Skip to main content

Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can be a Problem

286892_1436-1

I asked some husbands about how they feel about trying to have an important discussion with their wives”on the fly.”  Here is one husband’s answer.  

I appreciate his willingness to share with us.  As we study how men think, process, feel and see the world – my prayer is that we might have a much greater understanding for their perspective, their insights, their wisdom,that we might be able to appreciate the differences between masculinity and femininity and extend grace much more easily to our own husbands.

FROM A HUSBAND:

Yes that is very uncomfortable. If it’s a topic I already know quite alot about then I have no issues. I can talk or add my 2 cents in based on what I already know. If it’s something I know very little about and have a passing interest I’m happy to listen, but rarely will I speak up because it might make me look foolish and no guys wants to look like a fool in front of people he knows.

The hardest is when it comes to a discussion on a topic you are not ready to discuss with your spouse. You can’t just bow out of the conversation as it’s usually just the 2 of you. Depending on how critical it is to her you may not have the choice of delaying it until you can process it a little yourself.

Chances are if you are just hearing about it a guy tends to make it fairly low priority so they can figure out where to go with it, but if your wife brought it to you now with a sense of urgency she thinks it’s critical and you already know that you are going to talk this out one way or the other right now and that is a VERY SCARY place to be.

Sometimes it’s not even about being made to look like a fool, but:

  • what happens if it’s important and you make the wrong decision?
  • Will it be held against you even though you made the best choice you could given the details and time frame?
  • Will it be the wrong decision once you get past the problem and see you were missing something key that would have led you down a different path?

I can’t speak for all men, but I know when my wife came to me with something super important that had to be discussed right now and I could tell from the start that she was very tense about it I usually went into the conversation thinking I did something wrong because there is nothing else that could be that important in life that we couldn’t work out with a little time. So I tended to start the conversation like I was already under the microscope.

I will also add that a conversation between a husband/wife is hard on the husband because the wife likes talking and he discovery from talking it out.

  • The husband usually will try to pause and think about what he’s heard and formulate an opinion on the topic.
  • Once he has the opinion formed then he also has to figure out what words can explain that.
  • It usually leads to an awkward pause where the wife is waiting on the husband to say something and then it’s like we don’t care because we are “waiting too long” to think up an answer.

I honestly never even really thought of it this way but now that I read it in writing I can completely agree with it. If I look back to the conversations I’ve had with my wife over the past year when I wanted to talk about something – I would usually send her a text or an email or just let her know hey when you get a few minutes at some point this week I would like to have a conversation about X.

I was making sure she had time to think about it and come prepared.

On the other hand when she wanted to talk about something it was usually walking up to me and saying hey we need to talk about Y right now. Let’s go to another room. I’m not sure either is the right solution maybe there is a happier middle ground, but I think it more men and women realized that’s how each side feels and communicates and change their expectations when there is a different level of communication needed it might help solve alot of problems before they ever started.

FROM PEACEFUWIFE:

I’d love to hear some other husbands’ thoughts on this issue.

And for the ladies – let’s do our husbands a huge favor and try to give them a few days whenever possible to think about big issues before we expect a big dialogue about things.  I think we will find our husbands are much more prepared and receptive when we work with the way their brains process and think instead of putting them on the spot.

I like to just lay an issue on the table pleasantly, with a smile, say what I want and leave it with my husband – usually until he brings it up again.  “Hey, Honey!  I’d like to think about doing X./I want to do X.”

  • I want to talk about maybe selling my car for something more fuel efficient.
  • I want to give more $ to orphans/church/people in need.
  • I am nervous about the things that go on in public middle schools/high schools.  I want to maybe think about homeschooling.
  • I want to think about adopting a baby/child.
  • I want to take the kids to the Disney on Ice show this spring.
  • I don’t want to increase my hours at work.

I say it casually and with a smile and friendly tone of voice – then I leave it with him and often leave the room in a friendly way to go about doing chores or whatever so that my husband doesn’t feel pressured.

I know this requires a lot of patience, and it can be really frustrating to have to wait a long time – especially if your husband doesn’t tell you when you can talk about the issue with him.  But hopefully, he will agree to a future time for a discussion, or you can wait and let him bring it back up when he is ready. The more respected he feels over time, the safer he will feel to talk about difficult subjects with you – knowing you accept him and respect him and aren’t going to freak out about whatever he says, but that you want to trust him.

“My Secret Idol”

 

Today’s guest post is by Robyn.  Check out her blog at www.upwithmarriage.wordpress.com

First I’d like to say thank you to April for the opportunity to share on this subject of how we make idols in our lives; even the good things.

It was a good and righteous prayer; an honest prayer.  “God please save my husband.”  But diligence and fervency turned my heart inward instead of outward.  I lost sight of why I was praying.  As the heart is turned more and more inward it fails to see the cosmic picture – God’s view.

My view was narrowed over the years until I saw only lack, the lack of answered prayer and how it affected … me

The good prayer for my husband’s soul had morphed into a demand to make my life easier.  I had made his salvation about me.  If I was a better wife, or mom, or Christian than he would surely see that God is real.  If I was a better daughter to God – He would answer this prayer.  If I was a better daughter to God He would … (wait for it) … (here it comes) … Give me what I want.

It happens silently and ever so subtly, very much like the frog that is sitting in cool water and as the water heats, the temperature builds but; isn’t noticed.  And before she knows it, her own flesh is cooking and peeling – and she’s blind to it.  Really, how can anyone even tell you?  From the best intentions of the closest friends, “Robyn, do you realize that you pray for your husband too much?”  Doesn’t sound like something you’d hear from a Christian, right?  Praying too much? And who wants to be the Christian to say that?

You can see from April’s list that all of our idols root to the same foundation:  Give me what I want.  We allow focus into our own little dramas (which are short sighted and temporary) rather than growing into the bigness that is required for God’s plan.

All God’s promises became elusive to me:  Joy, contentment, power, peace, discernment, strength and love.  On and on it went.  My head became full of knowledge – desperate to alleviate the lack:  Lack of God’s presence and intimacy.  My unhappiness grew in parallel to the knowledge I gained.

And this was the key that God used to back me into the corner of using my own strength.  When you’ve exhausted every avenue within your power and you still don’t have what you are praying for – the thing that will make you happy.

This is how you know that you’ve built an idol:  You refuse to be happy where you are at.

In 1 Samuel 1:8, Hannah is asked by her husband:   And why are you grieving?  Am I not more to you than ten sons?

The key word was grieving.  I hadn’t been praying in belief, trust and expectation of the Lord; but in my own strength.  My words sounded like belief, trust, and expectation – but God showed me that my heart was not joyful – in Him.  You cannot be happy and grieve at the same time.  Hannah wasn’t getting what she wanted and her grief was affecting the relationship with her husband.

I wasn’t getting what I wanted – and it was affecting my relationship with God.

I had prayed to God and added my own conditions to those prayers.  Just like the frog from earlier – I didn’t know that I had stepped from faith into death.  When you get to this place of blindness you must be bound in order to see the true condition of your heart.  But as it was with Job, God doesn’t want to bind to hurt us, He wants to help us get beyond ourselves to see the real Him:  I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You. (Job 42:5)

When I was at my lowest point with nothing left, God confronted me:  “What if My plan for you is to be married to an unbeliever for your whole life?  What will you think of Me then?  Am I not worth more to you than your husband’s salvation?”

Whatever it is that you are praying for; that thing that you so desperately want, you have to ask yourself:  Is it worth more to me than God?  Or, can I be joyful in Him … without it.

What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don’t get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.  You quarrel and fight.  You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God….  ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’  Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”  James 4:1-10

An Abandoned Wife’s Journal

1046561_63759639

This is from a wife who has faced many struggles in her marriage.  I don’t know what God’s plans are for anyone.  But I do know that He honors faith in Him.  I do know that He honors obedience to His Word.  And I do know that prayer is powerful and that when we pray together as a group, seeking God’s will and His glory – miracles can and will happen.  Thank you to this precious sister of mine who has allowed me to share her story. This wife is in an excruciatingly painful place.  And God is right there with her – working in her heart.  There are very raw, real emotions here.  This is how we wrestle with God and learn to repent of our sinful ways and turn to Him and begin to obey, trust and submit to Christ.

I would like to share with everyone the emotions, revelations, and repentance my heart has been through in the last few weeks. I started a journal not too long ago to help me as a source of “therapy” for my soul. The last time I saw my husband it was the last Sunday of January. The last time I heard his voice was Feb. 3. He has asked me not to call or text or FB message him at all. If you could be in prayer for my husband I would really appreciate it. I do not believe he is having an affair but at this point it would not surprise me. He is extremely far from the Lord. It is now also being brought to light in his dad’s eyes which is where he moved once he left me. (PS- my husband claims to be a Christian, went to a Christian school and graduated from the same Bible college as I did). Anyways, here is part of my journal.

2/18/13 (this was an entry I wrote to myself to reflect back on later)

This journey so far is full of roller coaster emotions. There are moments when the agonizing pain is unbearable. It feels as if my heart literally is going to shatter into a million pieces. There are days all I want to do is pick up the phone just to hear the sound of his voice. My thoughts are overwhelmed with “what if” and “if I could only”

But that is when I have to stop myself and remember God is in control. He knows every emotion. He is here with me every step of the way. God is good, or so I tell myself.

Is God really good though?

How can this be good?

How can this situation honor and glorify God?  

This seems as if it is the work of the devil. But, then I have to remember Jesus always has the last word. Though He was crucified on the cross and despised and rejected of men He was working… FOR ME! Thank you Lord for your grace. God showed mercy during the most horrific acts mankind could ever be placed under. This is how I know God is still good even in this situation.

This is NOT a work of the devil but of God. If this separation had never happened my eyes would have NEVER been opened to the magnitude of sin in my heart.

My prayer is that my husband and I can sit and work this out somehow. My love for him is more solidified now than it ever has been and I will FIGHT for this marriage. When I first stated these words I had no idea “fighting to keep my marriage” would involve such drastic change on MY part. I had no idea I would be dealing with the heart and sin issues that I am faced with. This revelation has not been an easy one to swallow and admit that I was doing wrong. It is a process that is still being opened unto me. But, I want to resolve these issues because I desire to

#1 PLEASE GOD!!!

#2 Change into being a Godly woman

#3 Be the RIGHT kind of wife God instructs me and desires me to be.

2/20/13

I really am unsure where to even begin… There are soo many apologies I would like to convey to my husband. This journey of realizing my wrong and my sinful behavior has been difficult to bear. For the most part I thought I was “okay” The truth of the matter is I was not okay.  My relationship with the Lord was suffering, therefore, causing my relationship with my husband (and others) to suffer.

The main issue that my mind keeps going back to is that I was being disrespectful. I did not honor _____  as my husband. I often trumped over him as the authority figure of this family and I was wrong. I have also come to realize I did this in many areas such as my words, tone of voice, and actions. I was constantly negative and lazy. I had a ‘queen’ mentality. I was wrong to think “I deserve this… or that….” Regardless of the lies my mind was feeding itself I was wrong for acting upon those thoughts. However, the Bible also warns that as a man thinks in his heart, so he will be.

It is my prayer that somehow he can forgive me for the ways in which I treated him and showed him disrespect. I have sinned against him and I am/was wrong. It is my desire that I begin showing him the respect and reverence that he deserves and needs.

2/22/13

Such simple words this means… “thank you.” I do not, nor have I ever, shown my husband an attitude of gratefulness. He has done so much for me and I never let him know how much those things meant to me. I am thankful for how he takes care of me financially (and how he still is). How he at one point had met my needs as a caring and loving husband. I need to thank him for everything he did for me no matter how small or big it may have been. He tried to support me and lead me. He protected me and cared for me. He wanted what was best for me. And I believe there still is a part of him that still wants that for me.

I am ashamed and sorrowful that I was unable to show this gratitude to him. I am sorry for my prideful and selfish reactions. I was slothful and full of high expectations. There are no right words to say to show the depth of remorse I have for how I have treated my husband and presented myself to him. My only prayer is that he can somehow forgive me for the ways in which I have sinned against him.

I tried to take control and control who he was as a person instead of being grateful for the person he already was and is. I was very deceived as to how a wife should be. I was filled with expectations which I now realize are premeditated resentment. With God’s help I am laying aside those expectations. I am choosing to please God and to meet HIS expectations or rather requirements for me as a person and as a wife.

Soul Mates

593156_69069051

Today’s guest post is by Kayla Gulick, my dear friend and sister in Christ.  Check out her blog at www.lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com.  I think you are about to have your mind blown.  So be sure you are sitting down for this one, ladies!

 

Almost every little (and big) girl dreams of finding her “soul mate”. I suppose there are some exceptions out there, so I won’t call this a hard and fast rule, however, MOST females imagine how wonderful life would be if they could just get their fairytale. I’ll go so far as to say, many women spend so much of their life in disappointment because the expectations they built up in their mind just simply never come to pass even if they get married and have children.

Let me tell you about an expectation I had before I got married. It was your typical fairytale love story, that ended up being smashed to a million pieces by the fact that life is not magical nor imaginary so perfection never comes to pass.

I had this idea that once I found someone to marry, I would be the very center of his world, constantly. I expected him to be obsessed with me. Always falling all over himself looking for ways to serve me, buy me things, make me smile, get me to laugh, show me how beautiful he thinks I am, and get me in the sack.

After all, that is what happens on the movies AND I’ll one up the situation with the fact that most women(even Christian wives) complain about how their husband wants sex all the time and they are so annoyed.

Guess what. My husband isn’t obsessed with me. He loves me. He’s faithful to me. He would bend over backward to protect me from harm. He is happy in our marriage. He serves me in numerous ways. He provides for our family. And He’s committed to making decisions that are best for me.

But – he has other people in his life too. First off all, what he feels God is calling him to comes before my opinions and feelings. (That’s a GREAT thing that God is first in his life… but that doesn’t change the fact that I still wasn’t prepared to be second in my marriage.) He is the father to our four kids. He has friends in his life. He has (gasp) his own interests and hobbies. He has is own television preferences. He even has different goals than I do – ack!

Basically what I’m telling you is that, his life doesn’t revolve around me. I’m not the center of his universe. His primary goal is not to make sure I feel like the sexiest woman on the planet every moment of every day.

Do you know that at first, this made me really mad at him. I thought for the first couple years of our marriage something was seriously wrong with him. I mean, what did he think he was supposed to do when he got married? What kind of a man was he anyway?

I hadn’t yet realized that my unrealistic expectations were the problem, not his actions.

Do you know what gave me my wake up call???

Probably not what you’re thinking.

It was this.

A situation arose within my line of vision where a couple I knew (who were very much in love and committed to each other and to God) were married for MANY years, when suddenly one spouse died and the other spouse re-married someone else in less than a year.

I was floored. How in the world could they have ever been in love at all? I mean… weren’t they soul mates?

Check this – the big punch in the gut.

Matthew 22:23-30

23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

Put that up against Romans 7:1-3

7 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.

I wasn’t prepared to understand that at first. It actually really hurt me. BAD. I couldn’t wrap my mind around being consumed in passionate love with my husband and him not be my soul mate?!

I mean, my husband was MY EVERYTHING! And I’m suppose to accept that once we die and go to heaven, we aren’t “one” anymore? There isn’t any of this (like the songs sing about) one of us waiting for the other to arrive???

I started to realize that my husband had a higher place in my life than he should. My husband was actually my “God.” He had WAY too much control over me. And not because he was trying to be controlling in the least. Because I had created an eternal soul mate relationship with my husband, when truly, the ONLY person who can have that place in my heart, who won’t disappoint, and who I’m promised to be with forever is Jesus.

You see, Jesus does pursue me EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY!

He think I’m beautiful – constantly.

He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

He laid down His life for mine.

He is concerned with everything I’m feelings and I can’t overwhelm Him with words. In fact, He wishes I’d talk to Him even more than I do.

I can’t imagine how freeing this must have been or my husband when I started to release him from being an idol in my life. I could finally let go of all my constant anger and disappointment that he wasn’t living up to what I thought he should be living up to.

Practical Application –

Today might be a good day to sit down and evaluate who has the #1 spot in your life?

Are you upset and disappointed by your husband, often? Think about why. Is it because he is intentionally hurting you, or because you have some expectations of how a good husband would act and he is falling short?

Find a godly woman to talk to about this if you’re realizing that this truth is really hurting you right now. (Believe me, I was devastated when I first realized this!)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:  You are welcome to leave comments if you need to talk about this, too!  The topic is open for discussion!

Balance? Moderation?? ME????

My husband and me in June of this year
My husband and me in June 2012

MY BIGGEST FAN

Greg  (the Respected Husband) is my #1 fan.  He has been behind me with this whole blog thing from before day 1. Almost a year before I started Peacefulwife – he wanted me to start teaching other wives what God had taught me.  He is extremely supportive of me as a wife, as a mom, as a pharmacist and as a blogger.  He is even my IT guy for all my technical issues!  I am pretty sure I wouldn’t even have a functioning computer if it weren’t for him!  I am not very tech savvy.  I am most blessed to have him for my husband for so many reasons.

TWO WEEKS AGO

The week of Valentine’s Day was a little rougher than usual.   Not because of Valentine’s Day  at all- and nothing catastrophic:

  • my period started WAY earlier than usual (like over a week earlier), so I was much more hormonal than usual, and not expecting it that week
  • some extra difficult email situations
  • frustrations with the book I have been writing – to the point that I am rewriting much of it
  • even less sleep than normal (normal being 5.5 hours max per night)
  • some dizziness with my chronic sinusitis

… you know – LIFE.

My poor husband – normally I am so stable these days.  Not so much that week.  I cried a few times that week – which is now very unusual.  It was not about him, and I didn’t blame him for anything.  But it is hard on him to see me like that.  It was probably my most hormonal week in 4 years.    You see – I am, indeed, truly human! 🙂

As soon as I realize my hormones are taking over – I try to disengage them and begin depending on my husband’s perspective and judgment rather than my own.  It took me about 5 sentences to realize – hmmm… maybe I am hormonal?  Greg said, “It is definitely a possibility!”

A TEST

Last Monday, Greg mentioned in passing that he was thinking about “pulling the plug” on Peacefulwife. 🙁

That made me REALLY SAD!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing this ministry and blogging and emailing and seeing God work miracles in marriage.  And I care so very much about my readers and many of them are now very dear friends to me.

But – I know that God can and will lead me through my husband.  So, I released my blogs/book/emails to God’s hands and sought His will.   I do that every day – but even more so when my husband made a comment like that – which he has never done before.  It is definitely possible that even something like blogging could become an idol for me.  What a GREAT chance for me to practice holding all things loosely before Jesus – allowing Him to lead me in His will. And it was a fantastic opportunity for me to practice living out, “Not my will but Yours be done!”

I decided that I would accept his decision if that was what he believed was best – even if it meant stopping the blogs.  And I was able to enjoy the day with him and our children while we went to the zoo together.  I was still exhausted that day from some other medical issues, and lack of sleep.  But I thoroughly enjoyed my family and my heart was a bit sad but at peace.

I told Greg that I love blogging and believe that is what God wants me to do but that I would trust him and if he felt that the blogging/emailing/book writing were not right for me to be doing – that I would accept his decision as God’s will for my life.  I waited patiently.  I also quickly emailed the wives on my prayer team and asked them to pray for me.  Which they did!  I’m so thankful for them!

ANOTHER HUMBLING MOMENT

Our pastor knows that I write this blog.  He likes to kid me about it in a friendly way, “Isn’t ‘peaceful wife’ an oxymoron?”   That same week, he came to Greg and me and said, “April testifies that she is a peaceful wife.  What is your opinion?”  And, with this huge questioning tone in his voice, Greg said,  “Mostly????”  And my pastor laughed so hard.

Wow… that was humbling.  It was probably a pretty bad week to ask my husband that question!  But I figured my husband would say, “She is a wonderful wife.  She’s doing a great job!”

Nope.

I did keep it together at church and waited to get home to cry.  My husband didn’t mean his answer to sound negative – he said he doesn’t want me to feel like I have to be perfect.  To me that answer sounded like I was doing a terrible job!  Then I remembered all the times we had misunderstandings because I expected him to use the same enthusiastic words and tone of voice I use.  That is just how he talks.  He didn’t mean I was a failure.  And then I thought,  “Awesome.  Now my PASTOR is going to think I am a failure.  Maybe I really shouldn’t be writing for other women!”

But then God prompted me so quickly, “What are you respecting your husband and submitting to him for?  Whom are you trying to please?  Your husband?  Your pastor?  Isn’t MY opinion of you the one that matters the most?”

And I realized –

I am not doing this for my husband or for the praises of people.  I am doing it for God.

My disappointment with my husband’s answer  and my embarrassment at feeling my reputation could be ruined with my pastor was a great time to check my motives.  AND MY PRIDE.   Apparently, I was starting to veer off course.  And is my pastor really going to be that affected by my husband’s answer?  I was probably being quite overly sensitive.

So – Thank You, GOD, for the pop quiz and the motivation checkpoint.  I am so grateful for the chance to see some hidden ungodly motives and confess them and repent!

I NEED MY HUSBAND’S LEADERSHIP

Thankfully, Greg decided that particular week was a bit of an anomaly because of all my medical issues/hormones/extra stress from a few specific emails/book stuff.  And he told me he supports me continuing on with the blogging ministry.  YAY!  BUT – he said he wants me to have more BALANCE, and to be sure to put him and our children ahead of the blog stuff.  I completely agree with him.

Unfortunately, I am HORRIBLE at balance and moderation.

I am awesome at obsession or just stopping something altogether.   But BALANCING things.  UGH.  So I asked him what his definition of balance was and told him I am really bad at this!  And that I might need his guidance and direction.

RELAXATION TIME

We spent a very quiet evening – cuddling in our bed after our children went to bed. Greg told me how much it means for him to just have me there with him, even if he is just watching tv.  And I actually relaxed!

If I am left to my own devices, I will run myself into the ground until I CAN’T do anything.   Like my friend, Selena, says, “I unbalance easily.”

So I am really thankful that I have a husband who will help me establish balance and help me figure out how to keep him and my children first and not get so consumed by good things that I am missing out on the most important things.

I have been a bit slower in responding to emails this past week.  That is because I have been spending time with my friends and my grandmother and my twin sister and my family.  Y’all are REALLY important to me!  But I hope you can be patient as I learn to get this balance thing going.  I do plan to respond to each email, but it could take a few days at times depending on my schedule. 🙂

And, please pray about the book.  Please pray that God will give me the exact words He wants me to use and the messages He wants me to write.  Please pray for it to only be for His glory and His will in His timing by His power and for His purposes.  Thank you!

I am thankful that there are moments in life that keep me grounded and humble.  I need that!

Something that Christian Men Wish We Knew about Them

920643_54431442

This is a guest post from www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com (my other blog) this week for the SINGLE ladies.  It is a single Christian man’s response to a question I asked him after Tuesday’s post (Why Asking About His “Five Year Plan” Can Backfire).  I believe that the way we treat our men reflects the same level of respect that we give to Jesus.  When I was disrespectful and controlling with my husband, that is also how I treated God. (Of course, I didn’t realize I was being that way with either of them.)  And when a woman is respectful towards her husband and honors him – that is almost always a woman who also respects and honors Christ.

I asked him, “What can Christian single women do when they believe they are having to wait too long for the Christian man they are interested in to “move forward” in a romantic relationship?”  

His answer amazes me.  This may be a bit painful to hear – because it will force us to look into the mirror and we may be surprised about what we see there.  But his response has so much meat in it, that I want us all to hear what he has to say.  I’m an old married woman :), and I learned a LOT from his perspective that even applies in marriage.  Many of us made a lot of these exact mistakes when we were dating our husbands – and I believe we are sometimes suffering in our marriages today because of those mindsets that began early in our relationships.  I think this same mindset may also be how we sometimes approach God – and I believe it is time to take a look at our approach to our husbands and to Jesus. THANK YOU to this man for his willingness to share:

Every couple will have a different set of personalities and circumstances. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this other than to listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice, and have a heart that desires to obey God and honor your brother in Christ before yourself.

If your priority and focus is on yourself and your dreams and expectations and everything YOU want in the relationship or engagement/marriage, you will show him that not only is he less important to you than your list of desires/dreams/expectations, but that you only see him as the means by which you achieve those desires/dreams/expectations, ie: a convenient object to use.

Do we say to Jesus, “Hurry-up and jump on that cross, because I want to taste Paradise?!”  No! This was his choice and gift to us! Paradise/Heaven are gifts and blessings we are lucky to receive, not a “right” we deserve when we want it. But that is what dating Christian women feels like. They believe men are obligated by God to make all their desires, dreams, wishes, and expectations come true, and the sooner the better.

Your lists of desires and qualifications, and your urgent timetable do not change a man’s gift into your “right!”

We don’t owe you anything! (From Peacefulwife – please remember, this is a single man – not even in a dating relationship.  Two Christian women he was friends with, not even dating, at different times demanded to know his “5 year plan” and then never talked with him again after he tried to answer their surprise “pop quiz” as he described it.)

Our hearts, our thoughts, our time, our energy, our money, our commitments, and our lifetime of hard work and sacrifices are all our gifts to the women we choose to give them to, when we choose to give those things to them. When women DEMAND any of these, we don’t want to give them away.

Many  (single) Christian women place so much emphasis on marriage, children, and materialistic things they want NOW, that many men feel a lot of pressure to hear God correctly and honor their girlfriends, all while trying to slow down the process enough so we can feel comfortable about whether or not to move forward, having a plan, working hard, and investing ourselves into both the costs and benefits of the relationship. It is not as easy as simply saying, “Yes,” and women would not be satisfied with words alone. I believe men deserve the time they need to make such promises and commitments willingly.

If you want the gift, you have to wait until it is handed to you. You can’t just pry it out of his hands and act like you already deserve it, and that he owes it to you. It is not your gift to give!

The more women want to speed-up their relationships, the more men will resist.

I wonder, “What do women expect will happen when they do become married? Do women think they are right to drag their husbands around by the hand for the rest of their lives. I hope not!”

If you want a relationship with a man, you should learn to love and adapt to his timetable. If he loves you, he will learn gradually over time how to balance both, but if he feels rushed he will resist, and you will only be adding more time to your wait. If you feel a need to rush things, you will likely show him that his sense of time, perspective, and priorities are “wrong,” and that you are unwilling to value or respect and consider his thoughts and opinions, and may not ever be willing to follow his lead.

Speaking from experience, I’m so used to Christian women jumping insistently from the beginning to rush and force the issue, that I would feel much more honored by waiting. It shows me more respect for my thoughts and opinions, and allows me the flexibility and opportunity to practice leading, while giving her the same flexibility and opportunity to practice following. To me, it demonstrates the difference between actually following or merely talking about it.

I don’t want to be led around by the hand and told what a good little leader I am every time I do what she wants.

I guess the real question is, “Which is most important to you, the man you say you love or your need to live by your own rules and schedules?” Only one of those will have priority.

Again, I believe God will speak clearly how best each couple should proceed to avoid unnecessary troubles.

Also, when 66%-75% of all break-ups and divorces are initiated by women for selfish and “no fault” reasons, that statistic alone encourages me to wait longer to marry a woman that would be right for me. If women were truly concerned about not “wasting time”, they wouldn’t date people for fun or break-up because they’re bored. Their “Yes” would mean yes, and their “No” would mean no. If most women can’t keep their promises, I see no reason to rush into any committed relationship or marriage.

Men aren’t afraid of commitment! We’re afraid of what will happen to us after that commitment!

Expectations – Part 4

couple walking

We have been looking at our expectations and how they get us into trouble in our marriages this week.  (Click here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3)

I love the quote, “Expectations are premeditated resentment.” This is particularly true of unrealistic or unbiblical expectations.

The number of expectations I have had of my husband and my  marriage seem practically limitless.  I know I am only covering a fraction of them in this series!  But I pray God might open our eyes.

Let’s look at some more expectations we can easily have of our men that we might need to lay down.  Some of these things are not wrong for us to want – but if we make these things more important in our lives than Jesus – we can get into a lot of pain.

EXPECTATIONS:

  • My husband will only say glowing things about me to others
  • There will be no need for my husband to ever give me constructive criticism or a rebuke under any circumstances
  • My husband will use the same words/intensity/expressions that I use
  • My husband will ALWAYS put me squarely ahead of all other human relationships in his life
  • My husband will always think I am the most beautiful woman on the planet, even if I dress in sweats/jeans all the time and quit taking care of my appearance
  • I should be the leader in my marriage – I am “more qualified,” “more spiritual,” “more organized,” “more responsible” and “more intelligent”
  • My husband will only lead in the ways I want him to

REALITY

  • There will be times in life when my husband may hurt my feelings.  He may not intentionally mean to hurt me, but I will be hurt sometimes by what he says about me and to me. Sometimes my husband may mess up. Sometimes I may misunderstand. What a great chance for me to practice extending grace and forgiveness!  And I, unfortunately, will sometimes hurt him by my words, too.  We both still wrestle with our sinful natures at times, even if we are believers.
  • I am FAR from perfect. God is still working on me and helping me learn and grow. God can and will speak to me through my husband if I will listen and not defend myself.  Sometimes my husband can see my blind spots that I can’t see at all.  Here is my Youtube video about handling our husbands’ constructive criticism of us http://youtu.be/OEAis1auJRo
  • My husband is NOT ME!  He will not use the same words for the same feelings that I do.  He will not have the same emotional intensity about the same things that I do.  He is different from me, but that doesn’t make him wrong.  My phrase, “That would be GREAT!”  might mean the same thing that his phrase, “Ok, I assume that would be ok” might mean.  I get into a lot of trouble when I assume that he means the same thing I would mean if I said what he said.
  • My husband is human, and I cannot control him.  He might put his friends, extended family, coworkers, children/step-children ahead of me sometimes. (Yes, he SHOULD put me as his wife first among human relationships.  But I cannot force him to do this.  I can pray for him and influence him – but I cannot force him to do what I want, even if what I want is the right thing).  Reality is that the more I try to MAKE him put me first, the less likely it will be that he will want to put me first.  I can’t make him put me first.  I can influence him by my godly example or I can repel him with my neediness/clinginess/demands.  My power is not in trying to force and control him with my hands around his neck.  My power is in my smile, my praise of what he does well, my faith in him, my trust in him, my admiration, my pleasant tone of voice, my friendliness and the joy of Christ radiating through me.  My power is when I put Jesus SQUARELY FIRST in my heart and set my whole heart completely on Him, not my husband, not my being in control and not anything else.
  • Reality is that I am not the most physically beautiful woman on the planet. It would be wonderful if he compliments me and gushes over me – but that is not where my value and worth come from. I can accept that I can be beautiful in my own way, I don’t have to be voted “Ms. Universe.”  I long to be beautiful in God’s sight and have a gentle and peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear and is of great beauty in God’s eyes.  But I do want to put forth some effort into my physical appearance to show my husband I respect myself and him.  That means a lot to most husbands – for me to spend a little time fixing my hair/makeup and wearing some beautiful, feminine clothes sometimes.  I personally do this almost every day as a gift to my husband and a reminder to myself to cherish the gift of my femininity.  What my husband thinks about my appearance is not really under my control.  I don’t obsess about it at all.  But I do want to look attractive for him.
  • God gave husbands the position of leadership in marriage (I Cor 11:3 and Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:2-5).  We cannot take that away from them.  God says “the husband IS the head of the wife as Christ IS the head of the church.”  It’s not “He SHOULD be”  or “He COULD be the head.” As I learn to honor my husband’s God-given position and to support God’s wisdom (unless my husband is asking me to sin or condone sin or is clearly not in his right mind), God will honor me and bless our marriage.
  • Nope.  My husband will lead in ways I don’t agree with at times. Just like God leads me in ways I don’t agree with at times. But God can and will use my husband to lead me to His will and His glory in my life as I trust Him.  I can (and should – in my opinion) – tell my husband what I want and don’t want and what my feelings are – respectfully and politely. But then if he doesn’t agree, I trust that God will lead him and will use him to lead me even when I don’t understand and can’t see the ultimate plan. (When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?) And what a blessing it has been for me and my whole family when I do that!  God’s wisdom is way above my own.  And He has taken me to places that are so much better than the places I would have gone if we had done things MY way.  But even if my husband makes mistakes, I can trust that God is able to use all things for my ultimate good and His glory because I love Him and am called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)  Check out my Youtube video about Biblical Submission here. 

Expectations – Part 3

bridegroom aisle

This is part 3 of a series on expectations we have about marriage vs. reality.  Click to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.

One time in 7th grade, I was at a party.  I didn’t know that Cherry Coke had just come out.  And I took a sip of a soft drink, expecting Coke.  When I expected Coke, but it was Cherry Coke, and I had never tasted that before – it was a VERY UNPLEASANT SURPRISE!  I actually like Cherry Coke now.  But I enjoy it a lot more when I know what to expect and am not taken by surprise – expecting one thing, and experiencing another.  My expectations made my first Cherry Coke experience unpleasant.  But if I had the proper expectations, I could probably have enjoyed the experience.

Laying down unreasonable and unrealistic expectations is part of the path to peace and joy!

EXPECTATIONS WE SOMETIMES TAKE INTO MARRIAGE THAT CAUSE US TROUBLE

  • I can and should change my husband with my love
  • my husband will NEVER notice another woman exists on the planet
  • my husband will never be tempted to lust after another woman
  • my husband will never be tempted to flirt with another woman
  • my husband will always agree with me
  • if I explain myself enough, my husband will see that I am clearly right – about everything
  • my husband will always clean up after himself

REALITY VS. THESE EXPECTATIONS

  • I cannot change people!  Only God can change people.  I can influence my husband.  But I am not responsible for him and I cannot  MAKE him do anything.  I am only responsible for my own sin, my own emotions, my own behavior, my own obedience to God, my own attitudes and my own walk with Christ.
  • All people can be tempted to flirt or lust.  Men and women.  The vast majority of husbands will commit lust in their hearts at some point or many points.  So will most wives.  Now, just noticing that there are other women on the planet is not sin.  Noticing a beautiful woman is not sin.  It is only when he undresses her with his eyes or uses his imagination to picture having sex with her that he sins.  But you can’t control his thoughts or keep him from sinning. And you don’t actually know what is happening in his thoughts.  It is easy to judge and condemn him, but only God knows his heart.  Many women have their husbands’ visual purity as an idol.   Meaning, “I won’t be happy unless my husband never sins in his thought life.”  But we women can’t keep ourselves from sinful thoughts many times – we hold on onto anger and unforgiveness and bitterness and resentment, and we gossip, and we judge others as being “less than” us, and we pridefully think we are always right… we can’t keep our own thoughts sin-free.  We do well when we allow God to deal with our husbands’ sin and we allow God to work in our lives about our own sin. There are times we may need to confront our husbands’ sin gently, respectfully, humbly, after first dealing with our own sin… but then there are also times to give grace.  I pray we will be sensitive to God’s Spirit and His Word and wisdom and honor Him in these matters!
  • My husband will NOT always agree with me.  No two people will always agree.  I don’t have to agree with him.  He doesn’t have to agree with me.  And we don’t have to fight when we don’t agree.  He is allowed to be his own person with his own thoughts, just like I am.  Just because he thinks differently, does not mean he is wrong.  And just because I think differently from him does not mean I am wrong.  We have different perspectives on life.  That makes us stronger as a couple!
  • More words can fix almost anything in a woman’s world – not so in a man’s world.  Many times more words make things worse with men.  Brief explanations are usually best.  When we get too carried away with explaining ourselves, it can look like we are trying to control our men or justify our own sin sometimes.  Sometimes our men see that we are wrong.  And more words won’t help.  If your husband is getting increasingly agitated as you explain and explain – just stop.  Be quiet.  And wait for awhile.  When we don’t drop something and don’t listen – it can be very frustrating for our men sometimes.
  • Nope.  And if that is a big problem for you  – probably best not to get married!  Being married means cleaning up after other people sometimes.  Being a mom is going to be even more of the  being-someone’s-servant thing.  Jesus says that anyone who wants to be the greatest in His kingdom, must become the servant of all.  Embrace having a servant’s heart if you want a husband and family!

The closer reality is to my expectations, the happier I will be.

And, conversely, if my expectations are FAR away from reality – the more miserable I will be.

Lord,

Please open our eyes to faulty expectations and unrealistic expectations we might have of our husbands and of marriage.  Help us to get rid of any expectations that dishonor You and our marriages.  Help us to set our hearts firmly on You alone.  Help us to lay down our will, our rights, our plans, our dreams, our hopes, our desires, our wisdom and ourselves  before You – and let us pick up Your wisdom, Your will, Your desires, Your plans, Your dreams, Your glory and all the riches of heaven.  Let us seek Your will far above our own now.  Be greatly glorified in our marriages!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

Expectations – Part 2

1393349_12463964

Yesterday, we looked at some common expectations that wives often carry into marriage and how they can create resentment in us (For Part 1 of Expectations, please click here).  We also looked at reality vs. these expectations.

Here are some more expectations that we often bring into marriage that sometimes create resentment

  • that if I am married, my husband will spend all his free time after work doting on me
  • my husband MUST initiate prayer with me every night and initiate devotions/Bible reading with me or he is not a good spiritual leader
  • that I am always right and leave no room for my husband’s perspective at all
  • I should always get MY way
  • if I am married, I will always feel loved by my husband
  • if I am unhappy, my husband is to blame and he must change
  • I am not a big time sinner – I won’t cause my husband any pain/wounds/grief/distress
  • I am better than my husband (spiritually/mentally/morally/emotionally)

This is not remotely an exhaustive list!

REALITY VS. THE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS

  • Husbands have a lot of things they want and need to do.  Not all of it will always involve us.  That does not mean they don’t love us!  It just means sometimes they need time with their guy friends.  Sometimes they need time to chill out.  Sometimes they need time to cut the grass.  Sometimes they need time to work on their hobbies and passions.  Sometimes they need time with just the children without us.  It is easy for wives to interpret, “If my husband doesn’t do things with me every possible minute that he is home from work, he doesn’t love me or want me.”  This is usually NOT at all true!  Allow your man the time he needs to recharge and do things he enjoys – even without you sometimes.  That will give him a much greater appreciation for you and he will enjoy the time he spends with you infinitely more than if you are clinging to him and resentful of him spending any time away.  A wife who is a bottomless pit of need REPELS her husband far, far away.  A wife who is understanding and supportive of her husband’s hobbies and recreation will tend to have a much more loving husband.
  • The Bible does say Christians should pray continuously, without ceasing, for our leaders, with thanksgiving, with faith, in a closet so that the God who sees what is done in secret will reward us, in groups of 2-3, corporately as a church…  There are many instructions about prayer.  But I can’t find a verse that says, “Husbands must initiate prayer with their wives.”  I believe couples SHOULD pray together.  But if  your husband is nervous about praying out loud – please don’t shame him!  He may feel intimidated or too vulnerable.  Please do not try to force him into praying with you, and don’t judge him as being less spiritual if he hesitates about praying out loud together.  Pray on your own and/or with a godly female prayer partner.  Pray for your husband, thanking God for him.  If there is NOT a lot of tension, you could try, politely, respectfully, pleasantly asking your husband sometimes if he might pray with you/for you.  If he doesn’t answer or gets upset – then leave that topic alone and let God work on him.  You focus on praying yourself and on your own sin and your own intimacy with Christ.  If your husband is far from God, I Peter 3:1-6 is your prescription from God.  If he is far from God, words from you about spiritual things will only repel him farther from God and from you.  If he is far from God, make sure you are obeying God and honoring your husband’s leadership and showing respect for your husband – that is how God can use you to influence your husband.  But ultimately only God can open his eyes.  You can get out of God’s way in your husband’s life by obeying God yourself.
  • Be open to your husband’s ideas.  They will be different from your own.  That does not mean he is wrong.  God may well be speaking to you through your husband at times (if he is not asking you to sin or condone sin).  Be willing to hear your husband and accept that your husband has a masculine brand of wisdom and a masculine perspective that is very different from yours, but that he has a lot to offer.
  • Expecting to always get your way is one of the fastest ways to misery I know.  And trust me – I have been down that road MANY MILES.  It does not go anywhere good!  Be gracious and selfless and allow your husband to do things the way he likes to as a gift to him.  Lay down your own desires at the feet of Jesus and seek His will, His glory and His way, not your own!
  • You will ABSOLUTELY NOT always feel loved by your husband.  That doesn’t mean he won’t love you, necessarily.  But you will not always be able to FEEL/hear/see his love.  When your heart is set fully on Jesus, you can ride out those times because you have your identity completely in Christ, and you have your security in Jesus, not a man.  You keep obeying God for your part, don’t react in sin, stay close to Jesus.  And see what God will do.
  • I am responsible for my own happiness.  My husband is not responsible for my emotional and spiritual well-being.  He wants to see me happy.  He will probably try to do things that make me feel happy.  But every time I am unhappy it is not his job to make me be happy.  I am an adult.  I am responsible for my emotions and my spiritual condition.   I look to Christ to find my fulfillment and joy and strength.  My husband will add extra things to my life that do make me happy – but my primary source for my wellbeing is Jesus.
  • We are all big time sinners.  All of us tend to commit idolatry, be prideful, selfish… the list goes on and on.  I WILL sin against my husband.  I will hurt him.  Probably many times.  I have to be able to accept that I am human and understand that I need the blood of Jesus to cover my sin.  I need grace to give to myself.  And I will need grace from my husband.
  • We are all on level ground at the foot of the cross.  We are all equally wretched sinners.  None of us are good.  Only God is good.  My husband may fall for temptations that don’t tempt me.  But I have other sin-tendencies that are just as heinous to God’s holiness.  My husband is my fellow-traveler on this road of faith in Christ.  We are equal in sinfulness and equal in the amount of the grace of Jesus that we desperately need.

We’ll look at some additional expectations vs. reality tomorrow!

%d bloggers like this: