, I would like a box of X chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
Let’s also ask our husbands what would be special to them. If we choose to celebrate this day, let’s make it about appreciating our unique marriage in our own unique way as a couple. Why let some strangers we don’t even know – who will financially benefit if we do what they want us to do – put demands on us or our men? And why allow some marketing executives to get us to resent our guys if they find their marketing plan unpalatable? 
 
The Most Important Ability Is Flexibility
This is my Sunday School teacher’s favorite saying. And it is so true! So if someone gets sick with the flu or finances are tight and doing something elaborate is not possible, we can be flexible. This is life sometimes. We can roll with it. God can give us the power! We don’t have to freak out or get upset. We can enjoy:
  • A homemade meal or take out at home together on the couch.
  • Making our husband’s favorite dish or dessert. Just to bless him.
  • Snuggling on the couch together.
  • Thanking our men for all they do for us and our families.
  • Sharing a few reasons we admire them.
  • Doing something fun with the kids.
  • Making homemade decorations for the supper table with the kids.
  • Taking cookies to a single mom, a pregnancy crisis center, or an elderly widow/widower.
  • A walk through the neighborhood.
  • A relaxing bath together after the kids go to bed.
  • Some time together another day if schedules don’t work out on the 14th.

Contentment IS Possible!

Paul is such an incredible example of contentment for us to follow. He was able to be content in Christ in the midst of violent persecution for his faith, imprisonment, suffering, illness, injuries, and all kinds of trials (Phil. 4:11-12). Surely, because we have the same power of Jesus in us, we can be content no matter what may happen on Valentine’s Day.
Look at the standard of contentment God has for us:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Tim. 6:6-8
God calls us to be content with godliness, food for the day, and clothing for the day. Wow. That is very different from the messages we receive in our culture. But it is extremely freeing!
We can respond graciously and with respect and self-control even if things don’t go the way we would really like on Valentine’s Day. We can bring joy and delight to our husbands by being understanding, patient, peaceful, joyful, considerate, and thankful for them.
With an attitude like this, we are bound to savor Valentine’s Day, and every day.
Much love!
 
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What secrets have you found to approaching Valentine’s Day in a way that is a blessing to your husband, your family, and yourself? We’d love to hear about it!
 
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Humor As a Relationship Builder

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

A cheerful heart is good medicine. Prov. 17:22

My husband, Greg, has always known how to make me laugh. His sense of humor and wit were some of the things that attracted me to him early on. And he loves that he can make me laugh, even without words. All it takes is this certain expression on his face – and I’m a goner!

As our children get older, we all share more inside jokes together. There have been times we all just laugh and laugh together for thirty minutes or more at a time. And we each add to the jokes and funny stories. It’s one of my favorite things about the dynamics in our family.

How wonderful to laugh together around the supper table and to enjoy each other and have fun!

Humor and Relationship Research

Jeffrey Hall, a researcher in communications at Kansas University, has done quite a bit of study on the subject of humor and relationships.

Hall says, “That people think you are funny or you can make a joke out of anything is not strongly related to relationship satisfaction. What is strongly related to relationship satisfaction is the humor that couples create together.”

In the article “Humor in Romantic Relationships, a Meta-Analysis,” Hall looks back on 30 years’ worth of studies on the topic, concluding that “playfulness between romantic partners is a crucial component in bonding and establishing relational security” and that laughter, “particularly shared laughter, is an important indicator of romantic attraction between potential mates.”

Hall cautions that research warns a mate not to make his or her partner the butt of a joke. “Having an aggressive sense of humor is a bad sign for the relationship in general, but it is worse if the style of humor is used in the relationship…”

Some Benefits of Humor in Relationships

Humor can be a huge blessing in family dynamics both between spouses – and between parents and children. It’s not always the best way to handle every situation, of course. But humor, rightly handled, can often do amazing things like:

When we can find humor together in difficulties, or come up with inside family jokes, or share funny quotes and impressions – we bond as a family. Life is more fun. And our family is closer emotionally.

Shared humor makes our marriage and family stronger. As long as it is done in love, sensitivity, and fun, never with spite, disrespect, or malice.

This bonding helps us weather the less pleasant parts of life together and helps everyone feel loved, accepted, and important. It also helps us, as spouses and as a family, to feel connected and like we are a team who can conquer anything as long as we are able to face it together.

Humor is a great way to add positivity to your own life and to your marriage and family. It may take a bit of practice. And, it may take some time to study your husband and your children to learn what kinds of humor really engage them most. But the rewards can be amazing when we find the right style of humor, balance, and approach!

Share

I’d love to hear your stories of how you and your husband use humor to strengthen your marriage and your family. I’m sure many of you have amazing insights to share with all of us that would be such a blessing!

Related

SMILE!  – Your smile is a huge blessing to your husband and children

Why Laughter Is Good for Your Marriage – Focus on the Family

Bringing Laughter Into Your Marriage – Focus on the Family

Managing Conflict with Humor  – HelpGuide.org

Laughter Is the Best Medicine – (the health benefits of laughter) HelpGuide.org

Relationship Success Tied Not to Joking But Shared Sense of Humor, Researcher Says – Hall, Kansas University

Do I Have a Spirit of Offense?

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

Something our culture today is really great at is – offense. It is almost mind-blowing just how easily offended people are today. And it is sad. Because when we are so easily offended, we also have a lack of unity, relationship, emotional connection, harmony, and teamwork. We also miss out on most of the fun, joy, and blessings in life.

THE TRUTH IS

  • Criticizing other people is super easy.
  • Looking at myself and my own faults and taking responsibility for changing myself is HARD.

It is human nature to go around blaming others and pointing our fingers at other people in disgust while we believe we are wonderful, good, and virtuous. It takes incredible spiritual maturity to be willing to honestly look at ourselves and our issues. But God calls us to take responsibility for our own lives first. He calls us to remove the “beam” from our own eye so that we can see clearly enough to remove the “speck” from someone else’s eye (Matt. 7:1-5).

How can I tell if I have a “spirit of offense”?

  1. Am I more concerned about being “right” about everything than anything/anyone else?
  2. Do I tend to focus on other people’s faults?
  3. Do I feel it is my job to correct people’s mistakes in many areas of life?
  4. Do my words tend to be laced with negativity and criticism about situations and people?
  5. Do I “vent” often to others about things other people did to upset me?
  6. Do I tend to have a short fuse and/or raise my voice easily?
  7. Do I believe that it is unacceptable for people to disagree with me?
  8. Do I feel it is my duty and responsibility to make people change their minds to match my opinions, my convictions, and my beliefs – by verbal force – if necessary?
  9. Do I verbally attack, insult, or try to humiliate people who think or act differently than I want them to?
  10. Do I think I truly know best and everyone else would be a lot better off if only they listened to my great wisdom?
  11. Do I have a hard time forgiving even the smallest slights from others?
  12. Do I tend to hold onto grudges, resentment, and bitterness?
  13. Do I tend to have very rigid expectations and be unable to bend or be flexible in relationships?
  14. Do I tend to be a perfectionist and get upset if things are not exactly the way I think they should be?
  15. Do I go on an all-out verbal assault on anyone who dares to question or criticize me – assassinating the person’s character and acting like a prosecuting attorney in a criminal trial?
  16. Do I have difficulty finding sin in my own life and tend to assume I am a “very good person” with few sins in my own life and have no trouble at all finding a lot of sin and wrongdoing in other people’s lives?
  17. Do I tend to assume the worst possible motives of others?
  18. Do I have to have the last word in an argument?
  19. Do I think of myself as morally superior to other people?
  20. Do I tend to burn a lot of bridges in my relationships and cut people out of my life even if they apologize and try to change?
  21. Am I much more concerned with voicing my opinion and telling people my thoughts than understanding what other people think or understanding their perspectives?
  22. Do I tend to find negative things to say about the pastor’s sermon, my boss, my parents, my in-laws, the way my husband helped me with the kids, the way my son took out the trash, etc…?
  23. Do I always feel it is my responsibility to confront people on anything they say about which I don’t agree, no matter how small the issue may be?
  24. Do I feel everyone around me owes me an answer for their thoughts, words, decisions, and deeds? Like it is my right to question them?
  25. Do I give the “cold shoulder” treatment to people often?
  26. Am I quick to share (gossip) all about the terrible things other people have done to me – to my husband, my family, my coworkers, and others?
  27. Do I tend to verbally abuse other people who don’t agree with me, insulting them and cutting them down?
  28. Do I let my emotions have free reign and let my anger have its way when someone ticks me off and not restrain my words if I feel even slightly offended?
  29. Do I genuinely wish harm on people who don’t do what I want or who disagree with me?
  30. Do I freak out if people even talk about their religious or political beliefs if they don’t match mine? Like I really don’t think anyone else should get to have free will but me?

If I answer, “yes,” to several, or maybe (*gulp*), ALL of these questions – it’s time to consider that I may have a significant issue with a spirit of offense.

I, personally, had this sin festering uncontrollably in my life for many years. It truly was a painful way for me to live, and it was painful for those around me, too. The fruit of my life was: bitterness, resentment, worry, fear, control, anxiety, depression, frustration, loneliness, lack of emotional intimacy with others, and broken relationships.

Greg actually said to me one time, many years ago, “You LIKE to be miserable. You want to be miserable. You don’t want to be happy.”

I started to argue with him, of course.

But then, I actually stopped and thought about it. I realized that I was pretty negative and I was rather miserable. I don’t think I actually enjoyed misery. But that sure is where I camped out for many years. I didn’t know how to fix it. But maybe, for once back then, I had to acknowledge that Greg was actually right!

(Now I know he has quite a lot of wisdom to share, if I am willing to listen and receive humbly. He can sometimes see my blindspots and help point me toward a better life.)

God’s Word says pride is one of the most deadly sins.

The root of a spirit of offense is – PRIDE. Big time pride.

Pride was the sin of Satan. He wanted to exalt himself to be equal with God and wanted others to worship and follow him instead of God. His temptation to Eve was that if she ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, she would “be like God.”

Satan appeals to our pride still, today. His tactics haven’t changed a lick. Satan loves for us to take offense and to think highly of ourselves. He loves to help create division, tension, offense, hatred, bitterness, contention, arguments, jealousy, and resentment. When we participate in these things, we give him authority in our lives to destroy us and to use our lives to help destroy others.

What does God say about pride?

  • There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Prov. 6:16-19
  • The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Prov. 8:13
  • Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18
  • One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. Prov. 29:23
  • “Knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Cor. 8:1

The Cure for Pride is Humility.

I must continually humble myself before God and acknowledge that HE is God. I am not. I stop exalting myself above God in my heart and mind. I turn from my pride and embrace that God alone is good and righteous. I am not. I need Jesus and His blood. I have no goodness on my own apart from what Jesus did for me on the cross.

I get off of the throne of my life. I stop demanding that other people look up to me and exalt me. I stop demanding to be exalted by others.

I set God, alone, firmly on the throne of my life. I acknowledge that He, alone, has all wisdom and it is infinitely higher than any human wisdom, including mine. I stop being an enemy of God and I bow my heart and knee to His Lordship in every area of my life.

  • “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 1 Pet. 5:6

I love the quotes from Andrew Murray in his book, “Humility“:

  • Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.
  • Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.”
  • Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.

The Bible Has Great Wisdom for Us about How to Deal with Offense:

  • Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11
  • For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt. 6:14-15
  • Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rom. 12:19
  • Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Eph. 4:26-27
  • Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19-21
  • For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:16
  • Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Gal. 6:1-3
  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24-26

Summing Up

Ultimately, every sin is against God. He will deal with it. He will bring about justice and vengeance for any sin that has not been covered by the blood of Jesus. I can entrust myself to the Lord. I don’t have to make people do things. I don’t have to freak out when people don’t understand me or don’t agree with me. I don’t have to try to control them and change them myself.

This doesn’t mean truth is relative. God’s truth is absolute, according to the Bible. But I don’t have to try force truth – or my opinions – on people. I can share with them if they are open to it and trust God to work in their hearts. I can pray for Him to illuminate their eyes.

I can rest in God’s love and goodness. I can rest in His sovereignty and Lordship. And I can invite Him to work powerfully to change and heal me and to transform others and heal them, too.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have to address sin or wrong doing in other people’s lives. I absolutely may need to, at times. I may also need to set very clear boundaries, or even remove myself from certain toxic relationships if people refuse to repent and change if they are severely sinning against me. But I can approach other people’s sin God’s way and from a posture of humility, love, honor, and respect – rather than with a judgmental, critical, hateful spirit.

And I must be very much on guard against a spirit of offense in my heart every day and repent if I notice it is starting to creep in.

Prayer of Repentance

Lord,

Expose the depths of sin in our hearts. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23). Maybe no one has ever confronted us in Your love about our sin. Don’t let us continue to be blind to the great extent of our sin and the massive debt which we owe to You. We all struggle with pride. We all struggle with offense and wanting to be “right.” We are so small – just creatures made of dust. And You are the One true God, King, and Creator of the universe. How dare we exalt ourselves to be equal to You or above You in our hearts and minds?

Our pride offends You. It destroys us. It destroys others around us. It kills our relationships. It creates division and severe damage in our marriages and families. It is an instrument of the enemy. We don’t want to live in pride and a spirit of offense any more! We humble ourselves on our faces before You. We need Your help! We can’t fix ourselves or clean ourselves up. We are a mess without You.

Cleanse us from all of our sin by the powerful blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for us on the cross. We bow humbly before You, acknowledging that You, alone, are worthy to be called, Lord. We are not. We are creatures who are dependent on Your mercy and grace. We have no holiness of our own. Our greatest attempts at righteousness look like bloody, nasty, menstrual rags in Your sight (Isa. 64:6).

Robe us with the holiness and righteousness of Jesus. Transform us and conform us to the image of Christ because that is Your will for us and it is very good (Rom. 8:29) . Purify us and make us clean and radiant in Your sight now and forever!

Help us to grow in humility. Help us to exalt and honor You, alone. Help us to have proper reverence for You in our hearts. Help us to close the door to the enemy and to our flesh and sinful nature. We want to live in the power of Your Spirit from now on and in the power of Jesus’ victory over sin and the grave.

Fill us with love and faith in You. Fill us with Your supernatural love, grace, and mercy for our fellow travelers on this journey. Grant Your beautiful Spirit of unity to our marriages, families, churches, and our nation.

Amen!

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How has God spoken to you on this issue? Do you have any wisdom to share with us?

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DEVOTION IDEAS

Check out these verses sometime this week. Each topic could make a wonderful study for your devotional time each day.

Bible Verses about Offense

Bible Verses about Pride

Bible Verses about Forgiveness

Bible Verses about Humility

Verses about Vengeance

 

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Humility by Andrew Murray ($0.99 on Kindle)

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When Your Husband Is Too Handsy

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

Note – this particular post is written in response some wives who had similar issues with good-willed husbands who were genuinely just trying to be playful and flirty with their wives and who were not abusive, violent, or mentally unstable.

The usual scenario goes like this:

  1. A husband playfully grabs his wife with a grin.**
  2. She instantly gets angry and upset. Maybe she says something (in an irritated tone of voice) like:
    • “Get away from me!”
    • “You are so immature!!”
    • “What is wrong with you?”
    • “Why would you do that in front of the kids?”
    • “Don’t touch me!”
    • “What are you, some kind of pig or something?”
    • “You haven’t even talked to me yet today. What do you think you’re doing!?”
    • “Can’t you see I am trying to make supper!?!”
    • Or maybe she just slaps his hands away and scowls at him.
  3. He is confused and surprised by her negative reaction and the insults.
  4. She feels offended, unloved, annoyed, and irritated.
  5. He feels angry, unloved, lonely, and rejected.

Both spouses end up feeling misunderstood and resentful, thinking the other spouse was inconsiderate and unloving.

It is easy to get offended with something like this and let it ruin the whole evening.

Instead of getting offended…

You could choose to be playful in return, and welcome his advances. Who knows? It could actually turn out to be fun!
  • Tickle him.
  • Pull him toward you and give him a huge hug.
  • Smile and grab his hands and try to hold them behind his back and ask, “Now, where are my handcuffs when I need them?”
  • Stop what you are doing and give him all of your attention. Be playful, too.
  • Smile and say, “I knew I should have ordered that suit of armor from Amazon when it was on sale last month.”
You may feel better just to realize that he is trying to be playful, fun, and flirting with you in his own masculine way. That may completely end the problem for you and you may be able to respond back in a fun way. Sometimes, we can simply set aside a “spirit of offense.”
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11
However, if the groping thing still really bothers you, you can redirect him and gently let him know what you would prefer. Let’s talk about some possible ways to do that!

What Can a Wife Do If She Hates to Be Groped?

We want our husbands to change their approach, so this may require our being willing to change our approach first.

  • Recognize that, unless you are facing some rather extreme issues**, he likely truly has good will toward you and probably didn’t intend to upset or hurt you.
  • He probably does care about your happiness quite a bit.
  • Appreciate his good desire to love, connect, and be playful with you.
  • Realize that he is wired differently from you. Some things about his approach to you are not necessarily wrong, it’s just different from what you may prefer.
  • Remember that he doesn’t have a Hollywood female script writer or a crystal ball to tell him what you would like. He’s just a regular guy who is doing his best to be romantic with you in his own way in real life. He may be trying to connect with you and be fun.
  • Focus on the good things about him and all the sweet, kind, thoughtful things he does for you.
  • Keep in mind that reacting in a really negative way could crush his soul and make him feel rejected sexually and rejected as a man. Men do have feelings, too!
  • Consider being thankful to have a husband who loves you and wants to connect sexually and who wants to flirt in some way.

(For more on these topics, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s book full of amazingly helpful information about men, “For Women Only.”)

Changing the Dynamics

What can you do in the moment to encourage him to stop him from the friendly grabbing sessions? A few suggestions to prayerfully consider (but ultimately, seek to do what you believe would honor the Lord most in your situation):

  • Smile at him, and then sweetly put his hands where you would rather they go. And say in a friendly voice, “That’s more my speed. I like this approach.”
  • Smile and say in a flirty, fun way, “Oh, no! It doesn’t work like that, Honey. You don’t just go up to your amazing wife and grab her like that. Let me show you how this is properly done…” And let him be the “wife” and then you model for him how you would like for him to approach you.
  • Smile and say, “I know I am super irresistible! But a beautiful woman like me is delicate and tender. Maybe instead of grabbing me, I’d love it if you…”
  • Smile and say, “Groping is not really my thing, but I do love that you desire me. Would you like to know what is my thing that you could do?…”
  • Smile and say, “If you really want to help me get ready to enjoy being with you later, I’d love for you to try this…”
  • Smile and say, “You know what? I’d love it if you come up behind me at the sink and put your arms around my waist and lean all up against my back. That would feel amazing. I think I may start to melt if you did that. Could be dangerous.” 😉
  • Share in a whisper, “I don’t really care for being grabbed like that. But you know what you could do that would really be a huge turn on for me, Baby?” And then tell him – in a friendly, positive way – what would help get you in the mood.
  • Say, “Grabbing me makes me tense up because it hurts. If you really want to sweep me off my feet when you come home and get me to melt for you, here are some sure-fire ways to do it…”
  • Approach in a warm way with a sense of humor – but don’t insult him.
  • Or take some time to have a sweet, fun talk about each of your preferences for flirting and being playful with each other where you both seek to understand each other.

Key points:

  • Smile. Your smile is one of his favorite things in the entire world. It is one of your greatest gifts to him!
  • Be respectful – it honors God, your husband, and yourself when you treat your husband well. (Eph. 5:22-33, 1 Cor. 7:3-5)
  • Be friendly with your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.
  • Avoid insulting him, shaming him, or disrespecting him.
  • Be positive about what you do want and your good feelings for him. Focus more on inspiring him to do what you would like than talking about what you don’t like.
  • Let him know that you are NOT rejecting him or sexual connection with him, that you love and accept him and his desire for you.
  • Be sure to share a few things you truly would enjoy that he could do.
  • Don’t expect him to read your mind or get subtle hints.
  • Share what you would like briefly, directly, and vulnerably.
  • Ask for what you want respectfully.
  • Be a safe place for him emotionally.

It’s also helpful to remember that as husband and wife, we are one flesh. Our bodies do belong to each other (1 Cor. 7:3-5). So we want to try to be as inviting and welcoming as we can. But we can also ask to be treated with respect.

The following verse applies to all believers, and it can certainly be a blessing in marriage, too.

Outdo one another in showing honor. Rom. 12:10

THEN

When he approaches you in a way you really like – and he doesn’t grope you – REWARD him!

Thank him. Tell him – and even better – show him how much you love that approach by being responsive to the approach you like.

If It Continues, If He truly Is Hurting You, or You Feel You Need to Be More Direct

If he still continues to grab you and you feel you can’t overlook it, it doesn’t feel friendly and playful to you:

  • Be a bit more firm, but still respectful, and say something like, “I love you. I love for you to touch me. But I truly do not like to be pinched and groped. Especially in front of other people. It feels disrespectful to me.”
  • Say, “I don’t like this. Please stop.”
  • Gently say, “I would greatly appreciate it if you would respect my desire on this issue. I do not like being grabbed like that.”
  • You may consider gently taking his face in your hands and looking into his eyes with a serious expression and whispering something like, “I feel disrespected when you approach me like this. It doesn’t feel good to me. I want you to enjoy touching me. And I also want to enjoy it, too.'”
  • Say simply, “I really don’t like the grabbing thing, Honey.”
  • Invite him to read Intended for Pleasure with you.

The goal is for both husband and wife to feel loved, respected, desired, and appreciated.

We, as wives, have tons of powerful influence to direct things so that we can reach a win/win for everyone, especially as we invite the Lord into the situation to give us wisdom!

A prayer you may want to pray with me…

Lord,

In marriage, things sure can get complicated sometimes. We all need grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love for each other and from each other. Help me see this issue with new eyes. Help me appreciate my husband’s very different perspective on life and help me see that maybe his intentions aren’t as evil as I had previously assumed. Help me understand that a lot of times, he is just different from me, not necessarily “wrong.” He is not my enemy. We are teammates.

Help me to let go of a spirit of offense or bitterness. I don’t want any resentment, malice, or contempt in my heart for my husband. That stuff is toxic to me spiritually and it is toxic to our marriage. I repent of it. Empower me to pour Your love, Life, and healing into our marriage. Even with this little issue.

Help us both understand how we can build each other up and create more unity and oneness that will honor You. Help me learn to approach my husband in ways that honor You, even when he is doing something I don’t like. I am not justified in sinning against him just because I don’t like his approach.

Thank You that You are working in both of us and that You will finish the good work You have started. Thank You that You have so much wisdom for us in Your Word and that You give us the ability to pray about issues. Thank You that You have the ability to change our hearts and to grow our marriage. I praise and thank You that You are going to help us both move forward with understanding, patience, and grace for one another. I don’t want to let the enemy divide and destroy us over this little thing. Be greatly glorified in our marriage and in my life.

Amen!

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If you have something encouraging to share on this topic, we’d love to hear about it!

For this post, comments will be ladies only, please.

My Commenting Policy

RELATED

Let’s Talk about Sex – This post has every link to every post I have written about sex. Including topics like – boundaries with sex in marriage, dealing with jealousy, desiring greater emotional connection, sexual dysfunction, one spouse having a higher libido than the other, ED, attraction, body image issues, and much more.

How and When Should We Look Over an Offense? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Attractive/Unattractive to Our Husbands?

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Isn’t It Demeaning to Me If I Respect My Husband?

What Really Speaks Respect to My Husband

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage through Your Thought Life

Why Do I Have to Change First?

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

RESOURCES

1. Intended for Pleasure by Dr. Ed Wheat MD may be very helpful (for you both, actually – and most husbands love this book, too) to help you just begin to have a solid foundational understanding of each other biologically and emotionally and for God’s beautiful design for sex in marriage.
2. Unlock Your Libido, an ebook by Bonny Logsdon Burns may be helpful especially if you tend to have a low libido, or you want some practical tips and suggestions to help you with increasing your sexual desire for your husband.
3.  For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn opened up a much greater understanding for me, and thousands of other women, about how to better understand our men and the biggest differences between us.

 

** Note, if your husband has a severe porn addiction, please seek help at www.xxxchurch.com or another Christian resource for porn addictions. If your husband is involved in unrepentant infidelity, please seek experienced, godly one-on-one counsel with someone you trust locally. If your husband is abusive and you – or your children – are not safe please try to get somewhere safe and get all the help you need from your church, from the police, from experienced counselors, etc… If your husband is mentally unwell, is a sex addict or has severe addictions, please reach out for help, as well.

Also, if you realize that you hate for your husband to touch you at all, or that you hate sex in general, check to see if you have any wounds in your own heart and life related to sex that may need to be healed – from any sexual abuse in the past, or from hurtful messages that sex is “dirty” even in marriage. If you do, you may need some help from a trusted, experienced, godly counselor.

www.biblicalcounseling.com

www.focusonthefamily.com

 

11 Reasons We Can’t Afford to Skimp on Thanksgiving and Praise to God

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Ps. 69:30

The more I know the Lord and the more I see of His goodness, character, and love, the more I spontaneously desire to praise and thank Him. It is a natural outpouring that results from understanding who God is and acknowledging all of the innumerable blessings He has given me. Truly, it is the only appropriate response for me as a believer in Christ to my kind, loving, generous, gracious Creator, Savior, and Lord.

Of course, some days praise and thanksgiving comes more easily than others. But whether I feel like giving praise and thanking God or not, there are many good reasons that I want to live a continual lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Thankfully, this is a choice of the will that I can make no matter how I may feel in the moment.

11 reasons I want to enthusiastically embrace praise and thanksgiving every single day:

  1. God alone is worthy of all of my praise and thanksgiving.
  2. God calls me, and all believers in Christ, to praise as a vocation – here on earth and in heaven.
    • God created people to praise and worship Him. (Isa. 43:21, Eph. 5:19, Heb. 13:15)
    • I am most joyous, fulfilled, and satisfied when I choose to live out my divine calling and purpose from God.
  3. It is God’s will for me to live in continual thanksgiving and praise. 
    • An attitude like this puts God and my problems in proper perspective and grows my faith.
    • God commands me, as a believer in Christ, to live in thanksgiving and praise because it greatly blesses me, it is an appropriate response to Him, and it honors Him. (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 99:5, Isa. 42:10, 1 Thess. 5:18)
  4. My praise for and thanksgiving to God align me with His good purposes and His will for my life and His kingdom.
    • I agree with God about His goodness and His wisdom when I praise and thank Him. (Col. 3:17)
    • This attitude paves the way for me to walk in joyful obedience to the Lord.
    • My praise and thanksgiving allow God to shift my desires to match His own and to soften my heart to His will.
  5. My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord help to transform wrong, sinful thinking.
    • It is part of allowing God to renew my mind. (Rom. 12:2)
    • When I am boasting in God, I am not boasting in myself. God opposes my human pride but gives grace to me when I am humble. (James 4:6)
    • I acknowledge that He is God and He has all the rights of being Lord and I do not. I learn to lean on His wisdom rather than my own human wisdom. (Prov. 3:5-6)
    • I learn to develop an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one – to see how God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
    • Praise and thanksgiving are a huge part of how we take our thoughts captive for Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
  6. God inhabits the praises of His people. 
    • My praise attracts God, makes Him feel welcome, and draws me closer to Him and Him closer to me. (Ps. 22:3, 1 Pet. 2:9)
  7. My praise and gratitude to God create a spirit of faith and trust in me. (Prov. 3:5-6, Heb. 11:6)
    • As I see God for who He really is and all that He has done, I realize I have no reason to fear, unbelief, doubt. My fears melt away as I grasp His greatness and as I taste His goodness. (1 John 4:18)
    • When I remind myself of God’s faithfulness in the past, I see that He will also be faithful in my current and future circumstances. (Ps. 42:6)
  8. Thanksgiving is how God instructs us to approach Him in prayer. 
    • God hates my grumbling/complaining/arguing because it is a clear sign of unbelief and lack of faith.  (Num. 14:27)
    • God responds graciously to my gratitude, trust, and faith. (Phil. 4:6)
  9. Demons feel very unwelcome when there is praise and thanksgiving to God going on. 
    • My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord is a spiritual weapon. As I sing praises to the Lord, evil spirits flee. (1 Sam. 16:23)
    • Sometimes trials come from the enemy to test my faith – just like with Job – to prove that I will turn against the Lord and stop praising Him if I suffer temporarily in this life. (Job 1:9-12)
    • May I never give the enemy of my soul any occasion to mock the Lord! But may I continue to praise God and trust Him no matter what may happen here on earth, knowing He is with me and He is for me and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper! (Isa. 54:17)
    • When I stand on God’s Word and proclaim His truth and praise out loud in faith in Jesus, demonic opposition cannot stand against me. I don’t have power against demons/Satan in my own strength, but in the Name and power of Jesus, I can resist the enemy with the truth about God and the truth of God’s Word. (James 4:7)
  10. Praise and thanksgiving are powerful spiritual prescriptions for depression, discouragement, anxiety, and fear.
    • When David wrote the Psalms, he poured out his heart, burdens, trials, and heavy emotions. Then he always reminded himself to praise God, even when he faced humanly impossible circumstances and his very life was in jeopardy. (Ps. 42:5)
    • It is impossible to continue to feel depressed, defeated, lonely, or discouraged when I set my eyes firmly on the Lord in all His glory and I see His goodness, love, and provision for me! God is infinitely greater than my circumstances and other people.
  11. My sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord open the floodgates of heaven to countless blessings:

NOTE – Trials are a signal to me that I need to greatly increase my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord to allow much more of His Spirit, wisdom, and power to flow into my life and circumstances. My response when under any kind of spiritual attack or warfare must include much praise and thanksgiving to the Lord!

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

 

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How has God revealed these truths to you in your own walk with Him?

RELATED

Bible Study Tools definition of Praise

Why Is Praising God Important? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean to Praise God? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Thankfulness/Gratitude? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Ingratitude/Unthankfulness? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Dealing with a Difficult Mother-in-Law

Photo by Ghost Presenter on Unsplash

Let’s talk about this important subject together, my precious sisters. God has wisdom, healing, and direction for us even as we deal with very tough relationships.

God’s design for families:

  • Children are under the parents’ authority when they are young, but then they are no longer under their authority when they are grown adults.
  • Children are always to honor their parents, but the relationship is supposed to change once they are adults. They don’t have to obey and submit to their parents anymore.
  • Children are supposed to leave their parents and cleave to their new spouse.
  • Parents are supposed to honor the child’s new marriage covenant and should support their children leaving them and focusing on the new marriage.
  • Marriage is a life-long covenant. It is to be the first priority among all human relationships. It represents the gospel to the world.

Many people, unfortunately, don’t understand God’s order for family. Maybe they aren’t believers in Christ or maybe they are but they haven’t been properly taught. This creates many unbiblical expectations, dysfunctional relationships, and tension. We also all have our own sinful natures with which we must contend. Sometimes there is competition, jealousy, and rivalry for the attention of the man both women love. Sometimes the mother still wants control and highest allegiance from her son, expecting him to put her above his wife. Sometimes a daughter-in-law gets jealous if her son still loves his mom and gives her any attention, expecting her husband to cut his mom out of his life.

These can be tricky waters to navigate.

(How Do You Balance Leave and Cleave with Honoring Your Parents? by www.gotquestions.org – also has the scriptural references for the concepts I shared above about God’s design for families.)

 

What is a godly daughter-in-law to do?

You can’t control her – but you can control yourself. Here are a few steps that may be helpful.

Ask your husband what he believes you should do. God often leads us through our husbands in this area.

In fact, he may have been giving wise advice all along, you may just not have realized it. It may not make sense to you, because it is not how you relate to your parents. But try listening to his counsel. He is the expert on his family. If he is not asking you to clearly sin, seek to honor his way. This is honoring to the Lord.

Sometimes, if a husband has a really controlling mom, he may be rather emotionally and spiritually wounded, himself. If he has always been passive toward her and he has never stood up for himself to her, he may not know how, yet, to stand up against her for you. Even if he really should. The husband should, ideally, be the one to protect his wife from his family and to help navigate any contention between his wife and family. (Here’s a post about how you can help him with protecting you.) If he does not help you, there are times a wife may have to respectfully and prayerfully seek to handle things herself, or seek appropriate outside counsel.

Some general suggestions:

God’s wisdom is what we need! This is a spiritual battle and we need to know His battle plans. Ultimately, let’s seek the Lord’s wisdom from His Word, the leadership of our own husbands, and the discernment of His Spirit to help us navigate these difficult waters.
It definitely requires a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to do the kinds of things I am about to share. And it takes a lot of wrestling in prayer, seeking the Lord, sometimes fasting, and often, a lot of practice, too. (Most of these things would also apply to other people who are difficult to love, as well.)
Prayerfully desire to:
LOVE HER
  • Show your love for God by loving her – and all people – in a healthy way. (Mark 12:31, 1 Cor. 13:4-8)
  • Don’t love in a people pleasing kind of way, but a way that puts God’s approval first. (Gal. 1:10)
  • Do good things for her. God has put this woman in your life on purpose for you to share the love of Jesus with her. (Eph. 2:10)

FOCUS ON THE GOOD

  • Give thanks to the Lord for the woman who raised the man you love. (1 Thess. 5:18)
  • Focus on good things about her. (Phil. 4:8)

PRAY

  • Pray for her. (Matt. 5:43-48)
  • Remember that people are not the real enemy. (Eph. 6:12)
  • This is a spiritual battle and God has provided spiritual armor and weapons which you MUST use if you want to walk in the victory of Christ in tough relationships. (Eph. 6:10-20)
  • Invite God into the situation to do miracles and to pour out His provision, His glory, and His will! (James 5:16)
  • Pray God’s blessings and the truths of scripture over her. (1 Tim. 2:1)
  • Invite God to use this to help you grow spiritually and to train you in godliness. (James 1:2-4, Heb. 12:7-11)
  • Stay as close to the Lord as possible, spending time with Him in prayer, praise, thanksgiving, confession, and intercession. Rejoice in Him. (1 Thess. 5:15-17)

SET A GODLY EXAMPLE

  • Seek to do no harm to her. (Rom. 13:10)
  • Be patient with her and quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Respond with the self-control of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23, James 1:19-20)
  • Treat her as you would like to be treated. (Matt. 7:12)
  • Respond gently, not harshly. (Prov. 15:1)
  • Smile at her, be friendly, and purposely choose to be kind. Expect nothing in return from her – knowing you will have an eternal reward in heaven. (Luke 6:35)
  • Don’t speak (or even think) hurtful words, or insults but let your thoughts and words be life-giving and edifying. (Prov. 18:21Eph. 4:31-32)
  • Don’t complain or argue so that you can shine for Christ in the family. (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • Extend grace. (Matt. 5:7, Col. 4:6)
  • Don’t try to control her – or your husband. Honor people’s free will like Jesus does. He doesn’t force his way on anyone. (Rev. 3:20)
  • Don’t play the martyr and try to manipulate her or your husband. (Gal. 5:16-25)
  • Don’t vent to her or about her. (Prov. 29:11)
  • Don’t criticize her to your husband or anyone else. When we speak evil of someone, it is a big deal to the Lord. (James 4:11)
  • Bless her, even if she curses you. (Rom. 12:14)
  • Don’t take her hurtful words personally or react in the flesh. (Gal. 5:16-25, Eccl. 7:21-22)
  • Examine what she says and reject anything that is not in line with God’s Word. Don’t absorb messages from the enemy that may be trying to reach you through her mouth. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
  • Do what is right in God’s eyes so that she have nothing bad to say about you and so that she will glorify God for your good example in the end. (Matt. 5:16)

DEAL WITH SIN RIGHTLY

  • Carefully tear out any bitterness, hatred, contempt, self-righteousness, critical spirit, gossip, selfishness, and malice in your own heart. (Eph. 4:31, James 4:1-3)
  • Allow God to completely change and transform your heart and mind to make you more like Jesus. (Rom. 12:1-2)
  • Pour out your pain to the Lord for Him to help you hash through it rightly. (Ps. 109:2-5)
  • If she is really sinning and needs to be confronted, it can be best for your husband to do the talking, if at all possible. He has the closer relationship with her. And he is the God-ordained leader in your family. (1 Cor. 11:3)
  • If your husband can’t or won’t help and you need to approach her about sin, approach her sin God’s way – respectfully, gently, and humbly – after dealing with your own sin, first. Then you will be able to see what God desires you to do clearly about her sin. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)
  • Know the difference between a critical spirit and a godly rebuke.
  • Forgive her because this is a command of Jesus and it is life-giving and a powerful witness for Him. Let God take care of any vengeance that may be necessary. We can’t forgive in our power, but He can give us His power to do this as we yield to Him and let Him have control. (Matt. 6:14-15, Luke 17:3)
  • Remember that forgiveness is NOT the same thing as trust. The only One we can trust unconditionally is the Lord. Trust of other people is conditional. We are not required to trust people who want to hurt us. (Jer. 17:5)

OUTDO ONE ANOTHER IN SHOWING HONOR – to our husbands and our in-laws

  • Seek the wisdom and leadership of your husband.  (Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18)
  • Always try to treat your MIL with the utmost respect – in your body language, tone of voice, word choices, actions, and even in your heart. (Rom. 12:10)
  • Honor your husband’s parents as an extension of God’s command for your husband to honor his parents. (Exodus 20:12, 1 Pet. 5:5)
  • Honor your in-laws because they are your elders. This honors the Lord. You don’t have to respect or honor sin, but you can respect and honor people because they are created in the image of God and dearly loved by Jesus. (1 Pet. 5:5)
  • Show respect for the Lord, your husband, your in-laws, and yourself.

SEEK TO UNDERSTAND

  • Try to understand your MIL’s different perspective, history, filters, paradigm, and concerns. She has a different way of looking at things, but that doesn’t automatically make her “wrong” or “evil.” There are probably reasons why she thinks and feels the way she does that make sense to her. (James 1:19)
  • Give her the benefit of the doubt when possible, rather than assuming the worst. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
  • Try to get to know her personality, her strengths, and her talents and appreciate them.
  • Bear with her weaknesses. She may be older than you are, but she may not be as spiritually mature as expect her to be yet. (You may not be as spiritually mature as you would like to be yet, either.) She may have emotional and spiritual baggage, wounds, and scars that need God’s healing. She may be going through peri-menopause. She may have medical issues that are making things much worse that you don’t know about. You may not know how deep her pain is or what lies the enemy has used to ensnare and hurt her. (Rom. 15:1-2)
  • Try to receive love the way she shows it to you, rather than being offended that it may be different from what you are used to.  (Prov. 19:11)

SET APPROPRIATE BOUNDARIES IF NECESSARY

  • It’s fine to respectfully verbalize when you feel hurt and to ask for what you need,
    • “Those words really hurt me.”
    • “Ouch.”
    • “I feel sad when you say things like…”
  • If she is being controlling, you can say things like:
    • “Thank you for caring about us and wanting to give us good advice. We will prayerfully consider what you suggested.” She can give advice. It would be ideal if the advice was asked for. But your decisions in your marriage are not her decisions to make.
    • “You have raised your son very well. He has a lot of wisdom. We will try to make the best decision we can together. And we will be praying about this. I know it is hard when we make decisions that you may not agree with. Thanks for respecting our ability as adults to make our own decisions, even when we don’t always do what you would prefer.”
    • “Thanks for loving us and caring about us. Thanks for praying for us.” But you don’t have to give her control that is not hers.
  • If your MIL is often very hurtful to you verbally, and she won’t stop when you ask her to, it may be best to only visit her with your husband, not by yourself. You may need to have him there to be a witness and to be a buffer. (Eccl. 4:12)
  • If things are extremely toxic, you may have to break contact to some degree or another, at least for a time. This should not be done from a spirit of malice, but with a heart of divine love, desiring to see repentance, eventual healing, and reconciliation. Ideally, this would be done with your husband’s help and leading. But there are times when a wife may have to set boundaries on her own if things are severe and her husband isn’t intervening. (Matt. 18:15-17, Gal. 6:1-2)
  • If she is mentally ill or very spiritually oppressed, she may need medical help or counseling.
  • There are times it can be necessary to call the police, sadly. Again, it would be ideal if your husband handles that. But if you or your children are not safe, you may have to call, depending on the situation. God puts various authorities in our lives to protect us from harm when we need it and to maintain order and safety.
  • With a very emotionally toxic MIL situation, Leslie Vernick’s resources may be helpful about how to interact with destructive people.

KEEP AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

  • Remember that you will face many difficulties and even tragedies as a family. You may all need each other in the future. Seek to build unity and real peace as much as it depends on you. (1 Pet. 3:8)
  • Some of the things that may upset you now really won’t matter much in light of eternity. Maybe you can let some things go. Not every conflict is necessary or beneficial. “Choose your battles wisely.” (Prov. 19:11)
  • Remember that life is very short. Your MIL may not always be with you. Try to live without regrets and make the most of the time you have. (Ps. 90:12)
Your witness and godly example may be the instruments the Lord uses to win your MIL to Jesus or to help her find healing in Him!

Prayer

Lord,
We are in awe over the incredible love You have shown to us. You sent Jesus to live the perfect life none of us could live in our place. You crushed Him and allowed Him, Your beloved Son, to die a horrific death in our place. If we could just see the depth of our sin and the infinitely greater depth of Your love for us – and for all people! Our thinking would be so very different. We would see that all people are on level ground at the foot of the cross. We would be humble toward others and toward You.
Many women here are hurting in difficult family relationships. You are the Master at healing broken individuals and broken relationships. We joyfully invite Your truth, Your Spirit, and Your power into our families to work miracles, blessing, genuine reconciliation, and healing where there is pain. Heal MILs. Heal FILs. Heal husbands and wives. Heal grandchildren. Destroy the plans of the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy our families. Bring us together in the power of Christ!  
We are daughters of the Most High King! We are seated in the heavenlies with Jesus! We have access to the Holy of Holies 24/7!?!? We can pray the promises and truths of God over our MILs and over our families and extended families. We seek nothing but Your will, Your kingdom, and Your greatest glory, Lord!
In the Name and Power of Jesus,
Amen!
NOTE – Twenty days after I wrote this post, my own mother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at the age of 75. I’m so thankful that we hadn’t had tension in many years and that we were on the best terms ever when she died. There is no greater peace when someone dies than knowing that we have no regrets! That is how I long for us all to be able to live, as God empowers us to.

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If you would like to ask for prayer, you are welcome to. (But let’s not share details about other people’s sin in a public place like a blog, out of respect for the Lord and for the privacy of others. Thanks!)
If God has helped you a lot in this area and you feel led to share some of the wisdom you have learned, we’d love to hear it!

RESOURCES

Righteous Jealousy and Anger – Godly anger hates sin and loves people. It wants to see wrongs made right. It leaves vengeance to God.

Do I Wish Harm on My Husband?

Photo by niu niu on Unsplash
If I cannot sincerely pray for good things for my husband and I genuinely wish him (or anyone else) harm, I should be very alarmed.
 
Malice is the desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another. (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
 
This spirit is not of God, my precious sisters. It is of the flesh and of the enemy. It’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. It speaks death, not the abundant life of Christ. It is a snare designed to keep us shackled and imprisoned. It causes us to aid the cause of hell.
 
The cure for malice is to humble myself before God and to repent to Him. I resist Satan’s lies that I am the exception to God’s Word and that it’s okay in my situation for me to hate someone and wish him harm. I resist the lie that I am an exception to God’s command for all believers to forgive others who sin against us. I yield myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I seek His will, not my own. I seek His wisdom and invite Him to transform my thinking to make me more and more like Jesus. I take my thoughts captive for Christ. I die to myself and live for Him.
 
Lord,
Please forgive us for every speck of hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, violence, and malice. It is abhorrent to You. Help us to see just how poisonous they are. Forgive us for our sin, Lord! We have no excuses that will stand in Your presence. There is no good in us apart from You. Cleanse us. Wash us with the blood of Jesus and make us a Spirit-filled, holy, loving people, fit for Your kingdom and Your service.
Amen!
 
Helpful Verses:
 
  • Love does no harm to its neighbor. Rom. 13:10
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 John 3:14-15
 
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Has God helped you overcome malice? We’d love to hear about it. (Let’s seek to avoid sharing details of other people’s sin in what we share in a public forum. Thanks!)
Note – If you are facing really serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced counseling with someone you know you can trust. We aren’t to have malice in our hearts toward anyone, but this doesn’t mean we can trust people who are abusing us or severely sinning against us or who are not in their right minds. Sometimes, we do have to set appropriate boundaries if someone else is not willing or able to stop hurting us.
COUNSELING RESOURCES

Killing Bitterness

Photo by Wang Xi on Unsplash

I have quite a few posts on bitterness – but it has been awhile since I talked about this critical topic. So let’s do a refresher together! We can’t possibly have God’s supernatural peace if we cling to bitterness. It is God’s will that all of His children be completely free from this snare.

Bitterness is one of the most toxic of all spiritual poisons.

Definition of Bitterness – from www.gotquestions.org:

Bitterness is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility toward others… Bitterness refers to a mental or emotional state that corrodes or “eats away at.” Bitterness can affect one experiencing profound grief or anything that acts on the mind in the way poison acts on the body. Bitterness is that state of mind that willfully holds on to angry feelings, ready to take offense, able to break out in anger at any moment.

Bitterness can be held against anyone – other people, God, or ourselves. All of it is toxic.

What Does Bitterness Do?

Bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and hatred open the door of our hearts to the enemy. They give him a “foothold.” Once I leave the door cracked for him long enough, he can eventually get into my heart and mind and set up a spiritual base camp. Then he can attack me and those around me through my thoughts, my words, and my actions as I succumb to the temptation of hatred.

One person’s bitterness can end up becoming contagious and may “defile many.” Bitterness spreads like gangrene in a family, a church, a community, or even across an entire nation.

Bitterness leads to greater and greater sin. When it goes unchecked, it eventually leads to hatred, malice, threats, violence, and even suicide/murder.

Bitterness destroys our fellowship with God, our fellowship with other people, and our witness for Christ. Our bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit and repels other people. It is prickly and unpleasant to be around.

Our bitterness teaches our children to be bitter, as well. Our children learn from our example and our own root of bitterness begins to grow in their hearts. They learn very unhealthy and dysfunctional ways of relating to people and will learn our destructive approach.

  • “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Eph. 4:26-27
  • See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Heb. 12:15
  • For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20

Killing Bitterness:

Let’s talk about how to tear out every “root of bitterness” in our hearts so that it does not destroy us.

  1. We must identify every bitter thought we have in our minds and hearts. I suggest writing them all down whenever you notice you are feeling resentful. Try to take a block of time and come up with every single angry, bitter, resentful, unforgiving thought you can find in your thinking. We can’t tear things out until we know what all of the bitter roots are. I would love to try to get through this part of the process fairly quickly. Dwelling on bitter thoughts for very long is not going to be healthy.
  2. We must test our thoughts. I can’t just accept every thought I have. Sometimes my anger has a correct basis and other times the basis of my anger is faulty.
    • Has there simply been a misunderstanding?
    • Could my thinking be skewed, sinful, and/or unbiblical?
      • Is it possible that the reason for my bitterness and resentment stems from unbiblical thinking on my part? Am I upset with someone because I feel they expect something of me that they shouldn’t, but it actually is a biblical expectation they have of me?
        • Am I idolizing this person? Is it possible that I am expecting him/her to meet needs in my life that truly only Jesus can meet?
        • Do I expect my husband to be responsible for my happiness?
        • Am I idolizing my happiness?
        • Am I justifying sin in my own heart because I am in pain?
        • Have I been deceived by ungodly thinking from my culture?
          • Maybe I feel really angry with my husband simply because he is a man and many women hate all men today. Is that a reasonable cause for me to be bitter?
          • Maybe I believe subconsciously that women are superior to men and that is why I feel resentful toward my husband?
          • Maybe I have been wrongly taught that the Bible teaches that women are inferior to men and that is why I feel bitter toward God or toward my husband.
          • Maybe I don’t think God’s promises are for me or I don’t feel like God is close to me, and I feel bitter because I don’t know who God really is and what is true, sound doctrine?
        • Am I taking responsibility for my own emotions and my own spiritual wellbeing?
        • Am I in right standing with the Lord, myself? Have I allowed God to help me examine my own spiritual eyes to see if there is a beam there (Matt. 7:1-5)?
      • If something like this is the real issue, then I need to take the time to correct my skewed thinking or address my own sinful thoughts (There is an entire chapter on this subject in “The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation on Christ As Lord” that is available on Amazon, Christian Book, and Barnes and Noble online. The whole first half of the book would be helpful for any believing woman in Christ, even those who are not moms.)
    • Do I have righteous or unrighteous anger?
      • Was I genuinely sinned against by someone?
      • Where are my motives now? Are they righteous or unrighteous?
      • If my anger is righteous, what does God desire me to do with it? How can I honor Him?
      • If my anger is unrighteous, am I willing to repent to the Lord, and possibly to the other person if appropriate?
      • I can remember that I don’t have to trust someone if they are not trustworthy. Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Forgiveness is an unconditional command the Lord gives all believers but trust of another person is conditional and broken trust must be rebuilt.
  3. Wherever we have sinned, we repent to the Lord and to others.
  4. If we have been sinned against, we decide to give the situation to the Lord and seek to honor His wisdom and His way of handling things.
    • If someone has truly sinned against me, I can acknowledge that what the person did was wrong and was not okay. I can acknowledge my pain and God’s pain. I can agree with God that what that person did was sin and that it needs to be paid for. I can understand that there will be justice in the end – either Jesus’ blood will adequately cover that sin when that person repents or that person will pay for that sin forever in hell, according to God’s Word. And I can desire to see that person repent and be in right relationship with God and with me.
    • God says that vengeance belongs to Him. He will repay. I can acknowledge that ultimately, all sin is against God. And I can accept that it is God’s place to take vengeance and to exact justice on other people.  (Rom. 12:19)
    • If someone has committed a crime against me, I need to report it to the proper authorities. We have God-given authorities in the government, the police, at church, at work, etc… to help protect people from being mistreated and abused. I can let go of bitterness and forgive someone for rape, murder, stealing, etc… in the power of the Holy Spirit, but the police still need to know about it and that person needs to face appropriate earthly consequences.
    • God gives us a specific framework for handling conflict within the Body of Christ. We should approach someone else’s sin/hurtful actions against us in the way that God prescribes.
    • I ask the Holy Spirit to empower me to forgive this person who hurt me. Not because they deserve forgiveness. None of us deserve forgiveness. But I forgive because I want to obey God and continue to be in right relationship with Him.
    • I can respectfully ask for what I need and for the person to stop sinning against me. I can respect myself properly in God’s eyes – but I can do this without sinning against the person who hurt me.
    • I may have to put up appropriate boundaries if a person refuses to stop sinning against me, in accordance with God’s Word and as I follow the leading of the Spirit. But I can be free from any grudges, bitterness, or resentment as I choose to live in the Spirit.
  5. We replace the bitter thoughts with God’s love, God’s perspective, kindness, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and God’s wisdom.
    • I can ask God to cleanse me of every sin in my own life and then invite His Spirit to fill me completely and to empower me to approach this difficult person and situation in His ability not in my sinful flesh.
    • I can pray and invite God to do something amazing in that person’s life for God’s glory.
    • I can pray for God’s healing in me and for God to use this painful trial to help me grow spiritually and to bring honor to the Lord in my life.
    • I can take my thoughts captive for Christ and refuse to think bitter, evil thoughts.
    • I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things in my life.
    • I can count my trial as joy.
    • I can seek to have God’s eternal perspective.
    • I can write down kind thoughts and prayers of blessing over the person who sinned against me and plead for God to reach their souls and to rescue them from the enemy and to heal them. (Isa. 61:1Luke 6:28, Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can ask God what good things He may desire me to do in response to the evil so that I can overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
    • I can remember that people are not my real enemies. My real enemies are spiritual enemies and this is ultimately a spiritual battle for which I must use the spiritual weapons God gives me.(Eph. 6:10-17)
    • Dealing with a Broken Relationship (YouTube video about how to think and pray for someone who has broken fellowship with you and you want to see reconciliation.)

NOTE – If you are dealing with an abusive relationship and you or your children are not safe, please seek appropriate, experienced, godly help in person ASAP.

Lord,

We need Your help to get rid of our bitterness. It is Your will that we be completely free from all sin, including this one. Shine Your Light on our hearts, help us to open up the darkest parts to You. Help us to identify and tear out every thought that is lifting itself up against the knowledge of Christ in our hearts! Help us to use the spiritual weapons and truth You give us to be set free from all bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness so that we can grow like crazy in our faith and love for You. Fill us with Your Spirit. Help us to allow Jesus to live in and through us and to be glorified in our thinking, our motives, our words, and our actions.

Amen!

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How has God helped you to get rid of bitterness? You are welcome to send me a response on my Contact Page if you have something you think might be helpful in a post for our sisters.

 

Verses about Getting Rid of Bitterness

  • Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
  • But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Col. 3:8
  • Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Col. 3:13
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
  • Verses about bitterness
  • Verses about anger
  • Verses about forgiveness

What Does the Bible Say about Bitterness? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Revenge? by www.gotquestions.org

Righteous VS Unrighteous Anger

Posts about Forgiveness  from my blog

Respect, Submission, Forgiveness, and Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video to clarify each of these concepts and to clarify confusion

To Trust or Not to Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage through Your Thought Life

Posts about Dealing with Conflict – from my blog

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