The Respect Dare, Day 12 – Wise Words and Kindness

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She opens her mouth in wisdom; and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  Proverbs 31:26

Nina Roesner shares a very relatable story in The Respect Dare – on Dare 12 – about a wife who had a rough day and asked her husband to take care of the dishes and put the children to bed so she could go to bed early.  He agreed but then forgot to finish cleaning up the kitchen – she discovered this when she went to make coffee the next morning.  She had a choice – to explode in anger or to extend grace, mercy and kindness with her words, remembering he had had a bad day the day before, too.

Nina shares that sometimes what seems like an inconsiderate action or insult – is really just an oversight by someone who is just as tired as we are.

Whether you are working through The Respect Dare book right now, or not, you can read my posts and participate in the discussion and challenges I give.  Everyone is welcome! 🙂

WHICH IS THE MORE POWERFUL APPROACH?

WORLDLY:

Worldly wisdom tells us that if someone “drops the ball” we are entitled to blow up at them, get highly offended and demand that they do what we want them to do.

Worldly wisdom says that overlooking an insult means we are going to be “taken advantage of” – as if that is the worst thing that could happen in life.

Worldly wisdom says that we are totally justified to yell, scream, cuss, disrespect and emasculate our husbands if they don’t meet our expectations.

Worldly wisdom says, “I WILL have my way, no matter what the cost to others.”

Worldly wisdom says, “Life is all about me.  Who cares what problems other people have.”

Worldly wisdom says, “I’m going to make him pay for what he did for me.  I’ll show him!”

GODLY:

Godly wisdom says if someone makes a mistake and doesn’t meet my expectations to offer grace and seek to understand that person, offering mercy and forgiveness that I have been given in Christ.

Godly wisdom says that  there are times when overlooking an insult prevents an unnecessary conflict and is an exercise in self-control.

Godly wisdom says that I am accountable for my behavior, attitudes, motives, actions and sins no matter how much someone sins against me.

Godly wisdom calls me to repay evil with good, to pray for those who mistreat me and to be kind to those who are cruel to me.

Godly wisdom knows when to gently confront and when to let things go.

Godly wisdom says that the person who insulted me may be having a bad day, too, or may be exhausted, in pain or stressed.  I don’t have to necessarily take their insult personally.

Godly wisdom says, “I will wait for God to take revenge, it is not my place to seek vengeance.  I will respond in the power and love of Christ when someone hurts me.”

(If your husband is physically abusing you or has an uncontrolled mental disorder or you have serious marriage problems – please seek godly, wise counsel!!!)

QUESTIONS:

1.  When you are tired, hormonal, have low blood sugar, etc… how do you normally interact with others?

2. How can you honor God today if your husband says something harsh?

3.  When you are having a bad day, how can you sympathize with other people who may also be having a rough time?

CHALLENGE:

It is better to say nothing than to say something hurtful.  Let your words today be words of kindness.

From Nina Roesner:

“First comes the control,

then comes the ability to see things how God sees them,

then comes the ability to say things wisely to others.”

SHARE:

How are you doing with the dares?

What has been the biggest struggle so far?

What surprises have you had?

What victories have you seen?

The Respect Dare, Day 7 – A New Tongue

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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

Ok, ladies – this is a TOUGH one!!!!!  We have GOT to be abiding in Christ, feasting on His Word daily, praying humbly for ourselves and our husbands and seeking God with all our hearts, asking Him to fill us with His Spirit or we cannot have victory in this area.

God has given us incredible verbal abilities to use our words to give life, affirm, encourage, bless, support and build up our men (and children and others around us, as well).  But when our sinful nature is in control, we can use our verbal abilities to attack, insult, gossip, slander, tear down, destroy and kill our husbands (and others).

Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be.  James 3:10

The tongue holds the power of life and death.  Proverbs 18:21

  • It is time for us to decide to lay down the weapon of our tongue.
  • It is time to stop using our words to fire verbal bullets at our husbands.
  • It is time to stop using our words to tear down our husbands to other people and to destroy our marriages and our husbands’ reputations on Facebook, to our friends, to our other family members, to our coworkers.  (If we have serious problems, let’s only talk to a godly mentoring wife, a Christian counselor or pastor  about it – but even then, let’s be respectful, truthful and not try to slander our husbands or destroy their reputation in our church, neighborhood or community.)
  • It is time to stop negativity, complaining, arguing and a critical spirit.
  • It is time to begin to speak of the GOOD things in our husbands to others (Philippians 4:8).
  • It is time to praise our husbands and talk about what we admire.
  • It is time to learn to use our mouths to bless our husbands at all times.

A minimum requirement of respecting our husbands is that we do not tear them down in public.

TALKING WITH GIRLFRIENDS

It is SO VERY EASY today to get together to chat with our girlfriends and to listen to everyone else bash and ridicule her husband and then to join in.   Sadly, disrespecting our husbands has become normal today.  In fact:

  • if you choose NOT to insult your husband to your girl friends, you will be “weird.”
  • if you go so far as to actually say GOOD things about your man – many of your friends, even ones who claim Christ, may look at you like you are from another planet.
  • if you talk about respecting your husband – you can expect confrontation and anger from many other women.
  • if you have the gall to talk about biblical submission (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:2-5, I Corinthians 11:3), well… you might just have rotten tomatoes thrown at your head.  Even in your own family.  Even among women who say they are Christians.  That is how deeply poisoned even the church has become with the world’s messages about femininity, masculinity and marriage.  God’s Word is often not tolerated even in “Christian” circles.  How awful is that!?!

Keep in mind that you will become like those friends you hang around.  If your friends are tearing down their men, these are not friends you can spend much time with.  Not if you desire to be a godly wife who honors and obeys Christ and who respects and honors your husband’s God-given leadership.

A COVENANT

Let’s make a covenant with our lips not to tear our husbands down verbally to other people out of respect for our husbands and reverence for Christ.

WHAT DO I TALK ABOUT?

This was a really big struggle for me for the first year or two of this journey of respect and biblical submission.  I wanted to learn wisdom.  I wanted to have discretion.  But at first, I realized that almost every word out of my mouth was negative, critical, complaining, contentious, gossip or hurtful.  At first, I got really quiet as I tried to stop all the negative and disrespectful words from coming out of my mouth.

For me,  I personally had to take a few steps back emotionally from extended family, friends and coworkers because I did not trust my mouth.  It took a long time before I could confidently sit in a group of women and NOT blurt out something hurtful about my husband.  Seriously.  I don’t know that you will need to be that extreme.  Or, maybe you will have a group of wives who will support you in your efforts to stop criticizing, blaming, shaming and complaining about your husband and who will keep you accountable if you slip up.

It takes time to learn to stop the bad stuff.  And at first the positive and good stuff feels awkward, weird and foreign on your lips.  But it becomes more natural as you practice and keep doing it.

This is a process, a long process.  Nina Roesner describes the normal cycles and progress of this journey here.

QUESTIONS:

Nina Roesner has some REALLY good questions on today’s dare.  I dare you to check them out and really do some soul searching with them if you have the book!

I have a few questions to ask you as well:

1.  Do your family members and friends encourage you to say negative things and complain about life and others in general, and specifically about your husband?  What do you believe you may need to do when you are with these people to honor Christ and your marriage covenant?

2. Does your husband feel you support him and show respect to him in the way you speak with others?  Want to ask him and see what he thinks?  If you do this – please just listen and really focus on hearing his heart on this issue.  Whatever you do – do not attack him or list all of his failures.  Just listen to his answer and pray for God to give you wisdom about what you may need to change.

3.  Do you tend to say every thought that comes into your head?  Or do you filter your words wisely with discretion and wisdom – making sure that your words will benefit and bless those who listen?  What do you believe God would like to change in your life in this area?

RELATED POSTS:

Our Words Can Cause Catastrophic Damage

Husband Bashing is Very Contagious

From Clark Kent to Superman  (How God changed my tongue of kryptonite)

Finding the Hero In Our Husbands – Youtube video

The Respect Dare, Day 1 – Expectations

 

Ladies,

I am THRILLED to be on this adventure with you as we begin a 40 day walk through The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner.!

If you don’t have a copy of the book yet, you can certainly get one – either version.  If you can’t get the book, that is ok – we will still be learning and growing spiritually together as godly wives.  I, for one, am very excited about all that God has done and is doing and all that He will do in my own life and marriage and in yours!

THE RULES:

  • I am not at liberty to quote The Respect Dare to repeat the exact dares.

What we will do is talk about our experience with the dares and I am going to be talking about general topics.

You are all very welcome and encouraged to share your struggles, what you are learning, what God is doing, any victories and prayer needs and we will walk through this together.

  • I would suggest NOT reading ahead, but just doing each day’s dare in the morning if possible.  That way you will have time to do whatever the dare is later in the day.  Sometimes there are assignments that you will need to know about before you interact with your husband.
  • I would definitely suggest praying each day and asking God to empower you to please Him , to teach you anything He wants to teach you and to make your heart receptive to His Words and His truth.

Expectations of my husband and marriage:

Well, we dive right in to the really thick stuff with this topic, don’t we??  I love it!

One of my readers shared a quote with me

“Expectations are premeditated resentment.”

Wow.

That really stood out to me. I wouldn’t say that ALL expectations are premeditated resentment – but unrealistic or unbiblical ones sure can be.

I don’t know if  you are like I was – but I had TONS of expectations of my husband and our marriage going into this thing 19 years ago.  I mean, it would have taken me pages to write it all down single-spaced.  And the thing that really made it awful was that I believed all of my expectations were totally justifiable and reasonable and that my husband would automatically have the exact same expectations I did.

If you have been reading this blog for very long, you may remember that I had a 4 part series on expectations this past winter.  There is practically no limit to how many expectations we can have of our husbands!

To love WITHOUT expectation is to love with “no strings attached.”

I think we have ALL been loved by someone WITH strings attached.  You know the ones, “After ALL I’ve done for you!”

  • If I love with strings attached – that means, “I love you if you do what I want.”

That is NOT the kind of love God desires us to have for others.

  • His kind of love is “I love you because I am love.”

1. I would like for you to spend some time writing down the expectations you have for your marriage or your husband.

Here are some that might help get you started.  (Some of these are expectations I had myself, some are not.)  I expected my husband to:

  • be home every night
  • spend 4-5 hours/day with me emotionally, spiritually and verbally connecting
  • want to go where I want to go on vacation
  • agree with me
  • be romantic by my definition every day
  • help with certain chores without being asked
  • do things on my timetable ( which usually means, right now)
  • make me feel loved
  • be responsible for my happiness.  If I am not happy, it is his duty to fix my unhappiness.
  • change for me and become who I want him to be
  • acknowledge that I am always right
  • initiate prayer with me and pray out loud with me daily
  • give up watching tv and spending time on the computer to just talk face to face with me
  • make me his first human priority after God
  • be responsible with money
  • always want sex when I want sex and never refuse me.
  • be affectionate many times per day
  • plan surprise trips for me multiple times per year
  • be totally transparent and accountable about what he is doing, who he talks to and his online activity
  • never sin against me
  • hardly ever have a bad day
  • not be depressed or upset
  • not disappoint me
  • not make mistakes
  • lead me spiritually in the ways I think he should
  • never sin even in his thoughts
  • never hurt my feelings
  • tell me he loves me every day
  • write me long, beautiful, sincere love letters a few times per week
  • give up his hobbies to be with me
  • give to the church and the poor what I want to give
  • accept that what I think is God’s will is clearly God’s will
  • think, feel, process emotions and make decisions just like I do (to be exactly like me emotionally, mentally and spiritually)
  • answer me within 30 seconds whenever I ask him a question or need him to make a decision
  • have the same priorities I do
  • need love just like I do – have the same needs I have
  • appreciate anything I do for him the way I would appreciate it
  • just know that he should take out the trash/do the dishes/help with the laundry and do it exactly the way I do it
  • want a baby when I want a baby
  • help with the baby and do exactly half of the “work”
  • split the chores down the middle according to my definition
  • be willing to listen to all my feelings, thoughts and emotions for hours
  • act the way my Daddy acts
  • go to the church I want to go to and go when I want to go
  • drive the way I drive
  • park the way I park
  • take care of the children exactly like I take care of the children
  • clean up after himself exactly like I do
  • discipline the children exactly like I do
  • be perfect – by my definition

I don’t know if you have realized this or not – but in my case – I really expected my husband to be… well… ME!  Or perfect. Or a fantasy. And truthfully, I don’t think that Jesus Himself would live up to a lot of my expectations here.

I was pretty shocked to find out he wasn’t me.  I thought that meant he had to be WRONG for many years in our marriage.   I was also very shocked to find out how NOT perfect I am!

Oh, for the chance to start our marriage over and understand that my husband is not only not me, he is a man, he is not a woman.  Men are VERY different from women!!!!  They do NOT think, feel, process and make decisions just like we do.  That was a really important piece of information that I sure wish I had understood on May 28, 1994.

Note – There are some expectations we will need to keep. Things like:

  • I should be safe with my husband. I should not have to be afraid for my safety or my children’s safety.
  • He should not cheat on me or break our marriage covenant. If he does, that is not okay. I don’t have permission to respond in sinful ways to him, but I may need to prayerfully consider separation until he is willing to repent and rebuild trust.
  • If he has a really serious problem (major unrepentant sin, significant addiction, demon possession, or serious uncontrolled mental health issue) – I may need to reach out for appropriate help outside of the marriage.
  • I can respect myself, the Lord, and my husband at the same time.
  • I can’t cooperate with him in sin or condone sin.

2. Now, we are going to lay these expectations of our husbands down at the feet of Jesus.  We are going to let go of them.  Please do NOT share your expectation list with your husband. 

Another way of saying that we aren’t going to hold our expectations over our husbands anymore is this:

I accept my husband as he is right now.  I am not going to try to change him.  I am not God.  Only God can change people.  From this moment on, I will accept my husband for the man that he is.

3. I would like you to write down some expectations you have for yourself to grow spiritually in the next few months.

Here are some examples of ways you might hope to grow in your walk with Christ:

I want to learn to

4.  Ask God to change YOU! 🙂

You are responsible for you.  You are not responsible for your husband.  Allow God full and total access to the darkest corners of your soul and allow Him to change anything in you that He desires to.

Humble yourself before God – seeking His wisdom, His will and His glory!

My power is not in focusing on what my husband should do or could do to be a better husband.

My power is in focusing on what God wants to do in MY heart!

DISCUSSION:

What are some expectations you have had of your husband?

What would you like to see God do in your heart?

 

PS  – A CAUTION ABOUT ROMANTIC MOVIES/BOOKS/MUSIC:

I personally had to stop watching romantic movies/tv shows, stop reading romantic novels (even the Christian ones – because I would start to feel resentful that my marriage wasn’t like the one in the book, and I try not to listen to love songs.

Those romantic things set up HUGE expectations in our hearts that are not healthy for our marriages in my view. They are not realistic. And if something triggers discontent in me – I want to look to the root cause of the discontentment and tear it out of my life if at all possible.

It is much easier to be content with what we have when we are not filling our hearts with fantasy about what “should be.”

 

Attracting Your Husband

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Creating attraction in your husband towards you is actually fairly simple once you learn to understand godly masculinity, how men think, how God designed men, godly femininity, how women think and how God designed women.  See… EASY as pie!  🙂

You cannot force your man to be attracted to you.  You can be a godly woman, full of joy and peace and God’s Spirit.  THAT is attractive to men.  Then we will trust God with the results. 🙂

What I am about to list is not a bunch of rules – but rather – it comes from understanding more about God and His design for men and women and marriage and from living in His power.  It is impossible to be a godly wife without His Spirit empowering us!

(If there are SERIOUS problems of abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, infidelity, etc… in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP!)

  • Understand that his core masculine emotional need as a man is RESPECT – not love.  He does need love – especially, friendly, affectionate love – but if he feels disrespected, he will not “feel loved.”
  • Appreciate that men can and do feel physical attraction based on looks – but the attraction that will keep your man with you is the beauty of your feminine, gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear.
  • Dress femininely and modestly in public.
  • Do not be modest in private with your husband.  Allow him the chance to admire and enjoy you visually if he would like to.
  • Be genuinely forgiving – full of the grace and mercy of God.
  • Use that beautiful smile and dazzling eyes of yours to make your man feel welcome around you.
  • If he asks you to do something, make it a priority on your to do list
  • Let him know that you are proud of the man that he is.
  • Be a SAFE place for him to share his heart.  DO NOT share with other people the precious pieces of his heart that he shares with you in confidence.
  • Realize that you are in a particularly powerful position as a godly wife to give respect to your husband that can meet his deepest masculine needs.  When a man detects the faith, trust, admiration and respect of his wife – something inside of him comes to life.  He feels more masculine, more powerful (in a good way), more capable, stronger, better able to face the world, ready to conquer dragons.  God is able to use your feminine admiration, respect, encouragement, praise for what is good in him and adoration to help a man soar to greater heights than he ever could before.
  • Study to understand and quickly recognize what disrespect looks like to men in general and to your husband, in particular – and avoid those behaviors and attitudes like the plague!  Especially avoid criticizing, lecturing, scolding, demanding, yelling, complaining, arguing and negativity.  This is actually part of the process of sanctification and becoming more like Christ.
  • Be a PLEASURE to be around.  Be full of the joy of Christ and God’s Spirit.  Have your heart completely set on Him and the things of heaven!
  • Seek Christ and His kingdom first! Watch your motives.  Ask God to help you check your motives often!
  • Do not make your husband into an idol that comes before your devotion to Christ.  That is a recipe for a disaster!
  • Study to understand what respect looks like to men in general, and then to your husband, in particular.
  • Study to understand what godly femininity is all about.  Be willing to trash any worldly wisdom you have absorbed and build on the word of God and Christ alone.
  • Study to understand how to honor God-given authority in your life – whether it is a teacher, a boss, a police officer, a pastor, a Bible teacher, or your husband.
  • Commit yourself to submit your life totally to Christ.  Study about biblical submission  – where it starts – and what it means in a marriage relationship.  Be prepared to be a cheerful follower.
  • Learn to share your heart, your feelings, your desires and your perspective in a non-threatening, respectful, pleasant, calm, BRIEF way.  Be willing to cooperate with God-given authority over you respectfully – even when you disagree unless that authority is asking you to sin or condone sin.  Trust that God, in His great sovereignty, will lead you and speak to you through that God-given authority so that your best interests and God’s greatest glory will be the end result.  This is how you can have peace even when you don’t agree with an authority.  You trust God to use that decision to take you to the place He wants you to go.
  • Embrace humility.   Consider that your husband has great wisdom to offer – particularly if he belongs to Christ, but God can and will use him to lead you many times even if he is not a believer.  Please cooperate with his God-given leadership unless he asks you to sin or condone sin.
  • Seek to build up your man with life-giving, edifying words of sincere praise, admiration, encouragement and respect.
  • Listen to his advice carefully and prayerfully.
  • Speak highly about him in front of him and to others when he is not there.
  • Be willing to do things with him that interest him, even if it doesn’t really interest you.  Realize that men bond in “shoulder-to-shoulder” activity that often does NOT include a lot of talking.  Be willing to sit in the woods with him while he hunts quietly for a few hours.  Be willing to sit in the garage beside him quietly while he works on his car – smile at him whenever he looks your way.  This is bonding for guys!
  • Flirt with him! (If he likes that, of course)
  • Show that you respect and treasure your femininity and your body and that you take good care of yourself in a healthy way.   Put in some effort into staying in shape (ie: 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week is a healthy amount), eat well, treat your body with respect, get your sleep, wear a bit of makeup (however your husband likes it).  Don’t go overboard into obsession with your appearance or make thinness or beauty into an idol.  Make sure that Christ is your focus – and be a good steward of your body -which is His temple.  
  • Affirm him.  Thank him for his leadership and wisdom.
  • Don’t push, rush, prod, pressure or try to control him.  Let him make his own decisions.
  • Laugh at his jokes and enjoy his sense of humor.
  • LISTEN to him.  Take his thoughts, ideas, emotions, stories and all that he shares with you seriously – appreciate the gift that he is.
  • HAVE FUN with him!
  • Wear things he loves to see you in sometimes.
  • Doll yourself up when you can and wear your hair the way he likes it when you can as a special gift to him.
  • Don’t zoom ahead in your mind.  Stay in today.  Enjoy the moment.  Savor the gift of his presence and the time you share with him without worrying about the future.  Let God lead you in His plan.  He is already in the future.  He knows His best for you.  Rest in His sovereignty and just relax and enjoy the gift of time with this man when you are able to be with him.
  • Catch his eye and then hold his gaze for a second then look down and smile to yourself.
  • Ask him about what God is teaching him and what he is learning in God’s Word – if he is a strong believer.
  • If he is far from God right now, be silent about spiritual things, church, God, the Bible – and live out I Peter 3:1-6 in the power of God’s Spirit.  
  • Be INTERESTED in what he has to say.  Pay rapt attention.  Make lots of eye contact.  Smile a lot.  Be enthusiastic about hearing his thoughts.
  • have a grateful, joyful heart.
  • Avoid complaining and arguing.
  • be cooperative
  • be open to your  husband spiritually, emotionally, mentally and sexually.
  • Support his dreams
  • support his career
  • pray for him humbly as a teammate who has his back
  • believe in him

 

You can’t force attraction or control your husband’s attraction to you.  You can influence it.   You can be the godly woman Jesus desires you to be.  Our greatest goal is to be attractive to Christ and to please Him!

RELATED POSTS:

Respect and Sexual Attraction

Keeping the Marriage Bed Pure

Handling Our Husband’s Visual Temptations

Is Sarcasm Appropriate for a Godly Woman?

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Here is something to carefully think about.  It’s easy to just accept sarcasm as a funny way of communicating that gets easy laughs.  But what is it that we are actually doing when we choose to be sarcastic?

Here is part of Wikipedia’s definition of “sarcasm”

Sarcasm is “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt.”[1][2] While many authors assert that sarcasm involves irony,[3] or employs ambivalence,[4] one author in particular has distinguished sarcasm from irony.[5]

Origin of the term

The word comes from the Greek σαρκασμός (sarkasmos) which is taken from the word σαρκάζειν meaning “to tear flesh, bite the lip in rage, sneer“.[1]

Usage

Dictionary.com describes the use of irony thus:

In sarcasm, ridicule or mockery is used harshly, often crudely and contemptuously, for destructive purposes. It may be used in an indirect manner, and have the form of irony, as in “What a fine musician you turned out to be!,” “It’s like you’re a whole different person now…,” and “Oh… Well then thanks for all the first aid over the years!” or it may be used in the form of a direct statement, “You couldn’t play one piece correctly if you had two assistants.” The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal intonation …[7]

Distinguishing sarcasm from banter, and referring to the use of irony in sarcasm, Bousfield writes [8] that sarcasm is:

The use of strategies which, on the surface appear to be appropriate to the situation, but are meant to be taken as meaning the opposite in terms of face management. That is, the utterance which appears, on the surface, to maintain or enhance the face of the recipient actually attacks and damages the face of the recipient. … sarcasm is an insincere form of politeness which is used to offend one’s interlocuter.

Hostile, critical comments may be expressed in an ironic way, such as saying “don’t work too hard” to a lazy worker. The use of irony introduces an element of humour which may make the criticism seem more polite and less aggressive. Sarcasm can frequently be unnoticed in print form, oftentimes requiring the intonation or tone of voice to indicate the quip.[citation needed]

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Time to check our deepest motives.

  • WHY am I using sarcasm?
  • What am I trying to accomplish?
  • Does it honor Jesus Christ?

Let me mention – that using sarcasm towards anyone can be pretty disrespectful.  We aren’t used to really thinking about it.  But I think it is time to examine why we choose to be sarcastic.  I believe it is even more important to be careful not to use sarcasm towards any God-given authority over us out of reverence for Christ – our parents (they are in authority over us until we are adults – but then we are to honor them all of their lives), teachers, bosses, police officers, government officials, pastors, Bible teachers and husbands.

Our husbands know that often when we are sarcastic towards them – we are disrespecting them.  Just like we know that our children are disrespecting us if they answer back with sarcasm when we ask them to do something as their parents.

** I think it goes, hopefully without saying, that as believers in Christ, we must honor Christ by carefully avoiding more blatant signs of verbal disrespect as well – yelling, cussing, using verbal threats, verbal character assassination, or any kind of destructive, hurtful, unloving, disrespectful speech.  And let’s avoid the non-verbal signs of disrespect, as well: rolling our eyes, sighing, huffing, crossing our arms in contempt, storming out of the room, stomping away, slamming doors, throwing things, hitting people etc.**

If it is our primary goal and aim in life to bring glory to Christ – to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love others as Jesus loves them – is sarcasm compatible with our new life in Jesus?  If it is our intent to cut, to harm and to destroy someone with our words?

I have to say

I don’t believe that sarcasm has a place in our speech as followers of Christ – not if our goal is to wound others.

That probably seems extreme.  After all, sarcasm is NORMAL and practically universally practiced in our culture today.  It’s funny, right?  But look at the purpose of sarcasm.  It is destructive – intended to tear down – it is born of mockery and insult.   Jesus calls us to use our words for life, not death any more.  He is carefully monitoring every word we speak, and every motivation of our hearts.

Someone pointed out that Jesus and Paul used sarcasm – and that is true – so let us be VERY careful before we use sarcasm to consider our motive.

If the purpose of my heart is to hurt someone with my words – that is a comment that will not honor Christ.

How I pray that Christ might regenerate our hearts and minds completely to be more and more like His own.

May we love what God loves and hate what God hates!

May we even be willing to surrender our speech patterns and habits and the most hidden motives of our heart to our Lord.

Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be.  James 3:10

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

For of this you can be sure: no immoral, impure or greedy person – such a man is an idolat0r – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore do not be partners with them.  Ephesians 4:29-5:7

Lord,

Cleanse our hearts, our souls and our minds.  Remove all the sinful speech, everything that offends Your holiness.   Make us holy, as You are holy.  Make us more and more like Jesus.  Let us be willing to surrender all that we have and all that we are to You.  Let us live as living sacrifices for You each day – seeking only  Your will and Your greatest glory.  Empower us to be faithful and obedient to Your Word.  Fill us with  Your Spirit and use our every word to bring LIFE, not death.  May we seek to please only You.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen! 

What is Respect in Marriage?

half man's face

There is a whole masculine WORLD of respect that I was completely unaware of until 4 years ago.  Men have their own unwritten and unspoken methods of communication and expectations – and because so many women are oblivious to the customs and norms of how men think, feel, process and see life – many of us come across very disrespectfully without even realizing or intending to.

When I first began to study showing respect for my husband as a form of obedience to God’s command for me as a wife – I was SO CLUELESS!  I read the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  That is the book that opened my eyes to my sin and my husband’s legitimate masculine needs that I was unaware of.

Eggerichs has this amazing little diagram about marriage:

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For the first time ever, I understood why God gave the commands He did for each spouse in marriage and that what God was doing was commanding each spouse to meet the other’s God-given legitimate need.

When a husband shows love for his wife >> that motivates her respect.

When a wife shows respect for her husband >> that motivates his love.

Usually!

This is a principle of marriage that is generally true across religious backgrounds and cultures.  Of course, there are some exceptions where one spouse is not good-willed towards the other, or where one or both are so wounded, that it takes a VERY long time to rebuild the trust.  But in general, MOST spouses are good-willed towards each other and want to please one another.  We are just built SO differently, that we often misunderstand and misinterpret the messages the other is sending.  Men tend to think in the realm of respect (blue – says Eggerichs).  Women tend to think in the realm of love (pink).  Unfortunately – what men often do to be respectful, can feel unloving to their wives.  And what wives often do to be loving, can feel disrespectful to their husbands.  By learning to stretch and reach our spouse and meet his/her needs, we achieve God’s glory (royal purple).

We are responsible to God to obey His commands for us as wives regardless of what our husbands do or do not do and regardless of the “results” we can see when we respect our husbands and cooperate with their God-given leadership.  Our priorities must be to honor God and to obey Him – and we leave the results and timing in His hands.

MY PARTICULAR HUSBAND’S FAVORITE WAYS FOR ME TO SHOW RESPECT TO HIM:

My husband explained  to me that what he really wants in marriage is pretty simple. For him, it is not a big to-do list. It is not about me being “the perfect wife.” He likes things like for me:
– to genuinely smile and be happy
– to be truly peaceful and not stressed (because if I am stressed, he is stressed)
– to be his friend
– to be a safe, welcoming place for him
– to treat him like a grown adult and equal
– to just sit with him in the evenings, cuddle with him, and enjoy being with him while he watches TV
– not to “try too hard”
– not to ask what I can do for him
– not to ask how I can improve
– to appreciate the many things he does to show his love for me
– to give him time to think and process with decisions
– to honor his parenting
– to use a respectful, friendly tone of voice and friendly facial expression
– to make changes for the family slowly rather than to make sweeping changes all at once (he doesn’t like change very much)
A LIST OF POSSIBLE WAYS TO SHOW RESPECT TO YOUR MAN

I think having a list of specific, concrete things that men find to be respectful and disrespectful is SO important for wives who are just beginning to learn to be godly wives and to obey Ephesians 5:22-33.

Some things are disrespectful to all husbands across the board.  And some things are respectful to just about all husbands.  But each husband is unique and there will be some things that would drive one husband crazy but would make another husband feel super respected.  My suggestion to wives is to read the list, and think about implementing some of the ideas.  But if you aren’t sure about one, ask your husband sometime if he would find that behavior or attitude to be respectful or disrespectful.  Then go with what he thinks!  His opinion is what matters most here!

Some of my readers helped me with this new list – it is not exhaustive.  THANK YOU to all who contributed!

  • listen without interrupting
  • don’t think for me.
  • don’t use your “dumb guy” voice when repeating what I’ve said that you don’t agree with/think is stupid
  • refrain from explaining how to handle the children
  • do not correct my handling of the children or anything else in front of anyone, ever
  • talk me up in front of your family/my family
  • support my decisions, and if you disagree, do so in private
  • be my friend
  • tell me what kind of physical intimacy you like – it makes me feel more at ease and more purposeful in pleasing you
  • don’t over-talk things — try to use short sentence and direct words (I’m not dim, but I’m a guy … we don’t do big conversation)
  • let me know I’m enough, more than enough if you can — financially, emotionally, physically, mentally
  • When a big decision comes up and the husband says he needs time to think about it let him think about it. If you tell him, “Don’t bother. I’ll just do it my way,” then what’s the point of asking in the first place?
  • When you tell your husband not now or not tonight how about tomorrow (about any topic) then keep your word and re-arrange whatever you are doing to make sure you keep your word.
  • Find out what your husband takes as his most important responsibility and praise him for it.. (being a great father, being a great provider, being a great husband, etc).
  • Find out what his love language is and surprise him with something spontaneous that’s just for him.
  • Flirt with him in public, at a party, where other people (especially his friends/co-workers) can see it.
  • Offer up a back rub. Even if physical touch is not his love language most men carry a large burden (physically, spiritually, emotionally) on their shoulders and to offer up a back rub without being prompted is a wonderful release.
  • If your husband comes to talk to you (about anything) put down the phone/tablet/computer with facebook/texting and give him your full attention. It’s no different than when you want him to pause/turn off the TV when you want to talk to him.
  • Let him know when he does things that make you happy. Most husbands biggest goal in marriage is to make their wife happy.
  • She never ever speaks “bad” about me to anyone – not a best friend or a family member
  • She yields to me when I am at home when it comes to our children’s discipline
  • My wife also seeks me out if there is a “big” decision to be made about the home, children or finances, even if it is something she knows I trust her with and don’t have an opinion either way, she realizes that I may see things from a different angle and wants to affirm the decision.
  • She respects me by involving me.
  • Most of all, she allows me to be me.
  • I have a passion for the out of doors and she has come along side me in these endeavors. She may not always think it is “fun” to hike when it’s muddy and cold but she goes along for the ride
  • She also encourages me to have time with the children one on one and also have time just by myself or with a friend standing in a river fly-fishing.
  • She realizes that I am ultimately responsible to God for the family she also knows that I trust her to make great decisions and that I support her doing so.
  • Put me, your husband, first and NOT the children.
  • Do not compare me with a pastor, a elder, another husband or a woman’s advice. I’ve already prayed and gone over it in my mind, it’s my decision I don’t want it to be someone else’s.
  • Try to have 100% faith in me! Try to build me up – with work, Bible study, my involvement with church. I believe God put you in my life to be a helpmate, not a tear down. I really don’t need you telling me to get a better job, or that I’m way off on my when I share a insight that I’ve had with scripture.
  • Anticipate my needs, wants and desire. In the bedroom and out of the bedroom.
  • Don’t yell and argue with me in front of the children.
  • Just remember I love you , chose you, I know you have feelings, as hard as you think I am, I have deep feelings also.
  • Put me above your friends and extended family and ministry to others outside of our family.
  • Care about things that matter to me.
  • When I ask you to do something, show me you really do respect me by making it a priority for your to-do list.
  • Listen to my advice sometimes.  I actually have some important wisdom and a different perspective to share that just might make your life better and less stressful!
  • Keep emails BRIEF and to the point.  We hear your message more clearly with less words and a lower intensity of negative emotions.  Too many words and emotions makes us feel like we are drowning – it is too much to process all at once sometimes.
  • If I’m driving, let me drive in peace (don’t tell me what lane to take or what road to take or ask me why I’m going the way I am going because your way is 30 seconds faster).  If I ask for help, then you can help me.  Having your trust and faith in my ability to drive around town is much more valuable to me than saving a few seconds or minutes in traffic.
  • Men don’t offer unsolicited advice or help to other men.  Show me that you trust me by allowing me to figure things out without feeling like you have to rescue me or do things for me.
  • Smile at me a lot – I love that!
  • Make sure that you have close friends who are godly wives, who show respect for their husbands and who will show respect for me as your husband.  Don’t let your girlfriends’ advice tear down our marriage.  Notice what kind of marriage your friend has before assuming she has wisdom to share about marriage.  Make my opinions and feelings much more important in your life than the opinions and feelings of your friends.  You are in a covenant with me, not them.
  • Talk to me with a friendly tone of voice when possible.  I usually know for sure that you love me.  But sometimes I wonder if you actually still like me or not.
  • Enjoy being with me.
  • Realize that I may take longer to process ideas, decisions, emotions and feelings.  If I do not have answers for you in 30 seconds, that does not mean you need to take over or that I won’t lead.  I just means I operate on a slower time table and need a little understanding and patience from you.  If you are able to wait patiently and be supportive, I am plenty capable of leading and making wise decisions.  (If there is physical violence, and untreated mental disorder, a drug/alcohol addiction – please find godly, experienced help ASAP!)
  • I may not show love with words as much as you would like, but stop and notice all the things I DO to show you my love for you.  To me, my actions speak much more loudly than my words.  And to me, your actions speak much more loudly than your words, too.
  • Don’t verbally push God, the Bible and church on me.  Nagging, preaching and lecturing make me want to run away just because of your approach.  It is your ability to be silent about the things of God  coupled with your gentle, peaceful, respectful spirit that is not anxious and worried that will help me better hear God’s voice.  I need to SEE you live out your faith, not hear about it.  Words don’t impact men the way they do women.
  • Realize that I am not a woman.  Make sure that it is safe for me to be a man – that I am not punished for being masculine.  I am different from you. I think and feel differently – but that doesn’t mean I am wrong.
  • Dress nicely and fix your hair and makeup the way I like it sometimes.  That actually makes me feel like  you respect yourself and like you respect me.
  • Flirt with me and no one else!
  • Act like you are happy to see me when I get home!
  • Give me that adoring look that says you trust me and have faith in me.  That means more to me than any words.
  • Tell me when you like what I am doing.
  • Tell me that you are proud of me.
  • Accept that I am human.  Accept that you are human, too.  Have grace for me when I make mistakes.  Your ability to forgive me and see the best in me can sometimes make the difference between me becoming paralyzed or between me learning and moving forward as a better man.
  • Look at me as an equal in God’s sight.  Realize that we are both sinners in need of Jesus.  Don’t look down on me.

Additional resources:

Why It May Be Wise to Keep This Respect Thing a Secret from Your Husband

Respect 101

What Does Respect Look Like to Husbands?

Could My Disrespect Contribute to My Husband’s Depression?

Husbands Share What is Disrespectful to Them (AWESOME  and EYE- OPENING LIST!)

Hear a Disrespected Husband’s Heart

One Husband’s Wish List

How Do I Respect My Husband if He Won’t Go to Church/Isn’t a Christian?

Respecting My Husband’s Parenting

My Husband Doesn’t Deserve MY Respect! (Peacefulwife Youtube video 7 minutes)

Avoiding Nonverbal Disrespect is VERY Important! (Peacefulwife Youtube video 7 minutes)

Ways Husbands Can Be Unloving to Their Wives  – on my husband’s site

Each Wife's Journey is a One-of-a-Kind

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter SunriseOne reason I write this blog is because I had a HARD time finding resources to learn about respect, godly femininity and biblical submission when I began my own journey 4 years ago.  And when I did find resources, they often didn’t have many practical examples, or they had practical examples, but they weren’t from a Christian perspective.   I was SOOOOO clueless about all of this stuff, that I needed “Respect for Dummies” or “Being a Godly Wife 101.”  I didn’t have a mentor and I was unbelievably confused.

I would ask my husband constantly, “Is this respectful?”  “Is that disrespectful?”  I had NO idea.  And, sadly, he wasn’t sure those first few months what he thought was respectful or not.  I needed HELP!

I needed SOMEWHERE to start.  A place to plant my feet and then I might be able to see more clearly  where to go from there.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE ME!!!!!!   🙂

I give practical examples and suggestions because I needed something like that so desperately 4 years ago.  Does that mean that the exact words I say and the exact things I do are the only way to be a respectful and submissive wife?  NOPE!

I try to give many wives’ stories because I hope to expose wives to a variety of women and the different styles they have as they respect and submit to their unique husbands.

Submission and respect are not one-size-fits-all.  Not for husbands and not for wives!

That is one reason I love the post about what husbands find to be disrespectful so interesting.  It is a compilation from about 7 different men.  They each have their own unique take on what disrespect and respect is.  Some things are fairly universal, but then there are some idiosyncrasies that are wholly their own.   I think it is FASCINATING to learn what it is to look at life from a masculine perspective and then to discover all the tiny nuances that are particular to each husband – it is like examining each beautiful snowflake under a microscope and learning to admire each one.

THE DETAILS ARE YOUR OWN

My hope is that I will give you a place to start and point you towards Christ and His Word.  Then you can think about things, pray about the examples, tune in to God’s Spirit,  talk with your husband if it’s appropriate – and find your OWN brand of how to make this work.  God’s commands are the same for all of us, but we are each unique individuals and all of our husbands are different and have different preferences and needs and each wife has her own personality.  So the practical application of obeying God’s Word will look different in each marriage.  It will be up to you to hash out the details for your marriage!

If you don’t like the way I word things, do it in a way that you like better!    If you try something and your husband doesn’t like it – that is not a fit for him – and that’s ok.  It will give you a chance to talk with him and get to know what he would prefer and what would speak respect best to him.  That is the important thing!   This is ultimately about learning the broad concepts and then fitting them to your personality, your husband, your marriage and your life.

YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN BE YOU!

This journey will be a deeply personal one.  No two journeys will look exactly the same.  We each have unique personalities, perspectives, life histories,  husbands, backgrounds and mindsets that will impact us and stamp our own fingerprint on how we do this.

Each wife will need to work out her own salvation with fear and trembling – and by listening intently to God’s Spirit and His Word and her husband’s leadership.

God has YOU in THIS family, in THIS home, with THESE children in THIS town and THIS country with THESE friends and acquaintances for His divine purposes.  He has unique and wonderful  plans for you that will be different than His plans for me.  You have different gifts and talents than I do.  He has a very special ministry in mind for you in your family, to your husband and for others that will bring you incredible fulfillment.  I pray for you to abide in the center of God’s will for you – that He might accomplish His beautiful purposes in your life and might bring Himself the greatest glory through you, your faith, your marriage, your husband and your family!

YOU ARE WELCOME TO SHARE YOUR BRAND OF RESPECT AND SUBMISSION

If you would like to talk about what God has done in your life and your marriage – or how you and your husband work respect and submission, I would love to hear from you!  I especially love details – a specific situation, a certain beautiful ritual that you and your husband share that is meaningful to you, words you use to show respect, examples of how you cooperate with your husband’s leadership cheerfully and joyfully…  leave me a comment!

ANOTHER RESOURCE

You’ll definitely want to check out Nina Roesner’s book, “The Respect Dare” and her FB page.  She has worked with thousands of women in The Daughters of Sara program and her book has many stories of unique ways that women learn and apply respect in their situations.