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17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

The way you approach your husband makes a massive difference in the way he will respond to you. There are unhealthy, destructive ways to ask your husband for something that is very important to you – and there are healthy, productive ways.

A FEW TRUTHS ABOUT MEN (and really, we women feel the same way, too):

  • They like to be the hero and the good guy, not the bad guy.
  • They like to feel respected, not like they are being ordered around or treated like incompetent children.
  • They respond well to genuine respect and admiration, not control, hostility, condemnation, negativity, or a critical spirit.
  • They don’t like to be thrown under the bus.
  • They may need some time to think about things, that does not mean they aren’t willing to do something.
  • They may want to share their concerns and offer possible compromises and that needs to be okay.
  • They may have different priorities – that does not make them “wrong” necessarily.
  • They need freedom to do things their way, not always to have to do absolutely everything our way (i.e.: with how they do chores, how they parent, etc… There may be some differences and that can be a good thing to teach our children more balance and flexibility.)
  • They often are willing to sacrifice for us, but they still have feelings and they don’t want to be unappreciated.
  • They like to do things of their own free-will and not feel forced into things.

 

Let’s say that you want to take care of your sick mother and you want to ask your husband for his help with the children for a week. We’ll use this specific example, but the principles we’ll talk about apply to almost any time you want to ask your husband to do something for you. 🙂 The ultimate goal is for us to walk in the power of God’s Spirit, wisdom, love, and power as we approach our men. He can give us the specific wisdom we need in each situation.

UNHEALTHY, DESTRUCTIVE,  UNGODLY WAYS TO APPROACH HIM:

  1. Ask him over and over again to “be sure” he is really going to do this for you:
    • “You told me last week that you would take care of the kids for a week this summer when my mom needs me. Are you still going to do that?”
    • “I asked you two weeks ago and last week, but are you still sure you are going to keep your word and help me?”
    • “I know I asked you 3 times already, but I just really want to be sure you aren’t going to leave me hanging.”
    • What I am saying with this approach is, “I don’t trust you. I don’t believe you. I don’t respect you. I don’t think you are a man of your word. I don’t respect the answer you have given me before.”
  2. Make demands/Act entitled:
    • “You will take care of the kids this week for me.”
    • “You owe me and you are going to take care of the kids this week.”
  3. Give him directives:
    • “You better do this for me.”
    • “You need to…”
    • “You have to…”
  4. Insult him:
    • “If you were a real man, you would…”
    • “I know you usually don’t care about my mom at all or about what I want, but I need your help.”
    • “You have been such a sorry husband in the past when I needed you, but I need you to come through for me now.”
    • “I know how passive-aggressive you can be when I ask you to do things. I just want to be sure you are really going to help me this time.”
  5. Don’t let him ask questions or share his wisdom, concerns or ideas. Don’t let him have a voice.
  6. Refuse to give him any choice but to do what you want him to do.
  7. Be completely inflexible even when you really do have room for some flexibility.
  8. If he talks about that it is going to be inconvenient for him, assume that means he won’t do it and that he is selfish..
  9. Accuse him of sinful thoughts before you even know what is really going on.
  10. Rescue him from his commitment if he says that it will be challenging.
  11. Try to control him.
  12. Freak out on him
  13. Try to put him on a guilt trip.
  14. Play the martyr.
  15. Complain or argue.
  16. Resent him.

These approaches show your husband that you don’t respect or trust him and that you don’t have much faith in God. These approaches hurt your witness for Christ to your husband. They also hurt your fellowship with the Lord and rob you of the spiritual power that is yours in Christ.

 

HEALTHY, RESPECTFUL, GODLY WAYS TO APPROACH HIM:

  1. Ask him once if he is willing to do something (generally).
  2. Respect his answer to you and that if he said, “yes,” he meant, “yes.”
  3. Expect him to keep his word in a calm, respectful way.
  4. Treat him like you believe he is a man of his word and you have faith in him.
  5. Ask respectfully, directly, and vulnerably – with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile:
    • “Honey, I would really like to take care of my mom right now for about a week because she is sick. I know it is a lot to ask – but it would mean so much to me if I could go be with her.”
    • “Baby, I want to take care of my mom. She is so sick. I know it isn’t much warning. But I would appreciate it so much if you would please take care of the kids so I could go.”
    • “I would like to try to stay with my mom for a week this summer when she has surgery. Would that be okay with you?”
  6. Give him time to think through things if he needs that.
  7. Let him ask any questions he may have.
  8. Be willing to compromise, if possible.
  9. Be appreciative of anything he does for you because anything he does for you is a gift of love from him.
  10. Rest in his love.
  11. Rest in God’s love and sovereignty over the situation, knowing that if the Lord desires you to be there with your mom, He can and will work it out. And if, for some reason, you can’t be there, it may be that God has shut that door in His wisdom.
  12. Be at peace in Christ.
  13. If he says it will be challenging:
    • Thank him for his willingness to help you.
      • “I know that will be a tough week. Thank you so much for helping me. You are my hero!”
    • Agree and sympathize that you are asking for quite a bit if you are asking for something big:
      • “Yes, I know this is a lot.”
    • Don’t jump in to make a decision for him.
    • Let him think through it and let him tell you what he can or can’t do.
  14. Be sure to show your gratitude with words for what he does for you.
  15. Also show your gratitude with actions in ways that are meaningful to him:
    • Try to squeeze in some extra time for intimacy before and after you go if possible if he would like that.
    • Try to have things in order as much as possible ahead of time.
    • Don’t complain if the house is not picked up and cleaned to your standards when you get home.
    • Be willing to pitch in when you get back to help get things caught up with a joyful attitude.
    • Ask him if there is anything you can do to thank him.
  16. Be willing to do some big favors for him, too, sometimes.
  17. Give him the freedom to say, “No.”

If he does decline, it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love you. Respond graciously and take your request to the Lord, asking Him to provide a way for what you need/want if it is His will.

IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT YOUR WAY

  1. Count the time of trial as joy. (James 1:2-8)
  2. Don’t let Satan set up shop in your heart. (Eph. 4:26-27)
  3. Refuse to be bitter. (Matt. 6:15)
  4. Invite the Lord to use this situation to reveal His glory and to teach and prune you. (Heb. 12:7)
  5. Thank God for your husband – whether the answer is yes or no. (1 Thes. 5:18)
  6. Praise God that He will use this ultimately for your good (Rom. 8:28-29).
  7. Submit to the Lordship of Christ. (James 4:7)
  8. Seek His will far above your own – die to self. (Luke 22:42)
  9. Ask God to work in your husband’s heart for His purposes to be accomplished. Perhaps God will use your godly response to help teach your husband to be a better leader?

IF THINGS ARE REALLY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE

Keep in mind that there may need to be a period of time when you don’t ask for much if you have been extremely disrespectful, needy, smothering, negative, critical, controlling, entitled, or demanding for a long time. A husband in such a situation may need some time to heal before he is open to doing favors for you again. My suggestion is to do all you can to get rid of anything disrespectful and/or sinful on your end of things while you give him some time to recover emotionally and spiritually from his wounds.

As he begins to heal and as he begins to feel safe with you again, he will eventually probably be more open to you asking for things respectfully. This will take time. There will be a transition to moving toward a healthy way of relating. The more dysfunctional and broken things have gotten, the more time it will generally take for healing to begin to take place. Sometimes there is a quiet phase for a few weeks or months at the beginning of this journey (on a wife’s end) that can be necessary to stop the “hemorrhaging” in the marriage. Be willing to be the more spiritually mature one and be willing to let God transform you first.

  • If your husband has gone so far as talking about divorce, check out this post.
  • If your husband tends to be the negative, perfectionistic, controlling one – check out this post.
  • If there are extremely serious issues going on, (your husband is a compulsive liar, he is not mentally well, he has major drug/alcohol addiction going on, he is abusing you, he is involved in serious unrepentant sin like adultery, he is involved in major criminal activity, etc…) please search out for godly counseling in private with a godly, experienced counselor. The things I share in this post may not always apply if a husband is not in his right mind or is truly bent on harming his wife.

RELATED:

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

23 Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

Godly Femininity

 

 

 

FreeinChrist Stands for Something Way Bigger Than Her Marriage

Note – for a post about resetting our Valentine’s Day expectations, please click on this link.

I’m so thankful for this wife’s willingness to share her story. It is not all neatly tied up in a bow. Things are not good in her marriage, to say the least. But – check out what God has done in this dear sister’s heart! It is glorious! 

And we ALL have access to this kind of healing in Jesus. Her experience is not unique. What God has done and is doing in this wife’s heart is what a “normal” Christian walk should look like. 🙂 I long for each of us to experience Christ like this for ourselves – no matter what may happen with our marriages and our husbands. He is Real Life and Real Love!

———–

The Lord has been leading me to study Elijah for the past couple of months. Another thing He’s been speaking to me about is that something is about to happen in my marriage situation – telling me to “get ready” and that He makes “all things new.” The signs have been nothing short of miraculous, even though I don’t have any specifics, or a timeframe.

When my husband first left me and started pursuing divorce in 2015, the Lord told me to stand in the gap for my husband to come home to Him, Daddy – God, first and foremost. God showed me that my husband was a prodigal, and we all know how that story turns out – the Father showed unconditional love and forgiveness, and there was eventual reconciliation!

Having a reconciled marriage is way on down the list though, after my husband’s salvation and reconciliation to his Heavenly Father – so this “stand” is about something way bigger than my marriage!!

It’s not easy to stay encouraged when you see things that look opposite to what God told you… A facebook friend called me to tell me that she saw pictures of my husband with another woman on social media.

NOTE – Let me interject a quick note right here and say that this is not something that I recommend doing- at all! People who are separated, and praying for marriage reconciliation, don’t need things like this pointed out because it’s just plain hurtful and discouraging. *It is NOT too big for God to handle, so why be the bearer of bad news? Take it to the Lord and let Him reveal whatever He wants that person to know.

I was quite upset to receive this information b/c I’d been fighting so hard for my marriage, praying against adultery, and I honestly thought that the relationship my husband entered into right after he left had ended months prior. It felt crushing, and then it quickly became obvious that this was a test of my faith.

WHAT NOW, LORD?

So I asked God what He wanted me to believe, and what I should do now?

 

I went to church. My prayer was still, “What do I do now – it looks so hopeless? Should I still believe what You’ve told me Lord – that You want to restore things and that ‘something’s’ about to happen soon? Do I give up now, or keep standing firm?” I wondered if it was a test from God – to see if I’d believe what He’d spoken to me for weeks, IN SPITE OF what my eyes were now seeing. Hmmm.

  • It felt like Father was saying “do you still believe Me now that what you see looks THIS bad?”

He’s constantly told me to walk by faith and not by sight, but it’s hard to do when you see things in the natural realm that look so hopeless. I’m working on learning to believe what I see in the Spiritual, over what I see in the natural.

Our worship leader stopped in the middle of the song (which just happened to be THE song that The Lord has used most powerfully in my life this past year – Resurrecting by Elevation Worship) and he pulled out his Bible – said he wanted to share a story that we needed to hear.

It was the story of when Elijah prayed for rain but there was no cloud in sight [1 Kings 18:41-45] He said something to the effect of “there are a lot of people who have been praying for something for a long time but you don’t see anything happening. You need to know today that your prayers have been heard. God will do what He promised, but you must persevere and wait to see it. Get ready b/c it’s about to rain!!!”

Yes, Jesus! He used Elijah again – He knew that I’d pay attention b/c He’d already spoken to me about Elijah. Praise God!! I have symbolically pulled out my umbrella, rain coat, and wellies!! I’m ready for a downpour, Father!!

  • p_hya_t-1wu-david-marcuTHEN another breakthrough happened at the end of the sermon. The pastor asked, “What’s the one thing in your life that is so important to you that you feel you’d just fall apart if it was taken from you?”

A year ago I would’ve said “my husband/marriage.” And now that my dad may literally need a new heart (b/c his has become too weak to sustain him adequately) I’ve also felt that I couldn’t bear it if he was taken away from me anytime soon. “Please Lord, not my husband AND my Daddy!”

But in that moment when the pastor was asking that significant question,

I realized that the ONLY thing I can’t bear to lose is Jesus! It was a beautiful and freeing realization. AND I’m never going to have to worry about losing Him anyway! Amen?!!

It doesn’t mean I’ll never struggle again as I continue to walk this path – I’m sure I’ll be asking for prayers and encouragement again soon, as they help me endure. But at least now…

I’m absolutely sure that I’ll survive, and THRIVE, no matter what happens!

Praise the Lord for the mighty work He’s done in my heart and life these past 19 months since my husband left! Can’t wait to see what God does next! Please keep my husband and I in your prayers as this story continues to play out. It’s not over yet – praise the Lord!!

Yesterday as I was praying in my kitchen I had the realization that this is the first time in my entire life when I’ve truly loved myself and accepted myself as I am. I feel more freedom than I’ve ever felt before! I am someone that I would actually want to be friends with, and hang out with, and have in my inner circle. I am someone who is worthy of love (because God created me).

I have spent so much of my life with an oppressive Spirit over me, and agreeing with the lies of the enemy.

I was in so much bondage but I didn’t even know it until the Lord opened my eyes and then He set me free! Now I can’t imagine going back to the way that I was living before. Everything is not “perfect” and my husband is still a captive of the enemy – my marriage still looks deader than dead.

But God has transformed ME and changed my life!!

I feel a sense of peace and joy that I’ve never known before. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to be fine – even great – no matter what happens with my marriage, or any other situation I face.

I finally know (and BELIEVE) that I am who God says I am – loved, chosen, blessed, worthy, accepted, free, precious, priceless- a daughter of the King!! Praise the Lord!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

THIS is exactly my prayer for each of us! That we might know God like this and know who we are in Christ like this! 🙂

RELATED:

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story by The Restored Wife

Kirsten’s Story – a Peaceful Separated Wife

A Separated Wife Finally Begins to Experience God’s Peace in Her Life

My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Surrendering the Burden of Controlling My Husband – by Shannon Popkin

I am so excited to have Shannon write a guest post today as we celebrate her new book releasing this month! I hope you will check it out – it has been such a blessing to me. If you tend to struggle with wanting control, this is the book for you, my precious sister!

—————-

This post was taken in part from Shannon Popkin’s book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible, published by Kregel Publications, 2017.

I often use the word “providence” when I tell about the day I first heard my husband’s name.

I was moving into my new apartment, and my only two friends in town—Chris and Jamie—had brought a meal over to welcome me to Milwaukee. As we ate, Chris shared a story from his day.

Chris was a Christian education pastor and had received a call informing him that the fourth grade boys’ teacher had quit. But after the call ended, immediately the phone rang again. This time it was Ken Popkin calling to say, “I’d like to teach Sunday school. Maybe fourth grade boys?” Chris said he just happened to have an opening.

We all laughed about the providential timing of the calls. Then my new roommate, who also went to the church, mentioned, “I know Ken Popkin from the singles group. He’s really good-looking.”

As I lay in bed that night recalling the events of the day, I whispered into the darkness, “Well, at least there’s one good-looking single guy in Milwaukee. And if he’s willing to teach fourth-grade boys, he’s got to be a good guy!”

I think God was listening to my thoughts with a big grin on his face that night. Because two years later, I wore my white dress and walked down the aisle into the arms of the Sunday school teacher of my dreams. (And yes, he is quite handsome.)

My heart swells every time I consider all the details God arranged to create that bit of foreshadowing. He prompted the back-to-back phone calls on that very day, arranged the dinner guests, and inspired the conversation—all as a teaser for the new girl in town.

Losing Control

Five years later, I didn’t doubt my decision to marry Ken, but I did doubt the extent of God’s control over the details of my marriage (among other things). I wouldn’t have said it that way, but my behavior and attitudes sure did.

My new husband, who had first brought me such joy, was now causing me deep frustration.

We had just moved to a new town, and I was feeling so lonely and anxious to get connected. Then one night, a young couple from down the street invited us over for dinner! I was almost giddy, sure that they were going to be our new best friends.

Ken was less than giddy. Not only was he less social than I, he was also exhausted. Ken is a driven, self-motivated kind of guy who gets up at four thirty in the morning, leaving him little leftover energy for Friday nights.

After a lovely dinner with our neighbors, they led us to the living room. Our conversation progressed nicely, but I noticed Ken wasn’t saying much. I glanced down to where he was sitting, petting the dog on the floor, and I noticed his hand, limp on the dog’s back. And his head was drooping at a strange angle.

Oh no, I thought. He’s asleep!

From where the neighbors were sitting, they couldn’t see Ken’s face, so I crossed my fingers and hoped they would think he was just oddly staring at their dog. I tried to hold their attention by talking faster and with more animation. But then someone asked Ken a question.

I nudged him with my foot, and his head yanked upward. He made some unintelligible remark with slightly slurred speech. I was mortified.

The neighbors laughed good-heartedly and said, “You must be exhausted.” So this beautiful evening, with these people who were now not going to be our new best friends, came to a screeching halt. They showed us to the door, and we walked down the sidewalk toward home.

In that space of about five driveways, I packed a lot in.

“Unbelievable! You humiliated me! From now on, mister, you are guzzling coffee before we go anywhere!” I spat the words into the darkness, pumping my arms with disgust. My husband lagged behind, saying nothing.

As I lay in bed on that night, recounting the events of the day and listening to the soft breathing of a man who was working so hard to provide for our family and lead us well, I was filled with regret and sorrow. This is not the sort of wife I wanted to be. I felt ugly and ashamed.

God’s Perspective on Control

In the heat of the moment, control always beckons to me with logic, clear and strong. It says, “You’ve got to do something! It’s all up to you! What if he falls asleep every time you’re invited somewhere? You’ll never make friends! Everyone will shun you! If this is ever going to turn out right, you’ve got to take control!

But lunging for the control—which always seems to slip from my grasp—never brings the peace and security I’m hoping for. In fact, it just makes everyone (me included) miserable.

Do you ever wonder what God thinks of our frustration, our anger, and our disrespect toward the husbands He has given us? Do you ever consider His perspective on our fretting, fearful, control-craving hearts?

I do. I picture God’s grin fading that night, as He listened to my sharp words, echoing off the sidewalk. And I picture His heart longing for me to find the peace that comes only from surrender. Though I wouldn’t have heard it, I imagine God whispering something like this:

Shannon, Shannon… These neighbor friends, whose opinions you’re stressing over? They’re going to move away soon, and in time you won’t even remember their names.

But that man you just emasculated? He’s building his career. He’s tired. So sure, he fell asleep. Does it really matter that much? He is a good, faithful husband. He is a kind, dedicated daddy. He is my gift to you. A life partner. Sure, he has weaknesses. But why don’t you let me handle those?

And this habit that you have of trying to control him? That’s what I’m working on in YOU! Do you think that this evening in your neighbors’ living room was out of my hands? I keep adding situations to your life that you can’t control, hoping that one day you invite Me to take that burden of controlling everything off you back. It’s a burden I never wanted you to carry.

Providence

We usually only use “providence” to describe the moments God causes details to fall into place the way we’d like. It’s heartwarming to remember the way God brought our marriages together. But has control slipped from God’s hand when marriage is hard?

No, not at all. When I think back to my early marriage struggles (like the one I described), I’m actually thankful. What if God had allowed me to persist with the illusion that I could control everything? I would have gone stomping through life as a Control Girl! Instead, God used the strain of marriage—two people trying to merge their lives—to confront me with the ugliness of my controlling heart.

Trying to control my husband is disrespectful and creates tension. It makes things worse, not better. But when I lay down the burden of trying to make everything turn out right, I find peace. When I surrender the outcomes to God, I find security. And when I turn to God with the things that seem to threaten my happiness (even a husband who falls asleep on neighbors) I find hope, comfort, and joy.

Friends, God is in control and we aren’t. If we convince ourselves that the reverse is true, we only make everyone (ourselves included) miserable. Won’t you lay down your burden of control today? Whether it’s a husband, child, situation, or outcome that you’re trying to control, God invites you to surrender that burden to Him.

He’s in control, so you don’t have to be.

Comment below for a chance to win one of three copies of Shannon’s book!

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Bio

Author and speaker Shannon Popkin loves to blend her gifts for storytelling and humor with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon is the author of Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible. Go to ControlGirl.com for free downloadable resources.

Shannon is happy to be sharing life with Ken, who makes her laugh every single day. Together, they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. For more from Shannon, please go to shannonpopkin.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

 

Control Girls and Family Christmas – by Shannon Popkin

A guest post by author Shannon Popkin:

I’d like to call a pre-Christmas huddle. Calling all the women in the family please. Can we huddle up for a moment?

I’m calling this meeting because I think there are some hurting women among us. There are some mothers of adult children and mother-in-laws who feel unloved and underappreciated. Their emotions churn as they wonder, “Do my kids even notice all I’ve done for them? Do they even care about me?” And there are some adult daughters and daughter-in-laws who feel stressed out by all of the expectations that they sense coming from the matriarch of the family. Their emotions churn as they wonder, “Does she even see what she’s putting me through, here? Does she see that we’re all trying to make her happy?”

Both feel misunderstood. Both have a very clear idea of how to make things turn out “right”. And neither of them are talking about it. As the clock ticks down toward December 25, the tensions are rising, along with all of the inflated expectations.

Controlling Christmas

Many of these cross-generational tensions that we face stem from our desire for control. As women, we’re particularly interested in creating a Happy Ending for our particular family. We have this inner drive to make everything turn out right. But our heightened expectations only cause us to become more controlling—especially during the holidays.

When I was writing my book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible, I was surprised at the consistency. Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Miriam all lived thousands of years ago, and yet I saw them struggling with control the same way we do: they took matters into their own hands and tried to make things turn out right for their families, based on their own single-focused perspective. And they made the whole family miserable in the process. I also noticed that the only way they found what they were really looking for—abiding peace, satisfying family relationships, and deep security—is when they did the opposite of taking control. When they surrendered to God, and made their story all about Him.

I hope that you’ll consider the many, many lessons that can be learned from these Control Girls of the Bible in my upcoming book. But for now, can I offer a few suggestions? Regardless of where your branch is on the family, tree, here are some gentle suggestions for how to choose surrender, rather than control this Christmas:

  • Christmas can be perfect without being perfect. The food, the table, the decorations, the gifts. All of these things can demand an enormous amount of attention. And the greater our expectations, the greater the stress load—shared by everyone. Let’s ask ourselves this question: What is my main goal? To be a blessing to my family? Or to create a “Pinterest Perfect” Christmas? (The two might very well be mutually exclusive.)
  • Be flexible. The people who share your DNA or your last name are not your property. True hospitality considers the needs and preferences of others. Ask what time for dinner will work best for the baby’s schedule. Let your kids know that it’s fine if they want to come a few days after Christmas, since they’ll be traveling to see the other side of the family on Christmas Day. Don’t expect your parents to make a ten hour trip. Be delighted if they do, but not offended if they don’t. Let’s stop making demands or assumptions. It’s controlling, it’s rude, and it destroys peace rather than sharing it.
  • Traditions are not obligations. Sometimes the most gracious, sensitive thing to do is to break a tradition. Or at least set it aside for a while. Maybe this year your son will want his kids to wake up in their own house on Christmas morning. Or maybe this is the year that Christmas brunch becomes Christmas munch… on leftovers. Every year your family changes just a bit. Let’s ask ourselves, Which am I holding to more tightly—my traditions or my loved ones?
  • For goodness’ sake, remember to help. Holidays are a lot of work, and one person shouldn’t do it all. Not the mom or the daughter. Not the mother-in-law or the daughter-in-law. Share the planning, the cost, the kitchen prep, and the cleanup. And gratefully accept the help that others offer! If your daughter-in-law shows up with a dish, take a generous helping and compliment her on her culinary efforts! If your mom is kind enough to clean her house from top to bottom so that your kids can reverse her efforts in a matter of minutes, the least you can do is pick up before you go. Remind yourself: Be kind, one to another. Especially at Christmas.
  • You better not cry. You better not pout; I’m telling you why: Because you’re sabotaging your own Christmas. Be honest. Ask yourself, Am I sulking? Do I have a complaining heart? Is my attitude sullen? If so, is it because I’m not getting what I want? You might very well not get what you want this Christmas. Or on any But by trying to control (sulking and pouting are forms of manipulation), you only make everyone miserable—including you.

Peace at Christmas

Let’s try something different, shall we? Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. It’s the time that we celebrate our Prince of Peace, coming to earth to set up his kingdom. He wants for there to be peace on earth! And peace in families! And especially peace that extends beyond generational lines.

This sort of peace only comes when we are following Jesus and doing life the way he showed us. How did Jesus live? Toward other people, Jesus was a humble servant. He poured out his life and gave himself up on their behalf. And toward God, Jesus lived a life of deep surrender. He said, “I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30)

So let those be our guardrails. Facing others, we serve. Facing God, we surrender.

Our Control Girl hearts will tempt us, this Christmas, to obsess over recipes and gifts and table décor and whether Johnny’s going to be here on Christmas Eve. But as a Jesus Girl, we’re invited to surrender control and spread peace on earth.

 

 

Bio and Book Info

Author and speaker Shannon Popkin loves to blend her gifts for storytelling and humor with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon’s book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, which is available for preorder, is releasing in January. Shannon is also a contributing blogger at TrueWoman.com.

Shannon is happy to be sharing life with Ken, who makes her laugh every single day. Together, they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. For more from Shannon, please go to shannonpopkin.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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My Husband Blamed Me for ALL of the Problems in Our Marriage – by the Satisfied Wife

ADMIN NOTE:

I am going to be spending as much time as possible with my grandmother who is in her final days or hours this week. I will respond to comments when I am able to. Thanks for your patience and prayers for my family.  I would especially appreciate if some Titus 2 ladies might jump in to help encourage our hurting, struggling sisters as they feel led by the Lord. – April

My apologies for the issue with the last post that went out on email this morning – please ignore it.

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A guest post by Satisfied Wife about how to evaluate this issue with a husband who tends to blame his wife for all of the problems in the marriage:

If we try to go off of our own perceptions in life, we will most likely be found to have made some errors. However, if we look to God and His Word, we will not find error, and we can trust His Word to speak truth to us in any situation.

Here are some things that the Bible says about ALL people:

  • There is NO ONE righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10)
  • All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (Is. 53:6)
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

The place to start when trying to figure out what or who might be the one with the issue in the marriage is the fact that no one is righteous apart from CHRIST.

The Bible also says some things about judging others:

  • “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 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. (Romans 7:1-5)
  • 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)
  • Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1-3)
  • For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:12-13)

I see that it is ok to judge MYSELF (asking the Holy Spirit to shine the truth of His light into my heart) and to make sure my heart and life is right and aligned with God’s will. Unless I do this FIRST, I will NOT be able to clearly see what is going on in my marriage – whether I have an issue, or if the toxicity is coming from my husband. When you are in the middle of a marriage relationship where you are trying all you can to change, and seek God, and get your side right, and you may even see progress over time –  it is much much harder to figure out what is going on if you are being blamed for ALL the issues in the marriage, no matter what you do.

STEP BACK AND SEE WHAT YOU ARE BEING BLAMED FOR

Me personally, when I found myself spinning in circles trying to figure out what is wrong with me all the time – and trying to uncover some hidden sin that was causing me to feel like a total failure in my marriage – most times, the Lord led me gently back to the truth about what was really going on in my marriage, and He showed me that I was taking blame for things that were NOT my problem.

If my husband is blaming me for:

  • His bad moods
  • His irresponsible choices (for work, quitting jobs, etc.)
  • His unhealthy sleeping patterns/eating patterns
  • Him not taking ANY time for himself to seek God/rest
  • His harsh, critical, or condemning words towards me
  • His discontentment in life
  • His inability to trust me (when there is absolutely NO reason for him not to)
  • His insecurities
  • His fear
  • His inability to lead our family
  • His withdrawing from me
  • His physical sinful attitudes/actions toward me
  • His inability to love me

Then, in my experience, God has had to show me that I am only responsible for MY own:

  • Choices
  • Behaviors
  • Attitudes
  • Decisions
  • Emotional/spiritual well-being
  • Words/how I treat others
  • Contentment

When once the Lord led me back to this truth that I am no responsible for my husband’s life, choices, attitudes, behaviors, etc…. – I was able to let go of all the weight of carrying blame for things that did not belong to me! I still had some things that WERE my issue and when the Lord shows me my own sin — I repent immediately. No one is perfect.

So the key for me was to first realize that it is often not just either me or my husband – there is most likely sin on both sides.

But then, when once the Lord opens my eyes to my OWN sin—and I REPENT – that is when I am able to see clearly if I am being blamed for things that do not belong to me. When I am allowing God to reveal the truth to me, I am able to discern when my husband is blaming me. And at this point, my evaluation of that is what leads me to find freedom in Christ, and I am able to step back and focus on my own life, and God, and not allow the blame darts to hit any part of me any longer, because once I know the truth, the truth sets me free.

I think evaluating in a godly way has to do with looking at my own life, repenting of any sin, and then being able to see clearly what I am being blamed for. When I can see that it is NOT my responsibility to:

  • Make my husband happy
  • Fix his irresponsible choices
  • Fix his sin issues
  • Mother him
  • Give him security in life/marriage in ways that only God can
  • Meet the deepest needs of his soul

Then I am free to step back and pray, and allow God to work in my husband’s life and heart, while not subjecting myself to inappropriate blame any longer.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

We must weigh criticisms and rebukes against us in the light of God’s Word by the power of His Spirit. Then we can receive any rebuke that is true and repent of our own sin but we can also reject any rebuke or criticism that is from the enemy and that is not true. Reminder – we can have reverence for God, respect for ourselves (right biblical thinking about ourselves), and appropriate respect for our husbands all that the same time. We must have all of these things going on in proper balance.

RELATED:

“Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame for Problems in Marriage?” – Peacefulwife responds to a concern from a reader

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily

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

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

25 Ways to Reverence God

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

Healing for Destructive Jealousy – by Truly Blessed

NOTE: There is another Peaceful Wife Conference scheduled for November 18-19th in Garnett, KS for any ladies (single or married) who are interested and able to come. Check out the button on the right top corner of my page for a link to more information and tickets.

Truly Blessed and I had a conversation with a wife who was struggling with the thought of her husband ever seeing any beautiful women (not lusting after them, necessarily, just seeing them). In this post, we are talking about husbands who are truly seeking to honor Christ and their wives in their thoughts, not husbands who are using porn or ogling women or flirting with them. (If your husband has a lust addiction, please search my home page for “porn” and also check out www.xxxchurch.org for more resources. There is such a thing as righteous jealousy and anger. That is not what we are talking about in this post, however.)

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I just wanted to say I have struggled in the past with this as I’m sure many women do, and wanted to reassure you that God is able to help you overcome this as He has helped me. I am finally feeling the freedom of not being jealous of my husband’s every look, thought, and action toward other women. The scripture that helped me to overcome this is Phillipians 4:8. When I feel jealous, I remember these words, and focus on what is good, true, right, lovely, admirable, about my husband and my marriage. I remind myself that my husband is a dedicated man, he has not cheated on me, and has avoided the opportunity when it was available to him. He is honest and he has integrity.

He is with ME, and not her. This is his choice. He is choosing to stay loyal to me, which says that he has hope and a desire for us in our marriage. Then I remind myself that when God told me I needed to give up trying to control my life and give it to him, I promised that once I gave my life to Him, I would put all my trust in Him and no longer be afraid of what is “out there” that could hurt me, impact my life, or my marriage. HE is more than capable of handling my life much more than I could ever be. Truth is I have no justified reason to be jealous or fearful and I remind myself this every day.

I also have struggled to understand why I felt this way when I don’t want to, and God helped me realize how much I had lost confidence in myself, and to the point that I was always jealous because I had convinced myself that I wasn’t worth my husband staying in our marriage. I had myself convinced that he would probably go and find better than me – so that made me more jealous.

Every word, glance, action towards another woman – I was fearful that it meant my husband wanted to find “better than me.”

I would freak out because I felt if I didn’t, I would lose control. Now I realize (with God’s help to show me), that there IS nothing I can to do control, beyond striving to be a godly wife. If I focus on this and my husband did succumb to temptation or become unhappy and leave, there is nothing I can do about that. So I focus on pleasing God in my role as a wife and let God worry about the rest.

It is a hard battle to overcome the lies that Satan tries to convince us are true. But they are lies!!! We are daughters of God, and That makes us worth more than we ever could imagine!

I believe Satan uses jealousy as a way of driving a wedge in to destroy the relationships God wants us to have. I know my jealousy was a huge strain as my husband was tired of every moment being under pressure that he would offend me with something that was completely innocent, and it contributed to his shutting down in our marriage. No doubt he felt like I was not going to trust him anyway – no matter what he did. So why keep trying? I can see that now, as I realize now so much of my jealousy was unwarranted and unfair.

Funny thing is the more confident I become and the more I overcome the jealousy, the less I worry, but the more I see my husband relaxing and just enjoying our relationship.

I have gone through feeling SO rejected by my husband and that now that we are on the road to healing in our marriage, I know it was my disrespect, contempt, self righteousness and my assumptions of evil motives in his heart that were major turn-offs for him.

A big thing for me was accepting when the Lord showed me how self-righteous I was, and how I was making assumptions of evil motives in his heart. For a long time I couldn’t see how (in my heart) I was glorifying myself and putting myself on a pedestal that I was better than he was, and believing he just wasn’t capable of the honesty, loyalty, faithfulness, and love that I was in our marriage – so everything he did must be evil and a lie!

Oh how sinful of me!  The Lord has forgiven me but my heart still breaks when I think about how hurtful this was to him! No wonder our marriage was suffering! Who would be attracted to someone who treated their spouse like that!? I thank God for His mercy is all I can say to that.

The more I strive to be a godly wife and respect my husband and love him for just who he is, the more I see the attraction building up between us again.

My husband and I have had some very insightful conversations while we have been on this healing journey, and one of the things he has said that has hit me was how much value there is in a history together, that a physical relationship with your spouse is fulfilling not just because of the attraction but because of the “history” and the life you have made together. It’s so much deeper than what ever could come out of lust. Does that make sense?

I was so struck by the reassurance that (most) husbands really do value their relationship with their spouse. It isn’t JUST physical attraction for them, and it has helped to take away the fear of him turning his back on our marriage just to have something out of lust. I can’t believe I was so disrespectful to him that I didn’t believe he had integrity. I can see now how hurtful that must have been when I treated him like that. My heart would have been broken if he thought that about me.

Now I have never been one who has withheld in the bedroom, treated it as a chore etc… but I can say that the Lord has been teaching me on this journey how to love my husband freely and without condition, and the freedom I have compared to how I felt under the grip of fear!!!! I feel so much more secure to be able to love more deeply than I ever have. I really feel this reflects in our physical relationship, and the more I grow as a godly wife, the more confidence I have in myself, and the more security I have in myself even physically in my appearance and body image, yet also in so many other ways.

I do believe my husband sees this difference in me. I no longer fear the “younger, prettier” women like I used to, because I am more confident in what I have to offer my husband not just physically but in every way.

I do believe that our husbands respond greatly – in a physical sense – to a woman who is confident in who she is and is happy with and confident in her own physical appearance, regardless of what physical “imperfections” a woman may feel she has. If I am doing my best to reflect God’s love and be a godly woman and my husband doesn’t embrace that, there isn’t anything I can do. I can’t force him to love me in every way. That is his own choice. All I can control is (receiving) who I am in Christ. If I am confident in every area of my life, I can be attractive in so many ways, but if I present him with unattractiveness in my spirit, my attitude, my heart, I sure can drive him away!

In addition, I do believe that God does expect us in every area of our marriage, to continue to make effort to make things “work” as well. This means physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intimately. I don’t believe just because we are daughters of God we can just expect and take for granted either, that our marriages will just always be fulfilling without any effort to change, grow, and in our marriages, strive to continue to please our spouses and meet their needs wholeheartedly. I would hope that all of us on this journey to being the wives that God wants us to be, can agree on that. Of course God expects that of our husbands too, but we can only do what WE can do.

Some days are better than others, but I’m slowly getting there. God has shown me so much about myself on this journey and I am gaining more confidence in myself and God is doing a lot of work on my heart. The more confidence I gain as a woman of God, the more I am assured that I have nothing to fear.

RELATED POSTS THAT MAY BE HEALING:

I Can’t Go on Like This! I Need to Change!

Placing My Higher Sexual Appetite Under God’s Control 

Being a Trophy Wife Is Not the Goal, Dear Sisters – by Radiant

Roots of Insecurity, Low Self-Esteem, and Sinful Jealousy

A Husband’s Pain – His Wife’s Body Image Issues

Our Identity in Christ! THIS Is My Security!

Fully Trusting God with My Husband – Laying Down All My Fears

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

RESOURCE:

A free one-time Christian based counseling session and referral to a local Christian counselor at www.focusonthefamily.com

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

This post is specifically for wives who are disrespecting themselves or disrespecting God in order to put their husband on the throne of their hearts

** (please note the disclaimer about severe issues at the bottom of the post)

IDOLIZING A PERSON

Our culture thrives on encouraging us to idolize our spouses and be enmeshed/codependent with them. Whether

  • I expect my husband to meet all of my deepest spiritual and emotional needs (rather than Christ) or
  • he expects me to meet all of his
  • or both…

We will destroy our relationship if we continue on like that. If the goal is to ultimately to please a person at any cost – myself or my spouse – I am building my marriage on sinking sand instead of the Solid Rock of Christ.

An idol is something or someone I trust to bring me ultimate fulfillment, contentment, peace, joy, and happiness – that is not Jesus. It is something or someone that I place above God in my heart and give all power to in my life. I rest my faith in that particular thing. Some of us are willing to do ANYTHING to save our marriage, for example – even if it meant sinning, condoning sin, or allowing great harm to come to ourselves or our children.

I must seek to please God alone “no matter what the cost,” not to please another person to that degree.

Verses about idolatry:

  • Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. Jonah 2:8
  • Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5
  • Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. Galatians 4:8

Idols can’t save us. When we trust idols, we are ultimately trusting in ourselves – what our hands (or minds) have made (Isaiah 2:8, Psalm 135:15-18). Idolatry is slavery. We become hostages of our idols – the things in which we place our greatest faith and hope. When we trust idols, God often uses the things we trust to teach us that nothing is trustworthy except for Himself. We often bring upon ourselves the things we fear the most when we trust other things or people rather than God.  Idolatry and fear go hand in hand because we are trusting in somethings that cannot save us. We are trusting in broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

WHAT GOD REQUIRES:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37

If we love someone or something else with all our hearts and we set our hearts on that thing or that person, we will destroy ourselves. But when we set our hearts fully on God, we are blessed spiritually and overflowing with His Spirit – and then when we are right with God, He can empower us to have right relationships with others – as far as it depends on us. We may even see Him bring about miracles as we trust Him with our difficult relationships and our trials.

FROM THE TRENCHES:

I’m recruiting some help from the trenches from two wives in whom God is doing such amazing things…

Wife 1 whose unbelieving husband left her in the last year or so:

I think a HUGE red flag is fear. If you fear your husband, his reactions, losing the relationship – anything – You need to pray about it. Ask God why you fear, because perfect love casts out fear, and if you have fear for your husband or marriage, that is not love. You are not loving God more than your husband if you let fear of your husband trump your fear and reverence for God.

Wife 2 whose unbelieving husband is rather controlling and difficult at times:

Fear was a huge factor in most of my marriage. Fear of his reactions when I tried to share my feelings. I kept tweaking and tweaking my delivery of that, thinking it must be me, I must be doing something wrong. And, yes, it is true that many times I would come at him in anger after he had hurt me (these weren’t petty things, either – they were things that would make any wife or husband angry because they threatened our marriage).

But, even as I learned more about respect and how to approach these things in a better way, I started realizing that I would never reach the perfection status that would allow my husband to finally listen to what I was saying. My husband was never physically abusive, but I still had a lot of fear because he would shut me out and ignore me for days if I upset him and there were subtle things he did and phrases he used that made me feel really bad for sharing my feelings about something hurtful that he had done to me.

I was full of fear of losing the marriage, fear of losing my family. God had to take me to a place that I had to surrender it all to Him and He delivered me from all of that fear!

Now I can walk in truth and am free in Christ in my marriage! I no longer fear what my husband thinks of my relationship with Christ, I no longer fear his reactions if I speak truth that needs to be said to him (not trying to save him or preach to him, but just truth about things in our relationship or with our kids, etc.). And, my anthem during that whole process became the song, “No Longer Slaves to Fear.” That became like a prophetic song in my life that God made real for me.

God wants His daughters (and sons) to live free in Christ. That’s a huge red flag there, I think – If you do not feel like you have the freedom to be yourself and are always trying to “soften” your Christian walk so that it isn’t offensive, something is probably off (from April – this requires great wisdom and godly discernment to be able to see clearly). I think we are to live boldly for Christ and I also believe that is why those verses are there in 1 Corinthians 7 about an unbelieving spouse leaving…. the Christian’s life will be so different that it will repel some unbelieving spouses and may cause a permanent separation in the marriage. That’s not a popular topic in Christian marital teaching, but it is absolutely biblical.

It is a painful process and doesn’t happen overnight, this being able to get to a place where you are willing to lose it all and you choose to follow Christ wherever He leads and start living from an authentic place instead of sweeping sin and issues under the rug or letting someone keep trying to convince you there’s nothing wrong (when you KNOW there is something wrong). God is the one who has to do it, really, but we have to cooperate and go through the painful places so that He can lead us on to this beautiful freedom!

My husband threatened divorce (not always that directly, but it was very much implied) many times over the last few years as I started getting stronger in Christ and was standing in truth about the things that were happening in our marriage. Of course, this brought a lot of fear in my life – but eventually, I just started to let him know that he was free to go. This took him back every time I told him that. He was so used to me adjusting my behavior to keep that from happening. But, I think what I said and did was rooted in God’s Word and from His Spirit.

As Christian wives of unbelieving husbands, we need to realize that these verses are in God’s Word for a reason. He may be saving some years of heartache and struggle. And, really, those verses are just as much of a command as any other directive/command in the Scriptures. If an unbeliever wants to go, let him go. I know it’s not a popular view in the Christian culture of “marriages are worth saving at all costs”… (April, I know you do not teach this and I so appreciate that). God is infinitely above marriages and our marriage or husband should never take His place.

If you are operating in fear, things will only get more and more destructive. But, when God sets you free from that fear and you are willing to follow Him at ALL costs, then yes, you can move and operate from the power of the Holy Spirit.

It doesn’t mean that things are all going to be rosy and pretty and pain-free, but you WILL have an underlying peace and assurance from the Lord that He will never let you go, *He* will never be unfaithful or leave you, and you can begin to see the reality of the spiritual warfare you are in, as well. May God continue to bring this freedom to many, many more brothers and sisters!

My husband actually said to me as I was getting stronger in Christ and he could sense something was changing, ”I want you to worship me.” Yikes!!!!

God got my attention big-time with that statement. I calmly but strongly said something to the effect that I would never be able to do that for him. I brought that up in counseling and my husband said he was joking, but still. Red flag.

As far as idolizing our husbands so much that we think we couldn’t go on in life, I know another big thing for me regarding this was that I was a very insecure person. My security was resting on my husband’s love for me and that is a very, very shaky and doomed-to-failure kind of foundation. I think equal with dealing with fear is that every Christian has to find their security and worth in Christ alone.

  • God will absolutely do this in His children’s lives, one way or another, I think.

It might come through marital problems or probably whatever it is that you are finding your security in. If we have not come to a place, like Paul, where we can say “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” then this is something that has to be worked out. We have to be absolutely unshakeable and convinced that God is never leaving us and loves us with a love that cannot even be measured! We also need to be convinced of our righteous standing in Christ before God and in the finished work of Christ. Then our foundation is sure and strong.

RELATED

Fully Trusting God with My Husband – Laying Down All of My Fears 

My Security and Identity Must Be in Christ Alone!

Finding Victory over Feelings of Insecurity

Roots of Insecurity Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and Desire to Control

Is Divorce the Worst Thing That Can Happen? VIDEO

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Bitterness

Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

Taking Our Thoughts Captive

People Pleasing

Tearing Out the Idols in Our Hearts

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband

**Note – if you are dealing with severe issues in your marriage (unrepentant adultery, active drug/alcohol addictions, major porn addictions, severe uncontrolled mental health issues where someone is not in his/her right mind, or other very toxic or abusive situations,) please seek trusted, godly, appropriate counsel in person. If you are not safe, please try to get yourself and your children somewhere safe if possible. Please reach out to your pastor, the police, www.thehotline.org, www.focusonthefamily.org has a free Christian counseling service, a trusted doctor – depending on the situation. If you are dealing with emotional toxicity, check out Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” Please compare anything I or any human says to Scripture. Search for yourself. Seek Christ for yourself. Find the healing and hope that is available in Him!

 

“I Am Slowly Finding My Way” – a Guest Post

 

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked…
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither…   Psalm 1:1-3

From a sister in Christ who is fairly new on this journey to become a more godly woman – I’m so thankful for her willingness to share:

I am fluctuating… slowly finding my way. One day, I am resting in Christ steadily and firmly rooted in God’s arms – the next, I am trying to do everything in my own power and failing miserably. It’s still an improvement from where I was just a few short months ago.

I was grumpy, rude, irritable, short-tempered – in general, not a very nice person. I lived in my feelings; my pride was the scale that weighed every thought and conversation. I blamed everyone around me for my irritability.

I can only imagine what my husband and children must have felt… Realizing what an awful person I had become was not easy for me – I doubt it’s ever easy for anyone. Finding God has blessed my life more than words can express, and He has made so many changes to my heart and mind. Now, I am conscientiously happy – I choose to be excited, joyful, and appreciative. It takes a little effort to tell my pride-driven “feelings” to get lost and embrace happiness, oh, but it’s worth it – to rest in the peace the my God has given me, to play with my kids like I’m 8 years old again, to see my husband light up because something he said made me laugh.
I just had a wonderful weekend with my family. We didn’t do anything special, but it was so peaceful and relaxing. It’s true that our responses as wives and mothers set the tone in our homes. There were little issues that popped up, but I have been so peaceful because of my growing faith that the little blips were just smoothed over, instead of creating a storm.

It seems like when I find these peaceful moments, I say “Thanks, God”, get back behind the wheel, and crash the car, again.

I am so thankful for His grace (and I pray my husband has a huge supply for me, too). But, I have to have grace for myself as well. If God has forgiven me, then I HAVE TO forgive me, too. Psalm 103:11-12 tells me that God has removed my sins and failures from me as far as the east is from the west. What a relief! So, I dust myself off, pray for clarity to see where I went off course, and I continue living in His grace.
I’ve read other women’s accounts of growing into a spiritually mature, virtuous woman; I was warned that it is a slow process. I am finally beginning to realize that MY process is slow because of me. If I just placed all control in God’s hands and rested entirely in him (without taking over after a great week- thinking that I finally crossed the spiritual maturity finish line), then I wouldn’t have such a bumpy road.

I’m not under the illusion that I will ever be without sin; my hope is to mature to a place where my responses are deliberate rather than reactive. I’ve learned so many truths about God, His Word, and myself from Scripture and from more experienced women, and I know it’s possible. The trick (at least for me) is to apply those truths to my life without making a bunch of rules for me to follow to be a “Good Wife.” That also means keeping my motives pure – not making changes to become closer to my family or to get people to see me in a new light.

These changes have only been successful and fruitful once they came from my desire to be closer to God, to please HIM – with an added bonus of peace in my home and improved relationships with my family.

When I try to abide in His will by my own power, my efforts fall short EVERY TIME. I have read those words one hundred times all from different people, but until I attempted it on my own I didn’t understand.

I still have a long way to go – I stumble more than I like. It was me giving up control (or trying to control) every detail in our lives that allowed God’s peace to come into my heart. Focusing on Jeremiah 17:7-8 helped guide me in letting go of my need to control. When you think about it…

Trees don’t chase water and sunshine around. They are steady, peaceful, and still. They take their nourishment from where they are planted. To grow, they dig their roots in deeper – those same roots that nourish them keep them firmly planted in storms.

God is blessing me with these “tree-like” characteristics. I am growing a strong foundation in my relationship with Christ. I have stopped chasing things to make me or others happy . I am content and growing where He wants me to be. I am learning to thank Him for every circumstance – especially those that show me any sins I am holding in my heart.

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey Part 1

Encouragement for Those Who Are in the Trenches

Things Got Worse When I First Started to Change by The Restored Wife

If I Become a Godly Wife – Will I Be Me? by Content in Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

There Must Be More to This Journey  Than Just Prayer

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life

If I Trust and Obey God, I Will Be Fake and Lose Myself – a Guest Post

How Can I Tell if I Belong to Christ?

Even Once My Marriage Is Healed, I Can’t Go Back to My Old Ways

“The ONLY Thing I Have Right Now Is the Lord.”

I’m so thankful this wife is willing to allow me to share her response to this post about two ways wives tend to respond when their husbands say they are done. Right now, things are still a mess in her circumstances and with her husband – but what I want us to see is the beauty that God is creating in her soul in the midst of this fiery trial:

My separation from my husband is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My husband has moved out of our home and is staying with family. As a wife of a man who has had trouble leaving and cleaving since day 1, this situation makes our separation SO much harder. Add to it that his family is encouraging divorce, and I am living my worst nightmare daily.

The ONLY thing I have right now is the LORD. He is my strength, my light, my song.

I feel like a psalmist sometimes. I cry out to God, tears streaming down my face, my heart-broken to the point of feeling physically ill. Where is my God? Why is this happening? What does it take to mend my hurting spirit? I have been angry with God, confused, depressed, anxious, unable to sleep, overeating, under-eating, and in the lowest point of despair I have ever felt. Some days. I have asked God to bring me home. I am not suicidal; I simply feel like all I can do is breathe. Going to work is an enormous chore sometimes. Making food is all but impossible. Smiling or laughing feels insincere. But God is with me through it all.

I miss my husband more than I know how to express. I have made GIGANTIC mistakes that have brought our marriage to this point. My LORD has brought me to my knees in dire regret and sadness over my abuse, desire for control, overpowering, mean, non-supportive, and downright selfish ways. My LORD has reminded me that He paid the price for my sins, and I am washed by the blood of the Lamb. My LORD has reminded me in my darkest hour that He will never leave me or forsake me.

The Lord has brought me closer to Him than I have ever been during this trial. For that, I am blessed and eternally grateful.

I lay down my marriage at the feet of Jesus daily, usually multiple times each day. I know healing takes time, and I know our God works in ways we cannot comprehend as sinners. I yearn for quick restoration, but I know I would rather be separated for years than divorced forever. My husband’s heart is resistant to the work of the Holy Spirit right now, and I want him to hear the voice of God. I pray for his heart and for blessings for him often. I want him to feel the closeness I feel to the Lord. I want him to rely on the eternal not the temporary. I want him to trust his God more than his family. I want him to remember his baptism, what Jesus did for him, and let that change his heart.

There is absolutely nothing that I can do. I have reverted to “Wife #1” too many times to count (see this post). Now I give my husband to God. I release him. We are one flesh by the joining we received by God on our wedding day. My heart aches for him, my heart is broken, and hearts can be restored.

No matter what happens, I love my Jesus and I love my husband.

Through this pain, I am firmer in my faith than ever before and I trust that God is working all things out for my good. He is with me through every storm. Praise be to God!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

When I see this kind of faith, humility, and trust in God – I know God is powerfully at work and amazing things are going to happen. I know there will continue to be healing and regeneration for the wife  – that God is using the trial to grow her and bring her to much deeper faith and greater spiritual maturity. Please join with me in praying for God to continue His good work in this dear sister’s life and for healing for her, her husband, and their marriage for God’s greatest glory in His perfect timing.

ENCOURAGING VERSES:

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… Romans 5:3-4

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

RELATED:

Kristin’s Story – a Peaceful Separated Wife

A Separated Wife Finally Begins to Experience the Peace of God in Her Life

“My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife”

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story – by The Restored Wife

 

The Answer to All of Our Marriage Problems

Praying for Your Husband So That God Will Hear

There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer

“My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife”

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FROM A DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST WHOSE DIFFICULT STORY INSPIRES ME GREATLY:

Today marks two years of me being a separated wife.

It’s not the story I would’ve asked for and definitely not the one I wanted, but it’s still my story. It can be hard to think a back to the terrible day that my husband left. Having told me about his affair and that he and his mistress were having a baby together in just a few short months, he moved out. Shock, hurt, anger, betrayal all hit in an instant. The journey to today would be long, hard and painful as more shocking details would come to light and his repentance has yet to happen.

At the beginning God was revealing, through April’s blog then through my church elders, the idols of my heart. The Lord led me through an intense time of confession and repentance as I painfully laid down my wants, desires, hurts and “rights” to God. I realized that the idols (stemming from my desire for control) I was clinging to were accusations against God – saying that I knew better than him or that he didn’t really care about me or what I wanted. God was beginning a work in my heart and showing me, more than ever, my great need for him. That he is all we need and that he is a good, loving Father.

Even though my husband and I have been separated for two years and have had very little contact during the past year (a good thing for our particular situation since there is unrepentant adultery), he hasn’t divorced me. Through much prayer and counsel from my local church leaders, I have decided to remain as I am (I Cor. 7) and not seek a divorce. Waiting is hard and each day has challenges. I’m thankful to say that I have many days filled with joy, but I also struggle with depression and anxiety at times and some days I don’t know how I’ll get out of bed to go to work or to be a mom. Despite that, I also know that God has used this situation to grow my faith and to draw me closer to Him…and that is always a good thing.

Today is the two year “anniversary” of becoming a separated wife, so I spent time going through my journal from the past year. I was reminded of how much hope God has given me during the hardest year of my life. I am so thankful for the hope that he has given me, despite my circumstances.

  • Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Hebrews 5:1-5
  • Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:13 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 
  •  Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Psalm 23:18

In a worldly sense, it seems crazy to have hope while going through a difficult trial. But God has shown me where my true hope lies. It is not in the idols I held on to so tightly.

Hope is not having my situation turn out a certain way or having control of my life… its knowing that my future is secure in God’s hands. Hope is trusting in the work that has already been done on the cross, that my salvation is secure through Jesus Christ. It is knowing that my story, as bad as it is, is the story God gave me. I find so much hope in the fact that we serve a sovereign God. My situation isn’t an oversight, it wasn’t an accident, God didn’t forget about me. God is a good God and everything he does is good. He can be trusted to write my story. He knows how this will end and I can trust that he is using it for his glory and for my good.

Through God’s strength, I’m able to surrender my hopes and dreams of the life I wanted because of the hope he’s given that this isn’t my home. I live in anticipation of the life to come. I love reading Hebrews 11 to be reminded of those who have gone before us and how they lived their lives by faith.

  • But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16
  • He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:26
  • For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14

The practical way that hope has kept me functioning day in and day out through these past two years is the hope in the promises of God.Never have the promises of God been more real to me than they are now.

When my “worst case scenario” happened, His promises sustained me. When I’m hit with depression, His promises carry me. This is the most useful advice or steps I could tell anyone to take when going through a difficult time: learn the promises of God and cling to them when the hard moments hit. It may be quoting them out loud, praying them back to God, or writing them in your journal. They bring hope and peace because God’s word is true.

  • This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:50

A few, of the many, of God’s promises that have sustained me:

When I think my life has no purpose or is a mistake, I know God has a plan for my life.

  • The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8

When I cry and am filled with sorrow, God promises that He keeps record of my tears (Psalm 56:8) and that one day I will reap with shouts of joy (Psalm 126:5).

When I feel forgotten or alone, God promises that he will never forsake me.

  • “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

When I pray to God, I know He hears me.

  •  I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Psalm 17:6

The list goes on and on. I’d encourage you to search the Word to find His promises. There’s no better way to fight those lies we so easily believe when going through suffering or any day for that matter. When we turn to God in our hardest moments, He is faithful to respond. He will always give us the immediate response of His presence. He will give us a peace that surpasses understanding, even in the most difficult situations. And in His love and care for us, He has given us hope.

NOTE FROM APRIL:

I am not going to be able to approve comments that may be hurtful to this wife in a very painful, and difficult time. Please feel free to share encouragement, prayers, and support.

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