“I Won’t Give up My Bitterness!”

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We Have All Been Hurt by Others:

Sin against us HURTS. Deeply.  Sin is always wrong. God always hates sin. He hates every sin people commit against us – whether it is in thought, motive, word, or deed. He hates the sin people commit against Him. He hates our sin, too – even the ones we think are “trivial” or that we justify to ourselves. God is absolutely holy and cannot tolerate any sin at all. (Verses about God’s holiness)

We all have reasons to be bitter – reasons not to forgive – that the world would say are “justified.” The more mistreatment we have endured, the more “right” we have to cherish our bitterness. We may even (wrongly) think we have the right to be bitter against God if He allowed something awful to happen and didn’t stop it, or He didn’t answer our prayers the way we thought He should have.

  • The problem with this worldly wisdom is that our bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness is major sin against God. 

God Commands Us to Let Go of Our Bitterness:

If you want to see where bitterness leads – observe someone who has been holding on to bitterness for many decades. Unrestrained bitterness leads to hatred, contempt, malice, a desire for revenge, and a desire to hurt or even kill another person. It completely consumes a person’s life and becomes their sole idol, many times.

There are few things that can kill a relationship as effectively as bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. In fact, God can and does often heal marriages from infidelity, pornography addictions, alcoholism, and drug addictions when people repent from these sins and allow Him to change their lives. But unrepentant bitterness causes a marriage to be unable to be healed. I held on to bitterness myself for many years, until God showed me that I had to choose – Jesus or my bitterness. I could not have both.

We may think that if we forsake our bitterness, we are saying that another person’s sins were okay, or that it didn’t hurt us. But that is a lie! God never glosses over sin – and yet He forgives, though He is perfect. We are certainly not above God. We can affirm that someone’s sin against us was very wrong, hurtful, and destructive and that it was not at all okay. And then, in God’s power, we can forgive. If we don’t forgive, we open a door for the enemy to enter and conquer our souls.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

A wife wrote to me a few years ago, “Don’t take away my bitterness! It’s all I have left!”

Bitterness Is a Deadly Poison to Us:

Bitterness must be quickly tended to as soon as it sprouts. It is evil – and it grows rapidly. The longer we allow it to grow and the longer we water, feed, and nurture it – the more painful it is to tear it out later.

Bitterness is a terrible trap, my dear sisters (and brothers)! It is a device of our enemy to attempt steal the gifts Jesus has provided for us through His death. Bitterness grieves the very Spirit of God and we lose His power in our lives – then our sinful nature has more and more control, not God. Bitterness hardens our hearts until we can no longer even hear God’s still small voice.

God commands us to forgive and to let go of bitterness – not because the person who sinned against us deserves to be let off the hook, but to bless US so that we can stay in close fellowship with Him and experience all the fruit of His Spirit and abundant spiritual life (Gal. 5:22-23).

We forgive because God forgives us. It is a decision of the will – not the emotions. We forgive because we love God and want to obey Him in everything. We forgive because we need to be forgiven by God. We forgive because forgiveness sets us free from Satan’s snare! Our goal MUST be to get rid of every trace of bitterness so that we can experience the power of God’s Spirit working in and through us to enable us to live holy, godly lives.

In releasing those who have hurt us and what they have done, and in deciding not to make them pay us for their sin – we can have God’s peace in our hearts. God says that it is His place to take revenge, not ours. (This doesn’t mean we trust unrepentant sinners or stay if we are not safe or the other person is not willing to rebuild trust.)

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14, 17-21

  • Either those who sin against us will turn to Christ and Jesus will pay for their sins against us with His innocent, perfect, holy blood – and He will change their hearts and they will grieve over their sin.
  • Or those who sin against us will pay for their sins themselves in hell forever.

There will be justice, ultimately, for the wrongs we have suffered. And there will be justice for the wrongs others have suffered at our hands, as well. God never ignores sin or sweeps it under the rug. He is just. He is righteous. He is holy. 

Replacing Bitter Thoughts with Godly, Holy Thoughts

We must take each thought captive for Christ. Every time I realize I am thinking a bitter thought, I must repent, turn away from it, confess it to God, and replace it with the truth of the Bible.

ie:

Bitter thoughts: “My husband doesn’t really love me. He hasn’t done X for me in years! If he loved me, he would know I want him to do X. I’ll show him! I’m going to give him the cold shoulder for the next 3 months. Let’s see how he likes that!”

Holy thoughts: “Let me write down the ways my husband has shown love to me lately. (If he is in unrepentant sin and has truly not been loving, I may need to write down that he is ensnared in sin and that he needs deliverance and needs me to pray for him. I may need to pray about confronting my husband about his sin if he has not repented. It is not a godly thing to pretend that sin doesn’t exist.) I can also write down what God says about me and my identity in Jesus. I can focus on all of the good things God has done for me. I can sing praises to God. I can write about my pain. I can pray about my pain and ask God for healing. I can ask God to show me how He might want me to bless my husband and how He might give me the power to overcome evil with good. I can ask God to help me better understand my husband if I am misunderstanding his masculine perspective. And I can seek ways to do good to him just to please Christ.”

When we realize just how much God has forgiven us and the great price for which He paid for our sins – Jesus’ death – we cannot help but respond with humility, true repentance, and gratitude. And when we have received the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God for our billions of dollars worth of sin debt – we cannot help but respond with mercy, grace, and forgiveness toward those who sin against us (Matthew 18:21-35 – the Parable of the Wicked Servant).

God Uses a Believer’s Forgiveness for His Glory!

What an incredible witness for Christ it is when believers extend mercy, grace, and forgiveness, rather than hatred and bitterness. Think about the example of the church in Charleston, SC a few months ago. What a glorious testimony to Jesus that these believers forgave the man who murdered their loved ones. That didn’t mean that what he did was okay with them at all. What he did was awful – the very epitome of evil! But what they did was supernatural. Because of their beautiful example, the gospel was proclaimed and exalted around the world on secular news stations!!??!? Are we ready to allow God to use us to shine for Him, too?

What miracles might God have in store in our lives and for His kingdom and to bring the lost to Himself if we are willing to obey Him and not hold on to bitterness?

SHARE:

Is bitterness ever attractive to others?

How have you been tempted by the enemy to cling to bitterness, hatred, resentment, or unforgiveness?

Was it worth it?

Can we possibly bless others with the Gospel and love of Christ if we are consumed by bitterness?

How has God empowered you to experience His victory over bitterness, if you have experienced His deliverance? We’d love to hear your story!

RELATED:

Christian quotes about bitterness

Bible verses about bitterness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness Stories

A Daughter’s Incredible Story of Forgiveness

Righteous Jealousy and Anger

When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

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Whether you are feeling deprived of attention, love, affection, sex (and yes, a lot of women desire sex more than their husbands do), or anything else – I believe there are some steps godly wives can take to move forward in a productive direction. (If there are severe issues in your marriage, please see the disclaimer at the bottom of the post.)

The power to overcome feelings of disappointment in our husbands is in our thought lives as we choose to align ourselves with God’s wisdom and His ways.

We have two main choices.

  1. We can focus on how unfulfilled, how deprived, how upset, how victimized, and how empty we are feeling at the moment in our marriages. We can focus on all that is wrong and on what we don’t have. We can blame our husbands, expect them to fix all of the problems, and change to meet our needs. We can nurture our bitterness/resentment and dwell on how much our husbands have failed us. We can be irritable, angry, cold, and harsh. We can choose to lash out at our husbands and punish them for disappointing us. That will teach them!
  2. We can focus on Christ and how in Him, we possess every spiritual blessing from heaven that exists in the universe (Ephesians 1:3). We can focus on all that we DO have in Him. We can change the channel from our desire/disappointment to Christ. We can take up our cross daily, placing all of ourselves on the altar before God, living as though we are dead to self and to our own will, following Jesus and finding true, abundant Life in Him. We can choose to see that He is more than sufficient to meet our needs. We can choose to shoot down sinful thoughts immediately and nurture our faith in Christ, our love for Christ, and our desire to bless our husbands. We can choose to be loving, warm, accepting, gracious, joyful, peaceful, and content.

Each of these paths has a very different outcome – spiritual  death or spiritual life.

We do have legitimate needs and desires. It is important for us to respectfully share our feelings, needs, goals, desires, concerns, and perspectives with our husbands. That is part of our responsibility as believing wives. Husbands and wives should all seek to meet their spouse’s needs selflessly, lovingly, and with respect.

But if our husbands cannot or will not meet our needs or do what we believe is best – then where does that leave us? Are we going to try to force our men (or anyone else) to do what we want even if we have to sin to do it? Or will we respect their God-given free will and choose to turn to God in faith with our needs?

Sometimes there will be trials and times of testing in our Christian faith.

God gives us tests to help us see where we are weak in our faith, to bring sin to the surface of our lives as He refines us, and so that sin can be skimmed off. He uses tests, trials, and suffering to cause us to grow in spiritual maturity to completion (verses about suffering). Many times that painful trial of us feeling rejected, abandoned, or alone in our marriage will be the very thing that God will use to draw us to Himself in ways we have never experienced before. Sometimes He will help us see that our husbands are only human and can’t meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs. Only God can do that! If we are willing, God will use the pain in our lives to chisel and shape us, to teach us treasures and wonderful things about Himself, and to grow and prune us.

How we respond is the key.

Instead of meditating on resentment, bitterness, or disappointment all day long, let’s focus on Philippians 4:8 things:

  • My husband has a lot of traits that I really admire. I’m going to start a list and really think about his good qualities today.
  • My husband likely has good intentions toward me.
  • God has good intentions toward me.
  • God is sovereign over my husband, over my life, and over this frustrating, painful situation. What good might God desire to do through this? What might He have for me to learn? What an adventure it will be to find out His plans!
  •  I can lay my needs and concerns at the feet of Christ and trust Him with them. I don’t have to freak out even if I don’t get what I want or need. If He wants me to have my desires and needs met, He will provide a way for this to happen that brings honor to Himself. If my needs are not met right now in the ways that I want them to be, I will use this experience to practice living for God’s will far above my own. “Not my will but Yours be done, Lord!”
  • By God’s power, I will contribute to unity, harmony, healing, respect, honor, and agape love in our marriage.
  • I have so many gifts from God – I’m going to start a list of all of the things God has done for me and meditate on being thankful for each of these blessings.
  • I am going to focus on allowing God to change me to become the wife and woman  God desires me to be.
  • I am going to sing praises to God for His goodness!
  • I am going to meditate on Scripture and the promises of God.
  • I am going to put my energy to use in fervent prayer to know God more deeply and to grow in my faith.
  • I can focus on NOT feeding my desires for sexual intimacy for this time – by avoiding suggestive books, music, movies, and also by redirecting my thoughts to God and other things when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I can choose to fill my mind with thoughts of things I do have and things I am thankful for rather than ruminating on what I don’t have right now. That is a way that I can “turn down” my libido to some degree if necessary for a time.

If my husband does not meet my needs – I will be okay. If I have Jesus, I have everything that matters!

If I only have Him, His Spirit, and His Word, I have the greatest Treasures of the universe. I will find all of my personhood, worth, acceptance, love, peace, security, safety, hope, faith, joy, strength, and contentment in Christ alone – no matter what my husband does or does not do. My hope is ultimately in Christ Jesus alone, not in my husband. My husband may fail me at times, but God never will fail me or forsake me! Jesus is my Rock, my Strong Tower, my Refuge, my Mighty Fortress, my Comforter, my Great Physician, and my Prince of Peace. He has made me right with God.

I give all of myself to Him and He gives me all of Himself in return! I am a daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords. I have all of the spiritual treasures of heaven at my disposal to accomplish God’s will. I am not deprived at all. I possess all of the promises of God’s Word, all of His love, all of His support, all of His power, care, and provision. My God can change my husband’s heart. But even if he does not, I will trust in Him completely!

This is how we take our thoughts captive for Christ, my dear sisters!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11b-13

Disclaimer:

If either your husband or yourself is involved in serious unrepentant sin, infidelity, abuse, active drug/alcohol addictions, or have uncontrolled mental health problems – please seek appropriate, trustworthy, qualified help for yourself and your marriage. I am not addressing serious issues in this post, although, some things about our walk with Christ will still apply. But you may need outside help in severe situations. If you or your children are not safe, please try to get out and get somewhere safe! Or if you are a danger to your husband or children, please get yourself some help and separate yourself from your family until you can be together safely. I don’t condone abuse or sin against anyone!

PS – a Note about Mutuality:

It is not wrong for a wife to desire for her husband to truly love her. It is not wrong for a husband to long for his wife to truly respect him. There is an expectation for reciprocity in the marriage covenant. Marriage should be a mutual effort and a beautiful interchange between two people who love and respect one another.

I don’t intend to say that wives should not want their husbands to love them. We should want this! Mutuality is a good thing.

My concern is that – it is easy for us to desire our husband’s love so much that we can desire it more than we desire Christ or we can desire it to the point that we are willing to sin to try to get what we want from our husbands. That is where I want us to be very cautious. It’s not that we don’t or shouldn’t want our husband’s love, but that we need to be careful where this desire is in our priorities. I hope that makes sense.
God designed marriage to involve two people who are both contributing to the marriage and both seeking Him. That is the goal!
If you feel that your husband does not love you as he should, that is a very painful place to be.
My prayer for my hurting sisters in this situation is that they might continue on being faithful to God, to their marriage covenant, and to their husband – allowing God to empower them, seeking to please Him, and seeking to bless their husband. We will trust God together to work in your husband’s heart to draw Him to Himself first, and also back to the marriage.
But no matter what our husbands ultimately do, my prayer is that we might walk in holiness, obedience, faithfulness, and by the power of God’s Spirit working in us – that Christ might be greatly pleased with us.

RELATED:

The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage

She Has the Stronger Sex Drive – Shaunti Feldhahn’s site

Are Particular Sexual Activities Wrong in Marriage?

Placing My Higher Sexual Drive Under God’s Control

My Husband Is Not Attracted to Me

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Healthy Vs Unhealthy Relationships

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

God Changes a Wife’s Heart During a Financial Crisis

 

Photo Credit -freeimages.com Bob Smith
Photo Credit -freeimages.com Bob Smith

From a precious sister in Christ – the same one God is taking from major fear to strong faith:

I am writing to you again to share one more incident that took place yesterday and through which God spoke to me. I am excited when there is even a very small progress in the way I think or behave, so I am sharing it with you once more 🙂

We believe God led us for me to quit my job when I had my first daughter so that I become a stay at home mom and raise her myself. Since then our finances have been very tight and in many instances we saw God provide in very unexpected ways, to find ourselves now, two years later, with a second baby and lacking nothing, though facing various challenges financially.

One of the ways God has provided for us was through state funding. This year, too, we were to apply for this aid that was to help us cover some expenses that have been gathering. It was my husband’s “job” to do this. Yesterday though when I asked him, he realized he had been busy and stressed with work and had forgotten to apply and we had missed the applications date. It is now too late.

I had been planning in my mind which bills we could finally pay off with this fund (this is “my job”). I was shocked and couldn’t believe that he missed something so important for us. He told me he was taking care of it but in the end he missed it, although it should have been a priority in his “to do” list.

So, my first reaction was: “You are kidding me, right? You didn’t apply???”

This could be considered a “usual” response from me, though I wish it not to be such. I felt so greatly disappointed, I felt that he failed to take care of our family in a way that was his responsibility…that I trusted him to take care of this and he failed me. This is my basic trust issue that is causing me to be controlling (as I have described you in the past). I just felt so greatly let down and didn’t know what to do about it.

However, within a few moments, the Holy Spirit started a discussion with me that changed the course of my thoughts.

I started thinking:

  1. My husband is responsible and always trying to take care of us, but he is also just human. That means that he WILL fail me at times, and I should not be so surprised. I am supposed to be gracious, because I also am human, and under the same circumstances, it is possible that I could have failed the same way.
  2. This is to show me where I really put my trust for our family’s provision. Am I focusing too much on the state aid and on us doing everything “right” to receive as much help as possible? Or am I really trusting God to provide for us, with or without the state aid, and despite us not doing everything right? This was the time for me to decide where I was going to put my trust.
  3. Here lies an opportunity that is far more precious than the money. It is the opportunity for me to react as God wants me to react. It is the opportunity for me to change – the opportunity to love my husband and trust God. I really felt in my heart that this is really precious, in a way that it may actually have been better that we lost this fund, if that means that I could be gaining spiritually through this. I really felt that I wanted to grasp this opportunity! This helped me pass the disappointment and hurt to feel joy and peace. It helped me let go of this fund in my heart and rejoice for what God is doing instead.
  4. I felt that this is the opportunity for me to stay committed to my husband and marriage. I married my husband for better or for worse, for when in health or sickness, for richer or poorer. I also married him for when he makes everything right or for when he doesn’t. I married him also for the times that he makes mistakes. There doesn’t need to be a divorce to break this promise. I can still break it in my heart, though still remaining married to him, by not staying connected in my heart to him, not being supportive and not sticking with him through this journey of life, even when he fails. In the end, he is far more important than money.

I think that the marriage vows should also contain a promise that goes something like, “for when my spouse does everything right or for when my spouse makes mistakes and fails”.

After this, I called my husband and told him that it just doesn’t matter that he forgot to apply, that I could have forgotten it too and that God can still provide for us in other ways. Of course, I wish my first reaction was different! I can’t take that back! But still, the whole turn out was absolutely amazing, totally a Holy Spirit work that reminds nothing of my usual attitude, which I hope I can soon refer to as “old and past.” It is exciting, it makes me feel thrilled and it brings tears to my eyes.

The way God changes me – for me, that is the greatest proof that He is alive and present!

“Why Does She Get a Better Husband Than I Have?”

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From a precious sister in Christ regarding the issue of our husbands praying with us. I’m so thankful for her willingness to allow me to share her thoughts:

Just had one of those random thoughts regarding this issue, may have come from breathing chicken feathers while cleaning the hen house, lol!

I was thinking about why it bothers me so much when I hear of other women who have men who seem to fit the ideal image; you know – seriously godly man who takes his walk with Jesus seriously, would rather be found dead than put anything ahead of his Lord, takes discpling and leading his family very seriously, wants to lead his wife and seeks God daily for His direction is in the word, when he’s wrong or has sinned, promptly confesses and does what he can to make it right, etc. You know, the kind of man who is upheld as the male version of the Prov. 31 wife.

I think it triggers twin fears:
1. Another sister has been more loved and favored than I. Why her and not me?
2. And of course, the fear that I have somehow wound up with a “dud” and seriously messed up my life.

Of course both those things are still all focused on me.

Don’t know if this amounts to spiritual sibling rivalry or not, hee hee:) But I think that’s it; no one wants to feel that somehow they’ve missed out and they have something that is of far lesser quality than what others have. It’s said that comparison is the basis of feelings of inferiority and there is some truth to that one. It’s not just when I hear of a sister whose husband takes praying with his wife seriously, but when I hear of other sisters who have husbands who bring them flowers or plan romantic surprises or who put an “equal” [in a woman’s eyes] amount of effort into having a “real” relationship.

Such things touch deeply on root issues in my life that are painful, and on response patterns that probably have something to with what sorts of things continually crop up. And of course there is always the whole thing of wanting our sense of value and worth to come from other people instead of Christ. I realize that in a sense, writing this  –  it certainly gives away that I have some areas where even at the age of 50, it’s like I am still a hurt and jealous, insecure child watching what everyone else has to make sure that I am not getting ripped off somehow. Hardly makes me the sort of woman you’d come to for discipling and wisdom on how to be a mature woman of God.

But scripturally, I realize that this is one of those issues that is a trust in God issue at core. And its one of those places that affords the evil one convenient handles to grab onto and mess with us. Its only in Him that such soul snarls can get worked out. I was thinking of the scripture where one of the disciples asked Jesus about another disciple’s future and Jesus responded by saying, ”What is that to you? Come you after me”.

When I looked this scripture up online, I came across John Piper’s article on the Desiring God site about the same subject, which delighted me and I think may prove a blessing to us all : http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-that-to-you-you-follow-me.

FROM APRIL:

Verses about coveting/jealousy

RELATED:

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Experiencing God’s Victory over Our Fears

The Snare of Comparing

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Christ Is the Only Real Source of Security!

Godly Femininity

The Dirty Garage Epiphany

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From a wife who has experienced great difficulties in her marriage and has continued to abide in Christ:

You know, I was cleaning out our garage today (part of me working on my own habits), and it taught me some lessons. One was on that question that always pops up…

“How do I respect my husband if he doesn’t deserve it?”

So my husband likes his stuff. He has boxes of stuff that he never touches and won’t part with. Much of it sits in our garage, but he is often aggravated by the messy state of our garage, as am I. God has been speaking to my heart about the appearance of my home and my physical appearance. That it would convey respect to my husband if I kept up with these things. And, we’d all be happier.

So I cleaned and organized and donated for 5 hours today. And in the end, the garage looked 100x better. But – a good 30-40% of the floor space is still covered with his stuff, stacked and arranged as it may now be. Old books, DVDs, exercise equipment, etc.

It’s not as good as it could be. And, it’s his stuff to clean up. Only he can do it.

And so goes respect. You can and should clean that up and keep it up the best you can. It’s 100x better than a disrespectful relationship. But. If he still has junk (sin) to get rid of, it will prevent both of you from enjoying the beauty and freedom of a truly working, effective environment. One that is in order–as it should be.

But I’d say the chances of him cleaning up his stuff now that I’ve cleaned the rest of the garage are much much greater! I mean, it’s not all scattered around and mixed in with all the other stuff. It’s a clean, neat garage with a big pile of stuff in the middle!

And that is just what happened to us as I tried to respect him. After about a year and a half, he really hit his bottom, and really was not able to blame anyone for his poor choices.

Respecting a man in sin is quite, quite difficult. Kind of like cleaning a garage around a big pile of junk you know will still be there for an indeterminate amount of time afterward.
But, I’m still so very glad I did it. The respect and the garage. 🙂 It was the right thing to do.

 

RELATED:

Why Do I Have to Change First?

My Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect! – VIDEO

My Level of Respect Has Nothing to Do with My Husband – it is about my character and God working in me

Godly Femininity

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“He Loves Me. He Loves Me Not.” – Finding Victory over Feelings of Insecurity

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(This post is not for women whose husbands are abusive, are involved in unrepentant infidelity or criminal activity, are initiating divorce with their wives, have uncontrolled mental health problems, or have active addictions to drugs/alcohol right now.)

Thankfully, most husbands are relatively decent men who truly love their wives and long for their wives to be happy, even if their wives can’t always decode that message (Shaunti Feldhahn “For Women Only”).

A minister at our church taught a class the 7 basic needs of husbands and wives a few years ago. The greatest need of a wife, according to him, was – security. I would have to agree!

How easy it is to let our emotions begin to convince us that we are NOT secure in our husbands’ love, or in a thousand other ways.

Doesn’t the enemy know exactly how to strike at us in our thoughts and how to tempt us? (Note – for some of you, the examples I am about to share may be triggers – if you know that this might be the case for you, skip down to the next section with the heading in all caps!)

It’s SO EASY to start thinking things like:

  • My husband hasn’t emailed me in such a long time. I wonder why?
  • My husband barely compliments me.
  • I sent him that text an hour ago. Is he REALLY busy at work, or is he ignoring me?
  • Why didn’t he ever answer my message?
  • My husband never prays with me.
  • My husband doesn’t text me or flirt with me.
  • My husband seems to barely spend any time with me.
  • My husband said something hurtful to me 2 weeks ago. Maybe that is how he REALLY feels about me – even though he apologized. He probably didn’t really mean that apology.
  • So-and-so’s husband compliments her EVERY DAY. She is so lucky! Why can’t my husband be like that?
  • He seems way more interested in the computer, the TV, the tablet, or his video games than he seems interested in me.
  • Does he even love me?
  • Wouldn’t he talk with me and want to spend time with me and emotionally and spiritually connect with me if he really loved me!??!!
  • I feel like he is so far away emotionally and spiritually. Maybe that is because he IS far away emotionally and spiritually. My feelings are probably right! Maybe he really doesn’t love me as much as I love him!?!?!

THIS IS THE PATH TO AN AVALANCHE OF OUT OF CONTROL EMOTIONS, MY DEAR SISTERS!

It is easy to focus on the things we want that we are not getting and to ignore the fact that our husbands did a number of loving things for us in recent weeks.

It is also easy to compare our husbands to other men – whose lives  (and sins and weaknesses) we really know little about. If I am not careful, I might totally forget that he filled up my tank with gas, took the kids to the doctor for me, made supper that night that I wasn’t feeling well, called out our child for disrespecting me, or cuddled happily with me while he watched TV several nights this week (for example).

The negative thoughts just spiral and snowball until we are in a full blown panic attack – convinced that we are alone and unloved in the world. This can happen even with women whose husbands truly do love them dearly. It can happen to the strongest of us who are firmly abiding in Christ normally. If we focus on these fears and emotions – we will be overwhelmed and overcome by worry and anxiety. Then – we will respond to our husbands in a desperate, needy way as we look to them to meet our deepest needs (rather than Christ) – not a Spirit-filled way. This is the path to idolizing our husbands.

I think we are all prone to this kind of attack at times.

The question is – do we trust our unstable feelings and negative emotions and wallow in these awful feelings of despair and hopelessness – or do we trust God’s Word and depend on Christ and rest in our husbands’ love?

WHERE IS MY SECURITY?

I can tell you where it is NOT. It is not in:

– my changing emotions.

– my husband.

– what my husband does or does not do for me.

– my circumstances.

– my negative assumptions about my husband or God.

– in my thorough analysis of my situation and emotions.

in my imagination, my over-thinking, or my worrying.

MY SECURITY IS IN CHRIST ALONE!!!

I can drive myself insane with all of my “what ifs?” and by trying to make uneducated assumptions about my husband’s motives. I can be really, really wrong if I try to do this. For me, instead of believing my feelings and the questions that want to push me toward insecurity – I have to consciously reject those feelings and thoughts and turn to Christ and the truth of His Word as well as the truth I know for sure about my husband.

I need to tell myself things like (please modify the details according to your particular husband and write out your own list in your prayer journal):

RELATED:

Posts about Fear

Posts about Insecurity

Posts about Security in Christ

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Idol of Happiness

I Don’t Have to Be the Most Beautiful Woman in the Room

“Lord, I Don’t Want to Do Your Will.”

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I have been doing an amazing Kay Arthur study on prayer with a ladies’ group at my church this summer called, “Lord, teach me to pray.” I love her point (pg. 54):

“And what is the root of all sin? Is it not independence? Is it not self having its own way?”

She goes on to say something very convicting, “One of the evidences of salvation is a willingness to submit to God…” And she backs that up with Scripture in Matthew 7:21-27. I would also add John 14:23-24.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24

Here is an explanation of how we are to submit to God from www.gotquestions.org (emphasis added):

In all the New Testament incidences where the word submit occurs, the word is translated from the Greek word hupotasso. The hupo means “under” and the tasso means “to arrange.” This word and a root of it are also translated by the words subject and subjection. The word’s full meaning is “to obey, put under, be subject to, submit oneself unto, put in subjection under or be under obedience or obedient to.” The word was used as a military term meaning “to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” This word is a wonderful definition of what it means to “submit” to God. It means to arrange oneself under the command of divine viewpoint rather than to live according to one’s old way of life based on a human viewpoint. It is a process surrendering our own will to that of our Father’s.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/submit-to-God.html#ixzz3dc9k7cuY

If Jesus is my Lord, I must submit to Him. If I refuse to obey Him, how can He be my Lord? I don’t have to agree with Him or understand what He is asking me to do. But if I can be content with going my own way and I have no problem with defying Christ and the Bible, I need to ask myself if I belong to Him. If I have yielded my life to Him as my Savior and as the LORD of my life but am living in sin, I am living in rebellion against Him and I need to repent and turn from sin and begin to head toward Christ immediately! Something is very wrong in my soul if I don’t want to obey God. Obedience – for one who has tasted the goodness of God – is something we do out of gratitude, joy, and love.

You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:26-40

Kay Arthur says:

“Oh dear one, are you still in your sins, or are you a worshiper of God who longs to do the will of the Father? Only the latter has access to God in prayer.”

E.M. Bounds (The Necessity of Prayer, part of The Classic Collection on Prayer) has an entire chapter on Prayer and Obedience. You can find a free download of his amazing, Spirit-inspired books about prayer online. He writes:

The spirit that prompts a person to break one commandment is the spirit that may move that person to break them all. God’s commandments are a unit, and to break one strikes at the principle that underlies and runs through the whole. The person who does not hesitate to break a single commandment, would – more than likely – under the same stress and surrounded by the same circumstances break them all. (pg. 58)

Obedience is love fulfilling every command, and thereby expressing itself. Obedience, therefore, is not a hard demand made upon us, any more than is the service a husband gives his wife or a wife gives her husband. Love delights to obey and please the one it loves. There are no hardships in love… There are no impossible tasks for love.

If any should complain that humanity under the fall is too weak and helpless to obey these high commands of God, the answer is that through the atonement of Christ humanity is made able to obey… In regeneration and through the agency of the Holy Spirit, God works in us and bestows sufficient enabling grace for all that is required of us under the atonement. This grace is furnished without measure in answer to prayer. So at the same time that God commands, He stands pledged to give us all the necessary strength of will and grace of soul to meet His demands. Since this is true, we are without excuse for our disobedience. (pg. 60)

If you desire to pray to God, you must first have a consuming desire to obey Him. If you want free access to God in prayer, then every obstacle of sin or disobedience must be removed. (pg. 62)

An obedient life is a necessity to prayer – to prayer that accomplishes things. The absence of an obedient life makes prayer an empty performance – something wrongly named. (pg. 63)

SPEND SOME TIME IN EARNEST PRAYER TODAY:

Lord,

Please make clear to me any areas of disobedience and sin in my life. Are there things You have commanded me to do that I have refused to do? Am I totally surrendered to You and do I delight in seeking to obey You or do I want to be in charge and do things my way? Are there areas where I disagree with you and where I rebel against Your will?

I want to belong to You. Break my heart and my will. Show me anything that I am withholding from You. Let me be totally devoted and submitted to Your Lordship! Develop in me a deep desire and passion for You and for Your will. Let me long to obey You and please You more than anything in this life!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED:

Praying from an Obedient Life

FOR FURTHER STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION:

What are some of the things God commands us to do as believers?

  • Love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength (the Greatest Commandment) – Luke 10:27
  • Love others as you love yourself with the unconditional love of God – Luke 10:27, I Corinthians 13:4-8
  • Abide in Christ continually – John 15:1-8
  • Love Jesus much more than anyone or anything in this world and more than your own life – Luke 14:26-27
  • Forgive those who sin against you as God forgives you – Matthew 6:14-15
  • Overcome evil with good, do not take vengeance or repay anyone evil with evil – Romans 12:17-21
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but take your concerns to God in prayer and trust Him completely – Philippians 4:4-8
  • Bless those who curse you – Romans 12:14, Luke 6:28
  • Pray for those who mistreat you – Luke 6:28
  • Do not argue or complain – Philippians 2:14-16
  • Give thanks in every circumstance – I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Pray continually – I Thessalonians 5:17
  • For wives, respect and submit to your husband out of reverence for Christ so that the Word of God might not be maligned – Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:18, I Peter 3:1-6, Titus 2:3-5
  • For husbands, love your wives and treat them with honor and gentleness as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her with selfless, humble leadership that is first fully submitted to God – Eph. 5:22-33, I Peter 3:7
  • Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 5:18
  • Get rid of all sin – idolatry (cherishing other things or people more than Christ), rage, hatred, unbelief in God, lust, unforgiveness, gossip, resentment, irreverence toward God, worry, fear, desire for control, greed, addictions, stealing, worldliness, godlessness, sexual immorality, foolishness, coarse joking, adultery, murder, dishonesty/lying, pride, self-righteousness, false doctrine, heresies, strife, contention, disrespect, rudeness, unkindness, apathy, drunkenness, etc…
  • Be holy as God is holy by the power of His Spirit filling your life – 1 Peter 1:16
  • Make disciples of Christ by God’s Spirit’s power in you –  Matthew 28:19-20

“My Husband Referred Me to Your Site – What a Jerk!”

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This is a story I hear pretty frequently – so often that I can’t count how many times it has happened. Some wives are open to suggestions from their husbands, and others… well, not so much.

A situation like this puts me in a very awkward position – smack dab in the middle of marital tension between a husband and wife. Not a fun place to be. I understand why a wife might feel criticized and upset if her husband sends a link to my blog. I also understand why she might not be interested in anything I have to say, at first. But…

How I pray each wife might stick around long enough to really begin to allow God to speak to her soul. The things I share here really aren’t about your husband as much as they are about your walk with Christ Jesus.

YOUR HUSBAND MAY BE A SELFISH, UNGODLY, EVIL MAN

That is possible. I know that there are a few truly abusive* men who try to twist my words – and God’s Word – and force their wives into slavery (rather than allowing their wives to voluntarily choose biblical submission out of reverence for Christ). That upsets me more than I can possibly say.

God gives us all free will. None of us has the right to override another adult’s free will. God doesn’t override our ability to choose to obey Him or not. It is certainly not any human’s place to try to force someone into obeying God or to act like a slave. The commands God gives husbands and wives are individual commands to each spouse. They are not commands for husbands to enforce a wife’s obedience to God or for wives to enforce a husband’s obedience to God (Eph. 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-7, Titus 2:3-5).

Even if your husband is the most awful man on earth, perhaps God might desire to use some of the posts here to bless you – especially about your walk with Christ.

No matter what kind of man your husband is, God calls you – my precious sister – to be a holy, godly, Spirit-filled Christ-following woman. And no matter what kind of wife you are, God calls your husband to be a holy, godly, Spirit-filled, Christ-following man. We will each answer to Him individually for how we treated our spouses when this life is over.

God measures how we treat other people as if that is how we treat Him (Matt. 25:40). The way I treat my husband is about my character and my relationship to Christ (the same is true for how husbands treat their wives). It really isn’t about my husband at all. It is about whether God’s Spirit is in control of my life, or my sinful flesh is in control (Galatians 5)

That doesn’t mean you have to take abuse. And maybe not all of my posts about marriage will be helpful if you have serious issues* in your marriage because of my slant (I was a controlling wife with a passive husband). God’s Word applies to us all and He can make something beautiful out of your life as seek to trust and obey Him wholeheartedly (Romans 8:28-29)- even if separation may be necessary, at least for a time.

COULD THERE BE A POSSIBILITY THAT MAYBE YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT REALLY A JERK?

Maybe he has some legitimate concerns or ideas to share with you that might bless you and your marriage? I have communicated with a large number of husbands here who see the healing that is possible for women, men, marriages, and families who truly do love their wives and want what is best for them and long to share this information out of good intentions and loving hearts. A lot of them are very hesitant to share what they read here with their wives because they are afraid their wives won’t receive this information well from them. These husbands are in a bit of a lose/lose situation.

1. Don’t share God’s Word and truth with their wives and continue to get the same results and no healing in their marriages.

2. Do share God’s design and risk offending their wives.

  • Perhaps he is attempting to hand you a treasure from God and open a door to healing for you, for himself, for your marriage, and your children.

Could it be possible that God prompted your husband to send you here because God wants you to be here? Maybe God is leading you here through your husband. God desires to set you free from bondage to fear, worry, anxiety, and pain as you fully submit all that you have and all that you are to Him. Christ intends to bring great peace, joy, and contentment into your life – perhaps through this very site as He has done for hundreds of other women around the world.

Greg never confronted me about my sin for the first 14.5 years of our marriage. How I wish he had!! We both could have been spared so much pain and and experienced great blessings if I had seen my issues and repented sooner. He was able to see my blind spots that I could not see.

I hope you won’t allow the fact that your husband referred you here to cause you to reject the priceless and precious gifts God has in store for you. Maybe one day, you will thank him.

I pray that each of you might hear God’s voice clearly, find spiritual healing through Jesus, be filled with the Holy Spirit, discover God’s design for you as a woman, and walk in obedience to Him.

When you are right with God and His Spirit is in charge instead of self, He can give you the power to be the woman, wife, and mother He calls you to be. He can enable you to be the woman you have always desired to be. He can give you victory over your fears, over worry, over discouragement, over discontentment, over depression, and over sin!!! 

SHARE:

If your husband shared my blog with you – I’d love to hear your story – whether it is positive or negative. I’d like to learn how I can most bless all wives.

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(*I actually don’t write for women in abusive situations because some of them tend to have filters that cause them to misinterpret and misunderstand what I write in dangerous ways. Wives whose husbands are abusive, involved in unrepentant infidelity, suffering from uncontrolled mental illness, or who are actively involved in drug/alcohol addictions are probably going to need very specialized one-on-one, godly, experienced counsel. I never condone abuse!! My posts about marriage are not geared toward these severe issues. The posts about our relationship with Christ may be helpful for women in these situations, but my posts about marriage issues may not be from the right slant for women with major problems in their marriages. Some things to remember about God’s design where the husband loves and leads selflessly and the wife honors and respect her husband – husbands are never the ultimate authority. Husbands are not always rightGod does not condone abuse of authority or sin against anyone. There are times when separation can be very necessary.)

———–

RELATED:

Your Blog Made Me SO Angry!”

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Submission (to Christ as Lord) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Responding to Our Husbands’ Constructive Criticisms 

Confronting Our Husbands’ about Their Sin

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

My Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect – VIDEO

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved Spiritual Authority – God’s Design in families, the church, and government to protect, provide for, and care for His people

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Why Don’t I Address Women with Abusive Husbands?

Do I Condone Abuse?

RESOURCES ABOUT HOW HUSBANDS CAN HAVE GODLY LEADERSHIP and HOW WIVES CAN BE GODLY WIVES:

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper FREE DOWNLOAD!

Love and Respect – by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

For Women Only – by Shunti Feldhahn

For Men Only – by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn

“I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More” – Part 2

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If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, I believe it would be extremely helpful to check it out, as well. This is such a deep desire in so many of our hearts as wives – that our husbands would pray with us. Prayer is an incredible blessing and an unspeakable gift of God. Private prayer and joint prayer in marriage, families, and among believers is our lifeline to God. I am the biggest proponent ever of husbands and wives praying together if possible.

I shared the survey results from my poll questions last Saturday in Part 1. We also looked at Scripture to see what examples of husbands praying with their wives we might find – and, the surprising thing was – I can’t find any examples in Scripture of husbands praying with their wives or a specific command that husbands should pray with their wives. Wow. This may be reason enough for us to pause and examine our expectations of our husbands as spiritual leaders and to reconsider what God’s definition of spiritual leadership might be.

Perhaps we can release our husbands and ourselves of some of our preconceived expectations and allow them grace, understanding, and freedom to lead and pray in the ways they believe God desires them to?

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

How amazing is this?!?! The Holy Spirit prays in ways that go much deeper than words for us! 🙂

POLL RESULTS FROM THE MEN:

1. For the Men – do you ever pray without words? (39 men responded so far)

Yes = 67%    No = 28%

2. For the Men – do you prefer to pray privately or out loud? (40 men responded so far)

I prefer to pray privately = 78%   I prefer both equally = 23%   I prefer to pray out loud with others = 0%

 

A WIFE WHO PREFERS TO PRAY PRIVATELY SHARES HER THOUGHTS:

I had a Christian boyfriend in my early 20’s who loved the Lord very deeply. He was a great guy. He was very talkative though, and that wore me out. I didn’t understand temperament differences, and he probably didn’t either. I recharge when I’m quiet or alone. He was energized by interacting a lot. He questioned my love for God because I didn’t always want to pray out loud together. Sometimes in general, I just wished he didn’t talk so much because he tired me so. I wonder if some men just don’t feel the need to pray out loud because they don’t have a need to vocalize like a lot of women.

I can tell you it doesn’t feel good to be questioned about how dear the Lord is to you based on this issue.

For the women whose husbands don’t pray with them and they wished they did, or whose husbands are unbelievers – I see that as a tremendous opportunity and “God appointment” to learn firsthand the sufficiency of Christ. Rejoice and be thankful for God’s purposes through the pain and pray not to waste it.

Disappointment can be seen as a call to greater personal prayer too, using the disappointment as a reminder to pray for our husbands’ needs instead of focusing on what we wish we had. We already have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

FROM A WIFE ABOUT HER HUSBAND’S PRAYER LIFE:

My husband said there are times when he prays that he is so overloaded with emotion, and so overloaded with thoughts that his entire mind shuts down and he has no way to verbalize his prayers. He says in those moments he just lifts his hands and senses the Holy Spirit interceding. This is coming from a highly articulate man who sells and negotiates for a living. He also has Master’s Degrees from seminary, so it’s not that he doesn’t know what to pray. After knowing my man since 1984, THIS was truly enlightening!!! Wow. He clarified that he does use words when praying for every day issues.

FOR THOSE WHO MAY BE CURIOUS – SOME REASONS WHY HUSBANDS MAY NOT PRAY WITH THEIR WIVES:

  • Some wives have been very critical of their husbands in the past about their praying. I know of one husband whose wife criticized him and he quietly decided never to pray with her again. I am not saying he should have decided never to pray with his wife – but I don’t think we realize how toxic our words of criticism about our husbands’ spirituality might be.
  • Some husbands did not have any examples of someone praying out loud when they were growing up. It may not have been part of their family “culture.”
  • Some husbands prefer to pray in private because they don’t feel right about their motives if they pray in front of someone – it feels like “putting on a show.”
  • Some husbands are more introverted in personality and prefer silent praying.
  • Some husbands apparently don’t pray with words – so praying out loud may be particularly difficult or foreign-feeling.
  • Some husbands are too overwhelmed with emotions to be able to pray out loud.
  • Some husbands may feel intimidated by their wives’ praying and feel that their own praying “isn’t as good.”
  • Some husbands may not be right with God and if they prayed with their wives, their unconfessed sin would prevent their prayers from being heard anyway – and the whole thing would be an exercise in futility and hypocrisy.
  • Some husbands and wives have very different styles of praying that the other person doesn’t like.
  • Some husbands don’t agree theologically with their wives and praying together may cause more division and contention than unity.
  • Some wives preach at or nag their husbands in their prayers if they do pray together, which is disrespectful. (Some husbands do that, too, unfortunately, which would also be disrespectful.)
  • Some husbands are not believers or are deeply wounded spiritually and unable to pray because they don’t have God’s Spirit empowering them and are in dire need of healing in Christ themselves.
  • Some husbands feel too disrespected or controlled by their wives to be willing to pray with their wives.
  • Some husbands feel that their wives pressure them too much about praying together. Generally, men tend to react to pressure by pushing back against it and refusing to do whatever they feel pressured to do.
  • Some husbands feel their wives look down on them if they only want to pray privately – and that makes them even less inclined to pray with their wives. The really scary thing is that they may even begin to doubt themselves spiritually and may pull away from God privately the more they feel their wives condemn them.
  • Some husbands do not feel safe being totally vulnerable spiritually with their wives. They may know that they will not receive grace if they were to reveal any temptations or sin issues with which they struggle.
  • Some husbands don’t want to reveal anything that might be a reason for their wives to disrespect them or they may not trust their wives to keep their struggles/temptations/sin issues in confidence.
  • Some husbands see their wives’ refusal to honor the husbands’ God-given leadership and see no point in praying together.
  • Some husbands value private prayer much more than praying out loud with other people.

Gentlemen, if  you know of other reasons why husbands may not pray with their wives at times, you are welcome to share.

ADVANTAGES I HAVE DISCOVERED OF PRAYING ALONE (you are welcome to share more benefits if you would like):

  • It forces me to depend completely on Christ, not my husband. I personally really need to have to depend on Christ alone – not anyone or anything else. The minute I start to put some of my trust in someone or something other than Christ, I tend to trip and fall.
  • I find that I can go much deeper spiritually when I pray and study God’s Word privately.
  • I can be more honest and open with God when I am alone.
  • I hear God’s voice much more clearly in private than when I am praying with others.
  • There are times when one or both spouses have wrong motives when praying together would be sinful and unproductive.
  • When I pray alone, I have to tear out the idol of praying with my husband if that is an issue for me and allow God to refine my motives so that I am praying just for Him.
  • If my husband does pray with me daily, that does not guarantee that I will feel spiritually/emotionally connected to my husband or that our marriage will necessarily be stronger than if we don’t pray together daily.
  • Prayer is not primarily about connecting with my husband, it is about connecting and being one spiritually with God.
  • Private prayer and private Bible study is the most important part of our spiritual nourishment from what I see in Scripture.

It is easy to try to judge the “success” or “strength” of our marriage and our husbands by measuring how often we pray together. We want so much to be able to “check the box” – that yes, we prayed together – so we have a “good Christian marriage” and our husbands are “good Christian leaders.” But maybe that is not an accurate measure in God’s eyes?

REPENTANCE:

Lord,

Some of us have bought into the idea that our husbands “should” pray with us – that if they don’t pray with us, they are unspiritual and far from You.  We love You. We love prayer. We love our husbands. We greatly value our marriages. We want to be close to You. We want to have godly marriages. We want to be strong spiritually as women and also as married couples. We acknowledge that prayer is a wonderful thing and that for couples to pray together willingly with pure motives is a beautiful and powerful spiritual act of unity. But help us not to place joint prayer in too lofty of a position in our hearts and minds. Help us not to judge our husbands’ spirituality if they don’t pray with us, realizing that You know their hearts in ways we can never begin to know them. We may not be able to judge accurately.

For many of us, myself included, it has been very eye opening to realize that Scripture doesn’t really talk about any husband or wife praying together specifically or give a particular command for husbands to pray with their wives. Help us to process this information by the power of Your Spirit. Help us to be willing to release our husbands of our expectations for them to lead in specific ways. Give us courage to repent if we have wrongly pressured our husbands to pray with us rather than encouraged them to pray in the ways that are best for them. Help us to extend grace, mercy, understanding, freedom, and blessing to our husbands in this area if there has been tension and strife over whether or not we pray together or have Bible studies together. Help us see the enemy’s strategy to bring division, contention, strife, and arguments through the issue of prayer (and many other issues). Empower us to stand firm against his plans to steal, kill, and destroy in our spiritual lives, our marriages, and our families. Let us see who the real enemy is and let us be completely and thoroughly equipped for the spiritual battle we all face daily that is raging around us. Thank you for the freedom You give us and our husbands in Christ! Thank You for taking this heavy weight off of our shoulders.

Let us become women of fervent prayer. Let us cherish our time with You alone in prayer and in Your Word. Let us abide in You and let Your Word abide richly in us. Transform us by the power of Your Spirit to become the women You command and desire us to be. Let us know You more and more. Let us discover the sufficiency of Christ. Let us tear out any idols or things we have set above You in our hearts. Cleanse us and make us holy in Your sight by the precious  blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let us submit fully to You in all things. Increase our trust and faith greatly. Let us love You with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Use us to bless, honor, and love our husbands and children and those around us for Your glory. Draw our husbands and children to Yourself and let them also become people of fervent prayer and ever deepening faith in Christ. We trust each of them, these people we so dearly love, to Your sovereign, loving, holy hands.

In the Name of Christ,

Amen!

We will look at spiritual leadership in Scripture in the next post. I couldn’t fit it all in this one. 🙂

PS:

If you long for someone to pray with you – you are always welcome to pray here with me! You can search my home page for “pray” and “prayer” and find many posts about prayer and many prayers to pray for yourself and your husband, as well as for the Body of Christ. My desire is to do a good bit of emphasis on prayer this summer.

 

“Six Things I’ve Learned from Having an Unbelieving Husband”

 

A dear sister in Christ shared this in response to the post about a wife whose husband didn’t want her to go to church for a time. I’m so thankful she is allowing me to use her comment as a post! I am sure there are a number of you who have unbelieving husbands, and I believe this wife’s words may bless you greatly – in fact, even if your husband is a believer, I think there is MUCH we can all glean from what God has taught our sister (Note – single sisters in Christ, please do not purposely marry an unbeliever. Please only marry a man who practices walking with Christ and who wants to fully submit his life to Jesus – God commands us only to marry a man who is “in the Lord.”):

Thank you for sharing this lovely, encouraging post about a subject which is no doubt extremely relevant to those of us who find ourselves in this awful situation of being ‘unequally yoked’ with a non believer. What I love so much about this blog is that a lot of us are still in our ‘bad’ situations, or working on them, rather than always reading about success stories: “I prayed and fasted for 2 years non stop and my husband came to the Lord” type of thing!! I have read several books on this subject, and while these kind of stories can be encouraging, it is sometimes nice to know that others are in the same boat and having the same struggles, and I praise God we can encourage each other like this!

I became a Christian 12 years ago, after I had been married for 10 years. My husband was (and still is) very atheistic and actually quite “anti-Christian” in his views.

God has taught me many things over the years and I’ve made many mistakes in how I handled things. In fact, only recently (when I discovered this blog!) has He shown me so much about disrespect, control, and idols in my life, which I had no idea about! So I am very much a work in progress but I will try to share some of the mistakes I made over the years, and how I have now – or should have – dealt with them 🙂

1. I would argue with him regularly, and try to make him see my point of view. I would say inflammatory things like “so if God didn’t create us then how do YOU think we all got here?” He would usually reply with “I don’t know and I don’t care!!” – which would drive me mad!! I became so resentful about his refusal to look into Christianity, that I was disrespectful to him pretty much on a daily basis – and thought it was ok! Because it was all his fault, right?! I can honestly say, that since I gave up the resentment to God, and started trying to honor Jesus in my life more and more, I haven’t had one of these kind of “discussions” and I totally accept that, for whatever reason, he is not ready to think about these things.

2. God taught me a lot about patience, because like the wife who wrote this post, my husband was not at all happy about me attending church, reading my Bible, or doing any “God stuff” at first. I had to be patient, tread carefully, and not put church first too often. I often messed this up and got the balance wrong, but God helped me to be wise after a while. Gradually, he accepted my involvement, and over the years has become genuinely supportive of various church activities. He has also allowed our children’s involvement, for which I am so grateful. He even came to both their baptisms.

3. I found that I can thank God for the husband He has given me, and even feel blessed to be married to a non Christian! He is kind, caring and loving, and also totally supportive of me and the children, and always there for us. Yes I do feel lonely sometimes, sitting in church surrounded by couples, but actually there are occasional advantages to having a ready-made excuse for not doing something, or being on a particular rota 😉 “My husband wouldn’t like it” Haha! Also, because he is not yet saved I can look forward to the precious celebration I hope to one day have when he is! If he had been a Christian all along, I wouldn’t have the possibility of this joy to come.

4. I used to feel jealous of Christian couples, who could pray together, make Godly decisions for their kids, do Bible studies, etc. but I’ve realised that no marriage is perfect, and these couples have their struggles too, and that actually my husband is pretty awesome really, compared to some of them! I also know several friends who are married to Christians, but their husbands don’t pray with them, talk about God at home or do any of the things that are in my “rosy picture” of a Christian marriage.

5. I have been guilty of saying many things like “He’s never going to become a Christian” and “It will take a miracle to get him to believe” which I have realised are cursing words that I have spoken over his life. I have repented of these things, and now make every effort to only speak words of blessing and thanks over his life. And now that I’ve repented and realised this, God has shown me SO many ways in which I can bless my husband and be thankful for him.

6. I used to believe that if I prayed enough for him, fasted, acted ‘right’ etc etc then eventually I would “get through” to him. I now realise getting through to him is God’s job, and that I should’ve been playing my part of being a respectful, Godly wife who can”‘win him without words.” Now that I have concentrated on honoring Jesus and sorting myself out, I realise how much peace I can have by letting go of that responsibility to save my husband! I have also let go of the idol of having him saved, and now I can honestly say that even if this never happens, my aim is now to honor God and bring Him glory, rather than change my circumstances.

 

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