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.

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

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This wife read a post for the first time on my blog – and has graciously allowed me to share her comment. I think a lot of us may be able to relate to this sister in Christ:

This post – “A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – I’m Actually Going to Believe My Husband” – was very helpful for me as I was searching the web trying to fix my controlling behavior, and understand the negative behavior I practice daily with my husband and as a result, I believe with God, too.

I am not sure why, but I am very controlling, very questioning, slow to trust, doubtful that what my husband is telling me is true, and very snoopy.

I have recently reached out for help because I believe this behavior needs to stop ASAP but i am not sure where it comes from. My husband is generally a very trustworthy man.

I constantly:
– ask him who’s calling/why he doesn’t answer/why they are calling.
– ask him where he was if he was late.
– ask him why he does everything he does.
– check his Facebook and search history.
– act like a private investigator to his life, checking every search, every phone call, checking bank account every hour to see where he spends and then call and ask why he spent that.
– try to keep him from doing anything harmful, no matter what the cost – fighting, yelling, and screaming.
– FEAR him dying from lung cancer, or having wrinkles or bad teeth from smoking.
– give him a disgusting dirty look if he says a bad word.
– pout when he doesn’t spend time with me.
– drive by his friend’s house to see if he is where he said he would be.
– FEAR he finds another woman more attractive than me.
– ask him why he looked at every person he looked at.
– accuse him of staring at a girl too long.
– get very upset and not speak to him the whole night if I believe he looked at another woman.
– question him about everything!!

You get the point. It is a painful way to live. I do not want to live this way. I say I trust the Lord, but do I? Do I even trust him with my own husband who is a believer and loves the Lord?  My husband is His – so why do I try so hard to make him who I want him to be?

When I was with my last boyfriend, I did the same type of stuff compulsively. And I believe I have carried it into my marriage.

I am worried and want this to stop. I started thinking that since my husband is not jealous, and since he doesn’t try to look at all my stuff and since he clearly doesn’t obsess about what I am doing, or question me about anything – he must not love me as much or the same way I do him, for some reason I am associating jealous and unhealthy behavior to mean love. But then I meditated on these verses…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7

Every single thing in this passage describes my husband. It describes my God. It does not describe me.

I even started to wonder suspiciously why my husband forgives me so easily and so quickly?  Has he done something that if I find out about in the future he will need to make sure he stores up enough forgiveness toward me to make sure I forgive him? He must be doing something terrible or already done something (this is how awful my brain works…) I still can’t say that I fully believe that is a crazy statement and that its not true.

I believe I need to repent, and rely on God and pray He change me, but I feel I have done that before and nothing changes. Is there anything else I can do besides read blogs, books, and pray? I try to change so badly but what am I doing wrong 🙁 ?

I just hope someone can help me. I truly want to change. I really am hurting.

God bless you all.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I believe this wife is in the right place. I think of my online sites as a spiritual “ER” where the hurting, sick, and wounded can come to find healing in the arms of Christ and in the truth of His Word. There are TONS of posts here that I believe God can and will use to bless women – drawing them to Himself. If you are just beginning your journey, the posts at the top of my home page may be a good place to start. You may also search my home page for topics or search by category on the right hand column of my home page. 

I also have a Youtube channel, “April Cassidy,” with dozens of videos about topics related to living for Christ, becoming a godly woman, and becoming a godly wife/girlfriend.

If you need more detailed help or a more organized approach to this journey, my first book is releasing officially on January 27th! Amazon.com is already shipping it: The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord.  

I believe that this book is the closest thing to me personally mentoring wives. It might even be better, in some ways! The thing I love about books is that you can read and reread over and over again, take notes, stop and cry, stop and pray, and highlight things.  I personally had to re-read some books over and over – every day for months – earlier in my journey to really learn to let go of my old toxic ways of thinking and to embrace and solidify God’s truth in my heart.

take my readers through the beginning steps of this road and build the framework for God’s design for godly femininity, living for Christ, and becoming a godly wife. My prayer is that God might use me somehow to “put the dots closer” for those who come behind me than they were for me when I began this journey 7 years ago.

If you are getting frustrated, have questions, or need to talk about something – please comment! I’d love to do all I can to point you to Christ and to the healing available in Him for each of us. I try to be as available as I can here on the blog. My goal is to respond to every comment.

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do is to spend time in God’s Word, at His feet, inviting His Spirit into our hearts and lives to change us. 

If you want to share what God is doing in your life, please comment, as well. 🙂

SHARE:

How did you feel when God first flipped the light switch for you in your heart like this? What helped you the most when God opened your eyes to how much He desired you to change? You are most welcome to share your story. Every woman’s (and man’s) story displays a unique facet of God’s love, power, mercy, and grace. He may use your story to greatly bless someone else and to build up and bless the Body of Christ.

Much love!

"I Need to Change! I Can't Go on Like This!"

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This wife read a post for the first time on my blog – and has graciously allowed me to share her comment. I think a lot of us may be able to relate to this sister in Christ:

This post – “A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – I’m Actually Going to Believe My Husband” – was very helpful for me as I was searching the web trying to fix my controlling behavior, and understand the negative behavior I practice daily with my husband and as a result, I believe with God, too.

I am not sure why, but I am very controlling, very questioning, slow to trust, doubtful that what my husband is telling me is true, and very snoopy.

I have recently reached out for help because I believe this behavior needs to stop ASAP but i am not sure where it comes from. My husband is generally a very trustworthy man.

I constantly:
– ask him who’s calling/why he doesn’t answer/why they are calling.
– ask him where he was if he was late.
– ask him why he does everything he does.
– check his Facebook and search history.
– act like a private investigator to his life, checking every search, every phone call, checking bank account every hour to see where he spends and then call and ask why he spent that.
– try to keep him from doing anything harmful, no matter what the cost – fighting, yelling, and screaming.
– FEAR him dying from lung cancer, or having wrinkles or bad teeth from smoking.
– give him a disgusting dirty look if he says a bad word.
– pout when he doesn’t spend time with me.
– drive by his friend’s house to see if he is where he said he would be.
– FEAR he finds another woman more attractive than me.
– ask him why he looked at every person he looked at.
– accuse him of staring at a girl too long.
– get very upset and not speak to him the whole night if I believe he looked at another woman.
– question him about everything!!

You get the point. It is a painful way to live. I do not want to live this way. I say I trust the Lord, but do I? Do I even trust him with my own husband who is a believer and loves the Lord?  My husband is His – so why do I try so hard to make him who I want him to be?

When I was with my last boyfriend, I did the same type of stuff compulsively. And I believe I have carried it into my marriage.

I am worried and want this to stop. I started thinking that since my husband is not jealous, and since he doesn’t try to look at all my stuff and since he clearly doesn’t obsess about what I am doing, or question me about anything – he must not love me as much or the same way I do him, for some reason I am associating jealous and unhealthy behavior to mean love. But then I meditated on these verses…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7

Every single thing in this passage describes my husband. It describes my God. It does not describe me.

I even started to wonder suspiciously why my husband forgives me so easily and so quickly?  Has he done something that if I find out about in the future he will need to make sure he stores up enough forgiveness toward me to make sure I forgive him? He must be doing something terrible or already done something (this is how awful my brain works…) I still can’t say that I fully believe that is a crazy statement and that its not true.

I believe I need to repent, and rely on God and pray He change me, but I feel I have done that before and nothing changes. Is there anything else I can do besides read blogs, books, and pray? I try to change so badly but what am I doing wrong 🙁 ?

I just hope someone can help me. I truly want to change. I really am hurting.

God bless you all.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I believe this wife is in the right place. I think of my online sites as a spiritual “ER” where the hurting, sick, and wounded can come to find healing in the arms of Christ and in the truth of His Word. There are TONS of posts here that I believe God can and will use to bless women – drawing them to Himself. If you are just beginning your journey, the posts at the top of my home page may be a good place to start. You may also search my home page for topics or search by category on the right hand column of my home page. 

I also have a Youtube channel, “April Cassidy,” with dozens of videos about topics related to living for Christ, becoming a godly woman, and becoming a godly wife/girlfriend.

If you need more detailed help or a more organized approach to this journey, my first book is releasing officially on January 27th! Amazon.com is already shipping it: The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord.  

I believe that this book is the closest thing to me personally mentoring wives. It might even be better, in some ways! The thing I love about books is that you can read and reread over and over again, take notes, stop and cry, stop and pray, and highlight things.  I personally had to re-read some books over and over – every day for months – earlier in my journey to really learn to let go of my old toxic ways of thinking and to embrace and solidify God’s truth in my heart.

take my readers through the beginning steps of this road and build the framework for God’s design for godly femininity, living for Christ, and becoming a godly wife. My prayer is that God might use me somehow to “put the dots closer” for those who come behind me than they were for me when I began this journey 7 years ago.

If you are getting frustrated, have questions, or need to talk about something – please comment! I’d love to do all I can to point you to Christ and to the healing available in Him for each of us. I try to be as available as I can here on the blog. My goal is to respond to every comment.

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do is to spend time in God’s Word, at His feet, inviting His Spirit into our hearts and lives to change us. 

If you want to share what God is doing in your life, please comment, as well. 🙂

SHARE:

How did you feel when God first flipped the light switch for you in your heart like this? What helped you the most when God opened your eyes to how much He desired you to change? You are most welcome to share your story. Every woman’s (and man’s) story displays a unique facet of God’s love, power, mercy, and grace. He may use your story to greatly bless someone else and to build up and bless the Body of Christ.

Much love!

“I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions” – by Radiant

 

From a very dear friend and sister in Christ whom God has radically healed physically and spiritually in the past year and a half. For decades, Radiant could not receive love from God, herself or from anyone and was imprisoned physically, spiritually, and emotionally. How I praise God for what He is doing in her life! This sister’s issues were often the opposite of my issues – and help to provide a much needed different perspective from my own.

———-

About the post, “Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!” – I totally thought like the wife who had objections to speaking in direct, vulnerable ways my whole life.

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS:

This way of thinking makes us a victim and voiceless, then we freak out  on someone when they put that teeny straw on top of our huge anger that we aren’t allowed to admit, or have, or own, or do anything about. And it makes us jealous of wives who “have because they ask,” annoyed that they are so unapologetically “demanding” as we see it. My old way of thinking was about “righteously” refusing to have needs, emotions, demands.

It makes you really sick! Emotionally, physically and spiritually. To receive nothing good and only receive bad truly makes us toxic.

Why can’t we receive good? I think it’s this false humility stronghold that simultaneously says we don’t deserve anything good, while somehow at the same time being proud at how humble and un-needy we are. Then it’s about being a victim because no one understands how hard our life is. I felt I should have enough faith to be above struggles and emotions myself, even though I would never say anyone else should be. I was always the first one to comfort hurting people because I knew the pain of trying to go through things alone, and felt no one should ever have to do that (except me!). Part of it is the idea that “everyone else is more important than you, it’s in the Bible.” So being humble is not needing or asking or demanding. That’s for others.

If someone said good things about us, they are obviously lying or have a distorted perception or are just being nice, since the only thing that can be true is self-attack. That has been the only voice I have ever really believed – and I saw so much evidence to verify it – that it had to be true. And I was so used to that voice. I always thought that maybe if I criticized myself enough, then hopefully no one else would need to. While I was at it, I could feel extra guilty and not enjoy anything, and help God out with the punishments I knew I deserved. If someone did criticize me, I was a complete failure and had nowhere to stand, and collapsed inconsolably. There was no grace. No hope. Only trying again as hard as I could, knowing I would fail again.

People’s approval seems to be the only gauge of hope, but then we don’t receive it either. Nothing is ever enough.

So all time is spent trying not to need, trying to meet all others needs, trying not to mess up, attacking self with every mistake, guilt fear and failure. Trying to find life in dead works, which puts you under a curse. All this rule following and no joy or good results. Baseline – it is unbelief. Hebrew 4. No one can enter His rest if we hear the truth, but it is not mixed with faith.

My old way of thinking:

  • It’s saying Jesus saved me so I should be able to obey all of His commandments in my own strength.
  • It’s trying to please God without faith. Hebrew 11:6 says you can’t do that.
  • It’s trying to please God by obeying without believing anything He says, receiving anything but the most anemic salvation, (and believing Jesus did it reluctantly – that he had to), not receiving His love, grace, forgiveness, power, mercy. Having no idea all of the good qualities mentioned about Him could somehow be directed to include you, too. Imagining being on the very fringe of heaven, not included.
  • It’s also being totally blocked by anyone who disagrees or says, “no,” to you, but not ever being allowed to say, “no,” or your dislikes to them.
  • It’s remembering what caused someone to be upset at all, and making an inner vow to never mess up or cause a problem again. (These inner vows curse us, trying to save ourselves in our own strength).
  • It’s not believing anyone could ever enjoy your company or love you because you don’t feel it, so it can’t be true.
  • The biggest fears are being a burden, a failure, and demanding.
  • The only “truth” you hear are these accusing lies and and it somehow intertwines itself into the gospel to make it a non-gospel. You buy into it completely.

Idols, or strongholds, in this mindset are false humility and martyrdom.

Faith is scarce in this way of thinking. We believe Jesus did die to save us, and that we can be saved, but we don’t see His grace or promises or healing or forgiveness or that He truly desires us. And even then, we can grow in faith, be set free from quite a few things, and fall right back into this prison. Behind the false humility is immense pride – pride, saving ourselves, and being wise in our own eyes. Pride that we are following rules, astonishment when we can’t follow rules; that we weren’t successful since we should be. We are Christians! How can we fail God like this? So we attack and punish ourselves trying to help God with His disappointment in us. We try harder. Until we can’t try literally. Then we sink into depression and can’t be pulled out.
Faith is the ability to receive from God. So we cry out and try to serve and love Him and repent and feel guilty, but we don’t actually exchange that guilt for forgiveness.

  • We cry to him that we feel alone and unloved and abandoned but we don’t receive that He really is here with us and will never leave us.
  • We complain to him that we can’t do what he asks us to, and basically say He is mean and cruel for not helping us, but we won’t receive His help.
  • We don’t believe he will help so we don’t ask.
  • And when we do ask we are full of doubt and therefore don’t receive, and validate to ourselves that He doesn’t care.
  • We are proud that we don’t burden God or others.
  • We aren’t rude and don’t ask for stuff.
  • We are busy getting things done for God and praying for people and trying hard to follow our rules.

Until we fall apart. Then we are angry at God, ourselves and everyone around us except we can’t be angry, so this awful feeling stays general, unknowable and unfixable  and is more evidence of how God has abandoned us.

The mindset of false humility and not receiving and Jesus’ response:

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
John 13:6-10 ESV

RELATED:

Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That Is the Godly Thing to Do.

What Does God Say about Me?

My Identity and Security Are in Christ Alone!

Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places

Being a Trophy Wife is Not the Goal, My Dear Sisters! – by Radiant

Being a Trophy Wife is Not the Goal, My Dear Sisters! – by Radiant

 

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I came from a background of focusing on what my husband should change for me. So it can be helpful for me to focus on what I can change to bless my husband in a healthy way – not an obsessed or idolatrous way. For instance, I learned that it’s great to seek to dress nicely and take good care of myself to show respect for myself and to bless my husband. But not all women are from the same background. Some wives have spent their whole marriage trying to change themselves for their husband – to an unhealthy degree. That is a problem, too!

We can seek to bless our husbands, but we are not responsible FOR them or their sin. I hope that makes sense! Ultimately this is all about us seeking to please God alone.

Here is what a dear sister in Christ shared – and has given me permission to share. She used to believe she had to be a “trophy wife” and when she approached some Christian books, she thought she was hearing that message reinforced. But we are not trophies! We are not to be idols or objects to our husbands. We are human beings with innate worth in Christ! Sometimes, certain women are very sensitive to triggers about a wife having to perform to be accepted. I think this wife’s approach may be a great blessing to many who struggle with balancing messages in the area of dealing with husbands being visual and having temptations, etc…

FROM A SISTER IN CHRIST:

Some Christian studies on marriage can tempt us to feel responsible for our husbands sin, our marriage, to stay together, and a whole lot of performance on our part to make sure he is never tempted and we are always enough for him. The problem is we are never pretty enough, exciting enough or wonderful enough to hold our marriages together. Our husbands could still sin even if we were.

So we need the truth – We are not going to be enough to keep our husbands faithful or keep them from sin. We are not their Savior. Their sin issues were there before we were in their lives.

  • Only God can set them free from lust or anything else.
  • Only God can set us free from fear, worry, and “performancing.”

I am already beautiful in Christ and I need to be filled up with His love and truth about me. Only Christ is enough for my husband. If he is focused on Christ, Jesus is enough for him. So the answer for my husband to be free – is Christ. I can pray for him. And the answer for me to be free – is Christ.

I don’t have to be a victim – worried about my husband’s sin or potential to sin.

I can grow with Christ in any circumstance including one where my husband is sinning. My hope, joy, and identity is in Christ, not my husband or myself being perfect. I don’t have to pressure myself and feel constant guilt and fear to perform or he will leave me. I can rest in Christ’s love and grace for me and for my marriage and husband. I don’t have to worry about the future and what-ifs. I can enjoy my husband and think of intimacy and beauty as a good gift from God rather than a heavy, impossible duty I will never be good enough at (a lie from Satan).

Rather than be fearful and jealous, (Beth Moore said jealousy and fear has never won back a wandering husband) and looking at my lack, I can look at all the good already in my husband, all the love and blessings Christ has already given me, and the hope that God is fighting for me and my marriage. I am not the Holy Spirit and I can quit trying to police my husband and be free to give him respect and to pray for him. I can listen to God and stay out of His way if my husband does need convicting.

Sometimes my husband isn’t even struggling and it is just me being paranoid that is the problem! I need to ask for God’s wisdom, and not try to figure out what is right in my own eyes.

RELATED:

A Book Review – Through a Man’s Eyes by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross

Could Your Husband Be Trapped in Shame?

People Pleasing

Perfectionism

My Security and Identity is In Christ Alone!

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Posts about Husbands’ Porn Use

I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually

Are We Responsible for Our Spouse’s Happiness?

Unhealthy VS Healthy Relationships

 

“I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That’s the Godly Thing to Do.”

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I would like to address some more concerns a wife shared in response to my post about how we can be vulnerable and direct about our needs.

First, and this is critical:

Our sharing our feelings does require a delicate balance.

BALANCE

We can go too far one way or the other and make a big mess. If I share every single thought that enters my mind and don’t have any kind of filter for my motives or for sin – I will hurt others. I do need to have God’s wisdom, discernment, love, and compassion firmly in place before I share. I need to take my thoughts captive and not share sinful thoughts.

But I can also go too far the other way and share nothing. I can become completely unknowable and give up using any of my God-given influence in my family and in God’s kingdom. I can become an island – incapable of receiving. That is also unhealthy and destructive in all of my relationships – including my relationship with God. I end up full of self and devoid of God’s Spirit.

AVOIDING CONFLICT

Avoiding conflict can seem like a very noble, godly thing. Wouldn’t it be godly to try to prevent conflicts and tension and to try to keep everyone happy? “Blessed are the peacemakers” right? I mean – Jesus, Himself, said that! Why not scramble around trying to be extra nice to other people, bending over backwards, to try to keep them from getting angry at you at all costs? Doesn’t that sound like the loving thing to do?

I used to think so!

God does command us to love others and it’s great to head off unnecessary conflict when possible – but our motives are to be to please Him and to bless other people. Our motives are not to be:

  • to get people to like us
  • to have the approval of people/the world
  • to make things easier for us
  • to get what we selfishly want
  • to keep from facing constructive criticism/rebukes
  • to avoid necessary friction and conflict
  • fear of people’s anger or disapproval
  • guilt
  • false humility, playing the martyr, or self-righteousness (the root of which is always pride)
  • peace at all costs

If my thinking is, “I can’t let anyone ever be upset with me,” I am saying that I believe I am responsible for the thoughts, feelings, and actions of other people. Is that true? No! I am responsible for myself – other people are responsible for their own emotions, thoughts, feelings, and actions.  (Please check out this post on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships for more detail.)

I might achieve a “temporary false peace” by avoiding addressing sin – but ultimately – allowing sin to continue on and on without a loving, respectful rebuke leads to destruction of the relationship.

I don’t want us to be afraid of negative emotions, or conflict. We are all human. We will all have a full range of emotions in various situations. Unless we are in actual danger – we don’t have to fear anyone’s negative feelings. Feelings are important, yes. But they are not Scripture. They are not God. They are not sovereign.

Instead of our being terrified at the thought of someone being unhappy with us – we can recognize that negative emotions are simply a signal that we need to investigate and see if something is wrong. Sometimes our feelings are incorrect. Sometimes they lie to us. When this happens, we can ignore the feelings after we thoroughly and prayerfully investigate. Sometimes our feelings are accurate and are important flags to warn us of a problem – like sin. Sometimes emotions tell us we need to eat or take a nap or have some time with God. Sometimes other people’s feelings are a method God will use to refine us. Other times other people’s feelings reveal sin or a need in their own hearts.

What comes out of a person’s mouth is about his/her character, not necessarily an accurate reflection on us. We don’t need to receive words from others that are not of God.

I can approach my husband humbly – willing to take responsibility for any sins on my part, willing to make amends, and willing to extend grace. I can listen to what my husband says and prayerfully consider whether I need to make any changes in God’s eyes. But I am not responsible for his sin or his obedience to God. If what he says is from the flesh and the enemy or twists God’s Word, I don’t need to absorb that. If what he says lines up with the Bible, then I can receive that word.

PEOPLE PLEASING

Let’s talk about some of the ideas about people-pleasing this wife shared in her objections to speaking directly and vulnerably about our needs, emotions, desires, and concerns:

  • People may get upset.
  • You will be judged.
  • You will look weak.
  • You’ll sound selfish and demanding.

Thankfully, we are no longer slaves to the opinions or approval of others when we are in Christ! Only God’s approval matters ultimately! Jesus is LORD.

Here is what Scripture has to say about people pleasing:

  • Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
  • for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. John 12:43
  • You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
  • I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4
  • Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! Acts 5:29
  • But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT CONFLICT?

There are times when conflict is unavoidable – even necessary and good – like when we need to confront sin. God gives us instructions about how to handle conflict without sinning. But He does not condemn conflict itself or tell us to do anything we can to make other people like us and to make them happy with us in the moment.

  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-19,21

Note that we have some level of control over conflict vs. peace with others. But we don’t have total control. We only control our end of things.

Jesus experienced a great deal of opposition and conflict. How did He handle it?

  • Did He cower and run to try to patch things up with the Pharisees who accused Him of blasphemy?
  • Did He try to placate the Pharisees to get them to like Him and want to be with Him? He called them “a brood of vipers,” “hypocrites,” and “blind guides.”
  • Was Jesus most interested in avoiding conflict with His enemies or was He most interested in doing God’s will and exalting God?

If you really read how Jesus interacted with those who opposed Him, He was not wimpy, tail-between-His-legs, sniveling, afraid of people, and “nice” in the sense we describe “nice” today. He was firm, unflinching, and bold. He called sin what it was. He did not apologize. He responded with righteous anger when that was appropriate. And yet, He was loving in the midst of it. He did what was right – not what was easiest or most politically correct. He humbly went to the cross because that was God’s will for Him and He loved God – not because He couldn’t stand up for Himself. 

Jesus wasn’t troubled by what people thought about Him – even when they totally misunderstood Him. His concern was what God thought about Him. He said things that ran a lot of people off for which He did not apologize. Things like,

  • “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
  • “Go sell all you have and give to the poor… then come and follow Me” (Matthew 19:21).  
  • He even talked about that people would need to eat His flesh and drink His blood or they have no life in them (John 6:53) – after that, many people stopped following Him. He was fine with that. How? He was able to be fine with them leaving because He knew that God would bring certain people to Him for eternal life and other people would not belong to Him. He accepted that. He never begged anyone to follow Him. He never ran after those who rejected Him, trying to get them to change their minds or trying to make them like Him.

CONFIDENCE IN CONFLICT

(If you are in danger in your marriage, please reach out for help when you safely can do so – www.thehotline.org, call the police, or a trusted counselor.) I don’t want us to fear conflict in normal relationships. I used to be terrified of conflict myself – but after the healing God has done in my own marriage and after over 37,000 comments on this blog alone in the past 4 years, I have seen what a powerful tool conflict can be in the hands of God to accomplish amazing things!

Conflict is often a platform God gives us to bring great glory to Himself! Our godly, Spirit-filled response during conflict can draw people to Christ in powerful ways like nothing else can.

The key to our ability to have confidence is that God’s Spirit must be in charge – not our flesh. If our sinful flesh is in control, we will make a big mess and hurt other people (and ourselves) in destructive ways. If God’s Spirit is in charge, He will take the conflict and use it to help us share His truth in love. It may even result in people being convicted of sin and may lead to healing, spiritual growth, and greater maturity. I have also seen conflict result in people coming to Christ!

  • Conflict sharpens and prunes us.
  • It helps us draw closer to others when approached in a healthy way.
  • It helps us understand others better when we seek to understand their different viewpoints and perspectives.
  • It can reveal sin in our lives and in the lives of others.
  • It is a necessary part of intimacy between imperfect people and it can lead to great good.

Usually, there is fear, ungodly thinking, or pain behind someone else’s anger. Look for their heart message. Address those deep fears or unhealthy ways of thinking as God leads you to. If you can address what is behind the emotions and negative feelings – the person may find healing in Christ.

Note – conflict does not have to mean yelling, violence, rage, contention, division, hatred, and bitterness. Conflict simply means a disagreement or misunderstanding. We can have conflict without sinning. We can have conflict without drama when God’s Spirit is involved.

Verses about conflict

RELATED:

The Snare of People Pleasing

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

My Identity in Christ

My Security Is in Christ Alone!

Roots of Insecurity

 

A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – "I'm Going to Actually Believe My Husband"

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I first “met” A Fellow Wife in October of 2012. We have had some INTENSE conversations over the past 3 years. This has been a difficult journey many times for her – as it was for me (and as it is for all of us, I would daresay). I always love sharing what God is teaching her. I pray this might bless you (If your husband is involved in unrepentant sin, is abusive, is a compulsive liar, or is not in his right mind for some reason, perhaps you can’t believe your husband and this post may not be a good fit for you.) Thankfully, most of us really have decent men who are pretty straightforward and honest with us about what they say or who would like to feel safe enough with us to be straightforward and honest with us – even if they are not believers.

I’ve been thinking how different our marriage would be if I just truly took my husband at his word, if I believed him, if I took him as literally as he intends his words to be INSTEAD of allowing doubt and insecurity to creep in. Instead of over-analyzing and worrying he may not mean what he’s saying or that he’s just trying to spare my feelings or avoid conflict. How much more secure would I be in his love? How much happier would I be in our marriage. How much have I allowed Satan to steal from me through causing doubt, fear and insecurity?

  • Instead of thinking maybe he doesn’t want to have sex because I’m not a size 0, maybe he truly is just tired.
  • Instead of thinking he doesn’t love me as much as he says he does, just believe him.
  • Instead of believing I’m a low priority because he has things he wants to do, how about believing him when he says he just has things he wants to get done and it’s no reflection of his feelings for me.
  • How about believing him when he says he loves me with his entire heart instead of wondering if he’s truly got his priorities in order and prioritizes his marriage?

It would be a MUCH less painful way to live.

The reason I shared this is that I was thinking that doubt and insecurity can steal SO much from you – they’ve certainly been enemies of mine the last few years and I’m tired of the battle. It’s certainly easier and feels much better to have confidence in his love for me.

My husband’s biggest complaint (or close to the top) over the years has been that I don’t believe him.

I don’t want him to feel that way at all! It’s not been a matter of believing him but a matter of doubt and insecurity creeping in. But I want to conquer that. Love believes all things (Corinthians 13:8)!

I once read in book that Satan’s weapons are always doubt, deceit and distraction and if you can trace your thoughts back to those then you know you’re in a spiritual battle.

This is definitely a battle of doubt.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Isn’t this the same issue we have with God so many times? What would happen if we just believed Him and took the Bible at face value and accepted His Word to us?

But, back to talking about our husbands. It has been my experience that most husbands really do try to tell their wives the truth in a very straightforward way. We tend to get ourselves into a lot of trouble though, because some of us want to read into everything. What did that look mean? What was that inflection in his voice? Maybe he really meant this, not what he said. Maybe he is trying to hide his real feelings. And we get into a big tizzy over all of the possible interpretations we can imagine regarding what our husband said rather than just taking his words at face value.

That is a LOT of unnecessary drama and angst, my dear sisters!

It is extremely frustrating to a man to tell his wife the truth and then have her not believe it and begin imagining 96 other things he may have meant – that he definitely did not mean.  In fact, for a man to tell his wife the truth and for her not to believe him and to assume evil ulterior motives instead feels really disrespectful to a man. Why is that? Because she is calling him a liar. No one enjoys being called a liar. Certainly not most husbands.

What if your husband does fudge things a bit to keep from upsetting you? What do you do then? Well, I think that if you begin to take his words at face value and don’t freak out and launch into “what if” land, he may eventually begin to feel safe enough to be more honest with you when he has a problem. In fact, that is one of the signs that he feels more safe with you and that he trusts you more is that he begins to share the really hard things with you more often.

If he truly has an issue with dishonesty and lying, that is a different situation – and you may need some experienced one-on-one counseling to help you. But for most of us, what if we try taking up a challenge:

Treat your husband as if you completely believe whatever he tells you this week. Take his words at face value. Rest in them. Act on them.

  • If he says he likes something, believe him.
  • If he says he doesn’t need help – trust that he is being honest and don’t help him. 
  • If he says he thinks you are beautiful – graciously receive the compliment and rest in his words, trusting that he is telling you the truth.
  • If he doesn’t give a lot of compliments, rest in what he does to show his love for you and that he is still there.
  • If he says he loves you, receive it.
  • If he does something special for you – receive that as his way of showing love for you and appreciate him.

If he is not being honest about little things, he will figure out that he needs to change things as you begin to consistently take him literally. Your husband is probably a pretty intelligent guy. You may be amazed at how relieved he feels when you stop questioning everything he says – if you have been doing that.

In the next post, we will talk about a challenge for us to share in an honest, respectful, and straightforward way, too.

SHARE:

If you have already been down this road and have learned the blessings and freedom of just believing your husband and trusting he is being honest, please share your story.

PRAY:

How would your relationship with God change if you began to do this with Him, as well? What would happen if you just took His Word at face value – believe it and act on it?

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