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A Wife Answers My Question

Here is a really fascinating email I received last week from a wife.  I know you are going to love hearing her story.  Be prayerful and alert for anything God may want to speak to YOUR heart as you read her message.

I want to start with a huge thank you for your ministry.  I stumbled onto
your blog about six weeks ago and it truly has changed my/our marriage.  I saw your Facebook request for comments from a wife who has learned to respect a husband that has more defined standards and desires control of home decisions.  I have to smile because my husband and I were just discussing this last night…I think I just might qualify:)

A LITTLE HISTORY

I have been on this journey now for almost two years…my journey to being a peaceful wife began a little differently than yours.  My husband and I went through a very difficult time about four years ago.  He is a small business owner and the recession hit us very hard.  We were newly married (three years in ) and had just had our second child.  It was rough…our marriage remained intact but I think, or I should say now I know we both retreated to our own corners instead of growing closer together.

I adore my husband, he is an incredible man – but when it came to family issues I really did think I was more qualified than he to direct.  So at this time not only was my husbands professional life spinning out of control but so was his personal life due to my sudden pressure to take control of our household and new family.  I am a cradle Catholic that had very little understanding of my faith and even littler understanding of the Bible.  We stopped going to church and forged forward.  I convinced my husband to have a vasectomy in the Fall of 2009, I remember telling him and others that there was no way I could ever handle another baby, I basically had three already, having to take care of him also.  It makes me physically ill to even think of saying this of him now.

MY FAITH JOURNEY

Ok so to make a long story short, two years ago I found my way back to the Catholic church and have embraced my faith like never before.  I am in awe of the churches teaching on sexuality, marriage and families.  However with this new found understanding has come pain and suffering. Yes I know I am forgiven, I went to confession and confessed our
decision of the vasectomy but is this what it is really all about.  My own forgiveness.  What about the grace our love making  will never again experience?  What about the loss of the souls that we might have conceived?  What about the potential of our family and love that
will never be achieved?

A STICKING POINT

So this is where I was six weeks ago before finding your blog….our marriage was back on track to a point.  However what I did not realize is that the devil was still lurking in the shadows.  I had taken on a new role….to convince/pressure my husband with all my being to have his vasectomy reversed.  I want to fix the evil we committed and since I had God on my side I have been badgering him like no other.  God had tried in the past 18 months to show me how wrong I was…our priest told me, “(Your husband) will not tolerate your nagging, it will just push him further away.”  My husband had actually said to me, “The more you push me the more I close my heart to all of it.”  (all of it being not just the vasectomy reversal but his own faith journey.)  Oh, but I had God on my side so watch out there was no stopping me….

And then I found your blog…it was like a cold slap in the face.  The way you have presented the  husband’s role as the role of Christ and the (wife’s role as the role of the) Church is almost blinding.  I get it!!

I was a road block for my husband for the past 18 months instead of his helpmate.  I now understand why when he considers possibly having another baby with me it makes him shudder…why would he want that (old me) back?   My husband is very aware of his shortcomings, he knows that things were rough four years ago but until recently he truly put most of the blame on himself.  I was the strong one that kept everything together, the perfect mom and wife supposedly helping his sorry self stumble along.  I have apologized to him multiple times in the past six weeks for the role that I played in his despair four years ago.    We are still new at this though.  My husband is a believer but an independent one of sorts.  I so want him to prayer with me daily but am scared to even ask….I just do not know if he is ready yet.

He takes he role as a father, husband and provider of our family very seriously and always has.  He is a man’s man.  We have both often questioned in the past few years where have all the men gone in this fallen world or ours.  I fills my heart with great hope and joy to think of what God may have planned for my husband…I just pray that I am able to be his helpmate on he faith journey and not a road block.

SUBMITTING TO AND RESPECTING A MAN WITH EXACTING STANDARDS

Ok so now to actually comment on your Facebook post….for an overachiever like myself meeting my husband’s standards with an open heart has actually been self motivating in sort….prior to understanding my role, my husband’s standards seemed unfair and overbearing.  We have been together for 14 years –  it seriously has taken my husband 13.5 years to trust me to do his laundry because he likes his shirts/pants folded just a certain way.  I have, in the past, just thrown my hands up and said he was being irrational….now I listen to what he is asking and I have come to realize it really is not that much  more than I am already doing it is just a little different.  My husband is a fanatic about having the kitchen clean….at all times…even in the middle of meal preparation:)  I on the other hand am kind of a messy cook…I clean in the end and that is good enough.  This was a very sour point in my husband’s day because he would come home from a long day at work and typically find me in the midst of a kitchen full of boiling water, empty cans, and half cut up vegetables. (I also like to consider myself a multitasker so I may be in the middle of three different recipes, have over the entire neighborhood for a play date and be just finishing up cleaning out the pantry!!)  In the past I have often just left it with a deal with it…I am getting things done. 

A HUGE CHANGE

In the past six weeks, I have taken a different approach.  I have moved up my dinner prep time and will typically have the kids fed prior to my husband coming home.  The kids are of course thrilled to see Daddy and now will greet him for a few minutes but know that it is Daddy’s quiet time.  They have learned to play in their rooms, I have relaxed on the screen time restrictions (actually I have adjusted the screen time allowance…meaning I limit their time during the day more, so in the evening my husband does get a little more quiet time to unwind without the kids jumping all over him)  I have candles lit, music on, the fireplace going and the kitchen clean.  I am ready to give him my full attention as he discusses his day and will typically sit and massage his feet while he unwinds.  (I am a physical therapist by education so I have in the past provided massage to my patients but never even considered it for my husband)

Ok I know some may say…really does he deserve all that prep…he does.  He works so hard and we appreciate all he does, it has only been recently that I have come to understand how to show him.

MY HUSBAND’S RESPONSE

He has thanked me repetitively and has said, “You really do not need to do this. I know you have other things to get done.”  He has stated numerous times how he feels like pinching himself he can’t believe how happy he is coming home.  Now don’t get me wrong this is not a man that dreaded coming home before but now it is just different.  He no longer has to worry about what multitasking explosion he may walk into, how long he will have to sit next to our three year old and beg her to eat her dinner as she is trying to dance around the dining room (seriously it can take her 45 minutes to eat dinner at times).  I think at this point he is still not sure if this will last.

If you would ask any of our friends/neighbors they would probably
tell you that my husband’s position of the head of our family has never been doubted…which is true to some point.  However before I think he felt somewhat guilty about taking this role and still is not sure of my respect/appreciation.  I have in the past given it but much more begrudgingly.

MY MESSAGE

I guess this is my recommendation for every wife out there embrace your role has your husband’s helpmate.  Take pride in the managing of your home.  If you strive to meet the expectations of the workforce/your boss to move up the corporate ladder previously treat your home in the same manner…strive to meet the expectation of your husband.  I am humbled and honored to have been blessed with the opportunity to serve my husband and children on this Earth.  God knew what he was doing when he led me to this man. But what I have come to realize is it was not as I had previously thought….I am not leading my husband down the right path.  He is leading me.

God knew that it would take one strong man to stand up to my self righteousness.  If it was anyone but this man- I would have walked all over them without even realizing it.  I have never meant to be so controlling.  I did not realize I had such a problem with
respecting authority until recently.  I was the authority.

Where do I go from here? ….pray pray pray…..this past year has been the first time I can honestly say I have been open to the Holy Spirit working in my life and actually giving the credit due where it is owed.  It is hard at times for me to be patient to see the path.  I have always run through life at full speed…set a goal and strive for that goal to set another…now to sit back and be led is very difficult.  I want to make the plans and set out to complete them…but instead I am  praying for my husband and following his lead.  My husband is one of the good guys.  He is a natural leader and full of charisma that can light up a room if allowed.  I want more than anything to be his helpmate and encourage him to reach his
fullest potential…to reach our family’s fullest potential.  I pray that I am no longer standing in his way of following our Savior home.

Thank you again for your ministry.  I hope that the above helps.  Keep us in your prayers.

A Wife's Before and After

I heard from a wife this week… and I am thrilled that she is willing to tell her story.  I think that her “before problems” are where most wives are in their marriages.  And I can’t wait for you to see what God is doing in this precious wife’s soul and in her marriage!  THANK YOU to the wife who is willing to allow me to share her story!

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In the past year God has been teaching me so many of the things you mention in your posts.

I have been having little light bulbs go off here and there and it had all started  to come together lately thanks to your blog.

THE “PROBLEMS” WE USED TO HAVE IN OUR MARRIAGE

Should I submit to my husband’s leadership on things such as:
– Should my husband spend at least 30 mins of quiet time with God each morning (so that he can know how to lead our home?)
– Should we have a formal couples’ worship time – ideally every night or at least once a week?
– Should my husband be more active in church? Ideally in a ‘couple ministry’ scenario?
– Do we eat dinner in front of the tv or at the table?
– Do we attend every single church meeting/bible study on offer in our surrounding area?
– Do we invite EVERY single visitor to our house when we notice them at church?
– Do we really have to have a formal ‘date’ every week?
– Is Star Trek allowed to be played on our home tv
– Should we have pay tv (cos oh dear, if we do my husband will probably ONLY want to watch sports all day every day – since that is what we wants to do every time we stay at a hotel)
– Is my husband allowed to listen to sports on the radio as he knows I don’t like sports, and oh dear if we have kids he might also subject them to this!
– Do we both have to go to bed together at the exact same time EVERY night, cos  if we (don’t) do  it once or twice it might become a habit and then we will become one of those couples who sleep in separate bedrooms! And who KNOWS what he will watch after I go to sleep – ooooh!
-Do I help my husband in small ways in his business even thou I have my own career? If I start down this path he may overload me with so much work I will never be able to handle it!
-Do I demand that we adopt children (since I have always wanted to) and also we are struggling with infertility (been trying for 2 years) or do I wait on God to change BOTH our hearts if he wants us to go that way?

A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Above I have in a nutshell outlined ALL  the things that I perceived to be SINS in my husbands life over the past 7 years of our marriage. Although I now realize that part of the reason I was so controlling and fearful was that it actually took me this long to REALLY trust my husband because of some of the baggage he carried into our marriage, I now finally realize that pretty much ALL our arguments and problems were MY fault. I was disrespectful and controlling beyond measure. I can’t believe how patient he was all these years.

A NEW WIFE AND THE BEGINNING OF A NEW MARRIAGE

Since I have stepped out of the ‘control headquarters’ of our marriage these are the results:

– After YEARS of nagging him about why he doesn’t do private worship more regularly – the minute I stopped being controlling he just started doing private worship every morning and has never stopped! He does this more regularly than me now. Sometimes its 30 mins sometimes 5. Sometimes he just sings praise songs sometimes he studies a particular topic. He NEVER badgers me or treats me the way I used to treat him when I had more worship time than him.
– He now starts Sabbath in our home every Friday night (we are Seventh Day Adventists) without any prompting/cajoling from me. He gets the Bible, reads from it and picks a song for us to sing. He talks about God every day with me and feels like he has encounters every day when God takes care of him at work in different ways.
– To my shock, he accepted a leadership role at church – we work closely together and we also lead our in church together sometimes  (the difference was this time I didn’t guilt him or try to make him take on these roles I just asked and he prayed then accepted them!). He also takes the Bible study at church every few months.
– Yes, most nights my husband eats his dinner in front of the tv – but instead of making a huge issue out of it now I just let it be. He works super hard each day and I don’t eat dinner anyway but have a protein shake after gym so it works for us at the moment. Whether other people would feel this is normal or healthy doesn’t matter to me anymore. It’s what works for us and after dinner we always cuddle on the couch. If I even try to sneak away to my room to do my own thing occasionally he STRONGLY protests now. This is how we hang in the evenings and I LIKE it.
– We do NOT attend EVERY single Bible study/meeting in addition to ordinary church. Even though I personally would (like to) my husband recognizes the need to also rest on Sabbath and have family time. I don’t just go on my own because I found when I did I would just feel resentful that my husband didn’t come and it took away from our time together.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I am SO PROUD of this wife and of all that God is doing in her heart! She sees that she was being controlling and disrespectful and she humbly allowed God to change her.  She has so many of the same issues I used to have!  It’s uncanny!  But look what happened when she took her hands off of her husband’s throat and let him lead and hear God’s voice without her voice overshadowing God’s anymore.  God’s ways are truly higher and better than our ways!  

There is no power in our disrespect, contempt and control.  Our power is in our godly femininity – our faith, our admiration, our genuine respect, our cooperation, our appreciation, our acknowledging our husbands’ wisdom, our support of their leadership and our trust in Christ.

It is only when I can accept my husband exactly as he is and not want to change him, and when I am obeying God and living in His Spirit’s power that God will change my husband!  But first – He changes ME!

God is Changing this Husband through His Wife's Submission to Christ!

This is an email from a dear wife who needs to have surgery for a potentially life-threatening condition.  But her husband was hesitating about paying for the surgery.  I LOVE seeing what God does when we leave room for Him to speak to our husbands!  This is so much better than anything this wife could have forced her man to do!

You would not believe what happened last night, when my husband got home from working late.

He came in with what looked like tears in his eyes, and very quietly asked if I could come sit with him for a moment. I followed him to the couch where he took my hand, and he prayed. He thanked God for me as his wife, and asked God to show us what He has in store for us, trusting in God’s provision, and he asked forgiveness for “coming across unloving” to his wife. Then when he was done he asked for my forgiveness.

At this point I was already bawling, lol.

He said “I don’t know what the future holds for us, I don’t know how we are going to get from point A to point B and point C. But I know that I want you on my team, I want us to be a team and work together, and I think God is going to do something amazing.

He said that he had a rotten day at work because all he could think about was that his girl thought he wanted a vehicle more than he wanted her. He said that no car is as important to him, and that he wants us to work on coming up with a plan together, that he is willing to look at financing the car, and paying for surgery outright. He said he wants to talk with my PCP with me again, and asked me to make an appointment, so I am going to do that today.

Well, what can a girl possibly say to that? Other than to fall in his arms? The day started pretty rough, and it was rough in the middle, but it ended really, really well!

I asked him what happened at work today, because he was a different person coming home than when he left.  He said it just weighed on his mind all day, the conversation we had had. I know that must have been God, able to get through to him when I wasn’t all up in his grill like I used to be, because a year ago it would have been a very different conversation, on both sides!

By the end of the night as we cuddled, he laughed and said “Boy I am sure glad we have learned how to fight fair!”, meaning, how to stop the crazy cycle.

I don’t know how it will all work out, but I can easily and cheerfully submit to such a wonderful husband. I know God calls me to submit to even a difficult, mean husband, but thankfully that is not at all what I have.

Thank you for your prayers! My prayers generally don’t work that fast, lol. I hear you loud and clear that he needs respect, especially in the area’s of being the provider/money manager. I am going to be thinking about how to better express that to him, in ways that he needs to hear it. I have a lot more respect and admiration for someone who makes less money, but is investing his time into his family, his children, his church, his friends, and his community. I need to make sure he hears that early and often.

The Snare of People-Pleasing

We are continuing our series about ways that controlling people try to control others.  You can check out the posts about control and boundaries, the trying to manipulate others with guilt, and playing the martyr from earlier in the week.  Today’s topic is how we sometimes try to manipulate others and maintain control by being  people-pleasers.

Is “peace” at any cost a good thing?  Is it really peace?

PEOPLE PLEASING

Being a “People-Pleaser” SOUNDS like a virtue, right?    I mean, isn’t it great to try to make everyone be happy with you and not have people angry at you?  The Bible says we are supposed to live in peace as far as it depends on us, after all.  It is easy for people-pleasers to take certain scriptures and believe that what we are doing is godly. But often, we have a very warped definition of love and we trust self more than God and feel we have to be “in charge,” not understanding God’s sovereignty and not submitting fully to Christ as Master.

Here is a list (from Vickie Champion – a psychologist/life coach) of attributes of people pleasers. I have not researched her methods and approach.  So I am not endorsing her counseling techniques, but this list may be helpful.

Here are 52 Ways to Recognize the Chronic, Ingrained People Pleaser…

The perpetual people pleaser…

1   Always avoid conflicts or even disagreements.

2   Makes it a habit to say yes when he or she wants to say no.

3   Constantly worries about hurting others’ feelings.

4   Has no idea what their dreams or goals are.

5   Feels they are never “good” enough.

6   Would rather be nice and perfect than happy.

7   Functions totally from “shoulds.”

8   Assures they always do more than their share.

9   Rarely makes decisions, putting it off on anyone else to do it.

10  Is baffled by the concept, take it easy and relax.

11  Confuses being “needed” with being “loved.”

12  Has a never-ending time management problem.

13  Avoids giving themselves credit for anything.

14  Makes it a practice to please strangers and neglect loved ones.

15  Easily attracts people who need to be rescued and consoled.

16  Strongly believes they need to “do” something to be “loved” or even “accepted.”

17  Is very insecure about their abilities, knowledge or just about anything they do.

18  Routinely operates on auto pilot.

19  Jumps to volunteer, especially for jobs that no one else will do.

20  Feels exhausted from always trying to be “perfect.”

21  Has a huge fear of letting their friends, family and even strangers down.

22  Almost always feel undeserving.

23  Thinks nothing of telling lies to not rock the boat.

24  Overpromises.

25  Constantly seeks approval from others, but could care less about their own opinions.

26  Overapologizes.

27  Wastes time with people who really don’t care or consider their needs.

28  Think they are solely responsible for others’ happiness.

29  Are scared to death of being called selfish, even for an instant.

30  Rarely, if ever, asks for help or accepts help.

31  Constantly suppresses anger, fearing rejection.

32  Would much rather be nice than be real.

33  Has no desire to listen and follow their intuition.

34  Continuously holds back from saying what they really think and feel.

35  Often feels trapped.

36  Are scared to death of being wrong or taking any kind of risk.

37  Reduces their own anxiety by focusing on others’ needs.

38  Comes unglued easily when under pressure.

39  Has plenty of regrets.

40  Tries to provide and control everything in the relationship without considering their own feelings and needs.

41 Are willing to bend over backwards to make unhappy, self-centered, controlling people feel better about themselves.

42  Becomes paralyzed with little nightmares we make up about “if we said and did this, they will say and do that.”

43  Is extremely critical of themselves.

44  Has a really hard time accepting kindness from others.

45  Has poor problem-solving skills.

46  Is unable to direct or supervise others.

47  Feels guilty about not accomplishing enough or not being able to make everyone happy.

48  Runs on the praise and appreciation of other people.

49  Seldom, if ever, expresses an opinion of their own.

50  Is secretly terrified of being “found out” that they are not as good as they appear to others.

51  Displays a bland personality. They don’t want to appear interesting, unique, or challenging. Nope, too risky.

52  Wonders why everyone seems to take advantage of them and why they get little respect?

WAS I EVER A PEOPLE-PLEASER?

YEP!!!!!!!!!!  I sure was.  This mindset was another core part of my sinful heart and a big part of why I was controlling and disrespectful.  That probably seems contradictory that a people-pleaser would be a controlling and disrespectful wife.  But I was more concerned about pleasing strangers and people outside of my family than my husband.  I didn’t want my husband to be mad at me – EVER.  But I also didn’t realize that he actually was upset with me a lot because he didn’t say how he felt – he was so distant.

I was ALWAYS worried about what other people thought and would play conflicts over and over every waking moment for weeks and months trying to decide what I could have/should have said.

I thought if I was NICE enough and kind enough that I could keep people from being mad at me.  (Have you ever worked in a retail pharmacy?  Yeah.  This strategy got me some customer service awards, but it doesn’t work on everyone!  Some people are going to be angry at me.  It won’t matter what I do.  Well, if I gave them drugs illegally, they might be happy with me, but then I will have other problems!)

I was terrified of conflict. Lots, but not all, of the things on this list applied to me.

PEOPLE-PLEASING = IDOLATRY!!!!!

People pleasing is an insidious form of idolatry, unfortunately – and it brings a whole host of other sins along with it – as idolatry always does!  I white wash it and try to believe that my motives are pure – and that it is good not to ever have someone be upset with me.  But my true motives are not pure at all.  What I am really doing is:

  • putting the approval of others above the approval of God (and often above the approval of my husband).  This is idolatry!
  • fearing men (people) rather than fearing God in a proper, respectful, healthy way. I am allowing others to control me instead of making Christ truly Lord and Master.
  • attempting to have peace on a false premise (doing anything to prevent others from being upset) instead of on the truth of God’s Word (love God, love others).
  • I fear the anger of other people and base my behavior on avoiding the possibility of some person’s anger instead of living to honor God.
  • BEING DISHONEST.  I am not saying how I feel.  I am not saying what I want. I   am not saying what I don’t want and then I am resentful of other people for “making” me do what I don’t want to do.  Then I can’t forgive them for my feeling obligated to do things for them and am tied up with the sin of unforgiveness, too!  WHEW!
  • Unforgiveness may seem small – but it is a huge sin!  The Bible teaches that even allowing anger/resentment to continue over one night gives the enemy a foothold.  Imagine what happens when unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment take deep root and grow unchecked for YEARS!
  • avoiding saying “no” because I am not strong enough to say no to things I don’t want to do.  I am allowing others to be responsible for me instead of being responsible for myself before God.  That is poor stewardship and it won’t wash before our holy God!  He will hold me accountable for my own behavior, sins and actions.  He will hold others accountable for theirs.
  • instead of being arrogantly prideful – I am prideful in a false-humility kind of way.  I put myself down and feel unworthy and speak terrible things about myself in my mind and to others.  I do not believe God’s Word about who I am in Christ.  I do not acknowledge  that I am made in the image of God and am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I do not acknowledge that my purpose in life is to glorify God.  I do not allow God’s power to flood my soul and fill me to empower me to be the godly woman God has designed me to be.  I stay in a prison of my own making, feeling sorry for myself, wallowing in my unworthiness, wasting my true potential, burying my talents in the dirt.  I don’t really believe I am a daughter of the King,  and I go voluntarily sit in the dungeon instead of at the King’s table.
  •  I have not fully yielded my heart to Christ as LORD.
  • REFUSING TO HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
  • giving up my influence authority in my marriage by refusing to speak up about my desires, my needs, my wants and my perspective.  My marriage and family suffer when I don’t know my mind, don’t know my feelings, don’t know my desires and don’t share my important perspective.  How can my husband lead properly if I am not fulfilling my responsibilities and providing important information for him to make the best decisions?
  • refusing to have any dreams.   I do need to die to myself and live for Christ.  But when I am living for Christ, He will give me dreams, desires, goals and His will.  I will be full of life, zeal, purpose, joy, peace, love and all the fruit of the Spirit.
  • setting a very negative emotional/spiritual temperature for the family.  Everyone is affected by my depressed mood, my negativity, my hopelessness, my anxiety, my fear, my worry and my lack of God’s presence.
  • setting an ungodly example of femininity and marriage for my children.
  • idolizing “being nice” instead of loving God and loving people.
  • my motives are fear based, not love based.
  • avoiding obeying God’s Word about how to handle conflict  when I am sinned against. Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:16-18. I am to go to the person who sinned against me (NOT to other people in gossip!) and tell them their sin (gently, humbly, respectfully, lovingly and only after I have repented of any sin in my life).  If they do not listen, I am to take another believer with me as a witness and confront them gently, respectfully and lovingly – and if they will not listen to two people, the Bible says they are to go before the church and if they will not repent, they are to be shunned.  I don’t know many churches that actually practice church discipline anymore.  But, we can do the first few steps.  Unfortunately, most believers today think it isn’t “nice” or isn’t “Christlike” to confront people about sin.  NOT SO!  Love DOES confront sin.  Love does not allow sin to go on and on wounding everyone.  Yes, it is hard!  Yes, it is uncomfortable.  But it is our responsibility to confront sin AFTER we have confronted and repented of ALL sin in our own life first!

WASN’T JESUS “NICE”?

We tend to think that Jesus was a “nice” pushover and a wimp.  We do that because He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified for us – which actually was an act of great strength, sacrifice and submission to God and not at all the act of a coward, pushover or wimp.  But look at the way He handled Himself with those who opposed God.  He was not “nice.”  He was to the point.  He was strong.  He was love.  He had endless courage.  He stood up for holiness.  He threw tables over in the temple to defend His Father’s house as a house of prayer.  He rebuked people when they were sinning and arrogant about it.  He rebuked self-righteousness and hypocrisy.  He was not “nice” and trying to make everyone like Him at all costs.  He didn’t shrink back from speaking the truth.  He wasn’t afraid to say what He believed and He didn’t say “yes” when he wanted to say “no.”  He never sinned in His anger.  But He did have anger.  He did confront when necessary.  He did not cower from standing for the truth and what was right.

And look at how He will come in the clouds when He returns as the triumphant King of kings and Lord of lords.  He will be on a white horse with a sword coming from His mouth and He will kill all of His enemies with one Word from His mouth.

He is a holy God.  He is just.  He is righteous.  He is ALL-POWERFUL.  He is sovereign.  He does not tolerate sin.  And at the same time, He is love.  He is mercy and grace.  What an incredible combination of strength, power and love.

Being “nice” is really not part of being Christlike.  It is culturally acceptable.  But you can be “nice” to someone as you seethe with resentment.  You can be “nice” as you stew about how much you hate them or hate what you are doing for them.  Being nice does not = being godly.  And I don’t believe that being “nice” has anything to do with what Christ has commanded us to do. The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and we are to love others with God’s love. I John 4 says we cannot hate people and love God. And Jesus says in John 14:22-24 that anyone who loves Him will obey Him – in everything.

HOW TO SAY “NO.”

If someone is using guilt on you, THE WORST thing you can do is give the REASONS WHY you can’t do something.  They will almost always shoot down any reason and explain why that is not valid.  If you truly don’t want to do something, simply say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t.” And when they ask why, you just continue to say, “I can’t.”  Eventually, they will relent!

But it is also ok to just say

  • No, thanks!
  • I am not going to be able to do that.
  • Let me check with my husband first (if it is someone else asking for your time, money or efforts).

Remember – don’t get into a long drawn out debate or discussion with a controlling, emotional manipulator!  A brief answer of “no” that is pleasant and polite will suffice.  Then the other person is responsible for his/her reaction and emotions.

You cannot MAKE them be angry.  They choose to be angry or to hang on to anger.  That is their choice.  You do what is right in God’s eyes, and let other people handle their emotions.  Apologize if/when you sin against others, and try to live in peace.  But you are not responsible to make other people not angry or make them happy.  That is their own responsibility!

FREEDOM FROM PEOPLE-PLEASING

To be free from this idol.  I have to rip the idol out by the roots and be sure I am building only on the foundation of Christ and His Word.  I must build my life on His truth alone.  I completely repent of every sin.  I must face every fear and combat it with God’s truth, discarding all the lies.  I have to study God’s BIGNESS and sovereignty.  I must study how small I truly am.  I must see His power and my weakness.  He must become MORE and I must become less.  I totally yield my heart to His.  I give up my will for His.  I die to myself.  I live for Him as a living sacrifice every day.  I decide to fear God much, much more than I fear any person.  I decide to desire God’s approval WAY above any human’s approval.  And I decide to obey God’s Word and to abide in Him daily and feast on His Word and ask Him to fill me with His power to be the woman, wife and mother He desires me to be.

 

There is so much reason for HOPE!  Jesus is able to deliver us from the prison of being a people pleaser, or from being a martyr, or from being filled with worldly sorrow and guilt – from any sin.  And He is able to give us a life of joy, love, peace, patience and all the abundant spiritual riches of heaven!

When Your Husband Sins Against You.

I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. I am just an ordinary Christian wife. My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules and they are not guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not. I write specifically for wives who tend to be controlling and dominating. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that my blog is not a good fit for them. If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! My blog is not written for wives who are abused.
Get ready and brace yourselves, ladies.  I am about to deliver the most shocking news you have EVER heard.
Your husband is a HUGE sinner.  Like… he is in SERIOUS need of Jesus.  On his own – apart from Christ – he is selfish, unkind, unloving, mean, cruel, difficult to deal with, too passive or too aggressive, ungodly, an idolator and he possibly even struggles with lust, greed, lying, stealing, hatred, un-forgiveness, bitterness and ALL KINDS of heinous sins.
I know – it’s mind boggling.  🙂  I’m sure you haven’t figured that out on your own  – so you probably don’t believe me.  You may need to go check with him on this one, right?
Just kidding!  Please do NOT go check with him! 🙂
It’s funny – all of us as wives see our husbands’ sins SO clearly.  It’s our own sin that we tend not to see.  And I usually focus on OUR sin, OUR responsibilities, OUR obedience to God and our side of the equation.  That is where our power is, after all!
But we ALL have to deal with our husbands sinning against us – just like all husbands have to deal with wives sinning against them.  Sometimes it’s much worse than others.  This topic could seriously be a book in and of itself.  So this one post isn’t an exhaustive resource on dealing with our husbands’ sin in a godly way.  But it is hopefully a starting point.
SOME BASICS
Expect your husband to sin against you at times.  He is not God.  He will mess up. He will do hurtful and hateful things sometimes.  Other times, it may seem like he is being hateful – but he may not actually intend to be hateful – it could be a misunderstanding. He is human.  And that has to be ok. Yes, he is supposed to represent Christ to you in the marriage – but he is not Christ and to expect perfection is just setting yourself up for a disaster.
Focus on your own mountain of sin on a daily basis, and try not to focus much on his.  The more I see what a wretched sinner I am  – and just how much Jesus has forgiven me for – the more grace I have to lavish forgiveness, mercy and grace on my husband.
Gary Thomas in “Sacred Influence” says, “We are most tempted to sin when we have been sinned against.”  That is SO TRUE!  So  – be Spirit-filled.  Have God’s power in you.  Repent of all your sin.  Obey God’s Word.  Then you will have the power of God to respond without sin when your husband sins against you.  Being angry is not sinful  – but in our anger, we must not sin against our husbands!
God is sovereign.  He has assigned my husband to me for my good, as a gift to me, as my leader, protector and provider.  But He has also assigned my particular husband to me to use his sins to mold me into the image of Christ.  God will use my husband’s sin against me as a hammer and chisel to create the image of Christ in my soul.  It will be PAINFUL.  It will be a cross I must bear.  And God will use it for my good and His glory.
Wow.
WE HAVE SO MUCH POWER!
We are NOT responsible for our husband’s sin.  They are accountable to God for their sin and we are accountable to God for our own sin.
But – because we are one flesh  – our response to our husbands’ sin is powerful.  We can either respond with evil and cause the whole thing to spiral downward completely towards destruction and the death of the marriage, or we can respond in the power of God’s Spirit and breathe healing, life, strength, grace, peace, hope and help into our marriage when our husbands sin against us.
BEING UNLOVING, CRUEL AND HATEFUL
It’s possible that your man is a total narcissist who is incurable and who will be chronically selfish and cruel his whole life.  There are a few of those in the world.
Thankfully, MOST men are fairly decent guys.  They are all sinners, of course.  But most men will respond well to respect.  Now if you have been extremely disrespectful for 15 years – it will take time for your husband to really trust you and begin to open up to you again.  He may continue to stonewall for a year or more from the time you implement respect and submission and stop controlling and being disrespectful.  But ultimately, you are called to respect your husband and submit to His God-given leadership out of obedience to Christ regardless of the results.  So, it is our duty to obey God’s Word and honor Christ in our marriage regardless of what our husbands are or aren’t doing.
The great news is – usually, as we get rid of disrespect and learn to speak “respect” in a meaningful way to our husbands – the verbal abuse, unloving behavior and comments usually dramatically decrease over time.
Some possible ways wives may handle such situations – say (calmly):
  • Ouch!
  • That really hurt my feelings.
  • Did I do something disrespectful just now?  That felt unloving to me.
  • Please don’t speak to me like that or I will need to leave the room.  (And then, respectfully, with dignity and poise, leave the room if he cannot control his temper.)
  • Please don’t yell.  I feel so scared when you do that.
  • Please don’t say things like that – it hurts me so much.

Hopefully, just saying something like that will elicit an apology.

If not, you may want to give him some space, respectfully, to process his feelings for a few hours or over night. And keep some distance.  Then when he approaches you, you can say, “I’m still upset/hurt/sad.”  And you really don’t have to go into much more detail than that.  He will probably apologize.

But also, consider that Jesus calls us to bless when we are cursed and to repay evil with good and to pray for those who mistreat us.  So during that time of giving space, we can be praying for our husbands and for Satan’s strongholds to be torn down.  We can pray that God will help us to forgive and have wisdom about how to bless our husbands.  And we can pray about what kind thing we could do to show respect and love.

Please do not go on a big emotional tirade against your man!  Then he will be thinking about YOUR anger, bitterness, rage and sin and he won’t have to think about his sin!  If you can respond WITHOUT sin to him when he sins against you – he will have SO MUCH weight of conviction and he will eventually apologize on his own.

The more respected he usually feels  -the more it will tear his soul apart to see that he has hurt  you, the woman he loves most in all the world.  Your distance and pain will make him feel AWFUL and he will try to make things right.

If he feels constantly disrespected – he may not care much about your feelings – and you may have to pray and wait on God to work in his heart as you continue to obey God yourself, expecting God, not your husband, to meet your emotional and spiritual needs.

As you begin to actually stop disrespecting him – which repels him – and you learn to begin to respect him – he will likely be drawn back to you.
Then – he may eventually begin to actually care about your feelings.
When he gets used to you being joyful, happy, content, smiling, accepting and welcoming – he will probably want to keep that feeling going.  Your happiness and joy is his greatest reward.  If you are mean, negative, angry, scolding, yelling, name-calling and disrespectful all the time – he will most likely build a wall against you and shut you out of his heart.  He may decide it is impossible to please you and it’s not worth trying.  And he may not care that you are in pain.  He may be in too much pain himself to care that you are in pain.  And he may not respect you because you are so down on him all the time.  Men sometimes only let people they respect influence their decisions and actions.
But when you respect him and are a joy – he may begin to want you to be happy, to open his heart up to you slowly, and eventually he may care VERY much about your feelings and happiness. Eventually, all it may take is for that light of faith and trust in your eyes and the beautiful smile on your face to go away for a minute or two and he will be asking what he can do to make you happy again.  Yes.  Really.
The silent thing is about spiritual things.  You are silent about God and church and Bible reading, etc (I Peter 3:1-2 – if you have a husband who is disobedient to the Word of God), and show him respect.
If he is flirting or doing inappropriate things with other women (short of an affair)- some possible ideas of things to prayerfully consider saying (only if God leads you to say one of these things),
  • I don’t want you to have women friends.  I think that is dangerous.  I don’t have male friends – there are too many temptations in those situations for anyone.  No one is exempt from the temptation to have an affair.  Everyone has to guard their hearts, even pastors and strong Christian leaders.  No one plans to have an affair – it happens because we don’t prevent it and protect our marriage with a hedge of precautions and boundaries.
  •  I feel so hurt when you flirt with women.
  • I only want you to flirt with me.
  • I feel so sad that you are talking with other women.
  • I am scared that you don’t let me be your friend on Facebook.  I feel afraid to trust you when I see you shut me out from certain areas of your life.
  • I want to trust you and respect you- and I am scared to right now.  Please make it easier for me to be able to totally trust you and respect you as the God-given leader of our marriage.
  • I want you to stop talking with her.
  • I want to feel completely safe and protected with you.
  • I want to know that you are protecting our marriage and your heart.
So – you say what you want WITHOUT lashing out in anger.  You are vulnerable and share your feelings in a pure way, a VERY, VERY, VERY boiled down and brief way.  He can hear you when you talk to him like this.  You can cry and be sad.  But if you attack him with anger and an emotional ocean of negativity – he may drown in it.
Then – as you become respectful and he begins to care about your feelings – all you have to do is look sad and say you are sad – and he will probably apologize.  If he doesn’t, you just respectfully move away and create some distance from him.  Bob Grant, marriage therapist, says “Words are for women.  Men don’t respond to words.  Men respond to pain and distance.”  So you sharing your painful feelings “I feel X”  and moving away physically and emotionally will make him feel guilt and want to make things better.  Yes – this is the exact opposite of how we as women want to handle this.  Want to dump our ocean of negativity on him and blast him for an hour or two with all our horrible emotions.  This does NOT help our husbands come back to us!  It repels them.  So it is up to us to learn to communicate in a way that is EFFECTIVE for our husbands to best hear our hearts and our main message.
You don’t have to argue.  You don’t have to lose control.  The more you do those things, the more you push him to the women you don’t want him to talk to.  He finds acceptance and validation and respect there.  He needs to find acceptance, validation, edification, appreciation, affection and respect with YOU.
LYING
If your husband is telling little lies, I think that being calm about it and not making a huge deal about it would be helpful.  And keep in mind that the more he sees you trust him as leader and you respect him, the safer he will feel with you.  He may be lying to avoid a big reaction, drama, lecture, scolding, disrespect and contempt.  My suggestion, for whatever it is worth, is to respectfully, calmly and without emotion say something like:
  • honesty is REALLY important to me.
  • PLEASE tell me the truth.  We will work through this issue together.  I want to try to stay calm and hear what you have to say.  I don’t want you to be afraid of me freaking out and losing control of my emotions.  I want to respect you, and for me to be able to fully respect and trust you, I need to know for sure that you always tell me the truth.

When he does tell you the truth, maybe say:

  • THANK YOU SO MUCH for telling me the truth.  It’s painful for me to hear.  But I admire you greatly for having the courage to tell me the truth.  I feel so much safer knowing that you are being honest with me.  When you tell me the truth, even about little things, I REALLY respect that about you.
  • It means SO much to me that you have the courage to tell me the truth.  That helps me to respect the man you are so much.  I admire your willingness to be honest.  Thank you.

Then keep up the respect and nix all the disrespect.  As he sees he is safe – I think you’ll see the lying fade away in a few months, most likely.

If your husband is telling bigger lies, you may have to calmly and respectfully (and probably with great sadness) prayerfully consider saying something like:

  • dishonesty/lying is not OK.
  • I REALLY want to trust and respect you – but I just can’t respect lying.
  • I need to see you do X, Y and Z to help me rebuild my trust in you.  I need total honesty and transparency from you in order to work to be able to give you all of my respect and admiration again.
  • I’m really disappointed.
  • I am devastated.
  • I think we need to have some help.

You can do this WITHOUT attacking him.

If you catch him in big lies again or other major sin (adultery) – you may need to follow the Bible’s advice about when a brother sins against us (Matthew 18).  First we are to go show him his fault, just between the two of us in private (which means, NOT bashing him on FB or to friends, coworkers or family!)  If he doesn’t repent, then we take another believer – probably a strong Christian mentor or friend or pastor and respectfully confront him with that witness present and helping us.  Then the Bible says to take the matter before the church if he still won’t repent and treat him like an unbeliever.  Most churches don’t do discipline anymore.  Sadly.  But if he is living in habitual sin, you will have to treat him like an unbeliever – because he is not living at all with the power of Christ.  I Peter 3:1-2 would apply here.  You may have to implement consequences with gentleness, respect, poise and dignity.

ADULTERY

Please keep in mind that God can and does heal marriages that have suffered the devastation of adultery.  I know MANY marriages God has healed and that are very godly and strong now – stronger than ever – and the growth began after adultery.  This is not to say adultery is fine and not a big deal. It is a huge sin. It is not ever ok!

Adultery is not necessarily a death sentence for a marriage.  But contempt and unforgiveness will kill any relationship.

But there is help and hope and our God is a God of miracles and He is able to heal broken relationships and people when we trust and obey Him.  Please seek godly, wise, experienced, biblical counsel!

PHYSICAL ABUSE/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Please get some godly, experienced help.  This issue is more than I can address – and you will need major help ASAP.

RELATED:

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Why I Don’t Write for Women with Abusive Husbands

Do I Condone Abuse?

 

The Voice in His Head

by the Respected Husband

On Sunday, September 23rd, the Peacefulwife ran a guest post by Kayla Gulick titled My Demon. In the article, Kayla described how all of the voices in her head accuse her husband of the worst. This prompted a discussion between the Peacefulwife and me. She then asked me about whether a guy has similar voices in his head that paint a bad picture of his wife’s intentions.

FROM A HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE

I told her that husbands do have a voice in their head, but it rarely talks about their wives. It is a voice telling them “You don’t have what it takes to do ……,” “You are a failure at …..,” “You are an inadequate husband, father, or son”, and “You are not good enough.” Now, I need to clarify that this voice isn’t on all of the time and usually confined to one topic at a time. This is very different from how the Peacefulwife has explained to me about women’s brains where you have an internal voice coming at you accusing your husband and justifying your disrespect and need for control almost constantly (when a wife is cherishing sin in her heart and is not filled with God’s Spirit).

Much to my surprise, after I had made that statement I turned to find the Peacefulwife with mouth agape, stunned, and fascinated with my response. Shortly, after a little water and some cool compresses on her forehead, she said, “Hmm…Satan’s strategy is to attack the God-given spiritual authority from two sides. The accuser fills the wife’s head with a barrage of ammunition against her husband about how he is not worthy of respect and how she is totally justified in her disrespect and contempt. AND the accuser fills the husband’s head with thoughts about how he is not worthy of respect and that his wife is absolutely right in her observation of his faults. The two accusing voices paralyze leadership in the marriage, in the church, in business, and in government.”

IS THIS NORMAL?

Not wanting to jump to conclusions too quickly, we wondered if this theory held up in other marriages. Understanding that a voice in my head just started saying, “Yeah….Sure, check this out…You will only find that you are different than other guys. Other guys are better than you and wouldn’t think like this at all.” So, the Peacefulwife posted the question on the Facebook page. Shortly, Kayla Gulick responded that she had just asked her husband the same question without giving him my response and he said THE SAME EXACT THING.

Another reader, a husband, responded, “I ditto your husband. We fight the fear that we may not be ‘up to the job’ almost every day. But we are men, so it is shameful to talk about it.”

A husband wants to hide any insecurities or faults that he thinks he has because he is afraid that his wife or family will not respect him.  He is afraid that he might lose any clout that he might have with his wife and family if he was to let a weakness be revealed.

Wow….So far so good with testing this theory. At church on Sunday evening, we asked the same question to several men to see if they responded in the same way. Their responses seemed to first indicate that maybe I do think like a man and secondly, and probably most importantly, that the idea of Satan attacking the spiritual authority of the marriage from both sides was probably true.

So I started searching for a way to describe what a man hears in his head and I came to the conclusion that the voice in his head is all about exposing his insecurities. I found the following quote from Jake Dudley, a 24 year old blogger, to be a really good description of how a man thinks.

And that’s all insecurity is – FEAR. Fear of things we have no control over in the first place. I know what it feels like. I’ve been faced with the doubt you experience when you are staring at a person of the opposite sex wanting soooo badly to tell them how you feel. But instead you stand there frozen from the insecurity of thinking they’ll NEVER like someone as ugly as I think I am. I’ve stood at the crossroads of a major life decision thinking that no matter which I choose I will fail, so instead I turn into a little boy and run away from all possibilities. I’ve ended things and started things and ignored people and ran away from opportunities all because somewhere along the way I believed my self-inflicted insecurities defined who I was as a man.

But here’s the thing: insecurity has NOTHING to do with who I actually am as person. Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with who I’m terrified of becoming if I take a risk. I usually think I’ll fail. I usually think I’m not good enough. I usually think girls think I’m ugly. I usually think my time has run out. I usually think and think and think my way into a pity party of self-loathing and doubt that I forget that I was created in the image of an extraordinary God.

One Man’s Insecurities by Jake Dudley, www.corycopeland.net

A WIFE’S ROLE

A guy is always going to have insecurities and feel inadequate to fulfill his role as a husband and father. How can a wife work to control the demons that are not only speaking to her but her husband as well?  Your husband needs your respect, your trust, your belief in him, your admiration, and your affirmation. These are the confidence pills for the common insecurity. With a little boost of encouragement your husband can overcome and lead your marriage. I found the following quote from www.greatdatespot.com to be a great description of the role of a wife in handling his insecurities:

But here’s the thing- a man’s wife has a special place : she can truly build him up and quiet all other voices of insecurity -or- she can be the loudest voice of insecurity in the world. It’s a strange and magnificient power that you women yield. And it’s a power given by the source of security.

And while it may seem that these two oppose one another- they don’t. After all- a marriage is supposed to be mirror image of a person’s relationship with Jesus- so if it’s Jesus that a man’s security comes from- then it makes sense that a wife can wield similar power…if she chooses.

Ladies- you should understand- you have two choices here- to be the voice of encouragement and bolster your husband’s security or to be the voice of insecurity and rejection and crush your man (yes- you have that power). There is no third choice- if you choose to disengage and try to be in the middle- you are choosing the latter.

Ladies- your acceptance is not just vocal- though it is that. It’s not just sex, though it is that as well. It’s not respect, though it is that too. It’s all encompassing. Give him great compliments, give him great sex, give him great respect and you will see your husband be spurred on to become the man he was always meant to be. Think about it- the key to your husband becoming who he was meant to be- who you really want him to be – lies with you. Jesus could fully do it without you- but he chose to give you as a gift to your husband to speed it along. And I know, that seems like a tall order. That seems like a lot of weight on your shoulders. But it is your burden- or your joy- depending on how you look at it. Now that is your choice.

http://greatdatespot.com/2010/05/21/a-husbands-insecurity-from-10-things-men-wish-their-wives-knew-about-men/

Every wife wants her husband to be the moral authority for their family. Every husband wants his wife to be his biggest supporter, confidence booster, and encourager. When he can feel that he has your trust and appreciation it is like giving him a shot of energy.   That is why it is so easy for a man to literally become unplugged when he does not feel he is getting this support.  So what do you have if your husband is the moral authority of your family and you have the gift of energy he needs?

Moral + (e)nergy = Morale

Your marriage will have great morale. If my equation is correct the more of the energy you give him the greater the morale will be in your marriage. He will have the self confidence, self esteem, and drive to be the leader in your marriage and family.

But I know there are many who might say that, “My husband is definitely not the moral authority in our family and there is no way I can affirm him after what he has done.” Unfortunately, these husbands probably need the most support from their wives and yet their life yields very few opportunities for their wife to show praise and compliment thim. I think Priscilla Shirer addresses this pretty well in the following quote:

Now perhaps your husband has consistently proven that he’s not worthy of your trust. He’s been careless with money, drawn to addictions, perhaps even unfaithful to his marriage vows. The reason you can’t ascribe high value to his character, you say, is because he hasn’t shown you very much of it. And you’re right—his carelessness, laziness, or lack of integrity is not your fault. You are not responsible for what he’s done and is doing, even if you’ve been less than careful about loving him well and feeding his ego.

But even you—even now—can resolve to affirm your husband and to promise that your trust in him is not gone forever. It may need to be reconstructed with the aid of outside help and ongoing accountability, but he needs to know that your heart’s desire is to reestablish confidence in him.

Your Husband’s Two Biggest Fears, Priscilla Shirer

If we understand the destructive nature of the voices in our heads and that Satan’s plan is to attack our marriage and family we can start silencing the voices. I know when I feel that my wife is in full support with me about something the voice I hear is, “You can do this because she trusts and believes in you.” The Peacefulwife is very good at saying, “I am going to look out for the good in my husband and let God deal with his sins.”

Let’s build up the morale in our marriages starting now.

When a wife refuses to obey God’s commands by disrespecting her husband, she cooperates with Satan and becomes a megaphone that amplifies the accuser’s message to her husband.  But when a wife respects and follows her husband, she cooperates with God and becomes an amplifier for God’s voice and His will.  WOW!  This is POWERFUL stuff!  May we use our power for great good, ladies! – The Peacefulwife

A Wife Learns to Stop "Coaching" Her Husband

Here is a message I received from a reader about the post yesterday.  She has some really amazing insights to share.  Thank you for sharing your story, Theresia!

About the “Are We Deceived about How to Find God’s Will?” post. 

This makes me think about when God learned me that respect towards my husband is the only thing that works.

For half a year me and my husband had a great phase when we were praying a lot together, were united in our goals and he was also fasting for 21 days. After that I felt like things were getting a little less good and I was afraid that we should lose out on this intimacy both with each other and God. I think the best way to describe it is that I more and more turned into becoming my husbands coach. I was trying (I thought very respectfully) encourage my husband to pray and on on, how he should think, do, act… everything. The intimacy surely diminished and we argued more and more.

Then came a weekend when we had a babysitter, we went out of town to go to a christian meeting, sleep at a hotel and go to a wedding the next day. Church was awesome, and afterwards I thought – now we’re going to live really close to God and each other again. The next morning I wanted to spend a lot of time praying with my husband but he wasn’t as motivated as me – I became anxious and started to be a coach again. I felt almost like it was now or never – now we have to be close to God or we will loose the chance. That morning we argued more and more. Everything was terrible as we sat in the car on our way to eat lunch before the wedding. Then I suggested – let’s pray each of us on our own. We did, I hoped God would say something good to my husband, but as I was listening for myself God said to me – Can’t you see this is not working? You’re only making him miserable. The only thing that works is my Word.

In my heart I understood what God was trying to say. The only thing that gives me what I want is giving my husband what God said I should give him – my respect, honor and admiration.

Before we had lunch I told my husband what God told me, I repented and told him I would change.

And so I did. I quit being that coach, realizing that was God’s job. I repented from trying to be God to my husband. Maybe you could say I went from being coach to cheerleader. I tried my best every day to only talk encouraging words and let my husband think, act and choose on his own.

Now I know that in times when I’m successful at being that good wife the Bible talks about my husband is happier and more confident about his abilities to take care of us as a family and make wise decisions.

He has actually said – since you’ve honored me more I feel more led by God! He also shows me much more love!

I’ve also noticed that as I’ve stepped down from being a coach to instead be my husband’s follower I’ve become much more happy and relaxed. Overall I feel safe. There’s just a whole lot of stress going away. I understand that that’s how it feels when you do what you’re supposed to do. Trying to act God is not my job – not strange that makes me tired and anxious.

So, God’s way is the only way, at least the only way that will work! 

Since I repented that day I’ve repented many more times. It’s so ironic how until then it was always my husband who repented, never me, and I thought that was right. He was the one doing wrong, not me. I’m so happy my eyes were opened to my own sin.

Are We Deceived about How to Find God's Will?

This is a comment I received from a husband on a post I did about Finding God’s Will.  I think he is onto something really important.  And he graciously allowed me to share his comments with you.

Reading your post turned a lightbulb on for me. I think I now actually have a much better understanding of a key element of my wife’s long-term disrespect for me. Here’s what I think I’ve realized:

Knowing the will of God and/or how to know the will of God was actually a big reason for my wife’s pervasive disrespect in my marriage.

We had both been raised to believe that in every decision, and especially in every “big” decision (college, career, spouse, church, house, etc.), there was one and only one choice that was God’s will. All other choices would put you permanently in “Plan B” (and the next time you missed the will of God, you’d be in Plan C, and so forth).

It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I figured out, thanks to Dr. Garry Friesen’s book “Decision Making and the Will of God,” that this “specific will” view of decision making was not biblical. Instead, as you’ve described above,

God’s concern is that we seek to glorify Him and, with that motive, that we make the wisest decision we can, taking into account whatever the Bible says about the subject, all the facts we can learn, wise counsel, etc. Then — the best news — He will take care of us. We’re free to fail, in the sense of making a bad (i.e., unwise) decision, because God in His sovereignty and love will “work together for good” even those things.

And we’re free to change course when things don’t work out as expected (for example, bailing out of a start-up business that doesn’t catch on or even a career choice that isn’t working) without berating ourselves for “missing God’s will” in the matter. All of this assumes that the range of choices we’re considering are all within the moral will of God set out clearly in the Bible.

Unfortunately, my wife never understood this alternative (and more biblical) approach to decision-making. As a result, for the remaining 28 years of our marriage, she had to worry that because I was using the “wrong” approach to decision-making I was likely missing God’s will for myself and for her (and the kids) on a regular basis.

Under this reasoning, virtually every major decision — and certainly every decision where we didn’t agree — became a significant spiritual event in which I was leading the family astray. And, by definition, if I was missing God’s will in the matter, we were going to suffer the adverse consequences (Plan B, Plan C, etc.) and there was nothing God could do about it. His sovereignty and His love for us were handcuffed by my failure to discern His specific will. AND, because every decision was fraught with spiritual significance, she had a quasi-biblical basis for resisting my leadership. After all, even the strongest advocates of submission and respect acknowledge that the wife doesn’t have to allow herself to be led into sin.

I wonder if any of your readers are facing a similar thought process that has wives deceived into disrespecting their husbands while believing that they are actually abiding by their duty not to submit to sin?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE (my response)

I LOVE your lightbulb moment.

YES.

Many wives subscribe to the ideas that you are talking about. I used to think like that, too. I thought that if it was God’s will, for instance, for me to be a missionary to Africa/a stay-at-home-mom/a homeschooler or whatever – that if I submitted to my husband, and my husband wasn’t tuned in to God – I would completely miss God’s will for me and it would be all my husband’s fault. How selfish of me, I wasn’t even thinking in terms of God’s calling on my husband! Just me. Sadly.

So I was terrified to submit to my sinful husband at first because I thought God was too small to direct my husband.  And I thought my husband’s faith was too weak for him to really follow God.  I thought I was responsible for causing God’s will to happen and for knowing what God’s will was.  I thought I could discern God’s will much better than my husband could.  Never mind that God didn’t give me the position of spiritual authority and responsibility in the marriage.  I knew I was better for the job and I was totally justified in taking over because my husband OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t/couldn’t lead.

I didn’t think my husband could hear God.  And you know something?  He was having a hard time hearing God’s voice.  The reason?  ME.  My voice was SO loud and obnoxious – my voice drowned out God’s voice for my husband.  I caused us to miss God’s will.  Not my husband. (And yet – God has used even MY sin and mistakes and rebellion for His glory now!  HOW AWESOME HE IS!)

That was my biggest struggle at the beginning of this journey – is God really big enough to lead me through my sinful husband?

I started out knowing that my answer SHOULD be “yes.”  The God I knew should be big enough.  But I didn’t feel like He was big enough.  I couldn’t see how big He was and how small I was. The more I understood about God and how HUGE He is and the more I understood about how wretched and spiritually poverty stricken and sick I was – the more I realized how ludicrous my fears were.

The scary thing is NOT for me to trust God to lead me through my husband. The scary thing is for me to trust MYSELF to take charge and try to be in control of God and my husband.

I grossly misplaced my fear. I trusted myself and doubted God. That was so backwards.  I am nothing and I know nothing beside the God of the universe.  My pride was astronomical.
Yes, I thought if I trusted my husband, he wouldn’t lead and we would sit in spiritual stagnation for the rest of our lives.  I was constantly trying to run ahead of my husband and trying to drag him towards God.  My husband wouldn’t let me do it.  I’m SO THANKFUL NOW!  I hated to wait.  I was extremely impatient.  I got ideas in my head and ran with them at 100 mph, assuming my ideas were of God.  They weren’t.

I didn’t understand that God was big enough to lead me through my husband. Turns out He IS PLENTY BIG ENOUGH. And, it turns out, that when I stopped all my disrespect and was quiet about things of God (like I Peter 3:1-2 commanded me to do if I really thought my husband was being disobedient to the Word) – my husband did begin to hear God’s voice and to lead.  He hadn’t had a lot of experience, due to my taking over for 15 years.  But he grew stronger and stronger in his faith and as a leader when I stepped out of the way and supported him.  Now I know that my Lord is SO sovereign that He will change my husband’s heart and mind to conform to His will whether my husband is close to Him or not.  Now I also know that God’s sovereignty is big enough to break my pride and humble me and open my blind eyes.  I PRAISE AND THANK HIM FOR THAT EVERY DAY!

Now I know that when I trust God to lead me through my husband and I am obeying HIm, walking in faith and full of His Spirit, He will cause miracles to happen and He will take me to a much better place than I could ever have taken myself. Now I also know that if I fight my husband’s decisions, I am likely fighting God. So I don’t fight anymore. I share what I want and desire with my husband and God, and then I trust them to lead me. Even if it looks “wrong” to me. Even if I don’t like the direction. That is ok.

I know that God has infinitely more wisdom than I do now.  So I trust Him. And I know that I CAN’T LOSE.

  • If my husband sins – my God is big enough to use that for His glory.
  • If my husband makes “mistakes” – my God is big enough to use that for His glory, too.  And God will use it to discipline us, train us and prepare us for things we can’t begin to imagine.  Even bankruptcy.  Even financial struggles.  Even big mistakes with family relationships or drama.  There is NOTHING beyond the reach of God!!!  Nothing is too difficult for Him.  Nothing paralyzes Him.  Nothing will stump Him and make Him scratch His head and decide that no good can come from that situation.
  • If my husband follows God, God is glorified and we are filled with joy.

I have no fear anymore because God is working all things for my good and for His glory – and I know that I don’t know how to get there, only He does.

I also know that God can take the things that caused me the deepest pain and my own years of sin and rebellion and turn them inot something that brings glory to Him and draws others to Christ.

The keys that I was missing were God’s sovereignty, power and wisdom and my weakness, foolishness and smallness .

Something else stood out to me that you mentioned.  You talked about your wife not wanting to follow you into sin.  Wives – a husband leading us in the direction he believes is God’s will towards a certain job, a certain house, a certain church, specific decisions IS NOT SIN.  If our husbands think differently from us or have a different idea of what God’s will is – THAT IS NOT SIN!  We are to give them our perspective, share our feelings, and cooperate with their decisions – trusting God’s sovereignty.

Your husband leading you into sin is something like:

  • He wants you to cheat on the taxes.
  • He wants you to steal.
  • He wants you to ignore his pornography addiction or worse, he wants you to participate with him or have a threesome or go to a strip club.
  • He wants you to gossip.
  • He wants you to lie.
  • He wants you to commit idolatry with him.
  • He wants you to do something illegal.
  • He wants you to kill someone or have an abortion.
  • He wants you to not forgive someone.
  • He wants you to not pray or study your Bible.
  • He wants you to go against God’s Word in a significant way (not just some minor little interpretational difference).

THEN – we need to respectfully but firmly resist our husbands.

But most of the time – they are NOT asking us to sin!  Most of the time, they are TRYING to lead us, but we won’t follow.  If your husband asks you to do one of the following, tell him your feelings and then please cooperate with him joyfully with your trust in God:

  • tithe or not tithe according to his definition (not tithing is not a sin – not from what I can tell in scripture.  But trying to force a man to give under compulsion is wrong according to the Bible.  He has to be free to make this decision – with your input – but then he makes the call.
  • take another job
  • go to a church of his preference (unless it is a cult)
  • not go to church on Wednesday nights because he wants the young children in bed on time (that is not sin!  Please respect his priorities.  Tell him what you want and then allow him to make the final call if you disagree)
  • move to another town
  • start a new business
  • have you home with the family more
  • start stricter discipline with the children
  • follow a tighter budget

The vast majority of decisions will fall into this category – he will have to determine what he believes God’s will is on things that have no clear direction in the Bible.  So he needs the freedom to be able to decide according what he believes God is calling him to do.

We label so many things our husbands do as SIN – and often, we are WRONG.  We easily make ourselves judges of our husbands.  We are in serious sin when we do this.  Not only is our judging them sinful – but then we rebel against our husband’s authority or try to usurp our husbands’ authority and THAT is also sin on our own heads.  It’s time for believing wives to repent and become the godly wives God desires us to be who will bring healing to our marriages and great glory to Christ and His gospel!

Thank you to this precious husband for sharing. I completely agree that the mindset you are describing contributes to great disrespect among wives for their husbands. I appreciate your wisdom and insights very much!

Being a Minister's Wife

My Beautiful Mother-in-Law and Our Son

I started something new on my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page yesterday!  For those of you who prefer to learn by listening – I have posted a few of my first VIDEOS!  Now you can be in “my class” – even though you’re not at my church. 🙂  Let me know if you like that medium and if you find it helpful.  Thank you!

 

I have not been a minister’s wife myself.  But I have been a pastor’s daughter-in-law for 18 years, and although I was not quite as much under the spotlight and scrutiny that my mother-in-law was – I definitely was close enough to see how wonderful and how difficult it can be to be in the “glass fish bowl” – as my husband likes to say.

A number of ministers’ wives have written to me.  I know that being in this position of influence and pressure is a DIFFICULT and CHALLENGING place to be.  There is nowhere to go to hide when things aren’t going well.  Those who are in a pastor’s/minister’s family, but especially his wife – will be held to MUCH higher standards by those in the church, those outside of the church and also by God Himself.  So it is REALLY critical that the ministers’ wives out there become as godly, holy, mature and Spirit-filled as possible.

OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING

A pastor’s wife is under a great deal more scrutiny about everything than almost anyone else in the church (except maybe the pastor): her attitude, speech, tone of voice, behavior, habits, spending, parenting, modesty, cooking, eating, clothing – EVERYTHING is monitored.  She is constantly watched.  If she makes a mistake – everyone will know about it. Some may follow her ungodly example, or they may talk about her behind her back, confront her or the pastor about it or her husband may lose his job.  If she does something godly and sets a beautiful example, people will model after her, too – especially the women in the congregation.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO DESTROY

I have seen pastors’ wives (not my mother-in-law!) use their position of influence and exposure to completely and utterly destroy their marriages, their husbands’ ministries and entire churches.  One woman in the position of a minister’s wife can do all an incalculable amount of damage.  All wives can cause complete devastation and damage in their husbands’ lives on some level.  But for a pastor – his wife’s sins, rebellion, idolatry, discord, hatred, unforgiveness, etc… carry much more weight than they would in most marriages.

How could a minister’s wife destroy her husband and his ministry?

  • showing blatant and/or subtle disrespect for her husband in front of church members or other leaders in the church
  • gossipping about her husband or other church members
  • slandering someone in the church
  • using her words to tear down her husband in public and in private
  • calling people in the church and trying to handle personality disputes or leadership disputes herself
  • being very critical of her husband’s abilities as a pastor, demeaning his abilities, calling him lazy or a hypocrite (even if only in private – that is incredibly demoralizing)
  • correcting her husband in front of others
  • having hatred, resentment, contempt, animosity, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart towards people in the church or her husband
  • cherishing sin in her own life
  • wearing immodest clothing
  • flirting with other men
  • questioning her husband’s decisions constantly – especially in front of others
  • refusing to cooperate with her husband’s spiritual authority in church or in the marriage
  • trying to control the church herself or control her husband as a puppet for her own agenda and desires
  • having an emotional or sexual affair
  • undermining her husband’s spiritual authority at church, in the marriage or as a father
  • not having the love of Christ in her heart
  • having a critical, judgmental, condemning spirit
  • embezzling money or being involved in a scandal
  • refusing to go to the church service
  • arguing with her husband in front of church members
  • bad mouthing her husband to others

This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully wives can see the idea.  This stuff applies to ALL wives – but ministers’ wives must ESPECIALLY be on guard against this kind of disrespect and any attempts to usurp their husbands’ God-given authority in the church, the marriage and the home.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO BUILD UP

There are wise pastors’ and ministers’ wives in the church who understand the enormity of their responsibility before God to obey Him and to show respect for their husbands and to cooperate with their husbands’ leadership.  They understand God will judge them more strictly.  They understand the eyes of the congregation and community are on them all the time.  They know that they are co-laborers with their husbands – they are teammates – to minister for the gospel together.  They know that their husbands’ ability to do his job depends on their wives’ ability to behave themselves in a Christlike way.

A BEAUTIFUL, GODLY EXAMPLE

My mother-in-law has been an incredibly godly pastor’s wife for about 50 years now.  She was able to watch her own behavior, speech, dress, manners and respect for her husband and I have NEVER known her to cause a problem in one of her husband’s churches.  The beautiful qualities I observed in my mother-in-law that other ministers’ wives ( and really, ALL wives) may want to imitate:

  • She always takes care to dress in a feminine, conservative, modest way (beautiful long dresses or skirts with jackets and a blouse, usually).  She knows that she represents Christ, their church, her husband and their congregation when she is at church or even just out in public in town.  She makes sure she looks decent and put together because she knows she is a reflection of her husband and she wants to be sure she makes him look good.
  • She willingly plays the piano and/or teaches children’s Sunday School classes. She is always a genuine helpmeet to her husband, using her talents and abilities to contribute to the needs of the church.
  • She doesn’t complain or argue in front of others.  I am not aware of a time when she complained about the church or about her husband or someone in the church to a church member.
  • She always upholds her husband’s decisions and cooperates with him and shows a united front at church.
  • She does NOT get involved in gossip or drama.  It is difficult to have close friends when you are the pastor’s wife – you know so much about what is going on and private affairs of so many people – especially in a smaller church (100-300 people).  But she was always SO VERY careful not to create divisions, contention, gossip or spread slander.
  • She always smiles at each person at church, hugs them, is friendly to them, welcomes them and shows as much hospitality as possible in every situation.
  • She always comes to church to support her husband – unless she was sick or in pain.
  • She doesn’t begrudge him the many, many hours he spends away from her and their family (when their children were at home) visiting the sick in the hospital or going to someone’s house where there was a death or counseling people or working on the leaky faucet at the church or someone’s house.
  • She is a wonderful cook and always had a delicious lunch and supper ready for her husband each day and enjoyed the time she got to share with him.
  • She lets her husband lead the conversation about spiritual things with people.
  • She doesn’t do anything that might cause someone to stumble – no alcohol, no working on Sunday, no inappropriate behavior or questionable activities – she avoids even the appearance of evil.
  • She is very responsible and takes good care of her home and was (and still is) a great mother to her boys.
  • She never tells her husband what to preach or how to preach.
  • She trusts her husband to handle his job and calling with wisdom.
  • She knows her husband is responsible, capable, dependable, intelligent and able to do his job well and she shows faith and confidence in him.
  • She always dressed her children well and made sure they behaved well in church.  They also behaved well outside of church, too!
  • She stands by her husband when there is strife in the church.  She is quiet and doesn’t try to defend him herself.  But she is there and offers her supportive presence, showing her respect for him and her belief in him.  But she doesn’t take over in business meetings or try to control things or fix things herself.

Lord,

I lift up all wives who belong to You, but especially ministers’ wives.  Help them to choose to live by Your power to be the wives You want them to be.  Let them honor You and their husbands in their speech, attitudes, behavior, priorities and choices.  Let them point many to You by their obedience to Your Word and their willingness to follow Your design for marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.  Bless these women richly in their walk with You.  Satan would like to destroy them.  Protect them and their husbands from evil.  Keep them close to Your heart.  Use them to gather a large harvest for Your kingdom and to teach, preach and live well with Your Spirit of power, love, courage and self-control.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

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