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Does My Husband Have to Have a Long Range Plan to Lead Our Family?

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?

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.

 

RELATED:

How God Led Me Through Greg to Write a Book

Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

 

Twenty-Five Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

We as women understand the desire to feel safe with our men. We want to feel safe and secure physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually – and in every way – in our marriages. That is one of our greatest needs as wives. Husbands want to feel safe in every way with us, too.

Men have certain legitimate needs that need to be met before they can be open to emotional/spiritual intimacy as men – all of us do.

Our men are wired by God for adventure, for purpose, to fulfill His calling, to portray the strength, love, grace, and wisdom of Christ to the world. They seem so big and strong. And they are in many ways. But they have feelings and emotions, too, which we may sometimes discount if they don’t express them the way we do.

Our attitudes, words, and actions can hurt them. Even if they don’t show it in the same way we would. Even if they don’t complain about it or confront us. So let’s make sure that we seek to provide a safe haven from this harsh world for our men when they are with us. A place where they feel welcome, where they can relax, and where they know we have good motives toward them.

WAYS I CAN BE A SAFE PLACE FOR MY HUSBAND (with the power of the Holy Spirit, of course)

  1. Get rid of anything that is emotionally scary on my end of the relationship (more detail below).morgan-sessions-17278
  2. Smile my beautiful smile often.
  3. Use a pleasant, friendly tone of voice whenever possible.
  4. Watch my body language, let it speak warmth, love, and respect.
  5. Be kind, gentle, and polite.
  6. Share my needs and feelings with humility, authenticity, and vulnerability in direct ways.
  7. Don’t share the private things he shares with me with other people – be trustworthy.*
  8. Honor his God-given leadership in the family as appropriate.
  9. Use my influence authority wisely.
  10. Honor his authority as a dad.
  11. Give him space respectfully when he needs it.
  12. Seek to understand his unique masculine world, celebrating that men are different from women in some ways and that is part of God’s good design.
  13. Take my thoughts captive for Christ first before having a negative emotional conversation.
  14. Be aware of PMS, hormone issues, exhaustion, illness, etc… where the body is weak – and consider whether it is a good time to try to emotionally connect or to talk about negative things.
  15. Be content and peaceful in Christ. My genuine peace and joy are huge gifts to him.
  16. Be filled up to overflowing with Christ – that is the only way to have that beautiful gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear.
  17. Reward him when he shares with me emotionally and make it enjoyable for him.
  18. Limit the amount of time I ask for emotional connection if that is tiring for him or he is stressed/exhausted, etc…
  19. Receive good things from him – compliments, gifts, time, attention, affection, attraction, sex, etc… – graciously and joyfully.
  20. Have a spirit of gratitude toward him.
  21. Be willing to extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness in a healthy, godly way.
  22. Be responsible with financial decisions.
  23. Be interested and open to his wisdom and ideas.
  24. Give him my full attention when he is talking whenever possible.
  25. Enjoy him and rest in his love.

Yes, most people would appreciate most of these things in relationships – wives certainly would like many of these things. 🙂

 

WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN BE EMOTIONALLY SCARY TO OUR MEN?

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What are some ways you have discovered you can encourage your husband to feel safe with you?

FOR MORE HELP

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband into an Idol 

Should I Seek to Please and Keep My Husband at ANY Cost?

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs

What Is Disrespect in Marriage?

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected

IF THINGS ARE VERY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE:

Please understand, if you have an extremely emotionally/spiritually wounded husband – he probably can’t do much to meet your deep spiritual and emotional needs right now. Even if you are also deeply wounded and need a lot of help, too. He may need to be in a spiritual/emotional ICU for a bit. Give him some time and space to heal as you focus on finding the healing Jesus has for you in your soul. Find all of your contentment, joy, fulfillment, security, and peace in Christ alone. Thankfully, you can find all of our deepest needs met in Christ no matter what your husband may or may not do. Seek to bless your husband. You may have to refrain from asking him for emotional support until he is stronger and the marriage is healing up more.

  • This post does a good job explaining an approach that may be helpful for those whose husbands act like or say they are done with the marriage.
  • This post may be a blessing for those who are in the trenches.

If you are struggling in your walk with the Lord or in your marriage – reach out to God. Reach out for godly counsel one-on-one if you need it. There is private counseling available at www.focusonthefamily.com. Also, KLUV, a Christian radio station, has pastors and Christian counselors you can speak to.

 

*(If there are serious issues going on, we can privately reach out to appropriate authorities and counselors who can help.)

 

Dealing with Annoying Things…

A good test of whether the Spirit of God is in control in my heart – or my sinful nature is in control – is how I respond when people do things that tend to annoy me. I’m going to share some examples of ways we could respond that would be godly (as long as our motives are right).

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. 1 Cor. 13:4-5

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh… The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal. 5:10, 22-23

I have awesome news, dear sisters in Christ, I don’t HAVE to be annoyed! Jesus can give me the power to extend grace in many situations that maybe would annoy me if I was acting in the flesh. He can also give me the power to be vulnerable, respectful, and kind while asking for what I need. But even if I don’t receive what I would like, I can respond in the power of the Lord and don’t have to give in to resentment, control, bitterness, or any kind of sinful motives or thoughts – as I abide in Him.

SATAN’S STRATEGY

Satan would love for me to be annoyed, irritated, and resentful. He would love to take some tiny little inconsequential issue and get me to focus on accusations against my husband or bitterness so that he can gain a huge foothold in my life. If you haven’t read about this, I invite you to see exactly how he does this in these two posts:

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

My Demon – by Kayla

 

SOME EXAMPLES AND SUGGESTIONS TO PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER:

HE LEAVES THE TOILET SEAT UP

photo credit www.ebay.com
photo credit www.ebay.com
  • I can accept that part of living with a man might be that the toilet seat gets left up sometimes. After all, I always leave the toilet seat down. Maybe that could be annoying, too, from his perspective? It doesn’t have to be a big deal for me to put the seat down, any more than it would be for him to have to put the seat up.
  • I can take this opportunity to thank God that I have a husband. Living with another person involves some small inconveniences, but the rewards of getting to be a wife are worth it! There are a lot of women who wish their biggest problem in life was that they had a husband who left up a toilet seat.
  • I can refuse to assume evil motives on his part.
  • I can respectfully ask, in a pleasant way, “Honey, if you get a chance to put the toilet seat back down when you are finished, that would be wonderful. Thanks!”
  • If he doesn’t remember, I still don’t have to resort to bitterness. I don’t have to even be angry. I can just put the seat down myself and remind myself that I am glad he puts the seat up and doesn’t make a mess on the seat. He is being considerate to put the seat up.
  • I can feel in the dark to see if the seat is up with the lid so I know to put it down so I don’t fall in or I can have a night light on in the bathroom.
  • I can be super thankful for indoor plumbing and for toilet seats. Not everyone in this world has such a luxury!
  • I could ask for a “squat toilet” like the one on the right like they use in Asia. Then there is no seat over which to have any contention. Problem solved! Ha! 🙂

 

 

IMG_0145HE DOESN’T PUT THE DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER “CORRECTLY”

  • If he is putting dishes in the dishwasher, that is awesome! Not every husband does that. What a blessing! I want to be sure that I thank him and show appreciation – not a bunch of criticism – or he may not want to keep helping me. Who wants to help someone who criticizes all of the help she receives? (Here is a post about overcoming a critical spirit.)
  • I don’t have to say anything about how he packs the dishwasher. If the dishes are not all clean, I could simply take a crusty dish to him later, with a pleasant attitude, and say, “Hmm… it seems like the dishwasher didn’t quite get the dishes clean.”
  • I could scrub the crusty dishes and say nothing – as long as I can do that without any bitterness or resentment. It is definitely possible with the power of the Holy Spirit!
  • If things are not tense in the marriage already, and my husband is feeling relatively respected, I may decide to say something (in a friendly, casual way) like, “I noticed that it seems like sometimes the dishwasher cleans the dishes better when they are put in like this…” Or, “I’ve noticed that if the dishes block the jets, things don’t seem to get as clean.”

 

HE LEAVES DIRTY CLOTHES ON THE FLOORIMG_0147

  • I can pick them up myself with a joyful servant’s heart and focus on how thankful I am to have my husband in my life.
  • I can say in a friendly way, with a smile, “Honey, if you would please put your clothes in the hamper sometime, that would be great. Thanks!”
  • I can leave them there until he picks them up. It just depends whose tolerance is greater for a mess. If I am the one who can’t stand clothes being on the floor, maybe it would just be worth it to my sanity for me to quickly put them in the hamper myself with good motives.

When I focus on thankfulness, I can have peace.

 

IMG_0148HE DOESN’T TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE

  • I can say (in a friendly, pleasant way, with a genuine smile), “Baby, would you please take out the kitchen garbage when you get a chance tonight? Thank you so much!”
  • I can give him time to take it out on his schedule and not expect him to do it immediately.
  • If the garbage really smells awful, I can take it out myself, or ask an older child to if that is possible.
  • If it is a garbage emergency, I can say, “Honey, the garbage is really smelling nasty. If you could please take it out as soon as possible, that would be awesome. Thanks!”
  • Of course, I need to recognize if my husband is really busy, sick, exhausted, stressed, or involved in something. If he is, I may rather just take out the garbage myself rather than disturb him.

How might I bless him today?

 

HE SITS DOWN TO RELAX WHILE I HAVE A LOT OF CHORES TO DOdrew-coffman-125736

  • I can respectfully ask him for some help with specific things in a friendly way and let him know that when these chores are done, I’d really love to relax and cuddle with him.
  • I can bring my laundry basket in there and sit with him and enjoy his company while I fold laundry.
  • I could let the chores wait a bit and just go cuddle with my husband and enjoy being with him for 20 minutes or so. I don’t have to be jealous of his taking some time to relax when I could join him!
  • I can ask children to help with age-appropriate chores and train them to help so that I delegate a lot of my chores to them more and more.
  • I can focus on being a blessing to him and appreciating all that he does for me. Maybe he went under the house last week to fix the sewer line. Or maybe he took my car to the shop. Maybe he mowed the grass this week for an hour or two.
  • I can be thankful he has the chance to rest and relax.
  • I can focus on thanking God for all of the things my husband does for me and our children.
  • I can thank God I have a husband and family to care for.
  • I can evaluate my time management and see if there is anything I can adjust to help me have more time to relax, as well. Maybe I could even ask for my husband’s input.
  • I can evaluate whether everything I think needs to be done really needs to be done. Maybe I can let some things go? Perhaps I can think about the story of Mary and Martha?

IF THINGS ARE EXTREMELY TENSE

If your husband has been talking about divorce or he is extremely shut down or angry and has been feeling very disrespected, there can be a period of time while y’all are in the beginning stages of healing where it could be wise not to ask him to do anything. Sometimes giving him a bit of time and space to heal without him feeling pressured can be helpful temporarily.

ANDREW MURRAY QUOTES ABOUT HUMILITY

“The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct; the insignficances of daily life are the importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us.”
Andrew Murray, Humility

“The humble man looks upon every, the feeblest and unworthiest, child of God, and honors him and prefers him in honor as the son of a King.”
Andrew Murray, Humility

 

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Has God given you wisdom and power to respond in a godly way to a situation that used to annoy you? We’d all love to hear your insights! Do you need some help with something that is annoying you? You are welcome to share that, as well. 🙂

RELATED:

Posts on Bitterness

How to Overcome a Critical Spirit – by www.gotquestions.org

Laying Down My Expectations

How to Have a Relationship with Jesus Christ

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

Examining the Real Reasons Behind Perfectionism and People Pleasing

Dying to Self

 

 

Avoiding a Critical Spirit Toward other Women on This Journey

It’s predictable.

When I start to grow and God works in my life, there is always a new temptation that comes along with each step of growth and deepening faith. Satan will make sure of that.

As God begins to show me the sin in my heart, I start to become aware of the sin in others’ lives, as well. Things that didn’t bother me one bit before (when I was fine with doing them myself) will start to grate on my nerves in other people’s lives – like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I may find that women disrespecting their husbands or trying to control them is everywhere (or whatever sin I am currently working on in my own life).

When a particular sin issue is finally on my radar, I will become much more aware of the same sin in others’ lives.

If I am not careful, however, I will fall into a trap of the enemy. If he can’t keep me blind to my own sin, he would love to encourage me to develop a prideful, self-righteous, condemning, critical spirit toward others who are involved in my same kind of sin issues.

It can be tempting to think, “I have this whole disrespect and control thing totally in the bag. I’m being such an amazing Christian wife now. Doesn’t every guy wish he could be married to an awesome girl like me? All those other women really need to get it together.” But then, the second I do that, there is that nasty pride again. That is what started the whole thing in the first place with my control and disrespect toward my husband!

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

Pride. Ugh!!!

We all have to always be on guard for prideful thoughts. Here are some thoughts that may help us keep things in proper perspective:

  • How can I look down on other women who have the same struggles I do?
  • If I see others dealing with my particular sin issues, it is a chance to notice how destructive sin is and to see how much my own sin wounds those in my life when I act like that. When I see it more objectively from the outside of someone’s life, I may see it more from the perspective of my own husband when I do this to him.
  • I may be tempted to try to control or disrespect other women. That is not okay. Then I am right back to doing the same sin again!
  • I may find out next week or next year that I am still doing things that feel disrespectful to my husband that I am not currently aware of. I still have much to learn myself and will always have much to learn.
  • How can I condemn another person when if it weren’t for the grace of God, that is where I would be right now, too?
  • This is an incredible opportunity for me to extend the grace of Christ to others that I have received myself!
  • Without the Lord’s power and His Spirit, I am capable of any sin in my own sinful nature.
  • People sure don’t need my opinions or human wisdom, they need the Lord.
  • Lord, help me see my pride clearly and help me to detest it as much as You do.
  • The only power I have over any sin is Jesus’ power in me. It is not my own goodness. I have zero ability to please God in my own power.
  • These precious women – for whom Jesus died – need my prayers, my support, and the love of Christ.
  • They need God to open their eyes like He did for me and to be set free (just like I needed to be) because if they knew how to get out of that spiritual prison, they would.
  • God desires me to show genuine, godly respect to these other women (and everyone else).
  • I have the same depraved sinful nature that every other person does – thank You, Jesus, that You have put it to death!
  • I still have access to my sinful nature – but now that I have Jesus, I have a choice to allow my old self to remain dead and to live by God’s Spirit or to get my old sinful nature out. I can still sin if I choose to. Only through the power of Christ in me can I have victory.
  • It is a moment by moment choice whether I “reckon myself dead to my old sinful nature” or not. If I am far enough away from God, I am capable of any sin. But if I am in Christ, I won’t want to be in sin, but I will long to please the Lord.
  • Those who don’t have Christ have no choice but to sin, they are slaves of the sinful nature. This should provoke compassion in me for them.
  • My sin was and is just as deadly to my soul as any one else’s sin, no matter what sin it may be.
  • We all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross in total desperate need of Jesus’ blood and the cross.
  • I must constantly embrace humility. Exalting God alone, not myself.
  • God is good. I am not.
  • Anything good in me is from Jesus. Not from me. I have no right to boast in myself, only in Christ.
  • How I long to only think and say things that are of the Lord – to speak His Life – and not to use my thoughts or mouth to speak death to others.
  • I will want to be very careful with saying something – only sharing if I am sure God wants me to speak and if my motives are pure and I can share with great humility.
  • It is generally best for me to share only if another person asks for my advice – and it may be best simply for me to share things God has shown me rather than to tell her what to do. But only as God clearly leads me.
  • Not everyone will be ready or willing to hear about what God has shown me. Only God can open a person’s eyes to sin.
  • If I find that my friends tend to be very disrespectful of their husbands, I may need to separate myself from them more. Not in a resentful or prideful way, but just to keep myself from temptation.
  • If I do speak, I must have both truth and love for the person to whom I speak. And I must have the power of the Holy Spirit or I may cause more damage. This is a very sobering thing.
  • How may I pray for this woman who is struggling? How may I seek to bless her in a way that would honor God?

Lord,

Thank You that You have opened our eyes to sin in our lives to which we had been blind. It is a gift that we can see the sin now and that we can repent. Help us be humble about the temptations lurking around every corner to be prideful. Help us to be aware of Satan’s tactics to take us down. Help us recognize his voice when he tempts us to accuse others. He is the accuser. I don’t want to let his thoughts invade my mind and give him access to my mouth to use to attack others with his words.

Let the Holy Spirit alone rule in my heart. Give me Your eyes for other women and men. Give me Your heart and Your mind about them. Let Your Words of life flow from my mouth. Not words that will kill and destroy. Let me look on all other people with compassion, godly love, kindness, and total humility – knowing we all need You. I want to exalt You not myself. Cleanse me and radically transform me to be more like Jesus. I trust You to live in and through me so that I can obey You. I can’t obey You by myself. I can’t repent by myself or come to faith in Christ by myself. I am completely dependent on You, Lord, to cause me to grow and to live in victory over sin.

Amen!

VERSES:

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Prov. 26:12

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

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

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Resources:

Taking Our Thoughts Captive – Peacefulwife VIDEO

Avoiding Gossip – Peacefulwife VIDEO

Giving Friends Godly Marriage Advice

Don’t Expect Outside Support

 

 

 

My Primary Goal As a Wife Has to Be This One Thing

Reminder – I have a conference in Eaton, Ohio February 25th and a conference in Columbia, South Carolina March 24th-25th. You are most welcome to come!

Marriage meets many needs and fulfills a number of purposes in our lives, in our families, the church, and in society. A healthy marriage:

  • Brings stability to society.
  • Teaches the next generation how to have healthy relationships.
  • Is to be a safe place to raise children and for them to learn what love is.
  • Can meet both spouse’s needs for companionship.
  • Can be a place of wonderful friendship.
  • Is the only place where God condones and celebrates sex.
  • Can be a place of romance and fun.
  • Can provide financial stability and resources.

But there is an even greater purpose for marriage that I can’t ever forget.

God’s greatest purpose in marriage is that marriage is supposed to display the gospel of Christ and it is to bring great glory and honor to Him.

My marriage is about so much more than just me. It is about much more than just my husband or just our children. It is ultimately about something infinitely higher.

  • Marriage is to be a living parable demonstrating the relationship between Christ and the church where the husband is to portray the love, humility, selflessness, and sacrificial leadership of Christ. The wife is to portray the honor, respect, and submission of the church for Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33)
  • When we as wives focus on our role and what God calls us to do – the gospel is exalted – and the same is true when husbands focus on the role God gives to them and walking in submission to Christ as Lord.
  • If we choose to disrespect our husbands and dishonor God’s design for us as wives and for marriage, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)

This is a very lofty goal, my precious sisters. Marriage is no longer about me being happy,  me having my way all the time, or me having control. It is not about my husband being the most important thing or about me seeking to please him at any cost. It is about me completely yielding my heart, my mind, my life, all that I am, all that I desire, all of my fears, all of my purposes, my marriage, and my family to God to accomplish His purposes. Whatever He sees fit. My eyes have to be on eternity and God’s kingdom now – not just today or this lifetime.

Now my heart’s cry is:

Not my will, but Yours be done! Luke 22:42

As an individual believer in Christ, my purpose in life is similar.

  • I am to bring glory to God far above anything else. (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • I am to seek His will far above my own. (Luke 22:42)
  • I am to count myself dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ. (Romans 6:11)
  • I am to take up my cross daily. (Luke 9:23)
  • I am to be completely at God’s disposal, His trusted, faithful servant, willing to do anything He may ask of me. (John 14:22-24)
  • I am to view suffering as God’s tool to refine me and to grow my faith. (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-8, 1 Peter 4:12-19)

This changes everything about how I relate to my husband (and everyone else, but we will focus on marriage in this post).

Now I don’t need to ask questions like:

The funny thing is, when I asked questions like this and my heart was not wholeheartedly yielded to God’s, I actually sabotaged my marriage. I kept God out because I didn’t trust Him. Then I was upset because my marriage was a mess. What a confused girl I was!

The scariest place in the world to me now is to trust self and to not trust God. When I yield everything to God and I am in fellowship with Him and His Spirit fills me, He also pours His healing and the spiritual treasures of heaven into my life and through me into my family and those around me. He withholds no good thing from those who belong to Him.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Note  – the only way my walk can be blameless is when I allow God’s Spirit to live in and through me to empower me to obey Him.

Now I ask questions like:

Real peace comes as I know and love Christ wholeheartedly and as I trust Him completely with everything.

God’s Spirit can give us the power to stay when we may not feel like staying because we can look with an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one when we are abiding in Christ. He can give us the ability to love when maybe our husbands don’t deserve it. He can give us the power to treat our men with honor, dignity, and genuine respect – not because our husbands deserve it – but because Jesus deserves our utmost reverence and we want to submit to His Lordship completely.

When I am willing to obey God and I am filled to overflowing with His Spirit, His wisdom, and His power – there is no stopping God! He loves to do miracles and move mountains for those who fully trust Him. But I don’t love Him so that He will do what I want Him to do. I love Him and trust Him to do what He knows is best. I can ask Him to change my desires to match His.

His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine. I can rest in Him and His love and sovereignty no matter what my situation. I can trust His promises to me and anticipate how He is going to bring great good from even the most awful situations because He promised to do just that for those who love Him in Romans 8:28-29.

RELATED:

Verses on Suffering

Verses on the Lordship of Christ

Verses on Taking Up Our Cross

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Spiritual Authority

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

 

What about wives who truly are in danger?

For those who are in very dangerous situations, the goal is still God’s greatest glory. His Word still applies. You still have His love. You are not beyond God’s reach! I pray that you will seek godly counsel and wisdom one-on-one from a trusted Christian counselor or pastor. Pray, seek to hear and obey God’s prompting for you.

I don’t know exactly what God desires every wife to do in every situation. But God has the wisdom each one needs. I don’t want to see anyone hurt or killed. I hate abuse and God sure hates abuse. There should not be hatred, rage, or violence in our relationships as believers.

God’s Word does provide for separation when something very serious is going on that can’t be resolved – in 1 Cor. 7:10-16 – but it is not to be entered into flippantly or without significant reason. This is not God’s primary plan and design for marriage. If we take such a step, as believing wives, we want to be SURE that we are doing so because it is necessary not just that we are unhappy, feeling unloved, or that things are just really hard. Marriage is a covenant between God, my husband, and myself. I want to keep my end of it until death do us part – may God help me to do so!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

She needs to only absorb what Jesus says about her.

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 67 is for her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Calm Down an Angry Husband – by Nina Roesner

How to Deal with Critical People – by Nina Roesner

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

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

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Posts about idolizing our husbands

The Real Motives Behind Perfectionism and People Pleasing

Responding to Criticisms, Rebukes, and Insults

Posts about Insecurity

My Identity and Security Must Be in Christ Alone!

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

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

In His Grip Talks about Not Shutting Down Emotionally

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

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

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

 

Control Girls and Family Christmas – by Shannon Popkin

A guest post by author Shannon Popkin:

I’d like to call a pre-Christmas huddle. Calling all the women in the family please. Can we huddle up for a moment?

I’m calling this meeting because I think there are some hurting women among us. There are some mothers of adult children and mother-in-laws who feel unloved and underappreciated. Their emotions churn as they wonder, “Do my kids even notice all I’ve done for them? Do they even care about me?” And there are some adult daughters and daughter-in-laws who feel stressed out by all of the expectations that they sense coming from the matriarch of the family. Their emotions churn as they wonder, “Does she even see what she’s putting me through, here? Does she see that we’re all trying to make her happy?”

Both feel misunderstood. Both have a very clear idea of how to make things turn out “right”. And neither of them are talking about it. As the clock ticks down toward December 25, the tensions are rising, along with all of the inflated expectations.

Controlling Christmas

Many of these cross-generational tensions that we face stem from our desire for control. As women, we’re particularly interested in creating a Happy Ending for our particular family. We have this inner drive to make everything turn out right. But our heightened expectations only cause us to become more controlling—especially during the holidays.

When I was writing my book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible, I was surprised at the consistency. Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Miriam all lived thousands of years ago, and yet I saw them struggling with control the same way we do: they took matters into their own hands and tried to make things turn out right for their families, based on their own single-focused perspective. And they made the whole family miserable in the process. I also noticed that the only way they found what they were really looking for—abiding peace, satisfying family relationships, and deep security—is when they did the opposite of taking control. When they surrendered to God, and made their story all about Him.

I hope that you’ll consider the many, many lessons that can be learned from these Control Girls of the Bible in my upcoming book. But for now, can I offer a few suggestions? Regardless of where your branch is on the family, tree, here are some gentle suggestions for how to choose surrender, rather than control this Christmas:

  • Christmas can be perfect without being perfect. The food, the table, the decorations, the gifts. All of these things can demand an enormous amount of attention. And the greater our expectations, the greater the stress load—shared by everyone. Let’s ask ourselves this question: What is my main goal? To be a blessing to my family? Or to create a “Pinterest Perfect” Christmas? (The two might very well be mutually exclusive.)
  • Be flexible. The people who share your DNA or your last name are not your property. True hospitality considers the needs and preferences of others. Ask what time for dinner will work best for the baby’s schedule. Let your kids know that it’s fine if they want to come a few days after Christmas, since they’ll be traveling to see the other side of the family on Christmas Day. Don’t expect your parents to make a ten hour trip. Be delighted if they do, but not offended if they don’t. Let’s stop making demands or assumptions. It’s controlling, it’s rude, and it destroys peace rather than sharing it.
  • Traditions are not obligations. Sometimes the most gracious, sensitive thing to do is to break a tradition. Or at least set it aside for a while. Maybe this year your son will want his kids to wake up in their own house on Christmas morning. Or maybe this is the year that Christmas brunch becomes Christmas munch… on leftovers. Every year your family changes just a bit. Let’s ask ourselves, Which am I holding to more tightly—my traditions or my loved ones?
  • For goodness’ sake, remember to help. Holidays are a lot of work, and one person shouldn’t do it all. Not the mom or the daughter. Not the mother-in-law or the daughter-in-law. Share the planning, the cost, the kitchen prep, and the cleanup. And gratefully accept the help that others offer! If your daughter-in-law shows up with a dish, take a generous helping and compliment her on her culinary efforts! If your mom is kind enough to clean her house from top to bottom so that your kids can reverse her efforts in a matter of minutes, the least you can do is pick up before you go. Remind yourself: Be kind, one to another. Especially at Christmas.
  • You better not cry. You better not pout; I’m telling you why: Because you’re sabotaging your own Christmas. Be honest. Ask yourself, Am I sulking? Do I have a complaining heart? Is my attitude sullen? If so, is it because I’m not getting what I want? You might very well not get what you want this Christmas. Or on any But by trying to control (sulking and pouting are forms of manipulation), you only make everyone miserable—including you.

Peace at Christmas

Let’s try something different, shall we? Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. It’s the time that we celebrate our Prince of Peace, coming to earth to set up his kingdom. He wants for there to be peace on earth! And peace in families! And especially peace that extends beyond generational lines.

This sort of peace only comes when we are following Jesus and doing life the way he showed us. How did Jesus live? Toward other people, Jesus was a humble servant. He poured out his life and gave himself up on their behalf. And toward God, Jesus lived a life of deep surrender. He said, “I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30)

So let those be our guardrails. Facing others, we serve. Facing God, we surrender.

Our Control Girl hearts will tempt us, this Christmas, to obsess over recipes and gifts and table décor and whether Johnny’s going to be here on Christmas Eve. But as a Jesus Girl, we’re invited to surrender control and spread peace on earth.

 

 

Bio and Book Info

Author and speaker Shannon Popkin loves to blend her gifts for storytelling and humor with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon’s book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, which is available for preorder, is releasing in January. Shannon is also a contributing blogger at TrueWoman.com.

Shannon is happy to be sharing life with Ken, who makes her laugh every single day. Together, they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. For more from Shannon, please go to shannonpopkin.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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My Husband Blamed Me for ALL of the Problems in Our Marriage – by the Satisfied Wife

ADMIN NOTE:

I am going to be spending as much time as possible with my grandmother who is in her final days or hours this week. I will respond to comments when I am able to. Thanks for your patience and prayers for my family.  I would especially appreciate if some Titus 2 ladies might jump in to help encourage our hurting, struggling sisters as they feel led by the Lord. – April

My apologies for the issue with the last post that went out on email this morning – please ignore it.

————-

A guest post by Satisfied Wife about how to evaluate this issue with a husband who tends to blame his wife for all of the problems in the marriage:

If we try to go off of our own perceptions in life, we will most likely be found to have made some errors. However, if we look to God and His Word, we will not find error, and we can trust His Word to speak truth to us in any situation.

Here are some things that the Bible says about ALL people:

  • There is NO ONE righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10)
  • All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (Is. 53:6)
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

The place to start when trying to figure out what or who might be the one with the issue in the marriage is the fact that no one is righteous apart from CHRIST.

The Bible also says some things about judging others:

  • “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Romans 7:1-5)
  • Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)
  • Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1-3)
  • For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

I see that it is ok to judge MYSELF (asking the Holy Spirit to shine the truth of His light into my heart) and to make sure my heart and life is right and aligned with God’s will. Unless I do this FIRST, I will NOT be able to clearly see what is going on in my marriage – whether I have an issue, or if the toxicity is coming from my husband. When you are in the middle of a marriage relationship where you are trying all you can to change, and seek God, and get your side right, and you may even see progress over time –  it is much much harder to figure out what is going on if you are being blamed for ALL the issues in the marriage, no matter what you do.

STEP BACK AND SEE WHAT YOU ARE BEING BLAMED FOR

Me personally, when I found myself spinning in circles trying to figure out what is wrong with me all the time – and trying to uncover some hidden sin that was causing me to feel like a total failure in my marriage – most times, the Lord led me gently back to the truth about what was really going on in my marriage, and He showed me that I was taking blame for things that were NOT my problem.

If my husband is blaming me for:

  • His bad moods
  • His irresponsible choices (for work, quitting jobs, etc.)
  • His unhealthy sleeping patterns/eating patterns
  • Him not taking ANY time for himself to seek God/rest
  • His harsh, critical, or condemning words towards me
  • His discontentment in life
  • His inability to trust me (when there is absolutely NO reason for him not to)
  • His insecurities
  • His fear
  • His inability to lead our family
  • His withdrawing from me
  • His physical sinful attitudes/actions toward me
  • His inability to love me

Then, in my experience, God has had to show me that I am only responsible for MY own:

  • Choices
  • Behaviors
  • Attitudes
  • Decisions
  • Emotional/spiritual well-being
  • Words/how I treat others
  • Contentment

When once the Lord led me back to this truth that I am no responsible for my husband’s life, choices, attitudes, behaviors, etc…. – I was able to let go of all the weight of carrying blame for things that did not belong to me! I still had some things that WERE my issue and when the Lord shows me my own sin — I repent immediately. No one is perfect.

So the key for me was to first realize that it is often not just either me or my husband – there is most likely sin on both sides.

But then, when once the Lord opens my eyes to my OWN sin—and I REPENT – that is when I am able to see clearly if I am being blamed for things that do not belong to me. When I am allowing God to reveal the truth to me, I am able to discern when my husband is blaming me. And at this point, my evaluation of that is what leads me to find freedom in Christ, and I am able to step back and focus on my own life, and God, and not allow the blame darts to hit any part of me any longer, because once I know the truth, the truth sets me free.

I think evaluating in a godly way has to do with looking at my own life, repenting of any sin, and then being able to see clearly what I am being blamed for. When I can see that it is NOT my responsibility to:

  • Make my husband happy
  • Fix his irresponsible choices
  • Fix his sin issues
  • Mother him
  • Give him security in life/marriage in ways that only God can
  • Meet the deepest needs of his soul

Then I am free to step back and pray, and allow God to work in my husband’s life and heart, while not subjecting myself to inappropriate blame any longer.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

We must weigh criticisms and rebukes against us in the light of God’s Word by the power of His Spirit. Then we can receive any rebuke that is true and repent of our own sin but we can also reject any rebuke or criticism that is from the enemy and that is not true. Reminder – we can have reverence for God, respect for ourselves (right biblical thinking about ourselves), and appropriate respect for our husbands all that the same time. We must have all of these things going on in proper balance.

RELATED:

“Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame for Problems in Marriage?” – Peacefulwife responds to a concern from a reader

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

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

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

25 Ways to Reverence God

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

“My Husband Isn’t As Involved with Our Newborn As I Want Him to Be”

Some of my subscribers did not receive this post as an email yesterday – so I am attempting to re-send. 🙂

My response to a new Mom:

Having a newborn is a pretty stressful time on a marriage. It is stressful for a first-time Mama with all of the sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, adjusting to nursing, adjusting to caring for an infant, trying to get everything just right, etc… And it is stressful for a first-time Daddy as he tries to support his wife and new baby and he is exhausted, too, and he may be feeling a bit left out and neglected. It is also MUCH harder to have the time with God you need.

So – first of all – I vote to give yourself and your husband TONS of grace right now. This is a challenging time. It is a season. Thankfully, it won’t stay like this forever. I promise!

Everything will not be perfect – and will not meet every single possible expectation you may have. That is going to need to be okay. Sometimes there are some expectations we may need to lay down. And even as you are busy and nursing, you can focus on thanksgiving to God, praise to God, and thankfulness for your husband with the few functioning brain cells you have at the moment. 🙂 Satan would LOVE to encourage resentment, bitterness, hurt feelings, division, and strife. Recognize that those are his tactics. Check out these two posts:

My Demon
How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through A Wife’s Thought Life

And this post on laying down expectations may be helpful.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR SOUL AND BODY:

Get in as much praising God as you can. Consciously seek to allow Him to transform your heart. Seek to lay down your will and embrace His will. Listen to the Bible on an app while you nurse/feed the baby. Or read a few verses while you are nursing. Memorize a verse each week or read one impactful verse per day, if a full quiet time is just too much right now. Read other people’s prayers if you don’t have the ability to pray on your own. Check out these “prayer day” posts for some ideas.

Get as much rest as you can, eat well, and be willing to let the less important things go in this season. Talk with your doctor right away and/or a godly counselor if you are feeling really depressed and discouraged or you have thoughts of hurting yourself, the baby, or your husband.

HAVE GRACE FOR YOUR HUSBAND:

Realize that your husband may be feeling uncertain and maybe even left out and unappreciated right now. If you can smile at him, appreciate him, and give him a bit of attention, too, he may really thrive on that. He may also be feeling more pressure to provide well financially than ever before. Men have a lot of hard emotions and thoughts to process, too, when a new baby enters the family.

Sometimes, if a Mama is nursing, it can be difficult for a husband to figure out how to be involved with the baby. Mom has the whole feeding thing down. So, it can seem kind of pointless for a dad to get up in the middle of the night with the baby if he can’t feed the baby. Eventually, as there are more things he can do, and as there are more things the baby can do, he may be able to get more involved.

Also, please remember that newborns can be scary to a new dad. They seem so fragile. A lot of new dads have zero experience with newborns and are afraid they might break them or something. So, do what you can to encourage your husband and to praise him for anything he does right.

As the baby begins to grow and can interact more and take bottles or is ready for spoon-feeding, or starts to smile and laugh and want to play – Dad will probably be able to begin to find more ways to be involved. 🙂

IT’S OK TO PUT THE BABY DOWN SOMETIMES

You can let the baby sit in an infant seat – strapped in – on the floor, or let him lie in his crib sometimes so that you can take a shower or cuddle with your husband. I know that lots of baby books say you can never let a baby ever be alone and that they will feel abandoned if you don’t hold them every single moment. I really don’t believe that is true! I think you can make yourself insane if you try to do that – and I think you can hurt your marriage if you try to do that method, as well.

Take time to give your husband some cuddling and attention, too. Yes, the baby is very important! Take care of her needs. But your husband needs you, too, if you are feeling up to it. You may find you can give nurturing to your baby, your husband (to whatever degree is possible under the circumstances), and yourself. It is just not going to be perfect. If a baby is well-fed, is not sick, is not hurting, is not in danger – and he cries for a few minutes in his crib or infant seat, he will be okay!

You are not going to leave him crying for a long time. You’re a great mom. You will check on him to be sure he is okay. You will also give him lots of cuddles and snuggles. But sometimes it is a good thing for a baby to have some time to figure out how to soothe himself. And sometimes it is also a good thing for a marriage and your sanity for you not to have a baby strapped to your body every single moment – 24/7.

If your goal is to never let the baby not be held and to never let the baby cry at all – in my view, that is a recipe for a disaster in so many ways. Why put that much pressure on yourself? And why make the baby being perfectly content every single moment the greatest goal? Is that even really a healthy goal? There are lots of ways to care for babies. I don’t want us to think we have to stick with one method or book or we are “failures” as a mom. Do what works for your family. If something is creating lots of stress for you, your husband, or the baby –  maybe there need to be some adjustments made.

Here’s a little secret about all of the baby method books and current research – it will all change again in the next few years. That stuff is always changing. What is touted as the most important stuff to do now, will later be replaced by other advice. So – read and try to do the best you can. But don’t make yourself crazy trying to follow every single rule from every single post and book you read – especially things that are not medical or about safety. Use your common sense and your husband’s wisdom, too. (i.e.: if your husband sees you are overextending yourself and asks you to rest, follow his counsel.) Pray, and seek God’s wisdom. Do what you believe is best at the time and be flexible and willing to do things differently if necessary.

ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED RESPECTFULLY

It is okay to ask for what you need or desire! You can respectfully and cheerfully say, “Honey, it would mean so much to me if you had time to hold the baby for a few minutes. I know she would enjoy that. You are such a wonderful Daddy. I’m glad we get to be here together for this.”

You can thank him for working to provide for the family and let him know that you haven’t forgotten him and ask how you might be able to help him feel more part of things or more included with you.

You may also be able to ask for some help from a grandmother or friends or sisters. That is okay, too!

THIS IS A TEMPORARY SEASON

When the baby gets older and is more interactive, the dynamics often do begin to shift. 🙂

Praying for God’s wisdom for you and that you will resist the voice of the enemy, the accuser, and focus on God’s voice and on allowing Him to tenderly lead you and your husband in this time.

SHARE:

If God has given you wisdom in this area that you would like to share with some of our new moms, you are welcome to share in the comments. 🙂

Much love to each of you!

NOTE: If you are interested in coming to my Peaceful Wife Conference in Garnett, KS this Friday and Saturday, please sign up ASAP! We will have to close the ticket sales by Wednesday to get a firm count for lunch. There is a button on the upper right column of my blog that you can click on to see more information and to purchase tickets.

ALSO AN ADMIN NOTE:

My blog was updated on November 5th, but there were a lot of problems and glitches with the update. Many people were not receiving email/Wordpress updates from that day until this morning at 8:30am. I believe everything is fixed now. But you may have missed these posts:

A Summary of the Stages of This Journey

Can I Be a “Peaceful American” Even Now?

My apologies for all of the technical issues!

Why I Put My Wedding Rings Back On – a Guest Post

By a sister in Christ… I’m so thankful for her willingness to share for the first time in a post. I never get tired of hearing how our amazing God heals broken people and relationships:

Bare fingers fussed around the edges of divorce documents. Time had passed long and hollow since the sparkling bands of diamonds and emeralds had graced the ring finger of the two becoming one. I was ready for divorce. I felt done. Yet, I lacked peace.

When I’d last prayed the still, small voice had spoken into my spirit “six months.” Six months what? I’d thought. Six months until he changes? Six months until this nightmare is over? Six months until I stop crying?

I decided to meet a lawyer just to get the legal facts. I’m certain my jaw dropped when she said,

“It’ll be six months until you’ll even get to court. Maybe you want to think about it some more.”

I had felt God wasn’t working and had been thinking the dry season without visible change was His sign I should divorce. Now, I had a stirring of hope. I apologized for doubting Him and counted six months on the calendar – about the time of our vacation to the ocean. Tired of waiting around for him, I had planned it for the kids and me. I would pray about it until then and make my decision when we returned.

In the meantime, I read the book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” and the Peaceful Wife blog. April’s counsel was challenging: turn your eyes to Jesus. Stop making an idol of your husband. My heart was full of unbelief, anger, and unmet needs and hurt. And pride. Other wives felt the same. What sort of crazy road was this? we all wondered? Yet, the women who had gone before us were all singing the same song over our souls: turn to Jesus.

“God is sovereign, not your feelings” April would said. That struck a chord with me.

The time of the vacation arrived. A few days before leaving, we had an argument. Normally I would have been crushed. Angry. Confused. Oh, it hurt. But this time I didn’t give in to the feelings. This time I prayed. And again the still small voice reached out to me through the storm.

Put your rings back on.

When God speaks, the layers of meaning in one sentence, one word, can be endless. I knew immediately the command to put my wedding rings on was a call to fight, to humble myself before Him, to stand strong, to stop being lukewarm about my marriage. I was either all in or I was out. It was time to stop sitting on the fence and crying because things weren’t changing.

I slid the cool metal circles over my ring finger. I felt like an idiot. They were like a sword piercing my pride. He probably doesn’t even know where his ring is – if he even has it anymore. The bitter thought quickly receded, however, when in that one act of obedience I suddenly understood this moment was not about a marriage to a man, but a marriage of a woman to her God. The rings symbolized a vow I had made to my husband, but more than anything else they were an outward sign of a vow I had made to God to stand with Him as a helpmeet to my husband through life.

“I’m so sorry, Lord!” I cried out. As I repented of betraying the commitment I’d made to Him, His Spirit filled me anew. The rings sparkled and danced with life. I’d forgotten how beautiful they were. For a moment the pain of the years lifted and I was a bride once more.

What I noticed next was a prompting of the Holy Spirit to confess out loud that I wanted my marriage to work. This was difficult. Part of me wanted to be free from the hurt and humiliation. I had been encouraged by several friends to file for the divorce and move on. In my heart though, I knew I still loved him and dreamed of having our family together again. I felt ashamed at having this longing in the face of such unlikely odds. The prompting persisted, so alone in the car I would whisper, “I do want our marriage to heal, Lord. I still love him. I love our kids.”

This continued for several weeks. I watched War Room. I made a war room in my laundry room with pictures from my wedding day and each of our children. I posted scriptures and hand written prayers and simple words like Bring him home, Lord.

 I stopped fighting against the guidance of the wives who had gone before me, both in the Peaceful Wife blog and other forums He had sent my way. I let Him make changes in me. I focused on being more sensitive to the Spirit and simply got closer to Jesus. I got out of the way and God moved.

It’s taken some time, but there has been a real softening in my husband’s heart. He has apologized for the years wasted in anger. He listens to me now when I share my heart. He even tells me he loves me and I can hear in the tone of his voice it’s true.

I’ve thrown out the divorce papers and have begun to dream again.

And, yet, more than anything, my heart has the peace of a woman who has put God first, a wife who has learned (and is learning) to die to self in order to be a vessel of His goodness and redemption in another’s life. I thought I knew how to be a good wife. But I never asked Him how to be the wife my husband needed. God didn’t just want my cooperation. He wanted my submission.

Playing at the park today, I saw a woman I hadn’t seen in a long time. She looked at my rings and said “Oh, your rings are so lovely.”

As I pushed my son on the swing, the light of the sun sparkled over them as if imbued with Heavenly majesty. “Thank you.” I smiled. “I think so, too.”

SHARE:

If you would like to share a struggle you have had for a post idea or how God has been working in your heart and light bulb moments God has shown you – you may leave your story in the comments or submit it to me privately on my Contact page. 🙂

I’D APPRECIATE YOUR HELP:

If you have read my book, I would love for everyone to leave a review on Amazon. If I get 18 more reviews, my publisher, Kregel, will provide more funding for promoting the book. 🙂

RELATED:

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord by April Cassidy (book link to Amazon)

God Stopped a Wife’s Divorce Plans

The Bible and Divorce

Kristen’s Story – Being a Peaceful Divorced Wife

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done”

Should You Strive to Keep Your Husband at ANY Cost?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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