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One Wife's Obedience to God Radically Changed Her Marriage

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An email from a wife:

As for my husband, he is happier than ever! He is constantly saying how he is the luckiest man alive. He texts me sweet nothings from work. He is so sweet at home.

It’s like, while I refused to submit (to honor his God-given leadership), we were locked in this power struggle. Like two people arm wrestling. He had to resist me and fight against me, because I was fighting him. But now that the power is firmly in his lap, there is no reason for a struggle. He knows that he has the final word, no matter what.

So he can allow me to have my way on many things, but because he is fully in charge, it’s an affirmation of his power, not a concession of it. That is the key I didn’t understand before. Someone is going to be the head of your marriage. One of you must lead. One must have the final say. If we are fighting for that role all the time, jockeying for that position of strength, then you spend half your time fighting for control, and the other half defending that control. Either way you are fighting all the time!

Once you surrender and say, “okay, I give, you win”, and you really mean it, then your man is free to let you make some choices, and it’s not an insult or a threat to him or his position. Crazy as it sounds, I actually get my way MORE now than before, lol, because we both know neither of us has anything to prove. He is allowed to be an imperfect human, he doesn’t have to explain or justify himself, he is the head, nothing will ever challenge that. We can give each other grace now, because we aren’t competing. We are more of a team than ever!

So, thanks for reading my novel, lol. I just wish that more women could understand this! How much happier would they be!

Blessed by submission,
Another peaceful wife

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I was SO in charge of things the first 15 years of our marriage.  I demanded that my husband do things my way.  I actually expected him to submit to me – not consciously.  But I expected to have my way – and nothing was going to stop me. 🙁   I ended up with a husband who didn’t want to do ANYTHING I wanted to do.   He just unplugged and went silent.  And I was lonely, worried, anxious, afraid, overwhelmed, stressed and far from God – but I didn’t even realize it.

I had the same thing happen in my marriage that this wife did – I get what I want SO MUCH MORE now than I ever did before.  My husband loves to see me happy.  He actually gives me a lot of freedom.  I do almost anything I want.  But if he sees me doing something that might get me in over my head, he will ask me to slow down the pace, or ask me to get more rest.  He takes great care of me.  Any time he does ask me to change something (which is quite rarely) – it is always for my good and my benefit.  He makes this REALLY easy for me.   I am extremely blessed.

Many women think that if they let their husband lead – they won’t have a voice and won’t get what they want.  That is usually not a problem – not when a man is feeling respected.

** There are some men, men with active  addictions, men who have uncontrolled mental health disorders, men who are currently involved in infidelity, men who physically abuse their wives, men who ask their wives to sin – who wives cannot submit to.  God does not ask us to submit to sin.  He does not ask us to respect sin.  Thankfully, there are usually other things we can cooperate with and other things we can respect.  But the authority of His Word trumps our husbands’ God-given authority.  If you are in a serious situation like this – you need godly, experienced help ASAP.  Your situation goes way beyond the scope of this post or this blog.

I am primarily submitting myself to Christ and because I love and respect Him, I cooperate with my husband’s leadership and respect my husband – so I desire to seek God’s will above my own.  It’s not about what I want anymore.  It’s about what will bring glory and honor to Jesus.

Still, when I take the emphasis off of getting my way – and I do things God’s way – I paradoxically end up getting “my way” much more often than I did when my way was my primary goal.

I hope that makes sense!

Thanks to this wife for sharing her story!

THIS IS A PROCESS

Each wife will have a different timetable, a different learning process, a different journey.  Each wife will learn things at her own pace and each couple has their own unique struggles, personalities and obstacles.  For me, it took about 2 years before the new ways became “normal.”   And I was extremely determined to learn this stuff – and studied for several hours a day most days during those two years.  I also had a very stable childhood with parents with an intact marriage and not a lot of baggage from the past.  Some wives take many more years than that – the rate of learning and growth depends on a host of factors.  I messed up a lot during the time I was trying to learn and didn’t understand, and was desperately looking for resources and trying to figure things out without many godly examples or  a mentor.  But I had God!  And His Word.  And He brought resources to me over time.  Thankfully, my husband was very patient with me as I stumbled through this stuff.  It is much like learning a brand new language – learning to be a godly wife, an obedient believer, a Spirit-filled woman.

Our job is to seek God with all our hearts, to desire Him above everything else, to hunger for His Word, to fill our hearts with His praises, to allow Him to show us all our sin and remove it.  Our job is to want to learn all that He has to teach us and to be totally yielded and available for Him to use in any way He desires.

He doesn’t guarantee us that our husbands will change.   God guarantees that WE will change when we submit to Him!  Our motives can’t be to learn to respect and submit so that our husbands will change.  That doesn’t work!  Our motives must be pure in God’s sight – to honor Him, to obey Him, to know Him more, to be filled with His Spirit, to bring Him glory and seek His will and His wisdom.

Then God is in charge of the timing, the results, the changing – for us and our husbands.

But when God is your partner in your marriage and life – each day is an amazing adventure.  It is SO worth it to do things His way!

Much love to you, my precious sisters in Christ!

– Peacefulwife

"My Assumptions Created Problems in Our Marriage!"

1208847_35671158-1From a reader, THANK YOU for sharing!!!!  I SO totally relate to her mindset, and I did the EXACT same thing in the past!  I LOVE what this wife has learned and the way she shares it is so relatable.  I know this post will bless MANY, MANY other wives!  Great job!!!!!
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I have a story that I think you might appreciate.
One of the biggest problems in my marriage is me assuming that my husband is mad at me.  If I don’t understand his behavior, I assume it is about his disappointment in me.  He’s tired and quiet from work, I assume he’s upset because I didn’t make the kids clean up all their toys.  He accidentally forgot his phone, I assume he’s mad that I didn’t pay enough attention to him the day before and doesn’t want me to be able to get in touch with him.  It never ends with just the assumption that he’s upset.  Then I get upset that he’s upset and won’t talk to me about it and give me a chance to defend myself. 
If only he knew how hard I worked to get the house as clean as it is.  I wasn’t ignoring him, doesn’t he know that I have a lot on my plate?  And try as hard as I might, I can’t get everything done while he’s out.  Left arguing with myself for a while, I will suddenly remember that my husband isn’t perfect, and maybe I could be a better wife if he did X, Y, and Z better.  Then when I see him, and he asks what the matter with me is, I am ready with all my ammo to tell him what he needs to change to help me be a better wife to him.
Last year, I started reading your blog, and while my story isn’t exactly the same as yours, my eyes were opened to my extreme disrespect toward my husband.
THINGS I HAVE LEARNED
First, my husband is an adult.
If he’s upset with me, he can tell me on his own.  I don’t need to think for him.  When I confessed to him what I was doing his reply was
“Wow, you give me credit for thinking a lot more than I do.”
Sometimes he really is just tired, just forgetful, or just quiet.  There is no ulterior motive.  It is disrespectful to not take him at face value.
Second, if I have to make excuses to myself, I know that I’m not treating him as I think he should be treated.  Instead of wasting time coming up with excuses, I could more constructively use that time to clean up the mess, or take care of stuff so that when he comes home I can spend time with him.
Last, if I feel that we must talk about my perceived issues, I should start saying “I know the house was a mess yesterday, did that bother you?” instead of “Maybe this house wouldn’t be such a mess if you pitched in more.” 
However, when I began seeing just how messed up I was, my husband was deployed, so I had some information but no chance to try it out.
A NEW BEGINNING
Last night I got my chance.  I had exciting news that I wanted to share.  My husband was building Legos with my son, so I thought I’d call my sister and share the excitement with her.  I thought I’d probably leave a message, and be back downstairs in less than fifteen minutes.  Fifty-two minutes later I hung up the phone.  Knowing I had spent almost an hour of precious Sunday time not paying attention to my husband I went to find him to see if he wanted to do something.
He was nowhere to be found.  In my head, he left without a word because he was feeling ignored.  And I stopped right there.  He did poke his head into the room while I was on the phone, maybe he wanted me to know where he was going, but he didn’t want to interrupt.  In fact, he did tell our son where he was going, it’s not his fault our son forgot that happened.
Then I remembered, we did have something that belonged to our neighbor that we no longer needed, he probably returned it and then began chatting.  His absence was just him living his life, not a direct result of being mad at me.  At least that was my new story until he told me different.
Then, instead of coming up with excuses and things that he’d done to take time away from us, I used the time that I had to get stuff done, so that we could have some time for just the two of us when he came home.
Instead of coming home to a fight, my husband came home to a wife that made sure we’d be able to have some time for each other.  Instead of a fight, I got quality time with my husband.
The difference is night and day.
RESOURCES and RELATED POSTS
Shuanti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only” –  will help you understand how men think and how DIFFERENT they are from women!  (From a Christian perspective)

A Wife's Power in Marriage

We took a marriage class last winter by a man I have known and respected for 25 years.  He spoke a lot about authority during our semester: God-given authority, spiritual authority and the needs of those leaders who are in authority over us.  And I HOPE that one day I have the chance to take his class on spiritual authority.  But one thing he talked about that fascinated me was the two types of authority in marriage.

The husband has “positional authority” – God has given him spiritual authority over the marriage and family.  This is similar to the positional authority of a king, president, manager or CEO.

And the wife has “influential authority.”  The type of influence a wife has at her command in marriage is the same type of influence that a Vice President  (or cabinet member) would have over a President, that an assistant manager would have with a manager or that an advisor or queen would have to a king.  Rev. Weaver pointed out several times that influential authority is often much MORE powerful than positional authority.

MISUNDERSTANDINGS ARE RAMPANT

It is SO important for us to understand – the wife is not left without any authority or power in the relationship.  I have had some women commenting to me saying that biblical submission is slavery.  Not at all!!!!  That is an incredibly twisted and warped view of the biblical concept of marriage.  I am sure there must be some people somewhere who try to turn submission into some awful nightmare like that – and it makes me VERY sad that anyone would ever think such things.

There is NO WAY I WOULD LIVE LIKE THAT!!!!!!!!

The biblical model is not a master/slave relationship in any way – FAR, FAR from it!  And it is not a parent/child relationship, or an owner/pet relationship.  This is not a king married to a servant girl.  It is a king married to a queen.  The queen has a lot of power in her own right, too!  I don’t want there to be confusion about this!

WITHOUT GOD’S SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES, WE MESS MARRIAGE UP BIG TIME!

The enemy and our own sinful nature would love nothing more than to get us to swing to one side or the other extreme to the left or right of God’s design for us.

  • instead of loving, Christ-like, servant-hearted husbands who adore, cherish and nurture their wives and children – we end up with angry, abusive tyrants or passive-unplugged men who give up all their influence and authority in their homes – leaving their families unprotected and at risk.
  • wives go to extremes, too, unless they have the Spirit of Christ in control of their hearts – a doormat/slave who gives up all of her powerful feminine influential authority, becomes 2 dimensional, loses her voice and purpose in the marriage/family and allows her husband to be a selfish tyrant or a domineering, disrespectful, unforgiving, fearful, worried woman who tries to control her husband and everyone around her.  These extremes are ungodly, worldly, sinful and destructive!

Wives have authority over their own relationship with God, their children, the home,  their own work lives, their friendships, their bodies, health, lifestyle, priorities, hobbies, etc… usually with very little interference from her husband.  He only steps in if he believes things are unbalanced, something is wrong or she is heading down a potentially dangerous path.  He is responsible before God to make the beset decisions for his family – God will hold him accountable!

HOW INFLUENTIAL AUTHORITY WORKS

When there is a decision to be made – it is the wife’s obligation, in my view, to share her perception, feelings and desires with her husband respectfully (unless she doesn’t care about the outcome of this particular decision).   A wife’s influential authority works well with husbands unless they are violent, involved in infidelity, actively addicted to drugs/alcohol/gambling/serious porn addiction, or suffering from an untreated or uncontrolled mental disorder – then the wife needs to find godly help ASAP!

A wife’s greatest powers to influence her husband are in her smile, her respect, her admiration, her faith in him as a man, her willingness to forgive, her cooperation with his leadership, her pleasant attitude, her peaceful demeanor, her gentleness, her calmness and the way she doesn’t get hysterical, fearful and worried.  Her power is in her encouragement, her building her man up with all those amazing verbal skills God gave her, her look of confidence in her man’s abilities…

When her husband has full confidence in his wife’s respect, faith, trust and admiration:

  • HE WANTS TO SAY YES TO HER.
  • HE WANTS TO MAKE HER HAPPY.
  • HE CARES DEEPLY ABOUT HER FEELINGS!
  • HE KNOWS HE IS RESPONSIBLE TO GOD FOR HIS DECISION, so he wants to make the very best choices.

Please understand – the converse is also true.  When a husband experiences a lot of disrespect, contempt, judgment, criticism, negativity, manipulation or attempts at control from his wife – then he will not want to cooperate with her no matter what it is she wants.  He will not care about making her happy because he is feeling so disrespected.  And he won’t care much about her feelings because she has trampled his.

When a man feels respected and honored, he is hard-wired by God to want to serve the one who respects him.

So a respected husband will generally be very interested in hearing his wife’s opinion.  He knows that he doesn’t have the whole picture by himself.  He looks to her unique perspective to round out the information he has to process a decision.  And usually, he will be glad to have the opportunity to make her happy by doing what she wants to do.  Seeing his wife light up with delight when he does something for her is such a huge gift and blessing to a husband!

HOW POSITIONAL AUTHORITY WORKS

In the event that the husband believes his wife is NOT making a wise decision – if she is endangering herself or the family, or over-committing her resources, or seeking to make a rash decision based more on emotions than logic, or he believes something isn’t right – then he will use his positional authority to protect her, the marriage and the family.  The details of how each husband decides to lead his wife and family will vary widely from one marriage to another.  That’s ok!  We are all different and different couples will do things different ways.  As long as we are obeying God’s Word and keeping Jesus our primary focus and priority – the exact details of how we handle things are largely a preference thing.

Husbands tend to veto ideas that, in their view, will cost their family, wife or marriage too much.  Most husbands don’t micromanage every little decision.  But they will often step in when there is a serious issue going on:

  • another family member in the extended family is trying to have too much control over his wife/marriage/family
  • serious behavior issues with the children
  • major budget problems
  • misplaced priorities in the family
  • if the wife is giving so much of herself to others that she has nothing left for him – he will probably ask her to cut out certain activities – as well he should!  The marriage is more important than serving or ministering to outsiders.
  • if he sees that the children are a bigger priority for his wife than he is (that is not right, and he is wise to correct this imbalance).
  • if his wife is too involved in her parents’/siblings lives
  • if his wife is sinning against God

Husbands who feel respected tend to say “yes” to most things – I would even say 90-95% of things, maybe even more!  They love to see their wives happy.  Men measure their success as a man/husband/father largely by the degree of happiness they see in their wives.  Did you realize that your happiness is so important to him?  IT IS!

But he also knows that he is accountable to God for his decisions and for the spiritual/physical/financial/emotional/mental welfare of his family.  So he will try to make the BEST decision for everyone using all the information he has available at the time.  That is why the wife must give her input – without her thoughts, feelings and ideas, her husband can’t make the best decision.  He’d be missing half of the information he needs!

Why Are Many of Us So Unprepared to Be Godly Wives? – Part 1

firstwifepain

Here are comments from two Christian men that I believe deserve our time,  attention and some prayerful consideration.  Then I have some observations about why I believe Christian women are  often so unprepared for biblical marriage and some warning signs that there may be trouble ahead before a woman enters marriage that I will be sharing tomorrow. 

 Let me warn the ladies – this may be quite painful to read.  Men are sinners, too.  I am not addressing that issue or addressing men in this post.  I teach women.  And it is time for us to allow God to shine His light on our condition of extreme spiritual poverty as Christian women in our culture.  I pray that we might be broken before Jesus and see our own sinfulness and cry out to Him for healing.

FROM ANONYMOUS: (A Christian single man, he begins with a quote from one of my posts earlier in the week on www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com)

“But we are contaminating our minds and our relationships when we indulge in this selfish, sinful, disrespectful (to God and to our men), resentful, bitter behavior. We are poisoning our hearts against our guys when we criticize and ridicule them to others. If things are truly that awful with him – please do some serious praying about whether this is a man to consider for marriage. If you can’t respect him now – you are going to have a MUCH harder time after you get married! YOU MUST BE ABLE TO RESPECT YOUR GUY AS IS RIGHT NOW! You can’t change him! You’ve got to appreciate the masterpiece that he is or move on to someone else who is more in tune with Christ.”

Most Christian women don’t break up with men because they “are not in tune with Christ.”
They deliberately date men who aren’t!

They are influenced by society and break up because they want and believe they “deserve” more ______! They believe that God wants to give them everything they could possibly hope for or imagine, and discard anyone who fails to meet their own culturally-derived definition of perfect. If anything, they themselves are not in tune with Christ, and they use their religious, self-centered, self-righteous mindset to rationalize and justify why they should have more _______!

They use God to rationalize why they deserve a man who is rich, tall, dark, and handsome (whether or not he is godly).
They also rationalize and use God as their excuse, not their real reasons why they are allowed to break up with godly men (because he isn’t rich, tall, dark, handsome.)

They abuse scripture and disrespect both God and Christian men!
They conveniently forget, minimize, justify, and excuse themselves of all their own sin
They are not honest with God or men, or even with themselves.
They are deceived.

I should also add that while they talk A LOT about the value of godliness, it is usually not anywhere near their highest priority. Once they obtain a boyfriend/husband who is some version of rich, tall, dark, handsome, popular, and high-status, they might also use God as their excuse to break up with him if they decide (according to their own personal standards) that he is not “holy enough” for them. So they have no problem violating scripture to obtain the man they want (they probably knew whether or not he was “holy” before), but then they turn around and use scriptures as an excuse that he isn’t “good enough” or “holy enough” for them now.

Ironically, it doesn’t seem to matter if he is holy, but rather if she thinks he is “holy”, or if she is somehow holy enough herself to forgive him. If he demonstrates that he is human and makes mistakes, she is likely to break-up with him on-the-spot, because she is more concerned about herself than him. She sees him as the perpetrator of sin, rather than the victim of it. She is quick to look at the sin, not the sinner that still wants to love both God and her. She feels justified to reduce his entire being and the full-array of his character down to a single weak moment or turn a minor or temporary struggle into the permanent all-encompassing label of “bad” or “unholy,” as if a single snapshot in a single moment (of her choice) defines all of who he is as a person. Without realizing it, she acts as if its okay for her to be human, but its not okay for him. She expects him to be as perfect as Jesus, and is determined to hold him accountable to that impossibility!

Sadly, some men actually are holy, rich, tall, dark, handsome, popular, high-status, outgoing, spontaneous, easy-going, entertaining, charming, charismatic, ambitious, passionate, romantic, responsible, etc., etc., etc., and they still have difficulty finding godly women who want to be godly wives according to scripture.  

Women’s motives and actions are often selfish and self-righteous. They are only concerned with getting what they want, without any concern for who the man really is or how they might be hurting him.

If they get hurt in the process of dating a given man, then it is blamed, labeled, and filed-away as all his fault (not also their own willful sins and decisions).

Ultimately, women expect a man to be respected by everyone else (according to cultural standards) before they are willing to respect him (according to their own rationalized version of biblical standards), but they still holds onto their “right” to withhold respect at their will and at anytime they choose, for any reasons they choose. They just use God, scripture, and “holiness” as their excuse.

From Peacefulwife – I believe that his observations here are correct in many cases (not all!  Praise God!) and I believe that this is one of the most devastating problems in Christian romantic relationships and marriage today – the loss of respect by women for their men – and the loss of the understanding that the husband is the God-given spiritual authority in marriage.  The concept of unconditional respect for men, for husbands and for all God-given authority was destroyed in the 1960s and 70s.  Women today have almost no idea what respect is to a man, how to give it and what disrespect is, what it does to a man and how to avoid it.  Our mainstream culture is extremely disrespectful towards men and husbands and authorities.  So we think that disrespect is just normal.  Plus, we think so highly of our own spirituality as women, many times, that we think ourselves “more qualified” to lead spiritually because we read our Bibles more, can quote more verses and want to talk about the things of God more.  This is unscriptural!  God gave the husband the position of God-given authority in marriage (I Corinthians 11:3) and no wife can take that away from her husband.  He can’t give it away.  He IS the God-appointed head of the marriage and family.  And he is accountable to God for his leadership.  We are accountable to God for cooperating with the God-given leadership of our husbands – unless they ask us to sin or violate God’s Word.

I’m not sure how much you agree with any of these thoughts.

Obviously, I shouldn’t say ALL women are like this.
I’ve just personally encountered more of them than I wish!

Thanks again for taking the time to consider my thoughts!
I appreciate it!

AN ADDITIONAL QUOTE FROM ANONYMOUS THE NEXT DAY:

While I can’t comment on marriage, I will agree that I’ve heard several, several young Christian women use versions of the phrase “There are faithful single women out there that love God and want to live a life that is pleasing to Him.” Sometimes they say to me, “Don’t worry! There are plenty of good girls out there!” They usually think they are one of them, and don’t realize that I’ve already discerned them not to be.

It’s almost like saying, “If everyone were as great as me and my friends, then you have nothing to worry about,” which just make me cringe even more.

I’ve seen enough of my godly male friends ditched, cheated on, and divorced by their “good” Christian wives to realize that young Christian men now can’t just marry the women who (as David J put it) “attend (church) eagerly” or “absolutely revel” in worship. Sometimes the woman who looks so spiritual worshiping with her hands in the air on Sunday can be a nightmare to be around every other day of the week.

Many times, the women who think they are “right,” “good,” “godly,” “holy,” or somehow more “qualified” to date “good” men, are just as bad as those “other,” “less qualified” girls who they label and discredit as “bad” and “wrong.” They just don’t know it yet, because they’re too busy going to bible studies and volunteering for church activities.

Here are a few verses that illustrate what we all (men and women) have to be aware of before, during, and after we date and marry:
2 Timothy 3:5-7 (AMP)
5For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]. [ ] 6[For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses. ] [ ] 7[[These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth. ]

FROM DAVID:

M and Anonymous: God bless M for her desire to have a good marriage in spite of the lack of positive examples in her own family. I’m glad that the young women she knows do not seem to match up with Anonymous’s experience, but I have to tell you that I’m skeptical whether M’s friends are being honest with her or themselves. Since I’m an old(er) guy who was married for 29+ years, my personal experience is more with the married women of friends and at church rather than with younger single women. But of the population of Christian women with which I’m familiar, I have to say that the overwhelming majority fall on the wrong side of what Anonymous (and April) have described of what is typical. My own ex-wife would be one of the most obvious and egregious examples, but even setting her aside, I have very few friends who have wives who treat them with the kind of respect that April is (thankfully) urging on her readers. Like, count on one hand among all current acquaintances and maybe two hands of all acquaintances ever. That’s bad.

My suspicion is that marriage uniquely challenges a woman in ways that reveal more of who she really is than any pre-marriage environment does, with the result that both the woman herself and her husband are surprised when the disrespectful wife shows up. This means that Christian guys have to be unusually discerning in their dating, and that’s very hard to do. How are they going to spot non-obvious signs of rebellion and disrespect that even godly young women like M haven’t seen in each other?

Here’s where I will use my ex-wife as an example. I met her at a very conservative Christian college, which she was attending eagerly, not reluctantly. She was a Church Ministries major who thought she’d probably marry a pastor and would have been happy to do so. She absolutely reveled in the spiritual emphasis on campus — dorm room prayer meetings, hall prayer meetings, society prayer meetings, evangelistic outreaches, etc. She became a leader in all of these areas. Her father was a devout (albeit extreme fundamentalist) Christian. Her grandmother, who paid for her freshman year at the college, was a devout (albeit cold) Christian. Her mother was a promiscuous, oft-married alcoholic, but she wanted to be the opposite. Her faculty adviser was a very godly, gracious Bible professor who thought the world of her. And so on.

Looking back, with the benefit of experience in general and specific experience with her, I can identify signs that existed when we were dating and engaged (a total of almost 4 years). And my parents had some reservations that they gently (perhaps too gently) raised at the time. But the general consensus was that we were the perfect couple and that we would do great things for God. Only later did I start to see the selfishness, self-absorption, self-rightousness, pride, inability to admit being wrong, judgmentalism, and the over-arching FEARFULNESS that would soon be turned against me when it became clear that I wasn’t anywhere near perfect and when life (including especially finances) didn’t go as planned. [M, I’ve described my situation in more detail elsewhere, but the short version is that my wife ultimately divorced me without a biblical basis, contrary to pastoral and counselor advice, blowing up our lives and the lives of our 4 kids, ages 21-14 at the time; she then proceeded to meet (online), date, and marry a twice-divorced man within 13 months of the divorce, and has now moved 400 miles away to live with him, taking our 18-year old daughter with her and leaving our 16-year old son behind.)

I also believe, as April has noted from time to time, that somehow there is a difference in the two genders’ ability to spot their own tendency toward marital sin. For some reason, wives don’t seem to be able to have the light go on — either at all or as quickly — as husbands do. Give most of us a book or a seminar or a counselor and we’ll generally see our faults pretty quickly, and we’ll generally acknowledge them, apologize for them, and try to do better. (This is a generalization; I’m well aware that some men are obtuse idiots who never get it.) Not so with wives, in my experience. I wouldn’t ask you to put much stock in my experience alone, but I understand from April that hers is the same, with a much broader sample size.

So, between the fact that marriage is a unique crucible and the (admittedly generalized) fact that women don’t seem to be as self-aware as men, Christian young men have a much harder task than just finding “faithful single women out there that love God and want to live a life that is pleasing to Him.” That’s what I thought I had found, and it wasn’t enough. Then throw in the tilted playing field that is divorce in this country — churches (and individual Christians) that don’t want to get involved or “take sides” and a legal system that allows (even financially rewards) unilateral unbiblical divorces — and the long-term prospects for Christian young men can be very sobering, if not outright frightening. I am going to have to have some extended sessions with my own adult sons if/when they ever get serious about looking for a wife.

A New Leader is Born

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CHANGING THE DOMINANT WIFE/PASSIVE HUSBAND DYNAMIC
When a wife has been trying to control the marriage and making most of the decisions and the husband has been unplugged for many months, years or decades – it takes TIME and practice for her to step down and learn to be a great follower and it takes TIME and practice for him to learn to become a great leader.  Men do not generally enter marriage as the most godly, wise, perfect leaders.  It takes trial and error. (Guess what, women often do not enter marriage as the best of followers, either!  I sure didn’t!)  It takes failing sometimes and learning from failure.  Honestly, our response to their failure is way more important, usually, than the fact that they failed!
This is going to require that wives demonstrate more patience, humility, trust in another person and trust and faith in God than we have EVER had in our lives!  We will need God’s Spirit to empower us.  And we will need to be sure we are putting Christ first in our hearts, not our husbands, our being in control, our feelings, our desires, our “rights,” our needs, etc.   It requires that we die to ourselves and live for Christ. But, if we can show that we will support our husbands and trust them to fix things and make things right, if we don’t make a huge deal out of their mistakes  – we will help our men climb to a kind of greatness in their leadership that we can hardly begin to fathom at first.
HUSBANDS ARE GOING TO MESS UP.  THAT HAS TO BE OK.
Of course some times our husbands’ decisions are purely selfish and not from God.  Yep.  Actually, some of my decisions are that way, too.  We are all wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ every moment! That is how it works when there is a human in a position of God-given authority – they will make mistakes and sin sometimes.  That is where I learn to trust that my God is “sovereign enough”  to lead me through my sinful husband – even if he is not Spirit-filled, even if he has idols/sin in his life, even if he is not seeking Him above everything else, even if he is not praying with me.
Yes.  My God is THAT big.
And yes, I can have total peace when my husband leads me even when I believe what he is doing is selfish, materialistic, etc.  God’s promise to me will not fail.  He WILL use all things for my ultimate good and His glory because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28-29
My husband cannot keep me from God’s will.  When I trust and obey God and live in His Spirit’s power – I AM in the center of God’s will!  A huge part of that is that I respect and cooperate with my husband’s leadership – unless he is asking me to sin.
NEW LEADERS NEED ENCOURAGEMENT
Your husband may have almost no experience making decisions for himself and leading on his own at this point – in the marriage and family, at least.  He may be a baby leader.  And maybe he is not as close to God as he could or should be right now.
Actually, if a wife has usurped the husband’s authority in the marriage – a husband is almost guaranteed to be in an ungodly state – unless he is extremely Spirit-filled.  But a Spirit-filled man rarely has trouble getting his wife to submit to him and respect him.  A man whose wife doesn’t respect him and won’t follow him will tend to wander from God.  He will be full of anger, resentment, bitterness and woundedness.  He feels disrespected and castrated as a man.  He often either reacts in anger (which does not bring honor to God), or he withdraws from his God-given responsibilities and unplugs from the family.  When anyone lives in disobedience to God’s Word and His commands – ungodliness results.
I can tell you this – the more you lecture or preach or nag or feel compelled to try to make him do things – the less he will hear God’s voice.  Your voice will drown out God’s voice in his soul.  That is what my husband was able to articulate to me long after I learned about respect and submission.  And the more you find good things in him to build him up about and praise him about (actual good things that you genuinely admire) – that will amplify God’s voice.  So does your silence about the things of God – it amplifies God’s voice for your husband when he is not close to God.
As you take off the weight of responsibility and authority in the marriage and respectfully lay it on your husband’s shoulders, or at his feet, he may balk at first.  But he was designed to carry this weight – not you!  He will actually thrive when he learns to lead.  And if you can channel your leadership abilities to support, affirm, cheer on and encourage his efforts to lead – I believe you will see God do miracles in your marriage!
What he can “hear” from you early on in this journey  is your respect for him as your husband and your respect for him handling things as he thinks is best and your support of him as the God-given leader of your family.
I think your willingness to support your husband even when you disagree with him is going to bond him to you in ways you can’t imagine.  And I think it will force him to begin to feel the weight of his leadership like never before and will make him want to start making the best possible and most selfless and godly decisions.  It might take seeing you suffer because of his poor choices.  But if you suffer for doing what is right – you are blessed!  Your goal must be to cling to Christ and not respond with evil or out of sinful motives.  If you are firm in Christ through all of this, he will clearly see the consequences of his decisions and your faith and trust in him – and he will want to do better.
A GODLY MARRIAGE IS A JOURNEY, A LONG PROCESS OF LEARNING
No one starts out being able to perfectly love and respect in a way that honors Christ – it is a process of learning and a process of discovering.  Marriage is a tool God uses to make us more holy and to see things about our relationship with Him we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.  Sanctification takes a life time!  There will be varying degrees of hypocrisy as people are learning and growing and maturing.  That is inevitable.  We are never going to do this stuff perfectly.  But with God’s Spirit in us, we can have victory more and more.

Bitterness is Contagious and Toxic!

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Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.   Hebrews 12:14-15

WHAT IS IT ABOUT ONE PERSON’S BITTERNESS THAT DEFILES MANY?

In this passage – there is a TON of spiritual meat!

  • it is impossible to live in peace with others and be bitter
  • it is impossible to be holy and be bitter
  • it is impossible to see God without holiness
  • it is impossible to grasp the grace of God and be bitter
  • bitterness grows to cause trouble (in the church, in families, in businesses, in neighborhoods, ANYWHERE)
  • bitterness yields a toxic harvest that contaminates many people

1. My bitterness may lead others to become bitter towards the same person/thing I am bitter about

When I am bitter – I am seething with unforgiveness and a sense of justifiable anger.  I am fueled primarily by PRIDE – pride that I don’t deserve this treatment and that I am better than the person with whom I am bitter, that I ought to be sovereign instead of God, that I know best for myself and for others, that I should decide and dole out what the punishment for sin against me should be… LOTS OF PRIDE.

I cherish my grudge more than my relationship with God.  My bitterness leads me to more sin.  As the bitterness tree grows – it takes over my heart, my life, my thoughts, my words and my actions.  The tree begins to develop fruit.  Fruit like – hatred, avoidance, lack of love, lack of faith in God, deceit, lying, being divisive, gossip, possibly even violence or adultery – depending on my situation.  And the fruit drops into my life and the lives of those around me, rotting and allowing the small seeds of bitterness to spread and germinate in other places.

When I am bitter, I WANT to gossip about the person with whom I am bitter.  I WANT to run them down.  I WANT to hurt their reputation and try to build myself up by stomping them into the ground.  Gossip defiles my listeners.  And the people listening to me may become convinced to become angry, unforgiving or bitter towards the target of my bitterness, too.  Or, at the very least, they will lose respect and regard for the target of my bitterness or for me!  This happens at work, in extended families, in the church and especially in the home.

Children who have a parent who sets out to turn them against the other parent often develop great bitterness and unforgiveness themselves towards that other parent – not realizing until they are adults how much they have been defrauded by the bitter parent.  They can literally be robbed of the love of one parent and a relationship with that parent by having a bitter parent try to turn them against the other parent.

2. Others may become bitter towards me because it is HARD to love a bitter person.  My bitterness is so obnoxious, foul and toxic.

When I am bitter, I become more and more consumed with my anger, my justification of my own sin, my pride, my rights, my desire for revenge, my needs, my purposes, my will, MYSELF – that I can hardly see anything or anyone else around me eventually.

There is certainly no room for Christ to co-exist in my heart with a tree of bitterness.  Even a tiny seed or root of it offends His holiness.  I have to choose – Christ or bitterness.

It is HARD to love someone engulfed in bitterness.  They are sharp and prickly.  They practically develop a force field around them that love bounces off of.  It is exhausting to be around them.  They are depressing and draining.  They are an endless pit of need and negativity.  It is EASY to begin to develop bitterness towards a bitter person.  Of course, Jesus can give us to power to continue to love them  – but if we start reacting in our own flesh, we can be very tempted to be bitter with one who is bitter.

3. Bitterness can become my idol.

I can become completely entangled if bitterness continues to grow unchecked.  My very identity becomes BITTERNESS toward a person, an event or even God.  The tree of bitterness, and many generations of offspring trees that grow from the seeds of the fruit of the first tree – produces a FOREST of sin in my life that is inescapable.

If I am a very bitter person, I only want to talk about one thing – my bitterness.  (Bitterness grows in stages and is progressive, so it may start out only consuming a portion of my attention, but if given plenty of fuel and a  nourishing environment of continued anger, pride, rebellion against God and unforgiveness – it will completely take over my soul.)

It can become my IDOL.  I want to wallow in it and luxuriate in the mire of it.  I want to run the other person down – or run God down.  I wants the world to know what a victim I am and how powerless and wonderful and innocent I am and what justice I have been denied.

Bitterness blocks my view of God’s sovereignty.  When I am bitter, I cannot accept God’s grace for myself or for my offender.  I cannot receive grace.  I cannot give grace.  I cannot forgive.  So God will not forgive me.  It is a dark, depressing, lonely, cold, miserable prison.

If I am bitter with a person – I am ultimately also bitter at God.

For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, CANNOT love God, whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God MUST also love his brother.  I John 4:20b-21

We don’t understand that God counts the way we treat other people as if we are treating Him that way.  The person to whom I show the least amount of love is the way I love God – that is how He judges me.

Whew!  What a scary thought that is!

The whole book of I John is an incredible study on NOT living in bitterness and hatred, but living in the love of God.

Idolatry destroys my fellowship with God and destroys every facet of my life – my soul, my relationships, my finances (eventually), my health, my emotions, my family…  Idolatry has a steep price – it causes discontentment, an insatiable desire for more that cannot satisfy, frustration, anxiety, worry, lack of joy, lack of peace, misery and sometimes even death.

4. Others may become bitter with God because of my bitterness

If I am bitter – I won’t forgive.  I won’t accept God’s grace for myself and I won’t extend God’s grace to others.  God says I am wicked if I refuse to forgive as I have been forgiven (Matthew 18).  I am a slave to sin and the flesh, and I can’t have God’s power or His Spirit or the fruit of His Spirit in my life.  I don’t see the sovereignty of God to work through this situation for my good and His glory.

So – I cannot shine for Christ.

In fact, if I call myself a Christian but am holding on to bitterness, I convolute and distort the image of Christ that I am projecting and will REPEL others from the gospel and the truth of God.

Why would anyone want to come to Christ if living for Him looks like ME – living in bitterness?

Especially my spouse and children will be affected.  If they are not believers, my horrific “witness” will erect a massive stumbling block for them to come to Christ.  I am an awful billboard for Christianity and for Jesus when I live in disobedience to Him.  If they are believers, my poor example will influence them greatly towards ungodliness, too.

My sin will trip others and entangle them.  They may resent God and be bitter at Him, too.  Because my bitterness is contagious and because I can make it hard for them to see the sovereignty of God, the love of God, to accept the grace of God.  And, I make it REALLY hard to love me.  And if they don’t love me, they can’t love God.

THANK GOD HE HAS PROVIDED VICTORY FOR US IN JESUS!

If Jesus is not your Savior and Lord – you can pray and ask Him to be.  Check out the post on my home page about how to have a relationship with Christ!

For those of you who have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord – here is what we can do when we are convicted of sin:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:8-9

PRAISE GOD!

The blood of Jesus is strong enough and more than sufficient to cover any sin we might commit.  We can ask for forgiveness.  We can agree with Him that what we are doing is sin.  We can turn from our sin and decide we want to walk on God’s narrow path that leads to life.  And then we need HIS power to be able to obey Him.  So that means, we allow Him to remove all the sin in every corner of our hearts.  We abide in Him – we stay in His Word often.  We pray continually through the day.  We seek His will, His wisdom and His glory and we lay down our own selfish desires and our wisdom .  We long to obey Him in everything.  We ask Him to fill us with His Spirit.  We are still and listen for His voice and read His Word with a deep hunger.  We want HIM more than ANYTHING in life.

Precious sisters in Jesus,

The bitterness has to go!  I am looking at myself first.  We cannot afford to hold on to this destructive sin anymore.  How I pray that God might speak to each of our hearts and tear out every trace of bitterness -replacing it with His Spirit, the fruit of His Spirit and His abundant life!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED POSTS:

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Finding God’s Victory Over Bitterness

Be Still, My Bitter Heart

We Are Always Wretched Sinners on Our Own – We Never “Arrive”

A Peacefulwife VIDEO about nonverbal disrespect

How I Handle the Toilet Seat Being Left Up and Other Quandaries

There are some things that are universal struggles in almost every marriage.  Sometimes these tiny little insignificant things can turn into huge issues and fights, unfortunately.

So what is a wife to do when her husband constantly leaves the toilet seat up, and she ends up splashing in the nasty toilet water in the middle of the night?  Or what is a wife to do when her husband doesn’t help with the laundry, or leaves dirty clothes all over the bedroom, or leaves wet towels on the bed or tracks dirt and mud through the house after she just vacuumed and mopped – again?

SOME PERSPECTIVE

One thing that helps me A LOT is to talk with widows and read the stories of widows.  There was an article about some of the September 11th widows and they all talked about how hard it was to hear wives complaining about these little inconveniences that come with living with a husband.  They talked about how much they WISHED they could have those kinds of “problems” again and have their men back in their lives.

SOME SUGGESTIONS

Here is how I handle some of those little annoying things now that used to get under my skin and fill me with resentment.   Yes, you could ask very respectfully, and probably only once (or occasionally) – “Honey, would you please do X?  I would appreciate it so much!”  But if that doesn’t work…

  • the toilet seat – Now, I just assume that the seat is probably up.  So I feel in the dark and yep, it’s up.  So I put it down and then I don’t fall in the toilet.  I don’t expect the seat to be down.  I live with a husband, and that is part of living with a man sometimes.  And I think about how glad I am to have him in my life.  I don’t nag him.  I don’t make any deal out of it at all.  I just changed my expectations.  It’s not that big of a deal!  You know what IS a big deal to God?  My resentment, bitterness and un-forgiveness.  Those are ugly sins in God’s book.  Leaving the toilet seat up is not a sin. I happen to know my husband’s heart well enough to know that he doesn’t purposely leave the seat up to try to annoy me. And, I always leave the seat down, so he has to put it up. He doesn’t complain about that!
  • clothes strewn around the bathroom/bedroom/wet towels on the floor or bed – Most of the time, my husband puts his dirty clothes in the hamper. If he doesn’t,  I take 2 seconds and put them in the hamper.  I don’t complain about it.  I don’t even think hateful thoughts.  It doesn’t upset me anymore at all.  It doesn’t take much of my time.  I think “I am so glad to be able to serve my husband and serve Jesus by taking care of him this way.”  And I don’t get the least bit annoyed.  I know I will probably be a widow in the next 10-30 years and I will have a very neat house and won’t have to clean up after anyone then.  And I know I will MISS my husband so much.  I want to savor every moment of being with him.  Who knows how many days we have left to enjoy each other’s company?  I don’t want to have any regrets.
  • dishes put into the dishwasher “wrong” –  I thank my husband for taking care of the dishes and cleaning up.  I hug him and kiss him and smile at him and tell him what an awesome man I have that he would do all of that for me!  Then when I take the dishes out of the dishwasher, if there are some that have crud on them, I soak them and rewash them. (Sometimes that happens when I load the dishwasher, too!) I could ask him to put them in a different way – respectfully. Or I could say, “Honey, the dishes don’t seem to be getting clean in the dishwasher,” and give him the chance to evaluate the situation. I don’t get angry.  I’m thankful for Greg’s willingness to help me with chores now.  Life has not always been like this!  So any time he helps me in ANY way, I thank him and pile on the praise and encouragement.  I do NOT criticize his help.  I appreciate him.
  • tracking dirt through the clean house – This actually happens a good bit when my husband is working on renovation projects at our house.  Thankfully, we have hardwood floors almost everywhere, so that makes it a bit easier.  I focus on the beautiful work my husband is doing to create my dream home for me.  That is one of the biggest ways he likes to show his love for me.  So, I don’t get on him about it at all.  I just wait until the work is done for the day and cheerfully sweep the floor again and thank him for the incredible job he’s doing on the house.  I don’t resent him.  I don’t get angry.  I hum or sing a praise song to God and I sweep the floor.  Then I go cuddle with my man after he gets cleaned up and I hug and kiss him and listen to him talk about all of his amazing plans for his latest project and I smile and appreciate having such a talented husband who loves me SO much that he is willing to do all that hard work just to delight me.

MY HUSBAND DOES A LOT FOR ME

I used to silently, or not so silently, keep score and try to weigh what I was doing in the marriage each day compared to my husband.  And I would resent him if I felt I had to do more chores around the house.  It helps a lot that I am not working as much anymore, so I have more time to spend on chores and I’m not trying to work a full time job AND do the housekeeping and be a wife and mother.  That was just WAY too much for me to handle!  Now I only work about 11-20 hours/week.

Now when I do work, my husband helps me.  I don’t usually ask him to do anything.  He feels so respected now, he just does it all on his own.  He’ll do laundry now, and even fold it and put it away!??!?  He’ll do the dishes now, especially days that I am working.  He’ll cook supper for me.  A man who feels greatly respected is wired by God to want to serve those who honor him. I don’t respect and honor him so that he will do things for me. But, he often does wonderful things these days just because he loves me and likes to see me smile.

Even before my husband was feeling a lot more respected and started helping me so much more, I began to change and see all the ways he contributes to our marriage, household and family and how he NEVER complains.  He takes care of all the outside chores and yard work.  He does the renovation projects.  He goes under the house and works on the ducts or the plumbing if needed.  Plumbing can get particularly nasty.  He doesn’t complain when he has to work on the sewage pipe and gets filthy.  He is MY HERO for being willing to do all that stuff for me.  He amazes me with his determination and perseverance and the way he seriously never complains no matter how hot it is in the attic when he’s putting insulation up there or how smelly and nasty it is under the house.  I can definitely find plenty of things to appreciate and thank him for and things to respect him for.  He contributes so much to making our house beautiful and safe and well-functioning.  How can I really measure what I do against all those things he does that I would NEVER be willing or able to do?

So, I don’t keep score anymore.  I just serve my husband and my Jesus with all my heart.  I sing songs to God all throughout the day.  I think about the things I respect and admire about my husband and all of his strengths.  And I am the happiest, most joyful and peaceful wife in the world.

SHARE:

How has God inspired you to handle the little things that your husband does that used to annoy you? Maybe your story might inspire another wife!

A Wife Answers My Question

Here is a really fascinating email I received last week from a wife.  I know you are going to love hearing her story.  Be prayerful and alert for anything God may want to speak to YOUR heart as you read her message.

I want to start with a huge thank you for your ministry.  I stumbled onto
your blog about six weeks ago and it truly has changed my/our marriage.  I saw your Facebook request for comments from a wife who has learned to respect a husband that has more defined standards and desires control of home decisions.  I have to smile because my husband and I were just discussing this last night…I think I just might qualify:)

A LITTLE HISTORY

I have been on this journey now for almost two years…my journey to being a peaceful wife began a little differently than yours.  My husband and I went through a very difficult time about four years ago.  He is a small business owner and the recession hit us very hard.  We were newly married (three years in ) and had just had our second child.  It was rough…our marriage remained intact but I think, or I should say now I know we both retreated to our own corners instead of growing closer together.

I adore my husband, he is an incredible man – but when it came to family issues I really did think I was more qualified than he to direct.  So at this time not only was my husbands professional life spinning out of control but so was his personal life due to my sudden pressure to take control of our household and new family.  I am a cradle Catholic that had very little understanding of my faith and even littler understanding of the Bible.  We stopped going to church and forged forward.  I convinced my husband to have a vasectomy in the Fall of 2009, I remember telling him and others that there was no way I could ever handle another baby, I basically had three already, having to take care of him also.  It makes me physically ill to even think of saying this of him now.

MY FAITH JOURNEY

Ok so to make a long story short, two years ago I found my way back to the Catholic church and have embraced my faith like never before.  I am in awe of the churches teaching on sexuality, marriage and families.  However with this new found understanding has come pain and suffering. Yes I know I am forgiven, I went to confession and confessed our
decision of the vasectomy but is this what it is really all about.  My own forgiveness.  What about the grace our love making  will never again experience?  What about the loss of the souls that we might have conceived?  What about the potential of our family and love that
will never be achieved?

A STICKING POINT

So this is where I was six weeks ago before finding your blog….our marriage was back on track to a point.  However what I did not realize is that the devil was still lurking in the shadows.  I had taken on a new role….to convince/pressure my husband with all my being to have his vasectomy reversed.  I want to fix the evil we committed and since I had God on my side I have been badgering him like no other.  God had tried in the past 18 months to show me how wrong I was…our priest told me, “(Your husband) will not tolerate your nagging, it will just push him further away.”  My husband had actually said to me, “The more you push me the more I close my heart to all of it.”  (all of it being not just the vasectomy reversal but his own faith journey.)  Oh, but I had God on my side so watch out there was no stopping me….

And then I found your blog…it was like a cold slap in the face.  The way you have presented the  husband’s role as the role of Christ and the (wife’s role as the role of the) Church is almost blinding.  I get it!!

I was a road block for my husband for the past 18 months instead of his helpmate.  I now understand why when he considers possibly having another baby with me it makes him shudder…why would he want that (old me) back?   My husband is very aware of his shortcomings, he knows that things were rough four years ago but until recently he truly put most of the blame on himself.  I was the strong one that kept everything together, the perfect mom and wife supposedly helping his sorry self stumble along.  I have apologized to him multiple times in the past six weeks for the role that I played in his despair four years ago.    We are still new at this though.  My husband is a believer but an independent one of sorts.  I so want him to prayer with me daily but am scared to even ask….I just do not know if he is ready yet.

He takes he role as a father, husband and provider of our family very seriously and always has.  He is a man’s man.  We have both often questioned in the past few years where have all the men gone in this fallen world or ours.  I fills my heart with great hope and joy to think of what God may have planned for my husband…I just pray that I am able to be his helpmate on he faith journey and not a road block.

SUBMITTING TO AND RESPECTING A MAN WITH EXACTING STANDARDS

Ok so now to actually comment on your Facebook post….for an overachiever like myself meeting my husband’s standards with an open heart has actually been self motivating in sort….prior to understanding my role, my husband’s standards seemed unfair and overbearing.  We have been together for 14 years –  it seriously has taken my husband 13.5 years to trust me to do his laundry because he likes his shirts/pants folded just a certain way.  I have, in the past, just thrown my hands up and said he was being irrational….now I listen to what he is asking and I have come to realize it really is not that much  more than I am already doing it is just a little different.  My husband is a fanatic about having the kitchen clean….at all times…even in the middle of meal preparation:)  I on the other hand am kind of a messy cook…I clean in the end and that is good enough.  This was a very sour point in my husband’s day because he would come home from a long day at work and typically find me in the midst of a kitchen full of boiling water, empty cans, and half cut up vegetables. (I also like to consider myself a multitasker so I may be in the middle of three different recipes, have over the entire neighborhood for a play date and be just finishing up cleaning out the pantry!!)  In the past I have often just left it with a deal with it…I am getting things done. 

A HUGE CHANGE

In the past six weeks, I have taken a different approach.  I have moved up my dinner prep time and will typically have the kids fed prior to my husband coming home.  The kids are of course thrilled to see Daddy and now will greet him for a few minutes but know that it is Daddy’s quiet time.  They have learned to play in their rooms, I have relaxed on the screen time restrictions (actually I have adjusted the screen time allowance…meaning I limit their time during the day more, so in the evening my husband does get a little more quiet time to unwind without the kids jumping all over him)  I have candles lit, music on, the fireplace going and the kitchen clean.  I am ready to give him my full attention as he discusses his day and will typically sit and massage his feet while he unwinds.  (I am a physical therapist by education so I have in the past provided massage to my patients but never even considered it for my husband)

Ok I know some may say…really does he deserve all that prep…he does.  He works so hard and we appreciate all he does, it has only been recently that I have come to understand how to show him.

MY HUSBAND’S RESPONSE

He has thanked me repetitively and has said, “You really do not need to do this. I know you have other things to get done.”  He has stated numerous times how he feels like pinching himself he can’t believe how happy he is coming home.  Now don’t get me wrong this is not a man that dreaded coming home before but now it is just different.  He no longer has to worry about what multitasking explosion he may walk into, how long he will have to sit next to our three year old and beg her to eat her dinner as she is trying to dance around the dining room (seriously it can take her 45 minutes to eat dinner at times).  I think at this point he is still not sure if this will last.

If you would ask any of our friends/neighbors they would probably
tell you that my husband’s position of the head of our family has never been doubted…which is true to some point.  However before I think he felt somewhat guilty about taking this role and still is not sure of my respect/appreciation.  I have in the past given it but much more begrudgingly.

MY MESSAGE

I guess this is my recommendation for every wife out there embrace your role has your husband’s helpmate.  Take pride in the managing of your home.  If you strive to meet the expectations of the workforce/your boss to move up the corporate ladder previously treat your home in the same manner…strive to meet the expectation of your husband.  I am humbled and honored to have been blessed with the opportunity to serve my husband and children on this Earth.  God knew what he was doing when he led me to this man. But what I have come to realize is it was not as I had previously thought….I am not leading my husband down the right path.  He is leading me.

God knew that it would take one strong man to stand up to my self righteousness.  If it was anyone but this man- I would have walked all over them without even realizing it.  I have never meant to be so controlling.  I did not realize I had such a problem with
respecting authority until recently.  I was the authority.

Where do I go from here? ….pray pray pray…..this past year has been the first time I can honestly say I have been open to the Holy Spirit working in my life and actually giving the credit due where it is owed.  It is hard at times for me to be patient to see the path.  I have always run through life at full speed…set a goal and strive for that goal to set another…now to sit back and be led is very difficult.  I want to make the plans and set out to complete them…but instead I am  praying for my husband and following his lead.  My husband is one of the good guys.  He is a natural leader and full of charisma that can light up a room if allowed.  I want more than anything to be his helpmate and encourage him to reach his
fullest potential…to reach our family’s fullest potential.  I pray that I am no longer standing in his way of following our Savior home.

Thank you again for your ministry.  I hope that the above helps.  Keep us in your prayers.

When Your Husband Sins Against You.

I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. I am just an ordinary Christian wife. My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules and they are not guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not. I write specifically for wives who tend to be controlling and dominating. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that my blog is not a good fit for them. If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! My blog is not written for wives who are abused.
Get ready and brace yourselves, ladies.  I am about to deliver the most shocking news you have EVER heard.
Your husband is a HUGE sinner.  Like… he is in SERIOUS need of Jesus.  On his own – apart from Christ – he is selfish, unkind, unloving, mean, cruel, difficult to deal with, too passive or too aggressive, ungodly, an idolator and he possibly even struggles with lust, greed, lying, stealing, hatred, un-forgiveness, bitterness and ALL KINDS of heinous sins.
I know – it’s mind boggling.  🙂  I’m sure you haven’t figured that out on your own  – so you probably don’t believe me.  You may need to go check with him on this one, right?
Just kidding!  Please do NOT go check with him! 🙂
It’s funny – all of us as wives see our husbands’ sins SO clearly.  It’s our own sin that we tend not to see.  And I usually focus on OUR sin, OUR responsibilities, OUR obedience to God and our side of the equation.  That is where our power is, after all!
But we ALL have to deal with our husbands sinning against us – just like all husbands have to deal with wives sinning against them.  Sometimes it’s much worse than others.  This topic could seriously be a book in and of itself.  So this one post isn’t an exhaustive resource on dealing with our husbands’ sin in a godly way.  But it is hopefully a starting point.
SOME BASICS
Expect your husband to sin against you at times.  He is not God.  He will mess up. He will do hurtful and hateful things sometimes.  Other times, it may seem like he is being hateful – but he may not actually intend to be hateful – it could be a misunderstanding. He is human.  And that has to be ok. Yes, he is supposed to represent Christ to you in the marriage – but he is not Christ and to expect perfection is just setting yourself up for a disaster.
Focus on your own mountain of sin on a daily basis, and try not to focus much on his.  The more I see what a wretched sinner I am  – and just how much Jesus has forgiven me for – the more grace I have to lavish forgiveness, mercy and grace on my husband.
Gary Thomas in “Sacred Influence” says, “We are most tempted to sin when we have been sinned against.”  That is SO TRUE!  So  – be Spirit-filled.  Have God’s power in you.  Repent of all your sin.  Obey God’s Word.  Then you will have the power of God to respond without sin when your husband sins against you.  Being angry is not sinful  – but in our anger, we must not sin against our husbands!
God is sovereign.  He has assigned my husband to me for my good, as a gift to me, as my leader, protector and provider.  But He has also assigned my particular husband to me to use his sins to mold me into the image of Christ.  God will use my husband’s sin against me as a hammer and chisel to create the image of Christ in my soul.  It will be PAINFUL.  It will be a cross I must bear.  And God will use it for my good and His glory.
Wow.
WE HAVE SO MUCH POWER!
We are NOT responsible for our husband’s sin.  They are accountable to God for their sin and we are accountable to God for our own sin.
But – because we are one flesh  – our response to our husbands’ sin is powerful.  We can either respond with evil and cause the whole thing to spiral downward completely towards destruction and the death of the marriage, or we can respond in the power of God’s Spirit and breathe healing, life, strength, grace, peace, hope and help into our marriage when our husbands sin against us.
BEING UNLOVING, CRUEL AND HATEFUL
It’s possible that your man is a total narcissist who is incurable and who will be chronically selfish and cruel his whole life.  There are a few of those in the world.
Thankfully, MOST men are fairly decent guys.  They are all sinners, of course.  But most men will respond well to respect.  Now if you have been extremely disrespectful for 15 years – it will take time for your husband to really trust you and begin to open up to you again.  He may continue to stonewall for a year or more from the time you implement respect and submission and stop controlling and being disrespectful.  But ultimately, you are called to respect your husband and submit to His God-given leadership out of obedience to Christ regardless of the results.  So, it is our duty to obey God’s Word and honor Christ in our marriage regardless of what our husbands are or aren’t doing.
The great news is – usually, as we get rid of disrespect and learn to speak “respect” in a meaningful way to our husbands – the verbal abuse, unloving behavior and comments usually dramatically decrease over time.
Some possible ways wives may handle such situations – say (calmly):
  • Ouch!
  • That really hurt my feelings.
  • Did I do something disrespectful just now?  That felt unloving to me.
  • Please don’t speak to me like that or I will need to leave the room.  (And then, respectfully, with dignity and poise, leave the room if he cannot control his temper.)
  • Please don’t yell.  I feel so scared when you do that.
  • Please don’t say things like that – it hurts me so much.

Hopefully, just saying something like that will elicit an apology.

If not, you may want to give him some space, respectfully, to process his feelings for a few hours or over night. And keep some distance.  Then when he approaches you, you can say, “I’m still upset/hurt/sad.”  And you really don’t have to go into much more detail than that.  He will probably apologize.

But also, consider that Jesus calls us to bless when we are cursed and to repay evil with good and to pray for those who mistreat us.  So during that time of giving space, we can be praying for our husbands and for Satan’s strongholds to be torn down.  We can pray that God will help us to forgive and have wisdom about how to bless our husbands.  And we can pray about what kind thing we could do to show respect and love.

Please do not go on a big emotional tirade against your man!  Then he will be thinking about YOUR anger, bitterness, rage and sin and he won’t have to think about his sin!  If you can respond WITHOUT sin to him when he sins against you – he will have SO MUCH weight of conviction and he will eventually apologize on his own.

The more respected he usually feels  -the more it will tear his soul apart to see that he has hurt  you, the woman he loves most in all the world.  Your distance and pain will make him feel AWFUL and he will try to make things right.

If he feels constantly disrespected – he may not care much about your feelings – and you may have to pray and wait on God to work in his heart as you continue to obey God yourself, expecting God, not your husband, to meet your emotional and spiritual needs.

As you begin to actually stop disrespecting him – which repels him – and you learn to begin to respect him – he will likely be drawn back to you.
Then – he may eventually begin to actually care about your feelings.
When he gets used to you being joyful, happy, content, smiling, accepting and welcoming – he will probably want to keep that feeling going.  Your happiness and joy is his greatest reward.  If you are mean, negative, angry, scolding, yelling, name-calling and disrespectful all the time – he will most likely build a wall against you and shut you out of his heart.  He may decide it is impossible to please you and it’s not worth trying.  And he may not care that you are in pain.  He may be in too much pain himself to care that you are in pain.  And he may not respect you because you are so down on him all the time.  Men sometimes only let people they respect influence their decisions and actions.
But when you respect him and are a joy – he may begin to want you to be happy, to open his heart up to you slowly, and eventually he may care VERY much about your feelings and happiness. Eventually, all it may take is for that light of faith and trust in your eyes and the beautiful smile on your face to go away for a minute or two and he will be asking what he can do to make you happy again.  Yes.  Really.
The silent thing is about spiritual things.  You are silent about God and church and Bible reading, etc (I Peter 3:1-2 – if you have a husband who is disobedient to the Word of God), and show him respect.
If he is flirting or doing inappropriate things with other women (short of an affair)- some possible ideas of things to prayerfully consider saying (only if God leads you to say one of these things),
  • I don’t want you to have women friends.  I think that is dangerous.  I don’t have male friends – there are too many temptations in those situations for anyone.  No one is exempt from the temptation to have an affair.  Everyone has to guard their hearts, even pastors and strong Christian leaders.  No one plans to have an affair – it happens because we don’t prevent it and protect our marriage with a hedge of precautions and boundaries.
  •  I feel so hurt when you flirt with women.
  • I only want you to flirt with me.
  • I feel so sad that you are talking with other women.
  • I am scared that you don’t let me be your friend on Facebook.  I feel afraid to trust you when I see you shut me out from certain areas of your life.
  • I want to trust you and respect you- and I am scared to right now.  Please make it easier for me to be able to totally trust you and respect you as the God-given leader of our marriage.
  • I want you to stop talking with her.
  • I want to feel completely safe and protected with you.
  • I want to know that you are protecting our marriage and your heart.
So – you say what you want WITHOUT lashing out in anger.  You are vulnerable and share your feelings in a pure way, a VERY, VERY, VERY boiled down and brief way.  He can hear you when you talk to him like this.  You can cry and be sad.  But if you attack him with anger and an emotional ocean of negativity – he may drown in it.
Then – as you become respectful and he begins to care about your feelings – all you have to do is look sad and say you are sad – and he will probably apologize.  If he doesn’t, you just respectfully move away and create some distance from him.  Bob Grant, marriage therapist, says “Words are for women.  Men don’t respond to words.  Men respond to pain and distance.”  So you sharing your painful feelings “I feel X”  and moving away physically and emotionally will make him feel guilt and want to make things better.  Yes – this is the exact opposite of how we as women want to handle this.  Want to dump our ocean of negativity on him and blast him for an hour or two with all our horrible emotions.  This does NOT help our husbands come back to us!  It repels them.  So it is up to us to learn to communicate in a way that is EFFECTIVE for our husbands to best hear our hearts and our main message.
You don’t have to argue.  You don’t have to lose control.  The more you do those things, the more you push him to the women you don’t want him to talk to.  He finds acceptance and validation and respect there.  He needs to find acceptance, validation, edification, appreciation, affection and respect with YOU.
LYING
If your husband is telling little lies, I think that being calm about it and not making a huge deal about it would be helpful.  And keep in mind that the more he sees you trust him as leader and you respect him, the safer he will feel with you.  He may be lying to avoid a big reaction, drama, lecture, scolding, disrespect and contempt.  My suggestion, for whatever it is worth, is to respectfully, calmly and without emotion say something like:
  • honesty is REALLY important to me.
  • PLEASE tell me the truth.  We will work through this issue together.  I want to try to stay calm and hear what you have to say.  I don’t want you to be afraid of me freaking out and losing control of my emotions.  I want to respect you, and for me to be able to fully respect and trust you, I need to know for sure that you always tell me the truth.

When he does tell you the truth, maybe say:

  • THANK YOU SO MUCH for telling me the truth.  It’s painful for me to hear.  But I admire you greatly for having the courage to tell me the truth.  I feel so much safer knowing that you are being honest with me.  When you tell me the truth, even about little things, I REALLY respect that about you.
  • It means SO much to me that you have the courage to tell me the truth.  That helps me to respect the man you are so much.  I admire your willingness to be honest.  Thank you.

Then keep up the respect and nix all the disrespect.  As he sees he is safe – I think you’ll see the lying fade away in a few months, most likely.

If your husband is telling bigger lies, you may have to calmly and respectfully (and probably with great sadness) prayerfully consider saying something like:

  • dishonesty/lying is not OK.
  • I REALLY want to trust and respect you – but I just can’t respect lying.
  • I need to see you do X, Y and Z to help me rebuild my trust in you.  I need total honesty and transparency from you in order to work to be able to give you all of my respect and admiration again.
  • I’m really disappointed.
  • I am devastated.
  • I think we need to have some help.

You can do this WITHOUT attacking him.

If you catch him in big lies again or other major sin (adultery) – you may need to follow the Bible’s advice about when a brother sins against us (Matthew 18).  First we are to go show him his fault, just between the two of us in private (which means, NOT bashing him on FB or to friends, coworkers or family!)  If he doesn’t repent, then we take another believer – probably a strong Christian mentor or friend or pastor and respectfully confront him with that witness present and helping us.  Then the Bible says to take the matter before the church if he still won’t repent and treat him like an unbeliever.  Most churches don’t do discipline anymore.  Sadly.  But if he is living in habitual sin, you will have to treat him like an unbeliever – because he is not living at all with the power of Christ.  I Peter 3:1-2 would apply here.  You may have to implement consequences with gentleness, respect, poise and dignity.

ADULTERY

Please keep in mind that God can and does heal marriages that have suffered the devastation of adultery.  I know MANY marriages God has healed and that are very godly and strong now – stronger than ever – and the growth began after adultery.  This is not to say adultery is fine and not a big deal. It is a huge sin. It is not ever ok!

Adultery is not necessarily a death sentence for a marriage.  But contempt and unforgiveness will kill any relationship.

But there is help and hope and our God is a God of miracles and He is able to heal broken relationships and people when we trust and obey Him.  Please seek godly, wise, experienced, biblical counsel!

PHYSICAL ABUSE/SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Please get some godly, experienced help.  This issue is more than I can address – and you will need major help ASAP.

RELATED:

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Why I Don’t Write for Women with Abusive Husbands

Do I Condone Abuse?

 

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

This is a continuation of the post two days ago about how wives tend to have VERY specific and high expectations of exactly what it means to be a spiritual leader – and how many of the things we expect aren’t even biblical.  Not only that – but our expectations can lead to sin in our hearts (contempt, bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rebellion against our husbands or God, divisions, factions, fighting, hatred – and ultimately lost unity in our marriages and families).  When our children (and those around us) witness a marriage like this, they are repelled from Christ.

Let’s look at ways that husbands actually DO try to lead in their families.

There is a REALLY good chance that your husband is trying to lead you – but – are you listening?  Are you following?  Do you even acknowledge his attempts at leadership?

In real life, some husbands tend to lead in subtle ways.  They don’t necessarily announce – “We will now begin our 6:30pm nightly Bible study time.  Here is an outline of the books of the Bible we will be covering for the next 12 months.  There will be  a test every week and here is a list of all the Bible verses I expect each family member to memorize each week.  You will all be graded. There will be an essay question once a month, with extra credit options.”

I think sometimes we as wives tend to expect our husbands to stand in front of our families like a pastor or like a Sunday School teacher and teach for 1 hour every night.

I would like to suggest, that MOST husbands don’t follow that type of style, but they DO try to lead their families in many ways.

EVERY HUSBAND IS UNIQUE

Each husband has his own style, personality, perspective, gifts and strengths.  Each one will have his own particular brand of leadership – and it will change as he grows and matures.  But keep in mind that NO husband arrives to marriage completely spiritually mature and with a total grasp on godly leadership.  Godly maturity and leadership are developed over many years, decades even.  And the more we cooperate and support our husbands’ attempts at godly leadership, the more quickly they will learn and grow and honor God.

Also – remember that for a husband to be a great leader – he needs a great follower – you!  If you are trying to lead – you are not following.  If you are busy criticizing, you are not following.  It’s time for us to learn to be fantastic, supportive, encouraging, amazing followers!

MY HUSBAND’S BRAND OF LEADERSHIP

This section is a description of my husband’s particular style and how our marriage works now.  Your marriage may look different.  That’s ok.  Follow YOUR husband’s leadership and appreciate his strengths.  Admire and thank him often for what he does for you and your family.

My husband leads first of all by example, I believe.  Even when I was so disrespectful and controlling – my husband was peaceful, forgiving, patient, kind, generous and loving.  Back then, I thought I was so spiritually mature and “above” him because I read my Bible daily, I prayed a LOT (sometimes 4 hours/day), I wrote my prayers in a notebook, I could quote lots of scripture, and I “knew” how things should be.  But I held grudges, didn’t forgive, was very impatient, rude, condescending, holier-than-thou, disrespectful, prideful and was committing constant idolatry –  putting my own self and trying to have control up as idols in my heart.  I also put my husband and our marriage as idols in my soul.  And I didn’t even see it.  Like Eve, I was so blind and deceived, but I thought I knew best.  Imagine the blessings and miracles I missed out on for 15 years because of my disobedience to God’s Word and the sin I cherished for so long in my heart.

My husband leads in subtle ways, ways I used to miss:

  • He gives me direction and guidance.  Often what he is saying is really God’s Word to me – if I will but listen and cooperate.  My husband may say, “I think you are spending too much time blogging.  I want you to take a break and spend some time with the family for awhile.”  THAT IS SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP, LADIES!  Or he may say, “I think you need to take a nap today.  You haven’t been getting enough sleep and I can see you are really worn out.” Sometimes, he just makes suggestions. That is his way of leading me. He doesn’t usually give me “commands.”  I am wise when I listen to his suggestions.  The whole family benefits from my husband’s wisdom and leadership.
  • He helps me say no to unhealthy commitments.  He sees where I get out of balance or zealous to do something that might take too much of my energy and leave me drained with nothing but scraps for my family.
  • He disciplines our children.  My husband may be more strict or harsh with our children than I am.  Or sometimes, he may be more relaxed with them than I am.  But his powerful influence on our children is a HUGE way that he leads spiritually in our family.   If I cooperate with him, tell him my feelings and perspective, but trust him to handle situations as he sees best – my children learn real discipline, they learn to have godly character, they see the unity in our marriage and they see my example of how to submit to God-given authority.  My example is the standard upon which  they will base their own future submission to God and God-given authority.
  • He desires physical intimacy with me.  God designed sex to be the glue that holds a married couple together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Both the husband and wife are bonded to one another during the one flesh relationship with a cocktail of neurotransmitters and endorphins (a natural “high”).  And sex unifies the married couple spiritually in ways we can’t begin to fathom.  It helps to keep divisions away.  It removes tension and helps promote forgiveness.  This needs to be a HUGE priority whenever physically possible in marriage.  And I count this as one of the ways my husband gently leads me and creates a very loving, strong, tight-knit, unified, vibrant, flourishing marriage relationship.  It’s important to stop serving the family and just enjoy and savor each other.  Kind of like our quiet time with God rejuvenates our soul.  The relationship and intimacy is much more important than the to-do list. (If your husband is not interested in sex, check out this post. If you feel like a piece of meat to your husband, check out this post. I also have a number of others, send me a comment if you need more resources.)
  • He handles the salesmen and solicitors.
  • He gently confronts sin in me when he sees it.
  • He tends to see the big picture.  My husband doesn’t get bogged down in every little detail like I tend to do.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with all the daily little details and having my husband there to help me step back and look at the bigger picture saves my sanity many times!
  • He takes care of his own spiritual connection with God.  He decides how, when, where he reads the Bible and prays.  He seeks God’s will for his life and our family. I encourage and support him. But I don’t interfere with his relationship with the Lord or try to tell him what to do anymore.
  • He doesn’t get swayed by emotions like I do.  There are definitely times when my hormones and emotions completely engulf me and I feel like I am drowning.  My husband is my “second rock” (Jesus is my first!) and he can help pull me up onto dry ground if I am willing.  There are times when I know I can’t rely on my feelings, and during those stormy days, I trust my husband’s words, his love for me, God’s Words and His love for me – and I don’t trust my feelings.  I keep my eyes on Christ and I keep my eyes on my husband and hang on tight, knowing that my feelings will settle down in a few days.  I don’t allow myself to be tossed about by my hormones and feelings.  I trust God and my husband and don’t lean on my own understanding.  My faith in Christ and my man are much greater now than my faith in my own wisdom or my emotions.  My husband can pull me up onto the rock of his steady soul and he is a resting place, a safe place for me.
  • He takes responsibility now for the ultimate decisions.  This is a HUGE relief for me!  I couldn’t carry all that weight.  It overwhelmed me before.  Now, I am so FREE!  I can share my perspective, my feelings and desires, but then I trust my husband and God to work out each decision for what is in my best interests.  I can’t always see what is best.  When I try to lead, I take us the wrong way. I feel such weight off my soul since I know HE is the one who will answer to God, not me.  What a blessing!  I feel safe, protected and cherished.
  • He handles the finances now.   I took care of the finances for the first 16 years of our marriage or more.  And that was ok.  But it ended up that I was telling my husband what to do (when my hours were suddenly cut at work) – and that didn’t really work well.  I told my husband, “I can’t handle the finances anymore.  Here are the accounts and passwords.  Thank you for taking over.”  And then I left it with him and never touched it again.  He is saving us money in ways I had never even thought about!  And he feels the full weight of his accountability this way.  So he makes very wise decisions.  Also, he is able to treat me by taking me out to dinner or buying me things and I’m not telling him he can’t do that.  He is MUCH more generous with me AND even more responsible now that he is in charge!
  • He drives when we are together.
  • He gives me the better vehicle.
  • He researches books on marriage for me and buys me lots of books about respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  He lets me share what I am learning and he listens and discusses things with me and shares his insights and perspective.
  • He takes time for himself to recharge.  Unlike wives, husbands are usually careful to have some down time so that they don’t burn themselves out.  I really admire this about men!  And he encourages me to slow down and just savor cuddling together and being together without running around like a crazy woman all the time.  That has been very healing for my soul!
  • He has fun with me and our children.  This creates a much more healthy balance for all of us than my constant seriousness did.  He definitely brings an amazing balance to our family that I was not able to bring when I tried to be in charge.
  • He stays calm and collected under pressure.  His ability to face difficulties with dignity, poise, strength, courage and self-control helps me be able to have those same qualities, too!
  • He is my compass.  If I am having a particularly difficult time with our children, I will ask my husband if he thinks I am being too hard on them, or unreasonable, or if he thinks I am being too easy on them.  His perspective helps me steer straight and not veer off too far one way or the other like I am prone to do on my own.
  • He makes the final decision.  I am free to suggest anything, to ask for anything, to want anything, to feel any way.  And most of the time, my husband does what I ask since he loves to see me happy.  But if we don’t agree – I willingly and cheerfully cooperate with his call on that issue.  If he made a mistake, I don’t hold it against him.  I trust God to use even his mistakes for our ultimate good.  I thank him for his decisions and for looking out for the best interests of everyone in the family. (There are times when a wife would not be able to submit to her husband, in certain situations.)
  • He is the one I go to first (outside of the Lord).  Whether it is good news, or a decision that must be made, or awful news – I call/text/email/talk to my husband FIRST about things.  I seek out his opinion and his wisdom before I make decisions.
  • He does a lot of behind the scenes work on my blog.  He helps find an audience for me and finds guest writers for me.
  • When I am confused about something – I go to him.  He also is always willing to listen and talk with me about issues that come up and spiritual topics – whether they are things I am writing about or situations people are in or family situations at home.
  • He decides how to use his time.  He decides what house project he wants to work on and when.  He decides his own priorities.
  • He arranges our vacations and finds great deals on them.

There are other ways, too.  But maybe this will give you a few things to think about.

What are some ways your husband leads you?  You are welcome to share!

Gentlemen, what are some ways you try to lead in your marriage and in your families?  What is your definition of spiritual leadership and what do you believe God calls you to do?

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