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When a Husband “Doesn’t Buy” His Wife’s Changes

From a sister in Christ who has been on this journey to become a godly wife for a year and a half – I am so thankful for her willingness to share:

 

My husband insists I will always be who I was. He asks “is THIS the REAL you, now?” I replied that “I won’t be done till I die. I will continue to improve and learn every day I breathe.” He just threw his hands up at me, exasperated. But it’s a pride sin to think that we “know it all” and have nothing left to learn. Where is the reality or growth in that?

There is still much hope. I haven’t wanted to believe it, but my husband has been much less aggressive and mean for the past 2 weeks (after a year and a half of this journey). He is thanking me for things I do and has stopped being paranoid about things he thinks I’m doing and am not.

I really think that when a wife begins this journey of respect and truly changes her whole attitude on marriage, life, and herself, this is a massive change for men to try to understand.

It’s as if they don’t know who we are, have no idea if they will like who we are or becoming – and yet they are used to a certain kind of shrew-ness from us that they have built up defenses against. And (now) they are married to a stranger. It’s like they are putting on armor, carrying 3 swords, a mace, and bludgeon and ready for a fight that doesn’t come anymore. They are all amped up from our constant disrespect in the past. So they actually “hunt” for the fight. But, because we are no longer fighting, they feel like some kind of trick or sorcery is going on. They just can’t believe a person can up and change their whole personality.

  • My husband often has told me that he is not mad at me, I am who I am. He cannot change that. He just didn’t think it could change at all.

He was right, HE could not change me, I could not change me, but GOD could. He just didn’t like who that person was… well, that was before God. I didn’t even like who I was. We all have this spouse itching to fight because the battle was never ending and they are ready. We have dropped all our weapons and they don’t know what to do. So they provoke, prod with hurtful words, try to find that monster inside us they are sure is just hiding or waiting for the right moment to rear it’s ugly head so they can strike at it with all their weapons. Yet, we have let that monster die… our old self.

I think it takes a lot of testing, and time for our spouses to poke, prod, stomp around to finally feel secure that the monster is gone before they can start laying down their weapons and trusting again.

I think it is very important that a sense of worth and value has to be developed inside us as well. We have been the mouth, then maybe the mouse. There is a balance of graceful control and wisdom that I think God is trying to grow in us. A sort of confidence that endures no matter who comes and goes from our lives. When we can live in a way that other people’s chaos doesn’t affect us as much, and we are able to look at God and say, “Thank you Lord, for not making me have to be responsible for this other person’s choices in life” then we can live much more free and as victors over our own life, not victims of other people’s lives.

I have a real sense after a long-awaited talk on the phone last night with my husband that he really is accepting the change in me and trying hard to think of his words before saying them. Right now, he kind of stinks at it. But, I did too – when I first started. I feel true hope for a restitution of our relationship for the first time in a long time. It is obviously too soon to bank on such a statement, but I know I may not get that glorious apology or huge hug asking for forgiveness. If I think about it, do I need that? No, not really. I might WANT that, but if I never get it, I’m ok.

I know I have done what God asked me to do in this marriage… to love him “even though” he didn’t love me/was being a jerk/said and did hurtful things/rejected me/gave up on his family/ acted like a put out teenager, etc. Frankly, he didn’t deserve that love from me. But here is the thing – none of us deserve that kind of love, but we have it in God. God loves us in our imperfections and when we act like jerks and do/say hurtful things, etc. Look how we turn from God and reject Him. Yet, He loves us through it all, so much, that He gave up His only Son to save us from death… because He loves us like that. To obey Him, we are asked to love others in the same way “as you do for the least of them, you do unto Me.” It is His overflowing love poured into us that allows us and gives us the strength to pour love into others… even our spouses.

I look at my husband as very lost, struggling and drowning. When I keep that in mind, I keep my compassion toward him. Yes, I tried to throw out life preservers and reached for him, but if he didn’t use them, well, that was his choice. Sink or swim. There are many things my husband can grab onto, but he has to do it now, I can’t make him. I’m just not shoving his head under water anymore.

For those who are struggling, I pray so much that you can lift your eyes away from your husband and marriage right now and start growing yourself to become more confident, secure and strong as a person in your own merit (in Christ). God has given you gifts and blessings just for you. Not just you with your husband. You want something right now that you cannot get from your husband. The store is closed, no one inside, shut up tight. If you break in, it will go really badly. Stop knocking on that door! You need to look to God for what you want. I suspect it is acceptance, value, feeling good enough, affection, closeness, security, trust, and partnership.

I challenge you to look into the Bible and find verses where God can fill these needs for you. Maybe you can see how He can do that and really take it into your mind and heart. You need God first. Then, if others can add to that on earth, here, then it’s icing and sprinkles on the cake…but you need the cake first (God). I hope that makes sense. Here is my example: I can get trust from God and I can trust Him, Psalms 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.”

In this way, you can verify God’s promises to you, rise above the shortcomings and disappointments of human failings and lean onto God for all your needs. My favorite is Matthew 6:26, “look at the birds in the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” This is God’s word that He will provide for us. He is the great I Am.

I just know that I saw my husband as my god for so long, that when his human failings started to show, disappointment and fear took hold in me. The best lesson I learned from any of this is to not put a human into that god position, he/she is certain to let you down. That also includes not putting myself (who is also human) into that god position. Only our true Lord God holds that position… that is why no other thing or person should be above Him. He is a jealous God, and it is idolatry when we don’t put Him first. Kids, marriage, friends, hobbies, fame, fortune, need for approval from others… there are so many sneaky ones too. (Kids as an idol for me was a surprise).

I pray for all of us with wayward spouses to be able to let them go. I pray that God helps them find their own way without our demands,  wishes, control, and fears getting in the way. I pray that each one of us can see our true self as God sees us; cherished, loved, valuable and important to Him. I pray we can let go of the things we want from our spouses so bad, but are not there yet inside of them, but I pray God helps them find what they need to heal, grow and be drawn to Him. I pray that each of us learn to stand with strength, dignity and courage as children if God, to wear our birthright proudly and without shame. We are children of God, “If He is with us, who can be against us?” I pray that we can grow in God’s design to have the control of our emotions and resist the enemy to become followers of Christ who are strong against the stormy winds of life, trusting our Lord is still in control.

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"Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!"

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I’m going to share one wife’s “gut reactions”  to the list I gave of ways we can speak and communicate directly and honestly. It’s worth the time to really hash through these objections in our self-talk together. My original statements from a post last month about how to directly communicate our needs and desires are in bold. Keep in mind, when you read the statements I am sharing – that I am talking about a wife sharing these statements with pure motives, respect, a genuine smile, and a pleasant tone of voice. I am also talking about a wife sharing difficult things only after much prayer and in the wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit. I don’t intend to say that we should share out of selfish or sinful motives.

I greatly appreciate this wife allowing me to share her thoughts – (they are in red):

 

1. “I need this, please.”

(Yikes! Do not tell anyone what you need or you will sound needy! And whiny. And do you really need it? No. Be grateful for what you already have.)

If I were being whiny, I would repeat myself over and over again and verbally try to force other people to do what I wanted and I would continue to verbally pressure them until they did what I wanted them to do. That is not a godly approach. But to share my desire or need one time in a pleasant way (or to share when needed, not in a nagging way) – is perfectly acceptable. There are a lot of verses that tell us to ask for what we need and desire – but that we are to do so with godly motives, not sinful motives.

Verses about asking for things

There are times we genuinely do need things. I think it is important to differentiate between a need and a want. There are things I want that I can live without. But there are some things I truly need – or that others truly need. We all do have legitimate needs – air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, shelter, love, acceptance, purpose, forgiveness, grace, help, etc…

2. “I would really love to do that.”

(Maybe someday. Maybe after everyone else has their turn it would be okay to say what you’d love to do. Otherwise you risk upsetting someone who wants to do something else. But do not tell anyone or you’ll sound selfish and demanding.)

Perhaps you are thinking of this passage:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

But let’s read that closely. The key is that we don’t do something from selfishness, not that we have needs or desires. We are to think about others and their needs, considering other people more than we consider ourselves. But look at the last part, it doesn’t say, “don’t look out for your own interests and only look out for the interests of others.” We are allowed to look out for our interests – but we are not to do so in a selfish way or with sinful motives. And, ultimately, we are to seek God’s will above our own.

3. “I don’t like X.”

(So what? Am I queen of the world? We all have to deal with things we don’t like. Deal with it!)

God never says that we cannot have our own opinions, desires, preferences, and emotions. We are free to express them to Him and to others – again, as long as we do so with pure motives and we don’t try to force our way on others.

It is not sin for me to say, “I prefer Japanese food.”  Or “I don’t like being around a lot of cigarette smoke.” Or, “I don’t like for my children to see movies that are over PG.” Or, “I don’t like that color for the dining room – I like this other color the best.”

If others don’t agree, over the color of the paint for the walls at church – I can submit myself to whatever they would like and not cause a fuss. If my husband and I don’t agree on a paint color, I can decide to selflessly allow him to choose the color he prefers. But there is nothing wrong with me stating my preference calmly and respectfully. If we can’t agree, I may decide to acknowledge that the color of the room isn’t a big thing in the light of eternity.

4. “I want Y, please”

(Oh my goodness! This is the worst one on the list. Do not tell people want you want. Again, selfish. Begging. It’s worse than being forced to tell someone what you’d like for a gift. Who begs for gifts? This list is insane! This list is starting to frustrate me…)

God invites us to share our desires with Him. Jesus certainly expressed that He didn’t want to go to the cross. But then He submitted Himself to God’s will. Prayer is about our praising God, thanking Him, confessing our sins – but then it is about our sharing our desires and our seeking to line up our desires with the desires and will of God. As we approach God in prayer with our desires and seek His desires above our own, He helps transform our desires to match His own. But there is nothing wrong with us asking God for what we desires if our motives are pure.

James 4:1-10 is all about this. We don’t have because we don’t ask God, and when we do ask, we ask with wrong motives, that we might spend what we get on our own pleasures. The problem is not that we shouldn’t ask for what we want. God invites us over and over to ask of Him. But we do need to watch our motives.

Those who came to Jesus for healing, He often asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” And then, whatever they asked Him for, He would do for them. He healed them. There is no one I can think of who asked Jesus to heal them whom Jesus ultimately refused.

I can say,

  • “I really want another baby.”
  • “I want to spend some time together this week, Honey.”
  • “I want to think about changing careers. Would you pray about that with me, please?”

Verses about desires

5. “I feel scared/sad/upset/angry/happy…”

(Keep your feelings to yourself. Smile. If you share your real feelings you will be judged. People may get upset. You will look weak).

There is nowhere in Scripture (that I can think of) where we are commanded to be fake or told not to have or not to express our feelings. We are told not to “give full vent” to our every emotion – that would be foolish. We are not to share in sinful anger or in sinful manipulation. We are not to try to make other people do what we want. We do need to watch our motives and attitudes. Our feelings are not the source of absolute truth. We don’t have to be slaves to our feelings and emotions. But we are responsible to share our own feelings and concerns with God and with others when appropriate.

David shared all of the range of human emotions with God in the Psalms. Did God consider him to be weak because of that? No! God said David was “a man after My own heart.”

Sharing feelings and being vulnerable is  not “weak” – it is essential! Apart from vulnerability, there is no true intimacy or authenticity.

Verses about emotions

In the next post, we will address the issues of people pleasing that this wife voiced.

SHARE:

Do you feel safe to be vulnerable and direct in your marriage and relationships? If not, what fears do  you have that keep you from feeling like you can share?

 

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Another Challenge – Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No

 

In the last post, we talked about choosing to believe our husbands and taking what they say at face value. (NOTE – These posts are not for wives who are facing very serious issues in their marriage like drug/alcohol abuse, uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, pathological  lying issues, or unrepentant infidelity. If that is your situation, please don’t read my blog, but seek appropriate one-on-one experienced counseling.)

Now, here are a few questions for us to prayerfully consider…

  • Can our husbands take what we say at face value?
  • Do we speak in a straightforward manner?
  • Do we communicate truthfully ourselves?

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10

If I say, “Yes,” is that what I really mean? Or do I expect my husband to decipher that I said “yes,” but I really mean, “no”?

Do I send mixed messages to my husband? Do I expect him to have to read between the lines to guess what I am really thinking? Or do I communicate clearly and concisely to my man? Most men truly do appreciate it when their wives say what they mean and mean what they say. (Gentlemen, you are welcome to jump in and comment here.)

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

What if we challenge ourselves to speak the truth to our husbands and to communicate honestly and vulnerably?

This can get a little bit dicey when we are in the process of learning respect – because sometimes when we try to be honest, we also come across disrespectfully. BUT – it IS possible to be honest and respectful at the same time. I promise! That is the goal – to share our feelings, needs, concerns, ideas, and wisdom effectively – and to do so without being hurtful, disrespectful, rude, controlling, unloving, etc…

It is also possible to be honest and straightforward without arguing, nagging, complaining, criticizing, or being negative. I do admit, it takes a lot of prayer, the power of God’s Spirit, and tons of practice… but God can empower us to do this!

Some ladies think that we are sparing our husbands feelings by being very vague, by giving hints, or by not directly saying what we need, think, feel, or want. That would be respectful, right? We may think it is rude or demanding of us to have any needs and to voice them. Actually, the men I have corresponded with often feel disrespected and confused by this kind of unclear, murky communication. It is my understanding that it is frustrating for husbands to have to jump through hoops and be mind readers to know what we are thinking. Women sometimes value nuance in order to try to spare people’s feelings, but not everyone can read into our hints. Our men, in particular, may appreciate us just being upfront and direct in a friendly, calm, pleasant, concise way.

When we are vulnerable and we share our desires and feeling directly with respect – it draws our husbands to us, and makes it easier for them to understand our desires and makes it a lot more likely that we will receive the things we would like. 

(Laura Doyle talks about this in The Surrendered Wife – a very helpful, but secular, book.)

Two Examples:

1. If I need help and am overwhelmed with the housework and children – I could refuse to ask for help. I could let my pride get in my way of my needs. I could dishonestly tell my husband that I don’t need help but secretly expect him to see I do need help and think, “If he really loved me, he would just know I need help and he would help me.”

But if I really do need help, and I won’t ask for help – then I resent him and huff and puff and storm around the house, slamming doors because he believed my words – that is not okay. It is sin on my part.

A lot of men don’t jump in to help unless they are asked because they believe it would be disrespectful to help someone who said she can handle things on her own (Nina Roesner – The Respect Dare blog). If I need help, it is good for me to say, “Honey, I am really feeling overwhelmed tonight. I could use some help with the kids and the dishes, please.” Then, perhaps my husband will help me.

2. If my husband didn’t clean up behind himself in the kitchen and I don’t like that, I can say (in a pleasant, friendly way), “Sweetheart, would you please wash the dirty dishes in the kitchen, thanks so much!” If I tell him, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll do them,” but then resent him or lash out at him later – that is not good. If I really don’t like it when he leaves a mess for me, I can share respectfully that I would appreciate him cleaning up after himself.

If he can’t or won’t take care of the mess, I have the power in Christ to clean up and to do it out of love for God and for my husband and to lay aside resentment. I don’t have to be held hostage to resentment.

I can ask for what I need. But even if I don’t get what I want, God can empower me not to live in sinful thinking and to walk in victory over temptation as I stay totally yielded to Him.

A big key to honest, godly communication is for us to examine our motives.

  • Why am I afraid to say the truth about what I feel? Is there anything ungodly in my thinking?
  • How am I going to respond after I say what I plan to say? Is there any temptation there for me?
  • How can I be honest, authentic, vulnerable, respectful, and loving? What is God prompting me to do?

Sometimes we are afraid to share our real needs and desires. We feel guilty even having needs or we think we are being selfish to say what we want. Where does that awful idea come from? We are real people, my dear sisters! We are allowed by God to have our own feelings, needs, ideas, concerns, and desires. We don’t have to pretend that we are two-dimensional, second class people who are not permitted to have thoughts, needs, or feelings. Now, if I am ONLY concerned about myself and don’t care about anyone else’s feelings, needs, ideas, concerns, or desires – or if I do not put God first – then I may be selfish. But simply sharing what I need and want is totally fine. Then I can trust God even if I don’t get what I think is best and seek His will above my own.

I don’t have to feel guilty for sharing my feelings, needs, and ideas!!!

The other side of the coin is – I want to avoid resentment after the fact. If I am going to resent my husband (or someone else) if I say a specific thing or agree to something, maybe I need to re-evaluate what I need to do in order to be truthful, vulnerable, and authentic. I also want to make sure my motives are not to hurt my husband or someone else. If there is any sin in my motives (bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred envy, pride, etc…), I need to stop, pray, and get my motives right with God before proceeding.

Alternatives to Sharing My Needs and Feelings Directly:

If I don’t believe I can share what I need and think honestly in a straightforward, loving, respectful manner, I am left with a number of destructive, sinful approaches like…

Speaking in a direct, honest, straightforward way prevents a great deal of hurt feelings, confusion, miscommunication, misunderstandings, and destructive interactions. It promotes unity and harmony.

SHARE:

How have you communicated in ways that created confusion in your marriage at times?

Are you afraid to be honest and direct with your husband in a respectful way? If so, why do  you think that might be?

If you have learned to communicate in a more straightforward, honest way – please share your story if you would like to. What has been the outcome so far?

Men, is there anything else about this you might like to share so that we can better understand our husbands?

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A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – "I'm Going to Actually Believe My Husband"

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I first “met” A Fellow Wife in October of 2012. We have had some INTENSE conversations over the past 3 years. This has been a difficult journey many times for her – as it was for me (and as it is for all of us, I would daresay). I always love sharing what God is teaching her. I pray this might bless you (If your husband is involved in unrepentant sin, is abusive, is a compulsive liar, or is not in his right mind for some reason, perhaps you can’t believe your husband and this post may not be a good fit for you.) Thankfully, most of us really have decent men who are pretty straightforward and honest with us about what they say or who would like to feel safe enough with us to be straightforward and honest with us – even if they are not believers.

I’ve been thinking how different our marriage would be if I just truly took my husband at his word, if I believed him, if I took him as literally as he intends his words to be INSTEAD of allowing doubt and insecurity to creep in. Instead of over-analyzing and worrying he may not mean what he’s saying or that he’s just trying to spare my feelings or avoid conflict. How much more secure would I be in his love? How much happier would I be in our marriage. How much have I allowed Satan to steal from me through causing doubt, fear and insecurity?

  • Instead of thinking maybe he doesn’t want to have sex because I’m not a size 0, maybe he truly is just tired.
  • Instead of thinking he doesn’t love me as much as he says he does, just believe him.
  • Instead of believing I’m a low priority because he has things he wants to do, how about believing him when he says he just has things he wants to get done and it’s no reflection of his feelings for me.
  • How about believing him when he says he loves me with his entire heart instead of wondering if he’s truly got his priorities in order and prioritizes his marriage?

It would be a MUCH less painful way to live.

The reason I shared this is that I was thinking that doubt and insecurity can steal SO much from you – they’ve certainly been enemies of mine the last few years and I’m tired of the battle. It’s certainly easier and feels much better to have confidence in his love for me.

My husband’s biggest complaint (or close to the top) over the years has been that I don’t believe him.

I don’t want him to feel that way at all! It’s not been a matter of believing him but a matter of doubt and insecurity creeping in. But I want to conquer that. Love believes all things (Corinthians 13:8)!

I once read in book that Satan’s weapons are always doubt, deceit and distraction and if you can trace your thoughts back to those then you know you’re in a spiritual battle.

This is definitely a battle of doubt.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Isn’t this the same issue we have with God so many times? What would happen if we just believed Him and took the Bible at face value and accepted His Word to us?

But, back to talking about our husbands. It has been my experience that most husbands really do try to tell their wives the truth in a very straightforward way. We tend to get ourselves into a lot of trouble though, because some of us want to read into everything. What did that look mean? What was that inflection in his voice? Maybe he really meant this, not what he said. Maybe he is trying to hide his real feelings. And we get into a big tizzy over all of the possible interpretations we can imagine regarding what our husband said rather than just taking his words at face value.

That is a LOT of unnecessary drama and angst, my dear sisters!

It is extremely frustrating to a man to tell his wife the truth and then have her not believe it and begin imagining 96 other things he may have meant – that he definitely did not mean.  In fact, for a man to tell his wife the truth and for her not to believe him and to assume evil ulterior motives instead feels really disrespectful to a man. Why is that? Because she is calling him a liar. No one enjoys being called a liar. Certainly not most husbands.

What if your husband does fudge things a bit to keep from upsetting you? What do you do then? Well, I think that if you begin to take his words at face value and don’t freak out and launch into “what if” land, he may eventually begin to feel safe enough to be more honest with you when he has a problem. In fact, that is one of the signs that he feels more safe with you and that he trusts you more is that he begins to share the really hard things with you more often.

If he truly has an issue with dishonesty and lying, that is a different situation – and you may need some experienced one-on-one counseling to help you. But for most of us, what if we try taking up a challenge:

Treat your husband as if you completely believe whatever he tells you this week. Take his words at face value. Rest in them. Act on them.

  • If he says he likes something, believe him.
  • If he says he doesn’t need help – trust that he is being honest and don’t help him. 
  • If he says he thinks you are beautiful – graciously receive the compliment and rest in his words, trusting that he is telling you the truth.
  • If he doesn’t give a lot of compliments, rest in what he does to show his love for you and that he is still there.
  • If he says he loves you, receive it.
  • If he does something special for you – receive that as his way of showing love for you and appreciate him.

If he is not being honest about little things, he will figure out that he needs to change things as you begin to consistently take him literally. Your husband is probably a pretty intelligent guy. You may be amazed at how relieved he feels when you stop questioning everything he says – if you have been doing that.

In the next post, we will talk about a challenge for us to share in an honest, respectful, and straightforward way, too.

SHARE:

If you have already been down this road and have learned the blessings and freedom of just believing your husband and trusting he is being honest, please share your story.

PRAY:

How would your relationship with God change if you began to do this with Him, as well? What would happen if you just took His Word at face value – believe it and act on it?

OTHER POSTS FROM A FELLOW WIFE

 

 

 

 

“Wouldn’t a Husband Be Prideful for Not Accepting His Wife’s Help?”

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Photo credit – Maral Rabbit Photography

A woman asked this question recently – and I think it is a great one to discuss.

Women tend, in general, to jump in to help their husbands or other people – because we see it as “the loving thing to do.” Men tend, in general, not to jump in to offer unsolicited advice or help because they often believe that would be “disrespectful.” So when a wife offers unsolicited help or advice to her husband, and he refuses it – she may be tempted to think that he is being prideful. (Of course, this may happen in reverse, as well. I am talking in generalizations here – but there can be different dynamics in different marriages.)

But let’s step back and realize that we don’t know other people’s motives or their hearts. Other people may have perspectives that we are not privy to. So, it may not be that a man is “prideful” for not accepting his wife’s attempts to help him. He may feel that she doesn’t believe he is capable of doing what he is trying to do and he may feel insulted by what she believes she is doing to be “helpful.”

Let’s see how a woman might experience a similar scenario:

  1. Imagine that you have a newborn and you are nursing your baby because you believe it is the best thing for your baby’s health. Now picture that your mother tells you that formula would be better for your baby and that your baby will never get enough nourishment because she thinks that you cannot possibly produce enough milk to sustain your baby. Imagine that your baby is well within normal weight limits and that your baby is healthy and you are having no problems with nursing. How would you feel about your mother’s unsolicited advice and “help”? Would it be prideful for you to make your own decision about whether to breastfeed your baby or not?
  2. Imagine that you are cleaning the bathroom and your husband comes in and and grabs the sponge and spray bottle out of your hand and starts cleaning himself? What if he also criticizes your own cleaning abilities the entire time as he is taking over the job you were doing? How would you feel about your husband’s “help”? Would you be prideful to be unappreciative?
  3. Imagine that you are in the middle of ringing up a customer at work when a coworker comes over and steps in front of you and finishes the transaction while you were handling things just fine yourself and didn’t need or ask for help. How would you feel about your coworker’s “help”? Would it be prideful of you to expect to be able to do your own work without your coworker stepping in to do your job for you?

Perhaps we can appreciate that what one person perceives as being “helpful” may actually feel insulting to the one receiving the unsolicited advice or help. Could it be prideful not to ask for help when we need it? Yes. It definitely could. But there may be other ways to look at situations at times – and that is what I would like for us to try to do. Let’s seek to understand our husband’s perspective rather than judging him as having evil or sinful motives first.

Here is a recent 4 minute Youtube video I did about how to tell the difference between being controlling vs. actually being helpful to our men:

 

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Signs Your Husband May Feel Disrespected

The Respect Knob

 

GENERAL DISCLAIMER ABOUT MY BLOG – if you have really serious issues in your marriage, if your husband is very dominant/controlling/abusive, you are struggling with mental illness, your husband is struggling with mental illness, you or your husband have an active addiction, you tend to be extremely codependent, you are extremely passive and tend to be too afraid to share your needs with your husband, or you are severely emotionally scarred  – my blog may not be a good fit for you.

I would suggest that you find a godly,   you can get to know and trust one-on-one to help walk you through your situation. Sometimes women in these situations mishear me in dangerous ways. I never want that to happen. I want everyone to find the healing that is in Christ – if that is through a different source, I am fine with that.

Twenty-three Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

 

Many of you may remember me saying – it took 3.5 YEARS into my journey before Greg began to feel safe with me again – once God opened my eyes to my disrespect and control. Just a few weeks ago, he told me that he feels even safer with me – 6.5 years into my journey. At first, a lot of husbands are very skeptical about the changes they see in their wives. They may stay that way for months, or even years, before believing that the changes in their wives are real. Many husbands are worried at first that the changes are a phase or their wife’s attempt at manipulating them. (For more about how husbands often respond when they don’t know what is going on at first, please check out this post.)

Sometimes, it can be confusing to a wife when her husband begins to slowly trust her again – because it can seem like things are getting worse – from a wife’s perspective. Here are some things may indicate your husband is beginning to feel safer with you – that he feels like he has a voice in the marriage again, that he feels respected, that he feels you can handle hearing his true feelings/thoughts, and that he is feeling more free to be honest and be himself again (these things will happen gradually over time, usually – and they won’t all happen in every situation):

  • He tells you things that might be difficult for you to hear (constructive criticism, or just ideas of his that differ from yours)
  • He shares more about his heart, struggles, concerns, ideas, and dreams
  • He is more affectionate – maybe even begins to touch you again if he had stopped touching you
  • He may begin to flirt and become more interested in sex with you again, his libido begins to pick up
  • He looks you in the eye more
  • He is more willing to risk disagreeing with you
  • He smiles more
  • He jokes more often and teases you in a friendly way again
  • He wants to do more things together
  • He looks more relaxed around you and seems to be having more fun
  • He gives you more compliments (less verbal men may still not do this, just because of their personalities)
  • He seems more interested in doing things you would like
  • He feels like it is worth it to try to do things that will make you happy because he believes it is actually possible to please you again
  • He is more interested in your feelings, concerns, insights, and ideas
  • He doesn’t raise his voice as much
  • Arguments seem to happen less often and the recovery time seems to be much faster
  • He may be more willing to talk about having children if he wasn’t before
  • He talks about the future together
  • He acts a lot more like the guy you fell in love with years ago
  • He begins to open up spiritually – maybe even praying with you (although some men still won’t, this depends on the man, where he is spiritually, and his personality)
  • He trusts you with deeper parts of himself
  • He tries to serve you more and do more things to show his love for you
  • He is more willing to try to lead you and your family and take risks because he is not afraid of you reacting negatively

If your husband is feeling more at ease around you and more trusting of you – what are some of the changes you noticed on this journey?

Men, you are welcome to comment, as well, to help the ladies better understand the things they might see in their marriages as they learn to honor and respect their husbands and to be peaceful, godly wives.

RELATED:

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

What Is Respect in Marriage?

My Level of Respect for My Husband Has Nothing to Do with Him – VIDEO

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Could Your Husband Be Trapped in Shame?

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My husband, Greg, has a new site for his blog – he changed the name to Peaceful Husband. 🙂 You are welcome to check out his new look and his posts. He writes for men, many times – but, he has more women readers than men, so sometimes he also writes for women from a man’s perspective. Lately, he has been doing a powerful series on shame for men.

I believe that for our husbands, shame is often a very serious issue.

Shame can deepen and become entrenched in a man’s heart to the point that it becomes extremely toxic – total imprisonment. When a man is feeling shame, he will generally retreat into himself to protect himself from exposure. Sin is always progressive – it all snowballs and gets bigger and more destructive. As Greg shared with me the research he has been doing about shame in a man’s life, I was struck by how many men probably experience shame and by how paralyzing and isolating shame can be for a man.

Greg said that when a man becomes increasingly trapped in shame, other men generally do not reach out to them – because that would be “unmanly” to imply to another man that you think he needs help. Men tend to wait for other men to ask for help – but to ask for help is seen as “weakness.” And then there is the issue that there are not too many men who are well-equipped to help a man through the healing process for shame even if they did want to help someone. So – many men feel completely trapped by shame over their sins, shame over not being “man enough” at home, at work, at church, or shame over their failures (real or perceived). 

A number of our men feel shame simply for being men in our culture today. They are told they should feel, think, and act like women. And when they don’t – they hear a clear message that they are “wrong” or “evil.” What an incredibly awful place to be! To think that just by existing and being masculine as God designed them to be – they are seen as being “wrong.” (I am not talking about sin here, but just masculinity in general.)

This absolutely breaks my heart!!!!! I don’t want ANYONE to be isolated and trapped like this, feeling that they are completely alone in the world and unable to break out of that snare.

Interestingly, the cure for a man’s shame, in Greg’s research – is vulnerability.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT FOR WIVES IN THIS POST:

If a man can become vulnerable and open with someone he trusts who is safe – he can begin to heal from his shame and find hope. The place a man is most likely to look for help and healing is his wife. But the clincher is – a man will NEVER be vulnerable with someone who disrespects him. Why would he share the deepest parts of his heart with someone who seems bent on doing him harm? Greg told me,

“a man would rather be unknown than to be known for his weaknesses.”

We wives long for our husbands to be vulnerable and open with us. We long for them to share their hearts. But – if we are disrespecting them (even unintentionally) – we are communicating a clear message that we are not safe and that they cannot open up to us. Unfortunately, our disrespect can block one of the best paths to healing a man might be able to find. If a man believes that his wife is not safe and no man will help him – but there is another woman at work or somewhere who admires him and accepts him – what a recipe for disaster.

Most men do not have close guy friends. We may be the only one who could offer them a ladder to get out of the deep hole in which they find themselves. Will we throw a rope to them to help them, or will we shovel in more dirt over them and bury them alive? When a man feels completely trapped in shame over a long period of time, he may eventually “snap” and  lash out in really destructive and sinful ways toward himself, his wife, and others (sometimes this comes as something like a “mid-life crisis”).

Ultimately – men need the same thing women need – a relationship with God through the healing that only Jesus can offer!

(How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ)

Ways We Can Make Things Worse and push our husbands deeper into the mire, deeper into hopelessness/despair, and further away from Christ:

BOTTOM LINE: if we are sinning against our husbands or against God – we may inadvertently compound our husband’s pain and shame.

Ways We Can Be Part of God’s Plan to Bring Healing, Hope, and Help to an emotionally/spiritually wounded husband:

  • abide in Christ and be filled with His Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)
  • know our identity in Christ
  • extend grace
  • extend forgiveness
  • share the good things we see – the things we truly admire and respect (usually briefly – i.e.: a sentence or two per day or per week)
  • if our husbands are open to us talking about spiritual things, we can share the hope that is in Christ – that He takes away all of our guilt and shame – and that in Him, there is abundant spiritual life available. There is a fountain of Living Water. They can have God’s Spirit and the fruit of His Spirit. They can have wholeness, healing, purpose, godly power, and God can transform them to be more like Christ and make them mighty warriors in His kingdom for His glory!
  • be vulnerable ourselves – sharing our feelings, desires, and needs – softly, respectfully, humbly, gently
  • be honest but in a respectful way, considering our husbands’ needs and feelings
  • refuse to build walls ourselves
  • be able to hear hard things – even when we don’t agree
  • not demand perfection, but accept our men are human – just like we are
  • be willing to be flexible and try to understand our men’s very different perspectives
  • receive any wisdom our husbands may have to share
  • appreciate anything our husbands do for us to show their love – even if it is nor our favorite way of receiving love
  • keep our husbands’ faults, failures, and weaknesses to ourselves and be trustworthy and loyal by keeping confidences (unless there are really serious issues going on, then we must reach out for help, but only to appropriate, trustworthy counselors and sources)
  • choose our closest friends/advisors wisely (to be sure that they will honor and respect our husband and marriage and point us to God’s truth in the Bible, not worldly wisdom)
  • tear out every root of bitterness
  • accept them (not to say we accept sin, but we can accept our men and not try to change them)
  • affirm them and build them up (in sincerity, not in a fake or manipulative way)
  • give them the space they need to process and grow
  • trust and begin to follow their leadership, understanding that it will take time for them to learn to become strong leaders (unless there are really serious issues like abuse, unrepentant infidelity, uncontrolled mental health disorders, etc.. where trust would need to be rebuilt first)
  • trust God’s sovereignty in the marriage
  • smile that beautiful smile that lights up the whole room – and makes him feel like a million bucks

BOTTOM LINE: if we are seeking to allow God to transform and regenerate our souls and we are living in the power of God’s Spirit and walking in holiness and obedience to Him – we can be an instrument in God’s hands to bring healing and hope to our men.

SHARE:

Gentlemen, we welcome your insights on this issue – and how you believe wives might be able to reach and bless their husbands who may be caught up in a terrible abyss of shame.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? How can we pray for our men and our brothers in Christ? The enemy wants to take them down and destroy them – because if he can destroy our leaders, everything else will crumble. He is attacking them with everything he has today. Sisters, let’s close ranks to surround our brothers in Christ with fervent prayer!

PRAYER:

Lord,

We lift up our husbands and our brothers in Christ who are trapped in shame and who can’t see the way out. Open their eyes to You! Open their eyes to what Jesus has done for them. Let them turn to Him and be healed and bring them up out of the pit! Let them fully submit themselves to Christ as Lord and become the godly men, the holy generation, that You call them to be for Your glory!

Amen!

SCRIPTURE:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:1-5

Book Review – "Through a Man's Eyes" by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross

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Shaunti Feldhahn is a Christian author (one of my favorites!), speaker, and social researcher. Craig Gross is a pastor and founder of www.xxxchurch.org that has Christ-centered, biblical help for those ensnared by lust, pornography, and sex addictions.

They teamed up to help women better understand how their men think, what kinds of temptation they face, and how we as wives, girlfriends, and moms can best support the guys we love in this sexually saturated culture.

If you have not read my post from last week about preparing our hearts to read about the topic of how men think and the issues they have being “visual,” please read that before you read today’s book review. Thanks!

My prayer is that we might be in the right spiritual/emotional mindset – seeking to grow in Christ and to honor Him and to have empathy, compassion, and understanding toward our men – as we approach this potentially difficult topic.

Jesus taught that “he who has been forgiven much, loves much,” (Luke 7:41-43). I used to think that I couldn’t love God as much as some people who were “really bad sinners” – until God showed me all of my really bad sin. ALL of us have been forgiven MUCH by God. All of us owed Him a sin debt of billions of dollars that we could never repay.

  • If we have received God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace – we are then free to love God much. But I also believe that we are then free to love other people much – and to extend the same forgiveness, mercy, and grace to others, including our husbands.

If you have major issues with a lot of insecurity, body image issues, or extreme fear about your husband ever noticing that there are other women on the planet – please don’t read today’s post but pray and wait until God has healed you and you are ready to read this review with a level mind and steady heart. Pray for God to give you His perspective, His peace, His sense of calm, His unconditional love for your man, and His wisdom. Pray for Him to help you hash through any ungodly motives, wrong fixed beliefs, or fears and determine to trust God completely and rest in His sovereignty and love.

THE PMS ANALOGY

A perspective that helps me – as a woman and a pharmacist – is to think about that men and women have different biologically driven vulnerabilities and weaknesses. As women, we tend to battle things like PMS/pregnancy hormones/peri-menopause/menopause. (I believe some of these things are part of the curse in Genesis 3.)

There is a continuum for women for PMS – some women are hardly affected, others are mildly inconvenienced, but some are completely relationally crippled for days or weeks every month.

Our men don’t experience PMS or the feminine issues that we do as women. They do have emotions, certainly. But they can’t personally relate to the struggles we may have with our periods, the cramps, the irritability, the crying, the emotional mess, the migraines, and all of the issues that may accompany our hormonal cycles. Don’t we long for our men to approach us with empathy, encouragement, unconditional love, understanding, and grace when we stumble and fall? Don’t we desire compassion from them in our weakness? This is not to say that we are justified in screaming at them, hating them, throwing things, saying hateful things, or sinning against them when we have PMS.

Sin is never excusable. God never allows us to justify sin.

But our biological makeup creates some particular vulnerabilities. If we are not careful and are not walking in the power of God’s Spirit, we could easily stumble in the weakness of our flesh. We may need extra spiritual support in those times of weakness.

I would like to encourage us all to offer the same kind of empathy, encouragement, unconditional love, understanding,  and grace when our men struggle with their vulnerabilities – even if we can’t completely relate to their struggles. Don’t our men need our compassion in their weakness? I don’t want any man to feel guilty just for being a man. Sin is wrong. We are not justifying sin. But – let’s allow our men freedom to be the men God created them to be. And let’s seek to understand their world. A man’s biological makeup creates some particular vulnerabilities that are terribly exploited by our culture like never before in the history of civilization. If they are not careful and are not walking in the power of God’s Spirit, they could easily stumble in the weakness of their flesh. They may need extra spiritual support in those times of weakness.

  • Until we are walking in victory over our own personal spiritual battles, we are not ready to walk beside someone else to assist him in his spiritual battles.

If you are spiritually and emotionally ready – let’s dive into this book review below, my precious sisters!

————-

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This topic can get very emotional for us. We sometimes try to take the way we think and the way our brains work as women and make assumptions about how men think that are often not at all accurate. It is easy to think that if I don’t have a particular temptation struggle – then my husband is “bad” or “more sinful” than I am because he has different temptations.

As humans, we may be tempted to think that our sin is “better than” other people’s sin – or that our sin is more “justifiable.”

But in God’s eyes – no sin is justified. He hates it ALL. And yet He loves us dearly. That is why He was willing to pay such an astronomical price for all of our sins – for men and women – so that He could provide a way for us to be right with Him.

 “Through a Man’s Eyes” goes to great lengths to explain the differences in how men and women think and why God’s design is good – for men and for women. God designed men to be very visual so that they can drive well, design things well, hunt well, and enjoy the precious sight of a wife’s feminine body in marriage. That is the only place men are supposed to see an undressed woman or a barely dressed woman – in their own marriage.

Shaunti and Craig have large volumes of surveys of men and women, as well as brain science, not to mention their vast experiences in ministry helping thousands of men and women with the issue of men being visual. They delve into appropriate levels of detail to determine the difference between temptation, attraction, and lust/sin for a man. It is important for us as women to understand that:

A man facing temptation is not the same thing as him being guilty of sinful thoughts or actions.

Christ was tempted, but was without sin. That is what He calls us to do, as well, as believers – to respond without sin to every temptation by His power in us. We can’t prevent the temptations sometimes. Although we can try to avoid them whenever possible. But we are responsible to God for how we respond to the tempting sight or thought. We can’t always tell if someone else is having sinful thoughts. Only God knows the hearts and minds of other people accurately. It is our job to take our own sinful thoughts captive for Christ. We cannot try to be responsible for another person’s thoughts.

I appreciate that the authors take time to point out that not all men have the same degree of struggle visually, that there is a continuum. This book offers a place for women to start – but hopefully, they will be able to eventually have loving, honest, open conversations with their particular men later that might help them better understand their guys. The authors repeat over and over again, though, for women to read the whole book before trying to have a conversation with their men about these things. It is important that we be willing and able to have CALM discussions about this topic so that our men will know they are safe in sharing these things with us.

If we freak out, we will show our men that we are not safe and they will shut us out of this area of their lives. That is not going to ultimately benefit us, them, or our marriages.

Craig and Shaunti don’t gloss over sin – for men or for women.

They call it what it is and encourage women to get appropriate help if their husbands are addicted to porn. They don’t excuse sin or justify it in any way. But they do help us to better understand how God created our men’s minds and how we can be on their team instead of condemning them, hating them, or holding on to bitterness. They also explain how porn addiction really doesn’t usually have anything to do with a husband’s love or attraction to his wife. It is  an addiction just like a drug – it generally isn’t about his wife. It is about his addiction and the rush of “I feel good” – but it is a counterfeit. Many times men became addicted to porn as middle or high schoolers – and they would have this issue no matter what wife they married. God designed real affirmation and blessings for men when they experience sex in marriage. The counterfeit only causes pain in a man’s relationship with God, in his own life, in his wife’s life, and in their marriage.

I love that the book goes into detail about specific, practical things that wives, girlfriends, and moms can do to support their men and bless them. I am also thankful for the conversation about the importance that women dress modestly to bless our brothers and to not set a stumbling block in their way. Yes, men are responsible for their thoughts and their sin. But why would we ever intentionally try to make things harder on our brothers in Christ by dressing immodestly or provocatively?

I believe this book is a must read for wives, girlfriends, and moms. I long to see God use this book to begin to bridge the gap in understanding between men and women in the church and in our families that we might come together in unity, love, support, and help for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

SHARE:

Ladies,

If this topic is really difficult for you and you want to share your struggles, let’s talk about it together!

If God has empowered you to handle this topic with grace, understanding, peace, and poise – please share with our sisters who are hurting and struggling how God has helped you to approach your man with compassion, grace, and understanding on this issue.

FOR LADIES WHO FEEL TEMPTED TO TRY TO BE A TROPHY WIFE OR THINK THAT IS THE MESSAGE:

I came from a background of focusing on what my husband should change for me. So it can be helpful for me to focus on what I can change to bless my husband in a healthy way – not an obsessed or idolatrous way. But not all women are from that background.

We can seek to bless our husbands, but we are not responsible FOR them or their sin. I hope that makes sense! Ultimately this is all about us seeking to please God alone.

Here is what a dear sister in Christ shared – and has given me permission to share. She used to believe she had to be a “trophy wife” and when she approached some Christian books, she thought she was hearing that message reinforced. Sometimes, certain women are very sensitive to such triggers. I think this wife’s approach may be a great blessing to many who struggle with balancing messages in the area of dealing with husbands being visual and having temptations, etc… Check this out:

Some Christian studies on marriage can tempt us to feel responsible for our husbands sin, our marriage, to stay together, and a whole lot of performance on our part to make sure he is never tempted and we are always enough for him. The problem is we are never pretty enough, exciting enough or wonderful enough to hold our marriages together. Our husbands could still sin even if we were.

So we need the truth – We are not going to be enough to keep our husbands faithful or keep them from sin. We are not their savior. Their sin issues were there before we were in their lives. Only God can set them free from lust or anything else . And only God can set us free from fear and worry and performancing.

I am already beautiful in Christ and I need to be filled up with His love and truth about me. Only Christ is enough for my husband. If he is focused on Christ, Jesus is enough for him. So the answer for my husband to be free is Christ. I can pray for him. And the answer for me is Christ.

I don’t have to be a victim – worried about my husband’s sin or potential to sin. I can grow with Christ in any circumstance including one where my husband is sinning. My hope and joy and identity is in Christ, not my husband being perfect. I don’t have to pressure myself and feel constant guilt and fear to perform or he will leave me. I can rest in Christ’s love and grace for me and for my marriage and husband. I don’t have to worry about the future and what-ifs. I can enjoy my husband and think of intimacy and beauty as a good gift from God rather than a heavy, impossible duty I will never be good enough at (a lie from Satan).

Rather than be fearful and jealous, (Beth Moore said jealousy and fear has never won back a wandering husband) and looking at my lack, I can look at all the good already in my husband, all the love and blessings Christ has already given me, and the hope that God is fighting for me and my marriage. I am not the Holy Spirit and I can quit trying to police my husband and be free to give him respect and prayer and be listening to God and staying out of God’s way if my husband does need convicting.

Sometimes my husband isn’t even struggling and it is just me being paranoid that is the problem! I need to ask for God’s wisdom, and not try to figure out what is right in my own eyes.

RELATED:

The Issue of Modesty

www.menarevisual.com – Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross

www.xxxchurch.org – help for lust/porn addictions and spouses of those who are addicted

Prayer for Those Hurt by Porn, Addicted to Porn, and Involved in the Porn Industry

“Through His Eyes” by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross

“For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn

“For Men Only” by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn

Fear

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Are Women Morally/Spiritually Superior to Men?

Righteous Jealousy and Anger

When Your Husband Battles Pornography

Preparing Our Hearts for “Through a Man’s Eyes” by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross

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REMINDER: You may want to join me on Facebook at Peacefulwife Blog for extra insights, prayers, and thoughts to bless your walk with Christ and your marriage. 🙂 (The link is on the right column of my blog.)

Shaunti Feldhahn is one of my favorite authors.

She is a social researcher and Christian author who does large scale, statistically accurate surveys of thousands of men and women (especially those who profess Christ) to discover how we think and relate to each other. Her book, “For Women Only,” was the book that most helped me begin to understand men in general – and was a fantastic place to start to begin to understand my own husband. It gave me frame of reference to begin to have some amazing discussions with Greg about his masculine world, his perspective, the way he thinks, and the issues he faces as a man.

For lots of women, much of the information Shaunti shares from her surveys of men about how they think – is new information that we didn’t ever understand or even hear much about before. It can be a bit overwhelming to process at first for some of us.

The point of learning about how our men think is that we might be better informed, equipped, and empowered to BLESS our husbands, our marriages, our sons, and to please the Lord. The goal is to draw us closer together – not to tear marriages apart.

I have seen some women who read “For Women Only” and completely freak out – permanently withdrawing from their husbands and every man on the planet. These panic/fear-based responses are not God’s desire for us!

One of the reasons Shaunti teamed up with Craig Gross (pastor and founder of www.xxx.church.org – a Christ-centered site to help those who are addicted to pornography or lust) is to explain what it means that men are “visual” in a bit more detail – and to better equip us as women to respond in HEALTHY, productive, godly ways to this information. That is what I want for each of us.

If you believe that you are not able to read about this topic without freaking out in a destructive way – I would encourage you NOT to read my review or Shaunti’s book until you have prayed and believe you are emotionally and spiritually stable enough to read about this. And, if you are not handling this topic well – please seek appropriate godly counseling (in person, one-on-one) to help walk you through this.

  • There are resources at www.xxxchurch.org and www.menarevisual.com that may be helpful, as well.

Rememeber – each man is unique.

There is a continuum of how much men struggle with visual temptation just like there is a continuum with how much women struggle with PMS. For some women, PMS barely exists at all. For some, it is an inconvenience and a hassle for a few days or a week or so each month. For others, it is devastating and destructive to all of their relationships.

Shaunti’s book, “For Women Only,” opened the door for me to bridge a large gap of misunderstanding that I didn’t even realize I had.

I used to think that everyone thought just like I did – regardless of personality or gender. Now I understand that men and women have very different brain structure and brain chemistry – which makes a large impact on how we think and what we think. And, of course, there is room for lots of individual variation between different people, as well.

THIS IS A TOUGH TOPIC

Admittedly, the issue of the struggles and temptations men face (especially battles that are different from the ones we primarily face as women) is probably one of the most difficult topics for women. The enemy doesn’t want us to understand, empathize with, or offer grace to our husbands in their masculine struggles. He doesn’t want our men to understand, empathize with, or offer grace to us in our  feminine struggles either. Our adversary wants to continue to create division, resentment, bitterness, and hatred between men and women, husbands and wives.

The hallmark of believers of Christ is that we have God’s Spirit. And when His Spirit is in charge, not our sinful flesh, we will have His unconditional love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), His Spirit of unity, His peace, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His power in our midst. THAT is the goal, my dear sisters!

PLEASE PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

How I pray that You might prepare each of our hearts to be soft, humble, fully submitted to You, willing to hear Your truth, and receptive to anything You want to share with us as we study the topic of how men think and the temptations they face. Help us remember that each of these men are dearly beloved sons of yours for whom Christ died – or they are wayward sons for whom Christ died and You long to receive them to Yourself.

Together, we lift up every reader of mine and of Shaunti’s who will read about this topic and who will read this book – that the Holy Spirit might work ahead of time in her soul – and that God might use these difficult discussions to break down barriers, bridge the large gap of misunderstanding between men and women/husbands and wives – and bring healing to the Body of Christ, to marriages, to families, and to relationships all over His church in our country and around the world. Stop divorces in Your Body, Lord! Heal wounded marriages. Heal broken wives and broken husbands. Reconcile marriages and strengthen them by Your Spirit’s power to properly display the mystery of Christ and His church for the glory of Your Gospel! I pray that with our increased understanding and knowledge, that we might use this information for GOOD in our homes and churches as You desire us to.

In the Name and power of Christ,
Amen!

A PREVIEW:

One of the most heartbreaking things I read in Shaunti’s new book is the sentiment that that many Christian men in our culture today feel guilty – just for having a male brain.

This should not be! My precious sisters! What a tragic thing that our fathers, our husbands, our brothers, and our sons may feel that they are “wrong” just for being men. Being masculine is a great blessing from God! Sin is wrong. But being masculine in and of itself is not a sin – it is a gift! Just like being feminine is a blessing and is not a sin.

Our culture has been trying to squeeze men into a feminine mindset for many decades now. We have labeled many ways that men think, talk, and act as “wrong.” We have demanded – in our marriages, in our families, our businesses, our schools, and in our churches – that men/boys should think, talk, and act like women/girls. We have all been marinating in the idea that “women are spiritually/morally superior to men” and that women’s sins are not as bad as men’s sins.

These ideas are not biblical!

We are ALL equally sinful before a holy God. We ALL equally and desperately need the blood of Christ to cover our awful sins that grieve God’s heart. We are ALL on level ground at the foot of the cross. None of us are “better than” the other. If we think we are, that is pride and self-righteousness – which are both sins. We each have certain ways we are designed that we can’t really change – but because of sin – we are more vulnerable to temptation in certain areas. But all sin grieves God’s heart. Women are not superior to men. Men are not superior to women.

God made men and women both in His image (Genesis 2). We are of equal value in Christ (Galatians 3:28). He made our differences to be a GOOD thing and to be a reflection of Christ and the church. We are not the same – and we can thank and praise God for that! We need godly masculinity and godly femininity – and the two are VERY different! How I pray we will learn to celebrate the wondrous differences between men and women and how God can bring a man and woman together in unity in marriage for His glory!

I long for men to feel safe and supported being masculine as God intends them to be and I long for women to feel safe and supported being feminine as God intends them to be in our families and the church. How I pray we will all seek to understand one another and to support each other where each is weak, encouraging and spurring one another on toward Christ and holiness!

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