More Mens’ Emotions

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Several other husbands have answered these questions for me in the past few weeks. (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3)  But I appreciate each husband’s answers.  I think we can learn something new from hearing different men’s perspectives.  A huge thank you to this husband for sharing with us!

1. How affected are you by your wife’s emotions (good and bad)?

A lot.  If she is happy and cheerful it makes me happier too.  I delight doing things to make her happy.  If she is down, stressed, upset feeling ill etc. I find myself wishing I had the power to clear all those things away so she can be cheerful again.  My protective instincts extend into the emotional side of things.

2 . How important is your wife’s happiness is to you when you feel respected vs. disrespected?

If I feel disrespected by her, I’m not really going to be paying much attention to her happiness, I’ll be focused on dealing with the negative impact of feeling disrespected and I won’t feel motivated to do something nice for her.

3.  How difficult is it to put your emotions in words?  Do you need time to be able to do this, or can you talk about emotions immediately during the conflict?

I need time.  It’s kind of like being in a dark room with a statue, and you know it’s there but you don’t know what it is and you need time to run your hands over it and get the shape of it.  Once you figure out what it is then the lights come on.

4. What makes you feel emotionally safe or unsafe with your wife?

Acceptance, empathy, understanding, her coming to my defense, those make me feel safe.  Being judgemental, demanding, critical, disrespectful make me feel unsafe.

5. How easily can a wife wound her husband with angry/hateful/disrespectful words?

Very, one sentence can keep me up all night, too angry or hurt to sleep.  I have no defence against her, she is already past all my walls.

6. Is there a dark side to your emotions that you don’t share with anyone, not even your wife, to protect her?  Would you be willing to describe a bit about this, please?

Yes.  When she hurts or angers me I often go silent because I know if I tried to speak while feeling that way I would say some very cruel things that I would deeply regret later.    The thought of what may happen to me if I ever lost her makes me seriously concerned that I would become self destructive in some way.

7. How would it affect your communication with your wife if you knew that your wife would be on your team and support you even if you were honest about your negative emotions and feelings?

I think it would have to be more than just ‘on my team’ for me to feel safe talking about those things.  I know she is committed to our marriage, but I want her respect and deep admiration, not just loyalty to a promise made years ago.  I would have to feel confident that I would not lose any respect or that she would think any less of me.

Confronting Your Husband’s Sin

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DISCLAIMER:

This is a HUGE topic.  There are MANY situations and issues that I cannot address in detail here.  I cannot possibly fit all of what scripture says in one post like this.  So this is a small taste on this topic, but it is not remotely exhaustive.  Please be sure to seek godly counsel if you are having significant issues in your marriage.  God’s Word is the authority he, not me! (Like always!)

WE ARE ALL SINNERS

No matter whom you marry – you will be in a relationship with another sinful human.  He WILL sin against you.  He will hurt you very badly at times.  You will also sin against him.  And you will hurt him very badly at times.  Thankfully, there is grace, mercy and forgiveness in Christ!  WE ALL NEED THAT DESPERATELY!  Hopefully you are married to a believer in Christ. When we are in Jesus, our old sinful nature is dead and nailed to the cross, buried in the tomb. We are no longer slaves to sin. We can choose to let the Spirit of God control us instead of our sinful nature. But we will not be completely perfect until heaven. We are learning to allow God’s Spirit to have full control and to live in the victory Jesus has won for us on the cross.  If your husband is not a believer in Christ, his greatest need is to have Jesus as his Savior and Lord. (More on that at the bottom!)  In that situation, please seek godly advice and counsel.

DOES HAVING A QUIET SPIRIT OR SUBMISSION MEAN I HAVE TO ACCEPT SIN AND SAY NOTHING?

A “quiet” spirit means a stilled or calm spirit – it means trusting in God instead of freaking out or trying to make things work out myself.

Biblical submission does not mean a wife has to accept her husband’s sin and  she can’t say anything about it.  But if we do approach our husbands – it must be in a spirit of great humility, respect, prayer and the love of the Spirit of Christ.

IS IT REALLY SIN?

Let’s be sure that our husband is actually sinning by God’s standard and definition before we confront him.  A lot of things are “disputable matters” – that could have more than one way of looking at them.  If it is not clearly a sin – it may not be wise to confront our husbands – but rather to pray.  We can say what we want and need – but then we cannot force our will on our husbands.  What biblical references do you have to prove that this is actually a sin?  If the issue is something like – your husband believes God wants him to take a certain job, move to another town, discipline the children in a way you don’t like, handle the bills in a different way from yours  or change churches… you may not want to do those things, but what he wants to do is not sinful.

It can be really easy for us as wives sometimes to think our husbands are being sinful – when in reality, they just have different perspectives than we do.  If he determines how to tithe differently, or decides not to tithe, or if he doesn’t initiate prayer with you. or he doesn’t lead a nightly family devotion – be careful here.  These things are great things, but if he is not doing these things you want him to do – is it actually sin?  Not necessarily!

If your husband is asking you to do something like:

– go to a strip club with him

– allow him to have an affair

– have a threesome

– lie on the income tax

– steal from someone

– join a cult

– have an abortion

– be ok with a porn addiction

– accept a drug/alcohol addiction

– accept his gambling addiction

Then you have a problem that I believe must be addressed with God’s power and truth.

IS IT POSSIBLE SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON?

As women, if the issue is “a disputable matter” not a clear sin on our husband’s part, I think it is important for us to consider whether there may be other factors going on that make us feel upset with our husbands and could make us think we should confront our husbands – but maybe our husbands aren’t the problem if we are:

– exhausted and sleep deprived (not a good time to make spiritual judgements or have extremely significant talks or confrontations about anything

– hormonal (going through PMS, pregnancy or menopause) – we may feel very strongly that our husbands are wrong about something, but if we are in a very hormonal state, we may not be in the best frame of mind to talk about something highly emotional or very important.

– hungry – low blood sugar can make us irrational and can make everything seem so much worse than it is.

– in pain/sick – any time we are hurting or feeling awful is not an ideal time to have a deep spiritual discussion.  This would require great sensitivity to God’s Spirit

WHEN HE SINS AGAINST YOU

There are several passages of scripture that are very useful whenever ANYONE sins against us. (There are others, too – but I am trying not to let my posts be too long!)

1.  Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Notice that Jesus doesn’t say NOT to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  But He does expect us to handle our own sin first before we address our brother’s sin.  If there is idolatry (putting yourself and being in control above Jesus in your heart – or anything above Jesus in your heart), selfishness, pride (thinking you know best), disrespect against God or your husband, gossip, slander, lust, rebellion against God’s Word, contentiousness, contempt, unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, addiction to something, etc… We must repent humbly on our faces before our holy God for our own sin and repent to our husbands if we have sinned against them.  It’s REALLY important to do this FIRST before we confront our husbands’ sin

2. Matthew 18:15-17

 If your brother sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

 Jesus instructs us to go directly to the person who has sinned against us privately first.  If they won’t repent/apologize – then we are to take another godly person with us.  If they still won’t repent or turn from their sin, we are supposed to take them before the church.  Unfortunately, most churches don’t do this anymore – but that is what Jesus instructs us to do. (I would emphasize that involving other people would probably only be necessary if this was a significant situation – infidelity, addiction, etc.)

3. Luke 17:3-4

“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.  If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.  

 Jesus teaches that if a believer sins against us and apologizes, we must forgive him/her every time.
4. Matthew 6:14-15
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  
This is a VERY serious statement!  If I don’t forgive, God will not forgive me.  This command has no qualifier.  It’s not only if the other person repents that I am to forgive them.  I am to forgive if I want God to forgive me.  The more clearly I see how huge my own sin debt is to God – the easier it will be for me to extend the grace and mercy of Jesus to others.
5. I Corinthians 7:10
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.  And a husband must not divorce his wife.
 
** Forgiveness is NOT the same thing as trust!  If your man cheats on you, or is involved in a drug/alcohol addiction/pornography addiction, etc… you may need godly counsel together and he may need another man to hold him accountable and to help him rebuild trust in your relationship.  If you or your children are not safe – please find godly help ASAP!  There are times when separation may be necessary – with a prayerful desire for ultimate healing and reconciliation if at all possible by God’s power.
OTHER TEACHINGS OF JESUS ABOUT WHEN WE ARE WRONGED
  • Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Matthew 5:44
  • Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Luke 6:28
  • Do to others as you would have them do to you.  Luke 6:31
  • God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6
  • Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Luke 6
  • Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.  Luke 6
  • Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Luke 6
  • 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
  • Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment!  James 2:12-13
  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.  Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.  I John 3:14-15
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  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 4:20-21
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.    Romans 12:17
  • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
  • Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. Romans 12:19
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21

MY TIPS:

If you must confront your husband’s sin

  • speak softly and gently – maybe even whisper your words
  • be very respectful and humble
  • realize that we are all equally sinful before God – we are not “better than” our husbands.  Our pride, control, disrespect, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, gossip, etc… is just as offensive to God as our husbands’ sins.
  • don’t pressure him for a response – he may need some time (hours or days) to think about what he wants to say
  • pray for him
  • realize he is not your enemy – sin is
  • be fairly brief and to the point
  • be non-confrontational
  • be ready to listen
  • if he changes the topic to your faults – calmly agree to talk about that after this conversation –  preferably, you have already repented of your faults, so you’ve already had that discussion!
  • when you do listen to him confront you about your sin – don’t be defensive, but listen and carefully consider and pray about what he says to see if God may be speaking to you about something important that He may want you to work on.

IF YOUR MAN IS DISOBEDIENT TO GOD’S WORD

I Peter 3:1-6 applies if your man is far from God.  The farther away a man is from Christ, the more he usually cannot hear his wife’s WORDS about spiritual things.  Unfortunately, her words about God and spiritual things will likely push him farther away from her and from God.  Her respect and living out her faith will impact him much more than her words.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wiveswhen they see the purity and reverence of your lives.Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbandslike Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Please note that it is our submission to our husbands’ authority that will speak most to our men and draw them to Christ – NOT our words about God/church/spiritual things.  If your husband is not a believer or he is out of fellowship with Christ – your willing, joyful cooperation with his leadership (unless he asks you to sin or condone sin) is God’s method of choice to have you witness and be a missionary to him!  It is your willingness to honor his God-given leadership and your respect and attitude of not complaining or arguing or freaking out that will speak to him.  Your calm, gentle, peaceful trust in the sovereignty of Christ to work through your husband for your ultimate good and God’s glory is powerful!!!

** If there is major sin, mental illness, drug/alcohol addiction, infidelity or criminal activity going on in your marriage – please talk to a godly pastor  you can trust or a Christian counselor or doctor (depending on the situation) and get godly help ASAP!

RELATED POSTS

What to do when your spouse is wrong

Forgiveness

Bitterness

Victory over Bitterness

How to Start Over in Christ

How to Pray for Your Husband so that God will Hear

But He Needs My Help!

I’m Right!

My Demon

The Voice in His Head

Joyful Submission and a Boat

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This is an email from a wife I first “met” online last July.  God has been doing a HUGE work in her heart!  I know you will be richly blessed by reading her story.
I haven’t shared something yet that has been stirring in our house…..its been another example of me laying down my “rights” or “my will” and joyfully submitting to my husband.
So here it is….
My husband has been talking about buying a boat for as long as I can remember…but more intensely in the last year.
I usually just listen… but occasionaly in the past six months I have said,

“I’m not sure this is the best time for our family, but I trust you to make the best decision.”  I’ve then let it go and prayed about it!

My husband is probably one of the hardest workers I know. When he is not photographing, or editing images, or taking care of our girls or doing other “business” work, he is working on house projects, working in the yard. He rarely ever just rests, unless its 9:00 at night and he’s winding down. He gets a lot of joy from accomplishing things and making our home beautiful! I love that about him. He is very self motiviated and driven!
So naturally, if the guy wants a boat..then yes go buy a boat! You deserve it!
But…there’s the spiritual side of me..the one that thinks..“Shouldn’t we be spending our money on eternal things?”  We have friends adopting children right now in third world countries…suffering daily for this…and here we are buying a boat.  I struggle with that.  My husband knows my heart though and God knows my heart.
So here is what I have learned and I feel God is teaching me.
My husband didn’t have much growing up.  His parents couldn’t afford to send him on ski trips with his other friends, his parents couldn’t afford snowmobiles like all the other families near by. Growing up in Canada near a lake, those things were things most families had and enjoyed together.  He doesn’t want his children to not have things because he couldn’t offer those opportunities. My husband also enjoys making memories with his family..another wonderful thing I love about him.  He wants a boat…not so he can escape and go fishing… but so we can enjoy quality time together.
So he told me about a month ago that he put a down payment on a boat. Inside I felt nervous, but I smiled and said,  “That is so great!”  He couldn’t wait to tell me all about it.  I prayed again knowing if this was not God’s will, God would change his heart or it would not work out.  (From Peacefulwife – LOVE THAT BEATUIFUL FAITH IN GOD!!!!) Last week, my husband called me while I was driving home from work  (he never calls me by the way…usually just waits until I get home from work to tell me things).  He said, “We officially have a boat and can pick it up during your next school break.”
It’s very hard for me to just jump up and down when a big part of me is not so sure this was the best financial decision for us.  BUT I did…I said, “Honey that is wonderful. I am so excited. That is great!  Please know that I really do think this is great and fun and our family will have a lot of fun boating together.”  Usually, I hold back those feelings and express the negative emotions first.
When I got home that day, he continued to talk about how excited he was and all the fun we would have together on the boat. I agreed and added that the girls would have a great time and mentioned several things we could get for them like tubes and life jackets.  This was also very hard for me because I usually just smile and nod (when he’s sharing something exciting and Im apprehensive about). I didn’t let my emotions take over though and I shared in his excitement by adding to it.  It felt really good to do that eventhough it was very unnaturual for me.  
 
I kissed him goodbye and he left for a photo shoot.  I proceeded to take care of the girls and quietly thanked God that HE enabled me to handle that well.

I praised God for my hardworking husband and how God was sovereign over my life! And how God would always take care of me and my family! 

My husband  got home shortly after the girls were all tucked in bed.  I was in the kitchen making his dinner.  He greeted me in the kitchen with a kiss and said, “Honey, I just want to thank you for not jumping on me about getting a boat and letting me get one.”  I smiled and said, “Honey, lots of men have hobbies, like hunting and fishing and playing sports, etc. I am just so thankful your hobby or your interest includes spending time with your family.”  He smiled and said, “of course it does.” 
 
I quietly in my heart thanked God for helping me in all of this!! A year ago, I would have NEVER handled things this way. I would have robbed him of this joy. I would have sucked the life out of him.  He would have probably demanded he get the boat and I would have missed out on all the intimate moments leading up to it.  
I also thank God for teaching me this:
We may never adopt children from Uganda.
We may never go on a missions trip as a family.
But God is allowing me to partake in an amazing adventure with my husband. I know men most want and need their wife to partake in an adventure together.  I am learning to be his helpmate. I am learning to trust God like never before!  And in all of this, I hope that God will allow our marriage and our family to bring Him Glory! 
And yet, perhaps this is just the beginning for our family! The beginning of us serving Him him and honoring him in untold ways.  I know that I believe in an amazing God who has this adventure planned for us. I pray deep in my heart that He would allow us to bring Him great glory.  I also know my role as a wife and as a mom and as a child of the King.  I pray that God would continue to empower me through His abounding grace to be a wife:
  • that has loved one of his sons well
  • that has been generous and kind
  • that forgives him when he sins
  • lifts him up when he’s discouraged
  • comforts him when he’s sad
  • shares in his glory when he succeeds
  • that encourages him to become all God intends for him to be. (Sacred Influence, Gary Thomas)
It was yesterday that we drove three hours – giddy and excited – to pick up our new boat.  My husband was delighted. That morning he said I have been excited for this day since I was a child. I said, I’m so thankful to get to be a part of it with you. And then as we drove home with the boat towing behind, he took my hand and said five sweet words I’ll never forget,

“Thank you for trusting me.”

 

I DO trust him, but even more so, I trust a faithful God!!  I have abounding peace and joy today!!
Thank you for letting me share this story with you because you are a huge part of this change in me!!!
FROM PEACEFULWIFE
I love how this wife shared her opinion and feelings in a respectful way.  I love how she prayed and trusted God’s sovereignty to lead her through her husband.  And I love how she trusted his leadership and got to experience such emotional intimacy.  It will be interesting to see how God uses this in their lives for His glory!
Do you have a story about how respect or biblical submission blessed your marriage? I’d love to hear it! (Husbands, if you want to send me a story about how much it means to you when your wife trusts your leadership and cooperates with you and respects you – I would love to hear that, too!)  

Dealing with Financial Stress in Marriage

I know that MANY of you are experiencing financial strain in your families with all of the issues the economy has had the past few years.  My husband and I are no exception – my hours were cut drastically a few years ago when I was a pharmacist at Walgreens.  And recently, my hours have been cut even more drastically.  When the first cut happened a few years ago, I inadvertently said one comment that deeply wounded my husband.  And I didn’t know it for 9 months.  UGH.  That was about 2 years into me learning about respect and biblical submission  – and I STILL didn’t understand or get what I had done.  I wrongly assumed why he had shut down because I didn’t have a clue what I had done that had actually hurt him.  I pray that God might help me to do a much better job showing support and cooperation to my husband this time around!  And I hope he will be able to tell me if I do hurt him, so that I can make things right a whole lot faster.
I asked a Christian husband who has been down this road if he might share some ideas that wives could use to make the financially stressful times more bearable for their husbands.  THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your ideas with us!
ONE CHRISTIAN HUSBAND’S SUGGESTIONS FOR WIVES DURING TIMES OF FINANCIAL CRISIS

THE most important thing is for the wives to get it settled in their hearts and minds that God is in control of their circumstances and He will take care of them.

This is true whether their financial difficulties are due to bad decisions by their husbands or are no one’s fault and due entirely to outside circumstances.  God may not take care of them the way they want or with the timing they want, but He will take care of them and He will use their circumstances to make them more Christ-like.  Having their own independent confidence in God will make a night and day difference in how they interact with their husbands about finances, because then they aren’t looking to their husbands for their security.
I have a friend my age (52) who has never had a consistent career since college.  He has worked numerous jobs in numerous industries.  For all but a few of the years I’ve known him, he has not had a big income.  He has never owned a house (though God has provided a way for them to live in the same house for decades now).  He told me one time how much it meant to him that in all their financial ups and downs, with not very many ups, his wife had never complained; instead, she let him know that the most important thing was that they were together.  His life and his marriage were much more peaceful as a result.  Sounds like a Hollywood cliche, but for a Christian marriage, that’s really the way it should be.
Having the foundation of trusting in God and not making the husbands responsible for the wives’ financial security, other suggestions are:
  • Don’t freak out.  If you freak out, whether you blames him or not, he is going to feel responsible.  Freaking out just adds to his stress.
  • Ask what you can do to help, if anything.  He might like you to help preparing/adjusting the budget, or tracking expenses, or paying bills, or to find areas to cut expenses, etc.  Or does he prefer the approach that he’ll handle it on his own and if he needs your help with something, he’ll ask?  Go with whichever approach he is most comfortable with.
  • Agree on what you wants to know and how often you want to know it.
  • Be willing — and tell him you’re willing — to downsize/down-scale.
  • Along the same lines, don’t complain about what you’re doing without.  Don’t even dream out loud about what you’d like to have someday (or at least be very careful about that).  Any dissatisfaction you express, even if you’re not blaming him, he will take personally.  It may just increase his stress and guilt, or it may make him mad because he thinks you’re not being fair.
  • Support him to the kids.  If they have to do without something that they used to have or that their friends have, if they have to skip some activities (sports leagues, etc.), if you wanted to pay for college and now you can’t — present a united front to the kids.  Teach them to trust the goodness, provision, and wisdom of God rather than being disappointed that mom and dad can’t deliver what other kids have.  (You’ve talked about doing this with your kids on a number of occasions, financial and otherwise.)
  • Be reasonable.  If the financial setbacks are part of the economy or the industry or his company, recognize that.  Don’t blame him for what isn’t his fault.  And let him know that you know that it’s not his fault and that you’re not blaming him.
  • Beyond being reasonable, give him grace.  Maybe he made decisions about spending or job choice or housing or whatever that turned out after the fact to have been ill-advised (or maybe they were bad ideas from the get go).  This is where you need to trust God to provide for you through your husband, and to understand that if he makes a poor decision, that’s one way for God to say “no” or “not yet” to your hopes or expectations.
  • Let him know that you’re willing to go with him to a financial counselor (a Dave Ramsey follower, etc.) or to consumer credit counseling if he thinks you need to.  (Not the same thing as telling him that you need to go, just expressing a willingness to go.)
I saw this quote from John Piper that applies to financial uncertainty:

“God’s closings are His plannings. You may be puzzled; He is planning. You may feel delayed; God is designing. Trust Him.”  

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
If your husband makes comments himself about “We can’t afford that!” realize that arguing with him about whether or not you can afford an item or whether it is essential or not may not be his real issue.  There may be times that he truly believes you can’t afford something.  But if you are seeing a lot of anger/sarcasm – look past that to see his heart message.
Most likely, his heart message is something like:
  •  Am I a good enough provider?
  • Can you really be content with me even in this financial situation?
  • Do you have faith in me as a man and as a financial provider?
  • Are you still on my team?
  • Am I a successful husband?  (successful meaning – my wife is happy)

Validate, encourage, inspire and build your man up with your words of genuine respect, admiration, faith and confidence in him and in God.  (If he is far from God, don’t talk about God, but live out your joy and faith and respect so he can see it – I Peter 3:1-6).  Then, be willing to cut anything you can (especially things he asks you to cut) and be joyful and cheerful as you trust in Christ to provide.  If your husband is far from God – don’t talk about God providing – just live the joy and peace in front of him every day.  This is a huge test of faith in God and in your husband.  It will show your true priorities and motives.  I pray God might use these situations to refine our faith in Him and to make us more like Christ and to draw many people to Himself!

 

How Men Think – Part 2

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This is a continuation of How Do Men Think  and from Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can Be a Problem from last week (also check out God Understands Men and Part 3 of this series).  My hope is to showcase a number of different men with different vocational/cultural backgrounds and allow them to explain the way they think and process so that wives might begin to develop an understanding for how differently men and women think.  I’d like for us as wives to develop empathy with our men and for us to embrace their masculinity and work WITH them instead of against them.

It appears that men from different vocations may process issues and problems differently.  I think that is so interesting.  I asked our 11 year old son how he thinks, and he said, “I think in words and pictures.”  It would be a fascinating study to me to watch the progression of how men learn to process and think through problems as they go from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood.

HUSBAND #1 – A LAWYER

A slightly different perspective here.  I tend to process things verbally. (I guess I probably also think in words, rather than symbols or formulas, which is in contrast to one of April’s recent posts about how Respected Husband and others think.) Presumably as a result of my verbal processing approach, I’m a trial lawyer.

So it was no problem for me to have an impromptu discussion with my wife about something, even if it was important. (I agree that if it’s important it’s usually not urgent.) Discussing it with her would assist me in processing the issue and arriving at an answer. Not that these impromptu discussions never were problematic. In fact, they could easily become problematic, just not because I was uncomfortable having the discussion.

Instead, we’d have one of several other problems.

  • Sometimes she wanted a definitive answer at the end of the first discussion of the issue but, while the first discussion was helpful in moving me toward an answer, there might be something that I wanted to think more about or research before I could give a definitive answer.
  • Whether I arrived at an answer in the first discussion or after the additional thinking/research, it wasn’t the answer she wanted. That was definitely a problem.
  • In the first discussion, I might ask some questions and she would perceive those as pushback, negativity, questioning her intelligence, or “cross-examining” her.

The worst situations were when she’d come into one of those impromptu discussions with her mind made up about what she wanted the answer to be but I disagreed. Then no amount of talking would make a difference. Logic didn’t work. Words didn’t work. My motives and intentions were suspect, my spiritual status was suspect, and any assurances or protestations to the contrary were insufficient. There were many occasions when I was the one who wanted to continue a discussion until we had reached a resolution but she would withdraw. It was actually me who was accused of trying to overwhelm her with words.

HUSBAND #2 – CHANGED CAREERS

I started as an electrical engineer, now I am a writer. When I do something like code for a web site, I do not think in words, but the more I write the more I find myself thinking in words. Words have become my primary tools, so it makes sense I use them for more and more.

HUSBAND #3

When I’m working on a project I have a image of what it should look like when I’m done and a general idea of how to get there. From there I follow my general plan and improvise as needed. Where decisions for the family are involved it’s more like the movie playing out how everyone will be affected.

My wife has told me that when things involving the children come up she has a hard time not letting her emotions and fears affecting her. While I think, for a man I’m pretty emotional, I try never to make ANY important decisions when I’m upset or angry.

I also agree with the man who said he looks at all the alternatives,then chooses one-some times the least bad. Especially when dealing with older children (our youngest is 20) making the least bad choice is quite common.The thing is I’ve found how my relationship is affected with that child or person is more important than being right, as long as it doesn’t result in immediate harm to them or others.

HUSBAND #4

It really depends on the situtation. As a husband I tend to visualize various scenarios in my mind and then attempt to anazlye which one is most logical or makes the most sense. At the same time I try to anticipate how my wife will react. Honestly, but not all the time, I may alter a decision based on how I know she will respond. 9 times out of 10 I am correct. I’m not bragging, I just know her after 20 years. So I visualize then analyze, then the words comes from that.

A Wife’s New “Problem”

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This is an email from a wife I have been corresponding with for many months.  God has changed her heart and her perspective dramatically – and He is healing this marriage.  What God is doing in this wife and husband and marriage is so beautiful, I asked her if she might let me share!
Please keep in mind that she has been working on respect and biblical submission for at least about 6 months or so.  And please remember that each wife, husband and marriage will have their own story and timeline.  The most important thing is that we stay close to God, feast on His Word and desire to submit ourselves completely to Christ.  He will handle the timing and results for His glory.
FROM A WIFE:
Things are so good between me and my husband lately … Since I have taken an interest in his business , taking walks with him and going to his basketball games – it’s like we are best friends now.

Now, I’m finding he wants to do EVERYTHING with me! hehehe

I NEVER had this ‘problem’ before- instead it felt like I was always asking him to do things with me and he didn’t really seems to want to. But now,  for example  I might just get back from gym and he would like me to go for a walk with him … Occasionally I say no because I’m so tired and he seems disappointed … Last night I went with him and realised that before when we went walking we would often just each listen to music or a sermon on our iPhones but the past 5-6 walks I realised we have the head phones in our ears but neither of us ends up playing anything on the iPhone as we were too busy talking the whole time.
Now he always asks me to come with him on errands and to anything he is doing (if I am home)
Maybe he asked me before too, but I only wanted to spend time together on MY TERMS…
  • “Why should I go walking with him, he is just trying to fit me into his routine , he can come to gym with me if he really wants to spend time together”
  • “Why should I help him with work ? He is just trying to get free labor out of me – if he wants to be workaholic that’s up to him – I’m having no part in it”
  • “Why should I go on errands with him? He doesn’t want to carve out time and take me on a date and he things dragging me along on an errand it going to cut it?”
  • “Why should I go and watch him play basketball?  It’s so boring! And besides its just a silly game why does he care so much about it? He could be spending that time with me!”
Those are the things I used to think – and add to that almost daily complaining and criticizing and I think I’m beginning to see why things are so different now. 
I NEVER realized the beauty and power of tapping into the things my husband loves and joining in where I can. I now LOVE his passion for basketball and feel so relieved he didn’t allow me to completely snuff it out!
With his business I have found ways to be involved that I enjoy like making the website and marketing.
The walks they have become such great times for conversation.
I read somewhere that to be attractive to a man a woman needs a perfect balance of 2 qualities. Playfulness and independence.
Independence meaning:
  • Not being clingy/needy
  • Being emotionally mature (From Peacefulwife – and I would add … spiritually mature – finding your joy, acceptance and purpose in Christ)
  • Not panicking if at moments you feel your husband is withdrawing or not responding exactly as you’d like every moment …
And at the same time remembering to be playful, light hearted and fun.
I have consciously been thinking of this and I think it makes me a happier person to be around as opposed to constant complaining and nagging.

Why the “Rapid Fire” Method of Talking Doesn’t Work with Our Men.

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My husband actually asked me to write this post and it is an honor to write about this topic!

Greg and I have been talking about how differently men and women process, speak and think during conversations. What I am about to share with you is REALLY FOREIGN to our female minds – but it is fascinating to me to discover more about how men think and process and how we can learn to better communicate with them.  So I am excited to share this information with you and I think it will prove to be very helpful.

SHAUNTI FELDHAN’S book FOR WOMEN ONLY

(a new, revised version just came out this past week!  It is REALLY good!)

Shaunti describes that a woman’s mind is like a computer with many “windows” always open at the same time.  We are ALWAYS thinking about something – usually way more than one or two things.  That is part of why we are good with details and multi-tasking.  We can jump back and forth between the windows very easily and quickly.  We can close windows as we check things off of our to-do list.  It is our goal to close as many windows as possible – too many windows open is very stressful – we can actually crash if we get too overloaded.   And with our verbal skills, we can and do talk about all the windows all at the same time sometimes.

Men don’t think like that.  Shaunti describes that a man’s mind is like a computer that only opens one “window” at a time.  And – they have the ability to close that window and have NOTHING on the screen!?!?  (I have to admit, I am pretty jealous of that ability!)  It’s important for us to acknowledge and appreciate this when we have conversations with our men.  And it is also important to keep in mind that most men do not process emotions verbally the way we usually do.

WHAT THIS MEANS IN CONVERSATION:

Sometimes, we are thinking about a certain issue all day, or a number of issues.  And when our husband walks through the door, we blast him with 10 different things in “rapid fire” succession.    My husband says that a wife may already be to her 8th point, but her husband is still back on #1.  He gets overwhelmed with so many issues and so many words coming at him so quickly.

It’s not that husbands are “slow” or “dumb.”  Not at all!  They can just have one window open at a time – which makes it possible for them to really concentrate on something and not be distracted – that is a great thing for their jobs many times!

My husband can best hear me if I:

  • wait for a time when my husband is rested, in a decent mood and available for me to talk with him whenever possible.
  • only bring up one issue at a time.
  • don’t overload him or flood him with thousands of words – too many words can drown a man and make it really hard for him to decide what to focus on.
  • think “bullet points” not “thesis” or “filibuster.”
  • keep my voice calm and voice and words pleasant (emotionally charged words, especially with negative emotions take men much longer to process – up to 8 hours according to His Brain Her Brain by Dr. Walt Larimore MD.)
  • realize that he may need time to process and decide what he thinks.
  • realize that he doesn’t make decisions quickly like I do, and that is not wrong!  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care or doesn’t love me or is withholding his answer purposely.  It means he is opening each window and closing it and opening another and thinking and weighing things carefully.

Let’s think of it as if we were throwing balls to our husband.  Each issue is a new ball.  Some people are really talented at juggling many balls – I am not one of those people!  Some people can only handle catching one ball at a time.  That’s me!

Let’s throw him one ball at a time.  And let him catch the ball you threw (and open that window and think about that issue and process it) before throwing another “ball”.

LET YOUR HUSBAND ANSWER FOR HIMSELF

When we have been having imaginary conversations all day long in our minds and assume we know what our husbands are going to say and then we are already angry at them before they even walk in the door for things they haven’t even said – that is really overwhelming and frustrating for our men.   Not to mention – it is disrespectful.

I used to do this A LOT!  My husband says he – and other husbands – appreciate it if we don’t assume we know what they will say and if we will actually give them the chance to answer for themselves.

Let’s focus on

  • praying for God’s wisdom for ourselves and for our husbands.
  • narrowing down what we want to say and boiling it down to the basics so that our husbands can actually hear what is important to us.
  • knowing our own desires and feelings and expressing that.
  • being open to our husband’s unique masculine perspective and wisdom.
  • listening to what God may want to tell us through our husbands.
  • living in TODAY, not in the future.
  • trusting God’s sovereignty to guide us and our husbands.
  • praising God.
  • not arguing or complaining.
  • listening attentively when our husbands do have something to say to us.
  • being present when our husbands speak and stopping our other activity when at all possible.
  • being thankful for all the blessings God has given to us.
  • resting in God’s love and our husbands’ love.
  • generously and joyfully giving our husbands time to think if needed.
  • appreciating the differences between masculinity and femininity.

A Minivan Update!

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This is a follow up to my first post about the possibility of selling my 2006 minivan and how I trusted God and my husband with the outcome. I had wanted to possibly sell my minivan because we don’t really need so much space now that we aren’t lugging strollers, pac-n-plays and high chairs around. And the gas milage isn’t the best on my van – just 18 mpg.

I know you are all on pins and needles! 🙂

WHAT I DID

I cleaned the inside and outside of the van to the best of my ability. It was a bit of a birthday gift to myself  (I don’t splurge on car washes very often!  And the one I go to has a FREE VACUUM that works really well).  I also figured I would be prepared in case we did end up trying to sell the van.

I waited patiently several days to see if my husband mentioned anything. He didn’t.  That’s fine.

I looked online to see what the blue book value of the van would be.

It’s SOOOO CLEAN inside!  Mostly! 🙂

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THE CONVERSATION

Wednesday night, I said (in a pleasant, cheerful, nonchalant voice), “I looked up the blue book value of the van today.”

He said, “$7,000 – $8,000”

I was surprised! He had already looked it up, too. 🙂

He said, “The kind of car that would really save money on gas would be something pretty small that I don’t think you would be very happy with. If we got a car like that, I calculated that we would save about $1000/year on gas. But it would probably cost us $10,000 – $12,000 more than what we would get for your van to get a car that would be that good on gas milage. There are some other cars that would get slightly better gas milage, like 25mpg, but the savings on gas costs wouldn’t be very significant just changing from 18mpg to 25mpg.”

So I said, “Thanks for checking into that! I really appreciate it. Hmm… I see how the gas savings wouldn’t really pay off right now.”

I love how my husband often gives me an explanation for his reasoning. That helps me understand and trust him more. But there are some times when husbands don’t have the time to explain their reasons for things, and I still cooperate with my husband now even if he doesn’t explain.

I didn’t allow myself to get super attached to the idea of selling the van and getting something smaller.  That is a HUGE reason why I can have peace no matter what way decisions go now.

There was no argument. There were no raised voices, stomping or slammed doors. I didn’t try to force my way. I didn’t take over and just make a decision on my own. I didn’t freak out or worry at any point during the week. There was no resentment on either side. Each of us felt heard and understood. And I believe we have a great decision for our family!

A TANGENT

In 1996 my husband and I visited Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta – the same year that the Olympics were held there. A man started running past us with a gun drawn. I totally panicked and took off running away from the gun guy. Greg tried to stop me, but I didn’t listen and kept running away from the man with the gun.

What Greg realized, and I hadn’t  – was that the man with the gun I had seen was an undercover cop/government agent. And  Greg also saw that there was another man with a gun – the bad guy – and I was running TOWARDS the bad dude.

Thankfully, Greg got to me and steered me to safety. No shots were fired that I know of.  Greg whisked me quickly away.

My point?

There are some times when I just need to listen to Greg without an explanation. He will probably tell me his reasoning later.  Then I can thank him for being my HERO and the best husband in the world!

MY PLAN

I will call the gentleman who was interested in buying our van in a few days and tell him, “My husband is not interested in selling, but thanks for the offer!”

And then I will enjoy my van, my children and my husband. 🙂

RELATED POSTS

If you are new to my blog – you may not have seen some of my other real life examples.  That is the kind of thing I think would have been super helpful to me 4 years ago when I was first learning this stuff.  Check out these posts, too:

The Harry Potter Ride Issue

Handling Adversity with Joy and without Complaining

A Real Life Example of Submission and Respect

HELP ME!

So – it was a really bad idea (in hindsight) to ask my daughter to draw a birthday card for her cousin 2 summers ago and leave the crayons in the car armrest when it was over 100F outside.  I tried to chisel the melted crayons out this week – not working.  Any suggestions?

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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