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6 Reasons NOT to Criticize Your In-Laws

Photo Credit – Flickr

Before we get into the issue of why not to criticize our in-laws, let’s define criticism.

When I am speaking about criticism in this post, I am talking about:

  • having a critical, judgmental, negative, condemning spirit toward others that cannot be pleased.
  • insulting other people.
  • fault-finding.
  • gossipping.
  • having a negative attitude.
  • looking down on others with a sense of spiritual superiority or self-righteousness.

The truth is that…

  • When someone criticizes a man’s parents, he often feels an instinctive loyalty to defend them, even though he knows they aren’t perfect and may even agree with the criticism.
  • When a man’s own wife criticizes his parents, she is (perhaps unknowingly) pitting herself against his family – and by extension – against him.

Of course, the same is true for us as women when someone criticizes our parents.

It can be tempting to have a critical spirit against people. I may feel completely justified to do this in my own mind. However, if I choose to dishonor, disrespect, insult, and/or criticize my husband’s parents, I need to understand the price I will pay.

  1. My husband will feel personally dishonored, disrespected, insulted, and criticized if I do these things to his parents, even if I don’t criticize them to anyone but to him. If I criticize or insult his parents to other people, he will feel even more hurt. He will likely feel like I have been disloyal to him, like I have committed a type of betrayal against his family.
  2. I will create a wall of emotional/spiritual division between myself and my husband.
  3. I will lose some of his trust.
  4. If I disrespect and criticize my husband’s parents in front of our children, I will hurt their relationship with their grandparents.
  5. Even if I just have a critical spirit about my in-laws (or anyone else) in my mind and don’t verbalize my thoughts to anyone else, this mindset will adversely impact my spiritual growth and walk with the Lord and my relationships with my husband and his parents.
  6. If I complain and have a negative attitude toward my in-laws (or anyone else), I hurt my witness for Jesus Christ.

Instead of focusing on the negative things, perhaps I can focus on something positive? The more I look for good things, the more I will probably find good things about my in-laws. When I practice thanking God for the blessings I see in others, the better my own frame of mind, and the more power I have from God to respond in His Spirit rather than in my sinful flesh. What if God wants to use the things that are so difficult to teach me something valuable and to help me find spiritual treasures? Perhaps, if I feel there is a trial with my in-laws, I can count that trial as joy (as James 1:2-4 says to do) and invite God to do His miracles in my own thinking and in my own approach. I can then also pray effectively for my in-laws, that God might richly bless them and heal any wounds they may have, as well.

The Bible has much godly wisdom about a critical spirit and how we are not justified to do this and how God calls us to change to be more like Himself by the power of His Spirit:

  • A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
  • “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:1-5
  • Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12
  • Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Gal. 6:1
  • Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Rom. 14:4
  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. 2 Tim. 2:24
  • Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. Rom. 2:1
  • Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; Rom. 14:10
  • If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Cor. 13:1
  • Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
  • Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Phil. 2:14-15

Are there times I need to respectfully share concerns with my husband about his family? Sure. There may be times I need to let my husband know that there is an important issue going on. But I can do that without condemning, bashing, insulting, attacking, criticizing, or disrespecting his parents.

Examples of a critical approach:

  • Babe, I don’t want your parents to watch our kids. Your mom is such a horrible grandmother. She lets them be around their vicious dog. I don’t think she cares if they get hurt.
  • Honey, do we have to go to your parents’ house this month? Their house is a total disaster. She is the worst housekeeper. My sinuses go completely crazy every time we go. It is torture for me to have to be there for even an hour.

Examples of a respectful approach:

  • Babe, I want your parents to get to have lots of time with our kids. I know they love them so much. I want them to have a close relationship. However, I don’t feel that our kids are safe around their dog. I have seen the dog growl at them and snap at the baby. What are your thoughts on that?
  • Honey, I know it is so important to you that we spend some time with your parents. I want us to have a great relationship with them. I do want to let you know that my allergies sometimes flare up a lot, I have noticed, when we are there. I think maybe it is a combination of the dust and perfume. I will take some medicine to try to prevent problems. Do you have any suggestions so that we can be with them but I might not have to have so many problems with allergies?

 

Lord,

Please help us to live holy lives in our thoughts, our motives, our words, and our actions. Purify us of all sin. Purify us of negativity, a critical, judgmental spirit. Cleanse us of any self-righteousness and pride. Help us to see our in-laws, our husbands, and everyone with Your eyes and Your love. Transform our thinking by the power of Your Spirit and Your Word. Help us to approach our in-laws and everyone else in ways that bring glory and honor to Your Name.

Amen!

NOTE:

In-law relationships can be some of the MOST difficult. Sometimes our own husbands have quite a bit of godly wisdom about how to handle their family wisely. If you need some outside help for a tough in-law situation, please check out the free counseling resources available at www.focusonthefamily.org. Or the counseling resources at www.biblicalcounseling.com. Or check with your pastor or a strong believer you trust for a referral to a solid, biblical counselor in your area. Be sure the counselor seeks to handle God’s Word correctly.

 

Most of all, check out what God’s Word has to say, seek the Lord’s wisdom, and the power of His Spirit so that you may respond in His goodness and overcome evil with good.

RELATED
What Does the Bible Say about Criticism? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Complaining? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Self-Righteousness? – by www.gotquestions.org

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

 

 

 

“I Want to Tithe, but My Husband Doesn’t”

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

What is a wife to do if this is her difficult situation?

NOTE – I am speaking about a hypothetical situation here. Greg and I wholeheartedly endorse tithing or even giving more than a tithe for believers in Christ. Not because we have to – but because we GET to!

Let’s do a little overview of the concept of tithing just to get our bearings biblically.  (Don’t take my word for anything, please feel free to study the Bible yourself to confirm that what I am saying is correct.)

Tithing in the Old Testament:

Tithing was a requirement in the Old Testament Mosaic Law that provided money for God’s work and for His designated workers. The Levites were in charge of running the Temple and taking care of all of the sacrifices of the people. They had no land inheritance like the other 11 tribes did. They were given land on which to live, but it did not belong to them. Their lives were to be fully devoted to service to the Lord. So the people’s tithes supported the tribe of Levi. Also, Israel was a theocracy when it was established, so the Levites also fulfilled the function of a government. Everything that the entire nation needed for religious purposes and government purposes was accomplished through what God commanded the people to give in His law.

Tithing is not specifically required in the New Testament. We are no longer under the Mosaic Law.  The church is not Israel. We do not support the Levites, the animal sacrificial system, or the Temple. Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament Law and now, we are under Grace. So things are different in a lot of ways now because we are under the New Covenant rather than the Old Covenant. However, giving is mentioned in the New Testament – giving money to the work of the Lord, sharing with those who teach and instruct us in the faith, and giving to the poor is also mentioned.

Tithing in the New Testament – excerpt from www.gotquestions.org:

After the death of Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, the New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.

The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the body of Christ. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

There are believers in Christ who give 20% of their income to the Lord’s work to support local churches, mission work, and charities. And there are even those who give 90% and live off of 10%. I think that is amazing! We are commanded to give as believers in Christ. It is not a command in the New Testament that we must give a specific percentage now. Rather, it is our joy, honor, and privilege to give generously and cheerfully out of thanksgiving for all that Jesus has done for us.

I wholeheartedly endorse giving to the Lord’s work! If you and your husband agree on 10%, that is awesome!

If you agree on some other amount, that is great! Giving, like just about everything else in the New Testament, is primarily a heart issue. The Lord blesses us in many ways as we give generously.

  • “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

If My Husband Doesn’t Want to Tithe

First, I think it is important to take special note of 2 Corinthians 9:7.

“Each man should decide in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

If my husband doesn’t want to give as much as I do, I may consider giving “behind his back.” Or I might give with his knowledge, but knowing he is not in agreement. Unfortunately, attitudes like these are disrespectful toward my husband’s God-given leadership in our home and toward his free-will. They are also disrespectful toward the Lord. God is not going to bless my giving to His work if I am giving in a way that is dishonest or disrespectful to my husband or to God’s system of order. My attitude is important. And my husband’s attitude is important, too. God wants us both to willingly and voluntarily choose to give what we give. Both of us must be on board.

I can absolutely respectfully share what I want to give or that I would like to tithe:

  • Honey, I would really love to start tithing. What do you think?
  • I’ve been thinking that it would be amazing if we might give X% or $X amount to the church and/or Christian ministries each month.
  • It would mean so much to me if we could sponsor a child with a Christian charity.

In my understanding, the amount of money a Christian or Christian couple decides to give to the Lord and His work  is a matter of personal conviction. This means, I don’t get to accuse my husband of sinning if he doesn’t want to give 10% to church, if he calculates a tithe differently from how I would, or if he wants to give in a way that is different from my preference.

If I had a desire to tithe, but my husband did not, then I would want to let him just think about my respectful request and wait on God to work in his heart. Or if we were on the same page about tithing, but if I wanted to ask about giving more than we have been giving, I could share what I want to do and then give him some time to think about things.

Some husbands are fine with the wife tithing her own money. Some husbands have particular charities they trust and prefer to support. Some have valid reasons why they don’t want to give to certain ministries. There are all kinds of different arrangements that couples construct. The biggest thing is, I want to be sure to honor the Lord by respecting my husband’s decision and not run ahead. I don’t want to force him into giving against his will.

As I wait, I can pray:

Lord,

You know my heart to want to give so much more financially to Your church and to Your work. Please inspire my husband to want to give generously, too. Help us to be cheerful givers. I know he needs to make up his own mind and decide to give without me forcing or coercing him to. Help me to be patient and wait and to treat my husband with a godly, respectful, honoring attitude. And help me to see ways I can contribute to Your kingdom and share Your love while I wait on You to work in his heart on this issue. I trust You to work. I am not going to run ahead and try to force my way. I thank You and praise You for what You will do in this area for Your glory!

Amen.

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If you would like for me to consider anonymously sharing your story related to the issue of tithing and giving and how the Lord worked in your own marriage, I’d love to hear about it! Please send an 800-1000 word story to my Contact Page.

RELATED

Does a Christian Have to Tithe? – by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Is My Husband Bound by My Personal Convictions?

My Husband Doesn’t Want Me to Minister Like I Want To

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

What If My Husband Doesn’t Lead? How Can I Encourage His Leadership?

Posts about Various Ways Different Couples Handle Finances

“My Husband Thinks We Should Move!!!?!?”

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

I love to take real-life situations and seek to approach them biblically. God has given us a LOT of instruction, help, and wisdom to use in times of conflict in our marriages and in almost any situation. As we learn to look to Him and His Word for biblical principles, and as we learn to depend on Him in faith and prayer – we can then learn to notice His promptings and leading in the details of our unique situations, as well.

Today, let’s picture a scenario where a husband* announces to his wife something like:

  • “My job is being relocated in two months to the office 2 hours away.”
  • “I found a better job opportunity out of state.”
  • “I think a move would be best for our family.”

A wife may be tempted to have a  knee-jerk reaction – like, “NO WAY!!!!!!”

Most of us don’t like change too much. It’s easy to immediately hate the idea and blast a husband with all the reasons this can’t possibly sane.

  • “Well, then, you need to get a job here. There is no way we are moving.”
  • “You can move and the kids and I will stay put. I’m not going to uproot them.”
  • “The kids are settled in their school and they have friends here.”
  • “I love this neighborhood and this house. I’m not giving it up!”
  • “I hate that idea.”
  • “I don’t care what you say, I’m not going!”
  • “Absolutely not! End of discussion!”

Sometimes it’s easy to freak out in a situation like this and be contentious, defensive, and argumentative. But what if, instead of freaking out and immediately rejecting our man’s idea, we take a deep breath and listen? He may be hearing from the Lord. He may not even know it, himself. But what if God is leading in this idea? What if I am fighting God? How could I possibly know for sure – yet?

SOME BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

  • “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42
  • Let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33
  • Train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:4-5

God does work through things like circumstances, job transfers, a husband’s ideas (as the God-given leader of the family), job offers, and other situations to lead us into His will. Of course I am not saying that every job transfer announcement means, “It is definitely God’s will for the family to move.” Or that every idea a husband has is God’s will. We do need to pray and seek the Lord in times of decisions. So do our men.

But we have a sovereign Lord! If only we could grasp this precious truth! He is even able to take awful things like natural disasters, wars, and persecution – things Satan intends to use to destroy us – to lead His children. And He can certainly use good things to benefit us, too (Rom. 8:28-29). He will never leave us and never forsake us!

It could be that God wants to lead us into a new place where we will be greatly blessed. He may have just the right church family waiting for us, just the specific neighbors He wants us to have as our friends. He may have mentors for us in the new place or an amazing new ministry. Or, it may be that our children’s best friends and future spouses might be there. That is what happened when my Daddy’s job was relocated in 1987 from Pittsburgh, PA, to Columbia, SC! I sure hated the move at the time, but now, I am grateful beyond words!

Our cooperative spirit with our husbands, and – even more importantly – with the Lord, makes a huge difference! It also helps us to shine for the gospel and to draw others to Christ.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Maybe I could consider approaching a big, potentially scary decision, in new ways:

  • Listen to his ideas.
  • See the merit and good points he has, as well as the reality of the situation.
  • Ask for some time to pray to:
    • Seek the Lord.
    • Be open to Him.
    • Die to myself.
    • Really determine to trust Him no matter how He may lead.
    • Yield everything in my life to His will and hold things loosely in my hands.
    • Desire God’s will and His greatest glory for my husband, my children, and myself, even if I don’t know exactly what may happen.
  • Then after I have prayed and am calm, I can share my heart respectfully. I can share my concerns politely, in a friendly, cooperative way.
  • Maybe, in time, I might even be able to get excited about the idea. It could be a grand adventure the Lord has prepared for us all!

God is the One who is outside of time and space. Not me. He is omniscient – He knows everything. I definitely do not. He knows absolutely everything about the past, the present, and the future. His wisdom far exceeds my own. I want to be cooperative when He is opening a new door He has for my family.

*NOTE – If your husband is suffering from uncontrolled mental health issues, uncontrolled drug/alcohol addiction, if he is abusive, or not in his right mind, please seek appropriate, trustworthy, godly counsel and help from your local church, medical professionals, and even the police if necessary.

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Have you experienced a time when your husband believed that your family needed to move and now you can see God’s hand at work? Or maybe you had a move where you went kicking and screaming, only to realize later that God was in it. We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Your story may be just the inspiration another wife needs to see.

NEW INFO

My new commenting policy.

My new vision for ministry.

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The Gratitude Challenge!

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18

Gratitude is a habit I must consciously cultivate. It is is a choice. It is also a command! Meaning – it is not optional for believers in Christ. I choose to stop focusing on problems and bad things. I choose to focus on good things. I do this because God commands me to do it and I love to obey Him. His commands are always given to bless me and benefit me.

  • 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. Phil. 4:8

Interestingly, as I choose to take my thoughts captive for Christ and think on the good things, God changes me. He begins to make me more like Jesus. He begins to transform my heart and mind. The more this happens, the more clearly I can hear Him and discern His will. What I think about matters much more than I could possibly express. This is our spiritual battlefield!

  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2

When I focus on thanksgiving and on the good things in my life and the good things about God – my perspective changes.  God’s Spirit feels at home in my life, and I am filled up more and more with Him and His goodness. My faith increases. My joy skyrockets. My peace multiplies. I find myself experiencing God’s amazing love for other people in ways I never have before.

Once I am in right relationship with the Lord and my heart is filled up with Him, His goodness spills out into my relationships with other people. He often begins to change my perspective and the way I respond to others. In time, my change may be God’s tool to encourage other people to change and heal in Christ, too.

Thankfulness and contentment go hand in hand.

I can’t be content if I am focusing on everything that is wrong in life or in other people. The more I focus on yucky things, aggravating things, frustrating things, complaining, arguing, and trying to force my way, the more miserable and discontent I will be. And the more miserable everyone around me will be. Satan LOVES it when I think about awful things. I open the door to him in my life when I think about the things he wants me to dwell on that will hurt me.

But when I am thankful for things – the good things and even the trials – knowing God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory (Rom. 8:28-29), my whole perspective shifts. I open the door to Christ. When He is welcome and my heart is right, He opens the floodgates of heaven in my life to provide for what He knows I need to accomplish His perfect will.

When I am thankful, I trust God more. I rest in His love and provision. When I trust God, I am drawing near to Him. And the closer I am to Him, the more the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in my life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

What I think about is what spills out of my mouth and life.

THE CHALLENGE

I want to challenge you to think of 10 things for which you are thankful today about:

  • Your husband.
  • Each of your children if you have any.

You are welcome to write down more things. But I would encourage you to do at least ten for each person. If you really have trouble coming up with ten, just continue to think about it through the day and add to your list as you can.

If you have been on this journey for awhile, you may be able to come up with twenty things for each person. 🙂 The more you practice appreciating the good things, the easier it is to see the good things and the more you will notice.

Perhaps this would be a wonderful daily or weekly habit. Or you may just want to keep a notebook handy (or the notes on your phone) so that you are looking for things to be grateful for all the time. Just keep adding to your list every day. You can have separate lists, if you like. One for each family member and one for other blessings in your life.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

We are so very thankful for You. For Your ability and willingness to create the universe and each of us. You have given us life, morals, our senses, relationships, marriage, and family. You have given us Jesus and Your powerful Word and the gift of Your Spirit. Thank You for our husbands and children. Thank You for our extended families. Thank You for our blessings and trials. Thank You for Your sovereignty and goodness. Please help us develop the critical godly habit of gratitude and contentment. We invite Your Spirit into our hearts to transform us and make us more and more like Jesus.

Amen!

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What are some things about your family members for which you are thankful? You are most welcome to share in the comments.

Note – If reading about things other women are thankful for tempts you to feel jealous, skip the comments and focus on writing down the things you are thankful for in your own life. <3 Each list will be a bit different, and that is okay!

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A Heart of Thanksgiving and Praise– VIDEO

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

 

 

 

God Changed a Wife’s Heart for Her Imperfect Husband

I am so thankful to be able to share other women’s testimonies of God’s incredible power to change and heal hearts, lives, and relationships. Every story and situation is unique. I know God can – and will – give each woman His divine wisdom about the specifics as she seeks Him wholeheartedly and is led by His Spirit. And yet, so many of the central principles we all have to learn as believers in Christ are the same. I always love to see that. Keep in mind that time frames and outcomes may be different in different stories. The main thing is that we are close to the Lord and we are doing what He calls us to do each day in our specific situation. I pray this precious sister’s story might be a blessing to you today:

Hi April!

I wanted to share a story with you about how God completely changed my heart and my marriage through the gospel and His will for wives to submit to their husbands

(Note, God’s definition of “submission” is NOT at all the same as the world’s, it is not about slavery or BSDM – and it all begins with our submission to Christ as Lord).

I was a new wife when I stumbled across your website. A zealous new Christian who “had it all figured out” in her mind. Deep down I thought I was very obedient, a good wife and my husband was the man who was a rebel against God. Ignorant to my own sin, I would preach the Bible to my husband. He knew the scriptures, but in my mind he was just a rebel who wouldn’t submit to God.

I didn’t realize the very destructive and severe sin in my heart. I was striving in my works to be perfect. My heart was hardened, but still, I did want to submit. The problem was I thought I already was. I carried bitter thoughts towards my man, I was lifted up in pride, definitely more “spiritual.” I was “righteous” in my own eyes until…

I kicked my husband out one day and he walked on the streets all night.

I told a new sister in Christ how horrible he was and that I told him to leave. He struggled with smoking and pornography, and couldn’t hold a job. I was better than he was in my eyes. Thankfully by God’s grace this sister confirmed the scriptures I knew but brought them to me in a new light. She pointed out how the Lord wanted my heart to honor and reverence my husband rather than the awful self-righteous and condemning judgement that I previously had towards him.

That night was the beginning of a journey, through new eyes. Eyes that had been enlightened by the TRUE grace of God where I found true repentance unto salvation and my heart began to change. I told my husband to come back home.

Things didn’t change instantly.

The Lord had to unwind every bitter thought I had towards him and replace them with honoring thoughts. I felt, for a while, like every day the Lord was nit-picking new sin in my heart. But the closer I got to knowing the Lord, the more delight I had in repentance and suddenly I was a lot more joyful and at peace to submit to my husband. It was no longer a burden, but I started to embrace his leadership and look forward to serving him. I recognized that being my husband’s helpmeet was God’s perfect will.
We used to argue constantly and say hurtful things. Suddenly there was no longer as much to argue about. I was not as easily offended when I felt hurt by him, but could forgive him quickly and move forward, which would soften his heart towards me. Before my husband was so discouraged, he had no confidence to work. Recently the Lord provided him with a position of authority in a workplace that he loves and he excelling at.

I pray for him almost every day to succeed and do well, things I never used to pray for him.

Today we are in a better place, it is truly only by the abundant mercy of the Lord that we are where we are! I’m so excited to see all God has in store and pray that I can just encourage wives that they do have a choice in whether or not they can have a godly marriage. First it starts with a willing heart to serve the Lord, and therefore submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. I finally understand the scripture “seek first the kingdom of God and these things shall be added unto you.”
Have a blessed day. Your website was the beginning of my journey!

RELATED

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation? – Separation is not ideal, however, there are times when this may be necessary, but only as the Lord leads under certain circumstances.
Biblical Submission – definition

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If you want to share with me about what the Lord has done in your life – as a wife, mom, or single woman, I’d love to hear about it! Just let me know if you want the message to be private, just for me, or if you give me permission to consider possibly sharing your (600-1200 word) story anonymously as a blog post. Send me a message on my Contact Page.

RESOURCES FOR WOMEN WHO NEED MORE HELP

If you are facing something really tough, I encourage you to get in touch with your local Bible-teaching church for godly mentors/counselors/pastors who may be able to direct you and who know you personally if you are having major issues or need one-on-one help.
Or you may contact resources like:
Focus on the Family – for a one time free counseling session and free counselor referral service
Nina Roesner’s eCourse Strength and Dignity
Ultimately, be sure to compare any advice or counsel any human gives to God’s Word and seek to do what He leads. <3

An Amazing Resource – Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Strength and Dignity”

“The Respect Dare,” by Nina Roesner, was a transformative book for me. In fact, it was one of the best books that God used in my life fairly early into my journey. I was actually so sad when the 40 days of assignments were over. I loved the structure and the daily bite-sized approach to growing and learning. Many women, especially women in situations like mine, saw great improvement in their marriages when they did “The Respect Dare.”

But some women found that as they tried to show their husbands more respect, their husbands became more harsh, critical, and demeaning. They began to feel even more like “doormats” than ever. I have seen the same thing with some wives here. What is going on?

Nina realized something important:

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Women need a firm spiritual foundation before they can properly apply respect in marriage.

They need to know who they are in Christ. They need to understand healthy boundaries in a godly way, not a selfish way. They need to be able to act with dignity and godly strength (as Proverbs 31 describes) and be spiritually more whole and healed. Then they can use the incredibly powerful position of  “wife” and “influential authority” in beautiful, healthy, healing ways in their marriages. They need to have tools to handle things rightly when they are sinned against in marriage.

Then God led Nina to develop a new approach in the BECOMING A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY eCourse.

I am so excited about what God has been doing in Nina’s online classes to transform wives and marriages. It is not about Nina. It is not about the forum facilitators. Her goal is to disciple women so they have a strong spiritual foundation and so that they look to the Bible and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power to accomplish God’s will and His glory in their lives. That is definitely my goal, too, for all of us!

She walks women through the baby steps so many of us need, regardless of our personalities or marital dynamics (and it is even a huge blessing for our single sisters, too), to develop a healthy relationship with Christ first and a healthy relationship with self. Then she gives the tools that can help women develop healthier relationships in their marriages.

A bit from Nina about this eCourse:

The truth is, if the words ‘respect’ and ‘submission’ scare you, even anger you, you’re in the right place. We want to help you understand them in a new way that takes your fear, which is never from the Lord, and replaces it with quiet confidence in HIM.

  • A unique and proven discipleship method that leaves over 95% of our class members with a deeper connection with God
  • Biblical truth to build your relationship with yourself & others in a way that gives you a gentle, but strong & dignified (not prideful) sense of who you are
  • Proven tools of interaction with yourself and others that create mutual respect and the potential for great love & joy

The eCourse does have a nominal cost per month. I would consider it to be a very worthwhile investment. Especially if you are really struggling and need a bit more personalized, structured, spiritual and marriage mentoring. It is an 11 week online class. After you go through these sessions, you are invited to join the private forum with trained facilitating wives who help guide discussions.

WHY AM I PROMOTING THIS eCOURSE?

Nina did not ask me to do this. I am not making any kind of monetary profit from promoting her materials. I know that when some wives read about respect, sometimes they mishear things in dangerous ways. Some think they have to disrespect themselves in order to respect their husbands. Or they have to idolize their husbands and bow to them as if they are perfect gods and women need to act like slaves. That is not true at all!

I believe that this eCourse may be a huge blessing if:

  • You have read my posts, my book, or The Respect Dare, and things are getting worse or you feel really confused about how to move forward with the Lord or in your marriage, this course may be perfect for you.
  • You struggle with what it means to respect yourself – or to think rightly and biblically about yourself.
  • You get confused about healthy boundaries and how to implement them with love and respect, this course is a fantastic tool.
  • You are dealing with a particularly difficult husband.
  • You are interested in a private forum that offers support to women. Nina has a wonderful team of trained women who are helping with this. That is something I just can’t offer myself.

I want all women to have all of the resources they need to thrive spiritually and to heal in Christ. Then when they are hearing Him clearly and filled with His Spirit, I know He will give them the wisdom they need to handle some really tough situations.

TESTIMONIALS

WIFE 1:

This is a hard journey for me as I sometimes lose site of my goal, but God is not finished with me yet.

Five years ago this January I found myself in tears over the condition of my marriage. I was a believer who thought God owed her a perfect marriage and Christian family because she was obedient to his commands. He did not give me that, thankfully. In frustration and some anger I asked God to send me someone who understood my loneliness.

I did  “The Respect Dare”  by phone. I learned some things, but any changes my husband noticed only made him more suspicious of what I was trying to get from him. Nina suggested the “Strength and Dignity” course because of his resistance.
Before joining this class and doing the “Daughter’s of Sarah” course, I blamed my husband for everything. In my studies, God made some direct blows to show my part in this messy equation. That was humbling but the beginning of breaking my pride and misunderstanding of what marriage really is. Now, in humility, I can accept God’s correction and find myself enabled more often to love and accept my husband as God made him.

Sometimes I respond with grace, sometimes I kick and scream my way to surrender and sometimes I just can’t figure out what I am suppose to do, so I reach out to other women on the course site and return to His Word. My desire to love my husband like God does allows me to rely on the Holy Spirit’s enablement to do what God says to show respect. It is hard to do right and it seems I am meeting stronger resistance, but through prayer, study, support and sometimes tears, God is changing my motives, my heart, and my love for my husband.

It is also teaching me that the goal of my journey is to find God as my sole source for all my needs and release my husband from wrong expectations. I no longer want a perfect marriage and accolades from people. I am on a learning curve to find that Christ fulfills my every need and I am the healthy helper God intended for the man he created. I am pressing on, but I have not arrived.

WIFE 2:

I started this journey very discouraged and with the mindset that my husband is never going to change and our marriage will always be this way. BUT that I need to learn to survive this and survive it well… with strength of character and with my dignity. I went to a 4 day retreat, Deflating Defensiveness (led by Nina).

These are the changes I’ve incorporated in my marriage from the retreat:

  • I don’t get pulled into arguing, defending myself, or reasoning with him (That stuff doesn’t work, plus it leaves me frustrated).
  • He still goads me to but I go silent rather than get pulled into this crazy cycle.
  • I’m picking my battles so to speak
    • I give in to him on small things. Because he gets his way on those things, I’m seeing he is more apt to listen to me on the bigger stuff.
  • I am not a doormat, in fact, just the opposite. I feel more empowered and dignified.
  • I speak my point of view concisely, slowly, and gently, then I STOP.
    • When he comes back with arguments, I don’t respond, neither do I justify myself nor do I own his insults.
    • As a result of my “sanctified indifference” I’m seeing more respect from him; he seems then to want to please me.

This is not perfect every time but I have my sanity and my dignity. I feel strong. I am no longer striving but am at peace. He hasn’t changed, but I have, and as a result, our marriage is changing.

Since I joined the Strength and Dignity eCourse:

I am now starting to see more change in his behavior toward me. I think that as he is getting the respect he needs and sees I’m becoming a “safe place,” he is becoming more respectful, caring, and wants to please me. Of course, we have hiccups now and then, but I continue to trust God to give me the self-control to remain gentle and respectful with him. The unconditional respect is the toughest when he is not being kind. This is definitely a refining process and a spiritual one that at times does not seem to even be about marriage, but about the woman God desires me to become.

Here’s the link to find out more about Nina’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

If you decide to take it, I’d love to hear what you think!

** This class is not designed for those who are being battered. If you are in danger, please contact your local domestic violence resources.

RELATED

 

Withholding Sex

Photo by Nik Lanús on Unsplash

First, let’s define “withholding sex” so that we are on the same page.

Withholding sex would mean – I purposely won’t have sex with my husband when I am actually able to. 

(This applies to both spouses, but I only write for women, so I will be addressing only wives in this post.)

In that moment, he would like to have sex, and I am able to, but I decide that:

  • I just don’t feel like it.
  • It would take too much effort.
  • I want to hurt/punish him by turning him down.
  • I don’t care about his legitimate sexual needs.
  • I don’t care that I vowed to be his “to have and to hold.”
  • I don’t care that he feels bonded emotionally to me through sex and that it would bless him, just like I want him to talk with me and connect verbally with me.

The main issue here would be my motives. My motives, as a follower of Christ, are to be holy, kind, honorable, respectful, loving, and good. My motives are not to be selfish, uncaring, apathetic, hurtful, or malicious.

Scripture teaches a few principles that I believe apply to how we are to relate to our spouses (and all people) and how we are not to relate to them:

  • Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Cor. 13:4-5
  • The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23
  • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb. 13:4
  • Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:19-21

(Check out the NOTES at the end of this post for a few clarifications.)

Let’s take a look at a passage in scripture about this issue:

“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Cor. 7:1-5

Each spouse is to voluntarily and willingly yield to the other. It is a decision made by each individual. It is not forced on anyone.

Some people misunderstand this concept of each spouse “having authority” over the other person’s body to mean that God is saying a husband can rape his wife or take sex with her by force. Or that a wife can violently force her husband to have sex with her against his will. That may be the world’s definition of “authority.” But it is not God’s. Let’s note that the passage never commands a me (or anyone else) to:

  • Take what I want.
  • Use violence to get my way.
  • Physically abuse my spouse, it is my right.
  • Be selfish if my spouse is sick, upset, or hurting.
  • All that matters is what I want, not what my spouse wants.
  • My spouse owes me sex, so I don’t have to have any concern for if this is a good time for him.
  • Be as thoughtless as possible.
  • My sex drive is the only thing in the world that is important.
  • My spouse’s needs for other things don’t matter.

The commands are given to each spouse to be giving, generous, and available to the other spouse when possible.

Sometimes spouses try to beat each other over the head with this passage, demanding sex from each other. That breaks my heart!

In God’s economy, “authority” is not about taking things by force. It is not about being a selfish dictator, tyrant. It is not about exalting self and selfishness. It is about humility, selflessness, and having a servant’s heart.

But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. Matt. 20:25-27

The one flesh relationship in marriage is supposed to be a beautiful picture of the one Spirit relationship we have with Jesus. Jesus doesn’t spiritually force Himself on us. Ever. He respects our free will to choose to abide in Him or not.

The goal is: selflessness. Unity. Oneness.

Sex is supposed to be a picture of the one Spirit relationship Jesus has with His people. It is supposed to be beautiful and a mutual blessing.

Each spouse should seek to be loving, kind, respectful, understanding, giving, generous, thoughtful, and sensitive to the other. It is about being selfless and loving with the agape love of Christ. It is about seeking to edify the other. Not about taking what I want for myself.

Scriptural principles prohibit believers in Christ from using violence or force to demand their way:

  • The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Ps. 11:5
  • Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isa. 58:4
  • Love does no harm to a neighbor. Rom. 13:10
  • Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Pet. 3:7
  • Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:19
  • Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:4
  • Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Cor. 10:24
  • We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Rom. 15:1-3
  • But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. … 2 Tim. 3:1-8

SATAN’S STRATEGY:

Satan’s strategy before marriage is to try to tempt us into having sex outside of God’s plan.

After marriage, his strategy is to tempt us into not having sex with our husbands. Or – to desire it with someone else. Again, he encourages us to go outside of the loving, good, life-giving boundaries God has set up in His design for sex.

Let’s not be ignorant of the enemy’s strategies to steal, kill, and destroy our marriages, our husbands, our ourselves, my precious sisters. In this area, or in any other.

PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

We invite Your healing Spirit into the marriages, families, and homes of all who read this post. We invite Your healing for spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy. We invite You to raise marriages up from struggle and pain to victory and wholeness. Lord, rebuke Satan and all of his plans to steal, kill, and destroy in our marriages. He has no authority in our lives anymore. We are dead to this world and we are under the authority of Jesus! Satan wants to divide us in our marriages. He wants us to hold onto hurt and bitterness. He wants to leave families and marriages in shambles. Let us refuse to cooperate with him and his plans. Let us submit all to You – Your Lordship, Your wisdom, Your glory, and Your will. We invite Your love and power to sweep through our midst and to bring new supernatural Life into our husbands, into our marriages, into every area of intimacy, and into ourselves. Let our marriages display the power, beauty, and glory of the Gospel. Not for our selfish purposes – but for Your Kingdom!

Amen!

COMMENTS:

I am not planning to have comments on this post. Thanks for understanding. No one answers to me. Or to any other commenters. I don’t want to create more confusion for anyone. Or become engaged in inappropriate conversations in mixed company.

We answer to the Lord and to our spouses on this issue.

If you have concerns about this issue, please check out what the Bible has to say. Pray. Take your issues to Him. Invite His healing into your marriage. God’s wisdom is really the only thing that matters.  (Please always compare anything I say to the Word of God.)

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Also, check out the resources below. 🙂

RESOURCES:

Let’s Talk about Sex – this post has links to all of my other posts about sex including resources for wives whose husbands want a lot more sex than they do and wives whose husbands want less sex than they do. It also has resources for wives who have pain during sex.

If your husband is purposely refusing to have sex with you, please check out Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.

A Precious Example – and in this post, a couple who has been married for decades shares what this concept should look like in practice in a Christian marriage in a beautiful way.

If one of you is struggling with porn or a sex addiction, please check out this resource www.xxxchurch.com. There are resources for men and women who want to find victory over porn addiction in Christ. There are also resources for spouses of those who are addicted to porn.

Forgivenwife.com is a resource for wives who have gotten into the habit of withholding sex and want to heal and change in Christ.

Unlock Your Libido is an ebook for wives who struggle with low libido and want to see God heal their marriage by His power.

If you want more connection emotionally/spiritually with your husband – I have a lot of resources on that here. My desire is to see marriages whole, vibrant, and healthy with strong intimacy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Leave me a comment on another post and I will help you find the posts that may be a blessing. Some examples might be:

If you have very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced, trustworthy one-on-one counseling.

If you need a referral to a Christian counselor, please check out the free service available at Focus on the Family.

ABUSE – if you are being abused by your husband (or wife) please contact a trusted, experienced counselor, your local domestic violence resources, or the police. Or get in touch with thehotline.org.

IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST – please read this post.

NOTES:

  1. I don’t believe it is “withholding sex” if a spouse is actually not able to have sex at that moment.  So if a spouse is very sick, in a lot of pain, is physically unable to have sex for some reason, is away from home on business, etc… the other spouse would want to seek to offer grace and understanding. Of course, if there is some kind of sexual dysfunction, disease, or emotional pain, a spouse would not want to ignore it and let it go on untreated. He/she would want to try to find healing for the situation so that one can try to be available to one’s spouse if possible. (If healing is not possible or may take some time, please check out this post.)
  2. Another situation where it may be unwise to have sex is if the spouse is involved in an unrepentant affair. I have seen God restore marriages after adultery, many times. But it is my understanding that the wayward spouse would need to repent and produce much fruit of repentance before a sexual reunion could take place. And the faithful spouse is not biblically required to take back the wayward spouse. But – they may decide to do so as an act of grace if the wayward spouse sincerely repents and trust is restored and they feel led to do so.
  3. If there is major tension or a wife is really hurting emotionally/spiritually – it is certainly fine for her to respectfully ask for what she needs to feel safe and secure so she can relax and feel right about having sex with her husband.
    • There are times when talking through something first is a necessary step to begin healing.
    • There are times when having sex first and talking later can be a wonderful pathway to begin healing.
  4. Husbands tend to connect emotionally (and sometimes even spiritually) with their wives through having sex. Sometimes husbands don’t have the same need for verbally connecting emotionally that wives do. We have different needs and ways of feeling connected. I’d love to see both spouses selflessly seeking to meet the other’s needs and being understanding and compassionate.
  5. Withholding sex before marriage is not a sin. It is obedience to God’s Word.

 

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

The book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman (which has sold over 11 million copies)  can be a wonderful tool to help us better understand our husbands and ourselves. It has been a blessing to countless marriages and he has written a number of books in the same vein that have helped many people, as well.

The five love languages Chapman writes about are:

  • Words of affirmation.
  • Quality time.
  • Receiving gifts.
  • Acts of service.
  • Physical touch.

From my perspective, it is ideal if both spouses seek to show all of these kinds of love to each other. There are always ways we can grow in showing love.

The book is most helpful, in my view, if we approach the issue like this:

  • X is my husband’s love language, so I am going to learn to start speaking love to him in ways that are more meaningful to him.
  • I also can begin to receive the love language my husband speaks and learn to receive love from him the way he tries to show love.

I have no problem with a wife respectfully asking for what she would like at appropriate times (without making demands or pressuring her husband):

  • Honey, it would mean so much to me if we could spend 30 minutes together tonight talking about our day. I feel so emotionally connected to you when we do that.
  • When you share words of affirmation with me, when you tell me when you see me doing something well, or you share verbal appreciation, that really makes me feel loved.
  • I am so excited that you got me a new coffee table! It is beautiful! I feel SO loved when you pick out a sweet gift for me.
  • Babe, I appreciate it so much when you take the trash out when it starts to get full.
  • I love when we get a chance to cuddle at night and when you play with my hair and show me a lot of physical affection.

However, a pitfall I have seen for some wives (with this or almost any book that talks about marriage) is that it can be tempting to start thinking things like:

  • X is my love language, and my husband isn’t speaking my love language.
  • My husband needs to start doing what I want him to do or he isn’t loving me enough and he isn’t being a good husband.
  • It is my husband’s job to make me happy. He is responsible for my emotions and for me feeling loved enough.
  • If my husband won’t speak my love language when and how I want him to, I’m justified in feeling resentful and bitter.
  • I may even feel justified to sin against my husband if he doesn’t show me love exactly the way I would like for him to.

The enemy would love to use anything, even a great book with many biblical truths, as a springboard to sinful thoughts in our lives. How we must guard our hearts!

CHERISHING RESENTMENT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION

It is very easy to focus on what we want our husbands to do to change. But when we do that, we begin to set up a bunch of expectations – some of which may not be very realistic. Unrealistic expectations invariably lead to resentment. And once we are cherishing resentment and bitterness, we tend to believe we can justify practically any sin against our men. This sin, when it is unchecked, snowballs and gets worse and worse. We may engage in things like:

Once we get into this mode, we are operating in the fruit of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. It is a recipe for pain and misery. For our husbands. For our marriages. For our children. And for ourselves.

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN CHRIST LEADS TO ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL LIFE

I know this is not a popular thing in our culture. But when I try to make my husband, my children, or anyone else responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing – I am living in a dysfunctional relationship – or sin. This goes by several names:

As a believer in Christ, my spiritual wellbeing is dependent on my relationship with Jesus alone. I am responsible for abiding in Him and being filled up with Him. I am personally responsible for confessing any sin and for finding my contentment in Jesus alone. I know that if I am experiencing the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-21) – it is about my character and my walk with the Lord. And I know that if I want to live in the power of His Spirit and have His fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)- that I am responsible to the Lord for turning away from every sinful thing and for yielding myself to the Lordship of Christ.

The way I act, the way I treat my husband (and other people), is about whether my sinful old flesh is in control or whether God’s Spirit is in control of my life at this moment.

In Jesus, I can be content in all circumstances – whether I am receiving love in exactly the way I would prefer or not – through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:12-13).

ASKING GOD TO CHANGE ME, MY PERSPECTIVE, AND MY HEART

It’s easy to pray, “God, change my husband!” And there are times when it is right to pray for our husbands to change – to have God’s victory over sin, to have more of His Spirit, to have His wisdom, etc…

But there is such a need for us to first pray most fervently, “Lord, change me!”

If my husband can’t or won’t change or won’t do what I would like for him to do, I can still live in the power of the Spirit. I can still live in God’s peace, joy, patience, and self-control. I can focus on the things God calls me to change – myself. And trust God to work on the things I can’t change – my husband.

I can invite the Spirit to work powerfully in me, my my marriage, and in my husband’s life for His glory, not for my own will. Here are some examples of how a wife might approach this issue in prayer:

  • Lord, help me learn to appreciate and receive the ways my husband does show love to our children and me.
    • He fixed the sump pump last week. THAT was real love right there. I can receive that act of service as a massive gift of love for me and our family.
    • He went with me somewhere even though it wasn’t his favorite place. That was a gift to me.
    • He asked my son to send a picture of my grocery list when he stopped by Walmart and he picked up everything on the list. Wow! He is my hero!
    • He took all of us to the movies over break. He is so generous. What a thoughtful gift.
    • He helped me take my car to the shop today.
    • He replaced my dead car battery last month.
    • He takes the kids to church on Wednesday nights when I am at work.
    • He sits on the outside of the pew at church on Sunday mornings so that he can try to protect us from harm if something were to happen.
  • Lord, help me not get so fixated on “my love language” and what I want that I miss the beautiful ways my husband expresses his love to me and to our children.
  • Lord, my husband isn’t as verbal as I would like. He only gives me a compliment once every year or two. I really love words of affirmation. But maybe You have things for me to learn in this situation. Help me to be open to receiving the lessons and spiritual growth that I can receive from You as I have a husband who is not super verbal. Help me realize that even though words of affirmation are beautiful and powerful, the way my husband shows love to me and our children is just as beautiful and powerful – maybe even more so.
    • Would words of affirmation have been as helpful when the sump pump was messed up and the toilets wouldn’t flush? No, not really. I do like having toilets that flush!
    • Maybe giving gifts is not my love language, but look at all of the thought and research my husband put into the gifts he gave our children, our extended family, and me. He is SO talented at that! It is not my gifting. But I can certainly appreciate that it is his gifting.
    • Maybe my husband doesn’t write me love letters or send loving/flirty texts or emails. I would like it if he did that. But he comes home every night and eats with our family. He is a good provider and a hard worker. He tries to protect us spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically when there is danger.
    • He doesn’t give me a lot of compliments, but he also doesn’t give me much criticism. That is sure a blessing!
  • Lord, help me to learn to give love (and respect – because feminine respect speaks love so powerfully to men) to my husband in the ways that matter most to him. And if something I do to show him love doesn’t really do much for him, help me to see how I can change my approach.
  • Lord, thank You for my husband. He is a gift to me from You. I’m going to write down all of the good things I can think about regarding his character and the things he has done for my children and for me in my quiet time this week.
  • Lord, help me to be a blessing to my husband simply out of a desire to please and honor You.

SHARE:

How has God spoken to you in this post or about these issues in the past? You are welcome to share insights you have learned or struggles you are having so that we might encourage and pray for you.

Much love!

 

 

 

 

Prayer for 2018

Ladies (and Gentlemen),

I invite you to take a few moments to pray together with me over your upcoming year,  your family, your church, this ministry, and the church worldwide. What an awesome privilege that God grants us access to the very Holy of Holies in heaven 24/7 through Jesus and His finished work on the cross on our behalf. We are already seated with Him in the heavenlies!

Lord,

We invite You into our lives to have full control. To be LORD over every area of our lives. You alone are God. There is no other. You alone are worthy of all of our worship, praise, adoration, reverence, obedience, love, sacrifice, and faithfulness. We want to start out this new year with a clean slate together.

CONFESSION

We confess our sins before you. Our own sins. Help us to see clearly anything in us that is toxic. Anything that is spiritual poison so that we can invite You to cleanse us and we can throw it away like garbage:

pride, self-righteousness, idolatry of anyone/anything (anything we desire more than we desire You in our hearts), lust, porn addiction, romantic novel/movie addiction, emotional affairs/infatuation with other men, adultery with other men, drug/food/alcohol/exercise addictions, any kind of addiction at all (they are all idolatry), greed, materialism, apathy, unbelief in You, lack of faith in You, love that has grown cold, hatred, contempt, bitterness, resentment, malice (desiring to harm someone else), taking vengeance for ourselves rather than trusting You to take vengeance, unforgiveness, unbiblical thinking, false doctrine, denying Your power, trusting self rather than You, denying the truth of Your Word, worldliness, trusting worldly human wisdom over Your Word, abortion, murder, abuse toward other people (emotionally, verbally, spiritually, financially, physically), words that speak death rather than life, words that destroy others, words that grieve Your heart, impure motives, selfishness, responding to other people’s sin with sin of our own, dishonesty, stealing of any kind, legalism (trusting our own work instead of Jesus’ work), grieving the Holy Spirit, gossip, gluttony, anorexia, bulimia, disrespecting You, disrespecting our husbands, disrespecting people in positions of God-given authority, divisiveness, unbiblical divorce, sexual sin of any kind, loving with strings attached, trying to control other people, anxiety/fear/worry, stinginess, contention, complaining, arguing, and anything else that displeases You.

We also confess the sin of our church before You. The sin of our church leaders. The sin of our nation. They include all of the sins listed above and even more. Racism, sex trafficking, legalizing and funding abortion, the opioid crisis, dishonesty, injustice, corruption, scandals, sexual sin, abuse of God-given authority, removing God from our schools/government/businesses/homes. Calling evil good and good evil. Forsaking the Bible. Forsaking God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Misleading the people. Promoting lies. Embracing heresy and false teaching. And so many more that are too many to even list.

We come before You like Daniel did – pleading for Your mercy over ourselves, our families, the church, America, and the nations of the world. Not because we deserve mercy. We do not. But because of Your Name, Your character, and Your love. We implore You to forgive us of our sin and to heal our land before we are completely destroyed by our sin. Time appears to be very short, Lord. It seems like we are in the midst of the Great Falling Away that is to occur right before the 7 years of the Tribulation. And yet, we know You will reserve for Yourself a remnant until Jesus returns. Let us be part of that remnant and let many turn to You in one more Great Awakening! We long to see You work in great power in our generation and in our land.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chron. 7:14

How desperately we all need Your forgiveness and the blood of Jesus to cover our sin and to pay for this massive sin debt.

We hate our sin. We turn completely away from it. We don’t want to live like this anymore. We love You! We turn to You for forgiveness to cleanse us from our sin and to make us pure and holy in Your eyes. We want to live for Christ and in the power of Christ. We can’t do anything good in our strength. We need Your Spirit and all that Jesus has done for us already to make us right with You. We receive His finished work on the cross on our behalf. We receive our identity in Christ.

We ask You to raise each of us, our families, the readers here on this blog, and Your church to be a holy generation. Spirit-filled people. Walking in the power of Christ and doing Your will and bringing about Your kingdom every day in our midst. Cause us to become a faithful, obedient people for Your glory!

We come before You humbly, with reverent fear and awe as we think about who You are. The King of the universe. The Creator of all that exists. The sovereign Lord Almighty who holds every galaxy and subatomic particle in the palm of His hand. We think about Jesus, as He appears in heaven right now:

One like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,  his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. Revelation 1:13-16

REQUESTS FOR OURSELVES

  • Take 2018 – all of it. Every moment and every day. It is Yours. I give it to You to do with as You see fit. Each moment is a gift from You. I am simply a steward of it. I want to use all of this time for Your glory alone.
  • Take my life. All of it. I give You my health, my money, my family, my marriage, my career, my house, my possessions, my friends, my church, my extended family, my city, my state, my country, and my world. I yield it all before You on the altar in heaven. I want You to have control over all of these things, not me. You have all wisdom. You are sovereign. I am not. You are God. I am not. You are LORD. I am not. I am Your humble servant. You gave everything to me on the cross. You held back nothing. Now I have the honor and privilege of giving You all of myself, all that I am, all of my future, and all that belongs to me. I die to my old sinful self. I die to my will. I no longer seek my will, but Yours alone. I no longer seek my glory, but Your greatest glory! That is truly all that matters.
  • I want to receive Your Spirit – all of it. I want to receive the fullness of my salvation. You promise to give me the power I need to walk in the victory of Christ.
  • I want to live the full-strength version of the Gospel. I don’t want to live a wimpy, watered-down version of the Christian life that is powerless, feeble, and weak. I don’t want to walk in defeat all the time, constantly entangled by sin. I don’t want a worldly version of Christianity that pleases Satan and grieves You. I don’t want to embrace a  wimpy gospel that denies Your power. I want to live like Paul did. And Peter. And the apostles. I want to have faith like Stephen, like all the people in the Hebrews 11 Faith Hall of Fame. I want to live in the power of Your Spirit to have great faith and to experience Jesus’ victory in my daily life like George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Ann Judson, Lottie Moon, Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. I want to see You do HUGE things in my life and in the lives of those around me. I don’t want to miss out on a single provision or miracle that You want to do in my life – not for myself – but completely for Your glory. I am willing to do anything to have more and more of You.
  • Surround me with Your hedge of protection from Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy my family and me. I resist the devil and yield myself to You. Place Your covering over me. You are my Shield and Fortress. You are my Rock and Defender. Set Your angels to stand guard over my life. Let Your Word and Your Spirit protect my husband, my children, our marriage, and myself from all of the fiery darts Satan plans to shoot at us. Help me to see the enemy’s strategies and not inadvertently allow myself to fall into his snares. I want to let You cleanse my life of anything that would give him a foothold.
  • I want to grow by leaps and bounds spiritually in 2018. I seek to feast on Your Word daily and be open to all that You want to show me. Only let Your Spirit teach me and reveal Your truth to me by the blazing power of the Light of Your Word. I want to absorb and receive every truth, every promise, every pearl of wisdom that You have for me. I want to drink in Your goodness continually. I want to receive every trial as a blessing by which I might grow in my faith in Christ. I want to count hardships as joy and as Your loving discipline. I am willing to learn to practice fasting. I want to be as close to You as possible. Teach me. Guide me. Lead me. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see all that You have in store for me.
  • I want my life to overflow with the fruit of Your Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23) in all of my relationships.
  • I want to know You more and to experience more and more of Your Spirit, Your presence, Your love, Your healing, Your goodness, and Your truth in my daily life.
  • I want to please You more than anything. I want to be a God-pleaser not a people-pleaser. I want my life to bring You great joy.

REQUESTS FOR OUR HUSBANDS, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES

  • Bring each one who is still lost into the Kingdom of Christ Jesus!
  • Let Your Spirit pour out in great power over my family this year to accomplish Your purposes and Your will.
  • Let my husband, my children, and my extended family be transformed and regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Give my husband and children a deep hunger and thirst for You, Your Word, and Your presence.
  • Expose any wrong thinking, lies, or sin in our family this year that we might repent and turn wholeheartedly to You alone.
  • Cleanse us of any spiritual poison and let us crave the pure milk of the Word and receive Your goodness.
  • Help us to recognize that people are not our enemies. We have enemies, but they are spiritual and unseen and we must use heavenly weapons to fight them, not worldly ones.
  • Help me to create an atmosphere where Your Spirit and my family members feel welcome, safe, loved, protected, and at peace and where Satan and his demons feel very uncomfortable.
  • Let our homes and hearts and minds be filled with Your praises, with thanksgiving, with Your Word, with Your presence, and with Your Spirit of unity, love, and peace.
  • Grant my husband the wisdom and discernment he needs to lead our family well according to Your will.
  • Let me bless my husband and children and speak Your Life to them, living as a godly example to them – not in my power, but in Your power alone.

We invite Your Spirit to enter into our homes full blast. Bring the spiritually dead to life. Cause those who are spiritually oppressed and sick to be raised up in Your strength and in spiritual health. We invite You and implore You to do all that You want to do in our midst in 2018 – in our homes, our families, our extended families, at our jobs, in our coworkers’ lives, and in our churches. Strengthen the persecuted church. Fill them to overflowing with Your Spirit. Use us to help provide for them materially. Use them to accomplish Your purposes and to bring many to Christ Jesus even in the face of the most fierce persecution and warfare. Thank You that You are doing that and that so many are coming to Christ in Muslim countries and in areas where believers are severely oppressed. Thank You that You have not left them or us as orphans. Prepare and equip us all for the persecution we will face as we live boldly for You.

We rejoice in Your provision. We rest in Your love and sovereignty.

Lord, we praise and thank You for all that You have done, all that You are doing, and all that You will do this year. We consecrate ourselves and our families to You. We rejoice and delight in You and in Your will for all of us!

Amen!

SHARE:

If you’d like to share a prayer for our sisters (and brothers) here in Christ in the comments, you are welcome to.

If you believe God is calling you to be a prayer warrior for this ministry, please let me know in the comments if you are interested in joining my email prayer team and I will get in touch with you to discuss things with you.

RESOURCES:

If you are interested in more posts about how to pray, check out these posts.

10 Reasons to Consider Fasting

Lord, I Don’t Want to Do Your Will

Dying to Self

25 Ways to Reverence God

Are You Giving the Enemy Authority in Your Life?

Yielding to the Lordship of Christ

If you want to go much deeper spiritually with Christ, check out these classics:

E. M. Bounds – The Necessity of Prayer (free PDF download and audio version)

Andrew Murray – Absolute Surrender (free PDF download and audio version)

 

Strong Marriages Do Not Happen By Accident

Strong marriages seem to happen magically on movies and in romantic novels sometimes. But the truth is that strong marriages are built. There are very specific building blocks that are required to develop strong, healthy marriages. These are things that any of us can do – if we are in Christ and we are working in His power. There are specific things that create healthy marriages and relationships and there are specific things that destroy healthy marriages and relationships. We can’t control our spouse, but we do get to control our end of things – with God’s help.

MARRIAGE DESTROYERS:

 

MARRIAGE BUILDERS

 

This week, in your quiet time, invite God to show you the marriage destroyers in your life. Begin to get rid of them all. And invite God to help you begin to practice some marriage builders. Your marriage, your husband, your children, the Lord, and even you, yourself, will be greatly blessed as you become more and more the woman of God He calls you to be.

Much love!

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus as your Savior and Lord – that is your first need. Then He can give you the power to do the marriage/relationship building things.

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