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"God Showed Me How to Approach My 'Command Man' Husband"

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This precious sister in Christ responded to “A ‘Drill Sergeant’ Approach VS. a Godly Feminine Approach.” I’m so thankful she allowed me to share. Please seek God’s Spirit’s wisdom and prompting above any human examples you see here or anywhere else. God is the One with ALL wisdom and ALL power. He can give us exactly the best way to approach our particular husbands in every situation. We all need His power in order to be godly wives. We can’t do this in our own strength!

This is so true – our approach matters greatly.

My husband is constantly reminding the children and me at times that it’s often not what we say but how we say it. My husband is a “command man” and used to be a bit harsh when I was controlling and disrespectful. I smiled when I read your examples because I struggle with saying, “You need to…” to my husband a lot and he will usually respond by raising his eyebrows and jokingly saying, ”I need to?”

It took me a long time to learn how to approach my husband without him becoming angry or feeling as though I wanted to control or change him. It also took the power of the Holy Spirit to renew my mind and give me a heart that desired my husband’s good above my own.

God, through the Apostle Paul, exhorts us to “let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). This was what changed my marriage – when I laid down my desire to have my husband act a certain way and began to seek how I could love him and encourage him and meet his needs. This was and – at times still is – a struggle for me. But when I approach my husband like a drill sergeant its mostly because I want something really bad that I’m not getting and I’m not living out Philippians 2:3-4 which I believe describes the mind of Christ that we are to let be in us. ”In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others (your husband) more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others (your husband) too.”

A lot of times we feel justified in the way we speak to our husbands thinking thoughts like. ..

  • “He needs to do this”
  • “God wants him to change in this area and its my job to let him know, if I don’t, he will think this behavior is okay.”
  • “Why do I always have to humble myself and build up his ego? I am just helping him be selfish.”

(please see comment from Peacefulwife about these statements at the bottom of the post)

These thoughts do not come from Christ, He doesn’t think like that.

He wants to use [us] to love our husbands with His love, and if our goal is to love our husbands, our approach will glorify God. I remember one time God helped me to approach my husband in a feminine way that he still mentions at times. I spent many years trying to be my husband’s Holy Spirit, I would see things that “I” felt needed to be changed or did not meet “my” standard of what a godly man is and tell him what he needed to do. I thought I was practicing Galatians 6:1 which says, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”

My problem was that I skipped over the gently and humbly part and you know what – I fell into sin big time and usually we ended up in a huge argument. I would walk away thinking, “See, he just can’t take correction.”

The truth was my approach was not godly – it was self-righteous and I had deceived myself, just like the next verses say (Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.) I was fooling myself.

So after God revealed this to me, I begged him to help me – and He did. The time I mentioned earlier where God helped me we were laying in bed and I looked over at him and asked,

“Baby, may I have your permission to speak into your life?”

He grabbed my hands and literally almost cried. He responded, “Of course, Baby, the way you just asked me – I am open to hear whatever you have to say.” He said he felt respected. Then I proceeded to tell Him what I felt the Lord had showed me and he received it. I knew this was God and I went to sleep with a joyful praise to Him in my heart.

If we ask God for wisdom on how to approach our husbands, He will give it to us. We just must be open and humble to obey God when He speaks and be led by His Spirit. From my experience, God’s ways work – and usually (not all the time) –  if you go to approach your hubby and it ends up in an argument, you are trying to get a result using the means of the flesh instead of the Spirit.

I think a good and very godly and feminine example to study is Esther when she came before the king. She didn’t demand that he not kill her people, she sought the Lord and approached her husband in a way that allowed God to move on Hs heart. She didn’t have to rely on her flesh using manipulative tactics, she trusted God. And when she approached the king, it was with honor and respect. She said, “If it pleases the king….” And He responded by offering her half the Kingdom.

This is God’s way a wife is to be gentle and meek [meek = bridled strength] – this is precious in the sight of God. It doesn’t mean that you are a doormat, it means you are wise. If we feel that our husband doesn’t deserve to be talked to this way, then it is our heart that need changing.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I do want to note – that if this wife had used that respectful approach with her husband with her words, but really held contempt or bitterness in her heart – it would not have worked. God had purified her motives and her approach and motives were working together by the power of God’s Spirit – THAT  combination greatly impacts a husband for Christ.

Let’s talk about the thoughts this wife was having…

  • “He needs to do this”
  • “God wants him to change in this area and its my job to let him know, if I don’t, he will think this behavior is okay.”

The problem with these statements are, we could set ourselves up in our hearts as if we know better than our husbands what they “should” do. It is possible that we may see something they could do better. That happens sometimes, but if we are not careful, we could be approaching our husbands with pride, self-righteousness, judgment, or contempt when we focus on what they “need to do.” What are our motives in wanting to address sin in our husbands’ hearts? Our motives are so key! Are we listening to God’s voice or to the enemy?

There are times when we do need to speak into our husbands’ lives, but it needs to be only at God’s prompting and our motives must be pure.

God actually can speak to our husbands even without our help. Sometimes He may prompt us to silently wait and pray. Other times He may prompt us about exactly when to speak, what to say, and how to approach our husbands. This requires great sensitivity to God’s Spirit and a constant “abiding in Christ.” (John 10 and 15)

If we go off in the strength of our own flesh, we will probably either respond in ways that are too passive or too controlling. Both of those things are destructive. The goal is to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led, sensitive to God’s voice, and totally obedient to His Word and His prompting for us in each situation.

It is easy for wives to try to assume the role of the Holy Spirit in their husbands’ lives. That role is already filled by the real Holy Spirit. He does an excellent job at convicting and changing people. We do not. We are not deity. If we try to be God to our husbands, our approach will be destructive. We must be careful not to exalt ourselves above our husbands or as equal to or above God in our own hearts. If we approach our husbands about a sin in their lives, it must be with great humility on our part.

It is also easy to fall into the role of the accuser in our husbands’ lives. That role is also already filled – by Satan. Let’s not cooperate with the enemy! If we try to join forces with Satan, our approach will also be destructive. Our husbands need loving, respectful, humble, gracious teammates – not a prosecuting attorney.

May God give each of us His wisdom about how to approach our husbands and if we should approach them about various issues as we seek Christ with all our hearts! (To Speak or Not To Speak, Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin)

  • “Why do I always have to humble myself and build up his ego? I am just helping him be selfish.”

If a wife’s goal is truly to help her husband be selfish and prideful, that is a sinful, destructive goal. The real goal here is that we would seek to walk in obedience to God in the power of His Spirit, being filled with His Word, treating our husbands with honor and respect because we love God and love our husbands with God’s love. God does not call us to condone sin or endorse or respect sin. The goal is for us to build up our husbands, to encourage them, to inspire them, to bless them, and to do good to them according to God’s definition. The wife who wrote this post was describing her view of respecting her husband from a worldly standpoint in this thought. Before we understand God’s design and commands, we may misunderstand His Word for us. But as we seek Him and walk in obedience, we realize that He is not asking us to stroke our husbands’ ego, inflate his sinful sense of pride, or promote sin at all – but to bless our husbands and to be instruments in His hands for our husbands’ benefit.

RELATED:

How God Used an Old Truck and a Wife’s Faith

How She Apologized for Her Disrespect – Calming the Storm

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is “Always Right.”

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

REMINDER:

If you have severe issues in your marriage – actual abuse, uncontrolled mental illness, active drug/alcohol/gambling addictions, criminal activity, unrepentant infidelity, etc… – please don’t read my blog but seek godly, experienced, trustworthy, one-on-one counsel.

The Salvation Army – resources for those in addictions and in abusive situations

Celebrate Recovery – Christian addiction recovery

www.xxxchurch.org – for Christian porn/sex addiction help

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (not a Christian based site)

 

A “Drill Sergeant” Approach VS. a Godly Feminine Approach

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A “Humorous Wedding Cake Topper” at Wal-Mart.

Definitely not the picture of godly femininity we are going for!

And not humorous at all, in my view.

Warning:

Please do not attempt any of the things I talk about on my blog without the Holy Spirit’s counsel. John 16:14: “and He will give you a Counselor to help you and be with you forever.”   The Holy Spirit has wisdom that is infinitely higher than any human wisdom for our marriages and every other aspect of life. Jesus alone is Real Love and Real Life, and the way He gives us that abundant spiritual life is through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts. God will give the Holy Spirit to you if you belong to Him and ask Him to fill you. (If you don’t have the power of God’s Spirit in your life, it could be that His Spirit is being quenched by sin or that you may need more time in God’s Word and prayer – or it could mean you do not yet belong to Christ.)

That is what we all need more than anything, to let the Holy Spirit lead us as to how we should proceed in our life and relationships. Be sensitive to His Word and His promptings. What God has to say is always infinitely more important than anything I or any other human might advise. I seek to point women to Christ and the Bible. But each of us desperately need much time in God’s Word and in fervent prayer daily – seeking God and His righteousness and His kingdom far above anything else. 

———

There is a book that has a free download “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. One of the statements in chapter 1 is very helpful, in my view:

“THE MORE PERSONAL THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN, THE LESS A WOMAN OUGHT TO RELY ON DIRECTIVES TO GUIDE HIM.”

Sometimes the reason why our husbands seem to ignore us, shut down, or fight against us – may be as simple as they way we approach them – particularly our choice of words and our tone of voice. Of course, there can be a lot more going on than just this. Our motives, what we are asking for, the wounds our husbands have, our own scars, whether we are filled with God’s Spirit, where our husbands are spiritually, and a lot of other things contribute to communication issues, as well. But lets look at directives today.

A directive is a command:

  • Do this.
  • Go there.
  • Don’t do that.
  • You better …
  • Get in here!/ Come here!
  • Stop that.
  • You need to…
  • You should…
  • You shouldn’t…
  • You have to…
  • You must…
  • Give me that.

There is no relationship that is more personal than the marriage relationship. We may not even realize that we are using directives and commands in our communication with our husbands. I know I had never thought about that earlier in our marriage. Honestly, I don’t think many women or even older children would appreciate an authoritarian approach, either. I know I am glad that Greg doesn’t talk to me this way.

My giving someone directives is a great way to create resentment and bitterness in others.

There are times that directives are appropriate – if someone is about to walk into the street in front of traffic, I will want to scream, “STOP!!! Don’t walk into the street!” But most of the time, directives are unnecessarily forceful and they can be insulting. If I give a directive to someone, I am implying that I have the right to tell that person what to do (or to control him/her) rather than honoring that person’s God-given free will.

We can communicate effectively without ordering people around, thankfully!

A woman can communicate her desires, needs, and feelings with her husband by using respectful persuasive language, suggestions, or requests. It is important that if we use these approaches, we do them sincerely and honestly. I’m not saying to lie to your husband or manipulate him!

For those of you who tend to be overly quiet, “too respectful, “too submissive” or “passive” wives – the ideas below may give you some ideas about how to find the courage and the way to open up more and to begin to share more of your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. You are a person, too. Your ideas, wants, perspective, wisdom, and concerns are important and it is your responsibility to share yourself with your husband, to be authentic and vulnerable. It is important to use your God-given influence in marriage for God’s glory.

We can respect our husbands for being men by approaching them in a way that honors their God-given masculinity and value as grown adults:

  • I would really appreciate it if you would please…
  • Would you be able to…?
  • I need to get X done by tomorrow. How do you think we could accomplish this goal?
  • What ideas do you have?
  • What are your concerns?
  • Here are some of my concerns…
  • What is important to you about this decision?
  • Some things that are really important to me are…
  • I was thinking about this project. I really want to do X with it.
  • Would you please…?
  • I’m not sure I completely understand. Would you please share more of your perspective with me?
  • I need X, please.
  • I’m having a problem with …
  • I could use some help with …
  • It would mean a lot to me if we could…
  • Would you consider…?
  • What if we…?
  • Here are a few of my ideas… what do you think?
  • Would you please take care of X for me? Thank you very much.
  • I really appreciate how you handled Y.
  • Thank you for taking care of that. You really did such a great job!
  • I knew I could count on you.
  • You’re my hero!!! Thank you!
  • I’d like to try…

Some things to avoid:

  • insulting him
  • criticizing his character
  • mothering him (treating him like he is an incompetent little boy)
  • degrading sarcasm
  • a hateful tone of voice
  • yelling
  • scolding
  • purposely trying to wound him
  • rolling your eyes to imply he is an idiot
  • acting superior to him, being condescending or patronizing
  • gossiping to him or about him

Some ways to bless him:

  • use a gentle approach
  • use a pleasant tone of voice and facial expression whenever appropriate
  • show appreciation for his gifts, talents, abilities, and work
  • be genuinely friendly
  • be generally receptive to considering his ideas and to find the good in his ideas
  • acknowledge, especially in your heart, that you are both equally precious before God, equally fearfully and wonderfully made, equally image bearers of God, and of equal worth and dignity
  • respect God, respect him, and respect yourself

This same approach is going to be a way that we can respectfully express our needs, desires, and thoughts with just about everyone in our lives. It is good for us to share our needs, desires, and ideas and we can share them in a way that honors our own femininity and that honors the personhood of those around us.

Something to prayerfully consider:

  • How might these same kinds of things apply in our relationship to God?
  • Is it appropriate for us to give God directives?

Respect is part of the love God commands all believers to show to all other people. It involves using good manners, being polite, having true humility, and seeking to show honor to other people:

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. I Corinthians 13:4-8a

SHARE:

What are some effective ways you have discovered of approaching your husband and sharing your needs, desires, and feelings respectfully without directives?

If you are a man, how do you believe men feel when their wives use directives to communicate with them? What approaches do you believe would be more effective?

RELATED:

Godly Femininity

Signs Your Husband Feels Disrespected (and Unloved)

My Beliefs 

NOTE:

If your husband is particularly controlling or abusive in some way, please seek godly, one-on-one, experienced biblical counsel from a trusted pastor or Christian counselor. I am not able to write for wives facing severe issues here, and strongly encourage you to seek appropriate help for your situation. I don’t want anyone to be unsafe.

The Salvation Army may be a good resource if you are dealing with true abuse, active addictions, or severe situations.

Celebrate Recovery is a Christian program to help people find sobriety from drugs/alcohol/addictions.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

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