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Minimalism or Frugality Can Be Idols, Too

I have had times when I idolized things, luxury, and comfort. I wanted a really beautiful home where everything was perfect and looked like it came out of HGTV. And I have also been tempted to idolize minimalism/frugality in recent years. It’s funny how easily we can make almost anything more important than it should be in our hearts and minds.

I have to guard my heart and mind and make sure Jesus is on the throne. Not anything else. Not lots of lovely things. Not getting rid of everything. Nothing can come above the Lord in my heart. Nothing can get before my love for Him and my love for others and His Spirit filling me and empowering me to walk in holiness. In everything in the Christian walk, there must be proper balance and Christ must be at the center of it all.

It may sound weird that minimalism and wanting to get rid of stuff could be sinful. Here are some ways I could take minimalism too far…

I could:

  • Obsess so much about giving stuff away and selling things that it is all I care about – no matter if it upsets my husband and children or not.
  • Find my security and identity in having as few possessions as possible.
  • Judge others for “owning too much” in my view and for materialism.
  • Get angry with my family if they want to keep things that are not sinful to keep.
  • Be prideful and self-righteous about how few possessions I own and how “good” and “generous” I am.
  • Try to impose my personal convictions on everyone in my family even if they are not ready to take such a big step.
  • Become the “stuff Nazi” and condemn other people for having possessions as if things, in and of themselves, are evil.
  • Be bitter and resentful at my husband or family if I can’t give away or sell most of our things.
  • Focus only on this one thing and ignore all of the other things scripture commands for me to do as a believer – like loving the Lord wholeheartedly and loving others deeply.
  • Become resentful or upset about receiving gifts from other people who are expressing their love to me.
  • Make getting rid of things more important than loving Christ and loving and respecting my husband and family.
  • Disrespectfully and un-lovingly get rid of things that are important to my husband and older children without their permission.
  • Push my husband to do things that he is not yet ready to do and refuse to follow his leadership unless he agrees with me rather than waiting on the Lord to work powerfully in his heart.
  • Demand to sell the house and downsize greatly when that is not something my husband believes the Lord desires us to do yet.
  • Be discontent if I have to have more things than I want to have in my home.

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. Phil. 4:11-13

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. 1 Cor. 13:3

RELATED:

Do I Love the Things of This World Too Much?

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What has the Lord shown you about this issue? How have you learned to be content in plenty or in need?

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:

A Wife Asks, “Why Is It That It Seems Like the Wife Always Has to Change First?”

 

Here is an interesting discussion that took place in the comment section last week between two of my readers. I love to hear what God is showing other women and how He makes His truth real to them. Sometimes hearing multiple people describe and explain the same concepts just helps make things click. May this be a blessing to you, my precious sisters:

FROM A WIFE:

Update: Hubby and I are in counseling! It’s really cool because the pastor is a John Piper “fan” so he’s totally on board with the whole biblical manhood and womanhood ordeal. So, naturally, headship and submission is brought up and good thing I’ve been wrestling with the topic and following your posts for a while because it’s not so foreign or offensive when we talk about it.

Though the topic is much easier to talk about, the journey is still “trenchy” and hard as ever! In fact 2-3 weeks ago we threatened the relationship and nearly divorced! IT IS ONLY BY THE GRACE AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE PEACE OF GOD THAT WE ARE STILL HERE! I’ve had to repent lately because I was going through the stage of, “Nothing I’m doing is working,” and I found myself just lingering and frustrated. But God always uses April and the posts here to jolt me out of my spiritual pity party and get back to fighting to trust and put my eyes on Him.

My current wrestle is feeling like its actually the wife who has to lay down her life for the man to be a man. Maybe that’s a fleshly perspective but that’s how it feels.

FROM FLOWER:

Yes, we all (men and women alike) called to die to self. But in addition to the things that people in general are supposed to do, there is also something a marriage is supposed to do – to portray the mystery of Christ and the church to the world (Eph. 5:22-33). The husband is supposed to love his wife and the wife is supposed to respect her husband. The husband is also supposed to lead and the wife is supposed to follow.

  • How does the wife’s effectiveness at following depend on her husband? It doesn’t, really. She can follow him (provided he is not asking her to sin or condone sin) even if he doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere “special.”
  • How does the husband’s effectiveness at leading depend on his wife? It does. A lot. You can’t lead effectively if no one will follow you. A husband could be the most godly, Christ-like man ever, with the best leadership talents, but if his wife refuses to follow, he can’t SHOW that he’s an effective leader.

So from that perspective, I would say that the wife’s willingness to follow EMPOWERS her husband’s leadership. (But both are called to die to self for Christ, and both are responsible to God for their own actions.)

WIFE:

Flower,

Thank you for giving me a better perspective about my current wrestle. I guess it just seems topsy-turvy to me. The concept that his leadership depends on my willingness to follow. Christ was already a great leader before He called anyone to follow. He was secure in his purpose, personhood, and knew God before He led.

Ephesians 5 says the husband is to love the wife as he loves himself. Does the husband learning to love himself, know God, grow up as a man, heal up as broken man depend on my willingness to follow? I get me following in certain respects empowers him but it just seems a bit weighty especially with my specific marital situation in mind.

FLOWER:

I would say that his leadership’s EXISTENCE does not depend at all on you. The ability of his leadership to be SEEN (by you and by others) depends on you and how you respond to him.

Love your example about Christ! Yes, so true, He was already a great leader before He called anyone to follow.

The thing is, no one else could SEE that He was a great leader UNTIL people started to follow Him.

Similarly, if you don’t follow your husband, no one else will look at your marriage and SEE the Christ-and-the-church-he-leads-she-follows part. But when you do follow, people will look at your marriage and SEE that. 🙂

Does the husband learning to love himself, know God, grow up as a man, and heal as a broken man depend on your willingness to follow? NO. He is responsible for that on his own. But your respect will make it easier for him. And your disrespect will make it harder. You are not responsible for making him grow in Christ; you are responsible for being the best wife to him that you can be, according to God’s Word and with God’s help. <3

WIFE:

I see. Maybe I’m a bit petty, I just feel like it could go both ways then. I could easily say that my husband knowing God, learning to love himself, growing up as man and healing up as broken would make it so much easier for me to follow because it would!

  • In the same respect, when following Christ we have to learn that He is good and He wins our trust. According to the gospel we know Christ died because He first loved us but it isn’t until we come into a revelation of that love and who He is that we began to trust him as Lord to LEAD our lives. Why is it not so for a husband if parallelism is the goal?

I do not struggle with feeling like I’m not loved by my husband. I know my husband loves me and can be very loving to me. It’s his own personal issues that prevent him from being the best version of himself and this inevitably effects me too and whole of the relationship and love. Just like any unaddressed issue of mine would take effect on him and the relationship. Yet and still I guess this logic gets trumped by a command and the logic of reverting back to curse Christ freed us from that still is somehow relevant as though we are still tied….??…??
Sigh….maybe I’m overthinking.

FLOWER:

Yep, it does go both ways – him trying to be a good leader will make it easier for you to follow as well. But you can only control your actions, so the only part that you really have influence over is how easy you make it for him to lead.

“Why is it not so for a husband if parallelism is the goal?” This is a great question and I had to think really hard about it! I think it’s mainly because of two reasons:

1. If a wife thinks she only has to submit “if her husband is a good leader,” she will probably think things like, “No, I really think he could do better. In situation X the other day, he did Y when Z was a much better choice. Also, he still needs to get more spiritually mature.” This causes her to have a critical spirit. She is not her husband’s judge. God is. (And her husband is not her judge.) So if she thinks that she is only supposed to follow her husband if he is a “good leader,” then she has to come up with the idea of what she thinks a good leader is and make sure he conforms to what she wants in a leader before she follows. This puts her in position of judge rather than follower.

** See notes below from April about this. 🙂

2. Christ loved and led us before we submitted because there was no other option. Christ’s relationship with us is between one who is sinless (Him) and one who is sinful (us). If we were sinless, we would have respected and followed him immediately. And if we were sinless, His sacrifice, atoning death, and resurrection would not even have been necessary for us to have a restored relationship with Him. Christ had to love and lead us before we submitted because that was the only way that He could bring us back to Himself. Ideally, we would have submitted to Him immediately.

Because the relationship between a husband and wife is a relationship between two people who are sinful, God calls each of them to change ASAP. But each of them can only change themself, they can’t change each other.

April’s “Why Do I Have to Change First” post is a great read. But to clarify something, it is not that you have to change first because the wife has to change first and that all wives have to change first. You have to change first because if God opened your eyes to your sin, you have no right to sit there and refuse to change until God opens your husband’s eyes to his sin as well.

Ultimately our change is about our obedience to God, not about whether our husbands deserve it. (Similarly, if a husband’s eyes are opened first, he also would have no right to sit there and refuse to change until God opened his wife’s eyes to her sin. I have seen situations where God opens a husband’s eyes first.)

So the changing first thing is not, “You must change first because you’re a woman,” it’s, “You must change now because your eyes have been opened.”

 

FROM THE WIFE

The last part especially has officially disarmed the petty! It makes sense! You have brought another piece of clarification that blessed me.

 

FROM APRIL (to add a bit to point number 1 made by Flower):

If a wife has the authority to decide when her husband is a “good leader and when she will follow,” then it is really the wife who has the authority, not the husband. There are limits to a believer’s submission to any human delegated authority, but apart from those limits, we are to honor the authority’s leadership, trusting that God will lead us through that person. Not because of the person. But in spite of that person – because God is sovereign and this is His design to lead us through human God-given authority.

When we honor a person in a position of God-given authority, we honor God’s authority. When we rebel against a person in a position of God-given authority, we rebel against God and bring judgment on ourselves. Rom. 13:1-2 And we malign the Gospel of Christ when we rebel against our husband’s leadership. Titus 2:5 It is also important to remember that wives may not have positional authority, but we do have influential authority, which can be even more powerful than positional authority, at times. Although, the ultimate goal is to please and glorify the Lord, not to have “the most power” for ourselves or for our own agenda.

RELATED:

Spiritual Authority – a General Overview

What Is Biblical Submission?

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

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Biblical Submission, Respect, and Sexual Attraction

Do I Condone BDSM or CDD?

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always Right

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

Should a Christian Wife Ever Consider Separation?

Oneness in Marriage Not Too Close but Not Too Far Away

Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected 

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Respecting Your Husband VS. Idolizing Him

Dying to Self
Dying to Self Can Be Dangerously Misunderstood
25 Ways to Respect Myself
Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?
25 Ways to Reverence God

Got It Covered!

 

I want to take an opportunity to share something that was part of my journey to become a peaceful wife early on. My hope here is only to share what I discovered with my precious sisters in Christ. Please, as always, do what you believe the Lord desires you to do. 🙂 No pressure from me! 

I was reading along in my Bible when God stopped me in 1 Cor. 11:1-16 and would not let me go on until I wrestled with the issue. Verse 3 is an extremely critical verse that describes God’s authority structure:

The head of every man is Christ, the head of the wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Cor. 11:3

Three months into my journey - February 2009
Three months into my journey – February 2009

After that, there is a section about that men should not have their heads covered in corporate worship but women should. Paul gave four reasons why things should be like this and he said no church has any other practice than this.

  1. Creation Order
  2. Because of the Angels
  3. Nature
  4. Church Practice

HELP ME UNDERSTAND, LORD!

I had never covered my head before. No women I knew in my present and past churches or my family covered their heads for church. I had always been told that head covering for Christian women “was just a cultural tradition and it is irrelevant today.”

But – was that really true?

WHAT DOES THIS PASSAGE SAY? DOES IT APPLY TO US, TOO?

I was struck by the words in 1 Corinthians 11:10, “the wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head” – speaking of covering her head with a veil/cloth during prayer in corporate worship. After taking a class at my church on the importance of spiritual authority, I realized that when scripture talks about authority, it is a big deal.

I wrestled with God for 3 solid days over this idea of covering my head to show my submission to my husband and to His authority structure in the church. I had already accepted God’s design for marriage wholeheartedly – even if I didn’t really know yet how to live it very well. Now, the question was, would I also receive the biblical symbol of God’s design for authority for myself as a woman – if that is what God’s Word was really saying?

It was a small thing. Not a matter of salvation or a “super important doctrine” as humans would rate biblical doctrines and commands. It was just a symbol. But symbols are important because the meaning behind them is important. Things like the Lord’s Supper (which actually appears later in 1 Corinthians 11) and baptism are precious symbols to all believers because of the big concepts they represent. Wearing a wedding ring is a little thing, but it symbolizes something sacred – our marriage covenant.

I could hear God gently asking, “Are you willing to obey Me even in the small things? Even if no one else does?

I decided that I would obey my Lord no matter what – on this issue and any other issue. He is LORD of my life now, after all. I am no longer on the throne. And what other people think no longer really matters. My only goal has to be simply to please God.

As I studied, I could see that the reasons Paul gave for men to have bare heads and women to have covered heads in worship were not cultural, in spite of what I had been taught in the past. The hard thing for me really wasn’t understanding what this passage said once I studied it and read it with an open heart. Deciding how to live it was the hard part.

2000 YEARS OF HISTORY

I was surprised to learn that Christian women in many other parts of the world still do obey this passage by covering their heads with cloth of some kind (or a hat) during church meetings. I was also surprised to learn that women in other Christian cultures wonder why we don’t cover our heads in corporate worship. I noticed that men still obey this passage in our culture even today, even unbelievers. They take their hats off when they come into church, and even other buildings, as a sign of respect.

It seemed only to be the Christian women in the church in the West who were not following this particular passage of scripture. Why would that be?

IMG_4103As I studied how Christian women for over 1,900 years covered their heads in obedience to this passage (and in many other Christian cultures even today in other parts of the world), I think I found the main reason why women in our culture stopped covering our heads in church decades ago.

During the second wave of feminism in the 1960s-1970s, Christian women stopped wearing hats and veils to church – largely, it seems, because of the messages of feminism.

So – yes, the symbol of head covering became culturally irrelevant in our Christian culture in the West, especially after the 1960s. But the symbol became meaningless primarily because we got rid of everything the symbol meant in our culture, even in the church, due to the influence of feminism.

If that was the only reason why we stopped covering our heads – or if it was just a fashion thing – I realized those reasons wouldn’t hold up before my Lord when I stand before Him in heaven.

MY DECISION
I let Greg know what I had been reading and was amazed that he was quite supportive. That was another confirmation from God to me because this was a very new thing for me to do.

Interestingly, covering my head really helped me remember to show proper honor and respect to the Lord and to my husband when I pray and when I am at church. It has been a sweet, tangible reminder to me of God’s authority structure in my life. I love to think about His covering and protection over me and my husband’s covering and protection over me. IMG_7985

At first, I began slipping a scarf over my head during prayer at church. But eventually, I switched to wearing an inexpensive cloche hat throughout the services and have done that for probably 6-7 years now. When I am having my daily quiet time, I also generally cover my head with something, as well, often a scarf or wide headband.

If someone at church asks me about why I wear a hat to church, I respectfully and gently share that it is because of I Corinthians 11. Usually, if people comment at all, they just say, “I like your hat!” Most people never say anything. It truly isn’t as scary as it may seem at first. Now, to me, this practice is very beautiful.

It may even become a source of blessing to you like it has been to me.

I invite you to do your own prayerful study of this passage and the history of head covering for Christian women when you get a chance. Don’t just take my word for it. 🙂 Perhaps you may want to pray about it and then even talk with your own husband about it.

Whatever you may decide about this passage, I am so thankful that we are all part of one body of Christ and that we have His love and unity.

Here is a page of FAQs that you may have about this whole idea from my favorite site on this topic… www.headcoveringmovement.com. (This list seriously covers almost every question believers would think of in very well-written, well-researched articles.) There are also articles by women who decided to cover their heads at church that may be interesting, as well.

RESOURCES:

There is also a book that goes over all of our questions and combs carefully through scripture on this topic that may be a blessing to read through by yourself or with your husband – “Head Covering” by Jeremy Gardiner (same author as the site www.headcoveringmovement.com.) I respect Jeremy Gardiner’s gentle, humble, respectful style and his desire to accurately represent scripture.

Places to find head coverings:

www.garlandsofgrace.com – a Christian site with some lovely ideas for fabric coverings

www.headcovers.com – a secular site with lots of options hats, scarves, turbans, beanies, etc…

 

No More Teeny Tiny Boxes!

Reminder – I am going to be doing a conference in Eaton, OH this Saturday, Feb 25th! And I am planning a conference in the Columbia, SC area for March 24th-25th. Check out this post with links if you are interested in getting tickets.

I am still learning and have much growing to do in my faith in Christ. I think I am pretty much a “toddler” spiritually when it comes to how much more maturity and growth still needs to happen in my soul. But how I long to grow big and strong in my faith!

How I want to let God out of any little “boxes” into which I may have tried to stuff Him. I don’t want to limit Him at all, but give Him free reign in my life to do absolutely anything and everything He desires to do in and through me! I want to live every moment of my life wide open to Him.

Father, I don’t want to miss out on one thing You have for me! Not one trial. Not one rebuke. Not one blessing. Not one answer to prayer.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18

One thing I love to do is read about the lives of those believers who have great faith. This past week, I have been reading a little book called “Answers to Prayer” which is a collection of some of the writings of George Mueller (the link is to a free Kindle version on Amazon). WOW! If you want to see what God can and will do in the lives of those who love Him wholeheartedly and live only for His glory and His will, check out George Mueller’s story!

photo credit www.wikipedia.com
photo credit www.wikipedia.com

GEORGE MUELLER:

George Mueller was a faithful believer in Christ in England in the 1800s. He saw how small so many Christians’ faith was. So he decided to open an orphan house – believing that He was following God’s calling on his life. His primary goal was to demonstrate the faithfulness and provision of God to those who seek Him and who are devoted to doing His will alone. He wanted his life to be an example of genuine faith in the Lord. His secondary goal was to care for orphans and raise them to know and love Christ.

Note – this was not his plan. It was Mueller seeking God’s will and God’s plan. He prayed and sought God. Then he waited patiently and expectantly for God to bring about provision so that he might accomplish God’s will.

Mueller never asked for funding for his orphan house. He never posted an advertisement for workers and helpers. He and his wife prayed together for each need and waited on God’s provision in simple faith. It is absolutely incredible to see what God did for and through this man.

  • Mueller would pray when they had a need for funds. Sometimes, things got very tight, but always, always God provided for their true needs.
  • Mueller prayed for the helpers they needed, rather than advertising for the positions. He trusted that at the right time, God would send whomever He wished to him. And He did! In His perfect timing.
  • He prayed about opening a new orphan house and asked God to provide the funding, the land, and all of the materials he needed. And God did, in His perfect timing until he had 5 houses and over 1000 orphans at a time.
  • Mueller prayed for God to bring the children to salvation in Christ. Shortly thereafter on one occasion, a smallpox epidemic went through the houses. God used that to bring 729 children to know Christ as Savior and Lord.
  • When the boiler was broken and it was a very cold time in winter, Mueller prayed for God to bring a south wind so that the children might not be cold. It had been bitterly cold prior to that, but God did the very thing Mueller asked for. During the few days they had no heat in that house, the temperatures were warm enough from the south winds that the children were well cared for.
  • When the older boys needed apprentice jobs, Mueller prayed for God to bring Christian men to the orphanage to inquire for apprentices. All of the boys who needed jobs were apprenticed out. Although Mueller never posted about it to the public or asked anyone to help.
  • Mueller took care of 10,024 orphans in his lifetime. He handled $8 million but his own personal assets were only worth about $800 at the time of his death.
George Mueller's orphan houses. Photo credit www.georgemuller.org
George Mueller’s orphan houses. Photo credit www.georgemuller.org

It is easy to think that those kinds of answers to prayer are something for Christians who are “super saints” but that the rest of us could not expect God to provide for us so abundantly. But Mueller said he had no special gift of faith. That the faith he had is the same faith that is available to every child of God.

PRAISE GOD for that amazing news! How I pray we will each learn to trust God as Mueller did!

How I limit God so many times! It’s so easy to put Him in a little box and assume He can’t lead me. He can’t provide for me. He can’t make a way for me. My circumstances are too difficult. My storm is too deadly. My husband is too sinful. My children are too far gone. My situation is beyond His reach.

My small faith keeps me from experiencing all that He really wants to do in my life. Can’t God do the same kinds of things and even more for each of us who trust Him fully and who seek His will far above anything else? ABSOLUTELY! God has not changed! He is my Good Shepherd who loves me more than I could ever fathom. He knows what is best and He delights in meeting the needs of His children who trust in Him.

  • Our Lord can change our circumstances at any time to accomplish His will.
  • He can change our hearts.
  • He can change our husband’s hearts.
  • He can change our children’s hearts.
  • He has the power to heal disease, injury, soul, and spirit.
  • He holds all power over everything in our lives, and His motives for us are good and loving.
  • He holds every trial in His hands so that He may help our faith grow strong and vibrant.
  • I don’t have to be afraid when I know that He is in charge and He is providing for me.
  • I don’t have to have everything figured out, I just have to trust Him with simple, child-like faith.
  • God is sovereign, not my husband and not me!
  • God is sovereign, not my husband’s feelings, my feelings, or anyone’s feelings!
  • God is sovereign, not my circumstances!

Some asked George Mueller at times what would he do if he had no food for the children and no supplies? He responded:

“Thus indeed it may be, for our hearts are desperately wicked. If ever we should be so left to ourselves, as that either we depend no more upon the living God, or that ‘we regard iniquity in our hearts,’ then such a state of things, we have reason to believe, would occur. But so long as we shall be enabled to trust in the living God, and so long as, though falling short in every way of what we might be, and ought to be, we are at least kept from living in sin, such a state of things cannot occur. Therefore, dear reader, if you yourself walk with God, and if, on that account, His glory is dear to you, I affectionately and earnestly entreat you to beseech Him to uphold us; for how awful would be the disgrace brought upon His holy name if we, who have so publicly made our boast in Him, and have spoken well of Him, should be left to disgrace Him, either by unbelief in the hour of trial, or by a life of sin in other respects.”

PRAYER:

Lord,

Cleanse us from any unbelief! Expand our capacity to receive Your Spirit into ourselves. Expand our capacity for faith. Help us to embrace trials as “the food of faith” as George Mueller calls them. Help us to have the same simple child-like dependence on You that Mueller had. Use this dear brother’s great faith to inspire each of us to the kind of relationship You desire us to have with You. I am convinced that You are more than able to provide for each of us just as abundantly as You provided for George Mueller and his ministry to orphans.

Let us break open the little boxes in which we try to keep You and set You free to do all that You desire to do in our lives as we trust You more and more each day. Open our eyes to the things You want to do in our lives, our marriages, our families, our careers, our churches, our neighborhoods, and our ministries. Give us eyes to see Your purposes and Your great desires that are so much higher than anything we have ever imagined. Accomplish Your amazing miracles and purposes through us. Change us. Empower us to be women (and men) of BIG TIME faith for Your greatest glory alone!

Amen!

QUOTES FROM GEORGE MUELLER:

  • “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”
  • “According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.”
  • “Money is really worth no more than as it can be used to accomplish the Lord’s work. Life is worth as much as it is spent for the Lord’s service.”
  • “Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.”
  • “After the Lord has tried our faith, He, in the love of His heart, gives us an abundance. For the glory of His name and for trial of our faith, He allows us to be poor and then graciously supplies our needs.”
  • “When sight ceases, it is the time for faith to work. The greater the difficulties, the easier it is for faith. As long as human possibilities for success remain, faith does not accomplish things as easily as when all natural prospects fail.”
  • “Would the believer, therefore, have his faith strengthened, he must especially, give time to God, who tries his faith in order to prove to His child, in the end, how willing He is to help and deliver him, the moment it is good for him.”
  • We will rather work a deliverance of our own somehow or other, than simply look to God and wait for His help. But if we do not patiently wait for God’s help, if we work a deliverance of our own, then at the next trial of our faith it will be thus again, we shall be again inclined to deliver ourselves; and thus with every fresh instance of that kind, our faith will decrease; whilst on the contrary, were we to stand still, in order to see the salvation of God, to see His hand stretched out on our behalf, trusting in Him alone, then our faith would be increased.”

HOW TO DETERMINE GOD’S WILL by George Mueller (for someone who has dealt with any sin in his/her heart already and who belongs to Christ):

  1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
  2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
  3. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
  4. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
  5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
  6. Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

SHARE:

I’d love for you to share what happened when you totally trusted God and you saw His provision in your life. I know it will be such an encouragement to others.

RELATED:

If I am having trouble trusting God, it may be that I have believed lies about Him or myself that are keeping me in bondage and spiritual oppression.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now my heart’s cry is:

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

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

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

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

Now I don’t need to ask questions like:

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

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

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

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

Now I ask questions like:

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

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

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

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

RELATED:

Verses on Suffering

Verses on the Lordship of Christ

Verses on Taking Up Our Cross

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Spiritual Authority

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

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

 

What about wives who truly are in danger?

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

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

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

 

 

Resources for Men

Some people say that because I only teach women, I must be saying that men can do whatever they want and they are off the hook when it comes to being godly husbands. No, not at all! I am not sure how anyone could arrive at such a conclusion! There is no excuse for any believer to think that he/she is “off the hook” and not responsible to God for how they live and relate to other people. Men are at least as accountable – if not more so – than women are before God. (Those in positions of God-given leadership hold a greater accountability.)

Thankfully, even though I only teach women – the Bible still completely applies to men, as well. It applies to all of us! I hope that is obvious.

There are PLENTY of resources for our men and brothers in Christ.

A FEW RESOURCES THAT GREG AND I WOULD RECOMMEND (some are wonderful for men and women):

www.radical.net – David Platt’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

www.desiringgod.org – John Piper’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

www.seriousfaith.com Brent Riggs has a number of posts for men about being godly men/husbands

– a resource about how husbands can love their wives is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs he also has a website that you may search with this link

Grace Filled Marriage, by Dr. Tim Kimmel, is for husbands and wives and is excellent

His Needs, Her Needs by Dr Willard F. Harley

The Resolution for Men – the Kendrick brothers and Randy Alcorn

Other resources by the Kendrick brothers about prayer, The Love Dare, etc.. https://kendrickbrothers.com/projects/books

How to Be a Godly Husband by www.gotquestions.org

– Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray or his book, Humility, are excellent resources for spiritual growth for men and women.

– E. M. Bounds book on The Necessity of Prayer will help any believer in his/her pursuit of a much more effective prayer life

My sites are for women. I don’t attempt to teach or mentor men out of respect for scripture’s instructions that women are not to have authority over men in the church. So I believe the focus here has to be on what God calls us to do primarily – not on what God calls men to do. My calling is Titus 2:3-5.

THE BIG PICTURE

However, I do want ladies to know about the whole picture in God’s design, not just what women are called to do. And I want the men to have the resources they need. Y’all are welcome to search the sites I listed above or check out these two posts by a minister at my church:

Spiritual Authority – A general overview of the concept of Spiritual Authority in Scripture relating to government, the workplace, the church, and family by a minister at my church, Rev. H. F. Weaver.
A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage  – Husbands have positional authority and wives have influential authority. Both are important and powerful. By H. F. Weaver, a minister at my church.

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right – Husbands are still fallible, even though they are given extra responsibility.

A Husband Is Never the Absolute Authority – God is the absolute authority. There are limits to human God-given authority.

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships – When men or women become too passive or too controlling, it is a problem.

My husband, Greg, also has a blog for men – www.peacefulhusband.com

POSTS ON MY BLOG BY MEN THAT MAY BE A BLESSING TO HUSBANDS

 

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of us. How I pray we will seek Him more fervently than ever and that we might allow Him to continue to radically transform us to be the people He calls us to be.

SHARE:

Gentlemen,

If you know of a biblically grounded site for men that you would like to share with our other brothers, you are welcome to share in the comments. Thanks so much!

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

ADMIN NOTE:

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible also says some things about judging others:

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

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

STEP BACK AND SEE WHAT YOU ARE BEING BLAMED FOR

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

If my husband is blaming me for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

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

RELATED:

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

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

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

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

25 Ways to Reverence God

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

“My Husband Doesn’t Want Me to Minister Like I Want To”

Before God opened my eyes to my control, self-righteousness, pride, disrespect, bitterness, and all of my mountain of sin in December of 2008 – I used to think things like:

  • I want to give more to the poor. Yes, we are tithing and giving some – but I know that it is God’s will for us to give a lot more money to those in need. Maybe I should just give behind Greg’s back if he doesn’t want to do God’s will. God’s work is the most important thing.
  • I want to take this homeless person to a restaurant and buy him some food. He’s obviously in need. How can I do nothing? I don’t care that Greg said he doesn’t want me to go out by myself to help homeless strangers and that he is concerned for my safety. This is obviously God’s will and Greg is not listening to God like I am.
  • I want to go to another country to be a missionary, but Greg has no desire to do that. Maybe I should just go by myself even if he doesn’t want me to. God’s kingdom needs me!

I used to think that Greg was really holding me back from doing everything I was supposed to do in God’s kingdom and boy, was God ever missing out – in my mind, at least! Oh, what PRIDE!

Then, God revealed to me that when I am walking in faith and obedience with Him, NOTHING will hold me back from His will, certainly not even my husband. God can change my husband’s heart. God can give him the desire to help me accomplish what He wants me to do. And certainly, God can give ME the desire to help my husband in the ministry to which God calls my husband. God can change my heart. God can change circumstances and open doors that no one can shut. It turns out, the thing that was hindering my ministry for God the most for so many years was my own sin and disobedience against God. Also, He wanted to spend some serious time preparing, maturing, and equipping me before I was ready to do the thing He wanted to call me to do.

When I am walking in obedience and in the power of the Holy Spirit in the center of God’s will, no human will hinder God’s purposes for me!

Since God set me on this journey to become a godly wife and to learn to honor and respect my husband’s God-given leadership, He has shown me some things that I wish I had understood before.

  • God doesn’t need me.

He may choose to use me as I am walking in obedience and in the power of His Spirit. But I am not the critical element in His ministry and in His kingdom. He is!

  • If I have to sin against my husband and God’s commands for me as a wife to minister to someone or to give money to a ministry, that is a big problem. I need to STOP and pray. This is a huge red flag.

How can I think God will bless that? God’s Word says, “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). For God to be pleased with my ministry, I need to show reverence for Him and for His structure of authority in my life. (Now, if my husband forbids me from witnessing for Christ at all – that could be a different situation. If this doesn’t make sense, let’s talk about it together. But we can still seek to honor Christ first and then our husbands. And we need to use great caution about going against our husbands. There are many times that would be sin.)

  • If God desires me to do ministry for Him, He is going to open the door of my husband’s blessing and favor.

If Greg is against me doing something for God, it may be that God has shut that door at this time for me. God may well be leading me through my husband. I can say to Greg,

“I really believe God desires me to do this, but if you are against it, I will trust God to lead me through you and I won’t do it.”

If God truly wants me to do something specific for Him, He can change my husband’s heart to give me favor with my husband (yes, even if my husband is not a believer or if he is far from God) so that I can do that thing for Him. THEN, He will bless that ministry because I am participating with my husband’s support and I am walking in obedience to God.

  • I tend to want to run way ahead of God and Greg and do my own thing.

I have to be REALLY patient and wait and do things in God’s timing as He leads me through Greg. If my husband has concerns or objections, it is extremely unwise for me to charge ahead. It’s awesome that I want to minister to others. But what would be even more awesome would be if I am humble enough to wait on God and to do God’s will God’s way instead of in my own wisdom and strength.

God can even lead a believing wife through an unbelieving husband. This whole thing is ultimately about us and God. It isn’t really about our husbands – but it is about that we trust God to lead us through them (unless there are specific situations where we cannot follow our husbands). Ultimately, what we each need most is to hear God’s Spirit’s voice and prompting and to do what He shows us to do. His leading will always fall inline with His Word and His commands for us. And, most of the time, if God has a ministry for me to do, He will put it on my husband’s heart, as well.

Again and again – to me – the key is balance: proper balance and understanding of God’s Word, and willingness to obey Him completely. I can give God all of myself and I can give Him my desire to minister and to be available to Him and my willingness to do whatever He calls me to do. When my heart is yielded completely to Him and I am committed to total obedience to Him and to allowing His Spirit to fill and control me – He will open whatever doors are necessary and move whatever mountains He needs to move to accomplish His will in my life as I trust Him.

God is more important than my ministry for Him. My obedience to Him is more important than my giving money to those in need. I pray He will help us see things with His eyes and that He might empower us and our husbands to be about His work. But I long for us to only do what He truly desires us to do – and all that He desires us to do – and not anything else. When I first began this journey, I thought that if I followed Greg, I would never get to do anything for God. Turns out, God has led me through Greg in amazing ways when I have been willing to follow God first and to trust Him to lead me through my husband’s leadership.

Much love!

Check out how God has been able to lead me in ministry through Greg in this post.

RELATED:

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Don’t Often Notice

My Husband Is Not a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

6 Things I’ve Learned from Having an Unbelieving Husband

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More – Part 1

My Husband Won’t Lead

A Husband Answers a Wife’s Question – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

What Headship/Biblical Submission Look Like at Our House

 

NOTE:

There are some husbands who are spiritually abusive who don’t allow their wives to talk with anyone, to go to any church, or to do any ministry ever. That is a different scenario than what I am writing about in this post. If you find yourself in such a situation, please find a godly counselor to help you work through that in a healthy way. I pray for God’s clear wisdom and direction for those in such difficult situations.

If there is abuse going on, please search my home page for “abuse” or check out www.leslievernick.com for emotional abuse, or www.thehotline.org (a secular site) for physical abuse.

 

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMS

I am hoping to share, God-willing, stories from a number of wives who have been truly “in the trenches” in the past year or two. Many of them have very different dynamics in their marriages from the one I had with Greg where I was dominating and he was passive. Some of these husbands are a lot more vocal than Greg was – and demonstrated more direct opposition to their wives as they tried to allow God to change them.  Last week I shared a post by The Satisfied Wife about how really only God knows exactly what each of us needs to do in any specific situation. Today I am sharing a guest post by LMS who also wrote, “My Husband Wanted a Divorce.”

May God lead each of us on our own path of discovering and discerning what He desires us to learn and do in our particular situations that will bring honor and glory to Him. Each of us will have some similarities in our stories, but some unique differences. We ultimately each need to hear God’s voice and follow Him. Some things are very clear in Scripture about how we are to treat others, including our husbands. Other things require close fellowship with God for us to know what we should do. Please pray for the wives who are sharing – and their husbands – for God’s power, love, wisdom, and discernment as the wives seek to honor Christ and as they share with us. Don’t take the weight of their struggles on yourself, but rather, lay them before God. Let’s entrust these precious couples – and all who are here and who are hurting – to His care.

BACKGROUND:

My husband became increasingly angry and shut down until he asked for a divorce in January of 2015.  At that time, I searched for some kind of answer and truth on what to do in my life. I found Jesus (and became a Christian) and began a journey in learning respect, love, hope and faith. On my way to healing, I also had to learn forgiveness of others as well as myself, with God’s grace and respect for myself as well. My husband was not very responsive to my changes and, in fact rebelled greatly against them. With a non-believing spouse, it has been a very hard road to stay on with God, but it is the only true path to overcoming sin. We are still together, in spite of many friends and family telling me I should divorce him. There is healing, baby-step growth.

I HAD TO DEAL WITH MY OWN ISSUES FIRST:

I had to learn submission (to Christ first, then to my husband), respect, tearing out idols, etc… before I could possibly even THINK about standing up to my husband’s sins. It’s like “Taking the Log Out of Your Eye 101” – like a college course or something. Then, after I had made much progress (by the power of Christ), I started to feel like I was falling out of peace as time would go on. I would get paralyzed with fear of speaking the truth to my husband in love with respect and honor. I would try sometimes, and I would stress about doing it right, saying the right words, etc, and when it went badly, not as planned, or I lost my temper a bit, (not as badly as in the past) but I could recognize that I didn’t handle something as Jesus would’ve, I would feel panicky that I hurt rather than helped my marriage.

  • I was afraid to make a move in case it was the wrong one. I was still trying to be perfect.

But, I kept saying to myself that God can make beauty from the ashes… and He would. One of my sisters here on the blog helped me relax a bit in the process, as long as my motive was right. Until the pressure from my husband got so mean, sarcastic and contemptuous, and I couldn’t take it anymore – I stayed stuck in misery.

I don’t know if I would’ve moved to the next step without my husband’s attitude getting worse.

I strongly feel God was trying to take me to a new level. One that taught me right thinking about (or “respect for”) self, courage, bravery, confidence in Christ, and being able to face my fears. I grew slowly more okay with my fear of “if my husband left me.” I actually was looking forward to it at some point…  it would have been a relief, not happy to admit, but true. I told him if he wanted to go, he had my blessing. He never went.

DEALING WITH HIS ISSUES:

I learned that standing up to my husband and his sin/horrible, hurtful attitude was actually a LOVING thing to do. The line that hit me from Leslie Vernick’s book, “How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong,” was “ignoring someone’s sin is essentially writing them a one way ticket to hell.” It is NOT loving to refrain from speaking the truth because we are being ruled by fear (of our spouses leaving, getting angry, being more unloving, getting revenge etc.)

But facing that fear was like a 2nd level college course “Speaking Truth in Love 201.” This helped me swing back to center and away from doormat mode. So, now, I knew how to be silent and not complain or bicker or be critical or argue, but I also knew how to stand up for myself and not believe every word my husband said and let him walk all over me. I was more balanced.

I know I very much had my husband as my god and an idol. Every word he said, I would believe. I never thought he would lie to me or manipulate me. So, even though I saw him do that to others, I was naive to think he wouldn’t do that to me. He very much feels he is smarter, wiser, and more aware of things than I am. He judges and criticizes me and others. He feels he is above others.

This makes me disgusted now, but before, I would adopt his ways as my own, but with no real good reason, just because I believed everything he said and did was good and right… just because he was my husband. I let him “own” me and my happiness. Fear kept me in a prison. I think learning how to fight evil fear and knowing the difference between fearing the Lord and what that really means (being in awe of Him) and healthy fear for safety and godly warnings would be helpful (don’t stick a metal screwdriver into a live plug). Not zooming ahead with fear of the future or the lies we tell ourselves because we don’t know what is going on in our spouses minds or suspecting bad motives… it all instills loads of fear.

Fear, fear, fear….a huge roadblock to joy and godly surrender.

Today, my husband is very confused now because he cannot predict how I will react to things that before I would get upset about, or he knows I SHOULD be upset about.

  • I am more direct when I speak and less unsure of myself.
  • I call him out when he is lying and he is uncomfortable. I’m not disrespectful, but I am no longer his starry-eyed groupie who praises every word or thought of his.

He doesn’t understand my calm during the storm, or peaceful joy in spite of our marriage being in shambles. It actually entertains me to watch him try to figure it out now. I have tried to talk about God to him, but it’s lost on him right now. God will tell me when – if I need to. But for now, it’s “winning him without a word.

I also think there is something to the fact that men tend not to respect a woman who allows them to treat her disrespectfully. Much like men don’t respect another man who shakes hands like a wet noodle, or won’t stick up for himself…they are seen as weak, spineless, and unworthy. We women sometimes see our actions (not speaking up when we are being mistreated) as submitting, loving, cooperative, but men don’t. We need a little spark and feistiness for them to know that we have our limits too. I think they feel less-than if they are married to a weak-willed woman with no backbone. But it’s a fine line to walk so we don’t slip into disrespect.

RELATED:

Please always seek God’s wisdom and His prompting for what He desires you to do in your exact situation in each moment. His Spirit can give you the wisdom and direction you need that is so much greater than any human wisdom. 🙂

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

25 Ways to Respect Myself – or “to Thing and Act Rightly about Myself”

To Speak or Not to Speak

InHisGrip Talks about Not Shutting Down Emotionally

The Pendulum Effect – avoiding being controlling/dominating/disrespectful and avoiding the other extreme of being passive, unplugged, defeated, and a doormat

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

A Wife Responds Beautifully to Her Husband’s Bad Mood 

God Showed Me How to Approach My “Command Man” Husband

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Nina Roesner has a class for wives in very difficult marriages that helps women experience healing in Christ and then have the wisdom and spiritual strength they need to know how the Lord desires them to handle the issues in the marriage – Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

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