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How Respect and Biblical Submission Impacted a Husband's Soul

This is a message I received from a reader.  She repented of her years of disrespect and trying to control her husband about 5 weeks ago.  She had learned some of these principles years  before, but a major tragedy in the family sent her reeling and now she is relearning and taking baby steps again.  What I really want wives to notice is not the time frame since her repentance to God – it is the changes that are happening in her husband because of her repentance and obedience.  So many wives think that if they obey God, they LOSE power and won’t get the love they want.  That is so far from the truth!  We GAIN the power of God working in our hearts and marriages.  And the riches of heaven.  It is all joy!

 

A MESSAGE FROM A WIFE WHO REPENTED OF HER DISRESPECT AND CONTROL ABOUT 5 WEEKS AGO AND HAS HAD GOD’S SPIRIT WORKING MIGHTILY IN HER!

It’s so funny… we have had such a good weekend, and off and on all weekend he will just give me these little commands. They are random, and not rude or anything… just small things like for example, we were at a birthday party and he said, “why don’t you go over and visit for about 5 more minutes and I’ll come over and we’ll say good-bye and head home.” I just cheerfully say, “okay” and do it.

Or, (I’ve been counseling a very disturbed wife and have really sewn into her life and yet, she still shows no changes and really kind of tends to use me), and he said, “I’ve been thinking and I really don’t want you to have anything to do with that wife anymore. I know you want to help her but she doesn’t want help, that’s obvious. So, I really just want you to stop counseling her and just pray for her if you need to.” I just said, “Okay, if that is what you think is best, I trust you. I will put up those boundaries.” No other words, just cheerful obedience.

There are other random examples that I have picked up on all weekend, but these give you an idea of the nature of them. Each time I respond the same. No questions, no different opinion offered, I just gladly do whatever he has asked.

I find it funny because it tickles me. My husband is not usually one to take such a strong lead. I must admit that it feels kind of good actually.

Then tonight when we were out again (it’s been a strange weekend of kidlessness)… my husband acted like he was fixing to say something, then he paused and said, “nah, nevermind.”

I said jokingly, “What? you have to say  it now!” because he had this little grin on his face about what he was going to say.

So he said, “Well, what I was going to say is that I love this place you are in your life right now. (he got tears in his eyes and said) This is really all I need, Honey. I can’t even tell you how much I love this. We have been through hell, and I mean real hell… like fighting to breathe on so many days hell, and yet, here we are… like this. I don’t know how much I can tell you so you’ll believe it, but this really is all I need. When you are like this, it just motivates me to want to be the best I can be.”

Who is this man? I am just floored that he is saying these kind of things to me! smile My God is working a MIRACLE in our marriage!! I am blown away!

I found myself tearing up too. All I could say was that I love this new place I am too, and that with God’s help, I plan to stay right here.”

That was the end of it, just that sweet, tender moment. Then we just went back to enjoying each other like we have been all weekend.

I know that what he is picking up on is exactly as you say… a peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear. I think it is ministering to him in such a way that he is experiencing a deep peace and confidence as well.

Like I said, simply mind-blowing! Only GOD!! I just keep saying that but it is oh so true!

The PAINFUL Email Issue

1102040_93373545Here is an issue that comes up A LOT!
Many wives email me and are VERY, VERY upset because they email their husbands but then sometimes their husbands don’t email them back.  Then the wives feel SO unloved and hurt.  They believe that if their husbands loved them,  they would ALWAYS immediately write a loving email right back.  Some wives are also extremely upset because they actually check their husbands’ email and see that he has seen her email, but when she asks him if he got her email, some husbands will say, “No.”
To a wife, that is a LIE and then she begins to worry that her husband might be lying about other things and the whole situation spirals rapidly out of control.
MY EXPERIENCE
I used to send my husband multiple LONG emails per day.   Before I learned about respect, I would email these long, 2000-3000 word emails about how much I loved him.  Then, I would sometimes check my email every 5-15 minutes all day – so excited to see his response.  Many times, my husband didn’t reply at all and I was so confused – I knew that I would respond as quickly and lovingly as possible if my husband sent me a loving email, and I believed that he must not love me if he didn’t send me an email back.  I assumed evil motives.
By the way – women get an oxytocin “high” when they get love emails, texts or letters – men do not!    So that is why we LOVE LOVE LOVE getting loving messages from our men.  It makes us feel connected, close and intimate.
Would you like to take a guess when men get their oxytocin high?  After sex!  Hmmm…. that explains a lot!
When I learned about respect – I switched to sending LONG, LONG emails all about what I respected about my husband.  But he STILL often didn’t respond at all.  I would be so upset by the time he got home because I kept checking my email all day and he never sent me a thing.  I was giving him TONS of RESPECT!  And I thought that meant that I would get to feel super loved.  By the time my husband would get home, I was a wreck sometimes.  I was angry, hurt and felt unloved and sometimes would be in tears.  My poor husband was SO CONFUSED!  What happened to the wife who sent the big “respectful” email?
WHAT I LEARNED
Bob Grant teaches that “Words are for women.”  The opposite is also true – words really aren’t so much for men.  They don’t get that oxytocin high from emotional words that we do.  It just isn’t on their radar much to send loving emails.  But that DOES NOT MEAN that they have evil motives or are unloving!  They just show love in other ways – often ways without words.
Would it be awesome if they sent us loving, long, gushy emails?  YES YES YES!
Can we ask them to send us emails, in a pleasant, respectful way?  YES!  (but not in a nagging way)
Can we MAKE them do it? Nope.
Do they still love us if they don’t send many emails?  Most of them sure do!
HANDLING THIS UPSETTING SITUATION
We get ourselves into BIG trouble when we take what is actually a very small incident and blow it up into a HUGE, life and death ordeal with awful labels for our men like “liars”.  This is a small thing.
Why is he not “telling me the truth?”
Honestly – he doesn’t want to deal with the fall-out and all the drama if he tells you the absolute truth.  He is trying not to hurt your feelings and keep himself out of trouble because he knows if he tells you the truth that you will freak out on him.  Guys will often do things to avoid drama  or a huge emotional, verbal attack on themselves, even if their strategy might not be completely forthcoming.  Should they do this?  No.  They should tell the truth – but it doesn’t seem worth it to them sometimes.  That’s not right – but it is the reason why.
Does this mean he is lying to you about other things, too?  Not necessarily.
FROM A READER:

To call it out, checking his email to find one thing and then asking him about it when you already have the knowledge is not only setting you and he up for failure but is manipulative and VERY disrespectful and trapping!

A husband is responsible for his actions and accountable to God if he lies to you about something. However, it is not your job to do the investigation and recon work and then set him up to see what he will say. April, I know you have addressed this some before, but due to the content of this post I think it bears repeating…

Respecting him is voicing your thoughts, desires and concerns about emails. It’s not up to you to control him or “make him” tell the truth. Women unfortunately like to manipulate things, circumstances and people to get our way (guilty!). Disrespectful. And as April has said before, it’s a root or heart issue. You can stop the actions but ultimately if you don’t change your mind and heart, your (ugly) truth shines through.

GUYS AND EMAILS
Most men are NOT very verbal – their brains are designed SO differently from ours.  They don’t have the same large verbal center that we do, and they don’t have as large of a limbic system that we do (the emotional center of the brain) – and their verbal center and emotions are not nearly as intricately connected as women’s are.  In fact, because they don’t have nearly as many connections between the two halves of their brains, it is actually much harder for them to access their emotions. (His Brain, Her Brain Dr. Walt Larimore MD)
It takes them a lot of energy and time to come up with loving, gushy emails – much more than it takes us!  They don’t have the need for verbal reassurance of our love.  And they don’t understand our need for their reassurance of their love.  To them, their love is the same every day – kind of like if you buy a house – you don’t have to ask every day if it’s yours.  You bought it, you have the title, or a mortgage.  There is no need to get reassurance that the house belongs to you every day (Bob Grant).
HOW I REFRAMED THE SITUATION AND GAVE GRACE
Now I send him some BRIEF emails, usually just a few sentences, maybe a few times per week.  And he still doesn’t always reply.  But I changed my expectations, and that has made all the difference.
Now I know that he loves me.  I know that he isn’t great at telling me he loves me.  But I know that his love is constant every day.  I rest in that, and I also look at the things he DOES that show his love.  He goes to work to provide for us, he sits with us at dinner as a family, he plays with the kids sometimes, he cuddles with me and plays with my hair at night, he listens to me talk sometimes, he hugs me back when I hug him, he loves to delight me and will do almost anything for me if he thinks it might make me happy, he desires me and he protects me from harm.
And I am totally fine.  Content even.  Joyful.  Whether he emails me or not.  In fact, my husband probably only emails me if there is an issue to discuss about the schedule or something.  Maybe once a week.  Usually a sentence or two.  And I am fine with that.  If he does send me a loving email – I thank him and appreciate what he did as a big gift to me, but if he doesn’t –  I am totally unshaken.  And I have learned to know his heart and love by the ways he shows love and I can even feel very loved by him even without words.
I understand my husband’s masculinity and motives now and accept him without trying to make him be just like me anymore.
I had to find my acceptance, my worth, my reassurance of love and acceptance in CHRIST alone – regardless of what my husband did or did not do.  So – even if my husband DID have unloving motives – I can still be unshaken.  But most husbands TRULY have good will and loving motives – they just don’t show love the way we do necessarily.
AN EXAMPLE FROM TODAY
My husband emailed me once today.  His email was, “Trash today!”
And I had forgotten the trash!  So I thanked him and told him he was the best.  He didn’t respond back.  Totally fine.  This is NOT a big deal.  Well… it doesn’t HAVE to be a big deal.  We have the choice to make it a huge deal, of course!
You can totally fix this by dropping your expectations of him to act, feel and think like a woman.  You can allow him the freedom to be a man and enjoy what he does do and accept when he doesn’t do things that he still loves you and things are ok.
ABOUT THE LYING
My approach is this:
The more you show him respect in a way that actually resonates with him, and the less you freak out, lecture, get super emotional, accuse him of being evil, and become hyper and anxious about his behavior – the more safe he will feel to actually share his true feelings and his true heart with you.
Should he be fudging about things, even small things?  No.
Can you control his behavior?  No.
But he is afraid of your verbal attack and assault and condemnation, judgment and contempt.
Might he do this with bigger things?  Yep.  He is a sinner, just like us, after all.
But you can do your part to show him over time that he is safe with you.  That there is actually mercy and grace available from you if he does mess up.  That you are taking down your sky high expectations of him to act like you and think and feel and talk like you, and that you are giving him the freedom to be himself.
And you can set your heart on Christ, seeking His will first, seeking His glory, seeking to be full of His Spirit, dying to yourself, living for Christ, focusing on obeying Him and abiding in Him and finding your purpose, faith, joy, hope, peace and identity in Him alone.
And when that is all happening, Jesus will empower you to handle whatever your husband does wrong.  He will give you the strength.  He will give you the wisdom.  He will give you the ability to forgive.  He will give you the ability to powerfully influence your husband for God.
The more respected your husband feels.  The more he sees that you truly put your faith in him, the less he wants to hurt you or disappoint you.
When he gets used to seeing your beautiful smile light up the room every time he walks in the door, and he realizes that you are always happy to see him when he comes home, even if he didn’t answer  your email, and that you have a gentle, peaceful spirit that does not give way to hysterical fear, and that you believe the best of him and don’t expect the worst – the more he wants to become a more godly man.
But even if he never changes, you will change, and you will be able to handle being married to a sinner – because of Jesus working in you.  You are married to a sinner.  And you are a sinner.  You will both need A TON of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  But you will have plenty to give because you will realize how much vastly more YOU have been forgiven by God.  To do this, you will have to really and truly see your own mountain of sin.  For me it was pride, unforgiveness, disrespect of my husband, idolatry (putting ideas, feelings, myself, wanting control, my husband, my husband’s behavior) before Christ in my heart…  It turns out that I am a completely wretched sinner.  I owed Jesus billions of dollars in sin debt, not just a few thousand.  So if my husband sins against me $10 or $100, or $1000, I have the grace of Jesus filling me and I can forgive.
He may have to re-establish trust.  But I can forgive just about anything with God’s power in me.
Focus on Jesus and on showing your man real respect and stop the disrespect (have you read those two posts at the top of my home page?)
  • Thank him when he is honest with you.  
  • Don’t freak out if he tells you things you don’t want to hear.
  • Tell him how much you value his honesty and admire it when you see him doing that.
  • Enjoy him.
  • Appreciate what he does do
  • don’t interrogate him about things
  • enjoy the really great emails he DID send you.  THANK HIM for that!
ONE WIFE’S RESULTS
A wife and I had this discussion this week – here is what she said later that night:
I did what I told you that I was going to do and what a turn-around in the energy in the house!  I re-read his email and he happened to look over at me at the same time and said, “what cha doin’?” so I showed him my phone that had his email on the screen and said, “just re-reading your email that you sent to me… thank you so much for sending me such a sweet message today!  I’m very sorry that I got upset earlier”.  He smiled and said, “Your welcome, Baby and it’s ok”.  A couple of minutes later he sent me another one that simply said “I love you! I’m catching up on some work right now but if you need anything… just whistle.”  My heart melted!  So after reading that… I let out a soft whistle then puckered up… he smiled again and gave me what I needed, a little kiss!  Wasn’t that the sweetest thing ever?!
WOOHOOOO!!!!

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

firstwifepain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AN ADDITIONAL QUOTE FROM ANONYMOUS THE NEXT DAY:

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

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

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

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

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

FROM DAVID:

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Wife Shares a Victory

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing what God is doing in people and in marriages.  I just never get tired of that!  This precious wife is allowing me to share her story – and I think it may be an encouragement to many.  

Hi April,
You and your team have prayed for me and my husband and our marriage several times.  The Lord had opened my own eyes to my disrespect and bad attitude; perhaps it has been about 2 months now.  The Lord has really been working on me and very gently showing me my own sin and giving me the ability to be different.  I had asked Him also for more of the fruits of the Spirit, specifically gentleness.  He is so faithful and good!….

The other day my husband asked to speak to me privately  about something important. 

He told me that he has noticed a huge change in me and how much he appreciates it.  He said that I no longer argue with him, that I even keep my mouth shut when he is grumpy with me, that I am not mean to him or angry. He said that this has taken a tremendous amount of stress off of him and he really is happy.  He said that prior to this he felt like our marriage would be confined to him no longer really liking me, loving me still because he is suppose to but not being happy nor wanting to be around me much. This all brought me to tears and I shared how the Lord has been working on me. 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

Isn’t it amazing how when just one spouse begins to obey God and seek Him first – it makes it easier for the other spouse to obey God and love/respect, too?

We aren’t guaranteed that when we obey God as wives, our husbands will change.  Many of them will – some may not.  My motive is really important here.  My motive to learn to respect and submit to my husband MUST be my love and reverence for Jesus and my desire to live with Him as my Lord.  That is the motive that honors God.  I trust Him with the outcome and the timing. If I am trying to learn to respect my husband to change him or make him love me more – it’s not going to work!

NEED PRAYER?

If you would like my prayer team and me to pray for you – Leave me a comment.   Ladies, if you have issues you would like to talk about with me, you may also email me at that address.  Wednesdays are a special day of prayer for us, but you may leave a request any time.  I can’t fix people’s problems – but we have a God who is mighty to save, a strong tower and the sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords – and we can lift your needs to Him!

For men in need of godly counsel, I would recommend checking out Brent Riggs’ blog.  He is a Christian author, preacher, teacher and blogger and he takes questions.  I have been very impressed with his biblical counsel.  You can find him at www.brentriggs.com.  

I WANT TO HEAR YOUR STORIES!

If you are a husband and would like to share what respect and submission mean to you or how difficult it is to love your wife when you feel disrespected and like she is trying to control you – you may    share in the comments.

If you are a wife and would like to share your journey into becoming a godly wife and learning respect and biblical submission, I’d love to hear from you, too!  I can use your story anonymously if you prefer. 

I believe wives benefit greatly from hearing the stories of other wives and also the perspectives of other husbands – I think it helps to hear lots of different stories of different marriages and ways God works.  Thank you for sharing your hearts!

 

NEW VIDEO!

Jesus Is the Love of My Life Now!  How to Make Jesus LORD!

Praying for Your Husband so that God Will Hear

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I used to pray earlier in our marriage – A LOT.

Sometimes I would pray for 4 hours at a time multiple times a week.  Seriously.

I thought that I could clearly see my husband’s faults and I would pray and pray that God would change him. I would beg God to let us pray together as a couple.  I would pray for God to cause my husband to lead spiritually (the way I thought he should, of course!). That is CLEARLY God’s will, right?

And then when it wouldn’t happen by that night, I would be angry.  Literally.  No answer in 8 hours?  That was unacceptable!  I had prayed for God’s will.  I was dumbfounded.

Why on earth wasn’t I seeing answers to my prayers?

1. I CHERISHED SIN IN MY HEART – A LOT OF SIN

If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened.  Psalm 66:18

Unfortunately:

  • I got hung up on being resentful.
  • I was awful at forgiveness.
  • I had let a root of bitterness grow into a full-fledged evil tree in my life.
  • I was rebellious against God’s Word – to forgive, to not be bitter, to submit to my husband, to respect my husband (even though I didn’t realize I was disrespectful and controlling)…
  • I was committing idolatry (wanting MY way, wanting to be in control, wanting to feel loved, expecting my husband to be Christ to me).
  • I was overflowing with pride.
  • I was self-righteous – I thought I was so much more spiritually mature than my husband.

I didn’t just have a 2X4 in my eye, I had a FOREST. 🙁

I needed Jesus and His blood and forgiveness infinitely more than I had ever previously imagined!  Turns out that I am a wretched sinner in total desperation for Christ!  I really didn’t “get it” before!

2. I WOULDN’T FORGIVE, I CHERISHED RESENTMENT MORE THAN INTIMACY WITH CHRIST

Unforgiveness is a really big deal to God.  He counts it as a major sin.

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.  Matthew 6:14-15

3. I DID NOT HAVE PROPER RESPECT FOR GOD AND THE GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY OF MY HUSBAND

I really believed in my heart that I knew better than my husband. And I lived as if I knew better than God, too, because I did not respect my husband’s God given spiritual authority over me and when I prayed to God about my husband.

I was disrespectful about my husband to God. I was trying to control God, too!  I was demanding and disrespectful to God, Himself.  I thought if I prayed hard enough and long enough, God would do what I wanted Him to do.  Wrong!

As soon as God showed me my sin of disrespect and pride, I quit focusing on trying to change my husband and trying to control everyone around me and God and began focusing on all that God wanted to change in ME!  It turns out, there was more than enough sin in my own life to keep me VERY busy for a long, long time – despite my long-held beliefs that I was nearly perfect, always right, and knew better than everyone else what needed to be done in any given situation.

4. I WAS EXTREMELY PRIDEFUL

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6

God opposed me before.  My arrogance and pride was sky high.  I don’t know if pride is measurable, but, if it was, surely I was getting close to the limit of what is humanly possible.

I prayed with a spirit of judgment and criticism and condemnation against my husband.  I was just like the Pharisees.  I looked down on my husband instead of praying with humility and seeing the depths of my own sin clearly and seeing how much Jesus has forgiven me.

Now – I know God hears me.

And even more importantly – He allows me to hear HIM!

Many of the things I was praying for years ago were God’s will. I still pray a lot of the same things now that I used to. But now – I see prayers answered every day!  Not all of them have been answered yet – and that is ok.

Now, I trust God’s timing and His sovereignty to do what is best for me, my husband and His glory, by His power and in His timing.  Now – I see miracles happening and mountains being moved. Now I see the power of God unleashed and working in me and my husband!  And it is AWESOME!

The difference is that now – GOD has changed me by His power working in me to be:

  • PATIENT – If I have to wait until I am 80 years old and things don’t change until then, I am ok with that.  I wait on God’s timing and trust His wisdom and timing are much better than my own.  I used to be one of the most impatient people EVER.  But I have learned that when you wait on God – there will be  a lot of waiting.  The waiting on His timing is important, and He has plenty for me to do and learn in the meantime.  So, I wait – and I praise Him and serve Him while I wait.
  • HUMBLE – I totally get that I do NOT know better than God and that I very likely do NOT know better than my husband.  My own wisdom is foolishness, and God’s wisdom is wise.  I do NOT know best!!!!!!!! I am open to the idea that God will use my husband to lead me even when I don’t agree and can’t understand.  I don’t insist on my own way.  I don’t make demands.  I make respectful requests, and I understand the proper chain of authority:  God>Christ>my husband>me.  I don’t try to go around my husband’s authority to get what I want from God if my husband won’t give me what I desire like I used to.  I know that my husband can’t keep me from God’s will if I am obeying and trusting God.  And I also know that if I am rebelling against God’s commands for me as a wife, I can’t be in God’s will!
  • RESPECTFUL – I understand that God put my husband in spiritual authority over me. I trust God to use my husband to lead me and guide me. I respect the position of “husband” as the leadership position in our marriage (ordained by God in Ephesians 5:22-33) and yield to his leadership willingly and cheerfully. I know that I cannot be disrespectful of God’s agent of spiritual authority over my life and receive God’s blessings on my marriage. I trust that God can and will use my husband to accomplish His will – whether my husband is close to God or not. I thank God for my husband’s authority over me to protect me and care for me and I thank my husband frequently for his leadership and authority over me. I began thanking him for being the leader and authority in our marriage WAY before he began to lead.  I stepped down and waited as long as it took for him to be able to take the helm.  I didn’t rush him.  I didn’t take over when he didn’t move.  I waited.  A LOT.  And I waited patiently and cheerfully with great faith in God and in my husband.  One thing I did early on in this process was read I Corinthians 11, and began covering my head out of respect for my husband’s authority over me when I pray.  It’s not popular today to do this, I totally get that.  But it reminds me to have the proper respectful attitude towards my husband’s authority over me and towards God – and I need that!  I need all the help I can get with having a respectful attitude towards my husband and towards God.  I believe God honors our obedience even when no one else seems to be obeying Him.
  • STILL – I don’t try to make things happen the way I think they should anymore. I don’t insist on my way. If my husband makes a decision I disagree with, I tell him my position respectfully. I tell him my feelings. I pray about it. And I accept it and wait with great anticipation to see what God will do.  I am not panicking and freaking out  and trying to force things to happen the way I think they should.  God has given me a calm, peaceful, still spirit.  It is AMAZING!!!!!  I LOVE the power of His Spirit working in me and would do ANYTHING to have Him filling me up!!!
  • GRATEFUL – I thank God for everything I can think of! I thank my husband for everything I can think of, too!  Every day.  All day long.
  • JOYFUL – I love God with my whole heart! Obeying His Word has given me the most joy I have ever experienced in my life! I didn’t have joy when I was being disobedient to God’s commands for wives.  I look to Him for my strength, purpose and joy now – not my husband or my marriage.
  • PEACEFUL – I truly live in God’s peace daily now. This is all His power and His Spirit at work, it’s not something I can do on my own. I trust God. I trust my husband. I trust God to work through my husband even when my husband makes mistakes. The pressure is off. I rest in the love of God and the love of my husband. I know that I am not in charge, and it is a HUGE weight off of my shoulders!  I am not stressed anymore!  I am not worried anymore!  I am not lonely or despairing anymore.  THANK YOU, LORD!  I praise You for what You have done in my life!  SO many miracles!  I can never repay You, Jesus!
  • OBEDIENT – I desire to obey God in EVERYTHING. I have a willing spirit to obey Him and please Him. And I am cooperative with my husband’s leadership. I don’t rebel against his ideas or direction. I do know that if my husband asked me to do something that went against God’s Word, I would have to respectfully stand up to him and refuse to follow him. But so far, that hasn’t been an issue.
  • FULL OF PRAISE – I praise my husband.  I praise God.  I sing in my heart happily all day every day.  Just like God inhabits the praises of His people, I believe that husbands inhabit the praises of their wives.
  • SURRENDERED TO THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST – I constantly check my heart and soul for any idols, and ask God to convict me – because I know that I can be so blind to sin.  I ask God to show me anything I am putting above my love and devotion for Christ. I am ready to tear anything out that is in that holy place that belongs to Him alone.  It has to go – without mercy – even good things cannot be in that place.  I MUST seek Jesus first WAY above everything else.   I lay down my own desires, my will, my wisdom, my purposes, my plans and my dreams and seek God’s will, His wisdom, His desires, His glory and His purposes.

WHAT INCREDIBLE CHANGES GOD HAS MADE IN ME!  I AM IN TOTAL AWE!

When God changes our hearts and we take off the old sinful self and put on the new woman we are in Christ – and are full of His Spirit and power – WOW!  THEN, we want to pray for God’s will, not our own.

And God purifies our motives.  It’s SO easy to have double motives or impure motives.

 Motives matter to God!

I must do the right thing for the right reasons to honor my Lord.  When my heart and motives are pure in His sight, and His Spirit is filling my life to overflowing, He hears and I can rest assured that He will answer my prayers for His glory and to accomplish His purposes in His timing.  There is no better place to be in all the world!

Lord,

I pray that other wives might find this freedom to live in Your peace and joy, too!  I pray that You might break the shackles of resentment, un-forgiveness, pride, idolatry, rebellion and anything that offends Your holiness.  I pray that we as wives might repent and seek You with our whole hearts!

I pray that we might learn to respect the leadership and authority of Jesus first and then also that we might learn to respect the God-given authority of our husbands.   Let us taste and see how good You are!  I pray that each precious wife who reads this might live in a spirit of humility, repentance, reverence and patience in Your presence and that they might see Your power at work in their marriages, too, for Your great glory!  I pray for Your will to be done – not our own.  We trust You with the outcomes – but we lay ourselves at Your feet and long only to know You and to obey You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen!

"My Way Isn't Working… Where Do I Start to Learn to Be a Godly Wife?"

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What better time to decide to begin learning to be the wife of God’s dreams than at New Year’s?

THE FIRST STEP

The first step to becoming a godly wife – is to have God in your life.

We are ALL desperately  in need the blood of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross to make us right with God.

NONE of us can be good enough to impress God on our own.  Only God is good.  We are not.  If I even just look at the 10 commandments in Exodus 20, I see that I fail miserably to live up to God’s standards.   Because, to God, any time I put something ahead of Him in my heart, that’s idolatry.  If I won’t forgive another person, that is hatred which is murder.  If I think about being with another man in my heart, that is adultery.  If I want what someone else has, that is coveting.  If I ever dishonored my parents, I am a law-breaker.  God’s standards are perfect and holy – and my best efforts to be good on my own fall miles short of God’s holiness.

For all have sinned and fallen 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

Some signs that we don’t have God in our lives are: a lack of peace, anxiety, fear, putting other things ahead of God as being more important to us (idolatry), discontentment, anger, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness and sometimes even depression and hopelessness.

And the way to have God in your life is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

How do I know that I have Jesus?

If anyone loves me, he will obey My teaching.  My Father will love him, and We will come and make Our home with him.  He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.  John 14:23

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you,  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.  John 14:27.

I am the Vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:12-13

IF YOU DON’T HAVE JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR

Jesus (God’s Son) lived a perfect life and died in our place, taking on the punishment for the wrong we have done that each of us deserved.  He wants to give us the gift of life forever with Him in heaven after we die and an intimate relationship with Himself and God the Father now.

Read this post for more about how to invite Jesus into your life   http://wp.me/P28uul-qN

THE SECOND STEP – JESUS MUST BE LORD.

That is a big problem for many believers!  There is a HUGE difference between having Jesus as your Savior and also having Him as your Lord.

This is where I got tripped up so much for many years.  I thought I was living with Him as Lord of my life – but I was blind to my own sin and my sin kept Him from having the power and influence He wanted to in my life.  I really wasn’t walking in obedience to Him and I didn’t have His Spirit controlling and filling me daily.  I know I was His.  But my sin had disrupted our fellowship and I was missing out on some REALLY powerful stuff with Christ.

My own pride, thinking I knew better than God did and better than His Word did – thinking I was the exception to Gods’ commands for wives and my rebellion against God’s Word as well as my own idolatry – putting things ahead of Christ in my life – showed that Jesus was not fully my Lord for many years.  There is no worse sin than idolatry – and, sadly, the human heart is “an idol factory.”

EVIDENCE THAT JESUS IS NOT IN CHARGE IN MY LIFE:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Galatians 5:19-21

I used to think that because I didn’t commit witchcraft or have issues with drunkenness, witchcraft,  orgies or sexual immorality – that I wasn’t living according to the sinful nature.  But if ANY of these things are happening often in my life – it is the sinful nature that is in charge, not the Spirit of God.  That is a SOBERING realization.

EVIDENCE THAT JESUS IS IN CHARGE OF MY LIFE – THAT HE IS MY LORD:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22

When God’s Spirit is in control – I will have ALL of the fruit of His Spirit in increasing measure on a daily basis.  If a lot of these things are missing from my life – or don’t happen very often, I need to look at whether there is sin I am cherishing in my heart that has grieved God’s Spirit and might be keeping Him from hearing my prayers and from working powerfully in my life.

Also, when Jesus is my Lord – I will obey Him.  I will WANT to obey Him.  I will be grieved when I don’t obey Him.  I will make Him, His will, His Word, His presence,. and His plans more important than anything else in my life.  I WANT to spend lots of time with Him.  I want to sing praises to Him.  I want to thank Him.  I trust Him.  I wait on Him.  I am content in Him.  I have His peace, joy and power even in difficulties more and more.  I can’t do this on my own – His Spirit works in me to accomplish these things.

THE THIRD STEP:

Because of my relationship with Jesus and my love for Him – I will study and learn all that He desires my life to be.

As a wife, I will desire to obey God’s Word to me and I will decide to:

  • respect my husband  (Ephesians 5:22-33) – even when I feel unloved.
  • cooperate with my husband’s God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33) = unless he is asking me to sin.
  • not nag, preach, lecture or criticize my husband to try to make him be closer to God (I Peter 3:1-6) but influence him with my respectful, pure and godly behavior
  • be patient with my husband – when he doesn’t deserve it (I Cor 13:4)
  • be kind to my husband, even if he is not kind to me (I Cor. 13:4)
  • not envy my husband having time to himself or time with friends or time to relax (I Cor 13:4)
  • not boast about how “right” I am or how “godly” I am or how “spiritually mature” I am or how much “better” I am than my husband is or how much more money I make or how much smarter I am or how much more wisdom I have (I Cor 13:4)
  • I will leave room to acknowledge that God’s wisdom is MUCH higher than my own and that compared to His wisdom and His Word, my “wisdom” is foolishness.  I will leave room for my husband to share his masculine perspective and wisdom and will appreciate the insights he has to offer and realize that my perspective is not the only one in the world and that God may want to lead me and speak to me through my husband’s wisdom. (I Cor 13:4)
  • not be rude to my husband or disrespectful, even if he was rude or unloving to me first. (I Cor. 13:5)
  • not seek my own way, my own goals, my own will, my own purposes, my agenda, my comfort, my needs to be met but look to meet my husband’s needs and seek God’s will and His glory in my marriage. (I Corinthians 13:5)
  • not be easily angered. (I Cor 13:5)
  • keep no record of wrongs my husband has done to me, and definitely not throw his failures and past sins and mistakes in his face (I Cor. 13:5)
  • not delight in evil happening to my husband or want to see him hurt and suffer and be in pain. (I Corinthians 13:6)
  • rejoice in the truth of God and God’s work in my marriage and my husband’s life (I Cor. 13:6)
  • always protect my husband and my marriage, regardless of what my husband is doing (I Cor. 13:7)
  • always trust in God, His Word, His power and His ability to heal in my marriage and trust in my husband as much as I possibly can (there may be times when he has to earn my trust back, but I WANT to be able to trust him), assume the best about him, not the worst. (I Cor 13:7)
  • always hope in God and in my marriage because I know God is able to work in my marriage. (I Cor 13:7)
  • always persevere and keep on obeying God’s Word for me no matter what my husband is doing or not doing at the time (I Cor 13:7)
  • forgive my husband (all of his sins against me) so that God will forgive me my sins against Him.  (Matthew 6:14-15)
  • repay my husband with good when he does evil to me and when he acts like he hates me (Luke 6:27).
  • bless him when he curses me and pray for him when he mistreats me. (Luke 6:28)
  • love my husband, not hate him.  “Whoever loves God MUST also love his brother.”  I cannot hate my husband AND love God.  If hatred is in my heart, God cannot be there.  I have to choose love and forgiveness to be able to allow God’s Spirit to fill me and empower me to be the wife and woman God wants me to be.  I John 4:20-21

MY MOTIVATION

My desire to be a godly wife MUST be to please and honor Jesus Christ because I love Him more than anything or anyone.  If I try to learn to respect my husband and cooperate with him in order to change him or make him love me more – my husband will feel manipulated and he will know my respect is not genuine.  Husbands are very sensitive to the motives behind our respect!  And so is God.  God weighs my motives constantly.  If there are any ungodly, sinful or selfish motives behind my behavior – that dishonors God.

My goal must be to bring glory to  Christ – I leave the results in His hands.  I must start on this journey of becoming a godly wife without knowing what the results will be.  I trust God for the results in my marriage and for the timing and if/when my husband or marriage might improve or change.

He may change, or he may not.  My responsibility is to obey my Lord.

Most husbands do eventually change in time, when their wives obey God and are full of His Spirit and power.  But it can take a VERY long time.  That has to be ok.  And even if my husband never changes – that has to be ok, too.  My priority and goal is to be close to Jesus and to love and obey Him.

PRAYER

Lord,

I pray that You might help each of us find You.  Let us want You more than anything else in the world!  Let us long to know You more and more.  Let us love You with pure hearts.  Cleanse us of our sin.  Convict us of all that offends You.  Help us to lay still on the operating table as we hold open our hearts to You and allow You to examine each dark corner with Your blazing, holy light and remove the filth and rot in our souls.  Make us the women You desire us to be.  Give us hearts to love and obey You no matter what the cost.  Use us to shine brightly for You in our families, our marriages and in this world for Your greatest glory!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

Check out the posts at the top of my home page:

“101 Ways to Show Respect to Your Husband”

“Husbands Share What is Disrespectful to Them”

“About”

“When She Surrendered”

“Peacefulwife Videos”

A New Leader is Born

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

Giving Our Children the Gift of Peace

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Many parents are scrambling to find the BEST Christmas gifts for their children – spending hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on toys, electronics, clothes and jewelry.  It’s so normal now for Christmas to be all about STUFF.  We easily turn Christmas into a monument to materialism, selfishness, greed and things.  Santa and gifts and decorations can become idols to our children, even to adults – as we set our hearts on those things above our desire for Christ.  It is a struggle to focus on Jesus and His truth in our culture and not allow Christmas to become something ungodly.

But there is something even worse, in my view.

TURNING CHRISTMAS INTO WAR

Christmas is supposed to be to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – the coming of the Messiah – the Prince of Peace.  But for many families where Christ is not Lord, celebrating His birth becomes another occasion for feuds, hatred, bitterness, contempt,  rage, screaming, cussing and even violence.

  • DIVORCE – What an ugly thing Christmas can be in this situation.  Each parent battles to have the children for themselves on Christmas.  Or they have to measure out the minutes and it has to be “exactly equal” or it is NOT FAIR because “he got the children one more hour than I did.”   It can become a competition to see who can buy bigger and better gifts sometimes so that the children will “love” the more generous parent more.  Some ex-spouses even use the celebration of the birth of the Son of God to create hostility in front of their children, screaming and calling the other parent the most dreadful things and saying, “I hate you!” in front of their children.
  • DIVIDED FAMILIES – Other families are not in a divorce situation, but there is incredible tension and division in the home between parents.  The celebration of Christmas becomes a battle ground of who gets to have control and power and make the decisions.  And the bickering, fighting, yelling, cursing, hatred and sometimes violence become the main event.

When we are living “in the flesh” we will have results like these.  It is a guarantee:

Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control…

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:16-17,19-24

OUR CHILDREN

What does it do to a child to witness his parents tearing each other down, berating each other, hating each other, calling each other horrible names, accusing each other of terrible things, fighting over the children, trying to take revenge, trying to cause as much pain as possible to each other, using their children as weapons against each other, full of rage, bitterness and resentment – all in front of their children?

A child loses:

  • his sense of security and safety
  • his understanding of a loving God
  • his ability to have trust in relationships in the future
  • his ability to have peace himself
  • any joy that Christmas might bring

A child gains:

  • incredible anxiety and fear
  • a desire to try to control others to attempt to maintain his own safety
  • a sense of guilt – that the hatred is somehow his fault
  • grief over the dream of his family being a loving, joyful, beautiful place
  • a picture of God being as out of control and unloving as his parents
  • an inability to respect God-given authority and to submit to God and to God-given authority
  • health problems related to stress

This list is not exhaustive, certainly.

TO HATE A PERSON IS TO BE AS A MURDERER IN GOD’S EYES

Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.  I John 3:15

We love because He first loved us.  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 commandment: “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  I John 4:19-21

It is time to ask God to examine our hearts under the surgical light and instrument of His Word.  It hurts to lie still while He removes all the filth and rot and does open heart surgery on our souls.  But we NEED it!  If that root of bitterness and hatred does not come out, it will destroy us and our fellowship with God and we forfeit the power of God to work in our hearts and lives.  We cannot afford the luxury of hatred!  We need Jesus desperately!  And we need His power in us so that we can be the people He wants us to be.

THE GREATEST GIFT

What I desire for all of our children for Christmas this year is that they might see the peace and power of God modeled in their parents and that they might experience the peace of Christ in their families and homes.

For this gift to be a reality – it will take each of us submitting ourselves fully to Christ and His Word and His will.  We will have to give up our rights, our way, our desires, our wisdom, our plans, our will, our selfishness and be willing to embrace God’s will, His way, His wisdom and His glory.  It will mean looking out for what is best for our children, not just what I want.

It will mean my willingness to humble myself and return evil with good, to pray for those who misuse me and for those who mistreat me.  It will mean that I must be willing to sacrifice of myself for the good of others.  For example:

  • If I am divorced, I may decide God is calling me to be generous and allow my ex-husband to have the children all day on Christmas day, and I can make arrangements to celebrate with my children another day that week graciously and cooperatively.
  • Even if my husband or ex-husband is hateful towards me – I can choose to submit to Christ and to be filled with His Spirit’s power and to respond with gentleness, respect, godly love, peace and strength.
  • I can lay down my agenda and my way and my insistence on being “right” about how to celebrate or where to celebrate Christmas and cooperate with my husband and realize that the details of the celebration and the gifts are no where near as important as the gift of giving my children peace of mind, unity, love and respect between their parents.
  • I can respond to hatred with blessing.
  • I can respond to cursing with the power of prayer.
  • I can respond to mind games and power plays with generosity, kindness, cooperation and respect (unless I am being asked to sin).  THAT will bring glory to Jesus and might just cause my husband or ex-husband to go, “HUH?!?”  And start thinking that maybe this Jesus that I have is really a treasure.
  • I can refuse to yell and scream and cuss.  I can ask God to fill me with His Spirit and give me self-control so that my children don’t have to witness the horror of their mother being full of rage and out of control and scary.

When I genuinely have God’s peace in my own soul – God will empower me to have peace with other people AND I will also be in a position to share God’s peace with my children and teach them His ways.  There is no better gift than the Lordship of Christ and all the spiritual riches of heaven!

Lord,

How I pray that You might change OUR hearts today.  Convict us of our hatred, bitterness and wrong doing.  Show us the ungodliness in our souls.  Help us to have godly sorrow and to turn from our ways and our wisdom and to humbly turn to You – knowing we are wretched sinners who desperately need Jesus every moment!

Change us!  Make us the wives and moms and ex-wives You desire us to be.  Let Your Spirit rule in our hearts.  Let Your powerful love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control be the hallmarks of our lives!  Richly bless our children through us.  Pour out your Spirit on us and remove anything offensive to You and pour through us to our precious children.

Let our homes be sanctuaries of peace with God and peace with one another.  Let our homes be full of the joy and strength of Christ.  Let our homes be full of faith in the almighty God.  Let us make room in our hearts for You this Christmas and every day, Lord!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE AUDITORY LEARNERS, here’s a Youtube video on this topic!

http://youtu.be/7WjPhS7MHCo

Forgiveness

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We have been focusing on bitterness a good bit this week.  If you have missed it, here are links to the other posts:

Be Still My Bitter Heart

Bitterness is Toxic and Contagious

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Finding God’s Victory Over Bitterness

STEPPING STONES TO FORGIVENESS

I want to see ALL traces of bitterness gone in myself and in all of you!  I want to see Christ deliver us from our sin that we might live in His victory and abundant life full of His peace, joy and purpose.  Just the smallest amount of bitterness or unforgiveness will grow into a destructive force of evil in my life.

If you live with people, you will have plenty of “legitimate” reasons to be bitter.  You will be sinned against – and it is not wrong to feel anger when someone sins against us.  Anger is a gift from God that is supposed to alert us to our boundaries being violated or us being sinned against. But, in that anger, I am not to sin!  And I must get rid of the anger and deal with it quickly before it gives the enemy a foothold in my life.

So, how do I begin to forgive when I am deeply hurt and someone sinned against me?

SEE THE DEPTHS OF MY OWN SIN AND THE MASSIVE DEBT CHRIST PAID FOR ME

For me, this is the first step.  I used to think I was really “not that bad” and didn’t have much sin in my own life.  That massive PRIDE in my heart fueled ungodly thoughts in me like:

  • I don’t deserve to be treated this way
  • I would NEVER do that to someone.  I am so much better than that person
  • I am a victim here
  • I deserve to hold on to my anger and unforgiveness
  • He/she doesn’t deserve my forgiveness

When I think that I am above reproach – I start to think I shouldn’t have to forgive.  But that is so untrue!  God Himself is SINLESS and HOLY and He forgives.  Am I above God that I am exempt from forgiving others?  That was PRIDE in my heart.  SKY HIGH PRIDE.

When I start to look at MYSELF – and begin a rough tally of all the sin in my own life – just in my past (not to mention my future!) – I know now that I owe Jesus “billions of dollars” of sin debt.  I had constant idolatry in my heart for decades (acting as if I were sovereign instead of God, putting myself and being in control up as an idol, expecting my husband to be Christ and making him an idol), PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE, unforgiveness, gossip, bitterness… MOUNTAINS of sin.

When I see the sin in my own life – and how desperately I need forgiveness and all that Christ has forgiven me for – how can I not show that mercy to others who sin against me.  They are doing the SAME things that I have done!  I need mercy, and so do they.

(Matthew 18:21-35 – a parable about how we are to forgive)

UNDERSTAND THAT IF I REFUSE TO FORGIVE, GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE ME.  I NEED HIS FORGIVENESS!  THIS IS NOT AN OPTION.  IT IS  A COMMAND AND A NECESSITY.

It is spiritual suicide for me to refuse to forgive someone.  I then forfeit God’s power working in me, His strength, His Spirit’s filling me, His forgiveness and the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  I NEED those things!  I need the presence and intimate fellowship of Christ.  I have NOTHING without Him!

I am addicted to Jesus.  He is my LORD.  I need Him in my life and I MUST have him.  I need to do whatever He wants me to do in order to stay close to Him and be able to abide in Him.

Read the book of I John this week if you can.  Read it with bitterness and unforgiveness in mind and see how God wants us to live if we belong to Him.  There is no room for sin.  It all has to go!  Unforgiveness = wickedness to Christ.  I cannot afford the luxury of unforgiveness.

UNFORGIVENESS AND BITTERNESS ARE GATEWAY SINS THAT LEAD TO MANY OTHER SINS – IT IS POISON!

Not only do I forfeit the blessings of God and of obedience when I refuse to forgive, I embrace the poison fruit of unforgiveness and bitterness.  It leads to death!  Death of relationships, depression, anxiety, many other sins (gossip, division, feuds, jealousy, lack of faith, even stealing, suicide or murder if it is left long enough in my heart).

A tiny amount of bitterness grows and takes over my soul, my thoughts, my life and my identity.  It can actually become my purpose in life if I allow it to continue – it can become my idol!  Other people can see bitterness in me and it makes me toxic to everyone else.  People will want to avoid me.  Bitterness is contagious – the Bible says not to let a bitter root grow up that will defile many.

This is SERIOUS stuff!

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY – THE LIFE OF JOSEPH

One of my favorite stories about forgiveness is that of Joseph in the Old Testament (Genesis 38-45).  If anyone had reason to be bitter, it was Joseph.  His brothers were jealous of him and staged his fake death and sold him into slavery.  As a slave, his master’s wife accused him falsely of attempted rape and he was sent to prison, though he was innocent.  In prison, he helped the Pharaoh’s cup bearer, but the cup bearer forgot to mention Joseph to the Pharaoh.  He was a slave or a prisoner for MANY YEARS.

But this young man did not become bitter.  I LOVE his attitude and how he handled things!  He trusted himself to God.

And when the time came that his God-given dreams came true and he stood before his brothers as the 2nd in command in Egypt and they were all bowing down to him – he responded in godliness. He did test his brothers to see if they had changed.  He checked to see if they were trustworthy.  But then, when he revealed himself to them – he did not have them killed or imprisoned or tortured.  His response amazes me!

Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”  (Genesis 45:5-8) And he forgave them, loved them, hugged them, wept with them and gave them the finest clothes, food and land and he provided for them out of all the wealth God had given him.

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY – THE LIFE OF JESUS

Jesus, also, was able to forgive as He was being crucified because:

1. He knew that the people didn’t realize what they were doing

2. He knew that it was God’s will for Him to suffer and die and take the punishment we deserved so that God’s wrath might be satisfied, and He might make a way to bring us into a right relationship with God.

He trusted the sovereignty of God.  This wasn’t about him and being comfortable. This was about doing what God wanted Him to do so that He might save many from hell and from separation from God.

GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER MY LIFE, TOO

When someone hurts me or wounds me or sins against me – what they intended for evil, God intends for good and He can and will use even the sin of others against me to accomplish His good purposes, to make me more like Christ and to bring great glory to Himself.

This is a HUGE key in being able to forgive – to see the sovereign hand of God in the midst of my pain and to trust His heart even when I can’t trust the heart of the person/people who are sinning against me.

The Blessing of Having a Husband Who Won't Pray with His Wife

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WHAT??!!!   Did you read that right?  Surely, I’ve GOT to be kidding!
Let me start by saying:
I believe that husbands SHOULD pray with their wives.  I believe it is their God-given responsibility to do so  – if they are believers in Christ.  I believe husbands will be accountable to God for their spiritual leadership – which I believe includes praying with their wives and children and teaching their families the Word of God as well as living out a godly example every day.
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But what is a wife to do if this is not happening?
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Hang with me, ladies.  This gets really good.
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REALITY IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM OUR EXPECTATIONS MANY TIMES
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I used to be REALLY upset about the fact that we didn’t pray together.  I longed for my husband to pray with me and resented every day that passed that he didn’t do it.  I wanted us to be close to each other and close to God.  What could be more beautiful, godly, intimate, holy, intoxicating and powerful than praying together as a couple?
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Unfortunately, MOST Christian husbands and wives don’t pray together.  I wish we all did. I think we all should.  But reality is that a lot of husbands can’t or won’t pray with their wives for a variety of reasons.
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Sometimes our husbands don’t pray with us because we intimidate them, criticize them, condemn them, judge their spirituality, act holier-than-thou, take over control of the marriage, disrespect them, rebel against their God-given leadership or react negatively when our men DO try to lead spiritually in some way.(For more about this – check out this post )
I CAN CONTROL ME.  I CAN’T CONTROL HIM.  I’M FINE WITH THAT NOW!
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I can ask my husband for what I want.  And I do – now – but sparingly, respectfully and with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile.  I ask him to pray about specific needs with me a few times a month – and he is always willing now if I ask him. (Each marriage and stage in marriage will be different – so pray and seek God’s wisdom about if you ought to approach your husband at all, or how often)
When I first started learning respect and submission, I had to follow I Peter 3:1-2 and be silent about spiritual things, including prayer – after so many years of trying to MAKE my husband do what I wanted him to do.  He needed time to hear God’s voice for himself. I fully understand now that I can’t MAKE him do what I want him to do.  And that is actually a very good thing.  God gave us all a free will.  Part of being a strong leader is a man makes his own choices and decisions.
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He is not always going to do things my way.  Now, I know that is a huge blessing!.  His ways are often much better than my ways – it turns out!
He may not always do things God’s way – that is part of having a human, sinner as a leader.
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But I can still put all my hope, faith and trust in my Lord that He in His amazing sovereignty will work things out for my best and for His glory because I love Him and am called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28-29).  And I can respond in obedience to God’s Word for me regardless of my husband’s behavior.  Even if my husband sins or makes mistakes, my Lord is big enough, powerful enough and “sovereign enough” to turn those evil things into something good because I trust Him.
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AVOIDING BITTERNESS ABOUT A “PRAYERLESS” MARRIAGE
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  • Now, I have laid down my expectations.   I don’t expect my husband to pray with me.  I don’t demand that he pray with me.  I am thankful for what he gives to me in our relationship – and I graciously (by the power of God in me) accept when he does not do things I would like.
  • My goal is to be receptive to God’s Spirit, my husband’s leadership, to be a safe place for him to know that he won’t be criticized or judged and to make sure I am abiding in Christ and praying for my husband fervently and passionately myself.
  • It takes MANY years for a man to become a godly leader.  I must be patient for God to work in my husband and focus on what God wants to do in ME!
  • I also keep in mind that scripture never says, “Husbands must initiate prayer with their wives.”  I also can’t find a verse that commands husbands to pray with their wives.  I think it is clearly implied!  But I have to be very careful about my expectations and what I label as sin or about coming across as being spiritually superior, self-righteous or condemning and critical.  Nothing will turn off a husband faster to spiritual things than  catching a whiff of those prideful, self-righteous attributes.
  • I have prayer sisters!  I get to pray with my Christian prayer partners and watch God at work together.  It is AMAZING!  I would strongly recommend that wives pray about finding a godly mentor wife and prayer partner.
  • I am free to grow in Christ – I do not have to “wait for my husband.”  I am to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling and trust God to work in my husband.  The closer I am to Christ, the MORE respectful, kind, gracious and merciful I will be to my husband – and that will influence him to  draw nearer to God, too.
  • I now know that I can have total access to God’s will when I am trusting in my God.  My husband cannot thwart God’s plans for me.  My husband cannot take me out of the sovereignty of God.  God is powerful and sovereign and will accomplish His purposes in my life whether my husband prays with me or not.  My faith is in my Lord alone!
  • I also know that there are MANY aspects to spiritual leadership that go way beyond whether my husband is initiating prayer.  And many of those things – demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, obeying God’s Word, being filled with the Spirit of God – are MUCH more important and vital than whether he initiates prayer or not.  I believe a husband can be a strong, godly, spiritual leader as long as he is tuned into God HIMSELF.  Praying together would be great.  But it does not mean our husbands are spiritual failures if they don’t grab us by the hand and have a daily prayer time with us.  Check out my youtube video about this if you’d like! http://youtu.be/CgB9SiV9ZgI.
IT IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING FOR A HUSBAND TO PRAY WITH HIS WIFE
If he prays with the wrong motive or prays for the wrong reason(s) – that is sin – it is for wives, too, of course!
Ways that him praying with you could be sin:
– to please you
– to make you feel better
– to make himself look more spiritual than he really is
– to be heard by you
– to lecture you
– to manipulate you
– if his heart is not in it, if he is not actually intimate with God, it is hypocrisy
– doing it just because you want him to will not bring you satisfaction and it will not honor God
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If a husband is not praying to God on his own – he probably has no business praying to God with his wife.  He needs to have his own strong relationship with Christ independently first.
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I think that this particular issue is actually quite clear in Scripture – that when we pray to be seen or heard by people (if our motives are not pure) – God is NOT pleased and will NOT hear our prayers.
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Matthew 6:5-6 – And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, Who is unseen.  Then your Father, Who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
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I don’t think this excludes praying together in small groups or as a couple or corporately.  But I think that our motives for prayer matter greatly to God.  If a husband only prays with his wife to placate her – but is not right in his relationship with God – it is a pretty useless activity.
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It can be a blessing for a godly wife when her ungodly husband (or a husband with ungodly motives at the time) won’t pray with her:
  • He would do more harm than good if he did.
  • She needs to learn to depend solely on Christ, not her husband.  This issue can sometimes reveal that a wife has her husband as an idol, or has his praying with her or his spirituality or his sinlessness as an idol in her heart.

I am SO glad God gave me time to learn to depend on Him alone!

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OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF A HUSBAND’S SINFUL PRAYERS
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Besides his prayers being fruitless, not honoring to God and not be heard by God – when a husband is not right with God and is living in his own flesh:
  • he may use prayer as an opportunity to try to humiliate his wife before God
  • he may use prayer to criticize his wife’s faults and flaws
  • he may pridefully brag about himself before God and his wife, bringing God’s opposition against him
  • he may use prayer to try to manipulate his wife into doing what he selfishly wants
  • he may claim something is “God’s will” just to try to get her to go along with it when it really is not God’s will at all
  • he may be cruel, critical and belittling to his wife as he “speaks to God”  because he is not full of God’s Spirit
  • he may be arrogant and try to make himself look better and more spiritual than his wife

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Something that is much worse than having a husband who won’t pray with you is having a carnal/sinful husband who WILL pray with you in ways that dishonor God and seek to control, disrespect and manipulate you.

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OUR REAL DESIRE GOES MUCH DEEPER THAN GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS
What we as wives want – is for our husbands to be strong men of God, thriving and growing and vibrant in their walks with Him. We want them to pray in private by themselves and come from a place of spiritual strength and to be filled with God’s Spirit – and then to pray with us.  Not praying to go through the motions or to look spiritual, but husbands who are genuinely living with Christ as Lord and totally submitted and yielded to Him.
This desires we have for our husbands  to be close to God and to be spiritually one with us are God-given desires.  And they are God’s will.  So we can pray and know that God will cause these prayers to be answered in His time, in His way, by His power and for His glory –  when we are praying with proper respect and reverence for God, our husband’s authority and proper motives.
And we can speed the answers along a bit by our obedience to respect our husbands and cooperate with their God-given leadership.  But it may be YEARS before we see our prayers answered.   There are going to be times, if we believe our husbands are far from God and acting in disobedience, that we practice I Peter 3:1-2.  That is what will bring them closer to God.
I pray for God’s wisdom for each of us about approaching our husbands about praying together. There are times when I believe it is good and important for us to ask for what we desire, “Honey, I have an idea. I want us to start praying together every day. Would now be a good time?” There are also times when God will prompt us to be quiet and pray and wait. I pray for each of us to be sensitive to God’s leading and prompting!
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http://peacefulwife.com/2012/09/03/being-a-good-follower/
http://peacefulwife.com/2012/06/28/im-the-spiritually-mature-one-in-this-marriage/
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MY HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE ON HOW HARD IT IS FOR HUSBANDS TO PRAY WITH THEIR WIVES SOMETIMES – http://respectedhusband.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/praying-with-your-wife/
ANOTHER RESOURCE
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2012/11/hes-just-not-a-spiritual-leade.html?utm_source=hermeneutics&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=12202499&utm_content=145747842&utm_campaign=2012#.UMpCmqYlwVE.email
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