Am I His Prosecuting Attorney?

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

MY OLD WAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREG’S DILEMMA

So his choices at the time were:

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

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

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

WHOSE INSTRUMENT AM I?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

RELATED VERSES:

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

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

 

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

RESOURCES:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

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

Posts about being enmeshed

Posts about being a controlling wife

A Fellow Wife’s posts

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

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

Posts about bitterness

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

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

 

When a Husband Is Negative, Critical, or Hurtful

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NOTE – if there are really severe issues: adultery, drug/alcohol addiction, severe porn addiction, criminal activity, uncontrolled mental health issues – please seek appropriate one-on-one godly counsel. This post doesn’t address severe issues.

This is a spiritual battle we are fighting. Our husbands are not the real enemy, even though it sure seems like they are at times. What does God call us to do when we are mistreated? What is an effective approach when someone is being hateful? How can we respond in God’s power and not in sin?

  • Romans 12:9-21 is about how to approach our enemies/those who mistreat us and how to overcome evil with good
  • I Corinthians 13:4-8 is about how we are to love everyone with the agape love of God – that would include our treatment of our husbands
  • Galatians 5 is about what the Spirit filled life this will be true no matter how others are treating us.
  • Matthew 7:1-5 is about examining any sin in our lives before we attempt to address sin in another person’s life. I believe we should always seek God’s heart about if there is any sin from which we need to repent before we humbly attempt to approach someone else about his sin.
  • Matthew 18:15-17 is about how to confront those who sin against us.
  • But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16
  • 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. James 4:1-3

Verses about handling conflict
As our husbands watch us respond in the power of God, with genuine respect, honor, poise, dignity, peace, joy, and love – as we respond with grace – God works in their hearts. Greg was talking with our teenage son about how to treat some other boys who are mistreating him. He advised him to treat them well and then he said to our son…

“Being shown ultimate grace is like being shown a mirror.”

(Sometimes he just comes up with the most profound things that blow my mind!) There is nothing more convicting for a husband who is mistreating his wife than to see her living out godliness, love, and goodness – and extending God’s grace to him when he knows he doesn’t deserve it. We don’t have to preach, lecture, nag, or try to verbally force our husbands to God. Our attitude and God’s power in us speaks a much more powerful sermon than any words ever possibly could to our husbands.  (1 Peter 3:1-6)

Sometimes if a husband gets too upset, a wife may find that simply distancing herself in a respectful, loving way may be helpful. (This does depend on the husband. Some want to calm down and resolve things right away. Others need to have space to calm down before they lose control.) It is important that this space is not “the cold shoulder.” It is not done out of spite. Times respectful, loving space may be wise:

  • If a husband was very hurtful and the wife shares respectfully that his words or actions hurt and he refuses to apologize.
  • If a husband is upset and needs time to think and is not ready to try to reconcile verbally yet – like when a wife tries to apologize and he cannot yet receive her apology.

Some men need space for a time when emotions run high before they can articulate their thoughts and feelings well. I personally believe this gives our men a chance to hear God’s voice of conviction and helps us not get in God’s way in certain situations.

A wife giving respectful, loving space as a gift may want to:

  • smile when she sees him
  • kiss him in the morning and in the evening
  • continue cooking and doing chores, maybe even cook her husband’s favorite meals if she feels led
  • allow him to have space to process his thoughts and any sin
  • spend extra time with God in prayer for herself, her husband, and her family
  • be content in Christ and joyful in Christ
  • be approachable when he begins to draw near her
  • be ready to extend grace and forgiveness when he verbally apologizes or extends an “olive branch” without words
  • if he is interested in sex but hasn’t apologized for a genuine sin against her, she may want to be ready to say, “I want to be available to you sexually, but I need to know our relationship is stable and secure first. Then I will be ready to give my body to you freely the way I want to.”

It is helpful to remember that our real battle is fought and won in prayer, not necessarily in conversation with those who oppose us.

God’s Word and His power are what is most needed. Our words and our human effort will not produce effective results. Our sinful power can only tear down and destroy. But as we allow God to work in and through us, He can pour healing into our lives, our husband’s lives, and our marriages in His timing.

As we are filled with God’s Spirit, He can prompt us about when to speak, what to say, how to respond, when to respectfully confront, and when to wait and pray.

RADIANT’S THOUGHTS ON DEALING WITH A LEGALISTIC, NEGATIVE HUSBAND:

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Prov. 17:22

It may be that your husband is crushed under guilt and shame, trying his very hardest to be good in God’s holy eyes. It is drying up his life and joy because that is what the law does. It is impossible for us to find life in the law – the burden is too heavy. If we break even one commandment we are under a curse.

I think if he sees joy, light, life and grace in your eyes; sees that you have peace and a nearness to God that he is trying to have – God will use that more powerfully than words can ever convey.

When we only receive negative (wrong, twisted messages) from the Word, we are also only receiving negative from everything, including our spouse and environment, even food. (I started reacting to everything with increasing allergies and health problems too. I attacked myself, and that allowed the enemy and my body to attack me too). We are very toxic and find it impossible to get clean because we are trying to do it ourselves rather than receive what Jesus already did. When others point out “more faults” to us trying to help us be set free, we feel more angry and more guilty and fight back, since we are already drowning in failure and really think we know God and how to be close to Him if we just tried harder.

Only God can open our eyes to His goodness and grace. He gets us to the end of ourselves and any kind of thinking that we have any ability to save ourselves or have any teeny source of good in ourselves at all.

Two things that convicted me when I was so bitter and hurting and full of unbelief were:
1) people full of powerful faith for themselves and those around them
2) people who did not speak negatively at all, but rather Scripture, thanksgiving, and praise

Jesus has given you huge authority to speak mighty things into being as a believer.  Say:

“I speak freedom, life, for eyes to see and ears to hear and a soft heart that can turn and be healed for my husband.”

Speak in prayer to his unbelief and inability to receive grace and love to really decrease and his faith to increase. He needs deliverance from old sins, old habits, lies, attack, generational sins, and curses. So get your Spiritual armor on each day for this battle, and with the sword of the Word cut those curses and lies and sins in the Name of Jesus that have a hold on your husband, you and your kids. Kick those demonic forces out of your house. “In the Name of Jesus I cut all demonic assignments against me, my husband, our children and our home. I bind them and send them to the Cross to be dealt with by Jesus.” “I loose His love and power and blessings and His Spirit to work in our hearts and our home and to reign with His peace over us and our marriage.” Or if that feels too strange to pray at first – find prayers like Ephesians 3:14-21 and Col 1:9-14 to pray over him.

When you pray, thank God that He has already done these things instead of asking God for these things – because Jesus said “It is finished” on the Cross and that He has already blessed believers with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (and many other verses and promises for believers).

“Thank You, God that my husband already has freedom in Jesus – for ‘if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ Thank You, God for deliverance from lies and strongholds in my husband’s heart and thinking, for Your arm is not too short to save, and You still set the captives free, and those who look to You are radiant and will never be filled with shame. Thank You that I am radiant because I am trusting in You. Thank you God that You are working in our hearts and our home.”

And then praise Him! He is worthy of it! He is Faithful and True. He is the object of your faith – and worthy of our trust. He is infinitely good and way more interested in us loving and growing in Him than we are. And He inhabits the praise of His people. Our praise is a weapon that opens new pathways and routes the enemy.

Blessings!

SHARE:

Ladies,

Is there a time your husband was being very harsh and God prompted you to respond in a godly way? Would you like to share what you did and what happened, (if you believe it would be honoring to Christ for  you to share without too much detail – we want to be respectful of our husbands even as we share)? Thank you so much!

Husbands,

Would you like to share how you believe wives can approach their men during conflict in a godly, constructive way? If a wife giving the gift of space for a while is a blessing to you, we’d love to hear more about that. 🙂 Thanks!

 

RELATED:

A Beautiful, Feminine, Godly Example of How to Conflict

A Wife Responds Well to Her Husband’s Bad Mood

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

Some Things God Has Shown Me about Conflict with My Headstrong Husband

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Why Your Husband No Longer Respects You – by Nina Roesner

for wives whose husbands are emotionally/verbally abusive – www.leslievernick.com

 

A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

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This is a guest post by a dear sister in Christ – shared with her husband’s permission. They both desire God to use their story to bless other couples who are struggling. I realize every husband is different – and this approach may not be how God leads you to respond to your husband. That is totally fine. Follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting much more than anyone else’s story.

There are some husbands who are abusive who may respond violently to any attempt on a wife’s part to stand against sin. Please prayerfully consider any approach and know your husband. If you are not safe, please get somewhere safe. This post is not intended for wives whose husbands are violent, drunk, high, not in their right minds, or physically abusive. God never condones abuse or sin against anyone – and neither do I. All sin is abusive on some level. God never gives anyone a free pass to sin against anyone else – no matter how others may treat us. God commands us as believers to “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

A note from the author before we get started –

Some are going to see this scene of my being yelled at as “abusive” behavior from my husband. I have never feared bodily harm from my husband. His yelling did not scare me, just wore me out. But I became a participant in the cycle, too. We didn’t have a love and respect “bank account” stored up at this point, so things were tense in general. Our marriage has now been restored.


————–

In answer to your question how God used different situations to turn our hearts to Him:

First, I needed to understand the huge amount of disrespectful attitudes and behaviors I was guilty of, blind to, and how dishonoring they were to God, and how they impacted the heart of my husband. Hurt in husbands often looks like anger. It’s a good rule of thumb for me that if my husband has gotten really angry with me, something I’ve said or done has felt disrespectful to him. He may not even be aware of his hurt at the moment because he processes his feelings/emotions differently from how I do. Sometimes even months or years later, he’ll look back and realize what was going on in his mind at the time. That always amazes me.

I wish I would have made more of an effort to understand the male mind.

The world will tell us that women are better at relationships and if men would just listen to us and take our advice, everything would be better in our marriages. God designed men and women differently – not one better than the other. As long as we arrogantly think they need to relate like we do, we will destroy the harmony, proving the point that we are not better in relationships because we fail to even understand the validity of them having unique needs and ways of thinking and relating.

Shaunti Feldhahn’s little book,For Women Only was an eye opener for me (from April – This book was very helpful for me, as well, to better understand men). It’s written after extensive polling and research of men. It’s a gem!..and quick and easy reading. “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggrichs was used to introduce me to the concept of respect, but didn’t get into enough examples of how that worked out practically for me (from April, Dr. Eggerichs has written subsequent books that have gone into more detail about respect). But it had an important role in revealing my disrespect initially. So I recommend it. I read it with tears of regret but thanksgiving over what was revealed in me.

With our yelling matches, I got to the point that I was just so weary of them.There was a situation where he was clearly doing something, that after seeking the Lord in prayer about it and seeking advice from an older Godly woman I trusted, I was certain I needed to confront my husband on the matter.

I dreaded it because I knew no matter how it was said, he was going to explode. I just didn’t know how to implement respect when it was going to turn to yelling.

This is the advice that was given me by a godly mentoring wife who knew and loved me dearly, and it was amazing when I put it into practice in this situation:

I am responsible to God only for my end of things. I was to always “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and that included being respectful to my husband. I was to keep my words brief with as little emotion as possible…..

Because this was a rare case where his choices were clearly inappropriate and threatening to the marriage, I had to be firm and tell him it was ” unacceptable.” That was my key word to keep me on point.

  • I was told if he angrily yelled back that I was to quietly wait for him to stop.
  • I would briefly repeat my point with as little emotion as possible, and hold my ground respectfully— not take the bait to engage in the old pattern of yelling back.

After this went on for a few rounds and I did not join in the yelling but waited until he stopped, and just repeated my point briefly and respectfully, he finally screamed back something to the effect that the conversation was over. I calmly went upstairs to the bedroom and quietly shut the door and got on the bed. I sat amazed that God answered my prayer to stay firmly confident in what I needed to communicate without repeating the old yelling game.

Suddenly, he angrily threw open the door and started yelling again. He had a new argument to make me back down on my stance or engage him in the fight. I watched him carrying on for quite some time, staying detached from his behavior, and remaining completely calm. Part of how I did that was by looking at his behavior intellectually instead of reacting emotionally. In my head I was actually thinking, “Wow. Look how completely out of control he seems to be with his emotions. How interesting.” Still, I did not talk back disrespectfully or show disrespect in my demeanor. I waited a long time for him to stop so it was my turn to speak again.

I firmly, yet calmly:

  • explained my original point
  • acknowledged I heard what he just said
  • went back to the point at hand

I watched his face when I stopped talking. I could see he was completely baffled at this new shift in dynamics and was somewhat confused. He turned and walked out, slamming the door behind him. My heart was racing a bit, but I was also AMAZED at how it felt to keep respectful but in control of my emotions. I was thanking God for allowing me to do that hard thing and to experience His power.

This one episode resulted in my husband changing the course of his actions as I requested, and not doing the thing that was unacceptable. He did it without another argument about it.

Is this some magic formula?? No, it absolutely is not. He still could have chosen to continue down the road he’d been heading. I would have had another decision to make had he taken that route. But I would have still had to answer to God for MY choices only, and to remain respectful as unto God.

This was a very rare case of his actions being so grossly wrong, it would have been a deal breaker in my mind if it continued. But I didn’t tell him that. I simple repeated that it was “unacceptable” respectfully, briefly, with as little emotion as possible. There was some passion in my speech, but it was very under control and just enough to let him understand how strongly my convictions were about it. He had to answer to God for his decisions and reactions, and I rested in knowing I would answer to God for my behavior and attitudes. I chose to make pleasing God my goal.

One of the things I sensed was going on during this scene was my husband was able to hear himself more clearly. Some of his arguments were pretty weak but he was using them with full gusto. I think my not interrupting helped him hear himself more clearly. I also believe I gained respect from him as a result of my new behavior.

There is much more to our story. But this was the beginning.

SHARE:

Has God ever led you in a specific way to  handle conflict with your husband that you would like to share?

Gentlemen, what are some godly ways you believe wives might respectfully confront their husbands about sin, or respond respectfully when a husband is yelling or being harsh?

RELATED:

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

A Wife Responds Beautifully to Her Husband’s Bad Mood

A Wife Responds to Conflict with Her Headstrong Husband in a Godly Way

Conflict Resolution in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

 

“We Need to Talk!”

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter Sunrise

This is a guest post by my precious sister in the Lord at www.thegoodwife121.blogspot.ca.

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THE STRAIGHT PATH

“Do you have any free time this evening?” I asked Husband, a couple of days ago.

“Yeah, I think so..” He responded offhandedly. “Why?”

“Because I’d like to talk.”

“…talk? Talk about what?”

I already could hear the hesitation in his voice, he had been married to me long enough that when I asked to “talk” he knew I wasn’t wanting to discuss the weather.

“I’d rather not get into it right now, but maybe when the baby’s asleep?” I asked, avoiding his question.

Husband agreed, but I could read all sorts of emotions on his face, and I couldn’t blame him. He was trying to mentally prepare himself for this ‘talk’ and had no idea what he was going up against. Was it going to be a grievance? A confession? A problem?

(From Peacefulwife – these words invoke SERIOUS DREAD into most husband’s hearts!  They can be some of the scariest words most husbands hear!)

Needless to say, as soon as the baby was in bed, Husband was by my side wanting to know (or get it over with) our talk.

There were three things I wanted to discuss:

  • His resentment
  • Our therapist
  • Our prayer life
We both knew at this point that resentment was the main underlying issue in our marriage, and when the therapist asked him how he was on a scale from 1-10 (ten being the highest) on how resentful he was 2 months ago, he said without thinking: “10”.
Ouch.
Then she asked where he was now. This he had to think about for a bit before saying: “7-8”.
That actually hurt me more – I was really hoping that it wasn’t that high, but once I had found a chance to think about it, it was progress, so I should be realizing this as good news, instead of feeling discouraged that things weren’t ‘clipping’ along at the pace I wanted. 
Having a spouse resent you is such a difficult emotion to process. I’ve found myself feeling very helpless to ‘fix’ anything. This is something he needs to work through and let go of himself.
I don’t believe that I carry around much resentment for my Husband, and so I have a hard time understand his inability to just “let it go”. A fact that I’m ashamed to say, has even caused me to speak those words in anger towards him.
One of the things I am learning is that resentment, in our case, was built over time through actions and dirty fighting.
 

I am a dirty fighter, I fight to win and I have a very quick and sharp tongue.

Husband is a slow processor, it’s just his personality and he has always been this way; so when we get into an argument, before he’s even had the chance to respond to my first attack, I’ve already cut him 5 more times, and he literally just shuts down because he cannot even begin to keep up, or be as nasty as I am.  (From PW – this is true for many husbands!)
Learning how to “fight fairly” and to settle a disagreement so “everybody wins” is like learning to speak a new language for me.
Things that I’m being taught have never even occurred to me, I’m finding it quite the learning curve, and just keep praying to remember what I have been taught the next time we get into an argument.
Finally I gently brought up our prayer life.
Husband and I used to pray together when we were first married, then as things started to get worse in our marriage, when Husband was dealing with his depression, he sort of just fell away from God.
It’s not that he stopped believing or even attending church, he just found no comfort in God’s Word and fell into this spiritual melancholy.
This is still an issue for him, so I was hesitant to bring up his spiritual life, very much not wanting to start another argument or have him feel that I’m harping on another issue.
I very gently said that I’d like to start praying together, for our marriage.
 
That’s it. 
He sat for a moment and thought (a habit I really need to learn from him) before telling me that he would be game for that, but he didn’t want to pray aloud. He said he’d prefer it if I did.
Immediately my back went up a little, I wanted him to pray, and I wanted him to pray with me, not just sit there while I prayed.
Almost as quickly, I remembered my pledge to ‘let go’ and told him that I would be happy to pray for both of us, and as long as he was also praying, it didn’t matter if he spoke or not.
Now, I know this altercation doesn’t look like much from the outside – but to me, this little conversation made my spirit glad.
It was seeing my husband opening up to God again, it was me winning my inner battle for control, and together making a teeny, tiny step in the right direction. 
So yes, I rejoiced. 
We chatted about lighter things for a while, before I glanced up at the clock, it was 10pm and that was as late as I was going to talk.
I get ridiculous the later at night it gets, I become weepy, overemotional and just get myself into the worst situations when I try to talk about deep, personal things with Husband late at night.
So I was watching that clock, making sure that didn’t happen again.
(From Peacefulwife – my husband made a rule many years ago that we can’t have any “deep discussions” after 11:00pm.  For this exact same reason!  I love how this wife didn’t pressure her husband, but just said what she wanted calmly, and ideally with a friendly, pleasant tone of voice.)
“We should probably wrap this up for the night.” I said, motioning at the clock.
“Yeah, alright….so do you want to pray?”

I sat there for a couple seconds, surprised. I really didn’t expect him to initiate time for prayer, in fact I wasn’t even going to suggest it but Husband obviously felt like it was a good decision.
So we sat together, holding hands and I prayed for us as a couple, our marriage, as individuals and for our child. 
It was quick and it was sweet, and at the end of it I felt so much better and so much more hopeful. 

We are such a long. long way from a normal marriage, and our issues are big ones that we need to overcome.
But I’m starting to feel so hopeful again.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
~ Proverbs 3:5-6 

~ The Good Wife

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RELATED:

Ways Husbands Try to Lead that Wives Don’t Often Notice

The Blessing of Having  a Husband Who Won’t Pray with His Wife

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Why Trying to Pressure Your Man into Talking RIGHT NOW May Not Work

PS – FROM THE PEACEFULWIFE:

Ladies,

My primary target audience is wives who have been dominating, controlling, disrespectful, in charge, strong-willed, overly-responsible and who tend to “run the show.”
That is my background. That is what I have experienced.

Please keep in mind that I do not write for wives in abusive relationships where the husband is extremely controlling or violent. I do not write for wives whose husbands are dealing with severe addictions or where there are uncontrolled mental health problems or where there is active infidelity.

If you have SERIOUS problems in your marriage – if your husband is extremely controlling and manipulative or you are being sexually abused…

My blog is not for you!

I believe that God’s Word is always true.

But I have ZERO experience with these kinds of situations and even if I did have experience, there is no way I could write posts that address problems that severe in a general blog about godly marriage.

My blog is not for everyone. I totally understand that.

If you have severe problems – please find experienced, godly, qualified help!!!

A Wife's Little Victories as God Changes Her Heart

1167176_54598022From a dear wife, thank you so much for sharing!!

Since the argument, I have been praying and applying the principle of being respectful towards my husband and it really does work. Maybe a part of it is that after an argument we are both usually more kind and careful to act in the right way too…which is positive also because it shows we both still really do care…

On Valentine’s day decided to get my husband a small gift and a card – which he liked…we went for a swim together and that was nice, as the day came to an end and there was no little gift for me,  I tried to be logical about it telling myself it didnt matter if he got me anything and I was able to stay kind and composed thru the day but as soon as my head hit the pillow my eyes just started to well with tears and I couldn’t help it I cried quietly for probably an hour.. my husband kept asking what was wrong and if i needed a hug (if he was angry at me he would normally ignore it or not be as kind about it) but I just said I was fine and it was okay he didnt need to hug me. I did that because i knew if i said something it might cause an argument as he would feel criticised and also late at night is never a good time for us to talk about these things.  (From peacefulwife – I believe she could have graciously accepted his hug and thanked him for checking on her.  But I appreciate that she didn’t want to cause a conflict.)

In the morning my husband came up to me and wanted to know if i was okay. I then told him that i felt sad that i didnt get any flowers.  (From Peacefulwife – i like how she shared her feelings simply and without blaming him).  He was kind of surprised but did not see it as a problem at all. He said, for our anniversary next week I will definitely get you flowers. He didnt say it under duress either. You are right when my husband feels respected he is definitely more willing to meet my needs. And I do feel I need to be true to myself – first to examine my ‘needs’ and if it really is a something i need that only my husband can meet to share it respectfully with him. I felt that even though I was sad it still came across respectfully and that made all the difference. (from Peacefulwife – yes!!)

I think i am learning that: If i can overlook an offense, accept and anticipate that my husband will snap at me when he is stressed over seemingly minor ‘mistakes’ and respond with grace and a calm composure, speak my needs to him respectfully and preferably in a ‘light/fun’ way, join him in some of the things that are important to him – We will have a much happier marriage and just these past few days have shown that.Y

Yesterday at church my husband forgot some papers and wanted me to rush home and get them. He sort of asked me in a bit of a frazzled way and I could tell the girl I was speaking to was kind of like ‘oh dear ok..’ but stayed calm said, “Yep, sure,” and went home to get them. Then he called me up and i was aware that probably other people were around when he spoke to me, he was like ‘where are you!!??? DO NOT stop to get anything at home, take the papers and come right back’. Before, i might have said with a ‘tone’ ‘I AM ALMOST BACK! ARE THERE OTHER PEOPLE AROUND? YOU DONT NEED TO TALK TO ME LIKE THAT, STOP PANICKING’ etc…and this would flare him up.

But i remembered from our last incident that this is the way he is in these situations so i just listened and said ‘yep sure i am only 30 seconds away so i will see you soon’. It was so much better and later he was the one that told me about how he got into a bit of a panic. It  happened numerous times last week too. I was helping him with a project for work and he started to get all stressed and worked up. I stayed calm and said ok so this is what you need me to do ‘and started writing it all down’. and it turned out fine. That calms him down too. Also at lunch yesterday with friends he shared something little i didnt really want him to – about how he thought I didn’t react well with doctors at the hospital once – but instead of trying to set him straight (probably for the first time) i just smiled and looked at him (remembering this is just a small mistake i can overlook). And then our FRIENDS were the ones who were like kind of coming to the rescue and just helped ‘move the conversation on’. It was so much better than us arguing in front of them! And i didn’t FEEL offended i could truly just let it go. Later on we were sitting on the couches all talking and I noticed my husband was playing with my hair as we all talked, i thought how sweet he is such a ‘man’s man’ but is not embarrassed to play with my hair in public.

I heard something in a sermon too recently. If you add fire to fire you get an even bigger fire. But how can you put out a fire? with water. That is why in these situations i need to diffuse them with water (grace, calmness) and not more fire (stress/anger etc).

I definitely feel God drawing me to himself lately, i think i have had a real grieving period with facing my infertility but He  has been constantly wooing me. I think you are right i need to spend time with God for the purposes of enjoying him as my Creator, listening to the love messages He has for me (both in his word and in nature), continuing to teach me how to bee a good wife, daughter, friend… seeking His will in specific situations and also seeking wisdom for situations i may come across that day.

I will also pray that God will help me put the desire for children in a proper perspective. One thing i have been thinking about lately and finally found the answer yesterday is was there anybody in the Bible who was married, struggled with infertility, pleaded with God for a child, and did not receive a baby in the end? And the answer was no. Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Elizabeth, Hannah. Their infertility was not permanent although they had to wait for a very LONG time (eg. 100 years in some cases). Although that doesnt mean that God OWES me a child or that i will definitely have one… it was encouraging to me to see that God more used these times to work in the lives of these couples and for them to learn to trust him fully.

The Non-Fight.

siloutte couple

Today’s post is by my good friend, Kayla.  God is working in this girl’s heart and marriage and it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!  You can find her at www.lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com.  Thanks for sharing, Kayla!  This brings me so much JOY!

OK, So typically – I would never get on and brag about the fact that Josh and I were making two arguments last night that just happened to contradict each other – and it was a GOOD thing!

Mostly because in the past, I would have called this a fight. And it would have played out as a fight.

It would have started by one of us saying something the other disagreed with, and instead of keeping it about the situation… one of us would have IMMEDIATELY taken it and made it personal.

This very rapid knee-jerk reaction would instantaneously change the direction of not just the conversation, but also whatever was left of that day and the next.

Through the course of the conversation, I would grow more careless in my words, and he would eventually stonewall and stop talking. At which point, I would then talk MORE to make up for his silence and before long – I would be emotionally crushed by what felt like a total lack of any kind of love to leave someone so upset to hurt so badly while refusing to talk to them, and he would have been also feeling completely unloved that I could make a simple disagreement so personal and be so hurtful and disrespectful with my tongue lashing.

Last night, while I will not claim that it was fault-less because I can see a couple of areas where a little improvement is still needed – it was an experience we’ve never had.

We remained calm and did not take it as a personal attack just because we needed to talk about a specific situation in our lives.

I was much more respectful, patient and willing to give what he had to say more weight than I would normally be tempted to do when we’re working something out.

And what felt like the BIGGEST change of all to me is that, He didn’t shut down. He kept talking. And more than that, he was willing to say some scary stuff to me about where I was off the mark, that I really needed to hear.

I hate to admit it, but even in the middle of being put in my place, he came across as so darn sexy. I think I was so shell-shocked that he was still talking to me that I gave what he was saying a chance to really penetrate my heart.

I’m glad he said some of the things he said because he made some REALLY good points that I needed to hear to help me change my perspective of the situation.

I’m not saying I didn’t still have some valid things to discuss. I did. But I wasn’t as right as I’ve always thought I was in the past. I went into the conversation viewing him as a very smart, capable and loving man who I wanted to share my concerns with. Not a stupid man I needed to correct with my wisdom so we could make the decisions I wanted to make.

Let me finish with the best part of the story! And I didn’t see this coming at all. Even though the conversation didn’t end with total resolution to the entire situation, when we got into bed, he rolled toward me and wanted to hold me.

I have never felt so loved after being told something I needed to reconsider by him before.

Neither of us let the situation become MORE important than the love and unity of our marriage.

We slept soundly and we’re having a great day today. We still have some things to decide and work through, but we maintained respect and love. And I’m amazed this is even my story I just typed. Because Chistians or not, arguments happen and they typically go down the same way for all of us. Women get mean. Men shut down.

Practical Application-

You can’t make your spouse do anything, but setting an example is more powerful that you might realize.

When my spouse and I disagree – make a choice NOT to make it personal. Even if it’s about something I need to work on, it’s about a specific topic, not about EVERYTHING I’ve ever done or EVERY area of my life.

When I need to say something, refrain from using the words ALWAYS or NEVER. I wrote a post on this before that is really worth reading here.

When I have a point to make, use respectful words, tone of voice, and do not bring up anything else but the specific topic at hand.

And always remember, the love and unity of the marriage is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT that whatever we’re fighting about!