Measuring Intimacy

(NOTE – This post is not for wives experiencing severe issues in their marriages – like infidelity, a very controlling husband, an abusive husband, a husband who is not in his right mind due to mental illness/drug abuse/alcohol abuse, etc… If you are in such a situation, please seek appropriate one-on-one help and godly counsel.)

I used to try to use the frequency of intimacy, date nights,  deep discussions/emotional connection, or the frequency of loving emails from my husband to measure the quality of our marriage and to attempt to measure Greg’s love for me. When I saw that we had a day with one or more of these things, I would mentally check things off on my list and conclude – “Check, check, check. Yes! Our marriage is awesome! We are close and everything is good. Greg obviously loves me today!”

I thought I was “more secure” in his love if he did these things on my list.

I didn’t count the things that I didn’t think of as being loving – things like Greg taking my car to get new tires, renovating the house, helping with the children, taking care of the yard, taking out the trash, sitting beside me and cuddling quietly while he watched TV, eating supper with me, coming home right away to be with me, etc…

The next day or the next week, if there was nothing to check off (in the specific way that I counted things), then I was upset. My emotions were at the mercy of what Greg did or did not do for me on my narrow checklist.

The problem is – real intimacy isn’t about checklists.

It isn’t about a formula. It isn’t about me sitting back and expecting to be catered to and holding a checklist over my husband every moment to make sure he is doing the things I want him to do. It isn’t about me being entitled. It isn’t about something that is necessarily measurable or something that could be charted on a graph each week or each month.

I am not a boss doing a job performance review. I am not a kindergarten teacher monitoring and judging his behavior – giving him a smiley face or a frowny face each day.

I mean, there can be SOME value in realizing, “We are not talking, not having physical intimacy, and not doing anything together at all for weeks on end.” That means there is a problem – unless you are in a major crisis at the time or under very severe stress. So – yes – it can be good to be aware if things suddenly plummet and seek to address any issues.

Real intimacy is about a relationship with a person who is unique and who has his own feelings, issues, problems, triumphs, challenges, and baggage. It is about seeking to understand my husband better and to discover his perspective and his masculinity. It is about us getting to know each other and being a safe place for each other. It is about creating a harbor of peace and a sanctuary where authenticity and vulnerability are cherished and protected. It is about allowing him to be himself. It is about enjoying each other.

In real intimacy:

  • There is freedom. We both have free will to make our own decisions. Neither tries to control or dominate the other.
  • There is joy in being together and getting to know each other’s worlds and explore each other’s minds, hearts, perspectives, and bodies.
  • I understand that my husband always feels connected to me and bonded with me unless I say that I don’t feel connected. So I am free to rest in his love for me – even when it is unspoken. (Perhaps your husband feels the same way?)
  • I enjoy and appreciate what he gives me.
  • I learn to understand and marvel at the ways he shows love to me.
  • I approach my husband and his masculine world with wide-eyed wonder at the opportunity to get a glimpse into his world.
  • I share my feelings, needs, perspective, desires, and concerns respectfully and lovingly in a way that honors Christ and my husband.
  • If I think he acted or spoke in an unloving way – I do not take offense immediately – but rather seek to understand his perspective in order to avoid making wrong assumptions.
  • I am not afraid to be with my husband or to be away from my husband.
  • I am stable when he is there and when he is gone – because my emotional/spiritual well-being depends on Christ every moment of every day, not on my husband.
  • There is some healthy emotional/spiritual space between myself and my husband.
  • I share my feelings simply and let them go. I ask for what I would like simply, briefly, without pressure or coercion. I don’t have to use guilt/manipulation/playing the martyr. I know my husband can hear me when I speak my concerns and emotions simply and briefly. I trust he will think about what I said and seek to do what is best.
  • I know how to confront my husband if necessary about sin in his life in a godly, productive, Spirit-filled way.

Now I realize that if I am more focused on being able to chart or check off things to prove to myself that my husband loves me – I have some motive checking to do in my own heart with God.

  • Am I trying to find my fulfillment or security in what Greg does for me?
  • Am I expected Greg to fulfill the deepest needs of my heart that only God can really fulfill?
  • How do I respond when he doesn’t do what I want him to and I can’t check off my list? Do I respond with resentment or bitterness?
  • Am I content in Christ alone?
  • Am I finding all of my fulfillment, acceptance, love, peace, strength, purpose, power, and identity in Christ Jesus alone?

When I stop idolizing my husband and put Christ alone on the throne of my heart – I am free! I am free to engage in intimacy on every level and to enjoy it with my husband. But I am also free to be content and stable emotionally/spiritually if my husband is not available to do things with me that I would enjoy or if he slips up and has a moment (or even a season) of being imperfect and human. I can be content when my husband does loving things for me or when he doesn’t. I have received God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unspeakable love so I have these things to give in abundance to my husband, who is my teammate and fellow traveler.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11b-13

RELATED:

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Is My Husband Bound by My Personal Convictions?

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Expectations

Security in Christ

Some Things are Unconditional – Some Are Not

1167176_54598022

(It has been a busy week at our house –  a new kitten on Friday, last day of summer break yesterday, first day of school today, and my schedule is quite full the next few days. I am not sure how available I can be right now for comments. Y’all are welcome to comment as much as you would like to. I will comment when I am able to. Ladies, please help me out and encourage, bless, pray for and support one another! I know you will! That is one of the things I love best about this group! Much love!)

I think that it is possible for us to get a bit confused at times with the various commands God gives us as believing women in Christ. So, let’s break a few things down together and have a discussion. 🙂 I am not saying I have a perfect handle on all of this or that I know what each wife should do in every situation. I know I do not have that kind of wisdom myself! But I do believe that God is completely able to give us the wisdom each of us needs as we seek Him, trust Him and ask Him for wisdom and direction. (James 1)

LOVE

  • Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. I Corinthians 13:4-8

God commands us all as believers to love other people. All other people. This is an unconditional “agape” love. It is the love with which God loves people. It is a perfect love that is completely fueled by the love and character of God not by what a person does or does not do. It does what is best for the other person. It is selfless. It is the kind of love that loves its enemies and prays for those who persecute it. It is the kind of love found in Romans 12.

  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 14:14-21

If I am a believing wife, submitted to Christ, God always desires me to love my husband with His love. Without exception. No matter what my husband is doing or not doing.

  • Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4-5

The word for “love” in this passage is the word “phileo” which means “to affectionately love.” So, not only are we commanded to love our husbands with God’s agape, unconditional love, God also wants us to love our husbands with a friendly, affectionate love.

RESPECT

If I am a believing wife, God commands me to respect and honor my husband unconditionally. This is because of God’s Spirit living in me and my desire to submit to and reverence Christ. It has nothing to do with what my husband is or is not doing.

  • Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 (emphasis added)

Notice that the command to husbands and the command to wives are unconditional. It is not, “husbands love your wives IF they respect you or you feel they deserve it.” And it is not “Wives, respect your husbands IF you feel loved or if you think they deserve it.”

It is just very simple. Husbands are commanded by God to love their wives. Period. And wives are commanded by God to respect their husbands. Period. My job is to obey the command God gave me.

Why????

Because God knows that wives need love and husbands need respect. His commands help to correct our sinful tendencies as husbands and wives and help to restore the intimacy and oneness that God designed marriage to have before sin entered the picture. Husbands and wives BOTH need love and respect. But husbands tend to need respect the most, and that tends to be where we as wives are weak in our sinful nature. And wives tend to need love the most, and that tends to be where husbands are weak in their sinful nature.

We have many definitions for the English word, “respect,” today. But the command God gives us to respect our  husbands is a much more narrow definition. At this link (www.biblehub.com) you can find a link to a page that shows a number of translations of Ephesians 5:33 that may be helpful. The word “respect” may also be translated “reverence” or “fear.” This verse is about a wife showing honor to her husband’s God-given position as head of the marriage (I Corinthians 11:3). She is commanded in Ephesians 5:22 to submit to her husband. This passage about a wife understanding and honoring her husband’s headship.

We are NOT commanded to respect or honor sin. We respect our husbands because we respect Jesus. Just like we respect the president no matter if we agree with him or not because he is in the office of president and God commands us as believers to honor those in positions of God-given authority over us. Romans 11.

SUBMISSION

God commands believing wives to submit to their husbands:

  • Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22
  • Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
  • so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Titus 2:4-5
  • But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. I Corinthians 11:3

This word “submission” is a military term that describes how a military officer places himself under the authority of those higher in the chain of command. It has nothing to do with a person’s value! The one who submits to the one in authority has equal value as a person as the one in authority. We are all image bearers of God (Genesis 2) and we are all equal in the eyes of God (Galatians 3:28).

Honestly, for a believer, submission always begins with Christ. Jesus submitted to His Father, though He was God and was equal to God the Father. He submitted to the Father’s authority over Him because He loved God the Father. As believers, first we submit f
ully to Christ. We cannot skip this! Then, out of reverence and submission to Jesus, we as believing wives submit to our husbands in order to bring glory to God and to display the power of the relationship between Christ and His church through our marriage (in our families and to a watching world).

We submit unconditionally to Christ as Lord. All believers do this. We submit to our husbands in obedience to Jesus.

There can be exceptions when we cannot submit to our husbands if they are asking us to clearly disobey God’s Word. Submission to our husbands is not unconditional. We submit “as to the Lord.” If they ask us to have an abortion, to steal, to commit murder, to commit idolatry, to renounce Christ, to actually hurt our children, etc… then we must respectfully refuse to submit. But for a wife to refuse to submit to her husband, she must be sure she is honoring Christ in that decision. We will answer to Him for our submission to our husbands. It is a very serious thing to disobey God’s Word. Again, for more on this topic, please check out Spiritual Authority. If a husband is not in his right mind, addicted to drugs/alcohol, involved in unrepentant infidelity, physically abusive, etc… there may be times a wife must seek godly counsel and may not be able to submit to her husband in a way that would be fitting in the Lord. She will need God’s wisdom for such a situation and great sensitivity to His Word and His Spirit. But, most of the time, the right thing to do is to cooperate with our husbands’ leadership. This is obedience to God’s Word and it brings glory to Him. The exceptions are, hopefully, very rare.

FORGIVENESS

Jesus commands all believers to forgive others their sins against us in all circumstances. Forgiveness is unconditional. Forgiveness is about our heart being right with God. It is not about the person who sinned against us.

  • “This, then, is how you should pray:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. ’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:9-15

No matter what sin my husband (or anyone) may commit against me, God commands me to forgive him.

  • And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

Forgiveness means that I don’t hold something against that person anymore. It means that I know they hurt me. They owe me. They did wrong against me. But I choose to cover that offense with the same grace that God uses to cover my sins. I choose to apply the blood of Christ to that person’s sins in my life and not demand revenge. I choose to trust God with that person and to pray for him/her to be made right with God. I choose to love that person with God’s love instead of desiring to hurt that person. I choose not to resent. I choose not to become bitter. I can only do this through the power of God’s Spirit working in me.

If I forgive someone, that does not mean he has no earthly consequences for his sin. It also does not mean I must trust them if trust has been broken.

TRUST

This is where I believe sometimes we get confused. We think that if we must love, honor, respect and forgive our husbands, that we must trust them even if they continue in unrepentant sin against us.

God commands us over and over again in scripture to trust Him alone. He admonishes us NOT to trust in man many times.

I wish we could all trust our husbands all the time. But husbands are sinners, just like wives. I long for us to have relationships where we trust our husbands. Now, I do trust Greg very much. But ultimately, my trust needs to be in Christ alone, not in Greg.

  • But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8

Here is an interesting word study to do this week in your quiet time if you want to. Look up the word “trust” or “trust in God” in a concordance or at www.biblegateway.com or www.biblehub.com and look up the phrase “trust in man.” See how MANY times we are commanded to trust God and how many times we are commanded NOT to trust in man.

If a husband is involved in unrepentant infidelity, active addictions, is mentally unstable, is physically abusive or not in his right mind – there may be times we cannot trust our husbands even though we may want to be able to trust them. If you are in such a serious situation, please seek godly, wise, biblical counsel. But most of all, seek Jesus and His Word and truth with all your heart! Don’t take advice that does not square up with sound scriptural teaching.

If we cannot currently trust our husbands, hopefully, we can at least communicate that we WANT to learn to be able to trust them again and to work together to rebuild the trust. If trust has been severely violated, you may need help to rebuild it. And your husband will have to be willing to help rebuild the broken trust, too. You cannot do that part completely on your own.

But we must also be careful, because sometimes we don’t trust our husbands because of our own lack of faith in God. Sometimes we could and should trust our husbands but we don’t (that was me for many years in our marriage). And sometimes we really and truly shouldn’t trust our husbands if they are living in unrepentant sin. In some cases, it would be foolish to trust them. I have a video that goes into a lot more detail about that on my Youtube channel here.

To Speak or Not to Speak…

IMG_1078

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:

 

IMG_4173

Can a Wife “Overdo” Biblical Submission? – By Nikka

2011

By my dear friend and sister in Christ, Nikka, from the Philippines. You can find her blog at www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com

Let me begin this post by saying that I am an “ALL or NOTHING” person.

My husband usually teases me that I may be “bi-polar”.

I  am either TOO HAPPY or TOO SAD.

I am either TOO INTENSE or TOO UNPLUGGED.

I either LIKE something or HATE something.

I have to give it my 100% best or I don’t give it my time of day.

There is usually no middle ground with me.

I am awful at MODERATION.

Trying to find a BALANCE is an art that I am constantly trying to master.

So, given this “character flaw”, can I overdo this submission bit?

Can a wife overdo submission?

The answer is YES.

A wife can overdo submission and cross over to being a DOORMAT.

Photo Credits: Classy Career Girl

Thank God, I do not desire to be anybody’s foot rug, so on this particular important life-changing decision, if I am to err, I will err on the side of caution — caution against being an abused wife.

First, let us define some terms once more.

Biblical Submission, according to reason4living.com  is:

“… an act of the will — it is the result of a choice, a decision.  The act of submission can only come from a choice that a person makes.  Submission cannot be enforced upon a person.  Either a person submits of their own free will or they do not submit at all.  Submission is a gift that one person chooses to give to another person.  By contrast oppression is the act of extracting something from a person against their will.  Submission and oppression are, therefore, opposite qualities of a relationship and not even remotely similar.
With 3rd baby, Reuben

The submission of a godly wife is a glorious thing that is intended to help her and her husband to have a contented life together.  Problems in life and in marriage are more or less inevitable but when a woman is submissive to her man it is much more likely that those problems can be resolved harmoniously, without unpleasant quarrelling and without bitterness and resentment.  Those people who look down on biblical submission as if it were something demeaning, degrading or humiliating are merely showing that they have no understanding of what biblical submission is and that they are quite ignorant of its power.

If you are a Christian wife who has been feeling uncomfortable with the Biblical command that you submit to your husband, then I hope these statements have perked up your interest and given you a glimpse of the bright cheerfulness ahead. Being submissive to your husband does not mean that you should be an empty-headed bimbo, or that you should have no opinions of your own, or that you should be like a doormat.
If you are a Christian husband I hope that you will take care to understand the nature of submission and be careful to understand your responsibilities in response to your wife’s submission to you.  A submissive wife is not a justification for an abusive husband. God commands men to love their wives with the same kind of love that he [God] gave to his people … that’s a pretty tough assignment to give a mortal man and it doesn’t include the possibility of abuse.”
(Italics and bold letters are mine.)
Family Picture – 2010

Sadly, I was one of those “ignorant detractors of submission.” I did not have any godly role models to follow and no godly marriages to pattern my own marriage from, that’s why “submission” to me was an alien, scary and outdated concept.

Had I known then what I knew now, I would have saved myself from a LOT of heartache in our nine years as husband and wife. Three of those years from 2009 to 2011 were the most difficult emotionally. They were when I was most controlling and my heart was at its “fullest” in terms of bitterness, resentment, fear and fault-finding. 🙁

What then is a DOORMAT?

According to Merriam-Webster.com a doormat is:

– one that submits without protest to abuse or indignities or
– someone who is treated badly by other people and does not complain

Photo Credits: Ann Cutting 

April explains it well in her blog post on “Doormats Don’t Glorify God Either”. I will share with you an excerpt of that article:

“It is true that being bossy, condescending, controlling, scolding, critical, negative, nagging, argumentative, contentious, etc… as a wife is extremely dishonoring to God.  But having NO thoughts, NO opinions, NO dreams, NO feelings, NO input, NO personality, NO contributions to the marriage and family as a wife  – well, that doesn’t honor God either!

To label being a slave or doormat as being a ”submissive wife” will also repel many people from the gospel of Christ!  A wife MUST be her own full, strong, vibrant person in order to properly complete and complement her man!  There may be specific situations where we keep our thoughts to ourselves and allow our husbands to make decisions on his own – we must be sensitive to God’s Spirit, of course.  But most of the time, our input is extremely valuable in our marriages – it is our motivations, and our respect for God and our husbands that are the key.”
(Italics are mine.)

Photo Credits: The Snooze Letter

To add, Nancy Leigh de Moss, author of ‘Lies Women Believe’ wrote that there are four LIES ABOUT SUBMISSION.

Lie Number 1: “The wife is inferior to her husband.”

The Scripture teaches that both the man and the woman are created in the image of God, both have equal value before God, and both are privileged to be subjects of His redeeming Grace through repentance and faith (Genesis 1:27Galatians 3:281 Peter 3:7) The responsibility of the wife to submit to her husband’s authority does not make her any less valuable or significant than her husband.


Lie Number 2: “As head of his wife, the husband is permitted to be harsh or dictatorial with his wife.”

Husbands are commanded to love their wives as they love themselves, in the same selfless, sacrificing, serving way that the Lord Jesus loved His Church and laid down His life for it (Ephesians 5:25-29)

Nikka and Dong – Dec 2010

Lie Number 3: “The wife is not to provide input or express her opinions to her husband.”

God created the woman to be a “helper suitable” to her husband. That means, he needs her help. He needs the input and insight she is able to bring in various situations. It also means that once a wife has graciously and humbly expressed her heart on the matter, if her husband chooses to act contrary to her counsel, she must be willing to back off and trust God with the consequences of her husband’s decision.

Lie Number 4: “The husband is always right.”

The apostle Peter specifically addresses women whose husbands “do not believe the word.” The husband may be unsaved, or he may be disobedient to God in some area(s)of his life. According to 1 Peter 3:1, the number one means of influencing such a husband is not through tearful pleading, irresistible logic, or persistent reminders; rather, it is through the power of submission:

                                             1 Peter 3:1-2

3 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”
8 months pregnant with our 3rd –  March 2010

So, to the question, can a wife overdo submission, the answer is a resounding YES.

Can a husband overdo dominance? The answer is YES too.

7 months pregnant with our 2nd -2007

To somebody like me who is an ALL or NOTHING sort of gal and who finds it hard to stay on middle ground, you might think that now that I am being submissive, I might risk becoming ‘TOO SUBMISSIVE.’

One good thing, I think, from being used to getting my way AND being bossy (hehe), is that I couldn’t for the life of me imagine having no opinion, no say, no input on anything. I have never been a doormat and I am not going to start now. 🙂

But to those wives who are more passive than aggressive, who may have problems with self-esteem, of questioning authority or of simply speaking their mind, I pray that you find it in yourself to come out of your shell and be that significant other of your husbands. You are significant! You are important! Your thoughts and feelings matter!

If you have given up your influence on your marriage, you might want to read April’s post on that. She gives some practical tips on how to move from becoming a DOORMAT to becoming a wife who MATTERS to her husband. Click the link here.

I guess in life, for us to be able to function at our most comfortable and healthy level, one really has to find the right BALANCE. That, I am learning now as a former controlling and now converted peaceful wife. 😉

There is one passage though in the Bible, wherein being neither here nor there is considered contemptible, and that is with regards to our FAITH.

http://sfodan.wordpress.com

                                                      Revelations 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

                                    Rebelasyon 3:16

Kaya sapagka’t ikaw ay malahininga, at hindi mainit o malamig man, ay isusuka kita sa aking bibig.

(For a more detailed explanation on this verse from Revelations, please click this.)

Finally, and here, I am overjoyed to know that I can use my ALL or NOTHING nature to its maximum capacity – giving it my ALL rather than NOTHING….

I can go OVERBOARD with my LOVE FOR GOD! 🙂  

Photo Credits: Framed Art



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

                   MATEO 22:37

At sinabi sa kaniya, Iibigin mo ang Panginoon mong Dios ng buong puso mo, at ng buong kaluluwa mo, at ng buong pagiisip mo.

This one I can NEVER overdo. 🙂

This one I can give my 110% best! 🙂

Photo Credits: Nice Ideas For All

May we all be richly blessed! 🙂

RELATED:

I Don’t Want to Lose My Voice in My Marriage!

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always “Right”

The Powerful Concept of Submitting Under Protest – Part 1

The Powerful Concept of Submitting Under Protest – Part 2

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 2

781066_73171057

 

I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. I am just an ordinary Christian wife. My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules and they are not guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not. I write specifically for wives who tend to be controlling and dominating. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that my blog is not a good fit for them. If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! Please do not read my blog if you are a wife who is being abused. You will need VERY specific help in that situation. Reading my blog for women who tend to be controlling may be harmful for you.

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 1 If you didn’t read the first part, you may want to check it out before you read this part. 🙂

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 3

WHAT ARE MY IDEAS DOING TO MY MARRIAGE?

If some of these statements (from the last post) resonate with you, I’d like for us to consider some things together. These things may be kind of shocking. They may not all apply, but the ones that do apply to us – we definitely need to deal with between us and God.  This is the stuff that was at the heart of my behavior in our marriage for the first 14+ years.  It’s some awful stuff!  Turns out I am a WRETCHED sinner.  I had no idea until 5 years ago just how wretchedly sinful I was.  PRAISE GOD that Jesus’ blood was more than adequate to cleanse me of all of my sin!!!!!

  • Many of these ideas have a VERY prideful origin. “I know best.” “I know better than he does.” And it might even be, “I know better than God does.” THAT IS HUGE PRIDE! That was really what was behind my thinking and motives for the first 14+ years of our marriage.  I didn’t consciously realize this, but this is how I lived.  This is some of the most repulsive, nasty, cancerous sin from God’s perspective. I had to confess DUMP TRUCK LOADS of my own pride to God for weeks and weeks to begin to get my perspective straightened out and really see the sin that God saw in me.
  • When the wife puts herself in charge (even if she thinks she “has” to – unless there is a serious illness, major drug/alcohol addiction, infidelity, serious abuse, uncontrolled mental illness or the husband has abandoned his wife – please seek godly, wise counsel in these extreme situations), and takes over the husband’s God-given place of authority in the marriage, husbands usually either react with great anger or by unplugging completely and letting the wife be in control by herself.   My husband unplugged and allowed me to take the reins because I would NOT follow him and I was so critical and always “right.”  He told me later, “How can I lead someone who refused to follow?”  Husbands who feel steam-rolled by their wives are not going to sit there and take it. They go as far away physically and emotionally as they can or they fight for their honor.
  • Most of the sentiments in the last post contain a large dose of DISRESPECT for our husbands. Disrespect isn’t really talked about much in our culture anymore. We have lost respect for almost everyone in positions of God-given authority in our culture – husbands, parents, pastors, teachers, government officials, employers, police officers…  God commands wives to respect their husbands (I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22-33) and we may think that we are doing fine with that verse and easily gloss over one of the most critical components of a successful marriage – our genuine respect for our husbands. I read that verse plenty of times and checked off, “Yep! I’m doing that!” and moved on through the rest of the chapter. I had no idea that there was an entire world of respect that I was totally unaware of. I had no idea how many seemingly insignificant comments and remarks I made, and the tone of my voice conveyed an almost constant disrespect to my husband. I HAD NO IDEA THAT I WAS WOUNDING MY HUSBAND AND BRINGING MISERY ON BOTH OF US! I always thought HE needed to change. I didn’t have a clue that my disrespect and my controlling attitudes were destroying our marriage. THAT WAS A BLOW THAT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY. It sent me reeling for days at first. Then I decided that I was going to study respect and biblical submission and, by God’s grace, become the best wife I could possibly be! 
  • Is it possible that my husband may feel so beaten down, so criticized, so condemned, so hated and so much like a failure that he has given up even attempting to lead? Every time he tried to lead, my way was better. Whenever he suggested something, I had all the answers and he was “wrong” in my eyes. When he had an idea, it wasn’t good enough. Eventually he realized that there was no point trying to lead someone who “is always right.” OUCH! He NEVER said anything. He never said he felt disrespected. He didn’t verbalize the problem. I had a toxic, critical, judgmental, un-forgiving, ungodly, negative attitude that poisoned our marriage.
  • Especially Christian women tend to have very high, narrow and specific expectations of husbands as leaders. We often expect them to lead Bible studies and prayer sessions out loud in our families. We expect them to know more of the Bible than we do. We expect them to talk about spiritual things a lot. We expect to see them studying their Bibles and praying on their own for hours every week. We want them to initiate prayer time with us every night. Unless my husband had a lot of experience praying out loud, he may not be comfortable praying out loud even in front of me – ESPECIALLY if I came across as being more spiritually mature than he was and as being better with words and knowing the Bible more than he did. He may be intimidated by me. He may feel like a spiritual failure compared to me.  My husband used to feel that way – like it was impossible for him to be as close to God as I seemed to be.  So he gave up trying for a long time.  How that breaks my heart now!   Maybe my expectations were unrealistic? Maybe my husband leads in a lot of ways that I didn’t acknowledge or even notice. It takes many years, even decades for a lot of men to learn to be strong spiritual leaders. I can be extremely impatient with my husband and destroy his ability and desire to grow as a leader. If I really am more mature, I will be patient and not try to pressure or force things, but will offer plenty of mercy, grace, forgiveness and unconditional love and respect. I will remember I Peter 3:1 – Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.
  • Is it possible that my husband sees me as being “holier-than-thou?”   Do I come across as being self-righteous and as if I think I am better than he is and I think he is a “loser” compared to me?  That is big time sin.  Jesus spent more time confronting self-righteousness in the Pharisees than almost any other sin.
  • Men need encouragement, praise, admiration, a cheerleader, someone to say when they are doing things right! THEN they will have the courage to forge ahead into the unknown and intimidating world of leadership and try new things and grow stronger. He has to know he has my unwavering support and faith. He has to know that if he makes a mistake, I am not going to make a big deal of it. He has to know I trust him. THEN he will grow and become so much more the godly man that God desires him to be.
  • Sometimes husbands lead in subtle ways, by example – not so much with words. They forgive easily. They don’t hold grudges. They are patient. They try to do what is best for the family. They continue to give of themselves even when their efforts are not appreciated. They have talks with the children about their attitudes and behavior. They try to help out when we are sick. They are generous. They are kind. They are faithful to us. They work hard to provide for the family financially – this is one of THE BIGGEST ways that most husbands try to show their love and leadership. They live with integrity. They try to do what is right. They show respect to others. I can learn to appreciate all that my husband does right and not try to put him in a little box of my specific expectations.
  • If I am disrespecting the spiritual authority of my husband over me and trying to go around him to God to complain about my husband – God will not be pleased! My disobedience will grieve the heart of God.  My critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards my husband means that I also have a critical, judgmental, disrespectful attitude towards the One that put my husband over our marriage.  I know now that my level of respect and biblical submission toward my husband was a tangible outward indicator of my level of reverence and submission to Christ.  God does not hear my prayers when they are steeped in sin, pride, judgment and lack of respect for God-given authority!!!!
  • My faith in God was small. My understanding of God and picture of Him was small.  A big part of why I didn’t trust God or my husband to lead was that I didn’t have a correct picture of who God really is and I didn’t see His sovereignty.
  • I was committing idolatry by putting myself in God’s place and trying to be God to myself and those around me – living as if everything depended on me and as if I was sovereign, not God, trusting SELF, not God.  There is no sin greater than idolatry.  I was committing idolatry every waking moment for decades, and didn’t even know it! UGH!

Tomorrow – we will talk about how to get on God’s path for us in this! 🙂

RELATED:

Husbands Share What is Disrespectful to Them

What is Respect in Marriage?

Ways Husbands Lead Wives Don’t Always Notice

How to Be a Good Follower

But I’m Right!  I Should Be in Charge!  I am a Better Leader than He Is!

Overcoming Idolatry

My Demon

The Voice in His Head

The Powerful Concept of "Submitting Under Protest" – Part 1

couple at sunset

FIRST – I want to share a wife’s  comment I received this past weekend:

Very briefly I wanted to thank Peacefulwife. I discovered your blog on September 5, 2013. I applied everything I learned and am so grateful.

My dear husband passed away on November 10, 2013. Although my heart aches I can honestly say I have NO REGRETS.  My husband left this world knowing his wife loved and RESPECTED him! There was nothing left unsaid. He was only 53 and had an unexpected hemorrhagic stroke.

Dear wives no matter how hard and frustrating it may be to follow this Godly counsel, do it NOW!

We aren’t promised tomorrow.

God Bless!

———————–

Such a sobering thing to think about.  How I praise God that they had two months to get things right with each other and with God.  What an incredible blessing to be able to say, “I have no regrets” even in the face of the grief of losing her husband.  Whew!

I pray that each of us might live in obedience to God and in right relationship with Him and with our husbands and other people in our lives, that we might be able to say we have no regrets in the face of tragedy.

TODAY’S TOPIC:

Whether you believe your husband is watching “too much TV,”  shouldn’t look at certain things, is working more than you think he should, is not “involved enough” with the children,  is not “making you a priority” the way you want him to, or whatever the issue is – if you respond to him by yelling at him and demanding that he do what you want him to do,  that is going to be a destructive approach every time.  Not to mention – if we are yelling and screaming at our husbands – we are sinning against God and against our husbands ourselves.  That is NOT ok!  If God’s Spirit is in control of our lives, we will have His self-control and gentleness.

Here is one Christian brother’s perspective on this issue (he was responding to a particular wife’s situation – but I believe his counsel applies in many situations) that may help us to understand a lot better why approaching our husbands with demands and disrespect won’t work and is damaging to the marriage and to our husbands:

THE BLESSING OF A HUSBAND REFUSING TO RESPOND TO OUR YELLING AND SCREAMING AT THEM TO CHANGE

You should realize there is a silver lining in this for you, that you have not quite noticed yet. And that is the fact that your husband is not submitting to you, especially given the nature of how you are addressing him. If he was falling all over himself to please and supplicate to you, you would end up despising him.

One thing about women, they will forgive men for being bad, but they cannot stand a weak man. So for now, he is keeping the peace by not directly challenging you, but he not bowing to your demands. Good for him.

Personally, if my wife tried to get me to stop doing something by issuing a command, I would tell her:
“You’ve forced my hand. I am going to have to continue doing this thing, because I will not have you thinking that I am here to submit to your orders.”

  • For a woman to use insistence and demands to get her man in line is really no different than a man using similar tactics to get her to be intimate. Would you want to be bullied into sex? I think not.

Now, about his actions, if what you say is true (and it might be) , perhaps he needs to stop looking at those women on the TV.

But God is not a God of shortcuts, and God will not give you means to bypass his means and methods, and simply order your husband around like a child. If you want what you want, you are going to have to get it the “hard way”. God’s way.  And done in Christian LOVE, but love for both of you.

  • What you are not seeing is the kind of emotional violence you may be doing to your husband. You may feel completely justified in what you want, but bludgeoning him with scolding and shaming is neither loving nor respectful.

Let’s also realize an uncomfortable but truthful reality. Your husband is probably bigger and stronger than you. Do you notice that he does not use that physical superiority to control you? Some men do. Most women have zero chance in a physical altercation with a man. But on the flipside, women have the power to bludgeon with words in a way that many men do not.

So, in some households, the women are swinging away with their verbal and emotional fists, while their husband locks himself up, suffering the evil of being abused, and having no way to respond without being called an abuser himself. This one-sided dynamic pervades our society, where a screaming, yelling woman is perceived to be venting a legitimate grievance, but the same behavior from a man is “abuse”.

SUBMITTING UNDER PROTEST

And as I have said before, it is perfectly acceptable for a wife to submit “under protest”.

Like love, it is a decision, not a feeling. An act of one’s will.

In fact, submitting while respectfully protesting is better than just shutting up, since if you stifle your feelings, he may never pick up on the fact that there are things making you sad or hurt.

I’ll never forget what that pastor’s wife said:

  • “I am going to be a blessing to you no matter what you do”.

He said is was like a punch to the gut. I’m sure David felt the same way when he got called out for killing Uriah.

AN ANALOGY

I don’t want the following to seem like I am comparing women to children, because that is not the intent.

Many parents, especially mothers, have had their kids try the “I hate you, I hate you, I wish I had a different mom”, or some other tactic when they don’t get their way on something.

At first glance, some people might think that the pain a mom feels when she hears this is because her child is claiming to hate her. But this misses the reality of the situation. She knows her child, in fact, does not hate her.

The pain comes from realizing that someone you love would so frivolously use such painful words against you. The child, in this situation, knows they don’t hate their mother. But they want their way so intensely, that they are willing to use a tactic like this.

The child does not really consider the parent’s feelings, because mom (or dad) is so big, so tough, and the kid thinks “I can say this and it won’t matter.” So, the kid is venting their anger, or trying to manipulate, but is blind to the pain they cause, and the costs that are being incurred.

Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them. Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them.

Just as God gave men physical strength to use to bless their families through protection and provision, he gave women emotional skills to build up their husbands and children. A man should never use his God-given strength as a weapon against his wife, and a woman should never use her emotional skills as a weapon against her husband.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

If a husband allowed his wife to get what she wanted by pitching a fit, screaming, yelling, insulting him, calling him names, etc… he is “teaching her” that this is how to treat him and this is how to get her way. That is not a gift to anyone!  In fact, it would reward her sin and teach their children to use this behavior as well.

GREG WOULDN’T SUBMIT TO ME – PRAISE GOD!

I am BEYOND THANKFUL now that Greg would not do what I demanded he do all those many 14+ years earlier in our marriage.  If I was able to force him to do my will by using my words and volume and anger – it would mean he had no convictions or backbone at all.  In fact, it would mean he was a huge wimp.

  • How could I respect a man who allowed me to manipulate him into doing whatever I wanted with my poor behavior?

I couldn’t!

Now I realize that Greg stuck to his convictions and that he was showing leadership skills by refusing to allow my emotions and verbal intensity and even verbal attacks to move him.  And I also realize that if he had caved in to me, it would have created an even more destructive scenario in our marriage.

Now, I am thankful that I can respectfully share my feelings with Greg, but that he will do what he truly believes is best, even if he goes against my feelings and desires on a given decision.  WHAT A HUGE RELIEF that is!  My feelings won’t dictate our decisions.  My feelings can be kind of unpredictable and unstable.  I don’t want my feelings to be the ultimate litmus test and for me to have the final veto based on my feelings.  I want to have input and to feel heard, but I don’t want Greg to be a slave to my emotions.  I don’t want to be a slave to my own emotions!

MEN HAVE FEELINGS

Let’s keep in mind – that men DO have emotions and feelings.  I became convinced early in our marriage that Greg didn’t have feelings because he didn’t express them verbally and because he didn’t look upset when I would get upset.  He seemed totally unaffected by me or my feelings.  He never shared any feelings.  So I figured eventually that I could say anything and it wouldn’t phase him.

I was SO WRONG.

Men DO have feelings and we are able to deeply wound them with our words.  They don’t emote and respond the same way we do externally.  But they have tender hearts.

They can hear us just fine if we express ourselves respectfully.  We are much more likely to see them grant us the desires of our hearts when we approach them with civility, politeness, respect and a calm, pleasant friendly tone of voice.  They may need more time to think about things than we would.  That is ok!

The only power we have when we scream or attack verbally is the power to sever our husbands from us emotionally and spiritually – maybe even sexually if it gets bad enough.  Verbal attacks are very damaging to our husbands and our marriages.

  • There is really never a valid reason to scream and yell or berate our husbands or to attempt to belittle or humiliate them in order to try to get our way.  There is never a godly reason that gives me justification for attempting to force or control my husband into doing what I want to.  God allows us all the freedom to have free will.  He doesn’t force us into anything.  Am I above God that I should have the power to force my husband to do my will?  Nope!  Definitely not!  

When God’s Spirit rules in our hearts – He empowers us to have gentleness and self-control.

If we don’t have gentleness and self-control – we probably have a lot of sin on our hands to repent of and need to get back in right relationship with Christ!

RELATED:

Instead of Going on a Big, Emotional Tirade… 

Dying to Self – by The Good Wife

734842_98231030

This is a guest post by my precious sister in Christ at www.thegoodwife121.blogspot.ca.  She is documenting her journey to become a godly wife.  I am sure many wives are going to relate to her struggles and be blessed by what God is doing in her heart!

——————

Slowly it’s getting easier.

I noticed it while I was fuming over washing dirty dishes, it was a Sunday and I had wanted to go to church, but was unable to because Husband had a previous commitment, even though I was annoyed, I remembered my goals and came to an understanding that this was just life, and I would have to handle my disappointment.
Later I received a text telling me he was planning on going out afterwards, to his brother’s church where he played on the worship team – this put me firmly into the “Sunday all day/night alone with baby.”

I was ticked – all I had wanted was a couple of hours in the morning to go to church, and now I was having to have another long, solo-parenting evening while Husband did what he wanted to.

I started to scrub the dishes harder.

Like there weren’t enough long days, and with the baby being, well…2, those days generally weren’t filled with easy-goingness and happy times. It was work! Hard work! Not to mention keeping the house clean, getting laundry done, making special-diet meals and grocery shopping.

My pot was practically glowing by this point.

Finally I took a breath and I prayed: Lord, I am so frustrated and tired right now. Help me to check my attitude and focus on the good.

Slowly I started to feel that knot of annoyance loosen just a tad, suddenly I remembered all my prayers about Husbands spiritual life and praying that he would feel closer to God and have a better relationship with Him. How I had shed tears over his faith and had been so worried that he was falling away.
I bowed my head and sighed.

Here I was, getting upset because he wants to go to Church. Shouldn’t I be considering this as an answer to prayer, rather than an annoyance?

Finally my pride snapped, and I was able to let go of that anger that had started to boil inside.

Husband and I had, previous to this pot-washing incident, exchanged a quick phone conversation, and he knew by the tone of my voice that I was not in the best of moods, though when he asked, I denied it, of course.
Later that evening he came through the door, with his proverbial tail between his legs and clearly expected a row about the change in plans.
He casually asked how I was doing, (testing the waters, no doubt) and by that point I was actually able to be happy to see him and greet him with love and kindness.

Husband seems a little surprised, this was definitely not what he was expecting, and almost immediately he apologized for changing plans on the fly, and hoped that I wasn’t upset.

Wow…this was a change!

A normal chain of events would have been:

  • Change of plans
  • I get mad
  • Give husband cold treatment/guilt to get him to apologize
  • Husband defends actions and digs in his heels
  • I get hurt because he wouldn’t apologize or consider my feelings
  • Husband gets annoyed because I’m manipulating him
  • We fight until midnight, sleep separately and have a horrible night and next day.
But I was able to circumvent this by simply “letting go.”
It’s still a struggle and I think for a long time, it will be – putting my will aside for another’s is extremely difficult and doesn’t come easily to my nature, but I’m seeing real changes in how my marriage works when I started changing my own behavior for my own sake.
Please don’t misunderstand, this is something I am doing for me. I am changing myself not to become quote/unquote perfect wife, but rather wanting to be a Godly woman, and part of that is practicing humility and self-control, and through that I am seeing positive results in my marriage.
It is a daily ‘dying to self’ and ever so slowly, I feel that, through much prayer and help from the Holy Spirit, that I am able to accomplish this more easily.

I don’t know if I’m seeing more sweetness and kindness in my Husband, or if I’m finally able to focus on what was already there.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. 
For whoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
~ Matthew 16: 24-25

My marriage is that dirty pot.
It’s a good pot, a sturdy one that has gone through lots of wear and tear and has some dents in it, I just need to scrub it, not only see it for the burn marks, and the gunk stuck on it. I need to wash it, and care for it, and it should last for many, many years.

~ The Good Wife

Walking in Faith Instead of Control – an Update

1205205_80089250
From the wife who gave up on her dream for her marriage  and who decided to stop pursuing her husband (in the wrong ways) – an update!
———————————-
HASHING THROUGH GIVING UP CONTROLLING MY HUSBAND
I was thinking this morning that it is hard for me to believe that if I am trying to honor God, put Him first in my heart and allow HIM to work on my husband in His time, that He will not honor my efforts.
Those fears are REAL.  But in the end, they aren’t NEW fears.  They are fears I have already had but tried to handle by controlling my husband and the circumstances we found ourselves in.  It is mind blowing that I actually thought I *had* control.
I didn’t have control.
What I had, at BEST, was manipulation and tools of guilt, bitterness and some truly real emotions I tried to share.  But I NEVER did have control.  That was an illusion I was fooled by.

It is a matter of weighing those fears with the peace of releasing my husband and having an open heart to accepting whatever God’s will is vs. keeping those fears and trying desperately but ineffectively to prevent them.  Not too much of a question, is it?

That does not mean it is easy to accept them or the possibility that the worst possible scenarios may occur.  But trying to control was not protection against any of those anyway.  Trying to control my husband and how he loved me- along with many, MANY other things in our lives was painful!  It was exhausting!  I remember having the thought, “I am so tired of fighting to get him to love me.  How much longer can I do this?  When is he going to do it on his own?”  and having that thought often, sometimes daily for probably the last year- two years leading up to last week.  But, although hurtful, that time was helpful to get me to the point of releasing my husband and releasing expectations.
BEING AFFECTIONATE  AND NOT MAKING MY HUSBAND AN IDOL OR SMOTHERING HIM
Change of topic here.  Small question…. I am still trying to sort all of the correct actions out in my mind…. it is fine to be affectionate with dh on my own, yes?  I am thinking it must be because you have mentioned that you are with Greg when you wish to be… and it is fine to tell him I love him spontaneously, right?
My understanding/ general gut-feeling is yes, it is absolutely fine to share my love for him as long as I am not trying to manipulate him to giving me a certain response and as long as I don’t go into excessive overdrive where I am smothering him and taking the lead for our relationship away from him (again).  I WANT to be able to express my feelings for him.  Am I off base or that is the direction I should be heading in?
A NEW APPROACH AND NEW RESPONSES
A couple updates from last night (cause I know you are just on the edge of your seat- LOL!)
-I was stressed last night. PMS, kids pushing it, money issues and then a small issue with my job just finished it off.  I tried to talk to dh about the issue with my job and at first he didn’t want to listen.  I was hateful to him.
Then I approached it differently and asked him sweetly if he had time to talk to me for a minute- each time my boss emailed me- and I asked him for advice and to help me figure out how to handle the situation.  He patiently helped me figure out the right responses to get my point across respectfully to my boss.  Later, I told him thank you for helping me and I told him I was sorry I was hateful to him.  I almost added a ‘but’ but remembered in time.*;) winking

He was very forgiving.  I could tell the apology went over much better without the explanation of why.

– Last night, we were in bed and he was reaching around in between us.  I asked him what he was looking for, thinking it was the remote.  He said, “Your hand.”
THIS IS NEW.  This is a BIG deal.  Did not happen up until the last week.  I gave him my hand and told him I loved it when he held my hand and that it made me happy.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
I believe it is great to be affectionate with our husbands – IF we are just being affectionate to bless them NOT to try to get them to do what we want them to do and IF they are receptive.

A Young Wife Discovers God’s Design for Her Marriage

781066_73171057

April,

thank you so much for this blog! I stumbled upon it just last week and have been reading your posts ever since.

I have been married almost for a year now and dealing with all the issues you talk about myself. For some time I have regretted the fact I do not have any experienced Christian wives to turn to who could teach me to be a good wife to my husband as the Bible encourages us to do.

Reading your testimony I was amazed to discover how much I am like you. I have an identical twin sister myself, I have always been a straight-A-student, top of my class in the university, always self-sufficient and reliable, becoming a teacher and attending church since I was ten.

Naturally, all the traits of my personality and habits from maiden life came with me to my marriage. I did not intend to disrespect or overrule my husband but I did it anyway for I never knew a better way. I have always made more money than him, and being very responsible with those matters (as he generously admits) I felt obligated to keep my eye on (read: have control over) our finances. I tended to remind him things when I thought he was about to forget something important. I never told him to spend time with me or skip his activities but often cried and pouted when he went out anyway knowing I did not want him to go. And so on. Needless to say what a burden it was on my shoulders.

I never understood his angry reactions to some of my comments or questions that seemed absolutely innocent to me. And it seemed to me he never understood my desire to be number one in his life after God. He always told me that I was but it was difficult for me to believe it for his actions spoke differently to me. Falling pregnant with our son right after we got married did not help things along, so our first year has been quite rocky.

I had been reading a lot about marriage and shared my thoughts with my husband, too. Fortunately he is eager to make a change for the better. But I had done it with wrong purpose and attitude – I always thought he was wrong and I wanted to change him. You can guess if it was successful or not.

Only when I started to read your blog did I see how mistaken I have been trying to lead him instead of him leading me. Though he might not be as educated as me and only a young Christian, he is entitled to do that for God has made it that way. I am the luckiest girl on earth to have a husband who loves God more than he loves me.

Now that I am beginning to understand what it means to respect my husband and to be a submissive and godly wife and started to act accordingly, I have seen such a difference in our lives. The biggest change has taken place in my own heart as I trust my husband and also God so much more. I also shared my thoughts with my husband and apologized to him for disrespecting him for so long. Surprisingly I have seen changes in his behavior, too. He has been more caring of my feelings and thoughts recently and really making an effort to love and please me. What a joy for both of us!

So thank you again so much for this honest blog of yours! It has been such a blessing for me already, though I have only read a few of the entries. I am glad I have finally found a godly wife to learn from even if she is on the other side of the world.

May God bless you and your family abundantly!