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Building Up and Affirming Our Husbands and Children

My husband and children at Legoland in historic Cypress Gardens
My husband and children at Legoland in historic Cypress Gardens

God gave us as women an incredible verbal ability and gift.  I believe He did this so that we might greatly bless our families with words of life, inspiration, nurturing, edification, godly truth and encouragement!

(Even if your husband is far from God – and you are focusing on I Peter 3:1-6 and desire to “win him without a word” – these words are FINE to say!  The focus of that passage is to not use words to witness to him about God, spiritual things or the Bible to try to verbally draw him to God.  But to witness to him by your respectful behavior instead – that is what he can hear from you about God much more loudly than words.)

Some life-giving words our husbands and children need to hear from us –  (they MUST be genuine and sincere from our hearts – do not say these things if you don’t mean them!):

  • I’m SO proud of you for _________!
  • I LOVE YOU just the way you are!
  • I love you because you are you.
  • I am the luckiest/most blessed wife/mom in the world to get to live here with you!
  • You are so precious to me!
  • I love being your wife/mom
  • Being with you is my favorite part of the day.
  • You are my HERO!  Thank you SO much for saving the day! (When someone helps you)
  • I love your sense of humor/wit/intelligence/talents/personality/creativity/musical ability.
  • You are such a blessing to me.  I’m glad God gave you to me.
  • I am the happiest girl in the world to be married to you!/to be your mama!
  • Sure, I have time to listen.  What’s on your heart?
  • I can’t wait to hear all about your day.
  • You have such wonderful ideas!
  • I am so glad/thankful to be here with all of you right now.
  • (When someone spills something, makes a mess) It’s ok.  No big deal.  Let me help you clean that up! 🙂
  • This family is a huge gift from God to me.
  • Your feelings are important to me.
  • Your ideas are important to me.
  • I admire your insights and wisdom.
  • Let’s do something FUN together!
  • Of course I have time to play with you!
  • Let’s go on a date!
  • What would YOU like to do today?
  • Let’s cuddle/snuggle for awhile.
  • What’s on your heart today?
  • (to children) You are one of my most favorite people in the world! (to husbands)  You are the most important man/one in the world to me!
  • I’m so glad you are the way you are.
  • Being with you is such a blessing!/a gift!
  • Thank you SO MUCH!
  • I appreciate all that you do for me/us.
  • My life is so much richer because you are in it.
  • How did I get to be such a lucky girl/woman to be your wife/mom?
  • I am so happy right here with you – all my dreams have come true.
  • I trust you.
  • I have faith in you.
  • I believe in you.
  • I respect you.
  • I admire you because of __________.
  • I look up to you.  The way you ___________ makes me want to be more like you.
  • I’ll never give up on you.
  • I am so sorry.  I was wrong.
  • I apologize.
  • Of course I forgive you.
  • I’m not going anywhere.  I always want to be here with you.

How about you?

What life-giving, affirming, wholesome, beautiful words do you like to use to build up your family?

What are some of the most meaningful things your parents/husband/mentor/friend said to you that built you up and made you a stronger, better person?

HUSBANDS – what kinds of affirming, life giving things mean the most to you when your wife uses words to build you up?

Some of the Bible Verses I Use as the Basis for My Suggestions

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Here are some of the verses I use as a basis for my advice – It is my goal to apply these to marriage from a wife’s perspective:

Ephesians 4:29-32

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, so that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 6:12  

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Philippians 2:14-16  

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of Life.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Romans 12:9-21 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Galatians 5:19-23

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Matthew 5:43-48 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Malachi 2:13-17

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favoron your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witnessbetween you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.[a] So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,”[b] says the Lord Almighty.

So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.

By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?

I Peter 3:1-6 (THIS IS ESPECIALLY HELPFUL WHEN A HUSBAND IS FAR FROM GOD)

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own 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, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

(From PEACEFULWIFE- I understand the “without words” to be not preaching, nagging, lecturing about the things of God, the Bible, church, spiritual things. A husband in direct rebellion against God cannot hear about godly things from his wife with words – but he CAN hear her respectful behavior and attitude.)

Matthew 6:14

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men there sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Ephesians 4:22-27

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Encouragement for Wives from HisHelper

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Today’s guest post is by HisHelper.  THANK YOU for this GORGEOUS post!  What a blessing you are to me!

May I add a beautiful bonus to our obedience to those things God has commanded us women to do? I just discovered this yesterday as I was studying Titus 2 for a group Bible study using the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.

Titus 2 instructs wives to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to our own husbands–the very things you address right here at Peacefulwife. (In this chapter Paul also gives instruction to young men and servants as to how they are to behave.) He doesn’t just give the commands, he also lists the reasons, and here’s where it gets so good!…

We obey these things “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (verse 5), “so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (verse 8), and that they may ADORN the doctrine of God our Savior in all things”. (verse 10) To adorn means to decorate, beautify, embellish…we are actually putting on the doctrine of God for all to see through our obedient behavior! This is beautiful to God, and is a radiant display of the gospel and the fruits of the spirit that are at work in our lives!

Carolyn Mahaney said this: “Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn’t judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our BEHAVIOR. People don’t necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible. They want to SEE if what we believe MAKES A DIFFERENCE in our lives. Our actions either bring honor to God or misrepresents His truth.”

So, as we obey, we are protecting God’s reputation, stopping the mouth of the naysayer, avoiding being a hypocrite, and displaying sound doctrine beautifully.

Many items in the list in Titus 2 are pretty deep and extraordinarily contrary to this world–such as Paul addressing the order of authority God has established for husbands, wives, and servants. So, when we are being obedient to our own husbands, for example, we truly are displaying some pretty heavy doctrine, and to God, it is beautiful, and it causes those in this world to take notice!

The bottom line is there is a higher purpose to our obedience!…It isn’t to earn God’s favor. It isn’t to check off a list of do’s and don’ts. It isn’t just about doing what God says for my own benefit (though He delights to bless us as we seek to honor Him). The very sake of the Gospel is at stake!

“Can you conceive of anything that sets forth the beauty of the gospel jewel more brilliantly than the godly behavior of those who have received it? Consider the loveliness of a woman who passionately adores (RESPECTS) her husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self-control and kindness in her character, and who gladly submits to her husband’s leadership…I dare say there are few things that display the gospel jewel with greater elegance.” (Feminine Appeal p.28-29)

I just find the concept of adorning the doctrine or gospel of the Lord so motivating!…Kind of like putting on exquisite jewelry…But, this” jewelry” is priceless and only obtained by the power of the Holy Spirit living in me! And to think that when we cherish sin and refuse God’s lovely adornment (and oh, how I have done this myself), it’s like wearing a big ugly stain on the front of our dress…how repulsive!

1 Peter 3:1-6 also comes to mind. I’ll start in verse 3 to keep this short: “…Whose ADORNING let it not be that outward ADORNING of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ORNAMENT of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the old women also, who trusted in God, ADORNED themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands…” Isn’t that magnificent?!

It’s interesting how we women tend to like to wear fancy, sparkly adornments. Our Creator knew that when he wrote those verses. I think He’s appealing to that part of us that wants to be beautiful, showing us that the greater desire is to be SPIRITUALLY attractive! As much as men appreciate physical beauty (and I think we wives should take care of our outward body to please our husbands) ultimately, spiritual beauty is far more satisfying to our husbands… It brings them rest and peace!

I want to give that to my husband, I want to humbly but beautifully display this to the world. Oh, how I want to truly adorn myself for the King!

RESOURCES

Marriage Books I Recommend by Peacefulwife

Soul Mates

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Probably not what you’re thinking.

It was this.

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

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

Check this – the big punch in the gut.

Matthew 22:23-30

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

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

Put that up against Romans 7:1-3

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

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

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

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

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

He think I’m beautiful – constantly.

He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

He laid down His life for mine.

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

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

Practical Application –

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

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

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

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

Emotional Rollercoaster

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Today’s post is a guest post by my dear friend, Kayla Gulick.   I’m so glad we are learning on this journey together!  You can check out her blog at www.lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com.

Did a time come to mind when you read the title of this post?

I rode the emotional rollercoaster of life more times than I care to remember. Some emotions are unavoidable. We know that the Lord Himself created and feels numerous emotions. Anger, Compassion, Joy, Love, Sadness.

It’s not a bad thing to have emotions. It’s a bad thing to trust in your emotions, or to be controlled by your emotions.

I have a BAD habit of this. Thankfully it’s not nearly as bad as it use to be, but I still struggle in this area when certain emotions are tapped into.

What do I mean by trusting in your emotions & being controlled by your emotions? Let me elaborate a little and see if you’ve ever been there.

It’s common to hear people say “Let your heart lead you.” Or something like “Trust your feelings.”

First of all, the Bible says out of a man’s heart come evil desires. Our hearts cannot be trusted. We have to make a choice to LEAD our hearts. Not be led by them.

Trusting in our emotions and being controlled by them might look something like this:

1.) I feel hurt, so I am hurt. And I’ll choose my future actions after taking my wounds into consideration.

– What’s the danger in this? Feeling hurt does not mean you are hurt. It’s a state of mind and if our state of mind is where we put our trust, then we find justification for selfishness and “me first” thinking. When we feel hurt, does that mean we tell ourselves we’re not really hurt and go forward without wisdom for the situation? No, of course not. But wisdom to correct or avoid a situation that left us feeling hurt, is different from foolishness to believe that we were actually permanently wounded and allow ourselves to react based on a feeling.

2.) I feel lonely, so I am alone.

– If we are in Christ, we are never alone. Satan wants us to believe we’re alone. When we’re alone, we can be devoured. When we’re in Christ, nothing can defeat us. Which is why He never leaves us or forsakes us.

3.) I feel good, therefore this is good.

– This is the MOST dangerous feeling to trust. It might feel good in the short-run but leave you miserable in the long run. The most common “feel-good” mistakes are sex outside of marriage, alcohol, drugs, gossip, lust, and gambling.

4.) I feel loved, so I am loved.

– This might just be the trickiest little feeling of all. When we feel like our needs are being met and we feel loved, then we’re certain we are loved. But what happens when we feel unloved? Does that mean we aren’t loved? NO! In marriage, there are multiple times when words or actions can leave someone feeling unloved. We all make mistakes and marriage is really hard work! Just because our spouse hurts our feelings and something feels unloving, does not mean our spouse stopped loving us! A good number of divorces start from this lie!! Someone feels unloved, believes they are unloved, and then starts trusting that feeling and choosing to also be unloving back. Trusting the unloved feeling, leads you to actually act unloving and end up truly being unloved.

5.) I feel unsafe, therefore I am in danger.

– Do you know that MANY women feel unsafe just because they aren’t in control? Our sirens can start screaming and the warning signs start flashing all around not because any danger is present at all, but simply because we aren’t in control of someone or something else.

I could go through every emotion we face and show how those emotions can control us and lead us in the wrong direction, but I’m pretty sure those 5 make the point.

Selling a house brings forth the temptation to jump on that emotional rollercoaster and go for a ride. Fear, Anxiety, Excitement, Disappointment, Impatience – up and down with every showing, every week that passes, every disappointing review, every wasted walk through a house that isn’t what we’re looking for.

I’ve done this song and dance so many times in the last 6 years that this time around, I’m choosing not to do it.

Well, at least I’m going to try.

Here’s the truth.

Practical Application:

God has my future in the palm of His hand. He’s sovereign, gracious, merciful, loving and can totally be trusted to do what is best for me.

There is no joy in any home situation that should be greater than my joy in the Lord.

No showing on my property or on the ones I go to look at should have enough power over my emotions to lift me up or drop me down just because it went good or bad.

My life is full in Christ no matter how disappointing or exciting the events of the future are.

An eternal perspective will bring forth an unshakeable hope, joy and peace that can’t be stripped away and can’t be explained.

Avoiding Legalism

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Is it possible to take some of the advice I give and turn it into legalism?

YES!

I believe that as sinful humans, we are always prone to want lists and rules.  I think we can be tempted to think, “if I do all of the things on this list or follow all of these rules, I can be close to God” or “God will love me more.”  When we think that we can “earn” God’s love, favor or heaven with our “good behavior” or “works” that is legalism.  It is actually a form of idolatry.  It is me trusting in my goodness to get me into heaven instead of trusting Jesus. It is me putting my imagined “goodness” above Christ in my life and trusting myself instead of Jesus.  This is what the Pharisees did and Jesus spent a great deal of time fiercely opposing this concept.

We can do this with almost anything:

  • If I go to church every Sunday, God will be impressed
  • If I pray for 15 minutes every day, I will earn points with God
  • If I give 10% of my income as a tithe, God will bless me more materially and think that I am a “good” Christian
  • If I make my husband pray with me every night, it means we have a godly marriage and God will be pleased

It is entirely possible to even turn respect, submission, modesty, godly femininity – anything – into legalism or an idol:

  • If I respect my husband, God will be impressed and He will have to give me what I want.  God will “owe” me.
  • If I honor my husband’s leadership, my husband will have to love me the way I want him to.  I can control him.
  • If I dress with long skirts every day, I am “more holy” than other women.
  • If I don’t wear makeup – I am “better” than other people.
  • If I do wear makeup – I am “better” than those legalistic people who don’t.
  • If I avoid close friendships with other men, then I am spiritually superior to those who do have lots of male friends outside of their marriage.
  • If I dress modestly, I can look down on other women.
  • If I do everything in this book or on this blog, I will earn more “points” with God
  • If I respect my husband, I will always feel loved.

It is not my intention at all to give “lists of rules” that “must be followed.”

I do give a lot of practical suggestions and ideas.  I talk about my own convictions and why I have them.  But ultimately, each Christian wife must decide for herself what she believes God wants her to do in each situation – in cooperation with her husband’s God-given leadership.  The biggest and most important aspect of the Christian walk is for us to abide in Christ and be full of His Spirit, sensitive to His leading.

The main two commandments God gives us are:

  1. To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
  2. To love your neighbor (other people) as yourself.

THE ONLY MOTIVE THAT COUNTS

God is constantly aware of my motives – whether they are pure or ungodly.  God wants me to do the right thing for the right reason – all the time.  So whether the issue is praying, going to church, reading my Bible, deciding what to wear, controlling my thought life, deciding what to say in a situation or obeying God’s Word to me as a wife –  God is pleased when I want to do these things because I love Him, reverence Him and have all my faith in Him.

Nothing we can do affects the level of God’s love for us.  And nothing we do can impress God or be good enough to make us exempt from needing Jesus’ blood to cover our mountains of sin.

We desire to obey God and do “good” things BECAUSE He loved us first and gave us grace.  Then we surrender our lives to Him fully and submit to Him as Lord.  Then He will empower us to do the good works He has planned for us to do.  The good things we do come from His power working inside of us as a result of the grace we have received.  Good behavior does not give us our intimacy with God.  Only Christ can give us intimacy and peace with God by His death on the cross for the payment of our indescribably huge amount of sin.

WHY DO I GIVE SUGGESTIONS?

When I was learning about respect and biblical submission, I had very few godly examples.  I was frustrated because the  books I read talked about treating our husbands with “respect” but I really didn’t understand all the depths of the meaning of that word to men.  I didn’t know what was disrespectful.  I didn’t know how to change my thought patterns and priorities and how to give up control.  I needed SERIOUS HELP!

I give practical examples to try to provide a starting point for women who desire to live out God’s design for marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Cor 11:3, Titus 2:2-5, I Peter 3:1-6).

Are there other respectful ways to handle things in marriage besides the things I write about?  Absolutely!  I pray that the ideas in my blog might at least get women in the general ballpark and then they can hash out the details with God and their own husbands.

Each marriage will look a bit different.  Each husband will have his own ideas of what is disrespectful/respectful.  Each wife will find her own path.  We will not be cookie cutters.  Everyone will not look, act and speak exactly like I do.  That is fine!

God doesn’t ask you to be me!  He wants you to be you.  He wants to put your sinful nature to death on the cross and let you put on your new identity and self in Christ – full of His power for His greatest glory.

My prayer is that women (and men!) will repent of their sins and then be filled with God’s Spirit and be sensitive to His voice.

I am not infallible.  I am not always right. I am a very sinful human in whom there is nothing good apart from Jesus Christ.  There are different situations, personalities and issues in each marriage that I cannot begin to address or have the wisdom to address.

God has the wisdom each wife needs in her own marriage.  My ultimate desire is for us to hear and obey God – not check off that you are doing everything I write about on my blog.  Abiding in Jesus and living in obedience to Him brings His peace, joy, strength, power and abundant life!  That is what I desire women to experience!

My Purpose at Peacefulwife

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Let’s get back to basics.  Here is God’s pattern for marriage – which is the basis of my blog:

Ephesians 5:22-33

New International Version (NIV)

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

On Peacefulwife – my focus is only on what God commands wives to do.

Why is that?

1. God’s primary purpose in marriage is to bring glory to Himself through the way husbands and wives relate to each other.  I desire to help wives understand the importance of marriage from God’s perspective and that He desires husbands to portray the self-sacrificing love and headship of Christ and that He desires wives to portray the love, adoration, reverence, submission and honor of the church for Christ.  This is so much bigger than our individual families.  When we approach marriage God’s way for His glory and by His power – our marriages will draw many to Jesus to find a real, intimate and eternal relationship with Him.  And when we approach marriage with our own wisdom or worldly wisdom – the Name of Christ and God’s Word is maligned. (Titus 2:4-5)

2. I believe that – as one of the  “older women in the church” (I will be 40 this month!) – God desires me to teach womenwhat is good: to affectionately love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God.” (Titus 2:2-5)  I long to see women experience the JOY and PEACE of living in obedience to God, filled with His Holy Spirit.

3. I believe that our power in marriage is when we focus on what God asks us to do, not when we try to judge whether our husbands are living up to their end of the covenant.  God’s commands apply to us regardless of our husbands’ behavior.  Yes, there are times we must respectfully, gently, humbly confront our husbands’ sin (Matthew 7:1-6, Matthew 18).

4. I believe that a wife’s level of respect and willingness to honor her husband’s leadership are direct indicators of her level of respect and submission to Christ.  I believe that the way a woman treats her husband reveals the way she treats God. Respect and submission for our husbands must begin with respect and total submission to Christ.  Then, out of my love and adoration for my Lord Jesus, I learn to respect my husband and honor him as the God-given authority in the marriage.

5. I believe that children learn to respect and submit to God and God-given authority by watching their mother’s example of respect and biblical submission in her marriage.  We are part of a huge key for our children to be able to understand God’s nature and for them to learn to trust Him and understand His sovereignty and holiness.

6. It is very easy for us to focus so much on what our husbands “should” do that we ignore our own responsibilities.  Or it is very easy to think, “I’ll respect him when he starts doing his part.”  But there is no qualifier that God only expects us to obey Him if our husbands are obeying Him to our satisfaction.  God does NOT ask us to respect sin and we do not have to cooperate with our husbands when/if they ask us to sin.  Any human authority that asks us to violate God’s Word is trumped by the authority of God’s Word.

7. God called me to teach women, not men. (I Timothy 2:11-15 and I Corinthians 14:33-35).  God convicted me of this powerfully in September of last year.  I desire to honor Him alone.

It is not my intention for women to be the only ones who obey God.  I only teach women, so I do not address men here.  

I am sure you can see from this passage  in Ephesians 5 that husbands have even more responsibilities in marriage than wives do – and they are held accountable by God for their obedience to Him and for their use of their God-given authority and leadership.  We are held accountable to God for our own obedience.

ALL PEOPLE NEED JESUS

Some women believe that I am blaming women for their husbands’ sins.  Nope!  Each person is accountable to God for his or her own sin according to the Bible!  I address women and ask us all to look at our own sin, our own relationship to Christ and our own obedience to God’s Word.  Husbands are also accountable for their own sin, their relationship with Christ and their obedience to God’s Word and their leadership in their families.

Some women believe that because I only address women and our sins, that I am saying men are perfect or deity.  NOT AT ALL!

The Bible clearly teaches at ALL people (men and women) are wretched sinners in desperate need of the blood of Jesus to cover our multitude of sins!

  • There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. Romans 3:10-11
  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
  • The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord!  Romans 6:23
  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8

Just because I only discuss what wives are responsible for in marriage and our accountability to God for our obedience and our own sin does not negate the fact that husbands are also accountable to God for their obedience and their sin.  Both husbands and wives need respect and love.  Both husbands and wives ought to give respect and love to one another.

However – if my legitimate needs are not met – God desires me (and any believer) to respond without sin by the power of His Spirit.   There are times when my sinful husband will not meet my legitimate needs.  Just like there are times I will fail him, too and will need to repent to God and to my husband.  When I am sinned against –  I am not justified to sin against someone else.  I will be most tempted to sin in those times.  But God can give us the power to repay evil with good and to return cursing with blessing and to pray for those who persecute us.  God’s Word commands us not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-12)

My prayer is that women will find the truth here spoken in love and with respect. I realize that many churches are NOT teaching women the full truth of God’s Word – to our great detriment!  Some of these truths are VERY PAINFUL to hear.  Sadly, even though what I teach is straight from God’s Word, I know that these concepts sound RADICAL to our ears even in the church.  These are things we should have been taught  as children and should have seen modeled in all the Christian marriages around us.  I believe that “the ball was dropped” decades ago and that we are now paying a steep price.  It is time for us to pick up the ball and not allow our children to pay an even greater price.

It is time for US to become a godly generation of women who live God’s truth no matter what the cost.

I don’t want us to go back to the way things were 100 years ago.  My goal is for us to live the way God wants us to, not to follow any specific traditions of men.  There was sin and error in doctrine 100 years ago.  That time gone by was full of imperfect people, too.  I desire us to compare ourselves to the true, holy and perfect standard of God’s Word – not to other generations or to other people living today.  I desire true holiness in God’s people – not legalism, not a set of rules to follow and try to make ourselves holy.   I desire to see the Spirit of God move among us and empower us to be holy.  We cannot do this on our own!  We need the Holy Spirit’s power!

I am personally convinced that we as Christian women hold a huge key to God creating holiness in His people today.  I believe that if God will open our eyes to our sin  – we will repent.  And when we as the women of God repent and begin to live as God desires us to – I believe that God will then empower our men to become the strong, godly, holy leaders that He wants them to be.  And then I believe we can raise a generation of godly children.  God may want to change us first, ladies.  I pray that He will give us the courage, strength and faith to make this amazing journey with Him for His purposes and His glory!

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

RESOURCES

What is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Speaks Respect to Husbands?

What is Biblical Submission?

Peacefulwife Videos

Balance? Moderation?? ME????

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

MY BIGGEST FAN

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

TWO WEEKS AGO

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

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

… you know – LIFE.

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

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

A TEST

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

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

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

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

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

ANOTHER HUMBLING MOMENT

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

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

Nope.

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

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

And I realized –

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

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

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

I NEED MY HUSBAND’S LEADERSHIP

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

Unfortunately, I am HORRIBLE at balance and moderation.

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

RELAXATION TIME

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Wife Under Construction

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This story is from a wife who is deeply hurting in a very troubled marriage. 
First comes the demolition work.
  • conviction of sin – seeing the beam in our own eye for the first time
  • repentance – turning away from our ways that offend God
  • crucifying the old sinful nature – dying to self – laying down our plans, our wisdom, our dreams, our desires, our hopes, our expectations and yielding completely to God
  • tearing out any idols – things we have set our hearts on other than Christ
  • tearing out all the worldly ideas and ungodly mindsets and any sin – letting God have free reign to remove all that is diseased in our hearts

Then the building

  • making Jesus LORD – being willing to completely surrender to Him and being willing to trust Him no matter what the outcome
  • beginning to walk in faith, trust and obedience by the power of God’s Spirit filling us  (we HAVE to be plugged in to His power-  we cannot do this on our own!) – we learn and stumble and learn more.  It is a struggle.  But we learn to lean on God’s wisdom not our own understanding.  We learn He is faithful. We learn His ways bring peace and joy and purpose.  We learn His commands bring freedom.  We long to know Him more and more.
 One of them is allowing me to share her story  – and I hope to get to share others soon, too.  I know that many wives and marriages will be greatly impacted by what God is doing in these precious wives’ souls.  This wife’s husband had become very distant.  He had been having an affair for months (which is totally wrong and utterly sinful on his part.  He will answer to God for that – and each of us will answer to God for our own sin, too.).  She didn’t know until this fall that he was being unfaithful and when she found out she asked him to leave (totally understandable!).  
God got hold of this wonderful sister of mine a few weeks ago.  I want you to get to see these painful first weeks of struggle and learning to completely surrender to God in an extremely difficult situation and how God changes US first.  (You can see her first raw lightbulb moment here.)  God is doing something BEAUTIFUL in this woman’s heart.  She has a long road to travel.  She is still in the beginning of this journey.  I can’t wait to see what He has in store for her!  Pray for her, please!  Pray for God’s greatest glory and for His will to be done!  Pray for healing for both the husband and wife – that BOTH may be reconciled to Christ and for healing in this marriage according to God’s will.
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 I just so wish I had started doing something about (my behavior/attitude) when (my husband) STILL lived with me.  Instead I could only focus on my own pain.  I did cry out to Jesus, I was a Christian (been one for a long time).  But I never looked at myself the right way, and I never took my husband down off the pedestal I had him on.  Not in a good way either.  I knew there was something wrong and I suspected he was cheating and I lambasted him with it all the time.  Turns out I was right.  Unfortunately.
Now, he is been gone since 2 days before Thanksgiving.  And last night, we got into a huge fight, and even though I have been SO good the last few weeks, I let my anger get the best of me and so once again, all he saw was the same old me.  Even though he was being a total (jerk)!!!!  He refuses to take responsibility for anything, is still unrepentent and still continues to throw in my face, “You kicked me out”.  Um, yea,  cuz you were sleeping with another woman for the previous 10 months and lying to my face about it.  But, he honestly gets furious when I point that out.  It’s almost funny.  As if I just woke up one day and decided to kick my husband out of the house for no apparent reason!
BUT REGARDLESS…  I still am totally responsible for my lack of self control.  I had my finger in his face.  GASP!  I thought I was doing so well and had come so far.  Boy oh Boy.
But, here is the good news.
He broke up with his girlfriend.
Ironically enough, because of last weekend, when I refused to watch the kids for him so he and her could go to a show together.  I told him no, and said it was his weekend, and if he was choosing to go on a date during his time with his kids, he would need to get a sitter.  And I left it alone.  I found out he was out with her BOTH nights and left my kids with his mom all weekend.  Of course he blames me for this and says I should have “done the right thing” and kept the kids.
Turns out, he tried to get out of the dates with the ‘she devil’ and the she devil had a fit.  He told me they always agreed the kids would come first and he saw clearly last weekend that she didn’t care about his kids…  Kudos to him.
His next sentence to me was, “I filed for divorce”.
WOW.  But I was still so happy about their year long relationship ending that I was like, ‘yeah, whatever’.
I feel like God totally and finally answered my prayers, in HIS timing.  I know he filed, but, I feel more hope now than I’ve had in a long time. Even though we fought all night while he was there.  He can be something mean!

But, here is my plan…  To continue to totally surrender it to the Lord.  To completely work on me.  God FIX ME…  Come in and heal me of my abandonment issues and rejection issues and trust issues, which have made me defensive and insecure and unable to respect him.  My focus is to get healthy.  I still give the marriage over to the Lord and refuse to make it an idol again.

So he filed.  Big whoop.  Ain’t no thing to God!!!  But, I can’t worry about him or that or anything, except me and loving the Lord with all my heart and soul and mind and strength.  I can’t think about any end results.  Like April said,  bring it back to today.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:18-19
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GREAT POST ABOUT SUBMISSION/RESPECT AND “Does it mean I have to keep my mouth shut all the time?”
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