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Join Me for a 3 Week Fast from Negative Words!

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
A wife inspired me with her story earlier this week. I’d love to invite us ALL to do a fast similar to the one she decided to do.

THE CHALLENGE

Let’s seek to avoid the following for the next 21 days:
  • Destructive criticism
  • Insults
    • including sarcastic or “joking” ones
  • Complaining
  • Arguing

A Critical, Judgmental Spirit Destroys Others and Ourselves

Our goal is to LIVE the Christian life, not just to have head knowledge of it.
So let’s invite the Lord, Himself, into our words to show us what His will is for us regarding how we use our mouths. First, let’s avoid hurtful, destructive criticism – the kind of negative words designed to tear others down. Those kinds of words don’t benefit anyone. They hurt our relationships. They hurt people. And they grieve God’s heart.
There is such a thing as constructive criticism and there is such a thing as a wise, godly rebuke. These are good things when used rightly and with right motives. We all need to receive loving feedback about our blind spots at times.
From www.gotquestions.org about a critical spirit:
Jesus is not saying that we should not be discerning or that we should ignore the fallen nature of the world. He is also not saying that we must never, under any circumstance, criticize anyone else. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are to judge rightly (John 7:24). However, we are not to criticize with malicious intent or out of pride, hypocrisy, or self-righteousness. We cannot assume that we are impartial or that we can fairly exact our standards on others. Humans have naturally deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) that allow for blind spots and inappropriate comparisons. Only God can judge with perfect accuracy (Hebrews 4:12; James 4:11-12; 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 19:11). And our discernment is only valid when it is informed by a renewed nature in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; John 16:13). Only when we are submitted to Christ and honest with ourselves will our judgment serve to edify rather than destroy.
Critical words spring from a critical heart. And a critical heart generally comes from a misunderstanding of God’s grace—either due to pride or a simple lack of information about God’s character and the meaning of salvation. Only when we understand our depravity apart from God and the depth of His grace will we be able to bestow grace to others (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Colossians 2:13-15; Ephesians 2:1-10).
  • You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matt. 7:5
  • Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

Insults Deeply Wound Others

Our words have “the power of life and death” according to scripture (Prov. 18:21). What we say matters. There are two primary commands Jesus gives us. The first is that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The second is that we are to love other people as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40). Then Jesus connects the two. We learn that He counts the way we treat other people, even the least of them, as the way we treat Him (Matt. 25:31-46). And in 1 John, we learn that “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

So what we speak to people in our every day lives matters. A lot. Let’s invite God to help us stop using our words as weapons to cut others down and to stop speaking death to people – and even to ourselves.

  • Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Pet. 3:9
  • Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12
  • A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. Prov. 12:16
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

Complaining and Negativity Hurt Our Witness for Christ

When we complain and highlight all that is wrong with life and focus on bad things, we reveal a lack of trust in the Lord and unbelief in our hearts. God calls us to live lives of thanksgiving in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). He calls us to focus our minds on Him and on all of the good things and blessings we can find (Phil. 4:8).

One of the things that stirred God’s anger the most against the people of Israel in the wilderness was their tendency to complain and grumble. They complained to Moses, but ultimately, their real complaint was against God. They didn’t believe He would take good care of them. They didn’t believe He was able to provide well for them. They didn’t trust His heart toward them or His plan. They didn’t come to Him with their needs and ask for help humbly and respectfully by faith. They accused God of evil motives and said He must be too weak to help or save them. That was not remotely the case!

Even now for believers in Christ, if we choose to complain and grumble about our lot in life, we hurt our walk with the Lord and we destroy our witness for Him. How can anyone be drawn to Jesus if we are so dissatisfied with Him and we don’t trust Him, ourselves? God is not saying we can’t ask Him for help. We absolutely can! And we can ask others for help, too, when we need to, and it is appropriate. But for believers in Christ, there is no room in our lives for complaining. We are to live lives of faith. Faith doesn’t complain – it trust God and seeks Him, inviting Him into the situation to do something glorious.

We also need to remember that God intends to use our trials to help us grow in our faith and spiritual maturity. The thing I am complaining about may be the answer to my prayers that God has sent to help me grow. Not that we should try to find suffering or put ourselves in suffering. But as a believer, I should have a totally different outlook on annoying and difficult things. They may be spiritual tests. They may be discipline for me to grow in my faith. They may be opportunities for God to do something amazing. In Christ, I can learn to count even my trials as joy. I can keep an eternal perspective rather than get wrapped up in the moment.

  • Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 1 Cor. 10:10
  • Do everything without grumbling and arguing,  so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation,among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life. Phil. 2:14-16
  • Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. James 5:9
  • Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Pet. 4:9

Arguing Is Ineffective, Detrimental, and  Unnecessary,  for a Believer

We can get our points across and have a voice, especially as we share things we know will honor and please the Lord. We can share the truth in love, using God’s wisdom and discernment. We can speak up against things that are wrong in God’s eyes. And we can do all of this without being argumentative, fighting, or involving sinful anger – IF we act in the power of the Spirit of God.

  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
  • Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2

The Ultimate Goal

We can’t do any of this in our own power. But if we belong to Jesus, we can invite Him to give us the power we need to control our words – and even to control our thoughts. That is the end goal. Total heart, mind, and life change by the power of Christ.
  • We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5
  • Walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
 

Pray with Me

Lord,
We love You and want to love You so much more. More than anything or anyone else. More than even ourselves. Jesus, if You are our Lord, it means we are to submit every part of our lives to Your authority and control. Our words are often our area of greatest weakness, Lord. Our words reveal the hidden motives of our hearts. They demonstrate whether our sinful nature is in control or Your Spirit is in control. We want You to be in firm control of our mouths, words, and even our thoughts! We repent of our sinful words. Our words of condemnation, judgment, destructive criticism, grumbling, arguing, complaining, negativity, and insults. These things wound Your heart. They grieve You. They break our fellowship with You. We repent of these sinful words – and the sinful thoughts that birthed them. We want to take up our cross today and follow You. We crucify our sinful nature and all of its thoughts and words on the cross with Jesus. We receive Your new life and new nature for us. Thank You that You will empower us to walk in Your ways and to offer our mouths and words to You to use as instruments of righteousness rather than offering them to the enemy and sin to use to destroy others, hurt you, and destroy ourselves.
Let us act in Your wisdom with our words and let us use our words to speak Your Life – not death!
Amen!

Share Your Experience!

 
Let us know how things are going and if you notice anything different in your own walk with the Lord and your relationships.  Also, check in with us if you need some encouragement!
 
 
Much love!

RELATED

A Wife Begins a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words

I am so thankful to this precious sister in Christ who has allowed me to share some of what God has been doing in her life and heart. It’s a blessing to get to hear from wives in every stage of this journey. Perhaps you may want to join her with this amazing idea? In fact, this would be a WONDERFUL Valentine’s gift to your husband!
Remember – the goal is not to change to get your husband to change, but to allow God to transform you! Check out this wife’s journal and observations for the first 10 days or so of her journey:
———
I have been reading your blog posts and realizing some things. I actually have even started a corporate fast (for 21 days) with my church but instead of food…
I have decided to fast from the following:
It has been 3 days of doing none of this to my husband and it has been HARD but I told myself if I mess up the fast I do not get my morning coffee (which is my favorite and the first thing I thought to fast). None-the-less I actually already notice a change in him a bit. His demeanor has actually been quite different like even after just a few days of this. I do have to say I am shocked. I always realize probably 80% of the things I say to my husband involve the above. But I think I am on the right track?
DAY 4
Sometimes I feel so empowered and close to God and then other times I feel like so low and dumb like why do I have to change and he doesn’t but I understand fully that is not the right mindset. It’s just hard.
My husband is cuddling me a lot more lately though.
DAY 5
He is still sleeping now at noon (after staying out very late with friends – again). I am with my coffee and Bible and praying for God to get me through today. I know I can’t continue mothering him. I know he has to make his own choices. It just hurts. To him, it is no big deal at all. He works 50+ hours a week and provides well.
I can tell you this much. I am not even going to bring up the fact he came home late. I’ve done it a million times in the past and where did it get me? Nowhere!
Time to try something new.
This will be so hard and I will want to be sarcastic! In the past I’ve even taken stabs at his manhood bc he has chose staying out late with guys over his wife, what kinda man does that? I’d say… “a gay guy?” I’m sure that didn’t help. I really can be so mean to him but it’s because things hurt me.
Even though I am upset, I am determined to stick with this fast.
I want change in my heart and my husband’s, so I know something has to change. Maybe when he realizes I no longer bring it up and nag and complain he may actually be able to hear God say it’s wrong? Or hear his own thoughts on things? Like you were saying.
DAY 6
I began reading “The Surrendered Wife,” by Laura Doyle and gave the finances over to my husband as she instructed. (From Peaceful Wife – this book helped me in so many ways in my own journey, but there are some things that are not biblical that have to be filtered out.)
He didn’t take it well. I mean he didn’t say much but just, “Ok,” and ended up leaving without telling me bye. When I called him he just said he was a little confused and that he would talk to me about it later when he got home.
  1. I control everything.
  2. I monitor what he does and spends.
  3. It creates that mother/son type relationship I hate.
  4. I thought he’d be happy to give all that up but I’m thinking he probably just is looking at it like he now has more work.
Laura instructs to just simply say, “I know you’ll fine time, you’ll do much better than me,” and leave it at that but now I feel like I should explain to him since he seemed upset.
LATER THAT DAY
After he came home I continued to be my “new” self and he didn’t ask about it. He took me on a date and never brought it up. I just kept practicing receiving and being sweet. On the way home he did tell me a whole long story about why he spent so much money yesterday helping a friend. 😂 He probably thinks I was mad about that and decided to give him all the financial burden as a punishment. I do things like that. But I just said, “Oh, that was nice of you!”
Idk, I actually feel very far from my husband right now. It’s almost like he has a wall up. He may feel very confused or that I am very different but I thought it would draw him towards me but he seems very distant.
Some things I am praying for as I fast:
  • Radical change for me. Extreme peace in my heart, that come only from the Lord, relinquishing control and idolatry of my husband. Being peaceful and fun and not uptight, worried, mad, and stressed all the time.
  • Radical change in my husband. His walk with the Lord and how he hears him, radical change in how he sees and handles finances.
  • Passion and intimacy to be restored in our marriage.
I actually, right now, feel far from my husband but close with the Lord.
It’s interesting. I feel a peace from God since I haven’t been controlling. I thought it would be a lot harder, and maybe it will be at times,  but I am a goal setter and I set out to not complain, criticize, judge, or be sarcastic for 21 days and I’m sticking to it. Throw in releasing control and being feminine and I think my husband is very confused.
I wish I could just tell him what’s going on and ease his mind to try to draw him close to me. Because right now is almost seems I know something he doesn’t and we feel distant but I know that’s probably not the best.
I’ve been reading your posts and the 8  Powerful Keys to Peace have been amazing to learn. Will be reading more today as I spend my quiet time with God!
I know this will be a hard road. And won’t always be easy. I got to this point where I realized I was upset I even married my husband and was trying to almost justify a divorce. And I realized that was so wrong and unnecessary and I was willing to change if that’s what God wanted. I am ashamed I thought that way. Especially after being able to, for the first time in a long time, see glimpses of what a good man my husband is and can be. (And I do mean only mere glimpses) but still they are there. And I’m taking this as God opening my eyes. And changing what I see.
DAY 7
I am really desiring intimacy, and even though I’m changing and being much better, it’s just still not there. But I am trying to remember, like you said, it’s been years of disrespect so he may not come around (quickly).
Also, this is strange, but as I’ve been spending more time with God on this subject of me as a wife it’s almost as if all these past incidents are being brought my mind, times when, at the time I saw myself as completely justified and mistreated and now I’m seeing myself as an ugly beast. Ways I’ve treated my husband in the past, and hateful things I’ve said.
Gosh, this is so embarrassing and I feel deeply like I want to cry and repent to him but I’m afraid to do because I’m not even sure myself if I’ve changed 100% and I don’t want to risk saying sorry and then doing something so disrespectful and harming again.
I feel as if I’ve truly harmed my marriage. And destroyed intimacy.
I haven’t apologized yet! I am just sticking to my fast and trying to hear from the Lord.
My husband has been in our bedroom all night with the door closed playing video games. I do know he had a hard day at work. He works outside and was very cold today. I had a homemade dinner waiting for him.
Before he went up to play he:
  1. Hugged me and kissed me and squeezed me.
  2. Fixed up the TV for me so I could watch a show I wanted to watch.
  3. And smiled at me.
I was super thankful!
That’s great and I didn’t complain about him saying he was going to go play for a little but I feel myself feeling all that aggression toward him again for choosing things over me. For not pursuing me sexually or wanting to spend time with me instead of video games.
10 STEPS BACKWARDS
To be honest, I completely messed up last night. My husband came home and cuddled me for like 2 hours, while he watched a movie. He did cuddle me, but I didn’t go for it. The whole time all I was thinking was I just want to get up and do something. I’m so annoyed this is every night he just wants to sit here and watch TV.
Finally, I brought this all up. I told him he’s never romantic. It was like word vomit and after almost 2 weeks of being respectful, I caved. He seemed mortified and told me I don’t want real life. Real life is him coming home from a long day and cuddling me when I want. Candles and flowers – that’s just not real. I get it but every now and then? He said he was sick of always feeling like he’s doing something wrong.
A BIG SURPRISE A FEW DAYS LATER
I decided to not say anything about the night before! Though he slept in, I got up and cleaned, had some Bible time and to be honest really felt some anger brewing in my heart. He hasn’t been seeking God the way I wish he would be. And then seeing him stay up late once again for something silly like video games was getting to me. I didn’t feel like even being near him.
THEN I started a gratitude journal. I wrote down all the things recently he’s done that’s made me happy, proud or impressed me:
  • He asked me to pray for his desire to read his bible.
  • He fixed our car when it was broke down.
  • He recently bought a book about prayer.
  • He’s been working so hard at work.
  • He’s been taking over the finances better than I ever thought he would!
After this, I felt a desire to go lay with him in bed. His sleepy eyes saw me and the first thing I did was SMILE. He smiled back, and I was so shocked by this but he immediately started kissing me and making love to me.
It had been about 3 weeks.
I think he is attracted to my quietness, my not having an opinion about EVERYTHING. My smile.
I wasn’t even thinking about sex at all and he made it happen! I was taken back but thankful for my time of being thankful because it completely changed my mindset!
(From Peaceful Wife – Our husbands are much more attracted to us when we act soft, gentle, feminine, and peaceful than if we throw verbal knives at them!)

SHARE

If you would like to share some of your journey and things you have learned along the way, we’d love to hear about it!

Or, if this wife’s story has encouraged you to try something similar, we’d love to hear about your plans, as well.

Note – I will be responding to the comments (Peaceful Wife), not the author. Thanks! <3

RELATED

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord (my book that outlines how to start this journey)

Stages of This Journey

Apologizing Stories – why some wives apologize immediately, and some wait until later

Why It May Be Wise to Keep This Journey Secret at First

Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Try to Change?

Respect, Biblical Submission, and Intimacy  – Yes! There is a connection!
Let’s Talk about Sex! (a link to all my posts about sex)

Husbands Do Need to Hear the Gospel

Someone brought up a really important point on yesterday’s post about winning a husband without a word, that unbelieving husbands do need to hear the gospel – particularly if they haven’t heard it. All people need this! I don’t intend to say otherwise. And yet, 1 Peter 3:1-2 instructs wives of unbelieving husbands to “win them without a word.”

How do we reconcile the passages that say to share the gospel with this passage which says to win our husbands without words?

1 Peter 3:1-6 NIV

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

Romans 10:17

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

 

This is what John Piper has to say about the meaning of this passage, which may be helpful:

What does it mean for a wife to win her husband “without a word” (1 Peter 3:2)?


– It does not mean the husband does not need to hear the gospel.

– 1 Peter 1:23–25 says that every new birth happens “through the living and abiding word of God… And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

– Therefore, the husband needs to hear the good news before wife’s Christian behavior can win him.

– “Without a word” means without an excessive word or a nagging word or a manipulative or pressuring word. (1 Peter 3:2)

– Once this husband has heard the gospel in which his wife believes, her conduct might make all the difference in his salvation.

 

The Saving Power of a Fearless Wife – by John Piper

 


 

I believe we need to deal with any unrepentant sin in our own lives first. We will greatly hinder our witness for Christ – in word and deed – if we are not living in submission to His Lordship and if we continue on and on in sin ourselves. So let’s be sure we are living in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s be absolutely sure WE understand the Gospel of Jesus and have received it for ourselves. Our husbands should know that we profess Christ as our Savior and Lord.

Then, let’s seek the Lord in fervent prayer, maybe with fasting, if we are in a position where we want to influence an unbelieving husband for Christ. And let’s ask for prayer support from a godly mentoring wife. Then let’s be sensitive to how the Lord leads.

We may need to share the gospel with our husband – especially if he has never heard it. There are many ways to do this – sharing a post, sharing a video, sharing a passage of scripture, or several verses, or verbally sharing the Gospel.

The majority of the time in our daily lives, our example, as we talked about yesterday, will be our most powerful approach. It is very easy to accidentally talk too much about spiritual things to our husbands if we are not careful, and to push them away. We let the Holy Spirit do the convicting and drawing our husband to Jesus. We realize we are not the Holy Spirit.

May the Lord and His Spirit give each wife the wisdom and discernment she needs for her situation. And may the Spirit draw many, many lost souls to Himself and to the Kingdom of Christ!

Bible Verses about Witnessing for Jesus

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

This is the most important information we could ever know. It is how we can have a right relationship with God. This one decision we each must make for ourselves, whether we accept or reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ, determines our eternal destiny.
Let’s be sure we understand what the Gospel means and what it means to be a Christian. It’s not simply saying a prayer one time or walking down the aisle of a church and filling out a card. It’s not just going to church 4 Sundays a month. It doesn’t mean I read the Bible and listen to Christian music but my life remains unchanged and I continue living for myself.
It’s about receiving the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection on our behalf. It’s about declaring that He is now our Savior and LORD and that we follow Him from that point on. This is a HUGE deal and it completely changes everything about our lives.

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

A Prayer to Change the Spiritual Atmosphere in Our Homes

Influencing an Unbelieving Husband for Christ

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

For a lot of men, “words are cheap.”

There is something infinitely more powerful to husbands than a wife’s words about God and spiritual things. The thing that may pique a husband’s appetite for Christ is when he sees his wife live out a godly example and strong faith in Jesus – and she doesn’t talk about it.

A husband doesn’t want to hear about how much his wife is changing. He wants to see the change.

God actually shares this with us openly in His Word:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct… let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Pet. 3:1-6

Real, lasting heart and life change over a significant period of time impresses a husband.

At first, when a wife begins to change on this journey to become a more godly, peaceful wife, some husbands react with great joy and appreciation. However, most are confused. A lot of husbands hate change. Even good change. They are skeptical. It takes time for them to see that a wife’s spiritual growth in Christ is genuine. Maybe many months, maybe even years.

HOW TO INSPIRE YOUR HUSBAND

Greg, my husband, explained to me a few years after I began my journey that when I stopped the negative (sinful) things – disrespect, a critical attitude, idolizing him, lecturing, preaching, telling him what to do, insulting him, looking down on him, trying to control him, being argumentative, and reacting in fearit was like someone took the static off of the speaker with God’s voice in his heart.

And then, he said, as I began to learn to do the positive things – genuinely respecting him, honoring him, being friendly, being cooperative, being peaceful and joyful  in Christ, being content in Christ alone – it was like someone put an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in his heart.

Once a husband becomes convinced that his wife’s faith is real and he begins to feel emotionally and spiritually safe with her, he may begin to be more and more open to her words about spiritual things. But it will always be her godly life and example that inspires him the most.

Ladies, we have so much influence and power in our marriages! May we use it for God’s glory and for great good!

Lord,

Empower us to become Your agents of change in our families by our godly example. We need Your Spirit and all of the resources of heaven to do this. We are willing. Transform us first! Be glorified in our lives and in our homes.

Amen!

A SNEAK PEAK INTO A HUSBAND’S POSSIBLE PERSPECTIVE

When a man witnesses a huge positive change in his wife’s attitude and behavior, he will try to figure out some “reasonable” explanation first. Perhaps it is simply a phase? Maybe she read some new marriage book or blog post, but in two weeks, things will surely be back to the way they were. He doesn’t want to get his hopes up that this good change could be for real because he doesn’t want to be disappointed. So he keeps his distance and continues to watch her, especially if he is feeling disrespected.

Some husbands actually try to push their wife’s old buttons. If a wife goes right back to her old ways, the husband then feels justified in his skepticism and thinks he has confirmed that she is still the same old wife. If she doesn’t react in her old ways, he gets concerned. Maybe even a bit alarmed. He can’t figure out what might be motivating her, especially if he has not experienced the power of God, himself. He decides to investigate and observe for a longer period of time.

He may not say anything to her, but he notices everything.

As she continues to grow and mature in Christ over a period of time, he becomes more curious and unsettled. He sees how she now seems to have crazy new abilities that she didn’t have before. Her face seems radiant with joy. She is peaceful. She smiles a lot. She seems to enjoy being with him. He finds that when she is sad, it impacts him a lot more. He wants to see her joy come back as soon as possible. He loves her beautiful smile so much.

She doesn’t push him to do things. She makes requests and suggestions, not demands. She allows him the space to make his own choices. She treats him like a grown adult. She laid down a lot of unrealistic expectations of him and of marriage. There is a lot less tension in the home. He feels less pressure, like he doesn’t have to walk on eggshells now. He feels like he can begin to relax. He enjoys peace more than he could possibly say.

His wife asks for what she wants respectfully and shares her feelings and needs directly without hinting around or expecting him to read her mind. He really loves her new approach and is so grateful. She reacts with dignity and poise if he says, “no,” to something. He starts to feel like maybe he has a voice, too, if he felt that he didn’t have one in the past. He gains confidence in sharing more of his thoughts and heart.

She chooses to believe him and takes his words at face value. He experiences grace and forgiveness from her instead of bitterness and resentment. He wonders how she is able to do that now? She respects herself and expects him to treat her with honor and respect, too. She helps to cultivate a “culture of respect” in their family.

He sees that when she does stumble, she immediately apologizes. She takes responsibility for her own sin without justifying herself. She gets right back up and tries to correct her course and he admires that. He knows she’s not perfect, but he sees a big shift. He sees that she stands firmly against sin in her own life and in the family, but that her motive is love, and her approach is wise and humble.

She addresses when he wrongs her, when necessary, but she does it in a respectful way. And she doesn’t seem to get offended nearly as easily as before. He appreciates and admires that. She treats him like a teammate instead of like an enemy, and he is relieved. It’s like she doesn’t look down on him anymore. Maybe there is hope for him and the marriage, after all!

She doesn’t bring up all of his failures from the past any more. She no longer criticizes his family, even though he knows they aren’t perfect. She doesn’t say bad things about him to other people anymore, unless she is privately seeking help from a godly counselor/trusted mentor (and even then, she is careful not to bash him). She is a lot more trustworthy. He opens his heart a bit more.

She seems more understanding than ever before, like she is trying to explore his masculine world, his perspective, and his personality. She seems to appreciate the differences between them rather than assuming he is wrong if he thinks/speaks/acts differently from her. He begins to appreciate her femininity and her unique personality and perspective more, too. She is thankful for his unique strengths and abilities. He stands a little taller.

He sees that his wife is not overcome with fear and anxiety like she once was. That is a relief. When she is stressed, it rocks his whole world more than she knows. He notices her friendly, cooperative attitude with him. He feels like he is on top of the world.

He sees how she doesn’t automatically assume the worst about him. It was so frustrating when she did that before! He could never win. Now she seems to look for the best in him. And she is content even when things don’t necessarily go her way. She is patient and kind even when she isn’t feeling well. The irritable edge is gone from the tone of her voice. She doesn’t seem upset near as much. She seems to care about his feelings and desires, too, not just what she would like. He notices that it’s a lot more fun to be with her lately. She’s such an amazing woman! He feels so much more connected to her.

He thinks:

Who is this woman? What miracle has changed her? What can I do to help?

He doesn’t need to know all of the details about what she is learning and how hard it has been. He just wants to witness this new life that has been birthed in her and he wants to get to experience it with her.

She doesn’t seem needy, clingy and insatiable, like she is depending on him to be responsible for her emotional well-being. There is dignity and strength in her that he has never noticed before. He sees that she is more flexible and wants to trust him whenever she can. She seems interested in his wisdom and perspective now, and he doesn’t want to blow it. He values her trust and tries to step up his game to match hers because he doesn’t want to disappoint this incredible woman.

It is actually possible to do things she seems to appreciate now. He really loves to see her smile and decides to try to do more things she’ll enjoy now that he knows she will respond positively.

He sees the way his wife now treats him with real honor and respect – something he has always longed for – and he finds himself wanting so much to be her hero again, like back when they first met. He feels more masculine around her now that she is softer and more feminine. He feels attracted to her noble character, her mysterious light, her openness and receptivity to him, and her gentleness. He feels more and more safe with her. His defenses begin to drop. He cautiously starts to disassemble the walls around his heart.

She inspires him. He wants to be the amazing man she believes he is, or that she believes he could be, when he sees the light she reflects back to him. He sees her unshakable faith in Christ in the tangible fruit of her daily life.

He begins to see his own sin in stark contrast with his wife’s beautiful life – without one word on her part. And he wants to be a better man and to figure out what he needs to do to get there. He may begin to hunger for the spiritual beauty and Life that she has. He will ask her about her faith when he is convinced that what she has is real and he knows he wants to have that Life, too.

Her godly example and Spirit-filled life convict him and preach a far more powerful sermon than her words possibly could.

The only power this wife loses when she does things God’s way is the power to destroy her husband, marriage, children, and herself. She gains the power of heaven to pour life, healing, and blessing into the marriage.

EACH STORY IS DIFFERENT

Of course, each story has its own unique twists, turns, and timing. Often, it goes a lot more slowly than we would like. It took 3.5 years into my journey before Greg felt safe with me again, for example.

When we follow Christ, we are not guaranteed our husbands will change or that they will come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Our motives are simply to be that we love the Lord far above all else and that we love our husbands and want to bless and honor them as we pray fervently for God to work in us first, and in them.

Some men who are very far from God are repulsed by the fragrance of Christ and hate feeling so convicted and want to get away. (God gives us instruction about that situation in 1 Cor. 7:10-16.) Even then, they may eventually turn to the Lord. We never know what may happen.

The key is:

As we yield our lives to the Lord and seek to do things His way, we put out a big welcome mat for our husbands to draw near to us and to Jesus.

The Lord will reward us for our obedience to Him and our faithfulness no matter what our husbands may choose to do. What really matters is that we seek to please Him and we are fully yielded to Him.

 

NOTE

Unbelieving husbands DO need to hear the gospel. We all do! And yet, 1 Peter 3:1-2 instructs wives of unbelieving husbands to “win them without a word.” Or, in the KJV, win them without “the Word.” How do we reconcile the passages that say to share the gospel with this passage which says to win our husbands without words?

This is what John Piper has to say about the meaning of this passage:

What does it mean for a wife to win her husband “without a word” (1 Peter 3:2)?
– It does not mean the husband does not need to hear the gospel. – 1 Peter 1:23–25 says that every new birth happens “through the living and abiding word of God . . . And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
– Therefore, the husband needs to hear the good news before wife’s Christian behavior can win him.
– “Without a word” means without an excessive word or a nagging word or a manipulative or pressuring word. (1 Peter 3:2)
– Once this husband has heard the gospel in which his wife believes, her conduct might make all the difference in his salvation.

May we deal with any unrepentant sin in our own lives, because that will greatly hinder our witness for Christ. And then, may the Lord give each wife His Spirit, His wisdom, and His discernment about when to share the gospel, especially if her husband has never heard it, and when to focus mostly on living the gospel before him each day. Our primary means of influencing an unbelieving husband for the Lord will be much more through our actions and attitudes than our words.

SHARE

What wisdom has the Lord shown you on this topic on how to inspire your husband to draw near to the Lord? Or how has this post inspired you to change your approach? We’d love to hear about it!

RESOURCES

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change – by the Restored Wife

When a Husband “Doesn’t Buy” His Wife’s Changes

Why You May Want to Keep Your Journey to Be a Godly Wife Secret for a While

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

6 Things I Have Learned from Having an Unbelieving Husband

Without a Word – by WorthyofLove

My Secret Idol – my husband’s salvation

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin – even if we aren’t talking about spiritual things, there are times we may need to address sin

For Wives with Critical, Harsh Husbands by Radiant

A Resource for Wives with Difficult Husbands

 

COUNSELING

**Note, if there are very severe issues going on in your marriage, please seek trusted, experienced, godly, outside help. This post is not written specifically for wives who are dealing with husbands with uncontrolled severe mental health issues, unrepentant abuse, unrepentant adultery, etc… There will be additional issues wives in these situations will need to address. You can check out these resources, or check with a trusted pastor or counselor:

Should a Christian Wife Ever Consider Separation?

Should You Strive to Please or Keep Your Husband at ANY Cost?

And, of course, always check what any counselor tells you against the Word of God.

 

How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

I was planning to write this post a few hours before my father-in-law suddenly died August 4th. It is the sequel to my post from last week about Is Real Joy Possible for Me?  I am honored to share these precious spiritual treasures with you – as it so happens – from the midst of a significant trial in my own life.

We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response and attitude.

I am so excited to share some amazing truths with you – truths that will radically change your life and perspective if you are willing to embrace them.

JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL

I can choose to depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can willingly yield to His Lordship and let Him lead me.

This takes the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes close fellowship with God. It takes practice. It is a discipline we can learn as believers with God’s help. I can begin to see hard times as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.

When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to choose to respond in:

  • Faith
    • I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
    • I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
    • I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
  • Joy
    • I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
    • Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
    • A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
    • God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
    • I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
      • The joy of my salvation.
      • The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
      • The joy of God’s presence.
      • The joy of spiritual maturity.
  • Anticipation
    • I can’t wait to see how God will use this awful situation to create something beautiful and good in my life and bring glory to Himself!
    • I want to go much deeper with the Lord! (Eph. 1:15-23)
    • God wants to use hardships to help conform me to the image of Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:29)
  • An Open Heart
    • What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
  • Spiritual Treasure Seeking
    • It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually. The greatest treasures are found in the darkest times, if we are willing to look.
    • I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
  • Prayer
    • Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
    • I invite Your provision!
    • How should I pray about this situation?
    • Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
    • Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
    • What step do you want me to take next?
    • I only want to see Your greatest glory!
    • I want Your perfect will.
    • What miracles do You want to do here?
  • Peace
    • In the world, I will have tribulation. But Jesus promises to give me His peace. (John 16:33)
    • God will keep me in His perfect peace when I trust Him and my mind is focused on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
    • I can lay all of my concerns, worries, and fears before God because He cares for me. (Phil. 4:6)
  • Assurance 
    • He is going to make a way for me to make it through this. (Isa. 43:16-19)
    • He is with me and He will never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • Rest
    • Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Strength 
    • His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
    • God promises I can do all that He calls me to do through the power of Christ in me. (Phil. 4:12-13)
    • The Lord is my strength and my song. (Ex. 15:2)
  • Thanksgiving
    • I can look for the blessings and provision of God in the midst of my trial. (1 Thess. 5:18)
    • I can give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (Ps. 107:1)
  • Focusing on Positive Things 
    • I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
  • Receptivity to His promises
    • I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
    • I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
  • Ministry
    • How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
    • How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
    • How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)

This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances.

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…

Thankfully, I don’t have to see from a mere human perspective if I know Jesus!

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God:

  • Lamentations 1
    • Suffering for sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed.
    • God disciplines those who belong to Him for our good, so that we will turn from death and embrace His Life.
  • Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
    • Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
    • I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 5:3-5
    • I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
      • perseverance
      • character
      • hope
  • James 1:2-4
    • As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
      • endurance
      • greater faith
      • greater spiritual maturity
      • spiritual completeness
      • I will lack nothing
  • Hebrews 12:4-12
    • I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
      • is verification of my adoption as a child of God
      • brings greater respect for God
      • yields peaceful fruit
      • brings about righteousness
      • is guaranteed to be for my benefit
      • allows me to share in God’s holiness

NOTE – “Counting trials as joy” does not mean that I need to try to create trials for myself, that I should be purposely combative or argumentative, or that I should try to prolong trials. It also doesn’t mean I must stay in a dangerous, abusive situation where I am being severely sinned against if I am able to get somewhere safe.  

SHARE

If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy and/or blessings in the midst of a difficult trial, or you have learned something helpful about how to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” we’d love to hear about it! I’m so thankful we can walk this road together and encourage one another.

RESOURCES

Verses about trials – Open Bible

Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible

A list of all of God’s promises – Bible Gateway

Verses about peace – Open Bible

Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible

Verses about being persecuted and hated for faith in Christ – Open Bible

Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible

Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible

Verses about strength – Open Bible

“The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord” has one chapter on counting trials as joy and one chapter on having an eternal perspective. Most of the chapters in the book would be a blessing to all women, not just moms.

God Changed a Wife’s Heart for Her Imperfect Husband

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

Hi April!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things didn’t change instantly.

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

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

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

RELATED

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation? – Separation is not ideal, however, there are times when this may be necessary, but only as the Lord leads under certain circumstances.
Biblical Submission – definition

SHARE

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

RESOURCES FOR WOMEN WHO NEED MORE HELP

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

Am I Too Quiet with My Husband?

The past two Mondays, we have examined the topics, “Am I Too Chatty with My Husband?” and “What Do I Do with My Desire for More Verbal/Emotional Connection?” For some of us, we struggle with talking too much. Others of us struggle with not wanting to talk to the point that our silence is deafening and not healthy for our marriages. Some of us try to correct one imbalance and overshoot  and end up on the other side of the pendulum for awhile and just keep swinging back and forth between the two. I have done that.

Today, let’s tackle the issue of times when we may be too quiet and examine the heart issues that may be going on behind the scenes. It’s helpful to do a motive-check with the help of the Light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Prov. 8:21

WHY DO I WANT TO BE QUIET?

Some Not-So-Productive Reasons to Be Quiet

If these issues are going on, I may want to spend some time with the Lord to deal with my spiritual issues so that I am not hiding from God or from my husband. If things are severe, I may need to reach out to a trusted godly counselor or female mentor.

Some Reasons That Require Godly Discernment – talking may be wise, or being silent may be wise

Some Good Reasons to Be Quiet

  • Talking a lot is exhausting for me – it is just my personality.
  • I want to avoid talking too much out of humility and a desire to honor the Lord with using my words carefully to only speak Life.
  • My husband is not a believer (or is far from the Lord) so I want to focus on 1 Peter 3:1-6 to “win him without a word” and not preach, lecture, nag, or explain too much about spiritual things but set a godly example by my attitude and actions.
  • I am seeking to give him the gift of respectful space that I know he would appreciate.
  • He doesn’t want me to talk too much or he is in a bad place spiritually and unreceptive right now.
  • I am thinking carefully about what I want to say so that I say it wisely.
  • I want to pray over what I want to say first so that I respond in the Spirit and I don’t just blurt something out in my flesh.
  • I am focusing on thanksgiving and praise in my heart to the Lord.
  • I want to just be available to listen to him for awhile if he wants to talk.
  • I am silently praying in my heart.
  • We enjoy being together without talking sometimes.

RELATED VERSES:

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Prov. 17:28

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Ps. 62:5

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29

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

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt 12:36-37

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Eph. 5:4

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Prov. 25:11

SHARE:

What are some reasons you find yourself being really quiet? When is talking and speaking up a struggle for you? Is there any wisdom you would like to share on this topic?

Much love!

April

RESOURCES:

If you have a very difficult marriage, please check out the healing you can find in Christ for yourself (and maybe your marriage) in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

25 Ways to Respect Myself – (or to think rightly about myself)

Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong or Selfish? – by Radiant

The Spiritual Healing Available to Each of  Us in Christ – by Radiant

I Can’t As for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions – By Radiant

Cinderella and the Gospel – by Radiant (about how many of us reject the love of Christ instead of graciously receiving His amazing gift)

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

Handling Political Disagreements Respectfully

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

Overlooking Insults

What Do I Do with My Desire for Verbal/Emotional Connection?

This is the second part of this series on talkativeness and wives. The first post was, “Am I ‘Too Chatty’ with My Husband?” It is primarily for wives who believe they talk too much or whose husbands would maybe prefer less talking. Next week, I plan to talk about the issue of wives being too quiet.

At first, when I realized I was talking way too much for my own good, it was painful. I felt sad, oppressed, upset, resentful, and lonely to think about cutting down on my words to other people. I didn’t know how to stop talking too much or what to do with all of my emotions and self-talk.

I find that it is helpful to take these kinds of discouraging thoughts to the Lord. He is always ready to listen to me. He can help me hash through my thinking even better than any husband or best girl friend could. He wants me to abide in Him every moment – always completely one in Spirit with Him – and to “pray continually.” That is very encouraging! Plus, He can transform my thinking and my heart. He knows how to restore and heal my soul, if only I will come to Him and allow Him to work powerfully in my life.

Interestingly – that pain I feel when I want to talk more or connect more with my husband can remind me that God’s heart hurts when I neglect him. And His heart rejoices when I come to Him to fellowship and connect with Him.

ADOPT A NEW PERSPECTIVE

I can:

CONNECT WITH GOD EMOTIONALLY/SPIRITUALLY

I can:

  • Praise God.
  • Journal my prayers and thoughts. (This seriously helps me, as much or even more than talking to another person.)
    • Write down my emotions – all of them. And all of my self-talk. In a very raw way. I can shred the paper up later if necessary.
    • Take my thoughts captive for Christ.
    • Develop a list of things for which I am thankful and continue to add to it daily.
    • Work on a list of all the things I respect about my husband.
    • Invite God to work on my sin, motives, and thought life.
    • Pray for myself.
    • Pray for others.
  • Sing praise songs in my mind or in another room out loud.
  • Listen to or read sermons, podcasts, Youtube videos, the Bible, or books about the Lord and about growing in Christ. (When I do this, I feel so close to the Lord and so loved. I know I am not alone at all.)
  • Listen and be still before God. Stillness is most necessary for me to learn to hear His voice and leading.
  • Take a walk in nature and soak in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.

DEVELOP A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF MY HUSBAND

I personally was amazed to discover that Greg said he always felt connected with me and bonded to me, whether we were talking a lot or not. He doesn’t connect with words. He feels just as connected to me when we are together talking as he does when he is at work. His love and sense of connection are, essentially, constant. Wow! That was a shock. I always thought we are only connected when we are talking and communicating verbally.

When Greg explained his perspective to me, it helped me to rest in his love and in the firmness of our connection. It helped me to see that I don’t have to grasp and struggle to feel connected. I already am connected to him. I can just enjoy that bond. Perhaps your husband may have a similar perspective?

Perhaps our amazing God thinks this way, too, when it comes to being connected with us, that we are always connected to Him and in fellowship with Him? Every moment of the day. (Unless there is sin blocking the way.)

BECOME A SAFE PLACE FOR MY HUSBAND

If I am willing to focus on treating my husband well and being a safe place emotionally and spiritually, he may feel a lot more open to sharing and connecting with me, in time. This requires a lot of patience and maybe a lot of waiting. In the time of waiting, I can focus on what God wants me to learn during that time. Waiting truly can become sweet with the Lord. So things may change to some degree with my husband’s willingness to talk as I change my approach. I know Greg is much more open to me talking with him in recent years since he feels safe and honored.

FIND MULTIPLE SOURCES OF CONNECTION

First, I have Jesus. He is my greatest source of verbal, emotional, and spiritual connection. He is truly enough! But then, as an extra bonus, I also have family, friends, and other believers. We can have godly mentors who can help us to grow in our faith and in our marriages. And then, in time, as the Lord leads, we may be able to mentor other women. What a priceless blessing that is!

I don’t have to feel deprived at all, even if my husband isn’t as talkative and verbal as I am. I can be content in all circumstances through Christ who gives me strength! (Phil. 4:12-13)

If I Have Jesus, I Have EVERYTHING!

EXPERIENCE A SHOCK

I actually found out – I need times of silence, too. It’s good for my soul. Now, I can enjoy silence in a friendly way. It’s peaceful and relaxing. I am in a much better place of balance than when I talked non-stop. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about the wisdom and gift of silence.

SHARE:

What wisdom has God given you in this area. Or what struggles do you have and where do you need some encouragement?

RELATED:

The Frustrating Quiet Phase

Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! – by A Fellow Wife

Oneness in Marriage: Not Too Close, but Not Too Far Away

Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife

A Fellow Wife Thinks about Giving Space

When Your Man Needs Space

Why Space Can Be a Gift

How I Became Enmeshed with My Husband – by LMSdaily

20 Simple Ways to Enjoy Your Man

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Tips for The Journey to Become a Godly Wife

In the beginning of this journey to become a godly wife, when you are seeking to allow God to transform your heart, mind, and life I have found the following things may be wise. (This post is specially geared toward wives who realize they have been disrespectful and controlling.) Of course, all of us ultimately need to follow the Spirit’s leading in any situation:

  1. It may be best not to talk to your husband about what you are learning spiritually (unless he specifically asks) for usually the first few months, possibly longer. And if he does ask about what you are learning – it can be wise to keep things brief for a number of reasons.
    • Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things, especially if they are hurting because of our sin or they are far from God.
    • Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things when they perceive that we are far from God or if they don’t hold us in a lot of respect at the time because of the way we have been treating them.
    • When we are beginning this journey, we tend not to express ourselves very respectfully about what we are learning and we can inadvertently sabotage ourselves if we try to talk about it a lot.
      • “I’m learning I need to be quiet when I think that what you are saying is really stupid.”
      • “I’m going to respect you because God says I have to not because I actually respect you.”
      • “Wow, it is really hard to learn how to genuinely respect you.”
    • Most men would rather not hear all the mechanics of what we are learning. There are some very spiritually mature men who tend to be more verbal who may enjoy hearing some of what we are learning but that would be pretty rare.
  2. Keep the focus on your own heart, sin, and obedience to the Lord:
    • In your private walk with Christ.
      • Focus on repenting of any sin in your life every day. Invite God to expose sinful motives and thoughts.
      • Pray for God to change you.
      • Thank God for your husband and the good things about him.
      • There may be a time where all you do is pray for God to bless your husband and you don’t pray for God to change him if you have been praying that with selfish motives in the past.
      • Take responsibility for your spiritual well-being and growth.
    • In any conversation you believe you need to have with your husband about spiritual things (unless he is involved in serious unrepentant sin against you that simply must be addressed sooner).
    • Yes, he has sins in his life, too.
    • When speaking with other people
      • (although you may need to talk some about your husband’s issues with a godly mentor/counselor, you can still do so very respectfully).
  3. Let him SEE and experience what God is doing in your heart by your change in attitude, countenance, respect, kindness, patience, peace, joy, etc…
  4. You will likely come across a lot of things as you learn and grow that he may need to learn, too, but I suggest refraining from trying to be his spiritual teacher. God can work on his heart in time and reach him in powerful ways you can’t possibly reach him.
    • If you approach him as his spiritual authority, teacher, or preacher, it will probably repel him from you and from the Lord.
    • We are not in a position of spiritual leadership over our husbands. God has chosen to give our husbands that role of headship.
    • It is SO easy to come across as self righteous or prideful if we try to verbally teach our husbands.
    • There will be plenty of things we can humbly share as a fellow traveler on this road later when the marriage has been healed as the Lord may lead – once our husbands are interested and ask for us to share.
    • Our words as wives about spiritual things are a lot less necessary than I ever realized for many years early in our marriage.
  5. As he sees the godly example you set, it will preach a more powerful sermon to him than if you attempt to lecture him, preach at him, or teach him. Again, words are not usually that meaningful to men. They are much more impacted by changed actions and attitudes.
  6. Start a list of all the things you can think of that you respect and admire about your husband. Add to it all throughout each day.
    • Maybe consider mentioning one sentence of something you admire/respect/appreciate about him each day.
  7. If you start thinking about all the things “he should do” – that is often a red flag to refocus on allowing the Lord to transform you first.
    • It may be wise not to read books or sections of books that are about what husband should do if that is a trigger for you.
  8. Don’t be surprised if he is not very supportive of your changes at first. That is pretty common. Yes, it would be awesome if he could be super supportive. If he is not able to be in that spiritual place of strength yet, extend grace to him and continue to allow God to radically transform you to be more like Jesus.
  9. Focus on being a safe place for him emotionally and spiritually.
  10. Find all of your security, peace, joy, and identity in Jesus alone, not in what your husband does or does not do.

 

Don’t be surprised if, as God changes you, your husband gets confused about what on earth is going on. That is pretty normal. I have some posts listed at the bottom that address this issue.

SHARE:

If you have been on this journey for awhile, what are some pearls of wisdom you may feel led to share with our sisters who are just starting?

PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,
Please give us the light we need each step of this journey. We yield ourselves fully to all that You desire to do in our hearts and minds. Cleanse us! Refine us! Purify us! We humble ourselves before You. Expose any sin and anything that is not from You in our souls and lives. Help us get rid of all of that. Help us to embrace Your wisdom and Your Spirit. Let us hear Your voice clearly and follow You wholeheartedly. Make us into the godly women You call us to be for Your glory! Use us to bless our husbands and families and those around us.
Amen!

Much love!

NOTE – There may be exceptions to some of the things I am talking about in extremely toxic, abusive situations. In such cases, seek the Lord’s wisdom and wise, godly, appropriate counsel one-on-one.

RELATED:

My book “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord”

I was surprised to discover that what my husband needed to feel respected really wasn’t a long list.

FreeinChrist Fights with Heavenly Weapons

Last night, I got to do something that I will remember for the rest of my life as one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. May it bless you, as well!

FreeinChrist is a friend of mine and has given me permission to share. For more of her story, check out this post.

FreeinChrist is so strong in her walk with the Lord now, that she knows God has good things in store for her life no matter if her husband returns or not. She faces the future with great joy – seeking only to live in the center of God’s will. At this point, it would be infinitely easier for her to continue on without her husband. But she is seeking to be available to work to restore the marriage if that opportunity arises so that she can honor her marriage covenant before the Lord – simply to please Him and keep her vow, if the Lord provides the way. It is her heart’s desire to see her marriage restored if it will honor God.

She is not desperate or despairing. She has emotions to deal with, of course, and pain to hash through at times, but she is completely filled up with God and such a powerhouse of faith. The Lord has provided abundantly every step of the way for every need – housing, jobs, medical care, spiritual needs, everything. She says, “My story for His glory.” Whatever will bring the Lord the most glory, that is what she desires with all her heart, whatever that may be. Most of all, she wants to see her husband find peace with God.  She wants him to experience the healing and abundant life that can be his in Jesus.

Today in just a few minutes is their court date to finalize the divorce that her husband has filed against her.

When the judge asks her if there is any hope for this marriage to be reconciled, she plans to answer, “Yes.”

Last night, she assembled a group of 6 other strong, godly women to pray with her who have been praying and, at times also fasting, with her for quite some time.

  1. First we sang a song of praise together in the parking lot – Resurrecting.  Her reasoning was that when King Jehosephat went out to battle, he sent the worshippers out to sing praises to the Lord before the army went into battle in 2 Chronicles 20. (I LOVE that story! It is a great one to read in your quiet time this week.)
  2. We walked around the county courthouse 7 times – just like Joshua did with Israel around Jericho – another amazing encounter with God’s power and victory for His people. Before each lap around the courthouse, we all read a passage of scripture together out loud in unison. Then we walked around the courthouse and prayed – some silently, some out loud. We received God’s work, His power, His truth, His promises, His Word, and His Spirit to work in this couple’s situation.
    1. Lap 1 – Divorce. We prayed for FreeinChrist and her husband and for all people coming to that county courthouse to get a divorce for healing for their marriages and glory for God.  “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” Mal. 2:16 NLT
    2. Lap 2 – Marriage. We prayed for FreeinChrist and her husband and for all those coming to the courthouse to get a marriage license and for those in our county getting married – that they might honor and understand the significance of a marriage covenant in God’s eyes. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matt. 19:6 NIV
    3. Lap 3 – New things. We prayed and thanked God for the new things He is doing in FreeinChrist and in her husband and prayed for new things for those coming to the court house and in our county – for a great awakening. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isa. 43:19 NIV
    4. Lap 4 – A new heart. “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Eze. 36:26 NLT
    5. Lap 5 – New life. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17 ESV
    6. Lap 6 – God’s sovereignty. We thanked and praised God for His sovereignty in FreeinChrist’s life, in her husband’s life, and in their marriage. We thanked and praised Him for His sovereignty in this courthouse and in this county. “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'” Isa. 46:9-10 NIV
    7. Lap 7 – God’s sovereignty. “I know that You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 NIV
  3. After the 7 laps –  we stopped and sang Holy, Holy, Holy together in the parking lot and thanked and praised God.
  4. We walked an 8th lap – a victory lap for new beginnings. And we prayed and received these scriptures:
    1. “‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Hag. 2:9 NIV
    2. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Eph. 3:20-21
    3. I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten. Joel 2:25
  5. We sang Victory in Jesus together at the top of our lungs.

It was amazing to walk behind this precious sister in Christ and to pray with her and to see her faith. She had the biggest smile on her face all evening and was simply totally yielded to the Lord. Praising Him, thanking Him, worshipping Him, trusting Him. She doesn’t know what will happen today. None of us do. But she was radiant with His glory and beauty last night. And we are all confident that the Lord is going to move in this situation. We are excited to see how.

You know something? It hit me that if all of us approached trials in our lives in a manner like this – we would have a VERY different world!

Imagine if every marriage had this kind of prayer. If every lost person had believers praying for him/her like this. If every school, courthouse, city, state, and country had believers bathing them in prayer and faith like this.

FreeinChrist has no need to use earthly weapons or human wisdom and effort. She doesn’t have to try to force her way. She doesn’t have to cry, scream, yell, cuss, or make demands. She doesn’t have to argue or try to convince her husband of anything. She doesn’t even have to communicate with him. Her eyes are on the Lord. His will is going to be done. His glory will be made known through her story. He will do the fighting and all she has to do is to be still and receive the things He will do on her behalf.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in Him, and He will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine

like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and

wait patiently for Him;

do not fret when men succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:5-7

Please join with me in praying for the Lord’s victory, His greatest glory, and His Name to be exalted in FreeinChrist’s life even now as she is about to enter the courthouse within ten minutes of when I publish this post. And let’s also lift up our other brothers and sisters who have lost spouses and who are facing a spouse going ahead with a divorce. I can’t wait to see all that the Lord will do!

RELATED:

FreeinChrist Stands for Something Way Bigger Than Just Her Marriage

 

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