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“What If My Husband Doesn’t Care about My Happiness?”

Honestly, this is where most of us find ourselves at the beginning of this journey. I know I did. When I began my journey, my husband was completely shut down and he didn’t care about my feelings or happiness anymore. Or so I thought. He didn’t want to look at me, be in the same room with me, listen to me, or talk to me.

I concluded he didn’t love me at all. But I was wrong. He was just hurting. A lot. We both were.

The answer to this question is going to be a bit different depending on the particular man, his personality, the dynamics of the marriage, and where both the husband and wife are spiritually. It requires some serious spiritual discernment to unravel – what are my own issues as a wife and what are my husband’s issues?

1. For example, some men act like this because they have felt disrespected for a long time. That was my situation. My husband had shut me out of his heart because I was (unknowingly) bossy, rude, condescending, controlling, prideful, self-righteous, and disrespectful. It took over 3.5 years into my journey of asking God to change me for him to soften and begin to feel safe with me again. As he felt more and more safe and respected – and less like I was going to bite his head off – he began to really show that he cared about my happiness.

There is also the issue of idolizing our husbands or becoming codependent where we depend on them to “make us happy” rather than finding our joy and happiness in Christ alone. We can become black holes of deep neediness that no human man could ever satisfy sometimes.

2. Of course, there are other men who are narcissistic or emotionally/verbally abusive or so extremely wounded from their own past that this is the reason why they act this way. Their unloving behavior may be completely independent of their wives.

Other times there is a culture of emotional and verbal abuse that can begin to be corrected when one spouse begins to change and heal in Christ.

3. Another problem is – if the wife doesn’t know how to properly “respect herself” (or, think rightly about herself according to Scripture) if she acts subservient, like a doormat, or weak and disrespects herself, a husband may begin to see her that way, and there are some husbands (especially with more dominating personalities) who may run over a wife like that. She may think that to respect her husband, she has to demean herself. Thankfully, this is not true!

4. There are also men who have mental health issues, very serious unrepentant sin, major addictions, who are very abusive, or who have such severe spiritual oppression that they may not care about their wives or act in loving ways.

Even in really tough situations, we can focus on ourselves and how we can grow in Christ as women. But we may also need outside help to deal with the crisis in the marriage.

Each of these topics could be a book in and of themselves.

I’d like to provide wives with some resources that may help you be able to prayerfully determine which dynamic is going on and work on your end with the Lord and invite His wisdom, discernment, and healing into your life and your marriage.

STEPS TOWARD HEALING

Of course, if you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the first step to see healing in your marriage is for you to experience the spiritual healing Jesus has for you. Having a relationship with Him includes deciding to set Him on the throne of your life so that He is LORD of every area of your life. Then He can empower you to become more and more the godly wife He calls you to be.

Resources to help you heal spiritually and be as strong as possible in Christ:

Resources for the 4 marriage situations listed earlier:

1. If #1 (above) is your issue, I believe my book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” would be really helpful. (available on Amazon, Christianbook, and Barnes and Noble online.) Also, many of my videos on my Youtube channel, April Cassidy, and my blog posts here about disrespect and respect may provide tools and lightbulb moments to help you on your end of the relationship.

2 and 3. If you are dealing with a man who tends more toward narcissism or emotional/verbal abuse, I would suggest Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. This will help you get the firm spiritual foundation you need with the Lord and then you will learn a lot of tools about deflating defensiveness in your man and how to set healthy boundaries in ways that honor the Lord, your husband, and yourself.

I also have some posts that may be helpful:

And, I would encourage you to search my blog for posts by “Radiant.”

Also, Nina Roesner has a blog under her name that has posts that may be really helpful like:

4. If you are dealing with severe issues – a truly abusive man, a man who is involved in active infidelity, a man who has severe uncontrolled mental health issues, or who is severely spiritually oppressed and you (or your children) are not safe – I would strongly suggest seeking wise, godly, experienced counsel one-on-one. Also, there are times when it is necessary to involve law enforcement, doctors, pastors, and other people who can help. I don’t want anyone to be in danger.

You may contact:

 

Lord,

There are so many women here who are hurting. Our perception is sometimes that our husbands don’t love us, don’t care about us, and that we aren’t important to them. It hurts us to the core as wives. 

We feel insecure. We feel afraid. And when we are feeling insecure, unloved, and afraid, we sometimes make destructive choices. Help us to stop depending on our own wisdom and understanding. Help us see our situations rightly – our own lives and our husband’s life – with Your perspective, Your wisdom, Your discernment, and Your Spirit’s power.

Change us. Heal us. Let us become the women and wives You call us to be for Your glory. We invite Your work in our hearts, minds, and lives. We yield ourselves wholeheartedly to You.

Then give us the power, discernment, wisdom, and ability to pour Your healing, Your Spirit, Your goodness, and the blessings of heaven into our marriages – that You might be greatly glorified!

Help us to find our security in Christ alone. Help us to become strong women of great faith in Christ. Not because we are so good or strong. We are weak. But You are strong, Jesus!

Use the pain we are in to draw us to Yourself that we might yield to Your love, Your glorious salvation, and Your Lordship.

Amen!

An Amazing Resource – Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Strength and Dignity”

“The Respect Dare,” by Nina Roesner, was a transformative book for me. In fact, it was one of the best books that God used in my life fairly early into my journey. I was actually so sad when the 40 days of assignments were over. I loved the structure and the daily bite-sized approach to growing and learning. Many women, especially women in situations like mine, saw great improvement in their marriages when they did “The Respect Dare.”

But some women found that as they tried to show their husbands more respect, their husbands became more harsh, critical, and demeaning. They began to feel even more like “doormats” than ever. I have seen the same thing with some wives here. What is going on?

Nina realized something important:

anderlust-2

Women need a firm spiritual foundation before they can properly apply respect in marriage.

They need to know who they are in Christ. They need to understand healthy boundaries in a godly way, not a selfish way. They need to be able to act with dignity and godly strength (as Proverbs 31 describes) and be spiritually more whole and healed. Then they can use the incredibly powerful position of  “wife” and “influential authority” in beautiful, healthy, healing ways in their marriages. They need to have tools to handle things rightly when they are sinned against in marriage.

Then God led Nina to develop a new approach in the BECOMING A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY eCourse.

I am so excited about what God has been doing in Nina’s online classes to transform wives and marriages. It is not about Nina. It is not about the forum facilitators. Her goal is to disciple women so they have a strong spiritual foundation and so that they look to the Bible and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power to accomplish God’s will and His glory in their lives. That is definitely my goal, too, for all of us!

She walks women through the baby steps so many of us need, regardless of our personalities or marital dynamics (and it is even a huge blessing for our single sisters, too), to develop a healthy relationship with Christ first and a healthy relationship with self. Then she gives the tools that can help women develop healthier relationships in their marriages.

A bit from Nina about this eCourse:

The truth is, if the words ‘respect’ and ‘submission’ scare you, even anger you, you’re in the right place. We want to help you understand them in a new way that takes your fear, which is never from the Lord, and replaces it with quiet confidence in HIM.

  • A unique and proven discipleship method that leaves over 95% of our class members with a deeper connection with God
  • Biblical truth to build your relationship with yourself & others in a way that gives you a gentle, but strong & dignified (not prideful) sense of who you are
  • Proven tools of interaction with yourself and others that create mutual respect and the potential for great love & joy

The eCourse does have a nominal cost per month. I would consider it to be a very worthwhile investment. Especially if you are really struggling and need a bit more personalized, structured, spiritual and marriage mentoring. It is an 11 week online class. After you go through these sessions, you are invited to join the private forum with trained facilitating wives who help guide discussions.

WHY AM I PROMOTING THIS eCOURSE?

Nina did not ask me to do this. I am not making any kind of monetary profit from promoting her materials. I know that when some wives read about respect, sometimes they mishear things in dangerous ways. Some think they have to disrespect themselves in order to respect their husbands. Or they have to idolize their husbands and bow to them as if they are perfect gods and women need to act like slaves. That is not true at all!

I believe that this eCourse may be a huge blessing if:

  • You have read my posts, my book, or The Respect Dare, and things are getting worse or you feel really confused about how to move forward with the Lord or in your marriage, this course may be perfect for you.
  • You struggle with what it means to respect yourself – or to think rightly and biblically about yourself.
  • You get confused about healthy boundaries and how to implement them with love and respect, this course is a fantastic tool.
  • You are dealing with a particularly difficult husband.
  • You are interested in a private forum that offers support to women. Nina has a wonderful team of trained women who are helping with this. That is something I just can’t offer myself.

I want all women to have all of the resources they need to thrive spiritually and to heal in Christ. Then when they are hearing Him clearly and filled with His Spirit, I know He will give them the wisdom they need to handle some really tough situations.

TESTIMONIALS

WIFE 1:

This is a hard journey for me as I sometimes lose site of my goal, but God is not finished with me yet.

Five years ago this January I found myself in tears over the condition of my marriage. I was a believer who thought God owed her a perfect marriage and Christian family because she was obedient to his commands. He did not give me that, thankfully. In frustration and some anger I asked God to send me someone who understood my loneliness.

I did  “The Respect Dare”  by phone. I learned some things, but any changes my husband noticed only made him more suspicious of what I was trying to get from him. Nina suggested the “Strength and Dignity” course because of his resistance.
Before joining this class and doing the “Daughter’s of Sarah” course, I blamed my husband for everything. In my studies, God made some direct blows to show my part in this messy equation. That was humbling but the beginning of breaking my pride and misunderstanding of what marriage really is. Now, in humility, I can accept God’s correction and find myself enabled more often to love and accept my husband as God made him.

Sometimes I respond with grace, sometimes I kick and scream my way to surrender and sometimes I just can’t figure out what I am suppose to do, so I reach out to other women on the course site and return to His Word. My desire to love my husband like God does allows me to rely on the Holy Spirit’s enablement to do what God says to show respect. It is hard to do right and it seems I am meeting stronger resistance, but through prayer, study, support and sometimes tears, God is changing my motives, my heart, and my love for my husband.

It is also teaching me that the goal of my journey is to find God as my sole source for all my needs and release my husband from wrong expectations. I no longer want a perfect marriage and accolades from people. I am on a learning curve to find that Christ fulfills my every need and I am the healthy helper God intended for the man he created. I am pressing on, but I have not arrived.

WIFE 2:

I started this journey very discouraged and with the mindset that my husband is never going to change and our marriage will always be this way. BUT that I need to learn to survive this and survive it well… with strength of character and with my dignity. I went to a 4 day retreat, Deflating Defensiveness (led by Nina).

These are the changes I’ve incorporated in my marriage from the retreat:

  • I don’t get pulled into arguing, defending myself, or reasoning with him (That stuff doesn’t work, plus it leaves me frustrated).
  • He still goads me to but I go silent rather than get pulled into this crazy cycle.
  • I’m picking my battles so to speak
    • I give in to him on small things. Because he gets his way on those things, I’m seeing he is more apt to listen to me on the bigger stuff.
  • I am not a doormat, in fact, just the opposite. I feel more empowered and dignified.
  • I speak my point of view concisely, slowly, and gently, then I STOP.
    • When he comes back with arguments, I don’t respond, neither do I justify myself nor do I own his insults.
    • As a result of my “sanctified indifference” I’m seeing more respect from him; he seems then to want to please me.

This is not perfect every time but I have my sanity and my dignity. I feel strong. I am no longer striving but am at peace. He hasn’t changed, but I have, and as a result, our marriage is changing.

Since I joined the Strength and Dignity eCourse:

I am now starting to see more change in his behavior toward me. I think that as he is getting the respect he needs and sees I’m becoming a “safe place,” he is becoming more respectful, caring, and wants to please me. Of course, we have hiccups now and then, but I continue to trust God to give me the self-control to remain gentle and respectful with him. The unconditional respect is the toughest when he is not being kind. This is definitely a refining process and a spiritual one that at times does not seem to even be about marriage, but about the woman God desires me to become.

Here’s the link to find out more about Nina’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

If you decide to take it, I’d love to hear what you think!

** This class is not designed for those who are being battered. If you are in danger, please contact your local domestic violence resources.

RELATED

 

Prayer for Wives with Critical, Harsh Husbands – by Radiant

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

I appreciate Radiant sharing some prayers with us for wives in various circumstances over the coming months, Lord willing. These prayers are prayers to pray out loud (by yourself) with boldness over yourself, your husband, and your family if you are in Christ. I don’t know if you are aware of it, but we are in a new spiritual season. God is working in extremely powerful ways and answering the prayers of His people to draw us to Himself and to bring a great harvest into His kingdom. Let’s pray for more of His Spirit and for bolder, greater faith than ever before – not for ourselves, but for His pleasure and glory!

We are going to be transitioning a bit on my blog to seek much more of the Spirit’s power for our marriages, our husbands, our families, the church, our countries, and ourselves. My prayer is that we will have a Niagra Falls of God’s Spirit in our lives and on my sites – not just a trickle. I must get out of the way and He must be exalted even more. I will let you know more about this and how God is leading next week.

(If you do not know Jesus yet as your Savior and Lord, please check out this post – and leave me a comment if you want to talk about this.)

—————

Good Father,

We join and align with You in speaking Life, Your glory and Your love into this home, marriage, hearts, and these kids in Jesus name.

 

We declare Your Spirit and love and healing into the dark, cold, and hurt places of each heart in this family. We plead the Blood of Jesus over each person and this home.

We declare new management and dedicate this home and family to You and invite You to reign here.

 

We bind and tell the dark, tormenting things that have been allowed to hang out in this home and around these precious ones to go to the Cross now in Jesus Name. Spirit of despair, go. Fear, go. Critical spirit, go. Spirit of rejection go. Any spirit of lust go in the Name of Jesus. Spirit of division and anger go.  Orphaned spirit (that causes us to feel abandoned and alone), go in the Name of Jesus!

 

We speak Your love and grace and forgiveness into every hurt place. Psalm 103 and Isaiah 61 – we declare over these You love and their home. (Read those aloud putting your family and home in the promises)

 

We place You and Your angel armies as a shield around Your hurting daughter, her home, and family in the Name of Jesus.

 

Help each person receive Your love and be able to forgive those who hurt them and release bitterness to You. You be their shield instead of them having to self-protect and make vows against each other. Melt icy walls and hearts of stone. We declare old chains of toxic lies to break now, and dark prisons to fall apart now as Your Light and love is brought into this family.

 

We place Jesus between each family member and speak salvation and the Spirit of peace in.

We speak Life and blessing to every place that has been cursed and full of injury or death in Jesus’ name.

We bless this marriage and restore the identity of this beautiful Wife and Husband as who they are in Christ.

We receive her identity as a woman, wife and mom as a good thing from Christ and that she is anointed, blessed, and equipped by Him for these roles with this family. We reject the lie that she isn’t enough.

In Christ she has all she needs. Endless supply as she asks for wisdom and energy and discernment etc.

 

She doesn’t have to meet every need of her husband because that is Jesus’ job. She is not the fixer or the one who has to walk on egg shells. She is strong in Christ to love in Truth. Not a doormat. And not a bulldozer. Her goal isn’t to try to be perfect or invisible so her husband isn’t mad. Her goal is to pray Your kingdom come and Your will be done into her husband and her heart and home- and to rest in Your love for them.

 

We declare that Christ is this husband’s head. That He is able to make His servants stand and heal them and bring them into all truth. Light up the darkness. Holy Spirit bring Truth. Reveal Your love. Bring him to a place of walking in surrender to Your anointing and love. Show him his true identity in You and as a man, husband and father. A protector and defender. A servant leader.

Thank You, Jesus!

 

Until then, and even when this husband is doing great, You are the only perfect Bridegroom and everlasting Father. We receive Your care over this family. Thank You Jesus for all You have just released because we ask, seek, and knock in faith!!

For Your glory and according to Your will and heart.

Amen!

The Cure for My Compulsion to Control – Part 1

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

Last week I shared about how we can develop a compulsion to control other people, situations, and the Lord in this post. I thought I “had to try to control” other people and situations. I truly believed it was my responsibility and that everything would be a disaster if I didn’t make sure it all worked out right.

When I try to be in charge of things that are out of my control, I am trying to carry a very heavy weight that I was not designed by God to carry. This leads to extreme stress, frustration, depression, discouragement, anxiety, and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. It is not the path to peace.

THE CURE FOR MY COMPULSION TO CONTROL IS VERY SIMPLE

meinchargeI need to have proper thinking about God, events, other people, and myself. I need truth.

In my old way of looking at things – subconsciously – I saw myself as very big and God and other people as rather small and mostly within my sphere of control. I would never have articulated it like that – because it sounds audacious. But this is how I lived. You could see it in the fruit of my life.

I am not saying it is painless or necessarily “easy” to give up control – but it IS simple when I see the differences between:

  • God’s responsibilities
  • Other people’s responsibilities
  • My responsibilities

Here is reality:

Goddiagram

 

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Ps. 8:3-4

When I understand who God is and the place of people in the universe, then I can begin to properly relate to God, people, and myself.

THE TRUTH

  • God alone is God, I am definitely not God. Not even close.
  • God sent Jesus, His Son, to be the only Savior people need. I am not a savior.
  • God’s Spirit is the only one who can open blind eyes and convict people of sin. Not me.
  • God sits on the throne in the highest heavens. Every knee will bow to Him alone.
  • God has put all authority under Jesus’ feet.
  • Angels bow down to God, even the demons believe and tremble.
  • God alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
  • God reigns over the universe. I do not.
  • God has all power and all wisdom. I do not.
  • God loves me, and all people, very dearly because He IS love.
  • I have value because God loves me and I am created in His image.
  • My purpose is to love and obey God and bring Him glory – and to love others with God’s love pouring through me.

I can influence God, people, and circumstances to a degree, for bad, or for good (if I allow God to work through me). But I can only control myself – my attitude, my motives, my sin, my responses to others, my words, and my actions. And even then, I can only control myself in a healthy way with the power of the Spirit.

Just to recap, my actual responsibilities are to:

  • Control myself with God’s power.
  • Love, obey, and worship God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength – which brings glory to Him.
  • Love others with God’s love.

God3

 

I can be set free from my illusion of control. And that is definitely all it was – an illusion.

God’s truth truly does set me free! I can repent from my pride – my huge pride – thinking I was so big and important. And humbly receive God’s truth. What freedom!!!! I seek only to control the things that are truly mine and I trust God with circumstances and other people.

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND WILL

Within God’s sovereignty is His permissive will and His perfect will. God’s permissive will is larger and accounts for people’s free will, their sin, the effects/consequences of sin, and Satan and his influence. But all of these things operate in the confines of God’s sovereignty and only what He allows can happen. And He uses all that does happen ultimately for His glory and for the ultimate good of those who love Him – to help conform us to the image of Christ.

He doesn’t make choices for us or violate our free-will. That is a good reminder for me that it is not my place to violate other people’s free-will either. God wants us, more than anything, to have the choice to voluntarily love Him or to reject Him. People need that choice in their relationships with me, too. The price of our free-will is very high. For us and for God. We experience earthly and eternal consequences of our choices. But we can never fall outside of His sovereignty and even Satan can never do anything without God’s permission. 

freewill3Godsperfectwill

This is how, in Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He does the heavy lifting. He takes responsibility for the big stuff.

THE FIRST STEP ON THE PATH TOWARD PEACE

I can step down off of the throne of my life and invite Jesus to reign as Lord over every part of my life.

This means total, humble, absolute surrender to Him, His will, and His control. I hold nothing back from Him.

This feels pretty terrifying at first because I have only really trusted myself before. But as I taste and see that God is good, I begin to realize He is much better at being deity than I ever could be and He is trustworthy. Infinitely more trustworthy than I am! He is the only one who is truly worthy of all of my faith, obedience, and submission. I also begin to realize that trusting Him is wise and safe and trusting myself is the most dangerous place to be.

NOTE – Don’t just take my word for anything. Dig into the Bible yourself. Find out what God’s Word has to say about these important issues and choose to build your life on Christ and the Solid Rock of His Word!

RELATED

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

The Spiritual Healing That Is Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

The Pain That Pushes Us to Control

Surrendering the Burden of Controlling My Husband – by Shannon Popkin

 

RESOURCES ABOUT GOD, HIS CHARACTER, PEOPLE, AND FREE WILL

The Attributes of God – by www.gotquestions.org

“Who Is God?” – Secret Church series by David Platt

In the Image of God – by John Piper

A Beginner’s Guide to Free-Will – by John Piper

 

RELATING PROPERLY TO GOD

Humility – by Andrew Murray

Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray (free download or audio version)

 

How Marriage Books/Blogs/Seminars Can Be Dangerous

There are all kinds of wives who read marriage blogs and books with all kinds of histories, bents, personalities, tendencies, and marriage dynamics. There are many different levels of spirituality. Some are unbelievers, some are baby Christians, and some are in various other stages of spiritual growth in Christ.

I think of there being a continuum in a lot of areas of our personalities and approaches – things like:

Too Quiet <——> Too Talkative

Passive <——-> Controlling

Self-harming <——-> Other-harming

Doormat <——> Bulldozer

Conflict Avoiding <——-> Conflict Starting

This is very simplistic – I realize that real life and real people aren’t always that black and white. But it may be helpful for the sake of illustration.

When it comes to reading about marriage and finding what is most helpful to point us to Christ and His healing, truth, and love – sometimes what one person on one end of the extreme needs is the opposite of what someone on the other end of the line needs. The healthiest place of balance is usually a thin tightrope in the middle of these fleshly extremes. We get there with the help of God’s Spirit’s power and the truth of His Word. But we may need different approaches to our marriages depending on our particular bent, filters, wounds, marriage dynamics, and personalities.

Some resources will be helpful for all wives, especially things about our walk with the Lord. We all want to get to the same end result – becoming the godly women and wives God calls us to be. Finding healing and hope for our marriages and families in Jesus. God’s Word and promises apply to us all equally.

NOTE – There are also some marriages where one or both spouse is also abusive – emotionally, verbally, financially, physically, and/or sexually. That can impact how wives hear, or mishear, things even more – especially about topics like respect and biblical submission. This is why sometimes those who have experienced abuse may do best reading resources for wives specifically designed for those who have suffered from abuse or talking to a specialized godly counselor in person one-on-one.

TWO BIG DANGERS

If a wife who tends to be a strong, Type-A, take-charge personality reads resources designed for wives who tend toward passivity and being too quiet, she may tend to hear:

  • “Stand up more for yourself, insist on your way more than ever, be even more strong against your husband and even more dominating. All that matters is your opinion and what you need. Don’t let your husband have a voice at all. Your husband is entirely at fault for 100% of the problems in your marriage.”

Of course, that is not the message that was intended in a biblically sound resource, but that is sometimes what Type-A wives might hear from resources designed for wives struggling with passivity. This is what strong personality wives especially tend to hear if they read resources for wives who are being emotionally abused by their husbands – when they are truly not being emotionally abused themselves. We have to be really careful.

If we Type-A wives read something and then feel emboldened to be more controlling, more disrespectful, more harsh, and more condemning toward our husband, that is probably not be the best resource for us. We may do best focusing on dealing with our own sin and our own obedience to the Lord rather than how to change our husbands or how to try to address our husband’s issues, at least at first. We may need to address our husband’s sin at some point, but we will need to deal with “the beam” in our own eye first, in most cases.

If a wife who tends to struggle more with being too passive, too quiet, too respectful, and too submissive to her husband reads material for wives who are more controlling, she tends to hear:

  • “Be quiet and say nothing All that matters is your husband’s opinion and what he needs. You don’t get to have a voice at all. You are entirely at fault for 100% of the problems in your marriage.”

Of course, that is not the message that was intended in a biblically sound resource, but that is sometimes what certain wives might hear from resources designed for wives who do struggle with control.  If we think we hear that we need to be oppressed, completely quiet, doormat-like, and to take all the blame in the marriage – that resource may not be the best resource for us.

We may do best focusing on receiving God’s love, healing, and truth into our own hearts first, and learning to think rightly about God, others, and ourselves first, rather than focusing on respecting our husbands first. And we need to be able to get rid of the toxic messages we have received and learn to use our voice and influence. Eventually, after we have healed a good bit spiritually, and we understand our influence authority and godly femininity better, we can begin to understand the concepts of respect and submission in a healthy way, rather than a toxic way.

There are some resources we may need to avoid, at least for awhile.

OTHER POSSIBLE DANGERS

  • If we don’t know Jesus personally as our Savior and Lord, His Word and principles will not make sense (1 Cor. 2:14).
  • Of course, we need to evaluate any resource for sound doctrine and compare it to scripture. Not all resources labelled, “Christian,” are doctrinally sound.
  • We have to know scripture for ourselves and we need the Spirit to help us handle God’s Word rightly. Otherwise, we can twist God’s Word or accept teaching that has been twisted – false teaching.
  • We have to guard our hearts and minds because we could misunderstand or misinterpret correct teaching and sound doctrine in the Bible and/or from Christian teachers. (Ideally, we would have a godly husband we could check with on these things, or a trusted godly mentoring wife to ask about anything that seems confusing.)
  • It is possible for us to try to make changes in our own power without God’s Spirit, even if the teaching we read is biblical, this will not work.
  • It is possible for us to focus on what our husbands should do and ignore what God calls us to do, and that we could develop an entitlement mindset.
  • It is possible for us to read only about what wives should do and ignore the big picture and to enable an abusive husband to continue in his abuse or to leave our husband’s sin unaddressed when we really should address it biblically in a godly, respectful way.
  • It is possible to want to change ourselves in order to try to get our husband to change – which could be manipulation.
  • We can sometimes make a human author’s writing more important than the Bible.
  • We could submit to a particular teacher rather than appropriately submitting to our husband.
  • We can let Christian resources/teaching replace our time with God, the Word, prayer, and our walk with the Lord.
  • We can get legalistic about books, lists, posts, and suggestions from human authors.
  • We can expect a human teacher/author/blogger to spoonfeed us and not invest ourselves in our walk with the Lord.
  • We can make wanting a godly marriage an idol.
  • We can make wanting our husband to be saved an idol.
  • We can focus too much on our marriage, and even pray too much for it. Jesus and our walk with Him have to be first by a long shot.
  • Sometimes abusive husbands can take material written for wives about respecting our husbands and biblical submission (even in the Bible) and try to cram that down their wife’s throat in extremely selfish, ungodly ways as they totally ignore all of the rest of the Bible and all of the instructions for them about how to live for Christ and about being godly husbands. That upsets me beyond words!

If our motives, our hearts, and/or our understanding are not right, any resource (including the Bible) could be dangerous because we are likely to misunderstand and misapply what we read.

SOME SIGNS THAT A RESOURCE MAY NOT A GOOD FIT

It causes us to feel:

  • Emotionally/spiritually crushed and hopeless.
  • We are being pushed more toward an extreme. (i.e.: Your marriage problems are 100% your fault, or everything is 100% your husband’s fault. Rather than realizing we are responsible for our sin, our thoughts, our motives, and our obedience to God and our husbands are responsible for themselves.)
  • Guilt, shame, and worldly sorrow that leads to death rather than godly sorrow that leads to repentance and life.
  • Entitlement and/or sinful empowerment to do things in selfish, destructive ways.
  • We are moving farther away from the Lord and His healing.

This requires wise discernment from the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we may feel legitimate conviction about sin. That is a good thing, even though it is painful at first. Then we can repent and allow God to heal and restore us. But if we are sinking into a terrible depression from the enemy or we feel completely paralyzed, confused, or stuck, we may need to reach out for help or look for other resources, at least for a time, to find the healing we need in Jesus.

SOME SIGNS THAT A RESOURCE MAY BE A GOOD FIT

It causes us to:

  • Realize legitimate sin, wrong thinking, toxic lies in our lives that God wants to remove and help us heal from.
  • Hate sin more.
  • See more of the love, grace, mercy, truth, holiness, and wisdom of God.
  • Love God more.
  • Love others more with His unconditional love.
  • Think more biblically.
  • Understand other people’s perspectives better.
  • Understand our own perspectives, motives, and thinking better.
  • Find tools to help us deal with our sinful tendencies.
  • Look to the Holy Spirit for help.
  • Depend on God’s Word more.
  • Grow in our faith.
  • Grow in the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

WE ALL NEED THESE THINGS FIRST

A saving relationship with Jesus Christ as not just Savior but also Lord.

Spiritual Healing in Christ – by Radiant

The power of the Holy Spirit

A Renewed Mind – by John Piper

Time Alone with God – by Francis Chan

Time in the Word of God

PRAYER

Lord,

We all want to be close to You. We all want to think rightly about You, our husbands, and ourselves. We all want to experience Your healing and Your power in our lives. Help each of us to find the resources that best fit us and that most help us plug into Jesus and His healing, truth, and love.

Amen!

SHARE

What are some resources you have found you need to avoid, and why? What are some resources that have been a blessing to you?

————————-

RESOURCES

Wives who tend to struggle more with being doers, fixers, and taking over often do best reading about things like:

Wives who tend to struggle more with being too quiet and passive, especially with husbands with very strong personalities tend to do best reading about things like:

Sometimes, as we are learning, we may swing too far one way, then the other. So there may be times we need to read some other resources to help balance things properly. Some resources are helpful for all of us no matter where we are in life at the moment. And, always, we need the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to direct and guide us and to give us the ability to be godly women and wives.

Wives whose husbands are truly emotionally destructive/abusive (narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths, etc…) tend to do best reading resources like:

Note – I could have, in the past, used Leslie Vernick’s material to destroy Greg if I had read it years ago when I was steamrolling over him. That would have been a harmful resource for me. But for a wife who is in specific circumstances, her material can be exactly what she needs.

 

 

 

 

“My Husband Wants Me to Be Home but I Want to Work.”

What is a godly wife to do when she is the one who wants to work more outside of the home, but her husband wants her to be home and not work?
(NOTE – If you have the opposite situation, I have a post for wives who have to work but want to be home here.)
GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE IN OUR LIVES
Definitions:
  • The world defines authority as – tyranny, abuse, selfishness, lording power over others.
  • God defines authority as – shepherding, bringing order to society, nurturing others, providing for them according to God’s will, loving them, taking good care of them in a humble, selfless, sacrificial Christlike way.
  • The world defines submission as – slavery, being a second class citizen, having less value as a person, being a doormat.
  • God defines submission as – a voluntary willingness to recognize God’s ways and His wisdom and to accomplish His will by cooperating with His directives.
  • Positional authority – a person in a position of authority, like king, president, manager, husband, parent, or pastor.
  • Influential authority – a person who may influence the person in the position of authority like an advisor to a king, a deacon board to a pastor, an assistant manager to a manager, or a wife to a husband.

The way God works out His will in our lives is that He uses people in positions of “delegated authority” to help accomplish His purposes. He is the “direct authority.” But He gives His authority to certain people to help accomplish His plan. There are people like this in leadership positions in every area of our lives – at work, in the government, at church, and in the family (husbands and parents).

By God’s design, He chooses to lead us through imperfect people in positions of leadership.
 
If we are seeking the Lord’s will and yielded to His Lordship, part of what we will do is submit to human delegated authorities in our lives (unless they are clearly trying to lead us to violate God’s Word and principles).
 
God’s design for marriage is that the husband is in the position of “leader.” He is in the driver’s seat. Not because he is more important, more talented, smarter, or more valuable. Just because this is God’s design and His appointment to accomplish the picture He wants to accomplish in marriage.
  • The husband is supposed to represent Christ and His selfless, unconditional love, sacrifice, humility, wisdom, and servant hearted leadership.
  • The wife is supposed to represent the church in its relationship to Jesus in the way the wife honors, respects, and follows the leadership of her husband.
  • This portrays the gospel to the world  – and to our children. (Eph. 5:22-33)
If we usurp our husband or rebel against his leadership (unless he is asking us to rebel against the Lord), we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5) This is a weighty matter – of infinitely more significance than whether I work outside of the home or not right now.
Also, our children learn how to submit to authorities in their lives, including ourselves and our husbands, by watching our example of how we honor their dad’s authority.
WHAT CAN A GODLY WIFE DO?
Here are my suggestions for a wife who wants to work but her husband desires her to be home (these principles apply whenever we don’t agree with our husband on an important decision):
 
1. Submit first to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
Be completely yielded to Him, His will, His purposes, and His glory being accomplished in your life. Trust Him fully to lead you. Be willing to lay down your greatest dreams, desires, and fears before Him. Trust Him with them all and allow Him to do what He believes is best in your life. Seek His will far above your own will. This is “dying to self” or “taking up your cross.” Be willing to be content in Christ whether you work outside the home or not.
 
Give all of yourself – your body, your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your intelligence, your health, your time, your money, your resources completely to the Lord. Consecrate yourself and your life to Him. Commit to doing whatever He desires you to do with all your heart in service to Him alone. When you have such an attitude, He will open doors that you can’t begin to imagine. Doors to opportunities and plans that are infinitely better than your personal plans and dreams.
 
2. Submit second to the God-given leadership of your husband.
Your trust is ultimately in the Lord to lead you through this man, even though your husband is not perfect and he may not even be close to the Lord at this time. (If you are not yet married, please only marry a man who is truly seeking to live for Christ as Lord. That is a command God gives to believers, that we only marry someone who is “in the Lord.”) God is able to lead us in His will for us as we honor the leadership of those He has placed in our lives.
 
You cannot accomplish God’s will for your life if you rebel against your husband – or any other God-given leader in your life.
 
God chooses to work through the leaders in our lives and to lead us through them. He chose to lead Israel in the wilderness through Moses. The people could not get to the Promised Land any other way than to follow and honor Moses’ leadership. It is the same with us. God chooses to lead us through our husbands and other leaders. So – seek to honor your husband’s request for you not to work in order to honor the Lord. You can share your heart on the matter and say something like:
 
  • “Honey, I would really love to work. It means a lot to me that I can have this job. But I know that you are the head of our home by God’s design and I will honor your desire for me not to work if you believe that is best for us.”

You can also respectfully ask for things you believe you need. You may also respectfully suggest that your husband consider the idea of you having a part-time job that may be a better balance for your family.

 
3. Pray.
Invite the Lord to work. Ask for His will. Ask for Him to open doors and change your husband’s heart if it is His will for you to work at a certain job. Invite Him to change the circumstances. Invite Him to change your heart and perspective. Ask Him to help you see and appreciate your husband’s concerns and perspective.
 
4. Embrace the opportunity to be home.
Thank God for having a husband who wants to provide for your family and who wants to give you this gift of being a homemaker and maybe you have children and can be home with them. That is a priceless treasure. If this is the Lord’s will and He is leading you through your husband to be here – own it. Decide that you are going to make the absolute most of this opportunity. Invite God into your home. Invite Him to help you make this a place of sanctuary, peace, welcome, hospitality, warmth, joy, and blessing.
 
Allow the Lord to lead you in opportunities to use your gifts and talents. Perhaps there are ministries you can do – with your husband’s blessing. Or maybe there are friends you can encourage. Or possibly there is time for you to read and study more about God’s Word or other topics, maybe even related to your education – with your husband’s blessing.
 
Determine to use this time to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and to develop a much stronger walk with Him. Invite Him to show you what He wants to do in your life in this time and what He wants to teach you. Listen to sermons, podcasts, and praise music while you work around the house. Take the time you need to exercise. Enjoy having balance in your life and living at a slower, more healthy pace. Focus on relationships. Practice ministering to your husband and children by keeping the house neat and organized. Run your home like you would an office – and let your motives be love, honor, respect, and grace.
 
Teach your children God’s ways. Mentor younger wives. Maybe you would enjoy cooking more meals from scratch to bless your family. Use this time to really seek God’s will and His glory for yourself and your family. Be available to be an instrument in God’s hand to bless your family richly.
 
5. Avoid harboring jealousy, bitterness, or a critical spirit.
It is easy to focus on women who “get to” work outside of the home. Or to focus on feeling resentful and bitter at your husband or God that you don’t have the situation you wanted. That is unproductive and toxic. Focus on being thankful for the situation the Lord has given you and on what He is calling you to do at this time.
And, as a reader mentioned, let’s also avoid judging other women who make different decisions. All of us get criticized no matter what choices we make in this area. That is hurtful. Let’s love, encourage, and seek to bless one another. Being a wife and mom is hard. Let’s not assume we know every mom’s motives or what is best for each family’s situation. We each answer to the Lord for these decisions, not to each other.
6. Remember that the dream of working outside of the home can easily become an idol.
Any dream or desire can become more important to us than our love for the Lord if we are not careful. Be sure to seek Christ first. Let Jesus lead you. Be content in whatever place He decides is best. Working outside of the home can be fulfilling. If it is God’s will. But being home can also be fulfilling. Whether we are fulfilled or not is not really about our circumstances. It is mostly a matter of our attitude, our faith in God, our willingness to develop a heart of thanksgiving, and whether we are walking in God’s will for us or not. (Phil. 4:4-8, 12-13)
 
Sometimes life is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
It is in those moments that God often tests and grows our faith the most. We don’t know all that the Lord knows. We don’t know what He may be sparing us and our families from when He leads us in a particular way. We don’t know all of the blessings He has in store as we yield to His will. Our job is not to understand it all ahead of time but to trust Him completely to do what is ultimately best for our families, ourselves, and God’s kingdom in light of eternity.
 
Much love!
SHARE
What has God shown you that may be a blessing to other wives struggling in this area? Or if you are struggling, you are welcome to share and we can hash through the tough issues together here.
RELATED

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by a minister at my church

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn helps women focus on the things that God desires most for us and how to align our priorities with Him.
Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley is an explanation of how much feminism has saturated our culture and how it has affected our understanding of femininity and masculinity. If your husband wants you to stay home, this book may open your eyes to a lot of great reasons why this may be a blessing.
 

Ten Tips for The Journey to Become a Godly Wife

In the beginning of this journey to become a godly wife, when you are seeking to allow God to transform your heart, mind, and life I have found the following things may be wise. (This post is specially geared toward wives who realize they have been disrespectful and controlling.) Of course, all of us ultimately need to follow the Spirit’s leading in any situation:

  1. It may be best not to talk to your husband about what you are learning spiritually (unless he specifically asks) for usually the first few months, possibly longer. And if he does ask about what you are learning – it can be wise to keep things brief for a number of reasons.
    • Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things, especially if they are hurting because of our sin or they are far from God.
    • Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things when they perceive that we are far from God or if they don’t hold us in a lot of respect at the time because of the way we have been treating them.
    • When we are beginning this journey, we tend not to express ourselves very respectfully about what we are learning and we can inadvertently sabotage ourselves if we try to talk about it a lot.
      • “I’m learning I need to be quiet when I think that what you are saying is really stupid.”
      • “I’m going to respect you because God says I have to not because I actually respect you.”
      • “Wow, it is really hard to learn how to genuinely respect you.”
    • Most men would rather not hear all the mechanics of what we are learning. There are some very spiritually mature men who tend to be more verbal who may enjoy hearing some of what we are learning but that would be pretty rare.
  2. Keep the focus on your own heart, sin, and obedience to the Lord:
    • In your private walk with Christ.
      • Focus on repenting of any sin in your life every day. Invite God to expose sinful motives and thoughts.
      • Pray for God to change you.
      • Thank God for your husband and the good things about him.
      • There may be a time where all you do is pray for God to bless your husband and you don’t pray for God to change him if you have been praying that with selfish motives in the past.
      • Take responsibility for your spiritual well-being and growth.
    • In any conversation you believe you need to have with your husband about spiritual things (unless he is involved in serious unrepentant sin against you that simply must be addressed sooner).
    • Yes, he has sins in his life, too.
    • When speaking with other people
      • (although you may need to talk some about your husband’s issues with a godly mentor/counselor, you can still do so very respectfully).
  3. Let him SEE and experience what God is doing in your heart by your change in attitude, countenance, respect, kindness, patience, peace, joy, etc…
  4. You will likely come across a lot of things as you learn and grow that he may need to learn, too, but I suggest refraining from trying to be his spiritual teacher. God can work on his heart in time and reach him in powerful ways you can’t possibly reach him.
    • If you approach him as his spiritual authority, teacher, or preacher, it will probably repel him from you and from the Lord.
    • We are not in a position of spiritual leadership over our husbands. God has chosen to give our husbands that role of headship.
    • It is SO easy to come across as self righteous or prideful if we try to verbally teach our husbands.
    • There will be plenty of things we can humbly share as a fellow traveler on this road later when the marriage has been healed as the Lord may lead – once our husbands are interested and ask for us to share.
    • Our words as wives about spiritual things are a lot less necessary than I ever realized for many years early in our marriage.
  5. As he sees the godly example you set, it will preach a more powerful sermon to him than if you attempt to lecture him, preach at him, or teach him. Again, words are not usually that meaningful to men. They are much more impacted by changed actions and attitudes.
  6. Start a list of all the things you can think of that you respect and admire about your husband. Add to it all throughout each day.
    • Maybe consider mentioning one sentence of something you admire/respect/appreciate about him each day.
  7. If you start thinking about all the things “he should do” – that is often a red flag to refocus on allowing the Lord to transform you first.
    • It may be wise not to read books or sections of books that are about what husband should do if that is a trigger for you.
  8. Don’t be surprised if he is not very supportive of your changes at first. That is pretty common. Yes, it would be awesome if he could be super supportive. If he is not able to be in that spiritual place of strength yet, extend grace to him and continue to allow God to radically transform you to be more like Jesus.
  9. Focus on being a safe place for him emotionally and spiritually.
  10. Find all of your security, peace, joy, and identity in Jesus alone, not in what your husband does or does not do.

 

Don’t be surprised if, as God changes you, your husband gets confused about what on earth is going on. That is pretty normal. I have some posts listed at the bottom that address this issue.

SHARE:

If you have been on this journey for awhile, what are some pearls of wisdom you may feel led to share with our sisters who are just starting?

PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,
Please give us the light we need each step of this journey. We yield ourselves fully to all that You desire to do in our hearts and minds. Cleanse us! Refine us! Purify us! We humble ourselves before You. Expose any sin and anything that is not from You in our souls and lives. Help us get rid of all of that. Help us to embrace Your wisdom and Your Spirit. Let us hear Your voice clearly and follow You wholeheartedly. Make us into the godly women You call us to be for Your glory! Use us to bless our husbands and families and those around us.
Amen!

Much love!

NOTE – There may be exceptions to some of the things I am talking about in extremely toxic, abusive situations. In such cases, seek the Lord’s wisdom and wise, godly, appropriate counsel one-on-one.

RELATED:

My book “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord”

I was surprised to discover that what my husband needed to feel respected really wasn’t a long list.

A Word to Husbands Whose Wives Are on This Journey

My dear brothers in the Lord,

Thank you for taking the time to read some things I’d like to share with you that I hope may be helpful. I appreciate your time and support so very much!

Note – My sites and books are purposely one-sided. I only talk about what women should do because I don’t teach men, so that I can honor the scriptural command that women are not to have authority over men in the church. That is an important thing I hope that people will keep in mind when they read my posts. There is a whole other side for men who follow Christ, as well. I trust that husbands will study and seek the Lord wholeheartedly for themselves, yielding fully to His Lordship.

THIS IS A NARROW ROAD

This road that your wife is taking is very narrow – just like the road all believers must take. It is the road to true discipleship in Jesus – to biblical womanhood. Only a few women, even in the church, find and take this path today. It is completely:

  • counter-cultural.
  • counter-intuitive.
  • absolutely crazy from a worldly, human perspective.

Women who take this road must challenge everything they thought they knew about:

We must question our old fixed beliefs about almost everything and be willing to tear down most of what we thought was true and rebuild on God’s Word alone – even if we have been believers in Christ for decades.

THIS IS A TOTALLY NEW LANGUAGE AND PARADIGM

We must learn this new foreign language of respect that goes completely against all of the messages in which we have all been marinating in our culture for generations. What God calls us to do (respect our husbands and submit to their leadership) also goes completely against the way most women think.

There are so many things that seem very disrespectful to men that are just not on our radar as women or that seem like “not a big deal” from our perspective. Most of us are not purposely trying to be disrespectful. Most of us also don’t realize that our culture is very disrespectful toward men and that disrespect for men has become mainstream and normal. Most of us who struggle with being disrespectful or controlling don’t realize what we are doing or if we do, we have no idea how to stop.

It is shocking to us, and a bit overwhelming, when we first see all that is disrespectful to our men and we are confronted with sin we didn’t even realize we had.

We tend to speak and hear the language of love. The list of things that can seem unloving to us is often just as overwhelming to husbands as the list of things that can feel disrespectful to men can be to wives. The language of respect is very different – sometimes completely the opposite of our language of love. Many of us have never even heard about this stuff before. Ever. So it is a lot to absorb and process.

THERE IS VERY LITTLE HELP AND SUPPORT FOR WIVES ON THIS ROAD

Many wives have no one to:

  • be a real life example.
  • mentor them personally.
  • pray with them.
  • help them get up when they stumble.
  • cheer them on.
  • teach them.

My calling from the Lord is to seek to be a Titus 2:3-5 wife for my sisters in the Lord online so they don’t have to walk this road completely alone. Thankfully, we all have access to God. The most important thing is that we have Him with us.

Women who seek to learn to genuinely respect their husband and honor his leadership face incredible opposition from:

  • the enemy.
  • family members.
  • most friends, even Christian ones.
  • neighbors.
  • coworkers.
  • many church members.
  • sometimes even pastors and Christian leaders.
  • the media – books, shows, love songs, romantic movies, magazines, commercials, etc…
  • the world.
  • the culture.

If they also face opposition from the very man they are trying to learn to bless, it can be extremely discouraging.

Of course, the same things are very true for men, as well.

THIS IS A LONG PROCESS

It’s easy for husbands to think that wives should just suddenly “get” respect and biblical submission and be able to be completely perfect godly wives at the flip of a light switch. That they should never ever stumble again.

I have walked beside thousands of women on this road. I have seen many miracles! But I have never seen instantaneous perfection.

I have never seen any wife (or husband) become absolutely perfect and completely sinless for the rest of their lives. We can learn to walk in the power of the Spirit and have increasing victory over sin. We can stumble much less as we grow as we yield to God’s Spirit and His Lordship. But absolute total perfection is something that will not be ours until we enter the gates of heaven. While we are on earth, all of us will still need grace at times.

I want to encourage you that if your wife is seeking to allow the Lord to change her, just because she stumbles at times does not necessarily mean that she is not changing.

If she gets right back up and continues pressing on, God is changing her.

(Ladies, this is not an excuse for us to purposely keep sinning, of course.  Our goal must be to seek to please the Lord and to allow Him to transform us and empower us to walk in victory.)

MEN AND WOMEN HAVE VERY SIMILAR JOURNEYS

This is the process of sanctification. It is a lifetime journey of becoming more like Jesus. Husbands have a very similar journey to take that is equally grueling, humbling, and difficult as they learn to become the godly men the Lord calls them to be. It is completely counterintuitive for men to love their wives with the agape love of Jesus and to lead with authentic Christlike humility, gentleness, and godly wisdom. As one man in my Sunday School class described it,

“It requires a complete change of the constitution of a man to be the husband God calls him to be.”

This path toward holiness is equally challenging for wives and husbands. It requires a fundamental change of our constitution – dying to our old sinful self, taking up our cross, giving up control, learning to love/respect supernaturally and unconditionally, receiving our new nature in Christ, tearing out any idols in our hearts, repenting of all sin, learning to let God’s Spirit have control rather than the flesh, yielding to Him in absolute surrender, giving up the world’s wisdom and its ways, etc… These things are generally a process of growth, refinement, and maturation for all of us.

WE GREATLY APPRECIATE OUR HUSBAND’S SUPPORT

Some husbands are extremely unsupportive as wives seek to change. I totally understand why. I know many men are afraid that this process is not real and that their wives can’t really change. It is easy to assume that this is just another attempt at manipulation. That is how my husband often felt until God opened my eyes almost 9 years ago and began to slowly change me. I know that many husbands are afraid to get their hopes up that maybe their marriages might be healed and that they might feel respected and honored by their wives. I know there is a lot of pain for many husbands that is extremely difficult to bear.

But when a husband throws obstacles (his own sin) in his wife’s way – like being negative, critical, harsh, hateful, controlling, mean, unplugged, rude, unkind, or is consumed by some addiction – it makes it much harder for her on this journey. These stumbling blocks delay healing for the marriage. My prayer is to see all husbands and wives experience the healing and transformation that is available to them in Christ and that all of our marriages might bring great glory to the Lord.

I long to see husbands seek to help their wives and support them on this narrow path that leads to Life in Christ.

Your love, prayers, support, words of life, gentleness, selflessness, and humble leadership are so powerful in our lives as wives. What a blessing when we have husbands who are willing to love us like Jesus loved the church even when we are struggling and stumbling. When one spouse obeys the Lord, the other is blessed and it is much easier for the other spouse to obey Him, as well.

IF A HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE BOTH ON THIS JOURNEY TOGETHER, HEALING COMES MUCH SOONER

I share things with men, at times, that I hope might be helpful, like today’s post. But I don’t seek to teach, disciple, or mentor men. I simply implore husbands to start on their own journey to become godly men and husbands, to seek to be as supportive as possible of their wives’ desire to follow Christ and to become godly wives. If both spouses are on this journey together, my experience has been that the healing can happen a LOT faster.

Much love in Christ!

April

SHARE:

If any husbands would like to share with our other brothers how the Lord has shown them to encourage and support their wives on this journey, that would be great.

RELATED:

An explanation of how this process for wives usually unfolds 

Resources for Men

www.peacefulhusband.com – my husband’s blog

Why Do I Have to Change First?

 

 

For a Wife with a Critical, Perfectionistic Husband – by Radiant

My primary issue in my marriage was that I didn’t know how to respect my husband – I had no problem standing up for myself – although I personally had a lot of pride to deal with before I could do this in a godly way. I was the overly critical, perfectionistic one who thought everything should be done my way. 🙁 Yikes!

Other wives have the opposite issue. They work so hard to respect their husbands (maybe to an unhealthy degree where a husband’s approval is more important than God’s), sometimes they disrespect themselves. Maybe the husband is the more controlling one and the wife is the more passive one. There has to be a delicate balance where we reverence God above all else, and we think rightly about ourselves (respect ourselves) and respect our husbands appropriately. But we don’t have to respect sin. We can confront sin appropriately if we are being sinned against. And we can acknowledge that we have human limitations.

Radiant responds to a wife’s situation whose husband is constantly critical, degrading, negative, and perfectionistic, who expects his wife to do much more than is humanly possible and who is unloving because she “never measures up” in his eyes. This post is primarily about how she can think in her own heart. It is just barely scraping the surface of this issue and is not a comprehensive article on this topic. For more – please check out the resources at the bottom of the post.

I would say she needs to imagine Jesus as a sleeping bag or bubble all zipped around her, completely enfolding her – because He is – and to not absorb or receive any negative words aimed at her – but let Jesus absorb them.

She needs to only absorb what Jesus says about her.

She could respond with, “I am sorry you feel that way” if her husband complains about things about her. But I don’t think she needs to try to give excuses, try to work herself to death, or go to extremes to please him by overdoing things. She can do what is reasonable and that is all she can do that day.

And Jesus is enough. Jesus can give her the wisdom to figure out what is her responsibility that day and what she can’t manage alone.

She can only do one person’s worth of work without breaking down her spirit/heart/mind/body. If she can’t do something – she can politely say, “I will do my best with the time I have, and I will do y and z, but I just won’t be able to get to ‘x’ task today.”
She is not doing her husband good, or herself or kids or God good, if she wears herself out doing more than possible. She is not responsible to change or make her husband happy. Only the Spirit can do that. She can’t meet the deepest needs of her husband’s heart that only God can meet.

She can work on receiving everything God has for her and claiming His promises. She can declare out loud over her home the things God wants for their home:

  • Thank You God that You want our marriage to reflect Christ and the Church.
  • Thank You that Christ is the head of my husband and the priest of our home and He will lay down his life for His Bride and will not provoke his children to wrath.
  • Thank You that he will be a servant leader like Christ.
  • Thank You that the Spirit will reign in peace and unity over our home.
  • Thank You that I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
  • Thank You that I have the whole armor of God and the protection of Jesus and His angels over me.
  • Thank You Jesus that You are with me, you are mighty to save, You take great delight in me, You comfort me with Your love, You rejoice over me with singing!
  • Thank You Jesus that You are my perfect Bridegroom, I am already perfectly loved and I don’t have to live in fear. I cast out fear from myself and this house and receive Your perfect love in the Name of Jesus.
    (and soooo many more! so many good ones!)

Psalm 67 is for her.

  • Thank You, Jesus that You are all good and love and holy. If Jesus’ love for us looked like human love (critical, condescending, selfish, etc…) – we would have zero hope.
  • Thank You Jesus that You pursued us and died while we deserved nothing but wrath. That You laid down Your beautiful life for Your Bride. That You rise to be gracious to us. You love to put us in a place where You can lavish Your love on us!! You meet our every need and You love to give.

I see such a parallel between the Western Church and how she thinks of God and this particular marriage dynamic. We tend to believe God thinks of us the way this husband thinks of his wife, and we accept it as true about us and God. But it’s not true of Christ and the Church.

That is not who Jesus is. I know He wants her to find rest in Himself and His love and protection. In who she is in Christ. In her new identity – that she is one with Christ. He is her shield, refuge, strength, joy and protector. He is her dear Friend, Comforter, and Counselor. He is with her always. When she feels like a failure – or is told directly that she is – she can keep on that breastplate of His righteousness. Jesus lived the perfect life for her to set her free from the law. She is no longer under law but under grace.

Old Self died with Jesus on the Cross. New Self is alive together with Christ – resurrected in power! And yay for her husband being able to see good things of her with Christ! That is all that is good about any of us. We have nothing good in ourselves. She can completely put off everything about her old way of thinking/living/reacting/fear/anger/hurt and doing. And put on Christ – His heart, His mind, His words, His wisdom, His peace, His life, His breath, His hope.

She can completely reject the lies of the enemy (the real voice behind these words she is being told) that she is useless and there is nothing good about her. That is not from God – so she needs to not receive that at all.

Test and see what the source is behind your thoughts. If it is not love/peace/power/hope/the Gospel and all about the beauty of Jesus – it is not of God. In which case it is of the world and the enemy. We stand against the enemy’s ideas and plans and strongholds and lies in this marriage, these hearts and this home.

PRAYER FOR THOSE WIVES WHO ARE STRUGGLING IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS:
In the Name of Jesus – we speak Jesus’ kingdom come, and His will be done in this precious wife, her husband, her home and children as it is in heaven and in all of those who are reading this post. We place Your shield about her and her children and her husband. In Jesus Name we put on the Armor of God (Eph 6). Our sister in Christ does not have to stay locked in prison and darkness. She is set free by all Jesus did for her on the Cross and resurrection, and she can live in life, freedom, hope and peace and healing.

We receive Your Truth and freedom for her today. We resist the enemy and he has to flee in the Name of Jesus. We pray for reconciliation, healing and peace and love in this home for the honor and glory of Jesus. Set these hearts free and implant Your infinite love in their hearts. Take all Satan has stolen and destroyed and meant for evil – and turn it on its head for good, glory and celebrating Christ! Turn these hearts and this home into a Lighthouse of peace and love and power in the Spirit. Let what is hidden and in bondage be brought into the light and revealed and healed in Jesus’ all-powerful Name and by His blood.
Thank You Jesus that You are at work. We receive Your answers and provision. We will praise You today even before we feel or see any answers – knowing You are at work here to bring beauty from ashes and life from dead bones. Yes these bones can live! The One who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. And the armies of heaven that surround us are greater than the enemies attacking us! Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. We receive His power to do His priorities. We can’t possibly do every possible thing every day. But we can do what Jesus wants us to do today by His power. Jesus didn’t go all over the whole world and heal every single person either. We receive Your boundaries on this wife’s roles and responsibilities and ask for You to open her husband’s eyes to You and Truth and grace for himself first and then for his family.

RELATED (remember – always compare anything any human author says to scripture and do what you know God desires you to do):

How to Calm Down an Angry Husband – by Nina Roesner

How to Deal with Critical People – by Nina Roesner

Cinderella and the Gospel – by Radiant about receiving good things from God

I Can’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions. I Can’t Ask for Things – by Radiant

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Posts about idolizing our husbands

The Real Motives Behind Perfectionism and People Pleasing

Responding to Criticisms, Rebukes, and Insults

Posts about Insecurity

My Identity and Security Must Be in Christ Alone!

25 Ways to Respect Myself – to think rightly about myself and my new identity in Christ – the goal is to reverence God above all, and then to respect our husbands and ourselves all at the same time

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

In His Grip Talks about Not Shutting Down Emotionally

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Nina Roesner has an e-course for wives in very difficult, emotionally abusive marriages that may be a huge blessing, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

Sacred Influence – by Gary Thomas (about being a godly wife and using our influence in powerful ways in marriage. He has some chapters about dealing with angry husbands)

 

Resources for Men

Some people say that because I only teach women, I must be saying that men can do whatever they want and they are off the hook when it comes to being godly husbands. No, not at all! I am not sure how anyone could arrive at such a conclusion! There is no excuse for any believer to think that he/she is “off the hook” and not responsible to God for how they live and relate to other people. Men are at least as accountable – if not more so – than women are before God. (Those in positions of God-given leadership hold a greater accountability.)

Thankfully, even though I only teach women – the Bible still completely applies to men, as well. It applies to all of us! I hope that is obvious.

There are PLENTY of resources for our men and brothers in Christ.

A FEW RESOURCES THAT GREG AND I WOULD RECOMMEND (some are wonderful for men and women):

www.radical.net – David Platt’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

www.desiringgod.org – John Piper’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

www.seriousfaith.com Brent Riggs has a number of posts for men about being godly men/husbands

– a resource about how husbands can love their wives is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs he also has a website that you may search with this link

Grace Filled Marriage, by Dr. Tim Kimmel, is for husbands and wives and is excellent

His Needs, Her Needs by Dr Willard F. Harley

The Resolution for Men – the Kendrick brothers and Randy Alcorn

Other resources by the Kendrick brothers about prayer, The Love Dare, etc.. https://kendrickbrothers.com/projects/books

How to Be a Godly Husband by www.gotquestions.org

– Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray or his book, Humility, are excellent resources for spiritual growth for men and women.

– E. M. Bounds book on The Necessity of Prayer will help any believer in his/her pursuit of a much more effective prayer life

My sites are for women. I don’t attempt to teach or mentor men out of respect for scripture’s instructions that women are not to have authority over men in the church. So I believe the focus here has to be on what God calls us to do primarily – not on what God calls men to do. My calling is Titus 2:3-5.

THE BIG PICTURE

However, I do want ladies to know about the whole picture in God’s design, not just what women are called to do. And I want the men to have the resources they need. Y’all are welcome to search the sites I listed above or check out these two posts by a minister at my church:

Spiritual Authority – A general overview of the concept of Spiritual Authority in Scripture relating to government, the workplace, the church, and family by a minister at my church, Rev. H. F. Weaver.
A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage  – Husbands have positional authority and wives have influential authority. Both are important and powerful. By H. F. Weaver, a minister at my church.

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right – Husbands are still fallible, even though they are given extra responsibility.

A Husband Is Never the Absolute Authority – God is the absolute authority. There are limits to human God-given authority.

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships – When men or women become too passive or too controlling, it is a problem.

My husband, Greg, also has a blog for men – www.peacefulhusband.com

POSTS ON MY BLOG BY MEN THAT MAY BE A BLESSING TO HUSBANDS

 

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of us. How I pray we will seek Him more fervently than ever and that we might allow Him to continue to radically transform us to be the people He calls us to be.

SHARE:

Gentlemen,

If you know of a biblically grounded site for men that you would like to share with our other brothers, you are welcome to share in the comments. Thanks so much!

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