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

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

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

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

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

Tithing in the Old Testament:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If My Husband Doesn’t Want to Tithe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I wait, I can pray:

Lord,

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

Amen.

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

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

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOME BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

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

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

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

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

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

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God Changed a Wife’s Heart for Her Imperfect Husband

I am so thankful to be able to share other women’s testimonies of God’s incredible power to change and heal hearts, lives, and relationships. Every story and situation is unique. I know God can – and will – give each woman His divine wisdom about the specifics as she seeks Him wholeheartedly and is led by His Spirit. And yet, so many of the central principles we all have to learn as believers in Christ are the same. I always love to see that. Keep in mind that time frames and outcomes may be different in different stories. The main thing is that we are close to the Lord and we are doing what He calls us to do each day in our specific situation. I pray this precious sister’s story might be a blessing to you today:

Hi April!

I wanted to share a story with you about how God completely changed my heart and my marriage through the gospel and His will for wives to submit to their husbands

(Note, God’s definition of “submission” is NOT at all the same as the world’s, it is not about slavery or BSDM – and it all begins with our submission to Christ as Lord).

I was a new wife when I stumbled across your website. A zealous new Christian who “had it all figured out” in her mind. Deep down I thought I was very obedient, a good wife and my husband was the man who was a rebel against God. Ignorant to my own sin, I would preach the Bible to my husband. He knew the scriptures, but in my mind he was just a rebel who wouldn’t submit to God.

I didn’t realize the very destructive and severe sin in my heart. I was striving in my works to be perfect. My heart was hardened, but still, I did want to submit. The problem was I thought I already was. I carried bitter thoughts towards my man, I was lifted up in pride, definitely more “spiritual.” I was “righteous” in my own eyes until…

I kicked my husband out one day and he walked on the streets all night.

I told a new sister in Christ how horrible he was and that I told him to leave. He struggled with smoking and pornography, and couldn’t hold a job. I was better than he was in my eyes. Thankfully by God’s grace this sister confirmed the scriptures I knew but brought them to me in a new light. She pointed out how the Lord wanted my heart to honor and reverence my husband rather than the awful self-righteous and condemning judgement that I previously had towards him.

That night was the beginning of a journey, through new eyes. Eyes that had been enlightened by the TRUE grace of God where I found true repentance unto salvation and my heart began to change. I told my husband to come back home.

Things didn’t change instantly.

The Lord had to unwind every bitter thought I had towards him and replace them with honoring thoughts. I felt, for a while, like every day the Lord was nit-picking new sin in my heart. But the closer I got to knowing the Lord, the more delight I had in repentance and suddenly I was a lot more joyful and at peace to submit to my husband. It was no longer a burden, but I started to embrace his leadership and look forward to serving him. I recognized that being my husband’s helpmeet was God’s perfect will.
We used to argue constantly and say hurtful things. Suddenly there was no longer as much to argue about. I was not as easily offended when I felt hurt by him, but could forgive him quickly and move forward, which would soften his heart towards me. Before my husband was so discouraged, he had no confidence to work. Recently the Lord provided him with a position of authority in a workplace that he loves and he excelling at.

I pray for him almost every day to succeed and do well, things I never used to pray for him.

Today we are in a better place, it is truly only by the abundant mercy of the Lord that we are where we are! I’m so excited to see all God has in store and pray that I can just encourage wives that they do have a choice in whether or not they can have a godly marriage. First it starts with a willing heart to serve the Lord, and therefore submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. I finally understand the scripture “seek first the kingdom of God and these things shall be added unto you.”
Have a blessed day. Your website was the beginning of my journey!

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Biblical Submission – definition

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If you want to share with me about what the Lord has done in your life – as a wife, mom, or single woman, I’d love to hear about it! Just let me know if you want the message to be private, just for me, or if you give me permission to consider possibly sharing your (600-1200 word) story anonymously as a blog post. Send me a message on my Contact Page.

RESOURCES FOR WOMEN WHO NEED MORE HELP

If you are facing something really tough, I encourage you to get in touch with your local Bible-teaching church for godly mentors/counselors/pastors who may be able to direct you and who know you personally if you are having major issues or need one-on-one help.
Or you may contact resources like:
Focus on the Family – for a one time free counseling session and free counselor referral service
Nina Roesner’s eCourse Strength and Dignity
Ultimately, be sure to compare any advice or counsel any human gives to God’s Word and seek to do what He leads. <3

An Amazing Resource – Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Strength and Dignity”

“The Respect Dare,” by Nina Roesner, was a transformative book for me. In fact, it was one of the best books that God used in my life fairly early into my journey. I was actually so sad when the 40 days of assignments were over. I loved the structure and the daily bite-sized approach to growing and learning. Many women, especially women in situations like mine, saw great improvement in their marriages when they did “The Respect Dare.”

But some women found that as they tried to show their husbands more respect, their husbands became more harsh, critical, and demeaning. They began to feel even more like “doormats” than ever. I have seen the same thing with some wives here. What is going on?

Nina realized something important:

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Women need a firm spiritual foundation before they can properly apply respect in marriage.

They need to know who they are in Christ. They need to understand healthy boundaries in a godly way, not a selfish way. They need to be able to act with dignity and godly strength (as Proverbs 31 describes) and be spiritually more whole and healed. Then they can use the incredibly powerful position of  “wife” and “influential authority” in beautiful, healthy, healing ways in their marriages. They need to have tools to handle things rightly when they are sinned against in marriage.

Then God led Nina to develop a new approach in the BECOMING A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY eCourse.

I am so excited about what God has been doing in Nina’s online classes to transform wives and marriages. It is not about Nina. It is not about the forum facilitators. Her goal is to disciple women so they have a strong spiritual foundation and so that they look to the Bible and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power to accomplish God’s will and His glory in their lives. That is definitely my goal, too, for all of us!

She walks women through the baby steps so many of us need, regardless of our personalities or marital dynamics (and it is even a huge blessing for our single sisters, too), to develop a healthy relationship with Christ first and a healthy relationship with self. Then she gives the tools that can help women develop healthier relationships in their marriages.

A bit from Nina about this eCourse:

The truth is, if the words ‘respect’ and ‘submission’ scare you, even anger you, you’re in the right place. We want to help you understand them in a new way that takes your fear, which is never from the Lord, and replaces it with quiet confidence in HIM.

  • A unique and proven discipleship method that leaves over 95% of our class members with a deeper connection with God
  • Biblical truth to build your relationship with yourself & others in a way that gives you a gentle, but strong & dignified (not prideful) sense of who you are
  • Proven tools of interaction with yourself and others that create mutual respect and the potential for great love & joy

The eCourse does have a nominal cost per month. I would consider it to be a very worthwhile investment. Especially if you are really struggling and need a bit more personalized, structured, spiritual and marriage mentoring. It is an 11 week online class. After you go through these sessions, you are invited to join the private forum with trained facilitating wives who help guide discussions.

WHY AM I PROMOTING THIS eCOURSE?

Nina did not ask me to do this. I am not making any kind of monetary profit from promoting her materials. I know that when some wives read about respect, sometimes they mishear things in dangerous ways. Some think they have to disrespect themselves in order to respect their husbands. Or they have to idolize their husbands and bow to them as if they are perfect gods and women need to act like slaves. That is not true at all!

I believe that this eCourse may be a huge blessing if:

  • You have read my posts, my book, or The Respect Dare, and things are getting worse or you feel really confused about how to move forward with the Lord or in your marriage, this course may be perfect for you.
  • You struggle with what it means to respect yourself – or to think rightly and biblically about yourself.
  • You get confused about healthy boundaries and how to implement them with love and respect, this course is a fantastic tool.
  • You are dealing with a particularly difficult husband.
  • You are interested in a private forum that offers support to women. Nina has a wonderful team of trained women who are helping with this. That is something I just can’t offer myself.

I want all women to have all of the resources they need to thrive spiritually and to heal in Christ. Then when they are hearing Him clearly and filled with His Spirit, I know He will give them the wisdom they need to handle some really tough situations.

TESTIMONIALS

WIFE 1:

This is a hard journey for me as I sometimes lose site of my goal, but God is not finished with me yet.

Five years ago this January I found myself in tears over the condition of my marriage. I was a believer who thought God owed her a perfect marriage and Christian family because she was obedient to his commands. He did not give me that, thankfully. In frustration and some anger I asked God to send me someone who understood my loneliness.

I did  “The Respect Dare”  by phone. I learned some things, but any changes my husband noticed only made him more suspicious of what I was trying to get from him. Nina suggested the “Strength and Dignity” course because of his resistance.
Before joining this class and doing the “Daughter’s of Sarah” course, I blamed my husband for everything. In my studies, God made some direct blows to show my part in this messy equation. That was humbling but the beginning of breaking my pride and misunderstanding of what marriage really is. Now, in humility, I can accept God’s correction and find myself enabled more often to love and accept my husband as God made him.

Sometimes I respond with grace, sometimes I kick and scream my way to surrender and sometimes I just can’t figure out what I am suppose to do, so I reach out to other women on the course site and return to His Word. My desire to love my husband like God does allows me to rely on the Holy Spirit’s enablement to do what God says to show respect. It is hard to do right and it seems I am meeting stronger resistance, but through prayer, study, support and sometimes tears, God is changing my motives, my heart, and my love for my husband.

It is also teaching me that the goal of my journey is to find God as my sole source for all my needs and release my husband from wrong expectations. I no longer want a perfect marriage and accolades from people. I am on a learning curve to find that Christ fulfills my every need and I am the healthy helper God intended for the man he created. I am pressing on, but I have not arrived.

WIFE 2:

I started this journey very discouraged and with the mindset that my husband is never going to change and our marriage will always be this way. BUT that I need to learn to survive this and survive it well… with strength of character and with my dignity. I went to a 4 day retreat, Deflating Defensiveness (led by Nina).

These are the changes I’ve incorporated in my marriage from the retreat:

  • I don’t get pulled into arguing, defending myself, or reasoning with him (That stuff doesn’t work, plus it leaves me frustrated).
  • He still goads me to but I go silent rather than get pulled into this crazy cycle.
  • I’m picking my battles so to speak
    • I give in to him on small things. Because he gets his way on those things, I’m seeing he is more apt to listen to me on the bigger stuff.
  • I am not a doormat, in fact, just the opposite. I feel more empowered and dignified.
  • I speak my point of view concisely, slowly, and gently, then I STOP.
    • When he comes back with arguments, I don’t respond, neither do I justify myself nor do I own his insults.
    • As a result of my “sanctified indifference” I’m seeing more respect from him; he seems then to want to please me.

This is not perfect every time but I have my sanity and my dignity. I feel strong. I am no longer striving but am at peace. He hasn’t changed, but I have, and as a result, our marriage is changing.

Since I joined the Strength and Dignity eCourse:

I am now starting to see more change in his behavior toward me. I think that as he is getting the respect he needs and sees I’m becoming a “safe place,” he is becoming more respectful, caring, and wants to please me. Of course, we have hiccups now and then, but I continue to trust God to give me the self-control to remain gentle and respectful with him. The unconditional respect is the toughest when he is not being kind. This is definitely a refining process and a spiritual one that at times does not seem to even be about marriage, but about the woman God desires me to become.

Here’s the link to find out more about Nina’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

If you decide to take it, I’d love to hear what you think!

** This class is not designed for those who are being battered. If you are in danger, please contact your local domestic violence resources.

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13 Keys to Peace for Moms with Kids in Public School Today

I believe God can and will give each family the wisdom they need for each of their children at every stage about what kind of schooling works best for them. And I know that things can change for different children and families depending on many factors. So I am not going to advocate that all Christian parents must homeschool, must send their kids to private school, or must use public school. That is a matter of personal conviction and prayer for each family. God lovingly instructs us, in Romans 14, to extend grace and understanding to one another in the area of personal convictions.

This post is for moms who have children in the public school system right now and who are grappling with fear for their children’s safety.

We have two children in the public school system. In our area, we have been quite blessed because most of our children’s teachers have been Christians. We have had many very positive experiences with our school district, the teachers, the students, and the administration. Of course, there have been a few bumps along the way, too.

But I do have to admit, the shooting in Parkland, FL was tough. It definitely threatened my peace as a mom.

Every shooting is awful. Every single one tears my heart to shreds. This one hit me harder for some reason than all of the ones in the past. I didn’t even want to drive our son to his high school the next day. It was so tempting to react in fear. As a Mama, my first gut reaction was just to want to yank both of our kids out of public school.

Reality is – there are no ironclad guarantees our children will be safe at school – or anywhere else today.

How can I be peaceful when it feels like my children are potentially in danger?

It takes some spiritual wrestling to get to that place of perfect peace, but it IS possible in Christ!

  1. I have to get alone with God and feel my feelings first. I pour out my fears, my concerns, and my desires to the Lord.
    • It’s best if I do this first with God rather than unloading all of my fear on my husband, I have found. If I unload it on him first, he feels attacked. That makes things a lot worse.
  2. I seek to reject a spirit of fear because that is not from God.
    • I know I must take my thoughts captive for Christ. 
    • I have to be careful how much news I read/watch and how much Facebook I read. There are certain news outlets I don’t read/watch at all.
    • If I react out of fear, I will make destructive, horrible choices many times. I will play right into the hands of the enemy of my soul. I want to walk in God’s victory over my fear. I want to act in godly wisdom and faith.
    • I remember and declare out loud that God has not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7
  3. I pray and ask for God’s wisdom for my husband and for myself, for our children, for the administration at the school, for the teachers, and for our government officials.
  4. I invite God’s Spirit to pour His love, life, power, and healing into our schools. I invite the gospel, the Bible, and prayer back into our schools.
    • We have been teaching our children that there is no God, human life is an accident, there is no purpose for them. We kicked out God and the Bible and the gospel, but we did not kick out the darkness. Darkness has been running rampant. That is not God’s fault – it is the result of people’s choices corporately and individually.
    • The only way to dispel the darkness is to allow God’s Light to return. I beg God for a 3rd Great Awakening in our country including in our schools, churches, businesses, government, families, and communities, that our schools might become places of light, hope, truth, and the gospel.
    • I pray for the shooter – and many potential future shooters – to receive healing from Christ and to come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
    • I pray for God to redeem the situation and use this tragedy to bring the gospel to many people and to open people’s hearts to His love and salvation.
    • I can find others to pray with me or join www.momsinprayer.org.
  5. I remind myself who God is.
    • God is sovereign. He doesn’t cause evil. But He promises to use all things, good and bad, for the good of those who love Him. He is love. He is just. He is holy. He reigns over the universe.
    • He is with me. He will never leave or forsake me – or my children. I focus on His Word and His character.
  6. I remember that my trust must ultimately be in God. Not anything else. My hope and faith has to be 100% in Him.
    • I might read through some of the Psalms where David was being attacked by King Saul and his enemies and how his trust was completely in the Lord.
    • Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Ps. 20:7
  7. I thank God for this trial and rejoice at what He wants to teach me and how He wants to help me grow spiritually through it.
    • Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
    • I focus on thanksgiving and praise for the Lord.
  8. I do some research, if I think it may be time to change our children’s schooling situation. Maybe there is another school that might be a better fit for my child? Maybe I look into home schooling, a private school, or a charter school if I believe there might be a better alternative. I bring those options to the Lord first.
  9. I share my concerns and ideas with my husband respectfully. I share any alternative solutions I believe might work for our children if I truly believe they are not safe where they are. And I patiently wait for him to consider them. I don’t force my way or rush him. I give him all the time he needs.
  10. I hold the outcome loosely in my hands remembering that I don’t know all things like God does, trusting God to lead our children and myself through my husband. God has designated him as the leader – and He often nudges him in specific ways. I don’t know what is best. No human does. I have opinions – but God is already in the future and He sees and knows so many things I can’t know yet. His wisdom is infinitely higher than my own.
  11. I cooperate with my husband’s leading, unless he is asking me to sin or go against God, and seek to honor God’s order for our family because if I try to strike out on my own and do things my way without respecting God’s order in the government, at work, at church, or in my marriage, I may find myself fighting against God.
    • If we move our children to another type of schooling, I will trust God.
    • If we keep our children in public school, I will trust God.
  12. Then I continue to pray for everyone involved in my family, my children’s schools, the students and staff, our leaders, and our country. I trust God to lead our family through my husband. I invite God’s miracles and power and Spirit into the situation. I seek His glory more than anything else.
  13. I ask how God might want to use me to bless my kids’ schools and other schools.

My heart grieves so much over where we are as a culture. It is so obvious that we need God! We need His healing in our land! It is completely heartbreaking that we have so many people who are so broken, hurting, who feel so unloved, and who are so far from God that killing other people seems like the solution to them. If only they had the love of Christ! If only they knew the truth about their value to the Lord and the value of other people – that we are all made in the image of God. That we are all dearly loved by Him. If only they know that life – all human life – is precious and sacred. That we are all created with a high purpose. If only they knew what Jesus did for them and the Life and Love He offers them!

With the passing of Billy Graham this week, the gospel is being presented all over the world on secular news stations and social media. Perhaps God will even use the timing of his death at a time when many people are searching for answers from the shooting to soften people’s hearts to His message. There is also a major prayer movement with many believers in Christ pleading with the Lord for an awakening in Washington DC this week, as well. I believe there is about to be a MASSIVE movement of His Spirit – a tidal wave across our nation!

May God empower us all to grow like crazy in our faith in the midst of these trials and may His Spirit move mightily among us to draw us all closer to Himself than ever! And may He even use these tragedies to spur His people on to pray in the greatest Awakening the world has ever seen. Let’s come together in prayer, my precious sisters (and brothers)!

Verses about peace.

7 Keys to Finding Real Peace

 

The wicked band together against the righteous

and condemn the innocent to death.

But the Lord has become my fortress,

and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.

Ps. 94:21-22

Withholding Sex

Photo by Nik Lanús on Unsplash

First, let’s define “withholding sex” so that we are on the same page.

Withholding sex would mean – I purposely won’t have sex with my husband when I am actually able to. 

(This applies to both spouses, but I only write for women, so I will be addressing only wives in this post.)

In that moment, he would like to have sex, and I am able to, but I decide that:

  • I just don’t feel like it.
  • It would take too much effort.
  • I want to hurt/punish him by turning him down.
  • I don’t care about his legitimate sexual needs.
  • I don’t care that I vowed to be his “to have and to hold.”
  • I don’t care that he feels bonded emotionally to me through sex and that it would bless him, just like I want him to talk with me and connect verbally with me.

The main issue here would be my motives. My motives, as a follower of Christ, are to be holy, kind, honorable, respectful, loving, and good. My motives are not to be selfish, uncaring, apathetic, hurtful, or malicious.

Scripture teaches a few principles that I believe apply to how we are to relate to our spouses (and all people) and how we are not to relate to them:

  • Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Cor. 13:4-5
  • The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23
  • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb. 13:4
  • Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:19-21

(Check out the NOTES at the end of this post for a few clarifications.)

Let’s take a look at a passage in scripture about this issue:

“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Cor. 7:1-5

Each spouse is to voluntarily and willingly yield to the other. It is a decision made by each individual. It is not forced on anyone.

Some people misunderstand this concept of each spouse “having authority” over the other person’s body to mean that God is saying a husband can rape his wife or take sex with her by force. Or that a wife can violently force her husband to have sex with her against his will. That may be the world’s definition of “authority.” But it is not God’s. Let’s note that the passage never commands a me (or anyone else) to:

  • Take what I want.
  • Use violence to get my way.
  • Physically abuse my spouse, it is my right.
  • Be selfish if my spouse is sick, upset, or hurting.
  • All that matters is what I want, not what my spouse wants.
  • My spouse owes me sex, so I don’t have to have any concern for if this is a good time for him.
  • Be as thoughtless as possible.
  • My sex drive is the only thing in the world that is important.
  • My spouse’s needs for other things don’t matter.

The commands are given to each spouse to be giving, generous, and available to the other spouse when possible.

Sometimes spouses try to beat each other over the head with this passage, demanding sex from each other. That breaks my heart!

In God’s economy, “authority” is not about taking things by force. It is not about being a selfish dictator, tyrant. It is not about exalting self and selfishness. It is about humility, selflessness, and having a servant’s heart.

But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. Matt. 20:25-27

The one flesh relationship in marriage is supposed to be a beautiful picture of the one Spirit relationship we have with Jesus. Jesus doesn’t spiritually force Himself on us. Ever. He respects our free will to choose to abide in Him or not.

The goal is: selflessness. Unity. Oneness.

Sex is supposed to be a picture of the one Spirit relationship Jesus has with His people. It is supposed to be beautiful and a mutual blessing.

Each spouse should seek to be loving, kind, respectful, understanding, giving, generous, thoughtful, and sensitive to the other. It is about being selfless and loving with the agape love of Christ. It is about seeking to edify the other. Not about taking what I want for myself.

Scriptural principles prohibit believers in Christ from using violence or force to demand their way:

  • The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Ps. 11:5
  • Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isa. 58:4
  • Love does no harm to a neighbor. Rom. 13:10
  • Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Pet. 3:7
  • Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:19
  • Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:4
  • Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Cor. 10:24
  • We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Rom. 15:1-3
  • But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. … 2 Tim. 3:1-8

SATAN’S STRATEGY:

Satan’s strategy before marriage is to try to tempt us into having sex outside of God’s plan.

After marriage, his strategy is to tempt us into not having sex with our husbands. Or – to desire it with someone else. Again, he encourages us to go outside of the loving, good, life-giving boundaries God has set up in His design for sex.

Let’s not be ignorant of the enemy’s strategies to steal, kill, and destroy our marriages, our husbands, our ourselves, my precious sisters. In this area, or in any other.

PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

We invite Your healing Spirit into the marriages, families, and homes of all who read this post. We invite Your healing for spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy. We invite You to raise marriages up from struggle and pain to victory and wholeness. Lord, rebuke Satan and all of his plans to steal, kill, and destroy in our marriages. He has no authority in our lives anymore. We are dead to this world and we are under the authority of Jesus! Satan wants to divide us in our marriages. He wants us to hold onto hurt and bitterness. He wants to leave families and marriages in shambles. Let us refuse to cooperate with him and his plans. Let us submit all to You – Your Lordship, Your wisdom, Your glory, and Your will. We invite Your love and power to sweep through our midst and to bring new supernatural Life into our husbands, into our marriages, into every area of intimacy, and into ourselves. Let our marriages display the power, beauty, and glory of the Gospel. Not for our selfish purposes – but for Your Kingdom!

Amen!

COMMENTS:

I am not planning to have comments on this post. Thanks for understanding. No one answers to me. Or to any other commenters. I don’t want to create more confusion for anyone. Or become engaged in inappropriate conversations in mixed company.

We answer to the Lord and to our spouses on this issue.

If you have concerns about this issue, please check out what the Bible has to say. Pray. Take your issues to Him. Invite His healing into your marriage. God’s wisdom is really the only thing that matters.  (Please always compare anything I say to the Word of God.)

<3

Also, check out the resources below. 🙂

RESOURCES:

Let’s Talk about Sex – this post has links to all of my other posts about sex including resources for wives whose husbands want a lot more sex than they do and wives whose husbands want less sex than they do. It also has resources for wives who have pain during sex.

If your husband is purposely refusing to have sex with you, please check out Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.

A Precious Example – and in this post, a couple who has been married for decades shares what this concept should look like in practice in a Christian marriage in a beautiful way.

If one of you is struggling with porn or a sex addiction, please check out this resource www.xxxchurch.com. There are resources for men and women who want to find victory over porn addiction in Christ. There are also resources for spouses of those who are addicted to porn.

Forgivenwife.com is a resource for wives who have gotten into the habit of withholding sex and want to heal and change in Christ.

Unlock Your Libido is an ebook for wives who struggle with low libido and want to see God heal their marriage by His power.

If you want more connection emotionally/spiritually with your husband – I have a lot of resources on that here. My desire is to see marriages whole, vibrant, and healthy with strong intimacy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Leave me a comment on another post and I will help you find the posts that may be a blessing. Some examples might be:

If you have very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced, trustworthy one-on-one counseling.

If you need a referral to a Christian counselor, please check out the free service available at Focus on the Family.

ABUSE – if you are being abused by your husband (or wife) please contact a trusted, experienced counselor, your local domestic violence resources, or the police. Or get in touch with thehotline.org.

IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST – please read this post.

NOTES:

  1. I don’t believe it is “withholding sex” if a spouse is actually not able to have sex at that moment.  So if a spouse is very sick, in a lot of pain, is physically unable to have sex for some reason, is away from home on business, etc… the other spouse would want to seek to offer grace and understanding. Of course, if there is some kind of sexual dysfunction, disease, or emotional pain, a spouse would not want to ignore it and let it go on untreated. He/she would want to try to find healing for the situation so that one can try to be available to one’s spouse if possible. (If healing is not possible or may take some time, please check out this post.)
  2. Another situation where it may be unwise to have sex is if the spouse is involved in an unrepentant affair. I have seen God restore marriages after adultery, many times. But it is my understanding that the wayward spouse would need to repent and produce much fruit of repentance before a sexual reunion could take place. And the faithful spouse is not biblically required to take back the wayward spouse. But – they may decide to do so as an act of grace if the wayward spouse sincerely repents and trust is restored and they feel led to do so.
  3. If there is major tension or a wife is really hurting emotionally/spiritually – it is certainly fine for her to respectfully ask for what she needs to feel safe and secure so she can relax and feel right about having sex with her husband.
    • There are times when talking through something first is a necessary step to begin healing.
    • There are times when having sex first and talking later can be a wonderful pathway to begin healing.
  4. Husbands tend to connect emotionally (and sometimes even spiritually) with their wives through having sex. Sometimes husbands don’t have the same need for verbally connecting emotionally that wives do. We have different needs and ways of feeling connected. I’d love to see both spouses selflessly seeking to meet the other’s needs and being understanding and compassionate.
  5. Withholding sex before marriage is not a sin. It is obedience to God’s Word.

 

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

The book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman (which has sold over 11 million copies)  can be a wonderful tool to help us better understand our husbands and ourselves. It has been a blessing to countless marriages and he has written a number of books in the same vein that have helped many people, as well.

The five love languages Chapman writes about are:

  • Words of affirmation.
  • Quality time.
  • Receiving gifts.
  • Acts of service.
  • Physical touch.

From my perspective, it is ideal if both spouses seek to show all of these kinds of love to each other. There are always ways we can grow in showing love.

The book is most helpful, in my view, if we approach the issue like this:

  • X is my husband’s love language, so I am going to learn to start speaking love to him in ways that are more meaningful to him.
  • I also can begin to receive the love language my husband speaks and learn to receive love from him the way he tries to show love.

I have no problem with a wife respectfully asking for what she would like at appropriate times (without making demands or pressuring her husband):

  • Honey, it would mean so much to me if we could spend 30 minutes together tonight talking about our day. I feel so emotionally connected to you when we do that.
  • When you share words of affirmation with me, when you tell me when you see me doing something well, or you share verbal appreciation, that really makes me feel loved.
  • I am so excited that you got me a new coffee table! It is beautiful! I feel SO loved when you pick out a sweet gift for me.
  • Babe, I appreciate it so much when you take the trash out when it starts to get full.
  • I love when we get a chance to cuddle at night and when you play with my hair and show me a lot of physical affection.

However, a pitfall I have seen for some wives (with this or almost any book that talks about marriage) is that it can be tempting to start thinking things like:

  • X is my love language, and my husband isn’t speaking my love language.
  • My husband needs to start doing what I want him to do or he isn’t loving me enough and he isn’t being a good husband.
  • It is my husband’s job to make me happy. He is responsible for my emotions and for me feeling loved enough.
  • If my husband won’t speak my love language when and how I want him to, I’m justified in feeling resentful and bitter.
  • I may even feel justified to sin against my husband if he doesn’t show me love exactly the way I would like for him to.

The enemy would love to use anything, even a great book with many biblical truths, as a springboard to sinful thoughts in our lives. How we must guard our hearts!

CHERISHING RESENTMENT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION

It is very easy to focus on what we want our husbands to do to change. But when we do that, we begin to set up a bunch of expectations – some of which may not be very realistic. Unrealistic expectations invariably lead to resentment. And once we are cherishing resentment and bitterness, we tend to believe we can justify practically any sin against our men. This sin, when it is unchecked, snowballs and gets worse and worse. We may engage in things like:

Once we get into this mode, we are operating in the fruit of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. It is a recipe for pain and misery. For our husbands. For our marriages. For our children. And for ourselves.

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN CHRIST LEADS TO ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL LIFE

I know this is not a popular thing in our culture. But when I try to make my husband, my children, or anyone else responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing – I am living in a dysfunctional relationship – or sin. This goes by several names:

As a believer in Christ, my spiritual wellbeing is dependent on my relationship with Jesus alone. I am responsible for abiding in Him and being filled up with Him. I am personally responsible for confessing any sin and for finding my contentment in Jesus alone. I know that if I am experiencing the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-21) – it is about my character and my walk with the Lord. And I know that if I want to live in the power of His Spirit and have His fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)- that I am responsible to the Lord for turning away from every sinful thing and for yielding myself to the Lordship of Christ.

The way I act, the way I treat my husband (and other people), is about whether my sinful old flesh is in control or whether God’s Spirit is in control of my life at this moment.

In Jesus, I can be content in all circumstances – whether I am receiving love in exactly the way I would prefer or not – through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:12-13).

ASKING GOD TO CHANGE ME, MY PERSPECTIVE, AND MY HEART

It’s easy to pray, “God, change my husband!” And there are times when it is right to pray for our husbands to change – to have God’s victory over sin, to have more of His Spirit, to have His wisdom, etc…

But there is such a need for us to first pray most fervently, “Lord, change me!”

If my husband can’t or won’t change or won’t do what I would like for him to do, I can still live in the power of the Spirit. I can still live in God’s peace, joy, patience, and self-control. I can focus on the things God calls me to change – myself. And trust God to work on the things I can’t change – my husband.

I can invite the Spirit to work powerfully in me, my my marriage, and in my husband’s life for His glory, not for my own will. Here are some examples of how a wife might approach this issue in prayer:

  • Lord, help me learn to appreciate and receive the ways my husband does show love to our children and me.
    • He fixed the sump pump last week. THAT was real love right there. I can receive that act of service as a massive gift of love for me and our family.
    • He went with me somewhere even though it wasn’t his favorite place. That was a gift to me.
    • He asked my son to send a picture of my grocery list when he stopped by Walmart and he picked up everything on the list. Wow! He is my hero!
    • He took all of us to the movies over break. He is so generous. What a thoughtful gift.
    • He helped me take my car to the shop today.
    • He replaced my dead car battery last month.
    • He takes the kids to church on Wednesday nights when I am at work.
    • He sits on the outside of the pew at church on Sunday mornings so that he can try to protect us from harm if something were to happen.
  • Lord, help me not get so fixated on “my love language” and what I want that I miss the beautiful ways my husband expresses his love to me and to our children.
  • Lord, my husband isn’t as verbal as I would like. He only gives me a compliment once every year or two. I really love words of affirmation. But maybe You have things for me to learn in this situation. Help me to be open to receiving the lessons and spiritual growth that I can receive from You as I have a husband who is not super verbal. Help me realize that even though words of affirmation are beautiful and powerful, the way my husband shows love to me and our children is just as beautiful and powerful – maybe even more so.
    • Would words of affirmation have been as helpful when the sump pump was messed up and the toilets wouldn’t flush? No, not really. I do like having toilets that flush!
    • Maybe giving gifts is not my love language, but look at all of the thought and research my husband put into the gifts he gave our children, our extended family, and me. He is SO talented at that! It is not my gifting. But I can certainly appreciate that it is his gifting.
    • Maybe my husband doesn’t write me love letters or send loving/flirty texts or emails. I would like it if he did that. But he comes home every night and eats with our family. He is a good provider and a hard worker. He tries to protect us spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically when there is danger.
    • He doesn’t give me a lot of compliments, but he also doesn’t give me much criticism. That is sure a blessing!
  • Lord, help me to learn to give love (and respect – because feminine respect speaks love so powerfully to men) to my husband in the ways that matter most to him. And if something I do to show him love doesn’t really do much for him, help me to see how I can change my approach.
  • Lord, thank You for my husband. He is a gift to me from You. I’m going to write down all of the good things I can think about regarding his character and the things he has done for my children and for me in my quiet time this week.
  • Lord, help me to be a blessing to my husband simply out of a desire to please and honor You.

SHARE:

How has God spoken to you in this post or about these issues in the past? You are welcome to share insights you have learned or struggles you are having so that we might encourage and pray for you.

Much love!

 

 

 

 

Saying “No”

Photo by Michael Mroczek on Unsplash

Sometimes we struggle with telling people, “No.” We don’t want to seem selfish or ungodly. We don’t want to disappoint or upset people. But there are times when it is critical that we can give a firm, “No,” to people.

The goal is, we should be able to say, “Yes,” when it is appropriate and good for us to do so, and we should be able to say, “No,” when it is appropriate and good for us to do so.

If we always say, “Yes,” that is a problem. If we always say, “No,” that is also a problem. There should be balance so that we have godly discernment and can wisely determine when to say yes and when to say no. Ultimately, let’s always say yes to God and no to anything that is not of Him!

Let’s Be Honest about Our Yes and No:

Let’s mean yes when we say yes. Let’s mean no when we say no. It is not a good thing to say yes and resent other people because we feel like they should know we really didn’t want to do something. Let’s not expect others to read our minds – but answer in simple, straightforward, and vulnerable ways.

  • I like that.
  • I don’t want to do that.
  • I would prefer to do this, instead.
  • No, please stop!
  • Yes, I would love to do that.

How to Say No:

We can say, “No,” respectfully, gently, and clearly:

  • No, thank you.
  • I’m sorry, I can’t.
  • That is not going to work for me.
  • I’m going to have to say, “no.” But thanks so much for the offer!
  • That would go against God’s Word, so I am not able to participate.

I have found there are some really simple principles that make this much easier.

  • I don’t owe an explanation to people about why I say, “no.”
  • The more I try to explain myself, the more the person who is asking me for something will shoot down my reasons.
  • If they continue to press, I just continue to repeat myself respectfully, gently, but firmly. “I wish I could, but I just can’t right now.”

VERSES:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. t teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matt. 5:37

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Some times when “No” is appropriate:

  • Someone is asking you to clearly sin or go against God’s Word, even if that person is in a position of authority in your life.
  • When anything sinful is a temptation or anything that is clearly the invitation of the enemy.
  • When your sinful flesh is trying to convince you to do something.
  • If my husband is not on board with something someone else is asking me to do (in general – although there can be some exceptions).
  • If I would have to put this other thing above God, my husband, or my family.
  • When someone is clearly sinning against you – there are certainly times you may need to lovingly, humbly, respectfully confront them.
  • When something would violate your conscience may be a time to say no – after praying carefully about it and studying God’s Word.
  • When you are not actually able to do what the person has asked – either because of time restrictions, physical limitations, financial limitations, or other reasons.
  • When someone is asking you to do something you really don’t want to do. If a friend tries to pressure you to go skydiving, ride a roller coaster, or even go out to dinner – and you truly don’t want to go – there are times when it is wise to thank them for the offer but to kindly refuse. Of course, there may be exceptions to this. Sometimes you may not feel like going, but you may really enjoy yourself if you make yourself go. Or God may prompt you to go so you can be a blessing to someone. So – use wise discernment.
  • When saying, “Yes,” to this person would require you to say, “No,” to something more important. If your boss wants you to work on Sundays, but you really want to be able to go to church every Sunday, you may decide to decline the Sunday hours so that you can say, “Yes,” to being at church.
  • If you are going to resent the person if you say, “Yes,” there can be times it is better to decline. If someone asks you to watch their children 5 days per week for 3 hours per day for free, and you realize that this is an overcommitment for you and that you will feel bitter about it later – it can be better to respectfully decline the offer or to renegotiate so that you can give without resentment. Doing things for other people with resentment in our hearts is sin. We either need to be able to get rid of the resentment or we may need to be more careful about what we agree to do for others.
  • When saying, “Yes,” would end up filling up your schedule so much that you don’t have time for God.
  • When something would cause you to be a poor steward of your time, abilities, your health, your body, your walk with Christ, your soul, your finances, or God’s calling on your life. (Of course, sometimes God will call us to die to self – so this requires His wisdom and discernment.)
  • Someone is trying to hurt you or commit a crime against you. This requires a very firm, “No,” and you may need to literally fight to get away.
  • When you have prayed about something and you are very sure that this thing is not of God and is not God’s will in your life.
  • When something is a good thing, but is going to take too much time and isn’t in line with God’s assignment for you in that season. If the nominating committee at church asks you to work in the nursery, but you have a huge heart for teenage girls and you know that babies are not your gift – you may want to pray about the offer and then say that you would really prefer to work with the teenage girls. Sometimes, God may call us to do something that we are not as gifted to do – but many times God will use us in our area of giftedness. Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean  you have to automatically say, “Yes,” Pray about it. Seek God’s will and wisdom. If you are hearing His voice clearly, follow His lead. If you cannot clearly hear God’s voice, let me know and we will talk about that together.

Some times when “Yes” is appropriate:

  • When you are saying, “Yes,” to God and to anything He has for you even if it is scary – whether His Spirit is prompting you or His Word is directing you. (If you are confused about whether God is speaking to you or not, please seek godly counsel.)
  • When you know that God has a particular ministry or task for you to do – even if you don’t feel like doing it.
  • When someone in a position of authority in your life asks you to do something that is not sinful – even if you don’t feel like doing it. If a police officer pulls you over – cooperate with him/her. Be respectful. Honor and obey what the officer asks you to do – unless the officer asks you to do something immoral, unethical, or illegal. If your boss asks you to do something that is not against God’s Word, honor your boss’s leadership. Of course, if you have concerns, you may respectfully share them in appropriate ways.
  • When you know an opportunity is from God.
  • When something would help you be a better steward of your life, your health, your body, your time, your finances, your soul, and God’s calling on your life.
  • When you want to do something and you are sure that you will not dishonor God by participating in that activity.
  • When this particular activity is clearly in line with God’s will and His priorities for your life.
  • When you believe God desires you to do something in order to pour His love and blessing into the lives of others and you are giving freely without strings attached and without resentment.

 

SHARE:

What have you learned about saying yes vs saying no? You are welcome to share!

 

RELATED:

The Snare of People Pleasing

Perfectionism

Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No

Am I His Prosecuting Attorney?

Me in 2003 – 5 years before the Lord opened my eyes

MY OLD WAYS

Ugh. This describes me for so long in our marriage. I would often decide we had an issue. I would think nonstop about it all day – determining all the questions I would ask Greg so I could verbally nail him to the wall. I was completely sure I knew all kinds of evil motives he must have had toward me. I spent hours carefully gathering my evidence against him so I  could prove to him how wrong he was with all of my strong arguments.

When he would get home – there was no happy welcome or smile from me on those days. I lit right into him. I was in “prosecuting attorney mode”  – determined to get him to admit how wrong he was and how right I was about any and every little issue as I cross-examined him under a microscope. That was all that mattered to me at the time – being right. I had no idea what I was doing to Greg or our relationship.

Of course, if he dared to address an issue in my life, even the smallest thing, I would all-out viciously verbally attack him. I was the only one allowed to do the questioning. I was the only one allowed to confront. Not him. I could disagree with him. But he best not disagree with me or he would suffer my wrath.

I was dumbfounded that I would ask all of my carefully crafted questions and he refused to say anything. Oh, that made me so mad! Fighting mad. I escalated my volume and vitriol when that happened, thinking he would surely answer me if I increased the intensity of my attack. I would make him answer! I thought he didn’t say anything because he knew I was right and he had no ability to defend himself against my superior reasoning abilities and character. I thought he was quiet because he was guilty of all of my accusations against him.

Many years later, after God opened my eyes to all of the sin to which I had been so blind for over 14 years in our marriage – I was able to finally see. Almost nothing about my husband matched up with what I had wrongly assumed for so many years.

Greg didn’t answer me because I put him in a no-win situation.

I had misunderstood his heart, thoughts, words, and actions completely. I was determined that I knew the truth and was right and that he was wrong. That was the only paradigm I would accept all of those years. And how could he even have started trying to explain anything – even if he wanted to – when my vision of him was so distorted?

It turns out, I didn’t know his heart at all. I didn’t know his motives. I was completely in another book – not just on another page.

What I thought was true all that time – really wasn’t. I had deceived myself. I was emotionally and spiritually completely exhausting to be around. I was verbally abusive. I didn’t call him names, generally. And I never cussed at all. I just took many verbal shots at him to undermine him, to label him, to condemn him, to blame him, to attack him, to show him how everything was his fault, etc… Then I resented him for being emotionally unavailable to me. He should love me more!

God! You need to change this man and change him RIGHT NOW! He is hurting me by not loving me the way I want him to. How could he be so cruel to me to unplug from me like this?

I don’t know if I could have understood back then if Greg did try to explain even if I had been willing to try to listen. I had no idea how different Greg’s perspective and mindset was. Usually, if he started saying something, I cut him off. I was convinced I completely understood the situation without ever hearing his side of things. I thought I already knew what he was thinking and what he would say. How I wish I had stopped attacking him and tried to listen.

To answer before listening– that is folly and shame. Prov. 18:13

GREG’S DILEMMA

So his choices at the time were:

  1. Try to explain himself, knowing I would refute anything he said that didn’t match my pre-conceived (and extremely inaccurate) notions.
  2. Fight me verbally.
  3. Say nothing to defend himself and just let me rant on by myself and continue thinking and assuming the absolute worst lies about him.

He knew it was futile to explain himself to me. He didn’t want to fight me. So he often chose #3 – which seemed like the lesser of all of the evils. He withdrew from me. He shut down. He became a shell of the man he was when we got married.

Turns out – husbands don’t really like to feel like they are coming home to a verbal firing squad or to an interrogation. Really, no remotely emotionally healthy person enjoys that. No one revels in the stress of feeling like a criminal defendant who is being cross-examined by a prosecuting attorney who has already judged him/her to be guilty. Most husbands want to have peace, harmony, joy, and contentment at home. They want to feel safe with their wives emotionally. Isn’t that honestly what we all want in our relationships?

WHOSE INSTRUMENT AM I?

How might we come across as if we are cross-examining a witness at a trial?

It is often our tone, our facial expressions, our emotional intensity, and our constant barrage of pointed, accusing questions.

It is extremely hurtful and frustrating to be utterly misunderstood, vilified, falsely accused, and wrongly condemned by someone who doesn’t actually know your heart and who isn’t even interested in trying to understand the truth or in trying to heal the relationship.

Ultimately, we long most for our husbands to share their hearts with us, to emotionally connect with us, to cherish us, love us, and adore us. So – let me just mention, my precious sisters – this “prosecutor” approach repels our men (and anyone else). It causes them to shut down their hearts to us. It does not make them want to open up to us and be vulnerable. They know they are not safe with us when we act like this because they are not safe.

It was sobering for me to realize that I was not acting in the power of God’s Spirit when I acted like a prosecuting attorney, like an accuser. In fact, I was acting like Satan and cooperating with him. “The accuser of the brethren.” I had actually allowed the devil to get a huge stronghold in my life. I didn’t realize it. I was blind to my sin back then.

I unwittingly invited him to set up a base camp in my heart and mind by holding on to pride, resentment, unforgiveness, etc… And I gave him free access to my thoughts, heart, mind, mouth, and body. I thought I was living for Jesus. My words often said I was. But the Holy Spirit was not in control. The fruit of my life was the fruit of the flesh not the fruit of the Spirit. I had allowed myself and my mouth to be an instrument in the hands of the devil to try to destroy my husband.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own
hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1

How I NEVER want to go back to that awful place again! I had a lot of repenting to do – to the Lord, to Greg, and to other people in my life, too.

 

Thankfully, there is so much hope for all of us in Jesus! We don’t have to stay in this awful toxic place where we destroy ourselves and our husbands and other people. Jesus can set us free from this snare. We can turn away from our sin and turn to Him to let Him cleanse and heal us by His work on our behalf on the cross! The Lord graciously healed me, and in time, He eventually also healed Greg and our marriage. How can I ever thank Him enough?

That same healing is available to you. You can have peace with God and you can live in peace, as far as it depends on you, in your relationships with people. The key is to know the Prince of Peace and to allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. He has to power to change us as we yield to Him in faith, trust, humility, and obedience.

I have so many posts that may be a blessing to you if you find yourself in this place where I was years ago. If you are ready to stop cooperating with Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy in your marriage and you are ready to cooperate with God’s good plans for your life and marriage, check out some of these resources. He can set you free from Satan’s prison just like He set me free almost 9 years ago.

RELATED VERSES:

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; he who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. Prov. 27:15-16

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Prov. 21:19

 

NOTE – This post is not designed for women who are truly in danger with abusive husbands.

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Posts about husbands being our idols – being enmeshed with them, expecting them to meet our deepest spiritual needs that only Jesus can really meet.

Posts about being enmeshed

Posts about being a controlling wife

A Fellow Wife’s posts

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Posts about fear – which is often the real motive behind my control

Posts about bitterness

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

If you have a very difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse, or seek one-on-one private counseling with a trusted, godly counselor.

 

Thriving in a Marriage without Sex If Necessary

Before we get married, we tend to think to ourselves, “Wow, once we are married, I’ll get to have sex with my guy any time I want! It will be AWESOME!”

There is often (but not always) a beautiful honeymoon period where both husband and wife are delighted in being together and enjoying sex together. It can be glorious. Sex is a beautiful gift of God to married couples. The ideal goal is for couples to have sex regularly and to both enjoy it together and for each to seek to be as available as possible to the other, to be compassionate, loving, selfless, and giving. Sex – the one flesh relationship – is intended by God to be a picture of the spiritual oneness of Christ and His bride, the church.

But what we usually don’t expect or plan for, is the reality that there are likely  to be many times in marriage when sex doesn’t or can’t happen. It can be for a large variety of reasons, but almost all of us experience some times where at least one spouse:

  • Has a major illness or injury.
  • Has medical issues that make having sex very difficult – lower back problems, pregnancy, bedrest, recurrent yeast infections, STDs, PTSD, arthritis, etc…
  • Suffers from sexual dysfunction or pain.
  • Is in the hospital for a while.
  • Is dealing with the needs of very sick young children who need almost constant care and attention.
  • Is extremely depressed or spiritually oppressed and can’t function in life in general and loses interest in sex.
  • Has a very different level of libido at the time.
  • Takes a medication (certain anti-depressants, birth control pills, blood pressure pills, etc…) that interfere with libido and sexual function.
  • Has a porn addiction that gets so severe that the spouse can’t function anymore sexually in marriage.
  • Is suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse and can’t seem to get past the fear, shame, and horror he/she associates with sex.
  • Is deployed or has to be gone with work for extended periods of time.
  • Has a completely different work schedule and you are never in bed at the same time.
  • Is so exhausted from working 70-80 hours per week that he/she has no energy left for sex.
  • Doesn’t recognize the signals the other one gives to try to initiate sex.
  • Has an affair.
  • Had an affair and it is not wise or safe to have sex again yet.
  • Decides to separate.
  • Determines to divorce against the other’s will.
  • Dies and the other is left alone.

Truthfully, as people age, things change sometimes. If you are not aware of this, let’s put it out there, ladies:

  • Men tend to peak in their sexual performance and libido in their late teens or twenties.
  • Women tend to peak in their sexual performance and libido in their mid thirties.
  • With increasing age, men are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and prostate enlargement – all of which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. It is not 100% of men. But it is an increasingly larger percentage of men over time.
  • As women enter peri-menopause, we are likely to experience vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal tissue which can create pain with vaginal intercourse.
  • As hormones begin to wane in older age, libido tends to decrease a lot. Some people do have sex into their 70s and 80s. That is awesome! But not everyone does or can. And that is okay, too.

So we are probably all going to face this issue at some point or another – probably not by choice. What can we do?

FROM A BELIEVING WIFE WHO HAS BEEN THERE:

Just like everything else in life that we have to face and let go of, if we are in a time where we have to be celibate, what will come up is our will in contrast to the will of God. That is always where the battle lies! When we can’t do, have, or be what we want, right now, that is what makes it so much harder to face and let go of it!

If we are in a time where we have to be celibate, it will come down to this: are we going to accept that this is God’s will for us right now? Or are we going to kick and fight against it, clinging to our own will in the matter, and seeking to make our will happen?

The reason it is so hard to do anything we don’t want to do is because we don’t want to do it!

We want something else, something other than God’s will at the moment! And that is the battle we all face in so many different things in life. But just as in this situation, the Lord is seeking to create in us the Spirit of Christ that lets go of all, empties all of self, that God may fill us up with His all! We have to let go of our own will in order to come into all that God is purposing!

The longer we cling to our own will and way in life, the more miserable, dry, and fleshly we become.

But the sooner we surrender to His will in any moment and season in our life, the sooner our heart is filled to overflowing with the peace, rest, and presence of God which FAR surpasses any fleeting sexual pleasure we may get by having our will instead of His!

He is seeking to make Christ Lord and our All-in-All when things in life do not go our way!! <3

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Here are some suggestions to prayerfully consider…

Don’t:

  • Resent God.
  • Focus on all that you are missing and how deprived you are.
  • Allow resentment to develop toward your husband.
  • Listen to Satan’s accusations against your husband.
  • Feed your mind and heart with lots of marriage resources about sex if you can’t have sex at the time and reading about it upsets you.
  • Read about how “normal men all want sex every day.” Not helpful. And not true.
  • Freak out.
  • Lash out at your husband in resentment or hatred.
  • Tell him how “he is not a real man” if he won’t/can’t have sex with you, insult his manhood, or call him names.
  • Look outside your marriage for sexual satisfaction (porn, raunchy novels, that guy that flirts with you at work, other women, etc…)
  • Talk to another man about how deprived you feel sexually.

 

Do:

  • Turn to the Lord in faith. Pour out your heart to Him.
  • Claim His promises to you and stand on them. (Ie: Rom. 8:28-29 and James 1)
  • Pray about the situation, invite God to heal your sex life and marriage. To work to accomplish His will and His good purposes to help you grow in your faith and in spiritual maturity.
  • Guard your heart from other men and from sources of temptation in the media.
  • Be willing to take care of any issues on your end so that you can be available to your husband.
  • Share with your husband what you would like, if appropriate – if it is possible for him – but don’t try to force or pressure him.
  • Respond with grace if he can’t or won’t have sex with you.
  • Focus on all of the good things about your husband and marriage.
  • Think about all the things you respect and enjoy about your husband.
  • Be available to help your husband respectfully with any issues he may have that are contributing to the problem.
  • Be his teammate.
  • Continue to respect your husband and to honor his leadership appropriately.
  • Enjoy affection with him if he is up for that.
  • Enjoy spiritual intimacy if he is receptive.
  • Starve your flesh by switching your thoughts from sex to the Lord, His Word, His love, His promises, and other things.
    • You can seriously dramatically lower your sexual desire level, if necessary, simply by diverting your thoughts. Then if sex becomes available with your husband again later, you can begin thinking more about sex to increase your desire level. How much you think about sex can raise or lower your libido level a lot.
  • Take your thoughts captive for Christ.
  • Depend on Christ for the strength you need to walk in holiness and self-control, be Spirit-filled.

 

NOTE #1 – If you are getting older and there are severe medical issues going on, and neither of you are really interested in sex anymore, give yourself and your husband some grace. Marriage books and blogs talk about how “men want sex” and “a man’s greatest need is sex.” Well, that may be true sometimes in certain situations. But as we age, things can change. You may be able to enjoy simply being sensual together. If neither of you seriously desires sex, or one or both of you are no longer capable of having sex, it is okay to let that go and just enjoy each other in other ways. Don’t let marriage books or blogs and the generalities they share make you worry about your marriage if you have a particular situation and medically can’t have sex and are both truly content with that.

NOTE #2 –  Reminder: Sexual refusal is not something either spouse should purposely do to the other. If your spouse is able to have sex but is purposely withholding, or you are able to have sex but are purposely withholding, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 addresses that. We are to be available to our spouses. Not to force them into sex or selfishly “take” sex. But each spouse is to be ready to freely and generously give to the other if it is possible.

SHARE:

Ladies,

If you have wisdom to share, you are welcome to share here. You can set up your name to be anonymous if you would like. And if you are struggling, you are also welcome to share and be encouraged here. 🙂

Much love!

RELATED:

Sexual Rejection in Marriage

When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

When Your Husband Rejects You

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Placing My Higher Sexual Appetite Under God’s Control – a guest post

Twenty Simple Ways to Enjoy Your Man

Handling a Very Delicate and Sensitive Matter with Respect – a Husband’s Impotence 

Encouragement for Military Wives Whose Husbands Are Deployed – a guest post

Nina Roesner’s e-course for wives in difficult marriages: “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”

 

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