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The Cure for My Compulsion to Control – Part 2

We are continuing a series that started earlier this month:

Once I see that God is God and I am not and I begin to rebuild my thinking on His Word and truth alone, I am ready to begin the next phase of healing from my controlling ways.

GOD’S TRUTH WILL SET ME FREE IN EVERY AREA

I allow God’s Light and Truth into the the deepest foundations of my spiritual beliefs about every topic. I invite Him to help me completely tear out my old foundations and fixed beliefs that I have cherished for so long. Then I invite the Lord to help me begin to build on Jesus Christ and His Word alone.

  • Anything that is not from Him has no place in my life and has to be trashed. It is poison.
  • Anything that is from Him, I must embrace wholeheartedly even if I don’t understand it or like it at first.

I have to be ruthless about this. And yes, it is painful. But extremely necessary.

This is the path to peace and miraculous spiritual healing and deliverance. If I don’t do this, I will suffer a lot more pain in the long run. This is not a one-time-and-done thing – it is the path I will continue to take for the rest of my life. There are layers that God will reveal to me and I deal with each one as I see it. It is part of the refining and pruning process.

I have to be willing to question the things I have believed – maybe things I have thought were true since I was very young. I need to question the things I learned and absorbed growing up and even as an adult. Just because I have thought something was true for a long time, doesn’t mean it is true. Just because it feels familiar and feels safe, doesn’t mean I can keep it.

It is ALL about Him from now on and about what He says and how He sees me and everyone and everything.

I read my Bible with new eyes, inviting God to:

  • Teach me!
  • Change me!
  • Heal me!
  • Show me Your wisdom!
  • Empower me to obey whatever You ask of me!

I commit that I will obey God and do things His way from now on – with any passage I can clearly understand. And if I don’t understand something in scripture, I will seek to understand and obey. I commit to learning sound doctrine and to handle scripture rightly. Whatever God asks me to do, I know it will be the best thing for me, for my marriage, for my family, for the kingdom, and for His glory. Bringing Him glory is my highest purpose!

For me, the next step in healing was to see God’s design for authority for His people.

GOD DESIGNED A SPECIFIC AUTHORITY STRUCTURE FOR ALL BELIEVERS

Authority

When Christ is Lord, I also yield to His structure of authority in my life according to 1 Cor. 11:3, Rom. 13:1-3, and other scriptures. I don’t buy the world’s messages or trust my own human reasoning.

God chooses to lead me (and all believers) through His Spirit, His Word, prayer, circumstances, and also through people in places of designated authority in my life: church leaders, government leaders, police officers, managers at work, my husband at home, and parents for underaged children. He provides people in leadership positions to protect, provide for, bless, lead, and create order for His people.

Of great importance – in God’s design, positions of authority/roles have nothing to do with a person’s value. This is the opposite of the world’s system where greater authority = greater value.

Every person has equal value in His eyes. Each of us are made in His image (Gen. 1:27). Men, women, different races of people, older people, young people, and babies are all precious and dearly loved by the Lord. We are all co-heirs with Christ (Gal. 3:28). If anything, God has a special place in His heart for those with the least amount of authority – children, babies, the unborn, orphans, widows, refugees, migrants, and the poor. The purpose, in God’s kingdom, for this authority structure is that those who have the most strength and power are supposed to use their gifts to bless, provide for, nurture, and protect those under their care. And those who are in positions to lead are held to higher standards by the Lord.

For more on the concept of God’s structure for authority in every area of our lives, please check out these foundational posts:

I need to know who has the God-given proper authority in various areas of my life.

I know that God has ultimate authority and sovereignty over the universe. Then when I understand what humans are in places of God-given authority and what their responsibilities are vs. what my responsibilities are – I learn to stay within my healthy boundaries and I don’t try to take on authority/decisions that don’t belong to me. If I usurp someone else’s position of God-given authority and try to do someone else’s God-given job or if I disrespect those in positions of God-given authority, I will bring judgment on myself according to Romans 13:1-3.

When I honor God’s design in any area of my life, including this one, it leads to so much weight being taken off of my shoulders and leads to His peace as I trust Him, honor His will for me, and don’t try to control things that are not mine to control. Then I am cooperating with and submitting to God rather than fighting Him. I can’t please Him if I am opposing His methods.

God leads His people through human leaders to teach us to trust Him and to increase our faith. He did it with Moses. Some men rebelled against the authority of Moses during the exodus – and they paid a hefty price (Korah’s rebellion) because:

God counts rebellion against people in positions of God-given authority as rebellion against Himself.

God also led His people in the New Testament through the apostles and then through elders, deacons, pastors, prophets, and teachers. He accomplishes His will through kings, queens, presidents, and governors. He works through our managers and bosses at work. He works through our police officers and military leaders. He works through our husbands – even unbelieving ones – to lead us into His will. And He works through our parents and teachers when we are children.

God always has a clear authority structure for us to follow. It is His choice and part of His wisdom to lead us in this way “through cords of human kindness” (Hosea 11:4). If a person in a position of God-given authority abuses that position or asks us to defy God or His Word, then we must choose to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). We don’t blindly follow people. We must use discernment. We don’t follow people into sin or away from God. God is the only one we can trust absolutely.

God uses our willingness to honor human God-given authorities to help us learn humility – which is one of the most important virtues in His sight – and to grow spiritually. Until we learn to properly submit to a person in authority, we can’t act as a person in authority in godly ways.

Note – I don’t want to allow people to abuse authority in my life and I don’t want to allow other people to take over the decisions and responsibilities that belong to me. If someone in a position of God-given authority is abusing his/her position, there should be other authorities over that person to whom we can respectfully appeal.

BEING IN A POSITION OF GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY

When I have a position of God-given authority – I am a boss, a government official, a police officer, a teacher, or a parent of underage children – I must humbly always keep in mind that the purpose of God giving me such a position is always to accomplish His will and His purposes. It is not about me. It is about taking proper care of His beloved people and about doing His will. It is about dying to self, not becoming a tyrant.

Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-27

 

 

Note – I have a whole chapter in my new book, The Peaceful Mom, that is releasing March 27, 2018 that may be a blessing. It is all about how we develop skewed thinking and how to correct it. There is a very helpful chart with a large number of lies we may be tempted to believe, the truth of the Bible, and scripture references to support those truths.

RELATED

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

 

The Cure for My Compulsion to Control – Part 1

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

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

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

THE CURE FOR MY COMPULSION TO CONTROL IS VERY SIMPLE

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

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

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

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

Here is reality:

Goddiagram

 

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

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

THE TRUTH

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

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

Just to recap, my actual responsibilities are to:

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

God3

 

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

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

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND WILL

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

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

freewill3Godsperfectwill

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

THE FIRST STEP ON THE PATH TOWARD PEACE

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

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

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

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

RELATED

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

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

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

The Pain That Pushes Us to Control

Surrendering the Burden of Controlling My Husband – by Shannon Popkin

 

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

The Attributes of God – by www.gotquestions.org

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

In the Image of God – by John Piper

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

 

RELATING PROPERLY TO GOD

Humility – by Andrew Murray

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

 

The Pain That Pushes Us to Try to Control

Photo by Civalias Kune on Unsplash

In my experience with women who feel they have to be in control of situations and other people, there is usually some level of trauma or hurt in her past. The level of trauma can vary. But usually something happened that caused her, as a young girl, to develop the following kind of thinking:

  • The people who are supposed to be in charge are weak. (Maybe they are incapable, absent, traumatized, or addicts.)
    • My parents can’t even take proper care of themselves. I have to be the adult and take care of them.
      • I have to be the savior for my parents.
    • My parents can’t/won’t take care of the household. I have to take care of it.
    • They are not able or willing to take proper care of me. So I have to take care of myself or no one else will meet my legitimate needs.
      • I have to be the savior for myself.
    • I have to protect my  younger siblings or something awful will happen (maybe something awful did happen, and I felt I should have been able to prevent it but I failed).
      • Our parents have failed my siblings.
      • My brothers and sisters need me.
      • I am the only one who can help them.
      • I am responsible for their lives, safety, and wellbeing. I am the parent now.
      • I have to be the savior for my siblings.
  • I am responsible for other people.
    • I am responsible for my parents.
    • I am responsible for my siblings.
    • I am responsible for other people in the world.
  • I have to take some of God’s sovereignty on my shoulders because if I don’t, everything will fall apart.
    • People who are in positions of authority in my life have failed me.
    • They seem wimpy and weak.
    • Everything is up to me.
    • It is my duty and responsibility to be sure things go right.
    • It would be irresponsible of me not to take care of other people because I am the only one who can.
    • I can’t be irresponsible and cause other people to suffer like I suffered.
    • I can’t be irresponsible and cause myself to suffer again.
    • Yes, this weight of responsibility for everything and everyone is way too much, but if I set it down, it will result in catastrophe like I have experienced before.
    • Stress, worry, anxiety, and bitterness are just the price I have to pay for having to be in charge. There is no way around those things. This is what love is.
    • I can’t trust anyone else. They will fail me.
    • People in positions of authority represent God to me, and so I have to conclude that God must also be weak, incapable, or absent.
    • I can’t really trust God.
    • I can only trust myself.
    • I have the wisdom that people need. Only I can help everyone.
    • I have to be the savior for everyone.
  • I am not secure financially, emotionally, relationally, or physically. 

Some Things That May Have Been Triggers:

  • Someone got hurt and she took full responsibility and believes it was completely her fault (even if it really wasn’t). She can’t forgive herself. She feels compelled to prevent something like that from ever happening again. She feels overly responsible for other people because of this.
  • Perhaps her dad was very passive or absent and her mom was completely in charge and had a controlling personality and being a controlling woman/wife/mom just seems “normal.”
  • She may have been the oldest child and was given, or felt she had to take, extra responsibility for her siblings and felt she had to act like a parent more than a sibling.
  • Her pastor or parents may have taught, or she may have misunderstood, that people’s free will is huge and God’s sovereignty is very small.
  • She may have heard that she is responsible for making sure people go to heaven or it will be her fault they end up in hell.
  • She may have witnessed some horrific tragedy or accident at school or somewhere else and blamed herself for not being able to stop it or for not being able to save everyone.
  • She may have been taught that God does not exist and she can only depend on herself.
  • She may have personality traits tend to lean toward being a fixer, doer, and in charge.
  • Her sinful nature is happy to help promote control and pride.
  • She may have bought some of the messages of radical feminism, even if she didn’t study it, just by absorbing it from our culture.
    • Women should be in charge.
    • Men are evil.
    • Women are goddesses and are always good.
    • Men are idiots.
    • Women are very wise.
    • God either doesn’t exist or He is a woman.
    • You can’t depend on the God of the Bible.
    • The Bible has no authority over our lives as women.
    • The Bible is not true.
    • The church has no authority over our lives.
    • No God-given authority in scripture has any right to guide, lead, or direct women.
    • Everything rests on your shoulders as a woman to take care of yourself.

The bottom line is this:

  • She believes she must make sure everything turns out okay and that it is her responsibility to do so.
  • She has a small, wimpy, or non-existent picture of God and a picture of herself as big, strong, and powerful.
  • Self is on the throne of her life, not God.
  • She is ensnared by pride and unbelief.

She develops some skewed thinking about God, others, relationships, and herself. That skewed thinking becomes the foundation of her understanding for how to relate in marriage and family later.

When someone’s core beliefs about God, other people, relationships, and themselves get skewed (and all of us experience this to some degree) – the only way to heal is for that person to be willing to examine these core beliefs against real truth. We must learn to take our thoughts captive for Christ. That is a scary thing. A painful thing – at first. But it is a necessary pain that leads to healing. Kind of like the pain of having a wound full of gangrene debrided. It is necessary to get rid of the toxins and the lethal infection. As we tear out the faulty foundations in our thinking, we can invite God to help us build all of our fixed beliefs about important topics on His Word and truth alone.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matt. 7:24-27

 

We all tend to develop wrong thinking as children. Then we build our lives on those messed up beliefs. But when we build on anything other than the truth of God’s Word, we are building on sinking sand. Things begin to collapse the farther we go along in life because the foundation of our belief system is faulty.

It takes great courage to be willing to examine our fixed beliefs and to question them. And to allow the Lord to show us His infinitely higher way of thinking. We have to tear out the old foundation and rebuild a new foundation for our belief system on Jesus and His Word. It is hard. But it is worth it.

As we do this, we have the incredible blessing and gift from the Lord of finding spiritual, emotional, and relational healing in Christ.

Next week we will dig further into the cure for a compulsion to control.

SHARE:

If you struggle with control, is there a specific event or situation in your past that you can link to this struggle? You are welcome to share with us.

Much love!

RELATED:

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced (My new book, The Peaceful Mom, will have a whole chapter on this issue with a chart of lies we tend to believe vs. the truth of God’s Word – the book releases March 27th, 2018).

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

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

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ – VIDEO

Facing Our Deepest Fears

Experiencing God’s Victory over Fear

But I’m Right! I’m the Better Leader. I Should Be in Charge.

Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

My Husband Is Not a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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

The five love languages Chapman writes about are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHERISHING RESENTMENT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION

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

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

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN CHRIST LEADS TO ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARE:

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

Much love!

 

 

 

 

How Marriage Books/Blogs/Seminars Can Be Dangerous

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

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

Too Quiet <——> Too Talkative

Passive <——-> Controlling

Self-harming <——-> Other-harming

Doormat <——> Bulldozer

Conflict Avoiding <——-> Conflict Starting

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

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

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

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

TWO BIG DANGERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER POSSIBLE DANGERS

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

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

SOME SIGNS THAT A RESOURCE MAY NOT A GOOD FIT

It causes us to feel:

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

This requires wise discernment from the Holy Spirit.

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

SOME SIGNS THAT A RESOURCE MAY BE A GOOD FIT

It causes us to:

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

WE ALL NEED THESE THINGS FIRST

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

Spiritual Healing in Christ – by Radiant

The power of the Holy Spirit

A Renewed Mind – by John Piper

Time Alone with God – by Francis Chan

Time in the Word of God

PRAYER

Lord,

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

Amen!

SHARE

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

————————-

RESOURCES

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

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

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

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

WHY DO I WANT TO BE QUIET?

Some Not-So-Productive Reasons to Be Quiet

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

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

Some Good Reasons to Be Quiet

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

RELATED VERSES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARE:

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

Much love!

April

RESOURCES:

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

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

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

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

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

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

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

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

Handling Political Disagreements Respectfully

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

Overlooking Insults

Am I His Prosecuting Attorney?

Me in 2003 – 5 years before the Lord opened my eyes

MY OLD WAYS

Ugh. This describes me for so long in our marriage. I would often decide we had an issue. I would think nonstop about it all day – determining all the questions I would ask Greg so I could verbally nail him to the wall. I was completely sure I knew all kinds of evil motives he must have had toward me. I spent hours carefully gathering my evidence against him so I  could prove to him how wrong he was with all of my strong arguments.

When he would get home – there was no happy welcome or smile from me on those days. I lit right into him. I was in “prosecuting attorney mode”  – determined to get him to admit how wrong he was and how right I was about any and every little issue as I cross-examined him under a microscope. That was all that mattered to me at the time – being right. I had no idea what I was doing to Greg or our relationship.

Of course, if he dared to address an issue in my life, even the smallest thing, I would all-out viciously verbally attack him. I was the only one allowed to do the questioning. I was the only one allowed to confront. Not him. I could disagree with him. But he best not disagree with me or he would suffer my wrath.

I was dumbfounded that I would ask all of my carefully crafted questions and he refused to say anything. Oh, that made me so mad! Fighting mad. I escalated my volume and vitriol when that happened, thinking he would surely answer me if I increased the intensity of my attack. I would make him answer! I thought he didn’t say anything because he knew I was right and he had no ability to defend himself against my superior reasoning abilities and character. I thought he was quiet because he was guilty of all of my accusations against him.

Many years later, after God opened my eyes to all of the sin to which I had been so blind for over 14 years in our marriage – I was able to finally see. Almost nothing about my husband matched up with what I had wrongly assumed for so many years.

Greg didn’t answer me because I put him in a no-win situation.

I had misunderstood his heart, thoughts, words, and actions completely. I was determined that I knew the truth and was right and that he was wrong. That was the only paradigm I would accept all of those years. And how could he even have started trying to explain anything – even if he wanted to – when my vision of him was so distorted?

It turns out, I didn’t know his heart at all. I didn’t know his motives. I was completely in another book – not just on another page.

What I thought was true all that time – really wasn’t. I had deceived myself. I was emotionally and spiritually completely exhausting to be around. I was verbally abusive. I didn’t call him names, generally. And I never cussed at all. I just took many verbal shots at him to undermine him, to label him, to condemn him, to blame him, to attack him, to show him how everything was his fault, etc… Then I resented him for being emotionally unavailable to me. He should love me more!

God! You need to change this man and change him RIGHT NOW! He is hurting me by not loving me the way I want him to. How could he be so cruel to me to unplug from me like this?

I don’t know if I could have understood back then if Greg did try to explain even if I had been willing to try to listen. I had no idea how different Greg’s perspective and mindset was. Usually, if he started saying something, I cut him off. I was convinced I completely understood the situation without ever hearing his side of things. I thought I already knew what he was thinking and what he would say. How I wish I had stopped attacking him and tried to listen.

To answer before listening– that is folly and shame. Prov. 18:13

GREG’S DILEMMA

So his choices at the time were:

  1. Try to explain himself, knowing I would refute anything he said that didn’t match my pre-conceived (and extremely inaccurate) notions.
  2. Fight me verbally.
  3. Say nothing to defend himself and just let me rant on by myself and continue thinking and assuming the absolute worst lies about him.

He knew it was futile to explain himself to me. He didn’t want to fight me. So he often chose #3 – which seemed like the lesser of all of the evils. He withdrew from me. He shut down. He became a shell of the man he was when we got married.

Turns out – husbands don’t really like to feel like they are coming home to a verbal firing squad or to an interrogation. Really, no remotely emotionally healthy person enjoys that. No one revels in the stress of feeling like a criminal defendant who is being cross-examined by a prosecuting attorney who has already judged him/her to be guilty. Most husbands want to have peace, harmony, joy, and contentment at home. They want to feel safe with their wives emotionally. Isn’t that honestly what we all want in our relationships?

WHOSE INSTRUMENT AM I?

How might we come across as if we are cross-examining a witness at a trial?

It is often our tone, our facial expressions, our emotional intensity, and our constant barrage of pointed, accusing questions.

It is extremely hurtful and frustrating to be utterly misunderstood, vilified, falsely accused, and wrongly condemned by someone who doesn’t actually know your heart and who isn’t even interested in trying to understand the truth or in trying to heal the relationship.

Ultimately, we long most for our husbands to share their hearts with us, to emotionally connect with us, to cherish us, love us, and adore us. So – let me just mention, my precious sisters – this “prosecutor” approach repels our men (and anyone else). It causes them to shut down their hearts to us. It does not make them want to open up to us and be vulnerable. They know they are not safe with us when we act like this because they are not safe.

It was sobering for me to realize that I was not acting in the power of God’s Spirit when I acted like a prosecuting attorney, like an accuser. In fact, I was acting like Satan and cooperating with him. “The accuser of the brethren.” I had actually allowed the devil to get a huge stronghold in my life. I didn’t realize it. I was blind to my sin back then.

I unwittingly invited him to set up a base camp in my heart and mind by holding on to pride, resentment, unforgiveness, etc… And I gave him free access to my thoughts, heart, mind, mouth, and body. I thought I was living for Jesus. My words often said I was. But the Holy Spirit was not in control. The fruit of my life was the fruit of the flesh not the fruit of the Spirit. I had allowed myself and my mouth to be an instrument in the hands of the devil to try to destroy my husband.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own
hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1

How I NEVER want to go back to that awful place again! I had a lot of repenting to do – to the Lord, to Greg, and to other people in my life, too.

 

Thankfully, there is so much hope for all of us in Jesus! We don’t have to stay in this awful toxic place where we destroy ourselves and our husbands and other people. Jesus can set us free from this snare. We can turn away from our sin and turn to Him to let Him cleanse and heal us by His work on our behalf on the cross! The Lord graciously healed me, and in time, He eventually also healed Greg and our marriage. How can I ever thank Him enough?

That same healing is available to you. You can have peace with God and you can live in peace, as far as it depends on you, in your relationships with people. The key is to know the Prince of Peace and to allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. He has to power to change us as we yield to Him in faith, trust, humility, and obedience.

I have so many posts that may be a blessing to you if you find yourself in this place where I was years ago. If you are ready to stop cooperating with Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy in your marriage and you are ready to cooperate with God’s good plans for your life and marriage, check out some of these resources. He can set you free from Satan’s prison just like He set me free almost 9 years ago.

RELATED VERSES:

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; he who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. Prov. 27:15-16

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Prov. 21:19

 

NOTE – This post is not designed for women who are truly in danger with abusive husbands.

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Posts about husbands being our idols – being enmeshed with them, expecting them to meet our deepest spiritual needs that only Jesus can really meet.

Posts about being enmeshed

Posts about being a controlling wife

A Fellow Wife’s posts

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Posts about fear – which is often the real motive behind my control

Posts about bitterness

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

If you have a very difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse, or seek one-on-one private counseling with a trusted, godly counselor.

 

What Do I Do with My Desire for Verbal/Emotional Connection?

This is the second part of this series on talkativeness and wives. The first post was, “Am I ‘Too Chatty’ with My Husband?” It is primarily for wives who believe they talk too much or whose husbands would maybe prefer less talking. Next week, I plan to talk about the issue of wives being too quiet.

At first, when I realized I was talking way too much for my own good, it was painful. I felt sad, oppressed, upset, resentful, and lonely to think about cutting down on my words to other people. I didn’t know how to stop talking too much or what to do with all of my emotions and self-talk.

I find that it is helpful to take these kinds of discouraging thoughts to the Lord. He is always ready to listen to me. He can help me hash through my thinking even better than any husband or best girl friend could. He wants me to abide in Him every moment – always completely one in Spirit with Him – and to “pray continually.” That is very encouraging! Plus, He can transform my thinking and my heart. He knows how to restore and heal my soul, if only I will come to Him and allow Him to work powerfully in my life.

Interestingly – that pain I feel when I want to talk more or connect more with my husband can remind me that God’s heart hurts when I neglect him. And His heart rejoices when I come to Him to fellowship and connect with Him.

ADOPT A NEW PERSPECTIVE

I can:

CONNECT WITH GOD EMOTIONALLY/SPIRITUALLY

I can:

  • Praise God.
  • Journal my prayers and thoughts. (This seriously helps me, as much or even more than talking to another person.)
    • Write down my emotions – all of them. And all of my self-talk. In a very raw way. I can shred the paper up later if necessary.
    • Take my thoughts captive for Christ.
    • Develop a list of things for which I am thankful and continue to add to it daily.
    • Work on a list of all the things I respect about my husband.
    • Invite God to work on my sin, motives, and thought life.
    • Pray for myself.
    • Pray for others.
  • Sing praise songs in my mind or in another room out loud.
  • Listen to or read sermons, podcasts, Youtube videos, the Bible, or books about the Lord and about growing in Christ. (When I do this, I feel so close to the Lord and so loved. I know I am not alone at all.)
  • Listen and be still before God. Stillness is most necessary for me to learn to hear His voice and leading.
  • Take a walk in nature and soak in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.

DEVELOP A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF MY HUSBAND

I personally was amazed to discover that Greg said he always felt connected with me and bonded to me, whether we were talking a lot or not. He doesn’t connect with words. He feels just as connected to me when we are together talking as he does when he is at work. His love and sense of connection are, essentially, constant. Wow! That was a shock. I always thought we are only connected when we are talking and communicating verbally.

When Greg explained his perspective to me, it helped me to rest in his love and in the firmness of our connection. It helped me to see that I don’t have to grasp and struggle to feel connected. I already am connected to him. I can just enjoy that bond. Perhaps your husband may have a similar perspective?

Perhaps our amazing God thinks this way, too, when it comes to being connected with us, that we are always connected to Him and in fellowship with Him? Every moment of the day. (Unless there is sin blocking the way.)

BECOME A SAFE PLACE FOR MY HUSBAND

If I am willing to focus on treating my husband well and being a safe place emotionally and spiritually, he may feel a lot more open to sharing and connecting with me, in time. This requires a lot of patience and maybe a lot of waiting. In the time of waiting, I can focus on what God wants me to learn during that time. Waiting truly can become sweet with the Lord. So things may change to some degree with my husband’s willingness to talk as I change my approach. I know Greg is much more open to me talking with him in recent years since he feels safe and honored.

FIND MULTIPLE SOURCES OF CONNECTION

First, I have Jesus. He is my greatest source of verbal, emotional, and spiritual connection. He is truly enough! But then, as an extra bonus, I also have family, friends, and other believers. We can have godly mentors who can help us to grow in our faith and in our marriages. And then, in time, as the Lord leads, we may be able to mentor other women. What a priceless blessing that is!

I don’t have to feel deprived at all, even if my husband isn’t as talkative and verbal as I am. I can be content in all circumstances through Christ who gives me strength! (Phil. 4:12-13)

If I Have Jesus, I Have EVERYTHING!

EXPERIENCE A SHOCK

I actually found out – I need times of silence, too. It’s good for my soul. Now, I can enjoy silence in a friendly way. It’s peaceful and relaxing. I am in a much better place of balance than when I talked non-stop. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about the wisdom and gift of silence.

SHARE:

What wisdom has God given you in this area. Or what struggles do you have and where do you need some encouragement?

RELATED:

The Frustrating Quiet Phase

Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! – by A Fellow Wife

Oneness in Marriage: Not Too Close, but Not Too Far Away

Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife

A Fellow Wife Thinks about Giving Space

When Your Man Needs Space

Why Space Can Be a Gift

How I Became Enmeshed with My Husband – by LMSdaily

20 Simple Ways to Enjoy Your Man

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

 

 

 

 

 

Am I “Too Chatty” with My Husband?

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Ladies,

This is another one of those topics where the key is balance. It is entirely possible to be way too talkative. It is also entirely possible to be way too quiet. Of course, what you talk about or avoid talking about also matters.

When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is prudent. Prov. 10:19 CSB

How I used to hate that verse! Probably because I talked almost non-stop. But – now I recognize it is very true. I believe that it can be wise to look at my motives and expectations every now and then if I find myself wanting to talk a lot.

Note – I am going to be speaking in generalizations, by necessity in a post like this. Your relationship may not always follow every generalization and that is totally fine!

WHY DO I WANT TO TALK WITH MY HUSBAND?

Some Not-So-Productive Reasons

If these are the reasons I want to talk with my husband, I need to go to the Lord and deal with any sin or wrong motives in my heart first. Then I can consider talking with my husband when I have taken care of my spiritual issues and I am filled with the Spirit rather than controlled by my flesh.

 

Some Great Reasons

  • I want to bond and connect with words for awhile. But I realize he may not bond this way and I know how much listening and talking he can realistically handle and I respect that.
  • There is important information I need/want to share with him.
  • I am looking to him for his wisdom and advice about an issue I am having.
  • I want to brainstorm with him about some plans.
  • I want to hear about things that are important to him.
  • I want to learn more about his perspective, masculine world, and mindset.
  • I have some legitimate concerns to share respectfully with him.
  • I want to humbly, respectfully, prayerfully confront him about his sin.
  • I want to ask him respectfully for something.
  • I want to talk with him to process my feelings and thoughts about something.
  • I feel lonely and want to feel closer to him – but I know that my primary security and contentment is in the Lord.
  • I want to build him up, bless, affirm, respect, and honor him.
  • I want to connect with him spiritually – if he is open and receptive to that, but if he is not, I can handle that graciously.
  • I want to enjoy his company and be his friend.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

  1. When I want to talk to someone, I need to remember my audience.
  • Avoid topics he doesn’t really like.
  • Respect his preferences if he doesn’t want to talk about the news or something that is upsetting to him.
  • Focus more on things he enjoys.

2. Everyone has different preferences about how much they like to talk and listen.

  • If he is an introvert, you may want to keep conversations brief. He may actually enjoy some silence.
  • If he is an extrovert, he may enjoy longer talks, especially about things he likes.

3. There are times when it may be better not to have a deep, emotional, intense discussion.

  • One or both of you is sick, very hungry, or in significant pain – the flesh is weak.
  • You are hormonal.
  • It is late at night.
  • One or both of you is completely exhausted.
  • There is a very stressful situation.
  • He is watching his favorite football team.
  • He is working on a plumbing problem and trying to concentrate.
  • He doesn’t seem receptive.
  • You are in “flesh mode.”

4. Men sometimes associate talking with painful things like:

  • “There is a problem.”
  • “You are the problem.”

Not with:

  • “We are connecting and bonding.”

If you can make talking with you a pleasant, friendly thing, he may enjoy it more. 😉

5. If you just want him to listen, not to solve any problems, let him know that up front.

Give him a respectful heads up about that he is helping you by just listening for 10 minutes while you process your thoughts verbally. Most guys (not all, but most, in my understanding) don’t have this need and will feel like they need to fix things if we are sad or upset. If they know that just listening does help us feel better, and we show that we feel better after they listen, that can encourage them to want to listen more often.

6. A lot of men don’t really enjoy hearing every detail about our hobbies, friends, family, shopping experiences, etc…

We can sometimes easily overload them with a lot of minutia that may not be particularly engaging to them.

7. Men and women tend to talk differently.

  • Women tend to bond by talking face-to-face with words.
  • Men tend to bond by doing things together shoulder-to-shoulder, not face-to-face.

Face-to-face can feel rather emotionally intimidating to men at times. If you are watching them constantly, it can make them feel emotionally “naked” or extra vulnerable. They tend to bond just by being together and having shared experiences, or they may love to bond through sex with their wives. Just because he doesn’t bond in the same way doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to bond with you. Try to do some things that help you feel bonded and some things that help him bond his way.

For details about the research behind these tips, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s best-selling book, “For Women Only.”

SCRIPTURE:

Verses about talking too much

Verses about the wisdom of silence

COMING UP:

I hope to share on these topics in the next few weeks:

  • What to do when you really need another outlet for talking.
  • How to tell if you are too quiet with your husband.

 

SHARE:

What wisdom has God given you about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives? What struggles do you have in this area?

 

Much love!

RELATED:

Being Married to a Man Who Doesn’t Talk Much

Being Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally/Spiritually Shut Down

“We Need to Talk!”

Husbands and Emotions – multiple post links

A Silent Husband Shares His Heart

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More

When Your Husband Needs Space

A Fellow Wife Thinks about Giving Space

How to Ask Your Man for Things Respectfully

How to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

 

“I Wish I Could Be a Homemaker Full-Time.”

Before we address this painful issue, that is such a sensitive one for so many wives, let’s go over some basics.
(Note – if you are in the opposite situation, I have a post for wives who want to work but whose husbands would like for them to be home.)
GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE IN OUR LIVES
Definitions:
  • The world defines authority as – tyranny, abuse, selfishness, lording power over others.
  • God defines authority as – shepherding, bringing order to society, nurturing others, providing for them according to God’s will, loving them, taking good care of them in a humble, selfless, sacrificial Christlike way.
  • The world defines submission as – slavery, being a second class citizen, having less value as a person, being a doormat.
  • God defines submission as – a voluntary willingness to recognize God’s ways and His wisdom and to accomplish His will by cooperating with His directives.
  • Positional authority – a person in a position of authority, like king, president, manager, husband, parent, or pastor.
  • Influential authority – a person who may influence the person in the position of authority like an advisor to a king, a deacon board to a pastor, an assistant manager to a manager, or a wife to a husband.
 
The way God works out His will in our lives is that He uses people in positions of “delegated authority” to help accomplish His purposes. He is the “direct authority.” But He gives His authority to certain people to help accomplish His plan. There are people like this in leadership positions in every area of our lives – at work, in the government, at church, and in the family (husbands and parents).
By God’s design, He chooses to lead us through imperfect people in positions of leadership.
 
If we are seeking the Lord’s will and yielded to His Lordship, part of what we will do is submit to human delegated authorities in our lives (unless they are clearly trying to lead us to violate God’s Word and principles).
 
God’s design for marriage is that the husband is in the position of “leader.” He is in the driver’s seat. Not because he is more important, more talented, smarter, or more valuable. Just because this is God’s design and His appointment to accomplish the picture He wants to accomplish in marriage.
  • The husband is supposed to represent Christ and His selfless, unconditional love, sacrifice, humility, wisdom, and servant hearted leadership.
  • The wife is supposed to represent the church in its relationship to Jesus in the way the wife honors, respects, and follows the leadership of her husband.
  • This portrays the gospel to the world  – and to our children. (Eph. 5:22-33)
If we usurp our husband or rebel against his leadership, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5) This is a weighty matter – of infinitely more significance than whether I work outside of the home or not right now.
Also, our children learn how to submit to authorities in their lives, including ourselves and our husbands, by watching our example of how we honor their dad’s authority.
 
MY SUGGESTIONS FOR A WIFE WHO WANTS TO BE HOME BUT HAS TO WORK RIGHT NOW
  • For financial reasons.
  • Because your husband wants you to work.
  • Because you don’t have a choice due to circumstances.
1. Submit first to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
Be completely yielded to Him, His will, His purposes, and His glory being accomplished in your life. Trust Him fully to lead you. Be willing to lay down your greatest dreams, desires, and fears before Him. Trust Him with them all and allow Him to do what He believes is best in your life. Seek His will far above your own will. This is “dying to self” or “taking up your cross.” Be willing to be content in Christ whether you work outside the home or not.
 
Give all of yourself – your body, your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your intelligence, your health, your time, your money, your resources completely to the Lord. Consecrate yourself and your life to Him. Hold your dreams loosely in your hands. Commit to doing whatever He desires you to do with all your heart in service to Him alone. When you have such an attitude, He will open doors that you can’t begin to imagine. Doors to opportunities that are infinitely better than your personal plans and dreams.
 
2. Submit second to the God-given leadership of your husband.
Your trust is ultimately in the Lord to lead you through this man, even though your husband is not perfect and he may not even be close to the Lord at this time. (If you are not yet married, please don’t marry a man who is not fully seeking to live for Christ as Lord on his own.) God is able to lead us in His will for us as we honor the leadership of those He has placed in our lives. God led Israel through Moses’ leadership. The people could not get to the Promised Land unless they honored and cooperated with Moses. It is the same for us. We can’t live in the center of God’s will if we live in rebellion against God’s authority structure in our lives at home, at church, at work, or in the government (unless the authorities are asking us to rebel against the Lord).
 
You cannot accomplish God’s will for your life if you rebel against your husband – or any other God-given leader in your life (unless they are asking you to rebel against the Lord).
 
Honor your husband’s request for you to work. Respectfully speak up about your limitations and needs. You can share your heart on the matter and say something like:
 
  • “Honey, I would really love to be home. It would be my dream to be home to take care of you and our family all the time. But I know that you are the head of our home by God’s design and I will honor your desire for me to work if you believe that is best for us.”
  • “If me working is the most important thing to you so that I can contribute financially, I will do my best to support your decision, even though I believe it would be most honoring to the Lord for me to be your helpmeet at home. I do need to let you know that I can’t work full-time and do all/most of the chores, cooking, shopping, and child care. That is too much for one person. I will still need time for things that are most important like God, you (and sex with you), the kids, exercise, and time to rest. Balance is going to be much more difficult if I am working full-time. So I would love to talk about how we might want to handle chores and household responsibilities so that neither of us are overworked or overwhelmed. I’d like to know that we can continue to touch base and negotiate together if there are issues in the future.”

You could also suggest a part-time job that may help you have greater balance between helping financially and keeping the house and children. Of course – there may be emergency situations where there isn’t a choice and a wife may have to handle everything, at least for a time.

NOTE – If your husband suggests that he stay home full-time and do the chores and child care and that you work full-time, let’s talk about that together before you agree to it. 🙂

 
3. Pray.
Invite the Lord to work. Ask for His will. Ask for Him to open doors and change your husband’s heart if it is His will. Invite Him to change the circumstances and provide more opportunities for your husband to bring in more income to feel confident to be the sole provider. Invite Him to change your heart and perspective.
4. Examine your motives and approach.
Be willing to examine your spending and expectations of lifestyle. Are you willing to give up eating out, vacations, frequent trips to the salon, fancy new designer clothes, expensive make-up, extravagant purchases, etc…? Have you been asking for a bigger, more expensive house or car? Let your husband know you can be content without those things if being a homemaker is what you believe the Lord is calling you to do. Perhaps your husband would feel better about being the sole provider if you are content with much less materially?  One reason some husbands feel their wives need to work, too, is because their wives talk about wanting bigger, more expensive houses, vacations, or cars. If those things aren’t really that important to you, your husband needs to know that you would be much more content with less things materially and that you are willing to stick to a realistic budget if you are only living on his income.
Go through the budget together and evaluate whether you working really does help a lot financially and whether it is worth the price. Write down all of the costs associated with your working: career wardrobe, gas, day care, eating out more because everyone is too tired to cook, less time to shop and cook so more expensive things are bought that are more convenient, time involved, etc…
5. Embrace the opportunity to be at work.
Thank God for having the opportunity to work if this is His will for you. Own it. Receive it. Decide that you are going to make the absolute most of this opportunity. Invite God into your home and into your work life. Invite Him to help you make both places sanctuaries of peace, welcome, hospitality, warmth, joy, love, and blessing. Ask Him to do big things in both places and invite His greatest glory into your home and work place.
 
Determine to use this time to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and to develop a much stronger walk with Him. Invite Him to show you what He wants to do in your life in this time and what He wants to teach you. Use this time to really seek God’s will and His glory for yourself, your family, and your work place. Be available to be an instrument in God’s hand to bless your family and coworkers/customers richly.
 
5. Avoid harboring jealousy, bitterness, or a critical spirit.
It’s easy to be jealous of women who stay home if you wish you could stay home. It’s also easy to harbor bitterness and resentment toward God or your husband if you don’t get to do what you want to do at the time. That is unproductive and toxic. Focus on being thankful for the situation the Lord has given you and on what He is calling you to do at this time.
And, as a reader mentioned, let’s also avoid judging other women who make different decisions. All of us get criticized no matter what choices we make in this area. That is hurtful. Let’s love, encourage, and seek to bless one another. Being a wife and mom is hard. Let’s not assume we know every mom’s motives or what is best for each family’s situation. We each answer to the Lord for these decisions, not to each other.
 
6. Remember that the dream of  being home all the time can easily become an idol.
Any dream or desire can become more important to us than our love for the Lord if we are not careful. Be sure to seek Christ first far above all else. Let Jesus lead you. Be content in whatever place He decides is best. Whether we are fulfilled or not is not really about our circumstances. It is mostly a matter of our attitude, our faith in God, and our willingness to develop a heart of thanksgiving. (Phil. 4:4-8, 12-13)
7. Savor the waiting.
Often, the waiting is the most important part of the answer to prayer. It is in the waiting that you learn to develop stronger faith and learn to trust God in spite of your circumstances. Check out “Waiting Becomes Sweet.” God may have reasons we will not understand until later for the delay or for leading us into a certain place
8. Remember that you are responsible for your thoughts, attitudes, words, emotions, and actions.
Realize that how you think, act, and respond to this situation is about whether the Spirit of God is filling you or your flesh is in control. Invite Him to intervene and see what He wants to do. Be open to the spiritual pruning and refining that He has in store for you first to help you become much stronger in your faith.
Sometimes life is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
It is in those moments that God often tests and grows our faith the most. We don’t know all that the Lord knows. We don’t know what He may be sparing us and our families from when He leads us in a particular way. We don’t know all of the blessings He has in store as we yield to His will. Our job is not to understand it all ahead of time but to trust Him completely to do what is ultimately best for our families, ourselves, and God’s kingdom in light of eternity.
 
Much love!

SHARE

If you have words of godly wisdom to share with other wives who are struggling in this area, please do! And if you are having a hard time with this issue, you are welcome to share in the comments. We can hash through some of these hard things together.

RELATED

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

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

My Posts on Biblical Submission 

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

Posts about Husbands and Leading

 

 

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