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God Changes a Wife’s Heart During a Financial Crisis

 

Photo Credit -freeimages.com Bob Smith
Photo Credit -freeimages.com Bob Smith

From a precious sister in Christ – the same one God is taking from major fear to strong faith:

I am writing to you again to share one more incident that took place yesterday and through which God spoke to me. I am excited when there is even a very small progress in the way I think or behave, so I am sharing it with you once more 🙂

We believe God led us for me to quit my job when I had my first daughter so that I become a stay at home mom and raise her myself. Since then our finances have been very tight and in many instances we saw God provide in very unexpected ways, to find ourselves now, two years later, with a second baby and lacking nothing, though facing various challenges financially.

One of the ways God has provided for us was through state funding. This year, too, we were to apply for this aid that was to help us cover some expenses that have been gathering. It was my husband’s “job” to do this. Yesterday though when I asked him, he realized he had been busy and stressed with work and had forgotten to apply and we had missed the applications date. It is now too late.

I had been planning in my mind which bills we could finally pay off with this fund (this is “my job”). I was shocked and couldn’t believe that he missed something so important for us. He told me he was taking care of it but in the end he missed it, although it should have been a priority in his “to do” list.

So, my first reaction was: “You are kidding me, right? You didn’t apply???”

This could be considered a “usual” response from me, though I wish it not to be such. I felt so greatly disappointed, I felt that he failed to take care of our family in a way that was his responsibility…that I trusted him to take care of this and he failed me. This is my basic trust issue that is causing me to be controlling (as I have described you in the past). I just felt so greatly let down and didn’t know what to do about it.

However, within a few moments, the Holy Spirit started a discussion with me that changed the course of my thoughts.

I started thinking:

  1. My husband is responsible and always trying to take care of us, but he is also just human. That means that he WILL fail me at times, and I should not be so surprised. I am supposed to be gracious, because I also am human, and under the same circumstances, it is possible that I could have failed the same way.
  2. This is to show me where I really put my trust for our family’s provision. Am I focusing too much on the state aid and on us doing everything “right” to receive as much help as possible? Or am I really trusting God to provide for us, with or without the state aid, and despite us not doing everything right? This was the time for me to decide where I was going to put my trust.
  3. Here lies an opportunity that is far more precious than the money. It is the opportunity for me to react as God wants me to react. It is the opportunity for me to change – the opportunity to love my husband and trust God. I really felt in my heart that this is really precious, in a way that it may actually have been better that we lost this fund, if that means that I could be gaining spiritually through this. I really felt that I wanted to grasp this opportunity! This helped me pass the disappointment and hurt to feel joy and peace. It helped me let go of this fund in my heart and rejoice for what God is doing instead.
  4. I felt that this is the opportunity for me to stay committed to my husband and marriage. I married my husband for better or for worse, for when in health or sickness, for richer or poorer. I also married him for when he makes everything right or for when he doesn’t. I married him also for the times that he makes mistakes. There doesn’t need to be a divorce to break this promise. I can still break it in my heart, though still remaining married to him, by not staying connected in my heart to him, not being supportive and not sticking with him through this journey of life, even when he fails. In the end, he is far more important than money.

I think that the marriage vows should also contain a promise that goes something like, “for when my spouse does everything right or for when my spouse makes mistakes and fails”.

After this, I called my husband and told him that it just doesn’t matter that he forgot to apply, that I could have forgotten it too and that God can still provide for us in other ways. Of course, I wish my first reaction was different! I can’t take that back! But still, the whole turn out was absolutely amazing, totally a Holy Spirit work that reminds nothing of my usual attitude, which I hope I can soon refer to as “old and past.” It is exciting, it makes me feel thrilled and it brings tears to my eyes.

The way God changes me – for me, that is the greatest proof that He is alive and present!

Preparing Our Hearts for “Through a Man’s Eyes” by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross

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REMINDER: You may want to join me on Facebook at Peacefulwife Blog for extra insights, prayers, and thoughts to bless your walk with Christ and your marriage. 🙂 (The link is on the right column of my blog.)

Shaunti Feldhahn is one of my favorite authors.

She is a social researcher and Christian author who does large scale, statistically accurate surveys of thousands of men and women (especially those who profess Christ) to discover how we think and relate to each other. Her book, “For Women Only,” was the book that most helped me begin to understand men in general – and was a fantastic place to start to begin to understand my own husband. It gave me frame of reference to begin to have some amazing discussions with Greg about his masculine world, his perspective, the way he thinks, and the issues he faces as a man.

For lots of women, much of the information Shaunti shares from her surveys of men about how they think – is new information that we didn’t ever understand or even hear much about before. It can be a bit overwhelming to process at first for some of us.

The point of learning about how our men think is that we might be better informed, equipped, and empowered to BLESS our husbands, our marriages, our sons, and to please the Lord. The goal is to draw us closer together – not to tear marriages apart.

I have seen some women who read “For Women Only” and completely freak out – permanently withdrawing from their husbands and every man on the planet. These panic/fear-based responses are not God’s desire for us!

One of the reasons Shaunti teamed up with Craig Gross (pastor and founder of www.xxx.church.org – a Christ-centered site to help those who are addicted to pornography or lust) is to explain what it means that men are “visual” in a bit more detail – and to better equip us as women to respond in HEALTHY, productive, godly ways to this information. That is what I want for each of us.

If you believe that you are not able to read about this topic without freaking out in a destructive way – I would encourage you NOT to read my review or Shaunti’s book until you have prayed and believe you are emotionally and spiritually stable enough to read about this. And, if you are not handling this topic well – please seek appropriate godly counseling (in person, one-on-one) to help walk you through this.

  • There are resources at www.xxxchurch.org and www.menarevisual.com that may be helpful, as well.

Rememeber – each man is unique.

There is a continuum of how much men struggle with visual temptation just like there is a continuum with how much women struggle with PMS. For some women, PMS barely exists at all. For some, it is an inconvenience and a hassle for a few days or a week or so each month. For others, it is devastating and destructive to all of their relationships.

Shaunti’s book, “For Women Only,” opened the door for me to bridge a large gap of misunderstanding that I didn’t even realize I had.

I used to think that everyone thought just like I did – regardless of personality or gender. Now I understand that men and women have very different brain structure and brain chemistry – which makes a large impact on how we think and what we think. And, of course, there is room for lots of individual variation between different people, as well.

THIS IS A TOUGH TOPIC

Admittedly, the issue of the struggles and temptations men face (especially battles that are different from the ones we primarily face as women) is probably one of the most difficult topics for women. The enemy doesn’t want us to understand, empathize with, or offer grace to our husbands in their masculine struggles. He doesn’t want our men to understand, empathize with, or offer grace to us in our  feminine struggles either. Our adversary wants to continue to create division, resentment, bitterness, and hatred between men and women, husbands and wives.

The hallmark of believers of Christ is that we have God’s Spirit. And when His Spirit is in charge, not our sinful flesh, we will have His unconditional love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), His Spirit of unity, His peace, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His power in our midst. THAT is the goal, my dear sisters!

PLEASE PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

How I pray that You might prepare each of our hearts to be soft, humble, fully submitted to You, willing to hear Your truth, and receptive to anything You want to share with us as we study the topic of how men think and the temptations they face. Help us remember that each of these men are dearly beloved sons of yours for whom Christ died – or they are wayward sons for whom Christ died and You long to receive them to Yourself.

Together, we lift up every reader of mine and of Shaunti’s who will read about this topic and who will read this book – that the Holy Spirit might work ahead of time in her soul – and that God might use these difficult discussions to break down barriers, bridge the large gap of misunderstanding between men and women/husbands and wives – and bring healing to the Body of Christ, to marriages, to families, and to relationships all over His church in our country and around the world. Stop divorces in Your Body, Lord! Heal wounded marriages. Heal broken wives and broken husbands. Reconcile marriages and strengthen them by Your Spirit’s power to properly display the mystery of Christ and His church for the glory of Your Gospel! I pray that with our increased understanding and knowledge, that we might use this information for GOOD in our homes and churches as You desire us to.

In the Name and power of Christ,
Amen!

A PREVIEW:

One of the most heartbreaking things I read in Shaunti’s new book is the sentiment that that many Christian men in our culture today feel guilty – just for having a male brain.

This should not be! My precious sisters! What a tragic thing that our fathers, our husbands, our brothers, and our sons may feel that they are “wrong” just for being men. Being masculine is a great blessing from God! Sin is wrong. But being masculine in and of itself is not a sin – it is a gift! Just like being feminine is a blessing and is not a sin.

Our culture has been trying to squeeze men into a feminine mindset for many decades now. We have labeled many ways that men think, talk, and act as “wrong.” We have demanded – in our marriages, in our families, our businesses, our schools, and in our churches – that men/boys should think, talk, and act like women/girls. We have all been marinating in the idea that “women are spiritually/morally superior to men” and that women’s sins are not as bad as men’s sins.

These ideas are not biblical!

We are ALL equally sinful before a holy God. We ALL equally and desperately need the blood of Christ to cover our awful sins that grieve God’s heart. We are ALL on level ground at the foot of the cross. None of us are “better than” the other. If we think we are, that is pride and self-righteousness – which are both sins. We each have certain ways we are designed that we can’t really change – but because of sin – we are more vulnerable to temptation in certain areas. But all sin grieves God’s heart. Women are not superior to men. Men are not superior to women.

God made men and women both in His image (Genesis 2). We are of equal value in Christ (Galatians 3:28). He made our differences to be a GOOD thing and to be a reflection of Christ and the church. We are not the same – and we can thank and praise God for that! We need godly masculinity and godly femininity – and the two are VERY different! How I pray we will learn to celebrate the wondrous differences between men and women and how God can bring a man and woman together in unity in marriage for His glory!

I long for men to feel safe and supported being masculine as God intends them to be and I long for women to feel safe and supported being feminine as God intends them to be in our families and the church. How I pray we will all seek to understand one another and to support each other where each is weak, encouraging and spurring one another on toward Christ and holiness!

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My Favorite Marriage Books

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

“Why Does She Get a Better Husband Than I Have?”

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From a precious sister in Christ regarding the issue of our husbands praying with us. I’m so thankful for her willingness to allow me to share her thoughts:

Just had one of those random thoughts regarding this issue, may have come from breathing chicken feathers while cleaning the hen house, lol!

I was thinking about why it bothers me so much when I hear of other women who have men who seem to fit the ideal image; you know – seriously godly man who takes his walk with Jesus seriously, would rather be found dead than put anything ahead of his Lord, takes discpling and leading his family very seriously, wants to lead his wife and seeks God daily for His direction is in the word, when he’s wrong or has sinned, promptly confesses and does what he can to make it right, etc. You know, the kind of man who is upheld as the male version of the Prov. 31 wife.

I think it triggers twin fears:
1. Another sister has been more loved and favored than I. Why her and not me?
2. And of course, the fear that I have somehow wound up with a “dud” and seriously messed up my life.

Of course both those things are still all focused on me.

Don’t know if this amounts to spiritual sibling rivalry or not, hee hee:) But I think that’s it; no one wants to feel that somehow they’ve missed out and they have something that is of far lesser quality than what others have. It’s said that comparison is the basis of feelings of inferiority and there is some truth to that one. It’s not just when I hear of a sister whose husband takes praying with his wife seriously, but when I hear of other sisters who have husbands who bring them flowers or plan romantic surprises or who put an “equal” [in a woman’s eyes] amount of effort into having a “real” relationship.

Such things touch deeply on root issues in my life that are painful, and on response patterns that probably have something to with what sorts of things continually crop up. And of course there is always the whole thing of wanting our sense of value and worth to come from other people instead of Christ. I realize that in a sense, writing this  –  it certainly gives away that I have some areas where even at the age of 50, it’s like I am still a hurt and jealous, insecure child watching what everyone else has to make sure that I am not getting ripped off somehow. Hardly makes me the sort of woman you’d come to for discipling and wisdom on how to be a mature woman of God.

But scripturally, I realize that this is one of those issues that is a trust in God issue at core. And its one of those places that affords the evil one convenient handles to grab onto and mess with us. Its only in Him that such soul snarls can get worked out. I was thinking of the scripture where one of the disciples asked Jesus about another disciple’s future and Jesus responded by saying, ”What is that to you? Come you after me”.

When I looked this scripture up online, I came across John Piper’s article on the Desiring God site about the same subject, which delighted me and I think may prove a blessing to us all : http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-that-to-you-you-follow-me.

FROM APRIL:

Verses about coveting/jealousy

RELATED:

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Facing Our Deepest Fears

Experiencing God’s Victory over Our Fears

The Snare of Comparing

The Roots of Insecurity

Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places

Christ Is the Only Real Source of Security!

Godly Femininity

“He Loves Me. He Loves Me Not.” – Finding Victory over Feelings of Insecurity

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(This post is not for women whose husbands are abusive, are involved in unrepentant infidelity or criminal activity, are initiating divorce with their wives, have uncontrolled mental health problems, or have active addictions to drugs/alcohol right now.)

Thankfully, most husbands are relatively decent men who truly love their wives and long for their wives to be happy, even if their wives can’t always decode that message (Shaunti Feldhahn “For Women Only”).

A minister at our church taught a class the 7 basic needs of husbands and wives a few years ago. The greatest need of a wife, according to him, was – security. I would have to agree!

How easy it is to let our emotions begin to convince us that we are NOT secure in our husbands’ love, or in a thousand other ways.

Doesn’t the enemy know exactly how to strike at us in our thoughts and how to tempt us? (Note – for some of you, the examples I am about to share may be triggers – if you know that this might be the case for you, skip down to the next section with the heading in all caps!)

It’s SO EASY to start thinking things like:

  • My husband hasn’t emailed me in such a long time. I wonder why?
  • My husband barely compliments me.
  • I sent him that text an hour ago. Is he REALLY busy at work, or is he ignoring me?
  • Why didn’t he ever answer my message?
  • My husband never prays with me.
  • My husband doesn’t text me or flirt with me.
  • My husband seems to barely spend any time with me.
  • My husband said something hurtful to me 2 weeks ago. Maybe that is how he REALLY feels about me – even though he apologized. He probably didn’t really mean that apology.
  • So-and-so’s husband compliments her EVERY DAY. She is so lucky! Why can’t my husband be like that?
  • He seems way more interested in the computer, the TV, the tablet, or his video games than he seems interested in me.
  • Does he even love me?
  • Wouldn’t he talk with me and want to spend time with me and emotionally and spiritually connect with me if he really loved me!??!!
  • I feel like he is so far away emotionally and spiritually. Maybe that is because he IS far away emotionally and spiritually. My feelings are probably right! Maybe he really doesn’t love me as much as I love him!?!?!

THIS IS THE PATH TO AN AVALANCHE OF OUT OF CONTROL EMOTIONS, MY DEAR SISTERS!

It is easy to focus on the things we want that we are not getting and to ignore the fact that our husbands did a number of loving things for us in recent weeks.

It is also easy to compare our husbands to other men – whose lives  (and sins and weaknesses) we really know little about. If I am not careful, I might totally forget that he filled up my tank with gas, took the kids to the doctor for me, made supper that night that I wasn’t feeling well, called out our child for disrespecting me, or cuddled happily with me while he watched TV several nights this week (for example).

The negative thoughts just spiral and snowball until we are in a full blown panic attack – convinced that we are alone and unloved in the world. This can happen even with women whose husbands truly do love them dearly. It can happen to the strongest of us who are firmly abiding in Christ normally. If we focus on these fears and emotions – we will be overwhelmed and overcome by worry and anxiety. Then – we will respond to our husbands in a desperate, needy way as we look to them to meet our deepest needs (rather than Christ) – not a Spirit-filled way. This is the path to idolizing our husbands.

I think we are all prone to this kind of attack at times.

The question is – do we trust our unstable feelings and negative emotions and wallow in these awful feelings of despair and hopelessness – or do we trust God’s Word and depend on Christ and rest in our husbands’ love?

WHERE IS MY SECURITY?

I can tell you where it is NOT. It is not in:

– my changing emotions.

– my husband.

– what my husband does or does not do for me.

– my circumstances.

– my negative assumptions about my husband or God.

– in my thorough analysis of my situation and emotions.

in my imagination, my over-thinking, or my worrying.

MY SECURITY IS IN CHRIST ALONE!!!

I can drive myself insane with all of my “what ifs?” and by trying to make uneducated assumptions about my husband’s motives. I can be really, really wrong if I try to do this. For me, instead of believing my feelings and the questions that want to push me toward insecurity – I have to consciously reject those feelings and thoughts and turn to Christ and the truth of His Word as well as the truth I know for sure about my husband.

I need to tell myself things like (please modify the details according to your particular husband and write out your own list in your prayer journal):

RELATED:

Posts about Fear

Posts about Insecurity

Posts about Security in Christ

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Idol of Happiness

I Don’t Have to Be the Most Beautiful Woman in the Room

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

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What a tough, painful, awful question for any wife (or husband) to have to think about. My heart grieves for the many people I hear from who are in this very situation every week. I don’t have God’s wisdom about every possible scenario – only God can show each wife whether He desires her to stay or to leave at a particular time. Many women want me to tell them what they should do. Sometimes there are no easy answers. But this is something that each wife ultimately must decide between herself and God. 

If a husband continues in unrepentant sin – infidelity, drug/alcohol/gambling addictions, has severe and uncontrolled mental illness, is involved in criminal activity, or is genuinely *abusing his wife and/or children – there can be times when God may prompt a wife to leave or to seek appropriate help immediately.

  • Sometimes in really serious situations, this may be a pretty obvious decision a wife may need to make. There are times when it takes a wife leaving or her asking her husband to leave for him to realize the seriousness of the situation.
  • In some less clear cut situations, God may prompt a wife to stay and seek to minister to her husband His way.

God loves marriage and hates divorce (Mal. 2:16, Matt. 19:4-6). Marriage is a sacred covenant that is designed by God to picture the relationship between Christ and His church (Eph. 5:22-33). There are times when separation is necessary, but separation is not the general goal of marriage. If we must separate, we can do so while praying for God to bring about repentance from any sin, spiritual/emotional healing in Christ, and reconciliation for the marriage (I Cor 7:10-16).

Separation is a very serious thing, and not something to enter lightly. I don’t believe it is wise to bring up the topic of divorce for a believer. It is difficult to find much biblical support for a believer in Christ to initiate divorce (with very few exceptions).

I would want to spend SERIOUS time in fervent prayer and fasting before beginning to consider talking about separation unless there is an emergency situation involving safety. This is a life changing decision that could have extremely negative consequences for everyone in the family. Much caution and godly wisdom will be necessary here!

Some questions I would want to prayerfully wrestle with and consider if I found myself in a very difficult situation of trying to decide what God desires me to do (these questions cover a very wide range of possible situations):

– Do I accept that my husband has free will from God just like I do? He cannot force me into decisions and I cannot force him into decisions. God doesn’t override our free will and we don’t have the right to override people’s free will. We can ask for what we want respectfully. We can say what we are and are not able to do. We can set boundaries and limits on what behavior we will accept. We may have to change our own behavior in response to what our husbands do. But I cannot demand that my husband do what I want or force him to do what I want any more than he has the right to do that to me – even if I believe I am right.

Do I understand proper boundaries in a relationship? I am responsible for myself, my emotions, my decisions, my behavior, my sin, and my obedience to God. My husband is responsible for himself in those areas. I cannot change my husband. He cannot change me. We are not responsible for our spouse’s happiness. We can seek to bless them and we may influence them, but they are responsible for themselves.

– Am I a people pleaser? Do I seek my husband’s approval (or someone else’s approval) more than the approval of Christ?

– Am I acting like a martyr?

– Do I have pride or self-righteousness in my heart?

– Do I want to leave simply because I am not happy at the time? Is it possible I could be placing too much emphasis on my current level of happiness? In my pursuit of my own temporary happiness, am I willing to wound my husband and children and destroy my family? Is happiness God’s greatest goal for me? Or does He want me to be holy, faithful,  obedient, and pleasing to Him primarily? Are my changing emotions more important to me than my covenant with Christ or with my husband?

– What will the cost be to my husband, children, others, and myself if I stay? What will the cost be if I go?

– Do I long to obey God more than anything, even if it is a painful path?

– Am I willing to allow God to “prune me” spiritually?

– Am I willing to trust God and embrace whatever good purposes He has for me and my family in the midst of my pain (Rom. 8:28-30, James 1:2-4)?

– Am I trying to be a godly wife in my own strength instead of resting in Christ and allowing His power to fill me?

– Am I trying to use guilt to manipulate my husband into doing what I want him to do?

– How does God desire me to partner with Him to draw my husband to Himself so that I am not a stumbling block and so that I don’t get in God’s way in my husband’s life? Is this a time of not using words but showing my husband my godly, respectful, cooperative attitude (1 Peter 3:1-6)? Is it a time when I need to confront my husband’s sin? Or do I just need to leave quickly for my own safety or our children’s safety without any discussion?

– How does God desire me to respect Him, respect myself, respect my marriage covenant, respect my husband, and respect our children in this trial?

Am I overdoing respect and submission in a destructive way?

– Am I being controlling or disrespectful?

– Am I meeting my husband’s needs for things like respect, honor, love, and sex – even if I think he is not meeting my needs adequately – unless there are severe issues going on that keep me from being able to meet his needs? (Eph. 5:22-33, I Corinthians 7:1-5)

– Am I being the wife God desires me to be?

– Do I believe I am justified in God’s sight to sin against my husband if my husband sins against me? God never gives any of us a free pass to sin or accepts excuses for any sin. Sin is always sin, even if we are being sinned against. God desires us to respond in the power of His Spirit and overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21, Gal. 5:18-25)

– Is my husband actually sinning against me according to God’s Word? Or is our struggle simply a matter of different personal convictions?

– What do I need to do so that I am as close to God as possible, being nourished spiritually, filled with His Spirit, and abiding in His Word?

– Do I possess and wear the full armor of God each day? (Eh. 6:10-17)

– Do I view my husband as the enemy – or do I see past him to the real enemies – sin and Satan? (Eph. 6:12)

– Do I understand Satan has a plan to steal, kill, and destroy in my marriage? (John 10:10)

– Am I able to let go of any bitterness and forgive my husband? That doesn’t mean I need to trust him until he is willing to rebuild trust. But am I willing to get rid of the poison of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness in my heart so that I am right with God and I don’t give the enemy a foothold in my heart and life? (Matt. 6:14-15, Eph. 4:27)

– Do I need outside, godly, biblical, experienced help?

– Am I safe? Are our children safe? Do I need to involve the police?

Am  I willing to hold my husband loosely and cling to Christ alone – knowing He is sufficient for me and that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (2 Cor. 12:9, Phil. 4:12-13)?

Are there any expectations I need to lay down? Are any of my expectations unbiblical?

– Do I have any idols in my heart – things that I cherish and desire more than Christ? Is Christ truly my greatest desire? Is He the Love of my life?

– Is there anything I might be doing (attitudes, beliefs, words, thoughts, or actions) that could contribute to the toxic atmosphere in our home that God desires me to change (Matt. 7:1-5)?

What sin is in my life do I need to address?

– Am I willing to let God change me first instead waiting for my husband to change first?

– Am I willing to obey God even if my husband never changes without being bitter at God or my husband – understanding that this is all about me and Jesus and that how I treat my husband is a barometer of how I treat God?

– What resources does God have for me in this situation? (the Bible, biblical books, blogs, godly counselors, prayer, prayer partners, means of provision)

– What are my motives in wanting to stay? Do they honor Christ, are they based on I Corinthians 13:4-8 love, or are my motives based in fear or idolatry of my husband?

– What would my motives be if I decide I need to go? Do I have righteous anger or sinful anger? Do my motives to honor Christ or am I filled with hatred and a desire for revenge? Am I trying to punish my husband?

– Am I willing to seek to bless my husband (no matter how he responds) from a position of great strength and power in Christ – not as a doormat and not as a controlling wife?

– Am I seeking to understand my husband, realizing that there may be a lot of things I don’t know about his motives and actions? Am I unfairly assuming he has evil motives?

– Am I willing to seek to obey and honor Christ alone in my relationship with my husband knowing I will answer only to Him when this short life is over (Matt 25:21)?

– Am I secure in my identity in Christ no matter what my husband does?

– Am I able to hear God clearly (Isa. 30:21)?

– Am I praying so that God will hear my prayers about my husband?

– Am I willing to obey God whatever He asks me to do?

– Am I filled with His Spirit?

– Am I seeking God’s greatest glory above all else? That is my highest purpose in life (1 Peter 2:12).

SHARE:

If you have been in such a situation (as a husband or a wife), what other questions would you suggest wives ask themselves as they wrestle in prayer over this painful decision and seek Christ above all else? What encouragement would you share for those who are hurting?

If you are struggling right now and need prayer, you are welcome to ask for prayer and God’s wisdom. We may not know what God desires you to do. But we can pray with you for God to show you as you seek Him with all your heart!

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3

* Some women are being terribly abused and that is not right! Not ever! No one should ever be mistreated and abused in any way. God hates all sin. All sin is destructive. What makes the word “abuse” complicated is that some wives think they are not being abused but they are not. I want to be careful here! When I talk about abuse – I am talking about a spouse genuinely seeking to hurt the other spouse emotionally, spiritually, financially, or physically – not just that a husband has a different opinion, is asking for respect, wants his wife to honor his appropriate leadership, or wants a wife to keep a balanced check book. I hope that makes sense!

For wives in very difficult marriages, I encourage you to check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. It is a private forum where women can encourage each other and there is instruction in how to think rightly of ourselves and how to heal in Christ first so that we have the wisdom and the Spirit of God to know how to address issues in our marriages properly.

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When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

The Bible and Divorce

A Husband Teeters on the Edge of Divorce

Some Ideas That Helped Me Destroy My Marriage

RELATED TO ABUSE:

Do I Condone CDD or BDSM?

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Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

April - 01-2010
April – 01-2010

There seems to be so much confusion around the concept of biblical submission for wives. I’d like to discuss today something that biblical submission is not because a number of women think they hear me say that biblical submission means passivity:

  • I shouldn’t ever say how I feel or what I want.
  • I should have no opinions.
  • I should never disagree with my husband.
  • I should never share my insights, perspective, wisdom, or concerns with my husband.
  • I should be quiet all the time.
  • I should smile all the time.
  • I should let my husband decide everything in our marriage without any input from me whatsoever.

I am completely heartbroken to think that ANY wife would ever live like this!

This is not biblical submission. For a wife to give up all of her ideas, her personality, her influence, her identity, her personhood, her emotions, and her input would be complete passivity and inactivity – not biblical submission. I am not sure how I can be more clear than this. I don’t know ANY healthy husband who would want his wife to act like this. All of the remotely decent husbands who comment here want wives who can think and feel and be intelligent partners with them.

Instead of passivity, biblical submission means:

In our own human strength, apart from Christ, the best we can do as men or women is to be passive and uninvolved or dominant and controlling. We tend to swing from one sinful extreme to another. But there is this place in the center where we can soar far above human ability as God’s Spirit empowers us. That is where we must be as godly men and women – in the center of God’s design for masculinity or femininity.

John Piper (pastor) and Wayne Grudem (general editor of the ESV version of the Bible) define submission in marriage in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:

“Submission refers to a wife’s divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It is not an absolute surrender of her will. Rather, we speak of her disposition to yield to her husband’s guidance and her inclination to follow his leadership. Christ is her absolute authority, not the husband. She submits “out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21). The supreme authority of Christ qualifies the authority of her husband. She should never follow her husband into sin. Nevertheless, even when she may have to stand with Christ against the sinful will of her husband… she can still have a spirit of submission – a disposition to yield. She can show by her attitude and behavior that she does not like resisting his will and that she longs for him to forsake sin and lead in righteousness so that her disposition to honor him as head can again produce harmony.” (pg. 61)

Real biblical submission begins when a believer (man or woman) yields control of his/her life fully to Christ as Lord.

We die to our old sinful self. We die to sin. We die to wanting our will more than anything else. Then we are living for Christ through His power in us. We embrace and promote His will. We become His ambassadors. We allow Him to love through us. We allow Him to influence and bless others through us. We take up His desires, His priorities, His goals, His wisdom, His heart, His mind, His power, and His Spirit. Christ allows us to keep our personalities, our personhood, our human emotions, our own free will, and our own thoughts and opinions. We do not become mindless robots. We do not unplug and sit like an abandoned, unplugged, old computer in a closet. We are intelligent, emotional, spiritual beings who are able to think on our own – but we willingly yield our lives to Christ, trusting Him to lead us through our husbands.

  • When He prompts us to be quiet and pray – that is what we do.
  • When He prompts us to speak up respectfully, that is what we do.

From this position of great strength in Christ, we submit to our husbands.

This means, we honor their God-given leadership and we treat them with genuine respect because they are our husbands and because God commands that we do this. We do it to honor Christ above all else. The main time that submission is an issue is if a husband and wife cannot agree. In fact, if we always agreed, there would be no need for submission. But we will not always agree – which is why submission is necessary in marriage – in order for one person to be ultimately accountable to God for the decisions and management of the family.

When I don’t agree with Greg, I share the issues I have respectfully as God prompts me to – and then I let Greg know that I trust him to make the best decision for our family as I pray for God to direct him and give him His wisdom. Ultimately, my trust is in Christ Jesus and His sovereignty to work in our lives – not in Greg. God’s wisdom is worthy of all of my trust. (By the way, there are plenty of things a biblically submissive wife will decide on her own, within the parameters of the loving leadership of Christ and her husband. She doesn’t need to run every single possible issues past her husband, usually just the bigger ones that they agree on.)

We are to share our concerns, our ideas, our feelings, our perspective, our wisdom, our desires, and our perspective with our husbands. We have “influence authority” just like a king’s advisor has. The king has “positional authority” and his advisor has “influence authority.” I may choose to use my influence authority to influence my husband to sin – like Eve did. Or I may choose to use my influence authority for God and to bring praise and glory to God like Esther did with the king, her husband.

It would be tragic for me to take the abilities and influence God has given me and bury it all in the dirt and do absolutely nothing with it. No! May it never be!!!

We are accountable to God to use the gifts, talents, abilities, and opportunities He has given us for His purposes and His glory. We are His servants and He expects us to influence our husbands for Christ and to shine for Jesus in our homes. Check out Proverbs 31 to see how industrious, intelligent, capable, wise, thoughtful, and useful a godly wife is supposed to be. We are responsible for our own spiritual growth in Christ. We are responsible for our own emotions.  We are responsible for our own sin and our own obedience to Christ Jesus.

We cannot shine for Christ if we lay down and become completely passive and do nothing. What is the purpose of us even being there if we are not being godly stewards of the position God has given to us as wives and mothers?

I hope that this might help to clarify some of the confusion some ladies have had and prevent women from attempting to become passive, inactive, and invisible in their homes and relationships.

Much love to each of you!

RELATED:

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Submission Does Not Mean the Husband Is Always Right

Submission Does Not Mean Being a Doormat

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Godly Femininity

Godly Spiritual Leadership

What Is Biblical Submission?

How Respect and Biblical Submission Impacted a Husband’s Soul

Submission (to Christ) Means Holding Things of This World Loosely

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Share How I Feel or What I Need?

A Wife Can Be TOO Submissive!

My Beliefs about Marriage – The Danvers Statement

“Some Ideas That Helped Me Destroy My Marriage”

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From a dear sister in Christ in whom God has been working mightily. How I thank her for her willingness to allow me to share her story. May her experiences be a lighthouse that warns us not to follow in her same path, that we might not wreck our lives and marriages in a similar way.

The first issue I see is the belief that “feelings equal reality and truth.”

It’s better to regard feelings as lights on your dashboard that indicate there is a problem, than the whole gospel truth about something. Our feelings are usually clouded by our life experiences, hurts, and beliefs we’ve developed over the years. One’s faith has to be shifted to God’s feelings about things as shown in the Word, because His feelings and thoughts are never clouded by sin, hurt, or anything else.  They are always truth and reality.

  • When we depend on our feelings, we (may be) refusing to believe God. Our feelings will just continually reinforce themselves, leading us in an ever-tightening emotional circle that chokes us to death, as we bend to a false reality and try to require others to bend to it to.

The second issue I see is a root of rejection.

When that root is there in your heart, no matter what someone says to you or does to love you, it will get cancelled out. So the solution won’t be getting your husband to behave as you like him to because he isn’t the problem, the root is.

  • The greater weapon of warfare here is to be rooted in Christ and confident in our value through Him rather than reactive withdrawal into fleshly states and heart attitudes when we can’t get what we need from someone else.

It’s self-defeating to react to feeling rejected by rejecting that person – and it actually plays right into the devil’s mode of operation to kill, steal and destroy. In fact it amounts to repaying evil – real or perceived – with evil.

One thought about our feelings is that they can be part of the flesh that needs to be put to death. Our feelings tend to respond to how our mind interprets reality, so reprogramming our minds with truth will have the same effect on our hearts.

I’d hate to see anyone destroy their own lives the way I did because of these kinds of responses. I remember once some ladies who did prayer and intercession in our church at the time trying to counsel me to stop agreeing with the devil’s definition of who my husband was. I was having none of it. If he acted like a jerk then to me that’s who he was and I was going to say so! It made me mad to be asked to uphold his value when I felt he was denying mine.

What I didn’t get is that they were asking me to align my heart’s motives and thus, my words, with God’s intentions and plans for him, and to agree with God as to how God valued him, and to move away from being so self focused on what I wanted in the exact way I wanted it. I wish I’d been mature enough to listen.

My failure to listen resulted in my sin destroying a marriage/family/home. I could have been part of the solution but I didn’t have the maturity to take that kind of responsibility in my life. I wanted to be taken care of, not have to actually be responsible to take care. My ex-husband had some very immature behaviours including noticing every attractive woman.

I think because I was very needy and demanding in some ways, and would get mad if he did anything to negtively effect my self esteem, which was probably a bit of an idol at that time, this was to some degree a reaction on his part to my disrespect. The more I tried to control it, the worse it became. If only I’d focused on my attachment to Christ instead of to him, it would have turned out very differently. Hope this might have some helpful nugget in it.

SHARE:

What are some destructive thought patterns you have seen in your own life or in other marriages? How has God helped you see the lies and embrace His truth and healing?

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