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What Does Jesus Want Me to Do in My Marriage?

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Marriage is HARD.

Really – I would even say it is impossible – in human strength and effort alone.

Men and women are SO different.  We think and feel entirely differently.  We have different priorities and needs many times.  We approach things from completely opposite perspectives.  We have very different strengths and weaknesses.  Marriage is practically a recipe for torture – apart from Christ.

That is the key.  If we look to our husbands or to ourselves – we will destroy our marriage.  I must keep my eyes on Christ!  He is the only source of power that will enable our marriage to be what He designed it to be.  I must daily live for Him and abide in Him!

THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE

God designed people.  And God designed marriage.  He designed marriage for several purposes:

  • to be a living parable of the intimate spiritual relationship and the oneness of Christ and His church
  • to provide a stable, loving, nurturing, secure, safe, healthy place for children to be born and raised to know God and love Him and to learn how to love others and be prepared to be responsible, faithful, fruitful servants of Christ.
  • to form us more and more into the image of Christ – to make us holy (NOT primarily to make us happy!)
  • to teach children how to have a healthy, vibrant and flourishing marriage and how to be godly parents themselves
  • to provide a solid foundation and building block for healthy, secure, productive and godly societies.
  • to provide companionship and unity in the most intimate human relationship.
  • to provide a safe, loving, perfect place for sex and procreation
  • as a classroom to learn to love and forgive
  • because it is not good for man to  be alone – God designed a helpmeet suitable for him

This list is not exhaustive – but it provides a good glimpse into some of the biggest reasons why God chose to design and institute marriage.

WHEN MY HUSBAND SINS AGAINST ME

The problem with two sinners being married is – they WILL sin against each other and they WILL hurt each other.  There is no perfect marriage partner (except Jesus).  So it is our job to learn to be great forgivers and to tap into God’s power to be able to do this.  When I am putting Christ first and setting my heart on Him, His will, His Word and His glory, He will empower me to deal with anything my husband might do – and I can trust that He will use even my husband’s sin and mistakes ultimately for my good and His glory.

What would Jesus tell me to do when my husband is unkind, verbally abusive, arrogant, demeaning, mean, belittling, disrespectful, unloving, selfish, hateful, prideful, refusing to be intimate with me, trying to force me to be intimate with him, flirting with other women, lying, being irresponsible with money, not taking the best care of our children (in my view), not praying with me, not abiding in Christ, not reading his Bible, being materialistic, putting other things ahead of Christ or ahead of our marriage that are inappropriate…?

LET’S APPLY LUKE 6:20-49 TO OUR MARRIAGES

(I am going to alter the words a bit to fit to our marriages)

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Blessed are you when your husband/extended family members/coworkers/neighbors/others hate you, when they exclude you and insult  you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.  For that is how (people) treated the prophets.

But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.

Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you when (everyone in your life) speaks well of you, for that is how (people) treated the false prophets.  (People pleasing does not please God!)

But I tell you who hear Me:

  • Love your husband when he acts like he is your enemy
  • do good to him if he hates you
  • bless him if he curses you
  • pray for him when he mistreats you.  
  • If your husband strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  (I would add, get some godly, wise, experienced help ASAP!)
  • If he takes your (coat), do not stop him from taking your (shirt/dress).  
  • Give to him when he asks you
  • if your husband takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
  • Do to your husband as you would have him do to you (meet his needs and be a godly wife, just like you want him to meet your needs and be a godly husband)
  • if you love him only when he loves you, what credit is that to you? Even (unbelievers) love those who love them. 
  • If you do good to him only when he is good to you, what credit is that to you?  Even (unbelievers) do that.
  • If you lend to him (give something to him or do something for him) and expect repayment, what credit is that to you?  Even (unbelievers) lend to (unbelievers), expecting to be repaid in full.
  • love your husband when it feels like he is your enemy, do good to him, and lend to him (do kind, respectful things for him) without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be (daughters) of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 
  • Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
  • Do not judge your husband, and you will not be judged.  
  • Do not condemn your husband, and you will not be condemned.
  • Forgive your husband, and you will be forgiven.
  • Give to your husband, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Can a blind wife lead a blind husband?  Will they not both fall into a pit?  A student is not above his Teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his Teacher.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your husband’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you tell your husband, “Husband, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your husband’s eye.

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit… The good wife brings good things out of the good stored up in her heart (her husband doesn’t MAKE her act good, the Spirit of God inside of her causes her to act good!), and the evil wife brings evil things out of the evil stored up in her heart (her husband doesn’t MAKE her act bad, her own sin and fleshly nature cause her to react in sin).  For out of the overflow of her heart, her mouth speaks.

Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say to do for your husband?

I will show you what she is like who who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice.  She is like a man building a house (a life, a marriage, a family), who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, for it was well  built.

But the wife who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house (a life, a marriage, a family) on the ground without a foundation.  The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete

Lord,

Give us ears to hear and hearts that are willing to obey.  Tear down any strongholds of the enemy in our souls.  Give us Your power to humble ourselves and submit to You and honor You in our marriages!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

OTHER SCRIPTURES

Ephesians 5 – God’s design for marriage

I Corinthians 11:2-13  –  God’s authority structure for marriage

I Corinthians 13:4-7  – God’s definition of love in marriage

Galatians 5:19-22 – a comparison of a life powered by self vs. a life powered by God’s Spirit

I John

A New Leader is Born

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CHANGING THE DOMINANT WIFE/PASSIVE HUSBAND DYNAMIC
When a wife has been trying to control the marriage and making most of the decisions and the husband has been unplugged for many months, years or decades – it takes TIME and practice for her to step down and learn to be a great follower and it takes TIME and practice for him to learn to become a great leader.  Men do not generally enter marriage as the most godly, wise, perfect leaders.  It takes trial and error. (Guess what, women often do not enter marriage as the best of followers, either!  I sure didn’t!)  It takes failing sometimes and learning from failure.  Honestly, our response to their failure is way more important, usually, than the fact that they failed!
This is going to require that wives demonstrate more patience, humility, trust in another person and trust and faith in God than we have EVER had in our lives!  We will need God’s Spirit to empower us.  And we will need to be sure we are putting Christ first in our hearts, not our husbands, our being in control, our feelings, our desires, our “rights,” our needs, etc.   It requires that we die to ourselves and live for Christ. But, if we can show that we will support our husbands and trust them to fix things and make things right, if we don’t make a huge deal out of their mistakes  – we will help our men climb to a kind of greatness in their leadership that we can hardly begin to fathom at first.
HUSBANDS ARE GOING TO MESS UP.  THAT HAS TO BE OK.
Of course some times our husbands’ decisions are purely selfish and not from God.  Yep.  Actually, some of my decisions are that way, too.  We are all wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ every moment! That is how it works when there is a human in a position of God-given authority – they will make mistakes and sin sometimes.  That is where I learn to trust that my God is “sovereign enough”  to lead me through my sinful husband – even if he is not Spirit-filled, even if he has idols/sin in his life, even if he is not seeking Him above everything else, even if he is not praying with me.
Yes.  My God is THAT big.
And yes, I can have total peace when my husband leads me even when I believe what he is doing is selfish, materialistic, etc.  God’s promise to me will not fail.  He WILL use all things for my ultimate good and His glory because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28-29
My husband cannot keep me from God’s will.  When I trust and obey God and live in His Spirit’s power – I AM in the center of God’s will!  A huge part of that is that I respect and cooperate with my husband’s leadership – unless he is asking me to sin.
NEW LEADERS NEED ENCOURAGEMENT
Your husband may have almost no experience making decisions for himself and leading on his own at this point – in the marriage and family, at least.  He may be a baby leader.  And maybe he is not as close to God as he could or should be right now.
Actually, if a wife has usurped the husband’s authority in the marriage – a husband is almost guaranteed to be in an ungodly state – unless he is extremely Spirit-filled.  But a Spirit-filled man rarely has trouble getting his wife to submit to him and respect him.  A man whose wife doesn’t respect him and won’t follow him will tend to wander from God.  He will be full of anger, resentment, bitterness and woundedness.  He feels disrespected and castrated as a man.  He often either reacts in anger (which does not bring honor to God), or he withdraws from his God-given responsibilities and unplugs from the family.  When anyone lives in disobedience to God’s Word and His commands – ungodliness results.
I can tell you this – the more you lecture or preach or nag or feel compelled to try to make him do things – the less he will hear God’s voice.  Your voice will drown out God’s voice in his soul.  That is what my husband was able to articulate to me long after I learned about respect and submission.  And the more you find good things in him to build him up about and praise him about (actual good things that you genuinely admire) – that will amplify God’s voice.  So does your silence about the things of God – it amplifies God’s voice for your husband when he is not close to God.
As you take off the weight of responsibility and authority in the marriage and respectfully lay it on your husband’s shoulders, or at his feet, he may balk at first.  But he was designed to carry this weight – not you!  He will actually thrive when he learns to lead.  And if you can channel your leadership abilities to support, affirm, cheer on and encourage his efforts to lead – I believe you will see God do miracles in your marriage!
What he can “hear” from you early on in this journey  is your respect for him as your husband and your respect for him handling things as he thinks is best and your support of him as the God-given leader of your family.
I think your willingness to support your husband even when you disagree with him is going to bond him to you in ways you can’t imagine.  And I think it will force him to begin to feel the weight of his leadership like never before and will make him want to start making the best possible and most selfless and godly decisions.  It might take seeing you suffer because of his poor choices.  But if you suffer for doing what is right – you are blessed!  Your goal must be to cling to Christ and not respond with evil or out of sinful motives.  If you are firm in Christ through all of this, he will clearly see the consequences of his decisions and your faith and trust in him – and he will want to do better.
A GODLY MARRIAGE IS A JOURNEY, A LONG PROCESS OF LEARNING
No one starts out being able to perfectly love and respect in a way that honors Christ – it is a process of learning and a process of discovering.  Marriage is a tool God uses to make us more holy and to see things about our relationship with Him we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.  Sanctification takes a life time!  There will be varying degrees of hypocrisy as people are learning and growing and maturing.  That is inevitable.  We are never going to do this stuff perfectly.  But with God’s Spirit in us, we can have victory more and more.

Who Is Really Being Affected?

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WOW!  God is working so much in Kayla’s life this week!  I LOVE IT!  Thanks, Kayla, for sharing this.  I think that MANY, MANY women will benefit from this post.  I can’t wait to see what God plans to do!  (You can find Kayla’s blog at www.lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com)

We all know that men are visual.  While that is often expressed among Christians as being a “problem” or “evil temptation”, I actually think it’s a pretty awesome blessing.

We really must admit women, that we feel wonderful that our men are attracted to our beauty, and feel incredible fulfillment when they comment on that attraction.  Few words feel as wonderful as hearing “You’re so beautiful.”

I’m not dismissing the obvious battle.  It is hard for a man to keep himself pure, especially with so much visual temptation flaunting itself around.  Every where you look AND click, visual images are getting racier and down right embarrassing. Men have to address and deal with this issue – but believe it or not, it might actually be an even BIGGER issue for most women.

When something is on TV that shouldn’t be, on a magazine cover in the check-out line, walks herself into a room, *I* notice BEFORE my husband even has the chance to.  My eyes are like radars.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

I’ve always known that visual images affect women.  I mean, there is a race for beauty and it isn’t coming from some imaginary image that magically appeared in the mind of every woman to walk this earth.

However, the dirtier the images get…. the MORE I believe women are actually affected in greater ways than men.  This battle for men has always been the same battle.  Yes – it is getting harder to keep from looking and to take your thoughts captive the more “naked” is acceptable in public;  But what about what is happening to women?

We face depression. We feel deflated that we will never look like that. In all our best efforts, we will never be able to follow some silly exercise routine and come out looking like the girl in the picture…or more popular “pin” on pinterest.  Because let’s face it, if we could get her abs, we’ll never get her acne free skin, white teeth, perfectly proportioned nose, gorgeous long hair and so on.

We live in fear.  We’re constantly pelted with the reality that men are visual, and with so much temptation out there….we’re positive our husband can’t be faithful.  We doubt. We question.  We assume.  We don’t believe.  We sabotage our marriage and steal from it trust and confidence.

We feel insecure.  If the click of a mouse can bring up some wonderful image, how could what I have to offer really even turn my husband on?  Why would I take off my clothes, let the lights be on, take a risk when 15 minutes earlier we were watching the television and viewed this other girl do these previously mentioned things, who is so beautiful it even made me blush!

We resent.  We start to hate pretty girls.  We find reasons to tear them down or point out all their flaws.

We get INCREDIBLY jealous.  We can’t handle the thought of our husband even working at a place where women are present.  We get grumpy when they share stories with women in them. And sometimes we even get mad that our husband is a gentleman and holds open doors like he should for another woman.

We compare ourselves. Somehow we start to believe that our worth is comparable to the number on the scale, the size of clothes we wear, the color of our hair, the length/style of our hair, and on and on and on. (Women have been known to compare elbows for crying out loud!)

Do you know what I think?  I think these images and racy clothes are not hurting men as badly as they are hurting women.  And the more the women hurt, the harder the man’s battle to stay pure, and the more challenges the marriage faces to stay faithful and joyful.

Men know about their issue.  And many of them put boundaries in place to protect themselves.  Women however don’t even realize how these images and dress are affecting them, and so they crash and fall. Miserably.

The more miserable they are, the less they trust their spouse, accept his compliments, believe his statements, and the more they doubt, resent, accuse and wreck the unity that honestly might have existed otherwise.

Practical Application:

Women – are the images everywhere affecting you?  May you have accused your husband wrongfully because of the effects on your own life? Might you be trapped in some of these above situations and sins as a result of what you’re letting your eyes notice?

Name it. Own it. Confess it. Repent of it!

Men- this is really big…. so hear me on this. As weird as this might sound to you… it is YOUR responsibility to protect your wife from these images, just as much as she  needs to help protect you.  It’s team work to keep the level of purity at the standard God calls us to keep it, so we can remain healthy, happy, faithful, and loving in our marriages.

Both men and women need to guard their hearts.

Mrs. B.'s Story

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This is an email from a precious wife.  I am really happy to get to share her story with you.  I think the more stories we can hear about what God has done in other women and marriages, the better!  Thank you, Mrs. B!
Let me start by saying, Mr. B and I were not raised in Christian homes. Neither one of us knew anything about the Bible or anything about marriage. If that was not enough, we had several other strikes against us…….
Strike 1~Divorce was rampant in our families. We had some in our family that got new spouses like some get new cars!
Strike 2~When we married, I was 16, Mr B was 18
Strike 3~ We were both the oldest children in our families, and since our parents were divorced and the dads out of the pictures, we were the Alphas of our homes.
BUT……we had a determination we were going to break the divorce cycle!
We both came to know the Lord 5 years into our marriage.
We have served the Lord for 37 yrs now. Even though a miracle had taken place in our lives, we had a lot of baggage to work thru and throw out. I thank God for Grace & Mercy, and for having the patience to help me realize my biblical role in our marriage.
BEING A HELPMEET
I thought I was a great “help-meet” through all of those years.
  • I never let him go out of the house not matching
  • I always checked his hair for him
  • I always directed him in the finances so we would do well
  • I told him even when he said things wrong while he was preaching (on the way home) so he wouldn’t look bad the next time
  • I always told him when the speed limit changed, so he wouldn’t get a ticket.
  • I thought I was “helping” by telling him how he should pray, telling him how to do devotions, you name it and I probably told him “how to”.

Anything I thought he did wrong I corrected him on. Because after all, I knew how things should be and was here to help him.

INTIMACY ISSUES
I have always been a very high drive wife, married to what I thought was a low drive husband. I had many a let-down over lack of sex in that many years. And there were times in prayer I asked the Lord to take this high drive away from me. But God knows best!
THEN ~ 2 yrs ago ~ I came to understand how to truly Respect & Submit. And realized, he did not need another mother, he needed a wife! He did not WANT to make love to his second momma…….I shake my head as I write this.
NOW ~ that he has a wife that truly respects and submits, and I understands that he is a grown man that is capable of making mistakes and we both can live through them, that he makes right decisions without my help, that I was not as smart as I thought I was…….HE is a HIGH DRIVE Husband!!!!
OUR MARRIAGE IS AMAZING NOW
Sure I continually find things that need tweaked about myself. But I have realized that to be in “control” is not my duty. The only thing I need to be in control of is Obeying the Lord, Respecting Mr B, and Submitting to him as the head of our household & marriage.
And you know what ~ we both smile a lot now!!!
And I even have a new nickname that he calls me……..
His Ravishing Ruby.
THIS IS A PROCESS
I don’t mean for it to sound like “one, two, buckle my shoe” and all is well. It was not that simple. There were many years of pain in our family ~ it took and is still taking time to heal. But by the grace of God, we are doing it. One of the hardest things, but one of the most important things that helped me change our marriage was accountability. WHEN I told Mr B what I had learned about myself and the changes I knew I needed to do…..well it was a WOW moment. He then “knew” and could “help” me when I slipped into old habits.
I say all this to let you know, if any of you here are in the same boat ~ share with your husband! Even if it takes sharing my testimony, then admitting. I do not mind at all if you use my testimony as a starter step.
Mrs. B.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
I have had some wives watch my youtube videos lately and find a lot of help from them.  Some people learn better by hearing instead of reading, so these videos are for you!  One wife told me that she watched some WITH her husband and that it actually was really helpful for him, too, to see that many wives struggle with these issues and that his wife wasn’t unusual.
Here is a link to my channel. 🙂

Each Wife's Journey is a One-of-a-Kind

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter SunriseOne reason I write this blog is because I had a HARD time finding resources to learn about respect, godly femininity and biblical submission when I began my own journey 4 years ago.  And when I did find resources, they often didn’t have many practical examples, or they had practical examples, but they weren’t from a Christian perspective.   I was SOOOOO clueless about all of this stuff, that I needed “Respect for Dummies” or “Being a Godly Wife 101.”  I didn’t have a mentor and I was unbelievably confused.

I would ask my husband constantly, “Is this respectful?”  “Is that disrespectful?”  I had NO idea.  And, sadly, he wasn’t sure those first few months what he thought was respectful or not.  I needed HELP!

I needed SOMEWHERE to start.  A place to plant my feet and then I might be able to see more clearly  where to go from there.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE ME!!!!!!   🙂

I give practical examples and suggestions because I needed something like that so desperately 4 years ago.  Does that mean that the exact words I say and the exact things I do are the only way to be a respectful and submissive wife?  NOPE!

I try to give many wives’ stories because I hope to expose wives to a variety of women and the different styles they have as they respect and submit to their unique husbands.

Submission and respect are not one-size-fits-all.  Not for husbands and not for wives!

That is one reason I love the post about what husbands find to be disrespectful so interesting.  It is a compilation from about 7 different men.  They each have their own unique take on what disrespect and respect is.  Some things are fairly universal, but then there are some idiosyncrasies that are wholly their own.   I think it is FASCINATING to learn what it is to look at life from a masculine perspective and then to discover all the tiny nuances that are particular to each husband – it is like examining each beautiful snowflake under a microscope and learning to admire each one.

THE DETAILS ARE YOUR OWN

My hope is that I will give you a place to start and point you towards Christ and His Word.  Then you can think about things, pray about the examples, tune in to God’s Spirit,  talk with your husband if it’s appropriate – and find your OWN brand of how to make this work.  God’s commands are the same for all of us, but we are each unique individuals and all of our husbands are different and have different preferences and needs and each wife has her own personality.  So the practical application of obeying God’s Word will look different in each marriage.  It will be up to you to hash out the details for your marriage!

If you don’t like the way I word things, do it in a way that you like better!    If you try something and your husband doesn’t like it – that is not a fit for him – and that’s ok.  It will give you a chance to talk with him and get to know what he would prefer and what would speak respect best to him.  That is the important thing!   This is ultimately about learning the broad concepts and then fitting them to your personality, your husband, your marriage and your life.

YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN BE YOU!

This journey will be a deeply personal one.  No two journeys will look exactly the same.  We each have unique personalities, perspectives, life histories,  husbands, backgrounds and mindsets that will impact us and stamp our own fingerprint on how we do this.

Each wife will need to work out her own salvation with fear and trembling – and by listening intently to God’s Spirit and His Word and her husband’s leadership.

God has YOU in THIS family, in THIS home, with THESE children in THIS town and THIS country with THESE friends and acquaintances for His divine purposes.  He has unique and wonderful  plans for you that will be different than His plans for me.  You have different gifts and talents than I do.  He has a very special ministry in mind for you in your family, to your husband and for others that will bring you incredible fulfillment.  I pray for you to abide in the center of God’s will for you – that He might accomplish His beautiful purposes in your life and might bring Himself the greatest glory through you, your faith, your marriage, your husband and your family!

YOU ARE WELCOME TO SHARE YOUR BRAND OF RESPECT AND SUBMISSION

If you would like to talk about what God has done in your life and your marriage – or how you and your husband work respect and submission, I would love to hear from you!  I especially love details – a specific situation, a certain beautiful ritual that you and your husband share that is meaningful to you, words you use to show respect, examples of how you cooperate with your husband’s leadership cheerfully and joyfully…  leave me a comment!

ANOTHER RESOURCE

You’ll definitely want to check out Nina Roesner’s book, “The Respect Dare” and her FB page.  She has worked with thousands of women in The Daughters of Sara program and her book has many stories of unique ways that women learn and apply respect in their situations.

Baby Steps

This is an email from a wife (with her permission) – I think it may be very encouraging to those of you who are beginning the journey to become a godly wife – to learn to submit to and respect your husband and most of all to ultimately learn to reverence and submit to Christ!
Thank you for asking….I think I am good…I continue to work on respecting my husband and being patient.  The respecting part really has been a pretty smooth transition for me…it is the patience and making sure that my prayers for my husband are not  intended for my own gain…(not for what I want him to change but) that I am actually praying for my husband’s leadership and growth.  This is the hardest part for me…
Some success stories from the past week:
1. We went to the local grocery store on Saturday morning…never would have been my choice but DH wanted to.…the place was a mad house to say the least…now in the past the trip very likely could have become stressful.
I held my tongue and allowed DH to choose things without my comments on the cost, brand or quantity.  As we went to checkout  DH chose the self-checkout…again not my first choice due to all the produce we had in the cart…not fun to enter all those individual codes. Typically I would have jumped in and took over…I am far the superior cashier:)  But instead I walked to the end of the lane and did not say a word besides helping to bag and contain our six year old. 
I was amazed to watch as my husband calmly went through the items in the cart, he actually figured it all out without my help:)  As we walked out of the store I complimented him on his check out skills…I swear I witnessed him almost stand taller…he smiled and laughed and said,  “I did well, didn’t I?”
Ok, so I know this is minor in the whole picture of things but the thing that stuck out in my mind is how this very minor incident set the tone for our whole dayDH walked away feeling good and it stayed with us all for hours.  Now in the past we would have not been in a full argument or anything but we both could have walked away feeling stressed and irritated with each other due to my need to try and take over the situation.
2. We live in a very small neighborhood and our neighbors are good friends.   DH and I try to do date night every couple of months but truthfully the cost of the babysitter can deter us from going out at times.  I started thinking last week – why do we all just keep sitting around on Saturday night in our separate houses attempting to entertain our children when we could pool our resources and give everyone a little break.  So I first asked DH if he was on board….typically I would have planned and then told him what I was up to….he agreed to my little plan.
I talked with the other wives in the neighborhood with small children and now we have scheduled date night for all couples for the next three months with free babysitting….here is how it works…we picked a Saturday in December that is free for all families…one family is designated as the stay home couple…the other two couples are free to spend a Saturday evening however they desire.  The stay home couple will provide dinner, entertainment (which truthfully with our kiddos is only supervision at this point they entertain each other), movie and snacks.  We picked numbers out of a hat….we picked the first night home.  DH comment when I told him, “You may just end up saving everyone’s marriage, this is one of your best ideas yet:)
3. I think the other thing that sticks out in my mind over the last couple of weeks is how many times in the past I have pressured and stressed about the time it was taking my husband to make a decision when truthfully he was just thinking it over in his own way.  I cannot tell you how many times I have asked my DH in the last few weeks a question, not a big decision ie, “What time do you want to leave for my parents on Thanksgiving.?”  My husband will respond, “I am not sure let me think about it.”  I have in the past gotten frustrated and impatient, really how hard is this.  Now I catch myself, remind myself that this is just how he is processes and let it go.  So much more peaceful on both of our ends…and the world has not even come to an end:)

“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.

A Wife's Before and After

I heard from a wife this week… and I am thrilled that she is willing to tell her story.  I think that her “before problems” are where most wives are in their marriages.  And I can’t wait for you to see what God is doing in this precious wife’s soul and in her marriage!  THANK YOU to the wife who is willing to allow me to share her story!

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In the past year God has been teaching me so many of the things you mention in your posts.

I have been having little light bulbs go off here and there and it had all started  to come together lately thanks to your blog.

THE “PROBLEMS” WE USED TO HAVE IN OUR MARRIAGE

Should I submit to my husband’s leadership on things such as:
– Should my husband spend at least 30 mins of quiet time with God each morning (so that he can know how to lead our home?)
– Should we have a formal couples’ worship time – ideally every night or at least once a week?
– Should my husband be more active in church? Ideally in a ‘couple ministry’ scenario?
– Do we eat dinner in front of the tv or at the table?
– Do we attend every single church meeting/bible study on offer in our surrounding area?
– Do we invite EVERY single visitor to our house when we notice them at church?
– Do we really have to have a formal ‘date’ every week?
– Is Star Trek allowed to be played on our home tv
– Should we have pay tv (cos oh dear, if we do my husband will probably ONLY want to watch sports all day every day – since that is what we wants to do every time we stay at a hotel)
– Is my husband allowed to listen to sports on the radio as he knows I don’t like sports, and oh dear if we have kids he might also subject them to this!
– Do we both have to go to bed together at the exact same time EVERY night, cos  if we (don’t) do  it once or twice it might become a habit and then we will become one of those couples who sleep in separate bedrooms! And who KNOWS what he will watch after I go to sleep – ooooh!
-Do I help my husband in small ways in his business even thou I have my own career? If I start down this path he may overload me with so much work I will never be able to handle it!
-Do I demand that we adopt children (since I have always wanted to) and also we are struggling with infertility (been trying for 2 years) or do I wait on God to change BOTH our hearts if he wants us to go that way?

A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Above I have in a nutshell outlined ALL  the things that I perceived to be SINS in my husbands life over the past 7 years of our marriage. Although I now realize that part of the reason I was so controlling and fearful was that it actually took me this long to REALLY trust my husband because of some of the baggage he carried into our marriage, I now finally realize that pretty much ALL our arguments and problems were MY fault. I was disrespectful and controlling beyond measure. I can’t believe how patient he was all these years.

A NEW WIFE AND THE BEGINNING OF A NEW MARRIAGE

Since I have stepped out of the ‘control headquarters’ of our marriage these are the results:

– After YEARS of nagging him about why he doesn’t do private worship more regularly – the minute I stopped being controlling he just started doing private worship every morning and has never stopped! He does this more regularly than me now. Sometimes its 30 mins sometimes 5. Sometimes he just sings praise songs sometimes he studies a particular topic. He NEVER badgers me or treats me the way I used to treat him when I had more worship time than him.
– He now starts Sabbath in our home every Friday night (we are Seventh Day Adventists) without any prompting/cajoling from me. He gets the Bible, reads from it and picks a song for us to sing. He talks about God every day with me and feels like he has encounters every day when God takes care of him at work in different ways.
– To my shock, he accepted a leadership role at church – we work closely together and we also lead our in church together sometimes  (the difference was this time I didn’t guilt him or try to make him take on these roles I just asked and he prayed then accepted them!). He also takes the Bible study at church every few months.
– Yes, most nights my husband eats his dinner in front of the tv – but instead of making a huge issue out of it now I just let it be. He works super hard each day and I don’t eat dinner anyway but have a protein shake after gym so it works for us at the moment. Whether other people would feel this is normal or healthy doesn’t matter to me anymore. It’s what works for us and after dinner we always cuddle on the couch. If I even try to sneak away to my room to do my own thing occasionally he STRONGLY protests now. This is how we hang in the evenings and I LIKE it.
– We do NOT attend EVERY single Bible study/meeting in addition to ordinary church. Even though I personally would (like to) my husband recognizes the need to also rest on Sabbath and have family time. I don’t just go on my own because I found when I did I would just feel resentful that my husband didn’t come and it took away from our time together.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I am SO PROUD of this wife and of all that God is doing in her heart! She sees that she was being controlling and disrespectful and she humbly allowed God to change her.  She has so many of the same issues I used to have!  It’s uncanny!  But look what happened when she took her hands off of her husband’s throat and let him lead and hear God’s voice without her voice overshadowing God’s anymore.  God’s ways are truly higher and better than our ways!  

There is no power in our disrespect, contempt and control.  Our power is in our godly femininity – our faith, our admiration, our genuine respect, our cooperation, our appreciation, our acknowledging our husbands’ wisdom, our support of their leadership and our trust in Christ.

It is only when I can accept my husband exactly as he is and not want to change him, and when I am obeying God and living in His Spirit’s power that God will change my husband!  But first – He changes ME!

Being a Minister's Wife

My Beautiful Mother-in-Law and Our Son

I started something new on my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page yesterday!  For those of you who prefer to learn by listening – I have posted a few of my first VIDEOS!  Now you can be in “my class” – even though you’re not at my church. 🙂  Let me know if you like that medium and if you find it helpful.  Thank you!

 

I have not been a minister’s wife myself.  But I have been a pastor’s daughter-in-law for 18 years, and although I was not quite as much under the spotlight and scrutiny that my mother-in-law was – I definitely was close enough to see how wonderful and how difficult it can be to be in the “glass fish bowl” – as my husband likes to say.

A number of ministers’ wives have written to me.  I know that being in this position of influence and pressure is a DIFFICULT and CHALLENGING place to be.  There is nowhere to go to hide when things aren’t going well.  Those who are in a pastor’s/minister’s family, but especially his wife – will be held to MUCH higher standards by those in the church, those outside of the church and also by God Himself.  So it is REALLY critical that the ministers’ wives out there become as godly, holy, mature and Spirit-filled as possible.

OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING

A pastor’s wife is under a great deal more scrutiny about everything than almost anyone else in the church (except maybe the pastor): her attitude, speech, tone of voice, behavior, habits, spending, parenting, modesty, cooking, eating, clothing – EVERYTHING is monitored.  She is constantly watched.  If she makes a mistake – everyone will know about it. Some may follow her ungodly example, or they may talk about her behind her back, confront her or the pastor about it or her husband may lose his job.  If she does something godly and sets a beautiful example, people will model after her, too – especially the women in the congregation.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO DESTROY

I have seen pastors’ wives (not my mother-in-law!) use their position of influence and exposure to completely and utterly destroy their marriages, their husbands’ ministries and entire churches.  One woman in the position of a minister’s wife can do all an incalculable amount of damage.  All wives can cause complete devastation and damage in their husbands’ lives on some level.  But for a pastor – his wife’s sins, rebellion, idolatry, discord, hatred, unforgiveness, etc… carry much more weight than they would in most marriages.

How could a minister’s wife destroy her husband and his ministry?

  • showing blatant and/or subtle disrespect for her husband in front of church members or other leaders in the church
  • gossipping about her husband or other church members
  • slandering someone in the church
  • using her words to tear down her husband in public and in private
  • calling people in the church and trying to handle personality disputes or leadership disputes herself
  • being very critical of her husband’s abilities as a pastor, demeaning his abilities, calling him lazy or a hypocrite (even if only in private – that is incredibly demoralizing)
  • correcting her husband in front of others
  • having hatred, resentment, contempt, animosity, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart towards people in the church or her husband
  • cherishing sin in her own life
  • wearing immodest clothing
  • flirting with other men
  • questioning her husband’s decisions constantly – especially in front of others
  • refusing to cooperate with her husband’s spiritual authority in church or in the marriage
  • trying to control the church herself or control her husband as a puppet for her own agenda and desires
  • having an emotional or sexual affair
  • undermining her husband’s spiritual authority at church, in the marriage or as a father
  • not having the love of Christ in her heart
  • having a critical, judgmental, condemning spirit
  • embezzling money or being involved in a scandal
  • refusing to go to the church service
  • arguing with her husband in front of church members
  • bad mouthing her husband to others

This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully wives can see the idea.  This stuff applies to ALL wives – but ministers’ wives must ESPECIALLY be on guard against this kind of disrespect and any attempts to usurp their husbands’ God-given authority in the church, the marriage and the home.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO BUILD UP

There are wise pastors’ and ministers’ wives in the church who understand the enormity of their responsibility before God to obey Him and to show respect for their husbands and to cooperate with their husbands’ leadership.  They understand God will judge them more strictly.  They understand the eyes of the congregation and community are on them all the time.  They know that they are co-laborers with their husbands – they are teammates – to minister for the gospel together.  They know that their husbands’ ability to do his job depends on their wives’ ability to behave themselves in a Christlike way.

A BEAUTIFUL, GODLY EXAMPLE

My mother-in-law has been an incredibly godly pastor’s wife for about 50 years now.  She was able to watch her own behavior, speech, dress, manners and respect for her husband and I have NEVER known her to cause a problem in one of her husband’s churches.  The beautiful qualities I observed in my mother-in-law that other ministers’ wives ( and really, ALL wives) may want to imitate:

  • She always takes care to dress in a feminine, conservative, modest way (beautiful long dresses or skirts with jackets and a blouse, usually).  She knows that she represents Christ, their church, her husband and their congregation when she is at church or even just out in public in town.  She makes sure she looks decent and put together because she knows she is a reflection of her husband and she wants to be sure she makes him look good.
  • She willingly plays the piano and/or teaches children’s Sunday School classes. She is always a genuine helpmeet to her husband, using her talents and abilities to contribute to the needs of the church.
  • She doesn’t complain or argue in front of others.  I am not aware of a time when she complained about the church or about her husband or someone in the church to a church member.
  • She always upholds her husband’s decisions and cooperates with him and shows a united front at church.
  • She does NOT get involved in gossip or drama.  It is difficult to have close friends when you are the pastor’s wife – you know so much about what is going on and private affairs of so many people – especially in a smaller church (100-300 people).  But she was always SO VERY careful not to create divisions, contention, gossip or spread slander.
  • She always smiles at each person at church, hugs them, is friendly to them, welcomes them and shows as much hospitality as possible in every situation.
  • She always comes to church to support her husband – unless she was sick or in pain.
  • She doesn’t begrudge him the many, many hours he spends away from her and their family (when their children were at home) visiting the sick in the hospital or going to someone’s house where there was a death or counseling people or working on the leaky faucet at the church or someone’s house.
  • She is a wonderful cook and always had a delicious lunch and supper ready for her husband each day and enjoyed the time she got to share with him.
  • She lets her husband lead the conversation about spiritual things with people.
  • She doesn’t do anything that might cause someone to stumble – no alcohol, no working on Sunday, no inappropriate behavior or questionable activities – she avoids even the appearance of evil.
  • She is very responsible and takes good care of her home and was (and still is) a great mother to her boys.
  • She never tells her husband what to preach or how to preach.
  • She trusts her husband to handle his job and calling with wisdom.
  • She knows her husband is responsible, capable, dependable, intelligent and able to do his job well and she shows faith and confidence in him.
  • She always dressed her children well and made sure they behaved well in church.  They also behaved well outside of church, too!
  • She stands by her husband when there is strife in the church.  She is quiet and doesn’t try to defend him herself.  But she is there and offers her supportive presence, showing her respect for him and her belief in him.  But she doesn’t take over in business meetings or try to control things or fix things herself.

Lord,

I lift up all wives who belong to You, but especially ministers’ wives.  Help them to choose to live by Your power to be the wives You want them to be.  Let them honor You and their husbands in their speech, attitudes, behavior, priorities and choices.  Let them point many to You by their obedience to Your Word and their willingness to follow Your design for marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.  Bless these women richly in their walk with You.  Satan would like to destroy them.  Protect them and their husbands from evil.  Keep them close to Your heart.  Use them to gather a large harvest for Your kingdom and to teach, preach and live well with Your Spirit of power, love, courage and self-control.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

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