My Demon.

From Peacefulwife:

I am SOOOOO proud of this precious wife who is absorbing God’s Word and truth like a sponge and striving to obey Him and learn to respect her husband in ways that actually meet his deepest masculine needs.  She is learning so much!  God is truly at work in her heart and it is a beautiful thing to watch – even from over the internet! 🙂  I wanted her to share this post with all of my readers because I believe wives NEED to hear this.  This wife’s description of her “demon” is DEAD ON.  I wonder if husbands know about this stuff?

PS – I have my FIRST Peacefulwife VIDEO up on the Peacefulwife Blog Facebook Page today.  Check it out!  

I started the blog Lessons of Mercy as an accountability to myself, but also to those out there who have found themselves at a place where they see things in their life that need to be transformed into Christ-likeness, however, need a practical way to take the first steps.

Let me tell you a story about Wednesday night.  I really debated writing about this, because my husband reads my blog, however, I’m going to ask him to skip this one because I think the women reading this blog, need to hear about Wednesday night.

I’ve already posted on the this blog about discovering some major disrespect for my husband.  The kind that doesn’t even appear like disrespect in the world we live in today, that seems completely justified, and is so intertwined in my every day life that it’ll be like lifting boulders 100 times my own weight to remove these nasty habits. Yeah, that kind of disrespect.

Wednesday was just an ordinary day until my husband got home from work.  We haven’t been sleeping very well, and he’s been tired.  So he sat down in the chair and turned on the TV while I started fixing supper.

((There is too much back story about the TV “issue” to tell you everything but I will say that I do not have a TV addiction. I actually almost hate the TV.  I never watch it unless he is watching it. Though I have learned to enjoy a couple of the shows. We went 1 1/2 years without any television at all, and recently fixed our antenna so we get all the local channels, which is quite a few more than our parents use to get, but we still don’t have satellite or cable. Even with the absence of TV, we did not take complete advantage according to *me* for what we could do with our time as a family, which tends to make me resentful toward my husband, and with it available in our home again, it is quickly escalating in more time being on and watched than I personally care for it to be on.))

One little thing like the TV being on, quickly invites my demon (yes, I believe everyone has a demon that studies them and tempts them constantly) into a conversation with me.  He says “you’re headed right back to the life where you only speak to your husband on commercials.  Even re-runs are more important than you and the kids.”

I know my Savior. And I can feel the Holy Spirit move.  However, I don’t hear from God like I hear from my demon.  I can pray and spend time in silence after begging God to speak, and feel like after a day of fasting, I still am clueless what God is saying to me, or if He is speaking at all.  But the very moment something pulls on my frustrations, fears, insecurities, or weaknesses, I can hear so vividly and clearly the voice of my demon and am able to carry on long detailed conversations in good or bad directions.

On Wednesday when my demon started talking to me, I spoke back.  But not in my normal fashion.  I said “Get behind me Satan.  I’m not going down this road anymore.”

My husband left to go play guitar.  He’s been doing this once a week after the kids go to bed and I LOVE it!  It gets him out of the house, the chance to play and grow in his talent, and me plenty of time to play around on the computer, crochet or do anything I want without the guilt of ignoring him or the kids.

When my husband left, my demon started talking to me again.  “He was tired tonight, but he has enough energy to go play guitar and stay out til midnight?”

For 11 years, I have taken the bait and spun totally out of control.  I’d spend HOURS at a time ripping my husband to shreds to myself because I let my demon control where the conversation went. But in the last month, God is teaching me things and exposing my sins in grave detail in a way I’ve been so blinded to in the past.

I took those temptations to rip my husband apart and I purposely did the opposite.  I sent him a text thanking him for folding the clothes.  How could I almost have missed that he did that for me?  Remember, it’s because I was being coached to be mad about the TV being on?

I spent time praying for him and thinking about how much we’ve grown in our marriage.

When he got home, I had just headed to bed,  which I don’t normally do.  I am always up waiting for him to get home.  But like I said, we haven’t been sleeping well and I was really tired.  (Which also could have been from such spiritual warfare going on in my heart.)

When he came to bed, he turned on the TV.  I know I know, the stinking TV is like the center of my Wednesday!!  See, we’ve fought quite a few times, jokingly and in some very heated and hurtful conversations about the TV at night.  I like total darkness and complete silence.  He likes the TV being on.

I bet you know what happened.  My demon whispered so tenderly to my ears it practically gave me chills down my neck.  “How come for 11 years he is the one who always gets to go to bed the way he prefers?  Why did he automatically decide *you* have to learn to go to sleep with the TV on?  Why can’t he learn to go to sleep with it off?”

I was so afraid of what I was about to do next that I kissed my husband on the cheek, said “I love you” and then told him I was going to go ahead and sleep on the couch.  When he asked why, I just said as respectfully as I could, “I can’t sleep in here tonight.”

I had to remove myself.  Do you have any idea how many times we’ve fought while trying to go to bed because I’ve had hours of husband bashing sessions with my demon and then I take the opportunity to slay him apart to his face for how awful he is, how bad he messes up, how much he hurts me and every other thing I’m TOTALLY justified and entitled to say?

I laid down on the couch and quickly heard “Why isn’t he out here?  He knows the TV is bugging you, why isn’t he saying you should jump back in bed and he’ll sleep on the couch? Oh yeah, and don’t forget about this…. even though you told him you really need it, he still isn’t praying with you.”  Ouch.  The most tender point of devastation and he HAD to go there.  I tell you what, my demon knows me SO well.  The TV has NOTHING to do with praying together, and he brought it up as a last resort to get me to walk back in that room and destroy our intimacy, respect, trust and unity in our marriage.

I prayed and I told my demon that I have so much sin of my own and I am called to respect my husband no matter what I *think or feel* in any given moment.  I purposefully for the VERY FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE took my thoughts captive, stopped the demon from talking to me, and went to sleep.

I woke up so relieved!!  I didn’t say a bunch of really mean or hurtful things I couldn’t take back.  I kept the TV in perspective and didn’t allow that to be the standard by which I measure him as a husband and father.  I took my thoughts captive and spoke truth over the lies.

I can do this with the help the Holy Spirit is providing.  These boulders can be moved and these habits can be changed.

There are two main reasons why I am finally finding freedom and success.  And they have NOTHING to do with who my husband is, how he acts, or how he treats me. (Because ladies, I got a REALLY good one.  Bragging for another post : )

The first thing I’m really understanding for the first time in my life is that I have thought for 11 years that I’m better than my husband.  It comes out in a few different ways but mostly in the attitude that he sins more than me, and worse than me.  I’ve undoubtedly entertained this lie intimately with thoughts, actions and words that say “I would never have a TV addiction.”  “I’m so much better than him because I’d never do _______.”  “If he was really walking with the Lord he would do xyz.”

Hello pride.  No, I don’t have a TV addiction.  But I have an internet addiction.  No, I wouldn’t ever do _____ but I have spent multiple conversations “gossiping” to my friends.  No, he isn’t doing xyz right now, but I don’t do ALL KINDS of commands in scripture.   It’s disgusting how blind I’ve been to my own sin and how much pride has taken residence in my marriage.

And secondly, I will answer for my actions as a wife.  And God is not going to accept from me “Well, he did this or that.”  My sins will have no justification. And if I really love the Lord and want to serve Him in obedience, I can’t keep looking at someone elses actions and let that decide how I react to the commands my Savior has given me.  I have resolved in my heart that I want to live by the authority of God’s Word, not because of what I have or don’t have but because I have the opportunity to be obedient and give my life in service to become as christ-like as I can this side of eternity.

The Holy Spirit will empower me to live my life with purpose IF I choose to participate.  My only other option is to live my life in reaction to the way other people act by default. That really leaves me trapped and defensive. Feelings I’m definitely no stranger to, but have never been happy to claim as my identity.

Practical Application:

Stop having conversations with my demon.

Take my thoughts captive.

Meditate on the two truths I’m learning from above.

Own freedom.

Live with purpose.

Bring God glory by being obedient to the call on my life no matter if others are doing the same or not.

Respect my husband. Always. In ALL ways.

I had this same LOUD voice in my head all the time – every waking moment – that was constantly accusing my husband of evil – evil motives, evil desires, evil intentions towards me.  I trusted that voice.  I thought that was normal. Turns out the voice was WRONG.  I was greatly deceived.  Learning to respect our husbands involves silencing the demon and our sinful nature.  It means staying on top of sin and repenting for ever single thing that has the slightest offense in God’s sight.  And it means being empowered by God’s Spirit to do what we can’t do on our own.  This is a process.  I am so thankful for this peek into a wife’s thinking and into her heart.  What she is describing is the battle to slay sin and crucify ourselves so that we can live for Christ – it’s part of learning.  She does a FANTASTIC job describing this stage of the journey.  Thank you SO MUCH, Lessonsofmercy, for sharing this powerful piece with us! (PS – my demon had used ALL of those exact same lines on me for 15.5 years.  WORD FOR WORD!  The tv, the praying, everything.  He still tries it on me sometimes – but I cling to Christ and my husband and don’t listen to the accuser anymore!)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

PLEASE check out the post my husband wrote in response to this “The Voice in His Head”.

SOMETHING TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER:

Demons are real according to the Bible and they are extremely powerful. It is dangerous to try to have conversations with them. God is much more powerful than demons are, but we are not. Here is what Scripture has to say about some false teachers and the casual way they spoke of demons:

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. II Peter 2

8In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. Jude

A Disrespected Husband's Perspective

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the husband who took the time to answer these questions in such detail.  Wives – please hear this husband’s heart and consider – does your husband feel like this man does?  My husband wasn’t able to articulate himself and verbalize how disrespected he felt before God opened my eyes to my sin 4 years ago – he just withdrew.  Some husbands react with great anger.  Some husbands TRY to tell their wives how disrespected they feel – but the wives can’t “hear” their pain.  How that breaks my heart!  Please listen to this husband’s legitimate masculine needs and to his perspective.  Please don’t justify any disrespect towards your husband or say that your husband deserves this kind of treatment.  Disrespect never “corrects” a bad situation.  It only makes things infinitely worse. Look at the damage we can do when we don’t know how to respect our men and when we try to take over the marriage.  We deserve hell and condemnation – all of us – but God gives us grace, the gift of salvation by Jesus’ blood, mercy and He exchanges our sin for His glory.  We are called to do the same – to give respect, grace, mercy and cooperation even when it appears to be “undeserved” – because God said to do it.  That is how marriages are healed and maintained.  We die to ourselves and our wants so we can give life to our spouse and bless him. 

What does your wife’s happiness mean to you?
I suppose it depends on what she’s happy about.  I care about her being happy, but only about the things that matter.  If she is happy about honoring and loving God and others, treating me like a friend and husband with love and respect, and seeking to walk closer with the Lord Jesus, then that will make me the happiest man alive.  Okay, maybe not, but it will sure feel like it. However, if she gets her happiness from the fading things of this world, the latest fad, or following after her own heart, then her happiness doesn’t really mean anything to me.  I hope that makes sense.

How much harder is it to feel love for your wife when she is disrespectful/controlling?
It seems impossible to feel love when she is like that.  Not only that, but depending on how long or how often it happens, the feelings don’t come back very often. However, I am called to love her no matter what I feel.  It makes it a lot harder to love her without the loving feelings and even having bad feelings about her, but that is where I have to rely on His Spirit and ask for help to give me the grace to love her as God calls me to.  I need to care for her because God tells me to, not because I feel like it.  I wish I felt love for her, but I haven’t for a while now.

What things would you ask your wife to change if you knew she would listen and cooperate with your leadership?

  • I would ask her to stop telling me she loves me and start showing it.  (Remember ladies – words don’t carry a lot of weight with men!)
  • I would ask that she listen to me attentively instead of interrupting me to get to her point or asking about something that I answered five minutes ago.
  • I would ask that she know and care about things that I like and not argue about them or tell me what I should and shouldn’t like.
  • I would ask that she care about “us” in our marriage.
  • I would ask she understand that decisions I make are for “us”, not against her.
  • I would ask that she would let her “yes be yes and her no, no” instead of thinking she has this “right to change her mind” just because she’s a woman.
  • I would ask that she would care about her appearance and what I would enjoy and seek to please me in her appearance.

How difficult is it to lead when a wife is disrespectful/controlling?

Very hard because I just want to give up.  In my case, and as I hear about men in general, it would seem better to have peace then conflict, so it is easier to give up trying to lead and have her get own way then it is fight about it.  When the fighting happens, the man is usually disrespected even more and the woman tries to become even more controlling.   The initial action of controlling/disrespect feels like a knife in your heart and the fighting/arguing feels like twisting the knife while it’s already in.   Sorry about the graphic description, but that’s how it feels.

How does her disrespect affect your sexual desire for her?
It kills sexual desire for me.  I know men are supposed to have this raging drive that can never be quenched, but I don’t. Not only do I not desire her when I am disrespected, I fell like don’t even want to be around her.  Even Proverbs says a bit about it better being on a rooftop or in the desert than be with a contentious woman.  It sure feels that way sometimes.  Anyway, The past few years have been really tough in our marriage.  I can honestly say that I don’t even know if I have desired her in those few years.  Between the controlling, disrespect, and gaining significant weight and telling me it shouldn’t matter to me, I have no desire, but I am there for her since “my body is does not belong to me, but also to her” (1 Cor 7:4).

What would it mean to you if your wife trusted your decisions and supported your leadership? How would that affect you in every area of life? How would it affect your feelings of love for her?
That would be great!  It would mean that she loved me. (Ladies – please hear this!  Husbands don’t feel loved when we don’t trust them and don’t let them lead!)  It would mean that she “safely trusted” in me.  (Pro. 31:11).  It would just give me a great feeling that my wife loved and trusted me.  I don’t how else to say it.  It would definitely increase my feelings of love for her because she trusts me and is not trying to hijack everything I do.

If your wife were to biblically submit to you and respect you – how would you treat her differently?
I wish I could say that nothing would change because I am treating her the way I should now, but I can’t because I know I’m not doing that.  I really don’t know how I’d treat her differently.  I know it would probably be easier to show her love.  However, to say, “I would do this or that differently if she submitted to and respected me” is the wrong attitude to have. If there was any way I would treat her differently in a positive way if she were to submit and respect me, then it is something am not doing now that I should be.  I hope that makes sense.  I should be treating her the way God calls me to whether she submits and respects or not.  I am not accountable for her actions as I am for mine.  I just know it would probably be a lot easier to do the things I am supposed to if she did those things because the feeling of love would probably be there.

Can you describe how much more effective a wife can be at getting her husband to draw nearer to God when she follows I Peter 3:1-6 instead of preaching, lecturing, nagging, criticizing?
The disrespect will only give occasion for him to resent her for doing the things you listed.  However, if 1 Peter 3:1-6 is lived out, he will see a woman who loves God with her heart, not only her words.  He will see that she is not like the other women in the world that rip on their men.  He will see that, because of how she treats and loves him, that she truly cares about him.  She is not trying to “make” him do anything, but may mention it once and then demonstrates it with her life.

How important are your wife’s feelings when you are making decisions?
My wife’s feelings are very important when making decisions. We are a team.  I may not take every feeling as a fact, but still consider them, at least, and let her know they matter.

Being a Good Follower

If you tend to be a controlling, contentious, “always right,” resentful, disrespectful wife – like I used to be – learning to follow your husband can be a big challenge.  You may not think he is leading at all, or that he can’t lead or won’t lead.  Or you may not like the way he is leading.

Here’s the deal.

Most men WILL lead if we get out of the way.   REALLY.  They are designed by God to be the leaders in marriage.  If we can step down, stop trying to control everything, embrace humility and acknowledge that we might not be right about everything, be still, be PATIENT (and willing to wait as long as it takes) and LISTEN – our husbands will lead. (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:5, I Corinthians 11:3)

(If you have a husband who has an active addiction, active infidelity or serious mental health problem that is not being controlled or he is being physically abusive-  you may need outside help from a godly, experienced counsellor/pastor/mentoring couple.  In those situations, it may not be safe to follow your husband until he repents and shows fruit of repentance in his life.)

SOME FOLLOWING BASICS:

  • Don’t rush or push him to make decisions.  Give him as much time as he needs.  If there is a deadline on something, you may try handing him the paperwork and say, “I want to do X.  The deadline is September 15th.  Here’s the form.  I trust whatever you decide on this.  Thanks for handling it!”  And then don’t bring it up again.
  • I find it works better if I email my husband my ideas or things I want to do, or say them in passing and then leave him alone to think about it so that I am not sitting there impatiently like I used to – scowling and tapping my fingers, angry that he wasn’t answering faster.  So now, I just say, “Honey, I’d like to think about giving money to X charity.”  And then I leave it.  If he doesn’t bring it up – then it’s not God’s will for us right now.  I trust my husband and God to hash things out.
  • I don’t expect him to read my mind.  I tell him what I want and how I feel.  Then I trust him to make the best decision for our family, and I trust God to lead my husband.
  • When your husband is speaking to you – STOP what you are doing and listen carefully.  Act like what he is saying matters!  Whether it is about his work, or what he wants to do around the house – or something he is asking you to do or stop doing – give him ALL of your attention!  Your husband’s feelings and wisdom are important.  God may be trying to communicate to you through your husband – but you have to be willing to listen.  When he says things like, “That friend is taking up too much of our family time,” “I feel like I am not one of your top priorities,”  “I am feeling disrespected by you,” “I think we need to do X about the situation with our children” – HE IS trying to lead you spiritually.  If we can listen – we will hear the leadership.
  • Do not interrupt him or answer for him.  We do this sometimes and don’t even realize it.  But that is REALLY disrespectful.  We need to slow down and listen carefully.  Many times our husbands ARE TRYING TO LEAD US and we are not listening.
  • Do not assume the worst and have a whole conversation with him in your head and think you know what he will say.  Let him respond to you the way he wants to.  Try not to peg him in a hole and have him declared guilty of something before he even has a chance to have the conversation with you himself.
  • Watch your body language.  Men are not as verbal as we are – in general.  But they pay VERY close attention to our eyes, our facial expressions, our tone of voice, our crossed arms and the scowl on our faces.  It’s good to eliminate disrespect from our speech.  We must do that.  But we have to eliminate disrespect from our body language and our soul, too!  At first, you have to hold things in and not say what you want to say.  But as God changes your heart and renews your mind, you learn not to even think disrespectful thoughts anymore!  Concentrate on the good, don’t focus on the bad!
  • I don’t question my husband’s decision.  I don’t ask, “Why would you?”  “Why did you?”  “How could you…?”  Those questions may seem innocent to a woman, but to a man, they imply that he is incompetent and incapable.  That sounds very disrespectful to most men.  I can ask for clarification or say, “I’m confused about X” and I can tell him what I want and desire.  But then I allow him to make the final call.  (I would need to resist him only if he is asking me to sin or he wants me to condone sin – that is sin according to God’s Word not in my opinion!)
  • If he makes a mistake – that is OK!  Leaders are human.  They aren’t perfect.  I’m sure not perfect!  Especially when husbands are first learning, they may make mistakes.  The most important thing is NOT the mistake, it is how YOU handle his mistake.  You can crush him with your condemnation and criticisms or you can support him and show faith in him as a leader and communicate to him that you trust him to make it right, and you stand by him.  THAT will teach him to be a better leader much more than negativity ever could!
  • Men respond to praise, encouragement, respect and admiration.  That is where your power is as a follower – that is a special kind of power called influential power.  Use your words to build up your man!!!
  • It is easy to criticize.  But criticizing only paralyzes your husband and beats him down.  The foolish wife tears her home down with her own hands (and words).
  • Be full of grace, mercy and forgiveness towards him as Christ has for you!  Read the verses after the Lord’s prayer – if we don’t forgive those who sin against us, God will not forgive us!
  • Accept his compliments, gifts, time and efforts with GRACE and gratitude!  Husbands mean what they say when they give compliments.  It’s insulting and disrespectful to argue with anyone when they give you any kind of compliment.  At the MINIMUM – please smile graciously, and say, “Thank you very much!”  And if he takes you out to dinner – please do not criticize his gift, enjoy his thoughtfulness and generosity and THANK him.  He is showing you how valuable he thinks you are.  Don’t say, “You shouldn’t have.”  Say, “You’re the BEST!” If he buys you a gift, THANK him and do not criticize his taste, the color, the style… show gratitude and genuinely appreciate what he did to try to bring a smile to your face.  Your delight is your gift back to him!
  • Be excited about his ideas.  At least give him a chance.  Try to love his ideas for 10-15 minutes before you think of problems.  And if you do have concerns, try saying things like, “I’m confused about…”  “I don’t understand…” because those phrases don’t sound disrespectful to most men.
  • On the rare occasions when he decides to go against your desires – cooperate willingly, cheerfully and joyfully.  Tell him, “Thank you for hearing my heart and considering my perspective.  I trust you to do what is best for our family in God’s sight.  I know you are accountable to God for your decisions, not me.  Thank you for your leadership.”  This will help him feel the whole weight of his decision and the consequences – and helps him REALLY seek God’s voice and God’s will instead of his own.  Knowing all your faith and trust are in him helps him grow as a leader!  Then take your concerns to God and trust that God is big enough to work things out for your best and your family’s best even though the direction may not seem right to you at the time.  Thank God for His sovereignty.  Thank God for your husband’s leadership.  God can and does lead you through your husband (if your husband is not asking you to sin).  If you fight your husband, you may be fighting God!
  • Praise everything he does that you admire!
  • Be friendly – act like you like your man.  SMILE at him.

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

This is a continuation of the post two days ago about how wives tend to have VERY specific and high expectations of exactly what it means to be a spiritual leader – and how many of the things we expect aren’t even biblical.  Not only that – but our expectations can lead to sin in our hearts (contempt, bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rebellion against our husbands or God, divisions, factions, fighting, hatred – and ultimately lost unity in our marriages and families).  When our children (and those around us) witness a marriage like this, they are repelled from Christ.

Let’s look at ways that husbands actually DO try to lead in their families.

There is a REALLY good chance that your husband is trying to lead you – but – are you listening?  Are you following?  Do you even acknowledge his attempts at leadership?

In real life, some husbands tend to lead in subtle ways.  They don’t necessarily announce – “We will now begin our 6:30pm nightly Bible study time.  Here is an outline of the books of the Bible we will be covering for the next 12 months.  There will be  a test every week and here is a list of all the Bible verses I expect each family member to memorize each week.  You will all be graded. There will be an essay question once a month, with extra credit options.”

I think sometimes we as wives tend to expect our husbands to stand in front of our families like a pastor or like a Sunday School teacher and teach for 1 hour every night.

I would like to suggest, that MOST husbands don’t follow that type of style, but they DO try to lead their families in many ways.

EVERY HUSBAND IS UNIQUE

Each husband has his own style, personality, perspective, gifts and strengths.  Each one will have his own particular brand of leadership – and it will change as he grows and matures.  But keep in mind that NO husband arrives to marriage completely spiritually mature and with a total grasp on godly leadership.  Godly maturity and leadership are developed over many years, decades even.  And the more we cooperate and support our husbands’ attempts at godly leadership, the more quickly they will learn and grow and honor God.

Also – remember that for a husband to be a great leader – he needs a great follower – you!  If you are trying to lead – you are not following.  If you are busy criticizing, you are not following.  It’s time for us to learn to be fantastic, supportive, encouraging, amazing followers!

MY HUSBAND’S BRAND OF LEADERSHIP

This section is a description of my husband’s particular style and how our marriage works now.  Your marriage may look different.  That’s ok.  Follow YOUR husband’s leadership and appreciate his strengths.  Admire and thank him often for what he does for you and your family.

My husband leads first of all by example, I believe.  Even when I was so disrespectful and controlling – my husband was peaceful, forgiving, patient, kind, generous and loving.  Back then, I thought I was so spiritually mature and “above” him because I read my Bible daily, I prayed a LOT (sometimes 4 hours/day), I wrote my prayers in a notebook, I could quote lots of scripture, and I “knew” how things should be.  But I held grudges, didn’t forgive, was very impatient, rude, condescending, holier-than-thou, disrespectful, prideful and was committing constant idolatry –  putting my own self and trying to have control up as idols in my heart.  I also put my husband and our marriage as idols in my soul.  And I didn’t even see it.  Like Eve, I was so blind and deceived, but I thought I knew best.  Imagine the blessings and miracles I missed out on for 15 years because of my disobedience to God’s Word and the sin I cherished for so long in my heart.

My husband leads in subtle ways, ways I used to miss:

  • He gives me direction and guidance.  Often what he is saying is really God’s Word to me – if I will but listen and cooperate.  My husband may say, “I think you are spending too much time blogging.  I want you to take a break and spend some time with the family for awhile.”  THAT IS SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP, LADIES!  Or he may say, “I think you need to take a nap today.  You haven’t been getting enough sleep and I can see you are really worn out.” Sometimes, he just makes suggestions. That is his way of leading me. He doesn’t usually give me “commands.”  I am wise when I listen to his suggestions.  The whole family benefits from my husband’s wisdom and leadership.
  • He helps me say no to unhealthy commitments.  He sees where I get out of balance or zealous to do something that might take too much of my energy and leave me drained with nothing but scraps for my family.
  • He disciplines our children.  My husband may be more strict or harsh with our children than I am.  Or sometimes, he may be more relaxed with them than I am.  But his powerful influence on our children is a HUGE way that he leads spiritually in our family.   If I cooperate with him, tell him my feelings and perspective, but trust him to handle situations as he sees best – my children learn real discipline, they learn to have godly character, they see the unity in our marriage and they see my example of how to submit to God-given authority.  My example is the standard upon which  they will base their own future submission to God and God-given authority.
  • He desires physical intimacy with me.  God designed sex to be the glue that holds a married couple together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Both the husband and wife are bonded to one another during the one flesh relationship with a cocktail of neurotransmitters and endorphins (a natural “high”).  And sex unifies the married couple spiritually in ways we can’t begin to fathom.  It helps to keep divisions away.  It removes tension and helps promote forgiveness.  This needs to be a HUGE priority whenever physically possible in marriage.  And I count this as one of the ways my husband gently leads me and creates a very loving, strong, tight-knit, unified, vibrant, flourishing marriage relationship.  It’s important to stop serving the family and just enjoy and savor each other.  Kind of like our quiet time with God rejuvenates our soul.  The relationship and intimacy is much more important than the to-do list. (If your husband is not interested in sex, check out this post. If you feel like a piece of meat to your husband, check out this post. I also have a number of others, send me a comment if you need more resources.)
  • He handles the salesmen and solicitors.
  • He gently confronts sin in me when he sees it.
  • He tends to see the big picture.  My husband doesn’t get bogged down in every little detail like I tend to do.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with all the daily little details and having my husband there to help me step back and look at the bigger picture saves my sanity many times!
  • He takes care of his own spiritual connection with God.  He decides how, when, where he reads the Bible and prays.  He seeks God’s will for his life and our family. I encourage and support him. But I don’t interfere with his relationship with the Lord or try to tell him what to do anymore.
  • He doesn’t get swayed by emotions like I do.  There are definitely times when my hormones and emotions completely engulf me and I feel like I am drowning.  My husband is my “second rock” (Jesus is my first!) and he can help pull me up onto dry ground if I am willing.  There are times when I know I can’t rely on my feelings, and during those stormy days, I trust my husband’s words, his love for me, God’s Words and His love for me – and I don’t trust my feelings.  I keep my eyes on Christ and I keep my eyes on my husband and hang on tight, knowing that my feelings will settle down in a few days.  I don’t allow myself to be tossed about by my hormones and feelings.  I trust God and my husband and don’t lean on my own understanding.  My faith in Christ and my man are much greater now than my faith in my own wisdom or my emotions.  My husband can pull me up onto the rock of his steady soul and he is a resting place, a safe place for me.
  • He takes responsibility now for the ultimate decisions.  This is a HUGE relief for me!  I couldn’t carry all that weight.  It overwhelmed me before.  Now, I am so FREE!  I can share my perspective, my feelings and desires, but then I trust my husband and God to work out each decision for what is in my best interests.  I can’t always see what is best.  When I try to lead, I take us the wrong way. I feel such weight off my soul since I know HE is the one who will answer to God, not me.  What a blessing!  I feel safe, protected and cherished.
  • He handles the finances now.   I took care of the finances for the first 16 years of our marriage or more.  And that was ok.  But it ended up that I was telling my husband what to do (when my hours were suddenly cut at work) – and that didn’t really work well.  I told my husband, “I can’t handle the finances anymore.  Here are the accounts and passwords.  Thank you for taking over.”  And then I left it with him and never touched it again.  He is saving us money in ways I had never even thought about!  And he feels the full weight of his accountability this way.  So he makes very wise decisions.  Also, he is able to treat me by taking me out to dinner or buying me things and I’m not telling him he can’t do that.  He is MUCH more generous with me AND even more responsible now that he is in charge!
  • He drives when we are together.
  • He gives me the better vehicle.
  • He researches books on marriage for me and buys me lots of books about respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  He lets me share what I am learning and he listens and discusses things with me and shares his insights and perspective.
  • He takes time for himself to recharge.  Unlike wives, husbands are usually careful to have some down time so that they don’t burn themselves out.  I really admire this about men!  And he encourages me to slow down and just savor cuddling together and being together without running around like a crazy woman all the time.  That has been very healing for my soul!
  • He has fun with me and our children.  This creates a much more healthy balance for all of us than my constant seriousness did.  He definitely brings an amazing balance to our family that I was not able to bring when I tried to be in charge.
  • He stays calm and collected under pressure.  His ability to face difficulties with dignity, poise, strength, courage and self-control helps me be able to have those same qualities, too!
  • He is my compass.  If I am having a particularly difficult time with our children, I will ask my husband if he thinks I am being too hard on them, or unreasonable, or if he thinks I am being too easy on them.  His perspective helps me steer straight and not veer off too far one way or the other like I am prone to do on my own.
  • He makes the final decision.  I am free to suggest anything, to ask for anything, to want anything, to feel any way.  And most of the time, my husband does what I ask since he loves to see me happy.  But if we don’t agree – I willingly and cheerfully cooperate with his call on that issue.  If he made a mistake, I don’t hold it against him.  I trust God to use even his mistakes for our ultimate good.  I thank him for his decisions and for looking out for the best interests of everyone in the family. (There are times when a wife would not be able to submit to her husband, in certain situations.)
  • He is the one I go to first (outside of the Lord).  Whether it is good news, or a decision that must be made, or awful news – I call/text/email/talk to my husband FIRST about things.  I seek out his opinion and his wisdom before I make decisions.
  • He does a lot of behind the scenes work on my blog.  He helps find an audience for me and finds guest writers for me.
  • When I am confused about something – I go to him.  He also is always willing to listen and talk with me about issues that come up and spiritual topics – whether they are things I am writing about or situations people are in or family situations at home.
  • He decides how to use his time.  He decides what house project he wants to work on and when.  He decides his own priorities.
  • He arranges our vacations and finds great deals on them.

There are other ways, too.  But maybe this will give you a few things to think about.

What are some ways your husband leads you?  You are welcome to share!

Gentlemen, what are some ways you try to lead in your marriage and in your families?  What is your definition of spiritual leadership and what do you believe God calls you to do?