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A Young Wife Seeks to Honor Her Husband, Not Prosecute Him

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

A guest post from a young, Christian wife in response to last week’s post:

I have had a major problem with (acting like my husband’s prosecuting attorney) and continue to if I am not careful. I’ve been married only three short years and I’ve followed this blog very closely. It was, and continues to be, a blessing as I continue to walk with my husband in our very early stages of marriage. As I’ve continued on in this journey there are a couple of things that I’ve found to be helpful that I would like to share in case it helps anyone else.

TWO KEYS I HAVE FOUND

What I’ve found to be extremely helpful is studying and memorizing the specific scriptures about what God wills for wives in relation to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33) and then asking God to do two things:

1) To allow me to understand in a practical way what these particular scriptures mean and how they can be applied to my life in a practical way, for day to day living. I pray in faith and believe that He will guide me, even in the midst of a situation. The Bible states:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8)

2) That GOD work a respectful, submissive attitude into my heart. Though we may DESIRE to respect our husbands, we cannot walk this out in our own flesh! This is a biggie. We can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5). It will take His spirit to actually complete His will. Romans 7:21-25 states:

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

DEALING WITH DEFEAT

I know we may have times in which we gave the Devil a little more of a foothold than we ought have (Ephesians 4:26). I have beaten myself up and often given up because I’ve felt so defeated.

When I dwell in my sin I feel more and more defeated and wonder why I even try.

But most recently, I’ve tried simply asking God for forgiveness and asking Him to show me how to handle it more respectfully the next time. When the next time rolls around (sometimes within the same our, or even within seconds!) I wait expectantly for the Lord, remembering His commands and trusting He will give me the strength to carry out His will:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me. (Philippians 4:13)

A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON RESPECT

One more thing. I am an elementary school teacher. I thought about my authoritative role as a teacher and how utterly disrespected I’d feel if one of my students said or acted towards me the way I often act towards my husband. It would be completely untolerated and it would be inappropriate.

In the same way, I thought about my own boss (the principal). Would I walk up to my boss and say and behave the way I behave with my own husband with him/her? Of course not! I’d know I’d be fired and it would be completely disrespectful to behave that way in the first place.

It’s interesting that regardless of our understanding on how to respect parents, teachers, bosses, etc… we fail to see the importance of giving our husbands the exact same respect and to follow their leadership. We will behave respectfully towards our bosses and others we see as authoritative (as we should) but our husbands we disrespect right in the face of God.

It stings as I write this, because I am so guilty of all of this. But it’s still something I wanted to share as God continues His work in my life.

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Honestly, even if I had treated my co-workers or patients the way I treated my husband in the past, it would have been totally inappropriate and disrespectful. As believers, we are to treat all people with dignity, respect, and honor. And all the more so when it is someone in a position of God-given leadership in our lives.

SHARE

What kinds of things has the Lord shown you on this journey to become a peaceful wife? Are there areas where you are struggling and you would like to talk about things?

Much love!

RELATED

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – There is a chapter on disrespect, one on respect, one about submission to Christ as Lord, a chapter on God’s design for submission in marriage (what it is and what it is not), dealing with conflict, asking for things respectfully, etc… This was the book I needed desperately 9 years ago when I first began this journey.

Spiritual Authority Basics – for all believers in Christ relating to how we treat those in positions of God-given leadership

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

Posts about what biblical submission is and is not

What Is Respect in Marriage?

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame for Marriage Problems?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Ten Tips for The Journey to Become a Godly Wife

In the beginning of this journey to become a godly wife, when you are seeking to allow God to transform your heart, mind, and life I have found the following things may be wise. (This post is specially geared toward wives who realize they have been disrespectful and controlling.) Of course, all of us ultimately need to follow the Spirit’s leading in any situation:

  1. It may be best not to talk to your husband about what you are learning spiritually (unless he specifically asks) for usually the first few months, possibly longer. And if he does ask about what you are learning – it can be wise to keep things brief for a number of reasons.
    • Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things, especially if they are hurting because of our sin or they are far from God.
    • Men don’t tend to respond much to our words about spiritual things when they perceive that we are far from God or if they don’t hold us in a lot of respect at the time because of the way we have been treating them.
    • When we are beginning this journey, we tend not to express ourselves very respectfully about what we are learning and we can inadvertently sabotage ourselves if we try to talk about it a lot.
      • “I’m learning I need to be quiet when I think that what you are saying is really stupid.”
      • “I’m going to respect you because God says I have to not because I actually respect you.”
      • “Wow, it is really hard to learn how to genuinely respect you.”
    • Most men would rather not hear all the mechanics of what we are learning. There are some very spiritually mature men who tend to be more verbal who may enjoy hearing some of what we are learning but that would be pretty rare.
  2. Keep the focus on your own heart, sin, and obedience to the Lord:
    • In your private walk with Christ.
      • Focus on repenting of any sin in your life every day. Invite God to expose sinful motives and thoughts.
      • Pray for God to change you.
      • Thank God for your husband and the good things about him.
      • There may be a time where all you do is pray for God to bless your husband and you don’t pray for God to change him if you have been praying that with selfish motives in the past.
      • Take responsibility for your spiritual well-being and growth.
    • In any conversation you believe you need to have with your husband about spiritual things (unless he is involved in serious unrepentant sin against you that simply must be addressed sooner).
    • Yes, he has sins in his life, too.
    • When speaking with other people
      • (although you may need to talk some about your husband’s issues with a godly mentor/counselor, you can still do so very respectfully).
  3. Let him SEE and experience what God is doing in your heart by your change in attitude, countenance, respect, kindness, patience, peace, joy, etc…
  4. You will likely come across a lot of things as you learn and grow that he may need to learn, too, but I suggest refraining from trying to be his spiritual teacher. God can work on his heart in time and reach him in powerful ways you can’t possibly reach him.
    • If you approach him as his spiritual authority, teacher, or preacher, it will probably repel him from you and from the Lord.
    • We are not in a position of spiritual leadership over our husbands. God has chosen to give our husbands that role of headship.
    • It is SO easy to come across as self righteous or prideful if we try to verbally teach our husbands.
    • There will be plenty of things we can humbly share as a fellow traveler on this road later when the marriage has been healed as the Lord may lead – once our husbands are interested and ask for us to share.
    • Our words as wives about spiritual things are a lot less necessary than I ever realized for many years early in our marriage.
  5. As he sees the godly example you set, it will preach a more powerful sermon to him than if you attempt to lecture him, preach at him, or teach him. Again, words are not usually that meaningful to men. They are much more impacted by changed actions and attitudes.
  6. Start a list of all the things you can think of that you respect and admire about your husband. Add to it all throughout each day.
    • Maybe consider mentioning one sentence of something you admire/respect/appreciate about him each day.
  7. If you start thinking about all the things “he should do” – that is often a red flag to refocus on allowing the Lord to transform you first.
    • It may be wise not to read books or sections of books that are about what husband should do if that is a trigger for you.
  8. Don’t be surprised if he is not very supportive of your changes at first. That is pretty common. Yes, it would be awesome if he could be super supportive. If he is not able to be in that spiritual place of strength yet, extend grace to him and continue to allow God to radically transform you to be more like Jesus.
  9. Focus on being a safe place for him emotionally and spiritually.
  10. Find all of your security, peace, joy, and identity in Jesus alone, not in what your husband does or does not do.

 

Don’t be surprised if, as God changes you, your husband gets confused about what on earth is going on. That is pretty normal. I have some posts listed at the bottom that address this issue.

SHARE:

If you have been on this journey for awhile, what are some pearls of wisdom you may feel led to share with our sisters who are just starting?

PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,
Please give us the light we need each step of this journey. We yield ourselves fully to all that You desire to do in our hearts and minds. Cleanse us! Refine us! Purify us! We humble ourselves before You. Expose any sin and anything that is not from You in our souls and lives. Help us get rid of all of that. Help us to embrace Your wisdom and Your Spirit. Let us hear Your voice clearly and follow You wholeheartedly. Make us into the godly women You call us to be for Your glory! Use us to bless our husbands and families and those around us.
Amen!

Much love!

NOTE – There may be exceptions to some of the things I am talking about in extremely toxic, abusive situations. In such cases, seek the Lord’s wisdom and wise, godly, appropriate counsel one-on-one.

RELATED:

My book “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord”

I was surprised to discover that what my husband needed to feel respected really wasn’t a long list.

“I Need to Change! I Can’t Go on Like This!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This wife read a post for the first time on my blog – and has graciously allowed me to share her comment. I think a lot of us may be able to relate to this sister in Christ:

This post – “A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – I’m Actually Going to Believe My Husband” – was very helpful for me as I was searching the web trying to fix my controlling behavior, and understand the negative behavior I practice daily with my husband and as a result, I believe with God, too.

I am not sure why, but I am very controlling, very questioning, slow to trust, doubtful that what my husband is telling me is true, and very snoopy.

I have recently reached out for help because I believe this behavior needs to stop ASAP but i am not sure where it comes from. My husband is generally a very trustworthy man.

I constantly:
– ask him who’s calling/why he doesn’t answer/why they are calling.
– ask him where he was if he was late.
– ask him why he does everything he does.
– check his Facebook and search history.
– act like a private investigator to his life, checking every search, every phone call, checking bank account every hour to see where he spends and then call and ask why he spent that.
– try to keep him from doing anything harmful, no matter what the cost – fighting, yelling, and screaming.
– FEAR him dying from lung cancer, or having wrinkles or bad teeth from smoking.
– give him a disgusting dirty look if he says a bad word.
– pout when he doesn’t spend time with me.
– drive by his friend’s house to see if he is where he said he would be.
– FEAR he finds another woman more attractive than me.
– ask him why he looked at every person he looked at.
– accuse him of staring at a girl too long.
– get very upset and not speak to him the whole night if I believe he looked at another woman.
– question him about everything!!

You get the point. It is a painful way to live. I do not want to live this way. I say I trust the Lord, but do I? Do I even trust him with my own husband who is a believer and loves the Lord?  My husband is His – so why do I try so hard to make him who I want him to be?

When I was with my last boyfriend, I did the same type of stuff compulsively. And I believe I have carried it into my marriage.

I am worried and want this to stop. I started thinking that since my husband is not jealous, and since he doesn’t try to look at all my stuff and since he clearly doesn’t obsess about what I am doing, or question me about anything – he must not love me as much or the same way I do him, for some reason I am associating jealous and unhealthy behavior to mean love. But then I meditated on these verses…

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. I Corinthians 13:4-7

Every single thing in this passage describes my husband. It describes my God. It does not describe me.

I even started to wonder suspiciously why my husband forgives me so easily and so quickly?  Has he done something that if I find out about in the future he will need to make sure he stores up enough forgiveness toward me to make sure I forgive him? He must be doing something terrible or already done something (this is how awful my brain works…) I still can’t say that I fully believe that is a crazy statement and that its not true.

I believe I need to repent, and rely on God and pray He change me, but I feel I have done that before and nothing changes. Is there anything else I can do besides read blogs, books, and pray? I try to change so badly but what am I doing wrong 🙁 ?

I just hope someone can help me. I truly want to change. I really am hurting.

God bless you all.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I believe this wife is in the right place. I think of my online sites as a spiritual “ER” where the hurting, sick, and wounded can come to find healing in the arms of Christ and in the truth of His Word. There are TONS of posts here that I believe God can and will use to bless women – drawing them to Himself. If you are just beginning your journey, the posts at the top of my home page may be a good place to start. You may also search my home page for topics or search by category on the right hand column of my home page. 

I also have a Youtube channel, “April Cassidy,” with dozens of videos about topics related to living for Christ, becoming a godly woman, and becoming a godly wife/girlfriend.

If you need more detailed help or a more organized approach to this journey, my first book is releasing officially on January 27th! Amazon.com is already shipping it: The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord.  

I believe that this book is the closest thing to me personally mentoring wives. It might even be better, in some ways! The thing I love about books is that you can read and reread over and over again, take notes, stop and cry, stop and pray, and highlight things.  I personally had to re-read some books over and over – every day for months – earlier in my journey to really learn to let go of my old toxic ways of thinking and to embrace and solidify God’s truth in my heart.

take my readers through the beginning steps of this road and build the framework for God’s design for godly femininity, living for Christ, and becoming a godly wife. My prayer is that God might use me somehow to “put the dots closer” for those who come behind me than they were for me when I began this journey 7 years ago.

If you are getting frustrated, have questions, or need to talk about something – please comment! I’d love to do all I can to point you to Christ and to the healing available in Him for each of us. I try to be as available as I can here on the blog. My goal is to respond to every comment.

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do is to spend time in God’s Word, at His feet, inviting His Spirit into our hearts and lives to change us. 

If you want to share what God is doing in your life, please comment, as well. 🙂

SHARE:

How did you feel when God first flipped the light switch for you in your heart like this? What helped you the most when God opened your eyes to how much He desired you to change? You are most welcome to share your story. Every woman’s (and man’s) story displays a unique facet of God’s love, power, mercy, and grace. He may use your story to greatly bless someone else and to build up and bless the Body of Christ.

Much love!

"I Need to Change! I Can't Go on Like This!"

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This wife read a post for the first time on my blog – and has graciously allowed me to share her comment. I think a lot of us may be able to relate to this sister in Christ:

This post – “A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – I’m Actually Going to Believe My Husband” – was very helpful for me as I was searching the web trying to fix my controlling behavior, and understand the negative behavior I practice daily with my husband and as a result, I believe with God, too.

I am not sure why, but I am very controlling, very questioning, slow to trust, doubtful that what my husband is telling me is true, and very snoopy.

I have recently reached out for help because I believe this behavior needs to stop ASAP but i am not sure where it comes from. My husband is generally a very trustworthy man.

I constantly:
– ask him who’s calling/why he doesn’t answer/why they are calling.
– ask him where he was if he was late.
– ask him why he does everything he does.
– check his Facebook and search history.
– act like a private investigator to his life, checking every search, every phone call, checking bank account every hour to see where he spends and then call and ask why he spent that.
– try to keep him from doing anything harmful, no matter what the cost – fighting, yelling, and screaming.
– FEAR him dying from lung cancer, or having wrinkles or bad teeth from smoking.
– give him a disgusting dirty look if he says a bad word.
– pout when he doesn’t spend time with me.
– drive by his friend’s house to see if he is where he said he would be.
– FEAR he finds another woman more attractive than me.
– ask him why he looked at every person he looked at.
– accuse him of staring at a girl too long.
– get very upset and not speak to him the whole night if I believe he looked at another woman.
– question him about everything!!

You get the point. It is a painful way to live. I do not want to live this way. I say I trust the Lord, but do I? Do I even trust him with my own husband who is a believer and loves the Lord?  My husband is His – so why do I try so hard to make him who I want him to be?

When I was with my last boyfriend, I did the same type of stuff compulsively. And I believe I have carried it into my marriage.

I am worried and want this to stop. I started thinking that since my husband is not jealous, and since he doesn’t try to look at all my stuff and since he clearly doesn’t obsess about what I am doing, or question me about anything – he must not love me as much or the same way I do him, for some reason I am associating jealous and unhealthy behavior to mean love. But then I meditated on these verses…

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. I Corinthians 13:4-7

Every single thing in this passage describes my husband. It describes my God. It does not describe me.

I even started to wonder suspiciously why my husband forgives me so easily and so quickly?  Has he done something that if I find out about in the future he will need to make sure he stores up enough forgiveness toward me to make sure I forgive him? He must be doing something terrible or already done something (this is how awful my brain works…) I still can’t say that I fully believe that is a crazy statement and that its not true.

I believe I need to repent, and rely on God and pray He change me, but I feel I have done that before and nothing changes. Is there anything else I can do besides read blogs, books, and pray? I try to change so badly but what am I doing wrong 🙁 ?

I just hope someone can help me. I truly want to change. I really am hurting.

God bless you all.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I believe this wife is in the right place. I think of my online sites as a spiritual “ER” where the hurting, sick, and wounded can come to find healing in the arms of Christ and in the truth of His Word. There are TONS of posts here that I believe God can and will use to bless women – drawing them to Himself. If you are just beginning your journey, the posts at the top of my home page may be a good place to start. You may also search my home page for topics or search by category on the right hand column of my home page. 

I also have a Youtube channel, “April Cassidy,” with dozens of videos about topics related to living for Christ, becoming a godly woman, and becoming a godly wife/girlfriend.

If you need more detailed help or a more organized approach to this journey, my first book is releasing officially on January 27th! Amazon.com is already shipping it: The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord.  

I believe that this book is the closest thing to me personally mentoring wives. It might even be better, in some ways! The thing I love about books is that you can read and reread over and over again, take notes, stop and cry, stop and pray, and highlight things.  I personally had to re-read some books over and over – every day for months – earlier in my journey to really learn to let go of my old toxic ways of thinking and to embrace and solidify God’s truth in my heart.

take my readers through the beginning steps of this road and build the framework for God’s design for godly femininity, living for Christ, and becoming a godly wife. My prayer is that God might use me somehow to “put the dots closer” for those who come behind me than they were for me when I began this journey 7 years ago.

If you are getting frustrated, have questions, or need to talk about something – please comment! I’d love to do all I can to point you to Christ and to the healing available in Him for each of us. I try to be as available as I can here on the blog. My goal is to respond to every comment.

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do is to spend time in God’s Word, at His feet, inviting His Spirit into our hearts and lives to change us. 

If you want to share what God is doing in your life, please comment, as well. 🙂

SHARE:

How did you feel when God first flipped the light switch for you in your heart like this? What helped you the most when God opened your eyes to how much He desired you to change? You are most welcome to share your story. Every woman’s (and man’s) story displays a unique facet of God’s love, power, mercy, and grace. He may use your story to greatly bless someone else and to build up and bless the Body of Christ.

Much love!

The Pendulum Effect

Glasgow Pendulum
Glasgow Pendulum

These are some observations I have made on this journey to become a godly wife that I pray might be a blessing to you. 🙂

TWO SINFUL EXTREMES:

With almost every aspect of the Christian life, I  picture a number line.  In one direction is one extreme and in the other direction is another extreme. In the power of the sinful flesh, all we can do is swing back and forth from one sinful tendency to another like a pendulum. We swing too far one way then too far the other way – and no matter which way we swing, we create dysfunction. It is VERY frustrating! Some examples:

 

Passive/Doormat <———-> Dominant/Control Freak

Too Quiet <———-> Too Talkative

Subservient<———-> Disrespectful

Afraid/Worried <———-> Apathetic

Perfectionistic/Legalistic <———-> License to Sin/Carelessness

This is often why those who don’t know Christ get so offended when I describe being a godly wife. The only options available to us when we are operating in our own flesh and our own human wisdom are these sinful extremes. They can’t see any other way. If I am talking about not being controlling and not being disrespectful – the world thinks the only option is to be a silent slave with no value, no voice, and no power.

GOD’S WAYS ARE MUCH HIGHER THAN OUR WAYS:

God is all about a proper delicate balance and tension between contrasting qualities.

  • He is Love but at the same time He is Holy and Just.
  • He is full of grace, mercy, and forgiveness, but at the same time, He has wrath for sin.
  • He is patient and long-suffering, but He also has righteous anger and He carries out judgment swiftly when He knows it is the right time.
  • He is omnipotent and gentle.
  • He is omnipresent but He is a gentleman and does not force us to let Him reign in our hearts.
  • He is completely sovereign but He gives us free will and He does not override that.

We get a warped view of God when we focus on one attribute without understanding that all of His attributes are equally present all the time and that they exist in balance. Godliness is very similar – it is about proper balance.

 

SOARING ABOVE THE SINFUL EXTREMES:

The way I picture it, when we come to Christ and allow Him to be LORD and yield control completely to Him each day and each moment as best we know how – He doesn’t call us to swing on the pendulum anymore, He empowers us to soar on wings like eagles above those sinful extremes in a beautiful balance of godly characteristics. Of course, it does take time – sanctification is a process where we learn to allow God to work in us more and more – it is very much like learning to walk. We fall a lot, especially at first – but we are never exempt from falling. If we are not abiding in Christ and His Spirit is not in control, we can fall at any time into sin.

The world thinks of “power” and “freedom” as the “strength to do whatever we want whenever we want in our sinful nature.”

In God’s economy “power and “freedom” are the “strength and ability to walk in obedience to God for His glory.”

So, instead of:

  • passivity or dominance – we have the power to share our feelings, concerns, and ideas vulnerably and confidently but we don’t have to revert to doing nothing and we don’t have to try to steam roll people. God gives us the power to fly above the center of those two things in this sweet place of beauty and godly power.
  • being too quiet or talking too much – God prompts us when to be quiet and when to wait and when and what to say at just the right time in just the right way.
  • being too wimpy or too harsh  – God empowers us to be assertive and bold but with the power of His love motivating and compelling us to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.
  • subservience or disrespect – God empowers us to first of all reverence Him above all else and to respect Him properly, then we are able to show proper respect for our husbands and others out of reverence for God and a desire to bless others without viewing ourselves as subhuman. We have godly humility and no pride – but it is a healthy thing, not a destructive thing.
  • having fear or apathy – we realize that God is sovereign and we rest in His sovereignty and we realize that He is in control so we don’t have to be afraid even if we must face our greatest fears. We trust Him with our fears. And we can love because we aren’t trying to protect ourselves. We have God’s Spirit’s power of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • legalism/perfectionism or license to sin – we use our freedom in Christ to serve others in love. We know we don’t have to earn God’s favor through works. We are not under the Law of the Old Testament, but we are under Grace. We wouldn’t dare disrespect the Grace for which Christ died to share with us. We WANT to live holy lives out of gratitude for all Jesus has done for us. So we are no longer oppressed by legalism and trying to sanctify ourselves in our own strength and we are not involved in using the grace of Christ to trample the blood of Christ by saying, “let’s sin all we can so we can get more grace!” We want to please God and we have joy in living for Christ as His Spirit empowers us.
  • idolatry of others or idolatry of self – We tear out everything we have put above Christ in our hearts and set Him firmly on the throne of our lives so that He is by far our greatest priority and concern. We love Him far above others. We care about His opinion and His will more than anything or anyone else.
  • being enmeshed or being distant – We have the power to separate ourselves in a healthy way from others so that we are not trying to be responsible for their emotions or expecting them to be responsible for our happiness or our spiritual well-being but we don’t have to be cold and distant. We have the power to love with God’s love at just the right amount of distance/space.
  • seeking self-protection or martyrdom/resentment – I don’t have to try to protect myself when I know God is protecting me. I don’t do stupid things on purpose. But if I know I am in God’s will, that is where I want to be. I don’t have to fear getting hurt in my relationships because I know God will be with me and will empower me to deal with whatever may come and that He will use all things ultimately for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28-29). I don’t have to give grudgingly or as a martyr or be filled with resentment because I am no longer loving others to get what I want from them. I am loving others because God is in me and He is love. I don’t need reciprocity from other people when I have God’s power to love. I can love unconditionally and seek to bless others, knowing God is pleased and He will reward me.
  • trusting others too much or shutting down – I know that people will fail me. They are all sinners. I don’t expect people to be perfect. I don’t expect them to be Jesus to me. My primary trust is in God, not people. I don’t have to shut down from others because God’s Spirit empowers me to love. I don’t have to keep my distance out of fear. I can guard my heart wisely – but I don’t have to shut down because of discouragement, depression, hatred, or bitterness. I am free in Christ to love however He calls me to love.
  • people pleasing or selfishness –  People pleasing says that I must have the approval of others. Selfishness says that I only need my own approval. When I live for Christ, I don’t need the approval of other people or my own approval, my goal is only to have the approval of God. So I can live without man’s approval if I know I am walking in obedience to God by the power of the Holy Spirit working in me. I die to my own will and seek God’s will. It is ALL about Him.

 

EXTRA STUDY – GETTING OUR ACCOUNTS RIGHT WITH GOD:

When we receive Christ as our Savior and our LORD, we submit our will to His and His Spirit does the hard work. Jesus’ work saves us and makes us right with God. His death on the cross justifies us before God. That is an accounting term. He puts all of His perfect righteousness and holiness in our account when we receive Him. He takes all of our sin debt – our billions of dollars of sin debt – and He pays the entire debt for us on the cross. We are now justified. Our account has everything He is and all that He has done in it and no longer contains all of our sin.

There are 3 stages of salvation:

  1. Justification – cancels the penalty of sin that we deserved before a Holy God.
  2. Sanctification – cancels the power of sin in our lives as we learn to live in the power of the Spirit. This is a lifelong, gradual process that will not be completely finished until death. We still have the sinful nature with us. But God also gives us a new nature. The sinful nature cannot be sanctified. It must be crucified. In Christ, it was crucified so we can learn to live as if it is dead. The new nature doesn’t really need sanctification, it is already holy. But there is a learning process as we learn to take up our cross and allow Christ full control.
  3. Glorification – cancels the presence of sin.

All of these stages are done by God’s power, not ours. We cannot justify ourselves by legalism or works – by being “good enough.” We cannot sanctify ourselves by “being good enough” or “doing enough” in our own strength. And we cannot glorify ourselves in our own strength.

We are 100% dependent on Christ for every stage. It is all what He has done for us and what He does in and through us.

bald-eagle-3-1359074-638x421

“There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer”

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Yes! There absolutely is!!!

I spent up to four hours a day praying during those first 14 years of our marriage. God wasn’t answering my prayers. Why, in my case, was He not listening to me?

If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18

I have to choose. I can have Jesus or I can have my sin. I can’t have both!

God doesn’t make us change. He is a gentleman and doesn’t force Himself on us. He allows us to choose sin and misery if we want it. Or we can have Him, real spiritual Life, the power of His Spirit, and victory over sin. But we can’t have both sin and Jesus. We must choose one or the other. We can’t just sit around and be upset with God that He won’t change us. That choice is ours to make!

Sometimes wives say to me, “I have been praying. Praying isn’t doing anything. There must be more to it than that.”

There is! Yes!!! We must be willing to completely and totally surrender ourselves and all of our control and all that we want and cherish to the control of Jesus as LORD of all in our lives. He doesn’t answer prayers for those who do not know, love, trust, and obey Him – other than prayers of repentance (turning away from wrong doing).

If we want our prayers to be heard – we must be willing to give up anything that God places His finger on in our lives – sin, wrong motives, desires, dreams, all of our possessions, our bodies, our lives, our time, our health, our families… Jesus is worthy of us giving our ALL to Him. He certainly gave ALL for us! We must be willing to hold all things but Christ loosely in our hands. We must totally give up our will and Self for Him.
Then He will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and begin to radically transform us into the image of Christ. But He must be Lord of our lives, not just Savior. Those who love Him obey Him (John 14:23-24). Those who don’t obey Him – according to Jesus – don’t love Him. We must be in right relationship with God in order for God to hear our prayers. We come to Him through what Jesus did for us – not through any goodness in our own strength. We are totally dependent on the death of Christ on our behalf and His grace for our salvation. And when we do come to Him, we are totally dependent on Jesus living in and through us to empower us to walk in obedience. We can’t do any of this in our own power!

One of the evidences of salvation is that we have a desire to obey and please our Lord. If we cherish sin in our hearts and desire sin more than we desire Christ – something is horribly wrong spiritually.

The sin that I cherished in my heart that separated me from God and grieved His Spirit in my life:

Pride, thinking I was so much more spiritual than other people, a critical spirit, bitterness, unforgiveness, doubt (toward God), worry, fear, gossip, unbelief in God, lack of trust in Him, I had self on the throne of my life rather than Christ, lack of submission to Christ as Lord, disrespect toward God, disrespect toward Greg, idolatry of several things (things I wanted more than Jesus in my heart – control, my way, happiness, romance, my vision of marriage, etc…).

Until I am willing to lay down EVERYTHING I have, EVERYTHING I am, and EVERYTHING I might ever be – I am not allowing Jesus to be fully Lord. And I will be stuck in misery.

This is the path to the healing, blessings, joy, and peace of God in our lives.

  • Total surrender to Him.
  • Total trust in Him.
  • Total faith in Him.

Knowing Him more, loving Him more, obeying Him, His will, and His glory become the most important things in my life.

It often takes some intense wrestling in prayer to get to this place. It did for me! And it is scary at first. But once you do truly trust Christ and He begins to work in your life, you realize the scary place to be is trusting yourself and the best place to be is trusting God.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27

If you are afraid to trust God – study His character and His attributes and discover who He truly is! Ask Him to change your heart so that you desire Him more than anything else in the world. Ask Him to show you your sin and to help you hate it as much as He does. Ask Him to give you faith to come to Him! He will do it – if you are willing to give all of yourself to Him.

David Platt – Secret Church – Who Is God?

RELATED:

“Please God, Ask Me for Anything But This!”

Praying from an Obedient Life

Dying to Self

Giving All Of Myself to Christ – a Prayer

Godly Femininity

Stages of This Journey

Some Husbands Share Their Perspectives – PART 1

man praying

Here are some questions I asked the gentlemen readers a few weeks ago:

1. What are some things that you would like to ask your wife to do for you that you believe would make your marriage stronger?

2. What are some practical things wives can do in general that would make their husbands feel very blessed to be married to them?

3. What can wives do that would make marriage enjoyable for husbands?

4. What are the most powerful ways wives can inspire and encourage their men as husbands, fathers and spiritual leaders?

I am very excited to share some of the responses. There is something about hearing men share their ideas and their hearts and minds in their own words that is such a blessing and so very helpful to us as wives as we seek to learn to become the wives God desires us to be. Every husband would have somewhat different answers to these questions. Ideally, you may be able to ask your own husband what he thinks about these things, but, if you are not in a place in your marriage where that is possible, or your husband is not able to verbalize himself yet, these answers may be helpful and may get you in the ballpark, at least. I’d like us to consider that our husbands’ needs, desires and concerns are just as valid and legitimate as our own.

Ladies,

There are MANY things wives would appreciate our husbands doing for us, too. We have legitimate needs, desires and preferences, too. But, this two part series is not about what we want or what husbands should do or could do. It is about what our husbands want and need and how we can bless them.  So, as you comment, I would appreciate if we could stick with this focus, please. 🙂

PS-  if you are a wife whose husband is low drive and you are the higher drive spouse – some of the husbands’ comments may be upsetting and counterproductive to read. For some of you, this post may be one that would be better to skip.

Here is the link to Part 2 of this series.

HUSBAND 1

1. Don’t spare me so much. Don’t try to keep normal life stresses away from me. I don’t like going to the grocery store, but I know it’s part of life. I think it is a little mothering and demeaning. It feels like you’re trying to protect me.
2. Allow us to do our God-assigned tasks. That’s what we are built for. Let us fail or succeed but still be there. When you stopped picking on my bad qualities, it bolstered my trust.
3. Be adventurous in the bedroom. But it’s tough because from a man’s standpoint, you’re the wife and mother of his children. Sometimes it helps for the wife to show her sexual side.
4. Believe in them. Don’t say I told you so. Don’t crucify him if his well intended plans don’t work out. The key is for you to be his biggest and unconditional supporter.

 

(** A note from Peacefulwife – if the husband is the lower drive spouse and the wife is the higher drive spouse, a husband may appreciate less pressure sexually, at least for a time. For more on this topic, please check out this post.)

HUSBAND 2

1. What are some things that you would like to ask your wife to do for you that you believe would make your marriage stronger?

Pleasant demeanor when we come home. Verbally appreciate when we do things around the house. Smile. Offer a massage. Imagine if we all treated our spouses like we treat customers and co workers at our jobs.

2. What are some practical things wives can do in general that would make their husbands feel very blessed to be married to them?

Dress modestly. Immodest dress says to your husband his attention is not sufficient for you and you need attention from strangers. If you’re getting dressed or picking out clothes to buy and have to ask if it fits the definition of modest…it doesn’t.

3. What can wives do that would make marriage enjoyable for husbands?

Men have fragile ego’s that need a certain style of stroking. A man’s confidence and success is directly tied to feeling desired, respected and appreciated. Hearing your wife compliment you especially publicly or to her friends shows she respects you and makes a guy feel like a million bucks. I’m not sure I would jump on the bandwagon of “be into the things he’s into”. Quite frankly I’d be a little creeped out if all of a sudden my wife sat down to watch a baseball game with me or overheard her and her friends analyzing last nights Patriots game. Would I want her to watch a softball game I was playing in? Absolutely but it would really seem odd if she wanted me to train her in how to play so we could be teammates. It depends on your husband and what and how he would respond to your “interest”. We may not have the emotional radar you do but we know when you’re not really into something.

4. What are the most powerful ways wives can inspire and encourage their men as husbands, fathers and spiritual leaders?

Pray for us, pray with us and remind us periodically that you are praying for us. Men like to be reminded that you really are in our corner and have our back. A husbands life and death are in the hands and heart of his wife. Knowing I’ve done something to make my wife happy makes me feel good. Hearing it from her with a smile is an uplift like nothing else.

 

HUSBAND 3

1. What are some things that you would like to ask your wife to do for you that you believe would make your marriage stronger?
**When we started our journey, I asked her to pray with me. I think this is the strongest and most intimate thing a couple can do together. The next very important key is that she shows her respect for you. At home, in public, with family, always. Men are much happier when they know that their wife respects them. It’s an ego booster for sure, so be careful, men, don’t let it make you too prideful.

2. What are some practical things wives can do in general that would make their husbands feel very blessed to be married to them?
**I feel very blessed when my wife lifts me up. She supports my (sometimes radical) ideas and/or goals. Even if they don’t always turn out the way I envisioned, she’s always there to support me. Also, she does so many things around the house to make my life (after a long day at work) a lot simpler. From fresh coffee, clean laundry and a peaceful environment, to hugs, kisses and a desire to please me sexually, I feel VERY blessed!

3. What can wives do that would make marriage enjoyable for husbands?
**It may sound “old fashioned” or maybe (to the modern feminist) sexist, but if women took better care of their home, kids, appearance, etcetera, their men just might be a lot happier. Maybe it’s just me, but, I like coming home after a long day to a clean house, quiet kids, a nice meal, a wife that cares about her appearance, and things of that sort. MUCH more enjoyable than loud unruly kids, a messy house, and a wife in “cruddy” clothes. Also, try to take/show an interest in the things he likes. I love fishing with my wife, long drives, cheesy movies, classic cars, and we even discuss politics without arguing! I know, weird huh?!

4. What are the most powerful ways wives can inspire and encourage their men as husbands, fathers and spiritual leaders?
**Simple…Prayer (for their man and together), outward respect and devotion, and positive feedback!

 

HUSBAND 4

1. What are some things that you would like to
ask your wife to do for you that you believe
would make your marriage stronger?

  • She is available for sex.
  • Is good at making meals and learn better stuff from time to time.
  • A good home-keeper.
  • She is keen on being smart and good-looking even after marrying this dude.

2. What are some practical things wives can do
in general that would make their husbands feel
very blessed to be married to them?

  • Gentleness in how she talks to her husband.
  • Shows visible priority of husband over kids. The kids have legitimate need for attention but it should be obvious
    where her basic loyalty lies.
  • She is available as a helper when called upon without seeming to imply she is always doing this other more important thing.

3. What can wives do that would make marriage
enjoyable for husbands?

  • Giving gifts -doesn’t have to be a diamond studded bracelet ! Just visible proof that she wants to make you happy.
  • She is available for companionship and makes this one of her priorities (this is distinct from just sex).
  • She makes effort to learn what makes him happy and is committed to it.
  • She is keen to learn ways to continually improve her marriage and is not slovenly (ie allowing the water to find its own level). To acknowledge there is a better way that can bring more happiness.

4. What are the most powerful ways wives can
inspire and encourage their men as husbands,
fathers and spiritual leaders?

  • Not being independent when she makes decisions and consults her husband on relatively major to major decisions.
  • Trusting what the husband is doing is good/important. Allow him to even fail when he insists so he can learn from his mistakes. It is like showing the captain of the ship that your trust his leadership. This is an extreme motivator (my personal humble opinion).
  • Openly showing respect for him to the kids ( by acts and words) even by comments made when the husband is not present.
  • She knows she is not perfect and does not have to be the perfect wife but is willing to try on the above areas and others that she receives feedback on from her husband.

 

HUSBAND 5

Hi April, I just wanted to make one small ( but BIG) suggestion to couples. Please be sure to SLOWLY implement the changes so that your mate will not get defensive. I admit, I get ‘uncomfortable’ with drastic changes because I used to ‘sadly’ think the worst :(. The majority of the time – if we are sincere – we ALL want to make a quick change – but don’t weigh the consequences.

 

RELATED:

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Are Women Morally/Spiritually Superior to Men?

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God

Being Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally/Spiritually Shut Down

Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

Why Should I Have to Submit to My Husband in the Little Things?

When Your Husband Won’t Answer

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

Nikka’s Heartbreaking Interview with Her Husband

Respecting Our Husbands as Fathers

HisHelper Reflects on Her Journey This Far

studying

Normally, Thursday is prayer day. This week, I had the opportunity to work extra in the pharmacy, so we will change up the schedule a bit. 🙂 I do have a prayer for us at the end of this post – but I am also going to share some incredible insights another wife has been gleaning.

comments By HisHelper:

For me, my focus has shifted 180 degrees from obsessing about my marriage and listening to the lies of the enemy that tempt me to condemn my husband, to learning to quiet my thoughts and fix my eyes on Jesus and His truth.

Whereas I used to be very proactive with DOING things to improve my marriage (which only seemed to repel my husband), I now just focus on Jesus and my relationship with Him. It’s amazing how the rest takes care of itself. As Marcia stated above, “None of this is really about my husband. It is about me and my humbly seeking God’s face.”

That way, I’m not merely trying to quiet the lies, I am replacing those lies with truth.

The words of the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus keep coming to mind…

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
AND THE THINGS OF EARTH WILL GROW STRANGELY DIM,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

The troubles of my marriage have grown “strangely dim”.

While some things have improved, many things that I would have liked to have changed in my husband have not. BUT, peace pervades me so completely that I don’t seem to notice what’s lacking so often. It is not where my focus lies anymore. Jesus has changed ME!…The sin of many idols I had pursued above Him have been purged, and I know that I am more peaceful because of that, and if reflects in my marriage as well.

As I am walking in the Spirit, sin does NOT have dominion over me! There is so much freedom in that fact. Therein lies the power to defeat the “demons” that seek to put me back into bondage to their lies. As I abide in Him they cannot touch me.

Pondering this further… I can’t help but think that God meant what He said when He told us in Colossians 2: 9-10 (Really the whole chapter of Colossians):

For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
AND YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power.”

The principles of respecting our husbands and living a life of faith are laid out before us here at the Peacefulwife website, but the application of these things are really brought to life through the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (from peacefulwife – AMEN! AMEN!!!!!!!!!)

It is one thing to learn that certain phrases or body language communicate disrespect to our husbands, or that our condemning thoughts toward our husbands lead us to disrespect them, but the power to overcome that sin is found in Jesus.

All the time I was trying to improve my marriage, I was doing it in my own strength with many tears, frustration and constant failure. My ultimate pursuit in life was a godly, Christian marriage. (Not a bad thing in itself, except that for me it was an all-consuming desire, set far above my pursuit of Christ.) I can easily slip back into trying to walk out my life in the flesh. The difference for me farther along in this journey is this:

Now that I have tasted the glorious intimacy and fellowship with Christ and walking in His Spirit, I am more sensitive in knowing I am slipping back into the flesh when I do sin or neglect seeking that fellowship with Him.

Something just feels wrong. If I have slipped into sin I actually resist spending time with the Lord. Then I know I need to examine my heart and quickly return to the Father and repent (and, if necessary, go to the person I have sinned against), resting in the fact that Jesus is right there waiting for me, not condemning me, but ever so glad to be back in fellowship with me again.

Isn’t that just incredible love the Father shows us?! When you are loved like that, and are focused on the Source of that love, it is hard not to let it overflow to those around you, even in the most difficult relationships. The troubles may be all around you, but fixing your eyes on HIM and not the circumstance brings victory because His joy and His strength are freely yours.

Those are some extremely hard-learned lessons that I’ve only very recently had the privilege to even begin to understand and experience! I wouldn’t trade them for anything!! It is almost surreal how overall content He has made me.

As the Lord has begun to answer some specific prayers in regard to my marriage, I find myself thankful and satisfied with those answers, but they just do not compare to the joy I find in Jesus.

Whereas before, the Lord allowing me a little taste of what I had asked for when I prayed about my marriage would have made me even MORE discontent, and only fed my hunger for MORE. That idol was insatiable, and I know now why He refused to give me what I had prayed for so desperately!

I don’t know what He has in store for me and my husband in the future, as far as further answering my prayers, but I know that He alone is more than enough. The rest is just icing on the cake! :-)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I love this!  I think HisHelper articulates this journey so well. This has been my experience, too. Many of the “struggles” I wrote about yesterday – I don’t really think of as “struggles” anymore. Some of them can be struggles at times, yes. But usually, I am able to experience God’s victory and trust Him with things in faith that He will handle them for my ultimate good and His glory. So, things I used to get upset and anxious about – I lay in God’s hands and wait, trusting Him to lead me through my husband, circumstances and His Spirit. I may struggle/wrestle with some of these issues from time to time. But not constantly the way I used to – if that makes sense.  There is spiritual battle all day every day. But I am not usually in turmoil or defeat. And I am definitely not in despair! I approach issues with great hope and faith! Giving up the email ministry was a struggle for about 4-5 days. And I am sure that if we got some tragic news or news about a big change, like a big move or we lost our jobs or a major medical issue or something, it would take some time to process and lay those things down and rest in God’s peace. 

It kind of amazed me later yesterday that I didn’t even think about mentioning my longing to have more children which used to consume me in my list of “struggles.” I am not biologically able to have more children, the doctor said another pregnancy would likely kill me and the baby. I used to pray about adoption almost every day a few years ago. The same with homeschooling or Christian school for our children. Now, I feel no struggle about these issues. It is all His perfect peace. If God desires for these things to happen, He will place that desire in Greg’s heart. If He doesn’t, then He has other things for me and our family.

I shared in yesterday’s post about how at the beginning of this journey, I felt like I was pushing a car. That was me operating in my own strength. It was EXHAUSTING!!!  It took a long time for me to get into the car. I didn’t trust God at first. “God, how is this car ever going to move if I am not behind it pushing it?” Yes, I was THAT clueless! It took me a long time to get in and to sit down and to begin to have any understanding what the wheel and pedals and instruments were for. I am sure there are many instruments I still don’t know how to use! I have much to learn! To me, thinking about being tempted to disrespect Greg would be a lot like me being tempted to get out of the car and start pushing again instead of driving and allowing the car’s engine and fuel to do the real work. Not very tempting at this point. But it WAS tempting to get out and push earlier when I didn’t know how to use the gas pedal!! I sat still for a LONG, LONG time! I don’t usually even think the disrespectful things or hear the disrespectful things anymore in my head. God has been and is continuing to transform my mind. But when I do hear that voice of accusation against Greg, lights and alarms start going off to remind me not to go back to my old ways but to quickly repent. There are different temptations now, like I talked about yesterday. I pray that God might empower me to live in obedience to Him in ALL things! He is my hope!

I LOVE sharing this journey with all of you!  You are welcome to share your story, prayer requests, encouragement, struggles and concerns. We are all on this same road together

 Lord,

May we seek You with all our hearts until the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of Your glory and grace. May we joyfully lay down our burdens, our dreams, our desires, our goals, our priorities, our families, our marriages, our children, our jobs, our health, our money, our country, our future, our health and all that we have at Your feet. Let us delight to be living sacrifices for You each day. Let us delight in dying to our old self and sinful nature and putting on our new self in You and living in the power of Your Spirit, abiding in You, knowing You, loving and trusting You with all our hearts. Make us a holy people. Use us to bring great glory and honor to You!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

One Wife’s Story – 6 Days In

Winding Country Road through autumnal Landscape

From a wife, I am so thankful she has allowed me to share the beginning of her journey with y’all! I know it will bless you (If you have a story you believe God would like you to share here as a post, you may leave it in the comments, I may be able to use it!):

Testimony:

OMG! It has been six glorious days! Wow! I am so thankful to God and the Peacefulwife and I know that my husband is even happier!

So, what has been going on! Well, here are some comments that my husband has made:

  • ·         ” I don’t quite know how to take this change.” ( As in, it is a shock in a great way!)
  • ·         “I was always so angry and now I am just happy!”
  • ·         “God has really heard my heart on my marriage.”
  • ·         ” You really do love me huh?”
  • ·         “Our relationship is really moving in a positive direction.”
  • ·         ” I can see a change in your heart and that can’t be faked.”
  • ·         “I know there are things that I need to do also.”
  • ·         After viewing a post from the site (list of respect vs disrespect actions):    “Are you really willing to do all of this?  Any man would be crazy not to be in love with a woman who does all of that!”

Okay so that’s pretty great for a guy who doesn’t actually do a lot of talking right?

It has also been funny because he is just so baffled by my change in attitude.  The other day I asked him if he wouldn’t mind dropping me off at the front of the store before parking because it was so cold outside.  And he said “What if I say no?  Would you be angry?”   We both just laughed after the comment because it was so obvious that he has been kind of anticipating “the other shoe to drop”.

So, I have been really focusing on being committed to being a Peacefulwife and I want to share my Peacefulwife Plan to make it practical to others as well as share my experiences.  April, you have mentioned that this is a journey that should be from the heart and really it is a commitment that you make to Jesus ultimately. I totally agree with that for so many reasons, such as:

1.    My disrespectful actions have become a habit and mindset. I need God, the Holy Spirit and the Word to free me from those fleshy attitudes and perspectives.

2.    The attitude of respect, submission and humility should be directed to the feet of Jesus first or it can be easy for these attributes to be a form of manipulation and idolatry for your husband.

3.    The new respectful me operates in the Fruit of the Spirit and I need God’s grace to flow in that daily.

4.    Lastly, the purpose that God has for the relationship of the husband and wife being a metaphor for Christ (husband) and the Church (wife) requires that I learn to respect my husband just as I would Christ (metaphorically) and vice versa to the point that I am learning more about one relationship through the other relationship.

So again, practically speaking this is my Peacefulwife Journey/Plan:

  • Spend more time with God meditating on the Peacefulwife scriptures from the Word as well as meditate on submitting and respecting Christ in my life! (April mentioned removing everything from my “life-scape” and start with Christ then add from there).
  • I am working on encouraging my husband to take the lead again. I am reading about letting go of control and fear. This helps me to stop the criticizing, the “why’s”, dictating and frustration. This concept helps me release the habit of usurping leadership and exhibiting disrespect with guilting and manipulation, etc.
  • I am focusing on meditating on the unique ways in which my husband shows leadership and expresses his love. That involves me examining my expectations and really releasing most of them in order to clearly see the many things that he is already doing to love, protect and honor me (keeping the car immaculate, laundry, picking up items that I need from the grocery store, running errands, being on time to pick me up from work, being at home to be present with the family, being supportive of my career, etc). When I meditate on these things it opens my heart to him and equips me with the words and the attitude to encourage him to be my hero and show gratitude.
  • I am also working on my humility. I definitely had a “I am waaayyy smarter than a fifth grader” attitude (Network Engineer by trade) and I would look down on my husband like “Why the heck don’t you know this or that!”  Now I am trying to see his unique perspectives and wisdom. Also, I am working on using my knowledge as a complement to the team and understanding that we are all foolish compared to God’s knowledge.  I am just a mere human and we all need God’s wisdom to live a meaningful life and He is able to equip anyone and anything with absolute genius!
  • Seeing my husband as “Superman” instead of “Clark Kent” as a form of empowerment for him and our family.  I have had to take this attitude with Christ many times also.  I have had to “make God bigger than my circumstances” to help me comprehend that I have a powerful God and He can handle everything that Satan, my flesh, and my circumstances bring to me.  Now, I want to be the mirror for my husband that defeats any self conscious, self defeating and doubting messages that satan wants to throw at him by reflecting back to him confidence, faith, trust, adoration and love.  I am working on doing this by really listening to his plans and goals for his life and our family and expressing cooperation and agreement with his agenda. 

Example:

We just worked through a situation regarding our finances last night where I really wanted to spend money on some things that I have been waiting on purchasing for some time.  At the same time he had an agenda for our finances that involved obtaining stability for our family (a newer car, savings, etc.).  So I presented to him a “wish list” (via email) and asked him to let me know when I would be able to make any of those purchases.  I can tell it put a little pressure on him but less than usual because I formed the request as a “wish list”, a question and via email. So, later that evening he was able to express himself and say “ I just need you to be patient and as money comes in and I assess the situation, I will let you know how and when your purchases can be made.”.  He said it calmly, I can tell he didn’t feel like I was disrespecting him like in many times before where he would get frustrated and angry because he didn’t feel like I was willing to cooperate.  Also, he explained exactly what his plan was and I repeated what he said to acknowledge that I heard him and agreed with him.  This really helped because when he explained his plan it wasn’t laid out in “bullet point” fashion so to speak.  So I had to draw from the conversation and organize it for myself.

  • The last thing that I am working on at the time is exuding more femininity and desire for intimacy.  Well, let me add being more domestic also. – (there is so much to do.)

Anyway, I feel good that I can finally make a long list for someone who will do it and benefit from it and that someone is ME!

So, for femininity, I am working on smiling, using a softer tone of voice, looking at him more (I am directing this at my sons also).  Also, exercising, getting sleep and focusing on my appearance more.

There it is, these are the primary things that I will be working on for a while (I guess the next month or so) to help me make a significant and lasting change in my behavior, heart, spirit and attitude.

Thank you so much, April, for making this commitment to your husband and choosing to share your path with us.  You are making such a difference.  I am glad that you did it just for me let alone all of the other marriages, wives and families that have benefited.  When I see people criticize you and your husband on the site it almost brings me to tears (after anger – lol) but then I remember that these people are actually assaulting Christ unknowingly and He is able to defend Himself.  I just hope to encourage you and other to please keep sharing.  YOU ARE HELPING, YOU ARE DEFEATING THE PLANS OF THE ENEMY!  We overcome him by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our Testimony.  God bless you!

You may use any of this message to benefit the Peacefulwife mission through sharing, posting, etc.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This wife is off to a great start! Her husband is very receptive, which is not always the case. Sometimes husbands are much more skeptical. The less disrespectful a wife has been, the less controlling she has been, the closer she is to God and the closer her husband is to God can make this journey less difficult and less painful. Things can happen a lot faster in situations like this, especially if the wife completely submits herself to Christ and really “gets” that.  Some couples stay in this honeymoon phase.  Some go through some more valleys. Each story is unique and the timing of what will happen will be different for each couple. That is why I want to share many wives’ stories. Tomorrow, I will be sharing a wife’s story who remained peaceful through her husband separating from her on this journey.

  • The key thing here is GOD, not us and not our husbands’ responses.

There is usually a bit of a pattern that this journey follows…

1. A wife’s epiphany.

2. Her repentance to God and to her husband.

3. She sees her sin but doesn’t really know how to stop it all the sudden and how to change so much at one time. She may feel very overwhelmed for awhile.

4. She realizes that she can’t do this. That is actually a really good thing – because we have to understand we can only do this through the power of God’s Spirit, not on our own.

5. There is sometimes a honeymoon phase for both the husband and wife.

6. The wife messes up in some way. Husbands can get really scared when this happens sometimes, they think it means she has not really changed. It doesn’t usually mean that at all. This is more like a baby learning to walk. She can’t sprint or run a marathon immediately. This is a LONG, SLOW process of learning. SHE WILL FALL sometimes. At first, she will fall a lot. This is the process of sanctification, where God makes us more and more like Christ. We have to learn to truly die to self and truly submit to Christ. Sometimes we will fall. Then we just have to get right back up and keep learning. I pray for husbands to have patience because it takes many, many months before most wives begin to feel like this stuff all comes “naturally.” It is not an overnight thing to completely throw out everything you think you know about marriage, being a woman and following Christ and rebuilding it all from scratch. There are warped ideas and bad habits that have been engrained for decades that have to be removed. If a wife stumbles and falls, she can repent to God and to her husband, learn from her mistake and keep going.

7. Sometimes when a wife makes some mistakes and sins again, some husbands get REALY upset and shut down again even more than before. They may think that they had a chance at Paradise but now it has all been lost. It has NOT!  But it is much more difficult than most husbands realize for a wife to lay down all her pride, lay down her warped ideas about herself knowing best, begin to understand and accept and trust God’s sovereignty, begin to know what actually is disrespectful/respectful and to understand what on earth it means to honor her husband’s leadership. She is going totally against her sinful nature, the culture, the enemy’s lies, her intuition and all of the bad habits she has built up over the years.

Sometimes husbands may seem more upset than before after their wives begin this journey. Here is a post about that.

8. The wife will probably go through a long “Frustrating Quiet Phase” where she almost stops talking because she realizes if she talks, sin is going to come out of her mouth. At first, we have to try to hold back all of our sinful ocean of thoughts. It is REALLY HARD!  Especially when we are used to spewing our negativity, pride, self-righteousness, disrespect and control everywhere.  This is the beginning of learning true, godly wisdom.  We will learn to take every thought captive during this time and combat the lies we are telling ourselves with the truth of God’s Word until God begins to change our hearts, our minds and our souls. He will give us new desires and new power to obey Him that we never had before.

9. Then we will begin to learn to use our words for GOOD, and begin to add respectful things. At first what we do and say will feel fake, awkward and foreign. We may have never seen anyone do any of these things. We may not have ever said these kinds of words before. That is ok! We will learn and it will eventually become a new habit – very much like learning a new language.  Here are some things several husbands said feel respectful to them that we may want to add.

10. Then we will usually notice that our husbands aren’t “changing” like we want them to. We may get resentful. We may start to think we are doing all of this extremely hard work “for nothing.” This stage is REALLY IMPORTANT because it is during this stage and this long time that our husbands are waiting to see if this is for real and they are still standing back a good bit from us, that we will learn to purify our motives and ONLY do these things because we want to love and obey Christ and please Him, NOT to change our husbands. If our husbands did change quickly, we might continue to cling to our idols of self, control and our husbands. God will not allow that to happen. The fact that it usually takes such a long time for husbands to really feel safe again with us gives us a lot of time to refine our motives and to become more and more Christlike. We learn to do this for God, not because of what we will “get” from our husbands. We “get” that this is ALL about us and Jesus.

Husbands have their own stages they go through, too! This is a big learning curve for them as well as God changes us so radically.

I have some posts about these things :

The Stages of This Journey

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control is a Journey (a post by Nina Roesner “The Respect Dare” author, lists stages she has seen on this journey.)

For Husbands, “So Your Wife Wants to Be a Peacefulwife?”

My husband’s perspective as God changed me

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