Am I His Prosecuting Attorney?

Me in 2003 – 5 years before the Lord opened my eyes

MY OLD WAYS

Ugh. This describes me for so long in our marriage. I would often decide we had an issue. I would think nonstop about it all day – determining all the questions I would ask Greg so I could verbally nail him to the wall. I was completely sure I knew all kinds of evil motives he must have had toward me. I spent hours carefully gathering my evidence against him so I  could prove to him how wrong he was with all of my strong arguments.

When he would get home – there was no happy welcome or smile from me on those days. I lit right into him. I was in “prosecuting attorney mode”  – determined to get him to admit how wrong he was and how right I was about any and every little issue as I cross-examined him under a microscope. That was all that mattered to me at the time – being right. I had no idea what I was doing to Greg or our relationship.

Of course, if he dared to address an issue in my life, even the smallest thing, I would all-out viciously verbally attack him. I was the only one allowed to do the questioning. I was the only one allowed to confront. Not him. I could disagree with him. But he best not disagree with me or he would suffer my wrath.

I was dumbfounded that I would ask all of my carefully crafted questions and he refused to say anything. Oh, that made me so mad! Fighting mad. I escalated my volume and vitriol when that happened, thinking he would surely answer me if I increased the intensity of my attack. I would make him answer! I thought he didn’t say anything because he knew I was right and he had no ability to defend himself against my superior reasoning abilities and character. I thought he was quiet because he was guilty of all of my accusations against him.

Many years later, after God opened my eyes to all of the sin to which I had been so blind for over 14 years in our marriage – I was able to finally see. Almost nothing about my husband matched up with what I had wrongly assumed for so many years.

Greg didn’t answer me because I put him in a no-win situation.

I had misunderstood his heart, thoughts, words, and actions completely. I was determined that I knew the truth and was right and that he was wrong. That was the only paradigm I would accept all of those years. And how could he even have started trying to explain anything – even if he wanted to – when my vision of him was so distorted?

It turns out, I didn’t know his heart at all. I didn’t know his motives. I was completely in another book – not just on another page.

What I thought was true all that time – really wasn’t. I had deceived myself. I was emotionally and spiritually completely exhausting to be around. I was verbally abusive. I didn’t call him names, generally. And I never cussed at all. I just took many verbal shots at him to undermine him, to label him, to condemn him, to blame him, to attack him, to show him how everything was his fault, etc… Then I resented him for being emotionally unavailable to me. He should love me more!

God! You need to change this man and change him RIGHT NOW! He is hurting me by not loving me the way I want him to. How could he be so cruel to me to unplug from me like this?

I don’t know if I could have understood back then if Greg did try to explain even if I had been willing to try to listen. I had no idea how different Greg’s perspective and mindset was. Usually, if he started saying something, I cut him off. I was convinced I completely understood the situation without ever hearing his side of things. I thought I already knew what he was thinking and what he would say. How I wish I had stopped attacking him and tried to listen.

To answer before listening– that is folly and shame. Prov. 18:13

GREG’S DILEMMA

So his choices at the time were:

  1. Try to explain himself, knowing I would refute anything he said that didn’t match my pre-conceived (and extremely inaccurate) notions.
  2. Fight me verbally.
  3. Say nothing to defend himself and just let me rant on by myself and continue thinking and assuming the absolute worst lies about him.

He knew it was futile to explain himself to me. He didn’t want to fight me. So he often chose #3 – which seemed like the lesser of all of the evils. He withdrew from me. He shut down. He became a shell of the man he was when we got married.

Turns out – husbands don’t really like to feel like they are coming home to a verbal firing squad or to an interrogation. Really, no remotely emotionally healthy person enjoys that. No one revels in the stress of feeling like a criminal defendant who is being cross-examined by a prosecuting attorney who has already judged him/her to be guilty. Most husbands want to have peace, harmony, joy, and contentment at home. They want to feel safe with their wives emotionally. Isn’t that honestly what we all want in our relationships?

WHOSE INSTRUMENT AM I?

How might we come across as if we are cross-examining a witness at a trial?

It is often our tone, our facial expressions, our emotional intensity, and our constant barrage of pointed, accusing questions.

It is extremely hurtful and frustrating to be utterly misunderstood, vilified, falsely accused, and wrongly condemned by someone who doesn’t actually know your heart and who isn’t even interested in trying to understand the truth or in trying to heal the relationship.

Ultimately, we long most for our husbands to share their hearts with us, to emotionally connect with us, to cherish us, love us, and adore us. So – let me just mention, my precious sisters – this “prosecutor” approach repels our men (and anyone else). It causes them to shut down their hearts to us. It does not make them want to open up to us and be vulnerable. They know they are not safe with us when we act like this because they are not safe.

It was sobering for me to realize that I was not acting in the power of God’s Spirit when I acted like a prosecuting attorney, like an accuser. In fact, I was acting like Satan and cooperating with him. “The accuser of the brethren.” I had actually allowed the devil to get a huge stronghold in my life. I didn’t realize it. I was blind to my sin back then.

I unwittingly invited him to set up a base camp in my heart and mind by holding on to pride, resentment, unforgiveness, etc… And I gave him free access to my thoughts, heart, mind, mouth, and body. I thought I was living for Jesus. My words often said I was. But the Holy Spirit was not in control. The fruit of my life was the fruit of the flesh not the fruit of the Spirit. I had allowed myself and my mouth to be an instrument in the hands of the devil to try to destroy my husband.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own
hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1

How I NEVER want to go back to that awful place again! I had a lot of repenting to do – to the Lord, to Greg, and to other people in my life, too.

 

Thankfully, there is so much hope for all of us in Jesus! We don’t have to stay in this awful toxic place where we destroy ourselves and our husbands and other people. Jesus can set us free from this snare. We can turn away from our sin and turn to Him to let Him cleanse and heal us by His work on our behalf on the cross! The Lord graciously healed me, and in time, He eventually also healed Greg and our marriage. How can I ever thank Him enough?

That same healing is available to you. You can have peace with God and you can live in peace, as far as it depends on you, in your relationships with people. The key is to know the Prince of Peace and to allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life. He has to power to change us as we yield to Him in faith, trust, humility, and obedience.

I have so many posts that may be a blessing to you if you find yourself in this place where I was years ago. If you are ready to stop cooperating with Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy in your marriage and you are ready to cooperate with God’s good plans for your life and marriage, check out some of these resources. He can set you free from Satan’s prison just like He set me free almost 9 years ago.

RELATED VERSES:

A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; he who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. Prov. 27:15-16

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Prov. 21:19

 

NOTE – This post is not designed for women who are truly in danger with abusive husbands.

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Posts about husbands being our idols – being enmeshed with them, expecting them to meet our deepest spiritual needs that only Jesus can really meet.

Posts about being enmeshed

Posts about being a controlling wife

A Fellow Wife’s posts

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

Posts about fear – which is often the real motive behind my control

Posts about bitterness

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

If you have a very difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse, or seek one-on-one private counseling with a trusted, godly counselor.

 

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Greg and me on our wedding day – May 28, 1994

We are continuing the series of FAQs that I hear from wives.  This has to be one of the most common questions I hear.

He’s the one who is being so unloving!  He’s the one who is far from God.  He should have to change first.  This isn’t fair that I should have to ask God to change me first!

BLAMING IS EASY

It’s much easier to point at my husband and tell God, “He needs to change!  Look how sinful he is!”  In fact, that is exactly what I did for over 14 years in my marriage.  Guess where it got me?

My focusing on my husband’s sin caused me to be a foolish wife who tore down her marriage and her husband. My approach was destructive to him, to our marriage, to our children, and to myself. I can’t think of ONE good thing that me focusing on my husband’s sin while ignoring my own sin accomplished.

NOTE – If your husband has extreme issues (abuse, infidelity, addictions, uncontrolled mental health/spiritual issues) please seek an experienced, godly counselor or appropriate resources right away. Me focusing on my own obedience to God and repenting of my sin doesn’t mean I need to “stay and take abuse” or stay when a husband is being unfaithful and breaking our marriage covenant. There are times in severe situations where a godly wife does need to prayerfully consider separation.

THANKFULLY, GOD IS WILLING TO GIVE ME ABUNDANT GRACE, RATHER THAN WHAT IS “FAIR”

Let’s talk about what is “fair” for a moment.  If I want “fair” – here is what is fair:

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23
  • The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)  The things I have done wrong in God’s sight have earned me hell.  If I have even just one sin in my life (like Adam and Eve did) – according to the holy God and Judge of the universe – I deserve death and separation from Him forever. Or, to use another word for it, hell.  God cannot tolerate sin – any sin – in His holy presence.  He cannot ignore it.  Someone has to pay for it in blood.  And I have infinitely more than just one sin in my heart.  I deserve condemnation.
  • As a sinner – I don’t “deserve” anything good from God at all.
  • Because I am a sinner, I have no “rights” before God.

Maybe “fair” isn’t really what I want to pursue.

THANK GOD that Jesus was willing to step in on my behalf and take upon Himself all of the sin of my entire life and stand in my place, receiving the full wrath of God that my sins deserved.  That is crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It is insane that Jesus would love me that much!  I did NOTHING to deserve His love. I owe Him MUCH.  I have been forgiven MUCH. Not only has He forgiven me. He has given me the right to become a child of God if I receive His gift and live for Him as LORD!

Now, I am free from the penalty of sin. God has given me eternal life with Him through Christ – not because I deserve it. I don’t! He does this because of His great love for me and because Jesus paid my massive debt to Him in full – and I have received that gift by faith.

This is so much better than if I had won $400 million in a lottery!  I truly GET this now!

I am no longer condemned before God!  

Now – because of my overwhelming gratitude, thankfulness and joy – I am His servant, ready to do anything He asks of me!  There is nothing He could ask me to do that I would not be willing to do after all He has done to rescue me from the gates of hell and to give me abundant spiritual life here and life forever with Him in heaven.

  • I don’t obey Him to be made right with Him.
  • I don’t obey Him to try to earn heaven.
  • Jesus alone earned heaven.  God now sees Jesus when He looks at me!  Just because I put ALL my faith in Him and made Him my LORD.
  • I obey Him because of what HE has done for me and the scandalous grace, mercy and forgiveness He has lavished on me, a wretched sinner.

Whoever “wakes up first” spiritually is responsible before God to be the one to change first.

IF HE IS MY SAVIOR AND LORD, I WANT TO DO ANYTHING HE ASKS OF ME OUT OF LOVE

Why on earth would I not be willing – after all that Christ has done for me – to humbly and joyfully do ANYTHING He asked me to do?  Why would I want to sit around in my own sin and not repent of my own sin and demand that God must change Greg first? That just doesn’t even make sense at all! It would be a completely inappropriate response to Christ.

Jesus calls on believers in Him to deal with our own sin first:

  • “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matt. 7:1-5

Why do I have to deal with my sin first?

  • This is what Jesus commands me to do and He is my Lord.
  • I am getting stumbling blocks out of the way for my husband.
  • I will have much clearer vision to deal with my husband’s sin if my own sin has been completely taken care of.
  • I have no godly influence when I am continuing to sin against my husband. He won’t want to listen to my concerns about his wrongdoing to me if I am purposely hurting him.
  • I will then have the power of the Holy Spirit to help me rightly deal with my husband in God’s power and wisdom.

If I really and truly “get” what Jesus has done for me – I am going to be raising my hand as high as I can saying,

“Oh, Jesus!!!!  Pick me!!  Pick me!  Change ME first!  Get rid of all of my sin first! Don’t let me stay in this filth and nastiness another minute!!!!  Show me what you want to change in my heart!  Make me the woman You desire me to be!  I don’t care what it takes.  I don’t care what You ask me to do.  I don’t care how much it hurts or what the cost is to myself – I want to please and honor You with all my heart and life!!!  You do whatever You want to with my husband.  I trust him to Your hands.  Just don’t leave me here.  Change me!”

What if God wants to change me first and wants me to obey Him until…. Until the day I die. Until the day my husband dies. Ok – if that is what God wants – that needs to be ok with me.  I want to trust Him and obey Him no matter what the future holds and seek His highest glory.

What if His greatest concerns with me are for me to be conformed to the image of Christ and to reach my husband and others for His kingdom?

WHAT IF GOD KNOWS I NEED TO CHANGE FIRST SO THAT HE CAN REACH MY HUSBAND?

What if I am standing squarely in God’s way in my husband’s life?  What if my sin (pride, disrespect, contentiousness, self-righteousness, idolatry of my husband/happiness/romance, or control) is keeping my husband from hearing God’s voice?  What if God wants me to change first because I am causing destruction and damage in my marriage and in my husband’s soul?

In my marriage, that is exactly what was happening.

Here is why God wanted to change me first – one of the reasons, at least.  I am sure there are many I don’t even know about:

  • Greg told me years later that when I stopped all the criticism, negativity, lecturing, telling him what to do, all the disrespect… that it was like someone “turned off the static on the speaker in his soul that had God’s voice.”  He began to hear God’s voice again for the first time in many years.
  • Then, he said, when I began to add the positive things – the encouragement, the praise for what he did right, the genuine admiration and building him up with my words – it was like someone put an “amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice.”

What if God knows that He needs to change me first in order to reach my husband?  Isn’t that totally worth it?  If there are things I can do to become God’s partner and to cooperate with Him in drawing my husband to God and to myself –  I would be crazy not to be willing to do those things – whatever they might be.

Here are God’s prescriptions for us when our husbands are far from Himself:

This is ALL about Christ, my precious sisters.  It is all about HIS glory.  It is not about us. 🙂

Much love to you!

FAQs

  • This seems like more than I can handle (part 1)
  • When do I get to the “peaceful” part? (part 1)
  • I don’t want to lose my voice in my marriage. (part 2)
  • I feel like I am losing myself. (part 2)
  • I feel so lonely. (part 3)
  • I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all. (part 3)
  • My husband isn’t changing at all.   (part 4)
  • Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (part 4)
  • But I’m right! (part 5)
  • I’m so scared to give up control!  I should be in charge. Everything will fall apart if I don’t take charge! (part 5)
  • He doesn’t deserve my respect! (part 6)
  • My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (part 6)
  • Why can’t HE change first?  Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving?

RELATED

A Wife Asks, “Why Does It Seem Like the Wife Always Has to Change First?”

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

A Wake Up Call for Wives

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We all hear in the news about cyberbullying and how many teenagers commit suicide over being bullied online as well as in person at school.   I know that all of us want to see bullying stopped and all of us want to see all suicides and suicide attempts stopped.  We don’t ever want anyone to feel that suicide is a good option.

BULLIES  DO THINGS LIKE:

– call people awful names

– insult people

– assassinate people’s character, worth and dignity as human beings

– say negative things about them to others

– bash their victims verbally on Facebook or in social media

– try to make their victims look dumb, incompetent or bad in front of others

– send frequent messages to people to devalue them, put them down and ridicule them

– use condescending words, tone of voice and body language to try to humiliate their victims

– try to turn other people against their victims

– act like they are “better than” those they hurt

– try to cause as much emotional pain as possible to others

– show no remorse, in fact, they seem to delight in inflicting as much pain as possible

  • We as moms and women want our children – and all children – to feel safe, accepted, loved, respected and precious.  We want them to know that God loves them and that He has amazing purpose for them.  We want them to know that they are image bearers of God and that their lives are important and sacred – not to be trashed and wasted.

Most of us would do almost ANYTHING to keep our children from being bullied.

What about our husbands? 

I believe most of us DEEPLY love our husbands.  You wouldn’t be reading about becoming a more godly wife if you didn’t love your man.

What if we found out that someone was using these same bullying tactics on them?

Take a look at that list about what bullies do to their victims again.   Think about how you would feel if someone was mistreating your husband in these ways.

Now…

Let’s think about how WE treat our husbands.

Yikes.

I am ashamed to say it now,  but I did some of these things.  I didn’t see it at the time.   I felt unloved. He was so shut down, I felt justified in how I treated him because of my own pain. I didn’t think he had feelings.  He never verbalized that  I hurt him.  I had no idea my husband was shut down and unplugged mostly because my behavior wounded him. 🙁

If you are using even one of these bullying tactics on your husband, today is the day for this behavior to stop.  It is NOT right for us to treat anyone like this!

The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21a

HUSBANDS ARE IMPORTANT PEOPLE, TOO

There are husbands out there, even in Christian marriages, who feel extremely unappreciated,  disrespected, unloved, unvalued, depressed and hopeless.  I don’t want ANY of our husbands to feel that way – not if there is anything we can do about it!

We are not responsible for our husbands’ feelings and emotions.  Each person is responsible for himself or herself before God.

We ARE responsible for how we treat our husbands, how we speak to them, how we act around them, making our marriage our first human priority and becoming more and more the godly wives God desires us to be.  God commands us to treat our husbands with honor, respect, godly love and cooperation – working toward unity on our end of the marriage.

  • I pray that we will all desire our husbands to feel safe, accepted, respected, loved and precious.  I pray that we will want them to know that God loves them and that He has amazing purposes for them.  I pray that we will want them to know that they are image bearers of God and that their lives are important and sacred – not to be trashed and wasted.  They are sons of God if they are believers.  If they are not believers, Christ still died for them and desires them to come to Him and become sons of God. 

I pray that our husbands will see in the way we treat them that they are valuable and greatly treasured by us and by God – not only for what they do but mostly for who they are.  Let’s think about how God might desire us to treat His sons, whom He dearly loves.  And let’s remember that Jesus counts the way we treat our husbands as if we are doing and saying those things to Him.

SOME RISK FACTORS I BELIEVE EVERY WIFE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

I heard some very sad news recently – that inspired me to want to write about this topic. So, let’s talk about something that is very serious.

I don’t know if you have looked at national suicide statistics recently.   It is a most unpleasant topic, to be sure.  I am going to list a few suicide risk factors our husbands may have that might surprise us as wives (These are risk factors for both depression and for suicide.  Not everyone who experiences these issues will be depressed and not everyone who experiences these situations is at risk for suicide – but some men are. I think it is worth a minute or two of our time to really think about these issues.):

  • unemployment – facing unemployment is more difficult for many men than facing terminal cancer. (Sadly, I cannot remember for sure which book this is from.  I will add the name of the book when I can think of it!). Men tend to find a huge part of their identity in their careers and ability to provide financially.  Unemployment is often a time of serious depression for men.  Our husbands are especially spiritually/mentally/emotionally fragile during this kind of stress.   They need our support, faith, understanding, love and respect more than ever in these kinds of situations!
  • marital tension – If he believes his opinions, desires, feelings and ideas don’t matter or aren’t important to his wife, that is demoralizing for a man.  If he tries to fulfill his God-given role as leader of the family (I Corinthians 11:3), but his wife won’t cooperate with his leadership or usurps his authority and takes over, insisting she is always right (like I used to) –  it is a lose/lose situation for a husband AND for the wife, too – although she cannot see it at the time.   He may allow her to do as she wishes to try to keep the peace, even if he strongly disagrees with his wife’s decision- but he knows he is not fulfilling his role as the leader, protector and provider for his family.   He knows he can’t force her to follow him.  Even the best leader on the planet has to have willing followers.   If he desires to please his wife but she seems impossible to please and is never happy with him, that is extremely depressing for many men.  If all he sees from his wife is contempt for who he is, that she thinks of him as a failure, that she looks down on him and that she doesn’t respect him – that is a very heavy, lonely, painful burden to bear for most men.  If he longs for physical intimacy with his wife, but she often refuses him – that can be another source of excruciating pain for many men.
  • separation and divorce – divorced men are four times as likely as married men to commit suicide.  They have often lost most of their income, their children, their home, usually their friends, many times their church, their wives… and they often have very few people they can go to for emotional/spiritual support.  Men do not like to be “failures.”  “Failing” at marriage can be more painful to many men than any other pain they ever experience in their lifetime.  Marriage is supposed to last “till death do us part.”  When we divorce, it is like tearing out half of our souls.  The damage can be incalculable – and, men are often much less able to handle that kind of pain than women are (Check out the CBS news report link at the bottom).

These are not remotely all of the risk factors that could trigger a man to feel very depressed or to consider suicide.  Some other things that increase risk factors are substance abuse, isolation, family history of suicide, personal history of suicide attempts and having access to a gun.  This is not a comprehensive study of depression in men or all the reasons why men commit suicide.

But this is, I hope, a wake up call, to us as wives to consider how we might bless our men and not hurt them, especially if they are already in a dark place.

SOME OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS

  • Men often have different symptoms of depression than women do:  (From WebMD – Common symptoms of depression include loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities, fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and apathy. In women, depression may be more likely to cause feelings of sadness and worthlessness. Depression in men, on the other hand, may be more likely to cause them to be irritable, aggressive, or hostile.)
  • If your husband talks about wanting to die, wanting to kill himself, wanting to hurt others, wanting to end it all – please take him seriously and try to get help!
  • Men can be extremely depressed and not talk about it.  This makes it easy for some wives not to realize the seriousness of the problem before it is too late.
  • If your husband says that he feels hopeless about your marriage, disrespected, unimportant or like he doesn’t matter to you – please take his feelings seriously!  Please listen to him just as attentively as you would want him to listen to you if you told him you were feeling unloved.
  • If a man has multiple risk factors going on at once – he is at greater risk for depression and possibly suicidal thoughts.  Be sensitive to the strain that is on him – be his partner and teammate and helper to work through the issues together instead of turning on him.
  • When men are stressed because of marital conflict/separation/divorce, they are also more likely to have heart problems, high blood pressure and physical health issues than women are.

Men tend to measure their success as men by the happiness of their wives.  

I am not saying they SHOULD measure their success as men by our happiness.  But they often do.

  • I wish they would measure their success as men by seeking to please Christ alone and seeking His approval alone – just like I desire to see wives measure their value and acceptance by the love and grace and mercy of Christ not by what their husbands do or do not do.

I know men seem SO BIG and tough.

They ARE on the outside.

But men have tender hearts.  They have emotions and feelings, too!  They may not verbalize them like we do.  But they hurt and hurt deeply when we disrespect them, treat them with contempt, laugh at them, bash them in public, make fun of them in front of others, undermine them as fathers, minimize their concerns and ideas, belittle them and use sarcasm to cut them down.

A man’s wife has the power to hurt him emotionally and spiritually in ways that no one else on the planet has the power to do.  She is past his walls and defenses.  She has the ability to destroy him with her words, her disapproval, her rejection, her self-righteousness, her withholding herself sexually from him and how she talks about him and to him – if she chooses to.

Or – a wife can use her incredible power over her husband to bless him and do more good to him than anyone else on the planet can do. She can build him up, encourage him, honor him, admire the good in him, see the hero in him and inspire him to be his very best self!

*** If you have SERIOUS issues in your marriage – if one or both of you are depressed, if there is physical abuse going on, substance abuse, uncontrolled mental health disorders, infidelity or you are considering separation/divorce – please find appropriate, godly help ASAP!

RESOURCES:

CBS News – Men Wear Divorce Badly

WebMD – Depression in Men

National Institutes of Mental Health – Suicide Statistics and Prevention

Protective Factors to Help Prevent Suicide (CDC):

Protective Factors

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
  • Family and community support (connectedness)
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation

CDC Statistics

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Could My Disrespect Contribute to My Husband’s Depression?

Being a Good Follower

Dealing with Financial Stress in Marriage

Supporting My Husband’s Leadership

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Don’t Often Notice

Husbands Share What is Disrespectful to Them

Signs that Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

I Want a Divorce

The Respect Dare, Day 17 – Life-Giving Words

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Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Proverbs 16:24

We all need genuine affirmation and words of encouragement.

Nina Roesner shares a beautiful story in today’s dare about a wife who was going to The Daughters of Sarah classes that Nina Roesner leads.  This wife was thinking about not going that night because she felt like she hadn’t changed much in the five weeks since she had been in the class. She saw so much failure in herself.  Her husband encouraged her to go and very sweetly pointed out a LOT of ways that he had seen that she had changed already.

Wow.  That was a huge boost for this precious wife!

Don’t we all long for that kind of blessing from our husbands?  That they might notice all that we are doing to seek to be godly wives and praise and affirm our efforts?

  • Nina suggests asking your husband how you are doing as a wife.

I personally did not talk with my husband about what I was doing for many months.  He knew what books I was reading.  He saw me changing.  But I didn’t discuss it, I just prayed and prayed and studied and asked God to change me.

Keep in mind that it may take months before husbands notice the changes you are making – and some changes you make, he may not notice himself – but they are still important if you are seeking to align yourself with God’s Word and become a godly woman and wife God’s way. 🙂

A WORD OF CAUTION

I have walked with hundreds of wives through this process in the past year and a half or so – and, of course, I have been on this road myself.  Nina has walked with THOUSANDS of wives and has been on this journey much longer than I have – so I greatly respect everything she has to say.

But I know I personally messed up in this area = A LOT.  So I want to be sure you are very careful here if you ask for your husband’s evaluation of how you are doing so far.

When I had just read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – I started sending my husband LONG 2000-3000 word emails every day about all the things I admired and respected about him.  Then I would get REALLY, REALLY upset – to the point of being in tears – and feel unloved – when he didn’t send me an email back.

If you send a text/email/note about what you respect about your man, but you are in tears when he comes home and angry at him because he didn’t send you anything in return – the words of respect pretty much lose any significance.  Trust me!

  • Almost all of us want our husbands to notice every little change we make and make a big deal out of what an awesome job we are doing.
  • We want them to praise all of our efforts.
  • We want to know that we are getting an A on our “wife report card” now

Allowing God to completely renovate our souls and regenerate our hearts and minds, dying to self, being a living sacrifice for Jesus – that is all VERY tough work.  It is painful.  This is a life long process of sanctification that God desires every believer to go through to make us more mature and to refine our faith and character. It requires a lot of sacrifices to obey God.   Well… let me rephrase.  It seems like we must sacrifice everything at first when we begin to really commit to living for Christ as Lord.  But, the amazing thing is, we give Him all that we are, totally submitted to Him – and then He gives us all of Himself.  So, eventually, I realized that it was no sacrifice to give up the trash that I had in exchange for the riches of heaven.

But it is VERY, VERY tempting to want our husbands to give us a lot of praise and recognition for all the hard stuff we are doing to learn to be better wives.

In fact, it can be really hard not to say something like, “Honey, did you notice that I didn’t criticize you or say anything hateful to you ALL DAY TODAY??!?!?!?!?  Aren’t I the BEST WIFE EVER?????”

Or – “I wanted to say something super sarcastic just now, but I didn’t!!!!!  Aren’t you so proud of me?!?!!?!”

The thing is – not all husbands are going to be able to give us the verbal affirmation we desire.   And many husbands won’t praise the absence of negativity.  That is kind of the “minimum requirement” of respect (as Laura Doyle says in the Surrendered Wife- read in light of God’s Word, please, this book is not necessarily from a Christian viewpoint).  Doyle says –  “If you always used to run late for work, and suddenly, you begin to come to work on time – would your boss praise you for being on time every day?  No.  That is one of the minimum requirements of the job.”

WHY WON’T MY HUSBAND AFFIRM ME?

  • Some husbands are too wounded and still shut down.
  • Some husbands are afraid to trust that this change could be real, and they are going to wait MANY weeks, maybe months to believe that this new wife they are seeing could actually be reality.
  • Some husbands get more angry when we apologize for our disrespect and begin seeking to be respectful.  They FINALLY feel like they can say what they have been thinking and bottling up for years, many times.  All of that anger was there before, but we didn’t hear it.  They had lost hope.  Seeing anger in your husband when you begin to learn respect is often a normal reaction.
  • Some husbands are spiritually dead.  It is unreasonable to expect a corpse to sit up and give you a pat on the back.  If your husband is an unbeliever, or is very far from God and essentially “spiritually in a coma” – expecting him to meet your emotional/spiritual needs is very unrealistic.  By God’s power, you can focus on meeting his needs and you can take your needs to God.  But it may be necessary to drop expectations of praise if your man is far from God.
  • Some husbands get really excited and there is a honeymoon period – but then when they realize their wives keep messing up and aren’t perfect at respect right away – they get more critical.  That can be really tough for wives to deal with.

To me – it can actually be a blessing when our husbands do NOT give us accolades of praise as we are learning to be godly wives.  Why?  Because it forces us to examine our motives and to only do this to please God not to feel like we can control our men!

You can ask your husband how he thinks you are doing – but let me say – PLEASE DO NOT expect him to say awesome things.  If he does not praise you the way you think you should be praised – please accept whatever his response is graciously and allow God to work in his heart.  Just keep focusing on your accountability to please Jesus.

If your husband is a very godly man, he may be able to give you real affirmation and praise because he may understand how difficult this journey is.  But other husbands are not going to realize just how deeply disrespect and control go in a woman’s soul – to the very core of her understanding of herself and of God, and of her ability to accept God’s sovereignty.  Most husbands think we should just be able to “flip a switch” and suddenly be respectful all the time.  Not so!

This is a LONG process.  It involves the deepest core parts of our soul being radically changed.

MY SUGGESTION:

Do this with the sole motivation of pleasing, honoring, loving, respecting and obeying Christ.

If you don’t get the results you want in your husband, and you are disappointed – take that disappointment and use it as a signal to tell you to keep your eyes on pleasing Christ alone.  That is what I try to do whenever I sense disappointment welling up.

If you need affirmation and encouragement – look for it in a godly mentor wife you can trust, leave me a comment and I will give you affirmation and encouragement, and many other wives probably will, as well.

One day, when your husband is strong and healthy spiritually and emotionally – he will probably praise you.  But you can be content, even if he doesn’t.  Because you are NOT learning to respect him and honor his leadership to change him.  You are doing it to receive the praises of God when you stand before Him one day.

This is really all about you and Jesus.

Jesus counts the way you treat your husband and other people as if you are doing whatever it is you do to Him and for Him.

How scary is that!?!?!

Look past your husband’s shoulder – and see Jesus behind him.

Your marriage is really a test.  It is a place where you can learn to love like Jesus does.  It is a place where you learn to live by faith in Christ and where  you learn to respect and reverence Him.

Your level of respect and willingness to honor your husband’s God-given leadership have almost NOTHING to do with what your husband does or does not do – and it has almost EVERYTHING to do with your relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • Your husband doesn’t make you disrespect him.
  • He cannot make you respect him.  He can make it easier or harder!  But ultimately – this is about you.
  • You are responsible for your emotions, your thoughts, your attitude, your behavior, your obedience to Christ and your sin.
  • His behavior and sin against you just reveals what is already in your heart – whether the sinful nature is in control or God’s Spirit is in control. (Galatians 5:19-22)
  • You would act the same way towards any man you were married to – because that is what is in you.

The way you treat your husband is a tangible indicator of the level of submission and respect you have for Jesus!

THE DARE

Let’s give words of life and affirmation to our husbands!

Write down some good things your husband often does for you and your family and your home.  THANK HIM in writing today with 5 brief notes about 5 of his strengths.  ie:

  • going to work everyday = strong work ethic.
  • still being there with you = “commitment”
  • spending time with the children = being an involved dad
  • being careful with money and the budget = responsibility
  • talking with the children about character, behavior, etc = being a spiritual leader

Give him one note today (it can be a text/email if necessary) and one each day for the 4 days after today.

Men usually like BRIEF messages.

DO NOT EXPECT HIM TO SAY OR DO ANYTHING FOR YOU.

Just think of this as you are “watering his soul” and blessing him without any strings attached.

SHARE

Let me know how you are doing!  What are some things you admire about  your husband?  How do you plan to build him up today?

LUKE 6

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”