3 Secrets to Building Real-Life Romance in Your Marriage

man holding a bouquet of flowers

Real romance is all about selflessness, thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity.

Sadly, we sometimes miss out on appreciating things that actually could be extremely romantic, if only we decided to look at them that way.

We are conditioned by our culture (and advertisers) to recognize certain specific things as romantic:

  • Flowers
  • Dinner out at a fancy restaurant
  • Pricey cards
  • A trip out of town
  • Diamonds
  • Jewelry

These things definitely can be romantic and very special treats that we can enjoy from our husbands, at times.

But the truth is, anything your husband does for you to benefit you, or your children, is a gift. And anything he does out of love, thoughtfulness, and consideration for you is special. Even if it is free.

If it costs him time, effort, energy, and/or money, he is generously extending love to you.

Don’t let his love go unnoticed, my dear sister!

SECRET #1 – APPRECIATION

Here’s a secret to experiencing greater romantic connection in your marriage:

Anytime your husband does something sweet for you—big or small— decide to receive his loving act toward you as something very romantic.

Because it is!

So if he does something loving like he:

  • Gives you a compliment.
  • Tries to cheer you up.
  • Brings in an income to help provide for your needs.
  • Fixes your car.
  • Runs to the store to get tissues and medicine when you are sick.
  • Stays home with the kids so you can do something to recharge.
  • Helps you with a chore.
  • Tries to protect you from harm in some way spiritually, financially, emotionally, or physically.
  • Invites you to go for a walk, or is willing to go for a walk with you when you ask him to.
  • Comes home to spend the evening with you instead of hanging out with friends or working late.
  • Chooses a movie he knows you’ll like or avoids one he knows you’ll hate.
  • Makes a sacrifice so you can have or do something important to you.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Smile! Let your face light up with delight.
  • Use a friendly tone of voice as much as possible.
  • Thank him with words and maybe a hug or kiss.
  • Appreciate his loving gesture and cherish it in your heart and mind.
  • Maybe even think about ways you could do something special for him that he would appreciate, too.

There is something extremely lovely and feminine about a wife graciously and joyfully receiving a gift her husband gives her. Your delight over what he did for you is a precious gift to him!

Romance in real life is found in appreciating the little things.

For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

1 Cor. 16:18

SECRET #2 – GRATITUDE

Attraction and real life romance need nurturing. They are much like a garden. You have to pull the weeds, water, provide sunlight, monitor the temperature, and fertilize at the right times.

If you focus on the good and on being thankful for the good things you notice in your husband, romance will naturally begin to grow.

Some proven ways to nurture real-life romance and attraction:

  • Focus on the things you respect and admire about your husband.
  • Keep an ongoing list of things for which you are grateful about your husband and about things he has done for you.
  • Speak positively about him to yourself, to others, and to him.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thess. 5:18

(There are times we need to address sin. But, in general, if there is not major unrepentant sin going on, we want to focus on the good things.)

SECRET #3 – SOFTNESS

One of the most attractive things about women, to our men, is our softness. Yes, we have soft, lovely curves, generally. But more than that, when we respond and act with feminine gentleness, softness, and openness, that is beautiful and magnetic to our men, too.

Another way to be soft is to be responsive. Be responsive and open to his words, his loving acts, his gifts, and even to his touch. Melt into him when he touches you.

We want to avoid a few things that kill our softness:

And we want to invite God to help us be empowered by the Spirit (Gal. 2:22-23) to be:

  • Peaceful.
  • Patient.
  • Joyful.
  • Kind.
  • Gentle.
  • Self-controlled.

These godly responses draw our men to us, make them feel more masculine and protective of us, and tend to increase the attraction and romance in our marriage over time.

When we seek romance and our own feelings first, we end up sabotaging real-life romance. But when we seek Christ first and seek to honor Him as we relate to our men, romance generally results as fruit from being properly cultivated.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

1 Pet. 3:4

When you are spiritually healthy, then you are able to provide the most conducive atmosphere for your marriage to thrive.

There are more secrets to building real-life romance and attraction in marriage, but let’s start with these. Then we can build from there.

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What (rated G) secrets have you learned about how to increase romance and attraction in a real life marriage? We’d love to hear your insights.

(Note, if you are on the home page, you may need to click on the title of the post to go to the individual post’s page. Then you can scroll down to the comment box and search bar.)

Much love! <3

RESOURCES

NOTE – If you are facing severe issues in your marriage like uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, violence, major addictions, etc… please seek experienced, trustworthy, godly help from a counselor, the police, a doctor, or whoever is appropriate. My posts are not written specifically for wives in extreme situations like this.

Do You Want to be the Greatest in God’s Eyes?

Very dirty feet

Greatness in Jesus’ economy is totally the opposite of everything worldly wisdom holds dear.

The Secret to Greatness

Jesus had two disciples, brothers, who wanted to be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom. They wanted the right to get to sit at His right (the position of greatest honor) and His left (the second greatest position of honor).

Jesus shared this shocking news with them:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-28

The greatest in His kingdom is humble, not proud.

Pride says things like:

  • I know better than God or anyone.
  • My wisdom is unparalleled.
  • I am equal to or greater than God.
  • I am so important.
  • I deserve the best.
  • I deserve to be greatly exalted and praised.
  • People and God should do my will.

Humility says things like:

  • God knows better than I do. His wisdom is much higher than mine.
  • God alone is sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, completely holy, perfect, good, loving, just, kind, and righteous. He alone is worthy of worship. I am not.
  • God, His will, His kingdom, and His glory are the most important things.
  • I don’t deserve good things because I don’t have any merit on my own, but I am so grateful for all of the good blessings I have in Jesus.
  • Treating others well is more important than me getting my way.
  • I yield my will to God’s will.
  • I choose to honor, praise, and exalt God, not myself.
  • I am God’s servant, ready to do anything He asks of me.
  • I am willing to serve others the way Jesus came to serve me.

THE FOOT-WASHING WAY

Jesus, who is God in the flesh, the Creator of the universe, humbled Himself and washed His disciples dirty, smelly, extremely dusty feet. He took on the job of the lowest slave to set an example of the kind of leadership and greatness He desires in His kingdom (John 13:3-17).

The one who is the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is the most servant-hearted. God exalts those who do not exalt themselves and do not seek honor, power, and glory for themselves.

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” 

― Andrew Murray, Humility

God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.

James 4:6

This is true in ministry, it is true in business, it is true in church. And it is true in Christian marriage. For both husbands and wives.

Sometimes, women don’t like the role God assigns to wives in marriage. Some would have us believe that “women are slighted in God’s plan” because they believe leaders are “more important” and they want to be the most important.

However, if we truly understood the accountability, sacrifice, cost, and expectations God has for leaders, we may not be so quick to demand that position for ourselves. Especially if we understood all the ways in which all people are equally loved and valued by God and that value has nothing to do with position or authority levels in His kingdom.

If any of us (male or female) wants to have “the most power” in our human relationships for our own selfish purposes, we have missed the entire point of the example of Jesus.

To live the Christian life (for a man or woman) is to die to our sinful nature and self, it is to forsake our pride, and it is to yield humbly and absolutely to the Lordship of Jesus.

Living for Jesus is a clear call to joyful servanthood

The Gospel

As a sinner— if we want to talk about what I really deserve, it is hell. But Jesus had great mercy on me. He came to save me from hell and from my sin. He took away the condemnation I earned and deserved, if I have trusted Jesus as my Savior and Lord (please read here for how you can have a saving relationship with Jesus). And He has given me every spiritual treasure He possesses. It’s crazy!

  • He takes on my astronomical sin debt and pays it all in full.
  • Then He gives me total access to His overflowing spiritual bank account.

He has graciously given me all of His righteousness, goodness, and right standing with God. He has provided for my every spiritual need and for my every need now and in eternity. He gives me a new Spirit and nature. A new identity in Him. Greater love than I have ever known. He has already seated me in heavenly places with Him and even given me some of His authority to participate in the honor of bringing His will into reality on earth.

If only we could grasp even a fraction of these incredible truths!

Knowing Jesus Brings Contentment to My Heart

If I understand who I really am and who Jesus is and what He has done for me, I can be more than content serving any role He has for me in this world, as long as I get to be close to Him. I want to serve Him! Out of overflowing gratitude and love, not out of duty or drudgery.

What does it matter to me if I live in obscurity or in a position of worldly influence and power as long as I have Him?

All of my life is for His glory and His purposes now, not for myself!

If Jesus is my Lord, I will be willing and eager to serve in any capacity He has prepared for me. Whatever that may be. My only goal is to use the gifts and opportunities He has given me to exalt Him and bless and love others. I want to let Him bear much fruit in and through me. I long for His will, not mine.

If I am fully yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, no one can steal the blessings and spiritual treasures and miracles God has for me. If I choose to live by faith in Jesus, no weapon formed against me shall prosper and God will open the floodgates of heaven to accomplish all he wants to do in and through me.

The Lord Calls All Christians to Servanthood, Dying to Self, and Sacrifice

Ultimately, in marriage and in the Body of Christ, we are all called to humbly serve and love God and others. Leaders are simply called to go an “extra mile,” sacrificing themselves all the more and using their strength, position, and power for the good of those in their care.

That is why we are to respect them and cooperate with them, (but never follow anyone into sin), to make their job to honor the Lord easier, not harder. And that is why we are to use our influence authority for good, not to try to lead them astray or trip them up.

Honestly, all of us are called to be leaders of some type, as believers in God’s kingdom. Maybe we are moms, mentors, leaders at work, or maybe we have ministries for the Lord. All of us have positions of influence or authority somewhere, although the exact positions may be different. All of us have spiritual gifts to bless the Body of Christ.

Equal Value but Different Roles and Gifts

We don’t all have access to every possible leadership position or spiritual gift. But we all have total access to every good gift God has provided for us specifically and for believers in general.

Each of us is valued and loved equally. But we have different roles and gifts!

We cannot all be the eye. We are not all the foot. We are not all the right hand. God gives each of us certain gifts, according to His wisdom, for us to use to bless everyone else (1 Corinthians 12). He arranges all the parts as He desires them to be. We all need each other! And each of us have important roles to fulfill that will bring glory to Jesus and the kingdom, not to ourselves.

Greatness Is Available to Each of Us!

Servanthood doesn’t mean we become people pleasers, it means we become God pleasers.

All of us have the ability to seek greatness in Christ as we humble ourselves and empty ourselves of self, allowing God to fill us up to overflowing with Himself. There is no limit to what God is willing to do through a completely yielded vessel who is willing to take on a Spirit of servanthood just like Jesus did in Philippians 2:1-11!

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Does this concept surprise you? If so, how?

What has God shown you about the blessing and honor of servanthood and humility?

How has it impacted your marriage or other relationships for good?

NOTE – if you can’t access the comment box, please click on the blog title at the top of the post and you should be able to see the comment box at the bottom of the post, and the search bar, too.

RELATED

Bible verses about servanthood

What Was the Significance of Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Biblical Pattern of Church Leadership? by www.gotquestions.org

What Are the Qualifications of Elders and Deacons? by www.gotquestions.org

The Danvers Statement

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

The Purpose of Marriage

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

God intended marriage to be a living picture of the relationship between Jesus and His Bride, the Church.

We think of a “church” as a building today. But when Jesus talks about His Church, He is talking about His chosen people, the ones He has chosen out of this world and who have chosen to receive Him as Savior and Lord. The incredible thing about marriage is that it is a spiritual mystery revealed to the world of the tenderness, love, respect, honor, and beauty of the interaction and spiritual intimacy between Jesus and His beloved people. (Eph. 5:22-33)

The church is “the Body of Christ.” Each believer is part of it. We are “living stones” being joined together and built up into a “spiritual house” and a “holy priesthood”  (1 Pet 2:5). Paul describes each of us as being a part of the body – a hand, a foot, an ear, an eye, the nose, etc… We work together with the Head of the Body, which is Jesus, to accomplish His good purposes in His kingdom.

Marriage displays the gospel.

How Marriage Parallels  the Relationship Between Jesus and the Church

The Groom-to-Be Initiates the Covenant

  • A man buys a ring, today, and proposes to his intended bride-to-be. He initiates and is the one who invites her into the possibility of marriage with him.
  • Jesus came to earth and paid a great price for us, inviting us to come to Him and to enter into an eternal covenant with Him. He followed the pattern of Jewish marriage customs in almost everything He did for us.
  • He even used the same words a Jewish man would use to propose to his bride to invite His Church to be with Him forever:
    • In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3

A Name and Identity Change for Her

  • A bride takes on the name of her husband. When I married, I legally became Mrs. Gregory Cassidy.
  • The Bride of Christ also takes on His Name as Christian or Christ-follower.

A New Home for Her

  • A bride leaves her parents’ home to live with her husband and start a new life together
  • Jesus will come get His Bride and take us to be with Him in heaven – either when we die, or through the rapture. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)

A Life-long Covenant Representing an Eternal Covenant

  • One man and one woman enter into a life-long covenant to be there for each other “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… till death do us part.”
  • Jesus, God in the flesh (the only One God), and His One Bride (the Church), have an eternal and unbreakable covenant.
  • For thousands of years, a prospective groom would give a great deal of money to the bride’s father.  He paid a “bride price.” This demonstrated that he valued his bride-to-be and was willing to sacrifice greatly for her to become his wife legally. Jesus sacrificed greatly for us, too. He paid our sin-debt with His very blood on the cross. God became a man and lived the perfect life we couldn’t live and died the death we deserved on our behalf. He conquered sin and death to rescue us from condemnation and hell. 
  • A covenant is much more than a promise or a business contract that can be easily broken. It is intended to be binding until one or both spouses die. Jesus has offered an eternal Covenant with us through His blood, the New Covenant – which is vastly superior to and replaces the Old Covenant of Moses. We have access to Jesus, to God the Father, to the Holy Spirit, and to eternal life in paradise with Him through this covenant. We belong to Him from the point we trust in Him and receive His salvation and Lordship through the rest of our lives and into the eternal future. The fellowship and relationship with God that we lost after Adam and Eve fell in the garden is restored!

Selfless Generosity and Joyful Receiving for Both Spouses

  • A man takes on the position of protector, provider, and giver, in many ways to his wife. Today, a wife may contribute financially, as well. But for thousands of years, husbands were primarily the breadwinners and financial providers. Wives took care of the home, children, garden, cooking, and chores (of course, women’s and men’s responsibilities did vary a bit depending on the particular culture). For many women, they had no means of providing financially for themselves in the past, and even in some places today.
  • And even today where women can financially take care of themselves, husbands tend to still have a profound sense of responsibility to provide financially and to meet their family’s physical needs (“For Women Only,”by Shaunti Feldhahn).
  • This is a picture of the way that Jesus gives and provides so generously. He provides for all of our physical and spiritual needs. He provides salvation. He provides new Life and eternal life. We can’t earn it. We joyfully receive and welcome Him and all He has done for us.
  • Both spouses fully give of themselves for the other and receive and accept one another in joy.

His Strength for Her Honor

  • A man uses his physical strength to defend his bride from danger, protect her (and their children) from evil, and to build a home for his wife. He values and cherishes her. She is the “weaker vessel,” and this means it is his job to use his strength courageously for her good. He honors her by fighting for her and their family in ways she cannot fight for herself.
  • Jesus uses His vastly superior strength to save us, to rescue us from danger, to provide for us, to protect us, and to defend us from evil and sin. He fought for us in ways we could never have fought for ourselves. We were the damsel in distress and He was the greatest Hero.

Sanctification

  • God designed marriage to be a place where we are made holy (“Sacred Marriage,” Gary Thomas), where He exposes sin and invites us to go much deeper with Himself. We can’t hide our flaws and sinfulness in marriage. Our motives, thoughts, expectations, words, and deeds are exposed. This is an opportunity for us to repent from sin and turn to Jesus and allow Him to transform us to make us more like Himself.
  • Jesus takes on the responsibility in the New Covenant to present His Bride to Himself without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. He cleanses His Bride with His Word and makes her holy. (Eph. 5:25-28)

Access and Authority for Her

  • A bride enjoys access to her husband’s property, authority in certain matters, finances, and any inheritance he may have.
  • Jesus’ Bride also enjoys access to all that belongs to Jesus. She has access to all of His heavenly riches and provision, access to God the Father, access to the Holy of Holies, and access to His authority. Her identity is now wrapped up in Jesus’ identity. We are co-heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:17)

Oneness 

  • The one-flesh relationship of marriage depicts the one-Spirit relationship between Christ and those who love Him. Part of the husband’s physical body enters part of the wife’s physical body to become one flesh. Their love and oneness brings forth babies. Their DNA combines to become a new life. This is a holy thing, only to be shared in a life-long covenant as part of marriage.
  • We are the temple of the Holy Spirit as believers in Christ.  Part of the very Spirit of God comes into our spirits. We are indwelled or “filled” with the Spirit. And spiritual fruit results.
  • In the Body of Christ, the fruit of our spiritual union with the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives (Gal. 5:22-23) and new baby Christians, new disciples and followers of Jesus, as we share the Gospel and God’s Spirit works in and through us and others to bring new believers into the Body of Christ. This intimacy we have with Jesus is something we are only to share with Him in the context of His covenant with us.

Faithfulness Is Required and Expected

  • If an earthly spouse cheats with another person, it is adultery. In the Old Testament, that offense was punishable by death, it was that serious.
  • To God, idolatry is just like adultery in marriage. This is a picture of how severe an offense it is for those who belong to Jesus to worship and exalt other things spiritually in their lives. God is always faithful to us. We, sadly, are not always faithful to Him. But we should be completely faithful to Him and He can give us the power we need to walk in purity and faithfulness by His Spirit.

Exaltation and Portrayal of  the Gospel

  • The primary purpose of the human marriage relationship is to point everyone who sees that relationship to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5) God designed marriage to showcase the beautiful differences and interplay between godly masculinity and godly femininity.
  • The husband is to represent the sacrificial love, humble servant-leadership, strength, and devotion of Jesus to His Bride.
  • The wife is to represent the love, honor, biblical submission, and cooperation with the leadership of her husband to portray the way the church is to relate to Jesus. (Of course, with human marriage, there do have to be some limits that the church does not have with Jesus because human husbands are not perfect or deity.)
  • The husband and wife have equal value in God’s eyes (Gal. 3:28) and they are joint-heirs with Christ if they both belong to Him. But they do have different roles. Their value and worth is separate in God’s eyes from their roles in marriage. Both roles are equally important to show the picture of the gospel.

Fruitfulness

  • God also designed marriage to be the primary building block of society and the place where godly children are raised (Mal. 2:15) so that they can model themselves after the beautiful example of their parents. Then the children will grow up knowing about God, loving Him, and knowing how to have a godly marriage in the future, too.
  • The church is to produce godly offspring, as well. The Holy Spirit works in believers and in unbelievers and believers in Christ share the gospel and seek to disciple others and new baby Christians are born into the Body of Christ.

This is why we can’t just change the definition of marriage to suit our particular desires or our culture’s current PC trends.

God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman to display the gospel. When we alter it, we change the picture of Christ and His Church. We don’t have the authority to define marriage or to change it. That is God’s prerogative, alone. Marriage is holy because it pictures something holy and because it is meant to produce holy people – holy men, holy women, and holy children.

Of course, there are numerous other good purposes in marriage – companionship, romance, emotional connection, sexual fulfillment, spiritual refinement and growth, health benefits, more benefits to children, stability for society, etc… But I wanted to share some of God’s biggest purposes in marriage to help us see how holy, beautiful, and powerful His concept of marriage is. And how important it is for us to honor His design and not attempt to change it.

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How has the picture of marriage helped you better understand your relationship with Jesus?

How has your walk with Christ helped you better appreciate marriage?

 

RELATED

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

Jewish Marriage Customs – reveals a LOT about the way Jesus came for us and His words to His Bride, as well as the rapture of the church

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is Biblical Manhood? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Biblical Womanhood? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean to Be a Godly Husband? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Being a Christian Wife? by www.gotquestions.org

My Posts on Godly Femininity

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.
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My Primary Goal As a Wife Has to Be This One Thing

Reminder – I have a conference in Eaton, Ohio February 25th and a conference in Columbia, South Carolina March 24th-25th. You are most welcome to come!

Marriage meets many needs and fulfills a number of purposes in our lives, in our families, the church, and in society. A healthy marriage:

  • Brings stability to society.
  • Teaches the next generation how to have healthy relationships.
  • Is to be a safe place to raise children and for them to learn what love is.
  • Can meet both spouse’s needs for companionship.
  • Can be a place of wonderful friendship.
  • Is the only place where God condones and celebrates sex.
  • Can be a place of romance and fun.
  • Can provide financial stability and resources.

But there is an even greater purpose for marriage that I can’t ever forget.

God’s greatest purpose in marriage is that marriage is supposed to display the gospel of Christ and it is to bring great glory and honor to Him.

My marriage is about so much more than just me. It is about much more than just my husband or just our children. It is ultimately about something infinitely higher.

  • Marriage is to be a living parable demonstrating the relationship between Christ and the church where the husband is to portray the love, humility, selflessness, and sacrificial leadership of Christ. The wife is to portray the honor, respect, and submission of the church for Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33)
  • When we as wives focus on our role and what God calls us to do – the gospel is exalted – and the same is true when husbands focus on the role God gives to them and walking in submission to Christ as Lord.
  • If we choose to disrespect our husbands and dishonor God’s design for us as wives and for marriage, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)

This is a very lofty goal, my precious sisters. Marriage is no longer about me being happy,  me having my way all the time, or me having control. It is not about my husband being the most important thing or about me seeking to please him at any cost. It is about me completely yielding my heart, my mind, my life, all that I am, all that I desire, all of my fears, all of my purposes, my marriage, and my family to God to accomplish His purposes. Whatever He sees fit. My eyes have to be on eternity and God’s kingdom now – not just today or this lifetime.

Now my heart’s cry is:

Not my will, but Yours be done! Luke 22:42

As an individual believer in Christ, my purpose in life is similar.

  • I am to bring glory to God far above anything else. (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • I am to seek His will far above my own. (Luke 22:42)
  • I am to count myself dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ. (Romans 6:11)
  • I am to take up my cross daily. (Luke 9:23)
  • I am to be completely at God’s disposal, His trusted, faithful servant, willing to do anything He may ask of me. (John 14:22-24)
  • I am to view suffering as God’s tool to refine me and to grow my faith. (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-8, 1 Peter 4:12-19)

This changes everything about how I relate to my husband (and everyone else, but we will focus on marriage in this post).

Now I don’t need to ask questions like:

The funny thing is, when I asked questions like this and my heart was not wholeheartedly yielded to God’s, I actually sabotaged my marriage. I kept God out because I didn’t trust Him. Then I was upset because my marriage was a mess. What a confused girl I was!

The scariest place in the world to me now is to trust self and to not trust God. When I yield everything to God and I am in fellowship with Him and His Spirit fills me, He also pours His healing and the spiritual treasures of heaven into my life and through me into my family and those around me. He withholds no good thing from those who belong to Him.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Note  – the only way my walk can be blameless is when I allow God’s Spirit to live in and through me to empower me to obey Him.

Now I ask questions like:

Real peace comes as I know and love Christ wholeheartedly and as I trust Him completely with everything.

God’s Spirit can give us the power to stay when we may not feel like staying because we can look with an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one when we are abiding in Christ. He can give us the ability to love when maybe our husbands don’t deserve it. He can give us the power to treat our men with honor, dignity, and genuine respect – not because our husbands deserve it – but because Jesus deserves our utmost reverence and we want to submit to His Lordship completely.

When I am willing to obey God and I am filled to overflowing with His Spirit, His wisdom, and His power – there is no stopping God! He loves to do miracles and move mountains for those who fully trust Him. But I don’t love Him so that He will do what I want Him to do. I love Him and trust Him to do what He knows is best. I can ask Him to change my desires to match His.

His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine. I can rest in Him and His love and sovereignty no matter what my situation. I can trust His promises to me and anticipate how He is going to bring great good from even the most awful situations because He promised to do just that for those who love Him in Romans 8:28-29.

RELATED:

Verses on Suffering

Verses on the Lordship of Christ

Verses on Taking Up Our Cross

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Spiritual Authority

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

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

 

What about wives who truly are in danger?

For those who are in very dangerous situations, the goal is still God’s greatest glory. His Word still applies. You still have His love. You are not beyond God’s reach! I pray that you will seek godly counsel and wisdom one-on-one from a trusted Christian counselor or pastor. Pray, seek to hear and obey God’s prompting for you.

I don’t know exactly what God desires every wife to do in every situation. But God has the wisdom each one needs. I don’t want to see anyone hurt or killed. I hate abuse and God sure hates abuse. There should not be hatred, rage, or violence in our relationships as believers.

God’s Word does provide for separation when something very serious is going on that can’t be resolved – in 1 Cor. 7:10-16 – but it is not to be entered into flippantly or without significant reason. This is not God’s primary plan and design for marriage. If we take such a step, as believing wives, we want to be SURE that we are doing so because it is necessary not just that we are unhappy, feeling unloved, or that things are just really hard. Marriage is a covenant between God, my husband, and myself. I want to keep my end of it until death do us part – may God help me to do so!

 

 

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

 

The Surprising Root of All Marriage Problems

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www.freeimages.com

 

We can justify anything if we believe we know better than God does. Pride births every other wrong in our thoughts, words, and actions.

Pride is hideously ugly when we see it in other people – and yet, it can be so insidious in our own lives. We can have it – a lot of it – and not even see it. Pride tends to blind us to our own sin.

A PRIDEFUL HEART IN MARRIAGE:

Let’s take a peak into a prideful spouse’s heart…

  • I’m always right.
  • I deserve to be waited on and served.
  • Other people, including my spouse, are here to do what I want them to do.
  • I’m better than my wife/husband is.
  • Everyone should cater to me.
  • My will and my comfort are what is important.
  • It’s my way or the highway.
  • Do what I say.
  • If you sin against me, I will leave you and try to hurt you as much as possible.
  • If you don’t meet my needs, I’ll find someone who will and I don’t care if it hurts God, you, or our family.
  • I will not forgive anyone. I deserve to hold grudges and be bitter.
  • If you hurt me, I am justified in retaliating in any way I see fit.
  • I want X, so you better make it happen.
  • People need me much more than they need God. I am the essential ingredient to the success of anything.
  • I have the wisdom that everyone else needs.
  • God is holding out on me. If I do things His way, I will miss what is best in life.
  • I want things for myself in this lifetime – treasure, fame, power, glory, attention, etc…
  • Change my spouse, Lord! He/she is not who I want him/her to be and that is inconvenient to me.

Let’s look at false humility in a spouse (which is also pride)

  • I’m not worthy of being loved by you (but I expect myself to be worthy and good in and of myself apart from Christ).
  • I’m so awful (and I expect myself to be perfect and good in my own strength, I am focused on self not God).
  • No one loves me (I will use guilt and pity to try to make people love me more but I will not look to God for my source of love, acceptance, life, peace, purpose, and help. I will try to handle it on my own. I will not receive love from God or anyone else.).
  • I’m ugly and useless (I don’t accept my identity, value, and worth in Christ because I know better than God does).
  • I shouldn’t have needs or ask for help. I should be able to handle everything totally on my own.
  • I believe that I have to hate myself, put myself down, and be totally self-sufficient to have value.
  • I am obsessed with thinking negatively about myself and do not allow God to fill me. I reject and refuse what Christ wants to do for me and offer to me.
  • If you hurt me, I will sink down into depression and self-harm. I put the approval of others before approval of God.

Pride and false humility repel those around us. They are toxic and off-putting. It is very difficult to love someone who is filled with self and prickly pride. It is equally difficult to love someone who won’t receive love and who hates themselves and are obsessed with self in a negative way.

Believers and non-believers alike are quick to see pride and false humility in others and to be disgusted by it.

Let’s look at a humble spouse’s heart…

  • Not my will, but God’s will be done and His glory be accomplished in this.
  • How may I be a blessing to my spouse and family?
  • What would most please Christ?
  • Other people, including my spouse, are here for me to learn to demonstrate the love of Christ and to learn spiritual maturity.
  • Lord, I’m totally dependent on Your wisdom and Your power every moment.
  • There is no good in me, but I no longer live – I have been crucified with Christ, now Christ lives in me and through me. Jesus gives me the power to walk in holiness and obedience so that my life might bring great glory to God alone.
  • I can put my needs on the back burner if God prompts me to so that I can be part of pouring healing into my spouse’s life.
  • People need Christ, not me. He must greatly increase and I must greatly decrease!
  • I have received unspeakable love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy from Jesus – so I have plenty of that to give to others.
  • No one can meet my deepest needs but Jesus. I need Him alone!
  • I don’t have to be right all the time. I don’t have to defend myself and win every argument.
  • My way is not always best. God’s way is.
  • If you don’t meet my needs, I will be content in Christ and trust Him to lead me and to heal our marriage. I trust Him to use times of pain and suffering to help me grow.
  • If you are involved in great unrepentant sin or I am in danger with you, I may separate but I will continue to pray for you to come to Christ and for God to heal and restore our marriage for His glory.
  • I see myself as God sees me and I receive who I am according to Scripture. I respect God, myself, and others.
  • My spouse has wisdom to offer that may be very valuable.
  • I want to store up treasures in heaven, the things of this world aren’t that important. What will matter most in eternity?
  • If you hurt me, I will respectfully confront you about it, but if you won’t repent, I will trust vengeance to God’s hands and I will seek to repay evil with good. I may also have to remove myself from the situation if you continue on in unrepentant sin and in violation of our marriage covenant (Matt. 18:15-17, I Corinthians 7).
  • I only want God to be pleased with me. I want to make the decisions that would most bring Him joy.
  • Change me, Lord! Make me more like Jesus!

PRIDE IS THE SOURCE OF ALL SIN:

What is the greatest sin? Ultimately any singular sin separates us from God for eternity unless it is “atoned” for – that is, that blood is shed to pay for that sin. We wouldn’t think that eating a piece of forbidden fruit was a “big sin,” but look at the consequences of that one “small” sin.

Any rebellion against God is a big deal. But what comes before rebellion?

A spirit of pride.

I believe that pride is the greatest danger to marriage (for both the husband and wife). How did Satan tempt Eve? He appealed to her pride and that she would be as wise or wiser than God. Wasn’t that the same temptation that caused him to fall? The desire to be equal to or greater than God?

 

I HAVE ONLY TWO CHOICES:

  1. I can imitate Satan. Pride was his primary character trait. He wanted to be equal to God. From pride came all other sins. If I enthrone Self in my life, I am serving Satan and living as his child. I believe I know best. I believe God is holding out on me and that my wisdom is greater than God’s. From this mindset of scorn toward God and His wisdom, I can justify any other sin – unforgiveness, bitterness, lust, adultery, rage, hatred, envy, jealousy, idolatry, unbelief in God, disobedience to God, stealing, sexual perversion, disrespecting God, trying to control others, greed, flirting with someone else, addictions, desiring power/fame/luxury/comfort, violence, abuse, divisions, gossip, self-righteousness, false teaching, etc…
  2. I can imitate Jesus. Humility was His primary character trait. He was God and was already equal to God but set aside His glory and heaven and entered our world humbly, considering equality with God not something He wanted to try to grasp. He made Himself in the form of a Servant. He came to serve not to be served. When I yield to Him as LORD of all in my life, I am God’s child. When I am willing to receive my death to my old self and sin and allow His Spirit to fill me, He gives me His Spirit of humility, from which all other virtues spring.

ETERNAL BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF PRIDE VS. HUMILITY:

  • God will humble the proud and arrogant by punishment in His timing.
  • God will exalt those who humble themselves before Him in His timing.

verses about pride

verses about humility

Quotes from Andrew Murray, “Humility”

  • “Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.”
  • “Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue. And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil.”
  • “The truth is this: Pride must die in you or nothing of heaven can live in you. Under the banner of the truth, give yourself up to the meek and humble spirit of the holy Jesus. Humility must sow the seed or there can be no reaping in heaven. Look not at pride only as an unbecoming temper, nor at humility only as a decent virtue: for the one is death and the other is life; the one is hell and the other is heaven. So much as you have of pride within you, you have of the fallen angel alive in you; so much as you have of true humility, so much you have of the Lamb of God within you.”

RELATED:

Free download of Andrew Murray’s book Humility

But, I’m Right!

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Totally Change Your Reality

Meekness and Humility – a Peacefulwife Video

NOTE:

If you are suffering from mental health issues, please get a check up with a trusted medical doctor and get a spiritual check up with a trusted biblical counselor. If you are interested in a spiritual check up, you may also see this post.

"If I Become a Godly Wife – Will I Be Me?" – by ContentinChrist

 

ContentinChrist answers a wife’s question about losing herself if she trusts God fully and about how God can love us unconditionally if He wants us to change:

You will be more *you* than you ever have been, when you give yourself fully to God and allow Him control of your life. I know it doesn’t seem like that, but it’s true.

I don’t know if I would look like it as God wanting you to change. The fact is the old you is gone if you have truly put your trust only and totally in Christ for your salvation. If that is true, then your sinful self (your flesh) has been crucified, dead and buried and you have been raised to new life in Christ (Romans 6). What God asks of us, then, is to live from the truth of this reality (Christ in you, with the personality, gifts, talents, etc. that He has given you). Until you begin to believe what He has said about you (you are loved completely and totally and are safe in and with Him, you are righteous in Christ, you are secure in Christ, etc., etc.) you will not have joy and peace because there is no joy and peace apart from Christ. You have to embrace all that Christ is in and for you for you to experience the freedom that Christ has already purchased for you.

I promise you, there is nothing to fear with this beautiful God who loves you. Yes, you will experience trials and yes, there will be suffering. He does not lie to us about that (isn’t that great? You can totally trust Him because He doesn’t sugar-coat things!). But, the reality is we are going to face lots of trials in this life – either way.

Not putting yourself in God’s hands doesn’t remove you from the trials and sufferings of this life.

It just removes you from the blessing of resting in His love and sovereignty…and unfortunately, it sets us up for even further suffering because we determine to do it our way and hold on to control – and have to experience the painful consequences of our own way of doing things. God is too good and loves you too much to let you stay there. Oh, and let me just bluntly call it like it is….Satan is flat-out lying to you. Sometimes, it helps just to bring that out right into the light. He is trying to convince you that if you trust God totally, then God will require and demand of you more than you can give, or that God will test you with untold horrors. (I understand because I have bought into the same lies at times….and still hear the whispers of them at times).

If you are truly one of His, He absolutely will bring you to a place of surrender. If I were you, I’d just trust that simple fact right now. Don’t try to force it, don’t feel condemned for not being able to “be where you should be” right now. Just simply tell him, “Lord, I want this in my life but I cannot do it. I can’t even surrender to You totally. But You have promised You will complete the good work You began in me and I trust You for that.”

Guess what? With a prayer like that, you have surrendered. Surrender is just handing it over to God….He will do the rest. All He asks is that you are willing.

Sometimes, I have to pray prayers like “God, I am willing to be made willing.” That’s all I have to offer Him and it’s enough. He delights in our admitting that what we have to offer in and of ourselves is inadequate. He is the Source of it all.

I’m excited for you because He’s already begun the work!!! So many of us have been there and yes, it feels crazy scary. But, God has you. Just relax and rest in Him. He is so good. Believe it.

Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

RELATED:

I Don’t Want to Lose My Voice, My Power  or My Identity

I Will Not Be a Second Class Citizen! – by The Restored Wife

Do You Have to Lose Yourself or Be Fake to Be a Godly Wife?

Dying to Self

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Giving All of Myself to Christ – a Prayer

Submitting to Christ Is about Holding the Things of This World Loosely

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

What Headship/Biblical Submission Look Like at Our House

 

25 Ways to Respect Myself

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For a godly woman, respect goes in every direction:

  • respect for God (the highest level of respect)
  • respect for our new self in Christ as stewards of the life with which God has gifted us
  • respect for others (men, women, and children)
  • respect for my husband in particular
  • respect for God-given authority (bosses, teachers, pastors, government officials, etc…)

Some of us respect ourselves but not others. Some respect others but not ourselves. When we are missing respect in one of these directions, things get dysfunctional. Let’s get respect going in every way! 🙂

What does it mean to respect myself?

  1. I acknowledge that I am made in God’s image and have immeasurable worth because God created me and because Jesus loves me and died for me.
  2. I respect my body by acknowledging that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and being thankful for my body, taking good care of it – not hating or abusing it. I live my life to honor God – it is all about Him now, not about me.
  3. I respect my sexuality and my body by dressing modestly and not revealing anything that would be inappropriate in public and by enjoying my sexuality in proper context with my husband.
  4. I respect my life and spiritual, emotional, and physical health by seeking to walk in God’s ways and His wisdom knowing that sin would destroy me on every level.
  5. I am thankful for the gifts, talents, and abilities God has given me and I seek to be a good steward of them all.
  6. I love myself in a godly way, not a selfish way, because I know that God loves me. I receive God’s love for me gladly.
  7. I can receive the love of other people including my husband.
  8. I know that my perspective, desires, needs, feelings, and concerns are often important and I am able to share these respectfully when appropriate at home, church, in my extended family, and at work but I do not have to have my way – I am careful not to exalt self or cater to my pride.
  9. I receive that God’s Word and His promises apply to me, too, not just to others.
  10. I take good care of my body, mind, soul, nutritional needs, and health. I seek to do what is best for myself in all of these areas.
  11. I have healthy boundaries emotionally and spiritually and am able to say, “no,” when this would please Christ as my Lord.
  12. I take responsibility for my own spiritual growth and my own emotions.
  13. I do not take on responsibilities that belong to others and to God.
  14. I do not abuse myself spiritually, mentally, in my thoughts, verbally, emotionally, or physically and I seek not to sin against myself.
  15. I do not subject myself to abuse by others. I know when I need to remove myself from a very toxic situation.
  16. I seek God’s wisdom about how to live my life and I seek to avoid foolish decisions.
  17. I am careful not to put myself in tempting situations. I guard my heart.
  18. I am careful not to have any addictions to anything except for Jesus.
  19. I have a healthy understanding of who I am vs. who God is.
  20. I seek to be a godly steward of my finances and to make wise decisions in God’s sight. I try to avoid debt and manage my finances well.
  21. I am able to stand up for myself if necessary while still being respectful of others, including my husband.
  22. I don’t allow anyone or anything to steal the treasures I have in Christ.
  23. I acknowledge the importance of my influence authority in marriage and what a critical role I play in portraying the gospel to others.
  24. I honor and cherish God’s design of femininity for me.
  25. I acknowledge that I – primarily – set the emotional temperature for my marriage, family, and home as the wife and mom. I know I need to take good care of myself so that I can take good care of everyone else.

SHARE:

What are some other ways you show godly respect for yourself? Ladies and gentlemen are welcome to respond.

FOR THOSE WHO BRISTLE AT THE CONCEPT OF “SELF-RESPECT” – a bit of explanation:

We are all made in the image of God (Genesis 2). We all have innate worth because God made us – kind of like any painting by Picasso would have incredible worth because Picasso painted it.

We all have the old sinful self. There is no good in that old sinful self. We can’t earn heaven. We can’t earn God’s love. The only hope for it is for it to be crucified with Christ on the cross and buried with Him. When I talk about “respecting self” I am not talking about exalting our sinful self. I am not talking about pride or entitlement.

Then we have a new self in Christ when we come to Him and receive Him as both Savior and LORD of all in our lives. We are a “new creation.” Jesus takes away our sin, removes it as far as the east is from the west. He completely pays our sin debt of trillions and trillions of dollars to God on our behalf (this is an analogy, of course – no amount of actual money could ever pay for our sin or explain the cost Christ experienced in dying for us). He gives us a new heart, mind, and Spirit from Him. He gave all of His life for us. Now we give all of ourselves to Him. And He begins to fill us with His Spirit and transform us more and more in every day life to be more like Himself.

When I talk about “respecting self,” I am talking about acknowledging Christ above all else as KING and LORD and that He alone is my source of truth. It is about right thinking about our new selves in Christ. I am talking about getting rid of any lies of the enemy and sinful or worldly thinking and about building our understanding of God, ourselves, and others humbly on Christ and His Truth from the Bible.

He renews our minds with His Word. He restores our souls with His presence. He causes every fear to flee in the face of His love for us. As we cooperate with Him in faith and allow Him total access to our hearts and minds, He begins to cause us to love the things He loves and to hate the things He hates. He begins to make earthly things “grow strangely dim” and heavenly things seem so much more brilliant and attractive. All that He has is ours. He withholds nothing from us. We are one with Him.

I want each of us to be able to receive all that Christ has already died to provide for us and to live in His presence, love, grace, truth, holiness, victory, and power every moment of every day!

MORE HELP FOR THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH THIS:

Please check out RadiantandRedeemed’s comments on this post. She leads many ladies through prayers and an explanation of being set free from spiritual bondage over these issues.

Check out Nina Roesner’s e-course about becoming a woman of strength and dignity.

 

RELATED:

I know Nina Rosener has been writing on this subject, as well. I haven’t read her posts because I didn’t want to copy what she had to say – but you can check out her blog for more ideas on how we can respect ourselves.

Women, Trade Self-Worth for Awe and Wonder from www.desiringgod.org

Doormats Don’t Glorify God Either

The Pendulum Effect

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Isn’t It Demeaning to Me if I  Respect My Husband?

My Identity in Christ 

Respect for Our Husbands

Humility by Andrew Murray (free download)

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray (free download)

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