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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

 

 

Stages of This Journey – Part 1

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Each wife’s story and each marriage is unique.  I write primarily for wives who tend to be dominating, controlling, “overly-helpful,” perfectionistic and disrespectful in their marriages.  Most of us don’t realize that we are doing these things and aren’t purposely doing them.  Many of us start out thinking we HAVE to act the way we do because our husbands “won’t” or “can’t” lead.  That’s what I used to think!

I have walked beside hundreds of women on this journey now, and, of course, I have been walking it myself for almost 5 years now.    It took me over 2 years before I BEGAN to feel like I had any clue what I was doing with respect and biblical submission.  It felt VERY awkward and foreign at first.  And I scrambled trying to learn from many different books but I felt like I was having to reinvent the wheel by myself, trying to learn what godly femininity was, what godly marriage was and what it meant to respect my husband and to honor his leadership.  It took 2 years and 10 months for all of my husband’s walls to come down.

  • My prayer is that God might allow me to put the dots closer together for those coming behind me than they were for me.

There are still some things I have been praying for in my marriage that haven’t happened yet.  That’s ok.  I desire to keep my eyes on Christ.  I want to obey and please Him and I want to bless my husband.  I trust God to work in my husband’s heart and to lead me through my husband.

Let me see if I can describe some stages from my perspective that may be helpful for the wives who are in the trenches early in this journey from being a controlling, disrespectful wife to a godly wife with a peaceful, gentle spirit who respects and honors her husband and does what is right and does not give way to fear.

1. CONVICTION

This is where God opens our eyes to the magnitude of our sin.  We may not immediately see absolutely all of it, but we can see enough that we are mortified, shocked, horrified and terrified to see that we are actually wretched sinners.

For me, this happened when I read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in December of 2008.  For the first time, I realized that Greg needed respect the way that I needed love and our whole 14.5 years of marriage passed before my eyes and I realized that if “respect” was the measure of my being a “good wife” – I had fallen far short.  I didn’t have an A+ on my Christian wife report card like I always thought I had.  It was more like a D-.

I finally came face to face with my sin:

  • idolatry of self
  • idolatry of wanting to be in control
  • selfishness
  • PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE – thinking I was always right and I knew best
  • rebellion against God’s Word and against God
  • disrespect towards Greg
  • disrespect towards God
  • unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness
  • usurping my husband’s God-given position as leader in the marriage
  • living like I was sovereign instead of God

For many of you – conviction came as you read my blog.

2. REPENTANCE

This is the stage when we mourn over our sin, acknowledge how very sinful we are and how much we have offended God’s holiness and we turn away from the sin and to Christ.

“God,

I am truly a wretched sinner.  I owe you BILLIONS of “sin dollars” that I could never possibly repay.  I have fallen very short of your standard of holiness.  I cannot begin to make things right with You on my own.  I cannot earn my way to heaven.  I cannot impress You with “good works.”  My “good works” are like You described them to be in Isaiah 64 – “filthy, dirty, bloody menstrual rags.”  I need the blood of Christ to cover my sin.  I turn from all my sin and turn in total faith to You, Jesus!  I accept your death on the cross for my sin – that in God’s sight – You took on Yourself all of my sin and all of God’s wrath and punishment against my sin.  You have paid my debt in full.  You have given me Your “bank account” so that when God looks at me, I owe Him nothing.  He just sees You, Jesus.  I receive you GLADLY as my Savior and also as my LORD. I want You to be in charge now, not me.  I owe you EVERYTHING!  Now, I want to obey You in everything You ask me to do out of gratitude for all You have done for me.  There is nothing You could ask me to do that I would not be willing to do.  I am fully Yours.  Make me more and more like You, Jesus!  I surrender my life completely to You.”

We also repent to our husbands – apologizing to them for our disrespect and control and deciding to learn to be the godly wives God calls us to be.

  • Apologizing once is probably sufficient.
  • A brief apology WITHOUT any explanation or justification of our sin is often best.

ie:

“Honey,

I realize now that I have been very disrespectful toward you and very controlling.  I see now how wrong I have been.  I am SO sorry!  I couldn’t even see all of my sin until now.  I apologize for my sinful attitudes and behavior and words.  I want to become the wife God desires me to be and that you need me to be.  I have a lot to learn.  I pray you can be patient with me as I ask God to teach me and change me.  I want to respect you and honor your leadership from this moment on.  I am very new at all of this, so, I may need help.  It is kind of like learning a foreign language to me.  Maybe you can let me know when I am being disrespectful or controlling, please.”

3. WE WANT TO LIVE IN A CAVETHE FRUSTRATING QUIET PHASE

I personally wanted to go live in a cave by myself for the rest of my life for quite awhile after God convicted me and I repented.  I saw my sin.  I knew how sinful I was.  I realized that almost every word out of my mouth was sin.  But I didn’t know how else to talk or think yet.

This is the phase where:

  • we learn to hold back and not say everything that we think in our minds
  • we begin to learn wisdom and discretion by stopping the negative, critical, hateful, prideful, bossy, condescending, judging, cutting sarcastic comments
  • we stop bashing and criticizing our husbands to others
  • at this point, we are still thinking the disrespectful, controlling thoughts, we are just trying not to say the thoughts
  • it can feel like trying to hold back an ocean of negative emotions
  • this phase is not sustainable forever – it can feel like “faking it” or “acting” at first, because we are not voicing our sinful thoughts
  • if we have been very verbal, this can feel extremely awkward and very, very quiet
  • we begin to step down out of the leadership role
  • we begin to allow our husbands to make decisions
  • we lay down all of our expectations of our husbands and of God
  • we recognize the source of many of our thoughts about our husbands – “My Demon
  • we take our emotional and spiritual hands off of our husbands’ necks
  • we may pull back emotionally from others (for me, I pulled back from everyone) in our lives as we try to figure out how to talk to people without sinning with our words
  • we may need to repent to other people (coworkers, friends, extended family) for our disrespect and control as well as our gossip and our negativity.  Usually, if a woman is controlling with her husband, she is also controlling with others as well.  I sure was!
  • this can be lonely, and we may not feel like we have a lot of outside support during this time
  • ideally, we would have a godly mentoring wife to talk with during this time and/or godly girlfriends who will support us on this journey and who are committed to respecting our husbands and holding us accountable for our sin

4. SEEKING GOD FIRST – THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST

We must tear out the idols (video) and dig out all of the sin.  We allow God to reveal to us more and more sin and we shovel it out.  We lay still on the operating table as He does open heart surgery on us and searches the deepest, darkest corners of our souls for every trace of ungodliness and gangrene so that He can remove it.  This is PAINFUL!  This happens many times in layers.  As we continue to go, God reveals deeper and deeper layers of sin.

This is where we “give up on our dreams for our marriage”

This is no quick and easy process.  It is God completely tearing out all of our old sinful nature.  The sinful nature does NOT want to die.  It is a battle. We dig down to the foundation of Christ and get rid of everything else we think we know about God, about ourselves, about being a Christian, about godly femininity, about godly masculinity, about marriage…  And we rebuild on the truth of Christ and His Word alone.  It is a total regeneration of our hearts, souls and minds. The tearing out of the old sinful stuff comes first.  Every idol has to go.

We must identify our idols, things we have been cherishing more than Christ.  Sometimes we can identify them by looking at our deepest fears.  Our idols are often the opposite of our greatest fears.

For me, some of my idols were:

  • SELF and being in control – I trusted myself, not God.  To get rid of this idol felt like I was flinging myself spiritually off of a cliff.  It was terrifying to feel like I was giving up control to God.  Of course, now I know that I didn’t actually have control.  It was all an illusion.  The only power I really had was to destroy my fellowship with Christ and my marriage.  But I had been living as if I was in charge of my life and circumstances and other people’s lives since I was about 5.  I didn’t understand the sovereignty of God.  So it was scary giving control to God at first.
  • feeling loved by Greg – I had to decide to find my contentment in Christ alone, not in my feelings or in Greg
  • Greg – I wanted him to be responsible for my happiness and if I wasn’t happy, it was his fault.  I expected him to meet needs for me that only Jesus could meet.  I drowned him with my neediness.  He could never do enough to satisfy me.  Eventually, he stopped trying.  When I idolize a person, I become a black hole of need to them.  I repel them.  Only God can meet these deepest needs of my soul for purpose, value, identity, acceptance, security, feeling loved and only He can give me real joy, peace and contentment.
  • romance – I personally had to stop reading all romance novels, even Christian rated G ones, and stop watching romantic movies because they created false expectations in me for what I expected Greg to do and they helped to create a spirit of discontentment in me.  (breaking the romance addiction)

Seeking God first requires TIME in God’s Word, study and much prayer.

It also requires us to humble ourselves before Him and open our hearts to everything He wants to show us and say to us.  It requires my willingness to acknowledge that God has wisdom, I do not.

FACING FEAR

To tear out all the idols, we must confront our deepest fears.   I personally had to write down my deepest fears and then wrestle with whether God is really who He says He is in the Bible or not and is He able to handle my fears or not.  And if He is really sovereign, and He were to allow me to go through some of my biggest fears – can I trust Him?  Will I be ok?

  • What if my husband dies?
  • What if one of us got a terminal illness?
  • What if one of our children died or got very sick?
  • What if we lose our jobs?
  • What if the government collapses and the nation is destroyed and we are living in ruins?

Is God big enough and sovereign enough that He can take care of me even if He allows one of these things to happen?

We submit ourselves fully to Christ as Lord.

Stages of this Journey:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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RELATED:

Nina Roesner has a great description of her view of the stages wives go through as they walk this journey of becoming godly wives and women here.

How to Pray for Your Husband so that God Will Hear

Avoiding Legalism

SOME TANGIBLE THINGS THAT HELPED ME KEEP MY FOCUS – these are things  that helped me greatly in the beginning of my journey, and they are things I still do.   Could be some things to prayerfully consider, pray about and seek God’s will for your life.  The internal is the primary thing.  If we are doing these things out of a desire to please God and honor Him and to bless our husbands – these can be very good things.

What is True Love?

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This is a guest post from Daniel at God’s Help For Marriage.

We live in a culture that praises the fairytale concept of true love. Hollywood would have us believe that love is all about that moment when you first meet and there is a “magical connection” and you “just know” that this is the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with. Or it is about those feelings of euphoria you get when you first start dating, and that if those feelings go away the love is gone.

And people chase this false idea of love their whole lives. You hear women say things like “I thought he was the man of my dreams but we got divorced because the love just wasn’t there anymore”. People talk about falling in love like it is inevitable, a force as powerful as gravity. And they talk about falling out of love like it is equally inevitable.

I call this initial period of emotional excitement the honeymoon phase. One thing is inevitable: this phase will not last. Those feelings fade. The intense desire to spend every minute together goes away.

People get divorced or have affairs every day because their marriage isn’t living up to the fairytale. They feel like their marriage has failed because the emotions faded.

These feelings are not love, they are attraction. Attraction paves the way for romantic love, but it is not love.

True love doesn’t start until after the honeymoon phase ends.

True love is when your wife picks up your socks and underwear from the living room floor because you left them there AGAIN. Or when she puts a new roll of toilet paper up even though you were the one to use it last. It’s when she picks up dog poop off the floor because you forgot to take her (the dog) out the night before. Or when she packs your bags for the hospital in expectation of delivering your third child.

True love is when your wife has the flu and you have to clean up her diarrhea, or her vomit. It’s when you hold her hair out of her face while she vomits and you’re just trying not to smell it. True love is helping her put her pants on when she’s 8 months pregnant and can’t bend down. Or giving her an anal suppository when she is constipated. Or pulling her tampon out after she just had surgery.

True love is like the old couple I just heard about on the radio, where he is hard of hearing but understands with perfect clarity every word of his wife’s soft spoken voice.

True love is about the choices you make every day, both big and small. It is sacrifice and sometimes it is suffering. Suffering with her because of her pain or suffering because something she did that hurt you deeply. Or suffering with worry because you don’t know if she will make it home in the storm that came out of nowhere while she was grocery shopping.

True love is about Jesus Christ dieing on the cross for your sins, suffering more than anyone ever has. It is opening yourself up to receive His love, to let it fill you up until it overflows, spilling into those around you.

What is true love? It isn’t a feeling. It is a choice. It is all the little choices you make long after the feelings are gone. It is so much better, so much richer, so much more rewarding than the fairytale.

And it’s yours for the taking. You just have to chose not to give up when things get tough.

Have you experienced true love? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

You can read more about Godly Marriages at Daniel’s blog or you can download his free report “The 7 Pillars Of A Godly Marriage”.

The Most Amazing Life!

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If you want to experience the greatest possible life – I’m going to share the secret with you…

100%  submission to Christ

Be willing to say to God:

I am FULLY Yours.

I hold back NOTHING from You.

I give You all that I have, all that I am, all of my possessions, all of my income, all of my career, all of my marriage, children, family and friends, my entire future.

I only want to know You more and to be full of Your Spirit.

I will find total contentment in You alone.  Nothing else can satisfy me.

Show me EVERY trace of sin in my life so I can repent and be made right with You.

I delight in obeying You and living by Your Word!

Give me ears to hear Your voice and let me be totally open to every Word of Life You have for me.

I want Your will, not my own will.  I sacrifice my will, my plans, my wisdom, my desires and my “rights” to You.

I wait patiently and expectantly before You.

If You want me to wait right here until I am 80 years old – I accept that.  If that will bring You glory – I am in 100%!

If You want me to move or change careers – I accept that.

If You want me to give up all I own and give to the poor – I accept that.

Any sacrifice You might ask me to make is nothing compared to the treasure of having You in my life.  I hold all things except for You very loosely in my hands.

I want only Your full and perfect will for my life.

Use me however You will.

I desire more than anything for my life to bring the greatest possible glory to You – no matter what the cost.

If I must suffer – I accept that from Your hand.  Only be beside me and allow me to abide in Your love and presence.

If I must be persecuted for my faith in You – I accept that and rejoice in it – that You might allow me to share in Your sufferings!

Thank You that You will never leave me or forsake me.

I want to hunger deeply for Your presence and Your Word.  I HAVE to make time for You!  I can’t live without You!  I NEED You, Lord!

I want to become exactly who You want me to be.  Change me!  Make me more and more like Jesus!

Use me – I am Your humble servant.

I can do nothing apart from You.

I depend completely upon Your power in my life.

You ARE my Life.  Nothing matters to me except for You.

Thank You for all You have done for me already.  I trust You with my future.  I can’t wait to see what You have in store for me!

Youtube Video:

Jesus Is the Love of My Life!  (7 minutes)

The Respect Dare, Day 18 – A Guest Post from Nina Roesner!!!!!!!

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Pic from www.ninaroesner.wordpress.com

Ladies,

I am so excited about today’s post!  Nina Roesner, the author of The Respect Dare, has very graciously written this one just for each of you.  I am thrilled to be able to share her words that – to me – are such a powerful expression of the main themes of my life and of my blog.  These are the treasures God has given to us as wives – the path to real peace, joy and godly power, the most amazing way to bless our husbands and families and the message that He longs for us to teach to the women coming behind us.

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The story in Dare 18 really happened.

Well, actually they all did. It’s just that some of them happened to me. This is one of them.

In reading back over it last week, I wondered what I could add that would be of benefit. I had no idea. Given I’ve spent the last two days in the hospital with my 15 year old son’s surgery, I really didn’t have an ounce of brain power to come up with anything good on my own. So I felt bad about that for about 38 seconds, then did what He knew I would do…and I finally asked Him what He wanted me to say today.

First, I want to thank Peaceful Wife for baring her heart and soul to help you. Like me, she takes some heat for living her life imperfectly before others. The most immature of her readers (immature in terms of where they are in the journey of faith – how well they know Him) attack her, having little compassion for a perspective other than their own.  We are all struggling with doing that to others in various parts of our lives. Often this lack of love shows up in our marriages or our relationship with ourselves.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dare 18 provides a brief glimpse into a moment where I wish I lived 100% of the time.

And I want to reveal something that most people miss when they read the book – they miss a moment with an imperfect but strong woman who knows who she is in Christ, a woman who is no one’s doormat.

(okay, I’ll be 100% honest – there are still two people in this world with whom I do not have this figured out yet – but no, I’m not married to them)

But in that moment where I did get it right, pay attention to what I did.  And what I didn’t do.

There are several “extremes” within the women that we minister to.  First, there’s the domineering, controlling type.  The ones afraid of having a man exert any power over them. This might not be the norm in your world, but in mine, this seems to be a good sized percentage of women. And you should know I used to be one of them – corporate career girl, confident, had it pretty together (or so I liked to think), and a bit bossy at times. Unfortunately, I lacked wisdom. If I had an opinion, I shared it – because to not speak up (about everything) would be acting like a doormat…or so I believed.

So yes, I was lacking in wisdom. And I’m still growing.

When I first learned about respect and Ephesians 5:33, it made me angry.

I didn’t understand.

I fought God.

And then I did research.

And like a pendulum, swung all the way over to the doormat extreme.  You know her, the woman that is a shadow of a person. Invisible. I actually read teaching from others who said that my life should revolve around my husband and his dreams and aspirations. That God created me to help him achieve his dreams – and I wasn’t to have any of my own. I was to equip my children as well – even if it all meant losing my identity as the woman God had made me to be in the first place. I wasn’t a willing servant, even though I actually spent a good deal of time eagerly serving my family. I still do, actually, but all the talk about being my husband’s crown by being his 1950’s house wife (all while working part-time and home schooling, mind you) eventually brought me to a place of depletion.

I had been taught that “submission” means he bosses me around while I am “never disagreeing.” The experience left my husband confused because I went from being a competent woman to a person who couldn’t make a decision. It left me feeling like I had no voice. I allowed others to take advantage of me in my home in the name of “service,” and “being a good submissive wife.”

Not surprisingly, my children started behaving as though they had a sense of entitlement and I was their maid. Nasty little side effect.

What’s missing from the majority of teaching currently available is the balance that comes from what lies in the middle of the two extremes above. And how the bible doesn’t really contradict itself, but rather is useful for Him to provide specific direction in the everyday moments.

And that’s what I did in Dare 18.

  • I told the truth about how I didn’t feel loved.
  • But I didn’t do it in a disrespectful (to myself or my husband) way.

And it was a moment born out of God’s leadership and wisdom’s teaching from the Holy Spirit.

There are times when “love covers a multitude of sins” in marriage. Like knowing when to tell the kids, “Dad’s having a rough week at work, cut him some slack.”

There are also times when “iron sharpens iron” in marriage. Like knowing when to say, “The kids need to respect me more, and I’d like your help with that. I don’t know if you are even aware of this, and I’m sure you don’t mean to do it, but when you cut me off and disagree before you even hear what I’m saying, it gives our kids the impression you might not be a respectful person and that you might not respect me. Can you please listen and ask questions first instead?”

There are a few lies out there – that “submission” means not voicing a contrary opinion, not confronting your husband’s sin against you, or having a good marriage means the wife never states a different viewpoint from her husband.  That’s utter hogwash.

Another lie is that “submission” is a part of the bible that doesn’t apply to women now.  You can read gobs about why it matters here, but understand that lie is also complete hogwash.  We are to have a voice – but don’t subscribe to those who think you need to shove your opinion down other’s throats to be heard. And know this doesn’t just apply to marriage, but literally every other relationship, work environment, family, or otherwise. Being heard has a lot to do with treating yourself with respect so you teach others how to treat you. The fear of other’s opinions, having made them our God, will cause us to sin and not tell the truth or not be gently, compassionately bold. And be open to continuing to grow in this area your whole life.  There is no arrival.

Understand as well that there are several examples in the bible where people questioned authority, and even so, 1 Peter is still all about how we are to submit to authority.

Consider…

  • Sarah telling Abraham to get rid of Hagar – and God tells him to listen to her.
  • Abigail and David – she totally went behind her husband’s back to save her people and find favor with David. Smart girl.
  • Nathan and David – Nathan gave David (who was King) a serious chastisement for the killing of Uriah.
  • Esther and Xerxes – she breaks the law to get his attention, risking her life – and wins.
  • Jesus asks God to “take this cup” from Him.

The bottom line is simply this:  We are here to learn to love God and others as we love ourselves. Only the Father can teach us how to do these three well. If we will stay plugged into Him by daily reading, listening, obeying, and praying, we will know what to do in the minutia of the moments of our day.

Know too, that there are other examples of strength and dignity in The Respect Dare.

Don’t miss them.

Don’t buy the lie that The Respect Dare makes you a doormat.

Wise women of strength and dignity are not threatened by authority.

Dare you to continue growing and figuring out that sweet spot in the middle of His will.

And know we are so glad you are on the journey! Your sons and daughters will thank you.

Love to you,

~Nina

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To Buy a Copy of Nina’s Book, click here.

The Respect Dare, Day 16 – A Sink Full of Dishes

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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

THE DISHES IN THE SINK

Unfortunately, I have a story to share about how I did NOT use words to bless and benefit and build up my husband.  Well, I have many stories, but I am going to share one that I definitely regret.  It is a good example of what NOT to do!

One day, I came home from working as a pharmacist for 10 hours around 7:15pm – it must have been about 12-13 years ago.   I walked into the house and smelled something wonderful wafting into the hallway from the kitchen.   Greg generously had cooked a big supper for us.  This was before we had any children.  I walked into the kitchen grateful that supper was ready.

Then I saw the sink.

It seemed like almost every pot and pan we owned was in the sink needing to be washed.

Greg proudly told me that he had supper ready.  And when he saw me look at the sink, he said happily, “And look, I rinsed off the dishes for you!”  He clearly believed he had done well and had been thoughtful.

I snapped at him sarcastically, “Yeah, that’s just GREAT!  You get a C+.  You didn’t finish the job.  I still have to wash all of those dishes and I still have to dry them.”

I knew that I would not leave dishes for him to wash, and I was angry that he didn’t wash the dishes the way I would have.  See – I was clearly “right” and he was clearly “wrong.”  That was how I looked at it then.

His face fell.

  • I can’t remember if I thanked him for making supper for me.
  • I definitely didn’t thank him for rinsing the dishes.
  • I didn’t ask politely if he would please also wash the dishes after supper.
  • I just fumed.

Eventually, Greg helped me a lot less around the house after I treated him with such negativity and criticism when he was helping me with chores.

 

TODAY:

Now, my husband is folding and sorting and putting away laundry as I type this post.  I didn’t ask him to.  He is just doing it all on his own.  I just thanked him enthusiastically for all his help.

If my husband does laundry, dishes, helps with the children, mows the lawn, works on my car, works on the house, kills a big roach or spider, brings me something from the flea market, makes supper, rinses the dishes, clears the table, takes me out to eat, cuddles with me -ANYTHING – I THANK HIM and SMILE!

  • I politely, pleasantly, respectfully ask for what I want and need.
  • I allow my husband to decide to say yes or no.
  • I don’t try to force him to do things my way.
  • I refrain from criticism.
  • I express appreciation when he does help me.
  • I accept no graciously.
  • I also understand that his time table is slower than mine many times, so I don’t rush him if he says he is going to do something.
  • I just trust him and wait patiently.
  • If he doesn’t do something – I don’t make a big deal out of it.
  • I seek to have a servant’s heart and serve and love and respect seeking to please Christ alone.

I let him do things his way and do not demand that he must do things my way

If I realize I did or said something disrespectful – I immediately apologize and do not justify myself or explain myself.  I just say, “Oh!  I am so sorry.  That was disrespectful of me.”  Then I try to start over again with a respectful attitude.

THE DARE:

– Let’s use our words to bless, thank, appreciate, encourage, lift up, build up and praise our men sincerely.

– Let’s focus on what is done well more than on the negatives.

– When we do mess up, let’s apologize quickly for our disrespect without justifying ourselves and get back up and keep going.

– From Nina Roesner in The Respect Dare, “Let’s refuse to find fault in (anyone)… the rest of the day.”

RELATED:

How to Ask Your Husband for Things So He Will Want to Say Yes – Youtube video 13 minutes (my son helped me on this one!)

Won’t I Lose My Voice in My Marriage if I Respect My Husband and Biblically Submit to Him?  Youtube video – 10 minutes

How to See God do BIG Things in Your Marriage – Youtube video 6 minutes

The Respect Dare, Day 9 – Overlooking Insults

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A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.  Proverbs 12:16

Nina Roesner has a great story to share in Dare 9 of The Respect Dare.  I hope you get to read it!

Many times, when people insult us, there is a lot of pain, hurt, anger and mess going on underneath the surface in that person’s life.  Often, if we can extend grace, we may just be able to salvage the relationship or avoid a big fight.  Taking every insult personally and trying to repay that person back with an even bigger insult does not honor Christ.  And it doesn’t bring people closer to us or closer to God.

IN THE PHARMACY

I have been working in retail pharmacy since I was a pharmacy student in 1992.  I can definitely attest to the fact that when you work with the public, you are going to be insulted sooner or later.  It doesn’t matter how kind, compassionate, competent and caring you are.

I have learned that insults usually come from something difficult that is going on in that person’s life:

  • he is in a lot of pain
  • she is a drug addict, and I won’t let her have her narcotics early
  • he has very low blood sugar and needs to eat something quickly
  • she has unrealistic expectations about what pharmacists are legally allowed to do and is unfamiliar with all the laws and policies I am required to follow
  • he has a dying wife at home on hospice and he is taking out his frustrations and anger and feeling of being out of control on me
  • she has been up for 5 nights with a sick baby
  • he has a lot of anger in him all the time and is just ready to dump rage on anyone he happens to come across
  • she has a mental illness and has not taken her medication properly and isn’t thinking clearly
  • he has a family emergency going on
  • she has had a really bad day
  • he has early dementia and his personality is changing
  • she is in perimenopause and her hormones are out of control
  • he is running very late to pick up his son from daycare
  • her mom talks to her this way all the time, so it seems “normal”

Sometimes, in the pharmacy, I know the back-story and that helps me to respond appropriately with grace, compassion and understanding.  Sometimes I still have to be firm and not give in when someone wants me to do something illegal.  Sometimes I don’t know the back-story – but now I am able to deduce that I am missing information when someone blows up at me and I am usually able to not take the insult personally.

In retail pharmacy, we are trained to

  • strive to give the best customer service even when patients get very upset.
  • listen so that the person feels heard before we try to swoop in and “fix” things.
  • respond with concern to a patient’s complaint and to do whatever we can to make things right.

Isn’t that what we need to do in marriage and other relationships, too?

IN MARRIAGE

I have learned that certain situations make it much more likely for someone to blurt out an insult.  When a person is:

  • hungry
  • exhausted
  • hormonal
  • sick
  • in pain
  • overwhelmed with stress
  • trying to rush too much and running late
  • out of fellowship with God
  • cherishing sin in his/her heart
  • having conflict with someone else
  • worried or afraid
  • feeling misunderstood
  • feeling disrespected or unloved

WITH HUSBANDS

Many times, if a husband suddenly snaps at his wife – I suggest a wife ask something like Dr. Emerson Eggerichs suggests in Love and Respect “Honey, that felt unloving, did I come across disrespectfully just now?”

If a husband seems fine and all the sudden gets really angry or shuts down – MANY TIMES, he is feeling disrespected by something his wife just did or said.

But sometimes he might be having stress at work or some other issue going on.  It may have nothing to do with you at all.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Proverbs 15:1

RESPONDING TO INSULTS

If we respond with more insults – that is going to be a huge fight.

I have found more success with:

  • listening
  • asking gentle questions
  • waiting for the person to calm down
  • asking the person to please treat me with respect so that we can work together (with a particularly hateful patient in the pharmacy – that actually worked wonders.  She and I were great friends after went out into the waiting area and sat beside her.  I calmly and politely called her out on her very disrespectful attitude towards me and I respectfully asked her to treat me with respect so that I could help her.)
  • asking with concern, “Is something bothering you?”
  • asking respectfully, “What can I do to help?”
  • depending on the situation, sometimes humor can diffuse the anger and the insult

There are times we must address the insult.

When I am in the pharmacy and a drug addict hands me a forged prescription, I have to refuse to fill it.  There WILL be conflict.  I try to keep it as low key and respectful as possible.  I try to maintain a pleasant tone of voice.  But I cannot cave in that situation just because the person is upset.  In fact,  I have to call the police if someone is attempting to get a prescription illegally.

IN MARRIAGE

Sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to.

Sometimes we must gently but firmly respond and engage in the issue.

Sometimes, it is wise just to let the insult go.

God does not say “Never be angry.”  But He does say

  • “In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”  Ephesians 4:26
  • “For a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires.”  James 2:20

If I am to be angry, may it only be about the things that make God angry.

THE DARE FROM NINA

  • “While being slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen – actively choose to extend grace to your husband…. Actively choose not to take something personally.”  – The Respect Dare
  • Search the Bible or online in a Bible reference about God’s anger

The Respect Dare, Day 5 – Slow to Anger

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My dear brothers, take note of this:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  James 1:19

In the Respect Dare, Nina Roesner shares a story on Dare #5 about how a wife applies this verse and avoids a serious argument with her husband.  The awesome thing is, he soon came to see his wife’s point of view and agree with her without her forcing the issue or having an argument about it.  Sometimes we as women figure things out before our husbands do.  But, there are times when wise wives will wait and allow God to reveal things to their husbands instead of trying to tell their husbands what to do or taking over.

QUICK TO ANGER, QUICK TO SPEAK

In the first 14.5 years of our marriage, before I really understood respect and biblical submission, I would often ask Greg a question –  And then Greg didn’t answer immediately – I would get UPSET.

I expected him to  know his mind on any issue right away- just like me.   I expected him to answer within 10-20 seconds.  I would wait – and sigh and watch the clock and count the minutes ticking by as he seemingly “ignored” me and “refused” to answer my question.

Then by about 15-25 minutes – when I had waited impatiently and pressured him to give me an answer, I would explode in anger and storm off – incredulous that Greg “wouldn’t” answer a simple question.

I was most certainly NOT quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Now, when I ask him a question, I give him time to think because I know that is how he works.  He is not being hateful or unloving.  He just needs to think quietly on his own for awhile.  Now that I understand this about him, I am able to offer him time, grace and plenty of patience.  God has changed my heart and opened my mind to see things from his perspective.

THE HOUSE

When we first moved into this 1960s era brick house in 2007, my husband said that the renovations that needed to be done would take 6 months.  Sometimes, Greg would stop working on the house and go tear vines off of the back fence.  I wanted that house DONE in 1 year or less – which seemed pretty generous and patient on my part, considering he had estimated 6 months.

(When I say renovations – I mean: making a new kitchen out of an old office, making a new master suite out of the original living room and den, taking down walls, tearing out most rooms all the way down to the studs and starting from scratch.  And this is a big house.    He worked on the house 5-6 days per week until midnight after his full time job for a year and a half.  My husband  wanted to be careful, methodical, spend money wisely and do things perfectly.  My goal was SPEED.  We had very different priorities.)

So when I saw Greg outside pulling vines, I stomped out to the back yard and said, “Why on earth are you pulling vines back here?  The fence is NOT a priority right now!  You said the house would be done in 6 months.  It’s been 5 months already and you have barely gotten anything done yet.  I want the house done as soon as possible!!”  (at that point, he had closed in the carport and made it a garage.  And we spent about 3 months just deciding where the master suite would be, where the kitchen would be, if we would have a dining room or not, what walls would stay and what walls would go… you know, normal stuff.)

I didn’t even ask Greg questions.  I didn’t try to understand his perspective.  I wanted the house done and I wanted it done ASAP.  I NEEDED HELP!!!!!!  I was beyond nervous breakdown mode by the second summer we were here because I had been EXTREMELY sleep deprived for a year and a half nursing our baby around the clock almost every night (Usually I only slept 4-5 hours/night of sleep in 30 minute intervals).  She was often sick.  I was often sick.  I was also working 20+ hours/week, caring for our 5 year old and handling all the housework, shopping, cooking.   I was beyond being totally overwhelmed.

A year or two after I learned about respect and biblical submission, Greg shared with me that when he was frustrated with a renovation project that was not going well – he would go outside and pull vines and try to clear his head and think through the problems he was having so he could work out a solution.

YIKES!

Imagine if I had been more interested in listening to my husband instead of demanding my way.  What if I had not been quick to fire my anger at him?  Maybe there wouldn’t have been any tension at all because maybe he would have shared with me that he used that time to think through possible solutions.  If I had known that, I feel sure I would have been a lot more understanding – even if I was very sleep deprived.

I see now that he was fixing up that house as a HUGE gift of love for ME.  He wanted to give me my dream home.  He wanted me to appreciate his hard work and the beautiful rooms he made.  What an amazing, talented, loving, generous man I have – to devote himself to such a massive project just to make me happy.  Wow!

NOW:

I understand how my husband thinks a WHOLE lot better which has made a huge difference.  I have let go of many unrealistic expectations.

I know that he:

  • does not think or feel or process emotions like me at all.
  • often thinks without words and uses formulas or imagines a scale as he is making decisions.  So it is difficult for him to verbalize things for awhile until he arrives at a decision.
  • feels disrespected when I pressure him to come to a decision too quickly.

So, now (by God’s power working in me) I:

  • am patient and ask a question casually and leave a lot of time for him to think without any pressure.
  • LISTEN when he does speak and pay careful attention to his unique masculine perspective and wisdom and I know that many times God is leading me through his words.
  • patiently wait and don’t try to force my way or force a quick solution.
  • share my feelings and desires and perspective calmly, in a pleasant tone of voice with a friendly expression on my face.
  • ask questions respectfully and softly if I don’t understand.  But I try not to ask “why.”  That question is disrespectful to many men.
  • am gracious if we don’t do what I had suggested or what I wanted to do.  My goal is to seek God’s will first, not my own.  I trust God’s sovereignty to lead me through my husband if my husband doesn’t agree with me.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER AND PRAY ABOUT:

1. What were some of the disagreements/arguments my husband and I have had lately?

2. Why did I feel it was necessary to argue?

3. How could I have applied this verse (James 1:19) and handled things without an argument?

4. How can I apply this verse on a daily basis when I start to feel angry?

5. Is it possible that I might be making small issues more important than our marriage or my obedience to Christ?

6. Do I believe that my sinful behavior (disrespect, yelling, cussing, throwing things, becoming violent, attacking my husband verbally) is justifiable because I believe I am “right” about the small issue and I believe he is “wrong”?    Is God more concerned with the little issue or with my sinful attitude?

7. Is it possible that my husband’s idea might just be different, not “wrong”?  What if he has valuable wisdom to share with me that I am missing when I get angry quickly and don’t listen?  What might I be missing that God wants me to hear?

8. Is it possible that I am exhausted, hormonal, hungry, in pain or have some other major physical issue that makes things seem a whole lot worse than they really are right now?  If so, I need to take care of that first before I unwisely get into any kind of argument!

YOU ARE WELCOME TO SHARE YOUR ANSWERS AND YOUR STORIES! 🙂

RELATED POSTS:

A Real Life Example of Respect and Biblical Submission

How Do Men Process Emotions

Men and Emotions Part 2

Men and Emotions Part 3

How Do Men Think?

How Men Think – Part 2

How Men Think – Part 3

Why Men Need Space Sometimes – Youtube Video (5 minutes)

God May Be Leading Your Husband’s Decision – Youtube Video (under 3 minutes)

Responding to Our Husband’s Constructive Criticism – Youtube Video (5 minutes)

The Respect Dare, Day 3 – My Godly Wife Report Card

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The Respect Dare, Day 3 – Nina Roesner poses some questions to wives to assess how they are doing in a number of areas of their lives.  They are GREAT questions!!!

She asks some probing questions about how we are doing as disciples of Christ, as household managers,  as communicators, and as confident and assured women.

To get the most out of The Respect Dare – I would strongly suggest

  • only doing ONE dare each day.
  • it’s ok if you have to skip days sometimes if necessary.
  • write down your answers on paper and really think about your answers to her questions.

You are welcome to share any of your answers to The Respect Dare questions or any thoughts about the questions on my post today.

What is God most speaking to your heart?

Is there something He would like to change in you?

What feelings are you having?

What concerns do you have?

What would happen if God helped you to grow a lot in some of these weaker areas in the next 3 months – what would that mean for your relationship with Christ and your husband?

I HAVE MY OWN TEST TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY:

Here is a great test to see where you are as as a godly wife and woman in God’s eyes.

** Caution!!!**

This may be painful.  Whenever there are things God wants to convict us about – it is definitely painful.  I am not asking questions to bring guilt or worldly sorrow that leads to death.   My prayer is that if God shows you something that He desires to change in your life, that you might be open to His Spirit working in you.  The pain can be intense at first, but then if you have godly sorrow over your sin, that leads to humility, true repentance and then the ABUNDANT LIFE of Christ and spiritual riches and treasures beyond your wildest imagination!

In Christ, you can truly be set free from your sinful nature and from specific sins and live in the power of His Spirit with His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control flooding through your soul and bursting out of your life every day.  That is the life I want for you and that is the life God wants for you.  Thankfully, He shows us the way to get there!

Please get out a piece of paper and mark a tally for any of these items on Part 1 that apply in your heart about your marriage on a daily or weekly basis:

PART 1

  1.  I think about divorce sometimes, or fantasize about leaving my husband.  I think marrying this man was a mistake.
  2.  I imagine being with a better man, thinking that my problems would be solved if I just had a great husband.
  3. I drown my disappointment and pain in alcohol/drugs/workaholism/perfectionism/control/spending money/addictions.
  4. I set my heart on things that I just KNOW will make me happy.  If I could just have X, I would be content and everything would be great.
  5. I have a lot of anger, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness towards my husband and maybe towards other people, too.  I hold grudges.
  6. I want to forgive sometimes, but it just seems impossible to really forgive.  I have been hurt too much.
  7. I talk about my husband in a negative way to other people.  I feel like I am trapped and powerless to do anything to change my situation – and I just have to get the weight of all of this off of my chest by venting to my friends, family and coworkers.  Then they’ll see how wrong my husband is and they will understand why I have to act the way I do.
  8. I encourage other wives to talk negatively about their husbands.
  9. I am primarily concerned with my rights, my desires, my wants and getting my way.  If I don’t get what I want, I am going to explain why I should get what I want until my husband until he gives me what I want.  I am pretty insistent on doing things my way.
  10. If I am provoked, I will scream, cuss, throw things, call names or say hateful things to my husband and maybe even to other people in my life.  If people would just treat me right, I would be able to be more respectful.
  11. I compare my husband to other men a lot, and I compare my life to the lives of others and feel like I have gotten a rotten deal in life.  I deserve so much more than this.
  12. I look at porn or flirt with other men or message/email/text/call/visit with other men.  I like the attention other men give me.  My husband never compliments me anymore.  I need some male attention.  Flirting never hurt anyone.  I know I would never have an affair, so it’s no big deal.
  13. I like to dress to turn other men’s heads.
  14. I like to use sarcasm and am pretty skilled at making my husband the target of my jokes and criticism.
  15. I often point out the things my husband does wrong to others.
  16. I complain when I don’t like something.
  17. I have a lot of regrets about how I treat people.
  18. I want things to be perfect, and tend to focus on things that aren’t right in others and in our home so I can fix them and make things as perfect as possible.
  19. I tell God that my husband needs to change and needs to change NOW.  He is impossible to live with.  He’s unloving and unplugged or, he’s unloving and mean.
  20. My husband is not a good spiritual leader.  I tell him all the things he needs to do to be more godly, but he won’t listen to me.  Nothing seems to change.
  21. If I want something, I am going to do whatever it takes to have it.
  22. I withhold myself sexually from my husband to teach him a lesson many times, to show him he can’t treat me the way he does.
  23. I only give myself sexually to my husband when I am in the mood or if I want something from him.
  24. I believe that I am always right and my husband is always wrong.  If he would just do what I say, everything would be fine!
  25. When I am hormonal, I feel totally out of control and I think, say and do the most awful things.
  26. If my husband doesn’t like my best friend, I continue to visit and talk with her as much as I want to.  After all, she and I have been BFFs longer than my husband and I have been married.
  27. I expect my husband to make me happy and be responsible for my emotions.  If I am upset, it is his job to fix it.
  28. My mind is always swirling with worry and fear about the future and how I am going to make things work out right.
  29. I only have peace for a few moments, and then my mind uncontrollably keeps playing the same “videos” over and over again of things people have done to hurt me or things that I am worried and afraid about.  I feel very anxious a lot of times.
  30. I expect to be treated like the heroine in a romantic movie or like a Disney princess by my husband.  I wish he would be as romantic as the men in romance novels and movies.
  31. If I don’t make things work out right, everything will be a disaster.
  32. I am very concerned about what my parents and my husband’s parents, our siblings and friends think.  I try to make everyone around me happy. It is exhausting!  I hate for other people to be upset with me.
  33. If I don’t tell my husband what to do and how to do it, everything will fall apart!

Please start a new section or column and make a tally mark beside all of these items in Part 2 that generally apply on a frequent (weekly or daily) basis in your life:

PART 2

  1. I am able to respond gently with love and respect even when my husband is unloving or unkind to me.
  2. I have joy and peace in Christ no matter what my husband does or does not do.
  3. It is really important to me to spend significant amounts of time in prayer and in God’s Word every day.  I can’t make it without that time!
  4. I have my heart completely set on Jesus – I want HIM, His will and His glory more than anything else in my life by a long shot.
  5. I rarely lose my temper with my husband.
  6. I understand how to treat my husband with respect and seek to show him unconditional respect out of reverence for God and His Word.
  7. I set an atmosphere of peace in our home.  Our home is emotionally and spiritually an oasis and sanctuary for my husband and family.
  8. I do not raise my voice at my husband or roll my eyes or sigh when I disagree with him.  I know I am responsible to God for my response to my husband no matter what my husband has done to me.
  9. I appreciate my husband and am thankful for him on a daily basis.
  10. I practice gratitude towards God daily for the countless number of blessings He has given me.
  11. If my husband has concerns, I listen to him carefully and try to cooperate with his wisdom.
  12. I view suffering as an opportunity to grow in my faith and to draw nearer to Christ and shine for Him.
  13. When my husband is having a bad day, I try to think of something I can do to cheer him up, surprise him or take some stress off of his shoulders.  Or, I know when I need to leave him alone and give him the gift of space and quiet so he can think and process.  I am gracious about this gift.  I don’t resent him needing some time to himself.
  14. I like serving my husband.  It’s an honor.  I’m glad to do it.
  15. My goal is to please Christ, and after that, to please my husband – the opinions of other people don’t really matter much to me compared to seeking praise from God.  If other family or friends or coworkers disapprove of me or my husband or are upset with me, I am able to seek to love them and treat them with respect but I am not devastated if I don’t have others’ approval.
  16. I see the good in other people, including my husband, and use my words to praise, encourage and affirm others.
  17. I am thankful for the chance to make our house a home and to take care of it.  It is a way I show love and respect for my husband and family.
  18. I don’t freak out about small things, but am able to roll with the punches and be flexible when unexpected problems crop up.
  19. I don’t get upset if my husband leaves a mess sometimes.  I’m so glad he’s in my life and we get to live together.
  20. If I want something, I ask for what I want politely and respectfully with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile.
  21. If I don’t get what I want, I am gracious and accepting of “no” and “wait.”  I am more concerned with God’s will than my will.
  22. If things go wrong, I am generally able to respond with grace, peace and joy and keep things in proper perspective.
  23. I am careful not to develop close friendships with other men. I guard and protect my heart and my marriage.
  24. If my husband responds to me harshly, I answer gently.
  25. I understand that Hollywood and romantic novels do not portray real life.  I avoid those things if they create a spirit of discontentment in my heart.
  26. I speak highly of my husband to other people.
  27. I very rarely argue with or complain to my husband.
  28. I have faith in my husband.  I know I can trust him. (Or, I am working to rebuild lost trust and I want to learn to trust him again.)
  29. I have faith that God will lead me through my husband, even if my husband sometimes makes mistakes.
  30. I trust God to speak to my husband and grow him spiritually without me having to verbally prod him or lecture my husband about spiritual things.  If my husband is far from God right now, I don’t talk about spiritual things, the Bible or church.  I allow my glowing joy in Christ, my spirit of willing cooperation with my husband’s leadership and my genuine respect for the good in my husband to draw him to Christ.  I trust God to open my husband’s spiritual eyes.  I know that only God can change people and waken them to His truth.
  31. I trust most of my husband’s decisions and cooperate with him often.
  32. I try to have a spirit of saying, “yes!” to things that are important to my husband.
  33. I give myself freely and joyfully to my husband sexually.  I don’t withhold myself.
  34. I am trustworthy.
  35. I am responsible with money, time, our children, my husband’s feelings, our home and the resources God has given to us.
  36. I consciously work to do good to my husband no matter what happens.
  37. I watch my words, my tone of voice, my facial expressions and my actions to be sure that I bless my husband and don’t become nasty, hateful, unkind or negative.
  38. I trust God in His sovereignty to work everything out ultimately for my good (by His definition) and for His glory, so I don’t freak out when bad things happen.  I know that God is in control and I can’t lose.  I might have to suffer or go through pain, but as long as I have God’s Spirit, I know I will be ok.
  39. I don’t worry about the future.  I take my needs and concerns to God and my husband and I leave the weight of the problems there and trust God and my husband to figure things out.  I say what I want and what I believe is best.  I share my perspective with God and my husband.  Then I rest in God’s love and peace, trusting His wisdom.  And I rest in my husband’s love – trusting God to lead me through him.

This test comes from Galatians 5:19-23.  It reveals whether my sinful nature or God’s Spirit is in control of my life. 

  • Part 1 shows what I am like when my sinful nature has control. 
  • Part 2 is what I am like when God’s Spirit has control.

How did you do on the quiz?

If you checked ANY of the items in Part 1 –  WOW!  Do I relate to you!

I could have probably only checked items in Part 1 for the first 15 years of my marriage.  That is because my sinful nature was in very firmly in control back then.  I had no idea how to have a Spirit-filled life.  I thought I was living as a strong Christian.  Unfortunately, a lot of the fruit of my life did not support my belief that I was living in God’s power and walking in obedience to Him.

If I have ANY checks in Part 1, those are areas where God wants to work and radically change my heart and mind.  He wants me to die to my old sinful self, nail it to the cross, and live in the new self that Christ gives me.

Don’t worry – we will walk this road together. 

God is about to do some amazing things in your life if you are willing to trust Him! 

It’s about to get good. 🙂

If you only checked items in Part 2 – you probably know most of what I am going to share already.  Obviously, God is very much at work in your life and His Spirit is in control.  That is AWESOME!  I pray that God might continue to work in you to make you more and more like Christ.

God desires us ALL to be wives who live only in the Part 2 area every day.  We can’t do this on our own.

But if we trust God, seek Him above all else and allow Him to empower us – He can and will transform each of us into the godly women of His dreams!

This is a process.  The process of sanctification.  The process of God transforming us into the image of Christ.  It is not instantaneous.  That’s ok.  Just be open to God and willing to do things His way each baby step of the way.  Get up when you stumble.  Repent and turn back to Him humbly.  Seek and desire Jesus above everything.  He will do the changing.

A Wife’s Confessions

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This wife is so adorable!  I love the way she articulates this struggle.  I think she expresses so well this universal struggle we as women have with learning to respect our husbands and submit to them as the Bible describes.  Of course, first we must respect Jesus and submit completely to Him.  It really is ALL about Him and our relationship with Him.  The marriage stuff is just the “lab” where we learn to put the theory into practice. 🙂  A HUGE thank you to this sister of mine for being willing to share her journey:
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The whole daily take up your cross can be easy thing to forget, but an important part of our staying connected and humble before Him.

I did an EXTENSIVE study on Rom 7 (why is it I do the things I do not want to do?). John Gill talks about a civil war going on inside of us.

How true this is!!!! The flesh does NOT want to be humble. It does not want to submit to my husband. I was reading in the Amp version of 1Peter 3 that wives should DEPEND ON their husbands.

Okay, icky secret: I don’t want to depend on my hubby. I actually hate it???

So, how many layers of pride must be peeled off to get me to a comfortable place of dependence? YIKES!!!

I catch myself getting impatient with my husband

  • cuz he walks too slow
  • he wants to hug me and I push him away.
  • He rubs my belly (when I’m sitting and the fat is spilling over), so I get mad cuz I’m so vain.

Why he doesn’t give up on me is a miracle!!!

Just a little while ago I got upset cuz he spilled some purified water. I’m feeling really dizzy, I don’t know why, so I think I’m a lil scared. I’m like this crazed person that HATES waste.

Anyway, it just reveals my inability to trust God. I value a few drops of distilled water over my super kind husband.
So what if he doesn’t validate me. Ugh, that’s something that really hangs me up. Being validated. How do you get past that?

At Wed. nite study we did 1Peter 3, to the wives and then we got to the part about the husbands. I tried to not listen too closely or I knew my flesh would want to use it as a “see, what you’re supposed to do” thing. But then our pastor said that husbands should not get embittered to their wives. This happens cuz some husbands never say no. Then it turns out bad and he has to take the responsibility, so he gets bitter with her.

My pastor said that a godly husband needs to know when to say, “No.”

YIKES, I’m sure my husband has learned to say no, cuz I would ALWAYS want my way thinking I am MORE right.

I struggle when he says no, and sometimes I’m right but I’m learning to let it go.

Pray I will not waver in my trust in God. That I will not doubt His goodness and plan even if it doesn’t look good from my perspective.

My flesh NEVER wants to trust God in the things I can’t fix. The things that seem so wrong. Yet He has given me patience and worked things out. I really need to trust Him more.

HERE IS PART OF MY RESPONSE TO SOME OF HER QUESTIONS:
Let’s see – how many layers of pride?  Umm… in my case, it was dump truck loads every day for weeks and weeks and weeks.  And then more layers revealed for a long time after that.  Pretty nasty stuff – and my heart is so deceitful that I may not even see it in myself even though everyone else can see it plain as day.
 
This wife’s icky secret is EVERY wife’s icky secret, as far as I can tell.  We want control!  We are daughters of Eve and we think we know best.  That awful pride entangles us and we want to elevate ourselves and our wisdom above our husbands’ authority and above God’s Word and above God Himself and be in charge of the universe ourselves.  We want sovereignty!  
But what we need is to humble ourselves and learn to trust God to lead us through our imperfect husbands.  It is our greatest test of faith as women, in my view!
Being validated – AH!  Yes.  We love that!
 
Well – for me, accepting that I would NOT be validated was part of learning to tear out my idol of “feeling loved.”  
 
I had to learn that I am not learning respect and biblical submission to control my husband or change him or to make him love me more so that I can feel loved.  That is REALLY important!
 

When I want validation – it is a signal to me now that I need to look to Christ alone for approval and for worth.  I am doing this for GOD – not for my husband, not to have control.

 

It is actually a blessing sometimes NOT to get validation – otherwise, it is easy to think you are controlling him with your respect and submission and turn that into an idol or a form of manipulation.  

 

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