“I Won’t Give up My Bitterness!”

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We Have All Been Hurt by Others:

Sin against us HURTS. Deeply.  Sin is always wrong. God always hates sin. He hates every sin people commit against us – whether it is in thought, motive, word, or deed. He hates the sin people commit against Him. He hates our sin, too – even the ones we think are “trivial” or that we justify to ourselves. God is absolutely holy and cannot tolerate any sin at all. (Verses about God’s holiness)

We all have reasons to be bitter – reasons not to forgive – that the world would say are “justified.” The more mistreatment we have endured, the more “right” we have to cherish our bitterness. We may even (wrongly) think we have the right to be bitter against God if He allowed something awful to happen and didn’t stop it, or He didn’t answer our prayers the way we thought He should have.

  • The problem with this worldly wisdom is that our bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness is major sin against God. 

God Commands Us to Let Go of Our Bitterness:

If you want to see where bitterness leads – observe someone who has been holding on to bitterness for many decades. Unrestrained bitterness leads to hatred, contempt, malice, a desire for revenge, and a desire to hurt or even kill another person. It completely consumes a person’s life and becomes their sole idol, many times.

There are few things that can kill a relationship as effectively as bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. In fact, God can and does often heal marriages from infidelity, pornography addictions, alcoholism, and drug addictions when people repent from these sins and allow Him to change their lives. But unrepentant bitterness causes a marriage to be unable to be healed. I held on to bitterness myself for many years, until God showed me that I had to choose – Jesus or my bitterness. I could not have both.

We may think that if we forsake our bitterness, we are saying that another person’s sins were okay, or that it didn’t hurt us. But that is a lie! God never glosses over sin – and yet He forgives, though He is perfect. We are certainly not above God. We can affirm that someone’s sin against us was very wrong, hurtful, and destructive and that it was not at all okay. And then, in God’s power, we can forgive. If we don’t forgive, we open a door for the enemy to enter and conquer our souls.

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 6:14-15

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

A wife wrote to me a few years ago, “Don’t take away my bitterness! It’s all I have left!”

Bitterness Is a Deadly Poison to Us:

Bitterness must be quickly tended to as soon as it sprouts. It is evil – and it grows rapidly. The longer we allow it to grow and the longer we water, feed, and nurture it – the more painful it is to tear it out later.

Bitterness is a terrible trap, my dear sisters (and brothers)! It is a device of our enemy to attempt steal the gifts Jesus has provided for us through His death. Bitterness grieves the very Spirit of God and we lose His power in our lives – then our sinful nature has more and more control, not God. Bitterness hardens our hearts until we can no longer even hear God’s still small voice.

God commands us to forgive and to let go of bitterness – not because the person who sinned against us deserves to be let off the hook, but to bless US so that we can stay in close fellowship with Him and experience all the fruit of His Spirit and abundant spiritual life (Gal. 5:22-23).

We forgive because God forgives us. It is a decision of the will – not the emotions. We forgive because we love God and want to obey Him in everything. We forgive because we need to be forgiven by God. We forgive because forgiveness sets us free from Satan’s snare! Our goal MUST be to get rid of every trace of bitterness so that we can experience the power of God’s Spirit working in and through us to enable us to live holy, godly lives.

In releasing those who have hurt us and what they have done, and in deciding not to make them pay us for their sin – we can have God’s peace in our hearts. God says that it is His place to take revenge, not ours. (This doesn’t mean we trust unrepentant sinners or stay if we are not safe or the other person is not willing to rebuild trust.)

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… 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 12:14, 17-21

  • Either those who sin against us will turn to Christ and Jesus will pay for their sins against us with His innocent, perfect, holy blood – and He will change their hearts and they will grieve over their sin.
  • Or those who sin against us will pay for their sins themselves in hell forever.

There will be justice, ultimately, for the wrongs we have suffered. And there will be justice for the wrongs others have suffered at our hands, as well. God never ignores sin or sweeps it under the rug. He is just. He is righteous. He is holy. 

Replacing Bitter Thoughts with Godly, Holy Thoughts

We must take each thought captive for Christ. Every time I realize I am thinking a bitter thought, I must repent, turn away from it, confess it to God, and replace it with the truth of the Bible.

ie:

Bitter thoughts: “My husband doesn’t really love me. He hasn’t done X for me in years! If he loved me, he would know I want him to do X. I’ll show him! I’m going to give him the cold shoulder for the next 3 months. Let’s see how he likes that!”

Holy thoughts: “Let me write down the ways my husband has shown love to me lately. (If he is in unrepentant sin and has truly not been loving, I may need to write down that he is ensnared in sin and that he needs deliverance and needs me to pray for him. I may need to pray about confronting my husband about his sin if he has not repented. It is not a godly thing to pretend that sin doesn’t exist.) I can also write down what God says about me and my identity in Jesus. I can focus on all of the good things God has done for me. I can sing praises to God. I can write about my pain. I can pray about my pain and ask God for healing. I can ask God to show me how He might want me to bless my husband and how He might give me the power to overcome evil with good. I can ask God to help me better understand my husband if I am misunderstanding his masculine perspective. And I can seek ways to do good to him just to please Christ.”

When we realize just how much God has forgiven us and the great price for which He paid for our sins – Jesus’ death – we cannot help but respond with humility, true repentance, and gratitude. And when we have received the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God for our billions of dollars worth of sin debt – we cannot help but respond with mercy, grace, and forgiveness toward those who sin against us (Matthew 18:21-35 – the Parable of the Wicked Servant).

God Uses a Believer’s Forgiveness for His Glory!

What an incredible witness for Christ it is when believers extend mercy, grace, and forgiveness, rather than hatred and bitterness. Think about the example of the church in Charleston, SC a few months ago. What a glorious testimony to Jesus that these believers forgave the man who murdered their loved ones. That didn’t mean that what he did was okay with them at all. What he did was awful – the very epitome of evil! But what they did was supernatural. Because of their beautiful example, the gospel was proclaimed and exalted around the world on secular news stations!!??!? Are we ready to allow God to use us to shine for Him, too?

What miracles might God have in store in our lives and for His kingdom and to bring the lost to Himself if we are willing to obey Him and not hold on to bitterness?

SHARE:

Is bitterness ever attractive to others?

How have you been tempted by the enemy to cling to bitterness, hatred, resentment, or unforgiveness?

Was it worth it?

Can we possibly bless others with the Gospel and love of Christ if we are consumed by bitterness?

How has God empowered you to experience His victory over bitterness, if you have experienced His deliverance? We’d love to hear your story!

RELATED:

Christian quotes about bitterness

Bible verses about bitterness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness Stories

A Daughter’s Incredible Story of Forgiveness

Righteous Jealousy and Anger

A Fellow Wife Focuses on Overcoming Bitterness

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A Fellow Wife began this journey with me in October of 2012. I have seen God do such a mighty work in her.  And He is not done! A Fellow Wife’s husband is a loving, devoted man. He treats his wife very well.  There is no abuse or anything awful going on here. But he doesn’t always do everything that A Fellow Wife wants him to do. So, there are a few areas where a Fellow Wife struggles – and I appreciate her sharing that today. We are all going to face some areas like this. Our husbands are not going to always do everything exactly as we want them to. (Sometimes, that may be a good thing!) If we try to force them to do everything we want, or we resent them that they don’t do every single thing we want them to – we can create a lot of problems. We can ask for what we desire respectfully and politely. We can also be aware that if we have been very demanding that our husbands do certain things for us for many years in the past, it can take some time for husbands to be willing to do those things, even after we stop demanding. This can be a time for us to learn the sufficiency of Christ and to trust God to work in our husbands as we focus on our own walk with Christ and finding our contentment in what we do have.

THE TOXIC POISON OF BITTERNESS

I was really struggling with bitterness in the last few months, I’m going to admit. All I could focus on what how my husband had hurt me so much in the past and how his priorities are out of order and how he can be neglectful. It was really, REALLY dragging me down. I was feeling very sad about all of that and feeling very negative and down about our marriage and the future of it. That was NOT GOOD. While some of those things are true, they aren’t the WHOLE truth. And meditating on all of that day in and day out was dangerous.

I read Sacred Influence (by Gary Thomas) around this time and it really helped me (From Peacefulwife – I LOVE THIS BOOK, TOO!). It reminded me how very blessed I am and how I’ve been forgetting to appreciate all the “common blessings” that I have in my husband.  

I was reminded that if I focus on the negative, it will grow. If I focus on the positive, it will grow.

So, I’ve been working very hard on shifting my focus. It isn’t easy. I’m not necessarily a pessimistic person but I’m not naturally optimistic. I’ve always said that I’m realistic.

I’ve been working very hard – DAILY – on focusing on all the wonderful blessings I have in my husband and in our marriage. My words for 2015 are APPRECIATE and ACCEPT:

  • Appreciate what I have in my husband – many, many blessings
  • Accept that some things are what they are and give them to God.

When I can do that, the weight shifts from me to Him.

I do not want to be bitter. Bitterness was threatening to pull me under. Enough that it scared me into being intentional about focusing on the positive. I’m sure there will be days I don’t do well at focusing on the positive but I plan to be very intentional and do my best to think and meditate on of all the great things I have in my husband and marriage.

I was a bit confused about the bitterness I was hung up on. I was thinking that you had to just tear bitterness out – and you do – BUT you have to replace it with something- or at least I did. I had to replace all the old bitter thoughts with new thoughts about how blessed I am to have him as my husband and all of the wonderful things about him.

I noticed the other day that I was telling a girlfriend how sweet my husband was to me over the weekend when I was exhausted and stretched thin with work and house cleaning and told me to take a nap and cleaned the kitchen for me. (Yes I said he cleaned the kitchen for me! NOT something he’s always done!) And I noticed how happy I felt about ‘us’ in talking about the good.

Our words and thoughts are so powerful. That’s hard to always remember.

I feel like I’ll never get all of this at one time. I’ll still be working on this in 10 years. I think I’m one of the slow learners! LOL!

But I’m thankful that I’ve been able to start working on focusing on the positive. It makes me feel so much happier. Please pray I can keep my focus centered on all the blessings I have in my husband and give all the rest of my concerns over to the Lord.

SELF CARE

I’ve also been giving some thought to making myself happy which is turning out to be very enjoyable. Instead of thinking about my marriage every waking minute, I also think about things for me… what would I enjoy today? Trying to do things to make myself happy instead of expecting my husband to make me happy… sometimes this means I read or treat myself to my favorite hot chocolate or enjoy talking to a girlfriend or go out with my daughter for some girl time.

I think it’s very easy to miss that you need to make yourself happy and put time and effort into self care. Women/wives/moms tend to be slave-drivers of themselves. I know that I am – if I’m not careful.  We can work ourselves into the ground, from the time our feet hit the floor until we crash at night. That isn’t good. That’s a recipe for unhappiness! Planning some things to make your day more joyful and enjoyable is really important. It really does a lot for your mood!

A VERSE UPON WHICH TO FOCUS:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

A big part of self care is that we MUST have time in God’s Word and in prayer. We must feast on His Word and abide in His presence, praise Him, thank Him, worship Him, fully trust Him, hold nothing back from Him, and learn about His sovereignty and His character. We also must seek to try to get the rest, exercise, nourishment, and down time we need. We are responsible for our own emotions and for our spiritual growth.

Bitterness is one of our greatest temptation, in my view, as wives. I was trapped by bitterness for many years. It is such a toxic poison to our souls, to our walk with Christ, and to our marriages, and all of our relationships. If you know a woman who has carried bitterness for many decades, you know that the whole atmosphere and emotional temperature of any house immediately becomes chilly as soon as she gets there. Others cringe when she walks in the door and wish they could be anywhere but where she is. She is able to create misery in the lives of all she touches.

Bitterness is a form of idolatry that consumes us. It starts as a small root and then grows into an evil tree that completely consumes our entire identity, our lives, and all of our energy. It steals our joy in Christ. It destroys every relationship we have. It is contagious and spreads to others around us. Bitterness destroys many more marriages than adultery or pornography do. In Jesus, we don’t have the option to not forgive and to be bitter. We can’t forgive in our own power, but with the power of God’s Spirit flooding our soul, we can forgive anything. (Forgiveness is different from trust. We are commanded to forgive. We are not commanded to trust those who are untrustworthy. We are commanded to trust God. But until a person is willing to rebuild trust, we do not have to trust someone who has proven to be untrustworthy.)


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 6:14-15

It took me about 2.5 YEARS to begin to feel like I had any idea what I was doing with respect and biblical submission. It took another year after that for Greg to feel safe with me and for most of his walls to come down.

I am STILL growing and learning every day. I can’t wait to see all that I can absorb and learn and how God will grow me along this journey. We will never be done learning about Him, learning to love and trust Him, and learning to live in the power of His Spirit. How wonderful that God has provided us with everything we need in Christ to have victory over sin, to know Him, to love Him, to obey Him, and to bless and love our husbands, children, and everyone in our lives.

RELATED:

Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! – by A Fellow Wife

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Bitterness Is Contagious and Toxic

Finding God’s Victory over Bitterness

Why Your Husband May Not Immediately Do What You Want Him to Do

I Just Want Him to Spend More Time with me

An Incredible Story of Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness Stories

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Finding Contentment in Christ

Things that Fuel a Spirit of Discontentment in Me

Triggers for Sinful Thoughts

How Do You Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?

The Excellent Wife – by Martha Peace has a fantastic chapter with a big long chart of many different bitter thoughts wives think and then kind thoughts with which to replace them. I love that chapter! The whole book is great. But, I do have a few concerns about the last chapter about confronting our husbands about their sin – to me, there seems to always be one sentence in her examples that strike me as possibly disrespectful to some husbands. But this is an amazing and very helpful book in helping us to grow in Christ and to become more godly wives and women.

Sacred Influence – by Gary Thomas has some of the most beautiful examples of wives influencing their husbands in godly ways even when the husbands are in sin. I love the chapter on dealing with angry husbands. That is an area where I am weak here on my blog – so it may be a good supplement for those who face angry husbands at times. I highly recommend this book to wives who want to become a godly wife and godly, beautiful, powerful, good influence and blessing to her husband.

The Respect Dare, Day 39 – God's Perspective on Forgiveness

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I vividly remember last December seeing the coverage on the news about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  Our daughter was in kindergarten at the time, and over and over I could just so easily picture a young man walking into her school and shooting at the children and walking into her classroom and shooting her and her friends.

I thought, “I know that God calls on me to forgive even if someone were to kill my child.  Wow.  How I hope that I will never be tested to that degree!  What could be worse than someone killing my child and having to forgive that person?  Unless, maybe, they tortured my child first.”

Then God immediately spoke to me, “That is exactly what I have forgiven you for, April.”

WHAT?  What was that, Lord?

“Your sin put My Son on the cross.  My Son died at your hands.  And He didn’t just die – He was tortured and died a slow, cruel, agonizing death.  Not only that, He carried all of your sin on His sinless shoulders and paid for every one of them.  And I forgave you.”

That left me speechless.

I haven’t had to forgive an offense that was this serious yet.  One day, I may need to.  I know that my Lord – the Author of forgiveness – can empower me to forgive anything.  I trust that He will enable me to do so.

When I think about forgiveness, it helps when I look at it from Jesus’ perspective on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!”  It helps me to keep in mind:

  • They don’t know what they are doing.  If they did, they wouldn’t do it!

It is much easier for me to forgive if I realize that the person who offended me doesn’t realize what they are doing and how much it hurts me.  And Joseph’s incredible example of forgiveness in the Old Testament – when he forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery is also very helpful:

  • What  you meant for evil, God meant for good.

JUNE MARIE’S STORY

When I married my husband he was the associate pastor of the church we attended. Long story short over the next year and a half it was one thing after another. Our pastor passed away (he was practically my husbands dad), we had a child at a very inopportune time, we stayed broke, my husband couldn’t keep a steady job. Last year around this time he changed into a totally different person, someone I didn’t know anymore, someone I almost hated.

Little did I know that for some time he had fallen into a prescription drug addiction and was drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs behind my back. He drained all our money and we couldn’t pay the bills or buy diapers for our infant (thank God I was nursing him), and I had severe bleeding for 6 months after the birth if our child but couldn’t go to my dr cause my husband drank my paychecks away.

He had been verbally abusive and was on the verge of physical abuse when I found your blogs and started really seeking God out desperately. I almost left my husband, but I decided to trust God and decided that I would try the respect thing and try to build my husband up even though he had hurt me so bad and betrayed me.

It took about 5 months before I could really trust again when my husband started regularly attending church again. One night at revival I had gone to the altar to pray, and was caught up in a vision with Jesus. He told me specifically that if I did not trust my husband and forgive him that it would be the exact same thing as me bold face telling Jesus himself that I don’t trust Him and did not trust that he had done a work in my husband.

So I trusted God and 3 months after that, today we have the best relationship we have ever had, we attend church and hold leadership positions in the church, we talk about The Lord and have open communication with each other. God did a miraculous work in our lives, and he could only do it when I surrendered myself fully to Him and stop nagging and controlling and trying to be the Holy Spirit to my husband and let God speak!!!! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story ! :)

“ESPRESSO’S” STORY:

I am a sexual abuse survivor & I often times struggle with submitting to the needs of my husband at his request without feeling like its a chore. I keep praying that The Lord will do a work on my heart and mind to move past the memory & feeling that has been etched in my mind.  I have grown to know what true Biblical forgiveness really is and have been able to forgive my uncle for what he did even though he was found not guilty here on earth and denies what he did from when I was 4-14.

God is good ALL of the time and he will always provide us with strength to climb those mountains and walk thru those valleys. Keep reading your Bible, going to services, fellow shipping with sisters in Christ, and praying that he will continue to guide you thru the days and weeks ahead that you may be of witness to someone in need.

THE RESPECT DARE, DAY 39:

– Are you holding bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness in your heart and cherishing it against anyone?  Even against God?

– How does unforgiveness hurt you and your relationships with people?

– How does unforgiveness hurt your relationship with God?

– Take a huge leap of faith and ask God to help you forgive anyone you have been holding bitterness or a grudge against.

– What are the blessings of forgiveness?

The Respect Dare, Day 39 – God’s Perspective on Forgiveness

805261_60983495

I vividly remember last December seeing the coverage on the news about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  Our daughter was in kindergarten at the time, and over and over I could just so easily picture a young man walking into her school and shooting at the children and walking into her classroom and shooting her and her friends.

I thought, “I know that God calls on me to forgive even if someone were to kill my child.  Wow.  How I hope that I will never be tested to that degree!  What could be worse than someone killing my child and having to forgive that person?  Unless, maybe, they tortured my child first.”

Then God immediately spoke to me, “That is exactly what I have forgiven you for, April.”

WHAT?  What was that, Lord?

“Your sin put My Son on the cross.  My Son died at your hands.  And He didn’t just die – He was tortured and died a slow, cruel, agonizing death.  Not only that, He carried all of your sin on His sinless shoulders and paid for every one of them.  And I forgave you.”

That left me speechless.

I haven’t had to forgive an offense that was this serious yet.  One day, I may need to.  I know that my Lord – the Author of forgiveness – can empower me to forgive anything.  I trust that He will enable me to do so.

When I think about forgiveness, it helps when I look at it from Jesus’ perspective on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!”  It helps me to keep in mind:

  • They don’t know what they are doing.  If they did, they wouldn’t do it!

It is much easier for me to forgive if I realize that the person who offended me doesn’t realize what they are doing and how much it hurts me.  And Joseph’s incredible example of forgiveness in the Old Testament – when he forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery is also very helpful:

  • What  you meant for evil, God meant for good.

JUNE MARIE’S STORY

When I married my husband he was the associate pastor of the church we attended. Long story short over the next year and a half it was one thing after another. Our pastor passed away (he was practically my husbands dad), we had a child at a very inopportune time, we stayed broke, my husband couldn’t keep a steady job. Last year around this time he changed into a totally different person, someone I didn’t know anymore, someone I almost hated.

Little did I know that for some time he had fallen into a prescription drug addiction and was drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs behind my back. He drained all our money and we couldn’t pay the bills or buy diapers for our infant (thank God I was nursing him), and I had severe bleeding for 6 months after the birth if our child but couldn’t go to my dr cause my husband drank my paychecks away.

He had been verbally abusive and was on the verge of physical abuse when I found your blogs and started really seeking God out desperately. I almost left my husband, but I decided to trust God and decided that I would try the respect thing and try to build my husband up even though he had hurt me so bad and betrayed me.

It took about 5 months before I could really trust again when my husband started regularly attending church again. One night at revival I had gone to the altar to pray, and was caught up in a vision with Jesus. He told me specifically that if I did not trust my husband and forgive him that it would be the exact same thing as me bold face telling Jesus himself that I don’t trust Him and did not trust that he had done a work in my husband.

So I trusted God and 3 months after that, today we have the best relationship we have ever had, we attend church and hold leadership positions in the church, we talk about The Lord and have open communication with each other. God did a miraculous work in our lives, and he could only do it when I surrendered myself fully to Him and stop nagging and controlling and trying to be the Holy Spirit to my husband and let God speak!!!! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story ! :)

“ESPRESSO’S” STORY:

I am a sexual abuse survivor & I often times struggle with submitting to the needs of my husband at his request without feeling like its a chore. I keep praying that The Lord will do a work on my heart and mind to move past the memory & feeling that has been etched in my mind.  I have grown to know what true Biblical forgiveness really is and have been able to forgive my uncle for what he did even though he was found not guilty here on earth and denies what he did from when I was 4-14.

God is good ALL of the time and he will always provide us with strength to climb those mountains and walk thru those valleys. Keep reading your Bible, going to services, fellow shipping with sisters in Christ, and praying that he will continue to guide you thru the days and weeks ahead that you may be of witness to someone in need.

THE RESPECT DARE, DAY 39:

– Are you holding bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness in your heart and cherishing it against anyone?  Even against God?

– How does unforgiveness hurt you and your relationships with people?

– How does unforgiveness hurt your relationship with God?

– Take a huge leap of faith and ask God to help you forgive anyone you have been holding bitterness or a grudge against.

– What are the blessings of forgiveness?

The Respect Dare, Day 34 – Can His Heart Safely Trust Me?

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Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

I love the Proverbs 31 passage about the virtuous wife.  One of the most stirring parts of this chapter, in my mind is:

11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12  She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Let’s apply Ephesians 4:31-32 to my marriage.   I am going to put my husband’s name in this verse – but you can please use your husband’s name. 🙂

I think it is important to focus on scripture that shows us how to live as disciples of Christ and apply it to our marriages just as much, if not more so, than to other relationships in our lives.

  • Get rid of all bitterness against Greg – Am I holding bitterness against him at all?  Even the tiniest bit?  Jesus says that I must forgive men their sins against me so that God will forgive me of my sins against Him.  I am such a huge sinner, that I seriously owe Jesus “billions of dollars of sin debt.”  So, I cannot afford not to forgive my husband of $5 or $100 or even $50,000 of debt to me.  The smallest little smidgeon of bitterness can grow like a toxic cancer and consume me.  It can become my biggest priority, an idol, the driving force in my life – if I allow it to stay in my heart.  I have done that in the past.  I have cherished bitterness and nourished it – fed and watered it and encouraged it to grow, never realizing that it would destroy me and every relationship in my life and my fellowship with God.  If there are things I have not forgiven my husband for – it is time to write it all down and ask God to empower me to forgive.  I may have to start by saying, “I am not sure how to forgive, Lord.  I want to forgive.  I want to obey You.  I need Your forgiveness.  Please show me how to forgive my husband for X, Y and Z.”  or “Help me want to want to forgive, Lord!”
  • Get rid of all rage against Greg –  Here is the KJV dictionary’s definition of “rage”

RAGE, n. Heb. to grind or gnash the teeth.

1. Violent anger accompanied with furious words, gestures or agitation; anger excited to fury. Passion sometimes rises to rage.

I am going to have to NOT use physical violence against my husband if I am to honor God and be the godly wife God desires me to be.   That means – no throwing things, no hitting my husband or seeking to physically wound my husband.  But I also let go of the desire to hurt him in any way.  I want to seek his welfare, not his destruction.

  • Get rid of all anger against Greg – Anger – and really all emotions – are  gifts from God.  Anger is meant to tell us when our boundaries are being violated or we are being sinned against or God is being sinned against.   There is such a thing as righteous anger at sin and at ungodliness and at seeing people being oppressed or mistreated.   Unfortunately, in our sinful, fallen state, we allow anger to consume us and we fall to the temptation to respond sinfully in our anger.

“In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27

That does not necessarily mean that we have to talk to the point of reconciliation of the issue before bed.  Sometimes our husbands need time to think and need to “sleep on” things.  My husband often needs time to process things for a few days, sometimes weeks before he is ready to talk about them.  But we can release our anger and commit to working through the argument, misunderstanding with God’s power and wisdom before we go to bed.  We can say, “I know I don’t agree with you.  I want to understand your point much better.  I want you to have the time you need to think.  I am on your team.   I want to be sure we are ok before I try to sleep.”

Now, I seek to look at Greg as my friend and companion, not my enemy.  I trust that we are in this together, even if we don’t agree on something.  The relationship, the marriage, our covenant before God is MUCH more important than any particular decision or issue to me now.

  • Get rid of all brawling against Greg –  What does it mean to “brawl”?  The KJV dictionary says:

BRAWL, v.i. L. proelior.

1. To quarrel noisily and indecently.

2. To speak loud and indecently.

So, God desires me to speak to Greg with civility, politely, calmly, without raising my voice to yell/cuss/scream and act like I am on Jerry Springer’s tv show.  If you have ever seen Jerry Springer’s show – the way the people act on that show is exactly how we as godly wives are NOT to EVER act.  If you have not seen it – please do not watch it!  You will have to disinfect your brain afterwards if you do!

  • Get rid of all slander against Greg – The definition of “slander” in the KJV bible dictionary:

1. A false tale or report maliciously uttered. and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing min to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of lining; defamation. Slander, that worst of poisons, ever finds an easy entrance to ignoble minds.

2 Disgrace; reproach; disreputation; ill name.

SLA’NDER, v.t. To defame; to injure by maliciously uttering a false report respecting one; to tarnish or impair the reputation of one by false tales, maliciously told or propagated.

So, it is God’s will for me NOT use my tongue, my words, or my social media accounts to attempt to verbally emasculate, berate and discredit my husband.  I have MUCH power as a wife to affect the public perception of my husband in our circle of influence.  I can either build him up and make him look better by talking about his strengths and the things I admire – or I can utterly crush and destroy him with my words – whether they are true or lies.

It is glorifying to God for me to respect Greg in public, to extended family, on Facebook – everywhere!  God desires me to honor Greg.

  • Get rid of every form of malice in my heart against Greg –   What is “malice?”  Here is google’s definition:

Noun

1. The intention or desire to do evil; ill will

2. Wrongful intention

So I must get rid of any desire to do wrong, to hurt or to destroy my husband.

INSTEAD:

I must be kind to Greg, compassionate to him, forgiving him just as in Christ God forgave me.

This is God’s will for me.

We often ask, “How do I know God’s will for me in my marriage?”

HERE IT IS!  A big part of it, at least.

Lord,

Give us Your power to see with Your holy and blazing light into the darkest corners of our souls.  Let us allow You to remove the rot and decay and cancer.  Let us repent of every sin.  Show us all the layers of pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, unforgiveness, malice, slander, gossip, all of it… and cleanse us with the blood of Jesus.  Make us spotless.  Let our hearts be white as snow.  Let us truly be a safe place for our husbands to share their hearts and share their souls.  Let us be on our husbands’ team.  Let us do good and not harm or evil to them every day of our lives.  Empower us by Your Spirit to live as godly wives, shining brightly for Christ in our families, our marriages, our churches, our neighborhoods, our jobs and everywhere we go – for Your greatest glory alone!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RESPECT DARE 34:

“Be a safe place for your man to fall.  When the entire world seems like it is out to get them, (he’ll) come running home to you!”   – Nina Roesner

  • When your husband shares his vulnerability with you – do you offer unsolicited advice, criticism, judgment, condemnation or are  you able to listen supportively?
  • If you are feeling brave, ask your husband if he feels safe sharing his emotions with you.  (I have some posts about how VERY differently men process emotions at the bottom of this post! Please check them out!)
  • What can you do to be a safe place for your husband to share his deepest thoughts, feelings and struggles?

Nina Roesner’s Dare today is difficult, possibly painful but SO WORTH IT!

Write down the things your husband does that upset you on the left side of a sheet of paper.  Then write down your responses to those things he does that you don’t like on the right side.

Do that and then come back….

Cut or tear his column away and destroy it.  Realize you have no control or responsibility over his behaviors.

Now, look at your side of the list and pray for God to show you what He wants you to change.

RELATED POSTS:

Bitterness (4 parts)

Forgiveness

Your Words Can Cause Catastrophic Damage

Why Our Rapid-Fire Method of Talking Doesn’t Work with Our Men

Men Share about How They Process Emotions

A Husband Talks about Emotions

Another Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions

The Respect Dare, Day 22 – Refining My Motives about Housework

Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity.   http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html
Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity. http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for The Lord rather than for men, knowing that from The Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.    Colossians 3:23-24
 

REMEMBER

When Greg and I first met, I was just 15 – and not old enough to date yet.  So, Greg used to come over to my house every Saturday.  I would clean the entire house every Saturday morning before he came over.  And I made supper for him and my family (My parents, my twin sister, our brother and my grandmother).  I was excited to learn domestic skills and to show him that I could make delicious food.  I wanted him to see that I could keep house well and that life with me would be wonderful.

I can recall how I could NOT WAIT to get to be Greg’s wife.  I looked forward to ALL of it.

  • I wanted to make a beautiful home for him.
  • I wanted to be the one who got to wash and iron his clothes.
  • I wanted to be the one who got to cook for him.
  • I wanted to do the dishes for him.

I wanted to serve him and imagined that it would be the most amazing thing EVER to get to share my life with him, share my home with him, share my body with him, and care for him and our home.

Can you still remember those thoughts? 🙂

WHAT HAPPENED?

All those things are novel for awhile.  But then, the dailiness of life and the stress of reality and pressure of jobs, responsibilities, financial setbacks, disagreements, unmet expectations, lack of sleep, illness, injuries, etc… can quench the joy we once had in serving our men.

I guess this is why that saying is so popular “familiarity breeds contempt.”

Eventually, we  often lose our joy in doing chores and housework for our husbands – and we begin to want them to do “their fair share.”  Especially if we are working outside the home, too.  That is understandable that if both husband and wife are working full time, the wife may need some help around the house.  Still, working women tend to feel the weight of the responsibility for the housework no matter how much we work outside the home.  That can be pretty overwhelming.  Especially when there are also children in the family.

WHAT ABOUT MARRIAGE BEING 50/50?

One of my favorite Bible teachers, Rev. Harold Weaver, at our church – said that in his 45 years or so of counseling married couples – one of the most destructive things he has seen in marriage is when a couple tries to measure everything and split it exactly 50/50.   The problem is that each person has his/her own skewed scale of measuring contributions.   The husband counts going to work as 1000 points towards the marriage each day.  The wife counts him going to work as 20 points.  The wife counts every chore she does as 100 points, but the husband only counts all the chores together as 50 points.

We do not judge fairly!  That is probably why God instructs us not to judge others.  We can sound like bickering children saying, “I took out the trash 3 times last month, you owe me!”  And “I changed 13 poopy diapers last week and you only changed 1.”  But we ignore what the other person does many times that we don’t do.  I am a very unequitable judge of what exactly is 50/50 – it turns out!

Do you see what we are doing?  We are turning marriage into a competition of “who has it worse.”  Rev. Weaver said this attitude is extremely destructive.  It destroys unity in the marriage.  It destroys the concept of being a team.  It creates huge resentment – which is toxic to relationships.  It is “every man for himself.”  When marriage is a competition – we both lose, our children lose, we malign the gospel and we grieve the heart of God. 🙁

A BETTER WAY

When I stop keeping score by my own biased standard and stop judging and condemning my husband, and begin to seek only to serve and honor Jesus Christ in my life and marriage – that is the way to peace, joy, unity and the vibrant, beautiful intimacy I so long for with Jesus and also probably with my husband.

It is not about giving 50/50 in the marriage. That does not work.  It is a sure recipe for failure.

It is all about me giving 100% of myself to Jesus all the time and desiring to honor, please and obey Him in my marriage.

Ideally, my husband would do the same thing.  That is REALLY BEAUTIFUL.  But you know what?  Even if he doesn’t change at all, or do “his part”  that is ok.  This is ultimately about my relationship with Jesus Christ, not about my husband.  I trust God to work in my husband, and I seek only for God to change ME!

(Obviously if there are severe issues in the marriage, there can be times a wife may have to separate from her husband if there is physical abuse, unrepentant infidelity, uncontrolled mental disorders, substance abuse, etc.  And there may have to be a rebuilding of trust and healthy boundaries erected until trust is re-established. Those issues go way beyond the scope of my blog – but they are not beyond the arm of God or the power of His Word.  Please seek godly, experienced help if you are in such a situation!)

Marriage will not be a group grade!

If you have seen “American Idol” on tv – remember the group competitions?  The people had to learn to work together and sing together and have unity – but they were judged individually no matter what the other people did in the group.

It will be a similar thing when God judges us.  If I have Jesus as my Savior and live for Him as LORD of my life – I will not be condemned because His blood washes away my sins.  But God will judge the quality of the work I have done in my life and grade it and reward me accordingly in front of all of heaven.

What I do in my marriage and how I treat my husband and others in my life is between God and me.  He counts everything I think, do and say to others as if I do it to Him. (Matthew 25:31-46)

My husband is responsible to God for his life, his obedience, his sin, his behavior, his attitudes and his motives.  He will also be held accountable for leading the family and for the decisions that were made in the family.  God will judge him individually when he stands before Him in heaven.  What he does or does not do is between him and God.

God uses my marriage and my husband to refine, mature, prune and teach me.  He uses my marriage to train me in godliness.  And He is watching how I respond.  It is all a heavenly test.  God is paying close attention.

  • My actions toward my husband matter to Him
  • My words toward my husband matter to God
  • My attitudes and body language towards my husband matter to God
  • My hidden motives about why I am doing and saying what I do and say matter to God and are laid bare before Him every moment.

GODLY MOTIVES

The two main things God wants us to do on this earth are:

1. love God with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls and with all our strength

2. love others with the love of God

These are the motives that honor God.  Doing things because I love God and want to please/honor Him and because I love others and want what is best for them in God’s sight.

GODLY MOTIVES AND CHORES????

Over time, many wives begin to resent housework.  It is easy to fume about our husband creating more work for us and to think really hateful thoughts while we angrily do his dishes, wash his clothes, iron his clothes, clean up his mess in the bathroom, vacuum and scrub his muddy foot prints… etc.

I know I resented chores and childcare many times.  Resentment is particularly easy when we are exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed, sick, hormonal, in pain, etc.

Thankfully, blessing, peace and even JOY can be ours when we do our chores and work for God’s praise and when we do it to bless others and don’t expect appreciation, help, validation or reward from others.  If we get it, that is awesome!  But if we don’t – we can be unshaken because we are serving our Audience of One.

DAY 22 DARE:

Nina Roesner challenges us in The Respect Dare today to evaluate our deepest motives and our expectations.   She encourages us to pray that God might help us to desire a deeper connection with Him and to seek His praise instead of desiring human praise and approval – yes, even about doing the dishes, the laundry, getting up with the baby, changing diapers, cleaning bathrooms and all of those “menial” tasks that need to be done.

My goal is to find contentment in Jesus Christ alone!

PS –

IF YOU ARE WAY TOO OVERWHELMED

I would to encourage you  to say something to your husband like, “Honey, I want to be the best wife, mom and homemaker I can be.  I want to have energy to give to you and our children.  I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed about trying to do all of the housework, my job and having time with the children and energy to give to you at night.  I don’t want to give you the worst part of the, just the leftovers.  What do you see that I could take off my plate?  Or do you have suggestions how we could do things differently so that I am less stressed?”

He may need time, that is ok!  If he does give suggestions, listen and thank him for his wisdom.  Don’t defend yourself or criticize.  See if his ideas might be what God desires you to do and pray about it, seeking God’s will.

By the way – as your husband feels increasingly respected and trusted by you – over time – he will probably start to care a lot more about your feelings.  That is not to be the motive for respecting him – but sometimes it is a result.

Sometimes we do need to ask for help.  But we need to be ok if our husband says yes or no.  We can’t force them to help us.  But we can ask in a more appealing way!  IF our motives are right.

Asking your husband for things so he WANTS to say “yes” – Youtube video

“My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary” – from the Archives

This is an email I received from a sweet wife that I think really showcases a classic misunderstanding between husbands and wives.   So, with her permission, I’m going to share her email and then think about some possible respectful and husband-honoring, Christ-honoring ways to tackle this issue.  I’m REALLY thankful that she brought up this topic.  It’s actually the 2nd wife in one week who has had this dilemma who has emailed me.  I hope the ladies might pay close attention to the little red flags in her email.  See if  you notice the areas where she ventured into disrespect (and also into some other possible pitfalls – like judgment, condemnation, pride) before you read what I wrote.   My perspective is certainly not the only respectful way to handle things – but it may give wives a starting place to begin praying and thinking about how God might want them to change.
Little bit of background: my husband has kinda forgotten about special days in the past.  He usually doesn’t plan my birthday gifts and holiday gifts very well. If he does, it is usually last minute.  I have gotten very upset about this in the past and hurt because my birthdays and our anniversaries are dates that I want to feel loved and special (like most girls) but like most guys, he doesn’t put much thought or planning into these days.  He has an hour commute to and from work and I’ve suggested in the past that he takes at least 1 minute of his commute time to think or plan for us, but he hasn’t taken my suggestion.  
 
So present day problem:
Today is our 3 year anniversary.  The past few days I have been worried he hasn’t thought much about it.  This morning, I woke up and tell myself to not be too upset if he has forgot.  I don’t want to set him up and pretend I forgot too, so I lean over and say “Happy anniversary” then I ask him if he remembered (probably this is where I first went wrong???) Or maybe I shouldn’t have said happy anniversary at all (this is where I’m getting stuck)
 
He said, “Yes,” he forgot but he told me that he told a customer yesterday about our anniversary so he really didn’t completely forget.    I said, “It’s ok” and got up to start getting ready.  (He could tell I was upset even though I was trying to hide it – maybe I went wrong there too and should not have tried to hide my feelings but I did not want to put him down and make him feel like a failure).  He asked, “What’s wrong?”  I said I was ok. Then he asked why I got up out of bed like that and I said, “Sorry I got up like that, but I needed to get ready.”  
 
He then started saying that is was first thing in the morning and of course he’s not thinking about that when he’s half asleep.  Then the argument broke out
(I heard him as making excuses and started to defend my point)!!!!
 
He brought up how hard he works and how burnt out he is. I said,  “I wanted to feel special” by having him make plans for us and I always worry he will forget since he has in past.  Things got blown up and I started crying.  I tried to tell him I was hurt and didn’t intend for things to go down like that but it took him a few minutes to stop being angry before he could comfort me.  We apologized and are ok now but I have no clue how to handle this when it happens again.  Which it will – he is human and it is kinda his nature.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Whew.
This situation got really out of hand – and it didn’t have to.  This precious wife did what most wives would do – but it’s not working for anyone!
Let’s talk about where she went right and where she may have been able to prevent this entire argument and tense situation that might well ruin the entire day.
I have a hunch that something very similar has happened at least once or twice in almost every marriage.
THE RIGHT THINGS – IN MY VIEW:
  • I’m proud of her for telling herself not to be too upset if her husband forgot their anniversary.  Good job!  Especially since she knows he isn’t really strong with remembering dates.
  • I’m so glad she woke up and smiled and said, “Happy Anniversary!”
  • I’m glad she apologized – even though she was feeling unloved and hurt.
  • I’m glad she is trying to accept that he is human and wants to be prepared to extend grace.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:
WHAT IS THE GOAL?
It’s FINE to plan something for him and do something for him to make him feel special and cared for and loved if you want to.  Be sure to do something he would like.  And be flexible enough to be gracious if he doesn’t get as excited about what you did for him as you would if he did something for you.
But, if you expect your anniversary (or birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas) to be about him planning a party/a romantic evening/a surprise  for YOU to make YOU feel loved and special – then you are setting yourself up for  huge disappointment – ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T TELL HIM WHAT YOU DESIRE.
  • Your husband is probably a horrible mind reader.
  • Your husband thinks like a man.  He is not a woman.  Remembering dates and anticipating what you want without any input from you – may be unrealistic – some men seriously have trouble remembering things like that.
  • You can’t control your husband.
  • You can’t make him do things.
  • You can ask for things pleasantly and politely and tell him what you would like.
  • You can appreciate what he does for you.
  • You can do things for him.

One of my readers told me, “Expectations are pre-meditated resentment.”   (For more on healthy boundaries and what you actually can control vs. what you can’t control, click here.)

IDOLS

I think we have to be very conscious of the temptation to have idols – something we set our hearts on more than Christ.
If I am thinking
  • “I HAVE TO HAVE X TO BE HAPPY.”
  • “If my husband doesn’t do what I want – I will be devastated.”
  • “If he doesn’t do Y, I will not be ok.”

These are  huge red flags to me that I am probably holding something as an idol, or, at the very best, that I am setting myself up for major disappointment.  It’s time to do a heart check and make sure I am looking only to Christ for my fulfillment and contentment – not to my husband.

The human heart is an idol factory.  All of us must constantly ask God to check our motives, and make sure we don’t allow anything to creep in there and take God’s precious place in our hearts.
SOME HEALTHY WAYS TO HANDLE THE ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
1. It’s FINE to say, “Happy Anniversary!” smile,  give him a kiss and maybe even initiate physical intimacy if there is time that morning and he is interested.
2. It would have been fine earlier in the week to say, “I would LOVE to go to X restaurant for our anniversary this week!”  With a big smile on your face.  But then leave him with him and allow HIM to decide what he wants to do – or he may ask you about making reservations.  That’s ok, too.
3. If he forgets  – you can say something that night like, “You know what?  I really just want to enjoy being with you tonight for our anniversary.  I’m SO glad I get to be your wife!  You are the biggest gift from God to me.”  And enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches at home, or take out or going to a restaurant if he wants to. (Of course, if you had smiled at him brightly and said, “Happy Anniversary, Honey!” that morning, it would make it really hard for him to forget. :))

If you can extend GRACE to him – you can probably salvage all the things that matter most!  You can still have a great time together.

He will be so relieved that you aren’t making him feel like a failure for forgetting something he really didn’t mean to forget.  And then you can make wonderful memories!
FRIDAY NIGHTS FOR US
I enjoy my husband on Friday nights when the children are at their grandparents’ house.  Sometimes my husband takes me out to a nice restaurant.  I love that.  And sometimes we have take out.  I love that, too.  And sometimes we have leftover chicken bog from the night before, or two nights before.  (I know…  you are asking yourself, “What on earth is chicken bog?”  Well – it is a South Carolina thing with chicken and rice.  It’s my husband’s favorite so I try to make it 2-3 times per month).  The point is:
I savor THE RELATIONSHIP more than where we go or what we are doing now.  I am joyful and content to be with him – no matter what we do.
I personally would like to see wives not get quite so caught up about their husbands making the plans.  If your husband isn’t a big planner – it might be a gift to him if you do the planning – as long as you ask him and he’s ok with that.
HOW TO CELEBRATE AND ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
If you had just said, “Happy Anniversary!” and hugged and kissed him and smiled at him with that adoring look in your eye… you would have given him time to think of something to do for you while he was at work during the day.  He could have salvaged the situation.  He could have delighted you and been your hero.
That is exactly what the other wife who wrote to me this week did – and her husband realized he forgot and he felt AWFUL!!!  She didn’t have to say anything or ask if he remembered or not.  He really tried hard to make it up to her.  Give him the opportunity to be your hero!!!
THAT EXTRA LITTLE QUESTION DID A LOT OF DAMAGE
To wake up and say, “Happy Anniversary!”  is awesome – but  then to ask, “Did you remember?” – was a problem – he may have even felt disrespected.  Now he can’t win.  He may even feel ambushed. If he did remember – she assumed the worst about him and he’s not going to be praised – and if he did forget – he can’t honorably extract himself from this situation.
When I disrespect my husband – it is unreasonable to expect him to comfort me.  First, I must apologize for my disrespect – even if it was totally unintentional.
Let’s assume the best, not the worst, about our men!  I think there is something about that in I Corinthians 13:4-8!
A HEALTHY FOCUS
In my mind, an anniversary is not an occasion to spend days worrying about if he’ll remember.  It’s a time to be thankful he is in my life.  Whether he wakes up remembering the date or not is WAY secondary to the fact that HE IS HERE.  HE LOVES ME.  HE IS MARRIED TO ME.  He belongs to me and I belong to him.  What an incredible blessing and gift!
RELATED POST

Why Are Many of Us So Unprepared to Be Godly Wives? – Part 1

firstwifepain

Here are comments from two Christian men that I believe deserve our time,  attention and some prayerful consideration.  Then I have some observations about why I believe Christian women are  often so unprepared for biblical marriage and some warning signs that there may be trouble ahead before a woman enters marriage that I will be sharing tomorrow. 

 Let me warn the ladies – this may be quite painful to read.  Men are sinners, too.  I am not addressing that issue or addressing men in this post.  I teach women.  And it is time for us to allow God to shine His light on our condition of extreme spiritual poverty as Christian women in our culture.  I pray that we might be broken before Jesus and see our own sinfulness and cry out to Him for healing.

FROM ANONYMOUS: (A Christian single man, he begins with a quote from one of my posts earlier in the week on www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com)

“But we are contaminating our minds and our relationships when we indulge in this selfish, sinful, disrespectful (to God and to our men), resentful, bitter behavior. We are poisoning our hearts against our guys when we criticize and ridicule them to others. If things are truly that awful with him – please do some serious praying about whether this is a man to consider for marriage. If you can’t respect him now – you are going to have a MUCH harder time after you get married! YOU MUST BE ABLE TO RESPECT YOUR GUY AS IS RIGHT NOW! You can’t change him! You’ve got to appreciate the masterpiece that he is or move on to someone else who is more in tune with Christ.”

Most Christian women don’t break up with men because they “are not in tune with Christ.”
They deliberately date men who aren’t!

They are influenced by society and break up because they want and believe they “deserve” more ______! They believe that God wants to give them everything they could possibly hope for or imagine, and discard anyone who fails to meet their own culturally-derived definition of perfect. If anything, they themselves are not in tune with Christ, and they use their religious, self-centered, self-righteous mindset to rationalize and justify why they should have more _______!

They use God to rationalize why they deserve a man who is rich, tall, dark, and handsome (whether or not he is godly).
They also rationalize and use God as their excuse, not their real reasons why they are allowed to break up with godly men (because he isn’t rich, tall, dark, handsome.)

They abuse scripture and disrespect both God and Christian men!
They conveniently forget, minimize, justify, and excuse themselves of all their own sin
They are not honest with God or men, or even with themselves.
They are deceived.

I should also add that while they talk A LOT about the value of godliness, it is usually not anywhere near their highest priority. Once they obtain a boyfriend/husband who is some version of rich, tall, dark, handsome, popular, and high-status, they might also use God as their excuse to break up with him if they decide (according to their own personal standards) that he is not “holy enough” for them. So they have no problem violating scripture to obtain the man they want (they probably knew whether or not he was “holy” before), but then they turn around and use scriptures as an excuse that he isn’t “good enough” or “holy enough” for them now.

Ironically, it doesn’t seem to matter if he is holy, but rather if she thinks he is “holy”, or if she is somehow holy enough herself to forgive him. If he demonstrates that he is human and makes mistakes, she is likely to break-up with him on-the-spot, because she is more concerned about herself than him. She sees him as the perpetrator of sin, rather than the victim of it. She is quick to look at the sin, not the sinner that still wants to love both God and her. She feels justified to reduce his entire being and the full-array of his character down to a single weak moment or turn a minor or temporary struggle into the permanent all-encompassing label of “bad” or “unholy,” as if a single snapshot in a single moment (of her choice) defines all of who he is as a person. Without realizing it, she acts as if its okay for her to be human, but its not okay for him. She expects him to be as perfect as Jesus, and is determined to hold him accountable to that impossibility!

Sadly, some men actually are holy, rich, tall, dark, handsome, popular, high-status, outgoing, spontaneous, easy-going, entertaining, charming, charismatic, ambitious, passionate, romantic, responsible, etc., etc., etc., and they still have difficulty finding godly women who want to be godly wives according to scripture.  

Women’s motives and actions are often selfish and self-righteous. They are only concerned with getting what they want, without any concern for who the man really is or how they might be hurting him.

If they get hurt in the process of dating a given man, then it is blamed, labeled, and filed-away as all his fault (not also their own willful sins and decisions).

Ultimately, women expect a man to be respected by everyone else (according to cultural standards) before they are willing to respect him (according to their own rationalized version of biblical standards), but they still holds onto their “right” to withhold respect at their will and at anytime they choose, for any reasons they choose. They just use God, scripture, and “holiness” as their excuse.

From Peacefulwife – I believe that his observations here are correct in many cases (not all!  Praise God!) and I believe that this is one of the most devastating problems in Christian romantic relationships and marriage today – the loss of respect by women for their men – and the loss of the understanding that the husband is the God-given spiritual authority in marriage.  The concept of unconditional respect for men, for husbands and for all God-given authority was destroyed in the 1960s and 70s.  Women today have almost no idea what respect is to a man, how to give it and what disrespect is, what it does to a man and how to avoid it.  Our mainstream culture is extremely disrespectful towards men and husbands and authorities.  So we think that disrespect is just normal.  Plus, we think so highly of our own spirituality as women, many times, that we think ourselves “more qualified” to lead spiritually because we read our Bibles more, can quote more verses and want to talk about the things of God more.  This is unscriptural!  God gave the husband the position of God-given authority in marriage (I Corinthians 11:3) and no wife can take that away from her husband.  He can’t give it away.  He IS the God-appointed head of the marriage and family.  And he is accountable to God for his leadership.  We are accountable to God for cooperating with the God-given leadership of our husbands – unless they ask us to sin or violate God’s Word.

I’m not sure how much you agree with any of these thoughts.

Obviously, I shouldn’t say ALL women are like this.
I’ve just personally encountered more of them than I wish!

Thanks again for taking the time to consider my thoughts!
I appreciate it!

AN ADDITIONAL QUOTE FROM ANONYMOUS THE NEXT DAY:

While I can’t comment on marriage, I will agree that I’ve heard several, several young Christian women use versions of the phrase “There are faithful single women out there that love God and want to live a life that is pleasing to Him.” Sometimes they say to me, “Don’t worry! There are plenty of good girls out there!” They usually think they are one of them, and don’t realize that I’ve already discerned them not to be.

It’s almost like saying, “If everyone were as great as me and my friends, then you have nothing to worry about,” which just make me cringe even more.

I’ve seen enough of my godly male friends ditched, cheated on, and divorced by their “good” Christian wives to realize that young Christian men now can’t just marry the women who (as David J put it) “attend (church) eagerly” or “absolutely revel” in worship. Sometimes the woman who looks so spiritual worshiping with her hands in the air on Sunday can be a nightmare to be around every other day of the week.

Many times, the women who think they are “right,” “good,” “godly,” “holy,” or somehow more “qualified” to date “good” men, are just as bad as those “other,” “less qualified” girls who they label and discredit as “bad” and “wrong.” They just don’t know it yet, because they’re too busy going to bible studies and volunteering for church activities.

Here are a few verses that illustrate what we all (men and women) have to be aware of before, during, and after we date and marry:
2 Timothy 3:5-7 (AMP)
5For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]. [ ] 6[For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses. ] [ ] 7[[These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth. ]

FROM DAVID:

M and Anonymous: God bless M for her desire to have a good marriage in spite of the lack of positive examples in her own family. I’m glad that the young women she knows do not seem to match up with Anonymous’s experience, but I have to tell you that I’m skeptical whether M’s friends are being honest with her or themselves. Since I’m an old(er) guy who was married for 29+ years, my personal experience is more with the married women of friends and at church rather than with younger single women. But of the population of Christian women with which I’m familiar, I have to say that the overwhelming majority fall on the wrong side of what Anonymous (and April) have described of what is typical. My own ex-wife would be one of the most obvious and egregious examples, but even setting her aside, I have very few friends who have wives who treat them with the kind of respect that April is (thankfully) urging on her readers. Like, count on one hand among all current acquaintances and maybe two hands of all acquaintances ever. That’s bad.

My suspicion is that marriage uniquely challenges a woman in ways that reveal more of who she really is than any pre-marriage environment does, with the result that both the woman herself and her husband are surprised when the disrespectful wife shows up. This means that Christian guys have to be unusually discerning in their dating, and that’s very hard to do. How are they going to spot non-obvious signs of rebellion and disrespect that even godly young women like M haven’t seen in each other?

Here’s where I will use my ex-wife as an example. I met her at a very conservative Christian college, which she was attending eagerly, not reluctantly. She was a Church Ministries major who thought she’d probably marry a pastor and would have been happy to do so. She absolutely reveled in the spiritual emphasis on campus — dorm room prayer meetings, hall prayer meetings, society prayer meetings, evangelistic outreaches, etc. She became a leader in all of these areas. Her father was a devout (albeit extreme fundamentalist) Christian. Her grandmother, who paid for her freshman year at the college, was a devout (albeit cold) Christian. Her mother was a promiscuous, oft-married alcoholic, but she wanted to be the opposite. Her faculty adviser was a very godly, gracious Bible professor who thought the world of her. And so on.

Looking back, with the benefit of experience in general and specific experience with her, I can identify signs that existed when we were dating and engaged (a total of almost 4 years). And my parents had some reservations that they gently (perhaps too gently) raised at the time. But the general consensus was that we were the perfect couple and that we would do great things for God. Only later did I start to see the selfishness, self-absorption, self-rightousness, pride, inability to admit being wrong, judgmentalism, and the over-arching FEARFULNESS that would soon be turned against me when it became clear that I wasn’t anywhere near perfect and when life (including especially finances) didn’t go as planned. [M, I’ve described my situation in more detail elsewhere, but the short version is that my wife ultimately divorced me without a biblical basis, contrary to pastoral and counselor advice, blowing up our lives and the lives of our 4 kids, ages 21-14 at the time; she then proceeded to meet (online), date, and marry a twice-divorced man within 13 months of the divorce, and has now moved 400 miles away to live with him, taking our 18-year old daughter with her and leaving our 16-year old son behind.)

I also believe, as April has noted from time to time, that somehow there is a difference in the two genders’ ability to spot their own tendency toward marital sin. For some reason, wives don’t seem to be able to have the light go on — either at all or as quickly — as husbands do. Give most of us a book or a seminar or a counselor and we’ll generally see our faults pretty quickly, and we’ll generally acknowledge them, apologize for them, and try to do better. (This is a generalization; I’m well aware that some men are obtuse idiots who never get it.) Not so with wives, in my experience. I wouldn’t ask you to put much stock in my experience alone, but I understand from April that hers is the same, with a much broader sample size.

So, between the fact that marriage is a unique crucible and the (admittedly generalized) fact that women don’t seem to be as self-aware as men, Christian young men have a much harder task than just finding “faithful single women out there that love God and want to live a life that is pleasing to Him.” That’s what I thought I had found, and it wasn’t enough. Then throw in the tilted playing field that is divorce in this country — churches (and individual Christians) that don’t want to get involved or “take sides” and a legal system that allows (even financially rewards) unilateral unbiblical divorces — and the long-term prospects for Christian young men can be very sobering, if not outright frightening. I am going to have to have some extended sessions with my own adult sons if/when they ever get serious about looking for a wife.

Be Still, My Bitter Heart

Today’s post is a guest post by my dear sister in Christ, Selena, at www.joyfullysubmitted.com.  Thank you, Selena, for allowing me to share this post!  I pray that it will bless and edify many for the glory of God.

For the past week, some friends and I have been experiencing what it feels like to have our hearts turned inside out and upside down.  The Lord has used the isolated experience of one as an amazing tool to cleanse the hearts of us all, of some known, but mostly unknown and unrepented of bitterness and ghastly unforgiveness!  We have had the sinful contents of our bitter hearts, ever so gently shaken loose, so that we could choose to either acknowledge the presence of sin and repent of it, or continue to ignore its contents and go on growing more and more removed from God.  For some of us, the existence of bitterness was no shock! We had a moderate awareness on some level of its existence.  But for others, this revelation broke our hearts, and brought agony to our souls as these evils were revealed under the all illuminating light of God’s Word…

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For most of the week, I have remained silent…reading the emails that have gone back and forth as one thing after another was revealed or exposed…as one realization after another pierced the hearts of those of us impacted.  What God revealed to one, He revealed to another, and with each revelation of the depth of the darkness still lurking in our hearts, we prayed all the more…and with each prayer came another level of confession and repentance… and the more we confessed and repented, the more healing took place.

UNEARTHING BITTERNESS

The biggest hurt/most humbling thing for me was realizing that I had NOT forgiven as I thought I had.  Or rather, that I had not forgiven at all.  And that bitterness is just the tip of a very evil, ugly iceberg!  The root of bitterness is unforgiveness…and the root of unforgiveness is and has ALWAYS  BEEN PRIIIIIDE!!!!!! (That was me yelling at myself) Foolish pride. Evil pride. Ugly pride. God offending pride.  And after all of the years that I have known the Lord, it is still found in me… in my heart.  Some may ask why is this such a big deal, after all, we’re only human right. Wrong! We are women of faith! And not just a faith but THE faith. We have placed our faith in the One True and Living God and in His Son Jesus the Christ! We have been changed … trans-formed! (This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Cor.5:17)  Because we are His we no longer desire the things of this world!!! We no longer want to be like the world!!! And we no longer are ok with the world being in us!!! We want it out!! Out of our hearts!!! Out of our minds!!! Out of our families!!! When speaking of people of the same Faith that we profess, the Book of Hebrews said the following;

“How much more do I need to say? … They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” Hebrews 11:32-40

This experience…this full recognition of the evil pride that repeatedly spawns bitterness in the hearts of Gods people everywhere, including in my own heart, has worked to revive the fight in me.  Hebrews has reminded me of the spiritual stock that we all come from…of the cloth that we’re cut from.  We are ‘more than conquerors’ (Romans 8:37), and that means that we can, by the power of the life-giving Spirit that now abides in us, conquer even bitterness…pride… envy…jealousy…and all of their ugly relatives!!!!

The healing that began in the hearts of our small prayer group is just the beginning!!! We are able to overcome bitterness, and through our testimonies, help others to overcome and experience healing too!!! God’s mercy has empowered us to not “just pretend to love others. [but to] Really love them. [to really]Hate what is wrong. [to truly]Hold tightly to what is good. [to] Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other… [to] Bless those who persecute [us]. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think [we] know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead,“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:9-21)

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BITTERNESS YIELDS POISONED FRUIT

You see, pride says that I deserve better…in my case, that I deserved to be treated better than they treated me, 20 years ago as well as off and on throughout the years. Unforgiveness sets in because I want God to punish them and to do it quickly and visibly, where I can see that they got ‘in trouble’ for wronging wonderful me!! Bitterness sets in over time when the punishment never seems to come, and the wrong never seems to be made right.

Over time these evil emotions begin to feel normal, and comfortable, and we begin to feel justified, and pride begins to grow and gain strength.  And eventually, our refusal to forgive becomes justifiable, and bitterness becomes our friend. We don’t even realize that we are now living in a prison of our own making, and while pride has convinced us that we are right, its true evil is camouflaged…hidden from our view, and the absolute distortion of the image of Christ being perfected in us is now all that is visible. Bitterness makes us unattractive…it manipulates us, our responses or reactions.  Where we should be acting in the love of God and displaying His mercy, when bitterness takes our hearts captive, we become the puppets of the enemy of our souls.  And the name of our God is defamed….

“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

CHRIST WON’T LEAVE US IN OUR SIN

I am going to wrap this up with one more thing that I was reminded of this week; Ephesians 5 tells us that Christ not only loved the church, but that he

“gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” 

This past week my beautiful prayer sisters and I experienced that ‘washing of water by the word’, and it was painfully glorious!!! Bitterness no longer reigns in the most holy place of our hearts! We now know what it looks like and smells like and sounds like…and how it feels!!! And we know most of all that it is an overwhelming offense to the presence of our merciful, forgiving and gracious God.  More than ANYTHING we want to honor Him!!!! More than ANYTHING we want our lives to bring Him glory!!! More than ANYTHING we want to hear Him say ‘Well done!’!!!!! We are choosing daily to forgive. we are choosing daily to love. We are FIGHTING MINUTE BY MINUTE to remain humble.  And by the power of His life-giving Spirit we will be VICTORIOUS!!! Won’t you join us??? Forgive today…resist the self-imposed prison of bitterness that the enemy is trying to sneak into your hearts under the guise of justifiable anger or wisdom…choose today to love with Gods love, and let it heal our hearts together….

Are We Deceived about How to Find God's Will?

This is a comment I received from a husband on a post I did about Finding God’s Will.  I think he is onto something really important.  And he graciously allowed me to share his comments with you.

Reading your post turned a lightbulb on for me. I think I now actually have a much better understanding of a key element of my wife’s long-term disrespect for me. Here’s what I think I’ve realized:

Knowing the will of God and/or how to know the will of God was actually a big reason for my wife’s pervasive disrespect in my marriage.

We had both been raised to believe that in every decision, and especially in every “big” decision (college, career, spouse, church, house, etc.), there was one and only one choice that was God’s will. All other choices would put you permanently in “Plan B” (and the next time you missed the will of God, you’d be in Plan C, and so forth).

It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I figured out, thanks to Dr. Garry Friesen’s book “Decision Making and the Will of God,” that this “specific will” view of decision making was not biblical. Instead, as you’ve described above,

God’s concern is that we seek to glorify Him and, with that motive, that we make the wisest decision we can, taking into account whatever the Bible says about the subject, all the facts we can learn, wise counsel, etc. Then — the best news — He will take care of us. We’re free to fail, in the sense of making a bad (i.e., unwise) decision, because God in His sovereignty and love will “work together for good” even those things.

And we’re free to change course when things don’t work out as expected (for example, bailing out of a start-up business that doesn’t catch on or even a career choice that isn’t working) without berating ourselves for “missing God’s will” in the matter. All of this assumes that the range of choices we’re considering are all within the moral will of God set out clearly in the Bible.

Unfortunately, my wife never understood this alternative (and more biblical) approach to decision-making. As a result, for the remaining 28 years of our marriage, she had to worry that because I was using the “wrong” approach to decision-making I was likely missing God’s will for myself and for her (and the kids) on a regular basis.

Under this reasoning, virtually every major decision — and certainly every decision where we didn’t agree — became a significant spiritual event in which I was leading the family astray. And, by definition, if I was missing God’s will in the matter, we were going to suffer the adverse consequences (Plan B, Plan C, etc.) and there was nothing God could do about it. His sovereignty and His love for us were handcuffed by my failure to discern His specific will. AND, because every decision was fraught with spiritual significance, she had a quasi-biblical basis for resisting my leadership. After all, even the strongest advocates of submission and respect acknowledge that the wife doesn’t have to allow herself to be led into sin.

I wonder if any of your readers are facing a similar thought process that has wives deceived into disrespecting their husbands while believing that they are actually abiding by their duty not to submit to sin?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE (my response)

I LOVE your lightbulb moment.

YES.

Many wives subscribe to the ideas that you are talking about. I used to think like that, too. I thought that if it was God’s will, for instance, for me to be a missionary to Africa/a stay-at-home-mom/a homeschooler or whatever – that if I submitted to my husband, and my husband wasn’t tuned in to God – I would completely miss God’s will for me and it would be all my husband’s fault. How selfish of me, I wasn’t even thinking in terms of God’s calling on my husband! Just me. Sadly.

So I was terrified to submit to my sinful husband at first because I thought God was too small to direct my husband.  And I thought my husband’s faith was too weak for him to really follow God.  I thought I was responsible for causing God’s will to happen and for knowing what God’s will was.  I thought I could discern God’s will much better than my husband could.  Never mind that God didn’t give me the position of spiritual authority and responsibility in the marriage.  I knew I was better for the job and I was totally justified in taking over because my husband OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t/couldn’t lead.

I didn’t think my husband could hear God.  And you know something?  He was having a hard time hearing God’s voice.  The reason?  ME.  My voice was SO loud and obnoxious – my voice drowned out God’s voice for my husband.  I caused us to miss God’s will.  Not my husband. (And yet – God has used even MY sin and mistakes and rebellion for His glory now!  HOW AWESOME HE IS!)

That was my biggest struggle at the beginning of this journey – is God really big enough to lead me through my sinful husband?

I started out knowing that my answer SHOULD be “yes.”  The God I knew should be big enough.  But I didn’t feel like He was big enough.  I couldn’t see how big He was and how small I was. The more I understood about God and how HUGE He is and the more I understood about how wretched and spiritually poverty stricken and sick I was – the more I realized how ludicrous my fears were.

The scary thing is NOT for me to trust God to lead me through my husband. The scary thing is for me to trust MYSELF to take charge and try to be in control of God and my husband.

I grossly misplaced my fear. I trusted myself and doubted God. That was so backwards.  I am nothing and I know nothing beside the God of the universe.  My pride was astronomical.
Yes, I thought if I trusted my husband, he wouldn’t lead and we would sit in spiritual stagnation for the rest of our lives.  I was constantly trying to run ahead of my husband and trying to drag him towards God.  My husband wouldn’t let me do it.  I’m SO THANKFUL NOW!  I hated to wait.  I was extremely impatient.  I got ideas in my head and ran with them at 100 mph, assuming my ideas were of God.  They weren’t.

I didn’t understand that God was big enough to lead me through my husband. Turns out He IS PLENTY BIG ENOUGH. And, it turns out, that when I stopped all my disrespect and was quiet about things of God (like I Peter 3:1-2 commanded me to do if I really thought my husband was being disobedient to the Word) – my husband did begin to hear God’s voice and to lead.  He hadn’t had a lot of experience, due to my taking over for 15 years.  But he grew stronger and stronger in his faith and as a leader when I stepped out of the way and supported him.  Now I know that my Lord is SO sovereign that He will change my husband’s heart and mind to conform to His will whether my husband is close to Him or not.  Now I also know that God’s sovereignty is big enough to break my pride and humble me and open my blind eyes.  I PRAISE AND THANK HIM FOR THAT EVERY DAY!

Now I know that when I trust God to lead me through my husband and I am obeying HIm, walking in faith and full of His Spirit, He will cause miracles to happen and He will take me to a much better place than I could ever have taken myself. Now I also know that if I fight my husband’s decisions, I am likely fighting God. So I don’t fight anymore. I share what I want and desire with my husband and God, and then I trust them to lead me. Even if it looks “wrong” to me. Even if I don’t like the direction. That is ok.

I know that God has infinitely more wisdom than I do now.  So I trust Him. And I know that I CAN’T LOSE.

  • If my husband sins – my God is big enough to use that for His glory.
  • If my husband makes “mistakes” – my God is big enough to use that for His glory, too.  And God will use it to discipline us, train us and prepare us for things we can’t begin to imagine.  Even bankruptcy.  Even financial struggles.  Even big mistakes with family relationships or drama.  There is NOTHING beyond the reach of God!!!  Nothing is too difficult for Him.  Nothing paralyzes Him.  Nothing will stump Him and make Him scratch His head and decide that no good can come from that situation.
  • If my husband follows God, God is glorified and we are filled with joy.

I have no fear anymore because God is working all things for my good and for His glory – and I know that I don’t know how to get there, only He does.

I also know that God can take the things that caused me the deepest pain and my own years of sin and rebellion and turn them inot something that brings glory to Him and draws others to Christ.

The keys that I was missing were God’s sovereignty, power and wisdom and my weakness, foolishness and smallness .

Something else stood out to me that you mentioned.  You talked about your wife not wanting to follow you into sin.  Wives – a husband leading us in the direction he believes is God’s will towards a certain job, a certain house, a certain church, specific decisions IS NOT SIN.  If our husbands think differently from us or have a different idea of what God’s will is – THAT IS NOT SIN!  We are to give them our perspective, share our feelings, and cooperate with their decisions – trusting God’s sovereignty.

Your husband leading you into sin is something like:

  • He wants you to cheat on the taxes.
  • He wants you to steal.
  • He wants you to ignore his pornography addiction or worse, he wants you to participate with him or have a threesome or go to a strip club.
  • He wants you to gossip.
  • He wants you to lie.
  • He wants you to commit idolatry with him.
  • He wants you to do something illegal.
  • He wants you to kill someone or have an abortion.
  • He wants you to not forgive someone.
  • He wants you to not pray or study your Bible.
  • He wants you to go against God’s Word in a significant way (not just some minor little interpretational difference).

THEN – we need to respectfully but firmly resist our husbands.

But most of the time – they are NOT asking us to sin!  Most of the time, they are TRYING to lead us, but we won’t follow.  If your husband asks you to do one of the following, tell him your feelings and then please cooperate with him joyfully with your trust in God:

  • tithe or not tithe according to his definition (not tithing is not a sin – not from what I can tell in scripture.  But trying to force a man to give under compulsion is wrong according to the Bible.  He has to be free to make this decision – with your input – but then he makes the call.
  • take another job
  • go to a church of his preference (unless it is a cult)
  • not go to church on Wednesday nights because he wants the young children in bed on time (that is not sin!  Please respect his priorities.  Tell him what you want and then allow him to make the final call if you disagree)
  • move to another town
  • start a new business
  • have you home with the family more
  • start stricter discipline with the children
  • follow a tighter budget

The vast majority of decisions will fall into this category – he will have to determine what he believes God’s will is on things that have no clear direction in the Bible.  So he needs the freedom to be able to decide according what he believes God is calling him to do.

We label so many things our husbands do as SIN – and often, we are WRONG.  We easily make ourselves judges of our husbands.  We are in serious sin when we do this.  Not only is our judging them sinful – but then we rebel against our husband’s authority or try to usurp our husbands’ authority and THAT is also sin on our own heads.  It’s time for believing wives to repent and become the godly wives God desires us to be who will bring healing to our marriages and great glory to Christ and His gospel!

Thank you to this precious husband for sharing. I completely agree that the mindset you are describing contributes to great disrespect among wives for their husbands. I appreciate your wisdom and insights very much!