- 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
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:
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
- 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.
- 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
- I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
- James 1:2-4
- As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
- greater faith
- greater spiritual maturity
- spiritual completeness
- I will lack nothing
- As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
- 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
- I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
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.
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.
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 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.
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.)
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:
- Personal guilt I would feel toward my parents and siblings.
- I knew this was against my church’s teaching.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- People and their opinions are horrible idols. Feelings are deceptive. Idolatry crucifies the worshipper. Jesus was crucified so I could live. He is God. He is trustworthy. Bountiful. Courageous. My faithful Godhero.
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:
- You are worthless.
- You are hopeless.
- You are unloveable.
- You are a failure.
- Your life is over.
- You will never be happy again. And happiness is the most important thing in life.
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.
Thankfully, we can pray anytime! God is always ready to hear from us when we call out to Him for help.
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.
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
IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE HELP FOR A SERIOUS ISSUE:
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.
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
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
Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (about God, others, and ourselves – lies lead to bondage and thoughts of harming ourselves or others)
Praying Life into Your Marriage and Family – changing the spiritual atmosphere in your home
Real Security – in my identity in Christ!
Triggers for Sinful Thoughts – sinful thinking leads to fear, depression, isolation, discouragement, and hopelessness
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:
- speaking words of death
- a critical spirit
- assuming the worst
- idolatry of my husband – expecting him to be responsible for meeting my deepest needs
- idolatry of my happiness
- divisiveness (trying to pit other people, maybe our children and extended family, against him)
- malice (wishing pain/hurt/injury on someone)
- maybe even violence
- divorce threats
- potentially, an unbiblical divorce
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:
- being enmeshed
- being codependent
- idolizing my husband (or other people)
- idolizing emotions
- idolizing happiness
- people pleasing
- having an unhealthy relationship
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.
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.
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
- Bitterness/resentment/contempt toward him. (Being quiet is better than speaking in sin – I need to deal with sin in my thoughts.)
- Fear (that I need to take to the Lord).
- Avoiding conflict.
- To punish my husband.
- Unrealistic expectations.
- Self-hatred, self-loathing, and not thinking rightly about myself.
- Hiding something from my husband:
- an addiction
- a relationship with another man
- an attraction to another man
- spending money behind my husband’s back
- I may wrongly think I have to give up my personality and God-given influence authority and that I can’t have needs, desires, feelings, or input.
- I may believe lies about God, myself, or my husband.
- I may not understand my identity in Christ and what God says about me in His Word if I am His.
- I may idolize my husband and his approval.
- I may be a people pleaser rather than a God-pleaser.
- I may feel insecure in my husband’s love.
- I may be trying to avoid being needy and clingy but maybe I swing too far the other way into total silence.
- I may believe that I am “not a real person,” that I don’t deserve love, or that I shouldn’t have a voice in the marriage.
- I may be extremely depressed, discouraged, hopeless, or full of despair – spiritually oppressed.
- My husband desires me to talk more with him, but I don’t enjoy talking so I just opt out completely, even if it upsets him.
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
- I don’t feel loved by my husband.
- I may need to prayerfully evaluate – Is this really true, or are my hormones taking over or am I listening to the enemy? If the real issue is my perception and there isn’t hard evidence to support my accusing feelings toward my husband, I may need to deal with my own thoughts, motives, heart, and hormones with the Lord. It may be about me and not about my husband at all.
- If I really am thinking clearly and there is legitimate evidence my husband does not love me, it may be wise to give him some space, pray, and seek the Lord’s wisdom an discernment for how I should proceed.
- If things are serious enough, I may have to prayerfully consider separation until he repents and is willing to cooperate with me to rebuild trust.
- If he has threatened to leave or said he wants a divorce, I may need to give him space and not do a lot of extra talking.
- I feel wounded by my husband and don’t think I can trust him. I need to seek the Lord before deciding what to do.
- If I feel I may have to shut down in the marriage to protect myself.
- There may be a simple misunderstanding. I may just need to talk to him in a respectful way to seek to understand his perspective which may be 180 degrees different from mine. That may solve the whole problem.
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.
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
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?
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
25 Ways to Respect Myself – (or to think rightly about myself)
Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong or Selfish? – 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)
This is the second part of this series on talkativeness and wives. The first post was, “Am I ‘Too Chatty’ with My Husband?” It is primarily for wives who believe they talk too much or whose husbands would maybe prefer less talking. Next week, I plan to talk about the issue of wives being too quiet.
At first, when I realized I was talking way too much for my own good, it was painful. I felt sad, oppressed, upset, resentful, and lonely to think about cutting down on my words to other people. I didn’t know how to stop talking too much or what to do with all of my emotions and self-talk.
I find that it is helpful to take these kinds of discouraging thoughts to the Lord. He is always ready to listen to me. He can help me hash through my thinking even better than any husband or best girl friend could. He wants me to abide in Him every moment – always completely one in Spirit with Him – and to “pray continually.” That is very encouraging! Plus, He can transform my thinking and my heart. He knows how to restore and heal my soul, if only I will come to Him and allow Him to work powerfully in my life.
Interestingly – that pain I feel when I want to talk more or connect more with my husband can remind me that God’s heart hurts when I neglect him. And His heart rejoices when I come to Him to fellowship and connect with Him.
ADOPT A NEW PERSPECTIVE
- Receive that His Spirit can meet these needs I have more than any human could ever meet my needs for emotional/spiritual connection.
- Anticipate all the spiritual treasures He wants to show me.
- Focus on taking responsibility for my emotional wellbeing in Christ.
- Recognize that I don’t have to talk all the time. I can have self-control with the Spirit.
- Admit that I don’t have all the wisdom people need. Humbly acknowledge that my constant input and opinions are not necessary all the time.
- Focus on taking responsibility for myself spiritually to grow in Jesus.
- Recognize that the Lord can use this to prune me and face this trial with joy, anticipating all of the treasures He will show me.
- Acknowledge that God, His thoughts, His wisdom, His approval, and His Words are what really matter.
- Submit myself to Christ’s Lordship.
- Recognize the strategy of the enemy to try to get me to resent my husband and to think negative, accusing thoughts toward him.
- Respectfully ask my husband for what I would like.
- React with self-control, poise, and grace even if my husband doesn’t meet my request.
CONNECT WITH GOD EMOTIONALLY/SPIRITUALLY
- Praise God.
- Journal my prayers and thoughts. (This seriously helps me, as much or even more than talking to another person.)
- Write down my emotions – all of them. And all of my self-talk. In a very raw way. I can shred the paper up later if necessary.
- Take my thoughts captive for Christ.
- Develop a list of things for which I am thankful and continue to add to it daily.
- Work on a list of all the things I respect about my husband.
- Invite God to work on my sin, motives, and thought life.
- Pray for myself.
- Pray for others.
- Sing praise songs in my mind or in another room out loud.
- Listen to or read sermons, podcasts, Youtube videos, the Bible, or books about the Lord and about growing in Christ. (When I do this, I feel so close to the Lord and so loved. I know I am not alone at all.)
- Listen and be still before God. Stillness is most necessary for me to learn to hear His voice and leading.
- Take a walk in nature and soak in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.
DEVELOP A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF MY HUSBAND
I personally was amazed to discover that Greg said he always felt connected with me and bonded to me, whether we were talking a lot or not. He doesn’t connect with words. He feels just as connected to me when we are together talking as he does when he is at work. His love and sense of connection are, essentially, constant. Wow! That was a shock. I always thought we are only connected when we are talking and communicating verbally.
When Greg explained his perspective to me, it helped me to rest in his love and in the firmness of our connection. It helped me to see that I don’t have to grasp and struggle to feel connected. I already am connected to him. I can just enjoy that bond. Perhaps your husband may have a similar perspective?
Perhaps our amazing God thinks this way, too, when it comes to being connected with us, that we are always connected to Him and in fellowship with Him? Every moment of the day. (Unless there is sin blocking the way.)
BECOME A SAFE PLACE FOR MY HUSBAND
If I am willing to focus on treating my husband well and being a safe place emotionally and spiritually, he may feel a lot more open to sharing and connecting with me, in time. This requires a lot of patience and maybe a lot of waiting. In the time of waiting, I can focus on what God wants me to learn during that time. Waiting truly can become sweet with the Lord. So things may change to some degree with my husband’s willingness to talk as I change my approach. I know Greg is much more open to me talking with him in recent years since he feels safe and honored.
FIND MULTIPLE SOURCES OF CONNECTION
First, I have Jesus. He is my greatest source of verbal, emotional, and spiritual connection. He is truly enough! But then, as an extra bonus, I also have family, friends, and other believers. We can have godly mentors who can help us to grow in our faith and in our marriages. And then, in time, as the Lord leads, we may be able to mentor other women. What a priceless blessing that is!
I don’t have to feel deprived at all, even if my husband isn’t as talkative and verbal as I am. I can be content in all circumstances through Christ who gives me strength! (Phil. 4:12-13)
If I Have Jesus, I Have EVERYTHING!
EXPERIENCE A SHOCK
I actually found out – I need times of silence, too. It’s good for my soul. Now, I can enjoy silence in a friendly way. It’s peaceful and relaxing. I am in a much better place of balance than when I talked non-stop. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about the wisdom and gift of silence.
What wisdom has God given you in this area. Or what struggles do you have and where do you need some encouragement?
Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! – by A Fellow Wife
Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife
How I Became Enmeshed with My Husband – by LMSdaily
This is another one of those topics where the key is balance. It is entirely possible to be way too talkative. It is also entirely possible to be way too quiet. Of course, what you talk about or avoid talking about also matters.
When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is prudent. Prov. 10:19 CSB
How I used to hate that verse! Probably because I talked almost non-stop. But – now I recognize it is very true. I believe that it can be wise to look at my motives and expectations every now and then if I find myself wanting to talk a lot.
Note – I am going to be speaking in generalizations, by necessity in a post like this. Your relationship may not always follow every generalization and that is totally fine!
WHY DO I WANT TO TALK WITH MY HUSBAND?
Some Not-So-Productive Reasons
- I want to share something sinful:
- A critical and accusing spirit
- Pride – trying to prove I am so wise and I am always right
- Condemnation, blame, guilt, shame
- Complaints and negative things about him or someone or something else
- Contention – arguing with him, addiction to conflict
- Self-loathing and hatred
- Idolatry of self, of my husband, of happiness, of marriage, of children, or anything else
- Control – trying to usurp his position as leader, undermining him, trying to make him do things my way, trying to control him
- Worry and fear (that I have not taken to the Lord first.)
- I feel awkward if we are not talking and am afraid of silence. Or I interpret silence to mean tension.
- I have unrealistic or unbiblical expectations. Is there anything I need to lay down?
- I expect him to have the same need to talk and process things verbally and connect emotionally that I do.
- I expect him to think, talk, and act like the male romantic lead in a movie or book.
- I expect him to pray out loud with me even if he is not comfortable with that.
- I am trying to filibuster him and explain my perspective to show him how right I am and that he should agree with me.
- I expect him to do all of my thinking for me so I don’t have to think.
- I want to share every single thought in my head with him without any filter.
- I am enmeshed with him and my emotional well being and spiritual well being is tied to his.
- I look to his words and affirmation to give me all of my sense of identity and security.
- I want to try to impress him or be perfect so he will love me more.
- I idolize him and try to please him and get his approval more than the Lord’s approval.
If these are the reasons I want to talk with my husband, I need to go to the Lord and deal with any sin or wrong motives in my heart first. Then I can consider talking with my husband when I have taken care of my spiritual issues and I am filled with the Spirit rather than controlled by my flesh.
Some Great Reasons
- I want to bond and connect with words for awhile. But I realize he may not bond this way and I know how much listening and talking he can realistically handle and I respect that.
- There is important information I need/want to share with him.
- I am looking to him for his wisdom and advice about an issue I am having.
- I want to brainstorm with him about some plans.
- I want to hear about things that are important to him.
- I want to learn more about his perspective, masculine world, and mindset.
- I have some legitimate concerns to share respectfully with him.
- I want to humbly, respectfully, prayerfully confront him about his sin.
- I want to ask him respectfully for something.
- I want to talk with him to process my feelings and thoughts about something.
- I feel lonely and want to feel closer to him – but I know that my primary security and contentment is in the Lord.
- I want to build him up, bless, affirm, respect, and honor him.
- I want to connect with him spiritually – if he is open and receptive to that, but if he is not, I can handle that graciously.
- I want to enjoy his company and be his friend.
A FEW MORE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- When I want to talk to someone, I need to remember my audience.
- Avoid topics he doesn’t really like.
- Respect his preferences if he doesn’t want to talk about the news or something that is upsetting to him.
- Focus more on things he enjoys.
2. Everyone has different preferences about how much they like to talk and listen.
- If he is an introvert, you may want to keep conversations brief. He may actually enjoy some silence.
- If he is an extrovert, he may enjoy longer talks, especially about things he likes.
3. There are times when it may be better not to have a deep, emotional, intense discussion.
- One or both of you is sick, very hungry, or in significant pain – the flesh is weak.
- You are hormonal.
- It is late at night.
- One or both of you is completely exhausted.
- There is a very stressful situation.
- He is watching his favorite football team.
- He is working on a plumbing problem and trying to concentrate.
- He doesn’t seem receptive.
- You are in “flesh mode.”
4. Men sometimes associate talking with painful things like:
- “There is a problem.”
- “You are the problem.”
- “We are connecting and bonding.”
If you can make talking with you a pleasant, friendly thing, he may enjoy it more. 😉
5. If you just want him to listen, not to solve any problems, let him know that up front.
Give him a respectful heads up about that he is helping you by just listening for 10 minutes while you process your thoughts verbally. Most guys (not all, but most, in my understanding) don’t have this need and will feel like they need to fix things if we are sad or upset. If they know that just listening does help us feel better, and we show that we feel better after they listen, that can encourage them to want to listen more often.
6. A lot of men don’t really enjoy hearing every detail about our hobbies, friends, family, shopping experiences, etc…
We can sometimes easily overload them with a lot of minutia that may not be particularly engaging to them.
7. Men and women tend to talk differently.
- Women tend to bond by talking face-to-face with words.
- Men tend to bond by doing things together shoulder-to-shoulder, not face-to-face.
Face-to-face can feel rather emotionally intimidating to men at times. If you are watching them constantly, it can make them feel emotionally “naked” or extra vulnerable. They tend to bond just by being together and having shared experiences, or they may love to bond through sex with their wives. Just because he doesn’t bond in the same way doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to bond with you. Try to do some things that help you feel bonded and some things that help him bond his way.
For details about the research behind these tips, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s best-selling book, “For Women Only.”
I hope to share on these topics in the next few weeks:
- What to do when you really need another outlet for talking.
- How to tell if you are too quiet with your husband.
What wisdom has God given you about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives? What struggles do you have in this area?
Husbands and Emotions – multiple post links
- 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.
- Our ultimate submission is to Christ. All believers are to submit absolutely to Him all the time. That is what it means for Him to be Lord.
- We submit to human leaders only as much as we can also continue to submit to Christ. We don’t submit absolutely to any human leader – there are limits. We have a spirit of cooperation and submission all the time, but we may have to not obey a particular directive if it violates God’s principles and His Word because we must always obey the Lord above all else.
- 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)
You cannot accomplish God’s will for your life if you rebel against your husband – or any other God-given leader in your life.
- “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.
Sometimes life is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church
A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by a minister at my church
I’m so excited about this guest post by a new guest contributor, Fortified in Christ. The dilemma that this precious young wife experienced is one that so many of us can relate to. It is spiritual warfare. I appreciate her honesty, transparency, and the rawness of the struggle she shares with us. And it seems to invariably happen that when I post someone’s story about spiritual warfare, they experience quite a bit of attack from the enemy. Please do pray fervently for her with me – for God’s protection for her and for her marriage and for God’s greatest glory and victory in the trials she is experiencing this week.
My marriage is just over a year old. I married a wonderful man who is very warm and caring towards everyone. The goodness of his heart can be clearly seen in the way he relates to his friends. However, this very same thing that attracted me to him has caused a lot of strife in our marriage.
- From the beginning of our marriage, I thought that my husband gives his friends an excessive amount of his time and attention.
He jumps as soon as they call him to invite him to hang out, do them a favor, or lend them money. This has caused me a lot of hurt and pain because it makes me feel as if I am very low on his list of priorities. This has caused many arguments between us and a lot of frustration on both our parts. My verbal pressure on him to spend less time with his friends and more time with our son and me mostly fell on deaf ears. He couldn’t understand why I was being so demanding and I couldn’t understand why his friends were so important to him. He said that I was always complaining and making demands and he was getting tired of it.
Because of the constant conflict on this issue, I made a commitment to search for my peace, happiness, and sense of security from Christ and not my husband. I realized that there was nothing I could do to make him change his point of view but I had the power to work on changing my own.
I read as many posts as I could find on this blog. I was very inspired by two articles in particular: Finding Contentment in Christ Alone Through Painful Trials and Waiting Becomes Sweet. Still hoping to become my husband’s #1 priority, I was inspired to believe that the time of waiting for his heart to be turned more toward me and less toward his friends could be a sweet time where I grow closer to God.
One afternoon, my husband left home at 4pm to help a friend buy some furniture and transport it to his house. He said that they would be going to a furniture store nearby and I assumed that he would be back at home around 6pm. As it turned out, he didn’t get home until about 8:45. Between about 6pm and 8pm when he didn’t get home when I expected him to, my heart and mind began spiraling out of control. I was really hurt and angry and filled with sadness, assuming that after buying the furniture, he decided to hang out with his friend for a few hours and leave me at home by myself.
I was thinking that I could no longer tolerate his obsession with his friends and I should just take our baby and stay at a hotel for a few days and ignore his phone calls to punish him and show him how it would feel to live without us for a while. I actually called a hotel nearby to find out what their daily rates were. I changed my mind about the hotel and then considered locking him out of our bedroom and leaving a note on my bedroom door saying that he needs to sleep on the couch.
I was fighting back tears as I was bathing my baby and putting him to sleep. I began thinking that if he continues like this, I would eventually have to divorce him and raise our son by myself. I began fantasizing that I would punish him by only allowing him to visit his son once a week for 2 hours because “he doesn’t deserve any better. He cares more about his friends than his son anyway. He’s not ready to be a family man and maybe he never will be. I’ll look for another man who really appreciates me and who likes to spend time at home with me.”
Around 8pm, I realized that I was really getting off track and being overly dependent on my husband’s time and attention for my happiness. I reminded myself that my joy should come from Christ instead of my husband and that I was responsible for my own happiness. I decided to calm myself down and make myself happy by watching my favourite show on Netflix.
VERY DIFFERENT RESULTS
By the time he got home at 8:45pm, I was calm, happy, and peaceful. I asked him in a friendly way why he took so long to come home and he explained that his friend had heard about a cheaper furniture store in another town nearby so they went there instead. They had to battle through rush-hour traffic and a long wait at the store. He was sweaty and exhausted from lifting the furniture into his truck and then setting up the furniture into his friend’s house. His friend is almost 70 years old and could not help with lifting the furniture. I offered him sympathy, rubbed his back and we cuddled lovingly on the couch for a while and then we cooked together. What could have been a horrible night filled with anger, hostility, and revenge turned out to be a peaceful and loving night.
I was truly amazed by this experience. I was shocked at how quickly my mind got so off track and that I was considering punishing my husband and ultimately divorcing him over something as innocent as his helping out an elderly friend. I’m even more amazed at how quickly I was able to calm myself down and refocus on Christ and take responsibility for my own happiness. I’m so glad that I was able to allow the peace of Christ to rule in my heart (Col 3:15), instead of being controlled by anger and hardness of heart.
This experience taught me the following:
- I get to choose what rules in my heart: the voice of the Accuser or the peace of Christ.
- Whenever I notice that my mind and heart are spiraling into a cesspool of negativity, blame, anger, and sadness, I need to take my thoughts captive for Christ.
- I need to seek my contentment in Christ, not in my husband’s attention. This will help me to avoid a lot of marital strife and bring peace into my home.
Nothing external in my marriage has changed, but my heart has definitely changed. It now feels like it’s full to overflowing with a peace that passes all understanding. It has given me real inspiration to continue seeking Christ and building myself on His Word.
FROM PEACEFUL WIFE
Praise God that this husband did NOT come home before 8pm that night! It could have been a marriage-ending evening if he had. May this post remind each of us of the enemy’s tactics and help us to be alert and better prepared for his subtle attacks – as well as being alert to our own sinful nature. He uses very similar methods with almost all of us. When I notice that I am full of anger, resentment, hostility, and accusations against my husband (or someone else), these are big red flags that there is a spiritual battle going on. The flesh is trying to take over and give the Holy Spirit the boot.
It’s not wrong for a wife to want to be with her husband. But if he decides to help a friend or do something else, the way we respond should be gracious and without resentment.
The Accuser wants me to listen to his smooth voice and to side with him in becoming his mouthpiece into my marriage. He wants me to savor feeling like a victim. He loves for me to be upset, freak out, assume the worst about my husband, and assume the worst about God. He wants me to respond in the flesh and forget about living in the Spirit of God. He delights in me listening to his accusations against my husband and joining in with him against my husband to create division.
The closer I am to the Lord, the more quickly I can recognize the enemy’s voice and immediately reject it and run into the arms of Jesus for protection, truth, and shelter. I can’t afford to listen to the enemy’s accusations against my husband. I can’t afford to play with destructive, sinful thoughts. They have to go the second I realize the thoughts are a temptation. I must resist the devil and submit myself fully to Jesus (James 4:1-12)
Fortified in Christ’s story reminds me very much of some previous posts that may be a blessing:
- My Demon by Kayla about a very similar incident when her husband went out with friends to play his guitar and she was home alone and upset
- How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – how Satan wants to keep you thinking accusing thoughts about your man
- Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority by A Fellow Wife
- Respect Dare Day 1 – Expectations
- A Big Lightbulb Moment about True Contentment
- Dealing with Loneliness in Marriage
A FINAL THOUGHT FROM FORTIFIED IN CHRIST
Strife, jealousy, fits of anger and divisions are works of the flesh and we are not to make provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
- Galatians 5: 19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Romans 13:14
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
If you have a story that is similar where you were focusing on some really terrible things but then began to focus on the Lord, we’d love to hear about it! Or if you are struggling in this area and want to discuss it, please let us know.
CLICK HERE FOR MY LATEST YOUTUBE VIDEO – “RESPECT BASICS”
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REMINDER – My sites are designed very specifically for women. Men may certainly read them, as well. But my sites are quite purposely one-sided because I don’t offer instruction to men. This is out of respect for God’s Word that says that women are not to teach men or have authority over men in the church. Husbands and wives are each accountable to the Lord for themselves. It is not only wives who are to submit to the Lordship of Christ and who are to allow the Lord to change them. All of us have sin issues to deal with and we are all called to holiness, selflessness, obedience, godly love, dying to self, humility, etc… as followers of Christ. Here are some resources for husbands.
FOR WIVES IN VERY DIFFICULT MARRIAGES – please check out Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”
I used to think that my husband had to lead in a certain way in order for God to lead me through him. His personality should be a lot more like mine, of course, for him to lead “properly.” I believed we needed a long list of things I thought were great ideas – lots of formal meetings, written goals, written/verbal feedback on how we were both doing (kind of like a report card), specific plans way in advance in many areas of life, etc…
Somehow, God put me with a man who thinks in a way that is totally unlike my way. I used to think that meant Greg wouldn’t lead me or that he couldn’t lead me.
Wow, was I wrong!
God absolutely can lead me through Greg. Even without him having the leadership style I might think I would have if I were in charge. All of those things I wanted could be fine things. They may work for some couples, particularly if those things were part of the husband’s personality and leadership style. But, I think God knew that if I got to have all of those things, I might start putting more of my faith in our written plans and meetings than in Him. God has shown me that I can absolutely be content without big human plans, meetings, tons of feedback, etc…
The Lord has also shown me that as I trust Him to lead me through Greg, He knows how to prompt Greg at just the right time and how to inspire him and move his heart to accomplish His will for me. It isn’t all big and flashy. It took quite awhile for us to get to the place where we are now and I am sure we will both continue to grow in Christ and things will continue to change over time.
Most of the time, the way God leads me through Greg is softly, gently, and quietly:
- When I have another one of my awesome new big ideas – where I want to radically change a lot of things for our family all at once. Greg quietly researches and prays about things. Then, after a few days/weeks, many times, he brings up important issues I hadn’t considered.
- He tends to slow me down so I don’t rush into a hasty, and regrettable, decision.
- He shares what he believes is best about various ideas and now I know that he has a lot of valuable wisdom that will benefit me if I will listen.
- He gently offers suggestions.
- He comes up with ideas that he believes God may desire me to do – like write a blog, write a book, teach a class, have a conference, etc… – and he shares them with me without any pressure. Then I pray about things.
- He gives me counsel about how to handle difficult situations and people in my life – again with no pressure that I have to do things his way, but I know he has my best interests at heart and that I can trust him.
- He lets me know when he feels I might be about to make a mistake.
God uses Greg to bring a lot of balance and wisdom to my life. I am SO thankful for his leadership now! Even though it is not what I originally thought I wanted and needed. And the truth is, human plans don’t always amount to much. We can’t see what is coming in the future. God has a way of being able to change our well-made plans.
It is not wrong to prayerfully make certain plans as we seek to do God’s will. But it is wise for us all to be very flexible and ready to change whenever God moves in our lives in ways we can’t predict.
FOLLOWING CHRIST IS A LOT LIKE FOLLOWING A TRUSTWORTHY GPS
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
I think it is easy for us to tend to want to know the WHOLE plan way ahead of time. We want God and/or our husbands – or SOMEONE – to reveal everything that will happen to us right now. It is hard to be at peace in uncertainty and in the whole not knowing thing. On our own, we can’t be at peace in times of uncertainty and trials, but in Christ, we absolutely can be!
I don’t have to know about the mountains I may face 2,000 miles from now. I don’t need to know about the detour I will need to take 5,000 miles from now. What I need to know right now is simply, “Lord, what step do I take next today?”
As I trust God to lead me, He will get the information to me when I need to know it. And He will lead me through my husband in His way and His timing to accomplish His purposes. He will orchestrate the events of my life according to His will. He will use all of the difficulties I face to help me grow and to prune and refine me so that I can grow stronger in my faith and so that He can conform me more to the image of Christ.
What does Jesus have to say about knowing the future?
- Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt. 6:34
- Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make a profit.” You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14
Quite honestly, we couldn’t handle knowing all of the future right now.
It is a blessing in many ways that God doesn’t give us the ability to see that far ahead. For all we know, there could be a nuclear war tomorrow, or our electric grid might collapse, there might be a massive terrorist strike, the economy might finally collapse, or there may be a huge earthquake or some natural disaster. Or Jesus might return later today. Or perhaps nothing terrible might happen and things may continue on as usual. Maybe something incredibly good might happen that alters the course of our lives. We might try to make plans but our plans are pretty worthless because we don’t know the future. Only God knows.
My prayer is that we might trust the One who actually knows what is going to happen and that we might follow Him and humbly yield to His wisdom. Let’s walk by faith each moment. As we do that, and as we desire to be in the center of the Lord’s will, He knows how to direct our steps and how to lead us in His will.