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Building Up and Affirming Our Husbands and Children

My husband and children at Legoland in historic Cypress Gardens
My husband and children at Legoland in historic Cypress Gardens

God gave us as women an incredible verbal ability and gift.  I believe He did this so that we might greatly bless our families with words of life, inspiration, nurturing, edification, godly truth and encouragement!

(Even if your husband is far from God – and you are focusing on I Peter 3:1-6 and desire to “win him without a word” – these words are FINE to say!  The focus of that passage is to not use words to witness to him about God, spiritual things or the Bible to try to verbally draw him to God.  But to witness to him by your respectful behavior instead – that is what he can hear from you about God much more loudly than words.)

Some life-giving words our husbands and children need to hear from us –  (they MUST be genuine and sincere from our hearts – do not say these things if you don’t mean them!):

  • I’m SO proud of you for _________!
  • I LOVE YOU just the way you are!
  • I love you because you are you.
  • I am the luckiest/most blessed wife/mom in the world to get to live here with you!
  • You are so precious to me!
  • I love being your wife/mom
  • Being with you is my favorite part of the day.
  • You are my HERO!  Thank you SO much for saving the day! (When someone helps you)
  • I love your sense of humor/wit/intelligence/talents/personality/creativity/musical ability.
  • You are such a blessing to me.  I’m glad God gave you to me.
  • I am the happiest girl in the world to be married to you!/to be your mama!
  • Sure, I have time to listen.  What’s on your heart?
  • I can’t wait to hear all about your day.
  • You have such wonderful ideas!
  • I am so glad/thankful to be here with all of you right now.
  • (When someone spills something, makes a mess) It’s ok.  No big deal.  Let me help you clean that up! 🙂
  • This family is a huge gift from God to me.
  • Your feelings are important to me.
  • Your ideas are important to me.
  • I admire your insights and wisdom.
  • Let’s do something FUN together!
  • Of course I have time to play with you!
  • Let’s go on a date!
  • What would YOU like to do today?
  • Let’s cuddle/snuggle for awhile.
  • What’s on your heart today?
  • (to children) You are one of my most favorite people in the world! (to husbands)  You are the most important man/one in the world to me!
  • I’m so glad you are the way you are.
  • Being with you is such a blessing!/a gift!
  • Thank you SO MUCH!
  • I appreciate all that you do for me/us.
  • My life is so much richer because you are in it.
  • How did I get to be such a lucky girl/woman to be your wife/mom?
  • I am so happy right here with you – all my dreams have come true.
  • I trust you.
  • I have faith in you.
  • I believe in you.
  • I respect you.
  • I admire you because of __________.
  • I look up to you.  The way you ___________ makes me want to be more like you.
  • I’ll never give up on you.
  • I am so sorry.  I was wrong.
  • I apologize.
  • Of course I forgive you.
  • I’m not going anywhere.  I always want to be here with you.

How about you?

What life-giving, affirming, wholesome, beautiful words do you like to use to build up your family?

What are some of the most meaningful things your parents/husband/mentor/friend said to you that built you up and made you a stronger, better person?

HUSBANDS – what kinds of affirming, life giving things mean the most to you when your wife uses words to build you up?

Encouragement for Wives from HisHelper

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Today’s guest post is by HisHelper.  THANK YOU for this GORGEOUS post!  What a blessing you are to me!

May I add a beautiful bonus to our obedience to those things God has commanded us women to do? I just discovered this yesterday as I was studying Titus 2 for a group Bible study using the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.

Titus 2 instructs wives to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to our own husbands–the very things you address right here at Peacefulwife. (In this chapter Paul also gives instruction to young men and servants as to how they are to behave.) He doesn’t just give the commands, he also lists the reasons, and here’s where it gets so good!…

We obey these things “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (verse 5), “so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (verse 8), and that they may ADORN the doctrine of God our Savior in all things”. (verse 10) To adorn means to decorate, beautify, embellish…we are actually putting on the doctrine of God for all to see through our obedient behavior! This is beautiful to God, and is a radiant display of the gospel and the fruits of the spirit that are at work in our lives!

Carolyn Mahaney said this: “Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn’t judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our BEHAVIOR. People don’t necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible. They want to SEE if what we believe MAKES A DIFFERENCE in our lives. Our actions either bring honor to God or misrepresents His truth.”

So, as we obey, we are protecting God’s reputation, stopping the mouth of the naysayer, avoiding being a hypocrite, and displaying sound doctrine beautifully.

Many items in the list in Titus 2 are pretty deep and extraordinarily contrary to this world–such as Paul addressing the order of authority God has established for husbands, wives, and servants. So, when we are being obedient to our own husbands, for example, we truly are displaying some pretty heavy doctrine, and to God, it is beautiful, and it causes those in this world to take notice!

The bottom line is there is a higher purpose to our obedience!…It isn’t to earn God’s favor. It isn’t to check off a list of do’s and don’ts. It isn’t just about doing what God says for my own benefit (though He delights to bless us as we seek to honor Him). The very sake of the Gospel is at stake!

“Can you conceive of anything that sets forth the beauty of the gospel jewel more brilliantly than the godly behavior of those who have received it? Consider the loveliness of a woman who passionately adores (RESPECTS) her husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self-control and kindness in her character, and who gladly submits to her husband’s leadership…I dare say there are few things that display the gospel jewel with greater elegance.” (Feminine Appeal p.28-29)

I just find the concept of adorning the doctrine or gospel of the Lord so motivating!…Kind of like putting on exquisite jewelry…But, this” jewelry” is priceless and only obtained by the power of the Holy Spirit living in me! And to think that when we cherish sin and refuse God’s lovely adornment (and oh, how I have done this myself), it’s like wearing a big ugly stain on the front of our dress…how repulsive!

1 Peter 3:1-6 also comes to mind. I’ll start in verse 3 to keep this short: “…Whose ADORNING let it not be that outward ADORNING of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ORNAMENT of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the old women also, who trusted in God, ADORNED themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands…” Isn’t that magnificent?!

It’s interesting how we women tend to like to wear fancy, sparkly adornments. Our Creator knew that when he wrote those verses. I think He’s appealing to that part of us that wants to be beautiful, showing us that the greater desire is to be SPIRITUALLY attractive! As much as men appreciate physical beauty (and I think we wives should take care of our outward body to please our husbands) ultimately, spiritual beauty is far more satisfying to our husbands… It brings them rest and peace!

I want to give that to my husband, I want to humbly but beautifully display this to the world. Oh, how I want to truly adorn myself for the King!

RESOURCES

Marriage Books I Recommend by Peacefulwife

Do Not Expect Outside Support

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If you decide to obey God’s Word about respecting  your husband and honoring his God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33) – I believe your marriage will be greatly blessed.  I believe you will likely find much greater intimacy with your husband.   You will definitely find incredible intimacy with God as you submit completely to Jesus first and then want to obey Him in everything.  You will  find God’s joy, peace and abundant life as you walk this road.

It will be painful first – as you die to yourself and have to see your own huge sin and repent of all of that.  Digging out all the decades of lies, idols, pride, disrespect, controlling behavior/attitudes, unforgiveness, bitterness and misunderstanding about God and His design is HARD!  Then you begin to rebuild your life on Christ alone and His Word alone.  You throw out everything you thought you knew about femininity, masculinity, being a godly woman, being a godly wife, marriage and even being a Christian and understanding who God really is.   You begin to realize just how toxic our culture is and how very far we have strayed from God’s Word.

But as you follow Christ and obey Him – you discover that His yoke is easy and His burden is light and that you will have freedom, joy, peace and a huge weight off of your soul that you have never experienced before.   It is the most wonderful thing in the world to live in obedience to God and be full of His Spirit!

UNFORTUNATELY

Many wives quickly discover that when they talk about respecting their husbands,  they begin checking with their husbands before making decisions and they begin to live with their husbands’ authority/protection/provision/covering over them instead of trying to please all the other people in their lives – other people sometimes get really angry.  A turf war for control begins.

Many wives learned to be disrespectful and controlling wives by watching the dynamics in our own families growing up. (I think I learned it from being a dominant twin, my mom wasn’t controlling or disrespectful at all, interestingly!)  So our original families are where this new way of living will probably  receive the greatest amount of criticism.  The people I have seen who get the most angry with wives are controlling extended family members who suddenly find that they don’t have power over these women anymore.

To these family members, losing control over their loved one  is UNACCEPTABLE.  Many times, families begin to up the pressure, the guilt, the manipulation and attempts to control wives because that is what they have always done in that family and they cannot tolerate that this woman is no longer under their control.  For a controlling person to realize that he/she no longer “has control” over someone is the ultimate insult and nightmare.

Trying to control other people is idolatry of self – it is sin.  It is saying that we are sovereign and have to make everything work out right, not God.  It is saying that other people don’t have a free will but must do what we say.  This is how I lived for DECADES – trying to control others and be a people pleaser (which meant allowing others to control me).

We do not have to submit ourselves to that!  THANK GOD!  The only One Who is qualified and worthy to have control over me is God – when His Spirit fills and controls me, I have His joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self control! (Galatians 5:22-23).  I either am controlled by God’s Spirit or by my sinful nature.  Those are the choices.  If I give in to the controlling and manipulative tactics of other people, I am allowing my sin nature to be in control of me, not God.

It’s interesting to me that family members will say, “You are oppressed!  You don’t get to have a mind of your own anymore.  How dare you listen to your HUSBAND!?!?!”  – like that is the most heinous thing in the world.  “GASP!!!!  You are listening to your HUSBAND???????   How awful!!!!!!  There is no hope left  for you!”

But these same people are totally fine with being controlling themselves over these women  – even though that is wrong and the wives who are respecting their husbands are actually walking in obedience to God.  We like to call evil, “good” and good, “evil” in our society.  If the family exerts sinful control and the woman caves to them in an effort to be a people pleaser – that is labelled “good” in these families.  NO! NO!  People pleasing is sin – actually, the worst kind of sin – it is idolatry!!  We are to please God, not men. And God commands us to LEAVE our parents and all other human relationships behind as secondary and cleave to our husbands.  There should be clear boundaries around our marriages that well-meaning, loving family members cannot cross.  It’s time to let go of unhealthy boundaries and trying to control other people and erect healthy boundaries – that is better for everyone in the family!

We have a covenant with our HUSBANDS and with GOD.  Not with our parents, sisters, friends or coworkers.  I no longer answer to my parents as my God-given authority.  I answer to my husband as my God-given authority when I am married.  If we don’t get that straight, we are in for a lot of misery and possibly the destruction of our marriage.

Our family members/friends/coworkers need the freedom Jesus can bring, too!  We can pray for God to open their eyes to their sin and we can pray that God might use our example to draw them to Himself.  Being a controlling person is awful.  It is a stressful, frustrating, anxiety-producing, lonely life.  That is how most of us used to be.  PRAISE GOD, there is hope for change and a new life in Jesus!

IN THE CHURCH

You can expect other people, even people who call themselves Christians, to say that you are “oppressed” or that you have “joined a cult” if you begin to respect your husband and honor his leadership.  Seriously.  Just saying that you trust your husband once or twice can get you labels like this.  That just blows my mind!

Even in the church – many people do NOT understand God’s design.  Our culture’s influence has poisoned the church, too.  There are so few women living as godly wives that it is extremely difficult in many places to find a godly wife as a mentor who actually obeys the Bible about marriage on even the most basic level.    This is a huge problem.

SUPPORT

Pray for a godly mentoring wife to talk to as you learn on this journey.  And you may always find support, prayer and encouragement here.

It is hard enough trying to learn to completely submit and yield to Christ and die to self and live with Christ as Lord and learn His design for marriage without opposition.  But I want you to be aware that you will likely face opposition.  There are many people you may not be able to talk with much about what you are learning.  That is ok!

THE BLESSING

Thankfully, God can take what other people mean for harm and use it for good.  I find that when people insult me, mock me, verbally attack me  (sometimes pretty viciously) –  it is a great reminder to me that I answer to God and I answer to my husband.  I do not answer to these other people.  God calls me to love them and to respond to them with prayer, kindness, respect, gentleness and goodness. But I am no longer a slave to pleasing other people.  I used to do that.  It is a form of idolatry – desiring to please people more than desiring to  please God.

  • People pleasing is OPPRESSIVE!
  • Having my sinful nature controlling me was oppressive.
  • Grieving God’s Spirit and not having His power filling me was oppressive.

Now, I am living to serve and honor and please God alone.  That is FREEDOM, joy and peace!  What a relief!  I don’t have to try to make everyone happy anymore.  That was an impossible and extremely stressful goal.  I love people, but I am not oppressed by them anymore.  I will stand before Jesus Christ to give an account one day – not to any friend, family member, coworker or someone who reads my message online.

When we stand for God’s Word and His truth – we will be hated by this world.  We will be persecuted to some degree.  And God says that we are blessed and to give thanks that we are counted worthy to suffer insult for the Name of Christ.  It is totally worth it to do things God’s way!  I am not ashamed of my Jesus AT ALL!  I thank God EVERY DAY for what He has done for me, my husband, our marriage and our family!  And I thank Him every day for all that He is doing in so many of YOUR marriages!

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

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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!

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