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Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

We are continuing our 21 Day Fast from Negative Words and this week the focus will be on arguing. The Lord gives very clear instructions throughout the Bible that those who know, love, and follow Him are not to argue, quarrel, or fight.

Oh, and don’t forget to comment on how you are doing with the fast. Let us know if you are stuck or need some prayer or encouragement, too.

The Lord instructs all believers in Christ not to argue or quarrel.

  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, Phil. 2:14
  • Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2
  • Charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 2 Tim. 2:14

Sometimes conflict is inevitable. But arguing and quarreling CAN be avoided!

We need to be able to discuss, share, inform, request, and suggest things in our relationships. We even need to be able to appropriately confront sin, at times. We need to be able to state our opinions and desires respectfully. We need to be able to have important and unimportant discussions. Thankfully, we can do all of this without arguing with God’s help, wisdom, and power.

What Does It Mean to Argue or Quarrel?

Google Dictionary gives two definitions of arguing.

  1. give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view.
2. exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.
In this post, we are talking about the second definition. Or about quarreling, squabbling, bickering, or fighting. We are not to pick fights. We are not to act foolishly, only caring about trying to force our own opinion and agenda on everyone with selfish motives. We are not to try to crush other people and hurt them to prove how “right” we are about something.

What Does It Mean to Discuss Something?

Google Dictionary gives three definitions of “discussion.” Here are two that are most pertinent to our conversation today.

  1. the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
  2. a conversation or debate about a certain topic.
Note that with a discussion, there is no anger.
There is no attempt to hurt others or to “win at all costs.” It is a peaceful conversation about ideas, priorities, perspectives, and solutions. This is very freeing! We can discuss without tension at all – recognizing that the relationship is generally more important than the issue being discussed. The only time the issue is more important is if it is something about God or sin. And even then the Lord instructs us to handle those who oppose us gently and with respect, desiring the opponents to come to repentance, salvation, and right relationship with God (2 Tim. 2:25).
We can respectfully share and discuss our perspectives, ideas, desires, needs, and concerns. We don’t have to insult anyone or be rude. We don’t have to go after anyone with sinful anger, rage, hatred, or malice. We don’t have to be selfish. We can remain Spirit-filled, self-controlled, calm, and peaceful. We can treat others with honor, godly love, and respect as we act in our new nature in the Lord.
Yes, even if we disagree.

Why Do We Quarrel and Argue in Sinful Ways?

The Bible shares several reasons for the prevalence of quarreling among believers:

The Cure Is to Live in the Spirit with Love and Humility

The cure for quarreling, bickering, and fighting:

  • Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4
  • Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
  • But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
  • But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
  • If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3

In witnessing, there are times to stop. When people don’t want to hear the Gospel and they reject it and us, we move on. This will help avoid quarrels, as well:

  • Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matt. 7:6
  • And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Mark 6:11

But how in the world do I avoid arguing in practical ways when I live with sinful people who want to argue constantly? And how to I avoid arguing when I have my own sinful nature to contend with, as well?

Some Suggestions to Prayerfully Consider

To avoid arguing, there are some disciplines and things I need to pray about:

Some Verses about Avoiding Arguing and Quarreling:

From the New Testament:

  • As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Rom. 14:1
  • But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

From Proverbs:

  • Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Prov. 3:30
  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Prov. 19:13
  • It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Prov. 20:3
  • A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
  • A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. Prov. 29:22
  • Pressing anger produces strife. Prov. 30:33

SHARE

What are some things that have hit you in this post or in this series? How is your 21 day fast going? Do you need some encouragement or prayer? What has been the hardest part? Have you noticed any good fruit in your life or relationships?

Much love!

RELATED

We have been doing a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words inspired by this wife’s story. We started on Valentine’s Day and agreed that we would seek to avoid the following:

What Does It Mean to Accept Jesus As Your Personal Savior? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

Humility” by Andrew Murray

NOTE – If you are not safe, if someone is abusing you or threatening you or your children, please try to get to safety. Avoiding quarrels and arguments doesn’t mean we sit and take physical abuse or we just stay and let someone mistreat us terribly. Please reach out to proper authorities if you are not safe. Or you can contact www.thehotline.org if you are on a safe computer.

If I Insult Others, I Need a Spiritual Check Up ASAP

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

It’s easy to get into the habit of fault-finding and having a critical spirit about other people.

It takes no spiritual maturity, wisdom, talent, or special abilities to criticize others and tear them down with words. The sinful nature does this effortlessly.

It’s also easy to think, “Well, he hurt me, so now I get to hurt him.” Or, “She insulted me, so now I get to take revenge and attack her and hurt her even worse than she hurt me. That will teach her a lesson!” Or, “How dare anyone think bad things about me? How dare anyone not think I am totally perfect?” Then I may think I can justify my sinful response to that person in my mind. Of course, this won’t hold water with God.

Sin is never justifiable in His eyes and He always provides a way out from temptation for His children. If only we will take it!

If I think along the lines of pride, vengeance, hatred, jealousy, or self-righteousness, I will respond in the flesh not in the power of the Spirit of God. I must learn to take my sinful thoughts captive for Christ before they lead me into sinful words and actions.

  • With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:9-10

From the post, “What Does the Bible Say about Being Meanspirited?” by www.gotquestions.org

Christlike living is in direct opposition to a mean spirit. To highlight some differences:

• Our mean spirit wants to get revenge; Jesus says to forgive (Matthew 6:14–15).
• Our mean spirit wants to exalt itself; Jesus says to seek humility (Matthew 23:12).
• Our mean spirit wants to be first; Jesus says we are blessed if we choose to be last (Mark 9:35).
• Our mean spirit wants to fight; Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
• Our mean spirit wants to gossip; the Bible says to guard our mouths (Proverbs 13:3).
• Our mean spirit is rude; Jesus says our speech should be gracious (Colossians 4:6).

God Calls Us to Love

There are two primary commands for believers in Christ (Matt. 22:36-40).

  1. To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
  2. To love others as we love ourselves – with God’s agape love.

Here is the kind of love God calls us to have for others.

It is a divine love that we can only have through the Holy Spirit:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor. 13:4-8

And God calls us to live by the power of the Spirit not by the power of our sinful flesh:You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Gal. 5:13-15

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal. 5:22-26

Why Do I Want to Insult Others?

Maybe it could be helpful for me to think about why I feel compelled to insult other people, if this is a struggle for me. Once I see why I am doing this, then I can invite God to help me address the root sin issues so I can repent and stop living this way and start living in ways that honor the Lord.

  • Do I not know Jesus as my Savior and Lord?
  • Have I submitted myself to the Lordship of Christ?
  • Is it just a bad habit that I don’t even realize I am doing?
  • Do I want to feel better about myself by putting others down? Am I a bully and/or emotionally abusive?
  • Am I self-righteous? Do I think I am more holy and good than other people?
  • Am I prideful? Do I think I know best and my wisdom is equal to or greater than God’s?
  • Am I putting myself, in my mind, in the place of God as Judge of human hearts, minds, and souls? Do I consciously or subconsciously think people answer to me rather than to the Lord?
  • Do I think God’s Word doesn’t apply to me? I am somehow above His commands?
  • Am I acting in fear? Am I trying to protect myself by lashing out at others?
  • Do I enjoy hurting other people? Am I malicious?
  • Am I a narcissist? Do I only care about myself and my happiness?
  • Do I know the Lord, but have I grieved His Spirit because of unrepentant sin in my life? Am I walking in disobedience to the Word of God in some area of my life so that I don’t have the power of the Spirit right now?
  • Do I love and desire something else more than God? If I have something else on the throne of my heart, I will feel frustrated and resentful because there is no contentment, joy, or peace in anything but Jesus.
  • Do I hate God or think lies about God or feel betrayed by God because people hurt me?
  • Do I hate people?
  • Do I hate myself?
  • Am I codependent with someone else? Do I idolize my husband or another person and then get angry at them when they don’t meet my deepest needs? Do I expect other people to be responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing? Or do I think I am responsible for other people’s decisions and their emotional and spiritual well-being? Do I have my boundaries and responsibilities mixed up in a dysfunctional way?
  • Do I have unbiblical or unrealistic expectations of others and resent them when they disappoint me?
  • Do I let my emotions rule and reign in my life instead of the Spirit?
  • Do I let PMS or hormones dictate my words?
  • Maybe I feel insulted by someone else and I end up reacting in the flesh and am not sure how to respond rightly.
  • Do I have a medical issue that needs attention – thyroid problems, nutritional deprivation, sleep-deprivation, low blood sugar, side effects from a medication, postpartum depression, etc…?
  • Am I deeply spiritually and emotionally wounded myself and do I need spiritual healing?
  • Do I have issues with bitterness, grudges, unforgiveness, and resentment?
  • Do I want power over others, do I try to control them with hurtful words?
  • Do I believe that I have to insult and disrespect others in order to respect myself?
  • Did I experience emotional/verbal abuse when I was growing up? Does this just seem normal and maybe I don’t purposely do it, but I don’t know any other way to relate to people? Maybe I don’t know how to be vulnerable and direct or how to respectfully ask for what I would like?

Or is there some other reason behind my hurtful words?

Pray with Me

Lord,

We invite You to illuminate our hearts, minds, motives, and deepest thoughts. Please expose any sin in the dark corners of our souls. Shine Your blazing Light of truth and love in every nook and cranny. Help us to see toxic ways of thinking and help us to repent so that we can be made right with You and we can be healed by the power of the blood of Jesus. Then please show us how to seek to repent to those we have hurt and to try to make things right and to live Your new way from now on. Help us to treat others with Your love, honor, and respect. That is how we show our love for You. However we treat people – You take that as how we treat You.

Amen!

Verses about Insults

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12 

  • (Note, this doesn’t mean we never confront sin. But we don’t go telling everyone about it. We handle it rightly. And we realize some things are so insignificant, we can pass over them.)

Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a person with understanding keeps silent. Prov. 11:12

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11

Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools. Eccl. 7:9

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matt. 5:22

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt. 5:43-45

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rom. 12:14

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12:17-21

In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Eph. 4:26

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2

When he (Jesus) was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Pet. 2:23

SHARE

What are some things you have learned about why you have been tempted to insult people in the past? We’d love to hear any wisdom the Lord has given you about overcoming the habit of using hurtful words.

Much love!

RELATED

What Is an Insult? And what is it not?

How I Respond to Insults Says a Lot about My Character

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

What Place Do  Hatred, Rage, and Violence Have in Our Lives as Believers in Christ?

Practical Steps to Overcoming Hatred, Rage, and Violence

Our Words Can Cause Catastrophic Damage

Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?

Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

SALVATION THROUGH JESUS IS AVAILABLE TO US ALL

Of course the foundational thing I need (in order to do anything good in God’s eyes) is to have Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I need to:

1. ADMIT I am a sinner and there is nothing I can do to make myself in right relationship with the One true holy God of the universe.

– “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

2. BELIEVE that Jesus, God in the flesh, left the glory of heaven, came to this world to live the perfect life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved for my sin in my place. He conquered sin, death, and the grave on my behalf and was raised on the 3rd day.

– “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
– “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

3. CONFESS that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord and give my whole life and everything in my life to Him. He is now in charge not me and I will follow Him for the rest of my life.

– “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9
– And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor. 5:15
– “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21

Much love!

8 Practical Tips to Put the Brakes on Complaining

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8 Tips to Nip Complaining in the Bud

1. Replace negative thoughts with thankful ones. Think about good things.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8

2. Focus on praising God in your thoughts and with songs. 

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Ps. 115:1

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Ps. 100:1-2

3. Memorize and meditate on Scripture.

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Ps. 77:12

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Ps. 119:11

I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Ps. 119:99


4. Invite God to use the negative things in your life to help you grow in spiritual maturity, to bless others, and to bring glory to His Name.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Rom. 5:3-5

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

NOTE – If you are not safe. If you are in an abusive or dangerous situation, these verses don’t mean to just sit there and take abuse if you have the power to leave. We have a responsibility to get somewhere safe and to keep our children safe if there are actions we can take.


5. Avoid negative input from other people (when possible), from media, music, movies, books, etc… and replace the negative input with healthy, wholesome, Christ-honoring input that will feed my soul. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:2


6. Journal about my journey or have an accountability partner. 

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Eccl. 4:12


7. Make it a group project at church, in the family, at work, in the neighborhood, with friends, or wherever.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, Heb. 10:24


8. As soon as I mess up, I need to repent and get right back up and invite God to continue to make me more like Jesus. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

 

Added Bonuses When I Stop My Habit of Complaining about Every Little Thing:

  • There is more peace in my relationships.
  • I have more peace in my own heart and mind.
  • I can be closer to the Lord.
  • It’s easier for my husband to lead.
  • I have a much more powerful witness for Jesus.
  • I am more fun to be around for everyone.
  • I have more joy.
  • I am more attractive to my husband.
  • I don’t annoy myself as much.

SHARE

What tips do you have to share to help us all avoid complaining?

What bonuses have you noticed when you cut way back on a complaining spirit?

RELATED

Complaining VS Informing – We do need to be able to share important things. Thankfully, we can do that without complaining!

Other posts about complaining

If I Stop the Negative Talk – What on Earth Will I Talk about?

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

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

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That’s the Godly Thing to Do. – No! Sometimes we do need to engage in conflicts and disagreements. But, thankfully, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do that without sinning.

Some Conflict Is Inevitable 

I Don’t Want to Lose My Voice, My Power, or My Identity!  

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Another Challenge – Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No – Sharing our desires vulnerably

 

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Jesus:

Of course the foundational thing – before I can do anything good – is I need to have Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I’d like to share the “ABC’s of Salvation.”

I need to:

1. ADMIT I am a sinner and there is nothing I can do to make myself in right relationship with the One true holy God of the universe.

  • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

2. BELIEVE that Jesus, God in the flesh, left the glory of heaven, came to this world to live the perfect life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved for my sin in my place. He conquered sin, death, and the grave on my behalf and was raised on the 3rd day.

  • “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

3. CONFESS that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord and give my whole life and everything in my life to Him. He is now in charge not me and I will follow Him for the rest of my life.

  • “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9
  • And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor. 5:15
  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 7:21

RELATED

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Much love!

Contentment on Valentine’s Day

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

Appreciating Our Own Husbands

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

The Most Important Thing Is Our Attitude

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

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

Contentment IS Possible!

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

Do I Wish Harm on My Husband?

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

How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

I was planning to write this post a few hours before my father-in-law suddenly died August 4th. It is the sequel to my post from last week about Is Real Joy Possible for Me?  I am honored to share these precious spiritual treasures with you – as it so happens – from the midst of a significant trial in my own life.

We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response and attitude.

I am so excited to share some amazing truths with you – truths that will radically change your life and perspective if you are willing to embrace them.

JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL

I can choose to depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can willingly yield to His Lordship and let Him lead me.

This takes the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes close fellowship with God. It takes practice. It is a discipline we can learn as believers with God’s help. I can begin to see hard times as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.

When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to choose to respond in:

  • Faith
    • I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
    • I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
    • I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
  • Joy
    • I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
    • Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
    • A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
    • God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
    • I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
      • The joy of my salvation.
      • The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
      • The joy of God’s presence.
      • The joy of spiritual maturity.
  • Anticipation
    • I can’t wait to see how God will use this awful situation to create something beautiful and good in my life and bring glory to Himself!
    • I want to go much deeper with the Lord! (Eph. 1:15-23)
    • God wants to use hardships to help conform me to the image of Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:29)
  • An Open Heart
    • What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
  • Spiritual Treasure Seeking
    • It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually. The greatest treasures are found in the darkest times, if we are willing to look.
    • I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
  • Prayer
    • Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
    • I invite Your provision!
    • How should I pray about this situation?
    • Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
    • Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
    • What step do you want me to take next?
    • I only want to see Your greatest glory!
    • I want Your perfect will.
    • What miracles do You want to do here?
  • Peace
    • In the world, I will have tribulation. But Jesus promises to give me His peace. (John 16:33)
    • God will keep me in His perfect peace when I trust Him and my mind is focused on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
    • I can lay all of my concerns, worries, and fears before God because He cares for me. (Phil. 4:6)
  • Assurance 
    • He is going to make a way for me to make it through this. (Isa. 43:16-19)
    • He is with me and He will never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • Rest
    • Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Strength 
    • His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
    • God promises I can do all that He calls me to do through the power of Christ in me. (Phil. 4:12-13)
    • The Lord is my strength and my song. (Ex. 15:2)
  • Thanksgiving
    • I can look for the blessings and provision of God in the midst of my trial. (1 Thess. 5:18)
    • I can give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (Ps. 107:1)
  • Focusing on Positive Things 
    • I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
  • Receptivity to His promises
    • I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
    • I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
  • Ministry
    • How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
    • How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
    • How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)

This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances.

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…

Thankfully, I don’t have to see from a mere human perspective if I know Jesus!

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God:

  • Lamentations 1
    • Suffering for sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed.
    • God disciplines those who belong to Him for our good, so that we will turn from death and embrace His Life.
  • Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
    • Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
    • I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 5:3-5
    • I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
      • perseverance
      • character
      • hope
  • James 1:2-4
    • As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
      • endurance
      • greater faith
      • greater spiritual maturity
      • spiritual completeness
      • I will lack nothing
  • Hebrews 12:4-12
    • I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
      • is verification of my adoption as a child of God
      • brings greater respect for God
      • yields peaceful fruit
      • brings about righteousness
      • is guaranteed to be for my benefit
      • allows me to share in God’s holiness

NOTE – “Counting trials as joy” does not mean that I need to try to create trials for myself, that I should be purposely combative or argumentative, or that I should try to prolong trials. It also doesn’t mean I must stay in a dangerous, abusive situation where I am being severely sinned against if I am able to get somewhere safe.  

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If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy and/or blessings in the midst of a difficult trial, or you have learned something helpful about how to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” we’d love to hear about it! I’m so thankful we can walk this road together and encourage one another.

RESOURCES

Verses about trials – Open Bible

Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible

A list of all of God’s promises – Bible Gateway

Verses about peace – Open Bible

Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible

Verses about being persecuted and hated for faith in Christ – Open Bible

Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible

Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible

Verses about strength – Open Bible

“The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord” has one chapter on counting trials as joy and one chapter on having an eternal perspective. Most of the chapters in the book would be a blessing to all women, not just moms.

God’s Healing for Suicidal Thoughts

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

I am so thankful for this dear sister’s story and for the victory she has experienced in Christ! We have all felt the darkness of despair. May we all experience the Light and hope of Jesus like this wife and mom did. (Shared with permission.)

————

Dear April,

I am writing to you after spending three delightful days with my grandson. The miracle in this is that I am a mother and grandmother at all.

You see, I have struggled with depression off and on my whole life. I seriously contemplated ending my life around 32 years ago, and then again 9 years ago.
Thirty-two years ago I felt so betrayed by a boyfriend, that I felt worthless and that life was too hard. With his unfaithfulness and my sensitive nature, I felt destroyed.

He was my idol, my false god. I placed my own personal value upon how he treated me. He treated me like trash, and I absorbed that identity.

What saved me from taking my life? Three things:

  1. Personal guilt I would feel toward my parents and siblings.
  2. I knew this was against my church’s teaching.
  3. I believed God did not like suicide.

Even though I felt no personal desire to live, I reasoned that if God wouldn’t give a free pass for people to just “quit” life when someone wanted to, then He must have another way out of the mess. In my core, I believed in a good God. Life could be cruel, but surely not the Creator of life?

I remember feeling numb and just praying, “Help me, God.” I went through the motions of living. I held on. I met my future husband one year later. We will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this year.

So why in 2009, while on an island vacation with our four children did I feel suicidal again?

This time I felt unneeded, unappreciated, and unimportant.

My husband was extremely successful, admired, and appreciated at work. I stayed home with our children, working very hard to cook, clean, drive, keep up with laundry and dishes, help with homework, etc., and earned no money. I wanted to home school, but my husband wouldn’t let me. I watched our children’s spiritual lives drying up. I was frequently undermined in front of our children by my husband. I was rarely respected and the children saw that.

Needless to say, I became depressed. I remember crying a lot behind my sunglasses on that vacation in 2009, sitting in a bathroom stall trying to decide if I should overdose in that bathroom or go somewhere else. I spent many hours by myself. My husband and the children were having a great time in all the pools, in the ocean, and at the bar…no one knew what I was going through. They still don’t know and would be shocked to read this. My husband still refers to that vacation as a favorite family trip.

Again, making an idol had brought me to the point of ending my life.

What was my idol? My feeling of being a relevant member of my family. This time I didn’t feel like trash. I just felt irrelevant. They could find anyone to cook, clean, etc…

So, what stopped me this time? Two things:

  1. They would have to ship my body back to the U.S., and what a pain that would be…and it would be embarrassing to them.
  2. I still thought God would highly disapprove. I would have to face Him, with my final act being one of disobedience.

My whole life I’ve based my decisions on other people’s opinions; I have idolized their opinions, or what I have perceived their opinions to be. And my feelings have ruled my reason.

  • It is amazing to me that in my depression, I could only hear the voice of death. No other ideas or solutions for making my life better came to mind. I was in a dark cloud.

In 2010 I went back to work and loved my job. In 2012 I wanted out of the marriage. In 2013 my husband’s job changed where he had to travel a lot. He asked me to quit work. I cried. But I quit for our children. I had time to google things I wondered about like “how to be a peaceful wife.” Literally, I googled that. I just wanted to be peaceful – forget happy.

Well, I gobbled up your blog, April. And for Lent in 2014, I did Nina Roesner’s Respect Dare. I begged God for help. My husband started to treat me kindly, as I started to respect the memory of all those good qualities he had when we got married and all his good qualities he still had but I had ignored because of my hurt feelings. I’m not perfect and neither is he.

Shockingly, to me, each family member has come to me for advice on different things within the past two years. Sometimes they follow what I say and sometimes they just listen. It’s free will at this point. I ask God to help me help Him with His kingdom. I hope I have helped my Beloved King in some ways. I pray His forgiveness for my failures and near disasters.

Why did I want to share this? Mental illness and depression are very real. Putting other gods before the One true God twice nearly ended my life. These are my darkest secrets. Could anyone be helped by my story?


From The Peaceful Wife:

If you need help because you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, discouragement, or depression, please know that those thoughts are not from the Lord. If you are experiencing a spirit of death, you can be set free from that in Jesus! He is all about a Spirit of LIFE!

Don’t listen to the awful lies of Satan. He is the one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy you and your family. He is the one who speaks despair, hopelessness, and darkness into your life. Choose to turn to Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who goes after the one lost sheep who has gone astray. He knows where you are. You are not too far away for Him to save you. Turn to the Bible. Turn to Light and Life in Him. He can heal you. You can have a saving relationship with Him.

The enemy wants you to believe horrible lies like:

The truth of God is:

  • You have value because you were created by God and everything He makes is precious and valuable.
  • You have hope because of what Jesus has done for you on the cross if you will turn to Him and yield your life to Him as Savior and Lord.
  • You are dearly loved – more than you could possibly imagine – by the God who created you. Not because you are so good, but because He is so good and He IS love.
  • You can’t be good enough on your own, but – what good news! You don’t have to be good enough. Jesus was good enough! God will allow His life to count for your own, and His death to count for your death. And He will give you His power so that you can walk in holiness and you can please and know the Lord. All you have to do is turn away from your old ways, your sin and your old toxic thinking and turn to His truth and His life.
  • Jesus offers you a brand new heart, a new Spirit, and a new life in Himself if you will come to Him in faith and trust.
  • The greatest and most lasting peace, joy, hope, and fulfillment only exist in knowing Jesus. When we are close to Him, He shares with us all of His spiritual riches and treasures.

PRAYER:

Thankfully, we can pray anytime! God is always ready to hear from us when we call out to Him for help.

Lord,

The mind set on the flesh is death. But how we thank You that the mind that is set on You is LIFE and PEACE! (Rom. 8:6) You have the power to transform our thinking, our minds, our hearts, and even our circumstances. Help us to acknowledge that we need You desperately. We all do. On our best days and at our lowest points. None of us are good. None of us are perfect – not even remotely. Only You are Good, Lord. The only goodness we can have comes directly from You. We need Jesus. We need Your cross. We need Your salvation. We need Your healing. We need our old selves to be crucified with you and buried with You, Jesus. We need new life in You that comes through Your resurrection power. We need Your transformation. We need the power of Your Word and Your Spirit.

Breathe Your LIFE into every hurting heart today. Heal wounded, broken souls. Conquer the enemy. Conquer the lies. Let all who are in darkness see Your great light. Let all who are chained and shackled in the prison of sin and the prison of Satan see their chains falling off by Your power and walk out into Your glorious light and hope. Let today be the day of salvation and healing for all who are thirsty, defeated, and weary. Let them come to You and find true rest for their souls.

Amen!

SOME LIFE-GIVING BIBLE VERSES (ESV):

  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11
  • Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. … Rom. 5:2-8
  • For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39
  • For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:13
  • Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 (For believers in Christ, we are God’s temple)
  • For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:20
  • But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9

More encouraging verses.

IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE HELP FOR A SERIOUS ISSUE:

Please contact a trusted pastor, or go to the free one-time counseling services available at www.focusonthefamily.com or check out the counselors available at www.biblicalcounseling.com

If you feel you are an immediate danger to yourself, please call 911, or ask someone to take you to the emergency room. If someone you know is threatening suicide, please call 911 and get help right away. There are a lot of reasons for suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it is because of our own sinful thoughts or a spiritual battle. Sometimes suicidal thoughts can be a side effect of certain medications or a side effect of stopping certain prescriptions too quickly. There are other possibilities, too. But if you feel like you want/need to harm yourself, you are not thinking clearly and you need help right away. Please reach out for help. You will be so glad you did.

SHARE:

How has God given you hope when things were hopeless? Has there been a time when God encouraged you and pulled you up out of a dark pit in your life? We’d love to hear about it.

Do you need prayer and hope today? I’d be glad to point you to Jesus and the healing that is available to you in Him. But, please, if you are in immediate danger, please don’t wait for me to be able to respond, but get local, experienced help right now.

My Commenting Policy – Let’s seek to use this place to honor the Lord, our spouses, our families, and others. Let’s seek not to share lots of details about other people’s sin here or to tear anyone else down, but let’s seek to build up one another in our faith. Thank you so much! <3

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Relationship with Christ – this is the first and greatest step toward REAL peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When He is seated firmly on the throne of your life, He gives genuine, lasting peace.

Why Should I Not Commit Suicide? by www.gotquestions.org – also provides suicide hotlines and resources

Lacey Sturm’s story – she was an atheist teenager who was planning suicide, but God intervened! Now she is a Christian who sings “The Mercy Tree.”

Articles about suicide at www.gotquestions.org

Articles about suicide at www.desiringgod.org

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (about God, others, and ourselves – lies lead to bondage and thoughts of harming ourselves or others)

The Idol of Happiness

8 Powerful Keys to Peace

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

Praying Life into Your Marriage and Family – changing the spiritual atmosphere in your home

Are You Giving the Enemy Authority in Your Life?

Roots of Insecurity, Low Self-Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and a Desire to Control

Real Security – in my identity in Christ!

What Does God Say about Me?

Triggers for Sinful Thoughts – sinful thinking leads to fear, depression, isolation, discouragement, and hopelessness

 

 

 

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

The book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman (which has sold over 11 million copies)  can be a wonderful tool to help us better understand our husbands and ourselves. It has been a blessing to countless marriages and he has written a number of books in the same vein that have helped many people, as well.

The five love languages Chapman writes about are:

  • Words of affirmation.
  • Quality time.
  • Receiving gifts.
  • Acts of service.
  • Physical touch.

From my perspective, it is ideal if both spouses seek to show all of these kinds of love to each other. There are always ways we can grow in showing love.

The book is most helpful, in my view, if we approach the issue like this:

  • X is my husband’s love language, so I am going to learn to start speaking love to him in ways that are more meaningful to him.
  • I also can begin to receive the love language my husband speaks and learn to receive love from him the way he tries to show love.

I have no problem with a wife respectfully asking for what she would like at appropriate times (without making demands or pressuring her husband):

  • Honey, it would mean so much to me if we could spend 30 minutes together tonight talking about our day. I feel so emotionally connected to you when we do that.
  • When you share words of affirmation with me, when you tell me when you see me doing something well, or you share verbal appreciation, that really makes me feel loved.
  • I am so excited that you got me a new coffee table! It is beautiful! I feel SO loved when you pick out a sweet gift for me.
  • Babe, I appreciate it so much when you take the trash out when it starts to get full.
  • I love when we get a chance to cuddle at night and when you play with my hair and show me a lot of physical affection.

However, a pitfall I have seen for some wives (with this or almost any book that talks about marriage) is that it can be tempting to start thinking things like:

  • X is my love language, and my husband isn’t speaking my love language.
  • My husband needs to start doing what I want him to do or he isn’t loving me enough and he isn’t being a good husband.
  • It is my husband’s job to make me happy. He is responsible for my emotions and for me feeling loved enough.
  • If my husband won’t speak my love language when and how I want him to, I’m justified in feeling resentful and bitter.
  • I may even feel justified to sin against my husband if he doesn’t show me love exactly the way I would like for him to.

The enemy would love to use anything, even a great book with many biblical truths, as a springboard to sinful thoughts in our lives. How we must guard our hearts!

CHERISHING RESENTMENT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION

It is very easy to focus on what we want our husbands to do to change. But when we do that, we begin to set up a bunch of expectations – some of which may not be very realistic. Unrealistic expectations invariably lead to resentment. And once we are cherishing resentment and bitterness, we tend to believe we can justify practically any sin against our men. This sin, when it is unchecked, snowballs and gets worse and worse. We may engage in things like:

Once we get into this mode, we are operating in the fruit of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. It is a recipe for pain and misery. For our husbands. For our marriages. For our children. And for ourselves.

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN CHRIST LEADS TO ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL LIFE

I know this is not a popular thing in our culture. But when I try to make my husband, my children, or anyone else responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing – I am living in a dysfunctional relationship – or sin. This goes by several names:

As a believer in Christ, my spiritual wellbeing is dependent on my relationship with Jesus alone. I am responsible for abiding in Him and being filled up with Him. I am personally responsible for confessing any sin and for finding my contentment in Jesus alone. I know that if I am experiencing the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-21) – it is about my character and my walk with the Lord. And I know that if I want to live in the power of His Spirit and have His fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)- that I am responsible to the Lord for turning away from every sinful thing and for yielding myself to the Lordship of Christ.

The way I act, the way I treat my husband (and other people), is about whether my sinful old flesh is in control or whether God’s Spirit is in control of my life at this moment.

In Jesus, I can be content in all circumstances – whether I am receiving love in exactly the way I would prefer or not – through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:12-13).

ASKING GOD TO CHANGE ME, MY PERSPECTIVE, AND MY HEART

It’s easy to pray, “God, change my husband!” And there are times when it is right to pray for our husbands to change – to have God’s victory over sin, to have more of His Spirit, to have His wisdom, etc…

But there is such a need for us to first pray most fervently, “Lord, change me!”

If my husband can’t or won’t change or won’t do what I would like for him to do, I can still live in the power of the Spirit. I can still live in God’s peace, joy, patience, and self-control. I can focus on the things God calls me to change – myself. And trust God to work on the things I can’t change – my husband.

I can invite the Spirit to work powerfully in me, my my marriage, and in my husband’s life for His glory, not for my own will. Here are some examples of how a wife might approach this issue in prayer:

  • Lord, help me learn to appreciate and receive the ways my husband does show love to our children and me.
    • He fixed the sump pump last week. THAT was real love right there. I can receive that act of service as a massive gift of love for me and our family.
    • He went with me somewhere even though it wasn’t his favorite place. That was a gift to me.
    • He asked my son to send a picture of my grocery list when he stopped by Walmart and he picked up everything on the list. Wow! He is my hero!
    • He took all of us to the movies over break. He is so generous. What a thoughtful gift.
    • He helped me take my car to the shop today.
    • He replaced my dead car battery last month.
    • He takes the kids to church on Wednesday nights when I am at work.
    • He sits on the outside of the pew at church on Sunday mornings so that he can try to protect us from harm if something were to happen.
  • Lord, help me not get so fixated on “my love language” and what I want that I miss the beautiful ways my husband expresses his love to me and to our children.
  • Lord, my husband isn’t as verbal as I would like. He only gives me a compliment once every year or two. I really love words of affirmation. But maybe You have things for me to learn in this situation. Help me to be open to receiving the lessons and spiritual growth that I can receive from You as I have a husband who is not super verbal. Help me realize that even though words of affirmation are beautiful and powerful, the way my husband shows love to me and our children is just as beautiful and powerful – maybe even more so.
    • Would words of affirmation have been as helpful when the sump pump was messed up and the toilets wouldn’t flush? No, not really. I do like having toilets that flush!
    • Maybe giving gifts is not my love language, but look at all of the thought and research my husband put into the gifts he gave our children, our extended family, and me. He is SO talented at that! It is not my gifting. But I can certainly appreciate that it is his gifting.
    • Maybe my husband doesn’t write me love letters or send loving/flirty texts or emails. I would like it if he did that. But he comes home every night and eats with our family. He is a good provider and a hard worker. He tries to protect us spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically when there is danger.
    • He doesn’t give me a lot of compliments, but he also doesn’t give me much criticism. That is sure a blessing!
  • Lord, help me to learn to give love (and respect – because feminine respect speaks love so powerfully to men) to my husband in the ways that matter most to him. And if something I do to show him love doesn’t really do much for him, help me to see how I can change my approach.
  • Lord, thank You for my husband. He is a gift to me from You. I’m going to write down all of the good things I can think about regarding his character and the things he has done for my children and for me in my quiet time this week.
  • Lord, help me to be a blessing to my husband simply out of a desire to please and honor You.

SHARE:

How has God spoken to you in this post or about these issues in the past? You are welcome to share insights you have learned or struggles you are having so that we might encourage and pray for you.

Much love!

 

 

 

 

Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

The past two Mondays, we have examined the topics, “Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?” and “What Do I Do with My Desire for More Verbal/Emotional Connection?” For some of us, we struggle with talking too much. Others of us struggle with not wanting to talk to the point that our silence is deafening and not healthy for our marriages. Some of us try to correct one imbalance and overshoot  and end up on the other side of the pendulum for awhile and just keep swinging back and forth between the two. I have done that.

Today, let’s tackle the issue of times when we may be too quiet and examine the heart issues that may be going on behind the scenes. It’s helpful to do a motive-check with the help of the Light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Prov. 8:21

WHY DO I WANT TO BE QUIET?

Some Not-So-Productive Reasons to Be Quiet

If these issues are going on, I may want to spend some time with the Lord to deal with my spiritual issues so that I am not hiding from God or from my husband. If things are severe, I may need to reach out to a trusted godly counselor or female mentor.

Some Reasons That Require Godly Discernment – talking may be wise, or being silent may be wise

Some Good Reasons to Be Quiet

  • Talking a lot is exhausting for me – it is just my personality.
  • I want to avoid talking too much out of humility and a desire to honor the Lord with using my words carefully to only speak Life.
  • My husband is not a believer (or is far from the Lord) so I want to focus on 1 Peter 3:1-6 to “win him without a word” and not preach, lecture, nag, or explain too much about spiritual things but set a godly example by my attitude and actions.
  • I am seeking to give him the gift of respectful space that I know he would appreciate.
  • He doesn’t want me to talk too much or he is in a bad place spiritually and unreceptive right now.
  • I am thinking carefully about what I want to say so that I say it wisely.
  • I want to pray over what I want to say first so that I respond in the Spirit and I don’t just blurt something out in my flesh.
  • I am focusing on thanksgiving and praise in my heart to the Lord.
  • I want to just be available to listen to him for awhile if he wants to talk.
  • I am silently praying in my heart.
  • We enjoy being together without talking sometimes.

RELATED VERSES:

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Prov. 17:28

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Ps. 62:5

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matt. 5:37

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt 12:36-37

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Eph. 5:4

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Prov. 25:11

SHARE:

What are some reasons you find yourself being really quiet? When is talking and speaking up a struggle for you? Is there any wisdom you would like to share on this topic?

Much love!

April

RESOURCES:

If you have a very difficult marriage, please check out the healing you can find in Christ for yourself (and maybe your marriage) in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

25 Ways to Respect Myself – (or to think rightly about myself)

Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong or Selfish? – by Radiant

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

I Can’t As for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions – By Radiant

Cinderella and the Gospel – by Radiant (about how many of us reject the love of Christ instead of graciously receiving His amazing gift)

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

Handling Political Disagreements Respectfully

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

Overlooking Insults

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