The Wash Cloth Incident

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An email I received from a wife – thank you to this wife for allowing me to share!
Hello April…
Wanted to share something funny.

Our bathroom has been torn up for over a year now. So, I have bathroom stuff in 3 rooms (the kitchen, my bedroom and the tiny spare bath). I already caught my daughter using my face wash cloth (in the kitchen) to wipe up balsamic vinegar. yuck, it left a huge brown stain on my white wash cloth. Today, I caught my husband using a new wash cloth to wipe up coffee spills.

“AAAAaaahhhh don’t do that!” I squeal!

He momentarily freezes, totally shocked.

“That’s my face rag!” I explain (with boldness)

“Well, you’ve got your stuff all over, how am I supposed to know?” he retorts angrily.

“Well, IF the bathroom would be done, I wouldn’t have to have my stuff ALL OVER THE PLACE!!” proudly defending myself.

(((((Yikes….))))))

Then I hear YOUR voice reminding me that an unsubmissive wife is prideful. That the way we speak to our husbands reveals how much better than them we think we are.

I guess I was thinking ‘I deserve a bathroom. Shame on him for not having a nice bathroom for me. I’ll make him feel stupid for not having the bathroom done BY NOW!!’

I apologized to him (and I praise God that He is faithfully showing me attitudes of pride and entitlement in my heart).

It’s so freeing to let it go…just let God take the junk and replace it with joy and peace.

 

You are right, He died for me, I didn’t deserve that. I deserve hell. I don’t deserve my nice life today and I should stop acting like I do. (I go to a church that teaches this fact, but sometimes we need to see where it really applies: to me, I’ve really got some “I don’t deserve this” issues going on.)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I am so excited about what God is doing in this wife’s heart! She caught the pride right after she spoke and apologized. THAT was wise – and it honored Jesus.

She is beginning to realize that intimacy with her husband and with God is more important than being “right” about the bathroom, or her face rags. WHAT AN IMPORTANT THING TO SEE!!!!

You begin to get used to eating humble pie as you learn to do things God’s way. And, you know what? It’s really not that bad. The taste kind of grows on you!

Eventually, God’s Spirit will help her to catch things BEFORE she says them.

Over time, God’s Spirit will transform her mind and replace the negative thoughts and pride with humility, peace, joy and thanksgiving – so one day, she won’t even think the prideful thoughts. There will be some slip ups – but God can give us many victories over sin!

It is ok to say, “I can’t wait to see how beautiful the new bathroom will be! Thank you for working on it. I really appreciate your willingness to make our home beautiful!”

The Power of Your Smile and Facial Expressions

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Just like we talked about the power of your tone of voice with your husband (and your children) – SMILING and having PLEASANT FACIAL EXPRESSIONS are extremely important tools as you seek to honor God and build up your husband and bless your marriage and family.  (If you haven’t read it, check out the CHALLENGE I have issued for wives this past week about doing everything without complaining or arguing – Philippians 2:14)

A CASE STUDY

In fact, I had one wife who wrote to me and said that all she did was just focus on smiling around her husband – for no particular reason – and she also watched her tone of voice.  She wasn’t even necessarily talking TO him – she was often talking to the cat.  But she used a sweet, friendly little tone of voice with the cat in her husband’s hearing.  And she smiled at him whenever she happened to look at him.

It was pretty interesting. She said that there was a HUGE change in his demeanor almost immediately towards her that day.  He was much more gentle, patient, kind, loving and friendly to her, too.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

If you work in retail – you are probably trained to smile and greet your customers right away.  I was – especially at Walgreens.  We were supposed to look up and smile at new patients that walked up to the counter within 10 seconds of their arrival.

Some retailers actually train their employees to smile even when they are talking on the phone.  You would think that it wouldn’t matter if you smiled when you talk on the phone – but it changes the tone and friendliness of your voice!

Go ahead, try it!

No one is listening. 🙂  I’ll wait.

Why do retailers do this?  Because when employees smile, customers feel that the employees are friendly and the customers feel that the employees actually care about them.

We had a story posted in the break room at Walgreens written by a cashier for the company.  She was challenged to smile more. She thought it was kind of a dumb idea – she didn’t think she looked angry or mean or anything most of the time.  But she decided to try smiling more at all of her customers to see what happened – and she was shocked.  Most (not all) of the people smiled right back and her job actually became a lot more pleasant.  She also won the loyalty of many customers just because of her willingness to smile.

IT WORKS IN MARRIAGE, TOO

  • You can’t change your husband.
  • You can’t make him like you.
  • You can’t make him love you.
  • But you can smile at him, respect him and be kind to him.

But here is the catch.

 I want you to smile at him because you love and honor Christ – not because you want him to be friendly and loving back to you.

Husbands are pretty sensitive to manipulation.  If you only smile at him so that he will love you more – that will NOT WORK.

But if you just sincerely smile as a way to show your love for Jesus and just to bless your husband – Jesus counts whatever you do for your husband as if you do it for Him – you realize that right?  If you give a drink of water to the least of these in My Name, you have done it for Me.  And if whatever you have not done for the least of these, you have NOT done for Me.

So, if you smile at him – just because you are showing your love for Jesus  and you want to bless him – expecting nothing in return – it might just get interesting to see what God might do with your little sacrifice of smiling and having a friendly expression on your face – in your own life, in your relationship with Him and in your other relationships.  We will leave the results up to Him!

You can’t control your husband – but you can influence him for good or for evil.

You can choose to scowl at him and look at him with fire, anger, resentment, contempt, and disgust.  That will crush his soul.

Or, you can choose to have  a friendly and pleasant facial expression, smiling at him whenever you can.

Note – if you just found out he cheated on you or something – I am not saying you need to smile then.  You can be sad and feel your grief in a situation like that.

I am talking about just a normal day – let’s try the FRIENDLY LOOK challenge today!

SMILE AT YOUR HUSBAND AND CONSCIOUSLY HAVE A FRIENDLY AND PLEASANT EXPRESSION ON YOUR FACE WHEN YOU SEE HIM OR TALK TO HIM AND A FRIENDLY TONE OF VOICE.

Then – let me know what happens! 🙂

Here is a Youtube Video about Advanced Self Control 6 minute video

 

PS – HERE IS A SECRET:

As you grow in Christ and His Spirit fills you up with His joy – your smile will be uncontainable.  You will have to smile because you are so full of the joy of the Lord.  Seek to be filled with His Spirit! Ask Him to show you any sin that might have grieved His Spirit so you can repent and then ask Him to fill you with His unspeakable JOY and PEACE. 🙂  No one will be able to take your smile away when the source of your joy is Jesus!

A Challenge for You, Ladies! :)

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Let’s allow God to help us

turn this loud, obnoxious, angry, destructive tongue of ours

into an instrument of healing and blessing.

As women, we have HUGE verbal skills.  This is where we often hurt our husbands and children the most – with our words.  It is time to learn to use our words for good.

Here is a command of God in scripture for us that I believe is very critical for us to follow if we are to represent Christ well in the world and in our marriages.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of Life.

Philippians 2:14-16.

MY STORY

When God first showed me my MOUNTAIN of pride, disrespect, idolatry of being in control and rebellion against His Word – that I had been blind to for 15+ years… I was mortified.

I didn’t want to be around anyone – because I suddenly realized that at that point almost every word out of my mouth was sin of some variety or another.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  I knew that all that would spew out of my mouth was criticism, disrespect, arguments, gossip, scolding, complaints, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, control… UGH.

I was afraid to open my mouth!  I had never learned discretion.  I would always just say every thought I had that popped into my head without filtering it.

PHASES

That first phase of this journey is sometimes called, The Silent Phase  or Quiet Phase.  I realized suddenly that I had been saying so many negative, hurtful things.  I didn’t want to use my words to destroy my husband or anyone any more.  That is when it hit me – OH NO!!!!!!

Apparently, I don’t say anything BUT negative, horrible things!

Here is a great post by Nina Roesner (author of The Respect Dare) about the usual progression and stages of this journey of becoming a more godly, respectful wife.

Don’t worry – IT DOES GET BETTER!  But that first month or first few months is REALLY DIFFICULT and PAINFUL as you learn discretion, dying to self, living completely submitted to Christ, and as you redefine your understanding of God, self, femininity, masculinity and marriage.  It’s a total reconstruction of your heart.  A renovation that deep takes time.  It is too much to absorb all at once!

The tongue has the power of life and death. Prov 18:21

Eventually, you do begin to learn to use your mouth for blessing as you allow Christ total freedom and access to remove every ungodly thing from your soul and to renew your heart and mind to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  But most women go a bit silent first as they try to figure out how to stop the negative stuff.

THE CHALLENGE

For those of you in the beginning of this journey – I would like to encourage you to take this challenge.  If you are very new at learning respect and learning to obey Christ – you may want to take this one day at a time.  If you have a little more experience under your belt, you may want to take this challenge for a week to start with, then maybe a month!

For today/this week – while asking God to fill me with His Spirit’s power to do this

– I am NOT going to argue with anyone about anything

– I am not going to complain about anything.

…EVEN WHEN I PRAY!  I am going to pray in a respectful way about the authority of my husband over me.  I am not going to argue with God or His Word, and I am not going to complain to God about my husband or question God’s sovereignty or wisdom. I will not grumble or murmur against Him.

I may:

– say what I want or don’t want in a kind and respectful way

– say what my emotions are (probably once) – sad, happy, afraid, scared, angry, upset, nervous, excited, etc.

– use wholesome speech to build others up

– say positive things

– say thankful things

– smile my beautiful smile at my friends, family and coworkers – especially at my husband.

– share important information (ie: if I am sick, if the kids are sick, if the house is on fire, if there is a problem that my husband needs to know about, if there is a need, if I am extremely sleep-deprived) – but I can share that respectfully, probably just once, and ask for any help I need in a polite, pleasant way.

EXAMPLE:

I don’t need to say that it is hot outside.  That would be complaining.

But, if I am about to be overcome by heat exhaustion – or need water quickly to avoid heat exhaustion –  I can share my need.  I can’t expect my husband to read my mind.  I must tell him when I am not ok or there is a significant problem.  But I don’t have to share every little tiny thing that annoys me.

Does that make sense?

A SECRET

If you are controlling towards other people, too, not just your husband, you may find that you need to take a few emotional steps back from other people while you cling to Christ and allow Him to work in you.

I would not share all of what God is doing in you with everyone.  Those of the world are not going to understand and will likely argue with you or think you are crazy for talking about respecting your husband.  And if you talk about biblical submission, they may throw tomatoes at your head.

Even just quietly refusing to bash your man while everyone else bashes theirs will make you “weird.”

Here’s a post to help you with this – Don’t Expect Outside Support!

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

If you take this challenge – I want to hear how it goes!

– what surprises were there?

– what was the hardest part?

– how did your interactions with others change?

– did anyone treat you differently?

– how do you think this helps us shine for Christ?

I pray that God might be greatly exalted in your life and speech, that you might bless everyone around you with your words and use of your tongue!

“My Husband Didn’t Get Me Anything for Our Anniversary – and I am SO HAPPY TO BE MARRIED TO HIM!”

From the archives – Here are the ways that two wives handle the “My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary” situation in respectful, God-honoring, husband-honoring, marriage building ways!
WIFE #1

Since my hubby’s and my birthdays are only one day apart, he never forgets my birthday! Pretty sneaky, huh? :D

Seriously, in my first marriage I received tons of big gifts and acknowledgement on special celebration days… but not much love. These days, I am very happy and blessed to be married to a wonderful Christian guy who doesn’t always remember our anniversary, but so what? He brings me little gifts every so often “just because” and never lets me forget how much he loves me.

When we were first married, almost 14 years ago, God showed me that I needed to be the one to bring special days and events to his mind. So this begs the question: why does it always have to be the husband’s job to make celebration plans? I know that as women, we love the romantic notion that our hubbies will come through the door with a huge bouquet of roses and sweep us off our feet, but that reality is rooted in unrealistic TV shows and movies. It is not real life!

Please, ladies, love your husbands for WHO HE IS, not for what he can do for you or for whether he can remember your birthday or anniversary, etc. God placed you with each other because you are perfect together.

I’m sorry this is so long, but I’d like to share an analogy that our pastor gave my hubby and me during our premarital counseling: if you take an orange and rip it apart with your hands (NOT cut it with a knife), you’ll have a jagged edge on both halves. There is only one way that orange can go back together perfectly. So it is with the marriage relationship. You and your husband each have areas of strengths and weaknesses, and your strengths complement his weaknesses and vice versa. You both fit together just like that orange.

So, don’t pine away for what might not be the way you think it should. Don’t fight the dynamics of your God-given relationship. Use those strengths and weaknesses to uplift and love each other in the Lord!

I think I’ve said this before, Peacefulwife, but it bears repeating: thank you for such a wonderfully blessed and uplifting blog. My hubby and I are thankful that you and Peacefulhusband are not afraid to share yourselves and your marriage with those of us who need to hear it!

WIFE #2
Hi there…
Just wanted to say I was so thankful for that post the other day “forgot our anniversary.”
I would have hoped I would have responded well even if I didn’t read that post…but sadly I probably would have failed to some degree.
Anyway..today is our anniversary and we already have a date next month that we will be getting away just the two of us to celebrate.
So I didnt want to make a big deal about today, but its still our anniversary so I got him a card and some yummy chocolates and put them
on his desk this morning before I left for work. I did kiss him good bye with a quick Happy Anniversary, I love you.
Later this morning, I got a text saying, “thank you for the card and gift, (I haven’t opened it yet)”…then he said, “I am sorry I didn’t get you anything. I have been so busy with work and the girls I dont have a spare second.”   He said, “Give me a couple weeks when work is less crazy and I will make it up to you.” He then said, “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am so thankful for you.”  I said, ” Thank you, Baby!  I know your heart, Baby, and I don’t need a card to tell me that. I did it for you because I love doing things like that.”  Then he said, “I will have something for you, just not today.”  I said, “I’m being honest, Honey, when I say, ‘I have all I need because I have you.'”  And I do truly mean that.
In the past (or probably even before I read that post)…I would have gotten sad or disapointed and thought, “Well you had time to go the Jeep store this week because your mind is on that stuff, but not on me.”  So in reality…yeah that thought did enter my mind, but I quickly dismissed it!  My husband loves me to death and that is all that matters.  Its about him and me and our marriage that God joined together 7 years ago. I refuse to let Satan have anything on this day!  My husband never goes out to “man” stores or spends time with guy friends…so if he spent some time at the Jeep store this week, I am so happy for him. He needs that. Its the same thing as me going to the mall to buy a new outfit, right!  LOL!!!
Anyway..I wanted to share this with you because I am thankful for what I have learned this past year in my marriage! I am thankful that God led me to your blog to help “change me” which has helped changed my marriage in an incredible way.  I am so excited for what God has planned for this next year in our marriage. I know its going to the best one yet!

The Snare of People-Pleasing

We are continuing our series about ways that controlling people try to control others.  You can check out the posts about control and boundaries, the trying to manipulate others with guilt, and playing the martyr from earlier in the week.  Today’s topic is how we sometimes try to manipulate others and maintain control by being a people-pleaser.

Is “peace” at any cost a good thing?  Is it really peace?

PEOPLE PLEASING

Being a “People-Pleaser” SOUNDS like a virtue, right?    I mean, isn’t it great to try to make everyone be happy with you and not have people angry at you?  The Bible says we are supposed to live in peace as far as it depends on us, after all.  It is easy for people-pleasers to take certain scriptures and believe that what we are doing is godly.

Here is a list (from Vickie Champion – a psychologist/life coach) of attributes of people pleasers. (I have not researched her methods and approach.  So I am not endorsing her counseling techniques, but this list is AWESOME!)

Here are 52 Ways to Recognize the Chronic, Ingrained People Pleaser…

The perpetual people pleaser…

1   Always avoid conflicts or even disagreements.

2   Makes it a habit to say yes when he or she wants to say no.

3   Constantly worries about hurting others’ feelings.

4   Has no idea what their dreams or goals are.

5   Feels they are never “good” enough.

6   Would rather be nice and perfect than happy.

7   Functions totally from “shoulds.”

8   Assures they always do more than their share.

9   Rarely makes decisions, putting it off on anyone else to do it.

10  Is baffled by the concept, take it easy and relax.

11  Confuses being “needed” with being “loved.”

12  Has a never-ending time management problem.

13  Avoids giving themselves credit for anything.

14  Makes it a practice to please strangers and neglect loved ones.

15  Easily attracts people who need to be rescued and consoled.

16  Strongly believes they need to “do” something to be “loved” or even “accepted.”

17  Is very insecure about their abilities, knowledge or just about anything they do.

18  Routinely operates on auto pilot.

19  Jumps to volunteer, especially for jobs that no one else will do.

20  Feels exhausted from always trying to be “perfect.”

21  Has a huge fear of letting their friends, family and even strangers down.

22  Almost always feel undeserving.

23  Thinks nothing of telling lies to not rock the boat.

24  Overpromises.

25  Constantly seeks approval from others, but could care less about their own opinions.

26  Overapologizes.

27  Wastes time with people who really don’t care or consider their needs.

28  Think they are solely responsible for others’ happiness.

29  Are scared to death of being called selfish, even for an instant.

30  Rarely, if ever, asks for help or accepts help.

31  Constantly suppresses anger, fearing rejection.

32  Would much rather be nice than be real.

33  Has no desire to listen and follow their intuition.

34  Continuously holds back from saying what they really think and feel.

35  Often feels trapped.

36  Are scared to death of being wrong or taking any kind of risk.

37  Reduces their own anxiety by focusing on others’ needs.

38  Comes unglued easily when under pressure.

39  Has plenty of regrets.

40  Tries to provide and control everything in the relationship without considering their own feelings and needs.

41 Are willing to bend over backwards to make unhappy, self-centered, controlling people feel better about themselves.

42  Becomes paralyzed with little nightmares we make up about “if we said and did this, they will say and do that.”

43  Is extremely critical of themselves.

44  Has a really hard time accepting kindness from others.

45  Has poor problem-solving skills.

46  Is unable to direct or supervise others.

47  Feels guilty about not accomplishing enough or not being able to make everyone happy.

48  Runs on the praise and appreciation of other people.

49  Seldom, if ever, expresses an opinion of their own.

50  Is secretly terrified of being “found out” that they are not as good as they appear to others.

51  Displays a bland personality. They don’t want to appear interesting, unique, or challenging. Nope, too risky.

52  Wonders why everyone seems to take advantage of them and why they get little respect?

WAS I EVER A PEOPLE-PLEASER?

YEP!!!!!!!!!!  I sure was.  This mindset was another core part of my sinful heart and a big part of why I was controlling and disrespectful.  That probably seems contradictory that a people-pleaser would be a controlling and disrespectful wife.  But I was more concerned about pleasing strangers and people outside of my family than my husband.  I didn’t want my husband to be mad at me – EVER.  But I also didn’t realize that he actually was upset with me a lot because he didn’t say how he felt – he was so distant.

I was ALWAYS worried about what other people thought and would play conflicts over and over every waking moment for weeks and months trying to decide what I could have/should have said.

I thought if I was NICE enough and kind enough that I could keep people from being mad at me.  (Have you ever worked in a retail pharmacy?  Yeah.  This strategy got me some customer service awards, but it doesn’t work on everyone!  Some people are going to be angry at me.  It won’t matter what I do.  Well, if I gave them drugs illegally, they might be happy with me, but then I will have other problems!)

I was terrified of conflict.

Well – really, almost all the 52 things on the list applied to me!

PEOPLE-PLEASING = IDOLATRY!!!!!

People pleasing is an insidious form of idolatry, unfortunately – and it brings a whole host of other sins along with it – as idolatry always does!  I white wash it and try to believe that my motives are pure – and that it is good not to ever have someone be upset with me.  But my true motives are not pure at all.  What I am really doing is:

  • putting the approval of others above the approval of God (and often above the approval of my husband).  This is idolatry!
  • fearing men (people) rather than fearing God.
  • attempting to have peace on a false premise (doing anything to prevent others from being upset) instead of on the truth of God’s Word (love God, love others).
  • I fear the anger of other people and base my behavior on avoiding the possibility of some person’s anger instead of living to honor God.
  • BEING DISHONEST.  I am not saying how I feel.  I am not saying what I want. I   am not saying what I don’t want and then I am resentful of other people for “making” me do what I don’t want to do.  Then I can’t forgive them for my feeling obligated to do things for them and am tied up with the sin of unforgiveness, too!  WHEW!
  • Unforgiveness may seem small – but it is a huge sin!  The Bible teaches that even allowing anger/resentment to continue overnight gives the enemy a foothold.  Imagine what happens when unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment take deep root and grow unchecked for YEARS!
  • avoiding saying “no” because I am not strong enough to say no to things I don’t want to do.  I am allowing others to become responsible for me instead of being responsible for myself before God.  That is poor stewardship and it won’t wash before our holy God!  He will hold me accountable for my own behavior, sins and actions.  He will hold others accountable for theirs.
  • instead of being arrogantly prideful – I am prideful in a false-humility kind of way.  I put myself down and feel unworthy and speak terrible things about myself in my mind and to others.  I do not believe God’s Word about who I am in Christ.  I do not acknowledge  that I am made in the image of God and am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I do not acknowledge that my purpose in life is to glorify God.  I do not allow God’s power to flood my soul and fill me to empower me to be the godly woman God has designed me to be.  I stay in a prison of my own making, feeling sorry for myself, wallowing in my unworthiness, wasting my true potential, burying my talents in the dirt.  I don’t really believe I am a daughter of the King,  and I go sit in the dungeon instead of at the King’s table.  I have not fully yielded my heart to Christ as LORD.
  • REFUSING TO HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
  • giving up my influential authority in my marriage by refusing to speak up about my desires, my needs, my wants and my perspective.  My marriage and family suffer when I don’t know my mind, don’t know my feelings, don’t know my desires and don’t share my important perspective.  How can my husband lead properly if I am not fulfilling my responsibilities and providing important information for him to make the best decisions?
  • refusing to have any dreams.   I do need to die to myself and live for Christ.  But when I am living for Christ, He will give me dreams, desires, goals and His will.  I will be full of life, zeal, purpose, joy, peace, love and all the fruit of the Spirit.
  • setting a very negative emotional/spiritual temperature for the family.  Everyone is affected by my depressed mood, my negativity, my hopelessness, my anxiety, my fear, my worry and my lack of God’s presence.
  • setting an ungodly example of femininity and marriage for my children.
  • idolizing “being nice” instead of loving God and loving people.
  • avoiding obeying God’s Word about how to handle conflict  when I am sinned against.  I am to go to the person who sinned against me (NOT to other people in gossip!) and tell them their sin (gently, respectfully, lovingly).  If they do not listen, I am to take another believer with me as a witness and confront them gently, respectfully and lovingly – and if they will not listen to two people, the Bible says they are to go before the church and if they will not repent, they are to be shunned.  I don’t know many churches that actually practice church discipline anymore.  But, we can do the first few steps.  Unfortunately, most believers today think it isn’t “nice” or isn’t “Christlike” to confront people about sin.  NOT SO!  Love DOES confront sin.  Love does not allow sin to go on and on wounding everyone.  Yes, it is hard!  Yes, it is uncomfortable.  But it is our responsibility to confront sin AFTER we have confronted and repented of ALL sin in our own life first!

WASN’T JESUS “NICE”?

We tend to think that Jesus was a “nice” pushover and a wimp.  We do that because He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified for us – which actually was an act of great strength and sacrifice and not at all the act of a coward, pushover or wimp.  But look at the way He handled Himself with those who opposed God.  He was not “nice.”  He was to the point.  He was strong.  He was love.  He had endless courage.  He stood up for holiness.  He threw tables over in the temple to defend His Father’s house as a house of prayer.  He rebuked people when they were sinning and arrogant about it.  He rebuked self-righteousness and hypocrisy.  He was not “nice” and un-confrontational.  He didn’t shrink back from speaking the truth.  He wasn’t afraid to say what He believed and He didn’t say “yes” when he wanted to say “no.”  He never sinned in His anger.  But He did have anger.  He did confront when necessary.  He did not cower from standing for the truth and what was right.

And look at how He will come in the clouds when He returns as the triumphant King of kings and Lord of lords.  He will be on a white horse with a sword coming from His mouth and He will kill all of His enemies with one Word from His mouth.

He is a holy God.  He is just.  He is righteous.  He is ALL-POWERFUL.  He is sovereign.  He does not tolerate sin.  And at the same time, He is love.  He is mercy and grace.  What an incredible combination of strength, power and love.

Being “nice” is really not part of being Christlike.  It is culturally acceptable.  But you can be “nice” to someone as you seeth with resentment.  You can be “nice” as you stew about how much you hate them or hate what you are doing for them.  Being nice does not = being godly.  And I don’t believe that being “nice” has anything to do with what Christ has commanded us to do.

HOW TO SAY “NO.”

If someone is using guilt on you, THE WORST thing you can do is give the REASONS WHY you can’t do something.  They will almost always shoot down any reason and explain why that is not valid.  If you truly don’t want to do something, simply say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t.” And when they ask why, you just continue to say, “I can’t.”  Eventually, they will relent!

But it is also ok to just say

  • No, thanks!
  • I am not going to be able to do that.
  • Let me check with my husband first (if it is someone else asking for your time, money or efforts).

Remember – don’t get into a long drawn out debate or discussion with a controlling, emotional manipulator!  A brief answer of “no” that is pleasant and polite will suffice.  Then the other person is responsible for his/her reaction and emotions.

You cannot MAKE them be angry.  They choose to be angry or to hang on to anger.  That is their choice.  You do what is right in God’s eyes, and let other people handle their emotions.  Apologize if/when you sin against others, and try to live in peace.  But you are not responsible to make other people not angry or make them happy.  That is their own responsibility!

FREEDOM FROM PEOPLE-PLEASING

To be free from this idol.  I have to rip the idol out by the roots and be sure I am building only on the foundation of Christ and His Word.  I must build my life on His truth alone.  I completely repent of every sin.  I must face every fear and combat it with God’s truth, discarding all the lies.  I have to study God’s BIGNESS and sovereignty.  I must study how small I truly am.  I must see His power and my weakness.  He must become MORE and I must become less.  I totally yield my heart to His.  I give up my will for His.  I die to myself.  I live for Him as a living sacrifice every day.  I decide to fear God much, much more than I fear any person.  I decide to desire God’s approval WAY above any human’s approval.  And I decide to obey God’s Word and to abide in Him daily and feast on His Word and ask Him to fill me with His power to be the woman, wife and mother He desires me to be.

There is so much reason for HOPE!  Jesus is able to deliver us from the prison of being a people pleaser, or from being a martyr, or from being filled with worldly sorrow and guilt – from any sin.  And He is able to give us a life of joy, love, peace, patience and all the abundant spiritual riches of heaven!

How Do Men Think?


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I am SOOOOO excited about this post!  I believe that if we as women could better understand how God designed our men to operate, think, feel and look at life – we could be so much more accepting, understanding, empathetic and appreciative of their strengths and even their weaknesses.  I believe that if we realize that a man’s brain works very differently from our own, we will be able to allow him the time and space he needs without resenting him, or thinking he is unloving, or assigning evil motives to our husbands – just because they don’t think, talk and act like we do.  This is just a small sample size of men.  I hope to feature some other men with different ways of thinking in future posts on this topic.

Click here for Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 in this series.

MY HUSBAND’S THOUGHT PROCESSES

I asked Greg  (an engineer) if he solves problems at work and home with words in his mind.  The thought had never occurred to me that anyone could solve anything in their head without a constant stream of words.  He amazed me when he said that he doesn’t really use words for solving many problems.

For house projects (carpentry and plumbing, etc) he said he thinks in numbers and pictures, but not words.  And for family and marriage issues and big decisions, he said he thinks more in the form of input and output, logic systems, or a scale.  That really blew my mind!  No wonder he can’t always explain to me how he arrived at a conclusion – he isn’t using words to get there, but he is using a very logical method.  It is just not remotely MY method!

When he judges whether his logic system is working well, he uses my response and happiness as the measure of success – or the “output” of his system.  Wow!

And he said that when his system didn’t produce good results (my happiness) repeatedly – he just shut down the whole thing because the system wasn’t working.  That is the “shut down” I saw for weeks or months in the past. 🙁

MY DADDY’S EXPLANATION OF HIS THOUGHT PROCESSES

I asked my Daddy about this, too.  He’s also an engineer.  He said that when he is working on the house, he thinks in pictures.  He said when he is working on certain problems “Words are a waste of time and energy.  Pictures are much faster.”

OTHER MEN’S EXPLANATIONS OF HOW THEY THINK

Man 1:

I certainly think through things a lot but  when you are in a position of leadership or authority (like a President) you have to be careful what you say because it could have dire consequences. Imagine if a pastor or priest thought out loud about everything that came into his head. Some of his thoughts may not be healthy for consumption but his position would give credibility to them. This may be a result of hard wiring or it may me a result of how boys are raised into men.

I will say this though. In my head I am isolating variables and thinking about them in words. I am just not speaking those words aloud or writing them down.

It does depend on the problem as to what I am thinking. I can imagine an engineer thinking in pictures because if you are building something you have to visualize it.  I am a chemist so when I am thinking about molecular structures I am definitely not thinking in words. When I am thinking about theology or philosophy I am thinking in words. I think it is hard to generalize.

MAN 2:

I would agree with Greg as well about not really thinking and processing with words. I tend to process alot just as he indicated by thinking about all the different options and if I do this these are the results, if I do this other thing the results change like this.

When it all comes down to it I look at all the options and figure out which is the best result. Sometimes it’s a matter of picking the least bad result because nothing is great, but many times it’s picking from a few good results and you have to consider how many people it will affect as you can’t know how they will see the results either. So I would definately say a majority of the time I focus and process with the right side of my brain. (From PW – the right side of the brain in men and women is where logic and reasoning happens.  For men, this area is not nearly as connected to the verbal center in the left side of the brain as it is for women.  This is a really important difference – that God created very purposefully – I believe – so that men can deeply concentrate and focus on spacial issues and think more efficiently about certain types of problems without the distraction of words and emotions.  That could be extremely helpful in a war situation or even at work.)

I will say that I have a pretty active imagination as well and sometimes while I still think about which choices will affect the outcome and look at all the options there are quite a few times where I will do that with pictures. Sort of a silent film in my head if you will.

I can see the scene unfold before me and based on choices made see how people react or how it unrolls from there. Granted it’s still all just my opinion on how it will happen and I can’t know for sure how someone else will react, but the movies I’ve created in my head to solve problems tend to be correct more than incorrect. So while I believe that I am still processing based on logic, past reactions I’ve seen, etc there is definately a part of my left brain that is in there moving things along as well. Even with that said there are still almost no words taking place. The only time words come up in the movies is when I have to say something to make a choice and see what the reactions are.

I would also agree with the “can’t explain it with words” comment. There have been many times in my life where if given the time to make a decision I process it and come to a decision and when I put forth what that decision is I am questioned to explain it. When I was younger I actually tried to explain it at times and it never came out well. When I start getting pressured about a topic and can’t explain it well enough I tend to fall back on using more basic words and things like always, never, all the time come out. I’ve learned that to someone who thinks and processes with words those particular words are caustic. As soon as those start coming out there’s not much chance of salvaging the discussion because those words mean something different to me than they do to women. Or more acurately they have more meaning to women than most men.”

OTHER MEN

You are welcome to comment about how you think!  I would love to run several more posts on this topic with a variety of men so that wives can find one who is most like their own husband to empathize with.

Wives, ask your husband sometime about if he thinks with words or pictures or equations or how  – and let me know what he says!

FOR THE MEN:

Check out the comments – I wrote out an explanation of how I used to think and how I think now.  Maybe it might be helpful for some of you – might give you some insights into how your wife might possibly think, too?

Why the “Rapid Fire” Method of Talking Doesn’t Work with Our Men.

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My husband actually asked me to write this post and it is an honor to write about this topic!

Greg and I have been talking about how differently men and women process, speak and think during conversations. What I am about to share with you is REALLY FOREIGN to our female minds – but it is fascinating to me to discover more about how men think and process and how we can learn to better communicate with them.  So I am excited to share this information with you and I think it will prove to be very helpful.

SHAUNTI FELDHAN’S book FOR WOMEN ONLY

(a new, revised version just came out this past week!  It is REALLY good!)

Shaunti describes that a woman’s mind is like a computer with many “windows” always open at the same time.  We are ALWAYS thinking about something – usually way more than one or two things.  That is part of why we are good with details and multi-tasking.  We can jump back and forth between the windows very easily and quickly.  We can close windows as we check things off of our to-do list.  It is our goal to close as many windows as possible – too many windows open is very stressful – we can actually crash if we get too overloaded.   And with our verbal skills, we can and do talk about all the windows all at the same time sometimes.

Men don’t think like that.  Shaunti describes that a man’s mind is like a computer that only opens one “window” at a time.  And – they have the ability to close that window and have NOTHING on the screen!?!?  (I have to admit, I am pretty jealous of that ability!)  It’s important for us to acknowledge and appreciate this when we have conversations with our men.  And it is also important to keep in mind that most men do not process emotions verbally the way we usually do.

WHAT THIS MEANS IN CONVERSATION:

Sometimes, we are thinking about a certain issue all day, or a number of issues.  And when our husband walks through the door, we blast him with 10 different things in “rapid fire” succession.    My husband says that a wife may already be to her 8th point, but her husband is still back on #1.  He gets overwhelmed with so many issues and so many words coming at him so quickly.

It’s not that husbands are “slow” or “dumb.”  Not at all!  They can just have one window open at a time – which makes it possible for them to really concentrate on something and not be distracted – that is a great thing for their jobs many times!

My husband can best hear me if I:

  • wait for a time when my husband is rested, in a decent mood and available for me to talk with him whenever possible.
  • only bring up one issue at a time.
  • don’t overload him or flood him with thousands of words – too many words can drown a man and make it really hard for him to decide what to focus on.
  • think “bullet points” not “thesis” or “filibuster.”
  • keep my voice calm and voice and words pleasant (emotionally charged words, especially with negative emotions take men much longer to process – up to 8 hours according to His Brain Her Brain by Dr. Walt Larimore MD.)
  • realize that he may need time to process and decide what he thinks.
  • realize that he doesn’t make decisions quickly like I do, and that is not wrong!  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care or doesn’t love me or is withholding his answer purposely.  It means he is opening each window and closing it and opening another and thinking and weighing things carefully.

Let’s think of it as if we were throwing balls to our husband.  Each issue is a new ball.  Some people are really talented at juggling many balls – I am not one of those people!  Some people can only handle catching one ball at a time.  That’s me!

Let’s throw him one ball at a time.  And let him catch the ball you threw (and open that window and think about that issue and process it) before throwing another “ball”.

LET YOUR HUSBAND ANSWER FOR HIMSELF

When we have been having imaginary conversations all day long in our minds and assume we know what our husbands are going to say and then we are already angry at them before they even walk in the door for things they haven’t even said – that is really overwhelming and frustrating for our men.   Not to mention – it is disrespectful.

I used to do this A LOT!  My husband says he – and other husbands – appreciate it if we don’t assume we know what they will say and if we will actually give them the chance to answer for themselves.

Let’s focus on

  • praying for God’s wisdom for ourselves and for our husbands.
  • narrowing down what we want to say and boiling it down to the basics so that our husbands can actually hear what is important to us.
  • knowing our own desires and feelings and expressing that.
  • being open to our husband’s unique masculine perspective and wisdom.
  • listening to what God may want to tell us through our husbands.
  • living in TODAY, not in the future.
  • trusting God’s sovereignty to guide us and our husbands.
  • praising God.
  • not arguing or complaining.
  • listening attentively when our husbands do have something to say to us.
  • being present when our husbands speak and stopping our other activity when at all possible.
  • being thankful for all the blessings God has given to us.
  • resting in God’s love and our husbands’ love.
  • generously and joyfully giving our husbands time to think if needed.
  • appreciating the differences between masculinity and femininity.

A Wife Decides to Meet Her Husband’s Greatest Masculine Needs

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An email from a wife who has been focusing on learning to be a godly, respectful wife who honors her husband’s leadership.  Thank you to this wife for allowing me to share her story!  I LOVE seeing the way God works in many different wives’ hearts and seeing all the lightbulb moments.  I pray that many other wives might be blessed!

April,

I just wanted to tell you this new revelation that you helped me to arrive at is STILL working! I no longer get upset at my husbands very predictable responses to situations that are stressful to him. I just completely ignore the fact that he is starting to raise his voice/stress out. I stay calm and he calms down, very quickly.

It seems God has been steering me towards this message repeatedly over the past few weeks. The last 4 Focus on the Family broadcasts were about accepting and understanding each other’s differences and loving others even when they are sometimes being hurtful – how this most often ends up with the best outcomes for both people. Not FIGHTING the male nature but embracing it. And then I came across a secular book  but it may as well have been written by a Christian because it definitely fits with all the principles of a biblical marriage – he is basically providing research and evidence from his professional practice to back up God’s universal marriage laws.

I did a quiz which helps identify your man’s greatest masculine needs and my husband’s top 4 were:

  • The need to be the leader
  • the need to protect one’s family
  • the need for action
  • the need for acknowledgement of efforts.

The author said, “Your man will probably not be able to verbalise his deepest needs but think back to the main threads in your arguments, most will be based on these needs.” And most definitely, our arguments have been around these 4 needs of his.

Before we married I ADMIRED his need and ability to be a strong man.  I saw these as desirable traits before we were married – but once we were married his need to lead irritated me. The book helped me understand WHY he feels this need – it is because he does not want to be shamed in front of others, especially those he loves.

He wants to feel and look like a hero.

Surely I can protect these feelings and honour them – even if at times he will go about trying to get this need met in the wrong way.


He always talks about how he likes to be active... when we first got married I tried to stop him from playing basketball…!!! (that sounds so terrible now) but he told me he felt God doesn’t want him to play anymore because he could better spend his time (when we were dating).  I was actually surprised at first but then thought well if that is what God wants then that is what he better do – so I tried to ENFORCE it myself !?!?!? (go figure)  I didnt physically STOP him from going but I was not supportive at all. I deeply regret this and am finally realizing I am NOT his Holy Spirit!!!  I think he was deeply wounded by me trying to exercise control in this area and is only NOW 8 years later losing weight and getting back into basketball – something I have finally realized he TRULY loved since he was a young child. 

Last night when my husband needed to work, I didn’t complain but offered to bring him a hot drink – he very much welcomed this.  Then I thought “I’ll test out this need for acknowledgement” and I said, “Thanks for working so hard, Honey” while I rubbed his back. He instantly got such a pleased, almost relieved, look on his face, I could tell he was delighted.

He has been acting so sweet towards me lately. 

Today he really wanted to play basketball and was getting stressed out because he needed to be at the store.  So I offered to come in for him. He was SO happy. I am finally starting to realize that his needs are just as important and LEGITIMATE (duh?!?!) and that I need to actively show him love in ways that mean a LOT to him… not in ways that would be meaningful to me.

Then I am in a MUCH better position to respectfully ask for the things I want also and trust in his goodness to meet whichever need he possibly can.

For our anniversary he really did buy me flowers and they were these big expensive ones … then we went out to dinner… when we got back he really wanted to go for a walk so that he didnt skip his new weight loss routine.  Before, I might have become sulky saying “Can’t we just spend one whole night together?”  But I thought he was so busy at work today and yet came home got dressed up and took me to dinner – surely I can give something too…so we both went on the walk.

I am doing better at keeping in the Word lately and usually on my Bible iPhone app the very verse for that day seems to be very useful to me… I then also read the rest of that chapter for the day.

Just wanted to let you know how it was going, I know I still have so much to learn but these new truths and approaches have amazed me so much.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

a list of My Favorite Marriage Books

A Minivan Update!

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This is a follow up to my first post about the possibility of selling my 2006 minivan and how I trusted God and my husband with the outcome. I had wanted to possibly sell my minivan because we don’t really need so much space now that we aren’t lugging strollers, pac-n-plays and high chairs around. And the gas milage isn’t the best on my van – just 18 mpg.

I know you are all on pins and needles! 🙂

WHAT I DID

I cleaned the inside and outside of the van to the best of my ability. It was a bit of a birthday gift to myself  (I don’t splurge on car washes very often!  And the one I go to has a FREE VACUUM that works really well).  I also figured I would be prepared in case we did end up trying to sell the van.

I waited patiently several days to see if my husband mentioned anything. He didn’t.  That’s fine.

I looked online to see what the blue book value of the van would be.

It’s SOOOO CLEAN inside!  Mostly! 🙂

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THE CONVERSATION

Wednesday night, I said (in a pleasant, cheerful, nonchalant voice), “I looked up the blue book value of the van today.”

He said, “$7,000 – $8,000”

I was surprised! He had already looked it up, too. 🙂

He said, “The kind of car that would really save money on gas would be something pretty small that I don’t think you would be very happy with. If we got a car like that, I calculated that we would save about $1000/year on gas. But it would probably cost us $10,000 – $12,000 more than what we would get for your van to get a car that would be that good on gas milage. There are some other cars that would get slightly better gas milage, like 25mpg, but the savings on gas costs wouldn’t be very significant just changing from 18mpg to 25mpg.”

So I said, “Thanks for checking into that! I really appreciate it. Hmm… I see how the gas savings wouldn’t really pay off right now.”

I love how my husband often gives me an explanation for his reasoning. That helps me understand and trust him more. But there are some times when husbands don’t have the time to explain their reasons for things, and I still cooperate with my husband now even if he doesn’t explain.

I didn’t allow myself to get super attached to the idea of selling the van and getting something smaller.  That is a HUGE reason why I can have peace no matter what way decisions go now.

There was no argument. There were no raised voices, stomping or slammed doors. I didn’t try to force my way. I didn’t take over and just make a decision on my own. I didn’t freak out or worry at any point during the week. There was no resentment on either side. Each of us felt heard and understood. And I believe we have a great decision for our family!

A TANGENT

In 1996 my husband and I visited Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta – the same year that the Olympics were held there. A man started running past us with a gun drawn. I totally panicked and took off running away from the gun guy. Greg tried to stop me, but I didn’t listen and kept running away from the man with the gun.

What Greg realized, and I hadn’t  – was that the man with the gun I had seen was an undercover cop/government agent. And  Greg also saw that there was another man with a gun – the bad guy – and I was running TOWARDS the bad dude.

Thankfully, Greg got to me and steered me to safety. No shots were fired that I know of.  Greg whisked me quickly away.

My point?

There are some times when I just need to listen to Greg without an explanation. He will probably tell me his reasoning later.  Then I can thank him for being my HERO and the best husband in the world!

MY PLAN

I will call the gentleman who was interested in buying our van in a few days and tell him, “My husband is not interested in selling, but thanks for the offer!”

And then I will enjoy my van, my children and my husband. 🙂

RELATED POSTS

If you are new to my blog – you may not have seen some of my other real life examples.  That is the kind of thing I think would have been super helpful to me 4 years ago when I was first learning this stuff.  Check out these posts, too:

The Harry Potter Ride Issue

Handling Adversity with Joy and without Complaining

A Real Life Example of Submission and Respect

HELP ME!

So – it was a really bad idea (in hindsight) to ask my daughter to draw a birthday card for her cousin 2 summers ago and leave the crayons in the car armrest when it was over 100F outside.  I tried to chisel the melted crayons out this week – not working.  Any suggestions?

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Victory over Perfectionism – VIDEO

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An 8 minute Peacefulwife video.  (The volume issue should be resolved now! 🙂

You, my precious sister in Christ, are not going to be perfect.  Not until heaven!

Your husband is not going to be perfect on this earth, either.  And neither are your children!

 

The sooner you can accept that, the sooner you can begin to relax, enjoy and savor your relationships!

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