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22 Ways to Destroy Intimacy and Trust in Your Marriage

There are many things we can do, sinful things, that will hurt our husbands and erode the intimacy we all long for in our marriages. This is not a complete list, but it may be a blessing to just ponder these things prayerfully.

1. Insult your husband out loud or even just in your own heart.
2. View him as your enemy. See him as evil and yourself as good.
3. Ignore all of his positive qualities.
4. Habitually assume the absolute worst about him.
5. Throw around nuclear words like “divorce” and “separation” just because you are unhappy, to hurt him, or to try to force him to do what you want him to do. (Without biblical justification.)
6. Encourage your kids not to respect your husband as their father.
7. Assume your negative emotions are infallible.
8. Use words to tear him down.
9. Treat him like a child.
10. Don’t appreciate the things he does for you and your family.
11. Cherish bitterness in your heart against him.
12. Flirt with other men.
13. Use sex as a weapon to hurt him.
14. Threaten violence or attempt to physically injure him.
15. Bond with girlfriends by having husband-bashing sessions.
16. Be too busy to have time for your man.
17. Give up using good manners.
18. Be emotionally unsafe.
19. Compare him unfavorably to other men.
20. Be contentious and argumentative.
21. Complain and be negative.
22. Assume you are always right and he must be wrong if he has a different perspective.

Some of these things are blatant and some are more subtle, but they are all harmful – for either a husband or a wife .

The virtuous wife has a different approach to her husband:

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Prov. 31:12

 
 
Lord,
Open our eyes to any things we may be doing that are destructive. Help us to repent to You and to receive Your healing and the power of Your Spirit to pour Your
LIFE, goodness, blessing, and kindness into our marriages. Help us to rebuild trust on our end and to build up our marriages and our husbands and not tear them down.
Amen!
Much love!
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If God has shown you some general things to stop doing that were destructive in your marriage, you are welcome to share in order to be a blessing to others. I would simply ask that you seek to honor the Lord and your husband in what you share.
RELATED

He Would Like to Have Input, Too

Photo by Christelle BOURGEOIS on Unsplash

 

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

Prov. 14:1

Let’s imagine a fictional scenario together for a moment:

Maybe my kids and I have had a lot of head congestion in recent months. Lots of runny noses. Difficulty sleeping, coughing, etc… And maybe I decide that we must be allergic to dust. So I decide I want the wall-to-wall carpet completely torn out of the house and I want everything replaced with hardwoods. I truly believe that this is a critical health issue. Yes, it will cost a lot, and yes, my husband is working on a different expensive project right now, but it seems like it should be top priority to me. After all, it is our health, we are talking about. What could be more important than that?

I have been researching a lot. One night, as soon as my husband comes home from work, I say, “Honey, I think the kids and I are allergic to dust. That must be the reason why we are all sick so much. But I know exactly what will help! We just need to get rid of all of the carpet in the house by next week. Wall-to-wall carpet is the worst for people with dust allergies. I have picked out some hardwood floors for us, and I already got a quote from Lowe’s. Obviously, we will want to get the fossilized bamboo 5.5 inch solid hardwood for the downstairs. And Yukon gold hickory solid hardwoods for the upstairs. It will be $6,000 installed. They can come next Thursday. We’ll have to move the furniture ourselves into storage for a few days. That will be $300 plus the cost of a U-Haul. Or we could do a storage container in the driveway, whichever you prefer. And we’ll have to stay in a hotel for 3-4 nights. But I found a great hotel that would only be about $150 per night. You’re good with all that, right?”

Then, if my husband hesitates, wants to ask some questions, wants to put down his briefcase, wants to eat supper first, has other solutions, or other priorities, I get upset. “What? You obviously don’t care about our health or love your family at all if you aren’t on board with my plan right now!”

This was basically my approach earlier in our marriage. (It’s exaggerated slightly here, but not much!)

Yikes.

It is very tempting to look at a problem, do all of the research and thinking through things myself, and then suddenly present the entire issue and my solution all at once to my husband. I may think I am really helping him out so he doesn’t have to do any thinking or any research.

That actually doesn’t feel like “help” to him, turns out!

In fact, a husband may feel a bit “ambushed” by this approach.

Here are a few things I know now that husbands tend to appreciate:

  • He may like to have some time to think through an important issue himself, too. I may have been thinking about it all day, but he hasn’t.
  • He may have other ways of looking at things that shed a lot of light on the issue.
  • He may have wisdom to share that I need to hear.
  • He wants to have a voice, too.
  • He wants to have a chance to research things and share his concerns and ideas.
  • He wants to feel like we are a team.
  • He doesn’t want to be painted into a corner where he has to agree with my solution or he is the bad guy.
    • If you don’t agree to this right now, you don’t care about your family.
    • If you don’t agree to this right now, you don’t love us.
    • If you ask questions, you aren’t concerned about our health.
  • He may desire a chance to humbly, lovingly lead.

These days, instead of springing a crisis and solution on my husband all at once, I am much more likely to approach him (after supper) like this:

  • I’ve been thinking about X problem. I’m concerned it may be affecting our health. What are your thoughts?
  • Then, for my particular husband, I give him time to think about things. He may need days or weeks to mull over something. And, in a situation like this, that is okay. It is not an emergency. (Now, if the toilet is overflowing, that is an emergency. It needs to be dealt with right away. Thankfully, though, many things are not emergencies.)
  • I’ve been considering Y for a solution. What do you think about that?
  • Here is what concerns me…
  • What approach do you think would be best?

My husband may bring some new ideas to the table:

  • I think I want to try changing the air filters to start with. Let’s see if that helps.
  • What things lead you to believe it is allergies, not frequent colds and viruses making everyone sick?
  • Have you tried any allergy medicine for any of you? Does that help at all?
  • If the allergy medicine helps, maybe we can get some allergy testing done to see what the allergies actually are.
  • I noticed some black looking mold on the ceiling in the kids’ bathroom. I’m going to clean it and paint over it with Kilz.

Most husbands would like to try the least expensive, easiest remedies first. If a $10 treatment works, why spend $6000?

A husband is not being unloving by responding this way. A husband who wants some time to process things, ask questions, and do some research does care about his family and their health. He is trying to lead in a godly way and be a good steward of the limited financial resources the family has. He doesn’t want to jump to a wrong conclusion. He wants to be sure the root issue is really being addressed.

There are a lot of things that could potentially be going on here. It’s wise to slow down and examine things thoroughly. Yes, we may need hard floors, but let’s be sure that is truly what will help before we make a hasty decision.

Of course, it is totally fine for me to also have respectful questions, requests, input, and suggestions. That is part of how we make decisions together as a team. If we can’t come to an agreement in the end (and he is not asking me to clearly sin), then I can choose to honor my husband’s leadership and pray and invite God to work in the situation and give him wisdom.

Husbands tend to appreciate having some time and space to think, make suggestions, ask questions, propose possible solutions, and look at things from a variety of angles. They tend to like to be involved in the problem-solving – especially if they feel respected and valued.

What a blessing to be able to respectfully share my concerns with my husband but also to let him be part of figuring out the solution. God put us together because we can help to balance each other out with our different perspectives and approaches.

It’s also important to remember that so many times, the issue and eventual decision aren’t nearly as important in God’s eyes as how we treat each other along the way is.

Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33

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We’d love to hear about ways God has shown you how to approach your husband respectfully about important decisions.

Husbands, any suggestions?

<3

(Note – If you need one-on-one counseling for a difficult situation, please check out Focus on the Family’s counseling service or Biblical Counseling. Thanks!)

My Commenting Policy

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What Is Respect in Marriage?

Signs My Husband Feels Disrespected and Unloved

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life

RELATED BOOK

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – there are several chapters on disrespect, respect, and how to honor our husband’s leadership in ways that honor the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement for Those Who Are "in the Trenches"

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1. SPIRITUAL HEALING TAKES TIME

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

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

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

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

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

2. FOCUS ON TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. GOD WILL USE THIS TRIAL ON A GRAND SCALE

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

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

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

What a joy!

 

 

When "Submit" Feels Like a Dirty Word – by Shannon Popkin

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Bio

Shannon Popkin is a speaker and writer from Grand Rapids, MI. Shannon enjoys blending her love for humor and storytelling with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon’s first book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From 7 Women in The Bible will be published by Kregel Publications in 2016/2017. Check out Shannon’s blog at www.ShannonPopkin.com, where she shares “Tiny Paragraphs” from everyday life as a wife and mom, which are tucked back into the One True Story of God.

shannonpopkin

By: Shannon Popkin

God doesn’t use swear words; I know this full well. But if I’m honest, the word “submit”—which God uses often when He instructs wives—sometimes feels like a dirty word.

Picture this. You’re at the mall, and you see a husband and wife who are obviously having an argument. Their body language is terse and their tone is sharp. The wife looks frustrated and angry, as she folds her arms across her chest and turns her back toward her husband. Should you, at that moment, approach this wife and suggest she submit to her husband?

I know I wouldn’t. But this is exactly what God does in his Word. When I am the angry, terse wife, crossing my arms—convinced that my husband just doesn’t understand, God whispers softly, “submit.” But often, as that word clanks against my iron will, I bristle. It feels degrading and insulting. I’m to submit, simply because I’m a woman? How can that be right?

God’s Curse Word

There’s another word which God did speak as a curse over women: the word “desire”. After Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God told her, “Your desire will be for your husband.” (Gen. 3:15, emphasis mine.) This word always baffled me because I thought it meant a sexual desire. I figured if I had more of that kind of desire, my husband would not consider it a curse.

Then one day, I was painting my laundry room and listening to John Piper preach a sermon on the curse of Genesis 3. He used parallel language from the next chapter in Genesis to explain that this word “desire” was a desire for control[i]. God was telling the woman that she would be cursed with a desire to control her husband. Now that did make sense to me.

With paintbrush in hand, I realized that I, too, as a daughter of Eve, am cursed with the desire to control my husband. For me, this was like finally—after a lifetime of suffering its effects—being diagnosed with a degenerative disease that had been passed on to me from generations back. Suddenly all of my symptoms made sense. I always wondered why I was so testy, obstinate, and even surly toward this man I love so desperately. Now I understood. As a daughter of Eve, I am infected with a desire to control him.

That day that I was painting the laundry room was over a decade ago. I’d love to say that understanding my “condition” has healed my desire for control, but this is not the case. As long as I live under the curse, I will struggle with a desire to get my hooks into the people I love. I have, however, gotten better at recognizing my desire for control.

 

Recognizing my Desire for Control

Recently, my husband and I were driving to our daughter’s swim meet. In the back seat was our angry tween, who was wishing he could be at a birthday party with his friends. This privilege had been revoked because of his attitude (which wasn’t improving).

I’ve noticed that my desire for control seeps beyond the bounds of marriage and into all of my relationships—especially parenting. And especially when my child is being rebellious and rude. As we drove down the highway, I felt the desire for control rising up in me. “His insolence is going to destroy his life,” I said to myself. “I’ve got to stop him. I’ve got to do something right now!”

And so I did. My swelling desire for control erupted in the form of white-hot, spewing words. My voice was loud and commanding. My words had manipulative undercurrents and harsh overstatements. I lectured. I shamed. I warned. I demanded. I gave full vent to my desire for control.

And how did my son respond? He recoiled. He folded his arms in anger and said he didn’t care. There was stubbornness, not remorse, in his tone.

Just as I began to launch round two of my lecture, my husband cut in. “Shannon, stop.”

Stop? I couldn’t stop. I shouldn’t stop! I ignored him and kept going.

“Shannon, stop.” Quietly, but forcefully, my husband put his hand on mine. “Stop. It. You’re making it worse,” he said quietly.

“No, I’m not! He needs to hear this!” I said in a loud whisper. But my husband wouldn’t back down. He calmly assured me that he would handle it. For the rest of the drive, he wanted me to be quiet. Then when we arrived, he wanted me to get out of the car and let him deal with the situation. Alone. Without me.

Well that pretty much felt like a total loss of control, especially for a Control Girl like me. My arguments were burning a hole in my heart. My son needed my correction. He needed it right now! From my dark corner in the passenger seat of our car, I cried out silently to God. Was He seeing this?

Just then, the word “submit” flashed through my conscience. It’s in moments like these that this word feels like a swear word to me. It seems degrading for God to ask me to defer to my husband. Especially when I know I’m right!

Yet I’ve learned that it rarely feels like I’m living out the curse in the moment I’m doing so. Taking control often seems right and good. And submitting to my husband feels quite wrong.

A Moment of Choice

Oh how I wanted to overrule my husband and continue my lecture. My heart was screaming with the desire for control. But rather than giving in to myself, I gave in to God.

I always picture yielding to God as a quiet, peaceful experience; yet it is some of the most grueling, challenging work of my Christian life. Yes, I was sitting quietly on my side of the car that night, but inside I was doing battle with my flesh! Stepping from that car and deferring to my husband was my way of passionately yielding to God—trusting that His ways are better than mine.

Fifteen minutes later, as I sat in the bleachers overlooking the pool, I saw what I couldn’t see back in the car. My husband was right. I had been making it worse. My heart had deceived me again. My words had been like a harsh, driving wind, causing my son to hold tighter to his pride and belligerence.

Just as a tear of remorse trickled down my cheek, my son slid onto the bleacher seat beside me. He put his arm around my shoulders and gave me a warm squeeze, saying, “I’m sorry, mom. I was so wrong. I see that now. Will you forgive me?”

Ladies First

Have you ever noticed that the wife’s instructions to respectfully submit to her husband come before her husband’s instructions in the Bible? Since he is named the leader, I would expect his instructions to come first, but it’s the opposite. (Eph. 5:22-25, Col. 3:18-19, I Pet. 3:1-7). Why is that?

I think it’s because my husband can’t lead me if I’m not willing to submit. Ken can shut down my lecture, yes. But he can’t make me submit to him. He can only invite me to. But when I do, God blesses me. Sometimes I even get the warm squeeze and apology that I was hoping for in the first place. And even when my husband doesn’t handle a situation with wisdom, or things don’t turn out well after I defer to him, God uses submission to reverse the curse—this wretched desire I have to control everything—in my heart.

Submitting to my husband is exactly what my controlling heart screams for me not to do. So when I submit (which is the opposite of taking control), I break the curse’s hold on me. I free myself to be healed of sin’s effects. I invite peace and restoration to my relationships. This is what God has in mind when He asks me to submit to my husband. He knows that my desire is to control, and He’s gently leading me to do the opposite.

Is “submit” a degrading curse word against women? Hardly. It’s actually the way that wives like me can break free from the curse, and be healed.

 

RELATED:

What Is Biblical Submission?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Biblical Submission – a Huge Key to Peace

Can a Wife Overdo Biblical Submission? – by Nikka

The Pendulum Effect – we are all tempted to go too far one way or the other (too passive or too controlling)

Fear Fuels Our “Need” to Control

What Causes a Woman to Become Controlling? – Peacefulwife Video

Overcoming Fear

Fully Trusting God with My Husband

Posts about Control – by Peacefulwife

Spiritual Authority – a general overview of a foundational doctrine

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

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority 

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

What Biblical Headship/Submission Look Like at Our House

 

What Headship/Biblical Submission Looks Like at Our House

 

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

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

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

Greg’s Personality –

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

Division of Labor –

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

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

Making Decisions –

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

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

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

Greg Defers to Me Often:

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

I Defer to Him Often:

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

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

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

Spiritual Issues –

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

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

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

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

Greg’s Perspective Now –

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

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

YOUR TURN

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

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

RELATED:

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

Stages of This Journey

My first stage – The Frustrating Quiet Phase

Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Don’t Often Notice

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

My Husband Won’t Lead

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

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

One Wife’s Obedience to God Radically Changed Her Marriage

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

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

 

Where are people not permitted to say what they need, how they feel, or what they think?

– those who are literally slaves or who are in concentration camps.
– those in extremely oppressive countries with totalitarian regimes.
– those who are in abusive or dysfunctional relationships/families.

Here are some hallmarks of abusive/dysfunctional personal relationships:

  • It is not okay to talk about your negative feelings. Only positive emotions are allowed.
  • I am responsible for your decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • You are responsible for my decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • It is your job to make me happy. If I am not happy, it’s your fault.
  • Conflict is unacceptable.
  • Disagreement is not allowed.
  • You may not ask me questions or confront sin in my life. I can confront you whenever I want to, of course.
  • You are not safe here emotionally.
  • Your voice is not important to me.
  • I love conditionally with strings attached. If you don’t perform, I won’t love you.
  • You better put me above everything and everyone else, including God. Pleasing me better be the most important thing in your life.
  • I will not respect any healthy boundaries you try to set with me and will be offended if you attempt to have healthy boundaries.
  • You are accountable to me for everything you do, think, and say.
  • I know what is best for you.
  • I am always right and you are always wrong if you disagree with me.
  • You should be afraid of my disapproval more than anything or anyone else.
  • There is no forgiveness here. I cherish bitterness.
  • I expect you to meet spiritual and emotional needs in my soul that really only Christ can meet. I come into this relationship as a black hole of neediness.

Some hallmarks of healthy relationships (these would be the goals as we seek to allow God’s Spirit to refine and sanctify us):

  • It is okay to talk about anything and to share all of your feelings about anything – even if they are negative.
  • We will work through conflict together. Conflict is inevitable. We won’t always agree. But we will always love each other and work through it as a team.
  • Conflict is an opportunity for growth.
  • I love you unconditionally.
  • You are safe here in every way.
  • We are kind to each other.
  • We treat each other well.
  • Love and respect are abundant here in both directions.
  • You are important to me. You are precious and very valuable.
  • Your ideas, feelings, concerns, and desires are important to me.
  • You are responsible for your own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • I am responsible for my own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • If I am not happy, it is my own responsibility to take care of my emotions and to voice what I need.
  • Healthy boundaries are respected and encouraged.
  • We each know we can respectfully confront sin in the other’s life when necessary.
  • We expect each of us to put God way above anyone else or anything else. Pleasing God is the most important thing in life.
  • We know we are all ultimately accountable to God for how we treat each other.
  • We are each free to respectfully confront each other about sin in our lives when necessary. We will work together as a team against sin and the enemy.
  • We trust that God knows what is best for each of us and we each want to seek Him individually and together.
  • We approach each other with humility.
  • There is no fear in this family – only love.
  • Grace, mercy,  forgiveness, and second chances are available here.
  • I have Christ on the throne of my heart and He meets the deepest spiritual and emotional needs of my life. I come into this relationship overflowing with spiritual abundance from Jesus.

GOD’S “MOST EXCELLENT WAY” OF LOVE – I Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

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

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

RESOURCES (please carefully evaluate any author’s words, including mine, against Scripture!):

Boundaries – by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Nina Roesner has an e-course that helps women experience healing in Christ so that they have the strength and power of the Spirit to know how best to deal with very difficult husbands, check it out! Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

How to Handle Toxic and Critical People – by Leslie Vernick free PDF download

www.leslievernick.com – She has a number of Christian books about handling difficult relationships

Control and Boundaries

 

 

Measuring Intimacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In real intimacy:

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED:

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Is My Husband Bound by My Personal Convictions?

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Expectations

Security in Christ

Why You May Want to Keep This a Secret for Awhile…

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Husbands have a God-given need for respect.

If I can’t trust the perfect and only God who completely loves me and died for me, if I can’t submit fully to Him as Lord and reverence Him, if I don’t know my infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t know my husband’s infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t understand what the concepts of respect or submission are, or what character qualities are even worthy of respect – I am in big trouble. There is no way I can genuinely honor, respect, and biblically submit to my imperfect human husband – even if he is the most amazing man on earth.

This isn’t because there is nothing to respect in my husband, but because there is so much spiritual work to do in my own life. Whether I am too controlling and disrespectful, or too passive and “overly respectful and too submissive” toward my husband… we all need God’s healing in our own souls as the first step of this journey.

  • I had a lot of work to do with God before I could begin to be capable of truly respecting and honoring my husband.

I talk a lot here about that our motives for respecting our husbands and honoring their God-given leadership must be our desires to:

  1. please God
  2. bless our husbands

BUT – If you say to your husband, “I will respect you, Honey, because God commands me to,” that would feel very hurtful to him.

As wives, we would be horrified if our husbands said, “I love you because God says I have to,” right? We want our men to think, “I GET to be married to her and to love her!” Not, “I have to be married to her and I have to love her.” Our men want to know that we genuinely respect real things about them and that we honor their leadership because we trust them – not just because we love, reverence, and submit to Christ. Of course, most of us can’t really start here  – this is the goal, but there are many steps we must take to get to the place where we can really become godly wives who know how to do all of these things and have the power to be able to do them.

I need to be able to be a whole and healed woman (or at least, beginning to heal) – before I can respect or honor my husband properly. My primary purpose is to know and love God and to bring glory to Him. One secondary purpose is that I have the ability to be a godly wife because of Christ living in me. But even then, I can’t meet the deepest needs of my husband’s heart. Our deepest needs as people are met by Christ alone. I can’t be God to my husband. What I can do is come to the marriage from a position of great strength in Christ, knowing my identity, filled with God’s Spirit – then I can bless my husband and begin to breathe God’s healing and life into the marriage because then I have the power to do the things God calls me to do. I hope this makes sense.

As one husband shared, “Husbands don’t like ‘duty sex’ or ‘duty respect and submission’ from their wives.” Can we blame them? Wouldn’t we feel the same way if our husbands said something similar regarding their love for us?

Sometimes – with our husbands – less verbal/written information from us can be better about this journey… especially at first. Honestly, most husbands would probably be appalled to know how difficult it is for us wives to learn to respect them and honor their leadership. This isn’t because of any faults in them, generally, but because of the battles and struggles we face ourselves. Unfortunately, a wounded husband may not be able to see this – and would likely take it very personally that his wife doesn’t or can’t respect him.

WHEN WE ARE FIRST LEARNING, OUR WORDS MAY MAKE THINGS WORSE

Sometimes, there are ways we could share with our husbands that would be very hurtful before we begin to speak the masculine language of respect fluently. If you say things like:

  • This blogger lady says I shouldn’t tell you how dumb I think your ideas are.
  • God doesn’t want me to take over for you, even though I really don’t think you can handle this situation. Wow! It is so hard not to just jump in and do all of this myself!
  • I’m trying to figure out what things I can respect about you, but I can barely think of anything.
  • I am going to try to start respecting you now. Man, this is going to be TOUGH!
  • I’m going to try to stop being mean to you so that you will do more things for me.
  • I’ve decided I am going to try to respect you more even though you don’t deserve my respect.
  • I don’t actually trust you, but I am trying to trust God to lead me through you. So, I am going to cooperate with you even though I really think your ideas are terrible.

… try to guess how disrespected and insulted a husband might feel and the massive chasm these kinds of words could create in a marriage.

If these things don’t make you cringe – try imagining a husband saying these same things about loving his wife. That might help put it in perspective a bit more.

DON’T TALK ABOUT IT – JUST DO IT!

Most husbands don’t want to hear about what we “are going to do” or why we are going to do it or why we don’t want to do what God commands us to do. They just want to see our transformed attitude and life as God works in us. They don’t need a verbal play-by-play of what God is teaching us.

There may be exceptions – super spiritually strong husbands who understand the complexity of this journey and who don’t get offended when wives are struggling at first to understand who may be able to help their wives process these things. Or, God may prompt a wife to share something about what she is doing if a husband is continuing on in unrepentant sin. God may give you a very respectful way to share this. That’s fine. Please listen to God’s voice much more than my suggestions!

If you have a husband who is deeply wounded from years of disrespect and control from his wife and who may even be drowning in shame himself – adding more insults does not move things forward, it just sets you back many more weeks or months in healing his soul and the marriage.

(By the way – husbands have a very similar journey to make with God to learn how to truly love their wives that causes them to have to go through just as much contortion and changes as we do on our journey. All believers go through this painful, but necessary, process of sanctification where God refines and prunes us to make us more like Christ.)

One day in the future, when the marriage is much more healthy – you will probably be able to share more about your journey with your husband. And by then, you will be better equipped to share about it in ways that don’t insult him but actually honor and delight him. Then you can celebrate – together – all the miracles that God has done in your lives and in your marriage!

Much love to each of you!

NOTE:

  • We reverence Christ first as Lord and King.
  • We respect ourselves as daughters of the King and find our identity and worth in Christ alone.
  • We respect our marriage covenant.
  • We respect our husbands because they are our husbands and we seek to find the good in them.

Sometimes, it seems that women think that if they respect their husbands, they must disrespect one or more of these other things. No, not at all! And please remember that we are to hate sin, as God does… we don’t have to respect our husband’s sin. We can respect our husbands, God, ourselves, and our marriage while we stand against things that the Bible calls sin.

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

My Husband Can’t Make Me Submit to Him or Respect Him!

The Respect Knob

To Speak or Not to Speak?

GENERAL DISCLAIMER FOR MY BLOG

If you are a wife who has severe emotional/spiritual scars, your husband is extremely controlling, you are experiencing severe issues in your marriage, or you think that “respect” means, “I have to do whatever my husband says and never say what I need, be quiet all the time, give up my personhood, smile in a fake way, and suffer,” – please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate one-on-one godly counsel. There are some wives who misunderstand what respect and biblical submission means – and my words – in very destructive ways because of the filters and severe wounds they have. Things that a healthy wife would be fine hearing and understand in a good way may crush the spirit of a wife who hears it incorrectly. That breaks my heart!

If you think that I am saying you “just need to take abuse” and you “shouldn’t get to ever share your concerns, needs, and feelings” with your husband, or “you aren’t as valuable or as important as your husband,” or “you aren’t a real person” – you are misunderstanding me greatly. These are not the messages I am trying to convey to anyone! If you think that is what I am saying, please stop reading my blog and seek resources that will better help you understand God’s Word and His design in your particular situation.

Ultimately, we must always each test anything that anyone else says (including myself) against Scripture. And we must each make our own decisions about what we believe God desires us to do. If you believe you are hearing destructive messages from me, leave a comment and let’s talk about it to be sure there is not a misunderstanding. 🙂

Do I Base My MARRIAGE on Emotions/Feelings? Part 2

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“Do I Make Decisions Based on Emotions/Feelings? Part 1”

Let’s stop and talk for a minute about the foundation of marriage.

The world builds marriage on ungodly and unscriptural things – like romantic feelings and infatuation. Sadly, we may have bought into some of the world’s lies without even realizing what we have embraced.

The world says things like:

  • Marriage should be built on Hollywood style “true love” – meaning, an intense infatuation and feelings of romantic love.
  • Romantic love is the greatest love there is.
  • The purpose of marriage is to celebrate romantic love and showcase romantic love – unless romantic love dies, and then you need to leave that marriage to find a more real romantic love.
  • Only marry someone you romantically love and once you get married, you should expect romantic love to be the most important thing every moment of every day. You deserve to live the rest of your life experiencing the intoxicating cocktail of romantic infatuation every waking moment.
  • If you don’t feel romantic love anymore (or right now) in your marriage, then you have lost what is most important in life and it is ok to treat your husband terribly, leave your children, forsake your promises, cheat on your husband or divorce him if you find a “better” romantic lover. Romance and feeling loved in the moment is more important than God, vows, marriage, family, integrity and faithfulness. Romantic love is THE most important goal in life (idolatry of romance).
  • If you marry your “soul mate,” he will never disappoint you, hurt you or upset you and he will lavish you with romantic love, affection and attention 24/7. If your husband is not doing this and not “making you feel happy” or not “making you feel loved” then you obviously chose the “wrong man” and your marriage was a “mistake.” So now, you are free to pursue another man who is willing and able to be your “soul mate” because romantic love is the ultimate goal.
  • Being unhappy, even if only for a day or two, is unacceptable. Happiness is a supreme goal in life (idolatry of happiness).
  • It is your husband’s job to make you happy if you are not happy (idolatry of your husband). He carries all of the responsibility for your happiness and you are not responsible for your emotions or your happiness whatsoever.
  • You are a perfect princess who can do no wrong and it is your husband’s job to please you and submit to your every desire (idolatry of self and being in control ourselves).
  • Your husband exists solely to satisfy your wishes. If he is not doing everything you want him to do, he is a failure as a husband and you are justified in treating him with contempt and any sin in your life is excusable.
  • Your husband is never allowed to sin against you. He must be perfect.

 

For a believer in Christ, the absolute truth of the Word of God is to be the foundation of our lives, our belief systems, our priorities, our marriages, our attitudes, our words, our actions and everything in our lives. This is a VASTLY different foundation for marriage and for life than Disney or Hollywood or our culture promotes.

 

God’s Word says things like:

  • The purpose of marriage is to bring honor and glory to God. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
  • The purpose of my life is to bring honor and glory to God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
  • Jesus is the Rock upon which I can build my life and when I build on Him and the absolute truth of His Word, my life will withstand every trial and test. (Matthew 7:24-27) He is the only one who can complete me and meet my deepest spiritual and emotional needs. No human man can do that for me.
  • Pleasing Jesus and obeying Him is the most important thing  – this is how I show I love Him. John 14:22-24.
  • I am responsible for finding contentment, joy and peace in Christ for myself. Each person is responsible for himself/herself before God. (Philippians 4:12-13)
  • God’s two primary commands to me are to:
  1. Love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength
  2. Love others with the selfless, agape love of God (Matthew 22:37-40)
  • Marriage is a holy and sacred covenant before God between a man and a wife that is binding until death. (Matthew 19:1-11)
  • God doesn’t want humans to separate the marriage union between a husband and wife. That is not His good design. (Matthew 19:1-11)
  • Marriage is based on God’s design and wisdom in Genesis 2, Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, Titus 2:3-5, Matthew 19:1-11, etc…
  • Marriage represents the unconditional, agape love of Christ for His people, the church where the husband is to love his wife the way Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her and the wife must respect her husband and honor his God-given leadership. (Ephesians 5:22-33) God’s commands to me as a wife are completely independent of my husband’s behavior (and vice versa for husbands, too). He does not say, “Wives respect your husbands and submit to them IF you feel loved or IF you agree with everything your husbands do.” God simply commands us “Wives must respect your husbands” and “Wives submit to your husbands in everything (as to the Lord).” (For more on this, please check out Spiritual Authority)
  • God wants people to be reached for the gospel of Christ. Marriage is a vehicle for believers to reach their children and many other people with the gospel of Christ as we seek to portray our roles in this living play about the relationship between Christ and His church. If we do not obey God and we dishonor our husbands, not only our marriages and children and husbands suffer, but “the Word of God is maligned” Titus 2:5
  • God’s unconditional agape love is the greatest love there is. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • God, as He reveals Himself to us in the Bible, is the most important consideration in our lives as believers in Christ.
  • God commands us to marry a man who is “in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 7). There is NO mention of infatuation, romance, “soul mates,” “true love” or any of the Hollywood chick-flick ideas in The New Testament. The Song of Solomon does talk about romantic love being part of marriage but it is a part of it, not the whole of marriage.
  • God does command wives to phileo love their husbands in Titus 2:2-5. Phileo is an affectionate, brotherly love.
  • God commands husbands to agape love their wives – which is the unconditional love of God.  Ephesians 5:22-33 He also commands husbands to be gentle with their wives, to honor them and not to be harsh with them. I Peter 3:7
  • Once we are married, there is no concept that “This was a mistake, so I need to find someone else” in the Bible. Once we are married, we are married. Check out Hosea to see an example of the kind of love God has for His people and the kind of love He desires us to have in marriage.
  • We obey God in our marriage and trust Him to lead us and show us what He wants us to do and how He wants us to bring honor and glory to Him in our particular situation.  (if you have severe problems in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced, biblical counsel. If you are in danger, please find safety ASAP if you can. I am not writing for people with severe marriage problems.)
  • All people are wretched sinners according to the Bible. There is no one who is righteous. Not even one who does good.  (Romans 3:10) Women and men are equally sinful (For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23). Our husbands will sin against us at times. And we will sin against them. None of us will be perfect until heaven. God does not excuse us from our marriage vows because of sin with a few possible exceptions. But even then, we are not commanded to divorce and God is able to do miracles. (Matthew 19:1-11, I Corinthians 7, Malachi 2)
  • The way God deals with sin in marriage is that we repent to Him for our sin and He forgives us (I John 1:9) and He empowers us to live in obedience to Him (Galatians 5:22-26). He also commands us to forgive. (Matthew 6) There is grace, mercy and forgiveness available to all of us from God and this same grace, mercy and forgiveness is to flow into our marriages. (Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Keller)
  • God hates divorce. (Malachi 2)
  • God wants us all to set a godly example for our children so that  godly children may come from our marriages and so that our marriages will point others to Him. (Malachi 2, Deut 6, Titus 2:5)
  • God created romantic love and sex to be available, possible and beautiful in the context of marriage but these are not the ultimate goals of our lives but rather they are fringe benefits and blessings we can experience at times in marriage.
  • Even if we are not feeling romantic love at the time, God still calls us to live in obedience to Him and to walk in faithfulness to Christ and to our husbands. Feelings are not the most important things in God’s economy. We may want to lay our feelings before God and see if there is some area of sin we are struggling with or see if there is a problem that needs to be addressed. But we also can recognize that feelings are not always accurate and not always dependable. Ultimately, God and His Word and our obedience to Him because we love Him so much are what matters most.
  • God commands us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • Jesus is our LORD. We answer to Him. We obey Him in all things.
  • The kind of love God wants us to have for all people, including our husbands is His godly, agape love. We are to love our husbands the way God loves us. I Corinthians 13:4-8. Put your name in the sentences and see if you are loving your husband the way God calls you to:

 

April is patient with Greg, April is kind to him in all circumstances.

She does not envy what other wives have, she does not boast about herself to Greg or others, she is not proud (thinking she is always right and Greg is always wrong).

She does not dishonor her husband, she is not self-seeking in her marriage, she is not easily angered by Greg, she keeps no record of wrongs Greg has done to her.

April does not delight when Greg experiences evil (or suffering) but rejoices with the truth.

She always protects Greg, always trusts God, always hopes in God, always perseveres.

April’s love never fails (because it is God’s love flowing through her).

 

TEMPTATION ENTERS MY LIFE:  Will I flirt back or cheat on my husband with this guy who is flirting with me?

FEELINGS may tell me – if this other guy is “cuter,” more wealthy, more “into” me, more “loving” (by my definition) or more interesting and I “feel happier” with him in this moment, then I have the “right” to pursue this new guy without regard for my husband’s feelings, my marriage covenant or God. I should just do what “feels right” or “feels good” in the moment.

GOD’S WORD tells me to be faithful to my husband and faithful to my covenant before God.  I owe my husband my loyalty, honesty, fidelity, consideration, love and respect because I took a vow before God to do this.  Cheating on my husband or even flirting with someone else would definitely not honor Christ and would be extremely unloving and disrespectful towards my husband no matter how I feel about my husband at the moment.

I can acknowledge to myself that this other man is attractive. But I don’t have to act on my feelings. I am not a slave to feelings – praise God! If I followed these sinful feelings, I would destroy my walk with Christ, my marriage and my family. It is not worth it! I can ask God to help me take these thoughts captive and replace them with purposely focusing my attention on my husband and on Christ and His Word. I can ask God to help me wisely protect my heart and my marriage and build a hedge around it so that I do not allow myself to make provisions for my sinful desires and flesh. I can share my temptation with my husband or with a godly mentoring wife who will keep me accountable. God can give me the power to die to my sinful self and to live as a living sacrifice for Jesus, offering the parts of my body as instruments of righteousness to be used of God instead of offering my body to sin. Romans 12:1-2.

 

We will continue this series later this week with more examples about using feelings to make specific decisions vs. using the Word of God to make specific decisions.

RELATED:

Your Emotions Are a Gauge Not a Guide – Desiring God

Overcoming the Darkness

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For Prayer Day today – let’s talk about the spiritual warfare we all face as believers in Christ.

How do we submit to Christ and resist the devil? James 4:1-9 provides great instructions for us!

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

We are either submitted to sin/Satan or we are submitted to Christ. This is an either/or thing. The fruit of our life can reveal to whom we are submitted – Satan or God.

I John 3:7-10

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin (live in habitual sin), because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

Is there sin in my heart, or righteousness in my heart? Galatians 5:13-26 is a fantastic test for that!  Let’s think about these verses in relationship to how we treat our husbands in our marriages:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  

  • (Am I doing ANY of these things in my marriage or my life? If so, I am living by the power of the sinful nature, not by God’s Spirit.)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  • (Is this a description of what is generally flowing out of my heart in my marriage towards my husband? If so, God’s Spirit is controlling me, not my sinful nature)  

Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The best way to overcome oppression and the attacks of the enemy is to cling to God as our refuge, shield and fortress! If we are abiding in Christ, walking closely to Him, filled with His Spirit, living in His power, walking in obedience and holiness – Satan has no opportunity to gain entry into our lives. He may attack, but when we are completely submitted to God and have the armor of God on and we are not cherishing sin in our hearts, God gives us the power to resist the devil and he will flee.

Satan is a powerful enemy. On our own, we do not have the power to overcome him. The only power that is greater than that of Satan and his demons is the power of God that finished the work of Christ on Calvary. THAT is the power we must have and use in order to walk in victory over the powers of darkness that desire to steal, kill and destroy in our lives, in our husbands’ lives, in our marriages and in our families and churches – Jesus’ power.

David Platt:

We will either trust and obey and submit to Satan – or we will trust, obey and submit to God!

When I see that those are my only two choices – what an easy choice this is! How could I ever choose to trust Satan and refuse to trust God?? But that is what I did when I thought I was trusting myself and trying to be in charge of my own life instead of submitting to Christ. 🙁 How I mourn over the wicked sinfulness of my heart! How could I ever knowingly trust Satan and open my heart to him and shut out Jesus? That would be CRAZY!!!!!! But that is exactly what I have done – thousands and thousands of times in my life.  I embraced and trusted pride, idolatry of self, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, hatred and sin and rejected God’s way of life. 🙁 Never again, Lord!  May I never do that again, but my I stay constantly and fully submitted and yielded and open to You alone!

I took a class at my church about Spiritual Warfare. It was VERY helpful!  I hoped to be able to share the notes, but I do not have permission. So – I will paraphrase and summarize instead. And I will give you the link to the professor’s book. Encountering the Powers. It was the author of this book who was our teacher. WOW!  What an amazing man of God.

Here are some pearls of wisdom that I would like to share in my own paraphrasing:

  • Repent of ALL sin. Every trace of it.
  • Ask God to help you desire HIM more than ANYTHING else and to be content in Him alone. Surrender everything else to Him, sacrifice it all to Him in order to have Him. Hold everything but Jesus very loosely in your hands.
  • Be in constant fellowship and oneness with God through regular fervent prayer and daily Bible reading and study. This is our power source! We have no power apart from God to overcome sin and evil. If we slip away from God, we become easy targets for the enemy.
  • Ephesians 1, in Christ we are blessed in the heavenly realms with EVERY spiritual blessing, chosen by God before the creation of the world, made holy and blameless in His sight by the power of Christ, predestined to be adopted as sons, redeemed (bought and fully paid for), forgiven, possessors of the lavish riches of God’s grace, receiving all godly wisdom and understanding, being conformed into the image of Christ and marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ work is complete and finished. He has achieved victory for us! We are fighting this battle from a position of victory and the outcome of the war is already decided. We do not approach spiritual warfare from a place of weakness when we are filled with Christ and we know His Word and His power and are walking in obedience to Him. The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead belongs to US now if we are in Christ!
  • Our only power is from the Holy Spirit.
  • Be sensitive to God’s Spirit, wait on Him. Obey Him. Don’t run ahead or lag behind.
  • Be alert to see the enemy’s lies and shoot those lies down with the truth of God’s Word in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
  • Worship God with all your heart!  Praise and thank Him all day long!
  • Pray without ceasing, being alert.
  • Focus on unity in the body of Christ.
  • Live out I Corinthians 13:4-8 love with fellow believers and love unbelievers with this love as well.
  • God’s truth and His Word set people free from bondage, sin, Satan and oppression.
  • Do not tolerate sin whatsoever in your life!
  • Continually remain absolutely and completely surrendered, yielded and submitted to Christ as LORD.
  • Once we are fully submitted to Christ, we can resist the devil and his lies and he must flee. I suggest writing down the thoughts in your mind and comparing them to scripture and reject the ones that are lies and of the enemy. Do not allow yourself to mediate on lies and attacks of evil. Especially watch out for that voice that accuses you or your husband of things – that voice that wants to destroy you and your marriage and your husband. It is not of God! Fill your mind and heart with the truth and power of God’s Word!

Lord,

You are sovereign. You are omnipotent. You are holy. You are love. You are the Wonderful Counselor. You are the Great Physician. You are the Alpha and Omega. You are the Bright and Morning Star. You hold the universe in the palm of Your mighty hand. You know all things. You are not limited by time. You are the Creator. You are the Sustainer. You are our Provider. You are our Protector. You are our Shield and Refuge. We trust in You alone!

We are in the middle of a spiritual war that most of us cannot begin to fathom or understand. THANK YOU that You have provided victory for us in Christ in this battle!  Thank You that Christ completely defeated Satan and the powers of darkness at Calvary and that we approach this war from a position of victory not weakness or defeat! WE PRAISE YOU for this! We have no strength against this adversary on our own. We are 100% completely dependent on Your power, Your victory, Your Spirit, Your truth and Your Word to engage in this battle for ourselves and our husbands’ and children’s hearts, minds and souls. We have an enemy who wants to destroy us and wants to keep us from trusting You and from obeying You and from impacting the world for the gospel of Christ. Open our eyes to the weapons and strategies of our enemy, Lord! Open our blind spiritual eyes!

I pray that You might show us every trace of sin in our hearts. Let us GRIEVE, repent and mourn over our sins. Let us turn away from our sin and receive the forgiveness, mercy and grace available to us through the blood of Christ! Let us joyfully and gratefully accept Your payment for our massive sin debt. And let us move towards You, desiring to obey and love and abide in You more than anything else in all the world! Let us completely and totally surrender ourselves to Your Spirit. We open our hearts wide for You to examine our hearts and to cleanse us from our sin. We lay down our dreams, desires, plans, goals, possessions, health and future on the altar at Your feet. We pick up our cross and die to ourselves and our desires and our worldly, sinful wisdom. We pick up Your desires, Your plans, Your wisdom, Your goals, Your priorities, Your perspective, Your love, Your power, Your riches of heaven, Your spiritual treasures and Your abundant life! We don’t seek worldly gain. We don’t seek health, wealth and prosperity. We don’t seek fame or power in this world. We seek only Jesus and Your will and Your glory! If we have You, we have EVERYTHING!

Tear down every stronghold of sin and the enemy in our lives and our husbands’ and children’s lives and in the hearts of everyone who is in Your church! Let us have GREAT FAITH in You, Lord! I don’t know what the biggest possible size of faith is that a human heart can hold, but I beg You to give each of us the greatest possible faith in You! Send Your Spirit among us and around us to every person in every church of Yours around the world and bring a Great Awakening!  let us turn from our wicked ways and turn wholeheartedly, unreservedly to You! Make us holy as You are holy. Let us have great passion for You. Let us have a deep hunger and thirst for You! Fill us with Your power to go into the world and proclaim Your salvation, Your gospel, Your freedom, Your mercy and grace and use us to set the captives free and to bring good news of great joy to all people!  Use us and our marriages and our families to shine brightly for You in this dark world and to bring many to salvation and to the kingdom of heaven! Let Your will alone be done in our lives. Bring glory to yourself through us!

In the Name, power and will of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED:

Please watch all 4 parts of David Platt’s series Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare  – “This is WARTIME right now NOT peacetime. Peacetime is coming. But right now we are in a war.” And we have an enemy who is hell-bent on stealing the gifts, joy and peace God has given to us to treasure and who is determined to kill and destroy us, our husbands, our marriages, our children, our families and our churches. Let’s wake up and ben prepared and armed for battle! God can and will give us victory if we will listen and seek Him!

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