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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?

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

The way you approach your husband makes a massive difference in the way he will respond to you. There are unhealthy, destructive ways to ask your husband for something that is very important to you – and there are healthy, productive ways.

A FEW TRUTHS ABOUT MEN (and really, we women feel the same way, too):

  • They like to be the hero and the good guy, not the bad guy.
  • They like to feel respected, not like they are being ordered around or treated like incompetent children.
  • They respond well to genuine respect and admiration, not control, hostility, condemnation, negativity, or a critical spirit.
  • They don’t like to be thrown under the bus.
  • They may need some time to think about things, that does not mean they aren’t willing to do something.
  • They may want to share their concerns and offer possible compromises and that needs to be okay.
  • They may have different priorities – that does not make them “wrong” necessarily.
  • They need freedom to do things their way, not always to have to do absolutely everything our way (i.e.: with how they do chores, how they parent, etc… There may be some differences and that can be a good thing to teach our children more balance and flexibility.)
  • They often are willing to sacrifice for us, but they still have feelings and they don’t want to be unappreciated.
  • They like to do things of their own free-will and not feel forced into things.

 

Let’s say that you want to take care of your sick mother and you want to ask your husband for his help with the children for a week. We’ll use this specific example, but the principles we’ll talk about apply to almost any time you want to ask your husband to do something for you. 🙂 The ultimate goal is for us to walk in the power of God’s Spirit, wisdom, love, and power as we approach our men. He can give us the specific wisdom we need in each situation.

UNHEALTHY, DESTRUCTIVE,  UNGODLY WAYS TO APPROACH HIM:

  1. Ask him over and over again to “be sure” he is really going to do this for you:
    • “You told me last week that you would take care of the kids for a week this summer when my mom needs me. Are you still going to do that?”
    • “I asked you two weeks ago and last week, but are you still sure you are going to keep your word and help me?”
    • “I know I asked you 3 times already, but I just really want to be sure you aren’t going to leave me hanging.”
    • What I am saying with this approach is, “I don’t trust you. I don’t believe you. I don’t respect you. I don’t think you are a man of your word. I don’t respect the answer you have given me before.”
  2. Make demands/Act entitled:
    • “You will take care of the kids this week for me.”
    • “You owe me and you are going to take care of the kids this week.”
  3. Give him directives:
    • “You better do this for me.”
    • “You need to…”
    • “You have to…”
  4. Insult him:
    • “If you were a real man, you would…”
    • “I know you usually don’t care about my mom at all or about what I want, but I need your help.”
    • “You have been such a sorry husband in the past when I needed you, but I need you to come through for me now.”
    • “I know how passive-aggressive you can be when I ask you to do things. I just want to be sure you are really going to help me this time.”
  5. Don’t let him ask questions or share his wisdom, concerns or ideas. Don’t let him have a voice.
  6. Refuse to give him any choice but to do what you want him to do.
  7. Be completely inflexible even when you really do have room for some flexibility.
  8. If he talks about that it is going to be inconvenient for him, assume that means he won’t do it and that he is selfish..
  9. Accuse him of sinful thoughts before you even know what is really going on.
  10. Rescue him from his commitment if he says that it will be challenging.
  11. Try to control him.
  12. Freak out on him
  13. Try to put him on a guilt trip.
  14. Play the martyr.
  15. Complain or argue.
  16. Resent him.

These approaches show your husband that you don’t respect or trust him and that you don’t have much faith in God. These approaches hurt your witness for Christ to your husband. They also hurt your fellowship with the Lord and rob you of the spiritual power that is yours in Christ.

 

HEALTHY, RESPECTFUL, GODLY WAYS TO APPROACH HIM:

  1. Ask him once if he is willing to do something (generally).
  2. Respect his answer to you and that if he said, “yes,” he meant, “yes.”
  3. Expect him to keep his word in a calm, respectful way.
  4. Treat him like you believe he is a man of his word and you have faith in him.
  5. Ask respectfully, directly, and vulnerably – with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile:
    • “Honey, I would really like to take care of my mom right now for about a week because she is sick. I know it is a lot to ask – but it would mean so much to me if I could go be with her.”
    • “Baby, I want to take care of my mom. She is so sick. I know it isn’t much warning. But I would appreciate it so much if you would please take care of the kids so I could go.”
    • “I would like to try to stay with my mom for a week this summer when she has surgery. Would that be okay with you?”
  6. Give him time to think through things if he needs that.
  7. Let him ask any questions he may have.
  8. Be willing to compromise, if possible.
  9. Be appreciative of anything he does for you because anything he does for you is a gift of love from him.
  10. Rest in his love.
  11. Rest in God’s love and sovereignty over the situation, knowing that if the Lord desires you to be there with your mom, He can and will work it out. And if, for some reason, you can’t be there, it may be that God has shut that door in His wisdom.
  12. Be at peace in Christ.
  13. If he says it will be challenging:
    • Thank him for his willingness to help you.
      • “I know that will be a tough week. Thank you so much for helping me. You are my hero!”
    • Agree and sympathize that you are asking for quite a bit if you are asking for something big:
      • “Yes, I know this is a lot.”
    • Don’t jump in to make a decision for him.
    • Let him think through it and let him tell you what he can or can’t do.
  14. Be sure to show your gratitude with words for what he does for you.
  15. Also show your gratitude with actions in ways that are meaningful to him:
    • Try to squeeze in some extra time for intimacy before and after you go if possible if he would like that.
    • Try to have things in order as much as possible ahead of time.
    • Don’t complain if the house is not picked up and cleaned to your standards when you get home.
    • Be willing to pitch in when you get back to help get things caught up with a joyful attitude.
    • Ask him if there is anything you can do to thank him.
  16. Be willing to do some big favors for him, too, sometimes.
  17. Give him the freedom to say, “No.”

If he does decline, it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love you. Respond graciously and take your request to the Lord, asking Him to provide a way for what you need/want if it is His will.

IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT YOUR WAY

  1. Count the time of trial as joy. (James 1:2-8)
  2. Don’t let Satan set up shop in your heart. (Eph. 4:26-27)
  3. Refuse to be bitter. (Matt. 6:15)
  4. Invite the Lord to use this situation to reveal His glory and to teach and prune you. (Heb. 12:7)
  5. Thank God for your husband – whether the answer is yes or no. (1 Thes. 5:18)
  6. Praise God that He will use this ultimately for your good (Rom. 8:28-29).
  7. Submit to the Lordship of Christ. (James 4:7)
  8. Seek His will far above your own – die to self. (Luke 22:42)
  9. Ask God to work in your husband’s heart for His purposes to be accomplished. Perhaps God will use your godly response to help teach your husband to be a better leader?

IF THINGS ARE REALLY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE

Keep in mind that there may need to be a period of time when you don’t ask for much if you have been extremely disrespectful, needy, smothering, negative, critical, controlling, entitled, or demanding for a long time. A husband in such a situation may need some time to heal before he is open to doing favors for you again. My suggestion is to do all you can to get rid of anything disrespectful and/or sinful on your end of things while you give him some time to recover emotionally and spiritually from his wounds.

As he begins to heal and as he begins to feel safe with you again, he will eventually probably be more open to you asking for things respectfully. This will take time. There will be a transition to moving toward a healthy way of relating. The more dysfunctional and broken things have gotten, the more time it will generally take for healing to begin to take place. Sometimes there is a quiet phase for a few weeks or months at the beginning of this journey (on a wife’s end) that can be necessary to stop the “hemorrhaging” in the marriage. Be willing to be the more spiritually mature one and be willing to let God transform you first.

  • If your husband has gone so far as talking about divorce, check out this post.
  • If your husband tends to be the negative, perfectionistic, controlling one – check out this post.
  • If there are extremely serious issues going on, (your husband is a compulsive liar, he is not mentally well, he has major drug/alcohol addiction going on, he is abusing you, he is involved in serious unrepentant sin like adultery, he is involved in major criminal activity, etc…) please search out for godly counseling in private with a godly, experienced counselor. The things I share in this post may not always apply if a husband is not in his right mind or is truly bent on harming his wife.

RELATED:

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

23 Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

Godly Femininity

 

 

 

How Do I Respect My Husband without Idolizing Him?

To me, the primary key in balancing respecting my husband but not idolizing him is to watch my motives. I want to care about his feelings and concerns. I want to treat him well. But why?

Do I want his approval more than anything?

Or do I want God’s approval more than anything?

If I idolize my husband’s approval:

  • My motives are to please him and to satisfy him at any personal cost to me. These motives are fueled by huge fear of my husband’s rejection of me.
  • I may be willing to be a doormat and very passive.
  • I may want to change to please my husband without considering if I am pleasing God.
  • I want to treat my husband well to try to get him to stay and give me the love I want from him.
  • I love and respect my husband with strings attached. I have a lot of expectations of what he should do for me in return for what I do for him.
  • I would be devastated if my husband is not happy with me, even if I am doing what is right.
  • I would be devastated if my husband leaves me or dies and feel like there is no hope if he is not with me.
  • If my husband left me, I might grovel at his feet and do anything to get him to come back, even if he was involved in serious unrepentant sin.
  • I might be willing to disrespect myself in order to meet my husband’s definition of respecting him.
  • The fruit of my attempts to respect my husband will be frustration, disappointment, fear, loneliness, worry, bitterness, and/or possibly even physical sickness because I am not acting in the Spirit, but in the flesh.

If I have Christ on the throne of my heart and His approval is most important:

  • My motives are to please God and to satisfy Him at any personal cost to me.
  • I seek to bless my husband because I know he is made in the image of God and he is beloved by God.
  • I want to treat my husband well because God wants me to treat him well and because I love him with the love of Christ.
  • I look for the good things in my husband to admire because that honors the Lord.
  • I change to please God primarily. I want to do things that please my husband to a degree – but only if I know God is pleased with those changes.
  • I love my husband unconditionally without strings attached.
  • I can be content even if my husband is not happy with me, as long as I know that God is happy with me – it wouldn’t be my favorite thing, but I could deal with it if I had to.
  • I seek to respect God first, respect myself (think rightly about myself in light of God’s Word and receive God’s truth about my new identity in Christ), and respect my husband all at the same time.
  • I measure my success as a wife and woman by God’s Word not my husband’s current mood or emotions.
  • I can stay at peace in Christ even if my husband is upset at something or even if he is in a bad mood.
  • I can even stay content in Christ and full of His joy no matter what my husband may do or not do.
  • I honor my husband’s God-given leadership because I reverence Christ and trust God to lead me through my husband if my husband is not asking me to clearly sin or condone clear sin. I do want to trust my husband as much as possible, but ultimately my trust is in Christ alone.
  • If my husband were to leave me or die, I would be very sad. I would grieve. But I would know that if I have Jesus, I have the greatest Treasure in the universe.
  • If my husband left me, I would pray for my husband. I would want him to come back and to reconcile the marriage. But my greatest concern would be his soul, not my personal happiness.
  • The fruit of my respecting my husband would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life because it is God’s Spirit empowering me to do this (Gal. 5:22-23).

Note:

It’s not wrong to enjoy pleasing our husbands. It’s very helpful to us when they give us some feedback and we know that they appreciate what we do for them. We feel so blessed when our husbands smile at us or show us that they are responding positively to our respect. But we can get sidetracked by their feedback sometimes – or lack of feedback. God can use our husband’s feedback to benefit us and help us on this journey. But not all feedback from our husbands reflects God’s feedback. We must test our husbands’ feedback against God’s Word. I hope that makes sense.

Related:

 

 

WorthyofLove Finally "Gets" Her Husband's Text Messages

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TODAY’S GUEST POST:

Sometimes, our husbands don’t share that they are feeling disrespected or that we are sinning against them and we have no idea we have contributed to the problems in our marriages. But other times, they truly do clearly try to explain that they feel unloved, mistreated, and disrespected – and we just don’t hear what they are saying – until God opens our eyes and ears. One couple has allowed me to share some of a husband’s old text messages to his wife that she has only recently begun to understand. These are the words of a frustrated,  husband who was feeling discouraged, disrespected, and unloved and yet was trying to love and lead his wife in a godly way. His wife, we will call her, WorthyofLove, sees now that she was fighting his attempts to lead and to love her with disrespect and control:

 

———————-

Here we go – some of my husband’s old texts to me:

TEXTS ABOUT BLATANT WAYS HE FELT DISRESPECTED:

From Peacefulwife – This next quote is what happens to a man who feels very put down and disrespected by his wife, notice what begins to happen to his ability to lead and make wise decisions:

Do you realize how many times you reminded me about my mistakes? How else am I supposed to feel except rejected and hurt? It surely didn’t make me feel like a man. I keep second guessing myself.

WAYS HE WAS TRYING TO LEAD ME SPIRITUALLY:

When I read some of these (now) I am like, “Wow he couldn’t have been any more blatant!!!!!”

I honestly did not have a clue what he was trying to say to me. If anything, when he said these things I felt totally wronged and like I was the one trying to work on everything. But looking back, I WAS FOCUSED ON EVERYTHING EXCEPT GOD AND MY HUSBAND!!! I’m glad I can share these in hopes that other women might be able to pick up on anything their men might be trying to say.

I LITERALLY SAID THIS IN A TEXT WHEN I WAS BLIND AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND A SINGLE THING:

“You can’t handle life so you’re dumping your crap all on my shoulders. That’s fine, I’ve had it dumped on me over and over. This is nothing new. Men obviously can’t deal with stuff anymore and women are the only ones who can keep it together while under serious pressure.”

This was my attitude!!! Sadly 🙁

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Ladies,

Let’s slow down. Let’s really listen to what our husbands are trying to share with us. Perhaps they have important things to share that we need to hear. It is possible that God may even be trying to speak through them to us if we will listen. Yes, they have things to work on, too. But so do we. Let’s be willing to humble ourselves and look at any sin issues in our own lives. Let’s take what our husbands say, even if we feel upset about it at first, to God in prayer. Let’s ask God to help us discern, “Is this a legitimate issue? Is it a life-giving rebuke and godly wisdom? If so, help me embrace it. If it is not of You, then help me to not absorb it.”

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

                         – Proverbs 14:1

Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.

                 – Proverbs 9:8

I pray God will give us ears to hear so that we might build up our marriages, our husbands, and our children and not tear them down.

Much love!

I NEED A BIT OF EXTRA HELP THE NEXT FEW DAYS WITH COMMENTS, PLEASE 🙂

I have some extra responsibilities on my plate today through Saturday – so if anyone feels led to reach out and share encouragement and godly wisdom that you have learned with someone who is commenting and may need some love, I would greatly appreciate my Titus 2 ladies reaching out this week. Y’all do an amazing job blessing, encouraging, sharing, praying for each other, and loving each other. I am so honored to get to see how the Spirit of God brings such love, unity, and support to this body of believers that gathers here.

RELATED:

Signs Your Husband Is Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them – note, the things that really can upset husbands are things that often seem “small” or “insignificant” to us, but to them, these are big issues. We want our husbands to care about things that matter deeply to us even if our issues seem “small” in their eyes. Let’s give them the same level of consideration and compassion. And the added bonus, as we ask God to help us work on these things, we are getting rid of sin that God wants us to get rid of anyway. We will become more godly women.

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

 

"I Will Not Be a 'Second Class Citizen'" – by The Restored Wife

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A guest post by The Restored Wife:

I remember scoffing at the idea that my husband would EVER “rule over me” or control me in any way! I didn’t like the idea of being what I thought of as a second class citizen in my marriage.

I had a post recently here on April’s blog where I shared how that worked out for me. My husband felt so emasculated and discouraged, he completely gave up. We both made many mistakes, eventually leading to divorce. We were actually remarried March 1st, 2016 (praise God) but only after a long, painful journey in which I learned the importance of submission – not in the horrifying way I always thought it would be, but in the way God intended.

Here is an example of a situation where my husband’s leadership works when we disagree:

Our living room furniture is in awful condition, so we decided to shop for new furniture last month. We have VERY different taste so I was dreading the idea of ending up with couches I don’t even like! We sat down and planned out a budget for new furniture, and my husband asked me what color I wanted. I told him I thought gray would look best with the existing walls and decorations, and he actually agreed with me on that part. However, when we went shopping the first day, he was drawn toward couches that didn’t match my taste at all. I asked what he thought about taking some photos that day, then going home and looking over them before we made any decisions, and he agreed.

In the past, I would have demanded this instead of asking him. It makes a big difference to him that I ask respectfully, and generally he goes along with my suggestions when I do this.

That night we looked through the photos both of us had taken with our phones. I told him I didn’t like the overstuffed/oversized look of most of the furniture he picked. I didn’t yell or attack him; I just let him know that the style wasn’t what I had in mind. I asked him what features he liked most about those particular couches, and he actually didn’t care at all that they were the overstuffed kind – he was more worried about the fabric (we have pets) and how easy it would be to clean! Once I realized where his mind was, we got online and found some options that had:

(1) the gray color

(2) the same type of fabric

(3) a more streamlined look.

He was still worried that the couches I liked would be uncomfortable, so we went back to the store the next week to sit on them and try them out. We were able to find a set of couches that met both our requirements, and even though he made the final choice, he was very concerned about making sure I was happy as well.

That’s a small thing, but in the past it would have been a huge fight. I would have insisted we get the furniture I wanted without even understanding (or caring) why he was picking something else. I would have refused to even hear his opinion… I might have even insulted him by saying something like “Furniture is something the woman picks out, not the man.” None of these things would have made him feel respected and it would have driven a larger wedge between us as neither would have felt heard.

Instead, as he has become secure that I trust him to make the best decisions for our family, he seeks my input MORE than he ever did before. He wants me to be happy and is careful to make wise choices.

Not because I’ll make life awful for him if he doesn’t, but because we’ll get along so much better if he does. Before I submitted to him as the leader of our family, I would have never known he was trying to make my life easier by selecting a fabric that was easy to clean – I would have yelled and screamed to get my way and he never would have mentioned WHY he wanted the couches I didn’t like.

Submitting was so foreign to me at first. I had no idea how to be happy in a situation where I thought I would never get to voice my opinions or make decisions. But the only thing that really changed is “how” I share what I think and how my husband reacts to it. He thinks of things that never even cross my mind and I learn so much from him now that I allow him the space to share without feeling like I’ll dismiss or attack him. It’s a difficult mindset shift but I have received nothing but blessings since I allowed myself to trust God’s plan for our marriage.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

In God’s design, the husband and wife have equal value and worth. Both have an important voice. Both feel listened to. Both contribute all of themselves. Both feel loved, honored, and respected. We are not the same, but it is our differences in body, mind, and spirit that attract us to each other. It is our differences that allow us to function as a team and as one. We have different roles, but we have the same goal and we are equally valued and precious in the kingdom of Christ. We both have equal access to God and we are both co-heirs with Christ.

A godly husband and wife would both seek to be selfless, humble, generous, thoughtful, considerate, understanding, and compassionate when they are making decisions because of the Holy Spirit working in them. They would want to attempt to reach a win/win solution. There should be teamwork, calm discussion, and collaboration. It is only after such steps are taken for each spouse to understand the other and to honor the other and to try to reach a solution both husband and wife would like – that if they still can’t agree, the wife would then choose to honor her husband’s leadership and trust God to lead her through him. Sometimes decisions may have to be made quickly, without time for discussion – if there is an emergency. Some situations don’t have compromises.  But both spouses ideally would be seeking to do what is best for the family and seeking to be selfless and should desire to do what is ultimately best in God’s eyes for everyone in the family.

Many times, the actual decision isn’t as important as how we treat each other during the decision-making process. 

RELATED:

Biblical Submission

Spiritual Authority

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

Biblical Submission Does Not Mean the Husband Is Always Right

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Can a Wife Overdo Submission?

Do You Have to Lose Yourself or Be Fake to Be a Godly Wife?

Does Being Biblically Submissive Mean I Can’t Share My Feelings and What I Need

The Pendulum Effect (avoiding the sinful extremes of being too passive and too controlling)

25 Ways to Respect Myself

What Is Godly Leadership?

Isn’t It Demeaning to Me If I Respect My Husband?

 

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography
photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography

 

ADMIN NOTE:

If anyone has some Valentine’s Day disappointment you would like to hash through together with me, let me know. We can talk about it. Also, please check out Valentine’s Day Expectations.

BOOK NEWS:

My book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, is on sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play (the Kindle version) for $1.99 through next Monday! Please check it out, and do an honest review if you get a chance. That would be awesome!

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Every husband has his own list. What matters most is not this particular list, but what most speaks honor and real respect to your particular husband. 🙂

 

25 WAYS TO RESPECT YOUR HUSBAND

  1. Be sure to have your time with God in His Word and in prayer daily. It is impossible to be a godly wife and to honor our husbands from the heart if we are spiritually starving.
  2. Care about his feelings, words, and opinions the way you would like him to care about yours.
  3. Treat him like a grown adult and a person of equal worth in the eyes of God.
  4. Approach him with humility realizing that his perspective and wisdom have worth just like yours do.
  5. If he has a higher drive sexually, seek to be joyfully available to him and to enjoy him whenever you can. If he has a lower drive sexually, seek to extend grace, patience, understanding, and selflessness to him rather than pressuring him or condemning him.
  6. Don’t interrupt him whenever possible.
  7. Treat him well especially in front of others. This includes social media.
  8. Bless him with that radiant smile of yours that lights up the room just because you love him when you see him after work (and lots of other times, too).
  9. When he mentions something that is important to him, try to put that high up on your to-do list.
  10. Communicate directly, concisely, and in a straightforward way rather than giving hints and expecting him to read your mind.
  11. Share your concerns, ideas, wisdom, perspective, and feelings calmly, with a pleasant tone of voice whenever appropriate, using good manners.
  12. Use a friendly tone of voice and facial expressions as a general habit.
  13. Focus on his strengths and the good things you see in him.
  14. Appreciate the ways he shows you love and tries to make your life better even if there are other ways you would like him to show love to you.
  15. Honor his parenting and seek to support his decisions as much as possible. If you disagree, share that respectfully and humbly in private. (If he is sinning against your children, you may need to confront him)
  16. Speak highly of his family.
  17. Do things that you enjoy for yourself.
  18. Give him time to process difficult emotions and tough decisions without pressuring him to talk if he is not ready.
  19. Keep vulnerable and sensitive information confidential (unless there are severe problems and you are speaking to a counselor/appropriate mentor/the police).
  20. Be flexible and able to roll with changes and challenges that inevitably come up in life. Your stress level greatly impacts everyone in the family, including your husband. When you are stressed, he is much more stressed.  If you are able to have an adventurous, joyful, calm spirit, everyone else will weather trials more easily, too.
  21. Believe in him.
  22. Don’t compare him to other men, even in your heart.
  23. Accept him and let him know you appreciate the man he is and that you are not trying to change him. He is not your “project.”
  24. Receive compliments, love, acts of service, and gifts from him graciously.
  25. Relax with him and be his friend.

 

NOTE:

It is so critical that before we attempt to honor our husbands, we put God way above our husbands in our hearts so that we are filled to overflowing with Christ. Then we approach the marriage from a position of spiritual and emotional abundance. We find our security and identity in Christ. We are already fulfilled and content in Jesus. Only He can meet the deepest needs of our hearts, minds, and souls – no human can do that. When we understand that our husbands can’t be God to us, and that they are mere mortals just like we are, we can see them as fellow travelers rather than having expectations of them and of marriage that are unrealistic.

We can take responsibility for our own spiritual well-being in God and our own emotions. We can be sure we are treating God and ourselves with respect. We can be filled up with God’s Spirit, spilling over with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then we are ready to learn to respect our husbands.

(Wives would appreciate many of these things, as well – and wives each have their own list of things that feel loving to them, too. Everyone appreciates being treated with honor, godly love, and respect.)

(If a husband is involved in unrepentant sin, a wife does have a responsibility to respectfully confront him in many situations.)

SHARE:

Ladies,

If you would like to share the things you have learned that your husband appreciates most we’d love for you to share!

Gentlemen,

If you would like to share the things that most speak respect and honor to you as a husband, you are welcome to share.

 

“Wouldn’t a Husband Be Prideful for Not Accepting His Wife’s Help?”

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Photo credit – Maral Rabbit Photography

A woman asked this question recently – and I think it is a great one to discuss.

Women tend, in general, to jump in to help their husbands or other people – because we see it as “the loving thing to do.” Men tend, in general, not to jump in to offer unsolicited advice or help because they often believe that would be “disrespectful.” So when a wife offers unsolicited help or advice to her husband, and he refuses it – she may be tempted to think that he is being prideful. (Of course, this may happen in reverse, as well. I am talking in generalizations here – but there can be different dynamics in different marriages.)

But let’s step back and realize that we don’t know other people’s motives or their hearts. Other people may have perspectives that we are not privy to. So, it may not be that a man is “prideful” for not accepting his wife’s attempts to help him. He may feel that she doesn’t believe he is capable of doing what he is trying to do and he may feel insulted by what she believes she is doing to be “helpful.”

Let’s see how a woman might experience a similar scenario:

  1. Imagine that you have a newborn and you are nursing your baby because you believe it is the best thing for your baby’s health. Now picture that your mother tells you that formula would be better for your baby and that your baby will never get enough nourishment because she thinks that you cannot possibly produce enough milk to sustain your baby. Imagine that your baby is well within normal weight limits and that your baby is healthy and you are having no problems with nursing. How would you feel about your mother’s unsolicited advice and “help”? Would it be prideful for you to make your own decision about whether to breastfeed your baby or not?
  2. Imagine that you are cleaning the bathroom and your husband comes in and and grabs the sponge and spray bottle out of your hand and starts cleaning himself? What if he also criticizes your own cleaning abilities the entire time as he is taking over the job you were doing? How would you feel about your husband’s “help”? Would you be prideful to be unappreciative?
  3. Imagine that you are in the middle of ringing up a customer at work when a coworker comes over and steps in front of you and finishes the transaction while you were handling things just fine yourself and didn’t need or ask for help. How would you feel about your coworker’s “help”? Would it be prideful of you to expect to be able to do your own work without your coworker stepping in to do your job for you?

Perhaps we can appreciate that what one person perceives as being “helpful” may actually feel insulting to the one receiving the unsolicited advice or help. Could it be prideful not to ask for help when we need it? Yes. It definitely could. But there may be other ways to look at situations at times – and that is what I would like for us to try to do. Let’s seek to understand our husband’s perspective rather than judging him as having evil or sinful motives first.

Here is a recent 4 minute Youtube video I did about how to tell the difference between being controlling vs. actually being helpful to our men:

 

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Signs Your Husband May Feel Disrespected

The Respect Knob

 

GENERAL DISCLAIMER ABOUT MY BLOG – if you have really serious issues in your marriage, if your husband is very dominant/controlling/abusive, you are struggling with mental illness, your husband is struggling with mental illness, you or your husband have an active addiction, you tend to be extremely codependent, you are extremely passive and tend to be too afraid to share your needs with your husband, or you are severely emotionally scarred  – my blog may not be a good fit for you.

I would suggest that you find a godly,   you can get to know and trust one-on-one to help walk you through your situation. Sometimes women in these situations mishear me in dangerous ways. I never want that to happen. I want everyone to find the healing that is in Christ – if that is through a different source, I am fine with that.

Why You May Want to Keep This a Secret for Awhile…

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Husbands have a God-given need for respect.

If I can’t trust the perfect and only God who completely loves me and died for me, if I can’t submit fully to Him as Lord and reverence Him, if I don’t know my infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t know my husband’s infinite worth in Christ, if I don’t understand what the concepts of respect or submission are, or what character qualities are even worthy of respect – I am in big trouble. There is no way I can genuinely honor, respect, and biblically submit to my imperfect human husband – even if he is the most amazing man on earth.

This isn’t because there is nothing to respect in my husband, but because there is so much spiritual work to do in my own life. Whether I am too controlling and disrespectful, or too passive and “overly respectful and too submissive” toward my husband… we all need God’s healing in our own souls as the first step of this journey.

  • I had a lot of work to do with God before I could begin to be capable of truly respecting and honoring my husband.

I talk a lot here about that our motives for respecting our husbands and honoring their God-given leadership must be our desires to:

  1. please God
  2. bless our husbands

BUT – If you say to your husband, “I will respect you, Honey, because God commands me to,” that would feel very hurtful to him.

As wives, we would be horrified if our husbands said, “I love you because God says I have to,” right? We want our men to think, “I GET to be married to her and to love her!” Not, “I have to be married to her and I have to love her.” Our men want to know that we genuinely respect real things about them and that we honor their leadership because we trust them – not just because we love, reverence, and submit to Christ. Of course, most of us can’t really start here  – this is the goal, but there are many steps we must take to get to the place where we can really become godly wives who know how to do all of these things and have the power to be able to do them.

I need to be able to be a whole and healed woman (or at least, beginning to heal) – before I can respect or honor my husband properly. My primary purpose is to know and love God and to bring glory to Him. One secondary purpose is that I have the ability to be a godly wife because of Christ living in me. But even then, I can’t meet the deepest needs of my husband’s heart. Our deepest needs as people are met by Christ alone. I can’t be God to my husband. What I can do is come to the marriage from a position of great strength in Christ, knowing my identity, filled with God’s Spirit – then I can bless my husband and begin to breathe God’s healing and life into the marriage because then I have the power to do the things God calls me to do. I hope this makes sense.

As one husband shared, “Husbands don’t like ‘duty sex’ or ‘duty respect and submission’ from their wives.” Can we blame them? Wouldn’t we feel the same way if our husbands said something similar regarding their love for us?

Sometimes – with our husbands – less verbal/written information from us can be better about this journey… especially at first. Honestly, most husbands would probably be appalled to know how difficult it is for us wives to learn to respect them and honor their leadership. This isn’t because of any faults in them, generally, but because of the battles and struggles we face ourselves. Unfortunately, a wounded husband may not be able to see this – and would likely take it very personally that his wife doesn’t or can’t respect him.

WHEN WE ARE FIRST LEARNING, OUR WORDS MAY MAKE THINGS WORSE

Sometimes, there are ways we could share with our husbands that would be very hurtful before we begin to speak the masculine language of respect fluently. If you say things like:

  • This blogger lady says I shouldn’t tell you how dumb I think your ideas are.
  • God doesn’t want me to take over for you, even though I really don’t think you can handle this situation. Wow! It is so hard not to just jump in and do all of this myself!
  • I’m trying to figure out what things I can respect about you, but I can barely think of anything.
  • I am going to try to start respecting you now. Man, this is going to be TOUGH!
  • I’m going to try to stop being mean to you so that you will do more things for me.
  • I’ve decided I am going to try to respect you more even though you don’t deserve my respect.
  • I don’t actually trust you, but I am trying to trust God to lead me through you. So, I am going to cooperate with you even though I really think your ideas are terrible.

… try to guess how disrespected and insulted a husband might feel and the massive chasm these kinds of words could create in a marriage.

If these things don’t make you cringe – try imagining a husband saying these same things about loving his wife. That might help put it in perspective a bit more.

DON’T TALK ABOUT IT – JUST DO IT!

Most husbands don’t want to hear about what we “are going to do” or why we are going to do it or why we don’t want to do what God commands us to do. They just want to see our transformed attitude and life as God works in us. They don’t need a verbal play-by-play of what God is teaching us.

There may be exceptions – super spiritually strong husbands who understand the complexity of this journey and who don’t get offended when wives are struggling at first to understand who may be able to help their wives process these things. Or, God may prompt a wife to share something about what she is doing if a husband is continuing on in unrepentant sin. God may give you a very respectful way to share this. That’s fine. Please listen to God’s voice much more than my suggestions!

If you have a husband who is deeply wounded from years of disrespect and control from his wife and who may even be drowning in shame himself – adding more insults does not move things forward, it just sets you back many more weeks or months in healing his soul and the marriage.

(By the way – husbands have a very similar journey to make with God to learn how to truly love their wives that causes them to have to go through just as much contortion and changes as we do on our journey. All believers go through this painful, but necessary, process of sanctification where God refines and prunes us to make us more like Christ.)

One day in the future, when the marriage is much more healthy – you will probably be able to share more about your journey with your husband. And by then, you will be better equipped to share about it in ways that don’t insult him but actually honor and delight him. Then you can celebrate – together – all the miracles that God has done in your lives and in your marriage!

Much love to each of you!

NOTE:

  • We reverence Christ first as Lord and King.
  • We respect ourselves as daughters of the King and find our identity and worth in Christ alone.
  • We respect our marriage covenant.
  • We respect our husbands because they are our husbands and we seek to find the good in them.

Sometimes, it seems that women think that if they respect their husbands, they must disrespect one or more of these other things. No, not at all! And please remember that we are to hate sin, as God does… we don’t have to respect our husband’s sin. We can respect our husbands, God, ourselves, and our marriage while we stand against things that the Bible calls sin.

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

My Husband Can’t Make Me Submit to Him or Respect Him!

The Respect Knob

To Speak or Not to Speak?

GENERAL DISCLAIMER FOR MY BLOG

If you are a wife who has severe emotional/spiritual scars, your husband is extremely controlling, you are experiencing severe issues in your marriage, or you think that “respect” means, “I have to do whatever my husband says and never say what I need, be quiet all the time, give up my personhood, smile in a fake way, and suffer,” – please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate one-on-one godly counsel. There are some wives who misunderstand what respect and biblical submission means – and my words – in very destructive ways because of the filters and severe wounds they have. Things that a healthy wife would be fine hearing and understand in a good way may crush the spirit of a wife who hears it incorrectly. That breaks my heart!

If you think that I am saying you “just need to take abuse” and you “shouldn’t get to ever share your concerns, needs, and feelings” with your husband, or “you aren’t as valuable or as important as your husband,” or “you aren’t a real person” – you are misunderstanding me greatly. These are not the messages I am trying to convey to anyone! If you think that is what I am saying, please stop reading my blog and seek resources that will better help you understand God’s Word and His design in your particular situation.

Ultimately, we must always each test anything that anyone else says (including myself) against Scripture. And we must each make our own decisions about what we believe God desires us to do. If you believe you are hearing destructive messages from me, leave a comment and let’s talk about it to be sure there is not a misunderstanding. 🙂

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

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

This is so true – our approach matters greatly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED:

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

How She Apologized for Her Disrespect – Calming the Storm

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

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

REMINDER:

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

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

Celebrate Recovery – Christian addiction recovery

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

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

 

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

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

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

And not humorous at all, in my view.

Warning:

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

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

———

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

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

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

A directive is a command:

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

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

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

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

We can communicate effectively without ordering people around, thankfully!

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

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

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

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

Some things to avoid:

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

Some ways to bless him:

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

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

Something to prayerfully consider:

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

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8a

SHARE:

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

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

RELATED:

Godly Femininity

Signs Your Husband Feels Disrespected (and Unloved)

My Beliefs 

NOTE:

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

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

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

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

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