What Does Jesus Want Me to Do in My Marriage?

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Marriage is HARD.

Really – I would even say it is impossible – in human strength and effort alone.

Men and women are SO different.  We think and feel entirely differently.  We have different priorities and needs many times.  We approach things from completely opposite perspectives.  We have very different strengths and weaknesses.  Marriage is practically a recipe for torture – apart from Christ.

That is the key.  If we look to our husbands or to ourselves – we will destroy our marriage.  I must keep my eyes on Christ!  He is the only source of power that will enable our marriage to be what He designed it to be.  I must daily live for Him and abide in Him!

THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE

God designed people.  And God designed marriage.  He designed marriage for several purposes:

  • to be a living parable of the intimate spiritual relationship and the oneness of Christ and His church
  • to provide a stable, loving, nurturing, secure, safe, healthy place for children to be born and raised to know God and love Him and to learn how to love others and be prepared to be responsible, faithful, fruitful servants of Christ.
  • to form us more and more into the image of Christ – to make us holy (NOT primarily to make us happy!)
  • to teach children how to have a healthy, vibrant and flourishing marriage and how to be godly parents themselves
  • to provide a solid foundation and building block for healthy, secure, productive and godly societies.
  • to provide companionship and unity in the most intimate human relationship.
  • to provide a safe, loving, perfect place for sex and procreation
  • as a classroom to learn to love and forgive
  • because it is not good for man to  be alone – God designed a helpmeet suitable for him

This list is not exhaustive – but it provides a good glimpse into some of the biggest reasons why God chose to design and institute marriage.

WHEN MY HUSBAND SINS AGAINST ME

The problem with two sinners being married is – they WILL sin against each other and they WILL hurt each other.  There is no perfect marriage partner (except Jesus).  So it is our job to learn to be great forgivers and to tap into God’s power to be able to do this.  When I am putting Christ first and setting my heart on Him, His will, His Word and His glory, He will empower me to deal with anything my husband might do – and I can trust that He will use even my husband’s sin and mistakes ultimately for my good and His glory.

What would Jesus tell me to do when my husband is unkind, verbally abusive, arrogant, demeaning, mean, belittling, disrespectful, unloving, selfish, hateful, prideful, refusing to be intimate with me, trying to force me to be intimate with him, flirting with other women, lying, being irresponsible with money, not taking the best care of our children (in my view), not praying with me, not abiding in Christ, not reading his Bible, being materialistic, putting other things ahead of Christ or ahead of our marriage that are inappropriate…?

LET’S APPLY LUKE 6:20-49 TO OUR MARRIAGES

(I am going to alter the words a bit to fit to our marriages)

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Blessed are you when your husband/extended family members/coworkers/neighbors/others hate you, when they exclude you and insult  you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.  For that is how (people) treated the prophets.

But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.

Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you when (everyone in your life) speaks well of you, for that is how (people) treated the false prophets.  (People pleasing does not please God!)

But I tell you who hear Me:

  • Love your husband when he acts like he is your enemy
  • do good to him if he hates you
  • bless him if he curses you
  • pray for him when he mistreats you.  
  • If your husband strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  (I would add, get some godly, wise, experienced help ASAP!)
  • If he takes your (coat), do not stop him from taking your (shirt/dress).  
  • Give to him when he asks you
  • if your husband takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
  • Do to your husband as you would have him do to you (meet his needs and be a godly wife, just like you want him to meet your needs and be a godly husband)
  • if you love him only when he loves you, what credit is that to you? Even (unbelievers) love those who love them. 
  • If you do good to him only when he is good to you, what credit is that to you?  Even (unbelievers) do that.
  • If you lend to him (give something to him or do something for him) and expect repayment, what credit is that to you?  Even (unbelievers) lend to (unbelievers), expecting to be repaid in full.
  • love your husband when it feels like he is your enemy, do good to him, and lend to him (do kind, respectful things for him) without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be (daughters) of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 
  • Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
  • Do not judge your husband, and you will not be judged.  
  • Do not condemn your husband, and you will not be condemned.
  • Forgive your husband, and you will be forgiven.
  • Give to your husband, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Can a blind wife lead a blind husband?  Will they not both fall into a pit?  A student is not above his Teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his Teacher.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your husband’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you tell your husband, “Husband, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your husband’s eye.

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit… The good wife brings good things out of the good stored up in her heart (her husband doesn’t MAKE her act good, the Spirit of God inside of her causes her to act good!), and the evil wife brings evil things out of the evil stored up in her heart (her husband doesn’t MAKE her act bad, her own sin and fleshly nature cause her to react in sin).  For out of the overflow of her heart, her mouth speaks.

Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say to do for your husband?

I will show you what she is like who who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice.  She is like a man building a house (a life, a marriage, a family), who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, for it was well  built.

But the wife who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house (a life, a marriage, a family) on the ground without a foundation.  The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete

Lord,

Give us ears to hear and hearts that are willing to obey.  Tear down any strongholds of the enemy in our souls.  Give us Your power to humble ourselves and submit to You and honor You in our marriages!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

OTHER SCRIPTURES

Ephesians 5 – God’s design for marriage

I Corinthians 11:2-13  –  God’s authority structure for marriage

I Corinthians 13:4-7  – God’s definition of love in marriage

Galatians 5:19-22 – a comparison of a life powered by self vs. a life powered by God’s Spirit

I John

Mrs. B.'s Story

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This is an email from a precious wife.  I am really happy to get to share her story with you.  I think the more stories we can hear about what God has done in other women and marriages, the better!  Thank you, Mrs. B!
Let me start by saying, Mr. B and I were not raised in Christian homes. Neither one of us knew anything about the Bible or anything about marriage. If that was not enough, we had several other strikes against us…….
Strike 1~Divorce was rampant in our families. We had some in our family that got new spouses like some get new cars!
Strike 2~When we married, I was 16, Mr B was 18
Strike 3~ We were both the oldest children in our families, and since our parents were divorced and the dads out of the pictures, we were the Alphas of our homes.
BUT……we had a determination we were going to break the divorce cycle!
We both came to know the Lord 5 years into our marriage.
We have served the Lord for 37 yrs now. Even though a miracle had taken place in our lives, we had a lot of baggage to work thru and throw out. I thank God for Grace & Mercy, and for having the patience to help me realize my biblical role in our marriage.
BEING A HELPMEET
I thought I was a great “help-meet” through all of those years.
  • I never let him go out of the house not matching
  • I always checked his hair for him
  • I always directed him in the finances so we would do well
  • I told him even when he said things wrong while he was preaching (on the way home) so he wouldn’t look bad the next time
  • I always told him when the speed limit changed, so he wouldn’t get a ticket.
  • I thought I was “helping” by telling him how he should pray, telling him how to do devotions, you name it and I probably told him “how to”.

Anything I thought he did wrong I corrected him on. Because after all, I knew how things should be and was here to help him.

INTIMACY ISSUES
I have always been a very high drive wife, married to what I thought was a low drive husband. I had many a let-down over lack of sex in that many years. And there were times in prayer I asked the Lord to take this high drive away from me. But God knows best!
THEN ~ 2 yrs ago ~ I came to understand how to truly Respect & Submit. And realized, he did not need another mother, he needed a wife! He did not WANT to make love to his second momma…….I shake my head as I write this.
NOW ~ that he has a wife that truly respects and submits, and I understands that he is a grown man that is capable of making mistakes and we both can live through them, that he makes right decisions without my help, that I was not as smart as I thought I was…….HE is a HIGH DRIVE Husband!!!!
OUR MARRIAGE IS AMAZING NOW
Sure I continually find things that need tweaked about myself. But I have realized that to be in “control” is not my duty. The only thing I need to be in control of is Obeying the Lord, Respecting Mr B, and Submitting to him as the head of our household & marriage.
And you know what ~ we both smile a lot now!!!
And I even have a new nickname that he calls me……..
His Ravishing Ruby.
THIS IS A PROCESS
I don’t mean for it to sound like “one, two, buckle my shoe” and all is well. It was not that simple. There were many years of pain in our family ~ it took and is still taking time to heal. But by the grace of God, we are doing it. One of the hardest things, but one of the most important things that helped me change our marriage was accountability. WHEN I told Mr B what I had learned about myself and the changes I knew I needed to do…..well it was a WOW moment. He then “knew” and could “help” me when I slipped into old habits.
I say all this to let you know, if any of you here are in the same boat ~ share with your husband! Even if it takes sharing my testimony, then admitting. I do not mind at all if you use my testimony as a starter step.
Mrs. B.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
I have had some wives watch my youtube videos lately and find a lot of help from them.  Some people learn better by hearing instead of reading, so these videos are for you!  One wife told me that she watched some WITH her husband and that it actually was really helpful for him, too, to see that many wives struggle with these issues and that his wife wasn’t unusual.
Here is a link to my channel. 🙂

Bitterness is Contagious and Toxic!

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Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.   Hebrews 12:14-15

WHAT IS IT ABOUT ONE PERSON’S BITTERNESS THAT DEFILES MANY?

In this passage – there is a TON of spiritual meat!

  • it is impossible to live in peace with others and be bitter
  • it is impossible to be holy and be bitter
  • it is impossible to see God without holiness
  • it is impossible to grasp the grace of God and be bitter
  • bitterness grows to cause trouble (in the church, in families, in businesses, in neighborhoods, ANYWHERE)
  • bitterness yields a toxic harvest that contaminates many people

1. My bitterness may lead others to become bitter towards the same person/thing I am bitter about

When I am bitter – I am seething with unforgiveness and a sense of justifiable anger.  I am fueled primarily by PRIDE – pride that I don’t deserve this treatment and that I am better than the person with whom I am bitter, that I ought to be sovereign instead of God, that I know best for myself and for others, that I should decide and dole out what the punishment for sin against me should be… LOTS OF PRIDE.

I cherish my grudge more than my relationship with God.  My bitterness leads me to more sin.  As the bitterness tree grows – it takes over my heart, my life, my thoughts, my words and my actions.  The tree begins to develop fruit.  Fruit like – hatred, avoidance, lack of love, lack of faith in God, deceit, lying, being divisive, gossip, possibly even violence or adultery – depending on my situation.  And the fruit drops into my life and the lives of those around me, rotting and allowing the small seeds of bitterness to spread and germinate in other places.

When I am bitter, I WANT to gossip about the person with whom I am bitter.  I WANT to run them down.  I WANT to hurt their reputation and try to build myself up by stomping them into the ground.  Gossip defiles my listeners.  And the people listening to me may become convinced to become angry, unforgiving or bitter towards the target of my bitterness, too.  Or, at the very least, they will lose respect and regard for the target of my bitterness or for me!  This happens at work, in extended families, in the church and especially in the home.

Children who have a parent who sets out to turn them against the other parent often develop great bitterness and unforgiveness themselves towards that other parent – not realizing until they are adults how much they have been defrauded by the bitter parent.  They can literally be robbed of the love of one parent and a relationship with that parent by having a bitter parent try to turn them against the other parent.

2. Others may become bitter towards me because it is HARD to love a bitter person.  My bitterness is so obnoxious, foul and toxic.

When I am bitter, I become more and more consumed with my anger, my justification of my own sin, my pride, my rights, my desire for revenge, my needs, my purposes, my will, MYSELF – that I can hardly see anything or anyone else around me eventually.

There is certainly no room for Christ to co-exist in my heart with a tree of bitterness.  Even a tiny seed or root of it offends His holiness.  I have to choose – Christ or bitterness.

It is HARD to love someone engulfed in bitterness.  They are sharp and prickly.  They practically develop a force field around them that love bounces off of.  It is exhausting to be around them.  They are depressing and draining.  They are an endless pit of need and negativity.  It is EASY to begin to develop bitterness towards a bitter person.  Of course, Jesus can give us to power to continue to love them  – but if we start reacting in our own flesh, we can be very tempted to be bitter with one who is bitter.

3. Bitterness can become my idol.

I can become completely entangled if bitterness continues to grow unchecked.  My very identity becomes BITTERNESS toward a person, an event or even God.  The tree of bitterness, and many generations of offspring trees that grow from the seeds of the fruit of the first tree – produces a FOREST of sin in my life that is inescapable.

If I am a very bitter person, I only want to talk about one thing – my bitterness.  (Bitterness grows in stages and is progressive, so it may start out only consuming a portion of my attention, but if given plenty of fuel and a  nourishing environment of continued anger, pride, rebellion against God and unforgiveness – it will completely take over my soul.)

It can become my IDOL.  I want to wallow in it and luxuriate in the mire of it.  I want to run the other person down – or run God down.  I wants the world to know what a victim I am and how powerless and wonderful and innocent I am and what justice I have been denied.

Bitterness blocks my view of God’s sovereignty.  When I am bitter, I cannot accept God’s grace for myself or for my offender.  I cannot receive grace.  I cannot give grace.  I cannot forgive.  So God will not forgive me.  It is a dark, depressing, lonely, cold, miserable prison.

If I am bitter with a person – I am ultimately also bitter at God.

For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, CANNOT love God, whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God MUST also love his brother.  I John 4:20b-21

We don’t understand that God counts the way we treat other people as if we are treating Him that way.  The person to whom I show the least amount of love is the way I love God – that is how He judges me.

Whew!  What a scary thought that is!

The whole book of I John is an incredible study on NOT living in bitterness and hatred, but living in the love of God.

Idolatry destroys my fellowship with God and destroys every facet of my life – my soul, my relationships, my finances (eventually), my health, my emotions, my family…  Idolatry has a steep price – it causes discontentment, an insatiable desire for more that cannot satisfy, frustration, anxiety, worry, lack of joy, lack of peace, misery and sometimes even death.

4. Others may become bitter with God because of my bitterness

If I am bitter – I won’t forgive.  I won’t accept God’s grace for myself and I won’t extend God’s grace to others.  God says I am wicked if I refuse to forgive as I have been forgiven (Matthew 18).  I am a slave to sin and the flesh, and I can’t have God’s power or His Spirit or the fruit of His Spirit in my life.  I don’t see the sovereignty of God to work through this situation for my good and His glory.

So – I cannot shine for Christ.

In fact, if I call myself a Christian but am holding on to bitterness, I convolute and distort the image of Christ that I am projecting and will REPEL others from the gospel and the truth of God.

Why would anyone want to come to Christ if living for Him looks like ME – living in bitterness?

Especially my spouse and children will be affected.  If they are not believers, my horrific “witness” will erect a massive stumbling block for them to come to Christ.  I am an awful billboard for Christianity and for Jesus when I live in disobedience to Him.  If they are believers, my poor example will influence them greatly towards ungodliness, too.

My sin will trip others and entangle them.  They may resent God and be bitter at Him, too.  Because my bitterness is contagious and because I can make it hard for them to see the sovereignty of God, the love of God, to accept the grace of God.  And, I make it REALLY hard to love me.  And if they don’t love me, they can’t love God.

THANK GOD HE HAS PROVIDED VICTORY FOR US IN JESUS!

If Jesus is not your Savior and Lord – you can pray and ask Him to be.  Check out the post on my home page about how to have a relationship with Christ!

For those of you who have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord – here is what we can do when we are convicted of sin:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:8-9

PRAISE GOD!

The blood of Jesus is strong enough and more than sufficient to cover any sin we might commit.  We can ask for forgiveness.  We can agree with Him that what we are doing is sin.  We can turn from our sin and decide we want to walk on God’s narrow path that leads to life.  And then we need HIS power to be able to obey Him.  So that means, we allow Him to remove all the sin in every corner of our hearts.  We abide in Him – we stay in His Word often.  We pray continually through the day.  We seek His will, His wisdom and His glory and we lay down our own selfish desires and our wisdom .  We long to obey Him in everything.  We ask Him to fill us with His Spirit.  We are still and listen for His voice and read His Word with a deep hunger.  We want HIM more than ANYTHING in life.

Precious sisters in Jesus,

The bitterness has to go!  I am looking at myself first.  We cannot afford to hold on to this destructive sin anymore.  How I pray that God might speak to each of our hearts and tear out every trace of bitterness -replacing it with His Spirit, the fruit of His Spirit and His abundant life!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED POSTS:

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Finding God’s Victory Over Bitterness

Be Still, My Bitter Heart

We Are Always Wretched Sinners on Our Own – We Never “Arrive”

A Peacefulwife VIDEO about nonverbal disrespect

A Wife's Before and After

I heard from a wife this week… and I am thrilled that she is willing to tell her story.  I think that her “before problems” are where most wives are in their marriages.  And I can’t wait for you to see what God is doing in this precious wife’s soul and in her marriage!  THANK YOU to the wife who is willing to allow me to share her story!

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In the past year God has been teaching me so many of the things you mention in your posts.

I have been having little light bulbs go off here and there and it had all started  to come together lately thanks to your blog.

THE “PROBLEMS” WE USED TO HAVE IN OUR MARRIAGE

Should I submit to my husband’s leadership on things such as:
– Should my husband spend at least 30 mins of quiet time with God each morning (so that he can know how to lead our home?)
– Should we have a formal couples’ worship time – ideally every night or at least once a week?
– Should my husband be more active in church? Ideally in a ‘couple ministry’ scenario?
– Do we eat dinner in front of the tv or at the table?
– Do we attend every single church meeting/bible study on offer in our surrounding area?
– Do we invite EVERY single visitor to our house when we notice them at church?
– Do we really have to have a formal ‘date’ every week?
– Is Star Trek allowed to be played on our home tv
– Should we have pay tv (cos oh dear, if we do my husband will probably ONLY want to watch sports all day every day – since that is what we wants to do every time we stay at a hotel)
– Is my husband allowed to listen to sports on the radio as he knows I don’t like sports, and oh dear if we have kids he might also subject them to this!
– Do we both have to go to bed together at the exact same time EVERY night, cos  if we (don’t) do  it once or twice it might become a habit and then we will become one of those couples who sleep in separate bedrooms! And who KNOWS what he will watch after I go to sleep – ooooh!
-Do I help my husband in small ways in his business even thou I have my own career? If I start down this path he may overload me with so much work I will never be able to handle it!
-Do I demand that we adopt children (since I have always wanted to) and also we are struggling with infertility (been trying for 2 years) or do I wait on God to change BOTH our hearts if he wants us to go that way?

A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Above I have in a nutshell outlined ALL  the things that I perceived to be SINS in my husbands life over the past 7 years of our marriage. Although I now realize that part of the reason I was so controlling and fearful was that it actually took me this long to REALLY trust my husband because of some of the baggage he carried into our marriage, I now finally realize that pretty much ALL our arguments and problems were MY fault. I was disrespectful and controlling beyond measure. I can’t believe how patient he was all these years.

A NEW WIFE AND THE BEGINNING OF A NEW MARRIAGE

Since I have stepped out of the ‘control headquarters’ of our marriage these are the results:

– After YEARS of nagging him about why he doesn’t do private worship more regularly – the minute I stopped being controlling he just started doing private worship every morning and has never stopped! He does this more regularly than me now. Sometimes its 30 mins sometimes 5. Sometimes he just sings praise songs sometimes he studies a particular topic. He NEVER badgers me or treats me the way I used to treat him when I had more worship time than him.
– He now starts Sabbath in our home every Friday night (we are Seventh Day Adventists) without any prompting/cajoling from me. He gets the Bible, reads from it and picks a song for us to sing. He talks about God every day with me and feels like he has encounters every day when God takes care of him at work in different ways.
– To my shock, he accepted a leadership role at church – we work closely together and we also lead our in church together sometimes  (the difference was this time I didn’t guilt him or try to make him take on these roles I just asked and he prayed then accepted them!). He also takes the Bible study at church every few months.
– Yes, most nights my husband eats his dinner in front of the tv – but instead of making a huge issue out of it now I just let it be. He works super hard each day and I don’t eat dinner anyway but have a protein shake after gym so it works for us at the moment. Whether other people would feel this is normal or healthy doesn’t matter to me anymore. It’s what works for us and after dinner we always cuddle on the couch. If I even try to sneak away to my room to do my own thing occasionally he STRONGLY protests now. This is how we hang in the evenings and I LIKE it.
– We do NOT attend EVERY single Bible study/meeting in addition to ordinary church. Even though I personally would (like to) my husband recognizes the need to also rest on Sabbath and have family time. I don’t just go on my own because I found when I did I would just feel resentful that my husband didn’t come and it took away from our time together.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I am SO PROUD of this wife and of all that God is doing in her heart! She sees that she was being controlling and disrespectful and she humbly allowed God to change her.  She has so many of the same issues I used to have!  It’s uncanny!  But look what happened when she took her hands off of her husband’s throat and let him lead and hear God’s voice without her voice overshadowing God’s anymore.  God’s ways are truly higher and better than our ways!  

There is no power in our disrespect, contempt and control.  Our power is in our godly femininity – our faith, our admiration, our genuine respect, our cooperation, our appreciation, our acknowledging our husbands’ wisdom, our support of their leadership and our trust in Christ.

It is only when I can accept my husband exactly as he is and not want to change him, and when I am obeying God and living in His Spirit’s power that God will change my husband!  But first – He changes ME!