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Submitting to Our Husbands in the “Small” Things

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FROM A HUSBAND (his response to a question for husbands earlier last week):

As to respecting me in “small things”, I have to assume you mean things that aren’t all that important.

My first thought is, that if it isn’t all that important, why not?

I don’t always know why I prefer one thing, over another. In asking me to justify my choice, it does show lack of trust, but more importantly, it makes me feel defensive.

Can’t I just have a preference? Do I really need a reason?

As to choosing where we sit anytime we’re out, my wife always asks, where I would like to sit, and I always take into consideration her needs, that particular day, convenience, in some situations I suppose security, does come into play, but this is something we are both extremely flexible on.

Something that is an extremely big deal to me, that seems to be a small thing to my wife, is our sex life.

This is an issue we still struggle with. It’s not so much a matter of frequency, or quality, but the fact that it IS a small thing to her.

Her desire for intimacy, to me at least, is a barometer of her level of respect for me.

(From Peacefulwife – I don’t know that all husbands feel this way. For those wives whose husbands are less interested in sex than their wives, this may be different. It would be interesting to know how husbands with lower drive feel about this issue.)

When my wife argues with me about small things, it makes it much harder for me to be loving towards her. It’s true that I ought to be considerate of her, and I’m commanded to love her. That does not mean I should cater to her every whim. In fact, it may be more loving, to not allow her to have her way (at times.) When a wife insists on her own way in things that aren’t that big of a deal, she is, in fact, being childish.

Not cooperating in “small things” is the equivalent of the dripping water talked about in Proverbs. It just wears you down over time, and feels like that is why they do it. To wear you down, to the point where, you don’t want to make a decision about anything, big or small. So then, they HAVE to take control.

Hope my answers were helpful.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think that there are some really important points to talk about here.

1. What may seem like a small thing to a wife may be a big thing to her husband.

This is one reason why I believe God commands us as wives to respect our husbands and submit to them in everything as unto the Lord.

(If they are asking us to clearly sin or they are seriously trying to harm us, then we should not cooperate, we will have to respectfully refuse. If there are very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP! I am not ever condoning that a wife stay and be hurt physically or stay when there is real danger. I am not writing for those with serious issues like active addictions, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health issues or actual abuse.)

Sometimes it is easy to assume that my husband’s priorities must be the same as mine. But  reality is that his priorities are probably not the same as mine! We are different people. We are also different genders. We will have different ways of thinking and approaching things. That is a good thing! What I may think is something small may actually be huge to my husband, and vice versa. I would appreciate it if he desired me to be happy in things that are important to me. He would also appreciate the same courtesy.

If it is within my power to bless my husband, why would I not choose to bless him, even in “little” things?

2. What if honoring our husbands in small things isn’t oppression for us?

What if it is a way to greatly increase unity, intimacy and oneness with our husbands? What if it is a way to show we are on their team and that they are important to us, more important than anyone else in the world?

We are sending critical messages to our husbands by how cooperative or antagonistic we are. I don’t mean we have to agree or never share our opinions. Our ideas, desires, feelings, opinions and perspectives are invaluable sources of information to our husbands. We can be wise advisors and compassionate friends to our husbands. God never asks us to lay our brains, abilities, talents, personalities, ideas, needs, desires, emotions and wisdom at the door of marriage. That is not biblical submission!

We bring ALL of ourselves to marriage and we put all of our strengths, abilities and resources behind our husband in support.

My husband doesn’t “make me” do anything. I don’t “have” to do what he wants all the time.

I GET to honor him.

I GET to bless him.

I GET to do things he enjoys just because I can.

It is a blessing and a joy to me to serve this man God has given to me. It is my greatest delight to do things that make his job as the leader, provider and protector easier and more enjoyable. What if I am free to share my heart and desires with my husband – and he is also free to share his heart and desires? Then the Spirit of God in me gives me a desire to be selfless, generous, giving, kind, thoughtful, loving and respectful. If I know Greg likes a certain soft drink or a certain snack or has a favorite meal – what an incredibly wonderful opportunity for me to do something to bless my him by keeping those things on hand for him or making him his favorite meal fairly often!

Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. His Spirit is in me if I belong to Him. I am free to serve, not out of duty or drudgery, but out of the power, love, joy, peace and abundant life of God flowing mightily through my soul. I am not talking about pretending to be happy but inwardly seething with resentment or bitterness. I am talking about allowing God to radically change me and give me a new heart with new desires. I can receive that. God has a new heart and new Spirit and new life for all who trust fully in Christ.

I can say what I want, what I would like, what I believe would be best for us to do, what I don’t want, what my concerns are – but I don’t have to get hung up on the outcome of things. I can trust God in His great sovereignty to lead me through my husband, even when I don’t agree with him, even in the little things. I can hold everything loosely in my life except for Jesus.  I can be sure that I don’t let a little issue (which most things really are) to become more important in my mind and heart than my obedience to Christ and the unity and intimacy of my marriage. I can ask myself, “Is this issue worth fracturing the unity in our marriage about?” before I launch into a lecture or argument with my husband.

I can remember the command of God for all believers:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:12-15

I can remember that arguing or complaining is not befitting of me as a child of God. If I am tempted to argue or complain, I know it is time to check my motives.

  • Why do I want what I want?
  • Am I being selfish?
  • Am I putting something above Christ in my heart?
  • Is this issue truly important in light of eternity?
  • Am I right with God?
  • Am I being materialistic or greedy?
  • Am I being prideful or self-righteous? Is there any sin in my heart?
  • Am I considering my husband’s needs and preferences and being thoughtful toward him?
  • Am I doing this because of my love for Christ and for my husband? Will they be blessed by what I want to do here?
  • Am I walking in the flesh or in the Spirit of God?
  • Am I being motivated by the love of God or by fear?
  • Am I concerned most with pleasing God and having His approval, or having other people’s approval?
  • Am I walking in obedience to God’s Word?

I have died to this world and the things of this world according to Romans 6. That is historical fact. God put me in Christ and I died with Him on the cross in God’s sight. I am now dead to sin and this world and I am alive to God in Christ. This world means nothing to me now. What do I care what color something is or what restaurant we go to? This life is no longer mine to live. My old sinful self is dead in Christ. Dead people don’t care about earthly matters much. Now what matters are only the things that matter to Jesus. I am no longer friends with this world. I no longer care about the carnal things of this world and the material details of life. I am fully submitted to Christ and all I care about is pleasing and honoring Him, abiding in Him, being filled with His Spirit, doing the work of His kingdom… my eyes are on eternal things.

 

 

Encouragement for Wives from HisHelper

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Today’s guest post is by HisHelper.  THANK YOU for this GORGEOUS post!  What a blessing you are to me!

May I add a beautiful bonus to our obedience to those things God has commanded us women to do? I just discovered this yesterday as I was studying Titus 2 for a group Bible study using the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.

Titus 2 instructs wives to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to our own husbands–the very things you address right here at Peacefulwife. (In this chapter Paul also gives instruction to young men and servants as to how they are to behave.) He doesn’t just give the commands, he also lists the reasons, and here’s where it gets so good!…

We obey these things “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (verse 5), “so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (verse 8), and that they may ADORN the doctrine of God our Savior in all things”. (verse 10) To adorn means to decorate, beautify, embellish…we are actually putting on the doctrine of God for all to see through our obedient behavior! This is beautiful to God, and is a radiant display of the gospel and the fruits of the spirit that are at work in our lives!

Carolyn Mahaney said this: “Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn’t judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our BEHAVIOR. People don’t necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible. They want to SEE if what we believe MAKES A DIFFERENCE in our lives. Our actions either bring honor to God or misrepresents His truth.”

So, as we obey, we are protecting God’s reputation, stopping the mouth of the naysayer, avoiding being a hypocrite, and displaying sound doctrine beautifully.

Many items in the list in Titus 2 are pretty deep and extraordinarily contrary to this world–such as Paul addressing the order of authority God has established for husbands, wives, and servants. So, when we are being obedient to our own husbands, for example, we truly are displaying some pretty heavy doctrine, and to God, it is beautiful, and it causes those in this world to take notice!

The bottom line is there is a higher purpose to our obedience!…It isn’t to earn God’s favor. It isn’t to check off a list of do’s and don’ts. It isn’t just about doing what God says for my own benefit (though He delights to bless us as we seek to honor Him). The very sake of the Gospel is at stake!

“Can you conceive of anything that sets forth the beauty of the gospel jewel more brilliantly than the godly behavior of those who have received it? Consider the loveliness of a woman who passionately adores (RESPECTS) her husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self-control and kindness in her character, and who gladly submits to her husband’s leadership…I dare say there are few things that display the gospel jewel with greater elegance.” (Feminine Appeal p.28-29)

I just find the concept of adorning the doctrine or gospel of the Lord so motivating!…Kind of like putting on exquisite jewelry…But, this” jewelry” is priceless and only obtained by the power of the Holy Spirit living in me! And to think that when we cherish sin and refuse God’s lovely adornment (and oh, how I have done this myself), it’s like wearing a big ugly stain on the front of our dress…how repulsive!

1 Peter 3:1-6 also comes to mind. I’ll start in verse 3 to keep this short: “…Whose ADORNING let it not be that outward ADORNING of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ORNAMENT of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the old women also, who trusted in God, ADORNED themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands…” Isn’t that magnificent?!

It’s interesting how we women tend to like to wear fancy, sparkly adornments. Our Creator knew that when he wrote those verses. I think He’s appealing to that part of us that wants to be beautiful, showing us that the greater desire is to be SPIRITUALLY attractive! As much as men appreciate physical beauty (and I think we wives should take care of our outward body to please our husbands) ultimately, spiritual beauty is far more satisfying to our husbands… It brings them rest and peace!

I want to give that to my husband, I want to humbly but beautifully display this to the world. Oh, how I want to truly adorn myself for the King!

RESOURCES

Marriage Books I Recommend by Peacefulwife

"My Assumptions Created Problems in Our Marriage!"

1208847_35671158-1From a reader, THANK YOU for sharing!!!!  I SO totally relate to her mindset, and I did the EXACT same thing in the past!  I LOVE what this wife has learned and the way she shares it is so relatable.  I know this post will bless MANY, MANY other wives!  Great job!!!!!
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I have a story that I think you might appreciate.
One of the biggest problems in my marriage is me assuming that my husband is mad at me.  If I don’t understand his behavior, I assume it is about his disappointment in me.  He’s tired and quiet from work, I assume he’s upset because I didn’t make the kids clean up all their toys.  He accidentally forgot his phone, I assume he’s mad that I didn’t pay enough attention to him the day before and doesn’t want me to be able to get in touch with him.  It never ends with just the assumption that he’s upset.  Then I get upset that he’s upset and won’t talk to me about it and give me a chance to defend myself. 
If only he knew how hard I worked to get the house as clean as it is.  I wasn’t ignoring him, doesn’t he know that I have a lot on my plate?  And try as hard as I might, I can’t get everything done while he’s out.  Left arguing with myself for a while, I will suddenly remember that my husband isn’t perfect, and maybe I could be a better wife if he did X, Y, and Z better.  Then when I see him, and he asks what the matter with me is, I am ready with all my ammo to tell him what he needs to change to help me be a better wife to him.
Last year, I started reading your blog, and while my story isn’t exactly the same as yours, my eyes were opened to my extreme disrespect toward my husband.
THINGS I HAVE LEARNED
First, my husband is an adult.
If he’s upset with me, he can tell me on his own.  I don’t need to think for him.  When I confessed to him what I was doing his reply was
“Wow, you give me credit for thinking a lot more than I do.”
Sometimes he really is just tired, just forgetful, or just quiet.  There is no ulterior motive.  It is disrespectful to not take him at face value.
Second, if I have to make excuses to myself, I know that I’m not treating him as I think he should be treated.  Instead of wasting time coming up with excuses, I could more constructively use that time to clean up the mess, or take care of stuff so that when he comes home I can spend time with him.
Last, if I feel that we must talk about my perceived issues, I should start saying “I know the house was a mess yesterday, did that bother you?” instead of “Maybe this house wouldn’t be such a mess if you pitched in more.” 
However, when I began seeing just how messed up I was, my husband was deployed, so I had some information but no chance to try it out.
A NEW BEGINNING
Last night I got my chance.  I had exciting news that I wanted to share.  My husband was building Legos with my son, so I thought I’d call my sister and share the excitement with her.  I thought I’d probably leave a message, and be back downstairs in less than fifteen minutes.  Fifty-two minutes later I hung up the phone.  Knowing I had spent almost an hour of precious Sunday time not paying attention to my husband I went to find him to see if he wanted to do something.
He was nowhere to be found.  In my head, he left without a word because he was feeling ignored.  And I stopped right there.  He did poke his head into the room while I was on the phone, maybe he wanted me to know where he was going, but he didn’t want to interrupt.  In fact, he did tell our son where he was going, it’s not his fault our son forgot that happened.
Then I remembered, we did have something that belonged to our neighbor that we no longer needed, he probably returned it and then began chatting.  His absence was just him living his life, not a direct result of being mad at me.  At least that was my new story until he told me different.
Then, instead of coming up with excuses and things that he’d done to take time away from us, I used the time that I had to get stuff done, so that we could have some time for just the two of us when he came home.
Instead of coming home to a fight, my husband came home to a wife that made sure we’d be able to have some time for each other.  Instead of a fight, I got quality time with my husband.
The difference is night and day.
RESOURCES and RELATED POSTS
Shuanti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only” –  will help you understand how men think and how DIFFERENT they are from women!  (From a Christian perspective)
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