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My Primary Goal As a Wife Has to Be This One Thing

Reminder – I have a conference in Eaton, Ohio February 25th and a conference in Columbia, South Carolina March 24th-25th. You are most welcome to come!

Marriage meets many needs and fulfills a number of purposes in our lives, in our families, the church, and in society. A healthy marriage:

  • Brings stability to society.
  • Teaches the next generation how to have healthy relationships.
  • Is to be a safe place to raise children and for them to learn what love is.
  • Can meet both spouse’s needs for companionship.
  • Can be a place of wonderful friendship.
  • Is the only place where God condones and celebrates sex.
  • Can be a place of romance and fun.
  • Can provide financial stability and resources.

But there is an even greater purpose for marriage that I can’t ever forget.

God’s greatest purpose in marriage is that marriage is supposed to display the gospel of Christ and it is to bring great glory and honor to Him.

My marriage is about so much more than just me. It is about much more than just my husband or just our children. It is ultimately about something infinitely higher.

  • Marriage is to be a living parable demonstrating the relationship between Christ and the church where the husband is to portray the love, humility, selflessness, and sacrificial leadership of Christ. The wife is to portray the honor, respect, and submission of the church for Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33)
  • When we as wives focus on our role and what God calls us to do – the gospel is exalted – and the same is true when husbands focus on the role God gives to them and walking in submission to Christ as Lord.
  • If we choose to disrespect our husbands and dishonor God’s design for us as wives and for marriage, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)

This is a very lofty goal, my precious sisters. Marriage is no longer about me being happy,  me having my way all the time, or me having control. It is not about my husband being the most important thing or about me seeking to please him at any cost. It is about me completely yielding my heart, my mind, my life, all that I am, all that I desire, all of my fears, all of my purposes, my marriage, and my family to God to accomplish His purposes. Whatever He sees fit. My eyes have to be on eternity and God’s kingdom now – not just today or this lifetime.

Now my heart’s cry is:

Not my will, but Yours be done! Luke 22:42

As an individual believer in Christ, my purpose in life is similar.

  • I am to bring glory to God far above anything else. (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • I am to seek His will far above my own. (Luke 22:42)
  • I am to count myself dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ. (Romans 6:11)
  • I am to take up my cross daily. (Luke 9:23)
  • I am to be completely at God’s disposal, His trusted, faithful servant, willing to do anything He may ask of me. (John 14:22-24)
  • I am to view suffering as God’s tool to refine me and to grow my faith. (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-8, 1 Peter 4:12-19)

This changes everything about how I relate to my husband (and everyone else, but we will focus on marriage in this post).

Now I don’t need to ask questions like:

The funny thing is, when I asked questions like this and my heart was not wholeheartedly yielded to God’s, I actually sabotaged my marriage. I kept God out because I didn’t trust Him. Then I was upset because my marriage was a mess. What a confused girl I was!

The scariest place in the world to me now is to trust self and to not trust God. When I yield everything to God and I am in fellowship with Him and His Spirit fills me, He also pours His healing and the spiritual treasures of heaven into my life and through me into my family and those around me. He withholds no good thing from those who belong to Him.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Note  – the only way my walk can be blameless is when I allow God’s Spirit to live in and through me to empower me to obey Him.

Now I ask questions like:

Real peace comes as I know and love Christ wholeheartedly and as I trust Him completely with everything.

God’s Spirit can give us the power to stay when we may not feel like staying because we can look with an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one when we are abiding in Christ. He can give us the ability to love when maybe our husbands don’t deserve it. He can give us the power to treat our men with honor, dignity, and genuine respect – not because our husbands deserve it – but because Jesus deserves our utmost reverence and we want to submit to His Lordship completely.

When I am willing to obey God and I am filled to overflowing with His Spirit, His wisdom, and His power – there is no stopping God! He loves to do miracles and move mountains for those who fully trust Him. But I don’t love Him so that He will do what I want Him to do. I love Him and trust Him to do what He knows is best. I can ask Him to change my desires to match His.

His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine. I can rest in Him and His love and sovereignty no matter what my situation. I can trust His promises to me and anticipate how He is going to bring great good from even the most awful situations because He promised to do just that for those who love Him in Romans 8:28-29.

RELATED:

Verses on Suffering

Verses on the Lordship of Christ

Verses on Taking Up Our Cross

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Spiritual Authority

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

 

What about wives who truly are in danger?

For those who are in very dangerous situations, the goal is still God’s greatest glory. His Word still applies. You still have His love. You are not beyond God’s reach! I pray that you will seek godly counsel and wisdom one-on-one from a trusted Christian counselor or pastor. Pray, seek to hear and obey God’s prompting for you.

I don’t know exactly what God desires every wife to do in every situation. But God has the wisdom each one needs. I don’t want to see anyone hurt or killed. I hate abuse and God sure hates abuse. There should not be hatred, rage, or violence in our relationships as believers.

God’s Word does provide for separation when something very serious is going on that can’t be resolved – in 1 Cor. 7:10-16 – but it is not to be entered into flippantly or without significant reason. This is not God’s primary plan and design for marriage. If we take such a step, as believing wives, we want to be SURE that we are doing so because it is necessary not just that we are unhappy, feeling unloved, or that things are just really hard. Marriage is a covenant between God, my husband, and myself. I want to keep my end of it until death do us part – may God help me to do so!

 

 

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

 

This is such a serious issue. How I pray that God’s Spirit will be very much involved to help me write and to help each of us understand things clearly. I have had many women read a bit about biblical submission and conclude that submitting to our husbands means things like:

  • My husband is my absolute authority not God.
  • I have to do whatever he says no matter what.
  • I can’t voice any disagreement with my husband, that’s disrespectful.
  • I have to follow him into sin.
  • I have to treat his words as if they are always the very words of God even if he clearly goes against the Bible.

I don’t believe this is what Scripture teaches at all.

With almost every biblical principle, there is balance. If we veer to the right or the left of what the Bible teaches, we will end up with a destructive false teaching. So let’s always “test the spirits” as Scripture says. Let’s not just believe anything that any human teaches. Let’s compare everything to the Bible and pray for God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom and discernment that we might handle His Word rightly. It is impossible to delve into all that marriage means in one post – so please take lots of time to study this issue and to seek God’s truth wholeheartedly.

Note – There is a danger with a post like this that a wife who is not abiding in Christ and not seeing clearly spiritually may try to use this list to justify her own sin or selfishness. We are accountable to God for any sin in our own lives.

Let’s keep in mind that ultimately our submission is to Christ as Lord – as men and women. And let’s be sure we are hearing God’s voice clearly, not listening to the enemy’s lies or walking in the power of the flesh so that we can clearly discern God’s voice. Let’s ask God to purify our hearts and motives and to expose any sin or wrong thinking we may have. The goal is that God might say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant,” to each of us. Let’s desire obedience to Him above all else. 🙂

TIMES THAT I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT SUBMIT TO MY HUSBAND

I am posting this with my husband’s full support and knowledge.

Greg wants me to be sure to emphasize, “A wife will need godly discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit in some of these situations. Sometimes things are gray, not clearly black or white.”

We all need God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom as we seek first of all to submit to Christ as Lord. Ultimately, we will each answer to Him. I want us to handle His Word and our decisions rightly in His eyes. We need to be abiding in Him and we need to know His Word well and be seeking Christ far above all else so that we can hear His voice clearly. God gives us as wives a command to honor our husband’s leadership. I don’t want us to be always looking for a way out of obeying the Lord. That is not the point of this post. Our hearts should long to obey the Lord in everything.

This list is one that Greg and I came up with together for our marriage.

I Would Personally Not Voluntarily Yield to My Husband’s Leadership If:

  • He was not in his right mind
    • he had an uncontrolled severe mental illness at the time – psychotic, manic, extremely depressed, suicidal, schizophrenic, hallucinating, etc…).
    • he was on medication that was causing him not to be able to think properly (like he was not in touch with reality after anesthesia).
    • he was high or drunk or involved in a severe addiction that ruled his life.
    • he had significant dementia.
    • he asked me to do something truly foolish or reckless to endanger himself, others, or me – like asking me to get on the roof when I was 9 months pregnant, unless the house was on fire, refusing to go to the hospital when he clearly just had a heart attack and needed life-saving treatment, or saying we should strap the kids on the hood of the car and drive down the interstate.
    • he was obviously demon-possessed.
  • He was asking me to condone or commit clear sin according to God’s Word – not about my personal convictions – but clear sin. i.e.: He wanted me to get an abortion, to have a threesome, to watch porn with him, to lie on our taxes, to steal something, to worship someone/something other than the Lord, to be okay with him having an affair, to take the Lord’s Name in vain, to blaspheme against God, to turn from my faith in Christ, etc…
    • He demanded that he had absolute authority over me and was to be my primary “lord” instead of Jesus.
    • He wanted to lead me into a false religion or cult.
    • He wanted me to condone something illegal (unless it was to smuggle Bibles into a closed country).
    • He was threatening harm to me or my children, brandishing weapons,  or he had rage so out of control that I felt that I or our children might be seriously in danger.
    • He was truly abusing me or our children. (see note on bottom of post about abuse)
  • He was asking me to do something I literally could not do. (i.e.: drive a stick-shift that I have never learned how to drive, pick up a 300 lb couch, speak German fluently when I haven’t learned German, etc…)

Note – I haven’t been in such a situation with Greg so far, but if I did face something like this, I would not be able to just blindly follow him. God requires wives to be accountable for our decisions about when to submit and when not to submit. Check out what happened when Sapphira followed her husband into lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5. Abigail is a great example of a wife who honored God and who did not follow her husband’s disrespect toward David in order to keep the males of their household from being killed in 1 Samuel 25. For more on this issue of when it is appropriate to disobey a person in a position of God-given authority (in the home, government, church, or workplace), please check out the class notes on the post Spiritual Authority from a minister at my church.

There are some situations where a wife may be able to stay in the home and honor his leadership concerning non-sinful things. There may be other situations where things are so toxic that she prayerfully decides to seek a separation in hopes that her husband will repent and find the help he needs and that they can rebuild a stronger, more godly marriage in the future. Separation is not ideal, but it is acknowledged in 1 Corinthians 7 and sometimes it is very necessary.

I could still have a desire to be able to honor my husband’s leadership and a heart that anticipates being able to honor him again. But before I could honor my husband’s leadership in cases like the ones above on my list, I would need to see that he was back in his right mind. I would need to see clear repentance and fruit of repentance if he had been involved in major sin and trust had been severely broken. If wives are dealing with issues like this, I believe they may need godly, appropriate outside help to help them navigate these kinds of issues and find the help for their husbands that they need spiritually and medically – depending on the situation.

To me, this would be similar to a situation where my husband is driving the car. I don’t grab the wheel from him because I would wreck the car if he is driving even though I am a very responsible driver, myself. I can’t drive well from the passenger’s seat. However, if my husband were to pass out or become incapacitated, I would certainly try to grab the wheel then and bring the car safely to a stop, if at all possible.

We also need to be sure that we are not endangering our men, abusing them, sinning against them, trying to lead them into sin, or continuing on in unrepentant sin ourselves, as well. And if we are involved in addictions or we need help spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, we need to be sure to reach out for the help we need. I don’t want to ever see anyone in danger from family members! Home should be the safest place on earth, brothers and sisters!

WE ANSWER TO CHRIST ABOVE ALL

Ultimately, we must each study to “show ourselves approved workmen” before God. We will answer to Him alone for all of our motives, thoughts, words, and actions. So will our husbands. I want us to obey His Word above all else.

There are some who teach that submission/authority in marriage is about a husband lording power over his wife. That is not how Jesus describes authority in His kingdom to His disciples in Matthew 20:25-28. There are some who teach that husbands have no authority or that husbands and wives have “equal authority” to lead. I also don’t see how that is biblical when we read passages that clearly teach that husbands do have authority in ways that wives do not (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:1-7). We do have equal value in Christ and yet we have different roles. But there is to be mutual unconditional love, and unconditional respect flowing both directions in marriage. We are to treat all others with honor, dignity, gentleness, 1 Corinthians 13 love, and respect if we love and know Christ.

Even though husbands have a God-given position of authority, it is not a position of absolute authority.

God doesn’t ever give a human a position of absolute authority. All authorities on earth answer to Him and He has put all authority in heaven and on earth under Christ’s feet. Human authorities often answer to other earthly God-given authorities, as well. Husbands answer to the church, the government, and the police, for example. If there is abuse going on, these other authorities are there to help stop that. Any human authority must have limits. We know that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” for sinful humans. Thankfully, God’s Word has answers for us – I share some resources below that may help, as well.

I pray you will take the time to really study this issue and seek to understand God’s teaching rightly. Misunderstandings on this issue lead to great dysfunction and harm to husbands, wives, children, and the Body of Christ.

WE CAN BE GODLY WOMEN NO MATTER WHAT OUR HUSBANDS DO

If our husbands are involved in unrepentant sin or are not in their right minds, that does not mean we get to sin against them. It doesn’t mean we get to treat them with contempt or disrespect. But it does mean that we may have to spend much time wrestling in prayer to discern God’s wisdom and direction for us and how to best handle these very difficult situations. There is not always a one-size-fits-all formula for what a wife should do.  I would encourage women with extreme situations to seek one-on-one, experienced, godly counsel and much prayer.

 

For More Clarification on Spiritual Authority and Biblical Submission:

NOTE – please compare EVERYTHING any human author says to the Bible, my precious sisters!

Spiritual Authority – by Rev. Weaver from my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver from my church

What Does “Submit in Everything” Really Mean? The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission by Steven R. Tracy – Overall I agree very much with this paper, there is only one point towards the end that says if a wife ever disagrees with her husband on anything, the husband should always seek outside godly counsel before leading in that direction. I can think of some possible exceptions to that. If you want to talk about that, please let me know.

The Danvers Statement  – from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

My Husband Gets Upset If I Respectfully Disagree with Him

What Is Biblical Submission?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Do I Condone BDSM or CDD? – (The short answer is – no, those things are not what I am teaching at all.)

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always Right

What Biblical Submission and Headship Look Like at Our House

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

The Pendulum Effect – men and women must avoid being dominating and avoid being passive

Godly Leadership

Healthy Relationships

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Do I Condone Abuse?

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Secret Church – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – David Platt

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – April Cassidy  – There is a whole chapter on submission in marriage, after a whole chapter on submission to Christ as Lord.  I talk about what biblical submission is not, and what it is.

  • It is not an invitation to abuse.
  • It is not agreement.
  • It does not mean I can’t have my own opinion.
  • It is not mutual (in the way that many evangelical feminists describe it).
  • It is not absolute.
  • It is not related to value.
  • It demonstrates trust – in God but also in our husbands.
  • It allows God to work.
  • It promotes real romance.

 

DEFINING ABUSE:

I want to be clear about a definition of “abuse.” This term is so overused. Some women who truly have godly husbands claim their husbands are “abusive” because their husbands want them to check with them before the wives making purchases over $500 or because their husbands would like them not to show rated R movies to their young children. These kinds of things are not abuse! That is godly leadership. Other women don’t think they are being abused, but they really are and don’t recognize it. Other women truly are being abused, severely sinned against, and mistreated, but think they have to stay and take it. They think that is what “submission” means in Scripture and are told they are “bad wives” or “sinning against God” if they leave.

thelawdictionary.org’s definition of abuse – “Cruelty that causes harm to another.”

legaldictionary-thefreedictionary.com’s definition of domestic violence – “Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence.”

I would argue that all sin is abusive. All sin causes harm to those we sin against and to ourselves – as well as our relationship with God. But there is a continuum and  progression of sin where it becomes more and more toxic. There is a point at which it can be too poisonous for a spouse and/or children to stay with the abusive spouse. Sometimes both spouses are abusive.

What is the Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence – by www.gotquestions.org

Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity is for women in very difficult marriages for them to find healing in Christ and to learn to think rightly about themselves and to learn healthy boundaries and biblical principles so that they have God’s wisdom and Spirit to know how to handle the marriage issues.

www.thehotline.org – a secular resource for those in physically or severely emotionally abusive situations

Encouragement for Those Who Are "in the Trenches"

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1. SPIRITUAL HEALING TAKES TIME

This journey is a process. There are stages. If there is major woundedness in an individual or in a marriage, it often takes a long time to heal. Expect that it will be many months or maybe even a year or years before anything close to “total healing” takes place.

I think of this healing process as if a couple crashed their marriage “car” down in a steep ravine. The further off course they went, the longer it takes to tow it back up to the road and the worse the spiritual injuries they sustain. There may be a time when one or both spouses are in the “spiritual ICU.” At that point, making demands – or even requests – of the other person could be rather pointless. If my husband had been in a physical wreck and was in the ICU in a coma on a ventilator – I would not resent him because he was not helping me even if I had a broken leg and a broken arm. I would extend grace and understanding knowing that he CAN’T get up and help me right now.

People who are severely spiritually wounded or who don’t know Christ and are spiritually dead can’t act like Christ toward us. They are incapable of loving God or others as they should. They need to be raised to new life by Jesus or they need spiritual healing from God. Nothing we can do will make them be able to give us what we want when they are that injured. They need major healing themselves.

There are things we can do to encourage spiritual healing for our husbands. But then we are going to have to be REALLY patient. More patient than we have ever been in our lives as we wait for God to work.

God wants to use this time of waiting to strengthen my flabby faith muscles and to get me to focus on Him and allowing Him to transform my own soul, mind, and life by His power. This will involve me learning to savor the journey and even the waiting.

2. FOCUS ON TODAY

  • Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
  • Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

My sisters, let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in the enemy’s snare of what “might happen” weeks, months, or years from now. We tend to take one situation and zoom ahead with it in our minds to all of the “what-ifs” that may happen and try to plan what we are going to do in all of the worse case scenarios. Our plans may all come to nothing. God’s plans are what matter. When we get stuck in “what-if land” we usually don’t count God’s influence and power in our worrying scenarios.

Jesus was so good to tell us not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. None of us know what will happen in the next 5 minutes. The rapture could happen for all we know. Or a national disaster. Or a major miracle. Or a series of small miracles. We don’t know what is coming in the future. But God is already there – totally unlimited by time. He knows the way. He has your hand if you are following Christ.

3. A PERSON’S CURRENT FEELINGS,  SINS, WORDS, OR PLANS DO NOT DICTATE WHAT THE FUTURE WILL BRING

A husband’s feelings are important – so are a wife’s feelings.  But let’s keep the big perspective in mind. If he says he doesn’t love you, he wants a divorce, or he wants to separate, we are looking at a snapshot in time – kind of like one Instagram picture. This is not the whole story. It is not the last page of the book. There is more to be written! While we can respect what our husbands say, and how they are feeling – and while we can respectfully, graciously let them go (spiritually, emotionally, or physically) if they insist on leaving – we can also remember that ultimately our trust is in God and that He is able to change hearts, circumstances, mindsets, desires, and plans.

  • In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Because we trust in Christ completely, we are not at the mercy of other people’s plans or changeable feelings. We are not at the mercy of their emotions and decisions. We are not at the mercy of our own feelings or fears. We are in the hands of a sovereign Lord. Yes, people make decisions with their free will. But then, at the same time, God is sovereign and He will use all things to accomplish His good purposes in our lives and for His kingdom as we love and trust Him. So we can’t lose.

We can’t lose, my dear sisters (and brothers)!

  • If something bad happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good, to strengthen my faith, to draw me closer to Him, to make me more like Jesus, and to accomplish His good purposes.
  • If something good happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good and to accomplish His good purposes in the end, as well.

I can always stand on my spiritual tiptoes and look beyond the current circumstances in eager anticipation to see all that God will accomplish. I can expect Him to move mountains, change situations, transform my own heart/mind/soul, change others in His timing, and work constantly for His glory and His will to be done. I can wait patiently knowing that God is in control and His timing and wisdom is much higher than my own.

I can hurt when my husband is distant or if he is talking about divorce or if he leaves. I can grieve over that. But then, I can also look to Christ for help and hope, that He will use even this ultimately for good as I trust Him completely. I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things. I can focus on praising God and on thanksgiving. I can face my emotions and feel them. Emotions are a gift from God but I am also responsible for how I handle them and I can learn – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to handle them rightly and without sin. I can allow myself to experience hurt, sadness, anger, fear… but then I can hash through my difficult emotions and lay them before God and entrust them to Him. I don’t have to be ruled by my emotions. My marriage is not to be built on my emotions, but on Christ and His truth. I am not a slave to feelings. I can take my thoughts captive as I process my emotions and feelings. I can even experience God’s supernatural peace and joy as I trust everything to Him and focus on God’s goodness, sovereignty, love, and Lordship in my life! Even in the trials.

4. GOD WILL USE THIS TRIAL ON A GRAND SCALE

God has something much bigger in mind than just to work good in your own life from the bad things that happen and the trials and suffering you endure as a believer in Christ. Yes, He will use it ultimately for your good and His glory in your life if you are living for Him and you love Him and you are yielding to Christ as Lord. But He also will use it to bless the Body of Christ and His kingdom. There is a much larger picture going on than we can possibly realize in the midst of our trials.

I had no idea that God would use my most painful trials to reach thousands of people around the world for Christ. But as we walk through these times of testing and suffering, and as God refines our faith and causes us to grow strong in our walk with Him – He uses our stories and our testimony to build the faith of others, to encourage others, and to teach others – and set an example.

What you are experiencing now that is so painful – may well be the very thing that convinces many people in the future to trust in Christ in the midst of their painful trials – because they see that your faith was tested and that God was victorious. God may use your story to inspire many others to walk in obedience and faith, trusting Him and yielding fully to Him as Lord.

What a joy!

 

 

What Headship/Biblical Submission Looks Like at Our House

 

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The concepts of the husband being the head of the home and the wife honoring his God-given leadership are big concepts. They are kind of like the words, “love,” or “respect.” There are a lot of ways we can live these things out and may ways to define these ideas. There will be differences in different marriages, with varying personalities, circumstances and cultures.

  • For some, a husband may be very involved in lots of the day-to-day decisions in a family.
  • For others, the husband may have more of a “hands-off” approach and give his wife wide spaces to handle most things as she thinks would be best with minimal intervention.
  • For some families, one spouse may be away for work for extended periods of time, so there may have to be different “modes” of how authority is handled depending on who is home and who is away.
  • Some couples may have a very regimented, formal way of handling decision-making or disagreements.
  • Some may be calm and laid back with a lot of give and take about decision and may be very collaborative.
  • Some couples may have an unspoken understanding about that the husband is ultimately in charge if they can’t agree but they don’t say that in words.

AT OUR HOUSE (This is how things are now, but it took at least 3.5 years into this journey before they began to look this way, some of these things have happened just in the past year, and we are both still learning and growing and always will be. Anything good in us is totally a Jesus thing, not an “us” thing.):

Greg’s Personality –

Greg is very easy going, pretty introverted, and needs some time to himself to recharge. He never micro-manages but trusts me to handle most things on my own. He doesn’t really like for me to ask him what I can do for him or for me to fuss over him a lot.  He mostly just loves for me to be content, peaceful, stress-free, and happy. The other details aren’t usually a big deal to him. I used to ask him, earlier in my journey, to give me more feedback, more direction, and lists of things I could do for him to show him honor and respect. But that is just not what he likes. So now I accept what speaks respect and honor to him and his style of leadership and don’t try to respect him in ways that aren’t meaningful to him.

Division of Labor –

He now handles the finances (I gave that to him about 4 years ago because I realized I was being too controlling and OCD about it) – although I have access, too, and can look at things whenever I want to. We talk to each other before making big purchases. He also handles all of the house, car, and yard maintenance like he has always done. Sometimes he helps me out, without me even asking, with laundry – especially if I am working extra or if I am sick (that didn’t happen before I learned about respect). He works a full-time job and I work a part-time, usually about 12 hours/week. I also do ministry online about 30-35 hours/week that is unpaid. He takes the kids to school on his way to work every day. He helps our son, especially, with his homework and studying.

I usually do the shopping for groceries, the cooking, and most of the cleaning around the house. He goes to the flea market almost every Saturday and finds great deals for us. Interestingly, I used to try to keep the house spotless, but Greg prefers for me to do less housework because if I get too perfectionistic about cleaning, he feels that is stressful for him and for the kids. I usually pick up our children from school. I usually help them get ready in the morning and at bedtime and tuck them in (although as they get older, that won’t be as necessary). I share spiritually with our children often and they listen to the Bible on an app as they fall asleep each night. I pray with them at bedtime. Greg talks with the kids informally about biblical principles now in conversation. And he started doing a devotional book after supper that he picked out recently which has been great.

Making Decisions –

We have a very collaborative relationship now. We think of ourselves as a team knowing that we each bring strengths and weaknesses and we are better when we are together. Usually, if there is a decision to make that involves both of us, I will present my ideas, feelings, concerns, and wisdom to Greg and let him marinate on it for awhile without pressuring him for an answer. He needs time to process and research certain things. Then he will share his ideas and we will talk through the pros and cons. Usually, we can arrive at a decision with which we both are happy.

We don’t argue. There is no raising our voices (I was the only one who really raised my voice before God changed me). I can’t recall experiencing much tension for the past 3 years.  We both feel safe with each other now. There is never any name calling, character assassination, complaining, or even anger now. If there are ever hurt feelings, we deal with it very quickly and before we allow ourselves to think that the other has malicious intentions, we seek to understand and we seek to assume the best. We trust each other now to know that we both love each other and wouldn’t purposely try to hurt each other.

I also understand now that the issues and decisions we make are not nearly as important as our obedience to God and our marriage. (This may be different for different couples, and at different stages of this journey) I have no need to fight or argue anymore. I simply respectfully share my side of things. He respectfully shares his. We have a discussion and we talk through anything about which we disagree – hashing through the pros and cons and our unique perspectives. We each value each other’s point of view.

Greg Defers to Me Often:

Sometimes we disagree about something that means a lot to me but isn’t as important to Greg. There are many times when he selflessly concedes to what I think is best or to what I or the kids need, even if it is not his preference. He is quick to try to do anything he can to meet my medical needs and even many of my preferences. He loves to see me healthy, happy, and content.

I Defer to Him Often:

If we can’t come to agreement – I willingly and voluntarily choose to honor Greg’s decision and trust God to lead me through him. Greg never has to say anything to me about it. He never demands his way. It is not a big dramatic thing.

I would usually just say something like, “I think X would be best, but I trust you. If you think this is best, I will support your decision.”

We have unity, love, honor, and respect during the entire process even if we disagree. I simply release the issue to God and to Greg once I realize that I have shared all that I need to share and if we do not agree. Greg knows that I trust him like this and it causes him to desire to really seek to do what is best for all of us and to not fail me. He cares very much about my perspective and my feelings. If he does decide to do something he knows I think is not best, it is only after much careful consideration and prayer and the sense that this is truly something God desires him to do. I pray for God to give Greg His wisdom. Then we move forward together.

Spiritual Issues –

If I start to have negative thoughts, feelings of disappointment, anxiety, fear, bitterness, or anything else – I try to get to my prayer journal ASAP and hash through those things with God, asking Him to expose any sinful motives or thoughts in my heart. This helps me be spiritually prepared for conversations and helps to prevent me from lashing out or saying anything sinful. It is much easier to address sin in my life when it first begins or when it is even still a temptation than to let it fester and then begin to flow from my body language, words, and actions. My goal is to immediately repent of any sin the moment I recognize it in my heart.

If Greg was asking me to sin or to condone sin, then I would have to stand against whatever he was asking me to do. Thankfully, that has never been an issue so far since I have been practicing biblical submission. But wives do need to be prepared to stand against sin if necessary (for more on that, please check out Spiritual Authority and Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.)

Submission to my husband is infinitely easier when I am fully submitted to Christ.

When I have laid down all that I have and all that I am before Jesus and am dying to self and taking up my cross daily and following Him, I don’t really care about getting my way or my will. My goal is to have God’s way and His will far above my own. So I am able to hold things of this world loosely and not get caught up in every little (or even big) decision, but rather I am able to allow God to work in my life to bring about His will in whatever way He wants to do so. Because I am not clinging to my own ideas, my will, and my desires, it is not a painful stretch to allow my husband to lead if we disagree. I am able to yield that issue to God and wait with anticipation to see what He is going to do through my husband’s decision. It is exciting to watch God work!

Greg’s Perspective Now –

Greg seeks to lay aside his will and seek God’s will so that he does what God desires him to do for our family and doesn’t lead us into a foolish, ungodly, or harmful choice. He tries to look at what he believes God desires and will most honor Him, knowing he is accountable and responsible to God for his decision. He wants to do what is best for our family. If I disagree with him, he takes extra time to really prayerfully consider things and takes my counsel very seriously and conscientiously.

Note – Our children do have tension with each other and with us at times. We try to help them work through that in godly ways. And we seek to be united in our approach to them which has helped tremendously. We still have lots to learn about godly parenting and godly marriage and will continue to seek to grow as spouses and parents.

YOUR TURN

I love hearing everyone’s stories. We are not all created to be cookie-cutters. God loves variety and uniqueness and we can walk in obedience to Him and yet still do things differently from other people. If you have begun this journey to be a godly wife and you are seeking to honor your husband’s God-given leadership in your home – I’d love to hear what headship/biblical submission look like in specific situations in your home, or what it looks like in a general description.

NOTE:
Please check out the post Spiritual Authority for more information on biblical headship and submission. It is not at all the world’s definition of dominant/submissive in Fifty Shades of Gray. And it is not BDSM or CDD. God’s definition of submission and authority are completely different from the world’s ideas on these words – so it is important that we understand what God means if we want to obey Him and submit to His Lordship.

RELATED:

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control Is a Process– by Nina Roesner

Stages of This Journey

My first stage – The Frustrating Quiet Phase

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Don’t Often Notice

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

My Husband Won’t Lead

Spiritual Authority – a foundational post for men and women by a minister at my Southern Baptist church about God’s design for spiritual authority in every area of our lives. What it is (humble, selfless, servant-hearted, loving shepherding) and what it isn’t (tyranny, abuse, selfishness). And how we, as believers, are to trust God to lead us through those in positions of authority. Also Rev. Weaver describes the times believers in Christ should not submit to those in positions of authority in the government, church, at work, and in the family.

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – a husband has positional authority and a wife has influence authority, both have an important voice and both work as a team ultimately to accomplish God’s mission

One Wife’s Obedience to God Radically Changed Her Marriage

The Danvers Statement – by The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – the best summary of biblical manhood, womanhood, submission, and headship I have seen.

She Submitted to Her Husband Without Knowing Christ Yet

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I am so thankful for this precious sister in Christ who was willing to allow me to share her story after she read my post earlier “Am I Giving Marriage Advice to Non-Christians?” Especially if you are not yet a believer in Christ, I hope you will read her story! I don’t know that every wife’s story would look like hers, but, I believe her story will bless everyone who reads it! God used her to sharpen me yesterday. I am so excited to share,  I couldn’t wait for Monday, I just had to run it today!

When I was first married I believed in God, but my own fairy tale version of Him. I was raised Catholic, going to church and Sunday School every week, being confirmed into the church and everything but had never been encouraged to read the bible, to study scripture, or to learn His Word. I knew about the submission part of the Bible, but thought it was culturally irrelevant. My mother was quite a feminist and although she loves my father and they’ve been married for over 30 years she treats him with little respect. And he just takes it.
My marriage got off to a very very rough start. I wanted very much to be in control. And I thought my command-man husband was just mean and awful because he wouldn’t yield to me. I was better, of course (even if only in my own mind), so he was wrong, and I thought I had just made a bad choice in marrying him. It was often times more like a war zone then a marriage. Regardless in 2 years we had our first daughter and I accidentally got pregnant again (I love how God works). Things in our marriage were spiraling even farther downward. I was depressed, hurt, angry and lost. I remember just calling out to God and asking for help. I still wasn’t a true believer but I was desperate.

First I stumbled across the Love Dare, and started to try it. Not out of faith, but because it was either that or divorce and through it all I was still desperately in love with my husband so I did not want divorce. My husband responded very positively to the first few dares. It wasn’t long after that that I stumbled across the book The Surrendered Wife. I decided I had nothing to lose and gave surrendering everything I had. It was remarkable the change I saw in my husband. It was like night and day. And there was an even bigger change in me.

When I saw that this part of the Bible I had despised so much was actually a very powerful truth my whole world started to change.

All these ideas I’d had about the Bible and my false image of God started to crumble. I started to listen to my husband. Just many little things here and there. My husband had a deeper faith and understanding of God then I ever did, that I never knew about. All along I had believed I was superior to him in spirituality even when I was so far away (from God). All these lies I had believed started to crumble and I started to see the truth.

It still took a little while before I gave my life up to the Lord. But I believe that it was submitting to my husband that brought me to where I am now.

I believe submission is a powerful truth, something that anyone can benefit from, so I do hope that those that don’t believe, but want to improve their marriage might give it a try. In this submission, I hope it opens their eyes to the glory of our Lord as it did mine.

I know that the Lord led me on this path, I needed a husband just like mine that didn’t give in. I needed to see that His Word was true, even before I believed.

My marriage is now amazing. I adore my husband and see him in a whole new light. And he adores me in return. We now have 4 beautiful children, and have chosen to let the Lord bless us with as many as He sees fit. We have chosen to home school our children so now I get to raise them with the truth of Jesus.

Maybe an unbeliever doesn’t get to reap all the rewards from submission, but in my case I got the greatest reward. I was saved, I was given a relationship with God, and a love that I never knew existed. This brings tears of joy to me as I type.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This journey to become a godly wife is ALL about us and Jesus. Healing for our marriages and blessings for our husbands and children are secondary. How I pray each of you might find this joy, hope, faith and peace in Christ that I have found and this sister of ours has found! That is my greatest prayer for each of you!

RELATED:

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

I’m Right. I Know Best. I Should Be the Leader!

But, I’m a GOOD Person!

A Lightbulb Moment for a Wife Who Loves Control

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

A Husband Answers a Wife – Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

Are Women Morally/Spiritually Superior to Men?

“Wasting” Myself

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May 28, 2013 – our 19th anniversary. Picture taken in front of the church where we were married in 1994.

There is an incredible chapter in Watchman Nee’s “The Normal Christian Life” about “wasting ourselves” for Christ. If you haven’t read this book yet, PLEASE, PLEASE read it! I believe it should be a must-read for every believer.

Nee talks about Mary who, in the eyes of Jesus’ disciples, wasted that extremely expensive perfume on Jesus in John 12:1-7. And Luke 7:36-50.  Particularly, Judas (the one who betrayed Him) was upset, rebuking Mary for her act of love and telling her that she could have sold that perfume (it was worth 1 year’s wages) and given the money to the poor. Jesus, however, commended Mary for what she had done, saying:

“Leave her alone… it was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you. But you will not always have Me.” John 12:7 

There are times, Nee says, that God will call upon us to “waste” ourselves on Him.

The world, and even other believers, may say that what we are doing is a terrible waste of our time, talents, resources and abilities.

But there are times when God wants us to Himself. He may remove us from a place of ministry for some period of time. He may isolate us. He may incapacitate us. He may ask us to give up that which is most precious to us – as an offering to Him – without us knowing in advance if we will be able to retain the thing we hold so dear or not.

Nee describes a minister whose lifelong dream had been to have a Ph.D. He wanted to be called, “Doctor,” more than anything in the world. He wrestled with God saying, “I could bring You so much more glory and honor if I was Dr. So-and-so.” So he pursued his doctorate in divinity (I believe it was). Then, he lost the Spirit’s power in his preaching and could not understand why. He could come up with no message for his church each Sunday anymore. He went to God. God put His finger on this man’s pursuit of his degree. The man argued and argued with God, justifying himself, and kept on pursuing his doctorate until 2 days before his graduation.  He knew God was telling him NOT to get that degree. So, finally, within hours of achieving his lifelong goal, he surrendered his dream to God and did not finish getting his doctorate. God was pleased. His ministry was later greatly blessed. God showed this precious man that He wanted the glory, and that this minister having a doctorate would bring too much glory to the man instead of to God in his life.

Sometimes the world around us, and even our family and Christian friends, may say that we are wasting ourselves when we obey Him when He calls us to:

  • spend much more time with Him in Bible reading, study and prayer than time in ministry
  • stay home with our children or work just part time so that we can be with our children more to bless them, love them, nurture them and raise them to love and know God and His Word
  • prepare to be a housewife instead of going to college
  • be friendly to those who are socially awkward or outcasts
  • minister to the homeless, orphans, the poor and oppressed
  • sell all we have and follow our husbands to become missionaries in another state or country
  • give up a lucrative career to care for our husbands, our children, an ill family member, the poor or to do ministry
  • put our husbands and children ahead of ministry
  • spend less time at church so that our husbands and children do not feel neglected by us
  • remove some activities from our plate or our children’s schedule
  • take an unglamorous, low paying job, being content in obscurity
  • take an unglamorous, behind the scenes position of ministry in the church. being content in obscurity
  • cooperate joyfully with our husbands if they ask us to sell our home and our possessions and radically downsize to be able to give more to those in need and to be able to spend more time in ministry
  • submit joyfully to an unbelieving husband in order to seek to influence him for Christ
  • treat my unloving husband with honor even if he never changes
  • not have the same priorities as the world (sports, entertainment, romance, money, beauty, popularity, etc…) but to seek Him first and to truly desire to obey His Word even if we seem weird
  • dress modestly instead of showing off our bodies to men who are not our husbands
  • drive an old car instead of going into debt to have a new one
  • not give our kids smart phones even though “everyone else has one” if we and our husbands believe that is what is best for our children
  • act with integrity at work even when no one else does
  • suffer with a prolonged illness as He uses that time to draw us to Himself and to refine us
  • submit to our husbands’ leadership even when we don’t know how things are going to work out and our friends/family accuse us of having been “brain washed” or “joining a cult”

(These are just examples. They will not each apply to every wife and some things may apply at certain times but not other times in our lives. We must carefully hear what God is whispering to each of us individually at that time. He does not call each person to the same assignments He gives to others.)

WASTING OURSELVES ON GOD

God often kept His apostles in prison for long periods of time. That may have seemed like a waste to some. But we would not have most of the New Testament were it not for those times. When Paul first came to Christ, He spent 3 years by himself studying and learning and drawing near to Jesus. That was a time of training that God used to equip and prepare him for his ministry. Think of the story of Joseph in Exodus. God gave him two dreams to show him that he would rule over his brothers and parents when he was 17 years old. And then Joseph unfairly suffered for 14 years as either a slave or a prisoner. And yet, God had him in the exact place He wanted Joseph to be in order to become the 2nd in command to Pharaoh when the time was right. Moses spent 40 years in Egypt as the Pharaoh’s adopted grandson, then 40 years hiding in the desert before God called him to lead His people out of Egypt.  What seems at first to us like a waste of Moses’ life was actually very practical preparation for the job God had for Moses to do.

I don’t know what treasure God may call each of us to give up. In some ways, this is a daily thing of dying to self. I don’t know how much time God may set aside in our lives to have us all to Himself. But I do pray that we might each be ready to give all that we have to Christ even if He is the only one who benefits. Some women think, “If I obey God, and it doesn’t result in me getting what I want (a baby, more money, a bigger house, a husband), I am wasting my time!” But, if we are walking in obedience to Jesus, and we are lavishing ourselves on Him – that is NEVER a waste of our time or effort! He is WORTHY!!!!!!!!   As we give Him everything – He is pleased. We have an “Audience of One.” God’s opinion is the only one that matters. His approval is all we must seek.

What thing is there that you are holding back from God in your life? What is it about which you say, “You can have everything in my life, Jesus,  but not this”? I beg you to be willing to surrender control of that thing to Jesus and to be completely submitted to Jesus as LORD of every single thing in your life. You cannot begin to grow powerfully in Him until you are willing to do this. We must ALL die to ourselves and we must ALL be willing to lose our lives and everything we have in order to have Jesus.

WASTING OURSELVES ON OUR HUSBANDS:

There are often parallels between our submission, love, reverence for and devotion to Christ and our submission, love, respect for and devotion to our husbands. I think that is so fascinating!

There have absolutely been times when I thought to myself, “Greg is just watching TV. He doesn’t seem to care if I am here or not. He hasn’t asked me to stay with him. I could be spending more time ministering to wives online rather than ‘wasting my time here’ watching some TV show I don’t care anything about.”

But this summer when I had my blogging/social media break for a month – God revealed to me that I need to be beside my husband at night even if he is “just watching TV” and even if he is not having a big conversation every moment. Yes, there are great needs in the world and there are always women who will desire counsel and prayer. Those things are very important. But, even though my husband may never actually say, “I want you here with me in the evenings,” that is my place. He was able to better articulate this to me during my blogging break than ever before. When I make myself available to him, it gives him the opportunity to share things with me if he wants to. We have greater opportunities for intimacy on every level. Every night may not be a big deep discussion.  Every night may not be physical intimacy. That is ok. By my being there and making my husband my greatest human priority after the children go to bed, I bless him. If I am blessing my husband just by being in the room with him in the evenings, that is not a waste of my time. Even if he doesn’t really talk about it much. This makes our marriage much stronger. I am ministering powerfully to my husband just by sitting with him and cuddling with him while he watches TV.

Greg actually told me this past week as he had his arm around me, smiled and patted my hip,

“I really like you being right here.”

Wow.

Some of you may hear words like that every single day. Greg doesn’t make comments like that very often. Maybe 1-2 times per year. He doesn’t use adjectives like “really” and he doesn’t straight out say “I like” anything or verbally gush over things. Usually, if he likes something, he will say something like, “That wouldn’t bother me.” Or “I assume that would be ok.” So, I was floored. This was a VERY strong statement coming from him.

I am so thankful that I listened when God clearly told me in June to slow way down and focus more on Greg, our children and on Him.

In addition to making myself much more available to Greg in the evenings, I have found that if I stay in bed a little longer in the mornings, an extra 30 minutes, instead of rushing to go have my quiet time or answer comments as soon as I wake up, we have greater opportunities to connect on every level in the mornings, too. (Of course, this doesn’t work if I have to get ready for work, also.)

I try to ask Greg about once per week,

  • “What can I do for you this week?”
  • “How can I bless you?”
  • “What would you like me to stop doing?”
  • “What would you like me to start doing?”

I am a DOER. I like to DO STUFF. I feel productive and purposeful when I am DOING. I like moving and getting things done. I don’t like sitting still and “going nowhere”!

Interestingly, what Greg almost always says when I ask him how I can bless him is:

  • Relax!
  • Just have fun!
  • Enjoy the kids.

These things do not come naturally to me. I’m pretty awful at relaxing. I tend to want to say, “No, I mean, what actual THING can I DO for you that would really bless you?”

But now I am beginning to understand, when I relax and enjoy him and the kids, that DOES bless him. Greatly. It is dawning on me more and more just how important I am to this man I love and respect so much and that there are many ways he appreciates me ministering to him that he may not articulate with words, but that are extremely important to him and to our marriage.

And, imagine this… maybe this is more of what God wants from me in my walk with Him, too?

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

SHARE:

What does your husband ask you to do that you may tend to brush off or think of as being “unimportant” or “a waste” of your time? I’d love for you to share!

How can we “waste” ourselves in a beautiful way on God and on our husbands – or maybe a better term would be – LAVISH?

Husbands,

What are some ways you would like to see your wives lavish themselves on you that may seem “wasteful” to others but would greatly bless you and your marriage? We’d love to hear from the men on this.

 

To Speak or Not to Speak…

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A lot of wives ask me this question…

“How do I know when to say how I feel and when I should not say anything?”

This can be such a quandary! Especially at first when we are just realizing our former disrespect and we have not yet figured out what exactly is respectful or disrespectful.

Unfortunately – or fortunately – depending on how you look at this topic – there is no formula or pat answer. I am going to offer some guidelines that I am seeking to base on Scripture. These are not exhaustive lists. You are welcome to share your concerns, ideas and insights. 🙂

(If you have severe problems in your marriage – abuse, addictions, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health disorders, please seek experienced, godly, wise counsel. I am not able to address these issues in a general blog post, and I am not a counselor, pastor or therapist.)

There are times when SILENCE is the best choice:

  • When we are first beginning this journey and we have been voicing disrespect, complaints, criticism, arguments, anger, negativity, hostility and contempt for months or years and we have not learned the wisdom of being silent about sinful things and disrespectful thoughts and controlling thoughts. We must take time to learn godly wisdom and discretion. At first, we can begin to have wisdom by being silent instead of sinning with our words and using our words to bring death. In time, we learn to use our words to affirm, encourage, breathe life, build up, bless and heal.

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. Proverbs 17:28

  • When what we are about to say is not motivated by the love of God – being rude, rehashing past, supposedly forgiven sins, impatience, etc… (Please see what God ‘s love looks like I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • When our motives are sinful – pride, blame, condemnation, a critical spirit, selfishness,  self-righteousness, sinful jealousy,  idolatry (putting our husbands, our children, self, money, romance, feeling loved, etc… above Christ in our hearts), resentment or bitterness. If we have sin in our hearts, let’s go spend time in repentance humbly before God asking for His forgiveness and crucifying self, dying to our sin before we venture to speak with our husbands (or anyone). I John 1:9, Matthew 7:1-5
  • When our husbands are not feeling well, are exhausted, are sick, are under a great deal of stress (there can be exceptions when an issue is very important or pressing, of course, or where the stress, illness or exhaustion lasts for a long time).
  • When WE are hormonal, hungry, exhausted or sick – that may not be the best time to have a big, life-changing discussion. It could be wise to wait until we are physically stronger before approaching really important topics or big decisions.
  • When words are many, sin is not absent.  Proverbs 10:19
  • When our sinful nature is in control. (Galatians 5:19-21)
  • When God’s Spirit prompts us to be silent.
  • When our husband is far from God and unable or unwilling to hear our words, we then seek to obey I Peter 3:1-6. Sometimes our words about spiritual things, the Bible or God will make things worse when our husbands are not close to God. In such circumstances, God commands us to show respect and honor and to live out godly lives in our attitudes, speech and behavior without preaching at or nagging our husbands. God knows this approach will speak much more powerfully to a husband who is in rebellion against Him and will allow the husband to more clearly hear God’s voice. There will be times we may need to say certain things in this situation, we will need to be very sensitive to God’s Spirit to know what and when to speak. There is also the possibility that we may think our husbands are far from God, but that we could be wrong and we could be misjudging them. God knows our husbands hearts – we do not. If we approach our husbands with a prideful, self-righteous spirit, we may push them far from us and farther from God.

There are times when speaking humbly, honestly, respectfully, lovingly, gently and vulnerably is the best option:

  • When the timing is right (as we listen carefully to God’s Spirit) and our husbands are receptive. (Of course, there may be times we do need to speak even if our husbands are not receptive – but that will take great sensitivity on our part to the Spirit of God.)
  • When our motives are pure in God’s sight and we are fully submitted to Christ and are resisting the enemy. (James 4:7-12)
  • When we are walking in the power of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26)
  • When our goals are simply to honor and obey God and bless our husbands. (The two greatest commandments – to love God and to love others. Mark 12:28-29)
  • When we need to communicate critical information to our husbands so that they will have our important ideas, perspective, feelings, needs and desires available to them.
  • When we have feelings to share – I feel sad, I feel afraid, I feel nervous, I am worried, I feel so happy, I feel upset, I am lonely, I want X, I don’t want Y. (Laura Doyle “The Surrendered Wife”) We share our emotions and desires without blaming our husbands, pressuring them or trying to control them.
  • When we want to talk through our feelings. But, it can be important and helpful for us to share exactly what we need because our husbands often don’t have the same kinds of verbal needs to talk and emotionally connect that we do, ie: “I am not sure how I am feeling about this. It would help me so much if you would please listen to me for about 5-10 minutes while I talk through things. Talking is how I process my feelings. Just knowing you are listening is such a blessing to me.” But then, it would be great to let our husbands know we would like to hear their thoughts many times, too, and we can show our husbands that their thoughts are very important to us and that we appreciate their wisdom and leadership.
  • When we are sharing a thankful heart.
  • When we have a pressing problem and need our husbands’ help, wisdom, leadership, comfort, love or guidance.
  • When we want to express our genuine respect or appreciation (for some husbands, brief messages are the most powerful. Other husbands like large amounts of discussion or sharing.) I Thessalonians 5:18
  • When we are using our words to build up, affirm, encourage, breathe life, bring healing and bless our husbands. (Sometimes husbands do not believe our respectful words at first if we have been very disrespectful and controlling for a long time.  But we can continue seeking to show respect as best we know how. As we continue to practice and seek to honor God and our husbands, we will learn to do this more effectively and our husbands will eventually begin to believe our respect in time, most likely.)

A wise woman builds her house, but a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

  • When we have special expertise in an area and our husbands appreciate our sharing.
  • When we are helping our husbands in a way that they agree is helpful and/or that honors God. (We were created to be their helpmeets)
  • When our husbands delegate decisions to us.
  • When our husbands want to please us and want to know what we would like. If they want to know what we would like for our birthday or what restaurant we want to go to – let’s share what we would like and not try to make them read our minds. 🙂
  • When we are having times of emotional closeness.
  • When we ask if it is a good time to share, and our husbands are receptive.
  • When our husbands have sinned against us, and we have repented of all of our sin and God’s Spirit gives us wisdom about how to approach our husbands according to Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:15-18
  • When we need to repent to our husbands for our sins against them or others.
  • When we want to share Philippians 4:8 things that we are thankful for.

 

I have a new Youtube video about this topic, too, if you would like to hear me talk about this subject. 🙂

RELATED:

 

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How to Handle Spiritual Strongholds in Marriage

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This is a guest post by Daniel Robertson. He runs the blog God’s Help For Marriage where he shares how couples can have thriving marriages that glorify God.

As an Army Veteran who has been to Iraq I am very familiar with the concept of military strongholds. In fact, while I was deployed I lived in a Forward Operating Base (FOB) which is essentially a modern day stronghold. And while the technology and tactics of war have changed significantly in the last few thousand years, strongholds still serve the same basic purpose.

A stronghold is simply a fortified location that the occupying military force can use to exert influence over the surrounding area. For instance, the FOB I was stationed at was surrounded by concrete walls and guard towers manned by Soldiers with automatic weapons and radios. This made it a relatively safe place for our troops to rest, get food, resupply, get medical attention and all kinds of other important things in between patrols.

Each day, these patrols would go out and exert influence on the area by seizing weapons caches, capturing terrorist leaders, and take out terrorist cells. They would then return to the FOB and get ready to do it all again the next day.

What is a Spiritual Stronghold?

A spiritual stronghold serves a similar purpose for the Enemy.

I would define a spiritual stronghold as a strong place in your soul that demonic forces can use to influence your thoughts and actions.

Please be aware that this is an analogy. In other words,  there isn’t some little fortress in your soul where an army of demons live. Demons can’t take residence in your soul – IF you are a Christian. They also can not force you to do anything. “The Devil made me do it” is not a valid defense. If you sin, it is because you made the decision.

What they can do is lie to you and tempt you. And using spiritual strongholds is probably one of the most effective ways they have of getting you to do what they want.

The scriptural basis for this is Ephesians 4:26-27:

26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

The Greek word for foothold here is topos, which is the same word we get topography from. Literally, it translates as place. Do not give the devil a place to manipulate you from.

How Spiritual Strongholds are Built

Spiritual strongholds are built out of lies. Ever since you were born, the enemy has been working to get you to believe false things about yourself, God, and the world around you. These lies fly in  the face of God’s truth, and when you make decisions based on these false beliefs rather than God’s truth you are acting contrary to God’s perfect design for your life.

As an example, lets say you have  a stronghold built around the concept of self hatred. There are a lot of little lies that feed this stronghold.

  • You’re stupid. You’re ugly.
  • You’re worthless.
  • Nobody loves you.
  • Nobody would notice if you were gone…

These lies are built up slowly over time. They can come from frustrated parents and teachers. Peers at school. Report cards. Perfect looking girls in magazines and TV. You are bombarded with them day in and day out. And the more you believe the lies, the more you act according to them. You dress sloppily. You don’t apply yourself at school or work. These lies become self fulfilling prophecies and you get trapped in a viscous downward spiral.

How Spiritual Strongholds Effect Marriages

I  think you can see by now how these fortresses of lies can impact every area of your life, including your marriage. You say something hurtful to your spouse during an argument at the devil points a finger and says: “What a stupid thing to say, you really are worthless. How could she love you?”

And the stronghold gets stronger. If this is not dealt with, you will make more decisions based on these lies rather than on God’s truth. You will make decisions that will hurt your spouse and could very well destroy your marriage.

How to Tear Down Spiritual Strongholds

If this sounds like a bunch of doom and gloom up to this point, don’t worry. Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin and death. We can be free of the power of these strongholds thanks to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.

If strongholds are built of lies and the sinful behavior that reinforces these lies, then they can be destroyed by confronting the lies with God’s truth and repenting of those sins. You are not ugly and stupid. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, created in God’s image, a reflection of His glory. Start acting like a beautiful, intelligent child of God.

Expose your mind to God’s Word. Start proclaiming the truth of how He sees you over yourself. Act as if it is true. If you’ve never given you life to God through faith in the Jesus, do it. It is a requirement if you want to experience the freedom that God promises. Jesus purchased your freedom with His death, and you can access that freedom by receiving His gift.

If you want to learn more about how to build a healthy marriage, download my free report: “The 7 Pillars of a Godly Marriage“.

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A Wife Shares What She Is Learning in Biblical Marital Counseling

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I’m so thankful for this wife’s willingness to share what she is learning!  I believe this will bless you. 🙂

My Dear Husband (DH) and I have started Biblical Marital Counseling at a Baptist church near my job. They are very well known and its 6 sessions for free. Our first meeting went very well. our counselor was a young man with a wife and two boys. He was very knowledgeable in the word.  Here are some of the things he shared with us:

  • If I draw closer to God and my DH draws closer to God, it will draw us closer together. (the pyramid effect)
  • He talked about the man that was possessed, and the demon left and had no where to go. He then went back to the house and saw it clean and swept, and brought 7 of his friends. And the man was more tortured than before. With God’s help you can clean your heart, stop a habit, but you have to replace it with something. You can’t just leave it. He called it the “put off and put on.” The Bible talks a lot about it. He gave a sheet that we can add to, how to stop one thing (Put off) and what to “put on” in its place.
  • We talked about respect. Respect comes in all different shapes and sizes. For me, respect = trust. For many reasons, I am not able to trust my DH with many things. That translates to my DH that I do not respect him. I want to trust him, but that is something he and I will have to work on together.

I have been on this journey since I contacted you in early January. And I can say that it really takes focusing on God.

Yes, my DH has MANY issues… But those are not for me to fix.. I have to Put Off trying to “help” him be better and love me how I feel he should, and Put ON My relationship with Christ. Let the Lord step in. Yes, my DH needs help. But not from my mortal hands. God can do anything if we just take our hands off of it, and let Him in his infinite Wisdom and love take over.

Time daily spent in prayer is essential and daily Bible reading as well. Get a devotional!! And do it daily!!

THINGS I WOULD SUGGEST TO OTHER WIVES JUST BEGINNING THIS JOURNEY

  • Work on yourself!! Your husband will see the change. Move your focus from your husband to God.
  • Love God, and through Him, you will learn to love your husband and he will learn to love you.
  • I know you love your DH – just as I do – But love him more by giving him to the Lord. I’m not saying “Let go and Let God”… I am saying, take a step back… Put your life back in its proper place.. Put God above your self and your DH.. Ask God what he wants you to do.. Seek Him FIRST…
  • From the time we give our lives to God (justification), we go through a long period of sanctification. Learning how to be like Christ. Learning how to be whole. Until we reach glorification when meet Him face to face..

This is why it is imperative to focus on your relationship with The Lord..

Don’t make you DH an idol. He’s just a man.. I know emotions can take over. But you must start this process by changing YOUR heart.

SHARE:

If you have been on this journey for awhile, what encouragement, wisdom and insights would you share with wives who are just beginning and are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as they try to learn all of these new things about becoming godly wives?  What do you wish you had known when you first started?

I may use some of your comments and wisdom in other posts. This is exactly the kind if thing that will bless so many other wives. 🙂 Thanks for your willingness to share!

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How To Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ

Dying to Self

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”   – Galatians 2:20-21

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  – Galatians 5:16-24

This process of learning to respect our husbands and honor their leadership is a VERY painful process – especially at first. It is the  process of dying to self and and being made more holy by God’s power.

There are no short cuts!!  

It is actually not about our husbands at all – but rather, it is all about our relationship with Christ. It is about our willingness to reverence and submit to Jesus. That is the entire crux of the matter!

This is not just some self-help “10 steps to controlling your husband and getting everything you want in your marriage by changing your words and tone of voice.”  My motives MATTER here!  If I am trying to obey God just to get the feelings I want or the response from my husband I want,  I have missed the entire point!

I have to have pure motives – desiring to obey God’s Word out of reverence for and love for Christ alone.

What I am advocating is to completely expose your deepest soul to God and allow Him to search the darkest recesses with the blazing light of His Word.  And then to allow God’s Spirit TOTAL access and grant Him complete Lordship and the ability to decide what stays and what goes.  And anything He finds offensive – well, it simply has to go. No question. God is Lord now, NOT ME!  This means facing your deepest fears, challenging your definition of God, your understanding of His sovereignty, your true beliefs that govern your decisions and priorities, seeing the mountains of sin that you may not have even known were there, and being willing to part with all of that humbly before our mighty God.  It means wrestling with God over those most painful issues and deciding whether you actually can trust Him or not.

Is He REALLY BIG enough?

This is DEEP, LIFE-CHANGING, PARADIGM SHIFTING stuff.

  • This is where you tear out everything from your heart but Christ and are willing to give up all that is dear to you – laying it on the altar to God.  You die to your dreams, your desires, your wants, your goals and your plans.  You embrace His will, His desires, His dreams, His goals, His plans and His life for you – even if that means not getting what you really wanted, and even if that means going through the “worst case scenario” in your mind.

You will have to personally wrestle with these questions and decide  – can you really trust God? Is He who He says He is? Is His Word true or not? Will you build your life on the Rock of  Christ,  His Word and His promises, or on the sinking sand of trusting SELF?

Let us be willing to die to ourselves!  Let us joyfully give up our rights, our goals of happy feelings, and all that we hold dear and cling only to Christ, out of thankfulness and profound gratitude for ALL He has done for us (paying our “billions of dollars worth of sin debt to God”), holding everything else very loosely in our hands!

The thing is, you can’t respect your husband and empower his leadership on your own.  You can’t just be quiet and smile and hold the raging ocean of  sinful thoughts, emotions and negativity inside while you pretend to be “nice” on the outside.  

This journey requires a total heart change – regeneration that is only possible through God’s Spirit. Eventually, we don’t even THINK the sinful thoughts. It is a total heart change. We nail the old sinful self to the cross and it is crucified and buried with Christ. Then we put on the new man in Christ. He gives us a new heart and transforms our thinking.

Lord, help us to lay down our desires and let us desire only what YOU desire in our lives and in this world. Let us desire NOTHING in heaven or earth besides You!

If we do NOT have His Spirit – it is IMPOSSIBLE to be the godly wives Jesus calls us to be. God’s Spirit alone is our power source!

Some wives think that I am saying THEY alone are fully responsible for all the problems in the marriage and that I am expecting them to take 100% of the blame.  This is NOT at all what I am saying.  Husbands are all sinners, and so are wives. Husbands have their own accountability and responsibility before God and will stand before Him one day – just as we will.  I am asking women to focus on their own responsibilities, their own sins and their side of the relationship.  We can’t control our husbands.  We have to trust God to deal with them.  And really, we can’t even change ourselves – but we can allow God the freedom and permission to change us and we can respond as He opens our spiritual eyes.  So that is where we have to put our focus.  That is where our power is!

When we are cherishing sin in our hearts – we grieve and alienate the Spirit of God.   We cannot have God’s power flowing full strength in us when we are embracing sin and getting cozy with it.  We have to choose between having sin or having Jesus.  We cannot have both!

QUOTES FROM E.M. Bounds – “The Necessity of Prayer”

  • If you desire to pray to God, you must first have a consuming desire to obey Him.
  • If you want free access to God in prayer, then every obstacle of sin or disobedience must be removed.
  • Those who have never wept concerning their sins, have never really prayed over their sins.
  • Until (the step of unquestioning obedience) is taken, prayer for blessing and continued sustenance will be of no use.
  • Nowhere does God approve sin or excuse disobedience.
  • The absence of an obedient life makes prayer an empty performance – something wrongly named.
  • A repentance that does not produce a change in character and conduct, is a mere sham that should deceive no one. Old things must pass away, all things must become new!
  • Praying that does not result in right thinking and right living, is a farce.
  • The change from badness to goodness is not brought about “by works of righteousness that we have done.” It is brought about according to God’s mercy, which saves us “by the washing of regeneration.” This marvelous change is brought to pass through earnest, persistent, faithful prayer. Any alleged form of Christianity that does not create this change in the hearts of people is a delusion and a snare.
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