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How I Handle the Toilet Seat Being Left Up and Other Quandaries

There are some things that are universal struggles in almost every marriage.  Sometimes these tiny little insignificant things can turn into huge issues and fights, unfortunately.

So what is a wife to do when her husband constantly leaves the toilet seat up, and she ends up splashing in the nasty toilet water in the middle of the night?  Or what is a wife to do when her husband doesn’t help with the laundry, or leaves dirty clothes all over the bedroom, or leaves wet towels on the bed or tracks dirt and mud through the house after she just vacuumed and mopped – again?

SOME PERSPECTIVE

One thing that helps me A LOT is to talk with widows and read the stories of widows.  There was an article about some of the September 11th widows and they all talked about how hard it was to hear wives complaining about these little inconveniences that come with living with a husband.  They talked about how much they WISHED they could have those kinds of “problems” again and have their men back in their lives.

SOME SUGGESTIONS

Here is how I handle some of those little annoying things now that used to get under my skin and fill me with resentment.   Yes, you could ask very respectfully, and probably only once (or occasionally) – “Honey, would you please do X?  I would appreciate it so much!”  But if that doesn’t work…

  • the toilet seat – Now, I just assume that the seat is probably up.  So I feel in the dark and yep, it’s up.  So I put it down and then I don’t fall in the toilet.  I don’t expect the seat to be down.  I live with a husband, and that is part of living with a man sometimes.  And I think about how glad I am to have him in my life.  I don’t nag him.  I don’t make any deal out of it at all.  I just changed my expectations.  It’s not that big of a deal!  You know what IS a big deal to God?  My resentment, bitterness and un-forgiveness.  Those are ugly sins in God’s book.  Leaving the toilet seat up is not a sin. I happen to know my husband’s heart well enough to know that he doesn’t purposely leave the seat up to try to annoy me. And, I always leave the seat down, so he has to put it up. He doesn’t complain about that!
  • clothes strewn around the bathroom/bedroom/wet towels on the floor or bed – Most of the time, my husband puts his dirty clothes in the hamper. If he doesn’t,  I take 2 seconds and put them in the hamper.  I don’t complain about it.  I don’t even think hateful thoughts.  It doesn’t upset me anymore at all.  It doesn’t take much of my time.  I think “I am so glad to be able to serve my husband and serve Jesus by taking care of him this way.”  And I don’t get the least bit annoyed.  I know I will probably be a widow in the next 10-30 years and I will have a very neat house and won’t have to clean up after anyone then.  And I know I will MISS my husband so much.  I want to savor every moment of being with him.  Who knows how many days we have left to enjoy each other’s company?  I don’t want to have any regrets.
  • dishes put into the dishwasher “wrong” –  I thank my husband for taking care of the dishes and cleaning up.  I hug him and kiss him and smile at him and tell him what an awesome man I have that he would do all of that for me!  Then when I take the dishes out of the dishwasher, if there are some that have crud on them, I soak them and rewash them. (Sometimes that happens when I load the dishwasher, too!) I could ask him to put them in a different way – respectfully. Or I could say, “Honey, the dishes don’t seem to be getting clean in the dishwasher,” and give him the chance to evaluate the situation. I don’t get angry.  I’m thankful for Greg’s willingness to help me with chores now.  Life has not always been like this!  So any time he helps me in ANY way, I thank him and pile on the praise and encouragement.  I do NOT criticize his help.  I appreciate him.
  • tracking dirt through the clean house – This actually happens a good bit when my husband is working on renovation projects at our house.  Thankfully, we have hardwood floors almost everywhere, so that makes it a bit easier.  I focus on the beautiful work my husband is doing to create my dream home for me.  That is one of the biggest ways he likes to show his love for me.  So, I don’t get on him about it at all.  I just wait until the work is done for the day and cheerfully sweep the floor again and thank him for the incredible job he’s doing on the house.  I don’t resent him.  I don’t get angry.  I hum or sing a praise song to God and I sweep the floor.  Then I go cuddle with my man after he gets cleaned up and I hug and kiss him and listen to him talk about all of his amazing plans for his latest project and I smile and appreciate having such a talented husband who loves me SO much that he is willing to do all that hard work just to delight me.

MY HUSBAND DOES A LOT FOR ME

I used to silently, or not so silently, keep score and try to weigh what I was doing in the marriage each day compared to my husband.  And I would resent him if I felt I had to do more chores around the house.  It helps a lot that I am not working as much anymore, so I have more time to spend on chores and I’m not trying to work a full time job AND do the housekeeping and be a wife and mother.  That was just WAY too much for me to handle!  Now I only work about 11-20 hours/week.

Now when I do work, my husband helps me.  I don’t usually ask him to do anything.  He feels so respected now, he just does it all on his own.  He’ll do laundry now, and even fold it and put it away!??!?  He’ll do the dishes now, especially days that I am working.  He’ll cook supper for me.  A man who feels greatly respected is wired by God to want to serve those who honor him. I don’t respect and honor him so that he will do things for me. But, he often does wonderful things these days just because he loves me and likes to see me smile.

Even before my husband was feeling a lot more respected and started helping me so much more, I began to change and see all the ways he contributes to our marriage, household and family and how he NEVER complains.  He takes care of all the outside chores and yard work.  He does the renovation projects.  He goes under the house and works on the ducts or the plumbing if needed.  Plumbing can get particularly nasty.  He doesn’t complain when he has to work on the sewage pipe and gets filthy.  He is MY HERO for being willing to do all that stuff for me.  He amazes me with his determination and perseverance and the way he seriously never complains no matter how hot it is in the attic when he’s putting insulation up there or how smelly and nasty it is under the house.  I can definitely find plenty of things to appreciate and thank him for and things to respect him for.  He contributes so much to making our house beautiful and safe and well-functioning.  How can I really measure what I do against all those things he does that I would NEVER be willing or able to do?

So, I don’t keep score anymore.  I just serve my husband and my Jesus with all my heart.  I sing songs to God all throughout the day.  I think about the things I respect and admire about my husband and all of his strengths.  And I am the happiest, most joyful and peaceful wife in the world.

SHARE:

How has God inspired you to handle the little things that your husband does that used to annoy you? Maybe your story might inspire another wife!

Rejoice in Suffering

Could there be a more unpalatable idea to us than this?  We don’t WANT to suffer – EVER!  And we certainly cannot begin to fathom REJOICING in suffering!  We only want comfort, ease, health and material wealth.  And we have plenty of preachers who are glad to tell us that it’s God’s will for us to be “healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Well – I have to stand up and say emphatically that the prosperity gospel is false teaching!  That is not what the Bible tells us to expect as believers.  In fact, if the prosperity gospel were true, then Jesus should have been born in human luxury, lived in mansions, had servants and never suffered – certainly He should have never been flogged and crucified as an innocent man!

God sent Jesus here to live in poverty, to suffer for what was right, to receive horrific abuse from us-  His enemies at the time, to crush Him so that His wrath could be satisfied and so that we might be free from the punishment we deserve for our sin.  If Jesus – Who obviously lived in the very center of God’s will all the time – suffered as part of God’s divine will – we can and should expect to suffer, too.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.  After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.”  Isaiah 53:10-11

THE UNFORTUNATE TRUTH ABOUT SINFUL HUMAN NATURE

In the Old Testament, I read it over and over and over again:

“When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud, then they forgot Me.”  Hosea 13:6

God’s blessings of material wealth and prosperity >> our pride >>  our self-indulgence >> we think we don’t need God/idolatry

Poverty and suffering >> our humility >> turns our hearts to God in dependence (we see the depths of our need for Him) >> our increased faith in God

Over and over again, prosperity in Israel created stubborn, rebellious, ungrateful hearts.  And it was only after God brought disaster and punishment that the people turned to Him and cried out for Him to save them.  Prosperity makes us spoiled, selfish and ungodly most of the time.  It happens to our children when they get everything they want, and it happens to us as adults, too.

SUFFERING HAS A HOLY PURPOSE

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead.  Philippians 2:10-11

I am the true Vine, and My Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit HE PRUNES so that it will be even more fruitful.  John 1:1-2

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Acts 5:41

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

(speaking to slaves) If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.  To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.”  When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats.  Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him Who judges justly.  He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.  I Peter 2:20-24

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. I Peter 3:13

Since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.  As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.  I Peter 4:1-2

Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you…  If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that Name.  I Peter 4:12-14,16

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.  I Peter 4:19

Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  II Corinthians 1:5

Suffering is God’s tool to mold us into the image of Christ.  Certain suffering is God’s will for us.  (Not for us to suffer for doing wrong, but to suffer for doing right).  My temporary happiness is not God’s goal!  God uses suffering as discipline to train us in holiness – as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.  Holiness is a vastly more important priority to God for my life than my happiness. He used suffering to keep Paul humble (his thorn in the flesh).  He uses suffering to refine our faith, to bring the sin (dross) to the top and skim it off and to purify our faith and make it more valuable and beautiful.

When I know God more and more – how loving, kind and good He is – I don’t have to fear suffering anymore!  When I understand His sovereignty and how He will use suffering for my benefit – what would I fear?  The only thing to fear is being outside of the will of God.  If I am in the will of God, even if that includes suffering, I am safe in His arms.  And I can have a gentle and peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear that is of great beauty in the sight of God and my husband.  (I Peter 3:6)

WHAT KINDS OF SUFFERINGS MIGHT GOD ALLOW?

  • spiritual
  • Satanic/demonic attack
  • mental strain
  • emotional (depression, anxiety – sometimes these can be because of medical conditions, and sometimes they are a result of us cherishing sin – a red flag that it is time to do a sweeping soul search with God’s Word and His light to show us if we are holding on to any sin)
  • marital problems
  • family issues/problems
  • death of a loved one
  • suffering because of my sin or because of someone else’s sin or just because of the curse of sin on the world
  • financial
  • health problems
  • disasters
  • government oppression
  • persecution because of our faith
  • martyrdom

God tailors and uses the sufferings and trials we experience to accomplish His purposes in our lives.

We are not to seek out suffering or inflict suffering on ourselves.  God determines the trials we will face.

IN MARRIAGE

I hear SO MANY wives say:

  • I don’t want to get hurt.  If I show respect, he’ll make decisions to purposely hurt me and our children.
  • I don’t want to be taken advantage of.  I need to protect myself.
  • My husband doesn’t deserve my respect.  I don’t want to obey God’s commands for me as a wife.
  • My husband has hurt me too much, I can’t obey God.
  • My husband isn’t a believer, so I can’t respect him and I can’t submit to him.
  • I want to feel loved first by my husband, then I will obey God.  God needs to change my husband first.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  Matthew 10:39

To live with Jesus as Lord, I must lay down my will, my dreams, my rights, my plans, my wisdom, my expectations, my agenda, my needs, my weakness, my sin and my desires.  I sacrifice them to Jesus and I pick up my cross (of sharing in His suffering and death) and follow Him.  I die to myself and my flesh and sin.  And I live for Christ.  So now, I pick up His will, His dreams, His goals, His plans, His wisdom, His power, His righteousness, His holiness and His desires.  He plants within me the mind and heart of Christ.  He gives me His holy desires.

Thankfully – God wired men to respond to respect and submission with a desire to serve.  Most of the time, the more respectful and cooperative a wife is, the more loving, kind, thoughtful and protective a husband will be.  But even if our husbands don’t seem to “respond well” to our obedience to God – we are still accountable before God to obey Him.   He will rewards us in heaven for how we treat our husbands here – regardless of their response to us.

(If there is physical abuse, drug addiction or infidelity – a wife may not be able to trust her husband or cooperate with his sin during that time – please seek godly, experienced help if this is your current situation!)

There will be emotional and spiritual suffering in marriage as we mature, learn and grow.  God will use marriage to expose our own selfishness, pride, idolatry, unforgiveness and sin.  He uses all of this to refine us and to bring us to greater maturity.

OUR GOD IS HUGE!

A big part of how we submit and yield ourselves to Jesus on a daily basis and pick up our cross is that we will submit to our husbands’ leadership (unless he is asking us to sin or condone sin).  Even if we disagree.  Even if we don’t get our way.  Even if it doesn’t look like things will work out the way we think they should.

In my view, this is one of a woman’s biggest tests of her faith in Christ.  

I have been AMAZED at the ways God has worked things out in my personal life when I submitted to my husband – even when I disagreed – how God caused things to happen that were so much better than anything I could have asked for or imagined.  God’s wisdom is INFINITELY HIGHER than my own!  It doesn’t matter if I get “my way” – I want God’s will!  He is the only one Who knows how to get me there – so I have to trust Him to lead me through my husband.

Our God is big enough and “sovereign enough” that He is able to lead us through our sinful husbands when we have a heart to love and obey Him above all else!

Our husbands DON’T deserve our respect.  But God commands us to respect them.  And if God commands it, I need to do it even if I don’t understand or agree.  Now –  I can see that God is commanding us to give our husbands what they NEED to thrive and become more godly – not what they deserve.  But even if I can’t see why God commands me to do something, it is my duty before Him to obey Him.

We don’t deserve our husbands’ unconditional love and godly leadership.  We can be REALLY unlovable sometimes!  I know that I sure can!  But we NEED it.  That is why God commands husbands to do those things.

This is not about giving our husbands what we think they deserve.  What all people deserve is punishment from a holy God.  We don’t want what we deserve!

This journey of faith is about obeying God, seeking His will and His way and His glory.  It is about bringing healing, God’s power and strength and unity to marriage for God’s glory.  It is about keeping the gospel of Christ shining brightly without tarnishing it by our rebelliousness.  Titus 2:5 says that wives are to be subject to their husbands so that the word of God will not be maligned.  When I take control in my marriage – the very gospel of Christ is injured!  MAY IT NEVER BE!  Our obedience to God’s Word is SO MUCH BIGGER than our own marriages!  Our obedience to Him  in our marriages draws others to Christ – and our disobedience will repel them.

If my husband is doing wrong, God says that it is His to avenge, He will repay.  We can trust Him to handle revenge and justice in His time and His way for His glory.  I must respectfully and cautiously confront sin at times (keeping my eyes constantly on my own motives and pride – making sure I am not in sin myself) – but God’s Spirit is plenty capable of changing my husbands’ heart and convicting him in His time and His way.  He does not need my help!  I would only get in the way and stall things and make it hard for my husband to hear God’s voice!  In fact, I have done that many times – and it did not work!

PRAYER

Lord,

I pray that You might help us to embrace suffering that is in Your will for us!  Help us to see that there will be pain and suffering in marriage and that You use that to make us holy and more like Jesus and that suffering is a HUGE blessing when we embrace it as Your tool to refine our faith and test our character and make us more spiritually mature.  Help us be willing to sacrifice ourselves in order to obey You in our marriages.  Help us be willing to suffer for what is right if necessary.  Use us to repay evil with good and cursing with blessing.  Use us to show Your kindness to our husbands – even when they don’t deserve it.  Let us lay down our sin – our unforgiveness, bitterness, idolatry, wanting to control things ourselves, anxiety, lust, gossip, jealousy, hatred, malice, rebelliousness and every sin that displeases You.  Fill us with Your Spirit and Your power to become the godly wives You desire us to be.  Use us to greatly bless our husbands and children.  We can’t do this in our own strength.  Help us to abide in You daily, praise You constantly, sing songs of praise and gratitude to You in our hearts all day long, pray fervently without ceasing and seek You above all else in our lives.  Let us love You wholeheartedly and let us give ourselves fully to You without any reservation.  Use us to be Your faithful servants and to bring You honor and praise.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

A Wife Finds Joy Again after Years of Grief

Today’s post is an email I received from a wife I talked with a few months ago. She was still deeply hurting and grieving over the  sudden loss of her teenage son 4 years ago. She had learned about respect before – but “lost ground” during her grief – very understandably!

This precious wife was STUCK.  She was angry with God.  She was bitter towards her husband.  The question that really began to turn the lights on spiritually for her was, “Is it possible that you may have grieved the Holy Spirit?”

I could hear the self-pity and bitterness in her heart and knew that she had grieved God’s Spirit.  And – in that moment, she began to see the problem.  She was dry and without God’s peace, joy and the fruit of the Spirit because she was hanging onto bitterness and unforgiveness.  When she repented – His power began to flood her soul again.  Nothing brings me greater joy than to get to witness one of my sisters reach that critical point of brokenness and humility and then see the Niagra Falls of heaven pour into her soul!  I just never get tired of that!  It’s pretty addictive – watching God work miracles like that.

HER DESCRIPTION OF WHERE SHE WAS SPIRITUALLY THE PAST 4 YEARS:

I had let my brokenness morph into something so unhealthy that I had just gotten shackled up tight in a stronghold of self-pity and bitterness. When I felt like I was further spiritually than my husband, even that had a root of “poor me, my son died and I can’t even be married to a man who loves me and leads me like Christ. Poor me, my life is so hard. Guess God just uses me as some kind of martyr type… etc. You get it… on and on with self-pity and bitterness. And God has showed me what a deep, ugly sin self-pity is. And bitterness too, but the self-pity thing was a surprise to me how ugly it can be in God’s sight.

THE EMAIL SHE SENT ME AFTER WE HAD SPOKEN:

Hey! I thought I would share my latest blog with you. It is a start at processing all God is showing me since we talked yesterday. I know that I have grieved the Holy Spirit in the context of my relationship, too, I just know that between me and God is the beginning. I am finally ready to truly apologize to my husband and ask for forgiveness (for being disrespectful, unforgiving and controlling). I plan to get specific with my sin with no explanation so he won’t misinterpret it as justification. I can’t believe it! Yesterday, I still wasn’t ready. I knew if I said it, I still wouldn’t mean it. But, today… FREEDOM!!

I am feeling wonderful!! It’s like a floodgate of JOY has been released in my spirit!! I am so NEW!!  I know it! I had almost given up on feeling LIFE like this again since my son died. It is unbelievable!   After 4 years, the last 2 of those with me begging God to heal me yet rebelling somehow all at the same time… I am FREE! I know it. I don’t expect it to be perfect from here… I will still have PMS days, and days where I have to take lies captive… but something is most definitely new!!

Oh my! This Scripture just popped in my mind….

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

Oh the joys of hiding Scripture in your heart for God to pull out just when He wants to speak to you!! He just absolutely confirmed that He is doing a new thing… right here, right now, again! I am in an oasis! And oh how good it feels after years of my spirit being so dry!

As far as the fumble… I just flat out owned it and apologized. Hmmm… imagine that?! 🙂 It wasn’t horrible, but I want him to know and SEE the changes in me. He is already noticing that something is up! 😉

All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you, April!! For being obedient to His call to change your own marriage and then letting the Lord use you the way you do to help Him change others!

It almost seems too simple that the first time we talked that the Lord worked such a breakthrough in me, but oh you just have no idea how long I have begged, and wrestled, and fought, and well… you get the idea. I am just so blessed!! And our precious God is just so WILD and GOOD!!!

Respecting Your Man around Extended Family

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!

Some tips for family get-togethers:

– Smile and look at your husband when he is talking and listen to him with interest.

– Don’t interrupt him.

– Don’t correct his story-telling.

– Don’t tell him how to drive unless he specifically asks for you to be the navigator.  But even then, don’t critique his driving skills.

– Let him decide what to eat and don’t lecture him or give him THE LOOK!

– Don’t pout if he goes to talk with the men and leaves you with the women.

– If people get nosy and start asking things you don’t want to answer, “When are you having a baby?  Are you ever going to get pregnant?”  or other personal questions – smile and look at your husband and let him field those questions.  If he’s not there, then smile and say something to deflect the question, “Children are a blessing, aren’t they?”  “We’ll be sure to let everyone know if we have any news.”  And change the topic sweetly.

– Praise him genuinely in front of others.

– Do NOT criticize him, speak negatively of him or use non-verbal disrespect (eye rolling, sighing, looking impatient, scowling, daggers in your eyes).

– Do NOT join in with other wives bashing their husbands!!!!  Even if your husband never knows about it, putting your man down in front of other people is extremely disrespectful and it will taint your ability to respect your husband.

– If people want you to agree to something or commit to something, check with your husband first, or if he is there, look at him and let him answer.

– Uphold your husband’s parenting decisions (ESPECIALLY in front of others!).

– Smile and enjoy the blessing of being with your husband and family.

– Do not complain or argue – that ruins your witness for Christ and it can ruin the whole atmosphere for everyone.

– Do not be a martyr!  Ask for help if you need it!  If you can’t make a certain dish without feeling resentful – don’t make it!

– Don’t correct his manners.

– Don’t correct his pronunciation.

– Don’t insinuate he doesn’t make enough money.

– Be content with him and what you have.

– Find your strength, joy, identity and purpose in Christ!!  Then you won’t feel compelled to drown your husband with your needs that only Jesus can fulfill.

– Let your husband make his own decisions.  Don’t try to force him to do things your way.  You may politely ask for what you would prefer – but then cooperate with his decision (unless he is asking you to sin).

– Make sure there will be some of your husband’s favorite dishes if possible.

Why Won’t My Husband Just Love Me???

If you are a wife who is feeling lonely and unloved – I feel your pain VERY DEEPLY! I pursued my husband for 15 years in our marriage and wanted his love SO MUCH! I was lonely, frustrated, angry, and felt extremely unloved at times.

Most wives are in such horrible pain and we only see our own pain – not our husbands’ pain.  We don’t realize that often – he is just as wounded and injured as we are.  We don’t realize our own contribution to the mess and just want our husbands to be:

  • more loving
  • more plugged in
  • more kind
  • more romantic
  • more understanding
  • more sympathetic to their pain

It’s not that these desires are wrong necessarily.  The issue is when we put these desires above everything else in life.

Ideally – husbands would continue to love and pursue their wives even if we are messing things up a lot. But it would take a very Holy Spirit-filled man to react that way to a wife’s desperation/demands/hostility/control/disrespect.  Most men are NOT THERE.

God made wives to need love primarily.  God made husbands to need respect primarily.  When we are not getting what we legitimately need – we react by not meeting our spouse’s legitimate need.  THIS DOESN’T WORK!  SOMEONE has to start meeting the other person’s needs even if he/she isn’t getting his/her own needs met for a time.

Unfortunately – the way we wives usually react when we feel unloved is disrespectful. And when men feel disrespected their knee jerk reaction is unloving. So the crazy cycle begins (Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs).

THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE

God designed marriage with a very specific purpose (Ephesians 5:22-33) – to be a living demonstration of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church.  Husbands are to play the part of Christ loving, providing, leading, being selfless and servant-hearted.  And wives are to represent the adoration, reverence, awe, devotion and submission of the church to Jesus.

Husbands are wired by God to need respect in the most profound ways in order to feel loving.  Wives are wired by God to need love deeply in order to feel respectful.

You can’t change your husband.  You can only change your relationship with Christ and your behavior.  You can’t make him love you.  You can only influence him in a godly way.  BUT that way is VERY powerful!

FOLLOWING YOUR HEART WILL MAKE THINGS WORSE!

To attract your husband – you have to do what works for HIM to feel attracted to you.  Giving him more and more love won’t help at all.  He doesn’t long for love the way you do.  He longs for respect, faith, admiration, trust, friendliness, your beautiful smile, and a sense that you actually LIKE him as a man and accept him as he is.

If you smother him with neediness and constant phone calls and texts and you try to demand his attention, change him or even worse – beg, cry, pout, whine, manipulate or try to force him to do what you want – HE WILL NOT DO IT. Those tactics repulse men.

Bob Grant (a marriage counselor and author) says, “No one likes to be told what to do.  But men REALLY don’t like to be told what to do.”

When we are resorting to those desperate methods to try to MAKE our men love us and MAKE them do what we want – we are actually committing idolatry. I did this FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. I didn’t see it. All I saw was, “He is unloving! He SHOULD do X, Y and Z for ME!” But I didn’t notice how I was hurting him. He never told me I was disrespectful and he never told me I hurt him. I assumed he had no feelings. And I was WRONG.

I HAD A FOREST IN MY OWN EYE

I was putting my desire to feel loved way above my desire for Christ. Any time I HAVE to have something other than Christ to be happy – that is idolatry. And there is no worse sin than that. I broke the first commandment (from the 10 commandments) all day long every day for many years – and I thought I was a great Christian.  But I was living in sin, so I didn’t have God’s power working full blast in me, and I didn’t have the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.  I had grieved God’s heart and His Spirit could not stay in fellowship with me with all that filth in my soul.  I didn’t lose my relationship with Him – but I lost connection with Him and His full power in my life

I didn’t see my pride. I really believed “I know better than my husband.” “I’m smarter than he is.” “I need to take over because he WON’T MAN UP.” And so I tried to control him and I treated him with disrespect. I criticized him daily. I lectured him. I ordered him around. I told him what to do and how to do it. I rolled my eyes at him. I raised my voice and used the angry mama scolding tone with him. I didn’t pay much attention to his feelings or what he thought was important or what he wanted. If he didn’t answer me within 5 seconds, I was ANGRY. I acted like I was better than him because I really thought I was. I had MOUNTAINS of pride.

When I finally saw it – I was mortified. I thought I was such a great wife – but I wasn’t. I wasn’t taking care of my husband’s legitimate and God-given need for respect. I didn’t even really know what respect or disrespect meant to a man! And I wasn’t allowing him to lead even though God designated him the leader in the marriage.

I was stressed out, lonely, angry, anxious, unforgiving, resentful, fearful and thought that I had to make things happen, that I was in charge – not God. That is how I lived – as if I were in God’s place and God barely existed.  That was all HUGE sin and the results of my sin and living in my own strength and wisdom were obvious.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

I had to learn to put Christ first. He has to be my Lord and my God. I have to be willing to sacrifice MY wants, MY will, MY way, MY rights, MY wisdom, MY needs and take on God’s will, His desires, His goals, His purpose, His plan and His wisdom. I had to REALLY, REALLY humble myself hundreds of notches and be contrite before God – seeing the depths of my sin – and seeing the heights of God’s holiness and that I fell miles and miles short of His standard. I had to really see how much sin debt I owed to Jesus – that I owed Him BILLIONS of $ for my sin, not just a few hundred bucks.

I had to learn to put Him first in every area of my life and hold nothing back from Him. I had to learn to obey His Word and seek His will.

It was only when I had Jesus in the right place in my heart and took my husband, my being in control and my feeling loved off the throne of my soul that God began to work powerfully in me and my marriage. He eventually gave me the desires of my heart – to feel loved by my husband again. BUT my motive had to be to please God not to try to make my husband love me.

WHAT WORKS

When my motives are right in God’s sight and I obey Him and respect my husband and cooperate with his leadership – THEN my husband is powerfully attracted to me and WANTS to love me again.

My humble attitude attracts my husband – the idea that he has valuable wisdom and insight that are important to our marriage and family is a necessary ingredient of respecting him!

I stepped down from control and allowed him to make decisions.  I tell him what I want and like and need (usually once) and then I let him make the ultimate decision and trust that God will use my husband to lead me to His will.  I don’t cooperate with sin – but everything else, I joyfully and cheerfully cooperate with my husband about.

When I seek God’s design for marriage and look at His commands for wives and am willing to obey them – God blesses me greatly in my walk with Him and my marriage!

I’M THANKFUL I COULDN’T MAKE MY HUSBAND LOVE ME NOW

I learned that it was actually a HUGE BLESSING that my husband refused to pursue me when I was idolizing him. If he had rewarded me by giving me what I wanted – he would have created a monster! What a blessing to have a man who will not be manipulated or coerced or forced into what we want. That is a sign of a strong leader who stands by his convictions.

I believe sometimes – but not always – wives might experiencing intense emotional pain and distress because they may have their husbands, or feelings of being loved or trying to be in control themselves as idols in their hearts. I pray you will examine your relationship with Christ and put Him in His proper place in your life and commit to do things His way. Then I think you will see miracles in time that will blow your mind.

I am here if you want to talk more! MUCH LOVE and BIG HUGS precious sisters!

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If you have a very difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s “Strength and Dignity” eCourse

If you are experiencing severe issues in your marriage, please contact the appropriate people for help – the police, a trusted, godly counselor, a doctor, a trusted pastor, etc… This post is not written for women who are experiencing abuse, whose husbands are involved in active addictions or uncontrolled mental illness or spiritual oppression/demon possession.

If You Are Getting Stuck

The times I have gotten stuck on my journey to obey God’s Word as a wife and to totally submit to Him in my entire life, including my marriage and to learn His design for me to respect and submit to my husband – there is usually one or more of the following going on:

  • bitterness – I am hanging on to resentment and unforgiveness.  When I do this, I forfeit God’s Holy Spirit abiding in me and empowering me.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a godly wife and to live in constant fellowship with Christ if I am cherishing ANY sin in my heart.  I MUST sincerely, humbly and deeply repent.
  • pride – I start thinking I know best.  I know better than God.  I know better than God’s Word.  I know better than my husband.  I should be the one in control.  I’d do a much better job than my husband at leading.  He’s messing everything up.
  • lack of faith in God or my husband – without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  And without faith in my husband, it is impossible for me to show respect to him in a way that will mean anything to him.
  • idolatry – I started looking to other things besides Christ for my fulfillment, contentment and happiness.  THIS IS VERY EASY TO DO!  I have to CONSTANTLY check my motives.  WHY am I doing what I am doing?  Am I really doing this to honor God?  Or am I doing it to try to control my husband and make him love me more?  Am I doing this to try to force my husband to make me feel loved?  Am I doing this because I love God with all my heart, want to know Him more and want to obey Him?  Or am I doing the respect thing because I want to try to CONTROL God?  Motive matter GREATLY to our husbands and to God.
  • self-righteousness – I start thinking I am better than my husband.  This is sin!

BROKENNESS

If I do not start from a place of total humility and brokenness – weeping over the magnitude of my own sin in God’s sight – I still have a lot more repenting to do.

It is only when I am utterly humble and contrite before God and tear down all my idols and all my false understanding of him and of myself that I can please Him.  I have to see how utterly spiritually poor, impoverished and critically ill I am to be in the right place.

I must be willing to lay everything down on the altar and sacrifice it to Jesus.  I have to die to myself – willingly.

If there is something that I am holding back from Him and afraid to trust Him about – I have an idol – and I have a lot more work to do.

His perfect love drives out all fear.  The one who fears has not been made perfect in love.

THEN…

The power of God will begin to move in my own heart in extremely powerful ways.

God’s power is fiercely strong in me when I look to Him to be the only source of my identity, the only source of my joy, the only source of my strength and the only purpose in my life.  I must want His will much more than my own – even if I don’t know exactly what His will might involve.  I trust Him.

My highest goal is to bring honor and glory to my Lord.

This is the secret of contentment, joy, peace and abundant life!

THE LITMUS TEST

If I am acting in my own strength and have sin in my heart, I will see multiple characteristics of the flesh predominantly in my heart on a daily basis – and in increasing measure (Galatians 5:19-21):

  • sexual immorality
  • impurity
  • debauchery (excessive use of alcohol/drugs/sex)
  • idolatry
  • witchcraft
  • hatred
  • discord
  • jealousy
  • fits of rage
  • selfish ambition
  • dissensions
  • factions
  • envy
  • drunkenness
  • orgies
  • and the like

If I have things in my heart from the above list, I have either not accepted the gift of Jesus Christ to pay for my sins and asked Him to be my Savior and Lord – or I am not living with Him as Lord.  I have grieved His Spirit and am clinging to sin more than to Jesus.

If His Spirit is in charge – I will see ALL of the fruit of the Spirit in my life daily and in increasing measure (Galatians 5:22):

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • gentleness
  • self-control
  • no envy
  • no boasting
  • no rudeness
  • no pride
  • no self-seeking
  • not easily angered
  • keep no record of wrongs suffered
  • forgiveness  (unforgiveness = wickedness, the parable of the servant whose master forgave him a great debt, and then the servant wouldn’t forgive his fellow servant a small debt – the master called him, “You wicked servant!”)
  • no delight in evil  (ie: unforgiveness, idolatry, control, pride, selfishness, lust and gossip)
  • rejoice with the truth
  • I protect my husband
  • I trust my husband (or want to move towards being able to rebuild trust) and even more, I trust my Lord
  • I hope in my husband and my Lord
  • I always persevere in my marriage by God’s strength

When I am living in the power of God’s Spirit – these things on this list will be a daily reality and become normal.  God does this.  I cannot do these things AT ALL on my own.  I just have to be plugged in to His power source, spending time in His Word, surrendering my heart, yielding my life completely and without reservation, praying constantly, praising Him constantly, meditation on His Word all throughout the day.

This is what a “normal” Christian life is supposed to look like!

One Wife Reports in 30 Days into Her Journey

This wife is SO VERY PRECIOUS to me!  We have spent a lot of time hashing through questions, issues, confusion and troubling emotions the past few weeks together.  And I can see God at work so powerfully in her.  I appreciate her willingness to share her story.  I think her perspective might be extremely helpful to other wives who are just beginning their journey towards committing to obey God to respect and submit to their husbands.  This is a LONG journey – a lifetime commitment to do things God’s way regardless of our feelings and regardless of our husbands’ response.  First – God changes us.  First, we have to be convicted of our own sin and then VERY BROKEN and humble.  And this is HARD.  It feels like contortion and goes against our own wisdom and the world’s wisdom diametrically.  But thankfully, God often gives us little victories along the way.  That is VERY helpful to keep up the motivation!  Enjoy her story!
FROM A WIFE
I have finished Feminine Appeal.  It was a good book.  (From Peacefulwife – I LOVE that book!)  I think the point that stuck out to me (thinking back on the argument my husband and I had a month ago over working/chores/housework that sent me searching the internet for help) was that God called WOMEN to be keepers of the home  (Titus 2:5)… and to manage the home (1 Timothy 5:4).  Not once did he command men to take care of a home.  I had never thought about that before…. and he commanded men to work, not women  (Genesis 3:17 and 1 Timothy 5:8).  Now, I still believe it is wonderful for my husband to help me when I need help and he wants to but I also see that it is MY responsibility to care for our home.  I am still working and plan to continue- but I work from home and can put in 1 hour or 100 so it is very flexible for me to work around my family and be available for them.   I just had never really thought about what the bible said on that subject until it was brought to my attention through reading this book.
And I have done some clothes shopping in the last few weeks with modesty in mind (she had asked her husband about her wardrobe, and he asked her to dress more modestly recently)  which meant I have been careful to choose tops that have higher necklines and skirts that have a longer hemline.  I admit that it was a bit hard to bypass the sexy little tops but I keep remembering when my husband told me, “When you dress like that then you are advertising,” and I am not advertising!  I am taken!  By shopping for more modest clothing, it has gave me more of a sense of belonging to my husband, and made me feel closer to him.  That may not make sense… I am not quite sure how to say what I mean… but I think you will get the point.  It is a lovely feeling to know that he doesn’t want anyone else to see what belongs to him.
I am having good days and bad in my quest to follow God’s instructions for wives.
Once in the last week, my husband said something that hurt my feelings and I told him in very simple words. “You hurt my feelings when you said ______” and he immediately apologized.  I was nervous that I would have to leave the room if he didn’t and then we might be not speaking for hours but thankfully he responded sweetly and I was happy that handling a minor conflict went easily and was over in the space of two sentances.  (That will probably be most wives’ experience, that the more they practice respect and submission, the fewer and fewer conflicts there are, and they are much more easily resolved when they do happen!)
Also, although alot of this is NOT natural yet – it is getting to be very natural to say “Whatever you think”, “Whatever you think is best, sweetheart” and “I trust your decision” which is wonderful!  I am thankful one part of this is becoming a part of me instead of such a stretch!  Hopefully in time all of it will become more natural.
And though my husband has always been loving and used endearments when he speaks with me,  he has started using terms of endearment I had not heard in a very long time. Pet names he had only been using extremely rarely are now almost daily occurances. 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This is a process.  It is a lifetime commitment to obey God and seek Him first and do things His way.  Our motives are because we long to please God – NOT because we want our husbands to love us more.  It is REALLY important to have the right motives here or you will be stuck and very frustrated.

It takes time for God to change our hearts.  This is not an instant thing.  His power works in us – but we also must do a lot of hard work ourselves.  You are welcome to share your story about learning to respect and submit to God and your husband!  I’d love to share your story, too.  

Let me know if you have questions  – I will do my best to point you to Christ and His Word!

 

“I Want to Follow my Husband. What if He Doesn’t Lead? How Can I Inspire His Leadership?”

“I’M THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE ONE, I HAVE TO LEAD”

It is a VERY tough position to be in to want to be close to God, to want to obey God and to feel like you can’t follow your husband.

  • You may long for him to lead a family devotion time, or prayer time.
  • You may want him to be the one to tell the children why it’s important to go to church or to plan out character lessons to teach each child.
  • You may want him to work with the kids on memory verses.
  • You may wish that your husband spent more time with the family and not so much time at work.
  • You may feel like you HAVE to take over the leadership role because it doesn’t seem like he wants it.
  • You might be praying every single day for God to change your husband and cause him to be more like Christ.
  • You may feel like your husband isn’t as close to God as he should be.
  • Maybe you don’t see him praying.
  • Maybe you are in charge of the finances and working full time and keeping the house and taking care of the children and it seems like an unfair majority of the burden is on your shoulders.
  • Maybe you ask your husband to help you, but he just ignores you and keeps watching tv.
  • Maybe you tell him how unhappy you are and what you need and it feels like you are talking to a wall.
  • Maybe you try to draw near to him and tell him about your pain so he will see how much you hurt and fix it, and he gets REALLY angry and lashes out at you and begins talking about your faults.
  • Maybe you ask for your husband’s input or decision-making and he just never answers or says the dreaded, “I don’t know” phrase or he ignores you, or just tells you to do whatever you want and you feel like he doesn’t care and isn’t plugged in to the family and the marriage.

“GOD’S DESIGN WON’T WORK IN MY SITUATION”

If these things sound familiar to you – you are not alone! Many wives feel like this and struggle daily with these same issues. Yes, this situation is extremely discouraging and you may think that your husband just doesn’t love you anymore or that following your husband’s leadership just isn’t possible in your case. You might think he can’t lead the family. You might just write him off as not being able to ever “man-up” and take care of family responsibilities. You might be wondering why God isn’t answering your prayers? Why isn’t your husband changing? You are praying clearly for God’s will – a godly husband who is a strong, Christ-like leader for your family. Why on earth have your prayers gone unanswered for months or years or decades? Why doesn’t God hear?

Precious, beautiful wife, I obviously don’t know your situation. But God does! There is GREAT HOPE in Christ!!!!

There are several very central, CRITICAL truths I have learned as a Christian and as a wife that have changed my life and my marriage that I want to share (with my husband’s whole-hearted approval) with wives who might be in a similar place to where I was years ago:

  • God is sovereign – even over my husband, my marriage, and my life.
  • I cannot change my husband and make him more like Jesus. I can aggravate him, push him away from God, make him want to be far away from me and make us both miserable by trying to change him, make him dread being in the same room with me, but I cannot change him – not for the better! I am not the Holy Spirit!
  • I can influence and inspire him, with the help of the Holy Spirit. I can set a godly example. And I can pray. But God does the changing.
  • My job is to obey God on my end and to trust God to help me do my part.
  • When I do obey God as a wife, I open the floodgates of the powers of heaven to work in my marriage, my husband, our children, and myself.
  • My obedience can really speed up the process for God to change my husband, as He first begins to change and heal me.
  • My disobedience to God can make it much harder for my husband to hear God’s voice and can repel my husband away from God and from me.
  • I can do nothing good apart from Christ and His power working in me.
  • I need to live in humility with a very real awareness of the magnitude of my own sinful nature’s total inability to do anything good and how completely dependent I am on the goodness and power of Jesus for me to have any goodness in my own life.
  • I need to realize that all of us – my husband and myself included – stand on level ground at the foot of the cross. We all equally need Jesus desperately.
  • I also need to keep in mind how small and impotent I am and how huge, majestic, powerful, sovereign, all-knowing, wise, loving, merciful, holy, just, and forgiving God is.

SELF EVALUATION TIME

Whew! This stuff is ugly. I don’t really enjoy this part, but unless we open up our own souls and allow God’s Word to shine in there to the darkest corners, we can’t move on to the great stuff.  This is where we learn to “die to self” and live for Christ. I would like for you to consider some things and whether or not these may be possibilities in your heart and in your marriage as we think about the issue of your husband’s leadership in your home. We are only going to look at ourselves as wives in this exercise and how we may be contributing to the success or failure of our husband’s leadership in our marriages. Please stop and pray and ask God to give you insight and wisdom into your own heart and life, as well as conviction wherever it is needed from His perspective. Please meditate and pray about how many of the following may apply to you and your marriage – many applied in mine, but not all –  (if you are dealing with an active addict, someone chronically unfaithful, a hardened criminal, someone with severe spiritual issues, or someone with an uncontrolled mental health disorder – please get godly, experienced help ASAP! Following a husband in these cases could be very dangerous. Safety for you and your children is the priority if you are in a physically abusive situation!!):

  • If I ask my husband to make a decision, and he doesn’t give me a “real” answer within 5-30 minutes, I get angry.
  • I yell at my husband, throw things at him, and call him horrible names.
  • I attack my husband’s character when we argue.
  • If my husband asks me to do something I don’t like or don’t agree with, I refuse to go along with him. I will only follow if he leads where I want to go.
  • If my husband comes up with an idea or plan, I find fault with his thinking and his solutions and tell him that his way won’t work, only my way will.
  • I criticize my husband’s opinions, preferences, tastes, wardrobe, hair style, hobbies, thoughts, suggestions, and plans.
  • I react negatively when my husband tries to help me. He just doesn’t load the dishwasher right, or change the baby’s diaper right, or fold the laundry right. He never hears me praise him and say, “Thank you SO much for the help!” He only hears me say, “I’m going to have to redo it all the RIGHT way!” Or “Why can’t you ever get it right?” or “That is C+ work, not A material.” Or “You’re not doing it right!”
  • If my husband tries to please me, what he does is never enough, I always want more than what he delivered.
  • I frown at my husband a lot.
  • I sound angry, frustrated, impatient, and like I am reprimanding and scolding a naughty little boy many times when I speak to my husband.
  • My facial expressions, my tone of voice, my words sound condemning of my husband often.
  • I act disrespectfully towards my husband to show him that he needs to pull his weight more and love me more and to show him how unhappy I am.
  • I withhold physical intimacy with my husband to punish him.
  • My husband often rejects me physically – it feels like I am pursuing him and it seems like he has lost his attraction for me.
  • My husband tends to ignore me a lot.
  • I feel very lonely, like the whole weight of the entire marriage and family is on my shoulders alone. I feel overwhelmed by all that has to be done.
  • I have to take over leadership because my husband won’t lead.
  • I have very specific ideas about what a husband’s leadership should be and my husband is not meeting my standards.
  • I am always “right” and I make sure my husband knows that he is always wrong. My way is best. I know best what our family and marriage needs.
  • I don’t trust my husband’s ideas.
  • If I let my husband be in charge, I think he’d destroy our lives (even if he isn’t sinning or mentally ill). He is actually a responsible man, but I am terrified to trust him.
  • I think my husband’s ideas are ridiculous.
  • I don’t think my husband can be an effective leader.
  • I think my husband is an overgrown boy.
  • I have to correct my husband when he is talking with other people or he gets things wrong.
  • I have to tell my husband what to do or he does nothing.
  • I’m very intelligent, strong-willed, perfectionistic, opinionated, and possibly some family members might say I could be “controlling.”
  • Thinking of yielding my control makes me have a panic attack. THE WORLD WILL FALL APART IF I AM NOT IN CHARGE!
  • I am exhausted from trying to take care of everything myself all the time. I don’t relax.
  • I resent my husband for relaxing and taking time for himself to recharge.
  • I cannot or will not forgive my husband for how he has hurt me in the past.

WHAT ARE MY IDEAS DOING TO MY MARRIAGE?

If some of these statements resonate with you – and you may or may not have been consciously aware that these are the things you have been thinking – I’d like for us to consider some things together. These may be kind of shocking to you. They may not all apply, but the ones that do apply to you definitely need to be dealt with between you and God.

  • Many of these ideas have a VERY prideful origin. “I know best.” “I know better than he does.” And it might even be, “I know better than God does.” THAT IS HUGE PRIDE! This is some of the most repulsive, nasty, cancerous sin from God’s perspective. I had to confess DUMP TRUCK LOADS of my own pride to God for a long, long time to begin to get my perspective straightened out and really see what God saw in me.
  • When the wife puts herself in charge (even if she thinks she “has” to – unless there is serious illness or an extended absence of the husband in the home), and takes over the husband’s God-given place of authority in the marriage, husbands usually either react with great anger or by unplugging completely and letting the wife be in control by herself. Husbands who feel steam-rolled by their wives are not going to sit there and take it. They go as far away physically and emotionally as they can or they fight and fight to the death for their honor.
  • Most of the sentiments above contain a large dose of DISRESPECT for our husbands. Disrespect isn’t really talked about much in our culture anymore. God commands wives to respect their husbands (I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22-33) and we may think that we are doing fine with that verse and easily gloss over one of the most critical components of a successful marriage – genuine respect for our husbands. I read that verse plenty of times and checked off, “Yep! I’m doing that!” and moved on through the rest of the chapter. I had no idea that there was an entire world of respect that I was totally unaware of. I had no idea how many seemingly insignificant comments and remarks I made, and the tone of my voice conveyed an almost constant disrespect to my husband. I HAD NO IDEA THAT I WAS WOUNDING MY HUSBAND AND BRINGING MISERY ON BOTH OF US! I always thought HE needed to change. I didn’t have a clue that my disrespect and my controlling attitudes were destroying our marriage. THAT WAS A BLOW THAT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. It sent me reeling for days at first. Then I decided that I was going to study respect and submission and become the best wife I could possibly be! I was so thankful there was something I COULD CONTROL and do to make things better!
  • Is it possible that your husband may feel so beaten down, so criticized, so condemned, so hated and so much like a failure that he has given up even attempting to lead? Every time he tried to lead, my way was better. Whenever he suggested something, I had all the answers and he was wrong. When he had an idea, it wasn’t good enough. Eventually he realized that there was no point trying to lead someone who “is always right.” OUCH! He NEVER said anything. He never said he felt disrespected. He couldn’t verbalize the problem. I had a toxic, critical, judgmental, un-forgiving, ungodly, negative attitude that is poisoning our marriage.
  • Especially Christian women tend to have very high expectations of husbands as leaders. We often expect them to lead Bible studies and prayer sessions out loud in our families. We expect them to know more of the Bible than we do. We expect them to talk about spiritual things a lot. We expect to see them studying their Bibles and praying on their own for hours every week. We want them to initiate prayer time with us every night. Unless your husband had a lot of experience praying out loud, he may not be comfortable praying out loud even in front of you – ESPECIALLY if you come across as being more spiritually mature than he is and as being better with words and knowing the Bible more than he does. He may be intimidated by you. He may feel like a spiritual failure compared to you. Maybe our expectations are unrealistic? Maybe our husbands lead in a lot of ways that we don’t acknowledge or even notice. It takes many years, even decades for a lot of men to learn to be strong spiritual leaders. We can be extremely impatient with our men and destroy their ability and desire to grow as leaders. If I really am more mature, I will be patient and not try to pressure or force things. I will remember I Peter 3:1 – Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.
  • Is it possible that my husband sees me as being “holier-than-thou?”


  • Men need encouragement, praise, admiration, a cheerleader, someone to say when they are doing things right! THEN they will have the courage to forge ahead into the unknown and intimidating world of leadership and try new things and grow stronger. He has to know he has my unwavering support and faith. He has to know that if he makes a mistake, I am not going to make a big deal of it. He has to know I trust him. THEN he will grow and become so much more the godly man that God desires him to be.
  • Sometimes husbands lead in subtle ways. They forgive easily. They don’t hold grudges. They are patient. They try to do what is best for the family. They continue to give of themselves even when their efforts are not appreciated. They have talks with the children about their attitudes and behavior. They try to help out when we are sick. They are generous. They are kind. They are faithful to us. They work hard to provide for the family financially – this is one of THE BIGGEST ways that most husbands try to show their love and leadership. They live with integrity. They try to do what is right. They show respect to others. I can learn to appreciate all that he does right and not try to put him in a little box of my specific expectations.
  • Maybe he DOES try to lead – or maybe he used to try. But whenever he would lead in a way that you didn’t agree with, you wouldn’t follow. That’s what I did, too! After a few years of leading and no one following, understandably, a lot of men give up.
  • If I am disrespecting the spiritual authority of my husband over me and trying to go around him to God to complain about my husband – God will not be pleased! My disobedience will grieve the heart of God more than my view on my husband’s lack of leadership abilities. My critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards my husband means that I also have a critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards the One that put my husband over our marriage. God does not hear my prayers when they are steeped in sin, pride, judgment and lack of respect for God-given authority!!!!
  • My faith in God is small. My understanding of God and picture of Him is small.
  • I may be committing idolatry by putting myself in God’s place and trying to be God in my life.

GET ON GOD’S PATH

If your husband has given up trying to be the leader in the marriage – you can give him the beautiful gift of your submission to his leadership! You can make things right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here are a few things you may want to do to begin to get back on track (pray and see if these might apply to you or if God might show you other ideas that fit your situation and marriage):

  • Confess to your husband what you did wrong and apologize. HUSBANDS ONLY REALLY NEED/WANT A SINCERE APOLOGY ONE TIME!!!!!!! “I realize now that I have taken over the leadership role of our marriage and I am WRONG for doing this! I have sinned against God and against you and our family. I apologize for not following your leadership. I’m so glad that God gave you the position of authority over me and over our family. I am stepping down and I want to support your decisions and trust you to do what is best for us from now on.”
  • Accept your husband for the man he is right now today even if he NEVER changes!!!
  • I am responsible to God for my own sanctification, growing in Christ. I don’t have to wait on my husband to help me grow or wait for him to “catch up.” If I am really growing in my relationship with Christ, I will be humble towards my husband and towards God and let them work out my husband’s spiritual growth. I will concentrate only on my own spiritual maturity and I WILL BE PRETTY QUIET ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS if this is a difficult area for my husband. I will let my husband see my joy in Christ, my humility before my husband, my respectful attitude and willingness to follow where he leads… THAT is what will help make my husband hunger for God!
  • Make decisions for yourself about things you are doing, eating, wearing, how you spend your time, but let him make his own decisions for himself and let him make decisions for the family.
  • Uphold his decisions in front of the children.
  • Speak and act respectfully towards him. Ask if you are in doubt, “Is this respectful?” “Was I just disrespectful?”
  • Listen when he talks to you – put down what you are doing and listen like you are interested.
  • Be encouraging about his ideas. Try not to squash his creativity, plans and ideas. Let him have room to think, dream and plan.
  • Don’t tell him what to do – if he asks, you can offer your perspective humbly.
  • Praise him whenever he leads the family, even in the smallest of ways, and does a good job!!!! THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT! You will help him build confidence in his abilities. If he hasn’t ever been the leader, be patient, it will be baby-steps but that’s fine!
  • If he makes a decision, back him (unless he’s asking you to sin) and support him graciously, joyfully, cheerfully. You may tell him your needs and desires and your feelings, but ultimately the decision is up to him. God gives him insight and wisdom he doesn’t give to you. This is about trusting God to lead you through your husband – it is about your faith in God!!!
  • Get rid of negativity!!!
  • Ideally, give him the finances – or at least give him the ultimate responsibility for the finances and think of yourself more as the secretary if you must pay the bills. It often works SO much better when I am not telling him what to do and how to spend money.
  • If he decides to give you something, take you out to eat, go on a spontaneous vacation, SMILE, accept graciously and don’t question if he should or should not give wonderful things to you. Say, “Thank you! You are SO generous! You’re such a wonderful husband!”
  • Even if you feel like he is “leading you nowhere” – that is ok! At one point, I prayed, “God, I am willing to sit RIGHT HERE spiritually and geographically and never move another inch if this is where you want me. I trust You to lead me through my husband. I am NOT going to run ahead anymore. I will patiently wait on You if I sit here until I am 80!” It’s funny, it wasn’t long after I adopted that attitude that things began to go full-throttle!
  • Thank God for your husband’s leadership and spiritual authority over you daily.
  • Thank your husband for his leadership and spiritual authority over you – even if he is not a believer! Even if he is an immature Christian! God said the husband IS the head of the wife in Ephesians 5:22 – take God at His Word and thank God for His provision for you. God can and will use even a non-believer or a very immature husband to lead a believing wife who trusts in Him!
  • Have a willing spirit to be led by your husband and by God.

Maybe none of these things apply to your marriage, if so, I pray that God will direct you to the resources you need to apply to your situation. But if some of these things have been eye-opening for you, I’d encourage you to repent and commit to seeking God’s face and His will in your life and your marriage starting today!

I believe it is God’s plan to teach husbands to be effective, humble, servant-leaders in the world by learning to be a leader at home first. I believe that God desires to use the respect, admiration and cooperation of godly wives to shape men and instruct them in leadership in marriage. God CAN use your willing spirit to help mold and influence your husband if your heart is right with God and you are respectful of the God-given position of authority God gave your husband. What a high calling! We will also be influencing our children and showing them how to have a godly marriage – AND our obedience to God will draw many others to Christ!!!!!! MUCH IS AT STAKE HERE! I pray we act wisely and in full obedience and surrender to God.

Lord,

I know this is a very tough and very painful subject! You know how many tears I cried myself over these issues for so many years in my own marriage. My heart breaks with wives who are anxious, afraid, lonely, overwhelmed and scared to make these changes. I pray that You might show each wife how to take that step of faith and trust You to work through our husbands for our good and Your glory! Help us to see that You will catch us and that what seems so terrifying is actually a gateway to peace and the life we have always longed for. Give us girlfriends to encourage and sustain us! Give us prayer partners to pray with us. Help us desire to obey You even when we don’t completely want to and don’t understand Your wisdom. Help us trust You with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength! Open the floodgates of heaven on the women who have the courage to obey You in this area of following their husbands’ leadership! Let them see Your miracles! Let them find the beautiful place that this painful path brings us to – a place of joy, love, peace, hope, deep intimacy with You and with our husbands and abundant life! Don’t let Satan retain a stronghold in our hearts any longer! Let us sincerely repent of our sin! Let us turn to Your ways and begin the adventure of following You each day, anticipating all the wonderful things You will do to provide for us, protect us, and guide us through our husbands. Thank You for Your design for marriage! Help us to embrace Your wisdom and learn it and live it and then teach it to other wives! Use us to greatly bless our husbands, marriages and children. And use us to greatly bless the world with the fragrance, salt and light of Christ!

Amen!

A Wife Answers My Question

Here is a really fascinating email I received last week from a wife.  I know you are going to love hearing her story.  Be prayerful and alert for anything God may want to speak to YOUR heart as you read her message.

I want to start with a huge thank you for your ministry.  I stumbled onto
your blog about six weeks ago and it truly has changed my/our marriage.  I saw your Facebook request for comments from a wife who has learned to respect a husband that has more defined standards and desires control of home decisions.  I have to smile because my husband and I were just discussing this last night…I think I just might qualify:)

A LITTLE HISTORY

I have been on this journey now for almost two years…my journey to being a peaceful wife began a little differently than yours.  My husband and I went through a very difficult time about four years ago.  He is a small business owner and the recession hit us very hard.  We were newly married (three years in ) and had just had our second child.  It was rough…our marriage remained intact but I think, or I should say now I know we both retreated to our own corners instead of growing closer together.

I adore my husband, he is an incredible man – but when it came to family issues I really did think I was more qualified than he to direct.  So at this time not only was my husbands professional life spinning out of control but so was his personal life due to my sudden pressure to take control of our household and new family.  I am a cradle Catholic that had very little understanding of my faith and even littler understanding of the Bible.  We stopped going to church and forged forward.  I convinced my husband to have a vasectomy in the Fall of 2009, I remember telling him and others that there was no way I could ever handle another baby, I basically had three already, having to take care of him also.  It makes me physically ill to even think of saying this of him now.

MY FAITH JOURNEY

Ok so to make a long story short, two years ago I found my way back to the Catholic church and have embraced my faith like never before.  I am in awe of the churches teaching on sexuality, marriage and families.  However with this new found understanding has come pain and suffering. Yes I know I am forgiven, I went to confession and confessed our
decision of the vasectomy but is this what it is really all about.  My own forgiveness.  What about the grace our love making  will never again experience?  What about the loss of the souls that we might have conceived?  What about the potential of our family and love that
will never be achieved?

A STICKING POINT

So this is where I was six weeks ago before finding your blog….our marriage was back on track to a point.  However what I did not realize is that the devil was still lurking in the shadows.  I had taken on a new role….to convince/pressure my husband with all my being to have his vasectomy reversed.  I want to fix the evil we committed and since I had God on my side I have been badgering him like no other.  God had tried in the past 18 months to show me how wrong I was…our priest told me, “(Your husband) will not tolerate your nagging, it will just push him further away.”  My husband had actually said to me, “The more you push me the more I close my heart to all of it.”  (all of it being not just the vasectomy reversal but his own faith journey.)  Oh, but I had God on my side so watch out there was no stopping me….

And then I found your blog…it was like a cold slap in the face.  The way you have presented the  husband’s role as the role of Christ and the (wife’s role as the role of the) Church is almost blinding.  I get it!!

I was a road block for my husband for the past 18 months instead of his helpmate.  I now understand why when he considers possibly having another baby with me it makes him shudder…why would he want that (old me) back?   My husband is very aware of his shortcomings, he knows that things were rough four years ago but until recently he truly put most of the blame on himself.  I was the strong one that kept everything together, the perfect mom and wife supposedly helping his sorry self stumble along.  I have apologized to him multiple times in the past six weeks for the role that I played in his despair four years ago.    We are still new at this though.  My husband is a believer but an independent one of sorts.  I so want him to prayer with me daily but am scared to even ask….I just do not know if he is ready yet.

He takes he role as a father, husband and provider of our family very seriously and always has.  He is a man’s man.  We have both often questioned in the past few years where have all the men gone in this fallen world or ours.  I fills my heart with great hope and joy to think of what God may have planned for my husband…I just pray that I am able to be his helpmate on he faith journey and not a road block.

SUBMITTING TO AND RESPECTING A MAN WITH EXACTING STANDARDS

Ok so now to actually comment on your Facebook post….for an overachiever like myself meeting my husband’s standards with an open heart has actually been self motivating in sort….prior to understanding my role, my husband’s standards seemed unfair and overbearing.  We have been together for 14 years –  it seriously has taken my husband 13.5 years to trust me to do his laundry because he likes his shirts/pants folded just a certain way.  I have, in the past, just thrown my hands up and said he was being irrational….now I listen to what he is asking and I have come to realize it really is not that much  more than I am already doing it is just a little different.  My husband is a fanatic about having the kitchen clean….at all times…even in the middle of meal preparation:)  I on the other hand am kind of a messy cook…I clean in the end and that is good enough.  This was a very sour point in my husband’s day because he would come home from a long day at work and typically find me in the midst of a kitchen full of boiling water, empty cans, and half cut up vegetables. (I also like to consider myself a multitasker so I may be in the middle of three different recipes, have over the entire neighborhood for a play date and be just finishing up cleaning out the pantry!!)  In the past I have often just left it with a deal with it…I am getting things done. 

A HUGE CHANGE

In the past six weeks, I have taken a different approach.  I have moved up my dinner prep time and will typically have the kids fed prior to my husband coming home.  The kids are of course thrilled to see Daddy and now will greet him for a few minutes but know that it is Daddy’s quiet time.  They have learned to play in their rooms, I have relaxed on the screen time restrictions (actually I have adjusted the screen time allowance…meaning I limit their time during the day more, so in the evening my husband does get a little more quiet time to unwind without the kids jumping all over him)  I have candles lit, music on, the fireplace going and the kitchen clean.  I am ready to give him my full attention as he discusses his day and will typically sit and massage his feet while he unwinds.  (I am a physical therapist by education so I have in the past provided massage to my patients but never even considered it for my husband)

Ok I know some may say…really does he deserve all that prep…he does.  He works so hard and we appreciate all he does, it has only been recently that I have come to understand how to show him.

MY HUSBAND’S RESPONSE

He has thanked me repetitively and has said, “You really do not need to do this. I know you have other things to get done.”  He has stated numerous times how he feels like pinching himself he can’t believe how happy he is coming home.  Now don’t get me wrong this is not a man that dreaded coming home before but now it is just different.  He no longer has to worry about what multitasking explosion he may walk into, how long he will have to sit next to our three year old and beg her to eat her dinner as she is trying to dance around the dining room (seriously it can take her 45 minutes to eat dinner at times).  I think at this point he is still not sure if this will last.

If you would ask any of our friends/neighbors they would probably
tell you that my husband’s position of the head of our family has never been doubted…which is true to some point.  However before I think he felt somewhat guilty about taking this role and still is not sure of my respect/appreciation.  I have in the past given it but much more begrudgingly.

MY MESSAGE

I guess this is my recommendation for every wife out there embrace your role has your husband’s helpmate.  Take pride in the managing of your home.  If you strive to meet the expectations of the workforce/your boss to move up the corporate ladder previously treat your home in the same manner…strive to meet the expectation of your husband.  I am humbled and honored to have been blessed with the opportunity to serve my husband and children on this Earth.  God knew what he was doing when he led me to this man. But what I have come to realize is it was not as I had previously thought….I am not leading my husband down the right path.  He is leading me.

God knew that it would take one strong man to stand up to my self righteousness.  If it was anyone but this man- I would have walked all over them without even realizing it.  I have never meant to be so controlling.  I did not realize I had such a problem with
respecting authority until recently.  I was the authority.

Where do I go from here? ….pray pray pray…..this past year has been the first time I can honestly say I have been open to the Holy Spirit working in my life and actually giving the credit due where it is owed.  It is hard at times for me to be patient to see the path.  I have always run through life at full speed…set a goal and strive for that goal to set another…now to sit back and be led is very difficult.  I want to make the plans and set out to complete them…but instead I am  praying for my husband and following his lead.  My husband is one of the good guys.  He is a natural leader and full of charisma that can light up a room if allowed.  I want more than anything to be his helpmate and encourage him to reach his
fullest potential…to reach our family’s fullest potential.  I pray that I am no longer standing in his way of following our Savior home.

Thank you again for your ministry.  I hope that the above helps.  Keep us in your prayers.

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