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The Cure for My Compulsion to Control – Part 2

We are continuing a series that started earlier this month:

Once I see that God is God and I am not and I begin to rebuild my thinking on His Word and truth alone, I am ready to begin the next phase of healing from my controlling ways.

GOD’S TRUTH WILL SET ME FREE IN EVERY AREA

I allow God’s Light and Truth into the the deepest foundations of my spiritual beliefs about every topic. I invite Him to help me completely tear out my old foundations and fixed beliefs that I have cherished for so long. Then I invite the Lord to help me begin to build on Jesus Christ and His Word alone.

  • Anything that is not from Him has no place in my life and has to be trashed. It is poison.
  • Anything that is from Him, I must embrace wholeheartedly even if I don’t understand it or like it at first.

I have to be ruthless about this. And yes, it is painful. But extremely necessary.

This is the path to peace and miraculous spiritual healing and deliverance. If I don’t do this, I will suffer a lot more pain in the long run. This is not a one-time-and-done thing – it is the path I will continue to take for the rest of my life. There are layers that God will reveal to me and I deal with each one as I see it. It is part of the refining and pruning process.

I have to be willing to question the things I have believed – maybe things I have thought were true since I was very young. I need to question the things I learned and absorbed growing up and even as an adult. Just because I have thought something was true for a long time, doesn’t mean it is true. Just because it feels familiar and feels safe, doesn’t mean I can keep it.

It is ALL about Him from now on and about what He says and how He sees me and everyone and everything.

I read my Bible with new eyes, inviting God to:

  • Teach me!
  • Change me!
  • Heal me!
  • Show me Your wisdom!
  • Empower me to obey whatever You ask of me!

I commit that I will obey God and do things His way from now on – with any passage I can clearly understand. And if I don’t understand something in scripture, I will seek to understand and obey. I commit to learning sound doctrine and to handle scripture rightly. Whatever God asks me to do, I know it will be the best thing for me, for my marriage, for my family, for the kingdom, and for His glory. Bringing Him glory is my highest purpose!

For me, the next step in healing was to see God’s design for authority for His people.

GOD DESIGNED A SPECIFIC AUTHORITY STRUCTURE FOR ALL BELIEVERS

Authority

When Christ is Lord, I also yield to His structure of authority in my life according to 1 Cor. 11:3, Rom. 13:1-3, and other scriptures. I don’t buy the world’s messages or trust my own human reasoning.

God chooses to lead me (and all believers) through His Spirit, His Word, prayer, circumstances, and also through people in places of designated authority in my life: church leaders, government leaders, police officers, managers at work, my husband at home, and parents for underaged children. He provides people in leadership positions to protect, provide for, bless, lead, and create order for His people.

Of great importance – in God’s design, positions of authority/roles have nothing to do with a person’s value. This is the opposite of the world’s system where greater authority = greater value.

Every person has equal value in His eyes. Each of us are made in His image (Gen. 1:27). Men, women, different races of people, older people, young people, and babies are all precious and dearly loved by the Lord. We are all co-heirs with Christ (Gal. 3:28). If anything, God has a special place in His heart for those with the least amount of authority – children, babies, the unborn, orphans, widows, refugees, migrants, and the poor. The purpose, in God’s kingdom, for this authority structure is that those who have the most strength and power are supposed to use their gifts to bless, provide for, nurture, and protect those under their care. And those who are in positions to lead are held to higher standards by the Lord.

For more on the concept of God’s structure for authority in every area of our lives, please check out these foundational posts:

I need to know who has the God-given proper authority in various areas of my life.

I know that God has ultimate authority and sovereignty over the universe. Then when I understand what humans are in places of God-given authority and what their responsibilities are vs. what my responsibilities are – I learn to stay within my healthy boundaries and I don’t try to take on authority/decisions that don’t belong to me. If I usurp someone else’s position of God-given authority and try to do someone else’s God-given job or if I disrespect those in positions of God-given authority, I will bring judgment on myself according to Romans 13:1-3.

When I honor God’s design in any area of my life, including this one, it leads to so much weight being taken off of my shoulders and leads to His peace as I trust Him, honor His will for me, and don’t try to control things that are not mine to control. Then I am cooperating with and submitting to God rather than fighting Him. I can’t please Him if I am opposing His methods.

God leads His people through human leaders to teach us to trust Him and to increase our faith. He did it with Moses. Some men rebelled against the authority of Moses during the exodus – and they paid a hefty price (Korah’s rebellion) because:

God counts rebellion against people in positions of God-given authority as rebellion against Himself.

God also led His people in the New Testament through the apostles and then through elders, deacons, pastors, prophets, and teachers. He accomplishes His will through kings, queens, presidents, and governors. He works through our managers and bosses at work. He works through our police officers and military leaders. He works through our husbands – even unbelieving ones – to lead us into His will. And He works through our parents and teachers when we are children.

God always has a clear authority structure for us to follow. It is His choice and part of His wisdom to lead us in this way “through cords of human kindness” (Hosea 11:4). If a person in a position of God-given authority abuses that position or asks us to defy God or His Word, then we must choose to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). We don’t blindly follow people. We must use discernment. We don’t follow people into sin or away from God. God is the only one we can trust absolutely.

God uses our willingness to honor human God-given authorities to help us learn humility – which is one of the most important virtues in His sight – and to grow spiritually. Until we learn to properly submit to a person in authority, we can’t act as a person in authority in godly ways.

Note – I don’t want to allow people to abuse authority in my life and I don’t want to allow other people to take over the decisions and responsibilities that belong to me. If someone in a position of God-given authority is abusing his/her position, there should be other authorities over that person to whom we can respectfully appeal.

BEING IN A POSITION OF GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY

When I have a position of God-given authority – I am a boss, a government official, a police officer, a teacher, or a parent of underage children – I must humbly always keep in mind that the purpose of God giving me such a position is always to accomplish His will and His purposes. It is not about me. It is about taking proper care of His beloved people and about doing His will. It is about dying to self, not becoming a tyrant.

Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-27

 

 

Note – I have a whole chapter in my new book, The Peaceful Mom, that is releasing March 27, 2018 that may be a blessing. It is all about how we develop skewed thinking and how to correct it. There is a very helpful chart with a large number of lies we may be tempted to believe, the truth of the Bible, and scripture references to support those truths.

RELATED

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

 

Prayer for 2018

Ladies (and Gentlemen),

I invite you to take a few moments to pray together with me over your upcoming year,  your family, your church, this ministry, and the church worldwide. What an awesome privilege that God grants us access to the very Holy of Holies in heaven 24/7 through Jesus and His finished work on the cross on our behalf. We are already seated with Him in the heavenlies!

Lord,

We invite You into our lives to have full control. To be LORD over every area of our lives. You alone are God. There is no other. You alone are worthy of all of our worship, praise, adoration, reverence, obedience, love, sacrifice, and faithfulness. We want to start out this new year with a clean slate together.

CONFESSION

We confess our sins before you. Our own sins. Help us to see clearly anything in us that is toxic. Anything that is spiritual poison so that we can invite You to cleanse us and we can throw it away like garbage:

pride, self-righteousness, idolatry of anyone/anything (anything we desire more than we desire You in our hearts), lust, porn addiction, romantic novel/movie addiction, emotional affairs/infatuation with other men, adultery with other men, drug/food/alcohol/exercise addictions, any kind of addiction at all (they are all idolatry), greed, materialism, apathy, unbelief in You, lack of faith in You, love that has grown cold, hatred, contempt, bitterness, resentment, malice (desiring to harm someone else), taking vengeance for ourselves rather than trusting You to take vengeance, unforgiveness, unbiblical thinking, false doctrine, denying Your power, trusting self rather than You, denying the truth of Your Word, worldliness, trusting worldly human wisdom over Your Word, abortion, murder, abuse toward other people (emotionally, verbally, spiritually, financially, physically), words that speak death rather than life, words that destroy others, words that grieve Your heart, impure motives, selfishness, responding to other people’s sin with sin of our own, dishonesty, stealing of any kind, legalism (trusting our own work instead of Jesus’ work), grieving the Holy Spirit, gossip, gluttony, anorexia, bulimia, disrespecting You, disrespecting our husbands, disrespecting people in positions of God-given authority, divisiveness, unbiblical divorce, sexual sin of any kind, loving with strings attached, trying to control other people, anxiety/fear/worry, stinginess, contention, complaining, arguing, and anything else that displeases You.

We also confess the sin of our church before You. The sin of our church leaders. The sin of our nation. They include all of the sins listed above and even more. Racism, sex trafficking, legalizing and funding abortion, the opioid crisis, dishonesty, injustice, corruption, scandals, sexual sin, abuse of God-given authority, removing God from our schools/government/businesses/homes. Calling evil good and good evil. Forsaking the Bible. Forsaking God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Misleading the people. Promoting lies. Embracing heresy and false teaching. And so many more that are too many to even list.

We come before You like Daniel did – pleading for Your mercy over ourselves, our families, the church, America, and the nations of the world. Not because we deserve mercy. We do not. But because of Your Name, Your character, and Your love. We implore You to forgive us of our sin and to heal our land before we are completely destroyed by our sin. Time appears to be very short, Lord. It seems like we are in the midst of the Great Falling Away that is to occur right before the 7 years of the Tribulation. And yet, we know You will reserve for Yourself a remnant until Jesus returns. Let us be part of that remnant and let many turn to You in one more Great Awakening! We long to see You work in great power in our generation and in our land.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chron. 7:14

How desperately we all need Your forgiveness and the blood of Jesus to cover our sin and to pay for this massive sin debt.

We hate our sin. We turn completely away from it. We don’t want to live like this anymore. We love You! We turn to You for forgiveness to cleanse us from our sin and to make us pure and holy in Your eyes. We want to live for Christ and in the power of Christ. We can’t do anything good in our strength. We need Your Spirit and all that Jesus has done for us already to make us right with You. We receive His finished work on the cross on our behalf. We receive our identity in Christ.

We ask You to raise each of us, our families, the readers here on this blog, and Your church to be a holy generation. Spirit-filled people. Walking in the power of Christ and doing Your will and bringing about Your kingdom every day in our midst. Cause us to become a faithful, obedient people for Your glory!

We come before You humbly, with reverent fear and awe as we think about who You are. The King of the universe. The Creator of all that exists. The sovereign Lord Almighty who holds every galaxy and subatomic particle in the palm of His hand. We think about Jesus, as He appears in heaven right now:

One like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,  his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. Revelation 1:13-16

REQUESTS FOR OURSELVES

  • Take 2018 – all of it. Every moment and every day. It is Yours. I give it to You to do with as You see fit. Each moment is a gift from You. I am simply a steward of it. I want to use all of this time for Your glory alone.
  • Take my life. All of it. I give You my health, my money, my family, my marriage, my career, my house, my possessions, my friends, my church, my extended family, my city, my state, my country, and my world. I yield it all before You on the altar in heaven. I want You to have control over all of these things, not me. You have all wisdom. You are sovereign. I am not. You are God. I am not. You are LORD. I am not. I am Your humble servant. You gave everything to me on the cross. You held back nothing. Now I have the honor and privilege of giving You all of myself, all that I am, all of my future, and all that belongs to me. I die to my old sinful self. I die to my will. I no longer seek my will, but Yours alone. I no longer seek my glory, but Your greatest glory! That is truly all that matters.
  • I want to receive Your Spirit – all of it. I want to receive the fullness of my salvation. You promise to give me the power I need to walk in the victory of Christ.
  • I want to live the full-strength version of the Gospel. I don’t want to live a wimpy, watered-down version of the Christian life that is powerless, feeble, and weak. I don’t want to walk in defeat all the time, constantly entangled by sin. I don’t want a worldly version of Christianity that pleases Satan and grieves You. I don’t want to embrace a  wimpy gospel that denies Your power. I want to live like Paul did. And Peter. And the apostles. I want to have faith like Stephen, like all the people in the Hebrews 11 Faith Hall of Fame. I want to live in the power of Your Spirit to have great faith and to experience Jesus’ victory in my daily life like George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Ann Judson, Lottie Moon, Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. I want to see You do HUGE things in my life and in the lives of those around me. I don’t want to miss out on a single provision or miracle that You want to do in my life – not for myself – but completely for Your glory. I am willing to do anything to have more and more of You.
  • Surround me with Your hedge of protection from Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy my family and me. I resist the devil and yield myself to You. Place Your covering over me. You are my Shield and Fortress. You are my Rock and Defender. Set Your angels to stand guard over my life. Let Your Word and Your Spirit protect my husband, my children, our marriage, and myself from all of the fiery darts Satan plans to shoot at us. Help me to see the enemy’s strategies and not inadvertently allow myself to fall into his snares. I want to let You cleanse my life of anything that would give him a foothold.
  • I want to grow by leaps and bounds spiritually in 2018. I seek to feast on Your Word daily and be open to all that You want to show me. Only let Your Spirit teach me and reveal Your truth to me by the blazing power of the Light of Your Word. I want to absorb and receive every truth, every promise, every pearl of wisdom that You have for me. I want to drink in Your goodness continually. I want to receive every trial as a blessing by which I might grow in my faith in Christ. I want to count hardships as joy and as Your loving discipline. I am willing to learn to practice fasting. I want to be as close to You as possible. Teach me. Guide me. Lead me. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see all that You have in store for me.
  • I want my life to overflow with the fruit of Your Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23) in all of my relationships.
  • I want to know You more and to experience more and more of Your Spirit, Your presence, Your love, Your healing, Your goodness, and Your truth in my daily life.
  • I want to please You more than anything. I want to be a God-pleaser not a people-pleaser. I want my life to bring You great joy.

REQUESTS FOR OUR HUSBANDS, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES

  • Bring each one who is still lost into the Kingdom of Christ Jesus!
  • Let Your Spirit pour out in great power over my family this year to accomplish Your purposes and Your will.
  • Let my husband, my children, and my extended family be transformed and regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Give my husband and children a deep hunger and thirst for You, Your Word, and Your presence.
  • Expose any wrong thinking, lies, or sin in our family this year that we might repent and turn wholeheartedly to You alone.
  • Cleanse us of any spiritual poison and let us crave the pure milk of the Word and receive Your goodness.
  • Help us to recognize that people are not our enemies. We have enemies, but they are spiritual and unseen and we must use heavenly weapons to fight them, not worldly ones.
  • Help me to create an atmosphere where Your Spirit and my family members feel welcome, safe, loved, protected, and at peace and where Satan and his demons feel very uncomfortable.
  • Let our homes and hearts and minds be filled with Your praises, with thanksgiving, with Your Word, with Your presence, and with Your Spirit of unity, love, and peace.
  • Grant my husband the wisdom and discernment he needs to lead our family well according to Your will.
  • Let me bless my husband and children and speak Your Life to them, living as a godly example to them – not in my power, but in Your power alone.

We invite Your Spirit to enter into our homes full blast. Bring the spiritually dead to life. Cause those who are spiritually oppressed and sick to be raised up in Your strength and in spiritual health. We invite You and implore You to do all that You want to do in our midst in 2018 – in our homes, our families, our extended families, at our jobs, in our coworkers’ lives, and in our churches. Strengthen the persecuted church. Fill them to overflowing with Your Spirit. Use us to help provide for them materially. Use them to accomplish Your purposes and to bring many to Christ Jesus even in the face of the most fierce persecution and warfare. Thank You that You are doing that and that so many are coming to Christ in Muslim countries and in areas where believers are severely oppressed. Thank You that You have not left them or us as orphans. Prepare and equip us all for the persecution we will face as we live boldly for You.

We rejoice in Your provision. We rest in Your love and sovereignty.

Lord, we praise and thank You for all that You have done, all that You are doing, and all that You will do this year. We consecrate ourselves and our families to You. We rejoice and delight in You and in Your will for all of us!

Amen!

SHARE:

If you’d like to share a prayer for our sisters (and brothers) here in Christ in the comments, you are welcome to.

If you believe God is calling you to be a prayer warrior for this ministry, please let me know in the comments if you are interested in joining my email prayer team and I will get in touch with you to discuss things with you.

RESOURCES:

If you are interested in more posts about how to pray, check out these posts.

10 Reasons to Consider Fasting

Lord, I Don’t Want to Do Your Will

Dying to Self

25 Ways to Reverence God

Are You Giving the Enemy Authority in Your Life?

Yielding to the Lordship of Christ

If you want to go much deeper spiritually with Christ, check out these classics:

E. M. Bounds – The Necessity of Prayer (free PDF download and audio version)

Andrew Murray – Absolute Surrender (free PDF download and audio version)

 

How Can I Know God’s Will for Me?

Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

Sometimes, I think that we tend to assume that the most important things about God’s will are the external things. The decisions we make about who to marry, what job to take, what house to buy, what school the kids should attend, etc… But it is my belief that those things, though important, are quite secondary in God’s eyes to the condition of our heart, our motives, our thought lives, our obedience to His Word, our faith, our trust in Him, and our abiding in Him.

I believe that as we invite God to purge and purify us of all sin and unbiblical thinking, as we yield ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, as we feast on His Word, as we enter into praise, thanksgiving, confession of sin, and praying for our spiritual growth and for the needs of others and ourselves – He will lead us in all these other things.

If we want to know God’s will about the things that are not in Scripture, first, we must make it our goal to know – and obey – the things that God clearly declares to be His will for us in the Word.

If we will not obey His will in areas where He has clearly stated His will, we will not be able to discern His voice in the other areas. He only shares more of His secret will with those who honor His revealed will in Scripture. But the amazing thing is, as we are willing to allow His Spirit to empower us to obey the things we can clearly see in the Bible, He allows us to hear His voice more and more clearly about all of the other decisions we face.

 

GEORGE MUELLER’S APPROACH

George Mueller, arguably, had one of the most powerful prayer lives in Christian history. He founded an orphanage in England in the 1800s for the primary purpose of displaying to Christians how God is able to provide for those who trust Him and obey Him. Over his lifetime, without ever asking any person for money, God provided for him to care for thousands of orphans. Check out a bit of his story here.

1.—I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s Will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

2.—Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

3.—I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

4.—Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

5.—I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.

6.—Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

 

WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY?

God gives us many clear commands to help us know His will. This link shares a list of the commands of the New Testament. It is a great chart and resource.

(NOTE – I have not read all the other pages on the rest of this site, so I am not claiming to endorse anything else there. Thanks for understanding.)

Here are some examples of things that are clearly God’s will for us all as believers in Christ:

  • Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:4
  • Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40
  • Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
  • For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Pet. 2:15
  • For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality… 1 Thess. 4:3
  • Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10
  • He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
  • But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt. 6:33

 

RELATED

How Can I Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?

Submission (to Christ) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Why Should I Trust God? Why Should I Submit to His Lordship?

Finding God’s Will – posts by John Piper

 

Am I “Too Chatty” with My Husband?

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Ladies,

This is another one of those topics where the key is balance. It is entirely possible to be way too talkative. It is also entirely possible to be way too quiet. Of course, what you talk about or avoid talking about also matters.

When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is prudent. Prov. 10:19 CSB

How I used to hate that verse! Probably because I talked almost non-stop. But – now I recognize it is very true. I believe that it can be wise to look at my motives and expectations every now and then if I find myself wanting to talk a lot.

Note – I am going to be speaking in generalizations, by necessity in a post like this. Your relationship may not always follow every generalization and that is totally fine!

WHY DO I WANT TO TALK WITH MY HUSBAND?

Some Not-So-Productive Reasons

If these are the reasons I want to talk with my husband, I need to go to the Lord and deal with any sin or wrong motives in my heart first. Then I can consider talking with my husband when I have taken care of my spiritual issues and I am filled with the Spirit rather than controlled by my flesh.

 

Some Great Reasons

  • I want to bond and connect with words for awhile. But I realize he may not bond this way and I know how much listening and talking he can realistically handle and I respect that.
  • There is important information I need/want to share with him.
  • I am looking to him for his wisdom and advice about an issue I am having.
  • I want to brainstorm with him about some plans.
  • I want to hear about things that are important to him.
  • I want to learn more about his perspective, masculine world, and mindset.
  • I have some legitimate concerns to share respectfully with him.
  • I want to humbly, respectfully, prayerfully confront him about his sin.
  • I want to ask him respectfully for something.
  • I want to talk with him to process my feelings and thoughts about something.
  • I feel lonely and want to feel closer to him – but I know that my primary security and contentment is in the Lord.
  • I want to build him up, bless, affirm, respect, and honor him.
  • I want to connect with him spiritually – if he is open and receptive to that, but if he is not, I can handle that graciously.
  • I want to enjoy his company and be his friend.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

  1. When I want to talk to someone, I need to remember my audience.
  • Avoid topics he doesn’t really like.
  • Respect his preferences if he doesn’t want to talk about the news or something that is upsetting to him.
  • Focus more on things he enjoys.

2. Everyone has different preferences about how much they like to talk and listen.

  • If he is an introvert, you may want to keep conversations brief. He may actually enjoy some silence.
  • If he is an extrovert, he may enjoy longer talks, especially about things he likes.

3. There are times when it may be better not to have a deep, emotional, intense discussion.

  • One or both of you is sick, very hungry, or in significant pain – the flesh is weak.
  • You are hormonal.
  • It is late at night.
  • One or both of you is completely exhausted.
  • There is a very stressful situation.
  • He is watching his favorite football team.
  • He is working on a plumbing problem and trying to concentrate.
  • He doesn’t seem receptive.
  • You are in “flesh mode.”

4. Men sometimes associate talking with painful things like:

  • “There is a problem.”
  • “You are the problem.”

Not with:

  • “We are connecting and bonding.”

If you can make talking with you a pleasant, friendly thing, he may enjoy it more. 😉

5. If you just want him to listen, not to solve any problems, let him know that up front.

Give him a respectful heads up about that he is helping you by just listening for 10 minutes while you process your thoughts verbally. Most guys (not all, but most, in my understanding) don’t have this need and will feel like they need to fix things if we are sad or upset. If they know that just listening does help us feel better, and we show that we feel better after they listen, that can encourage them to want to listen more often.

6. A lot of men don’t really enjoy hearing every detail about our hobbies, friends, family, shopping experiences, etc…

We can sometimes easily overload them with a lot of minutia that may not be particularly engaging to them.

7. Men and women tend to talk differently.

  • Women tend to bond by talking face-to-face with words.
  • Men tend to bond by doing things together shoulder-to-shoulder, not face-to-face.

Face-to-face can feel rather emotionally intimidating to men at times. If you are watching them constantly, it can make them feel emotionally “naked” or extra vulnerable. They tend to bond just by being together and having shared experiences, or they may love to bond through sex with their wives. Just because he doesn’t bond in the same way doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to bond with you. Try to do some things that help you feel bonded and some things that help him bond his way.

For details about the research behind these tips, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s best-selling book, “For Women Only.”

SCRIPTURE:

Verses about talking too much

Verses about the wisdom of silence

COMING UP:

I hope to share on these topics in the next few weeks:

  • What to do when you really need another outlet for talking.
  • How to tell if you are too quiet with your husband.

 

SHARE:

What wisdom has God given you about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives? What struggles do you have in this area?

 

Much love!

RELATED:

Being Married to a Man Who Doesn’t Talk Much

Being Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally/Spiritually Shut Down

“We Need to Talk!”

Husbands and Emotions – multiple post links

A Silent Husband Shares His Heart

I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More

When Your Husband Needs Space

A Fellow Wife Thinks about Giving Space

How to Ask Your Man for Things Respectfully

How to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

 

“I Wish I Could Be a Homemaker Full-Time.”

Before we address this painful issue, that is such a sensitive one for so many wives, let’s go over some basics.
(Note – if you are in the opposite situation, I have a post for wives who want to work but whose husbands would like for them to be home.)
GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE IN OUR LIVES
Definitions:
  • The world defines authority as – tyranny, abuse, selfishness, lording power over others.
  • God defines authority as – shepherding, bringing order to society, nurturing others, providing for them according to God’s will, loving them, taking good care of them in a humble, selfless, sacrificial Christlike way.
  • The world defines submission as – slavery, being a second class citizen, having less value as a person, being a doormat.
  • God defines submission as – a voluntary willingness to recognize God’s ways and His wisdom and to accomplish His will by cooperating with His directives.
  • Positional authority – a person in a position of authority, like king, president, manager, husband, parent, or pastor.
  • Influential authority – a person who may influence the person in the position of authority like an advisor to a king, a deacon board to a pastor, an assistant manager to a manager, or a wife to a husband.
 
The way God works out His will in our lives is that He uses people in positions of “delegated authority” to help accomplish His purposes. He is the “direct authority.” But He gives His authority to certain people to help accomplish His plan. There are people like this in leadership positions in every area of our lives – at work, in the government, at church, and in the family (husbands and parents).
By God’s design, He chooses to lead us through imperfect people in positions of leadership.
 
If we are seeking the Lord’s will and yielded to His Lordship, part of what we will do is submit to human delegated authorities in our lives (unless they are clearly trying to lead us to violate God’s Word and principles).
 
God’s design for marriage is that the husband is in the position of “leader.” He is in the driver’s seat. Not because he is more important, more talented, smarter, or more valuable. Just because this is God’s design and His appointment to accomplish the picture He wants to accomplish in marriage.
  • The husband is supposed to represent Christ and His selfless, unconditional love, sacrifice, humility, wisdom, and servant hearted leadership.
  • The wife is supposed to represent the church in its relationship to Jesus in the way the wife honors, respects, and follows the leadership of her husband.
  • This portrays the gospel to the world  – and to our children. (Eph. 5:22-33)
If we usurp our husband or rebel against his leadership, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5) This is a weighty matter – of infinitely more significance than whether I work outside of the home or not right now.
Also, our children learn how to submit to authorities in their lives, including ourselves and our husbands, by watching our example of how we honor their dad’s authority.
 
MY SUGGESTIONS FOR A WIFE WHO WANTS TO BE HOME BUT HAS TO WORK RIGHT NOW
  • For financial reasons.
  • Because your husband wants you to work.
  • Because you don’t have a choice due to circumstances.
1. Submit first to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
Be completely yielded to Him, His will, His purposes, and His glory being accomplished in your life. Trust Him fully to lead you. Be willing to lay down your greatest dreams, desires, and fears before Him. Trust Him with them all and allow Him to do what He believes is best in your life. Seek His will far above your own will. This is “dying to self” or “taking up your cross.” Be willing to be content in Christ whether you work outside the home or not.
 
Give all of yourself – your body, your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your intelligence, your health, your time, your money, your resources completely to the Lord. Consecrate yourself and your life to Him. Hold your dreams loosely in your hands. Commit to doing whatever He desires you to do with all your heart in service to Him alone. When you have such an attitude, He will open doors that you can’t begin to imagine. Doors to opportunities that are infinitely better than your personal plans and dreams.
 
2. Submit second to the God-given leadership of your husband.
Your trust is ultimately in the Lord to lead you through this man, even though your husband is not perfect and he may not even be close to the Lord at this time. (If you are not yet married, please don’t marry a man who is not fully seeking to live for Christ as Lord on his own.) God is able to lead us in His will for us as we honor the leadership of those He has placed in our lives. God led Israel through Moses’ leadership. The people could not get to the Promised Land unless they honored and cooperated with Moses. It is the same for us. We can’t live in the center of God’s will if we live in rebellion against God’s authority structure in our lives at home, at church, at work, or in the government (unless the authorities are asking us to rebel against the Lord).
 
You cannot accomplish God’s will for your life if you rebel against your husband – or any other God-given leader in your life (unless they are asking you to rebel against the Lord).
 
Honor your husband’s request for you to work. Respectfully speak up about your limitations and needs. You can share your heart on the matter and say something like:
 
  • “Honey, I would really love to be home. It would be my dream to be home to take care of you and our family all the time. But I know that you are the head of our home by God’s design and I will honor your desire for me to work if you believe that is best for us.”
  • “If me working is the most important thing to you so that I can contribute financially, I will do my best to support your decision, even though I believe it would be most honoring to the Lord for me to be your helpmeet at home. I do need to let you know that I can’t work full-time and do all/most of the chores, cooking, shopping, and child care. That is too much for one person. I will still need time for things that are most important like God, you (and sex with you), the kids, exercise, and time to rest. Balance is going to be much more difficult if I am working full-time. So I would love to talk about how we might want to handle chores and household responsibilities so that neither of us are overworked or overwhelmed. I’d like to know that we can continue to touch base and negotiate together if there are issues in the future.”

You could also suggest a part-time job that may help you have greater balance between helping financially and keeping the house and children. Of course – there may be emergency situations where there isn’t a choice and a wife may have to handle everything, at least for a time.

NOTE – If your husband suggests that he stay home full-time and do the chores and child care and that you work full-time, let’s talk about that together before you agree to it. 🙂

 
3. Pray.
Invite the Lord to work. Ask for His will. Ask for Him to open doors and change your husband’s heart if it is His will. Invite Him to change the circumstances and provide more opportunities for your husband to bring in more income to feel confident to be the sole provider. Invite Him to change your heart and perspective.
4. Examine your motives and approach.
Be willing to examine your spending and expectations of lifestyle. Are you willing to give up eating out, vacations, frequent trips to the salon, fancy new designer clothes, expensive make-up, extravagant purchases, etc…? Have you been asking for a bigger, more expensive house or car? Let your husband know you can be content without those things if being a homemaker is what you believe the Lord is calling you to do. Perhaps your husband would feel better about being the sole provider if you are content with much less materially?  One reason some husbands feel their wives need to work, too, is because their wives talk about wanting bigger, more expensive houses, vacations, or cars. If those things aren’t really that important to you, your husband needs to know that you would be much more content with less things materially and that you are willing to stick to a realistic budget if you are only living on his income.
Go through the budget together and evaluate whether you working really does help a lot financially and whether it is worth the price. Write down all of the costs associated with your working: career wardrobe, gas, day care, eating out more because everyone is too tired to cook, less time to shop and cook so more expensive things are bought that are more convenient, time involved, etc…
5. Embrace the opportunity to be at work.
Thank God for having the opportunity to work if this is His will for you. Own it. Receive it. Decide that you are going to make the absolute most of this opportunity. Invite God into your home and into your work life. Invite Him to help you make both places sanctuaries of peace, welcome, hospitality, warmth, joy, love, and blessing. Ask Him to do big things in both places and invite His greatest glory into your home and work place.
 
Determine to use this time to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and to develop a much stronger walk with Him. Invite Him to show you what He wants to do in your life in this time and what He wants to teach you. Use this time to really seek God’s will and His glory for yourself, your family, and your work place. Be available to be an instrument in God’s hand to bless your family and coworkers/customers richly.
 
5. Avoid harboring jealousy, bitterness, or a critical spirit.
It’s easy to be jealous of women who stay home if you wish you could stay home. It’s also easy to harbor bitterness and resentment toward God or your husband if you don’t get to do what you want to do at the time. That is unproductive and toxic. Focus on being thankful for the situation the Lord has given you and on what He is calling you to do at this time.
And, as a reader mentioned, let’s also avoid judging other women who make different decisions. All of us get criticized no matter what choices we make in this area. That is hurtful. Let’s love, encourage, and seek to bless one another. Being a wife and mom is hard. Let’s not assume we know every mom’s motives or what is best for each family’s situation. We each answer to the Lord for these decisions, not to each other.
 
6. Remember that the dream of  being home all the time can easily become an idol.
Any dream or desire can become more important to us than our love for the Lord if we are not careful. Be sure to seek Christ first far above all else. Let Jesus lead you. Be content in whatever place He decides is best. Whether we are fulfilled or not is not really about our circumstances. It is mostly a matter of our attitude, our faith in God, and our willingness to develop a heart of thanksgiving. (Phil. 4:4-8, 12-13)
7. Savor the waiting.
Often, the waiting is the most important part of the answer to prayer. It is in the waiting that you learn to develop stronger faith and learn to trust God in spite of your circumstances. Check out “Waiting Becomes Sweet.” God may have reasons we will not understand until later for the delay or for leading us into a certain place
8. Remember that you are responsible for your thoughts, attitudes, words, emotions, and actions.
Realize that how you think, act, and respond to this situation is about whether the Spirit of God is filling you or your flesh is in control. Invite Him to intervene and see what He wants to do. Be open to the spiritual pruning and refining that He has in store for you first to help you become much stronger in your faith.
Sometimes life is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
It is in those moments that God often tests and grows our faith the most. We don’t know all that the Lord knows. We don’t know what He may be sparing us and our families from when He leads us in a particular way. We don’t know all of the blessings He has in store as we yield to His will. Our job is not to understand it all ahead of time but to trust Him completely to do what is ultimately best for our families, ourselves, and God’s kingdom in light of eternity.
 
Much love!

SHARE

If you have words of godly wisdom to share with other wives who are struggling in this area, please do! And if you are having a hard time with this issue, you are welcome to share in the comments. We can hash through some of these hard things together.

RELATED

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

My Posts on Biblical Submission 

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

Posts about Husbands and Leading

 

 

“My Husband Wants Me to Be Home but I Want to Work.”

What is a godly wife to do when she is the one who wants to work more outside of the home, but her husband wants her to be home and not work?
(NOTE – If you have the opposite situation, I have a post for wives who have to work but want to be home here.)
GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE IN OUR LIVES
Definitions:
  • The world defines authority as – tyranny, abuse, selfishness, lording power over others.
  • God defines authority as – shepherding, bringing order to society, nurturing others, providing for them according to God’s will, loving them, taking good care of them in a humble, selfless, sacrificial Christlike way.
  • The world defines submission as – slavery, being a second class citizen, having less value as a person, being a doormat.
  • God defines submission as – a voluntary willingness to recognize God’s ways and His wisdom and to accomplish His will by cooperating with His directives.
  • Positional authority – a person in a position of authority, like king, president, manager, husband, parent, or pastor.
  • Influential authority – a person who may influence the person in the position of authority like an advisor to a king, a deacon board to a pastor, an assistant manager to a manager, or a wife to a husband.

The way God works out His will in our lives is that He uses people in positions of “delegated authority” to help accomplish His purposes. He is the “direct authority.” But He gives His authority to certain people to help accomplish His plan. There are people like this in leadership positions in every area of our lives – at work, in the government, at church, and in the family (husbands and parents).

By God’s design, He chooses to lead us through imperfect people in positions of leadership.
 
If we are seeking the Lord’s will and yielded to His Lordship, part of what we will do is submit to human delegated authorities in our lives (unless they are clearly trying to lead us to violate God’s Word and principles).
 
God’s design for marriage is that the husband is in the position of “leader.” He is in the driver’s seat. Not because he is more important, more talented, smarter, or more valuable. Just because this is God’s design and His appointment to accomplish the picture He wants to accomplish in marriage.
  • The husband is supposed to represent Christ and His selfless, unconditional love, sacrifice, humility, wisdom, and servant hearted leadership.
  • The wife is supposed to represent the church in its relationship to Jesus in the way the wife honors, respects, and follows the leadership of her husband.
  • This portrays the gospel to the world  – and to our children. (Eph. 5:22-33)
If we usurp our husband or rebel against his leadership (unless he is asking us to rebel against the Lord), we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5) This is a weighty matter – of infinitely more significance than whether I work outside of the home or not right now.
Also, our children learn how to submit to authorities in their lives, including ourselves and our husbands, by watching our example of how we honor their dad’s authority.
WHAT CAN A GODLY WIFE DO?
Here are my suggestions for a wife who wants to work but her husband desires her to be home (these principles apply whenever we don’t agree with our husband on an important decision):
 
1. Submit first to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
Be completely yielded to Him, His will, His purposes, and His glory being accomplished in your life. Trust Him fully to lead you. Be willing to lay down your greatest dreams, desires, and fears before Him. Trust Him with them all and allow Him to do what He believes is best in your life. Seek His will far above your own will. This is “dying to self” or “taking up your cross.” Be willing to be content in Christ whether you work outside the home or not.
 
Give all of yourself – your body, your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your intelligence, your health, your time, your money, your resources completely to the Lord. Consecrate yourself and your life to Him. Commit to doing whatever He desires you to do with all your heart in service to Him alone. When you have such an attitude, He will open doors that you can’t begin to imagine. Doors to opportunities and plans that are infinitely better than your personal plans and dreams.
 
2. Submit second to the God-given leadership of your husband.
Your trust is ultimately in the Lord to lead you through this man, even though your husband is not perfect and he may not even be close to the Lord at this time. (If you are not yet married, please only marry a man who is truly seeking to live for Christ as Lord. That is a command God gives to believers, that we only marry someone who is “in the Lord.”) God is able to lead us in His will for us as we honor the leadership of those He has placed in our lives.
 
You cannot accomplish God’s will for your life if you rebel against your husband – or any other God-given leader in your life.
 
God chooses to work through the leaders in our lives and to lead us through them. He chose to lead Israel in the wilderness through Moses. The people could not get to the Promised Land any other way than to follow and honor Moses’ leadership. It is the same with us. God chooses to lead us through our husbands and other leaders. So – seek to honor your husband’s request for you not to work in order to honor the Lord. You can share your heart on the matter and say something like:
 
  • “Honey, I would really love to work. It means a lot to me that I can have this job. But I know that you are the head of our home by God’s design and I will honor your desire for me not to work if you believe that is best for us.”

You can also respectfully ask for things you believe you need. You may also respectfully suggest that your husband consider the idea of you having a part-time job that may be a better balance for your family.

 
3. Pray.
Invite the Lord to work. Ask for His will. Ask for Him to open doors and change your husband’s heart if it is His will for you to work at a certain job. Invite Him to change the circumstances. Invite Him to change your heart and perspective. Ask Him to help you see and appreciate your husband’s concerns and perspective.
 
4. Embrace the opportunity to be home.
Thank God for having a husband who wants to provide for your family and who wants to give you this gift of being a homemaker and maybe you have children and can be home with them. That is a priceless treasure. If this is the Lord’s will and He is leading you through your husband to be here – own it. Decide that you are going to make the absolute most of this opportunity. Invite God into your home. Invite Him to help you make this a place of sanctuary, peace, welcome, hospitality, warmth, joy, and blessing.
 
Allow the Lord to lead you in opportunities to use your gifts and talents. Perhaps there are ministries you can do – with your husband’s blessing. Or maybe there are friends you can encourage. Or possibly there is time for you to read and study more about God’s Word or other topics, maybe even related to your education – with your husband’s blessing.
 
Determine to use this time to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and to develop a much stronger walk with Him. Invite Him to show you what He wants to do in your life in this time and what He wants to teach you. Listen to sermons, podcasts, and praise music while you work around the house. Take the time you need to exercise. Enjoy having balance in your life and living at a slower, more healthy pace. Focus on relationships. Practice ministering to your husband and children by keeping the house neat and organized. Run your home like you would an office – and let your motives be love, honor, respect, and grace.
 
Teach your children God’s ways. Mentor younger wives. Maybe you would enjoy cooking more meals from scratch to bless your family. Use this time to really seek God’s will and His glory for yourself and your family. Be available to be an instrument in God’s hand to bless your family richly.
 
5. Avoid harboring jealousy, bitterness, or a critical spirit.
It is easy to focus on women who “get to” work outside of the home. Or to focus on feeling resentful and bitter at your husband or God that you don’t have the situation you wanted. That is unproductive and toxic. Focus on being thankful for the situation the Lord has given you and on what He is calling you to do at this time.
And, as a reader mentioned, let’s also avoid judging other women who make different decisions. All of us get criticized no matter what choices we make in this area. That is hurtful. Let’s love, encourage, and seek to bless one another. Being a wife and mom is hard. Let’s not assume we know every mom’s motives or what is best for each family’s situation. We each answer to the Lord for these decisions, not to each other.
6. Remember that the dream of working outside of the home can easily become an idol.
Any dream or desire can become more important to us than our love for the Lord if we are not careful. Be sure to seek Christ first. Let Jesus lead you. Be content in whatever place He decides is best. Working outside of the home can be fulfilling. If it is God’s will. But being home can also be fulfilling. Whether we are fulfilled or not is not really about our circumstances. It is mostly a matter of our attitude, our faith in God, our willingness to develop a heart of thanksgiving, and whether we are walking in God’s will for us or not. (Phil. 4:4-8, 12-13)
 
Sometimes life is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
It is in those moments that God often tests and grows our faith the most. We don’t know all that the Lord knows. We don’t know what He may be sparing us and our families from when He leads us in a particular way. We don’t know all of the blessings He has in store as we yield to His will. Our job is not to understand it all ahead of time but to trust Him completely to do what is ultimately best for our families, ourselves, and God’s kingdom in light of eternity.
 
Much love!
SHARE
What has God shown you that may be a blessing to other wives struggling in this area? Or if you are struggling, you are welcome to share and we can hash through the tough issues together here.
RELATED

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by a minister at my church

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn helps women focus on the things that God desires most for us and how to align our priorities with Him.
Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley is an explanation of how much feminism has saturated our culture and how it has affected our understanding of femininity and masculinity. If your husband wants you to stay home, this book may open your eyes to a lot of great reasons why this may be a blessing.
 

“My Husband Wants Me to Do a Better Job Keeping the House Clean and Neat”

Spouses almost never have the same exact preferences and tolerances for things at the same stage in life. Sometimes, a husband wants his wife to keep the house very clean. That may feel like an impossible task, especially if you have young children or if you work full-time. There are only so many hours in the day, after all. None of us are superwoman, even though our culture would like to say we can or should be.

Some Unproductive Approaches

It may be tempting to explain to your husband:

  • All of the reasons why it is hard to keep the house clean.
  • Why it doesn’t really matter to you if the house is messy or not.
  • That you believe you have a greater obligation to take care of the children than to keep the house neat for him.
  • That he should clean it up himself if he doesn’t like it.
  • That you are not his maid.
  • That he is a jerk for wanting you to do a better job with the housework.

These would all be popular ways many wives handle such a situation. Unfortunately, those approaches will only stoke conflict, resentment, and defensiveness in your husband, most likely. You also may experience a significant loss of intimacy in your marriage because of the tension.

Here’s a little peek into a husband’s perspective in a situation like this:

  • Explaining why his priorities are not important to you and why things that matter to him are irrelevant to you will only make him feel upset. Maybe angry, even. Understandably.
  • Showing him that he is important to you and his priorities are important to you can lead to him softening and to greater healing for the marriage.

Imagine if Jesus had asked you to keep the house tidy. How would you respond?

Different Husbands Have Different Priorities.

My husband, Greg, actually wanted me to STOP cleaning so much when I first started this journey. He said I stressed him and the kids out by trying to have everything so neat all the time. I wanted the house to always look magazine perfect and, inadvertently, made the house being clean more important than the feelings of my husband and children. It was very challenging for me to let things go and to see a lot more mess than I liked, but I was able to see that it was a blessing to my family and my husband.

God tends to do this for all of us – use our spouse to help balance us out.

The Marriage Comes First.

You have a covenant with your husband that you do not have with your children or anyone else. If the children are having a crisis and true emergency, their needs may need to come first during that moment. But in general, your husband is to be your greatest human priority and ministry by God’s design for the family. (And you are to be his greatest human priority.) He is in a position of God-given leadership in your life. God chooses to work through the people in positions of leadership in our lives, including our husbands. When we honor these people and cooperate with their leadership appropriately, we are honoring the Lord and cooperating with His leadership and His will.

When the Marriage Comes First in Godly Ways, Your Children Are Blessed

Interestingly…

Taking good care of your marriage is one of the best ways you can take good care of your children. They need to see godly parents who have a harmonious relationship who are united, loving, and respectful to each other.

If a husband loves to have the house look neat and orderly – he is not wrong. It is difficult, with young children or a packed schedule, to have a clean house, to be sure. But…

Surely you appreciate it if he cares about things that are extremely important to you, even if they aren’t extremely important to him.

A More Productive Approach

Eventually,  Greg began to ask that we have the front foyer and steps picked up when he comes home. I was so excited! He wanted something to be neat and organized! So, I began to let the kids know,

  • “Daddy will be home in about 30 minutes, let’s get your stuff in your cubbies and take all of your things upstairs that are on the steps because he likes to see this area nice and clean when he comes home. This is a way we can show respect and honor to your dad.”

You can sincerely say something in a friendly way like:

  • “Sure, Honey.”
  • “Okay, I’d be happy to keep the house more organized. What things matter most to you so I can focus my time and energy there first?”
  • “Thanks for letting me know that this would mean a lot to you. What specifically would you like me to do?”
  • “Okay. If it is important to you, then it is important to me.”

Human Limits

Of course, there are limits to your human abilities. If you have young children, home school, or work full time, the house probably can’t be perfectly immaculate all the time. If your husband tends to be a perfectionist about the house being clean – it may be helpful to ask what his top 3 priorities are for the chores so that he can feel welcome and at peace and so that you and your children have something to work with that is actually possible to accomplish.

You may, after praying and seeking wisdom from the Lord, say something like:

  • “I want to do whatever I can for you to feel welcome and relaxed here. I want to find the right balance with work, the kids, exercise, time with God, time with you, and chores. Is there anything you see I could take off my plate or adjust so that I could have an extra X minutes per day to make cleaning a bigger priority?”
  • “Would you consider watching the kids on Saturdays for 2 hours so I can focus on doing some extra cleaning?”
  • “I’d love to do that for you. I’ll need X amount of time per day in the afternoon. Do you have any suggestions that might help me have more time freed up so I can work on the house more before you get home?”

If you and your husband both work full-time, if your husband is home all the time and you are working full time, if you have extra challenges like ADD, or you are pregnant or chronically ill, these dynamics can be a bit more tricky.

In situations like that, a wife may prayerfully say something like:

  • “I can homeschool or I can keep the house really neat.”
  • “I can work full time or I can cut my hours and be available to do more homemaking.”
  • “I wish I could do everything, but that is not realistic. What would you prefer for me to focus on? If you would like me to work full-time/homeschool the kids, I will need help with the chores or we may have to have different expectations about how clean the house will be.”

(Check out the comments for more suggestions.)

How This Simple Thing Can Be a BIG Win

You can choose to use this opportunity to bless your husband, to strengthen your marriage, to set a godly example for your husband, to honor him, to minister to him, and to set a godly example for your children. And they will get to learn to clean up in the process, to be responsible with their things, and learn to show respect for their parents and those in authority, as well.

It is a win!

  • A win for the gospel being displayed in your marriage.
  • A win for your witness to your husband (if he is not a believer or he is far from the Lord).
  • A win for your husband to feel welcome and respected in his own home.
  • A win for you to have the chance to minister to your husband and honor the Lord.
  • A win for your children to witness a godly example in your attitude and servant’s heart.
  • A win for your children to learn to clean up and show honor and respect.
  • A win for you as you have a cooperative spirit that draws your husband toward you rather than repelling him with contentiousness.

If You Are Feeling Overwhelmed, Pray Before You Talk with Your Husband

Pray and let God know that you want to honor your husband’s request but you need God’s wisdom about how to do this. He can often show you a way to do things that you didn’t imagine before. God can help you:

  • Find time-consuming things you can cut out of your schedule (especially time wasters like social media, surfing the internet, etc…).
  • Find more efficient ways to get things done.
  • Figure out how to teach your children to help with the chores so the burden is not all on you (if you have children).
  • Seek His wisdom about respectfully speaking to your husband about cutting your hours at work or him helping a bit more with the kids so that you have more time to devote to taking care of the things that are priorities to him.
  • Respectfully talk with your husband about ways to organize things together, organizational systems, shelves, more storage, etc… that could help make an uncluttered, neat house easier to achieve.
  • Have a discussion about things that can be sold or given away to make less clutter.
  • If you are both working full time and it is feasible, perhaps discuss hiring a cleaning service at times.
  • Talk honestly about whether it is best for the family for you to homeschool or work full-time or if things need to change.

Seek to Have a Cooperative, Honoring Spirit

Seek to honor your husband’s request for things, whatever they may be (if they are not sinful, abusive, or illegal), simply as a gift to honor him out of reverence for the Lord. As you let your husband know that things that matter to him are important to you – he will feel infinitely more respected and loved.

Most reasonable men, when they are feeling respected and honored by their wives, feel motivated to be more loving and to serve more in the marriage. Yet, regardless of his response, do things he requests whenever possible to bless him, to bless your children,  and most of all – to honor Christ as your Lord. When we do things that honor the Lord, He will reward us in heaven no matter what happens here on earth.

SHARE:

We’d all love to hear what things work for you in your marriage on this topic. Or what works for you to stay on top of chores. How do you find balance for all of the things you need to do? You are also welcome to share any struggles you may be having.

Much love!

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

Respecting Our Husbands As Fathers – Part 1

Respecting Our Husbands As Fathers – Part 2

What Is Respect in Marriage?

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully – you may need to ask for help at times, as well

Can You Overdo Respect or Submission in Marriage?  (The short answer is, yes!)

Submitting in the Small Things

I Can’t Have Needs. I Can’t Ask for Things. by Radiant

www.flylady.net – cleaning and organizing tips (I don’t personally use a particular system, some of my friends and readers like this system, though.)

I don’t want us to become perfectionistic or to idolize our husbands. There is a delicate balance that is healthy and God-honoring.

For wives whose husbands are truly unreasonable and/or emotionally abusive, please check out the free resources at <a href=”http://www.leslievernick.com/free-resources/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>www.leslievernick.com</a>

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Three strong believers share about finding contentment in Christ alone even in very painful, difficult, lonely situations where worldly peace and contentment are completely impossible. I pray their words and stories might bless you and your walk with the Lord richly!

From Sister in Christ #1 

I had to hit rock bottom and surrender everything to the Lord before I found that peace and trust in Him. I had to get to the point where I truly realized that my husband and my marriage had been an idol – that I had been depending on my husband to meet my needs, instead of God. So truthfully, the main reason I was so afraid of losing my husband (in the beginning) was because he was the one that I had been looking to – to take care of me, provide for me, love me, and fill me. I knew the Lord, but I had not been fully relying on God for these things – and I didn’t even realize that until after my husband left!

It took my husband leaving me for me to come to the end of myself and surrender to the Lord. And it took many months (actually over a year) before I FULLY trusted God with my life, my husband, and marriage.

I can assure wives that if they will press into the Lord and give Him total control, that they will get to a place of complete trust and have a peace that passes our human understanding! I’m sure there may be other problems on our spouse’s end, too. But the Lord wants to work on our hearts individually. The change has to start with us! There may be a totally different timetable for what God does in a husband’s heart and in the marriage, but the only time table that we have any control over is what we allow God to do in our hearts right now, even through painful, lonely situations.

I remember people telling me things like that and I would just get angry because I didn’t want to hear that I had no control over anybody but myself.

Control issues are rooted in fear – what do we truly believe about God?

  • Are there false beliefs about God that needed to be uprooted?
  • Do we see Him as being totally sovereign, 100% trustworthy, and that He is exactly who the Bible says He is – and that He can do exactly what the Bible says He can do?

That was another thing that I discovered in this journey, that I had false beliefs about God – I didn’t truly believe He had only the best plans for my life. I had to ask the Father to break many strongholds, and to renew my mind by His word.

I had to start speaking out scripture, and hear myself declare it, until I truly believed it.

 

From Sister in Christ #2

You know what? It would be wonderful to have Christ-centered human companionship always, but so often in life, only the Lord stands with us. For example, in 2 Timothy 4

  • “. . .At my first defense, no one stood with me, but everyone deserted me. . . . But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me. . . . So I was delivered. . .

Ultimately, it is just us and the Lord who have to cross the “Jordan Rivers” of our lives.

God makes all His best people in loneliness. That is so demonstrable. You study the great souls in the Bible, those great souls – they walked alone — alone with God. Just like great eagles that soar, they fly alone.

That loneliness is hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God is really within you. But that’s how you can tell He is really living in your heart. You will enjoy it!

God makes us His, alone. He takes us out to be alone to make us Holy. And Holiness is real Happiness. I believe it is because He knows how dangerous co-dependency is. Faith in Jesus combined with action is the only thing that will bring you contentment. I have to be alone very often because of my work and travel schedule. I was so worried when it all started, now, I can’t wait to get alone with the Lord. That’s how I fully refuel.

My goal is GOD HIMSELF. Not joy, not peace, not even blessing – but HIMSELF. . .my GOD.

I lived for the praise, acceptance, and expectations of those around me. Now, I have an audience of ONE. Also, He is now the only One who gets a vote on my worth and value. Jesus had an audience of ONE, His Father. Only God knows why He takes us along these paths. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and let Him direct us. He loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth!

From a Brother in Christ

Two weeks before our 10th anniversary my spouse walked out of the family home with my two children after engaging in multiple acts of adultery with multiple different people. I am now divorced (not my decision), I have sold that family home, split our assets, moved to a different town and have walked a LONG way through the valley of pain since that day.

When a person whom you believed would meet your emotional needs and create fulfillment within you fails to meet those needs, it creates a deep hole within.

We begin to question so many things!! We feel upset, angry, and fearful. For me fear was the overriding emotion.

  • What will this do to me?
  • What will this do to my children?
  • How will I ever heal from this?

At the point of my anniversary I had NO idea what to do or how to heal. But I came to a place where I genuinely surrendered the situation and the outcome of my life to God.

I did NOT have peace or joy when I surrendered it to God, I still felt the pain and fear but I had made a conscious decision to trust God with the process. It was a time of great trial.

Fast forward to nearly 7 months later and I was still grappling with the separation and pain, but still surrendered to God’s will and plan. At this point I was focused on a Christian book that used Isaiah as a springboard to talk about the healing that we can find in Christ. It talked about the fact that Jesus used these prophetic words to illustrate that He was the one who would bind up our wounds, heal our hearts and set us free. And I wanted that far more than anything else!

God graciously opened my eyes and heart to see that in Christ I was loved and accepted without reservation! That the only one who had any right to reject me actually chose to give His life for me!!!

As I saw this, my heart was set free from needing approval or acceptance from my spouse and I knew SO much joy. I knew that if I never had my spouse again I would be more than ok.

And, I am more than ok.

Nearly 2.5 years after my spouse requested a divorce, I AM divorced and all that I feared DID happen, plus more. The trials were so severe that I could not have imagined them. But I am 100% ok and I am thriving in all aspects of life. I enjoy companionship and the love and presence of God in a tangible, incredible way that I did not think possible before I experienced it. I have experienced answers to prayer, fulfillment, and joy that I had no idea was possible. Truly the treasures of heaven are found in Christ.

God has met my needs emotionally, spiritually and physically in every way I needed.

Interestingly, my prayers for a reconciliation were not answered and I realise now that those prayers were made because I wanted to find my identity in my spouse. God could not allow that, my identity must be in Him. Now, I do not pray for a reconciliation, in fact I am reluctant to consider a reconciliation given the history between us. Now I pray for my ex-spouse’s salvation and for my ex-spouse to experience God’s love, as that is of primary importance.

When we try to find our identity in another person we find ourselves in bondage to that person.

When we receive validation, we feel ok. When we do not receive validation, we feel awful. But, when we receive all that God has for us in Christ we can feel ok whether we receive validation from our spouse or not! The words and actions that our spouse gives can be received as a gift when they are positive, recognised as coming from a wounded heart when they are not positive or used as a springboard for prayerful, personal evaluation if they are suggesting things about an area that we may need to grow in.

I pray that you will be able to see again, or maybe for the first time, just what you are worth to Christ. He gave ALL that He was to purchase you, to have you for His own, He ADORES you and wants to know you and love you in a way that you can not imagine. I pray that you are able to release your fear and hurt to God and enjoy this day with Him.

SHARE:

If you want to share a bit about your story and how you are learning to find contentment in Christ alone, you are welcome to share. If you are struggling in this area and want to talk about it, you are also welcome to share.

Much love!

RELATED:

If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage, please check out the healing that is available to you in Christ at Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. There are lessons to read and watch. And there is a private forum there for women to heal and encourage each other.

A Big Lightbulb about True Contentment

Roots of  Insecurity

Finding God’s Victory over Fear

My Security Is in Christ Alone

A Lightbulb Moment about Loneliness

A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

I love to share individual stories, as I can, that bring glory to God. Even about extreme situations.  This is one wife’s story is about what God led her to do in her specific situation. Everything she did isn’t a blanket post for all wives with husbands who are drug addicts. But I am so thankful for her willingness to share. Her heart for Christ and her heart for her husband are the main things I want us to see. May each of us seek to hear and follow God’s Word, His leading, and His wisdom in our own situations:

——–

I felt compelled to write to you after looking through some of the comments on your posts. I see some broken women try to argue about some points you make and say that they don’t apply to their extreme situations. And I do know our God is loving and has a unique relationship with each of us, and there’s never a cookie cutter answer. But as someone going through an extreme situation, I’d like to say God’s Word and commands for us as wives still apply (maybe in a slightly different form, but they still apply), and your posts are still an incredible blessing!

My husband and I have only been married a year and 6 months, and it’s been quite the whirlwind. Early on in our marriage my husband relapsed into an old drug addiction. My husband came back from a Christian rehab program recently. The miracles God has done in both of our hearts while he was there and I was home were incredible.

But a few weeks ago my husband relapsed again.

I just finished your book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, a bit before I found out he relapsed. The first thought in my head was, “Why would God be teaching me to be submissive and respectful when I was about to get hurt again?” But then I realized our God is all-knowing and at the exact moment He was encouraging me to read your book and speaking great things to me through it, He KNEW what my husband was going to do.

Things went down very differently this time.

When he told me, I didn’t scream, throw things, or yell. I let go of my controlling grip on my husband and tightened my grip on our Lord Jesus. I found peace in Him. I told my husband I loved him over and over and that I don’t want him to condemn himself. I related to him because I, too, have backslid at different times in my life. No, I do not have addiction problems, but sin is sin.

His response was so loving, so apologetic. Last time it was all about him and his pain. This time he was concerned with how he hurt me. Yes, my situation is unique. It’s extreme. I had to be strict with my husband and take the wheel last week. With the help of our Pastor I insisted that my husband go back to the rehab program out of state. But I held tight to God’s commands to me as a wife. I held tight to respecting my husband. I didn’t add to his pain that I know he was feeling. I didn’t add to the condemnation I know he was pouring onto himself.

I tried my best to die to my flesh, and love like Christ loves. Christ dies for us even while we were yet sinners. I can love my husband, even while he is yet a sinner. Yes, in my unique situation, prayerful separation is necessary. But with my eyes locked on Christ and focused on the eternal, the thought of divorce is not even an option. The thought of anger and resentful emotions fade away. I have salvation, what more could I need? I am full in Christ. I am stable when God is my foundation.

Thank you again for your book and your posts! They made a significant difference in the way things unfolded this time. God is doing great things! <3

——–

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE ABOUT EXTREME SITUATIONS:

Note – this particular husband was repentant. If he were not repentant, a wife would probably have to adjust her approach to some degree. And if he were violent or dangerous, she may have to also adjust things depending on the situation.

No matter what situation we may face, all of us are called by God to respond without sin ourselves. Even when we are being sinned against. When we add our own sin to our husband’s sin, it only makes things infinitely worse. When we respond in the power of God’s Spirit and wisdom, God begins to pour His healing into the situation through us. It may take time to see fruit. But we can know we are doing what God calls us to do when we walk in obedience and faithfulness to His Word by the power of His Spirit. His commands still apply to us. We just need to understand exactly how by His wisdom.

Nothing is too hard for God. No one is beyond His reach!

Please join me in praying for this wife and husband – for God’s healing and for His greatest glory to come out of this very difficult trial.

I don’t usually write general posts specifically for wives in extreme situations – where there are major drug/alcohol addictions, abuse, unrepentant adultery, criminal activity, demon possession, severe spiritual oppression, severe uncontrolled mental health issues, etc…   I don’t personally know what every wife should do in every possible situation.  I don’t have personal experience with most of these situations myself. People don’t need my wisdom or opinions. They need God’s Word and His clear direction. I know He has exactly what each of us need and that He can provide for our great needs out of His abundant supply.

I am so thankful when God uses what I have written to bless wives in many different situations  But I am also very concerned for my sisters who may be confused. I never want to add to confusion for even one woman. Sometimes women in situations like this can misunderstand important concepts like: respect, dying to self, submission, unconditional love, forgiveness, and trust because of filters they may have

Let’s talk about some things I have seen that are of great concern to me.

SOME WAYS WOMEN MAY MISUNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD AT TIMES:

Some women in very difficult marriage situations think dangerous things like:

  • Respecting my husband means respecting his sin and not intervening or using my influence authority for good in his life.
  • Submitting to my husband means I give up my personhood and become completely passive and just do whatever he wants me to do no matter what.
  • Submitting to my husband means I never say what I think, feel, or desire. I should totally give up my voice to be a godly wife.
  • Respecting my husband means I never say anything if he is sinning against me or our children or if he is doing something very wrong. I just cooperate with him no matter what. I ignore the verses in scripture about lovingly, gently, respectfully confronting sin.
  • Loving my husband unconditionally means staying even if our children and I are not safe and even if he is dangerous and not in his right mind. God hates separation and divorce, so He must want me to stay and endanger my life and our children’s lives. I ignore the fact that God also hates violence and oppression and that I have a responsibility to protect my children and myself if my husband is sinning against us or not in his right mind due to addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual oppression, or major unrepentant sin.
  • Jesus’ command for me to forgive unconditionally in Matthew 6:14-15 means I also have to trust my husband who is not trustworthy and treat him like I would if he hadn’t severely broken my trust. I don’t realize that trust is not an unconditional command – it is different from forgiveness and unconditional love. Trust must be rebuilt together in cooperation. It requires two people to rebuild it. God never commands us to trust untrustworthy people. We are only commanded to trust the Lord unconditionally because He is not sinful and unable to have wrong motives toward us.
  • God calls women to be weak and wimpy.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to disrespect myself and just put up with genuine abuse (I say “genuine abuse” because sometimes wives will use the word, “abuse” to describe things that are truly not abusive. Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe a husband’s godly leadership. “My husband is so abusive. He expects me to stick to a budget.” “My husband abuses me because he doesn’t want me to flirt with other men.” Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe any behavior they don’t like. “My husband reacts negatively toward me when I disrespect him.” Those things are not abuse. God hates abuse and so do I.)
  • I can be a godly wife even if I don’t spend time with God, don’t pray for myself, and don’t know Jesus closely myself. I can remain in spiritual bondage and oppression myself and respond rightly to my husband’s sin and issues. I can do this all in my own strength without God’s power and help.
  • I can’t respect (rightly relate to) God, my husband, and myself all at the same time. For me to properly respect my husband, I have to sin against myself or God.
  • Respecting and submitting to my husband means he is always right no matter what he does.
  • Respecting my husband and obeying God’s Word means I have to stay and it is a sin to leave under any circumstances.
  • Dying to self means I have to just suffer silently in every situation and act like things are fine when they are truly not.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to do anything to make him happy no matter what the cost to me or our children. If he is upset with me, it means I am wrong. End of story. My husband’s words, emotions, and decisions are the ultimate authority in my life, not Jesus.

If we have a skewed understanding of these key concepts or we idolize our husband’s approval rather than seeking God’s approval above all, we can end up making poor choices. That breaks my heart. So if a wife is in extreme situations like this and she thinks that respect, unconditional, love, dying to self, forgiveness, and trust mean things like what I just listed above, I would want her to seek godly, experienced counsel who could help her discern her thoughts and God’s Word rightly. I want all women to understand these critical concepts correctly because if we don’t, we can make some really terrible decisions for ourselves, our marriages, and our children.

THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD FOR ALL OF US:

If women are having trouble with these concepts or feel confused about what they should do, I would encourage them to seek godly one-on-one counseling with someone who is experienced with the issues they have in their marriages. Some women in very difficult situations are able to hear God rightly as they read my posts and respond in the power of the Holy Spirit to their husbands. That is awesome! I praise and thank God for this! Some women in very difficult situations may need resources other than my blog that are much more specialized for their particular needs. That is okay, too.

ULTIMATELY, WE ALL NEED JESUS AND HIS HEALING:

Jesus is the key and He is what we all desperately need. His Word applies to us all no matter what we may be going through. It is critical for us to have right understanding of His Word. How I long for each of us to experience the abundant Life He offers to us no matter what may happen in our marriages. My greatest desire is that we all end in the same place – JESUS – whether that is here or elsewhere:

RESOURCES:

I have many other resources, if you need something in particular, please let me know. And always check anything any human author says against scripture and seek to have a right understanding of God’s Word!

  • Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas may be helpful for wives whose husbands tend to be harsh with their children or who have anger issues.
  • If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage or you tend to have a husband who is very harsh you may find healing in Christ for yourself, and your marriage, in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.
  • www.hotline.org is for women in physically abusive relationships who may need to plan to get away safely.
  • Hopefully each woman can find a local body of believers in Christ who will be equipped to help her with any severe situations.
  • There are Christian resources for drug addictions – the most important thing is to have something that is biblically based on the power of Christ. Check with a trusted pastor or Christian counselor in your area for what may be the best fit for your situation.
  • www.xxxchurch.com or www.brentriggs.com also has helpful resources for porn addictions.
  • Some churches have prayer ministries where prayer warriors pray over people and see them set free from addictions, sin, shame, and even diseases. I would love for wives facing extreme trials to be able to be surrounded by spiritual support, love, and powerful prayer by the body of Christ. If your church doesn’t have a powerful prayer ministry, search until you find one that does and visit there for prayer if possible.
  • The posts I linked throughout this post may be a blessing, as well.
  • If your husband is violent, or threatening violence, or things are extremely toxic, please seek one-on-one, experienced, trustworthy help if at all possible. And if you need to contact the police and it is safe to do so, please do whatever you need to do to be safe.

SHARE:

If you have resources you would like to share or you want to share about God’s faithfulness in your situation, please feel free to share. If you are facing a great trial and need prayer for your situation, you are welcome to share that, as well.

Minimalism or Frugality Can Be Idols, Too

I have had times when I idolized things, luxury, and comfort. I wanted a really beautiful home where everything was perfect and looked like it came out of HGTV. And I have also been tempted to idolize minimalism/frugality in recent years. It’s funny how easily we can make almost anything more important than it should be in our hearts and minds.

I have to guard my heart and mind and make sure Jesus is on the throne. Not anything else. Not lots of lovely things. Not getting rid of everything. Nothing can come above the Lord in my heart. Nothing can get before my love for Him and my love for others and His Spirit filling me and empowering me to walk in holiness. In everything in the Christian walk, there must be proper balance and Christ must be at the center of it all.

It may sound weird that minimalism and wanting to get rid of stuff could be sinful. Here are some ways I could take minimalism too far…

I could:

  • Obsess so much about giving stuff away and selling things that it is all I care about – no matter if it upsets my husband and children or not.
  • Find my security and identity in having as few possessions as possible.
  • Judge others for “owning too much” in my view and for materialism.
  • Get angry with my family if they want to keep things that are not sinful to keep.
  • Be prideful and self-righteous about how few possessions I own and how “good” and “generous” I am.
  • Try to impose my personal convictions on everyone in my family even if they are not ready to take such a big step.
  • Become the “stuff Nazi” and condemn other people for having possessions as if things, in and of themselves, are evil.
  • Be bitter and resentful at my husband or family if I can’t give away or sell most of our things.
  • Focus only on this one thing and ignore all of the other things scripture commands for me to do as a believer – like loving the Lord wholeheartedly and loving others deeply.
  • Become resentful or upset about receiving gifts from other people who are expressing their love to me.
  • Make getting rid of things more important than loving Christ and loving and respecting my husband and family.
  • Disrespectfully and un-lovingly get rid of things that are important to my husband and older children without their permission.
  • Push my husband to do things that he is not yet ready to do and refuse to follow his leadership unless he agrees with me rather than waiting on the Lord to work powerfully in his heart.
  • Demand to sell the house and downsize greatly when that is not something my husband believes the Lord desires us to do yet.
  • Be discontent if I have to have more things than I want to have in my home.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11-13

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor. 13:3

RELATED:

Do I Love the Things of This World Too Much?

SHARE:

What has the Lord shown you about this issue? How have you learned to be content in plenty or in need?

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