Skip to main content

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!

A Disrespected Husband's Perspective

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the husband who took the time to answer these questions in such detail.  Wives – please hear this husband’s heart and consider – does your husband feel like this man does?  My husband wasn’t able to articulate himself and verbalize how disrespected he felt before God opened my eyes to my sin 4 years ago – he just withdrew.  Some husbands react with great anger.  Some husbands TRY to tell their wives how disrespected they feel – but the wives can’t “hear” their pain.  How that breaks my heart!  Please listen to this husband’s legitimate masculine needs and to his perspective.  Please don’t justify any disrespect towards your husband or say that your husband deserves this kind of treatment.  Disrespect never “corrects” a bad situation.  It only makes things infinitely worse. Look at the damage we can do when we don’t know how to respect our men and when we try to take over the marriage.  We deserve hell and condemnation – all of us – but God gives us grace, the gift of salvation by Jesus’ blood, mercy and He exchanges our sin for His glory.  We are called to do the same – to give respect, grace, mercy and cooperation even when it appears to be “undeserved” – because God said to do it.  That is how marriages are healed and maintained.  We die to ourselves and our wants so we can give life to our spouse and bless him. 

What does your wife’s happiness mean to you?
I suppose it depends on what she’s happy about.  I care about her being happy, but only about the things that matter.  If she is happy about honoring and loving God and others, treating me like a friend and husband with love and respect, and seeking to walk closer with the Lord Jesus, then that will make me the happiest man alive.  Okay, maybe not, but it will sure feel like it. However, if she gets her happiness from the fading things of this world, the latest fad, or following after her own heart, then her happiness doesn’t really mean anything to me.  I hope that makes sense.

How much harder is it to feel love for your wife when she is disrespectful/controlling?
It seems impossible to feel love when she is like that.  Not only that, but depending on how long or how often it happens, the feelings don’t come back very often. However, I am called to love her no matter what I feel.  It makes it a lot harder to love her without the loving feelings and even having bad feelings about her, but that is where I have to rely on His Spirit and ask for help to give me the grace to love her as God calls me to.  I need to care for her because God tells me to, not because I feel like it.  I wish I felt love for her, but I haven’t for a while now.

What things would you ask your wife to change if you knew she would listen and cooperate with your leadership?

  • I would ask her to stop telling me she loves me and start showing it.  (Remember ladies – words don’t carry a lot of weight with men!)
  • I would ask that she listen to me attentively instead of interrupting me to get to her point or asking about something that I answered five minutes ago.
  • I would ask that she know and care about things that I like and not argue about them or tell me what I should and shouldn’t like.
  • I would ask that she care about “us” in our marriage.
  • I would ask she understand that decisions I make are for “us”, not against her.
  • I would ask that she would let her “yes be yes and her no, no” instead of thinking she has this “right to change her mind” just because she’s a woman.
  • I would ask that she would care about her appearance and what I would enjoy and seek to please me in her appearance.

How difficult is it to lead when a wife is disrespectful/controlling?

Very hard because I just want to give up.  In my case, and as I hear about men in general, it would seem better to have peace then conflict, so it is easier to give up trying to lead and have her get own way then it is fight about it.  When the fighting happens, the man is usually disrespected even more and the woman tries to become even more controlling.   The initial action of controlling/disrespect feels like a knife in your heart and the fighting/arguing feels like twisting the knife while it’s already in.   Sorry about the graphic description, but that’s how it feels.

How does her disrespect affect your sexual desire for her?
It kills sexual desire for me.  I know men are supposed to have this raging drive that can never be quenched, but I don’t. Not only do I not desire her when I am disrespected, I fell like don’t even want to be around her.  Even Proverbs says a bit about it better being on a rooftop or in the desert than be with a contentious woman.  It sure feels that way sometimes.  Anyway, The past few years have been really tough in our marriage.  I can honestly say that I don’t even know if I have desired her in those few years.  Between the controlling, disrespect, and gaining significant weight and telling me it shouldn’t matter to me, I have no desire, but I am there for her since “my body is does not belong to me, but also to her” (1 Cor 7:4).

What would it mean to you if your wife trusted your decisions and supported your leadership? How would that affect you in every area of life? How would it affect your feelings of love for her?
That would be great!  It would mean that she loved me. (Ladies – please hear this!  Husbands don’t feel loved when we don’t trust them and don’t let them lead!)  It would mean that she “safely trusted” in me.  (Pro. 31:11).  It would just give me a great feeling that my wife loved and trusted me.  I don’t how else to say it.  It would definitely increase my feelings of love for her because she trusts me and is not trying to hijack everything I do.

If your wife were to biblically submit to you and respect you – how would you treat her differently?
I wish I could say that nothing would change because I am treating her the way I should now, but I can’t because I know I’m not doing that.  I really don’t know how I’d treat her differently.  I know it would probably be easier to show her love.  However, to say, “I would do this or that differently if she submitted to and respected me” is the wrong attitude to have. If there was any way I would treat her differently in a positive way if she were to submit and respect me, then it is something am not doing now that I should be.  I hope that makes sense.  I should be treating her the way God calls me to whether she submits and respects or not.  I am not accountable for her actions as I am for mine.  I just know it would probably be a lot easier to do the things I am supposed to if she did those things because the feeling of love would probably be there.

Can you describe how much more effective a wife can be at getting her husband to draw nearer to God when she follows I Peter 3:1-6 instead of preaching, lecturing, nagging, criticizing?
The disrespect will only give occasion for him to resent her for doing the things you listed.  However, if 1 Peter 3:1-6 is lived out, he will see a woman who loves God with her heart, not only her words.  He will see that she is not like the other women in the world that rip on their men.  He will see that, because of how she treats and loves him, that she truly cares about him.  She is not trying to “make” him do anything, but may mention it once and then demonstrates it with her life.

How important are your wife’s feelings when you are making decisions?
My wife’s feelings are very important when making decisions. We are a team.  I may not take every feeling as a fact, but still consider them, at least, and let her know they matter.

Support and Encourage His Hobbies

the deck my husband built at our old house

SC State House

A man receives a great deal of his identity from his work. He often thinks of himself in terms of what he does and that he has value in the world because of his career and contribution to the world. Sometimes he also gets a huge part of his identity from his hobbies, especially if his work isn’t bringing him very much fulfillment at the time. He may think of himself in terms of his dream that is outside of his career – his ministry, his athleticism, his remodeling/handyman abilities, his musical abilities, his gardening talents, his artistic and creative streak… All people need and deserve time to recharge and do something they love. Like Laura Doyle says in “The Surrendered Wife,” everyone needs time to dream big dreams and not have their ideas stomped on. But our men ESPECIALLY need this outlet. God designed them to conquer the world and make their mark. A supportive wife makes ALL the difference in the world to a husband in this area!

Notice your husband’s dreams. What are the things that energize him and really give him a love for life? Even if his hobbies don’t get you all excited, I want to encourage you to do your best to support his hobbies, dreams and desires. Who knows? It’s entirely possible that if he is allowed to follow his dreams and make big plans that he might find a new career path that he loves, or add another source of income, or build you a dream house, or just plain enjoy his life to the fullest and have the most to give to your marriage and your family.

If you find yourself being jealous because you don’t seem to have time for your own hobbies and relaxation, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his time to himself! But it might mean that you need to be more proactive about finding time for yourself, too. Then both of you can be at your best and have the most to give to each other and your family. Husbands and wives both need time to do things they enjoy on their own, to develop their interests, and to take good care of their own souls, minds and bodies. If we are spiritually/emotionally/physically depleted, we don’t have anything to give to our loved ones. We must take responsibility for filling ourselves up and taking good care of ourselves in these areas so that we can bless our families. In fact, if a wife is feeling particularly frustrated and irritable, it is a good idea to look at your own needs and make sure you are getting the rest, nutrition, time with God, time with friends, time for hobbies that you need to be at your best – then little things won’t seem like such a big deal.

Think of the things he loves. Honor what he loves. Listen to him talk about it. Be excited with him. Dream with him. Don’t criticize or put him down about his hobbies and passions. Don’t tell him to hire someone else to finish the house if he wants to do it himself – that is SUPER disrespectful to a man! He wants to complete the challenge and prove to himself that he can do it and he wants you to smile and applaud him and have that wonderful look of pride in your eyes about his abilities. He doesn’t need you to tell him how to do things, just to tell him that you have faith in him that he’ll figure it out, that you trust him. That little bit of encouragement and trust from you will motivate your husband like you cannot imagine! Give him some space to think, dream and work and you will be amazed what he may do for you and your family!!!!

One time at our old house, Greg and I were talking about getting a bay window to replace a picture window. There was a very unkempt crepe myrtle tree outside that window. I asked Greg if he would mind trimming the tree and maybe he could put some pretty white rocks and a bench under the window so that the view would be better. He shocked me by announcing that he was going to build a deck. He had never built a deck before. But I knew he was a super resourceful, intelligent, talented guy, so I said, “Ok!” Then he drew out a design. It wasn’t just a 10X10 deck. He had a 4 level 1000 square foot deck in mind. Wow! That was A LOT more than I had asked for. But I said, “Great! That would be amazing!” He built that whole deck all by himself and it was stunning. He even painted a compass rose on one of the platforms later that was accurate with true North, South, East and West pointing in the proper directions.

When I was pregnant and found out that we were having a boy, I told Greg I would love to have the nursery painted half as night time and half as daytime sky with the tops of pine trees along the floor. He said, “I’m going to do a mural of Columbia.” I said, “Ok!” He had never painted a wall anything but one or maybe two colors before. But I knew he was super talented and gave him all the space he wanted to do what he thought was best. We spent a few weeks riding around town taking pictures of the most beautiful landmarks in our town and deciding what would be in the mural. Then I would sit in the glider rocking chair in the nursery every night for 5 months and feel our baby kicking in my belly and watch while he painted the most incredible mural. It was GLORIOUS! How I hated when we moved away and couldn’t take the mural with us. I was tempted to cut out all the dry wall and move it to the new house!

What dreams does your husband have? What if I had squashed my husband’s dreams? Imagine the beauty and the priceless gifts he has added to our lives that I would have missed!! I pray that we might give our husbands room to soar and do all that they can dream of doing. I pray that we might encourage and inspire them with our trust, faith, admiration and confidence to reach heights we could never have fathomed! A man can move mountains when he has a wife who believes in him!


Bonding in a Meaningful Way with our Husbands

God designed men to need and love to have hobbies. They need time to recharge and prepare for “slaying the dragons” all day at work like Dr. Laura likes to say. Men love keeping up with all the stats on their favorite teams, racecar drivers, and with all the latest technological gadgets, and hunting and fishing gear. They are designed by God to need and want competition, battles, conquests, victories, hunting and all the surge of adrenaline and emotion that goes with it. 

Excuse me, did you just say ’emotion’?” Why, yes, yes I did! Women are designed by God to have very easy access to emotions and words and emotions flood our thoughts constantly and our greatest emotions swirl around our dearest relationships all day long every day. It’s INTENSE being a woman! But men don’t access their emotions very easily. One of the few things that help men access their emotions is competition, sports, games of strategy and skill, seeking victory over an opponent.

(PS – the other main way men access their emotions is after experiencing the one-flesh relationship with their wives – one of the only times that the bonding hormone, oxytocin, gets anywhere near the levels that women normally experience is in this brief time window. A man must have a physical relationship with his wife to open up his heart. A wife must have an emotional/spiritual relationship to prepare her body. God did this on purpose! We each have to grow, mature and stretch to have a working relationship! But I digress!)

Women bond by talking and emoting.

We love to sit face-to-face and drink coffee or tea and we could sit for 6-8 uninterrupted blissful hours with a girl friend talking about our marriages, our children, our ideas, our dreams, our problems, and anything else that is important to us! And when we want to connect and bond with our husbands, we want to sit down face-to-face and talk and talk. That works REALLY well with girlfriends.

Problem is – our husbands aren’t girls! We sometimes expect them to act like our best girl friends and love to just talk and chat with us for hours. Men aren’t generally wired to be able to do this. They can do it before we get married because it’s part of pursuing us and getting to know us better, and they usually don’t have to do it for long spurts every day of the week when we are dating. And we get the impression that our husbands will be able to verbally and emotionally bond with us for hours every day once we are married, too. That is generally a pretty unrealistic expectation of most men (of course there are exceptions). Men can learn to spend time listening to us and letting us talk. They can learn to appreciate that we need that time in order to feel intimate with them emotionally so we can open up to them physically. But men, in general, don’t need  or necessarily want hours of talking and don’t feel better after talking about feelings. We will all be a lot happier when we realize that men are not women!!!

Men bond by sitting shoulder-to-shoulder doing activities together.

There is sometimes some talking – but mostly, there is silence. Men sit together working on projects, or hunting or fishing, or watching their favorite sports. Sometimes they will yell and cheer out loud together, or pick on each other in a friendly way. Lots of times, they just sit quietly. This kind of rocks a woman’s world! Women tend to interpret silence as anger. Men do not! The fact that a man is being quiet and not talking has nothing to do with him being angry. It’s possible he might be angry at his wife, but most likely, he is just resting his brain and not thinking about anything. Really. I know, I am so jealous! I WISH I could turn off my brain sometimes!!!!

So if a woman is interested in building her marriage, she would be wise to take some interest in her man’s hobbies. (For more info, check out “Love and Respect” by Dr. Eggerichs) Here is what I want you to try:

  • Ask your husband if you can join him as he is working on a project in the garage/watching a game/going hunting/going fishing
  • Plan to be friendly, but silent. You will want to talk. It just doesn’t feel like connecting time if you’re not talking. I KNOW! Hang in there, just sit with him, enjoy his company. Relax. Be still. Smile at him when he looks at you.
  • Let HIM lead the conversation.
  • It’s ok if he isn’t looking at you when he’s talking. It’s also totally fine if he doesn’t talk at all.
  • Do anything necessary to keep yourself focused on the fact that you are bonding with your husband in a way that is important TO HIM. Yes, the laundry is calling your name. The dishes are not getting done. The carpet is filthy. The bathrooms need cleaning. You need to paint your nails. You need to go to the store. Supper needs to get started. You have 10,000 things you could be doing. Yes, it feels like you are wasting your time sitting here doing nothing. BUT TO HIM, this is HUGE bonding time with the woman he loves more than anything in the world. For him to see you voluntarily making the effort to step into HIS world and do things that are important to him is A MASSIVE GIFT to your relationship! This means as much to him as if he took you shopping and you had lunch at a restaurant and talked and laughed for 2 hours.
  • Be open to trying things if he wants to teach you something.
  • Try to pay attention if he explains about the game, or some players or what he is doing and retain as much of that info as you can to use in the future. He will be SO impressed!!!
  • Plan to spend at least about 30 minutes with him like this. It’s up to you how often, but once a month at least! Or shoot for once a week!
  • If you are getting really bored, you can silently be praying for him and blessing him.
  • Wink and flirt occasionally and let him see that YOU ARE A LOT OF FUN TO HAVE AROUND!

That’s your assignment! Give it a try. LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES!!!!  You may even find out that you even enjoy your husband’s passions and that eventually he might even talk a lot with you and you will feel the bonding with him, too.

Praying for intimate, joyful, healthy, vibrant marriages!!!

"MY Man Doesn’t Deserve my Respect!!!!"

If this is how you feel about God’s concept of respecting your husband – YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! You know, probably just about every wife on the planet feels this way at some point in her marriage (or every day in some cases!) And it’s a legitimate statement that husbands don’t always deserve respect from their wives. There is no perfect man on earth. I won’t argue with that one lick! Husbands struggle just as much with the command of God to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. They also think, “You don’t know MY wife! No man on earth could love HER! She’s impossible to please! She’s impossible to understand! She HATES me and doesn’t respect me as a man.” And husbands are absolutely right, too! There is no wife who always deserves love. There is no perfect woman on earth either.

So we are at a terrible stalemate. It kind of sounds like marriage is a recipe for total disaster and torture. Husbands don’t always deserve respect. Wives don’t always deserve love. Men really aren’t made to give selfless love naturally. And women aren’t really designed to give respect naturally. We are all miserably sinful people. When two sinners are married, they will deeply wound one another, misunderstand each other, think the worst of one another, and may eventually declare an all out war on each other – destroying themselves and their children, but not knowing what else to do.

THE SHOCKING TRUTH:

Husbands don’t deserve respect – but THEY NEED IT DESPERATELY!

Wives don’t deserve love – but THEY NEED IT DESPERATELY!

Sometimes when we as women least deserve our husbands’ love is when we most need it. Sometimes when men least deserve our respect as their wives is when it is most critical for us to give it.

IT ONLY WORKS GOD’S WAY

God designed marriage. God gave us commands in marriage – and they aren’t random or extraneous. The commands God gave us are THE ONLY WAY that marriage works!

  • Sex is only for inside the marriage relationship – there is NEVER, EVER an exception.
  • A husband and wife must forsake every other relationship, including their parents, and cling to each other.
  • A husband must love his wife selflessly, putting her needs and interests ahead of his own.
  • A husband IS the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church.
  • A wife must respect her husband.
  • A wife must acknowledge her husband’s God-given authority and headship (leadership) in the marriage and family and cooperate voluntarily with his leadership (unless he asks her to do something wrong).

If we insist on going our own way, we will destroy our marriages and families with our own hands and words. We have much power in our marriages to build each other up and make our spouse’s life heaven, or to devastate and kill our relationship and experience spiritual/emotional/sexual death at our own hands. Doing things by our wisdom and what we or the world think is best or think is right is a guaranteed ticket to pain, loneliness, anger, bitterness, resentment, hatred and suffering for all involved.

If we follow all of these patterns in the way that God prescribes, we will experience marriage to the fullest sexually, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is a process. It won’t happen overnight, necessarily. God’s way is narrow and hard to accept. His way is VERY UNPOPULAR. But God’s narrow, difficult path leads us to holiness and to the most joyful, peaceful, blessed marriage relationship possible between every husband and wife! IT DOESN’T WORK ANY OTHER WAY! God’s way is the only way that leads to real intimacy and a healthy, thriving, beautiful marriage. And His way is the only way that produces godly children and prepares our children for healthy marriages, themselves.

First we have to die to ourselves, our desires, our plans, our thoughts, our wisdom. We need the power of God’s Spirit at work in us. We must humble ourselves before God and seek His face, acknowledging that He knows much better than we do. I must be willing to examine MY OWN contribution to the marriage and I must be willing to repent of every sin on my end. I have to stop looking at my husband’s laundry list of sins and only look at mine. I have to give up my MASSIVE pride and thinking I know best. I must become a diligent student of God’s Word and of what God says my husband needs and not focus on my own needs. I can look to God to meet my needs, and trust Him that He is going to take me and my marriage somewhere beautiful beyond description if I will commit to yielding myself to Him. EVEN IF MY HUSBAND CHANGES NOTHING ABOUT HIMSELF – God will change me, my husband and our marriage and family even if I am the only one who starts out on the path of obedience to God’s Word. Our God is a God of miracles and wonders! He is the loving, all-knowing Creator of the Universe and Designer of marriage. He alone holds the keys to abundant life in marriage.

God is concerned much more with using marriage to make me holy and more Christ-like than He is about my happiness. This is not a popular message in our culture of wanting everything instantly and where our own happiness is ultimate goal. I must be willing to lay down every idol that I have put before God in my life: my pride, my dreams, my goals, my happiness, my wants, my feelings, my money, my career, my health, my resentment, my anger, my bitterness, my grudge-holding, my refusal to forgive, my critical spirit. I must be willing to give up all of that and stop cherishing those things in my heart. And I must be willing to FORGIVE my husband LAVISHLY just as in Christ, God forgave me – or I will not be forgiven myself! I must be willing to embrace humility. I must be willing to give up MY rights. I must be willing to look out for the best for my husband instead of only looking out for myself. I must be willing to be the more spiritually mature one. I must be willing to live out the example of Christ’s love for my husband WITHOUT NAGGING OR PREACHING AT HIM! As I Peter 3 says, I can win my husband “without a word” by the reverence and purity and behavior of my life.

WITHOUT A WORD:

To a woman, there is no more difficult command than NOT TO TALK to our husbands about our faith, God and the Bible when we think our husbands aren’t right with God. (Our insight into our husband’s exact location in his faith can be very faulty, by the way!) The amazing thing is – our behavior is MUCH MORE POWERFUL than our words to our men! Our words, lectures, sermons, preaching, nagging, etc… just push our men away from us AND from God! If my husband believes that I hold contempt for him as a man and don’t respect him spiritually at all, my attitude will likely force him away from God, never to return again. But when my husband sees me serving him and God joyfully without mentioning his faults at all, and he sees me cheerfully accepting his decisions even when I strongly disagree with him, and he sees me putting all my trust in God and in him to work things out for my best… he is going to be DUMBFOUNDED. He will be confused. He will be intrigued. He will marvel at the Holy Spirit working in me to empower me to be pleasant, smiling, friendly, kind, and to admire him in spite of his faults. His own faults will be clearer and clearer to him without my constant rambling about it. Eventually, and it may take many years, he will want what I have! God can use the godly, Spirit-filled, respectful, peaceful, joyful character of a wife to draw a man to Himself. But our silence is pretty important! Our words about God/faith/the Bible must die and leave a respectful, quiet space for our men to hear themselves think and to be able to hear God’s still, small voice.

Precious wife, I know the struggle and the terror of realizing that I was not obeying God about respecting and submitting to my husband. I hurt our marriage deeply with my lack of respect (that I didn’t even notice!) and by me taking over and controlling things that were not rightfully mine to control. I am not speaking from some platform of perfection. But the GREAT NEWS that I want to share with you is that if you are willing to move in faith to obey God in spite of your fears, God can take you to the same beautiful place He has brought me! YOU can be a joyful, peaceful woman with a gentle and quiet spirit that does not give way to fear. YOU can learn to respect your husband – no matter who he is! REALLY!! You can learn to follow your husband and trust God to lead you and your family through this imperfect, sinful man.

God does not ask us to follow our men into sin. He does not ask us to respect what is sinful or unworthy of respect in our men. He does not leave us alone to learn to follow our husbands – this is about my trust in MY BIG GOD. I am ultimately not trusting my husband to lead me, I am trusting God to lead me through the spiritual authority of my husband over me. I believe this is my biggest test of faith as a woman of God! Do I trust God enough to allow Him to lead me through my husband?

Look for things in your husband that you can respect. Talk about those things. Build him up with your words. Give up the criticism, nagging, complaining, whining, correcting, instructing and overwhelming avalanche of negativity – which looks like hatred and contempt to your guy. Smile at your man. Praise him whenever you see him doing something you admire. Look at him with real adoration in your eyes again. Step back and follow his leadership even if and especially when you don’t agree. See what happens. He’ll start taking his decision-making much more seriously. He’ll feel all the weight of responsibility on him, and he will likely seek your opinion. Watch him stand taller as he becomes more confident in his leadership abilities. Watch what God does with his career and with his abilities as a dad and as a husband. God intends to use our respect and admiration to shape our husbands into the godly men God wants them to be! WOW! See if God doesn’t do some MIND BLOWING MIRACLES in your marriage like He has in mine!

Lord,

Help us to be willing to surrender to Your wisdom and Your plan. Help us to commit to obey You even when we don’t agree, can’t understand and are terrified. Give us the faith to live the way You want to. Cleanse us of our own hideous sin and make us godly wives who can bless, build up, encourage and bring joy to our husbands! Let us model godly femininity for our children. Let us model a godly marriage for our children. Empower us by Your Spirit! Let us find the grace, mercy and strength we need at the foot of the cross of Jesus to become the women of Your dreams! Use us to change our homes, our husbands and our nations to honor You and to restore stability, joy, peace and strength to marriages in our homes and in Your church across America and around the world! Let these precious women discover Your adventure for them. Give them courage to step out and follow You in faith! Use them to shine brightly for Christ and to change the world for Your glory – starting with each of our own marriages.

Amen.


%d bloggers like this: