“Giving Up on My Dream for My Marriage”

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This is from the same wife who wrote to me about not pursuing her husband anymore last week. This is what it looks like to painfully tear out our idols by the root and totally surrender to Christ as LORD of ALL.   Here the idols are control, feeling loved in a certain way and romance.  Thankfully, God will not allow us to find contentment in anything but Christ.  Our idols will always disappoint us! This is what it means to die to self and give Jesus full control of our lives.   THIS is the beginning of living in the power of God.  We must come to the place where we can sincerely say about EVERYTHING in our lives, “Not my will, but Your will be done.”   Each wife’s story and journey will look different. For a follow up on how this wife is doing in September, 2014, please check out her update!
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I started on my journey in seeking to become a godly wife in October of 2012.  My husband and I had a horrible fight that ended with angry words on both of our parts and a lot of hurt feelings.  I remember the term that led me to The Peacefulwife’s website was “how to get your husband to lead” because that was something I wanted and needed desperately.
My husband and I have never really had a bad relationship.  We are both Christians.  We deeply love each other.  We are strong in our commitment to each other.  But things still weren’t on the right balance and it could be felt by both of us and in our home.  We were not where we needed to be to have a godly marriage… and we are still very much in process.
There was no question I was disrespectful. 
  • I rolled my eyes at him.
  • I used a tone.
  • I insulted his income.
  • I said things in front of people that were unkind.
  • I called the shots.
  • I kept him in line.  Although, he wasn’t lining up so great for me

and I am not proud of any of these things.

Ever the do-er, I dove right in to work.  I would fix it!  After all, all I really had to do was stop the disrespectful things, right?
But I did not fully get the depth of what I was doing.  And because of that, I grew overwhelmed.  I was trying all the right steps, why weren’t things happening?  Don’t misunderstand; things did improve somewhat.

But the total renovation that I read about happening to Peacefulwife and other wives who did this was not happening for this girl. 

My heart was truly wanting to do the right thing.  But I hadn’t *hit* where I needed to hit to truly make the change.  It was like I was trying to work a 5000 piece puzzle with only 2000 of the pieces.  Every now and then I would get a glimpse of how beautiful it could be but I didn’t have all the pieces I needed to get that picture.
I was still feeling lonely and neglected by my husband.  He still wasn’t responding to me very well, although I was making lots of practical steps toward respecting him.  I did a lot of things right.  While I didn’t completely stop being disrespectful, I cut a lot of it out.
  • I turned a lot of decisions over to my husband.
  • I tried to focus on building him up.
(From Peacefulwife –  when our husbands don’t change when we start to learn respect and biblical submission, we can get REALLY disappointed.  This is a flag to check our motives.  Our motives HAVE to be ONLY to please God – not to change our husbands.  This can also be a flag to look for deeper layers of unintentional disrespect and control.  It ALL has to go!)
Here I was, trying to be the best wife I could be and I didn’t think he cared at all what kind of husband he was being.  He seemed selfish and tuned out.  Then he made a choice that hurt me very deeply.  Were there worse things that could have happened in our marriage?  Certainly.  But for me, it was the last brick that finally broke down the load I was carrying.  I just could not carry it anymore.  I remember thinking this thought, in my heart for at least a couple of years before I finally hit “My Breaking Point”…

“I am so tired of fighting for him!  I have done nothing but fight for his attention and to be his priority for ALL of our marriage.”

I felt absolutely exhausted from that fight.
  • I had given it my all.
  • I had tried everything to win.
  • I wanted to win.
  • I NEEDED to win.
  • It was VERY, VERY important to me that my husband show me and everyone else in the world how much I mattered to him.

I did not win.

I waved the white flag.

I.  LET.  GO.

Not because I made the mature choice and saw that my behavior was not pleasing to God.  I wish I could tell you that was the reason.  It wasn’t.  That came a bit later.  No.  I let go because it was too painful to try to hold him any longer.  I just hit a point where  I could not fight for him to love me any longer.  He always HAS loved me.  But he hasn’t always loved me in the way that *I* wanted.  Which is what I was fighting for.

This is not something you can just decide to do.  This is something that you have to HIT.

I told my husband this very clearly that

I would no longer try to make him show me how much he cared about me. 

If he didn’t do it from the heart, it didn’t count anyway, did it?  What satisfaction is there in buffaloing your husband into doing something you want him to do when you know deep down that you pushed him into it?
As I let go of him, I thought about what this  truly meant.
  • It meant I would no longer pursue him to get him to pursue me.
  • It meant that the ball was in his court.
  • If he wanted to play ball, I am up for it but I will not make the first move.
  • I handed him control of our relationship.
  • I finally understood what Peacefulwife meant when she said she had to grow content in a season of waiting because this meant I was going to wait on my husband until he was ready to make a moveAnd if he didn’t, we would sit here.
I did this lovingly.
There was directness but no harshness.

 I made a decision that I would continue to meet his needs even if he didn’t mine.  That was not easy because that was unselfish which is not something I was very closely acquainted with.

Although I still had the love of my life, what I did not have was the fantasy marriage (the idol) I wanted and had fought for, for so very long.

I let that fantasy die. 

I cannot tell you it was not painful.  It was, heart wrenchingly so.  In fact, I am crying just thinking about this.  But that fantasy was not good for me.  It only brought me pain. 

Letting go of that fantasy also brought me some good things.  Life giving and healing things.

  • Peacefulness in myself
  • Security regardless of what my husband does or does not do.
  • An ability to see things more clearly.
  • An ability to find God in a totally new way.
  • I got a few more puzzle pieces to work with.

I did not get that when I tried to make him give me what I needed that I was using another form of control.  

In what I am learning about men- and my knowledge is very limited at this point-  the surest way NOT to get what I wanted was to push for it.  

My husband may never choose to meet my needs.

Perhaps he will.

This really isn’t about that at all.

This is about me

  • hitting the point where I could not go on living in such an unhealthy way any longer.
  • saying, “Lord, my husband belongs to you.  You take him and work with Him.  You are far better equipped than I.”
  • realizing how little control I actually had.
  • realizing just how tiny I am and how big God is.  I am just a little ant in his great big world.
  • realizing that although my husband and I are joined by marriage, I do not own him.
  • seeing God show me how much work there is to do in ME.
  • realizing that it is okay to focus on ME and my relationship with God and let my husband have his own process.
For me, this was not a joyful experience.
No.
This was an experience where I had to reach a point where I tearfully, brokenly handed my marriage to God and said,

“Lord, I cannot do this any longer. 

Please take this because it is too heavy for me. 

Take all of my expectations of my husband and

all of my hurts and unfulfilled dreams because

they are too painful to carry any longer. 

I pray someday you bless our marriage with the things

You know I have wanted so desperately

but even if You never, ever do,

I can’t do this without You any longer

I need You to help me.

I need You to do the changing and fixing in our marriage. 

I am not equipped to do it and I am sorry I ever, ever tried. 

I pray You work with both of us. 

And start with me.” 

That was a hard place to be and a hard thing to say.  My heart was so broken accepting that the things I have waited on and wanted so desperately may never be a reality.

  • I had to get to where I could go on EVEN if my worst fears happened. 
  • I had to get to a place where I realized that I never really had any control at all.  At best, what I had was some sinful tools of manipulation and guilt to try to get my way.
  • I had to get to a place where I let go of my husband and got ahold of myself again.  Where I could realize that the only person I could change was myself.
While there are still some hurts in my heart and still some things God and I have left to work through, I can tell you that

This is a much more peaceful way to live.  Trying to control my husband and the outcome of everything in our marriage was exhausting.  Resting in myself and my relationship with God is refreshing.

I do not know what the future holds.  I see some little sprigs of hope springing up.
  • I see my husband beginning to stand taller.
  • I see my husband beginning to search for his wife now that she is not following his every step.

I am hopeful good things are coming.  I have to trust that this is for my ultimate good.  Since I am a child of God I believe that anything that happens to me is FOR my good or He would not allow it.  I felt frustrated and overwhelmed when I first started out to become a godly wife because I didn’t have all of the puzzle pieces yet.  I may not have them all now.  I don’t know.  My puzzle isn’t finished.  But I have more than I did have and the picture is becoming clearer.

Blessings to you.
Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. 
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it.  
Luke 9:23-24
FOLLOW UP:
To see how A Fellow Wife (the author of this post) is doing 3 years into her journey, and what she wishes she could tell herself 3 years ago, check out this post!

“Why is the TV More Important to My Husband than I am?????”

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From a precious wife and sister in Christ:
Dear April,
I just read today’s blog on (not) pursuing your husband and I never really thought of it that way.

That was me.

I remember standing in front of the television, more than once, demanding that my husband spend time with me and the kids.
  • I begged the Lord to blow the tv up
  • I was tempted more than once to cut the cords on the roof.
  • I would beg him to love me and get mad when he didn’t.
  • I would even cry on his shoulder while he watched the ball game….and ask if he still loved me and why the game was more important to him than me.

He would tell me, “You can’t demand my time when and if you want it.”

I thought he was being soooo selfish and prideful.  I never thought I was being disrespectful with my words…it seemed to me just a normal request and I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t give in to my common sense demands and he was the one that had to be so controlling.  It seemed to go in a cycle for me..  I would do really well for a week or two giving him over to the Lord, and then bang I would just have to say something… If I didn’t, who would?  Then we would go through the cycle all over again.

He looked at it as an attack on his character, I looked at it as a lack of love.  

I spent many hours and days in prayer begging God to wake my husband up to his responsibilities…. not really seeing the sin in my own life.  I had great expectations of how our marriage was suppose to be, I couldn’t understand why my husband would choose to live in a cave and not come out and be a part of my life.  Wow, if I would have know this then…I wonder how things would have been different.  I really thought he was the one in the wrong…...

If he was just more loving I would be happy.

The only way I could keep my heart from hurting again was to harden it and act like I didn’t care…..I think I was just plain exhausted:
  • trying to make him love me
  • trying to be his Holy Spirit
  • trying to make him into the “perfect husband”

I just gave up trying.   It didn’t work anyway, so why bother?  I think that was a good thing and a bad thing….good I wasn’t disrespecting him with my words anymore, but bad because I wasn’t doing any good either.  With this kind of relationship we were really like roommates, not really connecting on any kind of level.

So now is the hard part….undoing all the damage that had been done over the years, showing him love, admiration, respect, and rebuilding his trust and his confidence as a man.

I have been slowly giving him room to lead and sharing with him how truly much I appreciate and love him.

It had been a long time since I have asked him to spend time with me….as I said, I was just tired of feeling rejected and not knowing why he had withdrawn from me was driving me crazy. But now seeing the real reason, I am being more careful as to how and when I ask.
Just an example of how God is working, my husband was sitting in his easy chair the other night, so

I sat down next to him on the couch I said, “Hi, Hon, it looks like you had a hard day at work, can I rub your shoulders or get you anything to drink?”  

Simple I know, but he actually got up took me by the hand and walked me into the bedroom.  Hmmm…  I didn’t realize we would have to go that far 🙂 but I was thankful that he chose to sacrifice his time for me.  Although, I really didn’t do it for that reason, I did it because I just wanted to bless him as you mentioned in an earlier email.  Time together was just frosting on that cake you mentioned:)
I know it is a long road ahead….it’s hard to change old habits, but I thank you for the way that you minister to my heart.  I read your blogs daily and am learning so much.
The Lord continue to bless you richly for His honor and glory,

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

WOW.

I could have written the part about the tv at the top.  ALMOST EVERY WORD.

Greg and I read this together and laughed so hard because THAT WAS ME!  THAT WAS WHAT I USED TO DO!

  • I used to beg Greg to turn off the tv.
  • I prayed for God to break all the tvs.  Seriously.
  • I thought TV and football were idols for my husband.
  • I thought if I could throw the TVs (and later the computer) out the window, that my husband would love me again and want to be with me like he used to!
  • I would cry because the TV was “more important to him than I was.”
  • Then I would stomp off to another room and cry even more… and then I would be even more disgusted with my “unloving” husband for not coming in to check on me.  MORE EVIDENCE that I didn’t matter to him whatsoever, right?

I had no idea it was my disrespect and controlling, smothering, angry, critical, condemning, self-righteous, negative, complaining, arguing attitude that repelled him.   It kind of blows my mind now that I couldn’t see this for so long, but…

The real problem in my marriage, was not the TV, it was ME!?!??!!?!?!  YIKES!

Before I got married, I was always with my twin sister, or with our college roommates – who were girls, of course.  We would sit and talk and talk and bond for hours every day.  I thought when Greg and I got married that once we were both home from work, we would be talking face to face and connecting from supper time until time to turn out the light every night.  You know,  for 5-6 hours every day, I figured we would talk and connect.  Why on earth wouldn’t we do that if we could?

Guess what?

My expectations and my husband’s expectations were NOT THE SAME!

Men don’t tend to bond by talking and emotional connection the way women often do.  They bond more by doing things shoulder to shoulder – often without talking.  In fact, sometimes, it is possible for them to get a bit overloaded with too much talking.

Kind of shocking, isn’t it?

AND – in His Brain, Her Brain by Dr. Walt Larimore MD, the author (a Christian neurologist) talks about how different men’s brains are from women’s and how they need a few hours per day to just relax and recharge.  Our brains are not like that.  But this helps them prepare for another long day of work ahead.  They are not made to go full speed all the time.  They need to rest some.  Honestly, we could probably benefit from a bit of rest, too. 🙂

It’s really important to figure out that MEN ARE NOT WOMEN!!!!  THEY ARE VERY, VERY DIFFERENT from us.  They are not wrong.  They are just different.  That has to be ok!

IF IT WERE UP TO ME:

We wouldn’t have a TV in our house.  I don’t turn the TV on when I am home by myself.

But, now, I trust that if God wants us not to have a TV or wants Greg not to watch so much TV – He is able to work on my husband’s heart.  That is the job of the Holy Spirit.  I can ask for what I want (usually once), then I trust that God is perfectly capable of speaking to my husband and working in his heart without my “help.”

I have my own obedience to God and my own capturing-every-thought-for-Christ, and listening to His voice about MY attitudes/motives/behaviors to do that keeps me plenty busy.

WHAT I DID AT FIRST:

When I first saw my sin – my disrespect, my control, my idolatry, my pride, my self-righteousness, my selfishness, my neediness (see my About page)… I withdrew from everyone (after repenting to Greg and all of the adults in our extended family for my disrespect and control towards them) for awhile and poured myself into repenting before God and seeking Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and spent hours every day reading, studying and trying to understand God’s design for femininity, for marriage, for masculinity and what it meant to respect and submit.

  • I would often quietly sit beside Greg and read.  Lots of times, I would have to leave the room to cry about what God was revealing to me.  But I would sit, take notes, highlight, read and re-read – I was DETERMINED to learn what God wanted me to learn.  I wanted my husband to feel like “the most respected husband on the planet”!

I didn’t have a godly mentor.  I didn’t have a spiritually mature, godly wife to help me and explain things to me.  If you do have some support system like that – a godly wife who understands these things and can meet with you once a week or so, that would be amazing!

  • It was just God, me, the Bible and about 30 books in 2.5 years.  It was kind of like I was studying to get a college degree in godly femininity and being a godly wife.

When I felt lonely, I would read books like For Women Only (Shaunti Feldhahn) and His Brain, Her Brain (Dr Walt Larimore MD) and try to learn about God’s design for masculinity.  It made me feel so much closer to Greg to be able to begin to understand men’s perspective on life.

At first, I was really quiet.  (The Frustrating Quiet Phase)  That was the first step toward learning discretion and wisdom.  Stop saying the foolish, disrespectful, sinful things.  Eventually, I began to be able to add saying positive things, encouragement, genuine praise… and I began to understand how to use my words to build up my husband and give life to him, instead of using my words to destroy.  It was like learning a new language!  It was very awkward and foreign feeling for a long time.

I personally, also did something that probably seems radical today.  You can read about it on this post if you want to.  It helped me SO much.

WHAT I DO NOW:

If I want time with Greg, I will…

  • sit by him on the bed (or join him while he works on a  project)  while he watches TV in a CHEERFUL, PLEASANT way.  I don’t pressure him to talk.  I enjoy being beside him.  Lots of times, he will play with my hair while I sit beside him.  I savor those moments.  It’s my favorite time of the day!  I just show up, join him in what he is doing and appreciate him being with me.  I know that this is seriously awesome bonding time for him – that helps make me feel like it is bonding time for me, too.
  • offer to get him a drink or snack.
  • say, “Honey, I would love it if you could hold me for about 10 minutes and just listen to me for a little while whenever it’s a good time for you.  Thanks!”
  • if I want to talk with him as I sit beside him, I will say in a friendly voice with a smile, “Hey, Honey, would this be a good time for me to talk with you?”
  • walk through the room where he is and give him a hug and a kiss with a big smile, then continue on doing my chores or whatever it is I am doing.
  • just go lay down beside him and cuddle with him.  I’m always welcome now. 🙂
  • really, at this point, I can have a deep talk with him about things almost any time.  All I have to do is ask respectfully.  We talk for a long time now, almost every night.  Yes, the TV is usually on.  But we are able to have really deep, amazing discussions together and I LOVE IT!
  • sometimes, Greg will actually turn off the TV himself and give me all of his attention now.
  • sometimes, I will ask if there is a time where we could turn off the TV and just enjoy each other for awhile – and Greg is almost always fine with that, now!

Sometimes – he actually pursues me now!

  • When he does, I enjoy it!
  • When he doesn’t, I’m fine.  God has taught me to be able to be gracious when I get a lot of attention and also when I don’t.  Totally a God thing.

He comes looking for me many times if I am not in bed by 10:00 and asks,

“Are you about done?  I want to spend some time with you!”   WOW!

This is the same man who used to shut down and totally ignore me when I was acting controlling, disrespectful, clingy, needy and demanding!

Sometimes, he literally sweeps me off my feet and carries me to the bedroom.  Yes.  Really.

That NEVER EVER happened when I was smothering him and demanding attention and affection.

The key is – I do what I do to please and honor God – not to change my husband or get certain “results.”  I leave my husband to God, and I focus on Christ and my relationship with Him.

RELATED:

Stop Pursuing Him in the Wrong Ways  Youtube video

Why Men Sometimes Need Space Youtube video (6 minutes)

If I am Right, but Don’t Have Love and Respect, then I am Wrong in All the Ways that Matter Most

Praying for Your Husband so that God Will Hear

How Men Process Emotions

A Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions

More Men’s Emotions

How Do Men Think?

“I’m Going to Stop Pursuing My Husband” (in the wrong ways)

I am not an expert, a certified counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor.  My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules or guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him, to seek His wisdom in the Bible and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not.
NOTE – I write specifically for wives who tend to have strong Type A personalities. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that some of my blog posts may not be a good fit for them that are written more for the Type A wives. If you are a more passive wife with a more dominating husband or if your husband is abusing you, please check out my recommendations at the bottom of the post. This post is not about an abusive husband.

Today’s post is from a Fellow Wife who is determined to stop demanding things from her husband, expecting him to be totally responsible for her happiness, idolizing him, and to learn to give him space and allow him to make his own choices without trying to make him choose to give her attention, affection, phone calls, emails, texts, etc… We are not talking about giving him the cold shoulder, being bitter, resenting him, giving up on the marriage, giving up on loving and respecting our husbands here.

This is about stopping ourselves from attempting to force our husbands to give us the attention, love and affection we want. It is about stopping trying to control our husbands in an unhealthy way. I am not saying “don’t ever say what you need or want.” 

It is important to respectfully say what you need and want – you can check out yesterday’s post about that. But we might only say what we want once – not 200 times. And this is about being able to graciously accept the times when our husband cannot or will not meet our needs – and how we can find strength in Christ and depend on Him and find total acceptance, love, purpose, peace, joy, strength and our identity in Him alone.
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FROM A FELLOW WIFE:
In my ever analytical, think on paper mind, I have made up some goals going forward with my husband…. I want to share them and ask if you have any to add or any suggestions?
What I really mean I am going to do (a concrete plan of action) when I say I have quit trying to force him to show me his feelings for me…
GOALS/PLAN–(In no particular order)–:
  • Stop calling him so often. (Limit calls to when issues are immediate/letting him know about the kids & I after dr apps.)
  • Stop asking him every day after work, “So, did you think of me today while you were at work?” (Like I had been doing.)
  • Allow him the time and space to be affectionate and sexual instead of pressuring him constantly.
  • Tell him when I would like to go out and leave it open for him to take it from there/respond in his own way.
  • Give him more time and space overall… pulling back a bit can draw him to me. (“Men respond to distance, not words” –  a quote by Bob Grant.). Allow my distance to speak rather than my words.
  • Remember that it is not healthy for me to pursue him for either me or our marriage. Remember it should be him pursuing me. Give him that chance.
  • Not talk about this subject with him anymore unless he asks me questions or brings it up. I said I was done, so be done. When I feel hurt or overwhelmed, choose to pray about it instead and ask God to work on him, me & our marriage.
  • Stop fishing or hinting for compliments.
  • Not expect my husband to be Christ to me – to see disappointment in him as a flag that I may have my husband as an idol.
  • Allow him to choose to be with me or not when the kids and I cannot attend church events or family functions due to illnesses. Let go of this and do not try to demand for him to stay with us.
  • Stop trying to prove to his family how much he loves me & stop trying to push him into showing it. This only makes me look insecure. Instead, give him the space to show it and it will mean MUCH more when he does. They will get the point MUCH better that way.
  • Continue to try to meet his needs, be a respectful wife, and be grateful for any effort I see.
  • Realize and remember that anything negative his family does has more to do with them than me. That speaks of THEIR personal problems and issues and is not my problem.
  • Remember that no matter how his family acts, they cannot and will not change the fact that he deeply loves me.
I realize that I will fall short at times but having a list of GOALS that I am working toward is helpful to me… I know I am so type A, but this is how I function best.
——————
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Here are some of my thoughts for whatever they are worth…
This is a REALLY important part of dying to self. It is PAINFUL!!!!!! It feels like you will never get what you want and need from your husband if you can’t constantly tell him what you want and need.

But verbal pressure does not usually motivate men!

If I am frequently insisting on my husband sending me emails/texts/messages, calling me, giving me affection, giving me attention, having intimacy with me physically – I put him in a lose/lose situation.
His two choices are:
1. Disrespect himself by “submitting” to me.
2. Refuse to do what I demand, look like a “jerk” and risk my unhappiness.
A man will usually see that even if he did what his wife insists that he do this time, she will not be satisfied for long. After awhile, he gives up trying to make his wife happy. It seems completely impossible. She seems to be a black hole of insatiable needs. (This is true especially when a wife has her husband as an idol and expects him to be responsible for her joy, happiness, contentment, emotions and purpose in life instead of depending on Christ for those things.)
Something in a man just won’t allow him to be told what to do or ordered around. He won’t respond well to demands. No grown adult would, really. God designed the husband to be the leader and the wife to honor the husband’s leadership. Not the other way around.
Also, he knows that if he does what she wants, just because she told him to, his actions are meaningless. A man wants to do loving things for his wife because he wants to do them, not because she kept telling him to do them.
  • It is not that a husband in this position doesn’t care about his wife or love her. The issue is that he needs some space to breathe and he needs less verbal pressure so that he can do what he believes is best on his own. He has to be able to choose to love her his way. He has to be able to have the freedom to have his God-given free will, just like everyone needs to have.

I have heard it said, “The only thing worse than a man you can’t control, is a man you can control.”

Now, I am actually really thankful my husband wouldn’t bend to my demands earlier in our marriage. He has a backbone and convictions. Those are good things for a leader to have – to refuse to cave when he doesn’t believe something is right.
THIS IS WHERE A WIFE MUST FACE HER DEEPEST FEARS:
  • What if he really doesn’t love me and never talks to me, touches me, emails me or even stays in the same room with me again?
  • If I don’t constantly tell him what I need and want, how will he know what I want?
  • He doesn’t really care about making me happy at all – now my backing away is just going to prove how unloving he is.
  • I have to give up on my dream marriage if I don’t try to make it work right. I may lose everything that matters to me if I stop trying to control things.

GOOD NEWS:

What most wives don’t realize is – when they take their emotional hands off of their husbands’ emotional throats – and they calm down and just wait – THAT is pretty attractive to most husbands. A calm, gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear attracts God and husbands.

No, there is no guarantee that your husband will be more loving if you stop trying to control him. But – if you continue to try to control him, I can guarantee you he won’t be more loving! God’s way works. He has wisdom that is infinitely higher than our own. 🙂

Men respond much better to respect and a joyful, cooperative attitude, than angry demands.

I know my husband sure does!

UNDERSTANDING A HUSBAND’S LOVE

Many wives do not realize that a husband’s love is usually pretty stable and constant. Unless he leaves, or is cheating, or actively saying, “I don’t love you anymore,” most husbands’ love remains pretty constant day after day. Most husbands don’t understand why wives seem to need so much reassurance of their love. They believe they are showing love by providing for the family, being there, being faithful, doing things to help their wives and children. Words don’t always mean a lot to men. They often try to show their love through actions.

When I began to understand my husband’s concept of love, I was able to just rest in the knowledge of his love – even without constant words of affirmation and assurance. But also, I put my primary trust and faith in Jesus and rest in His love and peace – so I can be unshaken.

DYING TO SELF IS PAINFUL. TEARING OUT IDOLS IS PAINFUL.

This is a difficult part of the journey – where we must lay down all of our dreams, our wisdom, our plans, our desires, our marriage, our husbands, our future, our happiness… and lay it on the altar before Jesus. We must be willing to give up what we want so much – the things we have wanted more than we wanted Jesus. And it is time to seek His will, His wisdom, His plans, His desires, His priorities and hold everything loosely so that He can give and take whatever He sees is best.

Will we trust God? Or will we continue to trust self – which is idolatry?

It is a pivotal question in our spiritual lives and our marriages. One we may have to ask more than once per day.

Is God really big enough to meet my needs and take care of me if I trust Him? Is He sovereign enough?

These are questions we must each wrestle through on our own. I am glad to talk with you and encourage you and pray for you as you wrestle through these difficult issues and decide for yourself whether God is worthy of your trust, worship, adoration and total submission to His Lordship or not.

I promise – there is no peace apart from trusting Christ with ALL.

POST SCRIPT 2017 –

This wife and her husband are closer than ever now and have a much stronger marriage than ever before. The issues she discussed in this post have been resolved. He is much more affectionate now. She doesn’t have to beg for attention. He has drawn much nearer to her and has been so protective of her since she has given up control and has shown him honor and respect. It has been amazing to watch the Lord slowly heal this marriage.

SHARE:
I’d love to hear from some wives who have been through this part of the journey and what they realized they needed to stop and what they started doing differently and what happened.
And I would love to hear from some husbands who might better be able to explain how unpalatable it is for a wife to demand attention and affection. I’d also love to hear what kinds of things a wife might do that would be endearing to her husband and that would draw him to her.
Thanks, y’all! 🙂
OTHER POSTS FROM A FELLOW WIFE:
RELATED:
To see how A Fellow Wife is doing in August of 2015 – and what she wishes the new her could tell her old 2012 self, please click here.
FOR MORE PASSIVE WIVES WITH MORE DOMINATING/CONTROLLING HUSBANDS:
Posts by Radiant may be a good fit.
FOR WIVES WHOSE HUSBANDS ARE ABUSING THEM:
If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! My blog is not written specifically for wives whose husbands are dangerous, unhinged, not in their right minds, actively addicted to drugs/alcohol, etc… I would encourage wives in such situations to seek counsel in person if at all possible by someone very experienced with that particular issue.

To Tell… or Not to Tell?

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Deciding whether or not to tell your husband about what God is teaching you about respect, biblical submission and becoming a godly wife is an important, and sometimes tricky, decision.

My prayer is that you will hear God’s voice and obey Him.  I also pray that every word I share might be in total alignment with God’s Word  – but I ask you to always compare anything I say or anything anyone else says with the Bible before you accept it.  If you see me say something that does not line up with God’s Word, please call me out on it.  I only want to exalt Christ – I don’t ever want to detract from His wisdom and His Word.

WHAT FITS BEST WILL DEPEND ON YOUR SITUATION, YOUR MARRIAGE and YOUR HUSBAND:

  1. If your husband is far from God, then I Peter 3:1-6 is your primary directive from God about how to handle this situation.

3 Wives, in the same way (as all believers are to submit to government authorities and believing slaves are to submit to their masters in Peter 2) submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wiveswhen they see the purity and reverence of your lives.Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet (stilled or peaceful) spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

If your husband “does not believe the Word” or “is disobedient to the Word” then

God tells you very plainly –

WORDS about spiritual things won’t work on your husband right now.

Avoid talking about spiritual things to your husband because that is NOT the way to influence him for Christ.  Husbands who are far from God don’t need our lecturing, nagging, preaching and verbal beating over the head – in fact, the more we try to verbally drag them and force them towards God and towards us, the more they will run the other way!

Our husbands need to see our behavior, our attitude, our respect and the way we live holy lives in front of them constantly in the power of God’s Spirit.  The thing that will most profoundly draw a husband to Jesus is his wife’s cooperative attitude with his God-given authority (if he is not asking her to blatantly sin), her genuine respect for him as a man (of anything that is good in him), and the power of the fruit of the Spirit in her life.

I have seen many wives decide to tell their unbelieving husband about doing The Respect Dare or about what they are learning – but the problem is that an unsaved husband doesn’t have spiritual wisdom to discern the things of God.  He will not understand what you are doing or why.  It may even turn him off to God.

An unsaved husband cannot understand the concepts of dying to self, picking up our cross daily to kill our own pride and sinful nature and to live in the new self in Christ.  That is foolishness to an unbelieving man.  (These things also apply to extended family members.  Other people may not support what you are doing, that is going to have to be ok.  Some of them may even think you have joined a “cult” because you want to respect your husband and allow him to lead you and you aren’t doing what they want you to do anymore.  It can be tough! But you have a covenant with your husband, not with your parents, siblings or friends.  Do Not Expect Outside Support.)

What WILL impact him is when his wife:

  • forgives freely
  • extends grace and mercy that is completely undeserved by him
  • believes in him and sees the best in him
  • desires to trust him or to learn to trust him
  • has supernatural peace instead of being freaked out and anxious all the time
  • has faith in the sovereignty of God to lead her through her husband, though he is a sinner
  • repays evil with good
  • approaches him with respect
  • sees and focuses on the good things that are in him
  • loves him with a I Corinthians, unconditional agape love and respects him just because he is her husband and she wants to honor God
  • is vulnerable, clearly asking for what she needs and clearly saying how she feels and what she wants without any manipulation
  • seeks to respect him and honor him only to please God NOT to change him or control him (SUPER IMPORTANT POINT!)
  • appreciates the things he does for her
  • learns to understand his masculine heart and needs
  • is able to empathize with him
  • acts like she is on his team instead of like she (and God) are his enemies
  • builds him up with her words and actions
  • is joyfully available to him sexually (unless he is involved in infidelity or something equally significant and is unrepentant)
  • understands he may need time to think about his decisions – doesn’t pressure or rush him
  • assumes he has good motives towards her, not evil motives

SOME HUSBANDS EXPECT TOO MUCH:

Sometimes, when a wife shares all that she is learning – a husband will suddenly hold her to perfection in the whole respect and biblical submission thing.   Respect is a concept that comes easily to most men, and they don’t understand the spiritual and emotional contortion that is involved in unlearning decades of “the wrong way of thinking, speaking and acting” and learning all of God’s ways.  Most husbands do not realize all that is involved in tearing out the sinful nature, dying to self, recognizing and repenting of all idols, pride and sin, and what is involved in God completely renovating our hearts and regenerating our spirits.  It is not usually an instant thing.  This is the process of sanctification.  Some husbands get really upset once their wives begin to learn about respect and biblical submission and talk about it – and then mess up.  In fact, sometimes they get MORE upset about disrespect and controlling behavior once their wives have repented and said they want to be respectful than they did before.

The thing is, especially at first, you will stumble sometimes.  You will fall and then you have to get back up, repent to God and your husband, learn what you can from your mistake and keep going towards the goal of becoming the woman God wants you to be.  Ideally, a husband would offer plenty of grace and encouragement to his wife as she struggles to grow and learn.  But not all husbands are at that place spiritually to be able to extend mercy and grace yet.

SOME WIVES WANT AFFIRMATION THAT THEIR HUSBANDS CANNOT GIVE THEM

It is REALLY hard not to want your husband to notice all you are doing.  You will want him to tell you that you are doing so much better when you don’t ream him out for something that you usually would have given him a lot of grief about.

Keep in mind you are seeking to please Christ.  That is THE GOAL.  You are not trying to change your husband or make him love you more or feel more loved yourself.  This is a hard thing to let go of  – wanting our husband to notice what we are doing and praise us.  But it is something we have to let go during this process of dying to self.

I have a post about it linked at the bottom of this post.

IN THE BEGINNING, WE MUST USE  GREAT CAUTION IN WHAT WE SAY – we may still not have a handle on what is disrespectful/respectful yet.

It is VERY possible, maybe even probable, that in the beginning of this journey, a wife might inadvertently explain what she is learning in a way that is disrespectful!  A wife who is just learning about respect and disrespect, is prone to say things like:

  • So, I’m learning that I have to respect you even though you don’t deserve it at all.
  • God wants me to follow you as the leader in this marriage even though you make a lot of really bad decisions.
  • I’m supposed to not say anything when I think you are doing something really stupid.
  • I actually don’t respect you, but I want you to love me more, so I am going to try to act like I respect you from now on, but it is going to be really hard for me to do that.

I hope that you are able to see that these kinds of comments are HUGE, HUGE disrespect and that if a wife says something like this, she just caused MASSIVE damage to her intimacy with her husband and the unity of the marriage.  I really don’t want to see that happen!

IF YOU AREN’T SURE IF WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY/WRITE IS RESPECTFUL, CHECK WITH ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO!   Leave me a comment.  I will be glad to look at what you want to say and do my best to check it for inadvertent disrespect or control.  Ultimately, what matters most is not my opinion – but God’s wisdom.

2. If your husband is very close to Christ – you may have more freedom to share details of this journey.

  • The closer your husband is to God, the more his godly leadership can help you on this road
  • The closer your husband is to God, the more you can probably tell him and he may be able to help guide you through some of these difficult areas

WHAT DID I PERSONALLY DO?

I apologized for my disrespect as soon as I was aware of it in December of 2008.  And as I learned more and more things I had done that were controlling and disrespectful, I apologized.  But I did not go into detail about all the horrible things I used to think about my husband and how hard it was to learn to drop the criticizing, negativity, lecturing, bossing, insulting, etc…  I also did not talk about how foreign and awkward it felt to try to say positive things.  I didn’t talk about all the negative things I wanted to say as I was learning to stop the disrespect.  I apologized when I messed up.  I got back up and sought God with all my heart.   Much later, I talked with my husband about what was happening and what God was teaching me – as I began to teach other women – at his request.

But my husband only saw the changes on the outside – he didn’t know what was happening on the inside.  For his perspective, check out this post – When She Surrendered.

RELATED:

The Frustrating Quiet Phase

I Want Some Affirmation from My Husband!

Taking the First Brave Step Toward Peace

Peacefulwife Videos on Youtube

God Understands Why Men Don’t Respond to Words

The Visit

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This wife’s husband has been separated from her for some time.   He comes to visit their son, and visits her as well.  Last week they had a visit that was unlike any other in the past.  What an inspiration!!!!  THANK YOU to this precious wife and sister in Christ for her willingness to share.  There are COUNTLESS nuggets of treasure in this email.  I pray that you might be able to glean all of them, my precious sisters in Christ!
I encourage each of you to abide in Christ and to look to God’s Spirit to be your ultimate Counselor!  His wisdom is true and pure.  His ways are good.  There is no evil in Him.  Compare everything that people say to God’s Word and only embrace what stands the test of Scripture.
Please keep in mind that each wife and each marriage is unique.  There is no standard timetable of how God works.  Many factors play into that.   Some husbands may take months or even a year or more to respond to the changes God is making in their wives.  Rarely, some husbands never respond.  The results and timing have to be up to God.  Our job is to seek Him and love Him with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to obey Him in all things:
——————————————————
Well, dh left a few hours ago – and your advice, thoughts and CERTAINLY your prayers were with me throughout the entire visit. He came yesterday and the visit was different from all the others, because this time I had … guidance — there have been a “few” OK visits in the past, but then I felt stifled by not doing/saying what I wanted to do…….. Now I feel empowered, to “choose” to say/act the way that pleases God — it is not about me. 
I kept repeating stuff in my head… like –
– Die to your flesh
– Live in the now (one of my favorites from you!!!)
– Do not focus on what is wrong, focus on what is good
– Tell him how happy you are that he is here
– Tell him how appreciative you are of the things he has done
– You wish things were different, but EVERYTHING that is good for you, must be according to God’s will/time/plan
– Make him feel happy here
– Leave all the “issues” to God
The Holy Spirit has to talk to him.  You are NOT his Holy Spirit!
– Focus on doing the right thing for God — not for dh
These are just a few of the things that kept playing in my head. It is really not on my own strength that I was able to be this “renewed” person.

Usually, when he comes I use it as an opportunity to tell him how I feel. I try to talk about the way his choices have hurt me, my despair, how he is wrong etc. and I go on and on. All I could focus on was the fact that my marriage was CERTAINLY not what I wanted to be, it is not what God wants it to be and how blind dh was.

This attitude surely was not one that would help to bring a lost soul to his senses.
This time,  I met him with a friendly hug, and helped him pack the grocery items he bought for us. He likes to buy groceries and cook for us. He always has…. He tries to get my favorite food that I do not usually get a chance to eat. I was just calm, sweet spirited and nice to him. I tried not to “crowd” him and I acted in a way that showed that I understood he was here to see our son and not me. He seemed relaxed by my attitude and he talked with me a lot…just casual talk. He was not “tense” as he usually was, when he was aware that any moment I could start talking about how he destroyed our family.
It was then time for him to take our son shopping for back-to-school clothes, and he asked if I was not getting ready. (Usually I would have already stated that I “wanted” to join them!). I told him I was not planning to go because I know it was a time for him to spend time shopping with our son.  He said no, I should join them. I did, and we had a marvelous time, laughing at the terrible taste our son had, and being thankful we could help him choose clothes, because his choices were crazy.

I expressed my gratitude to him for everything………and told him how happy I was for the things he bought, the way he loves to cook for us, and how happy I was to be invited to join them.

I made sure he knew that I was more than happy to make dinner if he was tired. He just wanted to.  We had dinner and talked about business we have out of town. Later we went to bed — separately (but we were under the same roof – thank God for that!)
AN IMPORTANT THING I DID
We own a house out of town…. for all the years since we have been here, I have been the one to deal with everything! Tenant issues, mortgage payments, maintenance stuff etc. “I” have also been thinking of selling the house in another year or so. Well, I told him that I “can’t” (not won’t) manage it anymore, and I would be so happy if he could take it over for me because it is so much. (I had briefly told him of this intention to let him take “control” of this, about 2 days earlier on the phone). It was his pleasure!!! I gave him all the passwords, contact information, account numbers – everything- – and tell him that moving forward he is responsible for everything, and I know he will do a great job.
April —

I realize that I was burdened with everything because I INADVERTENTLY CHOSE TO BE – IT WAS PART OF MY CONTROLLING SPIRIT!

I have always “whined/complained/nagged/criticized” him for leaving it all on me…. but I really did not give him a chance to want to do it!

In fact — dealing with the house has been one of our biggest “arguing topics” since we have been here. This is because I usually tell him that it is too much for me, in what I now know to be the TOTALLY WRONG way. The way I did it degraded his worth, made him feel less than a man, etc. (disrespect)He always responded by saying he does not care about the house anyway, because he does not want to own anything with me (unloving) — the Crazy Cycle (Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs)! Of course – my actions were due to my stress, my desire for him to just want to help me, but I came across as criticizing his abilities as a man when all I had to do was ask nicely, and make him feel as if I needed him – not as if I was his mom reprimanding him for his lack of initiative.

It is the same house — and the same me (or, the-“not-so-same-ME”), and now he seems to feel empowered to take charge. I AM AMAZED.

I would have never been able to hand over this aspect of our lives to him if I did not learn so much from this blog ….I must admit that I felt as if I was having a mild panic attack, when I started to consider passing on some of the responsibilities to him. I was especially worried about his abilities to make sure the mortgage is paid on time, the tenant is paying the rent, etc etc. Now I feel so less burdened. He told me that he will deal with the issues, except where he really needs me to do something (example, If he will need my signature on documents etc.)
Your advice to LIVE IN THE NOW – has been VERY powerful to me and this visit. I was able to enjoy him, based on what he has to offer today!  Not get so caught up on whether or not this was a picture of what a marriage should be. It certainly was not helping to make the “now” worse than it had to be, because I so badly wanted the “past.” In fact, adding to the destruction of the “now” only further guaranteed a worse future.
Our son was so very loving to his dad —- extremely, and again, I am so happy that despite all the pain, we can both love on him. That in itself is a testament of how God has washed our hearts, how we are learning to please GOD FIRST. There was a time when  our son was so cold to him, and although I know it was not entirely my fault for this, I can see how my own bitterness, my own steadfastness on  focusing on my dh’s  part, significantly contributed to this. Sigh….

I am so glad that God has opened my eyes. Praise God for not giving up on me…. He is patient, I was so far from being at this place.

…. Now we see beyond  dh’s sins, and just see him as God does. That is what happens when we focus on our own sinfulness. I have realized that I have contributed SOOOO much sin to my marriage, I do not know how on earth I had so much time to focus on his sin. I must have said it 1000 times – pardon me for being so repetitive…but it is beyond my level of understanding how much I have learned from you in such a short time. I thank God for your powerful spirit.  (From Peacefulwife – that is a GOD thing 100%, not an April thing!)

Today, I said nothing more about my plans to be respectful to him….. I will just let my actions speak moving forward.

I won’t get it right all the time, but I will certainly not go back as far as — or anywhere near — where I was before. He has not mentioned that he has noticed any difference. I AM OK WITH THAT! I know he does – and it really is about my walk with God, not a desperate need to please dh (though it is nice to see him more relaxed with us).

I enjoyed my husband’s presence today because I chose to:

– accept what he  can give today

– focus on what he is doing right, instead of what he is doing wrong

– live in the joy of the moment, instead of the better life I want in the future

– let my joy come from God– my husband is only a man – not God

April – that is a big thing you have taught me too.

I wanted my husband to be my JESUS.

I am so ashamed to say that 🙁 🙁 I certainly did not feel as if that was what I was doing all those years!!! Yikes!  I wanted him to be the source of, or a part of any joy I had. That is just too much even for the BEST husband on the planet. Now I have learned that my Joy is in Christ alone….and I can be joyful even in less than ideal circumstances. God’s plan for me supersedes anything that my husband can do to me. Many are the plans of dh’s heart – but it is God’s plans that will prevail. Why then have I been so focused on my husband’s plan? Because I am only human. Yes – but I can draw on the strength that comes through the Word of God
There are so many more things I could say about this visit. My desires have not changed, but now they are not misplaced. That makes it easier. I am also humbled, because I don’t have to try to be “God” to my husband. I use that energy to let God minister to me.  Dh’s heart has not changed towards me — but that changes nothing that God wants for me.
My husband is on his way back (to his place) now, and I know there is less turmoil, pain, frustration and anger in his heart than when he usually sees me.
  • Praise God for showing me MY OWN SINFULNESS.
I just read the post (of my 1st email)  — Oh how terrible I was. I am thankful for the prayers and support that have been offered by everyone. Especially the prayers!! Thank God for those! One lovely person stated that there are times when I will wonder if I should wait on my husband – she is so wise —there are times when I feel HOPELESS. Times when the tears feel like a flowing river. Times when I am too weak to even pray.
However, thinking of one day at a time will help me even more, and remembering that if it is about “me” I will be even weaker!  It is at times like these that I need the most prayers. There have been times when I know only the prayers of others have moved me from my emotionally paralyzed state. It is not a state of a desperate woman. God has blessed me to be a “strong,” brilliant and capable woman (This is not to be full of pride – it is just to share that it is not out of desperation that I am standing for my marriage, it is out of my desire to walk the rough road I think God has been leading me on). When my marriage first crumbled, I begged God for the strength to let go and let it be! I thought that was what took strength! That would have been way easier. Sometimes God takes us on some very rough road to draw us closer to him and to bare us of our own selfish desires.

The truth is, regardless of what happens in the future, I am better for having endured this. God’s methods might be different for everyone – each student learns differently. I NEEDED THIS.

Just now, as I am typing……. dh  just called to let me know he has reached home. He never usually does!
Thank you so much. This visit was different even though my husband’s stance has not changed. For years, things may very well be the same from my husband’s view point – but I am different. I am the one that is saved – so that is exactly how it should have been all along.
You showed me how to accept what my dh has to offer – today. You showed me how while praying for a BIG cake, I was blindly pushing away the ingredients to make the cake because I was so focused on “All I want is the cake!” “Why is he (dh) giving me eggs if he says he does not want to give me cake?” Why is he giving me an oven if he says he does not want to give me cake.” I was rejecting God’s hand in my life, because I was so focused on the future which is TOTALLY in God’s hands. Even if all I end up with are eggs – they are still good for me. God must know what I need today! Additionally, I have seen how relaxed dh is around me when I don’t keep hammering the marital problems over his head. It surely can’t speed up his journey home to have him be uncomfortable around me! Plus – most importantly — the healing of my marriage/changing of dh’s heart is God’s job.
Thanks for your kind words and your support — your blog has been like FOOD to me.
RELATED:

Our Identity in Christ – THIS Is My Security!

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Ladies,

Two days ago, we looked at insecurity in the post “Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places.”

Yesterday, we looked at “The Roots of Insecurity, ‘Low Self Esteem,’ Sinful Jealousy and the Desire to Control”

Quite honestly – what I am addressing in these several posts could easily be a book or two.  We are BARELY scratching the surface here.  But these are EXTREMELY important and foundational concepts in our walk with Christ and in our relationships with other people.  If we have a faulty foundation here – our lives will be a disaster, because we are building on sand instead of the Rock – which is the truth of Christ.

SECURITY IS ONLY FOUND IN JESUS!

  • I will be disappointed if I look to another human to meet the needs for security, salvation, joy, fulfillment, purpose, acceptance and unconditional love.  People cannot replace Jesus in my life.
  • I will be devastated if I look to my beauty, looks, figure, weight or shape to find contentment and security and happiness in life.  These things fade and are fleeting.  Things cannot replace Jesus in my life. They cannot offer real joy.  In fact, if I make these things my idols, I will destroy myself with them.  That is what idolatry does.  Whatever we “worship” eventually destroys and consumes us – whether it is bitterness, food, fame, wealth, sex, men, career, weight, beauty, education, self, being in control, people’s approval, people pleasing, addictions … If I set up something or someone in the place of God in my life – God will make sure that I will never find contentment, that I will only find dissatisfaction and emptiness and if I continue in this sin, He will allow my idol to destroy me.

GOD IS GOD, I AM NOT.

That is a VERY foundational concept that I MUST grasp!

This was Satan’s sin – to elevate himself and exalt himself to be equal to or greater than God.

This was my sin, too.  It was not a conscious thing, but I lived as if I believed I was in charge.  I trusted self, not God, for many years.  And I had the disappointment, anxiety, fear and loneliness that always accompanies pride and idolatry of self and being in control.

WHO AM I ONCE I AM IN CHRIST?

Well – this really should be a book, or more than one book.  But we will look at a few things that God says about those who trust Him by faith and who devote themselves wholeheartedly to live for Him in obedience to His Word.  If you are not living in obedience to Christ, Jesus says, you do not love Him.  “Anyone who loves me will obey My commandments.”  John 14:23a, “Anyone who does not love Me will not obey my teaching.”  John 14:24

  • We were chosen by God (Ephesians 1:11)
  • Our purpose is that our lives might bring praise to the glory of Christ (Ephesians 1:12)
  • We are marked with a seal – the Holy Spirit who guarantees our salvation and keeps us, working in us to bring us to maturity in Christ (Ephesians 1:13)
  • We are to be fully submitted to Christ. (James 4:7)  He is LORD of our lives.
  • We are slaves of righteousness and slaves of Christ now (Romans 6)
  • We are no longer slaves of sin (Romans 6).  We are set free from sin!!!!!!!!!!
  • We are no longer spiritually dead in sin, but ALIVE in Christ!  (Ephesians 2:1)
  • We have a “new man in Christ” instead of our old sinful self now. (II Cor 5:17)
  • We are recipients of grace because of the faith God has given us to have in Jesus.  We cannot and do not earn heaven or a right relationship with God.  We have no room to boast.  “Jesus paid it all.  All to Him I owe!”
  • We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10).  Good works don’t get us salvation.  Salvation, Jesus in us, produces good works.  That is a really important distinction!
  • We are at peace with God.  Jesus has absorbed all of God’s wrath that we deserved and has taken our sins away as far as the east is from the west! (Ephesians 2)
  • We are at peace with other believers in Christ (Ephesians 2).
  • We are sons and daughters of the Most High God!
  • We are joint heirs with Jesus to all of heaven.
  • We have total access to approach God in prayer – greater access than even the High Priest in the Old Testament times had – because of what Jesus, our Great High Priest, has done for us!
  • We have access to the spiritual riches, power and treasures of heaven. (Ephesians 3)
  • We are able to know God more and more. (Ephesians 3, John 17)
  • We have been given gifts to serve Christ and His body (Ephesians 4)
  • We live on God’s Word.  His Word is real spiritual food and drink.  We hunger and thirst deeply for Him, His presence, His Spirit, His power and His Word daily. (Matthew 4:4)
  • We are soldiers for Christ, who are to be fully armed and wearing our armor, ready for spiritual battle constantly (Ephesians 6).
  • We are part of the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the church.
  • We are gifted by the Spirit to serve and build up the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12)
  • We have the peace of Jesus Christ – it is a promise He has given to us. (John 14:27)
  • We can do nothing on our own, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches.  We must constantly abide in, live in, soak in the nourishment Jesus gives us from His Spirit and His Word and His presence. (John 15)
  • We are hated in the world because Jesus was hated. (John 16)
  • We are one with God and Jesus and other believers in Christ (John 17)
  • There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!!!!!! (Romans 8:1)
  • We are controlled by the Spirit – our mind is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
  • We identify with Christ in His sufferings by suffering, also – that God might make us more mature and more and more like Christ. (I Peter)
  • We are inseparable from the love of Christ!!!!!!!! (Romans 8:35, 39)
  • In all trials, obstacles and difficulties, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!!!!!! (Romans 8:37)
  • We are living sacrifices to Christ (Romans 12:1)
  • We are imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1)
  • We are citizens of heaven, and we are aliens here. (Phil 3:20)
  • We are God’s temple (I Cor. 3:16)
  • We are complete in Christ (Col 2:9-10)
  • We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13)

WHEN WE REALLY GET THIS – OUR LIVES WILL NEVER EVER BE THE SAME!!!

If I truly understand the depth of the meaning of who Christ Jesus is and my identity in Christ – all my fear and insecurity has to vanish!  Perfect love casts out all fear. (I John 4:18)

Suddenly,

  • The numbers on the scale aren’t really very important anymore.
  • If my husband doesn’t meet my needs, I can remain unshaken as I trust in Christ, depend on Him and He empowers me to bless my husband.
  • The approval of people doesn’t matter anymore, only the approval and pleasure and smile of Jesus!
  • Other’s sin against me becomes forgivable in the power of Christ because He has forgiven me MUCH.  I am not free to love Him MUCH.
  • I desire to treat people only the way Jesus treats people, I DELIGHT in obeying Him.
  • The numbers in my checking account don’t matter much because it all belongs to Him, I want to be a godly steward and spend as Jesus would have me spend and I know that He is able to provide for my every need.  My faith is no longer in my job, my 401K or the economy – my faith is squarely in Christ Jesus.
  • I do not worry because my Lord is SOVEREIGN and He promised me that He would cause ALL things to work together for my ultimate good (by His definition) and His glory (Romans 8:28)
  • Worldly things begin to be very uninteresting and only the things of God seem to really matter.
  • God’s Word SPRINGS to LIFE every time I open it – I can’t get enough of Him!
  • I have Jesus’ priorities and desires.  He gives me a new heart and a new mind in Him!
  • I don’t care about my will, I only want His will.
  • I am willing to lose my life in order to have His life in me.
  • I live by faith, not by sight.
  • I see God answer prayers in miraculous ways in His power for His glory and in His timing.
  • God makes me fruitful in His kingdom and I cannot help but share the GREAT NEWS of Jesus with those around me!

RESOURCES:

Identity in Christ sermon index at www.desiringgod.org – John Piper

Identity in Christ sermon index at www.radical.net – David Platt

What Does God Say About Me?

Roots of Insecurity, Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy and Desire to Control

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Yesterday, we looked at how we as women desire security in our lives and in our relationships so desperately.  But we often look for it in all the wrong places instead of finding our security in Christ alone.

I believe that the deep roots of a woman’s insecurity in her marriage, her “low self esteem,” her desire to control her husband (and others) and her sinful jealousy can be found in:

  • her lack of proper understanding of who God is
  • her lack of proper understanding of herself in relationship to God (PRIDE)
  • unbelief in the sovereign, holy, loving, righteous, omnipotent God of the Bible
  • an attempt to replace Christ as Lord of her life with something else – an idol (self, a man, marriage, wealth, beauty, thinness, etc.)
  • the sinful nature being in control instead of God’s Spirit being in control.  Either she has not received Jesus Christ as Savior and as literal LORD of her life, or she has sinned against God, grieving His Spirit, and does not have His Spirit empowering her right now – until she repents of her sin and begins to abide in Christ again.

THE FRUIT OF MY LIFE TELLS ME PLAINLY IF MY SINFUL NATURE IS IN CONTROL OR IF GOD’S SPIRIT IS IN CONTROL

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immoralityimpurity and debauchery (drinking alcohol to excess)20 idolatry and witchcraft (use of mind altering substances)hatreddiscordjealousyfits of rageselfish ambitiondissensionsfactions 21 and envydrunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  Galatians 5

I used to think, well, I don’t participate in orgies or witchcraft.  And I don’t bow down to an idol.  I don’t drink alcohol.  I don’t commit adultery.  So – I am obviously not controlled by the sinful nature.  But I glossed over the fact that I was unforgiving, bitter, resentful, jealous, selfish and a huge idolator.  If I have even ONE of the things on the sinful nature list – that is the sinful nature in control, not God’s Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is one fruit.  ALL of these 9 qualities will be in my life in increasing abundance as God makes me more and more like Jesus.  If I am not living in His Spirit and experiencing all of this fruit on a regular, daily basis – I have a HUGE PROBLEM.  I either don’t have a relationship with Christ, or I have sinned against Him and grieved His Spirit.  Either way, I need to admit my sin, turn from it, and turn with all my heart to God – accepting His death in my place on my behalf to appease God’s wrath against me for my sin – by faith.  I must be willing to obey Him and submit myself wholly to Him in everything.  Willing to call Him my LORD and Master.  I cannot obey Him until He empowers me with His Spirit.  I cannot earn favor with God.  It is ALL Him.  He provides the way through Christ.  He gives me the faith to come to Him, He empowers me to grow in Him and live for Him.

UNDERSTANDING WHO GOD IS  AND WHO WE ARE WITHOUT HIM – IS CRITICAL

Sometimes we try to make God over in our own image.  We imagine that He is like our earthly father.  Or we have a very small, impotent, weak picture of Him because we learned not to trust Him but to trust self.  That is what I did.  I misunderstood some things that happened when I was 5-8 years old, around the same time I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord, and from that childish misunderstanding, I thought I learned that I was WAY more responsible for other people, situations, circumstances and, really, the whole world – than I actually am.  I truly believed it was my job to make everyone’s lives turn out right.  That is TOO MUCH PRESSURE!  I can remember crying when I was about 8-9 years old every night at bedtime because there were people starving around the world and I was not giving them food.  I really believed I was sovereign.  No one corrected my gaping and tragic misunderstanding  – or I didn’t understand it if they tried to – and I continued on with this belief into adulthood that I was responsible for everyone and everything.  I didn’t see where my responsibilities ended and God’s began.

God is God.  I am NOT.

I believe that when we put ourselves in the place of God in our lives (idolizing self), we think we should be able to be perfect, and when we discover we cannot be perfect, that can definitely lead to “low self esteem.”  We see we are not “good enough.”

Or if we believe we can actually be  “good enough” to please God in our own strength, and think that if we just work hard enough, we can earn God’s love and heaven – we find that it is impossible.

Another way we end up with low self esteem is that we make idols of beauty or of men – and when those things don’t fulfill us and provide the security and contentment we long for, we are devastated.

Sometimes we expect our men to idolize US – and when we detect that they could possibly even be conscious that there are other women on the planet – we may feel sinful jealousy.

There is a jealousy that is not sinful.  If our man is flirting with other women or cheating on us – we are being wronged if we are in an exclusive relationship.  Of course we feel jealous in that situation – our marriage covenant is being violated or threatened.  And yet – God does call us to respond without sin.  We may need to respectfully confront sin. (Matthew 18, Matthew 7:1-5).

**** If your husband is involved in infidelity, or there are major problems in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP!

UNBELIEF IN GOD AND TRUST IN SELF INSTEAD OF GOD IS HUGE SIN AND LEADS TO MANY OTHER SINS

That is why I was disrespectful towards my husband.  I had myself in the place of God – and I expected my husband to honor me as god, too!  Not consciously.  but this is how I lived.  I expected him to submit to me – I would NEVER have said that – but that is really what I expected.  “He should see I am right, and he is wrong, and he should do what I know is best.  I’m always right.  I know better than he does.  I’m a better leader than he is.  I know God’s will and he doesn’t.  I know better than everyone.”  YIKES!  If pride is measurable – mine was off the charts!

This is also why I tried to be in control.  If I put myself in the place of God – and I believe I am sovereign and responsible for everything to turn out “right” then I have to make things happen my way or they will all be “a mess.”  In my mind, it ALL hinged totally on me. So, I believed it was my responsibility and duty to make sure that things were done my way.  I was offended when other people resisted me.  After all, I am “doing God’s will.”  But what I was really doing, and this is terrifying, was trusting self and demanding that others worship and serve me.   Keep in mind, I was NEVER consciously saying these things to myself.   All the time believing I was trusting God and being the best Christian wife ever.

I developed and nurtured this false image of God being tiny and not very powerful and this HUGE image of myself being sovereign over my own life and over the lives of everyone around me.  I didn’t consciously think that way – but that is how I lived and what POWERFULLY motivated my thoughts and behavior.

I had it all backwards!

GOD is huge, powerful, omnipotent, omnipresent, sovereign over all the universe, wise, loving, just, holy, righteous and to be highly exalted.

I am NOT those things!

I am small, impotent, weak, full of sin and depravity, incapable of anything good on my own, foolish, unloving, prideful, totally unable to control circumstances or other people and I am but dust.  

  •  As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

11     there is no one who understands;

    there is no one who seeks God.

12 All have turned away,

    they have together become worthless;

there is no one who does good,

    not even one.”[b]

13 “Their throats are open graves;

    their tongues practice deceit.”[c]

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]

14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16     ruin and misery mark their ways,

17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]

18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]  Romans 3

This is me, a HUGE sinner – with ZERO capacity to do good or to “earn favor” with God.

  • All of us have become like one who is unclean,

    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6

This verse, literally translated, means “filthy, bloody menstrual rags” – which were not only nasty and gross, but were considered “unclean” by the Law in the Old Testament (per God’s instructions) because anything and anyone who touched a menstruating woman in the Old Testament Law times would have become “unclean” and would not be able to participate in temple worship for a certain number of days.

That is what our righteousness, our “good works” on our own look like to God.

Kind of  puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

  • I had to exalt God about a million notches and bring myself WAY, WAY, WAY down in humility for the first time in my life.

From this proper understanding of myself and God.  I can begin to build my true identity as a woman.

There is no need for me to freak out about why my man or any other person on the planet is doing if I am totally secure in Christ.  I mean, it would be great if people love me and are kind to me and are trustworthy all the time and never ever sinned against me.  But, if my contentment, strength, identity, power, purpose, peace and joy is 100% wrapped up in Jesus – I can have a peaceful, gentle spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear – even when I am sinned against, even when bad things happen, even when I don’t get what I want.

My trust is in my sovereign Lord.  His perfect love has driven out all of my fears – every single one of them.  I don’t have to try to make things work out or force my way. I rest in God’s sovereignty and live in His supernatural peace by His power working in me.  It is not my power – it HAS to be His alone.  I know that life is no longer about what I want, it is about God’s will and His purpose and His glory now.  I trust Him to use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory.  So I am unshakable in my human relationships.  I no longer desperately need the praise and approval of people.  My heart is totally devoted to Christ and I want to please and obey Him no matter what the cost.  No one can separate me from the love of Christ.

WHO CHRIST IS:

You may have a section in your Bible at the back that talks about the identity of Christ and of God.  That can be really helpful.

You can also search at www.desiringgod.org for some excellent articles by John Piper about who God is, and who Jesus is.

You can check out David Platt’s church and look at sermons, or look up his sermons on Youtube about Christ to watch.

You can read God’s Word – especially the gospels and New Testament letters – to see who God is.  But the Old Testament is also VERY rich in passages that describe the majesty, might, power, wisdom, royalty and awesomeness of God.  Be in His Word every day.  Hunger for Him.  Thirst for Him.  If you don’t have a huge desire to know Him more, ask Him to convict you of every sin that is keeping you separated from Him and be willing to repent (turn away from) all of that ungodliness and seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Proverbs 1:7

RELATED:

25 Ways to Respect Myself – ways to rightly think about myself

My Security Must Be in Christ

Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places

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Insecurity seems to be a practically universal struggle for women.

We want security in our marriages, and – really, with other people, too.  We want to know that we are lovable.  We want to know that no matter what happens, those we love will still love us.

We want security in the love of our husbands, their ability to protect us, their ability to provide for us, their trustworthiness, our safety with them, etc…

When Greg and I took a class on the 7 Basic Needs of a Husband and the 7 Basic Needs of a Wife – our teacher said that the #1 basic need of a wife is “A wife needs the stability and direction of a husband who is functioning as the spiritual leader of his family.”  I believe that another way of saying this is “security.”  I think that is interesting, considering the wife represents the church in marriage and the husband represents Christ.  Also interesting that the #1 need of a husband is “a wife who respects him for who he is as a man.”

Ideally, our husbands would be godly men in whom we could place our trust and confidence and they would never disappoint us.  Trouble is, they are all human, and they will let us down at times.

Here is a little secret about real security for you.

If you try to find security in anything or anyone other than Jesus – you are going to be full of fear, anxiety and insecurity constantly!

Trust me… I have personally gone down that road way too many times.

Sometimes as women, we think we are honoring and serving Christ, but then we start to put our faith in other places, too – without consciously even realizing it.  We start to look to other things/people to find our identity, to find our purpose, to feel safe and secure in our hearts.  “If I could just have X, I would feel safe.  I would be happy.  I would feel secure.” Things like:

  • self
  • romance
  • trying to be in control
  • perfectionism
  • people pleasing
  • education
  • high grades
  • sports
  • marriage
  • sex
  • our man to do what we want him to do  (“If he would just do what I want, everything would be great!”)
  • a man who never ever ever notices that there are any other beautiful women on the planet (“If I can keep him from seeing that woman at the next table, I can feel secure.”)
  • my man’s sinlessness (even in his thought life – this is a HUGE idol for many women!  “If I can just monitor his computer/phone all the time, and if I can watch to be sure he is not sinning at all, then I can feel secure.  Then he won’t sin against me and I will be safe.”)
  • children  (“If only I had a child, then I would be able to be happy/content/fulfilled.”
  • money
  • a great career
  • luxury
  • a house
  • a fancy car
  • having certain friends
  • popularity
  • adventure/excitement
  • partying
  • drugs/alcohol
  • escape
  • fame
  • beauty
  • having a certain body shape/size
  • being a godly wife, respect and submission can be idols if our goal is to control our husbands and we are not obeying God with the right motives to please Christ alone, we can even think God “owes” us if we think we are doing  a “good enough” job and begin to demand that God do certain things for us in return – NOT GOOD!

The list could go on and on.  What we are really doing here is – we are trying to fill a God-shaped hole in our hearts with things that will never satisfy us.

Worldly things cannot bring true contentment!  God Himself makes sure of that!  I am so thankful!

Only Jesus can truly satisfy the deepest needs and longings of our souls.

These other things can easily become idols that we put above Christ in our lives – these things can become more important to us than intimacy with Him.  That is one HUGE problem!  Idolatry breaks the most important commandment to have no other gods in our lives but to worship the One True Lord God and serve Him only.  To God, when we put other things in His proper place of worship in our lives, and try to find our identity, purpose, fulfillment and contentment in those things – it is as if we are committing adultery on Him in a marriage covenant.  But His covenant with us is even more sacred than a marriage covenant.  This is SERIOUS stuff.  Many times, we don’t even realize what we are doing!  But there are some symptoms we can look for to tip us off.

SYMPTOMS OF INSECURITY – THAT WE MAY BE PUTTING SOMETHING ABOVE CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS AS AN IDOL:

  • desperation for something other than Christ
  • neediness towards the thing/person we idolize – thinking we MUST have that thing/that person to be happy!
  • despair
  • loss of joy
  • anxiety, lack of peace (any sin can create this, and there can be other causes, too – but not trusting God but trusting self or something else, not living by faith in God does create huge anxiety!)
  • depression (this is one cause for depression – it is not the only one!)
  • fear (this is one of the causes of fear)
  • willingness to sin to have the thing/person in which we place our trust, a willingness to go after our idol no matter what the cost to us or anyone else
  • obsession
  • extreme anger when someone attempts to take our idol away
  • the things of God seem boring
  • God’s Word does not spring to life when we read it
  • a lack of ability to hear God’s voice
  • disobedience to the Word of God
  • comparing ourselves to others
  • complaining
  • arguing
  • increasing sin
  • a hardened heart to God
  • lack of love for Christ, a heart that has grown cold towards Him
  • pride that I know what is best
  • discontentment
  • bitterness

There are many more – but hopefully this will help us recognize what we are doing.  Basically, our sinful nature is in control – but we are not getting the happiness we want and we become more and more sinful as we try to reach for that thing we think we have to have.   It consumes us.

God designed us to find our identity, our purpose, our fulfillment, our strength, our refuge, our joy and peace in Him alone.  

HE IS OUR LIFE!

HE IS OUR REWARD!

HE IS OUR IDENTITY!

HE IS OUR PURPOSE!

HE IS EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD!

When I see negative feelings, anger, jealousy, discontentment, greed in my soul – it is a big flag to check my motives and to look for idols in my heart.  They must all be torn out by the root.

INSECURITY IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEN

If we begin to feel very insecure with a man, it is often because we have taken our eyes off of Christ.  It’s time to ask myself some hard questions in the light of God’s Word and His Spirit

  • What is my purpose here?
  • Why do I feel insecure?  Is he sinning against me?  Or am I trying to find security in him that I can really only find in Christ Jesus?
  • What is the goal of my life?
  • What do I believe I need to make me happy?  Is it anything other than Jesus?
  • Could I be putting this man above Christ in my heart?
  • Am I expecting this man to meet needs that only Jesus can meet in my soul?
  • Am I trying to please this man or this person above pleasing God?
  • Am I seeking this person’s approval above God’s approval?
  • Am I looking for reassurance that I am worthy of love in this human relationship?
  • Where am I looking for my security?
  • How is my communion with God?

sometimes we are insecure because our husbands sin against us.  Sometimes we are insecure because we expect them to be Jesus to us in ways that no human could be.  Sometimes we make our husbands into idols and expect them to be responsible for our joy and contentment.  That is not right!  Only Jesus can give us real, unshakable, joy and contentment.

WE HAVE NO REASON FOR INSECURITY IN CHRIST JESUS!

The way that we develop a godly, feminine, gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear (I Peter 3:4-6) is that we put our trust 100% in our sovereign God.

  • THAT is how we can be at peace no matter what our circumstances.
  • THAT is how we can be unshakable.
  • THAT is how we don’t have to struggle with feeling insecure about our looks, our bodies, our abilities, our lovability or anything else.

THE THINGS TO FOCUS ON AS WE GROW IN OUR SECURITY AND FAITH IN CHRIST ARE:

WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY ABOUT ME WHEN I DON’T HAVE CHRIST?

I’m sure that “self esteem” experts wouldn’t like what I am about to share.  But, God says that we are all wretched sinners.  How is that for boosting our self esteem?

  • God says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23
  • “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one… ruin and misery mark their ways, the way of peace they do not know.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-12, 16-18
  • We are all image bearers of God.   We were created to bring glory to God (Genesis 2).  But we all became slaves to sin.
  • We all deserve God’s wrath and judgment for our sin.  (Romans 6:23)
  • We can do nothing on our own to restore a right relationship with God.  (Ephesians 2:8)

WHO AM I IN CHRIST?

Once I receive the gift that Jesus offers to me – where I accept that He took the wrath and punishment upon Himself for my sins that I deserved – and I accept that in total faith and trust in Him – He gives me a new life.  He gives me a new identity.  He gives me a new heart and mind and a new nature.  He crucifies my sinful nature with Him on the cross.  All things become new.  I accept Him not only as my Savior – who saved me from the punishment God would have righteously given to me for my sin – but I accept Him as Lord.  Now He is the Master.  I am a slave to Him.  I am free from sin and now I am a slave to righteousness!

Our security is found in Christ alone.

We’ll talk much more about these issues in the next post!!!!!

THIS is exciting stuff! 🙂

 

RELATED

Roots of Insecurity

Our Identity in Christ -THIS is My Security!

CONTACT ME:

You are welcome to leave comments!   I would love to hear from you.