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The Dryer Incident

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From a wife with an unbelieving husband.  She has been on this journey for about 5 months now, and it has been quite difficult. Her husband has felt very disrespected for a long time. Things are quite tense, even now. Her husband has even threatened to leave a few times in recent weeks. But her faith in God is growing by leaps and bounds and what He is doing in her is SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!  I appreciate her willingness to allow me to share:
For a day that didn’t start out that great, I’m doing pretty good now.  I woke up to my husband yelling at me about his clothes in the dryer still being wet and now he was scrambling trying to get ready for work and how ridiculous it was that I thought what he did didn’t make sense when obviously I should know better than to put so much in the dryer.
I could hardly process it and all I said was I was sorry before he stormed out to work.  He had cleaned out his truck of all his work things that had gathered up over the past while and brought in a bunch of dirty clothes.
I thought I would bless him by doing a bunch of laundry while he was out in the evening. 
I left the last load in the dryer and went to bed.  I didn’t mean for it to still be wet in the morning.
I was so discouraged.  It seems even my attempts to bless him backfire.  I can’t get things right or he misinterprets my intentions.  I was determined not to get angry or feel sorry for myself, though, and was praying that God would help me to bless him and know how to respond to him.
I really focused on one statement that he said when he was upset that described what he was feeling underneath his anger:  “You think what I do doesn’t make sense.”  How frustrating for him!  To feel like I’m always judging or looking down on or trying to change what and how he does things.  How utterly disrespectful of me!  So, while part of me was hoping that maybe the dryer was broken and the clothes being wet wouldn’t be my fault so he’d feel bad about yelling, I was glad for this glimpse into his perspective so that I could focus on how he was feeling/hurting instead of myself which would’ve led to self-pity and resentment and nowhere good.

Now, I think there’s something else that came to my awareness through this.

My motives.

Maybe I’m doing these things to bless him, yes, but also with not exactly expectations, but hopes that he’ll notice and feel badly about how he’s treating me.  I should be doing the laundry for Jesus!  🙂  To honor Jesus by blessing my husband and being respectful and submissive despite my husband’s actions, without expectations or even hopes for any change.  This is hard!  It’s hard not to hope for things to get better and not to think about how maybe if I do certain things it will help make things better.  How do I keep myself from thinking like that instead of focusing on Christ?  I guess just by constantly examining my motives and repenting when they’re not exactly pure.

Anyway, I was still thinking on all this when my husband called!  He asked how our son was, who has a cold, but that seemed a bit odd to me.  He doesn’t usually call without a specific reason.

Then, he said he was sorry!  That he didn’t mean to freak out at me, but was just really frustrated that all his clothes were still wet.

It’s a good thing he couldn’t see how shocked I was!  An apology was the last thing I was expecting!  I thought at best, it just wouldn’t come up again.  I thanked him and apologized again, trying not to defend myself, but just saying I was trying to be helpful and I didn’t mean to overload the dryer and cause him so much frustration.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This precious sister of mine is in a DIFFICULT situation. BUT – she sees with God’s eyes now. She sees how this argument was a chance for her to discover a bit more of her husband’s pain. She sees how God used this painful situation to help her uncover her true motives and to refine her faith. AND – she sees how when she obeys God and seeks to honor and please Him alone, He is able to speak to her husband – even though his heart is distant and hard right now.

Please join with me in praying for this couple – for his salvation and for her to be strong in Christ and to be the godly wife and missionary God calls her to be “without a word” who can win him by the respectful and chaste way she conducts her life. (I Peter 3:1-2).

I appreciate her willingness to share. This is a LONG, LONG journey. But God has grown my friend’s faith by leaps and bounds. She has SO MUCH MORE of Jesus than she has ever had in her life. She is even experiencing God’s peace and joy in the midst of this fiery trial many times. It is a difficult battle – she knows that her husband is not her real enemy. And she faithfully stands in the gap to pray for God’s best for him and for God to open his eyes that he might experience the abundant life, peace and joy that Jesus offers to him.

This friend is such a blessing to me. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for her!

A Wife’s First Practical Steps on Her Journey

Garden Path
From a precious wife (whose husband is addicted to porn – this is a VERY, VERY common situation, by the way.  MANY wives are in this exact same situation.) – thank you for allowing me to share!  I know this will bless many other wives, too!
I’ve spent the last few days in prayer and God’s Word.
  • I’ve been wrestling with the realization that what my husband does is out of my control, and between him and God.  
Yesterday was tough.  I had a big battle with myself about worry and jealousy.  He has told me he isn’t having an affair at this point in time and isn’t even interested in any one else right now, but his discontent with our marriage and off hand comments, have instilled a deep jealousy in me for the first time ever.  I wanted to check his emails, but I don’t have the password to his account.
I prayed hard last night asking God to take my fears because I can’t do anything about them, and realized it didn’t matter if there were any suspicious emails or not.  Even if he was lying to me about not having any female interests, his sin is not my responsibility.
It’s my responsibility to God that I need to worry about, and that means becoming a godly, respectful wife.  I need to trust in my husband’s honesty as I always have because he hasn’t broken that trust yet, and trust him to God’s care.  After putting on a worship CD and singing along, my fears ceased.
I gave up the idols that are my husband and “feeling loved by him” with many tears, and a few more tears today.  But I feel so much lighter!
  • My husband is weirded out by the changes to my behavior.
He’s noticed my quiet demeanour the last couple days, and has commented on it, “Why are you so quiet?”  And even cuddled with me on Sunday night.  I think he is attracted to my stillness!
Last night  after my battle with myself I read on Facebook that he had a hard day, and he was going to be at work till late.

I saw an opportunity to be a blessing and took it.

So I made him supper for when he got home and a plate of his favourite cookies.  I didn’t see him again until this evening once I had finished work, and he actually asked me if I was doing the love dare.  Which is funny because I had actually thought about doing that until I realized my sin was the problem, not my love.
He asked why I was doing what I was doing, I told him that I love him and enjoy showing him.  I didn’t mention God at this point because I’ve already explained the changes I’m making are for me and God, and don’t want to push the issue on him.
He told me to stop, but was smiling when he said it…so stopping isn’t happening.  He also told me I would just end up disappointed, so I asked again if he had been unfaithful, and he said no.  Besides I’m obeying God in showing my husband respect and can’t stop now!
I’ve come up with a plan of action.  Goals I am going to focus on for the next little while:
– spend copious amounts of time with God in prayer and his Word
– keep learning what it means to be a respectful wife
– learn about Godly femininity and what it means to have a gentle, peaceful spirit
– smile a lot! Be warm and friendly,  but be sure to give my hubby space.  When he’s on the computer don’t interrupt unless I really need something.  Let him decide to initiate conversation, let him decide if he wants to spend time with me. (from Peacefulwife – this wife had been smothering her husband and needy – so she is giving him more space in a respectful way.)
– if I’m lonely, tell him, ask for cuddles or a few minutes, but be accepting of no as an answer.
– if he does initiate conversation, drop what I’m doing and pay attention
– be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger
– do not say negative things, argue or complain.
– watch the body language! No eye rolling or exasperated sighs.
– if he does anything for me thank him!
– if he says he is going to do something, be patient and let him do it
– start saying things to build him up, affirm and encourage.  Give him compliments. (from Peacefulwife – GENUINE and SINCERE compliments and praise!)
– do things he asks of me with a smile and a yes.  Do them with a cheerful attitude
– watch for ways I can be a blessing to him, then do it!
– if I need to go cry, about my sin, or because I’m hurt, leave the room.  Pray.  Motive check.
There is so much more that I need to be doing.  I also need to start expressing my wants, feelings and desires to in the brief way you talk about, I just don’t think I’m ready to break the quiet yet in case I say something disrespectful that makes things worse.  But this is a start.
I know what you are saying about husbands lashing out in anger when convicted of sin.  This has happened in the past. Usually I just get defensive and make things worse, or reciprocate his attitude so he “knows how I feel.”  I will need to be really patient and understanding to make sure I don’t repay insult for insult, cause that is a terrible way for me to handle conflict! And certainly not respectful!
RELATED:
For a post I wrote about wives dealing with husbands’ pornography  -check out the comments. 🙂

Winning Him without a Word

This is a wife who has JUST started learning about how to stop disrespect/control and has been learning to be respectful in the last week or two.  I love her story!  Thank you so much for sharing!
—————————————————-
Now that some time has passed I wanted to share with you what happened a couple of days ago. My in laws came to visit before my dh deployed.
BACKGROUND: I’ve generally always had some conflict when his folks are around because hubby treats me poorly when his folks are around.
This time:
  • I smiled a lot.
  • I cooked.
  • most of all I was QUIET.

When hubby said something mean, I was quiet. When he made fun of me, I was quiet. When his mom made off-handed remarks, I was quiet.

Now I did quietly stick up for myself but my attitude was totally different.

His parents left early Tuesday I wished them a farewell, cleaned the house, and again not a word of complaint.

Then a miracle!

The next day hubby pulled me on his lap while I was cleaning (no fussing from me even though I hate when he does that). He gave me a kiss and told me he loved my spirit the past weekend and he likes me a lot (LOL). I kissed him back and then I was QUIET. He didn’t say anything else at first, but he released me to finish cleaning following me from room to room.  I still said nothing when…

Suddenly he grabbed my hand and apologized for being mean to me around his parents! Then he told me he wanted to quit smoking and dial back on drinking.

It was like getting three presents instead of one!
I am soooooo happy!!!!
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
This wife is in, “the quiet phase” right now – learning to stop her disrespectful words and working on using her words for good – to give life instead of death. This is not a wife who has been overly passive and quiet in the past. Becoming markedly more quiet is often the first step in spiritual healing and healing for a marriage for a wife who has been very outspoken.
(If you tend to be too quiet, your first step will involve learning to speak up more, after spending time with the Lord, even you aren’t perfect at it.  The key is balance and that we use our words with godly wisdom.)
It is not always necessary for a wife to say nothing in this kind of situation. There are times we need to respectfully address hurtful words. But if this is what the Lord leads a wife to do, it is wise to listen and obey.  I believe that this wife was being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. That is the most important thing!
She didn’t have to say anything in this particular situation – her respectful (not resentful) silence allowed her husband to clearly hear God’s voice.
Sometimes our well-timed silence can be extremely convicting. God’s Spirit is TOTALLY capable of convicting people of sin without our constant verbal input, especially if we are prone to saying too much. Our obedience to God’s Word, and our being filled with the Spirit are the most “helpful” things we can do. This gets us out of God’s way so He can speak to our husbands in a more powerful way.
God’s wisdom is infinitely higher than our own.  When we are willing to do things His way – it is an amazing adventure!  You never know what surprises He has in store!
I can’t guarantee any wife that she will see the same results or that she will see changes so quickly, but as we focus on following Christ for ourselves, we can live in His peace and invite His power to heal our husbands, our marriages, our children, and ourselves.
OUR WILLING OBEDIENCE AND SUBMISSION TO GOD OPENS UP THE DOORS TO THE UNIMAGINABLE POWER OF HEAVEN POURING INTO OUR LIVES!
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet (peaceful, tranquil) spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. I Peter 3:1-4 ESV
  • Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Rom. 12:14
  • Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12:17-21
RELATED:
If you have a particularly difficult situation, you tend to be too passive, or you just feel stuck, check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity
A Challenge For the Ladies – Let’s Not Complain or Argue Anymore!
God Understands Men – This is a brief explanation of why God’s commands to wives whose husbands are far from Him in I Peter 3:1-6 works on men!

The Respect Dare, Day 24 – Intimacy with God

praying

They may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. I Peter 3:1-2

SO I CAN’T TALK????

This passage is written for wives whose husbands are “disobedient to the Word.” God KNOWS men so very well. He knows that “words are for women” as marriage counselor Bob Grant likes to say. He knows that words mean little to men. Action, attitude, body language, non-verbal communication, facial expressions, tone of voice – THESE are the things that speak volumes to men.

This passage is not saying “Never ever utter a word to your husband about anything.”

The idea is – in your witnessing to your husband about Christ – do not use words.

WOMEN LOVE WORDS

Women, by nature, are VERY VERBAL! We have a huge verbal center in the brain that is highly connected to the huge emotional center in our brain. When we want things done, we use words! And we long for words from our men, too. Words of love. Words are very powerful to us.

Problem is… men are not made like women! Men have a smaller emotional center and it is not that connected to the verbal center for them. In fact, their emotional center is much more connected to the spinal cord. That is so that men are ready to fight or take action if necessary when things go badly. ie: war, dangerous jobs, protecting their families, etc.

When our husbands aren’t close to God – by our estimation – what is our biggest natural instinct?

We want to TELL him about God, explain spiritual things to him, try to argue him closer to God, try to verbally force him to become a more godly man… etc. That is what I used to do.

Words do not bring men closer to God. Our many words about the Bible, spiritual things, church, sin, and all the “godly leadership” things we think our men should be doing REPEL them from us and from God.

Read that again, please. Seriously. Because most of us DO NOT understand this. We assume our men think just like we do. And we think, “the answer to this problem is to EXPLAIN it all to him again until he admits I am right – until he understands and does what I know God wants him to do.”

Here is something I wish I knew 20 years ago. MEN DO NOT THINK LIKE WE DO! The sooner we can understand how God designed them to think and process emotions and spiritual things – and the sooner we accept God’s design and His wisdom – the sooner we can step out of the way and let God do the talking – and the sooner our men will begin to hear God’s voice. Then it is up to God and our husband how things turn out.

God is giving us a treasure here. He is giving us precious instructions that will allow us to be His partners as He works in our husbands to draw them nearer to Him! This is the way that God gives wives to influence husbands – living out their faith in God by showing respect for their husbands and by living in the power of God’s Spirit. That and prayer.

Repeat after me. This is something that took me a LONG, LONG time to get through my head.

I am not the Holy Spirit.

I am not the Holy Spirit.

I am not the Holy Spirit.

I tried to be the Holy Spirit to my husband (and many other people) for many years – and I was baffled that they did not become convicted of their sins and repent and change!

Turns out – I am just a little sinful human. I am not deity. I can’t change people. I can’t convict people. I can’t even change myself until God opens my eyes and His Spirit works in me.

TIME WITH GOD

So, the most powerful thing I can do if I want to influence my husband to draw near to God and become more and more the man God wants him to be – is to draw near to God myself and become more and more the woman God wants ME to be.

My motive must be to know God and honor Him – not to change my husband.

Here are a few suggestions about spending time with God and how to have an increasingly intimate relationship with Him:

  • Make time with God your BIGGEST priority. This will require removing other things from your schedule. It is totally worth it. There is nothing more important on this earth than our relationship with Jesus.
  • Limit distractions. If you have young children, this can be very difficult. But maybe choose a time during their nap time or a time when you are up before anyone else, or at work on your lunch break, or 10 minutes in your car before work. Or – maybe the children, if they are older, can listen while you read the word, or they could listen to the Bible being read in another room on an app like Bible.Is. Or you can have a mandatory “quiet time” in the house for Bible study for older children where they read their Bibles and have their time with God in another room if possible. Ask God to help you find solutions if this is a big challenge!
  • Humble yourself – begin by praising God. See how holy, high and lifted up He is, and how lowly and sinful we are. Acknowledge that He is wise, we are not.
  • Have a listening spirit – ask God to make you sensitive to all that He wants to say to you through the scripture and your quiet time and all throughout the day.
  • Repent of any known sin – Ask God to reveal to you anything that offends His holiness so that you can repent and turn to Him and do things His way. Refuse to cherish any sin in your heart – even grudges, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, pride, self-righteousness (looking down on others as “less than” ourselves), a critical spirit, being controlling of others, idolatry (anything that is more important to us than Jesus), gossip, ungodly motives, unkind attitudes, greed, selfishness, unbelief, worry, etc.)
  • Lay any fears or concerns at His feet and don’t pick up the emotional/spiritual weight again. Trust Him to handle those situations. This will involved exercising some potentially very weak faith and trust muscles.
  • Ask God to fill you with His Spirit. (If you have not received Jesus as your Savior and the LORD of your life and you have not committed yourself to living totally for Him for the rest of your life – please leave a comment  and we can talk about how you can have an intimate relationship with Jesus now and how you can know you will be with Him in heaven after you die! This is the most important decision of your life. Choosing to know Jesus = eternal life and paradise. Choosing to reject Jesus = eternal separation from Him in hell – according to Jesus and God’s Word. I do not want that for ANYONE!!!!!! Trusting Jesus is so very sweet. I pray you will give your life to Him today if you haven’t done that already.)
  • Read a chapter or two – or more – depending on how much time you have and how God leads you. Ask God to speak to you through His Word. Concentrate on the words. Re-read the chapter a time or two if you want to. What is God saying? Is there something you need to stop or repent of? Is there a command He wants you to obey? (We are no longer under the Law of the Old Testament – there are some laws that are helpful to us – and some that no longer apply because we are not living in the sacrificial system. Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice – but the Old Testament does contain great godly wisdom. Any command in the New Testament we do need to obey.)
  • Replace any lies of this world with the truth of God’s Word in your heart.
  • Take every thought captive for Christ all day long. Write down what you are saying to yourself. Compare it to scripture. Reject anything that is not the truth of God’s Word!
  • Meditate on scripture and memorize verses.
  • Build your entire life on Jesus Christ, His Wisdom, His power, His Truth, His Word, His will and His Glory.
  • Be willing to obey Him no matter the cost.
  • Then, listen to praise music throughout the day whenever possible and sing praises in your heart to God always.

I personally had to get to the place where I decided – I am not going ANYWHERE geographically/emotionally/spiritually until God or my husband (under God’s leadership) lead me. I am just going to wait. I am not running ahead anymore. I am going to wait on God until I am 80 years old if that is what it takes. I want His will. If He wants me to do something, He will show me what I need to do. And if He wants me to wait for the next 40+ years and that is His will – awesome. That is what I will do.

I also had to get to the place where I decided – I am throwing out ALL of the “wisdom” of the world. I am questioning everything I have learned about life, God, godly femininity, masculinity, marriage, family, being a Christian, etc… and all I want is Jesus and His truth. I do not care if I am the only one on the planet obeying Him and seeking to do things His way. I am willing to obey Him even if it is weird, even if I am ridiculed. I want Jesus. I want ALL of Him. I want His whole will and nothing but His will. I don’t want the world anymore.

DARE 24:

Desire Him more than anything or anyone else on earth. If you do NOT have that fire in your heart for Him like this – pray and BEG God for it! Long to know the presence of God. Let that be the greatest desire of your life today and every day.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

RELATED

God Understands Men – If your man is far from God, check out this post!

How Men Think

Men and Emotions

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