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Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

This is a continuation of the post two days ago about how wives tend to have VERY specific and high expectations of exactly what it means to be a spiritual leader – and how many of the things we expect aren’t even biblical.  Not only that – but our expectations can lead to sin in our hearts (contempt, bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rebellion against our husbands or God, divisions, factions, fighting, hatred – and ultimately lost unity in our marriages and families).  When our children (and those around us) witness a marriage like this, they are repelled from Christ.

Let’s look at ways that husbands actually DO try to lead in their families.

There is a REALLY good chance that your husband is trying to lead you – but – are you listening?  Are you following?  Do you even acknowledge his attempts at leadership?

In real life, some husbands tend to lead in subtle ways.  They don’t necessarily announce – “We will now begin our 6:30pm nightly Bible study time.  Here is an outline of the books of the Bible we will be covering for the next 12 months.  There will be  a test every week and here is a list of all the Bible verses I expect each family member to memorize each week.  You will all be graded. There will be an essay question once a month, with extra credit options.”

I think sometimes we as wives tend to expect our husbands to stand in front of our families like a pastor or like a Sunday School teacher and teach for 1 hour every night.

I would like to suggest, that MOST husbands don’t follow that type of style, but they DO try to lead their families in many ways.

EVERY HUSBAND IS UNIQUE

Each husband has his own style, personality, perspective, gifts and strengths.  Each one will have his own particular brand of leadership – and it will change as he grows and matures.  But keep in mind that NO husband arrives to marriage completely spiritually mature and with a total grasp on godly leadership.  Godly maturity and leadership are developed over many years, decades even.  And the more we cooperate and support our husbands’ attempts at godly leadership, the more quickly they will learn and grow and honor God.

Also – remember that for a husband to be a great leader – he needs a great follower – you!  If you are trying to lead – you are not following.  If you are busy criticizing, you are not following.  It’s time for us to learn to be fantastic, supportive, encouraging, amazing followers!

MY HUSBAND’S BRAND OF LEADERSHIP

This section is a description of my husband’s particular style and how our marriage works now.  Your marriage may look different.  That’s ok.  Follow YOUR husband’s leadership and appreciate his strengths.  Admire and thank him often for what he does for you and your family.

My husband leads first of all by example, I believe.  Even when I was so disrespectful and controlling – my husband was peaceful, forgiving, patient, kind, generous and loving.  Back then, I thought I was so spiritually mature and “above” him because I read my Bible daily, I prayed a LOT (sometimes 4 hours/day), I wrote my prayers in a notebook, I could quote lots of scripture, and I “knew” how things should be.  But I held grudges, didn’t forgive, was very impatient, rude, condescending, holier-than-thou, disrespectful, prideful and was committing constant idolatry –  putting my own self and trying to have control up as idols in my heart.  I also put my husband and our marriage as idols in my soul.  And I didn’t even see it.  Like Eve, I was so blind and deceived, but I thought I knew best.  Imagine the blessings and miracles I missed out on for 15 years because of my disobedience to God’s Word and the sin I cherished for so long in my heart.

My husband leads in subtle ways, ways I used to miss:

  • He gives me direction and guidance.  Often what he is saying is really God’s Word to me – if I will but listen and cooperate.  My husband may say, “I think you are spending too much time blogging.  I want you to take a break and spend some time with the family for awhile.”  THAT IS SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP, LADIES!  Or he may say, “I think you need to take a nap today.  You haven’t been getting enough sleep and I can see you are really worn out.” Sometimes, he just makes suggestions. That is his way of leading me. He doesn’t usually give me “commands.”  I am wise when I listen to his suggestions.  The whole family benefits from my husband’s wisdom and leadership.
  • He helps me say no to unhealthy commitments.  He sees where I get out of balance or zealous to do something that might take too much of my energy and leave me drained with nothing but scraps for my family.
  • He disciplines our children.  My husband may be more strict or harsh with our children than I am.  Or sometimes, he may be more relaxed with them than I am.  But his powerful influence on our children is a HUGE way that he leads spiritually in our family.   If I cooperate with him, tell him my feelings and perspective, but trust him to handle situations as he sees best – my children learn real discipline, they learn to have godly character, they see the unity in our marriage and they see my example of how to submit to God-given authority.  My example is the standard upon which  they will base their own future submission to God and God-given authority.
  • He desires physical intimacy with me.  God designed sex to be the glue that holds a married couple together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Both the husband and wife are bonded to one another during the one flesh relationship with a cocktail of neurotransmitters and endorphins (a natural “high”).  And sex unifies the married couple spiritually in ways we can’t begin to fathom.  It helps to keep divisions away.  It removes tension and helps promote forgiveness.  This needs to be a HUGE priority whenever physically possible in marriage.  And I count this as one of the ways my husband gently leads me and creates a very loving, strong, tight-knit, unified, vibrant, flourishing marriage relationship.  It’s important to stop serving the family and just enjoy and savor each other.  Kind of like our quiet time with God rejuvenates our soul.  The relationship and intimacy is much more important than the to-do list. (If your husband is not interested in sex, check out this post. If you feel like a piece of meat to your husband, check out this post. I also have a number of others, send me a comment if you need more resources.)
  • He handles the salesmen and solicitors.
  • He gently confronts sin in me when he sees it.
  • He tends to see the big picture.  My husband doesn’t get bogged down in every little detail like I tend to do.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with all the daily little details and having my husband there to help me step back and look at the bigger picture saves my sanity many times!
  • He takes care of his own spiritual connection with God.  He decides how, when, where he reads the Bible and prays.  He seeks God’s will for his life and our family. I encourage and support him. But I don’t interfere with his relationship with the Lord or try to tell him what to do anymore.
  • He doesn’t get swayed by emotions like I do.  There are definitely times when my hormones and emotions completely engulf me and I feel like I am drowning.  My husband is my “second rock” (Jesus is my first!) and he can help pull me up onto dry ground if I am willing.  There are times when I know I can’t rely on my feelings, and during those stormy days, I trust my husband’s words, his love for me, God’s Words and His love for me – and I don’t trust my feelings.  I keep my eyes on Christ and I keep my eyes on my husband and hang on tight, knowing that my feelings will settle down in a few days.  I don’t allow myself to be tossed about by my hormones and feelings.  I trust God and my husband and don’t lean on my own understanding.  My faith in Christ and my man are much greater now than my faith in my own wisdom or my emotions.  My husband can pull me up onto the rock of his steady soul and he is a resting place, a safe place for me.
  • He takes responsibility now for the ultimate decisions.  This is a HUGE relief for me!  I couldn’t carry all that weight.  It overwhelmed me before.  Now, I am so FREE!  I can share my perspective, my feelings and desires, but then I trust my husband and God to work out each decision for what is in my best interests.  I can’t always see what is best.  When I try to lead, I take us the wrong way. I feel such weight off my soul since I know HE is the one who will answer to God, not me.  What a blessing!  I feel safe, protected and cherished.
  • He handles the finances now.   I took care of the finances for the first 16 years of our marriage or more.  And that was ok.  But it ended up that I was telling my husband what to do (when my hours were suddenly cut at work) – and that didn’t really work well.  I told my husband, “I can’t handle the finances anymore.  Here are the accounts and passwords.  Thank you for taking over.”  And then I left it with him and never touched it again.  He is saving us money in ways I had never even thought about!  And he feels the full weight of his accountability this way.  So he makes very wise decisions.  Also, he is able to treat me by taking me out to dinner or buying me things and I’m not telling him he can’t do that.  He is MUCH more generous with me AND even more responsible now that he is in charge!
  • He drives when we are together.
  • He gives me the better vehicle.
  • He researches books on marriage for me and buys me lots of books about respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  He lets me share what I am learning and he listens and discusses things with me and shares his insights and perspective.
  • He takes time for himself to recharge.  Unlike wives, husbands are usually careful to have some down time so that they don’t burn themselves out.  I really admire this about men!  And he encourages me to slow down and just savor cuddling together and being together without running around like a crazy woman all the time.  That has been very healing for my soul!
  • He has fun with me and our children.  This creates a much more healthy balance for all of us than my constant seriousness did.  He definitely brings an amazing balance to our family that I was not able to bring when I tried to be in charge.
  • He stays calm and collected under pressure.  His ability to face difficulties with dignity, poise, strength, courage and self-control helps me be able to have those same qualities, too!
  • He is my compass.  If I am having a particularly difficult time with our children, I will ask my husband if he thinks I am being too hard on them, or unreasonable, or if he thinks I am being too easy on them.  His perspective helps me steer straight and not veer off too far one way or the other like I am prone to do on my own.
  • He makes the final decision.  I am free to suggest anything, to ask for anything, to want anything, to feel any way.  And most of the time, my husband does what I ask since he loves to see me happy.  But if we don’t agree – I willingly and cheerfully cooperate with his call on that issue.  If he made a mistake, I don’t hold it against him.  I trust God to use even his mistakes for our ultimate good.  I thank him for his decisions and for looking out for the best interests of everyone in the family. (There are times when a wife would not be able to submit to her husband, in certain situations.)
  • He is the one I go to first (outside of the Lord).  Whether it is good news, or a decision that must be made, or awful news – I call/text/email/talk to my husband FIRST about things.  I seek out his opinion and his wisdom before I make decisions.
  • He does a lot of behind the scenes work on my blog.  He helps find an audience for me and finds guest writers for me.
  • When I am confused about something – I go to him.  He also is always willing to listen and talk with me about issues that come up and spiritual topics – whether they are things I am writing about or situations people are in or family situations at home.
  • He decides how to use his time.  He decides what house project he wants to work on and when.  He decides his own priorities.
  • He arranges our vacations and finds great deals on them.

There are other ways, too.  But maybe this will give you a few things to think about.

What are some ways your husband leads you?  You are welcome to share!

Gentlemen, what are some ways you try to lead in your marriage and in your families?  What is your definition of spiritual leadership and what do you believe God calls you to do?

A Man's Perspective on "When a Husband Can't/Won't Lead"

Here is a comment about handling the issue of a husband’s seemingly reluctant leadership in marriage from Daniel P. Robertson at www.godshelpformarriage.com  This was his response to my post “I want to follow my husband.  What if he doesn’t lead?  How Can I Inspire His Leadership?” 

April, I think you hit the nail on the head with this. Most men find it difficult to lead their wives because of many of the reasons listed here. How is a man supposed to provide strength and leadership when every time he tries he gets shut down?

Most men love their wives, which is why her criticism is the hardest to take. The problem is, she’s often the greatest source of criticism in his life. It can be very wearing on a man’s sense of worth.

Ladies, if you want your man to lead it’s time to hand over the reigns.

And men, realize that your wife (usually) isn’t TRYING to disrespect you. Criticism is her way of communicating a need that she has. Her most important need is love, which in most cases you can show her just by listening to her and showing empathy. Once you’ve done that, try to find out if there is some other need she has as well..

“I Want to Follow my Husband. What if He Doesn’t Lead? How Can I Inspire His Leadership?”

 

It is a VERY tough position to be in to want to be close to God, to want to obey God and to feel like you can’t follow your husband. You may long for him to lead a family devotion time, or prayer time. You may want him to be the one to tell the children why it’s important to go to church or to plan out character lessons to teach each child. You may want him to work with the kids on memory verses. You may wish that your husband spent more time with the family and not so much time at work. You may feel like you HAVE to take over the leadership role because it doesn’t seem like he wants it. You might be praying every single day for God to change your husband and cause him to be more like Christ. You may feel like your husband isn’t as close to God as he should be. Maybe you don’t see him praying. Maybe you are in charge of the finances and working full time and keeping the house and taking care of the children and it seems like an unfair majority of the burden is on your shoulders. Maybe you ask your husband to help you, but he just ignores you and keeps watching tv. Maybe you tell him how unhappy you are and what you need and it feels like you are talking to a wall. Or maybe you try to draw near to him and tell him about your pain so he will see how much you hurt and fix it, and he gets REALLY angry and lashes out at you and begins talking about your faults. Maybe you ask for your husband’s input or decision-making and he just never answers or says the dreaded, “I don’t know” phrase or he ignores you, or just tells you to do whatever you want and you feel like he doesn’t care and isn’t plugged in to the family and the marriage.

If these things sound familiar to you – you are not alone! Many wives feel like this and struggle daily with these same issues. Yes, this situation is extremely discouraging and may begin to make you think that your husband just doesn’t love you anymore or that following your husband’s leadership just isn’t possible in your case. You might think he can’t lead the family. You might just write him off as not being able to ever “man-up” and take care of family responsibilities. You might be wondering why God isn’t answering your prayers? Why isn’t your husband changing? You are praying clearly for God’s will – a godly husband who is a strong, Christ-like leader for your family. Why on earth have your prayers gone unanswered for months or years or decades? Why doesn’t God hear?

Precious, beautiful wife, I obviously don’t know your situation. But God does! There is GREAT HOPE in Christ!!!! I am EXTREMELY far from being perfect. I have a very long way to go to be what God desires me to be. But God has brought me such a long way from where I was – and I thank and praise Him daily for that! He gets ALL the credit for anything good in me. And I get ALL the credit for anything ungodly in my life. I don’t deserve His grace, forgiveness and mercy. But I NEED HIM DESPERATELY!

I know the pain of thinking that my husband wasn’t leading me and our family. I know the burden of believing that I had to carry all that weight myself and it was too heavy for me! Maybe something about my journey can shed new light on your marriage, too? I pray that God will use my journey into being a respectful, submissive, joyful, peaceful, strong wife to teach other women and to bless other marriages.

There are several very central, CRITICAL truths I have learned as a Christian and as a wife that have changed my life and my marriage that I want to share (with my husband’s whole-hearted approval) with wives who might be in a similar place to where I was years ago:

  • GOD IS SOVEREIGN – EVEN OVER MY MARRIAGE, EVEN OVER MY HUSBAND, AND OVER MY LIFE.
  • I CANNOT CHANGE MY HUSBAND AND MAKE HIM MORE LIKE CHRIST. I can aggravate him, push him away from God, make him want to be far away from me and make us both miserable by trying to change him, make him dread being in the same room with me, but I cannot change him – not for the better! I am not the Holy Spirit!
  • GOD IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN CHANGE MY HUSBAND – HIS WAY AND HIS TIMING IS BEST.
  • MY JOB IS TO OBEY GOD ON MY END AND NOT WORRY ABOUT MY HUSBAND’S SIDE OF THE EQUATION, BUT TRUST GOD AND DO MY PART.
  • WHEN I DO OBEY GOD AS A WIFE, I OPEN THE FLOODGATES OF THE POWERS OF HEAVEN TO WORK IN MYSELF, MY MARRIAGE, MY HUSBAND AND OUR CHILDREN.
  • MY OBEDIENCE CAN REALLY SPEED UP THE PROCESS FOR GOD TO CHANGE MY HUSBAND.
  • MY DISOBEDIENCE CAN KEEP MY HUSBAND FROM HEARING GOD’S VOICE AND CAN PUSH MY HUSBAND AWAY FROM ME AND FROM GOD.
  • I HAVE A FOREST OF TREES IN MY OWN EYE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BEFORE I COMPLAIN ABOUT THE SPECK IN MY HUSBAND’S EYE.
  • I CAN DO NOTHING GOOD APART FROM CHRIST AND HIS POWER WORKING IN ME.
  • I AM UTTERLY SINFUL AND WRETCHED ON MY OWN.
  • I NEED TO LIVE IN HUMILITY WITH A VERY REAL AWARENESS OF THE MAGNITUDE OF MY OWN FAULTS AND HOW SMALL AND IMPOTENT I AM AND HOW HUGE, POWERFUL, SOVEREIGN, ALL-KNOWING, WISE, LOVING, MERCIFUL, FORGIVING AND HOLY GOD IS!

Whew! This stuff is ugly. I don’t really enjoy this part, but unless we open up our own souls and allow God’s Word to shine in there to the darkest corners, we can’t move on to the great stuff. I would like for you to consider some things and whether or not these may be possibilities in your heart and in your marriage as we think about the issue of your husband’s leadership in your home. We are only going to look at ourselves as wives in this exercise and how we may be contributing to the success or failure of our husband’s leadership in our marriages. Please stop and pray and ask God to give you insight and wisdom into your own heart and life, as well as conviction wherever it is needed from His perspective. Please meditate and pray about how many of the following may apply to you and your marriage – many applied in mine, but not all –  (if you are dealing with an active addict, someone chronically unfaithful, a hardened criminal, or someone with an uncontrolled mental health disorder – please get godly, experienced help ASAP! Following a husband in these cases could be very dangerous. Safety for you and your children is the priority if you are in a physically abusive situation!!):

  • If I ask my husband to make a decision, and he doesn’t give me a “real” answer within 5-30 minutes, I get angry.
  • I yell at my husband, throw things at him, and call him horrible names.
  • I attack my husband’s character when we argue.
  • If my husband asks me to do something I don’t like or don’t agree with, I refuse to go along with him. I will only follow if he leads where I want to go.
  • If my husband comes up with an idea or plan, I find fault with his thinking and his solutions and tell him that his way won’t work, only my way will.
  • I criticize my husband’s opinions, preferences, tastes, wardrobe, hair style, hobbies, thoughts, suggestions, and plans.
  • I react negatively when my husband tries to help me. He just doesn’t load the dishwasher right, or change the baby’s diaper right, or fold the laundry right. He never hears me praise him and say, “Thank you SO much for the help!” He only hears me say, “I’m going to have to redo it all the RIGHT way!” Or “Why can’t you ever get it right?” or “That is C+ work, not A material.” Or “You’re not doing it right!”
  • If my husband tries to please me, what he does is never enough, I always want more than what he delivered.
  • I frown at my husband a lot.
  • I sound angry, frustrated, impatient, and like I am reprimanding and scolding a naughty little boy many times when I speak to my husband.
  • My facial expressions, my tone of voice, my words sound condemning of my husband often.
  • I act disrespectfully towards my husband to show him that he needs to pull his weight more and love me more and to show him how unhappy I am.
  • I withhold physical intimacy with my husband to punish him.
  • My husband often rejects me physically – it feels like I am pursuing him and it seems like he has lost his attraction for me.
  • My husband tends to ignore me a lot.
  • I feel very lonely, like the whole weight of the entire marriage and family is on my shoulders alone. I feel overwhelmed by all that has to be done.
  • I have to take over leadership because my husband won’t lead.
  • I have very specific ideas about what a husband’s leadership should be and my husband is not meeting my standards.
  • I am always “right” and I make sure my husband knows that he is always wrong. My way is best. I know best what our family and marriage needs.
  • I don’t trust my husband’s ideas.
  • If I let my husband be in charge he’d destroy our lives.
  • I think my husband’s ideas are ridiculous.
  • I don’t think my husband can be an effective leader.
  • I think my husband is an overgrown boy.
  • I have to correct my husband when he is talking with other people or he gets things wrong.
  • I have to tell my husband what to do or he does nothing.
  • I’m very intelligent, strong-willed, perfectionistic, opinionated, and possibly some family members might say I could be “controlling.”
  • Thinking of yielding my control makes me have a panic attack. THE WORLD WILL FALL APART IF I AM NOT IN CHARGE!
  • I am exhausted from trying to take care of everything myself all the time. I don’t relax.
  • I resent my husband for relaxing and taking time for himself to recharge.
  • I cannot or will not forgive my husband for how he has hurt me in the past.

If some of these statements resonate with you – and you may or may not have been consciously aware that these are the things you have been thinking – I’d like for us to consider some things together. These may be kind of shocking to you. They may not all apply, but the ones that do apply to you definitely need to be dealt with between you and God.

  • Many of these ideas have a VERY prideful origin. “I know best.” “I know better than he does.” And it might even be, “I know better than God does.” THAT IS HUGE PRIDE! This is some of the most repulsive, nasty, cancerous sin from God’s perspective. I had to confess DUMP TRUCK LOADS of my own pride to God for a long, long time to begin to get my perspective straightened out and really see what God saw in me.
  • When the wife puts herself in charge (even if she thinks she “has” to – unless there is serious illness or an extended absence of the husband in the home), and takes over the husband’s God-given place of authority in the marriage, husbands usually either react with great anger or by unplugging completely and letting the wife be in control by herself. Husbands who feel steam-rolled by their wives are not going to sit there and take it. They go as far away physically and emotionally as they can or they fight and fight to the death for their honor.
  • Most of the sentiments above contain a large dose of DISRESPECT for our husbands. Disrespect isn’t really talked about much in our culture anymore. God commands wives to respect their husbands (I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22-33) and we may think that we are doing fine with that verse and easily gloss over one of the most critical components of a successful marriage – genuine respect for our husbands. I read that verse plenty of times and checked off, “Yep! I’m doing that!” and moved on through the rest of the chapter. I had no idea that there was an entire world of respect that I was totally unaware of. I had no idea how many seemingly insignificant comments and remarks I made, and the tone of my voice conveyed an almost constant disrespect to my husband. I HAD NO IDEA THAT I WAS WOUNDING MY HUSBAND AND BRINGING MISERY ON BOTH OF US! I always thought HE needed to change. I didn’t have a clue that my disrespect and my controlling attitudes were destroying our marriage. THAT WAS A BLOW THAT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. It sent me reeling for days at first. Then I decided that I was going to study respect and submission and become the best wife I could possibly be! I was so thankful there was something I COULD CONTROL and do to make things better!
  • Is it possible that your husband may feel so beaten down, so criticized, so condemned, so hated and so much like a failure that he has given up even attempting to lead? Every time he tried to lead, my way was better. Whenever he suggested something, I had all the answers and he was wrong. When he had an idea, it wasn’t good enough. Eventually he realized that there was no point trying to lead someone who “is always right.” OUCH! He NEVER said anything. He never said he felt disrespected. He couldn’t verbalize the problem. I had a toxic, critical, judgmental, un-forgiving, ungodly, negative attitude that is poisoning our marriage.
  • Especially Christian women tend to have very high expectations of husbands as leaders. We often expect them to lead Bible studies and prayer sessions out loud in our families. We expect them to know more of the Bible than we do. We expect them to talk about spiritual things a lot. We expect to see them studying their Bibles and praying on their own for hours every week. We want them to initiate prayer time with us every night. Unless your husband had a lot of experience praying out loud, he may not be comfortable praying out loud even in front of you – ESPECIALLY if you come across as being more spiritually mature than he is and as being better with words and knowing the Bible more than he does. He may be intimidated by you. He may feel like a spiritual failure compared to you. Maybe our expectations are unrealistic? Maybe our husbands lead in a lot of ways that we don’t acknowledge or even notice. It takes many years, even decades for a lot of men to learn to be strong spiritual leaders. We can be extremely impatient with our men and destroy their ability and desire to grow as leaders. If I really am more mature, I will be patient and not try to pressure or force things. I will remember I Peter 3:1 – Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.
  • Is it possible that my husband sees me as being “holier-than-thou?”
  • Men need encouragement, praise, admiration, a cheerleader, someone to say when they are doing things right! THEN they will have the courage to forge ahead into the unknown and intimidating world of leadership and try new things and grow stronger. He has to know he has my unwavering support and faith. He has to know that if he makes a mistake, I am not going to make a big deal of it. He has to know I trust him. THEN he will grow and become so much more the godly man that God desires him to be.
  • Sometimes husbands lead in subtle ways. They forgive easily. They don’t hold grudges. They are patient. They try to do what is best for the family. They continue to give of themselves even when their efforts are not appreciated. They have talks with the children about their attitudes and behavior. They try to help out when we are sick. They are generous. They are kind. They are faithful to us. They work hard to provide for the family financially – this is one of THE BIGGEST ways that most husbands try to show their love and leadership. They live with integrity. They try to do what is right. They show respect to others. I can learn to appreciate all that he does right and not try to put him in a little box of my specific expectations.
  • Maybe he DOES try to lead – or maybe he used to try. But whenever he would lead in a way that you didn’t agree with, you wouldn’t follow. That’s what I did, too! After a few years of leading and no one following, understandably, a lot of men give up.
  • If I am disrespecting the spiritual authority of my husband over me and trying to go around him to God to complain about my husband – God will not be pleased! My disobedience will grieve the heart of God more than my view on my husband’s lack of leadership abilities. My critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards my husband means that I also have a critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards the One that put my husband over our marriage. God does not hear my prayers when they are steeped in sin, pride, judgment and lack of respect for God-given authority!!!!
  • My faith in God is small. My understanding of God and picture of Him is small.
  • I am a pretty horrible follower and supporter!
  • I may be committing idolatry by putting myself in God’s place and trying to be God in my life.

If your husband has given up trying to be the leader in the marriage – you can give him the beautiful gift of your submission to his leadership! You can make things right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here are a few things you may want to do to begin to get back on track (pray and see if these might apply to you or if God might show you other ideas that fit your situation and marriage):

  • Confess to your husband what you did wrong and apologize. HUSBANDS ONLY REALLY NEED/WANT A SINCERE APOLOGY ONE TIME!!!!!!! “I realize now that I have taken over the leadership role of our marriage and I am WRONG for doing this! I have sinned against God and against you and our family. I apologize for not following your leadership. I’m so glad that God gave you the position of authority over me and over our family. I am stepping down and I want to support your decisions and trust you to do what is best for us from now on.”
  • Accept your husband for the man he is right now today even if he NEVER changes!!!
  • I am responsible to God for my own sanctification, growing in Christ. I don’t have to wait on my husband to help me grow or wait for him to “catch up.” If I am really growing in my relationship with Christ, I will be humble towards my husband and towards God and let them work out my husband’s spiritual growth. I will concentrate only on my own spiritual maturity and I WILL BE PRETTY QUIET ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS if this is a difficult area for my husband. I will let my husband see my joy in Christ, my humility before my husband, my respectful attitude and willingness to follow where he leads… THAT is what will help make my husband hunger for God!
  • Make decisions for yourself about things you are doing, eating, wearing, how you spend your time, but let him make his own decisions for himself and let him make decisions for the family.
  • Uphold his decisions in front of the children.
  • Speak and act respectfully towards him. Ask if you are in doubt, “Is this respectful?” “Was I just disrespectful?”
  • Listen when he talks to you – put down what you are doing and listen like you are interested.
  • Be encouraging about his ideas. Try not to squash his creativity, plans and ideas. Let him have room to think, dream and plan.
  • Don’t tell him what to do – if he asks, you can offer your perspective humbly.
  • Praise him whenever he leads the family, even in the smallest of ways, and does a good job!!!! THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT! You will help him build confidence in his abilities. If he hasn’t ever been the leader, be patient, it will be baby-steps but that’s fine!
  • If he makes a decision, back him (unless he’s asking you to sin) and support him graciously, joyfully, cheerfully. You may tell him your needs and desires and your feelings, but ultimately the decision is up to him. God gives him insight and wisdom he doesn’t give to you. This is about trusting God to lead you through your husband – it is about your faith in God!!!
  • Get rid of negativity!!!
  • Ideally, give him the finances. It often works SO much better when I am not telling him what to do and how to spend money.
  • If he decides to give you something, take you out to eat, go on a spontaneous vacation, SMILE, accept graciously and don’t question if he should or should not give wonderful things to you. Say, “Thank you! You are SO generous! You’re such a wonderful husband!”
  • Even if you feel like he is “leading you nowhere” – that is ok! At one point, I prayed, “God, I am willing to sit RIGHT HERE spiritually and geographically and never move another inch if this is where you want me. I trust You to lead me through my husband. I am NOT going to run ahead anymore. I will patiently wait on You if I sit here until I am 80!” It’s funny, it wasn’t long after I adopted that attitude that things began to go full-throttle!
  • Thank God for your husband’s leadership and spiritual authority over you daily.
  • Thank your husband for his leadership and spiritual authority over you – even if he is not a believer! Even if he is an immature Christian! God said the husband IS the head of the wife in Ephesians 5:22 – take God at His Word and thank God for His provision for you. God can and will use even a non-believer or a very immature husband to lead a believing wife who trusts in Him!
  • Have a willing spirit to be led by your husband and by God.

Maybe none of these things apply to your marriage, if so, I pray that God will direct you to the resources you need to apply to your situation. But if some of these things have been eye-opening for you, I’d encourage you to repent and commit to seeking God’s face and His will in your life and your marriage starting today!

I believe it is God’s plan to teach husbands to be effective, humble, servant-leaders in the world by learning to be a leader at home first. I believe that God desires to use the respect, admiration and cooperation of godly wives to shape men and instruct them in leadership in marriage. God CAN use your willing spirit to help mold and influence your husband if your heart is right with God and you are respectful of the God-given position of authority God gave your husband. What a high calling! We will also be influencing our children and showing them how to have a godly marriage – AND our obedience to God will draw many others to Christ!!!!!! MUCH IS AT STAKE HERE! I pray we act wisely and in full obedience and surrender to God.

Lord,

I know this is a very tough and very painful subject! You know how many tears I cried myself over these issues for so many years in my own marriage. My heart breaks with wives who are anxious, afraid, lonely, overwhelmed and scared to make these changes. I pray that You might show each wife how to take that step of faith and trust You to work through our husbands for our good and Your glory! Help us to see that You will catch us and that what seems so terrifying is actually a gateway to peace and the life we have always longed for. Give us girlfriends to encourage and sustain us! Give us prayer partners to pray with us. Help us desire to obey You even when we don’t completely want to and don’t understand Your wisdom. Help us trust You with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength! Open the floodgates of heaven on the women who have the courage to obey You in this area of following their husbands’ leadership! Let them see Your miracles! Let them find the beautiful place that this painful path brings us to – a place of joy, love, peace, hope, deep intimacy with You and with our husbands and abundant life! Don’t let Satan retain a stronghold in our hearts any longer! Let us sincerely repent of our sin! Let us turn to Your ways and begin the adventure of following You each day, anticipating all the wonderful things You will do to provide for us, protect us, and guide us through our husbands. Thank You for Your design for marriage! Help us to embrace Your wisdom and learn it and live it and then teach it to other wives! Use us to greatly bless our husbands, marriages and children. And use us to greatly bless the world with the fragrance, salt and light of Christ!

Amen!

"MY Man Doesn’t Deserve my Respect!!!!"

If this is how you feel about God’s concept of respecting your husband – YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! You know, probably just about every wife on the planet feels this way at some point in her marriage (or every day in some cases!) And it’s a legitimate statement that husbands don’t always deserve respect from their wives. There is no perfect man on earth. I won’t argue with that one lick! Husbands struggle just as much with the command of God to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. They also think, “You don’t know MY wife! No man on earth could love HER! She’s impossible to please! She’s impossible to understand! She HATES me and doesn’t respect me as a man.” And husbands are absolutely right, too! There is no wife who always deserves love. There is no perfect woman on earth either.

So we are at a terrible stalemate. It kind of sounds like marriage is a recipe for total disaster and torture. Husbands don’t always deserve respect. Wives don’t always deserve love. Men really aren’t made to give selfless love naturally. And women aren’t really designed to give respect naturally. We are all miserably sinful people. When two sinners are married, they will deeply wound one another, misunderstand each other, think the worst of one another, and may eventually declare an all out war on each other – destroying themselves and their children, but not knowing what else to do.

THE SHOCKING TRUTH:

Husbands don’t deserve respect – but THEY NEED IT DESPERATELY!

Wives don’t deserve love – but THEY NEED IT DESPERATELY!

Sometimes when we as women least deserve our husbands’ love is when we most need it. Sometimes when men least deserve our respect as their wives is when it is most critical for us to give it.

IT ONLY WORKS GOD’S WAY

God designed marriage. God gave us commands in marriage – and they aren’t random or extraneous. The commands God gave us are THE ONLY WAY that marriage works!

  • Sex is only for inside the marriage relationship – there is NEVER, EVER an exception.
  • A husband and wife must forsake every other relationship, including their parents, and cling to each other.
  • A husband must love his wife selflessly, putting her needs and interests ahead of his own.
  • A husband IS the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church.
  • A wife must respect her husband.
  • A wife must acknowledge her husband’s God-given authority and headship (leadership) in the marriage and family and cooperate voluntarily with his leadership (unless he asks her to do something wrong).

If we insist on going our own way, we will destroy our marriages and families with our own hands and words. We have much power in our marriages to build each other up and make our spouse’s life heaven, or to devastate and kill our relationship and experience spiritual/emotional/sexual death at our own hands. Doing things by our wisdom and what we or the world think is best or think is right is a guaranteed ticket to pain, loneliness, anger, bitterness, resentment, hatred and suffering for all involved.

If we follow all of these patterns in the way that God prescribes, we will experience marriage to the fullest sexually, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is a process. It won’t happen overnight, necessarily. God’s way is narrow and hard to accept. His way is VERY UNPOPULAR. But God’s narrow, difficult path leads us to holiness and to the most joyful, peaceful, blessed marriage relationship possible between every husband and wife! IT DOESN’T WORK ANY OTHER WAY! God’s way is the only way that leads to real intimacy and a healthy, thriving, beautiful marriage. And His way is the only way that produces godly children and prepares our children for healthy marriages, themselves.

First we have to die to ourselves, our desires, our plans, our thoughts, our wisdom. We need the power of God’s Spirit at work in us. We must humble ourselves before God and seek His face, acknowledging that He knows much better than we do. I must be willing to examine MY OWN contribution to the marriage and I must be willing to repent of every sin on my end. I have to stop looking at my husband’s laundry list of sins and only look at mine. I have to give up my MASSIVE pride and thinking I know best. I must become a diligent student of God’s Word and of what God says my husband needs and not focus on my own needs. I can look to God to meet my needs, and trust Him that He is going to take me and my marriage somewhere beautiful beyond description if I will commit to yielding myself to Him. EVEN IF MY HUSBAND CHANGES NOTHING ABOUT HIMSELF – God will change me, my husband and our marriage and family even if I am the only one who starts out on the path of obedience to God’s Word. Our God is a God of miracles and wonders! He is the loving, all-knowing Creator of the Universe and Designer of marriage. He alone holds the keys to abundant life in marriage.

God is concerned much more with using marriage to make me holy and more Christ-like than He is about my happiness. This is not a popular message in our culture of wanting everything instantly and where our own happiness is ultimate goal. I must be willing to lay down every idol that I have put before God in my life: my pride, my dreams, my goals, my happiness, my wants, my feelings, my money, my career, my health, my resentment, my anger, my bitterness, my grudge-holding, my refusal to forgive, my critical spirit. I must be willing to give up all of that and stop cherishing those things in my heart. And I must be willing to FORGIVE my husband LAVISHLY just as in Christ, God forgave me – or I will not be forgiven myself! I must be willing to embrace humility. I must be willing to give up MY rights. I must be willing to look out for the best for my husband instead of only looking out for myself. I must be willing to be the more spiritually mature one. I must be willing to live out the example of Christ’s love for my husband WITHOUT NAGGING OR PREACHING AT HIM! As I Peter 3 says, I can win my husband “without a word” by the reverence and purity and behavior of my life.

WITHOUT A WORD:

To a woman, there is no more difficult command than NOT TO TALK to our husbands about our faith, God and the Bible when we think our husbands aren’t right with God. (Our insight into our husband’s exact location in his faith can be very faulty, by the way!) The amazing thing is – our behavior is MUCH MORE POWERFUL than our words to our men! Our words, lectures, sermons, preaching, nagging, etc… just push our men away from us AND from God! If my husband believes that I hold contempt for him as a man and don’t respect him spiritually at all, my attitude will likely force him away from God, never to return again. But when my husband sees me serving him and God joyfully without mentioning his faults at all, and he sees me cheerfully accepting his decisions even when I strongly disagree with him, and he sees me putting all my trust in God and in him to work things out for my best… he is going to be DUMBFOUNDED. He will be confused. He will be intrigued. He will marvel at the Holy Spirit working in me to empower me to be pleasant, smiling, friendly, kind, and to admire him in spite of his faults. His own faults will be clearer and clearer to him without my constant rambling about it. Eventually, and it may take many years, he will want what I have! God can use the godly, Spirit-filled, respectful, peaceful, joyful character of a wife to draw a man to Himself. But our silence is pretty important! Our words about God/faith/the Bible must die and leave a respectful, quiet space for our men to hear themselves think and to be able to hear God’s still, small voice.

Precious wife, I know the struggle and the terror of realizing that I was not obeying God about respecting and submitting to my husband. I hurt our marriage deeply with my lack of respect (that I didn’t even notice!) and by me taking over and controlling things that were not rightfully mine to control. I am not speaking from some platform of perfection. But the GREAT NEWS that I want to share with you is that if you are willing to move in faith to obey God in spite of your fears, God can take you to the same beautiful place He has brought me! YOU can be a joyful, peaceful woman with a gentle and quiet spirit that does not give way to fear. YOU can learn to respect your husband – no matter who he is! REALLY!! You can learn to follow your husband and trust God to lead you and your family through this imperfect, sinful man.

God does not ask us to follow our men into sin. He does not ask us to respect what is sinful or unworthy of respect in our men. He does not leave us alone to learn to follow our husbands – this is about my trust in MY BIG GOD. I am ultimately not trusting my husband to lead me, I am trusting God to lead me through the spiritual authority of my husband over me. I believe this is my biggest test of faith as a woman of God! Do I trust God enough to allow Him to lead me through my husband?

Look for things in your husband that you can respect. Talk about those things. Build him up with your words. Give up the criticism, nagging, complaining, whining, correcting, instructing and overwhelming avalanche of negativity – which looks like hatred and contempt to your guy. Smile at your man. Praise him whenever you see him doing something you admire. Look at him with real adoration in your eyes again. Step back and follow his leadership even if and especially when you don’t agree. See what happens. He’ll start taking his decision-making much more seriously. He’ll feel all the weight of responsibility on him, and he will likely seek your opinion. Watch him stand taller as he becomes more confident in his leadership abilities. Watch what God does with his career and with his abilities as a dad and as a husband. God intends to use our respect and admiration to shape our husbands into the godly men God wants them to be! WOW! See if God doesn’t do some MIND BLOWING MIRACLES in your marriage like He has in mine!

Lord,

Help us to be willing to surrender to Your wisdom and Your plan. Help us to commit to obey You even when we don’t agree, can’t understand and are terrified. Give us the faith to live the way You want to. Cleanse us of our own hideous sin and make us godly wives who can bless, build up, encourage and bring joy to our husbands! Let us model godly femininity for our children. Let us model a godly marriage for our children. Empower us by Your Spirit! Let us find the grace, mercy and strength we need at the foot of the cross of Jesus to become the women of Your dreams! Use us to change our homes, our husbands and our nations to honor You and to restore stability, joy, peace and strength to marriages in our homes and in Your church across America and around the world! Let these precious women discover Your adventure for them. Give them courage to step out and follow You in faith! Use them to shine brightly for Christ and to change the world for Your glory – starting with each of our own marriages.

Amen.


Before and After Pictures of My Soul

I love before and after pictures.  I love to see before and after house renovation pics and also makeover pictures of people.  There is something amazing about being able to witness huge visual/aesthetic improvements in a place or a person.  Here I am going to give you some “before and after” pictures from my own soul.  The transformation has been extremely dramatic- and God is NOT remotely done with the renovations yet!  I am going to answer some of the questions from my last post from my own experience.  I really hate the before pictures, but they do help a body appreciate the after pictures even more!

BEFORE – when I was trying to be in control, or thought I HAD to be in control and when I didn’t realize I was being disrespectful to my husband:

  • I was NOT at peace – not with myself, not with my husband and not with God.
  • The thing that scared me the most was that if I gave my husband the leadership, he might ask me to do things I didn’t think were God’s will for me.   Or, he might not lead and we might just sit in one spot for the rest of our lives.  My biggest fear was that he would insist I would have to work more.  He talked about that a good bit since my hours had been cut a few years ago, and I really believed my calling was to be home with my children.  My job at the time was extremely stressful and I dreaded every minute of it.  I was SURE that if I submitted to my husband he would force me to work several more days per week and that it would be torture.  Not only would I NOT be home where I believed God wanted me to be, but I would be living under extreme pressure and stress without even the time to go to the bathroom or eat in an 8 hour shift.  We were so understaffed at the pharmacy where I worked I also was very afraid that I would accidentally hurt someone by misfilling something because I had to constantly rush and hurry and was still always behind.  If I was forced to work more against my will, I was very afraid I would greatly resent my husband and not sure how I could deal with that.
  •  I felt very lonely many times.  I wanted to be close to my husband.  I tried to be emotionally/spiritually close to him by talking about a lot of my thoughts and feelings, but he seemed closed off and far away.  I didn’t know how to reach him, where he had gone, or why.  Our marriage wasn’t bad (no abuse or major problems), but I knew it could be so much better and that we were missing out on a lot of intimacy.  But I just didn’t know how to make it better.  Giving him more love didn’t seem to help, if anything, I think it made things worse.  I didn’t recognize that I was in control and had left him out of the leadership position in many ways.  He didn’t seem to want to lead.  I would ask him to lead, and wait about 5-10 minutes – then if he didn’t answer or respond, I thought I “had” to take over.  I was IMPATIENT.  I didn’t realize that I was disrespectful and that he was protecting himself from my criticism and verbal attacks.  I didn’t know that he felt like there was no use even trying to lead me since I was “always right.”
  •  I often felt unloved and unappreciated.  I felt invisible.  I felt like I was unnecessary and unimportant in my husband’s life.  Telling him about these feelings didn’t draw him closer to me, it just pushed him farther away.  I didn’t know what I could offer to my husband that would be meaningful to him.  I used to ask him about that a lot.  But he couldn’t verbalize an answer.  I didn’t know what his real needs were and how much I could contribute to his sense of manhood.  And I didn’t understand the power in my own femininity or what made me valuable in our marriage.
  • My husband didn’t seem very happy to me.  And I didn’t seem very happy to him, either.  He kept saying he wanted to see me get my “joy” back.  But I didn’t know how to have joy when I felt so alone and ignored.  I think I was expecting my husband to meet a lot of my needs that really only God could meet.  My expectations were through the roof and extremely unrealistic of a man.  I easily made an idol of my husband – and of being in control myself.
  • I was afraid,  worried a lot, and anxious.  I cried a good bit.  I felt the weight of the family on my shoulders and I couldn’t carry that load – it was SO heavy!   I didn’t have peace.  I was constantly trying to figure out what I thought needed to happen and how I could MAKE things go the way I thought they should.  I was extremely impatient and had a critical spirit towards myself and my husband and probably everyone else.  That just seemed normal.  I held grudges.  I was bitter and resentful and unforgiving and didn’t know how to let go of all of that yuckiness.  I was prideful beyond belief- but I didn’t see it.
  •  I wanted to be close to God.  I prayed a lot.  I prayed mostly for God to change my husband, sadly.  And I didn’t see the dump truck loads of sin in my own heart and the strongholds of Satan.  I didn’t understand why my prayers weren’t being answered. 
  •  I didn’t see miracles when I was trying to be in charge (although God did keep us together and brought us to the place where I could change – and I am SO thankful for that!).
  • My husband would do kind things for me and take me out sometimes.  He would always get me nice gifts for my birthday and Christmas.  I wasn’t great at receiving things graciously, but he has always been generous.  Not a lot of romance at that time, but he was still generous and kind.
  • I tended to be negative, critical, pessimistic and stressed.
  • We were NOT working together as a team at that time.
  • Our children were not as respectful as I thought they should be towards either of us.
  • I could see some of my husband’s strengths, but I was much more focused on the negative things that I wanted to change.  I was not very thankful for the man I had.  I didn’t accept and love him for who he was right then.
  • I did NOT like the way I sounded when I talked to my husband.  My voice was often irritated, exasperated, impatient, frustrated, and unpleasant.
  • I didn’t focus much on finding positive things to think and say about my husband.  I did a good bit of complaining, even to other people and my girl friends.  There were some things he did well that I praised him about, but I didn’t have a habit of looking for the positive and ignoring the negative.
  • At the time I didn’t regret my disrespect and control issues because I didn’t even recognize that was what I was doing.  But I knew things were NOT working the way they should have been.  As soon as I saw myself through my husband’s eyes (after reading Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs), I immediately realized I was the problem and regretted my behavior terribly.  THIS WAS A TOTAL SHOCK!  I had thought for 15 years that HE needed to change and HE was the spouse who wasn’t doing a good job loving me.  I could not believe it when I saw that I had been doing a bad job as a wife.  I was devastated.
  • I wanted much better for my children’s marriages than I had.
  • I was not focused on building my husband up.  I was actually tearing him down in many little ways.  The main changes I saw during that time were that he distanced himself from me emotionally/spiritually and he was very quiet a lot.  He watched a lot of tv and loved to work on projects much more than to be with me.
  • I knew things could and should be better, and I prayed a lot.  I did believe God would help us somehow.

AFTER my blinding-light on the road to Damascus experience, I decided that I was going to be the most respectful and submissive wife on the planet- if I could just figure out what exactly that meant!  The changes I have seen since that moment over 3 and a half years ago have been MIRACULOUS!

  • For about the first 10 months or so of deciding to surrender to my husband’s leadership, I kept getting job offers for more hours every month from out of the blue.  My biggest fear in submitting to my husband was that I might have to work more hours as a pharmacist, and that my husband would say I had to do that.  Every month (for at least 8-10 months) there was a week or two where things would be all up in the air for me and I would be waiting anxiously for Greg’s decision.  God made me practice this lesson over and over until I could be at peace either way.  Greg ultimately had mercy and compassion on me and never forced me to work more.  I do work extra now when I can to show him I am on his team and that I am supporting his efforts to provide well for our family.  I told Greg how I felt,  what I wanted, cried a lot and prayed a lot, and left things up to Greg and to God.  Eventually I did get a different job- that is much less stressful.  Now I don’t get stressed about going to work.  That’s a huge blessing!  But I also learned to live with peace in the face of some of my biggest fears and learned to trust that my husband and my God have my best interests and those of our children at heart.
  • Things did not fall apart.  At first it felt very scary – and quiet.  I didn’t know what to do with so much quiet in the beginning.  I felt very out of my element.  I learned to keep things to myself a lot more and not say every little thought and feeling I had constantly like I used to.  I learned to stop thinking and speaking negatively and to focus on the good and use my words to build up my husband.  It felt awkward for a few months as I began to learn the ropes of respect and submission.  At first, I felt so clueless, I didn’t even know what was respectful or disrespectful.  But I began seeing wonderful changes in myself, our marriage and my husband pretty quickly.  I learned not to get too attached to the answers to my questions or too attached to certain plans and learned how to rest in God’s love and my husband’s love and go with the flow and be thankful for the adventure each new day brings. (“The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle and “The Respect Dare” by Nina Roesner gave me a lot of practical steps of giving up control to my husband and respecting him.  Those were kind of my boot camp books to learn the basics).
  • Now I have peace and joy every day.  I don’t get worried about my husband anymore, or his decisions.  Eventually, being a more godly wife became a habit (and living with His Spirit in control did, too!) and once I learned my new habits, things got a lot easier and more certain.  Now I have a long track record of letting my husband be in charge and trusting God, so I see my trust and faith grow in both of them even more.   It gets easier to trust when I know more and more deeply the love that God and my husband have for me.  And I have God’s Spirit continually feeding me and giving me His peace and joy.  Those strongholds Satan had erected in my heart have been thrown down and God’s Spirit is free to speak to me, correct me, convict me, guide me and instruct me as He sees fit.  My ears are much more sensitive to His voice now.
  • I NEVER, EVER, EVER want to go back to trying to be in control again.  I don’t EVER want to go back to being disrespectful again.  I deeply regret that there was even one day (much less many years) in my marriage in which I tried to be in control and was disrespectful to my husband.  I LOVE the way things are now!!  It took a good 2 years to really feel like I began to be fluent in the language of respect and a lot of research on my part.  And I had a lot to learn about being a gracious and supportive follower.  But my husband has been extremely patient and forgiving as I learned and for him, just knowing I wanted to give him what he needed in our marriage went a long way, even when I wasn’t great at it at first.
  • I continue to see more and more that I respect and admire and the more I praise my husband and God for all the wonderful things about my husband, the more great things keep cropping up!  I barely even notice his faults anymore.  They are there.   He isn’t perfect – and that’s ok!  God even uses my husband’s faults to make me more like Christ.  God’s sovereignty is at work in every little detail!  Now I see my faults much more clearly and I keep all of his many strengths in the forefront of my mind .  It is MUCH better this way!
  • I immediately began trying to be respectful and trying to give my husband control when I realized the problem.  Things immediately began to improve.  But it took two years before we really hit our stride.
  • The first few months were the hardest.  I needed a Respect 101 class and How to Be a Follower for Dummies.  And there were no such things to be found!  Thankfully, God brought me a lot of resources and books, and even Greg scoured the internet to find the most helpful books for me.  Now, the submission and respect thing are so deeply ingrained that I don’t have to think much about doing them.  And I have so much joy as a result of obeying God that I want to keep obeying Him, no matter what the consequences may be.
  • Now we both feel like we are working very well together as a team.
  • Now I feel very close to God and to my husband.  I am extremely happy, content, joyful and at peace.  I have a huge sense of purpose in my life for my faith, my marriage and my children.
  • The past 3 .5 years, and especially the past 2 years  have been the best of our 18 years of marriage.  We laugh and talk daily.  I feel adored, loved, cherished, protected and well-provided for.  I can see Greg’s love for me in his eyes.  He smiles at me when I come in the room now.  He and I are both so happy to see each other again when he comes home from work.  Now, I have a long list of my husband’s strengths in my mind all the time, and I don’t think about his faults much at all.
  • Now, I consciously look for positive things to tell others about my husband.  I am careful to build him up in front of others.
  • Our children immediately began speaking more respectfully to both of us when I began speaking respectfully to my husband.
  • I like the way I sound when I talk to my husband now.  I rarely have regrets.  That alone brings a lot of peace to my soul!
  • I do pray that our children will have a marriage as vibrant, intimate, healthy and wonderful as ours now!  And now that they have a better and more Christ-like example, they are in the best possible position to be able to learn to have a healthy marriage themselves.
  • There have been times that my husband made decisions that I wouldn’t have made – and then I have seen God literally do miracles and cause things to fall into place in ways that I could never have imagined.  It’s been amazing!
  • The changes I have seen in my husband since I have become respectful towards him and follow his leadership are incredible. He will bend over backwards to help me now and to do little things to make me happy.  He still loves to do projects and watch tv, but he carves out time for me, too, and we talk a lot more than we used to.  He cares very deeply about my feelings and concerns.   He wants to do things he knows I will enjoy and appreciate.  He is even more generous and kind now.   He plans surprises for me now.  If he finds out he has hurt me, or that I am hurting about something, he immediately does all he can to help me and make things better.  He is tender and romantic now.  And I am extremely appreciative for every little thing he does.  I don’t take my man for granted.  I am thankful for him exactly the way he is.
  • I can’t wait to see all that God has in store!

Last spring, my husband asked me to teach other wives what I have learned.  To me, that was the pinnacle of the changes God has made in me so far.  I cannot fathom a better compliment from my husband.  I  REALLY hate my spiritual “before picture”, but the before picture sure does help me appreciate the “after picture” a whole lot more!  And I pray that my mistakes might help other women learn more quickly than I did.  I don’t want any of us to live with regrets.  I pray we might all find the beauty, the romance, the adventure and the joy and peace that God has in store for us when we follow His incredible design!

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