The Dirty Garage Epiphany

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From a wife who has experienced great difficulties in her marriage and has continued to abide in Christ:

You know, I was cleaning out our garage today (part of me working on my own habits), and it taught me some lessons. One was on that question that always pops up…

“How do I respect my husband if he doesn’t deserve it?”

So my husband likes his stuff. He has boxes of stuff that he never touches and won’t part with. Much of it sits in our garage, but he is often aggravated by the messy state of our garage, as am I.¬†God has been speaking to my heart about the appearance of my home and my physical appearance. That it would convey respect to my husband if I kept up with these things. And, we’d all be happier.

So I cleaned and organized and donated for 5 hours today. And in the end, the garage looked 100x better. But – a good 30-40% of the floor space is still covered with his stuff, stacked and arranged as it may now be. Old books, DVDs, exercise equipment, etc.

It’s not as good as it could be. And, it’s his stuff to clean up. Only he can do it.

And so goes respect. You can and should clean that up and keep it up the best you can. It’s 100x better than a disrespectful relationship. But. If he still has junk (sin) to get rid of, it will prevent both of you from enjoying the beauty and freedom of a truly working, effective environment. One that is in order–as it should be.

But I’d say the chances of him cleaning up his stuff now that I’ve cleaned the rest of the garage are much much greater! I mean, it’s not all scattered around and mixed in with all the other stuff. It’s a clean, neat garage with a big pile of stuff in the middle!

And that is just what happened to us as I tried to respect him. After about a year and a half, he really hit his bottom, and really was not able to blame anyone for his poor choices.

Respecting a man in sin is quite, quite difficult. Kind of like cleaning a garage around a big pile of junk you know will still be there for an indeterminate amount of time afterward.
But, I’m still so very glad I did it. The respect and the garage. ūüôā It was the right thing to do.

 

RELATED:

Why Do I Have to Change First?

My Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect!¬†– VIDEO

My Level of Respect Has Nothing to Do with My Husband Рit is about my character and God working in me

Godly Femininity

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Husbands Are Never “the Absolute Authority”

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I don’t want anyone to be unclear about this!!!!

God is the only absolute authority.

God’s Word, the Bible, speaks for God – so it is also authoritative over our lives. When God delegates authority to people, it is to protect, care for, nurture, love, tend to, shepherd, and honor His beloved people. In Christianity, authority is not about rights and privilege, it is about responsibility and accountability to God. Those who are in positions of authority are commanded by God to submit first to Christ and to be humble servants.

No husband or human on earth ever has the right to demand total submission or to claim total authority over anyone else. That position is reserved for God alone.

For a man to claim that his wife must submit completely without any question to himself and that he has total authority over her – is to put himself in the place of Christ in her life. That is very wrong and sinful.

  • No husband has the right to demand that his wife put himself as equal to or above Christ in her heart.
  • No wife has the right to put her husband as equal to or above Christ in her heart.
  • No wife has the right to demand that her husband put herself as equal to or above Christ in his heart.
  • No husband has the right to put his wife as equal to or above Christ in his heart.

For anyone to put anything or anyone above Christ in his/her heart is idolatry and is breaking the Greatest Commandment that Jesus gave to us.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment… Matthew 22:37

No human authority has the right to direct other people to commit or to condone sin. If someone with God-given authority over us (the government, our boss, a police officer, a pastor, a husband, or a parent of a younger child) asks us to clearly violate the Bible, we must choose to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Please see Spiritual Authority for more on this topic. The fact that a human has delegated authority from God does not mean that he/she is always right. All humans are imperfect and sinful apart from Christ. No human is infallible. Only God is perfect and infallible.

Note:

We must also take great care to be sure that if we think our husbands are asking us to sin, that it is God’s definition of sin, not our own definition. Sometimes, we can convince ourselves that something is sinful when the Bible doesn’t say that it is. If we are not careful, we may judge our husbands wrongly. If we are not sure if something is clear sin, it may be wise to speak to an older, godly, mentoring wife before we decide to refuse to cooperate with our husbands. I would want to be VERY sure that what my husband was asking me to do was truly wrong in God’s eyes before I would go against Greg. God commands me to submit to and respect my husband “as to the Lord.” I am accountable for my obedience to God.

Wives DO have a voice and can share their feelings, concerns, and ideas in respectful ways. God does not command that we must agree with our husbands or that we may have no input. But I do need to use caution not to label my convictions as the standard by which I measure sin instead of God’s Word. (Is My Husband Bound to Follow My Personal Convictions?)

Jesus describes and demonstrates godly leadership (this is what He expects from anyone to whom He grants authority to protect, nurture, shepherd, care for, provide for, teach, and lead others):

JOHN 13:1-5, 12-17

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples‚Äô feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him [a job that was usually performed by the lowliest of slaves]…

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‚ÄúDo you understand what I have done for you?‚ÄĚ he asked them. ‚ÄúYou call me ‚ÄėTeacher‚Äô and ‚ÄėLord,‚Äô and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another‚Äôs feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

MATTHEW 20:25-28

Jesus called them together and said, ‚ÄúYou know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave‚ÄĒ just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.‚ÄĚ

In God’s definition, authority is about responsibility, love, true humility, selflessness, and sacrifice – its not about power, “rights,” abuse, or ever taking advantage of anyone.

Some of the best descriptions of God’s design for the authority of husbands in marriage I have found are available here:

The Danvers Statement Рfrom the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Spiritual Authority – a post on my blog that contains class notes from a minister at my church 3 years ago (used with permission)

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem (link has a free download for this book)

– John Piper’s site www.desiringgod.org

– David Platt’s site www.radical.net

– Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (available as podcasts)

God’s design for marriage is found in a number of passages in Scripture:

– Genesis 2

– Malachi 2

– Matthew 19:1-12

– I Corinthians 11:3

– Ephesians 5:22-33

– Colossians 3:18-19

– I Peter 3:1-7

– I Corinthians 13:4-8a

– Titus 2:3-5

and other places, as well.

“This Is Not Working. I Don’t See Progress.”

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I want to address a very common and extremely important concern that I hear from many, many wives.

When we as women have a history of being controlling, dominating, overly responsible, overly “helpful”, mothering and we tend to take over in our marriages, thinking we know so much better than our husbands – at first, we often approach the concepts of respect and biblical submission as tools to give us what we want.

  • We may see these commands of God in Ephesians 5:22-33 as things that will “guarantee” us the godly marriage we dream of and long for.
  • We may look at these new skills as a way to control/manipulate our husbands to make them love us and to change them.
  • We may think that this is a guarantee that if we do these things, we can control God and He will HAVE to give us what we really want.

It is almost impossible for us not to do this at first, in my view, if our real goals all along in life have been to control our husbands and have a godly marriage by our definition and to feel loved. Then, when our husbands don’t change in a few days or weeks or months, we may get angry and really disappointed – multiple times. This is a very important part of this journey, in my mind.

If you find yourself wondering things like:

  • What is the point of me having to change so much if HE doesn’t have to change?
  • Why do I have to do all the work and my husband doesn’t have to work in himself at all?
  • I don’t see progress. My husband is still distant and unloving. There is no benefit to me to work on my side of this marriage or my obedience to God whatsoever.
  • I’m doing “everything I am supposed to do” but my husband is still the same.

… You are not alone. Most wives ask these questions at some point. The answers to these questions are extremely important. If we don’t answer these questions with truth from God’s Word, ¬†we will miss the ENTIRE point of this whole journey. THIS is a critical part of this journey where God refines our motives over and over and over.

If I am asking questions like these, which I have done on numerous occasions, it is a huge red flag to me. These questions reveal my true motives.¬† WHAT AM I REALLY TRYING TO MEASURE? WHAT ARE MY GOALS? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE HERE? Until I clearly see my true motives, I am stuck and cannot keep growing and I can’t have the power of God to transform my mind and soul or begin to heal my marriage.

Do you see what my priorities and motives are if these are the questions I am asking? My discontentment because my husband is not changing and not being who and what I want him to be when I want him to be it and my anger about my having to work so hard without any “progress” reveal:

  • My true goal is to change my husband.
  • I am trying to USE God to get what I really want – a godly marriage, a more loving husband by my definition, my own personal happiness, control over my husband, to feel loved, etc…
  • My measure of success is my happiness and my analysis of how my husband is treating me.

 

If these are my goals, I am probably still dealing with idolatry. My motives are still sinful. I am probably putting these things before Jesus in my heart. I want a godly marriage or my husband to change more than I want God.  This is part of the process we ALL must go through. It is time to do a very thorough spiritual inventory of my heart. I will have to do this continually along the way on this road. God will continue to reveal more and more layers of sin and evil motives to me.

*** A reminder – if you are dealing with uncontrolled mental illness, drug/alcohol addictions, infidelity or physical abuse or some other serious issue in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced counsel ASAP instead of reading my blog!

What does it mean to see “progress” on this journey? ¬†Well – I think we have to decide what our goal is and what our definition of progress is to know if we are progressing:

Becoming a godly wife is ALL about my relationship with Jesus. It is not about my husband or what he is doing at all. It is about me realizing that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure in the universe. It is about me completely submitting to His Lordship. It is about me turning away from my sin and allowing Christ to radically change me for His glory.

Like David Platt says,

“We don’t come to Jesus to get ‘stuff.’ ¬†We come to Jesus to get GOD!”

In our Spiritual Warfare class this week, our Bible professor told us,

“The only way to overcome the strongholds of sin and of the devil and to resist him and his attacks is ABSOLUTE and TOTAL SURRENDER TO CHRIST.”

Amen!!!!!!

And I love what God said to Abram in Genesis 15:1 decades before God gave Isaac to Abraham and Sarah:

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Until I get this… I am missing EVERYTHING.

My goal has to be to know God more and more. My purpose must be to have God! My motives have got to be to love, please and honor Christ (out of pure thankfulness and joy for all the mercy, grace, love and forgiveness He has lavished on me so generously) and to love and bless others. That is it. This takes time. It doesn’t usually happen in a few days, a few weeks or even in a few months. This is a lifetime process of me allowing and begging God to transform me to be more like Jesus.

SOME DEEPLY SOUL PENETRATING QUESTIONS TO CAREFULLY AND FERVENTLY PRAY OVER OFTEN ON THIS JOURNEY:

  • Have I ever actually received the love, grace and mercy of Christ? Have I received Him as my Savior AND as my LORD? Have I yielded all control to Him? If not, I have got to start here!
  • Is Jesus what I desire more than anything else in life?
  • What are my deepest motives?
  • What is the purpose of my life?
  • What do I need to have to be truly happy?
  • What is most important to me here?
  • What are my emotions and priorities telling me about my real beliefs about God and His Word?
  • Am I building my life completely on Christ and His Word and truth and getting rid of every ungodly thought that sets itself up against Christ in my heart?
  • Am I willing to learn to be content with Christ alone? Are there other things I am still clinging to that are more important to me than Jesus?
  • Am I clinging to bitterness? I have to choose. I can have Jesus and the power of His Spirit and all of the blessings that come from abiding in Him and obeying Him – or I can have bitterness. I can’t have sin and Jesus. Bitterness opens a wide door for Satan to enter my thought life.
  • Am I clinging to pride, thinking I know better than my husband or I know better than God or God’s Word doesn’t apply to me because my circumstance is “unique”?
  • Am I clinging to hatred? God’s Word says that I cannot love God if I hate a person, and that if I love God I must love people, too with God’s kind of love. I John 2 and 3.
  • Am I clinging to materialism? Do I think I have to have money or stuff or luxuries to be happy in life?
  • Am I willing to allow God’s Spirit to shine His light into the darkest corner of my soul and am I willing to lay EVERYTHING before Jesus on the altar and sacrifice it all to Him, holding NOTHING back? What am I afraid to trust God with? Am I willing to ask Him to help me to lay it down?
  • Am I willing to face and hash through my deepest fears, deciding one by one that God is able to handle each fear and that I can trust Him and stop trusting myself? (this is a process)
  • Am I willing to forgive my husband (and anyone else) who has wronged me, trusting God to help me to begin to work through that process?

SIGNS OF PROGRESS:

  • If I am progressing, at first I will begin to see more and more of my sin as God reveals it to me so that I can mourn over it and ask for Him to forgive me and change me and I will want to turn from sin to God.
  • If I am moving towards God, I will humble myself before Him and begin to see my sinfulness and His holiness in greater and greater contrast.
  • If I am progressing, I will eventually see less and less sin in my heart and more and more of the fruit of the Spirit of God. I will repent of and turn away from bitterness, pride, self-righteousness, resentment, selfishness, impatience, losing my temper, criticizing my husband, humiliating my husband, disrespecting my husband, putting my husband down and me trying to control my husband. I will see an increasing amount of God’s supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control in ME.
  • If I am making progress in God’s sight, I will begin to be very grieved over any trace of sin in my heart.
  • If I am progressing, I will be less and less concerned about MY will, my desires, my plans, my dreams and my goals and I will be more and more concerned about God’s will, ¬†his desires, his plans and His goals.
  • If I am progressing, I will seek to and begin to actually desire Jesus much more than anything else in life.
  • If I am progressing, I will become much less judgmental of my husband and other people
  • If God is at work in me, I will want to crucify my pride and eagerly embrace humility.
  • If I am progressing, I will have a deepening understanding of what a wretched sinner I am.
  • If I am progressing I will have a much deeper understanding of exactly how much my sin cost Jesus on the cross and I will be so filled with thanksgiving to Him that I will WANT to obey him and do anything He asks me to do out of joy, gratitude and love.
  • If God is working in me, I will be THANKFUL that God is willing to change me first and trust Him to work in my husband’s life in His way and His power and His timing.
  • If God is working in me, I will be able to accept my husband and love him even if he doesn’t change (I may not be able to trust him, if he has broken my trust, until we rebuild trust) – but I will begin to see him with new eyes from God’s perspective. I will begin to see him as a dearly loved son of God.
  • If this process is “working,” I will be focused on what I need to change and do, not on what my husband “should” do.
  • If this is working, I will see that I need to change the way I relate to everyone in my life! not just my husband.
  • If ¬†I am learning what God desires me to learn, I will realize I CANNOT do anything good on my own and that I HAVE to have lots of time with God, in prayer and in His Word every day or I am going to mess up and sin a lot.
  • If I am progressing, I will be facing my fears and overcoming them by deciding to trust Jesus no matter what happens.
  • If I am progressing, the things of this world become less and less important and the things that are of heaven and God become more and more important.
  • If this is “working” I will see God radically change my heart, my mind and my soul over time.
  • If I am making progress, I am learning to take my thoughts captive for Christ and don’t keep dwelling on worry, fear, anxiety, what ifs, bad things or sinful thoughts.
  • if I am progressing my love will look more and more like I Corinthians 13:4-8 towards my husband.
  • If I am progressing, I will have an increasingly gentle and peaceful spirit because of what God is doing in me.
  • If I am progressing, I will begin to hate sin because it grieves the heart of God and I will want more and more to please him and bring Him joy.
  • If I am making progress, I will eventually feel the weight of sin and idolatry lifted off of me and I will begin to experience the freedom and spiritual abundant life of Christ living in me.
  • If God is working in my heart, He will change my desires to be more and more like His desires.
  • If I am making real progress, the things of this world will become less and less important to me and Jesus will become more and more important to me.

If I am making progress, I will see that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure there is!  

I will realize that if I have Him, I have everything that matters! And I will know that if I had everything else in the world but did not have Him, I would have nothing.

 

RELATED:

Be sure to check out the scriptures J gave us a few days ago in the comments (I have pasted them on today’s comments also) about our identity in Christ

Here is a followup post¬†(from “Screaming on the Inside”)

When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

God, Don’t Waste My Time

Stages of This Journey

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control is a Process Рby Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare

 

 

The Respect Dare, Day 21 – What Does it Mean to “Respect” My Husband?

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Greg and me on the steps of the church right after our wedding ceremony – May 28, 1994

And the wife must respect her husband.  Ephesians 5:33

Here’s a little secret about my journey towards becoming the wife God desires me to be:

When God first showed me my HUGE mountain of sin (it was WAY more than just a “plank” in my eye) – and I saw for the first time that I had been a very controlling and disrespectful wife – I had NO CLUE what to do and where to start.

I always thought I had been respectful. ¬†I mean, I didn’t scream at my husband, call him names, threaten divorce, cuss at him, assassinate his character, hit him, destroy his possessions, throw things at him (except for that ONE time our first summer when I threw a clean pair of panties at him from across the room. ¬†But they did NOT hit him!).

I didn’t even trash him on Facebook!

(Of course, we were married before the internet existed.)

Suddenly, I knew that I had NOT been respectful. ¬†I read in Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs that men need respect the same way in marriage that women need love. ¬†I was extremely convicted. ¬†Love and Respect gave me six areas to focus on respecting in my husband’s life. ¬†But I needed WAY MORE DETAIL than that book had to offer.

I needed “Respect 101” ¬†or “Respect for Dummies.”

Seriously!  Yes.  I was that bad.

I asked Greg what was respectful and what was disrespectful to him – but at that time – he was still so shut down and had been feeling disrespected for so long (and never said one word about it) – he wasn’t sure and couldn’t verbalize what was respectful and what was disrespectful to him.

And I obviously had no idea.  After my 14.5 years of disrespect and control  and my total blindness to all of it.

I was so frustrated, feeling like I was walking blindfolded through a field of land mines – never knowing if what I was about to say or what I had said or what I had done or wanted to do would be respectful or not.

That is why I am so passionate about two posts where husbands have shared with us

If you haven’t read them – definitely check them out!

HE DOESN’T DESERVE MY RESPECT!

Many women feel this way. ¬†And they are right! ¬†He may not deserve their respect. But this is not about what he deserves. ¬†In fact, respecting our husbands has NOTHING to do with our husbands and everything to do with our relationship with Jesus. ¬†This is about my willingness to obey God’s command to me as a wives and about God’s Spirit being in control of me.

This is about what JESUS deserves.  He deserves my wholehearted obedience, reverence, awe, worship and devotion.

Husbands could just as rightly say, “But she doesn’t deserve my love!” ¬†And they would be right, too. ¬†We are ALL sinners. ¬†We don’t deserve anything good from God or each other. ¬†But this is God’s design for marriage – for husbands to focus on loving their wives the way Christ loves the church and for wives to focus on respecting their husbands and honoring the husband’s God-given leadership the way the church reverences and honors Christ. ¬†That is what marriage is to be a picture of – the relationship between Christ and the church. ¬†What a lofty and holy calling! ¬†(Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, Titus 2:2-5)

HOW I WISH I HAD THOSE LISTS 19 YEARS AGO!!?!?!

There are some things that are clearly disrespectful and clearly respectful to almost all husbands regardless of culture or age or personality. ¬†But then each man has his own definitions about some things. ¬† Some men feel disrespected if their wives pack their suitcases for them. ¬†Some men feel disrespected if their wives don’t pack their suitcases for them.

So, what is on the list is not as important as what is important to your particular husband.  But these lists give you a great place to start.

The lists in those two posts are long.  Why do they have to be so long???

Well…

When I was learning about disrespect and respect РI had a famine of information.  And there are so many husbands with differing views on what is disrespectful and what is respectful, that I wanted to include a number of things on each list because I think that extra information may be really helpful for some wives.  So many things that husbands feel disrespected by are things that most wives do all the time and have no idea that their husbands are wounded by their words and actions.  If you have not read these lists before, it can be pretty shocking at first.

RESPECT IS NOT INTUITIVE FOR WOMEN –

  • Disrespect for men and for husbands and almost any God-given authority has become “normal” and “mainstream.” ¬†Many wives under 50 years of age have NEVER witnessed a wife respecting her husband well. ¬†And many women grew up today with fiercely independent, controlling, disrespectful mothers. ¬†(My mother actually wasn’t disrespectful. ¬†But I was the dominant twin and learned to be controlling there).
  • We have also been bombarded in the culture and media with flagrant disrespect for men, husbands and fathers – and also teachers, police officers, government officials, pastors, bosses, etc.. ¬†Respect used to be part of the fiber of American culture – but it was thrown out decades ago.
  • We also have a sin nature – just like Eve. ¬†God said – as He explained the consequences for Adam’s and Eve’s sin – that she would “desire” her husband but that he would “rule over her.” ¬†The word for desire there is really a “desire to control.” ¬†So in the sinful, fallen state – women ¬†want to control their husbands and dominate them. ¬†(There are also women who become passive, subservient, voiceless and opinionless – “doormats.” ¬†Being a “doormat” does not honor God either and is not what it means to respect and submit to our husbands) ¬†And in the sinful state, men tend to either dominate their wives harshly or unplug and become passive and do and say nothing – like Adam did as Eve was listening to Satan and decided to eat the fruit.
  • Also part of our sinful nature is to rebel against God Himself, God’s Word and all God-given authority. ¬†Our sinful nature does not like submitting to Christ. ¬†We want to do things OUR way. ¬†We believe that we know much better than God.

So we are – in our sinful nature – hardwired to want to control our men and to disrespect them.

Learning to become a godly wife involves disconnecting all those old circuits and allowing God to remove our sinful heart and mind – nailing it to the cross with Christ. ¬†Our sinful nature is now dead and buried with Jesus. ¬†We are no longer slaves to sin anymore! ¬†We can put on our ¬†“new man in Christ.” ¬†And now we can be “slaves of righteousness” ¬†Romans 6.

THIS FEELS “WRONG”

At first, it will feel VERY awkward and foreign to stop saying all the negative, critical, disrespectful, rude, hateful, judgmental, scolding, bossy words that have been our native tongue for all our lives. ¬†Even the sighs, the eye-rolls, the angry tone of voice ¬†and the body language that drips with contempt has to go!This is part of “dying to self” as we follow Christ. ¬†That old self and all those VERY DEEPLY INGRAINED HABITS have to die. ¬†They don’t go down without a huge battle!

Some disrespectful things God showed me I needed to stop:

  • telling my husband what to do and how to do it
  • assuming I was always right
  • assuming I always knew better than my husband
  • berating my husband and criticizing him to others
  • undermining my husband’s authority as a father
  • looking down on him as if I was so much “more holy” than he was
  • assuming he wouldn’t/couldn’t lead and taking over myself
  • being impatient and expecting him to answer me within 10 seconds
  • judging my husband and condemning him
  • nagging him
  • trying to decide his priorities for him
  • complaining
  • arguing
  • insisting on and forcing my way
  • praying for God to change my husband and ignoring my own mountain of sin

At first, I realized that almost every word out of my mouth to my husband Рand many times to other people Рwas sin.  So I got really quiet.

I didn’t have wisdom yet. ¬†And when you don’t have wisdom – it is better to be silent than to say something hurtful, unkind and hateful!

Eventually – there will be a total heart change where our old thoughts are dead and gone and we have new hearts and minds that think and speak like Jesus as we pursue Him and seek Him and desire Him above everything and everyone else!

Then, I began to discover things to say and do that were positive and respectful:

  • thanking my husband for all that he does for me and our family
  • appreciating his every effort
  • seeing that God sees my husband and I on equal footing – both wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ. ¬†Any good in us is from Him alone.
  • looking for the good in him and focusing on that – Philippians 4:8
  • praising the good in him
  • speaking highly of him to others
  • standing with him in unity and upholding his authority as a father
  • understanding that he didn’t have evil motives towards me – that he is a man and he is DIFFERENT from me. ¬†He is not me. ¬†He is not a woman. ¬†He is different – but that doesn’t mean he is wrong. ¬†And I can actually learn to appreciate the differences and savor them.
  • smiling a genuine smile of adoration at him
  • appreciating his masculine approach and wisdom
  • using a friendly, pleasant tone of voice and facial expressions
  • praying in private about him with an attitude of respect for my husband before God
  • waiting, stepping down and allowing him to lead. ¬† Waiting. ¬†Lots of waiting. ¬† More waiting than I had ever done in my life.
  • being receptive and responsive and open to him spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically
  • placing myself under his protection and leadership

These things also felt awkward and foreign at first.  But, in time, with MUCH prayer, much seeking God, much dying to self, my learning to set all my faith in Christ not myself or my husband Рand much practice Рafter about 2 years or so РI began to feel like I had a clue what it meant to respect my husband and not to disrespect him.

It is like learning a new language.  It takes time to become fluent.  That is ok!

GOD’S WAYS LEAD TO LIFE

I have discovered that when I obey God and completely yield myself to Him in total trust and faith РHe blesses me with His supernatural peace and joy.  Even in the midst of trials and suffering.

DARE 21:

What is it that most makes your husband feel

1. Disrespected

2. Respected

You can try asking him to tell you 3 things for each – but if he wants to share more – that is great.

But this is about what he needs and his perception of feeling respected/disrespected by you. ¬†If he shares – don’t turn on him and say, “Well, you do X, Y and Z to me!” ¬† Don’t defend yourself or explain yourself. ¬†Just listen. ¬†Thank him and go pray about it.

If you do ask him – and he doesn’t want to answer. ¬†Don’t push him! ¬†That is fine. ¬†He may not feel safe enough to answer these kinds of questions yet or he may not be sure what he thinks. ¬†That is ok! ¬†Check out those posts ¬†about respect and disrespect and ask God to show you anything He wants you to change.

  • Commit to compliment him in front of other people briefly 2 times in the coming week!

YOUTUBE VIDEOS:

MY Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect!

Non-Verbal Disrespect is So Damaging to Our Husbands

How to Apologize for Disrespecting and Controlling Your Husband

Respect Doesn’t Work on My Husband

The Respect Dare, Day 21 – What Does it Mean to "Respect" My Husband?

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Greg and me on the steps of the church right after our wedding ceremony – May 28, 1994

And the wife must respect her husband.  Ephesians 5:33

Here’s a little secret about my journey towards becoming the wife God desires me to be:

When God first showed me my HUGE mountain of sin (it was WAY more than just a “plank” in my eye) – and I saw for the first time that I had been a very controlling and disrespectful wife – I had NO CLUE what to do and where to start.

I always thought I had been respectful. ¬†I mean, I didn’t scream at my husband, call him names, threaten divorce, cuss at him, assassinate his character, hit him, destroy his possessions, throw things at him (except for that ONE time our first summer when I threw a clean pair of panties at him from across the room. ¬†But they did NOT hit him!).

I didn’t even trash him on Facebook!

(Of course, we were married before the internet existed.)

Suddenly, I knew that I had NOT been respectful. ¬†I read in Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs that men need respect the same way in marriage that women need love. ¬†I was extremely convicted. ¬†Love and Respect gave me six areas to focus on respecting in my husband’s life. ¬†But I needed WAY MORE DETAIL than that book had to offer.

I needed “Respect 101” ¬†or “Respect for Dummies.”

Seriously!  Yes.  I was that bad.

I asked Greg what was respectful and what was disrespectful to him – but at that time – he was still so shut down and had been feeling disrespected for so long (and never said one word about it) – he wasn’t sure and couldn’t verbalize what was respectful and what was disrespectful to him.

And I obviously had no idea.  After my 14.5 years of disrespect and control  and my total blindness to all of it.

I was so frustrated, feeling like I was walking blindfolded through a field of land mines – never knowing if what I was about to say or what I had said or what I had done or wanted to do would be respectful or not.

That is why I am so passionate about two posts where husbands have shared with us

If you haven’t read them – definitely check them out!

HE DOESN’T DESERVE MY RESPECT!

Many women feel this way. ¬†And they are right! ¬†He may not deserve their respect. But this is not about what he deserves. ¬†In fact, respecting our husbands has NOTHING to do with our husbands and everything to do with our relationship with Jesus. ¬†This is about my willingness to obey God’s command to me as a wives and about God’s Spirit being in control of me.

This is about what JESUS deserves.  He deserves my wholehearted obedience, reverence, awe, worship and devotion.

Husbands could just as rightly say, “But she doesn’t deserve my love!” ¬†And they would be right, too. ¬†We are ALL sinners. ¬†We don’t deserve anything good from God or each other. ¬†But this is God’s design for marriage – for husbands to focus on loving their wives the way Christ loves the church and for wives to focus on respecting their husbands and honoring the husband’s God-given leadership the way the church reverences and honors Christ. ¬†That is what marriage is to be a picture of – the relationship between Christ and the church. ¬†What a lofty and holy calling! ¬†(Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, Titus 2:2-5)

HOW I WISH I HAD THOSE LISTS 19 YEARS AGO!!?!?!

There are some things that are clearly disrespectful and clearly respectful to almost all husbands regardless of culture or age or personality. ¬†But then each man has his own definitions about some things. ¬† Some men feel disrespected if their wives pack their suitcases for them. ¬†Some men feel disrespected if their wives don’t pack their suitcases for them.

So, what is on the list is not as important as what is important to your particular husband.  But these lists give you a great place to start.

The lists in those two posts are long.  Why do they have to be so long???

Well…

When I was learning about disrespect and respect РI had a famine of information.  And there are so many husbands with differing views on what is disrespectful and what is respectful, that I wanted to include a number of things on each list because I think that extra information may be really helpful for some wives.  So many things that husbands feel disrespected by are things that most wives do all the time and have no idea that their husbands are wounded by their words and actions.  If you have not read these lists before, it can be pretty shocking at first.

RESPECT IS NOT INTUITIVE FOR WOMEN –

  • Disrespect for men and for husbands and almost any God-given authority has become “normal” and “mainstream.” ¬†Many wives under 50 years of age have NEVER witnessed a wife respecting her husband well. ¬†And many women grew up today with fiercely independent, controlling, disrespectful mothers. ¬†(My mother actually wasn’t disrespectful. ¬†But I was the dominant twin and learned to be controlling there).
  • We have also been bombarded in the culture and media with flagrant disrespect for men, husbands and fathers – and also teachers, police officers, government officials, pastors, bosses, etc.. ¬†Respect used to be part of the fiber of American culture – but it was thrown out decades ago.
  • We also have a sin nature – just like Eve. ¬†God said – as He explained the consequences for Adam’s and Eve’s sin – that she would “desire” her husband but that he would “rule over her.” ¬†The word for desire there is really a “desire to control.” ¬†So in the sinful, fallen state – women ¬†want to control their husbands and dominate them. ¬†(There are also women who become passive, subservient, voiceless and opinionless – “doormats.” ¬†Being a “doormat” does not honor God either and is not what it means to respect and submit to our husbands) ¬†And in the sinful state, men tend to either dominate their wives harshly or unplug and become passive and do and say nothing – like Adam did as Eve was listening to Satan and decided to eat the fruit.
  • Also part of our sinful nature is to rebel against God Himself, God’s Word and all God-given authority. ¬†Our sinful nature does not like submitting to Christ. ¬†We want to do things OUR way. ¬†We believe that we know much better than God.

So we are – in our sinful nature – hardwired to want to control our men and to disrespect them.

Learning to become a godly wife involves disconnecting all those old circuits and allowing God to remove our sinful heart and mind – nailing it to the cross with Christ. ¬†Our sinful nature is now dead and buried with Jesus. ¬†We are no longer slaves to sin anymore! ¬†We can put on our ¬†“new man in Christ.” ¬†And now we can be “slaves of righteousness” ¬†Romans 6.

THIS FEELS “WRONG”

At first, it will feel VERY awkward and foreign to stop saying all the negative, critical, disrespectful, rude, hateful, judgmental, scolding, bossy words that have been our native tongue for all our lives. ¬†Even the sighs, the eye-rolls, the angry tone of voice ¬†and the body language that drips with contempt has to go!This is part of “dying to self” as we follow Christ. ¬†That old self and all those VERY DEEPLY INGRAINED HABITS have to die. ¬†They don’t go down without a huge battle!

Some disrespectful things God showed me I needed to stop:

  • telling my husband what to do and how to do it
  • assuming I was always right
  • assuming I always knew better than my husband
  • berating my husband and criticizing him to others
  • undermining my husband’s authority as a father
  • looking down on him as if I was so much “more holy” than he was
  • assuming he wouldn’t/couldn’t lead and taking over myself
  • being impatient and expecting him to answer me within 10 seconds
  • judging my husband and condemning him
  • nagging him
  • trying to decide his priorities for him
  • complaining
  • arguing
  • insisting on and forcing my way
  • praying for God to change my husband and ignoring my own mountain of sin

At first, I realized that almost every word out of my mouth to my husband Рand many times to other people Рwas sin.  So I got really quiet.

I didn’t have wisdom yet. ¬†And when you don’t have wisdom – it is better to be silent than to say something hurtful, unkind and hateful!

Eventually – there will be a total heart change where our old thoughts are dead and gone and we have new hearts and minds that think and speak like Jesus as we pursue Him and seek Him and desire Him above everything and everyone else!

Then, I began to discover things to say and do that were positive and respectful:

  • thanking my husband for all that he does for me and our family
  • appreciating his every effort
  • seeing that God sees my husband and I on equal footing – both wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ. ¬†Any good in us is from Him alone.
  • looking for the good in him and focusing on that – Philippians 4:8
  • praising the good in him
  • speaking highly of him to others
  • standing with him in unity and upholding his authority as a father
  • understanding that he didn’t have evil motives towards me – that he is a man and he is DIFFERENT from me. ¬†He is not me. ¬†He is not a woman. ¬†He is different – but that doesn’t mean he is wrong. ¬†And I can actually learn to appreciate the differences and savor them.
  • smiling a genuine smile of adoration at him
  • appreciating his masculine approach and wisdom
  • using a friendly, pleasant tone of voice and facial expressions
  • praying in private about him with an attitude of respect for my husband before God
  • waiting, stepping down and allowing him to lead. ¬† Waiting. ¬†Lots of waiting. ¬† More waiting than I had ever done in my life.
  • being receptive and responsive and open to him spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically
  • placing myself under his protection and leadership

These things also felt awkward and foreign at first.  But, in time, with MUCH prayer, much seeking God, much dying to self, my learning to set all my faith in Christ not myself or my husband Рand much practice Рafter about 2 years or so РI began to feel like I had a clue what it meant to respect my husband and not to disrespect him.

It is like learning a new language.  It takes time to become fluent.  That is ok!

GOD’S WAYS LEAD TO LIFE

I have discovered that when I obey God and completely yield myself to Him in total trust and faith РHe blesses me with His supernatural peace and joy.  Even in the midst of trials and suffering.

DARE 21:

What is it that most makes your husband feel

1. Disrespected

2. Respected

You can try asking him to tell you 3 things for each – but if he wants to share more – that is great.

But this is about what he needs and his perception of feeling respected/disrespected by you. ¬†If he shares – don’t turn on him and say, “Well, you do X, Y and Z to me!” ¬† Don’t defend yourself or explain yourself. ¬†Just listen. ¬†Thank him and go pray about it.

If you do ask him – and he doesn’t want to answer. ¬†Don’t push him! ¬†That is fine. ¬†He may not feel safe enough to answer these kinds of questions yet or he may not be sure what he thinks. ¬†That is ok! ¬†Check out those posts ¬†about respect and disrespect and ask God to show you anything He wants you to change.

  • Commit to compliment him in front of other people briefly 2 times in the coming week!

YOUTUBE VIDEOS:

MY Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect!

Non-Verbal Disrespect is So Damaging to Our Husbands

How to Apologize for Disrespecting and Controlling Your Husband

Respect Doesn’t Work on My Husband