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He Would Like to Have Input, Too

Photo by Christelle BOURGEOIS on Unsplash

 

The wise woman builds her house,
    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Prov. 14:1

Let’s imagine a fictional scenario together for a moment:

Maybe my kids and I have had a lot of head congestion in recent months. Lots of runny noses. Difficulty sleeping, coughing, etc… And maybe I decide that we must be allergic to dust. So I decide I want the wall-to-wall carpet completely torn out of the house and I want everything replaced with hardwoods. I truly believe that this is a critical health issue. Yes, it will cost a lot, and yes, my husband is working on a different expensive project right now, but it seems like it should be top priority to me. After all, it is our health, we are talking about. What could be more important than that?

I have been researching a lot. One night, as soon as my husband comes home from work, I say, “Honey, I think the kids and I are allergic to dust. That must be the reason why we are all sick so much. But I know exactly what will help! We just need to get rid of all of the carpet in the house by next week. Wall-to-wall carpet is the worst for people with dust allergies. I have picked out some hardwood floors for us, and I already got a quote from Lowe’s. Obviously, we will want to get the fossilized bamboo 5.5 inch solid hardwood for the downstairs. And Yukon gold hickory solid hardwoods for the upstairs. It will be $6,000 installed. They can come next Thursday. We’ll have to move the furniture ourselves into storage for a few days. That will be $300 plus the cost of a U-Haul. Or we could do a storage container in the driveway, whichever you prefer. And we’ll have to stay in a hotel for 3-4 nights. But I found a great hotel that would only be about $150 per night. You’re good with all that, right?”

Then, if my husband hesitates, wants to ask some questions, wants to put down his briefcase, wants to eat supper first, has other solutions, or other priorities, I get upset. “What? You obviously don’t care about our health or love your family at all if you aren’t on board with my plan right now!”

This was basically my approach earlier in our marriage. (It’s exaggerated slightly here, but not much!)

Yikes.

It is very tempting to look at a problem, do all of the research and thinking through things myself, and then suddenly present the entire issue and my solution all at once to my husband. I may think I am really helping him out so he doesn’t have to do any thinking or any research.

That actually doesn’t feel like “help” to him, turns out!

In fact, a husband may feel a bit “ambushed” by this approach.

Here are a few things I know now that husbands tend to appreciate:

  • He may like to have some time to think through an important issue himself, too. I may have been thinking about it all day, but he hasn’t.
  • He may have other ways of looking at things that shed a lot of light on the issue.
  • He may have wisdom to share that I need to hear.
  • He wants to have a voice, too.
  • He wants to have a chance to research things and share his concerns and ideas.
  • He wants to feel like we are a team.
  • He doesn’t want to be painted into a corner where he has to agree with my solution or he is the bad guy.
    • If you don’t agree to this right now, you don’t care about your family.
    • If you don’t agree to this right now, you don’t love us.
    • If you ask questions, you aren’t concerned about our health.
  • He may desire a chance to humbly, lovingly lead.

These days, instead of springing a crisis and solution on my husband all at once, I am much more likely to approach him (after supper) like this:

  • I’ve been thinking about X problem. I’m concerned it may be affecting our health. What are your thoughts?
  • Then, for my particular husband, I give him time to think about things. He may need days or weeks to mull over something. And, in a situation like this, that is okay. It is not an emergency. (Now, if the toilet is overflowing, that is an emergency. It needs to be dealt with right away. Thankfully, though, many things are not emergencies.)
  • I’ve been considering Y for a solution. What do you think about that?
  • Here is what concerns me…
  • What approach do you think would be best?

My husband may bring some new ideas to the table:

  • I think I want to try changing the air filters to start with. Let’s see if that helps.
  • What things lead you to believe it is allergies, not frequent colds and viruses making everyone sick?
  • Have you tried any allergy medicine for any of you? Does that help at all?
  • If the allergy medicine helps, maybe we can get some allergy testing done to see what the allergies actually are.
  • I noticed some black looking mold on the ceiling in the kids’ bathroom. I’m going to clean it and paint over it with Kilz.

Most husbands would like to try the least expensive, easiest remedies first. If a $10 treatment works, why spend $6000?

A husband is not being unloving by responding this way. A husband who wants some time to process things, ask questions, and do some research does care about his family and their health. He is trying to lead in a godly way and be a good steward of the limited financial resources the family has. He doesn’t want to jump to a wrong conclusion. He wants to be sure the root issue is really being addressed.

There are a lot of things that could potentially be going on here. It’s wise to slow down and examine things thoroughly. Yes, we may need hard floors, but let’s be sure that is truly what will help before we make a hasty decision.

Of course, it is totally fine for me to also have respectful questions, requests, input, and suggestions. That is part of how we make decisions together as a team. If we can’t come to an agreement in the end (and he is not asking me to clearly sin), then I can choose to honor my husband’s leadership and pray and invite God to work in the situation and give him wisdom.

Husbands tend to appreciate having some time and space to think, make suggestions, ask questions, propose possible solutions, and look at things from a variety of angles. They tend to like to be involved in the problem-solving – especially if they feel respected and valued.

What a blessing to be able to respectfully share my concerns with my husband but also to let him be part of figuring out the solution. God put us together because we can help to balance each other out with our different perspectives and approaches.

It’s also important to remember that so many times, the issue and eventual decision aren’t nearly as important in God’s eyes as how we treat each other along the way is.

Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33

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We’d love to hear about ways God has shown you how to approach your husband respectfully about important decisions.

Husbands, any suggestions?

<3

(Note – If you need one-on-one counseling for a difficult situation, please check out Focus on the Family’s counseling service or Biblical Counseling. Thanks!)

My Commenting Policy

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RELATED BOOK

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – there are several chapters on disrespect, respect, and how to honor our husband’s leadership in ways that honor the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming Fearless

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

 

Today, let’s talk about the beauty of a godly woman who doesn’t yield to fear (1 Pet. 3:4-6) This is something the Lord has been teaching me, personally, this year through quite a few trials. I am still learning, but He has brought me a long way! I just had to share these treasures with my precious sisters.

My natural temptation is to look at difficult circumstances, frustrating actions/words from other people, or the news and to completely freak out when bad things happen. My temptation is to react in fear and to run and hide or to try to protect myself in my own wisdom. But when fear is my motive, I will make destructive choices every time.

To be fearless, I can’t:

  • Center my life on the details of the storm of my current circumstances.
  • Obsess about what terrible things might happen.
  • Try to figure everything out myself.
  • Depend on my feelings or past experiences as sources of absolute truth.
  • Try to control things, people, or God to get them to do what I think is best at the time.
  • Become consumed by what other people are doing or saying – or not doing and saying.
  • Resort to human wisdom or human solutions.
  • Listen to the lying voice of the enemy who wants me to give in to hopelessness, discouragement, distraction, depression, and the flesh.

To be fearless, I must keep my focus fully on Jesus and depend on Him to lead me and to do the heavy lifting!

To be fearless, I need to know who Jesus is and know who I am in Him. My security has to be in Him alone.

I don’t have to be shaken. I don’t have to crumble into worry, fear, and anxiety.

Even when things do not go the way I had planned, and I don’t understand what is happening, and even when my heart is hurting and broken, I can stand on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. He alone will never leave me and never fail me. He will sustain me in supernatural ways – even in the midst of my greatest fears. He is my Good Shepherd. He has provisions for me that I can’t know specifically ahead of time. But I can know that He has them and He knows what to do! He has ways of handling circumstances, people, and my own heart and mind that are vastly superior to any scheme I could concoct.

I am in the palm of God’s loving hand! My husband and my children are in the palm of His loving hand!

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim. 1:7 ESV

Fear is not the abundant life Jesus died to provide for us. His victory over sin, death, and the grave provides a victorious life. He gives us His own Spirit. He gives us His presence. He gives us access to the very Holy of Holies in heaven – 24/7!?! He gives us the death, burial, resurrection, power, and authority of Christ. He gives us thousands of great and precious promises! Why should I be afraid?

If we could only grasp even just the following promises God gives us in Romans chapter 8 alone, what spiritual strength we would have!

  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
  • For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6 
  • For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons. Rom. 8:15
  • (We are)…heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom. 8:17
  • The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom. 8:26
  • The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom. 8:27
  • We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28
  • For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, Rom. 8:29
  • If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:31-32
  • No, in all these things (various hardships) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Rom. 8:37 
  • For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39

If I am willing, each new scary thing that happens is an opportunity for me to learn to stand more firmly on God’s Word, His love, and His truth. It is a faith-stretching moment. It is a chance to lay my specific fears down before God and to entrust them to Him. It is also a chance to lay my life down as a living sacrifice to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). It is an opportunity for me to invite God to work supernaturally in my heart, in other people’s lives, and in circumstances for His glory. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to shine for Christ in the darkness and to experience the miraculous provision of God in that exact situation.

I have an incredible Savior and Lord who is going to accomplish His good purposes in my life and in this world as I trust Him!

Lord,

Transform us. Melt away our fear with Your supernatural, amazing love. Lift up our heads. Let us see that You are coming soon! Help us use our time wisely and let each of us be prepared to stand before You without regrets. Empower us to be the godly women You call us to be. Let us love, honor, and respect our husbands. Let us bless them. Let us love, bless, and nurture our children, teaching them Your truth and Your ways. Let us share the Gospel and love and life of Christ with those around us.

Let us be faithful to all that You desire us to do. Empower us to be good stewards of all of the resources, talents, and gifts You have given us. Help us become women of fervent prayer, women who know the Word and handle it rightly.  Use us to stand in the gap for our husbands, children, churches, communities, nations, and the world. Use us – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to help storm the gates of hell to reach those who are perishing. Use us to be salt and light in a decaying, dark world.

We praise and thank You for all You have done, all You are doing and all You will do in our lives! We rejoice and sing songs of adoration to You!

Make each of us fearless in Christ by Your power and for Your glory!

Amen!

RELATED SONG

Francesca Battistelli’s –The Breakup Song (breaking up with fear)

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What are some ways God has shown you to be fearless? We’d love to hear about it!

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Can I Be a Sexually Immoral Christian?

Photo by mark chaves on Unsplash

Here’s the short answer:

Nope.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  I Corinthians 6:9-11

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Eph. 5:3

No sin is compatible with Christ.

Sin is an archery term that means “to miss the mark.”  Sin is anything that misses the mark of God’s standard of holy perfection. If we miss the target by 1/2 an inch. That is a “sin.”  If we miss it by 100 feet, that is also a “sin.”

If we cherish and cling to sin  – ANY sin – we forfeit the power of the Holy Spirit working in us if we are believers.  Sin deeply grieves the Spirit of God. God cannot tolerate the presence of even microscopic amounts of sin. He is HOLY. And He calls us to live holy lives – free from all sin. God’s Spirit dwells in us if we are believers. We are His temple. But we can grieve God’s Spirit and lose fellowship with Him (Ephesians 4).

If Christ is our Lord, we don’t lose our salvation if we sin – but we stop abiding in Christ and we lose the power of His Spirit that we need to live in obedience to Him. We lose the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-33) and begin to be controlled again by the sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21).

And if Christ is our Lord – we will not be ok with losing His fellowship. God’s Spirit will work on us to convict us and bring us to repentance quickly unless we harden our hearts.

Of course, if we have never received Christ as our Savior and LORD, we don’t have the Holy Spirit to start with – so God is not in us. Maybe we walked down the aisle at church, said a prayer, and filled out a card, but there was no heart and life change. Maybe we think we are Christians, because we go to church sometimes, but we really don’t know God and don’t have any desire to live for Him or to seek His will. We may, in that situation, be able to live in sin and not have any prick of conscience. In this state, it is possible to call oneself a “Christian” and to continue in major sin. But that is only because we don’t realize what it means to be a Christian.

I cannot embrace sin AND Jesus.  I must choose one or the other.

That sounds really radical, right?

In our own power – it IS COMPLETELY impossible for us to live sinless lives.  We HAVE to have God’s Spirit living in us or we can’t begin to do this. God says that our own attempts at right living and holiness look like “dirty, bloody, filthy menstrual rags” in His sight. Isaiah 64:6. There is nothing good in us on our own. We are all wretched sinners.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
  • The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
  • Jesus answered, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

Jesus talks about the cost of following Him – and it is Lordship:

  • Anyone who loves Me will obey Me… if anyone does not obey Me, he does not love Me. John 14:22,24
  • Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39

Someone who belongs to Christ cares about what Jesus cares about. 

If I claim Christ as my Savior and LORD, then HE is my greatest priority and love. By a long shot. Knowing Him is my most passionate goal. Pleasing Him is what I long to do more than anything out of thankfulness and amazement for all that He has done to die in my place and take the wrath of God I deserved upon Himself. I don’t obey Him to “earn” heaven. I can’t earn heaven. Only Jesus can earn heaven. Only He lived a perfect life that was totally pleasing to God. I obey Him because I am overflowing with love and gratitude to Him because of what He did for me.

If Jesus is my LORD and my God – He can ask me to do anything and I can only say with joy, “YES, LORD!”

  • If you do not have Jesus as the Lord of your life – or you have questions, please ask me!! I’m glad to talk with you about how you can know Jesus and have the eternal life He offers to you! Leave me a comment, please!

When Jesus is my Lord, He changes my heart, my desires, my priorities, my thoughts and my character. I DIE to my old sinful nature, it is crucified with Christ on the cross and I put on my new nature in Christ and live in the power of His Spirit. I am a new creation! Old things have passed away. Now I live for God.

If I enjoy something God clearly labels as sin or have no qualms with allowing that thing a place in my life – something is seriously wrong.  

If I can sit and wallow in wrongdoing of any type – and feel no shame and feel no urgency to repent and no grief at what I am doing to Jesus – I am spiritually dead and I do not know Him, or at the very best, I am in a spiritual coma. I need to immediately investigate whether I am saved. The solution is the same either way. I must admit my wrongdoing and turn from it to Jesus and yield my life to His Lordship.

Someone who belongs to Christ and is alive to Him will:

  • hunger for Him
  • thirst for God’s Word
  • desire to know God more
  • have spiritual appetites for God’s presence, prayer and God’s Word
  • long to live a righteous, holy life

Having a physical appetite is a sign of physical health and life. Dead people don’t get hungry for food. Having a spiritual appetite is a sign of spiritual health and life. Spiritually dead people have no desire for the things of God.

There is NO sin that can be welcome in my life if Christ is truly my Lord. (**Please see the list at the bottom of the post)

If I want to know Christ and abide in Him and experience His power in my life and be with Him in heaven – I must be willing to give up my sin! ALL of it!

This is called, Dying to Self .

Jesus is worthy of all of our devotion, love, obedience, worship, and submission.

We don’t come to Him just be be able to check our list “Oh, now I can go to heaven, I said a prayer and ‘asked Jesus into my heart’ and I can live however I want to.”

  • That is not Christianity – not by Jesus’ definition.

We come to Him because we know that we need Him and we love Him and nothing else matters but having Him as our Savior and Lord in this life. And when we come to Him, we come in awe, in humility, and in reckless abandonment – willing to give all that we are and all that we have to Him that we might be daily living sacrifices for His glory.  His glory and His will are all that we care about now.

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

If you realize you have been cherishing sin – you can turn away from it today and turn to Christ!  That is called repentance. We turn completely away from sin in disgust, agreeing with God that it is wrong, and turn fully to Jesus. We decide not to give sin any place in our lives anymore.

He can forgive your sin!

He died to pay for our sins so that He could provide a way for us to be right with God. Get on your face before God and weep over your sin!  Tell Him you agree that what you have done is wrong. Beg Him to forgive You. Claim the power of His death on the cross on your behalf – and surrender your life to Him. Let Him be in charge now. Give Him control of every part of your life. Hold nothing back.  Seek to know Him, to love Him and to live for Him alone from this point on!

Get rid of everything that is a stumbling block for you:

  • Delete all the phone numbers of any guys you may have been in contact with that were inappropriate.
  • Copy your husband on correspondence with other men as appropriate. (You may not be able to copy him on work emails, but you can on other things.)
  • Stop reading romantic novels and/or watching romantic movies if they create resentment and jealousy in your heart, even if they are rated G.
  • Get rid of social media if you feel depressed when you read people’s posts or you feel deprived when you see how other people portray their relationships.
  • Put Covenant Eyes or other software on your devices to keep yourself from having access to porn and inappropriate material if that is a temptation.
  • Stop responding to your old boyfriend or that guy from church when they instant message you on FB.
  • Completely stop flirting with any other man (or woman – if you struggle with same sex attraction) but your own husband.
  • Avoid private conversations or meetings with people who may be tempting.
  • Avoid being alone with other men and avoid even the appearance of evil.
  • Refuse to respond to or have contact with any man who acts inappropriately toward you.
  • Avoid threatening or seeking a separation without biblical grounds.
  • Avoid threatening divorce without biblical grounds.
  • If you realize you are daydreaming about another man or lusting after another man, stop. Recognize this is sin. Repent to the Lord. (If you have sinned against your husband, there are times you may need to repent to him, too, depending on the situation.) Turn your heart to the Lord and to your husband and invite God to empower you to take your thoughts captive for Christ.

The world says that freedom is the power to do whatever we want, even if it destroys us or other people.

God’s definition of freedom is that we have the power to live holy lives that please Him and we are free from the prison of sin!

WILL WE BE COMPLETELY PERFECT AFTER WE REPENT?

We won’t be totally sinless until we reach heaven’s gates. We still have access to our old sinful nature and can choose to sin as believers in Christ and we can stumble at times. Thankfully, we don’t ever have to sin, though, because God promises He will provide a way out from all temptation if we look to Him! If we stay filled up with the Spirit, we can walk in Jesus’ power over sin.

If Christ is our LORD – we will hate sin and do everything possible to avoid it and to guard our hearts from temptation. If we do stumble, we will immediately repent and turn back to Him and seek Him with all our hearts.

 

HEBREWS 10  – a very sober warning to us all to live in fear, awe and trembling before the God of heaven.

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

ROMANS 6 – We are no longer slaves to sin if we are in Christ Jesus!

 

RELATED:

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

How to Avoid Adultery/Immorality – 7 minute YouTube video

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Signs Your Husband Feels Disrespected and Unloved

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Influencing a Husband for Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

Dying to Self

A Big Lightbulb Moment about True Contentment

8 Powerful Keys to Peace

 

A SHORT LIST OF POSSIBLE SIN (not an exhaustive list)

  • pride
  • idolatry (putting my love for other things/people/desires before God in my life – like my desire for a man, marriage, romance, beauty, children, popularity, fame, money, etc…)
  • any addictions (drugs, alcohol, food, anorexia, bulimia, gambling, social media, etc…)
  • lust/pornography
  • sexual immorality/homosexuality/fornication/adultery/bi-sexuality
  • stealing
  • lies
  • self-righteousness (thinking we are better than other people)
  • forgetting God
  • prayerlessness
  • cheating
  • bribery
  • a short temper
  • contempt, hatred
  • trying to control others
  • people pleasing
  • resentment, bitterness
  • unforgiveness
  • selfishness
  • greed
  • materialism
  • heresy/ungodly teachings
  • worldliness
  • gossip
  • complaining
  • contentiousness
  • apathy towards the Word of God, apathy towards the things of God
  • lack of love for God
  • lack of love for people
  • lack of concern for the poor, the abused, the mistreated, the sick, the imprisoned, the lost
  • and many other things I don’t have room to list here…

Influencing an Unbelieving Husband for Christ

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

For a lot of men, “words are cheap.”

There is something infinitely more powerful to husbands than a wife’s words about God and spiritual things. The thing that may pique a husband’s appetite for Christ is when he sees his wife live out a godly example and strong faith in Jesus – and she doesn’t talk about it.

A husband doesn’t want to hear about how much his wife is changing. He wants to see the change.

God actually shares this with us openly in His Word:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct… let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Pet. 3:1-6

Real, lasting heart and life change over a significant period of time impresses a husband.

At first, when a wife begins to change on this journey to become a more godly, peaceful wife, some husbands react with great joy and appreciation. However, most are confused. A lot of husbands hate change. Even good change. They are skeptical. It takes time for them to see that a wife’s spiritual growth in Christ is genuine. Maybe many months, maybe even years.

HOW TO INSPIRE YOUR HUSBAND

Greg, my husband, explained to me a few years after I began my journey that when I stopped the negative (sinful) things – disrespect, a critical attitude, idolizing him, lecturing, preaching, telling him what to do, insulting him, looking down on him, trying to control him, being argumentative, and reacting in fearit was like someone took the static off of the speaker with God’s voice in his heart.

And then, he said, as I began to learn to do the positive things – genuinely respecting him, honoring him, being friendly, being cooperative, being peaceful and joyful  in Christ, being content in Christ alone – it was like someone put an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in his heart.

Once a husband becomes convinced that his wife’s faith is real and he begins to feel emotionally and spiritually safe with her, he may begin to be more and more open to her words about spiritual things. But it will always be her godly life and example that inspires him the most.

Ladies, we have so much influence and power in our marriages! May we use it for God’s glory and for great good!

Lord,

Empower us to become Your agents of change in our families by our godly example. We need Your Spirit and all of the resources of heaven to do this. We are willing. Transform us first! Be glorified in our lives and in our homes.

Amen!

A SNEAK PEAK INTO A HUSBAND’S POSSIBLE PERSPECTIVE

When a man witnesses a huge positive change in his wife’s attitude and behavior, he will try to figure out some “reasonable” explanation first. Perhaps it is simply a phase? Maybe she read some new marriage book or blog post, but in two weeks, things will surely be back to the way they were. He doesn’t want to get his hopes up that this good change could be for real because he doesn’t want to be disappointed. So he keeps his distance and continues to watch her, especially if he is feeling disrespected.

Some husbands actually try to push their wife’s old buttons. If a wife goes right back to her old ways, the husband then feels justified in his skepticism and thinks he has confirmed that she is still the same old wife. If she doesn’t react in her old ways, he gets concerned. Maybe even a bit alarmed. He can’t figure out what might be motivating her, especially if he has not experienced the power of God, himself. He decides to investigate and observe for a longer period of time.

He may not say anything to her, but he notices everything.

As she continues to grow and mature in Christ over a period of time, he becomes more curious and unsettled. He sees how she now seems to have crazy new abilities that she didn’t have before. Her face seems radiant with joy. She is peaceful. She smiles a lot. She seems to enjoy being with him. He finds that when she is sad, it impacts him a lot more. He wants to see her joy come back as soon as possible. He loves her beautiful smile so much.

She doesn’t push him to do things. She makes requests and suggestions, not demands. She allows him the space to make his own choices. She treats him like a grown adult. She laid down a lot of unrealistic expectations of him and of marriage. There is a lot less tension in the home. He feels less pressure, like he doesn’t have to walk on eggshells now. He feels like he can begin to relax. He enjoys peace more than he could possibly say.

His wife asks for what she wants respectfully and shares her feelings and needs directly without hinting around or expecting him to read her mind. He really loves her new approach and is so grateful. She reacts with dignity and poise if he says, “no,” to something. He starts to feel like maybe he has a voice, too, if he felt that he didn’t have one in the past. He gains confidence in sharing more of his thoughts and heart.

She chooses to believe him and takes his words at face value. He experiences grace and forgiveness from her instead of bitterness and resentment. He wonders how she is able to do that now? She respects herself and expects him to treat her with honor and respect, too. She helps to cultivate a “culture of respect” in their family.

He sees that when she does stumble, she immediately apologizes. She takes responsibility for her own sin without justifying herself. She gets right back up and tries to correct her course and he admires that. He knows she’s not perfect, but he sees a big shift. He sees that she stands firmly against sin in her own life and in the family, but that her motive is love, and her approach is wise and humble.

She addresses when he wrongs her, when necessary, but she does it in a respectful way. And she doesn’t seem to get offended nearly as easily as before. He appreciates and admires that. She treats him like a teammate instead of like an enemy, and he is relieved. It’s like she doesn’t look down on him anymore. Maybe there is hope for him and the marriage, after all!

She doesn’t bring up all of his failures from the past any more. She no longer criticizes his family, even though he knows they aren’t perfect. She doesn’t say bad things about him to other people anymore, unless she is privately seeking help from a godly counselor/trusted mentor (and even then, she is careful not to bash him). She is a lot more trustworthy. He opens his heart a bit more.

She seems more understanding than ever before, like she is trying to explore his masculine world, his perspective, and his personality. She seems to appreciate the differences between them rather than assuming he is wrong if he thinks/speaks/acts differently from her. He begins to appreciate her femininity and her unique personality and perspective more, too. She is thankful for his unique strengths and abilities. He stands a little taller.

He sees that his wife is not overcome with fear and anxiety like she once was. That is a relief. When she is stressed, it rocks his whole world more than she knows. He notices her friendly, cooperative attitude with him. He feels like he is on top of the world.

He sees how she doesn’t automatically assume the worst about him. It was so frustrating when she did that before! He could never win. Now she seems to look for the best in him. And she is content even when things don’t necessarily go her way. She is patient and kind even when she isn’t feeling well. The irritable edge is gone from the tone of her voice. She doesn’t seem upset near as much. She seems to care about his feelings and desires, too, not just what she would like. He notices that it’s a lot more fun to be with her lately. She’s such an amazing woman! He feels so much more connected to her.

He thinks:

Who is this woman? What miracle has changed her? What can I do to help?

He doesn’t need to know all of the details about what she is learning and how hard it has been. He just wants to witness this new life that has been birthed in her and he wants to get to experience it with her.

She doesn’t seem needy, clingy and insatiable, like she is depending on him to be responsible for her emotional well-being. There is dignity and strength in her that he has never noticed before. He sees that she is more flexible and wants to trust him whenever she can. She seems interested in his wisdom and perspective now, and he doesn’t want to blow it. He values her trust and tries to step up his game to match hers because he doesn’t want to disappoint this incredible woman.

It is actually possible to do things she seems to appreciate now. He really loves to see her smile and decides to try to do more things she’ll enjoy now that he knows she will respond positively.

He sees the way his wife now treats him with real honor and respect – something he has always longed for – and he finds himself wanting so much to be her hero again, like back when they first met. He feels more masculine around her now that she is softer and more feminine. He feels attracted to her noble character, her mysterious light, her openness and receptivity to him, and her gentleness. He feels more and more safe with her. His defenses begin to drop. He cautiously starts to disassemble the walls around his heart.

She inspires him. He wants to be the amazing man she believes he is, or that she believes he could be, when he sees the light she reflects back to him. He sees her unshakable faith in Christ in the tangible fruit of her daily life.

He begins to see his own sin in stark contrast with his wife’s beautiful life – without one word on her part. And he wants to be a better man and to figure out what he needs to do to get there. He may begin to hunger for the spiritual beauty and Life that she has. He will ask her about her faith when he is convinced that what she has is real and he knows he wants to have that Life, too.

Her godly example and Spirit-filled life convict him and preach a far more powerful sermon than her words possibly could.

The only power this wife loses when she does things God’s way is the power to destroy her husband, marriage, children, and herself. She gains the power of heaven to pour life, healing, and blessing into the marriage.

EACH STORY IS DIFFERENT

Of course, each story has its own unique twists, turns, and timing. Often, it goes a lot more slowly than we would like. It took 3.5 years into my journey before Greg felt safe with me again, for example.

When we follow Christ, we are not guaranteed our husbands will change or that they will come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Our motives are simply to be that we love the Lord far above all else and that we love our husbands and want to bless and honor them as we pray fervently for God to work in us first, and in them.

Some men who are very far from God are repulsed by the fragrance of Christ and hate feeling so convicted and want to get away. (God gives us instruction about that situation in 1 Cor. 7:10-16.) Even then, they may eventually turn to the Lord. We never know what may happen.

The key is:

As we yield our lives to the Lord and seek to do things His way, we put out a big welcome mat for our husbands to draw near to us and to Jesus.

The Lord will reward us for our obedience to Him and our faithfulness no matter what our husbands may choose to do. What really matters is that we seek to please Him and we are fully yielded to Him.

 

NOTE

Unbelieving husbands DO need to hear the gospel. We all do! And yet, 1 Peter 3:1-2 instructs wives of unbelieving husbands to “win them without a word.” Or, in the KJV, win them without “the Word.” How do we reconcile the passages that say to share the gospel with this passage which says to win our husbands without words?

This is what John Piper has to say about the meaning of this passage:

What does it mean for a wife to win her husband “without a word” (1 Peter 3:2)?
– It does not mean the husband does not need to hear the gospel. – 1 Peter 1:23–25 says that every new birth happens “through the living and abiding word of God . . . And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
– Therefore, the husband needs to hear the good news before wife’s Christian behavior can win him.
– “Without a word” means without an excessive word or a nagging word or a manipulative or pressuring word. (1 Peter 3:2)
– Once this husband has heard the gospel in which his wife believes, her conduct might make all the difference in his salvation.

May we deal with any unrepentant sin in our own lives, because that will greatly hinder our witness for Christ. And then, may the Lord give each wife His Spirit, His wisdom, and His discernment about when to share the gospel, especially if her husband has never heard it, and when to focus mostly on living the gospel before him each day. Our primary means of influencing an unbelieving husband for the Lord will be much more through our actions and attitudes than our words.

SHARE

What wisdom has the Lord shown you on this topic on how to inspire your husband to draw near to the Lord? Or how has this post inspired you to change your approach? We’d love to hear about it!

RESOURCES

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change – by the Restored Wife

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

Why You May Want to Keep Your Journey to Be a Godly Wife Secret for a While

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

6 Things I Have Learned from Having an Unbelieving Husband

Without a Word – by WorthyofLove

My Secret Idol – my husband’s salvation

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin – even if we aren’t talking about spiritual things, there are times we may need to address sin

For Wives with Critical, Harsh Husbands by Radiant

A Resource for Wives with Difficult Husbands

 

COUNSELING

**Note, if there are very severe issues going on in your marriage, please seek trusted, experienced, godly, outside help. This post is not written specifically for wives who are dealing with husbands with uncontrolled severe mental health issues, unrepentant abuse, unrepentant adultery, etc… There will be additional issues wives in these situations will need to address. You can check out these resources, or check with a trusted pastor or counselor:

Should a Christian Wife Ever Consider Separation?

Should You Strive to Please or Keep Your Husband at ANY Cost?

And, of course, always check what any counselor tells you against the Word of God.

 

“What If My Husband Doesn’t Care about My Happiness?”

Honestly, this is where most of us find ourselves at the beginning of this journey. I know I did. When I began my journey, my husband was completely shut down and he didn’t care about my feelings or happiness anymore. Or so I thought. He didn’t want to look at me, be in the same room with me, listen to me, or talk to me.

I concluded he didn’t love me at all. But I was wrong. He was just hurting. A lot. We both were.

The answer to this question is going to be a bit different depending on the particular man, his personality, the wife, her personality, the dynamics of the marriage, and where both the husband and wife are spiritually. It requires some serious spiritual discernment to unravel – what are my own issues as a wife and what are my husband’s issues?

1. For example, some men act like this because they have felt disrespected for a long time. That was my situation. My husband had shut me out of his heart because I was (unknowingly) bossy, rude, condescending, controlling, prideful, self-righteous, and disrespectful. It took over 3.5 years into my journey of asking God to change me for him to soften and begin to feel safe with me again. As he felt more and more safe and respected – and less like I was going to bite his head off – he began to really show that he cared about my happiness.

There is also the issue of idolizing our husbands or becoming codependent where we depend on them to “make us happy” rather than finding our joy and happiness in Christ alone. We can become black holes of deep neediness that no human man could ever satisfy sometimes.

2. Of course, there are other men who are narcissistic or emotionally/verbally abusive or so extremely wounded from their own past that this is the reason why they act this way. Their unloving behavior may be completely independent of their wives.

Other times there is a culture of emotional and verbal abuse that can begin to be corrected when one spouse begins to change and heal in Christ.

3. Another problem is – if the wife doesn’t know how to properly “respect herself” (or, think rightly about herself according to Scripture) if she acts subservient, like a doormat, or weak and disrespects herself, a husband may begin to see her that way, and there are some husbands (especially with more dominating personalities) who may run over a wife like that. She may think that to respect her husband, she has to demean herself. Thankfully, this is not true!

4. There are also men who have mental health issues, very serious unrepentant sin, major addictions, who are very abusive, or who have such severe spiritual oppression that they may not care about their wives or act in loving ways.

Even in really tough situations, we can focus on ourselves and how we can grow in Christ as women. But we may also need outside help to deal with the crisis in the marriage.

Each of these topics could be a book in and of themselves.

I’d like to provide wives with some resources that may help you be able to prayerfully determine which dynamic is going on and work on your end with the Lord and invite His wisdom, discernment, and healing into your life and your marriage.

NOTE

I also need to keep in mind that if my happiness is my greatest goal in life, I am in trouble. Sometimes husbands don’t seem to be excited about making their wives happy because what their wives want go against God’s Word or seem dangerous to their husbands. If I am more concerned about what will make me happy than I am about what will honor the Lord in our family, my husband is wise not to seek the thing I think will make me so happy. It would be ungodly leadership on his part to try to placate me if what I want is sinful or would clearly dishonor God.

In a similar vein, sometimes our husbands do want to do things that will bless us, but we may want them NOW and our husbands need a bit of time to think through and get things ready. So sometimes, we just need a bit of patience.

STEPS TOWARD HEALING

Of course, if you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the first step to see healing in your marriage is for you to experience the spiritual healing Jesus has for you. Having a relationship with Him includes deciding to set Him on the throne of your life so that He is LORD of every area of your life. Then He can empower you to become more and more the godly wife He calls you to be.

 

Resources to help you heal spiritually and be as strong as possible in Christ:

Resources for the 4 marriage situations listed earlier:

1. If #1 (above) is your issue, I believe my book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” would be really helpful. (available on Amazon, Christianbook, and Barnes and Noble online.) Also, many of my videos on my Youtube channel, April Cassidy, and my blog posts here about disrespect and respect may provide tools and lightbulb moments to help you on your end of the relationship.

2 and 3. If you are dealing with a man who tends more toward narcissism or emotional/verbal abuse, I would suggest Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. This will help you get the firm spiritual foundation you need with the Lord and then you will learn a lot of tools about deflating defensiveness in your man and how to set healthy boundaries in ways that honor the Lord, your husband, and yourself.

I also have some posts that may be helpful:

And, I would encourage you to search my blog for posts by “Radiant.”

Also, Nina Roesner has a blog under her name that has posts that may be really helpful like:

4. If you are dealing with severe issues – a truly abusive man, a man who is involved in active infidelity, a man who has severe uncontrolled mental health issues, or who is severely spiritually oppressed and you (or your children) are not safe – I would strongly suggest seeking wise, godly, experienced counsel one-on-one. Also, there are times when it is necessary to involve law enforcement, doctors, pastors, and other people who can help. I don’t want anyone to be in danger.

You may contact:

 

Lord,

There are so many women here who are hurting. Our perception is sometimes that our husbands don’t love us, don’t care about us, and that we aren’t important to them. It hurts us to the core as wives. 

We feel insecure. We feel afraid. And when we are feeling insecure, unloved, and afraid, we sometimes make destructive choices. Help us to stop depending on our own wisdom and understanding. Help us see our situations rightly – our own lives and our husband’s life – with Your perspective, Your wisdom, Your discernment, and Your Spirit’s power.

Change us. Heal us. Let us become the women and wives You call us to be for Your glory. We invite Your work in our hearts, minds, and lives. We yield ourselves wholeheartedly to You.

Then give us the power, discernment, wisdom, and ability to pour Your healing, Your Spirit, Your goodness, and the blessings of heaven into our marriages – that You might be greatly glorified!

Help us to find our security in Christ alone. Help us to become strong women of great faith in Christ. Not because we are so good or strong. We are weak. But You are strong, Jesus!

Use the pain we are in to draw us to Yourself that we might yield to Your love, Your glorious salvation, and Your Lordship.

Amen!

How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

I was planning to write this post a few hours before my father-in-law suddenly died August 4th. It is the sequel to my post from last week about Is Real Joy Possible for Me?  I am honored to share these precious spiritual treasures with you – as it so happens – from the midst of a significant trial in my own life.

We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response and attitude.

I am so excited to share some amazing truths with you – truths that will radically change your life and perspective if you are willing to embrace them.

JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL

I can choose to depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can willingly yield to His Lordship and let Him lead me.

This takes the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes close fellowship with God. It takes practice. It is a discipline we can learn as believers with God’s help. I can begin to see hard times as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.

When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to choose to respond in:

  • Faith
    • I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
    • I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
    • I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
  • Joy
    • I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
    • Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
    • A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
    • God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
    • I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
      • The joy of my salvation.
      • The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
      • The joy of God’s presence.
      • The joy of spiritual maturity.
  • Anticipation
    • I can’t wait to see how God will use this awful situation to create something beautiful and good in my life and bring glory to Himself!
    • I want to go much deeper with the Lord! (Eph. 1:15-23)
    • God wants to use hardships to help conform me to the image of Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:29)
  • An Open Heart
    • What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
  • Spiritual Treasure Seeking
    • It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually. The greatest treasures are found in the darkest times, if we are willing to look.
    • I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
  • Prayer
    • Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
    • I invite Your provision!
    • How should I pray about this situation?
    • Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
    • Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
    • What step do you want me to take next?
    • I only want to see Your greatest glory!
    • I want Your perfect will.
    • What miracles do You want to do here?
  • Peace
    • In the world, I will have tribulation. But Jesus promises to give me His peace. (John 16:33)
    • God will keep me in His perfect peace when I trust Him and my mind is focused on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
    • I can lay all of my concerns, worries, and fears before God because He cares for me. (Phil. 4:6)
  • Assurance 
    • He is going to make a way for me to make it through this. (Isa. 43:16-19)
    • He is with me and He will never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • Rest
    • Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Strength 
    • His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
    • God promises I can do all that He calls me to do through the power of Christ in me. (Phil. 4:12-13)
    • The Lord is my strength and my song. (Ex. 15:2)
  • Thanksgiving
    • I can look for the blessings and provision of God in the midst of my trial. (1 Thess. 5:18)
    • I can give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (Ps. 107:1)
  • Focusing on Positive Things 
    • I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
  • Receptivity to His promises
    • I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
    • I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
  • Ministry
    • How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
    • How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
    • How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)

This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances.

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…

Thankfully, I don’t have to see from a mere human perspective if I know Jesus!

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God:

  • Lamentations 1
    • Suffering for sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed.
    • God disciplines those who belong to Him for our good, so that we will turn from death and embrace His Life.
  • Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
    • Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
    • I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 5:3-5
    • I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
      • perseverance
      • character
      • hope
  • James 1:2-4
    • As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
      • endurance
      • greater faith
      • greater spiritual maturity
      • spiritual completeness
      • I will lack nothing
  • Hebrews 12:4-12
    • I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
      • is verification of my adoption as a child of God
      • brings greater respect for God
      • yields peaceful fruit
      • brings about righteousness
      • is guaranteed to be for my benefit
      • allows me to share in God’s holiness

NOTE – “Counting trials as joy” does not mean that I need to try to create trials for myself, that I should be purposely combative or argumentative, or that I should try to prolong trials. It also doesn’t mean I must stay in a dangerous, abusive situation where I am being severely sinned against if I am able to get somewhere safe.  

SHARE

If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy and/or blessings in the midst of a difficult trial, or you have learned something helpful about how to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” we’d love to hear about it! I’m so thankful we can walk this road together and encourage one another.

RESOURCES

Verses about trials – Open Bible

Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible

A list of all of God’s promises – Bible Gateway

Verses about peace – Open Bible

Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible

Verses about being persecuted and hated for faith in Christ – Open Bible

Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible

Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible

Verses about strength – Open Bible

“The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord” has one chapter on counting trials as joy and one chapter on having an eternal perspective. Most of the chapters in the book would be a blessing to all women, not just moms.

6 Reasons NOT to Criticize Your In-Laws

Photo Credit – Flickr

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

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

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

The truth is that…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples of a critical approach:

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

Examples of a respectful approach:

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

 

Lord,

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

Amen!

NOTE:

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

 

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

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

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

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

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

 

 

 

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

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

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

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

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

Tithing in the Old Testament:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If My Husband Doesn’t Want to Tithe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I wait, I can pray:

Lord,

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

Amen.

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

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

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Posts about Various Ways Different Couples Handle Finances

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

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOME BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

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

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

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

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

SHARE

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

NEW INFO

My new commenting policy.

My new vision for ministry.

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The Gratitude Challenge!

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfulness and contentment go hand in hand.

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

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

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

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

THE CHALLENGE

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

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

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

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

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

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

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

Amen!

SHARE

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

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

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How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

 

 

 

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