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Prayer for Wives with Critical, Harsh Husbands – by Radiant

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

I appreciate Radiant sharing some prayers with us for wives in various circumstances over the coming months, Lord willing. These prayers are prayers to pray out loud (by yourself) with boldness over yourself, your husband, and your family if you are in Christ. I don’t know if you are aware of it, but we are in a new spiritual season. God is working in extremely powerful ways and answering the prayers of His people to draw us to Himself and to bring a great harvest into His kingdom. Let’s pray for more of His Spirit and for bolder, greater faith than ever before – not for ourselves, but for His pleasure and glory!

We are going to be transitioning a bit on my blog to seek much more of the Spirit’s power for our marriages, our husbands, our families, the church, our countries, and ourselves. My prayer is that we will have a Niagra Falls of God’s Spirit in our lives and on my sites – not just a trickle. I must get out of the way and He must be exalted even more. I will let you know more about this and how God is leading next week.

(If you do not know Jesus yet as your Savior and Lord, please check out this post – and leave me a comment if you want to talk about this.)

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Good Father,

We join and align with You in speaking Life, Your glory and Your love into this home, marriage, hearts, and these kids in Jesus name.

 

We declare Your Spirit and love and healing into the dark, cold, and hurt places of each heart in this family. We plead the Blood of Jesus over each person and this home.

We declare new management and dedicate this home and family to You and invite You to reign here.

 

We bind and tell the dark, tormenting things that have been allowed to hang out in this home and around these precious ones to go to the Cross now in Jesus Name. Spirit of despair, go. Fear, go. Critical spirit, go. Spirit of rejection go. Any spirit of lust go in the Name of Jesus. Spirit of division and anger go.  Orphaned spirit (that causes us to feel abandoned and alone), go in the Name of Jesus!

 

We speak Your love and grace and forgiveness into every hurt place. Psalm 103 and Isaiah 61 – we declare over these You love and their home. (Read those aloud putting your family and home in the promises)

 

We place You and Your angel armies as a shield around Your hurting daughter, her home, and family in the Name of Jesus.

 

Help each person receive Your love and be able to forgive those who hurt them and release bitterness to You. You be their shield instead of them having to self-protect and make vows against each other. Melt icy walls and hearts of stone. We declare old chains of toxic lies to break now, and dark prisons to fall apart now as Your Light and love is brought into this family.

 

We place Jesus between each family member and speak salvation and the Spirit of peace in.

We speak Life and blessing to every place that has been cursed and full of injury or death in Jesus’ name.

We bless this marriage and restore the identity of this beautiful Wife and Husband as who they are in Christ.

We receive her identity as a woman, wife and mom as a good thing from Christ and that she is anointed, blessed, and equipped by Him for these roles with this family. We reject the lie that she isn’t enough.

In Christ she has all she needs. Endless supply as she asks for wisdom and energy and discernment etc.

 

She doesn’t have to meet every need of her husband because that is Jesus’ job. She is not the fixer or the one who has to walk on egg shells. She is strong in Christ to love in Truth. Not a doormat. And not a bulldozer. Her goal isn’t to try to be perfect or invisible so her husband isn’t mad. Her goal is to pray Your kingdom come and Your will be done into her husband and her heart and home- and to rest in Your love for them.

 

We declare that Christ is this husband’s head. That He is able to make His servants stand and heal them and bring them into all truth. Light up the darkness. Holy Spirit bring Truth. Reveal Your love. Bring him to a place of walking in surrender to Your anointing and love. Show him his true identity in You and as a man, husband and father. A protector and defender. A servant leader.

Thank You, Jesus!

 

Until then, and even when this husband is doing great, You are the only perfect Bridegroom and everlasting Father. We receive Your care over this family. Thank You Jesus for all You have just released because we ask, seek, and knock in faith!!

For Your glory and according to Your will and heart.

Amen!

A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

I love to share individual stories, as I can, that bring glory to God. Even about extreme situations.  This is one wife’s story is about what God led her to do in her specific situation. Everything she did isn’t a blanket post for all wives with husbands who are drug addicts. But I am so thankful for her willingness to share. Her heart for Christ and her heart for her husband are the main things I want us to see. May each of us seek to hear and follow God’s Word, His leading, and His wisdom in our own situations:

——–

I felt compelled to write to you after looking through some of the comments on your posts. I see some broken women try to argue about some points you make and say that they don’t apply to their extreme situations. And I do know our God is loving and has a unique relationship with each of us, and there’s never a cookie cutter answer. But as someone going through an extreme situation, I’d like to say God’s Word and commands for us as wives still apply (maybe in a slightly different form, but they still apply), and your posts are still an incredible blessing!

My husband and I have only been married a year and 6 months, and it’s been quite the whirlwind. Early on in our marriage my husband relapsed into an old drug addiction. My husband came back from a Christian rehab program recently. The miracles God has done in both of our hearts while he was there and I was home were incredible.

But a few weeks ago my husband relapsed again.

I just finished your book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, a bit before I found out he relapsed. The first thought in my head was, “Why would God be teaching me to be submissive and respectful when I was about to get hurt again?” But then I realized our God is all-knowing and at the exact moment He was encouraging me to read your book and speaking great things to me through it, He KNEW what my husband was going to do.

Things went down very differently this time.

When he told me, I didn’t scream, throw things, or yell. I let go of my controlling grip on my husband and tightened my grip on our Lord Jesus. I found peace in Him. I told my husband I loved him over and over and that I don’t want him to condemn himself. I related to him because I, too, have backslid at different times in my life. No, I do not have addiction problems, but sin is sin.

His response was so loving, so apologetic. Last time it was all about him and his pain. This time he was concerned with how he hurt me. Yes, my situation is unique. It’s extreme. I had to be strict with my husband and take the wheel last week. With the help of our Pastor I insisted that my husband go back to the rehab program out of state. But I held tight to God’s commands to me as a wife. I held tight to respecting my husband. I didn’t add to his pain that I know he was feeling. I didn’t add to the condemnation I know he was pouring onto himself.

I tried my best to die to my flesh, and love like Christ loves. Christ dies for us even while we were yet sinners. I can love my husband, even while he is yet a sinner. Yes, in my unique situation, prayerful separation is necessary. But with my eyes locked on Christ and focused on the eternal, the thought of divorce is not even an option. The thought of anger and resentful emotions fade away. I have salvation, what more could I need? I am full in Christ. I am stable when God is my foundation.

Thank you again for your book and your posts! They made a significant difference in the way things unfolded this time. God is doing great things! <3

——–

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE ABOUT EXTREME SITUATIONS:

Note – this particular husband was repentant. If he were not repentant, a wife would probably have to adjust her approach to some degree. And if he were violent or dangerous, she may have to also adjust things depending on the situation.

No matter what situation we may face, all of us are called by God to respond without sin ourselves. Even when we are being sinned against. When we add our own sin to our husband’s sin, it only makes things infinitely worse. When we respond in the power of God’s Spirit and wisdom, God begins to pour His healing into the situation through us. It may take time to see fruit. But we can know we are doing what God calls us to do when we walk in obedience and faithfulness to His Word by the power of His Spirit. His commands still apply to us. We just need to understand exactly how by His wisdom.

Nothing is too hard for God. No one is beyond His reach!

Please join me in praying for this wife and husband – for God’s healing and for His greatest glory to come out of this very difficult trial.

I don’t usually write general posts specifically for wives in extreme situations – where there are major drug/alcohol addictions, abuse, unrepentant adultery, criminal activity, demon possession, severe spiritual oppression, severe uncontrolled mental health issues, etc…   I don’t personally know what every wife should do in every possible situation.  I don’t have personal experience with most of these situations myself. People don’t need my wisdom or opinions. They need God’s Word and His clear direction. I know He has exactly what each of us need and that He can provide for our great needs out of His abundant supply.

I am so thankful when God uses what I have written to bless wives in many different situations  But I am also very concerned for my sisters who may be confused. I never want to add to confusion for even one woman. Sometimes women in situations like this can misunderstand important concepts like: respect, dying to self, submission, unconditional love, forgiveness, and trust because of filters they may have

Let’s talk about some things I have seen that are of great concern to me.

SOME WAYS WOMEN MAY MISUNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD AT TIMES:

Some women in very difficult marriage situations think dangerous things like:

  • Respecting my husband means respecting his sin and not intervening or using my influence authority for good in his life.
  • Submitting to my husband means I give up my personhood and become completely passive and just do whatever he wants me to do no matter what.
  • Submitting to my husband means I never say what I think, feel, or desire. I should totally give up my voice to be a godly wife.
  • Respecting my husband means I never say anything if he is sinning against me or our children or if he is doing something very wrong. I just cooperate with him no matter what. I ignore the verses in scripture about lovingly, gently, respectfully confronting sin.
  • Loving my husband unconditionally means staying even if our children and I are not safe and even if he is dangerous and not in his right mind. God hates separation and divorce, so He must want me to stay and endanger my life and our children’s lives. I ignore the fact that God also hates violence and oppression and that I have a responsibility to protect my children and myself if my husband is sinning against us or not in his right mind due to addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual oppression, or major unrepentant sin.
  • Jesus’ command for me to forgive unconditionally in Matthew 6:14-15 means I also have to trust my husband who is not trustworthy and treat him like I would if he hadn’t severely broken my trust. I don’t realize that trust is not an unconditional command – it is different from forgiveness and unconditional love. Trust must be rebuilt together in cooperation. It requires two people to rebuild it. God never commands us to trust untrustworthy people. We are only commanded to trust the Lord unconditionally because He is not sinful and unable to have wrong motives toward us.
  • God calls women to be weak and wimpy.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to disrespect myself and just put up with genuine abuse (I say “genuine abuse” because sometimes wives will use the word, “abuse” to describe things that are truly not abusive. Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe a husband’s godly leadership. “My husband is so abusive. He expects me to stick to a budget.” “My husband abuses me because he doesn’t want me to flirt with other men.” Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe any behavior they don’t like. “My husband reacts negatively toward me when I disrespect him.” Those things are not abuse. God hates abuse and so do I.)
  • I can be a godly wife even if I don’t spend time with God, don’t pray for myself, and don’t know Jesus closely myself. I can remain in spiritual bondage and oppression myself and respond rightly to my husband’s sin and issues. I can do this all in my own strength without God’s power and help.
  • I can’t respect (rightly relate to) God, my husband, and myself all at the same time. For me to properly respect my husband, I have to sin against myself or God.
  • Respecting and submitting to my husband means he is always right no matter what he does.
  • Respecting my husband and obeying God’s Word means I have to stay and it is a sin to leave under any circumstances.
  • Dying to self means I have to just suffer silently in every situation and act like things are fine when they are truly not.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to do anything to make him happy no matter what the cost to me or our children. If he is upset with me, it means I am wrong. End of story. My husband’s words, emotions, and decisions are the ultimate authority in my life, not Jesus.

If we have a skewed understanding of these key concepts or we idolize our husband’s approval rather than seeking God’s approval above all, we can end up making poor choices. That breaks my heart. So if a wife is in extreme situations like this and she thinks that respect, unconditional, love, dying to self, forgiveness, and trust mean things like what I just listed above, I would want her to seek godly, experienced counsel who could help her discern her thoughts and God’s Word rightly. I want all women to understand these critical concepts correctly because if we don’t, we can make some really terrible decisions for ourselves, our marriages, and our children.

THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD FOR ALL OF US:

If women are having trouble with these concepts or feel confused about what they should do, I would encourage them to seek godly one-on-one counseling with someone who is experienced with the issues they have in their marriages. Some women in very difficult situations are able to hear God rightly as they read my posts and respond in the power of the Holy Spirit to their husbands. That is awesome! I praise and thank God for this! Some women in very difficult situations may need resources other than my blog that are much more specialized for their particular needs. That is okay, too.

ULTIMATELY, WE ALL NEED JESUS AND HIS HEALING:

Jesus is the key and He is what we all desperately need. His Word applies to us all no matter what we may be going through. It is critical for us to have right understanding of His Word. How I long for each of us to experience the abundant Life He offers to us no matter what may happen in our marriages. My greatest desire is that we all end in the same place – JESUS – whether that is here or elsewhere:

RESOURCES:

I have many other resources, if you need something in particular, please let me know. And always check anything any human author says against scripture and seek to have a right understanding of God’s Word!

  • Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas may be helpful for wives whose husbands tend to be harsh with their children or who have anger issues.
  • If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage or you tend to have a husband who is very harsh you may find healing in Christ for yourself, and your marriage, in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.
  • www.hotline.org is for women in physically abusive relationships who may need to plan to get away safely.
  • Hopefully each woman can find a local body of believers in Christ who will be equipped to help her with any severe situations.
  • There are Christian resources for drug addictions – the most important thing is to have something that is biblically based on the power of Christ. Check with a trusted pastor or Christian counselor in your area for what may be the best fit for your situation.
  • www.xxxchurch.com or www.brentriggs.com also has helpful resources for porn addictions.
  • Some churches have prayer ministries where prayer warriors pray over people and see them set free from addictions, sin, shame, and even diseases. I would love for wives facing extreme trials to be able to be surrounded by spiritual support, love, and powerful prayer by the body of Christ. If your church doesn’t have a powerful prayer ministry, search until you find one that does and visit there for prayer if possible.
  • The posts I linked throughout this post may be a blessing, as well.
  • If your husband is violent, or threatening violence, or things are extremely toxic, please seek one-on-one, experienced, trustworthy help if at all possible. And if you need to contact the police and it is safe to do so, please do whatever you need to do to be safe.

SHARE:

If you have resources you would like to share or you want to share about God’s faithfulness in your situation, please feel free to share. If you are facing a great trial and need prayer for your situation, you are welcome to share that, as well.

How Could a Godly Wife Possibly “Respect” an Unfaithful Husband?

This post is merely a brief introduction to this weighty topic of dealing with a physical, sexual affair. It would take a book to do this issue proper justice. I cannot possibly touch on all of the things a wife would need to do in such a situation in one post. And what works for one wife in one situation may not be the best thing for another wife. Thanks for understanding! If your husband is cheating on you, please seek one-on-one counsel with a trusted, godly, experienced, Spirit-filled counselor. And most importantly, seek the Lord wholeheartedly and allow Him to lead you each step of the way. Let Him heal and transform you for His glory! He has the great wisdom and discernment we all need for every moment.

Adultery is a terrible thing. It is always totally inexcusable.

As are all sins.

God never gives anyone a free pass to sin against anyone else. God hates sin – and we should hate it, too. Sin destroys people and relationships. Let’s look at a few basic things about this issue before we get into how a godly wife could respect a cheating husband:

How God Views Sin

Something to keep in mind is that no sin is ever acceptable in God’s eyes. ANY sin that goes unchecked for long enough can destroy a person, a relationship, and/or a marriage. Sin always progresses if left to fester. It leads to more and more sin and pain, and then, ultimately, to death. (I’ll share a list with some links to various other sins that can be extremely spiritually and emotionally damaging to our lives and marriages at the bottom of the post.)

Any sin – in thoughts, motives, words, or actions – would send any of us to hell if it were not for the gift of grace offered to us on the cross by Jesus. Of course, we must receive that grace and yield our lives to Him as Savior and LORD to experience His forgiveness. But His forgiveness and the gift of the cross is available to us all.

God is love. But He is also holy. He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all. Whether our sin is that we ate a piece of fruit He told us not to eat (like Adam and Eve), or our sin is something we would label today as “a big sin,” it all destroys our relationship with the Lord. We all need a gracious Savior who is willing and able to pay the price for our sin on our behalf that we can’t pay.

We all are on level ground at the foot of the cross. We all need Jesus desperately – and equally. A wife is not “better than” her husband morally or spiritually – no matter what his sin may be. According to Jesus, only God is good. No people can be good in their own strength. On our own, we are all wretched sinners without hope. I’m so thankful God loved us too much to leave us condemned but that He made a way for each of us to be right with Him through Christ! No one is beyond His reach!

A Godly Wife Can Refuse to Repay Evil for Evil Whatever Her Husband’s Sin May Be

She doesn’t have to cuss him out, hit him, throw things at him, threaten him, be bitter at him, insult him, call him names, lash out at him in sinful anger, ridicule him, smear him to everyone she knows, gossip about him, slander him, hate him, teach the kids to hate him, condemn him, have a “revenge” affair herself, be bitter at God because of her husband’s decisions to sin that he made in his own free will, etc…

She doesn’t have to respond in sin. It would be extremely tempting to respond in the flesh, but she is no longer a slave to sin if she is in Christ! (Romans 6:1-14)

She doesn’t have to try to make him change or control him. That won’t work. He has a free will, just like we all do. He has to make his own decisions. She can’t verbally drag him into being a good husband. He has to want that on his own. She can seek to inspire and influence him and make doing what is right attractive to him – but what he does is up to him.

She can separate herself from his sin and not take on any guilt for his sin, knowing he is responsible for his decisions and sin before the Lord. She is responsible for herself. She can also humbly acknowledge that God is the primary one being sinned against by her husband’s adultery.

What She Can Do Instead of Responding in the Flesh

She can set a powerful, shockingly holy and supernatural example that makes him have to see Christ in her.

As he sees Jesus in her life, he will see the stark contrast of his own sinful life and the lack of holiness there. She can be a godly influence. She can conduct herself with dignity, grace, poise, and honor in her interactions with him. At the same time she gives him space to make his own choices, she can also trust in God’s sovereignty and rest in Him. As he sees the difference in his live vs. her life, God may open her husband’s eyes and he may be moved to genuine conviction and repentance.

I am not saying any of this is easy. Or that there are guarantees that a wayward husband would repent.

Humanly speaking, responding in godly ways is impossible. But with the Holy Spirit, a Christian wife can absolutely respond in God’s power.

She can seek to remain faithful to the Lord and continue on in the peace, joy, and security of God’s love for her. Yes she will hurt. Yes she will grieve. The pain of adultery is greater than the pain of widowhood, in my estimation. But she also has so much hope in Jesus! She can depend on the Lord to make something beautiful from this situation. She can entrust her husband and his soul to God. She can be free from fear, living in great faith in Jesus.

A godly wife can respect her husband, God, their marriage covenant, and herself. Meaning – she can think rightly about all of these things according to God’s Word.

She can claim God’s promises to her and proclaim His truth out loud over herself, her husband and her family. She can go through the house when he is gone and sing praises to the Lord at the top of her lungs and invite His Spirit into their home and into the family to heal all that sin and Satan have stolen. She knows that the Lord is able to repay her for the years “the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). And she can truly have His joy and peace in the midst of her pain. She knows this is not the end of the story. She keeps her eyes on Christ, not the storm. In Jesus, she knows she is unshakable.

How Could a Wife Respect Her Cheating Husband in a Godly Way, Not an Unhealthy Way?

A lot of these things are ways a wife would seek to respect her husband at any time and with any sin going on in his life. Infidelity would be one of the most extreme situations that would be a very big spiritual test for any spouse. But no matter what her husband may do or not do, every wife has the choice and ability to obey the Lord for herself and to receive His reward for her obedience. How she thinks, speaks, and acts is all about her walk with Christ.

She can:

  • Respect that her husband is a person created in the image of God.
  • See him with God’s eyes to know what he could be if he turned to the Lord. She knows he is a beloved son of God for whom Christ died.
  • Speak respectfully to him and about him.
  • Be very cautious about sharing about his sin with others, only sharing when appropriate so that she can get the help she needs. She doesn’t have to tell all her coworkers or everyone at church or everyone on Facebook.
  • Look for any good she sees in him and affirm that.
  • Refuse to look down on him in self-righteousness, knowing we are all capable of any sin if we are far enough away from the Lord.
  • Deal thoroughly with any sin in her own life and repent to the Lord and to her husband, if she realizes she has sinned against him.
  • Respect that she is married to him and she can still honor her vows to the Lord and to her husband, although he has broken their covenant.
  • Humbly, respectfully introduce appropriate new boundaries and consequences because of his sin as she follows God’s leading and His Word (like separating and not being sexually intimate, for example).
  • Continue to honor her end of the covenant by avoiding adultery herself and by depending on the Lord to help her respond in the Spirit not the flesh.
  • Treat him in ways that honor the Lord because that is her character in Christ and it pleases Jesus for her to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21) – not because her husband necessarily “deserves” honor and respect.
  • Feel her feelings and even express them to him, as appropriate (after she takes her thoughts captive for Christ), in God-honoring ways. She can express her pain and hurt without sinning as she abides in Christ.
  • Purposely not seek to turn his kids against him.
  • Do whatever she needs to do to focus on Christ and to experience His healing for her broken heart.
  • Surround herself with a godly support system, with the Word, with prayer warriors, and with God’s truth.
  • Avoid those thoughts, resources, and people who tempt her to react in the flesh.
  • Make sure she has on her spiritual armor.
  • Look to Jesus alone for her ultimate security, purpose, peace, joy, and hope.
  • Respectfully, humbly, lovingly ask that he genuinely repent and show proper fruit of repentance and that he be willing to rebuild trust before allowing him to attempt to re-establish physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy.
  • Recognize the vast difference between forgiving her husband (which is an unconditional command of the Lord) vs. trusting her husband (which is not a command and is conditional depending on what her husband does).
  • Remain committed to obeying the Lord for herself, yielding to His Lordship in everything.
  • Plead over her husband for his soul before the Lord that he might find repentance, salvation, and regeneration knowing that his relationship with Christ is the most important thing, not the marriage.
  • Know who her real enemy is, and it is not her husband. She knows this is a spiritual battle.

A Godly Wife Knows:

  • She is not her husband’s Holy Spirit. She isn’t divine. She can’t convict him. Only the Holy Spirit can convict him or anyone else.
  • She is not his judge. God is his judge – and hers, too. The Lord will take vengeance appropriately and He will ensure justice is served. Either each person will pay for his sin in hell forever or he will receive Jesus’ payment for his sin and repent and turn to Jesus. A godly wife doesn’t want her husband or anyone to go to hell. She wants everyone to turn to Christ and receive salvation and new life in Him!
  • She is not and cannot be her husband’s Savior. Jesus is the only Savior.
  • She doesn’t want to be the Accuser of her husband. Satan has that role covered just fine without her help. She doesn’t want to make her mouth available to the enemy.
  • Her husband is ensnared by the enemy, like we all are at one time or another, and that he needs Jesus to set him free.

 

A Harvest of Righteousness Awaits Those Who Walk in Obedience to the Lord

As she avoids sinning against her husband, because she is abiding in Christ, all her husband will have to look at is his own sin. Eventually, her godly life will pour conviction on him without her having to preach or lecture or tell him how sinful his life is. If He is going to hear God’s voice and repent, a believing wife’s willingness to do things God’s way make it as easy as possible for a husband to see his sin and experience conviction. She can’t make him repent. But she can influence him in amazing ways.

Whether he ever repents or not, she will have the satisfaction of knowing that she has no regrets and that she handled herself rightly. She won’t have to apologize or repent when she walks in the victory Christ has provided for her. She can wait with joyful anticipation to hear God say those wonderful words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” And she will enjoy the rewards of her obedience forever in heaven.

She may even get to see her husband there, too, forgiven before the Lord, radiant and spotless, part of the perfect bride of Christ. Not only that, but God may use her obedience and faithfulness to Himself and her godly example to draw countless other people into the Kingdom. What a glorious celebration that will be!

 

Ultimately the goal has to be, “Whatever will bring You the most glory, Lord – do that in my life!”

SHARE:

If you have been in a position like this or similar to this, and God has shown you how to respond in godly ways, I invite you to share the wisdom He has given you with our struggling sisters.

RELATED:

If you have a very difficult marriage and you need spiritual healing in Christ so you have His wisdom and power to know how to handle your husband’s issues, check out Nina Roesner’s Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity eCourse!

What Should Be the Response of a Christian to a Spouse’s Affair? – www.gotquestions.org

Resources for those whose spouses have committed adultery from John Piper

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

25 Ways to Respect Myself

25 Ways to Show Reverence to God

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

How to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually 

Are We Responsible for Our Spouse’s Happiness?

I Am Responsible for My Emotions

POSTS ABOUT VARIOUS SINS THAT ARE ALSO VERY DESTRUCTIVE:

Control Girls and Family Christmas – by Shannon Popkin

A guest post by author Shannon Popkin:

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

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

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

Controlling Christmas

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

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

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

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

Peace at Christmas

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

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

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

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

 

 

Bio and Book Info

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

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

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Being a Peaceful In-Law

In-law relationships are some of the most notoriously difficult relationships – but we can have healthy relationships with our in-laws and we can have healthy relationships with our own parents, siblings, and adult children “as far as it depends on” us (Rom. 12:18). We don’t have to engage in toxic relationship dynamics and dysfunction. We are no longer slaves to sin and we are now daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords! We can choose to treat our extended family members with respect and honor. When Christ is in us, His character shines through rather than our old sinful nature. He can give us victory to act in ways that please Him in all of our relationships!

Note – if you have very severe issues in your relationships (major uncontrolled mental illness, abuse, violence, threats of violence, drug/alcohol abuse, etc…) and you or someone else is not safe – please reach out for appropriate help from your church, a godly counselor, the police, a doctor, etc… whomever may be appropriate for the situation. And also, always compare anything I say (or any person says) to scripture and seek to obey God. His approval is all that ultimately matters. (If you don’t have a relationship with Christ as your Savior and LORD, please check out this post.)

Some Helpful Principles to Keep in Mind with Extended Family Relationships:

  • It is not my job to “fix” other people.
  • God knows best – I do not. I need to be sure Jesus is squarely on the throne of my life, not self or anyone or anything else.
  • God is sovereign over people and circumstances, I am not. And God, in His wisdom and sovereignty, gives people free will. His sovereignty and their free will work together in ways I can’t begin to fathom. I can trust Him – even when I can’t trust other people.
  • I can’t change other people. I can’t open their eyes to spiritual things. I can’t even change myself or open my own eyes apart from the power of the Holy Spirit working in me.
  • I want to honor other people’s marriage covenants and not try to get them to put me or my opinions/advice above their marriage.
  • I need to be sure I don’t expect others to put me/my approval above Jesus in their hearts.
  • I need to make sure I don’t put others or their approval above Christ in my heart.
  • I can honor Christ on my end and make sure I allow Him to continually purify and refine my motives, thoughts, words, and actions.
  • I can be sure I am taking my thoughts captive for Christ. I can’t afford to  hold onto any sinful thoughts.
  • I need to abide and rest in Christ so that I am overflowing with His power and love in all of my relationships and circumstances.
  • God measures my love for Him by how I treat other people. (Matt. 25:40) Difficult relationships are often spiritual tests. Satan wants to use these things to destroy me and my witness for Christ. God wants to use these tests to prune and purify me.
  • I am responsible to God for how I treat others and how I think. Other people will be responsible to God for how they treat other people and how they think.
  • I can learn to respect and love others in godly, healthy ways as I allow God to regenerate and transform my heart and mind (Rom. 12:1-2).
  • Healthy boundaries and biblical thinking are critical for me to have healthy relationships with others as far as it depends on me.
  • It is not any person’s place to override another person’s free will.
  • Some relationships are not going to be healthy even if I am doing everything right. Other people may choose not to love me and not to like me. Or they may not even know how to love in a healthy way. That is going to  have to be something I can accept if I have done what God desires me to do. I can’t make other people like me or want to be with me.
  • Some relationships are so toxic and others may continue in unrepentant sin so long that my husband and I may have to prayerfully decide that we can’t fellowship with those family members until they are willing to change and rebuild trust. (Matt. 18:15-17)
  • God wants to use me to shine for Christ even in difficult situations.
  • God can and will use difficult relationships to refine me and to help me grow in spiritual maturity if I am open to Him and teachable.
  • God may use my witness for Christ to draw my family members to Himself as I allow Him to love them through me.
  • If godly love is not my motive, whatever I am doing will not count for Christ in eternity. (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
  • I have a covenant with my husband, not with my parents or in-laws. Marriage is to be the priority relationship in God’s design. (Gen. 2:24)
  • I am responsible to God for myself spiritually and emotionally, others are responsible for themselves spiritually and emotionally.
  • I can influence people but I can’t control them.
  • I want to live in total submission to Christ as Lord in all of my relationships so that I am seeking God’s will far above my own will.
  • I want to guard my own motives from sin and get rid of any bitterness, resentment, pride, self-righteousness, control, fear, selfishness, people pleasing, and any other toxic thought patterns.
  • I can seek to better understand those who think differently from me. It is much easier to avoid unnecessary conflict if I can understand their perspectives.
  • I can seek to be flexible (unless someone is asking me to participate in or condone sin) and ready to extend much grace, compassion, understanding, and mercy.
  • God promises to use everything in my life – good and bad – to accomplish His good purposes in my life and His glory if I belong to Jesus. (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • I can rest in God’s sovereignty, goodness, and love no matter what circumstances I may be facing.
  • I can take problems and other people to God in prayer and invite His Spirit to accomplish His purposes in their lives in ways I can’t even begin to imagine.
  • There are times I may need to confront sin in others – but, I need to be sure my heart is right first. And, if it is my husband’s family, I may want to allow him to handle the confrontation if possible – as God prompts us both.

A lot of the principles we learn as we seek to become godly wives carry over into other relationships, as well – like respect…

Ways I Can Respect Extended Family Members – I can choose to:

  • Speak in a respectful, pleasant tone of voice.
  • Honor any requests they make of me – i.e.: not to bring up an embarrassing story from the past that they don’t want me to share with others.
  • Have friendly facial expressions and to smile genuinely to bless others because of the joy I  have in Christ.
  • Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
  • Accept people as they are and seek to see them as God sees them, loving them with His love.
  • Respect other people because they are created in God’s image and God loves them (that doesn’t mean I have to respect sin, of course).
  • Enjoy them and be warm and welcoming.
  • Give space to those who need more space out of respect rather than resentment.
  • Seek to understand the needs of different people with different personalities and temperments.
  • Lay down most of my expectations. (other than for things like safety, for example)
  • Accept that different people have different backgrounds, personalities, filters, and perspectives so we will not think the same way or all agree on everything. That is okay!
  • Approach others with humility rather than looking down on anyone.
  • Allow people to make their own choices without me interfering. (There may be exceptions in the case of someone truly abusing another person or doing something illegal where I may have a legal/ethical/spiritual responsibility to step in.)
  • Avoid giving unsolicited advice.
  • Avoid having a critical or judgmental spirit.
  • Immediately confess any bitterness or resentment in my heart to God and refuse to give in to Satan’s temptation to get me to give him a foothold in my life.
  • Allow God’s Spirit to speak life through me rather than allowing my sinful nature/the enemy to use my thoughts, words, and actions to destroy and speak death to my family members.
  • Listen when others are talking without interrupting.
  • Treat others like they are important and precious.
  • See other people with God’s eyes and love them with His heart.
  • Repay evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21)
  • Not allow anyone to steal the joy, peace, and power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has given to me.
  • Respond gently and with self-control. (Prov. 15:1, Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Extend patience, kindness, and blessing to others – not so they will approve of me or like me, but so that God is pleased with me and just to bless them.
  • Allow others to talk about the things that are important to them rather than me dominating the conversation. Although, there is balance here – I can also feel free to bring up topics at times, as well, unless God shows me I need to remain silent at a specific time.
  • Seek to be a godly influence and to use my position and relationship to pour the love, healing, and truth of Christ into my extended family members’ lives as God prompts me to by His Spirit humbly, gently, and respectfully.
  • Take up my cross, dying to my sinful nature, seeking only to honor Jesus. Some of the little issues are just not that important – where we eat, how we handle a gift exchange at Christmas, etc…
  • Be open to God’s suggestions for me about how to show His love to the particular people in my family.
  • “Win them without words” if they don’t want to hear me talk about Jesus.
  • Respect people’s decisions and choices and honor them. (If they don’t want to talk with me about God or don’t want to see me, I can choose to respect that without bitterness.)
  • Love with a 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 kind of love not with conditional, worldly love that has strings attached.
  • Speak in positive ways about my family members to them and to others.
  • Avoid gossiping (to family members and about family members), quarreling, divisiveness, and strife.
  • Be a godly example by my attitude, words, non-verbal body language, and actions.
  • Seek to promote God’s Spirit of love, peace, and unity.

RESOURCES:

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced – about God, ourselves, others, and relationships

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways I Can Respect Myself – or “think rightly” about myself

Handling a Controlling Mother as a Team

My Disrespect and Controlling Behavior Don’t Just Hurt My Husband

Respecting Your Husband around Extended Family

What Causes a Woman to Become Controlling? – April’s video

Being Controlling VS. Being Helpful to Your Guy – April’s video, a lot of this applies to our other relationships, as well, not just to our men.

Bitterness Is Poison! – April’s video

12 Ways to Repel a Guy – April’s video, these things will repel other people in our lives, too

Some Conflict is Unavoidable

“I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs! That’s the Godly Thing to Do”

How Can I Tell If God Is Working in My Life or If I Am Trying to Do Things in My Own Power

For those with very toxic relationships, you may need more specialized help. www.leslievernick.com may be helpful. Please weigh anything any human author says against Scripture and seek to honor Christ and God’s Word above all.

 

I Resented Making Lunch for My Husband

 

I used to resent making my husband’s lunches – even though I was the one who offered to do it and Greg never really asked me to do this for him.  I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for him on the days he worked, sometimes with an apple, too  – which was all he really wanted. But he never ever made lunch for me when I worked. (Insert my old scowling facial expressions here.) Of course, I don’t think I really asked him to – except maybe once – and it was with so much contempt. 🙁 Sometimes I even threw some verbal barbs at him because of my bitterness over the issue – and many other little things about which I cherished resentment.

Now I have a very different attitude. SO THANKFUL! God has radically changed my heart.

Now – I thank God that He has blessed me with Greg. He is a gift to me. Marriage is a gift. I get to be Greg’s wife. I get to be married to him. I realize that this life is short and that tomorrow is not guaranteed. I am thankful to have ways to bless him – even something as small as making his lunch for him. I have spoken with enough widows to know that if something were to happen to my husband tonight – I would sure miss him! And I would WISH I could make his lunches again or clean the bathroom for him again or pick up a pair of dirty socks or whatever. Now I give with a joyful spirit – not out of duty or resentment – but because I am filled up with Christ and want simply to bless Greg – expecting nothing in return.

I also notice that Greg does tons of things for me and our family without resentment. He takes care of all the yard work  – I don’t help at all with that. He does all of the massive renovation projects around our house. I don’t contribute anything other than helping to sweep up or helping with the painting sometimes. He goes under the house when the sewage line is messed up or the garbage disposal line becomes disconnected. He handles the vehicle maintenance. All without one iota of resentment. And that was even before God changed my attitude.

If I am giving with resentment in my heart – that is a big problem. Something needs to change! Either my giving or my attitude.

  • Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:5-7
  • “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
  • The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor. 9:6-7

I had no idea that I was being stingy or that God counted the way I treated Greg (and others) as if I was doing those things and having those same attitudes toward Him. The way I treat others and my attitudes toward them is a tangible indicator of my love and attitude toward God. I was a reluctant giver. I gave with strings attached – with lots of expectations for what I wanted in return. That is not God’s kind of love.

  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Most days, I make Greg’s lunch. However, if I don’t have time to make lunch for Greg these days, I simply respectfully say something like, “Honey, I’m crunched for time today. Would you please take care of your lunch today? Thanks!”

God spent a lot of time with me going through my thought life. He showed me how I was listening to the enemy – the accuser – about Greg. And how when I held on to resentment and bitterness, I opened the door of my heart to the enemy – allowing him to come make a fortress in my heart. I let him use my thoughts, my tongue, my attitudes, my words, and my actions to try to destroy Greg. I didn’t realize the source of my thoughts at the time. I thought it was just my own thinking – not temptations from Satan. But all of that ugly sin poisoned me, separated me from fellowship with God, and destroyed my husband and our intimacy on many levels. NOT WORTH IT!

I invite you to check out a few posts about these kinds of issues and we can definitely talk more about them together:

As a woman who knows Christ and who submits to Him as LORD, I don’t have to be controlled by my sinful flesh anymore. Praise God for Romans 6! I am now dead to my old sinful self and to sin and this world! I can choose to invite God’s Spirit to control me completely. Then I don’t have to be a slave to sinful thoughts and lies of the enemy. I can recognize those poison thoughts and shoot them down in the power of God’s Spirit in me and resist that temptation and fully submit every thought to Jesus.

As you allow Christ to radically transform your heart, mind, and soul – you won’t even have to think those resentful, bitter, disrespectful thoughts toward your husband, God, or anyone else  when you have repented of them and invite God to teach you His amazing wisdom and His love and grace.

  • “The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct; the insignficances of daily life are the importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us.”
    ― Andrew Murray, Humility
  • “How different our standard is from Christ’s. We ask how much a man gives. Christ asks how much he keeps.”
    ― Andrew Murray

“I Am Slowly Finding My Way” – a Guest Post

 

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked…
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither…   Psalm 1:1-3

From a sister in Christ who is fairly new on this journey to become a more godly woman – I’m so thankful for her willingness to share:

I am fluctuating… slowly finding my way. One day, I am resting in Christ steadily and firmly rooted in God’s arms – the next, I am trying to do everything in my own power and failing miserably. It’s still an improvement from where I was just a few short months ago.

I was grumpy, rude, irritable, short-tempered – in general, not a very nice person. I lived in my feelings; my pride was the scale that weighed every thought and conversation. I blamed everyone around me for my irritability.

I can only imagine what my husband and children must have felt… Realizing what an awful person I had become was not easy for me – I doubt it’s ever easy for anyone. Finding God has blessed my life more than words can express, and He has made so many changes to my heart and mind. Now, I am conscientiously happy – I choose to be excited, joyful, and appreciative. It takes a little effort to tell my pride-driven “feelings” to get lost and embrace happiness, oh, but it’s worth it – to rest in the peace the my God has given me, to play with my kids like I’m 8 years old again, to see my husband light up because something he said made me laugh.
I just had a wonderful weekend with my family. We didn’t do anything special, but it was so peaceful and relaxing. It’s true that our responses as wives and mothers set the tone in our homes. There were little issues that popped up, but I have been so peaceful because of my growing faith that the little blips were just smoothed over, instead of creating a storm.

It seems like when I find these peaceful moments, I say “Thanks, God”, get back behind the wheel, and crash the car, again.

I am so thankful for His grace (and I pray my husband has a huge supply for me, too). But, I have to have grace for myself as well. If God has forgiven me, then I HAVE TO forgive me, too. Psalm 103:11-12 tells me that God has removed my sins and failures from me as far as the east is from the west. What a relief! So, I dust myself off, pray for clarity to see where I went off course, and I continue living in His grace.
I’ve read other women’s accounts of growing into a spiritually mature, virtuous woman; I was warned that it is a slow process. I am finally beginning to realize that MY process is slow because of me. If I just placed all control in God’s hands and rested entirely in him (without taking over after a great week- thinking that I finally crossed the spiritual maturity finish line), then I wouldn’t have such a bumpy road.

I’m not under the illusion that I will ever be without sin; my hope is to mature to a place where my responses are deliberate rather than reactive. I’ve learned so many truths about God, His Word, and myself from Scripture and from more experienced women, and I know it’s possible. The trick (at least for me) is to apply those truths to my life without making a bunch of rules for me to follow to be a “Good Wife.” That also means keeping my motives pure – not making changes to become closer to my family or to get people to see me in a new light.

These changes have only been successful and fruitful once they came from my desire to be closer to God, to please HIM – with an added bonus of peace in my home and improved relationships with my family.

When I try to abide in His will by my own power, my efforts fall short EVERY TIME. I have read those words one hundred times all from different people, but until I attempted it on my own I didn’t understand.

I still have a long way to go – I stumble more than I like. It was me giving up control (or trying to control) every detail in our lives that allowed God’s peace to come into my heart. Focusing on Jeremiah 17:7-8 helped guide me in letting go of my need to control. When you think about it…

Trees don’t chase water and sunshine around. They are steady, peaceful, and still. They take their nourishment from where they are planted. To grow, they dig their roots in deeper – those same roots that nourish them keep them firmly planted in storms.

God is blessing me with these “tree-like” characteristics. I am growing a strong foundation in my relationship with Christ. I have stopped chasing things to make me or others happy . I am content and growing where He wants me to be. I am learning to thank Him for every circumstance – especially those that show me any sins I am holding in my heart.

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey Part 1

Encouragement for Those Who Are in the Trenches

Things Got Worse When I First Started to Change by The Restored Wife

If I Become a Godly Wife – Will I Be Me? by Content in Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

There Must Be More to This Journey  Than Just Prayer

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

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

If I Trust and Obey God, I Will Be Fake and Lose Myself – a Guest Post

How Can I Tell if I Belong to Christ?

Even Once My Marriage Is Healed, I Can’t Go Back to My Old Ways

“Should I Give Him Something for Our Anniversary or Not?”

IF THINGS ARE GOING WELL IN YOUR MARRIAGE

Give him whatever you would like to give him – BUT – watch your motives. Why are you giving him something?

  • Is it just to bless him?
  • Is it something he would enjoy and appreciate? Not all men are excited about romantic, emotional, wordy cards (I know my husband, Greg, is totally fine without any cards at all for any occasion.)
  • Are you expecting something in return?
  • Will you feel resentful if you give him what you are planning to get him and he doesn’t get you something or what he gives you isn’t “as good” in you mind as what you give him?
  • Is the thing you are planning to get for him in your agreed-upon budget?
  • Enjoy your anniversary and be sure it is about both of you, not just about yourself.
  • Be flexible and roll with any unexpected situations or challenges that may arise.

IF THINGS ARE VERY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE

If your husband has indicated that he doesn’t really want to be married to you anymore but is just staying for the sake of the kids or something… here are a few things to prayerfully consider about your motives:

  • Why do you want to get him a card or gift?
  • Are you expecting something in return?
  • What will you do if he doesn’t get you something?
  • Is it likely that he may get angry if you acknowledge the anniversary because he may feel that you are trying to pressure him to come back to you or that you have your hopes up about the marriage working out? Would he feel disrespected if you give him a card?
  • What do you believe may happen if you don’t get him a card or gift? (In my experience, even when things are going well in marriages, lots of times husbands don’t really care that much about anniversary cards or gifts – although I am sure there are exceptions. Perhaps some of the men would like to share their thoughts on this issue.)

If things are very tense in your marriage, pray and ask God for His wisdom and discernment about how to bless your husband every day – including on anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. Some husbands may be appreciative of cards or gifts even if they said they wanted out of the marriage. Some may not be. Ask God to help you see what your particular husband would most respond to at the time. If you know he will be upset if you give him a card or gift, it is okay not to give anything. Just wait and plan to celebrate again later when things are going better.

FOR ALL SITUATIONS

A much greater gift for a husband than a card or something wrapped in a box would be a wife’s genuine smile, joy, peace in Christ, and positive, respectful attitude – whether things are going well or whether they are going very poorly at the time. Those are gifts that just about any husband would appreciate every day.

My perspective now is that I can be content if we have a big celebration or if we don’t. My contentment is in Christ not in what my husband does or does not do for me.

If we go out to a fancy dinner – wonderful! If we stay home and have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – wonderful! If we go on a trip – I’ll enjoy it. If we stay home and just go on a walk around the block – I’ll enjoy it. If my husband is sick and can’t celebrate and we have to go to the doctor’s that night instead of out to eat – I will do my best to take good care of him and to have a great attitude (that actually happened to us a few years ago).

AVOID RESENTMENT

What I don’t want to see is us getting resentful over anniversaries, birthdays, or holidays because of our expectations. Let’s lay down our expectations and seek only to please Christ and to bless our husbands. The world has all kinds of expectations about anniversaries that it wants us to hone in on. Advertisers and card companies want us to feel obligated to buy certain things and want us to feel entitled to receive certain things. Hollywood has certain images of what anniversaries “should look like.” Why am I going to let the world dictate my expectations or contentment? Never! I don’t even want to be a slave to my own expectations. Jesus is the source of my contentment. If I have Him, I truly have more than I could ever ask for or imagine. Now – let me seek be a blessing to my husband. I am already overflowing with fulfillment, peace, joy, love, contentment, security, and acceptance in Christ.

“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5-6

RELATED

“My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary!”

My Husband Didn’t Get Me Anything for Our Anniversary – and I Am SO Happy to Be Married to Him!

Laying Down Expectations – Join the Peaceful Wife for “The Respect Dare – Day 1”

“I Won’t Give Up My Bitterness!”

Finding God’s Victory over Bitterness

He Loves Me – He Loves Me Not – Finding Victory over Feelings of Insecurity

My Security and Contentment Are in Christ Alone and in My Identity in Him

God’s Perspective on Forgiveness

verses about resentment

verses about forgiveness

 

 

The Treasures of God in the Midst of a Great Storm

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From a wife whose husband threatened divorce a year ago and who wants to share with other wives who are in extremely painful situations similar to her own:

I want others to know that I had many “turn the corner” moments over the last year. I am approaching 1 year since the bomb drop and have been reflecting on it.

At this point, my advice is to stop focusing on your problem marriage and focus on your God.

Take your entire life right now, and start looking at what is GOOD. Your marriage may not be in that list, but your health, kids, family, job, appreciating nature, celebrating how much you have learned about yourself and God from where you were, this blog as a resource for encouragement, each and every day that God gives you to be one day closer to fulfilling your destiny. All are things to celebrate.

When I stopped focusing on my marriage day in, day out and forced myself to do something nice for other people, I turned a giant corner! My husband even noticed. He commented that he doesn’t understand how I could be “happy” when our marriage was a mess. Yes, marriage IS a mess, but I everyday I am moving forward with it. And everyday I can also notice all the things that are “right” in my life. Accepting that my life may not or ever be 100% perfect is huge for me, a perfectionist. Trying to achieve perfection in every area of my life was making me crack. As I hyper-focused on my crappy marriage, my health was suffering, my kids were feeling neglected, my work was not getting my full attention while I was there, my family felt helpless.

Eighty percent of what was good in my life was getting sucked into the mire along with my marriage. It needed to stop.

  • I started walking and listening to praise music, thanking God for teaching me every day how to learn from him.
  • I began to sleep. I even prayed for the gift of peace and sleep.
  • I started taking time to talk to the elderly at the nursing home I work at, I felt GREAT when I could comfort them, and if I found a few that loved God too, we would talk for hours!
  • I helped my mom with a few projects.
  • I dove into doing things with my kids.
  • I started my hobby back up. Never in a consuming way.
  • I took care of my needs.

I looked at my husband as an out of control storm. He was hurting me, raging inside, confused, hurting himself, and I couldn’t fix it. I could only stay out of his way and let God calm that storm.

I COULD, however, not aggravate the storm. I did this by not forcing my husband to see my point of view. Not demanding his time. Listening to understand HIS feelings, even though he didn’t want to even hear about mine. Stopped trying to “fix” our marriage, my husband, his feelings or demand forgiveness from my husband. The more I lived to seek approval from God and not my husband, the less guilty I felt and the less blame I took on.

If my husband was going to be in a cranky mood or criticize, I no longer took that on as my responsibility to fix. I focused on me not reacting to it, not barking back, not getting my point across or arguing. We literally did not talk for an entire month because I wasn’t arguing anymore. I knew my husband didn’t care about my point of view, was consumed by his own hurt and emotions and could not give me what I craved and wanted from him so badly. So I asked God for it. He delivered. The whole mood shifted.

Today: things are calmer. I speak very sparingly. More facts, every day items, kids, schedules. Not at all the loving husband I want, but not the monster I feared anymore, either. We do not have sex, we barely touch, but he has started kissing me on the forehead again. No more fist bumps or just walking away. I hear “I love you” occasionally. He is attempting to come home more. I have let him be responsible for his own doctor appointments, prescriptions, schedule, and meals. I am cheerful and pleasant, I include him and invite him, but I don’t berate him if he doesn’t show. His relationship with the kids is his to deal with. I work on my relationship with the kids.

I am still working out how to talk to my husband about my needs, wants, and feelings…I know I am not there yet, but working through it. I think my husband is starting to open his eyes. He feels he has let us down, says we deserve more of him than he has given. Seems like small steps, but I hit my knees in thanks to God when my husband said this! Everyone thought I was crazy for putting up with all of this unloving behavior from my husband, but I stayed because I promised God. I was not being abused, no addictions, no infidelity.

I have seen the small changes and am glad for them. Am I eager to run forward? Yes, but I don’t. Do I sometimes want to lay into my husband and blow like a volcano until everything I ever felt, thought, hurt about came boiling out and I exhausted myself? Yes, but how hurtful would THAT be?

It may feel like a Friday, but Sunday is coming! Jesus died on the cross on a Friday, but He rose again on Sunday and in doing so. Saved us all from death. This is what true faith does!

I know in my heart that God didn’t take me this far just to leave me. I don’t know if my husband and I will be reconciled. I don’t know if he will one day just leave or one day have a rebirth in Christ like I did! All I know is I am NOT sovereign and I can only control and run MY race. The rest, well, God has it covered. Whew, too much for me, anyway.

RELATED:

My Husband Wanted a Divorce (same author as this post)

A Peaceful Separated Wife – Kristin’s story part 1

A Separated Wife Finally Begins to Experience the Peace of God in Her Life!

A Peaceful Divorced Wife – Kristin’s story part 2

Can You Pray Too Much for Your Marriage?

My Husband Said, “You Worry Too Much!”

Why Doesn’t My Husband Support Me More As I Try to Change?

Twenty-three Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Could Your Husband Be Trapped in Shame?

Six Things I Learned from Having an Unbelieving Husband

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

 

Where are people not permitted to say what they need, how they feel, or what they think?

– those who are literally slaves or who are in concentration camps.
– those in extremely oppressive countries with totalitarian regimes.
– those who are in abusive or dysfunctional relationships/families.

Here are some hallmarks of abusive/dysfunctional personal relationships:

  • It is not okay to talk about your negative feelings. Only positive emotions are allowed.
  • I am responsible for your decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • You are responsible for my decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • It is your job to make me happy. If I am not happy, it’s your fault.
  • Conflict is unacceptable.
  • Disagreement is not allowed.
  • You may not ask me questions or confront sin in my life. I can confront you whenever I want to, of course.
  • You are not safe here emotionally.
  • Your voice is not important to me.
  • I love conditionally with strings attached. If you don’t perform, I won’t love you.
  • You better put me above everything and everyone else, including God. Pleasing me better be the most important thing in your life.
  • I will not respect any healthy boundaries you try to set with me and will be offended if you attempt to have healthy boundaries.
  • You are accountable to me for everything you do, think, and say.
  • I know what is best for you.
  • I am always right and you are always wrong if you disagree with me.
  • You should be afraid of my disapproval more than anything or anyone else.
  • There is no forgiveness here. I cherish bitterness.
  • I expect you to meet spiritual and emotional needs in my soul that really only Christ can meet. I come into this relationship as a black hole of neediness.

Some hallmarks of healthy relationships (these would be the goals as we seek to allow God’s Spirit to refine and sanctify us):

  • It is okay to talk about anything and to share all of your feelings about anything – even if they are negative.
  • We will work through conflict together. Conflict is inevitable. We won’t always agree. But we will always love each other and work through it as a team.
  • Conflict is an opportunity for growth.
  • I love you unconditionally.
  • You are safe here in every way.
  • We are kind to each other.
  • We treat each other well.
  • Love and respect are abundant here in both directions.
  • You are important to me. You are precious and very valuable.
  • Your ideas, feelings, concerns, and desires are important to me.
  • You are responsible for your own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • I am responsible for my own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • If I am not happy, it is my own responsibility to take care of my emotions and to voice what I need.
  • Healthy boundaries are respected and encouraged.
  • We each know we can respectfully confront sin in the other’s life when necessary.
  • We expect each of us to put God way above anyone else or anything else. Pleasing God is the most important thing in life.
  • We know we are all ultimately accountable to God for how we treat each other.
  • We are each free to respectfully confront each other about sin in our lives when necessary. We will work together as a team against sin and the enemy.
  • We trust that God knows what is best for each of us and we each want to seek Him individually and together.
  • We approach each other with humility.
  • There is no fear in this family – only love.
  • Grace, mercy,  forgiveness, and second chances are available here.
  • I have Christ on the throne of my heart and He meets the deepest spiritual and emotional needs of my life. I come into this relationship overflowing with spiritual abundance from Jesus.

GOD’S “MOST EXCELLENT WAY” OF LOVE – I Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

RESOURCES (please carefully evaluate any author’s words, including mine, against Scripture!):

Boundaries – by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Nina Roesner has an e-course that helps women experience healing in Christ so that they have the strength and power of the Spirit to know how best to deal with very difficult husbands, check it out! Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

How to Handle Toxic and Critical People – by Leslie Vernick free PDF download

www.leslievernick.com – She has a number of Christian books about handling difficult relationships

Control and Boundaries

 

 

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