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Let’s Be VERY Careful with Respect, Ladies! MOTIVES COUNT!

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If we are not careful, we may just add respect to our arsenal of ways to attempt to control our men. 🙁

Yes, God wants me to treat my husband with respect and honor. But –

If I am just respecting him to make him change or to get my needs met – that is manipulation – not real respect.  And it is sin.

The only motives that please God are if I am showing respect because:
– I want to please and obey God (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3)
– I want to bless my husband

No strings attached.

No matter what the outcome.  I am not tied to a particular “result”or “what’s in it for me” but rather – I want to do this because Jesus is my Lord. That is enough for me. He wants me to do it. I want to find favor in His sight and hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant” when this life is over.

I cannot do this “godly wife thing” in order to feed the idol of me wanting to feel loved, or my having control or me getting my way. If those are my goals – I am not acting in the love of Christ – I am sinning against God and my husband.

(Reminder – I write primarily for women who tend to be controlling. My blog may not be as helpful for women who are abused or who are “too submissive” – please seek godly counsel if you have severe issues in your marriage.)

RG’s COMMENTS  (a single Christian man) ON YESTERDAY’S POST on www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com from a young Christian woman who is just now beginning to learn to respect a new man in her life for the first time:

“I joined an online dating site and “met” an incredible guy (haven’t met him in person yet). He is my practice material for me to apply everything I’ve learned so far in the Bible and your site and I need to say, things are going awesome!!!!”

Please be very careful, not for yourself, but for him .

There is nothing wrong with the actions of “practice,” but the motivations for that “practice” need to be right.

  • Don’t “practice” to obtain any of the outcomes you desire. That is very manipulative and painful for men. (And I’m not suggesting that you are.)

Become a trustworthy, open, honest book – no secrets, no games. Put all of your cards on the table (with wisdom), and let him decide what he wants without you resorting to using these new tools of “respect” as a means to control him.

  • Only do respectful things to honor him and God, not to win points.  Any positive outcomes are the SIDE-EFFECT of your respect, not the intended purpose to be respectful. Your purpose is to honor him and God.

Always remember, if you do want to become married, and you think this could be your potential husband, then your goal is not just to become married; your goal is to become a biblical wife and to honor, respect, trust, encourage, and cooperate with both him and God for the rest of your life.

You should know that most single Christian women don’t do these nice, respectful things (at least not intentionally) for the men they date. He will probably find it VERY different from any other dating experience he may have had in the past.

Dating from our perspective is pretty much always “give, give, give, without any expectations to receive anything in return, and women often have things they want from us, but only do nice things for us a small fraction of the time (or at least the things (actions) that register as “love” (respect) to men.)

Dating is a slow process of dying on the cross for us. Imagine a magician laying down on a “bed of nails” – that is what dating/marriage is like for Christian men. It is a very difficult, painful, and slow process at times, and requires the correct wisdom, timing, forethought, precision, and patience to execute well. Now compare that with Christian women who are often impatient and want their desired results NOW. They are, in effect, figuratively, using all of their weight and muscle to press and push him farther down onto that “bed of nails” before he is ready (before it is wise or even safe for him to do so), and they really do hurt the men they say they love. Christian women sometimes don’t think about or even realize the pain and damage they are causing men, because they are usually too focused on their own desires and outcomes – their wedding rings and dresses, the flower arrangements, or the joy of receiving so much personal praise from other women on their wedding days. His “slowness”, then, is seen only as a obstacle to her “happiness,” but her “happiness,” indeed, comes at the price of his “death.”

Please try to remember, respect, and appreciate this process in the men you date.

I believe that if some men here are willing to share valuable VULNERABLE information with you ladies about how to understand and meet our needs/desires as men, then women should take note of this OPEN, TRANSPARENT, HONESTY, and TAKE THEIR OWN STEPS to appreciate all that men take to make ourselves more TRUSTWORTHY to women.

And I REALLY DO HOPE that women here might HONOR THE OPPORTUNITY/RESPONSIBILITY given to them to respect men by never taking advantage of our willingness to become vulnerable or trustworthy to you. Please always be trustworthy yourselves.

“I realized that respecting him gives me self esteem and a sense of security, and it certainly takes a lot of pressure off of me.”

Women should be thankful for the new freedoms and reduced stresses they experience when becoming godly, respectful women. They should enjoy those things! But EVEN MORE, they should direct that thankfulness to God and their men. All of those burdens and stresses they had in life didn’t just disappear, they were transferred to the shoulders of God and your men. When Christian men date and marry women, we also take on many of the increased burdens and stresses that allow women to become more free and at peace. There is always a weight and a measure; there is always a personal cost.

We don’t do this for nothing or without reason! We do it because we love you! We want you to enjoy new peace and freedom. We want you to be happy – not for a mere moment, but for the rest of your life! But your peace and freedom comes at a significant personal cost to us as well. We pay a great price – for love – for you! And we don’t want that price to become worthless – meaningless. We only have one life to give! So, we NEED to know on a deep personal level that it (our one life/our investment into you and your life) has real worth to you! Not just because it makes you happy for the moment, but because we pay such a huge sacrificial price for love – for you – for your well-being – and for your life – and it must not count for nothing. It must not come to a mere breath of laughter. We want to see happy smiles on your faces because it shows us that our lifetime of sacrifices for you are not in vain. You mean that much to us!

I guess, to be fair, this realization/sentiment (quoted above), is very encouraging to men as well. We love hearing these types of comments from the women we date/marry, because we do genuinely want what is best for them. Hearing this comment of hers is wonderful, not just because those are all good things in her life now, but because it shows that she is learning to trust and submit to something that we already knew would be very good for her, and likely that only her unbelief in God/men was preventing her from choosing and accepting before.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE TO THE GENTLEMEN:

Just like we can’t know who God is unless He reveals Himself to us, we can’t know who men (in general) are or who our husbands are (specifically) unless they reveal themselves to us. We have absorbed so many lies about men (and women) by our culture and upbringing. We make many inaccurate assumptions. We as women need the input of godly men and our husbands to help us understand and know your hearts.

Most Christian women I know WANT VERY MUCH to understand men and WANT to be able to meet our husbands’ needs. Most of us are willing to change if only we knew what to change. We just don’t know what we don’t know.

When Christian women have the chance to understand  our men, we are able to learn and grow. We are able to begin to understand and learn to appreciate real masculinity and we love learning about your world. It is such a surprise to most of us that this whole foreign world of masculinity exists right under our noses, and we never knew about it.

God is able to change us. I am SO THANKFUL!

Thank you for being patient with us as we try to break through all the wrong thinking and poison of our culture and our own sinful natures. This is a long journey that we must make to become the women you need us to be and to become the women God wants us to be. Women who are embarking on this journey today are pioneers in many ways. This is all brand new territory to us. We don’t understand your language – but we want to! It takes time for us to become “fluent” in respect and biblical submission. I know it is hard to wait as we struggle to figure things out. We need the godly leadership, wisdom and perspective of our loving husbands and Christian brothers.  Thank you for sharing your hearts with us. I pray we will be godly stewards of the treasures you are entrusting to us.

The Powerful Concept of "Submitting Under Protest" – Part 1

couple at sunset

FIRST – I want to share a wife’s  comment I received this past weekend:

Very briefly I wanted to thank Peacefulwife. I discovered your blog on September 5, 2013. I applied everything I learned and am so grateful.

My dear husband passed away on November 10, 2013. Although my heart aches I can honestly say I have NO REGRETS.  My husband left this world knowing his wife loved and RESPECTED him! There was nothing left unsaid. He was only 53 and had an unexpected hemorrhagic stroke.

Dear wives no matter how hard and frustrating it may be to follow this Godly counsel, do it NOW!

We aren’t promised tomorrow.

God Bless!

———————–

Such a sobering thing to think about.  How I praise God that they had two months to get things right with each other and with God.  What an incredible blessing to be able to say, “I have no regrets” even in the face of the grief of losing her husband.  Whew!

I pray that each of us might live in obedience to God and in right relationship with Him and with our husbands and other people in our lives, that we might be able to say we have no regrets in the face of tragedy.

TODAY’S TOPIC:

Whether you believe your husband is watching “too much TV,”  shouldn’t look at certain things, is working more than you think he should, is not “involved enough” with the children,  is not “making you a priority” the way you want him to, or whatever the issue is – if you respond to him by yelling at him and demanding that he do what you want him to do,  that is going to be a destructive approach every time.  Not to mention – if we are yelling and screaming at our husbands – we are sinning against God and against our husbands ourselves.  That is NOT ok!  If God’s Spirit is in control of our lives, we will have His self-control and gentleness.

Here is one Christian brother’s perspective on this issue (he was responding to a particular wife’s situation – but I believe his counsel applies in many situations) that may help us to understand a lot better why approaching our husbands with demands and disrespect won’t work and is damaging to the marriage and to our husbands:

THE BLESSING OF A HUSBAND REFUSING TO RESPOND TO OUR YELLING AND SCREAMING AT THEM TO CHANGE

You should realize there is a silver lining in this for you, that you have not quite noticed yet. And that is the fact that your husband is not submitting to you, especially given the nature of how you are addressing him. If he was falling all over himself to please and supplicate to you, you would end up despising him.

One thing about women, they will forgive men for being bad, but they cannot stand a weak man. So for now, he is keeping the peace by not directly challenging you, but he not bowing to your demands. Good for him.

Personally, if my wife tried to get me to stop doing something by issuing a command, I would tell her:
“You’ve forced my hand. I am going to have to continue doing this thing, because I will not have you thinking that I am here to submit to your orders.”

  • For a woman to use insistence and demands to get her man in line is really no different than a man using similar tactics to get her to be intimate. Would you want to be bullied into sex? I think not.

Now, about his actions, if what you say is true (and it might be) , perhaps he needs to stop looking at those women on the TV.

But God is not a God of shortcuts, and God will not give you means to bypass his means and methods, and simply order your husband around like a child. If you want what you want, you are going to have to get it the “hard way”. God’s way.  And done in Christian LOVE, but love for both of you.

  • What you are not seeing is the kind of emotional violence you may be doing to your husband. You may feel completely justified in what you want, but bludgeoning him with scolding and shaming is neither loving nor respectful.

Let’s also realize an uncomfortable but truthful reality. Your husband is probably bigger and stronger than you. Do you notice that he does not use that physical superiority to control you? Some men do. Most women have zero chance in a physical altercation with a man. But on the flipside, women have the power to bludgeon with words in a way that many men do not.

So, in some households, the women are swinging away with their verbal and emotional fists, while their husband locks himself up, suffering the evil of being abused, and having no way to respond without being called an abuser himself. This one-sided dynamic pervades our society, where a screaming, yelling woman is perceived to be venting a legitimate grievance, but the same behavior from a man is “abuse”.

SUBMITTING UNDER PROTEST

And as I have said before, it is perfectly acceptable for a wife to submit “under protest”.

Like love, it is a decision, not a feeling. An act of one’s will.

In fact, submitting while respectfully protesting is better than just shutting up, since if you stifle your feelings, he may never pick up on the fact that there are things making you sad or hurt.

I’ll never forget what that pastor’s wife said:

  • “I am going to be a blessing to you no matter what you do”.

He said is was like a punch to the gut. I’m sure David felt the same way when he got called out for killing Uriah.

AN ANALOGY

I don’t want the following to seem like I am comparing women to children, because that is not the intent.

Many parents, especially mothers, have had their kids try the “I hate you, I hate you, I wish I had a different mom”, or some other tactic when they don’t get their way on something.

At first glance, some people might think that the pain a mom feels when she hears this is because her child is claiming to hate her. But this misses the reality of the situation. She knows her child, in fact, does not hate her.

The pain comes from realizing that someone you love would so frivolously use such painful words against you. The child, in this situation, knows they don’t hate their mother. But they want their way so intensely, that they are willing to use a tactic like this.

The child does not really consider the parent’s feelings, because mom (or dad) is so big, so tough, and the kid thinks “I can say this and it won’t matter.” So, the kid is venting their anger, or trying to manipulate, but is blind to the pain they cause, and the costs that are being incurred.

Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them. Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them.

Just as God gave men physical strength to use to bless their families through protection and provision, he gave women emotional skills to build up their husbands and children. A man should never use his God-given strength as a weapon against his wife, and a woman should never use her emotional skills as a weapon against her husband.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

If a husband allowed his wife to get what she wanted by pitching a fit, screaming, yelling, insulting him, calling him names, etc… he is “teaching her” that this is how to treat him and this is how to get her way. That is not a gift to anyone!  In fact, it would reward her sin and teach their children to use this behavior as well.

GREG WOULDN’T SUBMIT TO ME – PRAISE GOD!

I am BEYOND THANKFUL now that Greg would not do what I demanded he do all those many 14+ years earlier in our marriage.  If I was able to force him to do my will by using my words and volume and anger – it would mean he had no convictions or backbone at all.  In fact, it would mean he was a huge wimp.

  • How could I respect a man who allowed me to manipulate him into doing whatever I wanted with my poor behavior?

I couldn’t!

Now I realize that Greg stuck to his convictions and that he was showing leadership skills by refusing to allow my emotions and verbal intensity and even verbal attacks to move him.  And I also realize that if he had caved in to me, it would have created an even more destructive scenario in our marriage.

Now, I am thankful that I can respectfully share my feelings with Greg, but that he will do what he truly believes is best, even if he goes against my feelings and desires on a given decision.  WHAT A HUGE RELIEF that is!  My feelings won’t dictate our decisions.  My feelings can be kind of unpredictable and unstable.  I don’t want my feelings to be the ultimate litmus test and for me to have the final veto based on my feelings.  I want to have input and to feel heard, but I don’t want Greg to be a slave to my emotions.  I don’t want to be a slave to my own emotions!

MEN HAVE FEELINGS

Let’s keep in mind – that men DO have emotions and feelings.  I became convinced early in our marriage that Greg didn’t have feelings because he didn’t express them verbally and because he didn’t look upset when I would get upset.  He seemed totally unaffected by me or my feelings.  He never shared any feelings.  So I figured eventually that I could say anything and it wouldn’t phase him.

I was SO WRONG.

Men DO have feelings and we are able to deeply wound them with our words.  They don’t emote and respond the same way we do externally.  But they have tender hearts.

They can hear us just fine if we express ourselves respectfully.  We are much more likely to see them grant us the desires of our hearts when we approach them with civility, politeness, respect and a calm, pleasant friendly tone of voice.  They may need more time to think about things than we would.  That is ok!

The only power we have when we scream or attack verbally is the power to sever our husbands from us emotionally and spiritually – maybe even sexually if it gets bad enough.  Verbal attacks are very damaging to our husbands and our marriages.

  • There is really never a valid reason to scream and yell or berate our husbands or to attempt to belittle or humiliate them in order to try to get our way.  There is never a godly reason that gives me justification for attempting to force or control my husband into doing what I want to.  God allows us all the freedom to have free will.  He doesn’t force us into anything.  Am I above God that I should have the power to force my husband to do my will?  Nope!  Definitely not!  

When God’s Spirit rules in our hearts – He empowers us to have gentleness and self-control.

If we don’t have gentleness and self-control – we probably have a lot of sin on our hands to repent of and need to get back in right relationship with Christ!

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Instead of Going on a Big, Emotional Tirade… 

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