Strong Marriages Do Not Happen By Accident

Strong marriages seem to happen magically on movies and in romantic novels sometimes. But the truth is that strong marriages are built. There are very specific building blocks that are required to develop strong, healthy marriages. These are things that any of us can do – if we are in Christ and we are working in His power. There are specific things that create healthy marriages and relationships and there are specific things that destroy healthy marriages and relationships. We can’t control our spouse, but we do get to control our end of things – with God’s help.

MARRIAGE DESTROYERS:

 

MARRIAGE BUILDERS

 

This week, in your quiet time, invite God to show you the marriage destroyers in your life. Begin to get rid of them all. And invite God to help you begin to practice some marriage builders. Your marriage, your husband, your children, the Lord, and even you, yourself, will be greatly blessed as you become more and more the woman of God He calls you to be.

Much love!

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus as your Savior and Lord – that is your first need. Then He can give you the power to do the marriage/relationship building things.

One of Your Most Powerful Gifts As a Woman

 

A smile costs you nothing, but it is such an incredible blessing to those around you. You may not see your own facial expressions, so it is easy not to think about them much, but those around you definitely notice them.

This week, I’d love to challenge and encourage you to:

  1. Seek to give your brightest, most glorious smile to your husband and children when you first see them.
  2. Every time you walk in the room and one of your family members are there, smile at them.
  3. When your husband or children are talking with you (and it is not something sad or really serious), smile a genuinely friendly smile at them. 

You don’t have to have lipstick or makeup on. You don’t have to have perfectly white or straight teeth to do this. You don’t have to have any special talent and it doesn’t take much time at all.

All you have to do is just share that glorious smile of yours with your family.

As believers in Christ, we have more about which to smile than anyone on the planet. So we don’t have to fake a smile, thankfully. If you aren’t feeling up to smiling much, spend some time singing praises at the top of your voice to the Lord when you are by yourself in the car or at home doing chores. As you focus on God’s character and all of the countless blessings He has given to you, you may realize you have a lot to be thankful for.

Receive God’s radiant smile and love for you. Do you realize that He rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17)? How beautiful and precious is that!?

If you are feeling overwhelmed on this journey, take a break. Rest in God’s love for you. Receive His goodness, His truth, and His healing for your soul. Focus only on thanksgiving and praise for awhile. Find your joy in Christ Jesus. Think about Philippians 4:8 kinds of things, which is God’s will for all of us as believers:

  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8

That is the most powerful thing you can do. As you draw near to Him, Your heart and soul will heal and shine. After He has filled up you to overflowing…

Radiate that glorious smile of yours to everyone in your family!

You are the “heart” of the home. You get to have a huge impact on the emotional and spiritual temperature in your family. I want to see you set the atmosphere to warm, safe, welcoming, and loving. Yes… your smile has that much power! And even if there is a lot of tension in your marriage and your husband can’t hear words from you right now, as you smile at him – you are showing him you are a safe place, that you have the joy of Christ in your heart, and that you have good things to give to him when he is ready to receive them.

What a priceless gift this will be to those you love. You may be shocked at what happens as you simply share this beautiful asset of yours with those you love.

SHARE

Smile at your family without any expectations of anyone doing anything for you in return. Then let me know what happens as you focus on blessing your husband and children with your beautiful smile this week, my precious sisters. As you think about good things, and as you focus on smiling – does anything change in your walk with Christ, your own feelings, or your relationships?

  • A joyful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22
  • Those who look to him are radiant. Psalm 34:5
  • Rejoice in the Lord always. Philippians 4:4

RELATED:

There are many benefits to you personally when you smile – even a number of health benefits. Check out this article!

My Welcome Home Plan – Peacefulwife VIDEO

Has This Journey Gotten Easier for Me? Part 1

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I am extremely thankful for Kayla’s post yesterday – how I wish I could have read it during the first few years of my journey! I know it would have helped me so much! We have different perspectives and ways of looking at things, and I love that! I like to share as many different wives’ perspectives as possible.

This is my perspective on my journey.

The first 2+ years of my journey felt like complete emotional and spiritual contortion every single day.

It was VERY difficult, awkward and totally foreign. I felt like I was having to reinvent the wheel and figure out almost totally on my own what respect, disrespect, biblical submission, godly femininity and being a godly wife meant. It seemed like learning a foreign language without a teacher many days! After about 2.5 years, I began to not have to struggle as much to know what was respectful vs. disrespectful and I began to be able to do/say the respectful thing a lot more naturally without having to go through a big battle most of the time.  BUT – I spent those 2.5 years studying, reading,  praying, begging God to teach me for several hours every single day and I read over 30 books on godly marriage during that time and biblical femininity. I felt like I was getting a college degree in this stuff!

In the past two years, I have probably spent way over 4000 hours (I would guess a minimum of 30-40, but many times 50 hours per week) writing about the subjects of respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  So – that has probably helped to keep me extremely focused on this topic, I would daresay.

Every wife’s story is different. Every wife’s timetable is different. I have seen some women for whom all of this seemed to “click” within WEEKS. But I have seen some women for whom it has taken 10 years or longer for things to really settle in their minds about becoming a godly wife and woman. There are MANY factors involved!  Please check out this post to see how the stages often go (by Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare).

  • Sometimes struggling on this road can come from sin we are still cherishing in our hearts: unbelief, disobedience to God, idols, bitterness, gossip, control, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness, etc that we don’t realize are still there. As long as we hold on to sin, ANY sin, we cannot have God’s power full blast in our lives.
  • Sometimes we THINK we have stopped all of our disrespect (or some other sin like bitterness), and don’t realize that we are still doing disrespectful things we don’t even notice that are keeping us stuck.
  • Sometimes it just takes time to learn and absorb so much. I often talk about, this process is kind of like “eating an elephant.” You can’t really eat it all at once. We can only absorb so much at a time.
  • Becoming a godly wife is part of the process of sanctification, too – which lasts our entire lifetime – as God’s Spirit makes us more and more like Christ. We will not be “perfect” until heaven!
  • My willingness to obey God and submit to Him plays a huge factor here. If I balk and rebel against what God asks me to do – I will definitely slow the process down dramatically – wandering in the wilderness until I am willing to obey Him.
  • Other times, we struggle because of intense spiritual warfare – none of us are exempt from that.

These things are all part of the journey. It can be slow going at times. Or sometimes we may have to be totally still, waiting, for a long time.

For me, it is like I was trying to push a car in my own power before. But now, I am in the car and there is gas in the car and power that I didn’t tap before – God’s power. Of course, it took me a long time to figure out how to get into the car, to figure out where the gas pedal was and how to use it and how to use all the controls. I am sure there are still things I don’t know are even there! There is still need for caution and care as I drive and there are dangerous road conditions, car problems, storms, problems and obstacles.

Is respecting my husband and biblically submitting to him now easier than it was those first 2-2.5 years?  

YES. 

When I say “easier” what I mean is, I understand very clearly now, usually, what is respectful and what is disrespectful. I don’t have to agonize for days over if something is disrespectful or not like I used to. It doesn’t feel like complete contortion anymore. I feel much more fluent in understanding men, Greg, respect, biblical submission and godly femininity. Doing the respectful thing comes pretty naturally now. But I do need the power of God to do all of this. I cannot do it on my own! As  you know, I reached my saturation point of how much time I could put into ministering to others a few weeks ago, realizing, my time with God was suffering too much and I was losing my power source. I HAVE to have Him and be filled with His Spirit every moment or I am unable to do anything good.

  • Do I spend much time listening to my sinful nature/demon now?  

No, not usually. Of course, that answer would change if I don’t resist his voice in God’s power or if I don’t abide in Christ! Or, there may be new temptations that come up later today for all I know. I know that temptation will come. I am not exempt from temptation. I am not exempt from being able to sin. I am completely capable of falling in any way if I don’t have my Power Source – God’s Spirit. If I am far enough away from God, I am totally able to crash and burn.

That voice is still there. Yes. But usually now, I immediately recognize the source and resist him and submit to Christ as soon as possible. I may have to take a break and stop what I am doing and go pray. That is ok! I seek to take each thought captive immediately and not allow those evil thoughts to marinate in my mind for hours or days or weeks or months like I did before. Only through the power of God’s Spirit working in me, I can see the lies for what they are and see the attacks and realize that if I cave in to those temptations, I will grieve my Lord’s heart so greatly and I will destroy my husband, whom I dearly love. I so do not want to do that! It is not worth it!

Now, I am able to see the price tag on my disrespect, and it is usually just not much of a temptation to disrespect Greg or try to control Greg when I have God’s power in my heart. I don’t feel tempted to belittle Greg, criticize him, yell at him, demand my way, try to control him, lecture him, try to be His Holy Spirit, demean him, berate him, scold him, etc…  I know now that if I were to give in to those things, I would cost myself SERIOUS intimacy with Christ and with Greg and I cannot afford to do that. I would set us back months, maybe years if I allowed myself to luxuriate in accusations against Greg like I used to or if I went off on him like I used to. When God’s Spirit is filling me up – my old sinful ways repulse me, they do not tempt me.

Usually, within a few minutes (or sometimes seconds) of internal dialogue, I recognize sin and seek to nip it and turn to Christ and His truth immediately. There is greater temptation when I am exhausted, in pain or hormonal. And, I am sure, if there were some major crisis, the temptations could be greater as well. The old temptations to disrespect Greg are not as strong most of the time. I have new temptations now that are bigger issues.

  • Is God’s Voice a Lot Stronger Now?

God’s voice is MUCH stronger now for me – but that doesn’t mean His voice is loud. I hear it more clearly now. I am LISTENING much more now. His voice is not loud at all. The voice of sinful temptation for me often gets progressively more LOUD, obnoxious, urgent, incessant, unrelenting and pressing if I keep listening. It feels SO IMPORTANT to act on that voice ASAP! The sinful voice tells me to do things that I would really LIKE to do – to “vent” or to “give him a piece of my mind” or say “your idea is way better than his!” or to “make things happen my way.” The quicker I can stop listening the better.

I can only hear God’s voice when I am very still – soaking in His presence, walking in the power of His Spirit, living in obedience, seeking Him with all my heart. Many times, what He asks me to do is stuff that I don’t want to do at first. Sometimes I don’t hear Him about certain things – like right now, I have not heard Him about exactly how to publish the book I wrote. So I am waiting until I have clear direction. I know He may lead me through Greg on this issue. So I just wait for God to speak to Greg or to make things more clear to both of us. I don’t want to run ahead of Him like I used to do all the time!  God tends to say things softly like:

  • “Go repent to Greg/his parents/your parents/your family/your children for your disrespect/pride/control.”  I REALLY didn’t want to do any of that, but I knew God was asking me to, so I did!
  • “Trust Me on this.” Sometimes if Greg made a decision I didn’t agree with, I would hear God tell me that He has it, and then I could just rest in His sovereignty and love, trusting the outcome with Him.
  • “Stop reading your Bible and being mad that Greg isn’t doing a devotional with the family right now and go cuddle with Greg and the kids and enjoy them.” (That was SO OBVIOUSLY God speaking to me that night about 2 years ago. I didn’t want to stop reading my Bible. I hated watching TV. I wanted to make the whole family read the Bible and pray with me. But, I went and cuddled with my family and enjoyed them, reluctantly. How sad is that!? But it was the right thing to do and I have been focusing on being much more intentional to relax with and enjoy my family – not a big strength of mine!)
  • “Write about this topic on the blog for tomorrow.”  Sometimes, in the spring of 2012, I would say, “God, are You sure? I mean, if I write about THAT, no one will ever want to read my blog again? But this is Your ministry and Your blog and these are Your people. I trust You to bring whomever You wish to the blog and trust You to give me the messages You want me to share from Your heart. I won’t look at numbers to measure my success, but only my obedience to You.” I would expect the numbers to drop the next day as everyone decided not to read my blog anymore, but every single time that I believed God specifically wanted me to write about something very difficult and “controversial,” the numbers would surge later. I didn’t understand it. But I learned to trust God and to be willing to write about whatever He impressed on my heart to write.
  • “Relax and be still. Stop being so busy. Just be still and know that I am God.”
  • “You are spending way too much time in ministry, and not enough time with Me.”
  • “Keep your eyes on Me, not on Greg, not on anyone else.”
  • Many times, God speaks to me through His Word, or through a Christian song, or through Greg, or through other believers.

Tomorrow, I will talk about my struggles.

RELATED:

HisHelper Reflects on Her Journey

Stages of This Journey

The Frustrating Quiet Phase

I Am TRYING to Respect and Submit, But My Husband Is Being More Unloving Than Ever! What Is Going on?

A Wife Shares What She Is Learning in Biblical Marital Counseling

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I’m so thankful for this wife’s willingness to share what she is learning!  I believe this will bless you. 🙂

My Dear Husband (DH) and I have started Biblical Marital Counseling at a Baptist church near my job. They are very well known and its 6 sessions for free. Our first meeting went very well. our counselor was a young man with a wife and two boys. He was very knowledgeable in the word.  Here are some of the things he shared with us:

  • If I draw closer to God and my DH draws closer to God, it will draw us closer together. (the pyramid effect)
  • He talked about the man that was possessed, and the demon left and had no where to go. He then went back to the house and saw it clean and swept, and brought 7 of his friends. And the man was more tortured than before. With God’s help you can clean your heart, stop a habit, but you have to replace it with something. You can’t just leave it. He called it the “put off and put on.” The Bible talks a lot about it. He gave a sheet that we can add to, how to stop one thing (Put off) and what to “put on” in its place.
  • We talked about respect. Respect comes in all different shapes and sizes. For me, respect = trust. For many reasons, I am not able to trust my DH with many things. That translates to my DH that I do not respect him. I want to trust him, but that is something he and I will have to work on together.

I have been on this journey since I contacted you in early January. And I can say that it really takes focusing on God.

Yes, my DH has MANY issues… But those are not for me to fix.. I have to Put Off trying to “help” him be better and love me how I feel he should, and Put ON My relationship with Christ. Let the Lord step in. Yes, my DH needs help. But not from my mortal hands. God can do anything if we just take our hands off of it, and let Him in his infinite Wisdom and love take over.

Time daily spent in prayer is essential and daily Bible reading as well. Get a devotional!! And do it daily!!

THINGS I WOULD SUGGEST TO OTHER WIVES JUST BEGINNING THIS JOURNEY

  • Work on yourself!! Your husband will see the change. Move your focus from your husband to God.
  • Love God, and through Him, you will learn to love your husband and he will learn to love you.
  • I know you love your DH – just as I do – But love him more by giving him to the Lord. I’m not saying “Let go and Let God”… I am saying, take a step back… Put your life back in its proper place.. Put God above your self and your DH.. Ask God what he wants you to do.. Seek Him FIRST…
  • From the time we give our lives to God (justification), we go through a long period of sanctification. Learning how to be like Christ. Learning how to be whole. Until we reach glorification when meet Him face to face..

This is why it is imperative to focus on your relationship with The Lord..

Don’t make you DH an idol. He’s just a man.. I know emotions can take over. But you must start this process by changing YOUR heart.

SHARE:

If you have been on this journey for awhile, what encouragement, wisdom and insights would you share with wives who are just beginning and are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as they try to learn all of these new things about becoming godly wives?  What do you wish you had known when you first started?

I may use some of your comments and wisdom in other posts. This is exactly the kind if thing that will bless so many other wives. 🙂 Thanks for your willingness to share!

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I’m Going to Stop Pursuing My Husband

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Praying for Your Husband So That God Will Hear

Your Blog Made Me SO ANGRY!

How To Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ

Am I Hard-Hearted?

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April in 4-2006 – a time when I was very hard-hearted!

God’s Spirit speaks to us in powerful ways – but He often uses “a still, small voice” not a booming thunderous voice. If we don’t listen to God at first, when we are able to hear  Him, if we continue to ignore Him or focus on other things, in time, our hearts become calloused and unable to hear God’s voice. We “harden our hearts” against Him. How heartbreaking this process is!

Some ways we may harden our hearts against God:

  • We do not have faith. This is the sin of unbelief. This sin keeps us from even coming to God and is one of the greatest sins there is. We do not believe God is who He says He is. We do not believe He is good. We do not believe He is great. We do not believe He is sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, loving and active. We do not believe His Word is true. As we continue to believe those lies and not turn to God in faith, our hearts become hardened.
  • There are times when God hardens someone’s heart for His purposes. For example, God hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that he would not allow Israel to leave Egypt when Moses asked him to. God did this so that He could demonstrate His power and wonders to His people as He sent the 10 plagues against the Egyptians, so that His people might fear Him and believe. And yet, there is a mysterious element going on here that even though it was God’s purpose to harden Pharaoh’s heart, he is still responsible and accountable and he still had free will to make this choice.
  • God may ask us to obey a specific command. If we refuse to do what He asks us to do in a proactive way, we begin to create a calloused and hardened heart against God’s Spirit.
  • If God speaks to us about repenting of a sin and we ignore God’s Spirit, we harden our hearts against Him. Then we become more and more callous over time to God’s Spirit’s voice until we may not be able to hear Him at all.
  • Our pride can make our hearts hard against God.
  • If we cling to any sin and cherish it in our hearts, choosing sin over God, we harden our hearts and lose our ability to hear God’s voice and see His truth.

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Greg and April at our wedding on May 28, 1994

MY STORY

I was very hard hearted against God for many years, but didn’t have any idea that I was. I thought I was the best Christian wife ever. I read my Bible daily and prayed, but I did not hear God speak to me very much. I was SO prideful that I didn’t see my own sin and I could read passages about forgiveness, submission to God, submission to my husband, not living in fear, trusting God, respecting my husband and not even see what the passages said. I thought I believed God. I thought I trusted in Christ, but I really trusted MYSELF. I really lived as if I was sovereign and huge and powerful and God was a wimp. I lived as if everything depended on me and if I didn’t make it all turn out “right” everything would be a disaster. I looked down on other people, including my husband, as if I was so much better than they were. I believed people “needed” my help and wisdom to make the best decisions in life.

My pride, self-righteousness and unbelief hardened my heart against God. I could sing praises to Him every day, read my Bible and pray up to 4 hours per day – but I did not truly know God. I did not live for Him. I did not hear Him and I did not allow His Spirit to transform my life. I did not repent. I continued on cherishing my pride, bitterness, resentment, self-righteousness, worry, anxiety, unbelief and accusations against others around me. I was divisive, controlling, full of gossip and disrespectful to others in my extended family. Meanwhile, I was friendly, outgoing, a go-getter, driven, successful, intelligent and smiling at work and at church. But my life did not honor God. I was not living with Christ as Lord even though I thought I was. How tragic!  To have God’s Word and to handle the truth and read it every day and not even be able to see it.

When we are comfortable living in unrepentant sin – our hearts become very hard.

A heart that is soft and pliable in God’s hands LONGS to obey Him in all things and can’t wait to do anything God asks it to do. A yielded heart cannot bear the thought of grieving God’s heart with any sin. When our hearts are soft to God, we will grieve deeply over any sin God reveals to us and we will be quick to turn from it and turn to God for forgiveness and for the power to live in obedience by His Spirit working in us. A yielded heart loves to soak in God’s presence and just absorb all of His love, truth, wisdom and commands. A submitted heart delights in obeying God and in knowing God more fully and living as close to Him as possible.

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VERSES ABOUT HARDENED HEARTS AGAINST GOD

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end… while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.” Hebrews 3:12-15

“They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.  Zechariah 7:12

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.  But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 11:19-21

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath in God’s name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. II Chronicles 36:11-13

Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. Prov 28:14

Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king (Nebuchadnezzar) wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled.  But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory.  He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes. Daniel 5:19-21

The cure for a hardened heart:

Humility, brokenness, faith, repentance, trust in God, a deep hunger and desire for God and a total submission of all that we have and all that we are to Christ, bowing to the Lordship of Christ in complete faith and trust.

  • The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17
  • “Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD. II Chronicles 34:27

 

I Feel Alone, Discouraged and Like I Can’t Say Anything Right to My Husband

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We are talking about some FAQs that I get from a lot of wives who are just beginning this journey toward becoming godly, respectful, biblically submissive wives with peaceful and gentle spirits who do what is right and do not give way to fear and are very beautiful in God’s sight.

  • This seems like more than I can handle (part 1)
  • When do I get to the “peaceful” part? (part 1)
  • I don’t want to lose my voice in my marriage. (part 2)
  • I feel like I am losing myself. (part 2)
  • I feel so lonely.
  • I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not saying anything at all.
  • My husband isn’t changing at all.  Respect doesn’t work on my husband. (Part 4)
  • My husband doesn’t love me and is not on board with this marriage. (Part 4)
  • But I’m right! (Part 5)
  • I’m so scared to give up control!  Everything will fall apart if I don’t take charge!  I’m the better leader! (Part 5)
  • He doesn’t deserve my respect! (Part 6)
  • Why can’t HE change first?  Why do I have to change when he’s the one who is so far from God and so unloving? (Part 7)

5. I feel so alone on this journey.

There are a number of reasons why some wives will feel this way as we seek to become the godly wives Jesus desires us to be.

  • Being a godly woman goes completely against the world’s wisdom, our culture’s wisdom, our friends’ and family’s wisdom.  There will not be a lot of support for wives who make this journey, even among most people who claim to be Christians.  Unfortunately, many people who claim Christ today do not live in obedience to His Word and do not live with Him as Lord.  Finding godly mentoring wives who actually do respect their husbands and honor their husbands’ leadership can be almost impossible even in many churches.  If you start talking about respecting your husband, some people will get upset – particularly other women.  And if you actually talk about biblical submission or honoring your husband’s God-given leadership, there are women, even in the church, who will insult you, become very angry, verbally attack you, ridicule you, say that you have joined a “cult” and will pile contempt on you.  We aren’t used to being persecuted as disciples of Christ in the West today.  Part of the reason we aren’t persecuted much is because our “Christianity” has been watered down by so many ungodly influences and ideas that many of us don’t live much like Jesus did and don’t obey much of what He has instructed us to do.  But when you begin to submit to Christ in everything, including how you treat your husband and how you honor your husband’s authority in your marriage – you will be DIFFERENT.  You will be very noticeable.  And you may well be a target of verbal persecution.  That’s ok.  Jesus said we would be persecuted in this world.  He sure was!  If we think we are living for Christ and no one ever attacks us for the way we live – something is probably wrong.  The world does not understand God’s design for marriage – but the world is drawn to Christ when we live out God’s design for marriage! (Titus 2:5)  The gospel of Jesus is glorified when we cooperate with our husbands’ leadership and respect them.
  • If you are like me – I took several big steps back from almost everyone in my life when I began this journey.  I realized that there was so much sin in my heart and it was spewing out of my mouth constantly.  I didn’t want to say something sinful.  So during my “Frustrating Quiet Phase” I became quiet not just with my husband, but with everyone.  I needed to learn God’s wisdom and discretion.  I didn’t trust myself to talk because I knew something disrespectful of my husband would come out if I tried to talk at all with my family and friends.  Ideally, you will have a godly mentoring wife you can meet with, pray with and learn from.  If you don’t – that is why I write this blog.  I didn’t have a mentor either.  It was just me, Jesus, God’s Word, prayer and 30 books about godly femininity and marriage in 2 years.
  • This journey is also lonely at first because you have to give up your desire to “feel loved” by your husband if that has become an idol for you.  Your marriage is probably a bit rocky in the beginning of this journey, anyway.  That is why you were looking for help.  And suddenly, you aren’t sharing every thought you have with your husband.  You aren’t sure what to share and what not to share.  If your husband is far from God – it is generally wise NOT to share much verbally about what you are learning spiritually (I Peter 3:1-6).  He can hear your actions, attitude and behavior much more clearly than a long explanation of what you are learning spiritually at that point.  If your husband is close to God, you may be able to share  some of what you are learning – but in the early stages, it is very easy for what we are learning to come across disrespectfully to our husbands, so we have to be SUPER CAREFUL!

Whatever you do, PLEASE do NOT say things like,

– “So, I am learning that I have to respect you even when I think your ideas are really stupid.”

– “I am going to try to trust you now even though you have given me so many reasons why trusting you is a ridiculous and foolish thing for me to do.”

– “The Bible says I have to respect you even though you totally don’t deserve my respect at all.”

– “I guess I have to let you be the leader now – but I know you’ll just mess everything up.”

It is better – MUCH BETTER – if we are not sure what is respectful and disrespectful at first – that we not say anything than to say something even more damaging like these statements above.

  • At first, you haven’t learned yet how to find all of your contentment in Christ – so there is a time of figuring out how to do that, and before you get to that point, it can feel lonely.
  • You begin to see the disrespect in other marriages and in your friends’ conversations.  You start to see how almost all other women bash their husbands, put them down, criticize them constantly, disrespect them blatantly, make jokes at their expense, treat their men like they are stupid idiots – and you realize – “I can’t be as close to these friends/coworkers/Bible study members as I have been.  They are an ungodly influence on me.”  Husband bashing and having a judgmental, critical spirit is very contagious.  We cannot afford to closely associate with women who encourage us to disrespect our husbands.

In time, you have incredible fellowship with God – which more than makes up for the loneliness with others, in my view.  And, in time, most likely you will also have much closer fellowship with your husband – which is way better than having a lot of women friends, anyway, in my book.  And then, in more time – God may give you a ministry to other wives or He may give you godly friends you can enjoy.

6. I don’t know how to say things respectfully to my husband, so I am just not going to say anything at all.

There may be a brief time when this is necessary during the Frustrating Quiet Phase.

I have tons of posts and resources to help you learn to say things respectfully (please scroll back through my Blog Timeline at the top of my home page or search for topics on the search bar on my home page).  And, if there is something specific you want to say to your husband, but you aren’t sure how to word it, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to give you some suggestions. 🙂  You may leave comments on this post or any post – and we will hash through the issues together. 🙂

I also have a lot of video posts on my Youtube channel “April Cassidy” where I demonstrate how to have a respectful tone of voice that is friendly and pleasant – not angry and condemning.  I also talk about nonverbal disrespect and how important it is for our facial expressions and body language to convey genuine respect.  I have a video about how to ask for things so that your husband wants to say yes.  I am not saying he WILL say yes.  I am saying he will want to say yes if he can if you approach him in a feminine, friendly, respectful way.

Here’s the thing.  You can’t fake respect for your husband any more than he can fake love for you.  MEN CAN TELL!  If you are not sincere, if you are just using flattery, if you actually don’t respect him but are trying to be respectFUL, it won’t work.  Your husband needs to see that you can find REAL things about him to respect, appreciate and admire.

Your feelings, desires, opinions and perspective are important!  Your husband needs your input and needs you to be plugged into the marriage.  He doesn’t want a woman who has no thoughts, no opinions and no personality.  He loves YOU.  It is possible to learn to speak your mind and heart in respectful ways that your husband can best hear.  This will involve things like:

  • saying “I want”  or “I don’t want” things (Laura Doyle The Surrendered Wife – not from a Christian perspective, so weigh each statement carefully against scripture!)
  • saying “I feel ____”  “I feel sad.”  “I feel lonely.”  “I feel happy.”  “I feel nervous.” (The Surrendered Wife)
  • giving requests and suggestions instead of demands  and directives.
  • saying what you want to do but then saying, “Whatever you think is best for us.  I trust you, Honey.”

It is important that you keep your primary motive as being “I want God’s will above everything else.  I trust God to lead me through my husband, even if I don’t agree at the time.”  If your husband is not asking you to clearly sin or condone sin, share your heart and what you want, but then if he still feels strongly that he should decide another way – graciously trust his leadership and allow God to work in his heart.  This means that I am ok if I get “my way” or not.  Because I trust that God is able to bring about His will in ways that I can’t begin to understand as He leads me through Greg.

RELATED:

A Real Life Example of Respect and Submission  – check out the little miracle that I got to witness because I trusted God and respected and submitted to Greg.

The First Few Months (or More) of This Process is HARD!

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I share a lot of success stories and light bulb moments that wives have.  Those are really inspiring.  I love seeing what God is doing and when things seem to start to go well.

But you know what?  I get WAY more emails that are full of pain, frustration, angst and struggle.  But I don’t share those.  I guess, primarily, because I don’t want to ask a wife to put that up in public – her lowest moments and biggest struggles put on display.  Sometimes wives do talk about their struggles in past tense in the emails I post.

I believe that for a woman to learn to respect her husband and honor his God-given leadership in the marriage is THE BIGGEST TEST OF FAITH IN CHRIST a Christian wife will probably ever face!

In learning to respect my husband – I really learn to respect God.  In learning to submit to my husband, I first learn to submit to Christ.  What an incredible road we are on!

But I want to be sure you know…

STRUGGLE IS NORMAL ON THIS JOURNEY OF BECOMING A GODLY WIFE AND IN BECOMING CHRISTLIKE:

  • Most wives make a LOT of mistakes – especially at first.  Since we are human – we will always make some mistakes and sin sometimes.  Until we get to heaven!
  • The first month or two is often the hardest, sometimes the difficult time lasts longer than that – it just depends on a lot of circumstances and the attitude of each woman and her husband how long the different phases last.  For Nina Roesner’s (author of The Respect Dare) explanation of the usual stages of this process, please read here)
  • Most wives want to just flip a switch and suddenly be the most godly wives ever.  It does NOT work like that!
  • Most wives that write to me say, “I must be your ‘worst student ever’!”  When they tell me about a disagreement that day that didn’t go well and recount the ways they were disrespectful or controlling.
  • This takes TIME.  A lot of time.  MANY months and most likely many years before it really feels “normal” and “natural”.
  • We will stumble.  Then we get up and apologize to our husbands and repent to God and keep going.
  • We are actually talking about the process of sanctification – where God makes us more and more like Jesus.  It is a life time of learning and growing.
  • Things go more smoothly when we have an attitude of humility before God, and a willingness to learn.
  • We will NOT make progress if we hold on to sin – unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, putting other things ahead of God in our hearts, rebellion against God and His Word.
  • Some wives embrace God’s design and try to learn it all at once and change everything right away.  That can be REALLY overwhelming and is actually impossible to do.  This is a long journey of many thousands of miles, not a sprint.
  • Some wives hate God’s design and feel angry about it and rebel against Him and turn and go their own way.  For some, they have to really hit rock bottom before returning to Christ.
  • EVERY wife will need to apologize A LOT when she sins against her husband and God.  But eventually, the taste of humble pie will grow on you!
  • Most of us will have husbands who don’t respond for awhile.  Their reactions can range from seeming indifference, anger, sadness, gratitude, joy… and our husbands’ reactions may change along the way.  They may feel confused.  They may not understand what is going on.  They may get angry when we mess up – thinking it means we haven’t really changed – when, in fact, we HAVE made a lot of progress, but they don’t understand the process.

WHAT I SAY TO A LOT OF WIVES

When things are not going well, and a wife messed up again, and she is feeling overwhelmed and inadequate and like she will “never get this right…”

I tell wives things like:

  • None of us can do this in our own strength!!!!  We need Jesus and His Spirit EVERY SECOND of EVERY DAY! 
  • You aren’t going to be perfect.  That is ok!  You will need to give grace to yourself.
  • Your husband is not going to be perfect.  He needs a lot of grace from you.
  • This is like learning a foreign language – it takes time, study, practice and also a lot of prayer and dependence and trust in God.
  • Other women and extended family and friends will probably NOT be very supportive.  God’s ways appear like foolishness to the world, even to many believers in our culture, unfortunately.
  • Find a godly mentor wife if you can who you can meet with once a week or so and learn from her example.  Be sure she lives out respect and biblical submission and has a very intimate relationship with Christ herself!
  • Don’t look to carnal women and disrespectful women for advice or counsel!
  • Thank God – we have Jesus’ blood to cover our sins!  WOOHOO!  PRAISE GOD there is forgiveness, mercy and grace for us in abundance, if we will just tap into it.

Why Are Many of Us So Unprepared to Be Godly Wives? – Part 2

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For part 1 of this series, and some observations of two Christian men on this topic, please read here.

WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON THAT MOST OF US ARE COMPLETELY UNPREPARED TO BE GODLY WIVES?

Christian women in recent generations have had a number of cultural, church and family influences that have moved us FAR away from respect for our men as well as far away from any concept of biblical submission to our husbands’ God-given authority.

  • The thoughts, goals and ideals of feminism profoundly impacted our culture and the church.  There have been 3 waves of feminism (Carolyn McCulley – Radical Womanhood):
  1. women’s suffrage – women seeking the right to own property when they were married, and seeking the right to vote as well as seeking to be able to hold the office of pastor or minister in churches (1800s) – and so began a subtle undermining of the authority of the Bible.  The New Testament does not allow women to be pastors or to have authority over men to teach men (I Tim 2:11-15, I Cor 14:33-38).  The women’s suffrage movement was very adamant about insisting that women have equal access to all areas of ministry as men had.  At the time, this was a RADICAL deviation from the practices of  Christian churches (for the preceding 1850 years).
  2. The second wave was very strong in the 60s and 70s and brought the ideas that marriage and motherhood were oppressive to women, that patriarchy was slavery, that men were the problem with society/government/marriage/church/family, that women could only find true fulfillment in the workplace, that there is no such thing as the God of the Bible, that God is really a woman, or whatever you want “her” to be, that the Bible is irrelevant and that no God-given authority ought to be honored or respected.  Men did, in fact, cause many problems.  They were sinners.  But feminism painted women to be spiritually and morally superior to men and did not allow for women to be seen as sinful.  Femininity was good and masculinity was evil.  Women weren’t just seeking to be equal in value and to receive equal pay in the workplace – but they were seeking to have “equal power” and “equal roles” in marriage and the church ministry as well.  (Think about the sin of Satan – seeking equality with God.  And then think about Christ, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.  Philippians 2:6  Birth control and abortion were a HUGE emphasis of the 2nd wave of feminism – allowing women the “freedom” from childbearing to maintain their beautiful figures and to work without the “inconvenience” of children.  Children became disposable, a burden and a bother instead of a blessing from God.  Marriage became disposable – whenever we no longer “feel happy” we can ditch our husbands. Covenant is no longer in the picture.  Sex became disconnected from child-bearing and became “free” from the bonds of marriage.  No Fault Divorce was one of the largest “triumphs” of the 2nd wave of feminism.  Women entered the workforce in staggering numbers and children began to be raised in day care instead of at home with their mothers.  Divorce became increasingly widespread and accepted.  And it was and still is largely WOMEN who instigate divorce – often citing reasons like Anonymous and David mentioned instead of having biblically sound reasons for divorce.
  3. the third wave of feminism is less organized but has several goals: erase biology from the definition of family, establish fluid gender acceptance (it’s ok to switch from being male to female and back), to promote homosexuality and bi-sexuality, to destroy the traditional definition of the nuclear family, to continue to promote birth control and abortion, to have no moral labeling against any kind of deviant sexual behavior or lifestyles, to promote the idea that pornography “empowers” women and that women should dress and act like porn stars to get the attention of men in public and that pornography is harmless or actually  even “good.”
  • Women have had a few generations now of examples of mothers and grandmothers who were domineering, disrespectful and in control of the family.  That is normal and mainstream now.  We don’t even question it.
  • Fathers have lost their place as the authority in families and marriages.  Wives/mothers have been leading in parenting, finances, and have recently begun to out-earn their husbands which has ushered in a whole new even greater resentment towards husbands in marriages.
  • Fathers are no longer involved in protecting daughters’ chastity and purity.  They don’t monitor boyfriends or approve of potential suitors.  They don’t require young men to ask permission to court their daughters or to marry their daughters.  We as young women handle all of these things ourselves, not realizing how blind we can be to the red flags in the men we date until it is too late and we are already married.  But even if we have a godly father who objects, we are likely not to listen.  We usually don’t have a history of submitting to our father’s authority, so we don’t often give his advice much weight.
  • There are no cultural standards of dating etiquette anymore.  We don’t wait for men to call us.  We are aggressively pursuing men.  We are asking them out.  We are calling first. We are kissing them first.  We are giving our bodies to them before marriage – erroneously thinking that sex before marriage will bond men to us – WRONG!  We are demanding engagement rings and marriage and giving ultimatums – and we miss the romantic proposals we could have had if we had waited.  If our men do commit to us, it is under compulsion, with resentment and not wholeheartedly many times.  We pressure our men to do what we want NOW!  We don’t learn to wait on God and wait on our man’s leadership before marriage.
  • We are in charge of planning the wedding for a year or more.  It is “my day.”  We get to make almost all of the decisions, and it can easily become a pattern that we takes over control in the relationship if we hadn’t already.
  • We usually don’t even acknowledge our husbands’ leadership and headship in the marriage.  Husbands are afraid to talk about such things because there is great risk of sounding “arrogant” and chauvinistic.  So most men don’t say anything. Most wives are unaware of the concept of the husband having God-given leadership in marriage – even in the church.  
  • The word, “submission” has been hi-jacked by our culture and has connotations and meanings in our society that have nothing to do with the biblical concept of “ranking oneself under” the authority of another.
  • Many of us think that if we were to submit to our husbands, we would be “slaves.”  We don’t realize that the reason we are not feeling loved, cherished, adored and protected is that we won’t let our husbands lead, protect and provide.  This is not slavery, it is intimacy!  And there is also a huge misperception that submission means that the wife has “less value” than the husband. (Christ submitted to God the Father.  They were equals.  That is where submission began – in the ultimate loving, equal relationship).
  • Of those of us who are aware of the Bible’s teaching, many  feel we HAVE to be in charge because our husband “can’t” or “won’t” lead or is incompetent (that was me!).  We justify our disrespect because of our husbands’ sin or his inability to meet our own expectations and believe that we are exceptions to God’s commands.
  • Most of us are entirely unaware of the differences between masculinity and femininity and are unaware of the masculine realm of respect.  We don’t recognize respect or disrespect.  We think about love.  We think if we give more love, our men will be happy.  We give until we are exhausted and don’t have any idea what is wrong.
  • Many of us have “reasons why” we are disrespectful or why we sin against our husbands – so we don’t count our behavior as sinful.  Of course, every time a sinner sins, there are reasons.  But sin is still sin.  We don’t get this!
  • We expect our men to obey God’s Word first.  We LIKE what God commanded husbands to do – and we try to force them to obey God for their part.  We don’t realize obedience to God can’t be coerced! Then we think that we are exempt from having to obey God’s Word for us if our men fail in our eyes to do their part to love us first.  We do not take responsibility for our own behavior and obedience to God’s Word many times.  We don’t understand that we are accountable for our behavior and obedience no matter what our husbands do or don’t do!
  • We have extremely well-defined and narrow expectations for our men to be “spiritual leaders” in our terms and we show great contempt and disrespect when our husbands dare lead in ways that we don’t approve of. (Again, we are “right.”)
  • We don’t follow our men’s leadership if they don’t lead where we want to go.  We don’t recognize what our men to do lead us.  We maintain the “right” to veto their decisions, or we just jump in and take over.
  • We are impatient, often, and we don’t realize that men take longer to make decisions and that if we would just WAIT long enough, most men are plenty capable of leading.
  • Our culture is all about pride, self, selfishness, greed and looking out for #1.  Humility is mocked and scorned.
  • We have no sense of duty and sacrifice in relationships – we want to be HAPPY.  All the time.  Every waking moment.  Our feelings of being happy and loved are our idol many times.  We don’t want to have to work for our marriages.  We don’t want to have to invest blood, sweat and tears.  We want to be catered to, pampered and spoiled and have all of our own needs met and we don’t want to have to meet another person’s needs.  And if our needs are NOT being met – we feel completely entitled to resent our men.  It never occurs to us to meet our man’s needs even if our own needs are not being met – that might begin to heal the relationship.
  • We are often not even aware that we have wounded our men.
  • We tend to complain and argue constantly.  We  often do not have grateful hearts.  We do not look for the good.  We see the 1% that is wrong and harp on it instead of appreciating and enjoying the 99% that is great.
  • We do NOT want to accept criticism of ourselves.  We won’t listen to it.  We don’t want to believe there could be anything to criticize about ourselves.  We can GIVE criticism very liberally, but we go ballistic if anyone dares to criticize us.  After all, “I am right!” (That was me!)
  • We make little issues in life MUCH BIGGER than our marriage covenant.  We lose perspective and the big picture and focus on the tiny details that aren’t really a big deal. (so many of these were me!  UGH!)
  • Women go to female friends and coworkers for counsel and guidance and advice (who have dysfunctional relationships themselves!) – where husband bashing is rampant and girl friends frequently counsel women to leave their husbands for unbiblical reasons and girl friends encourage divorce, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness and promote division in the covenant of marriage.  Many women are more committed to their girl friends than they are to the partner of their marriage covenant.
  • In school, we learned to take charge of our own destiny.  We earned our own grades.  We spent countless hours studying.  We planned our major in college.  We determined our own “destiny.”  It was all about ME, MY work, MY efforts, MY goals, MY plans and MY dreams.  I was not prepared to focus on my husband’s career, his plans, his ministry, his priorities.  I was all about what I wanted.
  • Our men have become weaker and weaker over the past few generations and we have few godly examples of fathers taking the leadership of the family seriously and honoring God as the provider, protector and leader in the family.  Women grow up in homes expecting to be the leader and have little to no experience being a godly follower.  Women LOVE to be in control and are happy to take up the slack!  They don’t realize that they are carrying too much weight until the stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness and overload completely overwhelms them.
  • Many of us are products of broken homes (as are many men today) – and many have had NO godly example of marriage whatsoever, and are often the victims of abuse of all kinds.  Victims of abuse naturally try to protect themselves and control things to try to keep themselves safe.
  • Many of our parents did not talk about disrespect or respect at all.  We were often not criticized or corrected for disrespect.  Many of us had no accountability for poor attitudes, or disrespectful attitudes.  Many of us have NEVER had anyone bring disrespect in our hearts to our attention.  We are often completely blind to disrespect. The culture is full of disrespect – so it seems “normal” to be disrespectful.  Most women do not see it whatsoever.
  • We were taught to have “high self-esteem” instead of holiness.  We were not shown our sin. We were not told of our faults.  We kept our childish pride that we are “basically good” and we don’t believe or even acknowledge or see that we truly are NOT good.  We got good grades, didn’t get in much trouble at home or school, and believe that we are “good.”
  • Feminism taught us that men and women are the same emotionally and spiritually.  We expect men to be feminine.  We try to be masculine.  We think men feel, think, process and look at life just like we do.  We are deceived!  Then we misinterpret the actions of our men and label them with evil motives when they actually don’t have evil motives sometimes because we don’t understand masculinity and how different it is from femininity (Shaunti Feldhahn’s “For Women Only,”  Dr Walt Larimore MD “His Brain, Her Brain”)
  • Because of broken and dysfunctional families, many of us learned that we had to take care of everything ourselves and be the “parent” in their homes and be “in charge” because our parents didn’t seem to have things together.  We learned from our parents’ lack of control over things that God is also not in control and that WE must take charge and make things happen.  We learn at a young age that THEY are  sovereign, not God.  This is the picture of God we learn from our parents, and we carry this picture into our marriages.
  • School teaches us to focus on ourselves, to strive for excellence, to make great grades, to get good jobs, to make lots of money, to be in charge of our own lives.  Many girls spend VERY little time learning to work as a team or how to cooperate with others.  It is all about self promotion, hard work – and the type A, driven, successful women are greatly rewarded in school and in the work place with good grades and good salaries.  Women take this same mindset into marriage – and we have no idea why it doesn’t work.
  • The media portrays men as idiots and women as clever and intelligent.  This began around the late 1980s or so with programs like “Rosanne” and “The Simpsons” and “Married with Children.”  Decades ago, there were programs like, “Father Knows Best”  and “Leave it to Beaver” and even “The Brady Bunch” – in spite of being a blended family – the fathers were portrayed as wise, loving authority figures to whom was given honor and respect.
  • Princess stories that girls grow up fantasizing about constantly are all about the princess and not really about the prince whatsoever .  I mean, he is THERE (eventually) – but there is no character development or focus on his life.  These stories promise total attention to the princess, glamorous clothing, constant romance and a fairy tale happily ever after.  Cinderella’s prince DOES NOT EVEN HAVE A NAME!  That is how unimportant he is to the story.  That really upsets me!  Disney and Barbie did not teach us to be our husbands’ helpmeets.  Disney taught us that marriage and life should revolve completely around US.  And what our husbands do for a living, or their dreams, or their plans, or their feelings are irrelevant.  Barbie taught us that men are basically just accessories and are to fit in with our plans and that WE are in charge and they will go along with whatever we want.  When we played Barbies – we got to totally control Ken, make him act and say what we thought he should. So we made him after our own image.  We didn’t know what masculinity was all about.  We could tell him what to do constantly, and he was fine with that.  Not good preparation for a godly marriage!
  • Chick flicks do not demonstrate the way men actually think/talk/behave and set up unrealistic expectations for romantic relationships to be like a Hollywood script
  • Unfortunately, many of us enter adulthood as selfish, spoiled women who are extremely used to getting our own way and have zero experience handling situations where we don’t get what we want.  We have always been able to talk our way into whatever we wanted with our parents and teachers – and we expect to do the same in marriage.
  • Higher education (not wrong in itself) can easily contribute to our sense of pride that we know best or better than our men and that we are “more qualified” to lead
  • There is a lack of proper teaching about God’s design for marriage in our churches.
  • We have not learned to be still before God.  We run ahead of God and are not listening to His voice.  We try to control Him, too, and we treat Him with disrespect, as well.
  • We are so full of sins like pride, unforgiveness, gossip, resentment, trying to control others, trying to be God and make things happen for ourselves – that we have grieved God’s Spirit and don’t have His power in our lives.  So we must resort to our own efforts to try to get what we want – people pleasing, using guilt to manipulate, pressuring others, whining, pouting, crying, demanding, pitching a temper tantrum, exploding in anger, etc.
  • We don’t accept that others are human.  We expect perfection (our definition, of course).
  • We don’t accept that we are not perfect – we think we truly can be.

Looking at this list – which is not an exhaustive list – WHY WOULD WE BE PREPARED TO BE GODLY WIVES?

Tomorrow, we will discuss signs before marriage that may indicate a woman might have trouble with respect and biblical submission, as well as some signs that a woman may be fairly well prepared to be a godly wife.

Lord,

Undo the damage that exists in the women of Your body!  Let us tear down the lies and falsehoods and rebuild firmly on the foundation of Christ and Your Word alone!  Let the scales of disrespect that we have learned from our culture and families fall from our spiritual eyes.  Give us eyes to see what You see!  Give us humble, teachable spirits.  Let us be willing to reject our own way, our wisdom, our culture’s teachings and our sin and let us cling to You.  Let us fully submit ourselves to Your will, Your wisdom, Your way, Your power, Your glory and Your purposes for our lives. Teach us what godly femininity, godly masculinity, marriage and family is about by Your design.  Let us re-establish respect for God-given authority and let us honor Your Word and obey You even when it goes dramatically against our culture and against what we think seems right.  Make us a godly people, holy and set apart for Your use!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!