Skip to main content

A Silent Husband Shares His Heart

286892_1436-1

For those wives who have passive, unplugged husbands – it can be really difficult for us to understand what is going on in our shut-down husbands’ hearts. I greatly misunderstood Greg for so many years because he didn’t tell me what he thought – so, I ended up making a lot of really horrible and extremely inaccurate assumptions.  

Today’s post is by a Christian husband – I appreciate his willingness to articulate his perspective. Husbands have feelings and emotions, too – even if they don’t verbalize them to us. They can be DEEPLY wounded and never say a word. That is what Greg did. He just went into his self-preservation mode and shut down to protect himself and never told me how much I hurt him with my disrespect and control for all those years.  He knew I was not a safe place for him to share his heart. 🙁

Please prayerfully consider whether your husband may feel like this husband and see what God may desire to change in your heart and in your marriage for his glory. (This post is primarily about Type-A, take-charge, wives with strong personalities. This is not a post for wives who are afraid to speak their minds or share their thoughts or feelings and it is not for wives who are abused. The dynamics for a more passive wife/dominating husband or an abused wife/abusive husband are very different from what is described here. If anyone is not safe in his/her marriage, please seek appropriate help right away!)

——————

Thank you for this post (Nikka’s 3rd Heartbreaking Interview with Her Husband). I can identify with Dong’s thoughts and feelings.

  • My wife’s domineering nature sucks the life from me emotionally, spiritually, socially, intellectually and physically.

Emotionally she drains my by communicating to me both verbally and non-verbally that my feelings are wrong. The constant battle of having to prove that what I am feeling is legitimate just wears me down. As a result, I am very hesitant to share my emotions with her.

Spiritually, she communicates to me that her ways are the right ways and that my perspective on spiritual truth and walking with the Lord is wrong or lacking. She devalues my relationship with the Lord because I experience Him through the Word. She values prayer and the gifts of the Spirit more. She doesn’t see it as me being different from her but that I am wrong. I get spiritual life from personal study of the word, smaller group discussions, accountability and prayer. She gets life from large worship services and through worship music. Again, she communicates that her way is superior to mine.

Socially, the strain of the regular conflict drains me. As an introvert, when I am drained, I need time alone to recharge. I don’t have the emotional energy to invest in relationships that I used to have. There have been numerous times where she has emotionally beat me up on the way to a gathering so that by the time we arrive, I am drained and need to recharge. She then puts me down for being withdrawn at these gatherings.

Intellectually, I am an idea person. These could be on how to do things better or be more efficient. Other times they are on how to solve problems. I also have ideas about the Lord and ministry. Yet, whenever I share them with her she pushes back and takes them apart as being wrong or unrealistic. This just shuts me down because it has communicated to me over the years that I am stupid and should keep them to myself.

All of this drain on my soul has affected me physically too.

The constant message I hear is to be quiet and don’t embarrass her.

The cumulative effect of 20 plus years of being controlled and opposed is that her voice is constantly in my head accusing and condemning me. It causes me to second guess everything I do and to be very tentative on making decisions. I am always concerned about her reactions and having to explain myself. This makes it difficult to enjoy many things in life because her voice is there in my head questioning my actions, interactions, feelings and motives.

The good news is that I can see how the Lord has been working in her life for the past 20 years to open her eyes and address her sin. Over the past couple of years, I think she is starting to see her sin and address it. We still have a long way to go. She still doesn’t feel safe to me but there is an inkling of change.

RELATED:

From this same husband, “My Wife Would Bless Me If…”

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Greg told me that when I stopped all the negativity:

  • criticizing
  • controlling
  • lecturing
  • telling him what to do
  • treating him like he was a child
  • taking over and doing things for him
  • freaking out
  • worrying
  • using an angry mama tone of voice
  • scowling
  • sighing

… it was like someone turned off the “static on the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”

And, Greg said, when I began to do the positive things:

  • encouraging
  • affirming
  • blessing
  • waiting patiently
  • cooperating
  • honoring his leadership
  • listening to him
  • caring about his opinion and perspective
  • allowing him space to be different from me and to be a man
  • appreciating his masculinity instead of condemning him
  • respecting him

… it was like someone put “an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”

THIS is why God commands us to win our husbands without words.  We don’t force them to change with our words. When we attempt to verbally force our husbands to do what we want, we can unknowingly cause a lot of destruction. Instead, let’s inspire them by our example and the love, joy and peace of God in our hearts. How I pray we might live in the power of God’s Spirit and learn to use our incredibly strong influence, our words, our attitudes and our actions to bless, build up and encourage our husbands for God’s glory!

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader – from the Archives

(NOTE: I write from the perspective of a formerly controlling, Type A, perfectionistic, driven, prideful, disrespectful wife with a passive husband. If your husband is very dominating or if he is abusive – my blog may not be a good fit for you, please seek godly help. It is possible to be TOO respectful and TOO submissive.  Some wives give up their personalities, ideas, feelings, desires, emotions, talents, gifts and influence authority.  That is destructive, too! There is a balance in the middle we are aiming for, too far one way or the other is a problem. If you have severe marriage problems, please seek help. If you are not safe in your home, please seek help ASAP. Women who are truly abused need very specific help, reading my blog about normal marriage respect issues can be dangerous for them. I hope to have some trustworthy, godly online resource to direct women to that should be available in the next 2 months. The Salvation Army is able to help women who are abused.)

Ok, ladies,

I think these are some VERY important issues I am about to bring up.  MANY, MANY of us (maybe, the vast majority of us) see our husbands not doing these things and we cast serious judgement against our men – assuming we know their level of spiritual maturity and assuming they are “horrible spiritual leaders” in our families.

God’s Word says that the “husband IS the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” (Ephesians 5:22-33)  It’s not that he “could” be or  “should” be.  He is.

I can’t take that role from him – even if he is not a believer.  God gave the authority to him and God did not give it to me.  God’s wisdom is much greater than my own!  I have to be willing to reject our culture’s warped and ungodly model of marriage, femininity and masculinity and authority in marriage. Then I can humbly accept that God did this for my good, my husband’s good and our family’s good and for God’s glory.

MY SKY HIGH EXPECTATIONS

I used to expect a LOT of specific things from my husband.  I would harp on my husband about how he needed to be “a better spiritual leader” and then I would list off things I thought he needed to do in order to qualify for being a “good” spiritual leader.  (see how many of these things are things God has commanded him to do, and what are just my personal preferences, or ideas I read in a book!) My list included things like:

  • praying with me daily (with HIM initiating the prayer, not me – if I had to initiate the prayer, then “that didn’t count” as him praying with me in my mind.)
  • him taking me to church weekly or more
  • him taking me to the church I thought was best 
  • him tithing (what I thought was an appropriate tithe)
  • him giving generously to many other charities that support orphans and the poor in addition to the tithe
  • him giving time to serve God in a ministry
  • him having a long “quiet time” with God of his own daily (that I could observe)
  • him praying a lot on his own (and me knowing all about it)
  • him reading the Bible to me/with me/to our children
  • him not watching tv anymore at all
  • him spending more time talking with me about deep spiritual things and connecting with me spiritually

None of these things on my list are really wrong.  They are all “good” things.  Many of them are very godly things. The problem here is that I was placing myself in the position of JUDGE (with evil thoughts) over him and whether he is doing a godly enough job for ME.

My husband answers to GOD for his leadership and how he handles his God-given authority.  He does not answer to me.

Who am I to say how he should lead?  If he is not sinning or asking me to sin then I am sinning against God if I do not cooperate with my husband’s leadership.  Who am I  to add things that the Bible never even specifically said he needed to do?

God made my husband the head of our home (I Corinthians 11:3).  Greg needs to be the one who decides how he leads.  I need to be extremely careful before I tell my husband that he is leading wrongly!  There have been times that I fought against my husband’s leadership that I was actually fighting God.  I can and should tell my husband what I want, how I feel, what my concerns are (respectfully – and usually once) and then, if he is not asking me to sin, I cooperate with his leadership – even if and especially when I do not agree!  THEN I TRUST GOD TO WORK THROUGH MY HUSBAND FOR MY ULTIMATE GOOD! 

This is ultimately all about my faith or lack of faith in God and His Word – NOT about my faith in my husband!

I pridefully thought:

  • I know better than my husband
  • I know best
  • I know better than God
  • I should be in charge.  I’m a much better leader than Greg is.
  • I know God said the husband is the head, but that just won’t work in my situation.  Greg “won’t/can’t” lead. So I obviously have to.

Those are some of my very ugly sins.  I committed those sins for 15 years and DID NOT EVEN SEE IT.  I was so blind to my sin against God and my sin against my husband.  All I could see was his “sin” and his “failure” in my eyes as the spiritual leader.  And I arrogantly assumed I should step in and take over.  I pridefully condemned my husband and judged his heart and spirituality.  I was WRONG.

WHAT I DO NOW

Now, I allow my husband to lead as HE sees fit and do what HE believes God wants him to do, and I try not to interfere with the line of communication between my husband and God, even if I don’t agree.

Some things are not biblical mandates.  We as Christian wives have these ideas in our minds about what a “spiritual leader should” be – then when our husbands don’t meet our expectations, we get ANGRY, CONTROLLING, DISRESPECTFUL, PRIDEFUL, JUDGMENTAL, CRITICAL, BOSSY, UNFORGIVING, RESENTFUL, CONDESCENDING, HATEFUL and full of CONTEMPT.  That is what I did, at least. Some of us may even SLANDER our husband or GOSSIP about him or attempt to create DIVISIONS in the family over these things.  Who was really the less godly one here? 🙁

  • praying with me.

Jesus, Himself, often went off alone to pray privately to God. He did teach the disciples to pray when they asked Him to, He modeled “The Lord’s Prayer” for them. But most of the time, according to the recorded accounts in the gospel, He seemed to pray mostly in private.

My particular husband prefers to pray in private. So, I don’t push him about that anymore. Occasionally I will ask him to pray with me about something specific. Primarily, I make sure that I pray privately myself and seek to abide in Christ and I pray for God to give my husband His wisdom, direction, strength and to accomplish His will and His glory in my husband’s life, my life and our children’s lives.

  • having a nightly devotion with the family after supper is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible.

But those attitudes I used to have when my husband didn’t meet my expectations were clearly sinful.   My husband wasn’t necessarily sinning.  It would depend on his motives – and I was not privvy to those.  I mean, it would be NICE if he had devotions with us – but it was not a sin for him not to read a devotional book to us.  Deuteronomy 6 does tell parents, including fathers, to teach their children to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength and to talk about the things of God all throughout the day.  But those families didn’t even have a copy of the Bible, much less a devotional book.  Fathers can have talks about God and direct their children to the things of God without having an official devotional time with an official devotional book.  We can learn to trust God to move our husbands to do what God wants and not impose our own expectations unfairly. It’s fine to say, “I’d love for us to have family devotions at suppertime most nights” or “I’d love for us to read the Bible with the children every night.” But then we can give our husbands some time and space to decide how they want to handle that. If they don’t do it, it may be something we can do with our children at bedtime.

  • Tithing

II Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion.”  So it is my husband’s responsibility to decide how much he wants to give.  I can say what I want to give.  But he decides what to give to church, if he will tithe, how much he will tithe, if he gives to other charities.  And I know that many women assume that not tithing is a sin.  But I don’t find anywhere in the New Testament that mandates that Christians must tithe 10%.

– We are to be godly stewards.

– I love the idea of tithing or giving way above the tithe.

–  We are to be generous to the needy and to our believing brothers who are impoverished.

– I believe in tithing. Greg and I have always tithed.

But I don’t believe it is a wife’s place to demand that her husband tithe a certain amount of money. My husband does tithe, but I don’t monitor him. It’s fine for me to say, “I want us to give 10% as a tithe to God, please.” Then  I allow him to decide how he handles that between himself and God.

If a husband doesn’t want to tithe – I think a wife can pray for God to work in his heart according to God’s will.  A wife can tell God, “I really want to tithe, Lord! I want to give generously to Your kingdom’s work.  But I want to honor my husband’s leadership. I pray You will put it on his heart in Your timing for Your glory for him to tithe.  I will wait and trust in You in the meantime.” Then we trust God’s sovereignty to work in our husbands’ hearts.

  • I believe that it is important for me to go to the church my husband wants to go to (unless it is a cult). I can tell him where I would like to go.  I can tell him if I don’t want to go to the church where we are going – but then I need to follow his leadership, even if I disagree, and allow him to choose the church.  I can go and be joyful about it, have a willing spirit and be flexible enough to worship Christ wherever my husband deems is best, expecting God to work in our family through this decision.

 

  • How my husband spends his time is his decision.  And it really isn’t much of my place to dictate how much he prays, when he prays, how he prays, where he prays, how much tv he watches, how often he reads the Bible, how long he reads the Bible, what translation he uses, if he writes his prayers in a journal or not, if he reads the Bible to the family or not, if he does some type of ministry or not, if he chooses to have a mentor or not, etc.  He is a grown man.  He can make those choices himself.  The WORST thing I could do is nag/preach/lecture or try to force him to do what I think he should do.  Not only are my words about these things ineffective, they are likely to make him very resistant to the very things I want him to do.  I must trust God to grow my husband, not myself! I can pray for him respectfully and lift him up, seeking God’s wisdom, protection and power in his life. And I can seek to obey God myself and make my husband’s job a as great a joy as possible.

 

  • My husband talking with me about spiritual things and praying with me would be AWESOME!  BUT, I can’t force him to do these things.  The harder I try to MAKE him do what I want, the more he will resist me, especially if he is not Spirit-filled.  And if he were Spirit-filled, he would probably want to do these things with me on his own.  I actually find now that he talks with me about deep spiritual things EVERY DAY – any time I want to.  Now he even turns off the tv to listen to what is on my heart.  That NEVER happened when I was trying to force him into conversations all the time!

HOW I EMPOWER MY HUSBAND TO LEAD NOW

Now, I ask my husband for what I want (once) i.e.:

  • I want us to give more to X charity
  • I want you to pray with me, please
  • I want to have family devotions
  • I want to help orphans somehow
  • I want to think about adopting a child
  • I want to read the Bible together sometimes

Then, I leave it with him – and I don’t bring it up again.  Or I may email him about it once every year or so.  ie: “Honey, I would really love to give more to X orphanage.  I trust you to do what is God’s best for our family about that.”  And then I don’t bring it up again for many, many, many months.  I don’t nag.  I don’t try to force.  I pray that God will lead our family through my husband and give him godly wisdom to lead.  If he doesn’t bring it up again.  That’s ok.  I have my answer.  And I trust God to work His will through my husband.

Whenever I see my husband do something I appreciate as our leader, I thank him verbally or in an email or text for what he did and tell him how much I admire him.

Then I rest against God, trusting Him, and I lean back and rest against my husband and trust him, too.  And I wait.  In the meantime, I praise God, pray, minister to others, care for my family, am filled with thanksgiving, joy and peace.

  1. How do YOU empower your husband’s spiritual leadership?
  2. Gentlemen – I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

RELATED:

A Husband Answers – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage  – Part 1

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 2

He Won’t Talk to Me

Dominant Wife/Passive Husband: My Husband’s Take

20140104-203437.jpg

By my husband, Greg.  From the archives.  This is HIS perspective on how he felt as a passive husband. Maybe your husband has some of the same feelings? I don’t know!  But it could be interesting to try to find out.

———-

GREG:

Occasionally, I take one of April’s old articles and add a husband’s thoughts to them. One of the older ones that continues to be read regularly is one entitled, “Dominant Wife, Passive Husband.” This post came out of a marriage seminar we were attending at church at the time that we both really enjoyed. Hope you enjoy.

APRIL:

Reverend Harold Weaver taught a class called “7 Basic Needs of a Wife, 7 Basic Needs of a Husband” in 2012. We LOVED this class! Rev. Weaver has his theology straight and explains God’s design for marriage so well. (He has given me permission to share his notes from this class and “Spiritual Authority” and “A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage”

During the class, he mentioned that in all of his 45 years of ministry and counseling, with a dominant wife/passive husband situation, he NEVER saw a husband rise up and take authority from his wife and begin leading spiritually. Not once.

WOW.

(I actually HAVE seen this happen with a few couples I have met here on the blog – but it is very, very rare, from my experience. And, even if the husband does attempt to rise up and begin leading, the wife must still be willing to step down and learn to follow and trust him.)

As a former dominant wife, myself, I think this is a pretty important piece of information. I love Rev. Weaver’s advice. He said that a dominant wife must use her leadership gifts to empower and encourage her husband’s leadership.

He said

  • it is very difficult for a passive husband to learn to lead.
  • it is very difficult for a dominant wife to learn to give up leading.

BUT – IT CAN BE DONE! I am proof of that!!!

The inverted relationship will NOT be made right until the WIFE willingly and voluntarily yields the leadership and control.

She must make the first move. And she must foster her husband’s learning and leadership gently with plenty of praise and admiration. The more she respects him, the more confidence he will gain and the better leader he will be!

GREG:

As a once-passive husband, I agree that it is very true that a passive husband will have difficulty taking the authoritative leadership role if his wife is dominant. I think it is difficult to separate the difference between being a “servant husband” as opposed to a “passive husband.” As I was growing up in a Christian home, I was always taught to respect authority, be chivalrous, and to not get bogged down in the small stuff. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I also had many more people who scrutinized different areas of my life on a regular basis – looking at who my friends were, how I treated people, and how I reacted to different things. One learns very quickly that you need to pick your fights judiciously and work on limiting how many times you rock the boat. This unfortunately carried over into marriage. After April and I had been married for some time, I didn’t put up too much of a fight about a lot of decisions. Part of that was the desire not to rock the boat and the other part was I thought that it would not do any good to try to convince her that there was another way. So, I would let April lead.

It was not until April made the decision that she would rely totally on my leadership that I was able to be the head of the family. It was a slow process and each of us had to make new habits that were foreign to us.

I had to take on making a lot of decisions that I had not previously made. I also took on a lot of responsibilities with different aspects of our marriage, parenting, finances, and household that I did not previously have. April had to learn to give up control of a lot of things. It was a scary time for her because for once she had to trust me fully to meet her needs.

  • She had to let go.
  • She had to take the weight off of her shoulders.
  • It took some time, and a few hiccups, but she found that this new way of thinking was revitalizing.
  • She found that she looked at me and God in a whole different way.
  • She learned to trust that I would lead our family without selfishness and by looking out for the best interest of all of us.
  • She found that when she respected me and submitted fully to me, I was able to give her the love she needed, the happiness she desired, and the inner peace she had longed for.

(NOTE – if a husband is physically abusive, if there is infidelity, active drug/alcohol addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues – that is going to be a much more complicated situation. Please, ladies, get experienced, godly help in such a situation! There can be times that it could be dangerous or unwise to trust your husband in such situations.)

There is a true equation that the more that she puts her faith and the more she trusts my leadership, the greater my desire is to love and serve her and our family. The strength of my leadership is a function of her faith and trust in me.


APRIL:

TWO KINDS OF AUTHORITY

I also love something that Rev. Weaver taught us. He talked about two kinds of authority. The main type of spiritual authority we think of is “positional authority.” A husband has positional authority in marriage – given to him by God. He is the husband; therefore he has the spiritual authority in the marriage because of his position as husband (I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:5). But Rev. Weaver talked tonight about another kind of authority I had never heard of before – “influential authority.” A king’s advisor has this kind of authority, and the king has positional authority. A wife has influential authority in marriage with her husband. Sometimes influential authority can be more powerful than positional authority – think of the story of Esther – she had influential authority over her husband, the king. Rev. Weaver said that many women profoundly underestimate the power of influential authority. God gave us the power to influence our husbands towards destruction or towards godliness.

GREG:

In the dominant wife/passive husband scenario, the positional authority position and the influential authority position get reversed. The problem is that a passive husband is not a very good influential authority.

  • The dominant wife often becomes the sole decision maker and, in essence, leads without much influence from her husband.

Almost every business management model has a structure where there is a tiered system of a head manager who has managers below him to managers below them all the way down to the “regular employees.” Each position has a positional authority, but the head manager has an influential authority role. Just like in business, the family will work most effectively when all levels of the organization are functioning in their intended roles. The employee has the ability to influence his manager in the same way that the assistant head manager can influence the head manager. If the head manager wants his business to function best he must be willing to accept the influential authority of those below him. In our families, or the small businesses of life, it is important to balance both authorities so that they have a strong role in the direction of the family business.

RESPONDING WHEN OUR HUSBANDS MAKE UNWISE OR BAD CHOICES AS LEADERS IN OUR MARRIAGES:

According to Rev. Weaver, our response when our husbands make a poor decision can be the difference between something creating great good or great harm in our marriage. A godly wife will respond to a husband’s bad decision with loyalty, with grace, with poise, and will look for the good that can come of the situation, knowing God will use even a poor decision for good.

  • We learn so much more by our mistakes than by our successes, and God will use a husband’s failures to teach him greatly if his wife doesn’t interfere. If a godly wife can be supportive of her husband, and can refrain from criticism and “I told you so” and “look what a mess you made, now!” – the husband will be in the best possible position to learn and become a better leader.

Rev. Weaver talked about the importance of a wife not condemning her husband for one failed decision. My response to my husband’s failure is much more critical than the failure itself.

  • A godly wife will use these opportunities to demonstrate her fierce loyalty to her man even when things are tough, and to support his position as leader, and to pray for God’s wisdom to direct them through the mistake towards being more holy and towards sanctification.
  • A godly, wise wife, will have peace, a gentle and poised spirit, and will be looking for her husband’s best interests, not selfish interests, when things go badly.
  • She will give grace and not make a big deal of what he did that was wrong.
  • She can offer encouragement, prayer, support and her undying faith in her husband as a man – WITHOUT taking over control. There is the critical balance a wife must achieve!

GREG:

One of the big differences I have seen in our marriage is the April’s ability to accept my decisions….good and bad. She also has been much better at forgiving me……that is where the grace comes in. I, like most men, tend to be stubborn and hang on too long to issues where I have made wrong judgments and decisions. When I know that my wife supports my decision, even if she pretty well knows that I screwed up, I am able to accept my failures and try to make atonements more easily.

If a decision is made by a man where his wife turns on him because she didn’t get her way, he is forced to live and die with his decision and will not easily reconsider it. I do want to stress that it is totally good for the wife to have an influence on the decision and it is totally fine for her to have her own opinion. A wife’s willingness to accept her husband’s decision with grace and poise if she is in disagreement with him is the ultimate picture of respect for her husband and shows that she trusts his leadership. He will notice it and it will stay with him. He will make sure that his decision turns out best for the family or he will try to make it right. When a wife is able to strike that perfect balance the family is able to function like a well oiled machine.

APRIL:

Lord,

Help us to be women who understand the power and authority that You have given us and how to stay close to You and be right with our husbands and offer godly influential authority. Help us to see that we have very important roles as wives – and use us to spur our husbands towards godliness, holiness and sanctification. Let us be strong, godly, Spirit-filled, Bible-loving women who obey Scripture in our marriages and see Your hand at work in mighty ways every day in our homes!

Amen.

RELATED:

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage

A Husband Answers – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

Being a Good Follower

My Husband Isn’t Being a Good Enough Spiritual Leader

The Voice in His Head – from the Archives

by my husband, Greg.  You can find his blog for husbands at www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com.

On Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 April ran a guest post by Kayla Gulick titled My Demon. In the article, Kayla described how all of the voices in her head accused her husband of the worst. This prompted a discussion between us. April then asked me about whether a guy has similar voices in his head that paint a bad picture of his wife’s intentions.

FROM A HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE

I told her that husbands do have a voice in their head, but it rarely talks about their wives. It is a voice telling them:

  • “You don’t have what it takes to do ……”
  • “You are a failure at …..”
  • “You are an inadequate husband, father, or son”
  • “You are not good enough.”

Now, I need to clarify that this voice isn’t on all of the time and usually confined to one topic at a time. This is very different from how the April has explained to me about how she had an internal voice accusing me and justifying her disrespect and need for control almost constantly earlier in our marriage.

Much to my surprise, after I had made that statement I turned to find April with mouth agape, stunned, and fascinated with my response. Shortly, after a little water and some cool compresses on her forehead, she said, “Hmm…Satan’s strategy is to attack the God-given spiritual authority from two sides. The accuser fills the wife’s head with a barrage of ammunition against her husband about how he is not worthy of respect and how she is totally justified in her disrespect and contempt. AND the accuser fills the husband’s head with thoughts about how he is not worthy of respect and that his wife is absolutely right in her observation of his faults. The two accusing voices paralyze leadership in the marriage.”

IS THIS NORMAL?

Not wanting to jump to conclusions too quickly, we wondered if this theory held up in other marriages. A voice in my head started saying, “Yeah….Sure, check this out…You will only find that you are different than other guys. Other guys are better than you and wouldn’t think like this at all.” So, the April posted the question on the Peacefulwife Facebook page. Shortly, Kayla Gulick responded that she had just asked her husband the same question without giving him my response and he said THE SAME EXACT THING.

Another reader, a husband, responded, “I ditto your husband. We fight the fear that we may not be ‘up to the job’ almost every day. But we are men, so it is shameful to talk about it.”

A husband wants to hide any insecurities or faults that he thinks he has because he is afraid that his wife or family will not respect him.  He is afraid that he might lose any clout that he might have with his wife and family if he let a weakness be revealed.

Wow….So far so good with testing this theory. At church on Sunday evening, we asked the same question to several men to see if they responded in the same way. Their responses seemed to first indicate that maybe I do think like a man and secondly, and probably most importantly, that the idea of Satan (and/or the sinful nature of men and women) attacking the spiritual authority of the marriage from both sides was probably true.

So I started searching for a way to describe what a man hears in his head and I came to the conclusion that the voice in his head is all about exposing his insecurities. I found the following quote from Jake Dudley, a 24 year old blogger, to be a really good description of how a man thinks.

And that’s all insecurity is – FEAR. Fear of things we have no control over in the first place. I know what it feels like. I’ve been faced with the doubt you experience when you are staring at a person of the opposite sex wanting soooo badly to tell them how you feel. But instead you stand there frozen from the insecurity of thinking they’ll NEVER like someone as ugly as I think I am. I’ve stood at the crossroads of a major life decision thinking that no matter which I choose I will fail, so instead I turn into a little boy and run away from all possibilities. I’ve ended things and started things and ignored people and ran away from opportunities all because somewhere along the way I believed my self-inflicted insecurities defined who I was as a man.

But here’s the thing: insecurity has NOTHING to do with who I actually am as person. Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with who I’m terrified of becoming if I take a risk. I usually think I’ll fail. I usually think I’m not good enough. I usually think girls think I’m ugly. I usually think my time has run out. I usually think and think and think my way into a pity party of self-loathing and doubt that I forget that I was created in the image of an extraordinary God.

One Man’s Insecurities by Jake Dudley, www.corycopeland.net

A WIFE’S ROLE

A guy is always going to have insecurities and feel inadequate to fulfill his role as a husband and father. How can a wife work to control the demons/voices that are not only speaking to her but her husband as well?  Your husband needs your respect, your trust, your belief in him, your admiration, and your affirmation. These are the confidence pills for the common insecurity. With a little boost of encouragement your husband can overcome and lead your marriage. I found the following quote from www.greatdatespot.com to be a great description of the role of a wife in handling his insecurities:

But here’s the thing- a man’s wife has a special place : she can truly build him up and quiet all other voices of insecurity -or- she can be the loudest voice of insecurity in the world. It’s a strange and magnificient power that you women yield. And it’s a power given by the source of security.

And while it may seem that these two oppose one another- they don’t. After all- a marriage is supposed to be mirror image of a person’s relationship with Jesus- so if it’s Jesus that a man’s security comes from- then it makes sense that a wife can wield similar power…if she chooses.

Ladies- you should understand- you have two choices here- to be the voice of encouragement and bolster your husband’s security or to be the voice of insecurity and rejection and crush your man (yes- you have that power). There is no third choice- if you choose to disengage and try to be in the middle- you are choosing the latter.

Ladies- your acceptance is not just vocal- though it is that. It’s not just sex, though it is that as well. It’s not respect, though it is that too. It’s all encompassing. Give him great compliments, give him great sex, give him great respect and you will see your husband be spurred on to become the man he was always meant to be. Think about it- the key to your husband becoming who he was meant to be- who you really want him to be – lies with you. Jesus could fully do it without you- but he chose to give you as a gift to your husband to speed it along. And I know, that seems like a tall order. That seems like a lot of weight on your shoulders. But it is your burden- or your joy- depending on how you look at it. Now that is your choice.

http://greatdatespot.com/2010/05/21/a-husbands-insecurity-from-10-things-men-wish-their-wives-knew-about-men/

Every wife wants her husband to be the moral authority for their family. Every husband wants his wife to be his biggest supporter, confidence booster, and encourager. When he can feel that he has your trust and appreciation it is like giving him a shot of energy.   That is why it is so easy for a man to literally become unplugged when he does not feel he is getting this support.

But I know there are many who might say that, “My husband is definitely not the moral authority in our family and there is no way I can affirm him after what he has done.” Unfortunately, these husbands probably need the most support from their wives and yet their life yields very few opportunities for their wife to show praise and compliment thim. I think Priscilla Shirer addresses this pretty well in the following quote:

Now perhaps your husband has consistently proven that he’s not worthy of your trust. He’s been careless with money, drawn to addictions, perhaps even unfaithful to his marriage vows. The reason you can’t ascribe high value to his character, you say, is because he hasn’t shown you very much of it. And you’re right—his carelessness, laziness, or lack of integrity is not your fault. You are not responsible for what he’s done and is doing, even if you’ve been less than careful about loving him well…

But even you—even now—can resolve to affirm your husband and to promise that your trust in him is not gone forever. It may need to be reconstructed with the aid of outside help and ongoing accountability, but he needs to know that your heart’s desire is to reestablish confidence in him.

Your Husband’s Two Biggest Fears, Priscilla Shirer

If we understand the destructive nature of the voices in our heads and that Satan’s plan is to attack our marriage and family we can start silencing the voices. I know when I feel that my wife is in full support with me about something the voice I hear is, “You can do this because she trusts and believes in you.”

Let’s build up the morale in our marriages starting now.

When a wife refuses to obey God’s commands by disrespecting her husband, she cooperates with Satan and becomes a megaphone that amplifies the accuser’s message to her husband.  But when a wife respects and follows her husband, she cooperates with God and becomes an amplifier for God’s voice and His will.  WOW!  This is POWERFUL stuff!  May we use our power for great good, ladies! – The Peacefulwife

My Husband Won’t Lead in Our Marriage – Part 3

IMG_2940

Greg and April Nov. 2013

I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. I am just an ordinary Christian wife. My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules and they are not guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not. I write specifically for wives who tend to be controlling and dominating. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that my blog is not a good fit for them. If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! Please do not read my blog if you are a wife who is being abused. You will need VERY specific help in that situation. Reading my blog for women who tend to be controlling may be harmful for you.

 

Please check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you have not read them yet. 🙂

GET ON GOD’S PATH

No matter if my husband has given up trying to lead or if he still does attempt to lead me – I can give him the beautiful gift of my biblical submission to his leadership in obedience to God! I have the power to begin to make things right!! 

I began this journey 5 years ago.  I am still learning. I am NOT perfect!  I share my mess ups on my PW FB page as I make mistakes so that I am transparent.  But obeying God has brought me such joy, peace, purpose and abundant life!  I am very thankful God opened my eyes to my sin and showed me His design for me as a woman and a wife.  It is not popular or politically correct to do things God’s way today.  But it is SO worth it!  I have been richly blessed by God as I sought to obey Him above all else.  My husband has been richly blessed.  My children have been richly blessed and thousands of women around the world are being blessed by God’s power at work in my life. How crazy is that!?!?  It blows my mind.  It is ALL about God.  It all depends in His power, not mine, that is for sure!

I have to start with me wanting to be right with Christ.  Primarily, my submission is about yielding myself 100% to the Lordship of Jesus over every area of my life.  That is what Jesus requires of every Christian.  I have to get to the place where I care more about pleasing Him out of thankfulness for all He has done for me than anything else in the world.  My focus becomes simply to love, obey and please God.  Period.  Nothing else matters.  He is LORD.  I wrestle with my fears and idols until I can say, “not my will but Yours be done” about absolutely everything in my life – no matter what the personal cost to myself. I give up my illusion of being in control.  I stop trusting SELF and begin to truly trust God in His sovereignty.  If I am not in that place – something is very wrong with my relationship with Him.

No one can force me to submit to my husband.  Being forced into submission is slavery, not submission.  Biblical submission comes from a position of free will and voluntary choice and strength.  I choose to honor my husband’s God-given authority (unless he asks me to clearly sin).  I share all of my wisdom, personality, feelings, desires and ideas in a godly, respectful, polite, feminine way.  I no longer try to force my way or pridefully assume my way is best.  I seek God’s will far above my own.  Then I ultimately trust God to lead me through my husband if we do not agree.

Here are a few things to do to start to get back on track (pray and see if these might apply to you or if God might show you other ideas that fit your situation and marriage):

  • Confess to my husband what I did wrong and apologize without justifying or explaining myself.  Husbands usually only want one sincere and rather brief apology.

“I realize now that I have taken over the leadership role of our marriage and I have been WRONG for doing this! I have sinned against God and against you and our children.  I apologize for not following your leadership and for fighting you instead of cooperating with you and being on your team.   I’m so glad that God gave you the position of authority over me and over our family. That weight is too heavy for me to carry.  It stresses me out!  I am stepping down and I want to support your decisions and trust you to do what is best for us from now on.  I will share my heart and desires, but I won’t fight you anymore.  I want to learn to support  and trust your God-given authority in our home.  I have A LOT to learn about being a godly wife.  I pray you can be patient with me.”  

If your husband is not close to God – I suggest you may want to take out the words about God and prayer (I Peter 3:1-2)

“I realize now that I have taken over control of our marriage and that is not right.  I apologize for not cooperating with your ideas and leadership.  I am stepping down now and want to support your decisions and trust you to do what is best for us from now on.  I will share my heart and desires, but I won’t fight you anymore.  I have a LOT to learn about being a good wife.  I hope you can be patient with me.”

Husbands may react in different ways to this – they may get angry (and share all the hurt they have had for years), they may say nothing (they may be in shock and have to digest what you said for awhile), they may cry (out of relief that finally their wife understands them), they may forgive you right away.  All of these responses are normal.  Don’t expect a particular reaction.  You take care of your part, and let him respond however he responds.  If he does want to talk about how hurt he has been, please listen and don’t defend yourself.  If he forgives you, accept and respect his forgiveness and don’t keep apologizing!

  • Accept my husband for the man he is right now today even if he NEVER changes!!!
  • Realize that I am responsible to God for my own sanctification, growing in Christ, my own emotions and my own contentment in Christ. I don’t have to wait on my husband to help me grow or wait for him to “catch up.” If I am really growing in my relationship with Christ, I will be humble towards my husband and towards God and let them work out my husband’s spiritual growth. I will concentrate only on my own spiritual maturity and I WILL BE PRETTY QUIET ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS if this is a difficult area for my husband. I will let my husband see my joy in Christ, my humility before my husband, my respectful attitude and willingness to follow where he leads… THAT is what will help make my husband hunger for God!  I will obey God in this for as long as it takes.  I trust God to work in my husband in his way, by His power and for His glory.  It is not about me, it is all about God.
  • Make decisions for myself about things I am doing, eating, wearing, how I spend my time, but let him make his own decisions for himself and let him make the final decisions for the family.
  • Uphold his decisions in front of the children, don’t undermine his authority.
  • Speak and act respectfully towards him. Ask if I am in doubt, “Is this respectful?” “Was I just disrespectful?”
  • Listen carefully when he talks to me – put down what I am doing and listen like I am interested.
  • Be encouraging about his ideas. Try not to squash his creativity, plans and ideas. Let him have room to think, dream and plan.
  • Don’t tell him what to do – if he asks, I can offer my perspective humbly as possible suggestions, not as if I am dictating to him what he should do.
  • Praise him whenever he leads the family, even in the smallest of ways, and does a good job!!!! THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT! It will help him build confidence in his abilities. If he hasn’t ever been the leader, I must be patient, it will be baby-steps, but that’s fine!
  • If he makes a decision, I back him (unless he’s asking me to clearly sin – which has never happened to me in 5 years of this so far) and support him graciously, joyfully, cheerfully. I may tell him my needs, desires and feelings, but ultimately the decision is up to him. God gives him insight and wisdom he doesn’t give to me. God will hold Greg accountable for the decisions in our marriage and family – he knows he will answer to God one day for each decision he makes.  This is about trusting God to lead me through my husband – it is ALL about my faith in God!!!
  • Get rid of negativity!!!  No arguing or complaining Phil 2:14-16a.
  • Ideally, give him the finances – or at least give him the ultimate responsibility for the finances and think of myself more as the secretary if I must pay the bills. It often works SO much better when I am not telling him what to do and how to spend money – in our marriage, at least.
  • If he decides to give me something, take me out to eat, go on a spontaneous vacation, I SMILE, accept graciously and don’t question if he should or should not give wonderful things to you. Say, “Thank you! You are SO generous! You’re such a wonderful husband!”
  • Even if I feel like he is “leading me nowhere” – that is ok! At one point, I prayed, “God, I am willing to sit RIGHT HERE spiritually and geographically and never move another inch if this is where you want me. I trust You to lead me through my husband. I am NOT going to run ahead anymore. I will patiently wait on You if I sit here until I am 80!” It’s funny, it wasn’t long after I adopted that attitude that things began to go forward on God’s path full-throttle!
  • Thank God for my husband’s leadership and spiritual authority over me daily.
  • Thank my husband for his leadership and spiritual authority over me – even if he is not a believer! Even if he is an immature Christian! God said the husband IS the head of the wife in Ephesians 5:22 – take God at His Word and thank God for His provision for me. God can and will use even a non-believer or a very immature husband to lead a believing wife who trusts in Him!
  • Have a willing spirit to be led by my husband and by God.
  • Recognize that God can and will speak to me through my husband many times.

If some of these things have been eye-opening for you, I’d encourage you to repent and commit to seeking God’s face and His will in your life and your marriage starting today!

  • It is God’s plan to teach husbands to be effective, humble, servant-leaders in the church by learning to be a leader at home first. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?  I Tim 3:5
  • God desires to use the respect, admiration and cooperation of godly wives to shape men and influence them in leadership in marriage.  In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2by observing your pure and reverent lives.  I Peter 3:1-2
  • God CAN use my willing, obedient spirit to help mold and influence my husband if my heart is right with God and I am respectful of the God-given position of authority God gave my husband. What a high calling!  I can’t change my husband!  Only God changes people!  But I can be on God’s team, get out of God’s way and influence him towards God and myself.
  • We will also be influencing our children and showing them how to have a godly marriage, what godly femininity means, how to submit to God and to God-given authorities. AND our obedience to God will draw many others to Christ!!!!!! MUCH IS AT STAKE HERE! I pray we act wisely and in full obedience and surrender to God.

Lord,

I know this is a very tough and very painful subject! You know how many tears I cried myself over these issues for so many years in my own marriage. My heart breaks with wives who are anxious, afraid, lonely, overwhelmed and scared to make these changes. I pray that You might show each wife how to take that step of faith and trust You to work through our husbands for our good and Your glory! Help us to see that You will catch us and that what seems so terrifying is actually a gateway to peace and the life we have always longed for. Give us girlfriends to encourage and sustain us! Give us prayer partners to pray with us.

Help us desire to obey You even when we don’t completely want to and don’t understand Your wisdom. Help us trust You with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength! Open the floodgates of heaven on the women who have the courage to obey You in this area of following their husbands’ leadership! Let them see Your miracles! Let them find the beautiful place that this painful path brings us to – a place of joy, love, peace, hope, deep intimacy with You and with our husbands and abundant life! Don’t let Satan retain a stronghold in our hearts any longer! Let us sincerely repent of our sin! Let us turn to Your ways and begin the adventure of following You each day, anticipating all the wonderful things You will do to provide for us, protect us, and guide us through our husbands. Thank You for Your design for marriage! Help us to embrace Your wisdom and learn it and live it and then teach it to other wives! Use us to greatly bless our husbands, marriages and children. And use us to greatly bless the world with the fragrance, salt and light of Christ!

Amen!

RELATED

A Real Life Example of Respect and Biblical Submission

The Powerful Concept of Submitting Under Protest – Part 2

couple walking

Click here for Part 1

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Submitting under protest is not something I think we should need to use often, (hopefully).  But if we strongly disagree about something, then it can be important for us to use this concept.

*** If our husband is asking us to clearly sin or to condone clear sin, then I believe we must have a spirit of submissiveness toward them and toward God (desiring to honor their leadership), but respectfully refuse to cooperate with blatant sin (this is addressed in the post, Spiritual Authority).

*** If your husband is committing severe spiritual, emotional or physical abuse against you, or is actively addicted to drugs/alcohol or has an uncontrolled mental health disorder or is involved in major sin – please seek godly help!  This blog and this post are written for wives who tend to dominate, try to control or be in charge and who try to enforce their way on their husbands, not for wives who are victims of severe abuse and I cannot possibly begin to address marriages with severe problems in a general post.  You will need godly, experienced help, precious wife!

*** I only write for wives.  I don’t write about what husbands should do. I spent 14+ years focusing on what “my husband should do” and that didn’t lead me anywhere good. Submission is something that cannot be forced or coerced, it is something a wife does out of reverence to and obedience for Christ, just like a husband cannot be forced to love his wife.  God commands wives to do certain things in marriage and God commands husbands to do certain things in marriage.  He does not command husbands to enforce their wives’ respect and submission and He does not command wives to enforce their husbands’ love.  I am responsible for my part and for my sin and my obedience to God – that is where my power is in marriage and in my walk with Christ.  My husband is responsible for his part, his sin and his obedience to God. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

In submitting under protest – we are not usually being asked to sin or condone clear sin here – we simply disagree, maybe strongly – with our husband’s decision.

Submission in God’s Word is a military concept – similar to the First Mate on a ship and the Captain.  The Captain is ultimately in charge, yes, but it is the First Mate’s duty and responsibility to share her wisdom, ideas, perspective and concerns respectfully.  Ultimately, the Captain has the authority and responsibility to make the final call on a decision.  The First Mate can share her concerns and then can “submit under protest” if she does not agree with the Captain’s decision.

How does that work?

A wife presents her feelings, her desires, her concerns and her perspective respectfully – which is her duty and responsibility if she feels strongly about something (A Husband’s Authority and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage).  If the husband still does not agree with her after she has shared all of the relevant and necessary information she has, she calmly shares with her husband that she will submit to him out of reverence and respect for him and for God’s Word – but that she does not agree.  Then she supports her husband, prays for God’s will and trusts God’s sovereignty.

Some theoretical examples to prayerfully consider – but keep in mind – nothing takes the place of seeking God for ourselves and hearing and obeying His voice:

  • If a husband believes the family should move to another state for him to take a job, for example, and the wife does not want to go.  She can say, “I am excited for you about your job offer.  I want to support you in every way I can with your career.  I know this promotion means a lot to you.  I am REALLY proud of you for landing this opportunity!  I am feeling sad about the idea of moving.  I really would rather stay here for the following reasons…”  But if her husband decides this is what would ultimately be best for the family, if the wife strongly disagrees with this decision, she can say, “I will submit to you out of reverence for your position of God-given authority in our family and out of reverence for Christ.  I am submitting under protest.  However, I will support you, I will trust you and cheerfully cooperate with your decision and will do everything I can to bless and empower you to do what you believe is best for us.”
  • If a husband believes that they should discipline their child in a certain way, and the wife strongly disagrees, she can say, “I believe this would be the best route for us to use to handle this situation and here is why…”  But then if the husband still disagrees, she can say, “Out of respect for your God-given authority in our family, I will honor  and submit to your decision, knowing you are ultimately accountable and responsible before God for this decision, not me.  I don’t agree with this course of action, so I am submitting under protest – but you have my full support and willing cooperation.  I pray for God to give you His wisdom.  I want to do everything I can to stand with you in unity in front of our child.”

Here is a real life example I received about this concept yesterday:

This was me for the first six years of our marriage. I was so prideful and wanted my way and there were times my husband became passive and unplugged. He recently shared with me that He did this to avoid me exploding, it was just easier to let me have my way. BUT there were also many times he would respond in anger and now I see why, my disrespect was crushing him and no man wants their authority usurped.

GOD has been so faithful to convict me of my sins cleanse me and fill me with His Spirit and enable me to respond in gentleness and kindness. This is huge I never thought my husband and I could have a conversation without yelling sadly I accepted this as normal :( Praise God for His word and this blog.

Just this past weekend I had a chance to apply this.  Since beginning this journey God has showed me how my daughter has begun to pick up on my controlling and prideful attitude toward God given authority. LADIES THIS IS SO SERIOUS.  We are training our children how to respect authority as they see the way we interact with our husbands. they will learn by watching us more than anything else.

Well since I have stepped down as the main disciplinarian and let my husband lead in this area, he has really stepped up to the plate. I thank Him so much though I still correct and discipline my kids I’m not carrying the whole responsibility alone and it feels wonderful.

This weekend my eldest kept getting in trouble for her disrespect toward her father. After one particular incident he sent her out of the room and was preparing to discipline her in a way I felt was unnecessary for a certain offense and she had been in trouble all day.

When she was completely out if ear shot I asked him if he had a second to talk and explained how I felt. He listened to me told me thank you but he felt that He was gonna handle the situation the way He felt led. He was able to do this because he has begun to feel it is safe to disagree With me now. Though it was hard I submitted and trusted God. I may not be right, just because he doesn’t do things My way doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Later that day my daughter came to us with tears and her eyes and said she thanked us because she knows we discipline her because we love her. WOW what fruit I would have missed out on if I would have continued to fight my husband on this. And we have seen such a dramatic change in our children respecting both of us since I began to respect and submit to my husband like Christ desires.

  • If a husband decides, “We are not going to visit my family/your family this year for Christmas.  They are a toxic influence on our family, and I don’t want our family to have to endure that.”  A wife may disagree.  She may say, “I really want us to try to go to visit our family.  I hate for there to be conflict and for us not to be speaking to anyone in X family.  I wish we could try to reconcile with them and have peace.  I am so sad to think we might not go.”  But then if the husband says, “I believe this is something we have to do this year.  I know it is hard, but I believe this is the right thing to do to not go.”  A wife can pray for God to give her and her husband wisdom.  She can pray for reconciliation between the families.  She can say to her husband, “I don’t agree with your decision.   But I do respect you and your leadership.  I respect your decision.  I am sad about it, but I will submit to you under protest.  I will cooperate with you and do all that I can to stand with you on this decision and to make Christmas a blessing for you and our children.  Thank you for wanting to protect us.  Thank you for your leadership and for doing what you believe is best for us.”

This would be usually a one time thing for a wife to say to her husband.  After that, he knows her feelings and concerns.  There is usually no need to bring things up again.  Then she will trust God to work in his heart and to direct his path.

If God is not pleased with what the husband is doing –  He is able to change her husband’s mind and heart.  He can convict people – we cannot.  He can change people.  We cannot.  It is extremely important for me to “get” that I am not the Holy Spirit for my husband!

Sometimes husbands will make mistakes – in those moments, we have the incredible opportunity to bless them and offer grace – to not rub it in their faces, but to show faith that they will do better in the future and that we trust them to learn and grow and we will continue to stand beside them in support and respect.  Sometimes, it will turn out that the husband was actually listening to God – but as wives, we will only be able to see that in hindsight.  This is where we trust God’s sovereignty and trust Him to lead us through our husbands.

RELATED:

My Husband Wants to Go Where?!?!?

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

E.V. Hill’s funeral service for his wife – what an incredibly godly example of a wife who blessed, protected, respected and honored her husband.  I pray ALL of our husbands might be able to have such praise for us when our life on this earth is over. (Please listen to the first 4.5 minutes in particular)

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/_aDru4DSevE?list=PLu-vX5QTiiFM3Ms_1ngvPkLTI4N0bt2MR” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

“I’ll MAKE Him Love Me!”

20131005-17423820131005-174205

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

My children and I saw these wedding cake toppers at Wal-Mart.  They were labelled “humorous wedding cake toppers.”

I don’t know if you can see it – but – on the second one, the grooms fingers are actually digging into the ground.  He is SO opposed to going the direction his bride is dragging him.

I know that these little statues are supposed to be “funny.”

To me, they aren’t funny at all.  These depictions make me so sad.  This was me – for 14+ years in our marriage.  This was what I was trying to do emotionally and spiritually to my husband. It did NOT work!

God’s primary purpose in designing marriage was to create a living parable, a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church.  The husband is to represent the selfless, powerful, humble, sacrificial agape love of Christ.  The wife is to represent the adoration, reverence and submission of the church to her Lord by respecting her husband and honoring his God-given leadership. (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, Colossians 3, I Peter 3, Titus 2:2-5)

These  little figures accurately depict some destructive dynamics at work in many marriages in our culture today.  This is NOT a picture of the one Spirit relationship between Christ and His church.

I think these cake toppers are a great visual for us as wives to remember.  When we try to control our husbands, this is how they feel.  It’s not a very romantic picture, is it?

  • If you were in this guy’s shoes – what would you want to do?

Run far, far away…

It is IMPOSSIBLE for anything romantic to happen when a wife has her hands emotionally around her husband’s throat.

Romance only happens when a man is free to give of himself as he sees fit.  As women, we must decide between trying to control our husbands and having intimacy (Laura Doyle “The Surrendered Wife”).  They are exclusive opposites.  If we have one, we can’t have the other.

Each spouse has to be a willing participant – and not feel forced or coerced – if there is to be real intimacy.

LET’S IMAGINE SOMETHING TOGETHER FOR A MOMENT…

We as wives ALL deeply long to be loved, romanced, cherished, adored, honored, appreciated, protected and well-cared for by our husbands.

Let’s imagine that one of these little wedding cake toppers is me and my husband.  I am trying to force Greg to do what I want, to submit to my will, to do things MY way.  I think that I am so right and my way is the only way that is acceptable.  This is me verbally trying to drag my husband to be the man I think he should be.  This is me trying to change my husband.

Try to picture if – in the middle of this scenario, with me dragging my husband like this and him miserably feeling trapped and imprisoned – if he would EVER suddenly do one of the following things:

  • turn to me and tell me all the things he loves about me
  • hand me a bouquet of beautiful flowers “just because”
  • tell me how much he missed me when I was at work that day
  • sneak up behind me and hug me at the sink
  • suggest a romantic walk
  • say, “You know, we need to talk, Honey.  I just want to tell you that you are SO right about everything.  I have totally been a jerk and I want to do everything exactly the way you have been demanding that I should.  I have dreamt of this day all my life.  I now know that I am doing what God has called me to do in this life.”
  • say, “Your happiness means the world to me.”
  • take care of the laundry just to take some weight off of me
  • surprise me with a romantic vacation for two
  • give me any kind of compliment
  • desire to sit and listen to my heart for hours
  • protect me from extended family members’ verbal attacks and insults

A controlling woman repels her man.  With her own hands, attitudes and words, she destroys the relationship (whether she knows it or not).  She demands everything and her husband reluctantly gives her as little of himself as possible, sealing his heart shut tight so that she cannot have it.

A woman who allows her man to lead and who honors and respects him will draw him to herself very subtly.  She inspires him to desire her.  She demands nothing – and yet he willingly gives her everything, including his whole heart.

—————————————————

The even scarier thing to me now – is  – that this wedding topper portrays how I was trying to treat God, too.   Drag Him around.  Tell Him what to do.  Make Him submit to me…

We’ll talk about that some more tomorrow…

—————————————————

JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – I POSTED THIS ON MY PW FB A FEW DAYS AGO:

No one in the world – humanly speaking – has as much influence and power to bless or destroy a man as his wife has.

Many women have no idea where their power is or how to harness it for good.

Some of us try to change our husbands by verbal force. I did that for over 14 years. But the truth is – we can’t change them. That’s actually a good thing. When someone tries to change a healthy man – he will resist. A man who is wiling to be controlled by his wife is not emotionally/spiritually healthy.

God did not give us power to change our men. He gave us something INFINITELY BETTER.

He gave us the power to inspire our men to want to be all that God designed them to be. 

We don’t do that by demanding, criticizing, humiliating, complaining, nagging, preaching, ridiculing, ordering or coercing our men by verbal attacks and insults. These things destroy and crush our men’s souls. Men are very sensitive to our disrespect. Even just a look of contempt or disdain or a hateful tone of voice can crush our husbands’ spirits.

Rick Johnson in “How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen and Listen So Your Husband Will Talk” – says “like any great power, you have to learn how to use it properly and respect the damage it can cause. As a woman you can build a man up or tear him down merely by the level of respect you give to him and the amount of faith you have in him. Your tongue wields greater power than any double-edged sword… It takes much more work and effort to build something than it does to destroy it… That’s a big responsibilty and a power that many women do not recognize…. There’s not much a man can’t deal with in life if he knows he can come home to a loving, supportive wife who respects him.”

Many women think that if we respect our husbands and honor their leadership that we lose our voice and power as women. But that is not how God’s design works at all!

The only power we lose is the power of our sinful nature to destroy. When we are living in total submission to Christ and full of His Spirit, we have the power and riches of heaven blasting through our souls and pouring through us to bless our husbands and children. There is no greater power in the universe than the omnipotent, sovereign, mighty power of God!

A minister at my church who is teaching a class on spiritual authority says that Satan’s definition of “freedom” is the ability to do whatever we want. He says that God’s definition of “freedom” is having the power to do what God desires us to do.

God gives us the freedom, desire and power to inspire our husbands to become the heroes God designed them to be as we become more and more the wives and women God designed us to be.

————————————-

RELATED:

A Wife Stops Pursuing Her Husband in the Wrong Ways

Giving up on My Dream for My Marriage

My Demon

Treat Him Like a Man

Soul Mates

Supporting My Husband’s Leadership

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Don’t Often Notice

I Really Missed You

Why Your Husband May Not Immediately Do What You Want Him to Do

708174_11041874

Are we trying to control our husbands?

I had another impromptu interview with my husband.  I’m so thankful he is usually game for answering my questions!  He is able to express a masculine point of view very clearly now – I learn so much from him every time we talk!  My husband may not be speaking for all men as he answers these questions.  I hope other husbands might be willing to share their perspectives, as well.  But I think it is possible that other husbands may look at things the way my husband does – and this may be something to prayerfully consider for us as wives.  (If you have SERIOUS issues in your marriage – your husband has uncontrolled mental health problems, major addictions,  major unrepentant sin, physical abuse, infidelity, etc… this post may not apply to your husband.  Please seek godly, wise counsel ASAP!):

I was talking with my husband about a situation that – I would guess – probably happens in almost every marriage at some point, maybe MANY points:

The wife feels disconnected emotionally.  She feels like she is not a priority.  She feels like work, the TV, hobbies, the kids or friends are bigger priorities for her husband than she is.  She is feeling unloved.  So she begins to say things like:

  • Why don’t you ever sit with me?
  • I want us to sit together/cuddle.  We never spend time together.
  • I’m not a priority to you.
  • If you really loved me, you would make time for me and you would want to sit with me on the couch (or cuddle with me in bed) instead of sitting by yourself at the computer/in the recliner.
  • I want to be with you, but you never want to be with me.  You wouldn’t care if we never spent time together.
  • You need to sit with me right now!
  • Oh, no!  Where do you think YOU’RE going?????  You can’t go out with your friends.  You’re spending time with ME!
  • Why can’t you turn off the TV and talk to me????!?!!
  • Why did you even marry me if you never want to be with me?
  • You obviously love the TV more than you love me.
  • I have felt disconnected from you for weeks!  All you want me for is sex.  I feel like such a piece of meat to you.
  • You care more about football/hunting/sports than you do about me.  You need to spend some time with me right now!
  • I feel like we are just roommates.  You don’t love me at all.  Why don’t you ever just cuddle with me and talk with me?

The wife just thinks she is “sharing her heart” and saying what she needs.

She thinks she is being totally reasonable  – because any woman would feel the same way she does in her situation.  She fully expects him to drop whatever he is doing RIGHT THEN and come lavish attention and affection on her.  In all likelihood, she probably believes that her husband has the same emotional need to verbally connect that she does.  If we assume our husbands think just like we do – we can get ourselves into HUGE trouble because it is VERY EASY to assume that our husbands have evil motives toward us based on their behavior and our assumptions that our husbands’ motives must be the same as our motives would be if we were behaving the way they are behaving.  I hope you were able to follow me on that last sentence!

ASSUMING THE WORST OR THE BEST?

Unfortunately, our assuming the worst about our husbands does not promote a healthy marriage.  It brings out the worst in our husbands  – and in ourselves – when we make these kinds of assumptions.  

We end up sabotaging ourselves and preventing ourselves from getting the very emotional intimacy we really long for!

If we can take the time to realize that our husbands and men in general often have VERY different ways of thinking, feeling and processing life than we do – that their masculine perspectives are totally different from our feminine perspectives – we can offer grace, understanding and empathy assuming the BEST about our men instead of the worst.  This is the kind of environment healthy marriages need in order to flourish.

Another issue is that in each of the examples above – the wife was approaching her husband disrespectfully.  She was either giving him a directive (telling/ordering him what to do), making a demand or unfairly assuming that her husband is being unloving.  This is NOT the way to motivate a husband to do what we want!  

Men don’t like to be controlled.  Honestly, who does?? Husbands respond to RESPECT – sincere, genuine respect that is completely free of manipulation.

I would suggest something like:

  • “Honey, I’m feeling lonely today.  Would you please hold me sometime when you have a few minutes?  Thanks!”
  • “Honey, I really miss you.”
  • “I can’t wait to get to be in your arms soon.”
  • “I’m really looking forward to have a chance to just talk and relax together soon.”

I would say this with a smile and a pleasant tone of voice.  And then – be gracious no matter how he responds.  This is a respectful way to share our feelings and needs WITHOUT pressuring our husbands, making them the bad guy or making demands.  If he feels pressured, he will not feel like he has the freedom to delight you.  He may feel like he has to wait a day or several days to be able to really give you what you say you desire.

HERE ARE SOME OF MY HUSBAND’S THOUGHTS  (I hope some other husbands will also share their thoughts on this important issue, too!)

“If a wife demands attention/affection/discussion immediately, a husband is in a terrible predicament.

  • If he immediately does what she says she wants, he and she both know that his actions are not genuine.  He feels he has no choice but NOT to do what she demanded right then.
  • If he does not do what she says she wants, she will think he is a total jerk and that he is being extremely unloving.  He knows this.  He doesn’t like it. But he MUST know that he is acting because he wants to, not because she is ordering him to do something.

He has to wait a certain amount of time so that he can act in his time, not her time.

It may be that later that week, if his wife asked respectfully and doesn’t blast him with criticism/contempt/disrespect – he will try to make some extra special time to hold and cuddle her and show her affection.  But it will only be when it is HIS idea and he knows that she knows that it is not because she is forcing or coercing him – but that he wants to give her his attention on his own.”

A FEW OF MY HUSBAND’S THOUGHTS ABOUT “EMOTIONAL CONNECTION”

Greg says that – from his perspective – when I feel emotionally disconnected from him, it is MY emotional disconnection, not his.  He says that a husband “is  feeling very connected to his wife until she says she feels disconnected, then he feels like she is saying he has failed her.”

Most men are not motivated by feeling like failures.

I know that wives don’t intend to communicate, “I feel disconnected from you, so you are a failure in my eyes.”  But, maybe that could be what our husbands HEAR?  I don’t know if this is how every husband feels.  Maybe some husbands feel this way?

Greg says, “When a wife wants emotional connection, if he thought things were fine, it is a slap in the face to him.  If he was gone on a trip or very busy with baseball or kids or work, then he can understand her feeling disconnected.  If he is unaware of her disconnection, it is like wife has a hole in her bucket, he can’t fill it fast enough.  He feels he can never do enough to satisfy her.”

“Wives need emotional connection, husbands don’t need nearly what a wife would need.  Most men have very few emotional connections outside of their wives.”

“If the family has a very hectic schedule, a husband would be fine without talking all week, and would understand that this is what we have to do to get this done.  It’s not that I don’t love her or am not connected.  My love doesn’t change because of that.”

I asked Greg, “What makes a husband feel connected or not?”

He said, “Disrespect can make a husband feel disconnected and for some men, not having sex with their wives in a certain time frame can make them feel disconnected.  But

usually, a guy is going to be connected, and will not lose his connection unless his wife disconnects from him.”

MY THOUGHTS AFTER OUR DISCUSSION:

My feeling is that as a wife, many times our “neutral status” is feeling disconnected.   We feel we have to do something actively to feel connected (talking, cuddling, affection, time together, praying together).

Greg said he believes that “A husband’s ‘neutral status’ is  feeling connected and they have to do something  actively to feel disconnected.”

WHAT AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT!

When I learned that my husband thinks of his love for me as unchanging and constant, regardless of what he says to me or our time to talk in a given week, that was a HUGE burden lifted from my shoulders.  Now, I am able to rest in his love and know that he feels connected to me, even if we don’t get to have the time together I would really like.   That helps me feel very connected to him – even when we can’t talk as much as I would like. Of course, I am also resting in my Jesus’ love that is unending and never failing, knowing that nothing can separate me from His love.

“For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn talks about this – that most Christian husbands see their love as unchanging and solid.  Many of them have no idea why their wives constantly want reassurance of something that, to them, is steady and constant.  One man said (this is my paraphrase), “my wife needing constant reassurance of my love seems as unnecessary as if she were to ask every day ‘Do we still own the house?’  Of course we still own the house!  We bought it!  And, of course I still love you, I married you!”

Men do not always express love verbally.  For a lot of men – words aren’t worth much.   But that DOES NOT mean they don’t love their wives.  They tend to show their love in action.  They often show love by going to work everyday and providing for their families. They show love by running to the pharmacy in the middle of the night when the baby wakes up sick, or by putting gas in their wife’s car, or by lifting burdens from her when she is overwhelmed.  They show love by remodeling the house, taking the family to church, taking out the trash – by the things they DO.  And when they do these things, they do them out of love, not because someone tried to force them to do them.

A NEW APPROACH

I think if we approach our husbands as if they live in this mysterious (new to us) world of masculinity that we know nothing about and that we would like to explore his world with him – and ask questions with eyes of wonder and amazement and friendly, genuine curiosity – continuing to see the best in him – our husbands will be able to eventually open up to us more and more.

I would like to see us as wives assume that if we don’t understand why our husbands are doing something, that they have good motives towards us.  Unless they have definitely proven to be evil and untrustworthy, let’s assume the best about them, instead of the worst.  Let’s assume they love us (if you have SEVERE issues in your marriage, this may not be true – but most husbands do love their wives – especially if they are still with them.)  And let’s assume that they don’t have evil motives towards us.  Let’s assume maybe we don’t understand how they think and maybe their priorities are different from ours.  But let’s not assume they are ill-willed towards us and that they are our enemies.

RELATED:

The TV Issue 

How Men Think

How Men Think – Part 2

How Men Think – Part 3

How Do Men Process Emotions?

A Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions

Another Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions

More Men’s Emotions

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

An Interview with My Husband  (Understanding a passive husband’s mindset)

An Interview with My Husband – Understanding a Passive Husband's Mindset

20130528-061834.jpg
20130528-200423.jpg
Greg and April – May 28, 1994
20130528-200452.jpg
Greg and April at the church where we were married – May 28, 2013
———————————-
Greg and I had an impromptu interview the other evening.  I have been hearing from one of my dear friends who has been struggling a lot on this journey of learning to be a godly wife.  I was asking my husband what his perspective was earlier in our marriage as I was being so disrespectful and controlling.  During that time, he became passive and very unplugged.  There were times he barely spoke to me, barely looked at me and sometimes barely touched me.  I thought you might be interested to hear what he had to say.  
This was the first time I have ever heard much of these particular thoughts of his.  I am SO honored that he feels safe enough now to share his heart with me like this.  What a privilege for me to be married to this man and for God to have so radically changed me, our marriage and Greg.  I thank and praise God EVERY DAY for the miracles He did in our marriage.  It was ALL Him.
1. What are some of the things I did that used to bother you the most before God showed me my disrespect and control?
You already had this conversation in your head with me all day long and were already mad at me before I could even say what I wanted to say.  You  already decided what my answer was going to be and how you were going to deal with it, there was no use in me answering.
You would ask me a question, but it was worded so that if I picked one answer, I would have to be the stupidest person in the world.  There is only one right answer.  I couldn’t disagree with you.  That was not allowed.   You knew you were “so right” about it, there was no room for you to be wrong.  There was no room for any other perspective in the world.  

Once you are hit with that over and over, why answer?  What’s my role?  Do I have a role?

2. (Talking about the TV/football watching thing) I can probably watch 1 football game,  but I can’t watch 40 hours/week.  Of course, wives would like to talk and connect with their husbands 40 hours/week.

I don’t even talk to MYSELF 40 hours/week!

To husbands, talking = conflict.  At work, we have to have a meeting because there is a problem.  At home, we have to talk because there is a problem.

It was never, “Can we talk about what you want to talk about, Honey?”  It was always, “I’m going to tell you, and you’re going to listen to me.”

Wow!  I have never thought of it like that!  But – that is so right!  Yikes!
3. Why did you stay with me all those 14+ years that I was not giving you what you needed?
There were times I wasn’t happy.  I stayed because I loved you.  Leaving wasn’t an option.  I could be unhappy, but it didn’t mean I didn’t want you to be my wife.
4.  Were there any happy times?
There were some happy times.  
(My perspective was) if I didn’t want some of your characteristics, I shouldn’t have married you.  Some of the things that made you struggle a little bit at being a wife were some of the things that were probably at the same time things that attracted me to you as well.
I liked that you were intelligent and a go-getter and had a little bit of an edge of brazenness.  I liked that you were independent, strong-willed and educated (as a pharmacist).  I didn’t want to be with somebody that was “just average.”   You wouldn’t do any thing that you didn’t give it 110%.  School, flute, piano, pharmacy…  you gave everything you had to all of it.
You were good with words.  I thought it would help me somewhere in the long run.
5. What were some of the hardest things for you during those years?

At times I felt trapped.  I felt like I didn’t have a voice.  

I wasn’t “not answering” you to try to irritate you at all.  I felt trapped in my situation.  It didn’t matter if I answered.  It seemed like however I saw it – it wouldn’t matter.
6. There were a handful of times that you really stood your ground, and I ended up VERY reluctantly doing what you wanted.  Why were you willing to insist on those few issues?
If I lost those types of things, I wouldn’t have had anything to call my own.  I wasn’t willing to lose those things.
7. How did the way I disrespected and controlled you impact your relationship with God?
I don’t know that you had a real negative effect on my relationship with God.  But your “mastering” of it, would come into play.  When it came to (Bible) knowledge, you were way, way, way beyond advanced of where I was.  When it came to wisdom, I looked at is as we all had issues with that (due to a lack of) experience and maturity.  I don’t think you had a huge role in disparaging me (spiritually).  I didn’t challenge you much on it.
8.  Did you have any hope that I would change?
I was not looking for you to change.  I knew there were ways we could be better.  

I looked at myself as the problem most of the time.  I looked at me as “not getting it.”  I didn’t look at you as the problem.

  • I just wasn’t doing what I needed to do.  
  • I wasn’t making you as happy as I needed to.  
  • I was not the husband I needed to be.  

I was looking for ways to limit the pain by going into a shell.

9.  I believe that if you had told me I had hurt you – at any point in those first 14+ years –  I would have felt HORRIBLE and would have wanted to apologize and make things right.  But you NEVER told me about your pain.  NEVER.  I eventually believed you didn’t have feelings at all. Why didn’t you ever say anything?  Why did you suffer silently all those years?

I didn’t tell you my pain because “a man doesn’t show pain.”

10.  Why did you allow me to lead?

Some things I looked at as it was advantageous for you to lead.  When I wouldn’t make a decision, you were always there to hammer down the decision, and if things got screwed up, it was your fault.

11. I can remember BEGGING you many times, ” PLEASE, just tell me what you need!  I don’t know what you need!”  Why didn’t you say that you needed respect from me?  Why didn’t you say you needed me to stop trying to control you?

  • I felt like it was my problem.  
  • I didn’t necessarily know what I needed.
  • I would have felt like it would have been selfish for me to say what I needed.

I knew I needed respect, but I didn’t know how to explain that to you.  I didn’t look at it as something I could ask for.  I looked at is as something I couldn’t obtain.  There was something I was doing that meant I didn’t deserve it.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think it is SIGNIFICANT that BOTH of us thought my husband was the problem.  I didn’t see myself as any part of the problem those first 14+ years of our marriage.  My husband didn’t see me as being any part of the problem.   But the truth is – we were BOTH contributing to the problems in our marriage – and change only happened after I was willing to look at my (rather hefty) part in the mess. My power came when God opened my eyes to my own sin and helped me stop pointing my finger at my husband and begin to deal with the mountain of sin in my own life.

  • I was not responsible for 100% of the problems in our marriage.
  • I was not responsible for my husband’s sin.
  • My husband was not responsible for 100% of the problems in our marriage!!  Sadly, that was the only explanation I could imagine for many years.  How wrong I was!

But I was responsible for my own sin, my own walk with Christ, my emotions, my responses, my joy, my contentment, my peace.  Of course, real joy, contentment and peace can only be found in Jesus.  My husband can’t give me those things.  Only Jesus can.  And He only gives me His supernatural joy and peace when I follow Him and lay down my life for Him in total submission 100%.

Please notice that some of my husband’s feelings are the exact same kinds of fears women tend to have about biblical submission and respect.  Quite honestly, in the first 14 years of our marriage, I expected my husband to “submit to me.”  I tried to force him to bow to my will.  And man, was I offended when he wouldn’t do as I said he should!  I would NEVER have said that I wanted him to follow me or “submit” to me.  But I thought I was always right.  I thought I was better than he was.  I thought I was closer to God than he was. I thought I was a better leader than he was.  I thought he “wouldn’t” lead or “couldn’t” lead.  So I tried to take control.  What a disaster!

Thankfully when a woman biblically submits to her husband – she has the freedom to speak her mind and voice her feelings – and her husband, as he feels respected and honored, will generally desire seek what is in her best interest.  

A godly husband who is entrusted with leadership reacts with humility, sacrificial love and a desire to delight his wife.  

But his first priority is to please and honor Christ.  So – ladies – don’t worry about losing your voice when you obey God in marriage.  When we do things God’s way – we have MORE power in a godly way – than we ever could when we try to usurp our husbands’ authority and take over and try to force our way.

The truth is …  I wouldn’t follow Greg.  He did try to lead early on.  I fought him tooth and nail.  I was in rebellion against God and against Greg.  My husband was totally capable of leading.  He does a wonderful job of it now!  I was sabotaging him, myself and our marriage – and didn’t even know it.  I NEVER EVER EVER want to go back to the way things were.  I was miserable, lonely, anxious, stressed and fearful.  Greg was shut down and emotionally very distant.  Our marriage has been INFINITELY better since God showed me His design for marriage.  We have the intimacy and connection we always wanted.  My husband is the man I always knew he could be.  I am the woman I had always longed to be.  I am SO ETERNALLY THANKFUL to Him!  

MY HUSBAND’S BLOG:

www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com

RELATED:

Things that Fuel a Spirit of Discontentment in Me

The Secret to True Contentment

A Husband Answer’s a Wife’s Question – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

Humility is Beautiful

Why So Many of Us Aren’t Prepared to Be Godly Wives – Part 1

Why So Many of Us Aren’t Prepared to Be Godly Wives – Part 2

My Husband Is Not Responsible for My Happiness

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Could My Disrespect Contribute to My Husband’s Depression?

Dying to Self

Learning to Respect and Give up Control is a Process

Nina Roesner is the author of The Respect Dare.  She gave me permission to post this article.  I think it will be EXTREMELY helpful for those of you who are starting on the respect journey and who are learning to allow your husband to lead instead of controlling things yourself.  This is a marathon kind of mentality, not a sprint.  It is a long process of learning and we will be human and make mistakes and then we’ll learn from those mistakes and do better.  I love her description and I experienced these stages myself as I was learning.  I pray this will be helpful to all of you as you walk this journey, as well!

You are ALWAYS welcome to ask any questions you have and I will do my best to address them or we will find other Titus 2 women to help answer them.

With love and prayers for you and your marriage!

Peacefulwife

Respect Dare

I’ve Tried Respect & it Hasn’t Worked…

First of all, I fully understand your situation.  You’ve applied respect for a while, maybe even a couple of years and “nothing has changed.”  To encourage you this morning, I will share what we’ve seen in the hundreds of marriages from the wives who have taken Daughters of Sarah® or done The Respect Dare.   Bear in mind this process can take months or years, even decades, depending on how much a wife is willing to trust God and submit to His authority, and obey His Word.

I will tell you that God did not allow me to start ministry and did not use me to impact others until I got the submission and respect piece right.

What if God’s plan for one of your children was to minister to drug addicts in prison, and to do that through a living testimony of having overcome these issues himself?  Would you accept and embrace this?  I know even as I pose this question to you, that there is probably few mothers, myself included, that would enthusiastically enjoy watching my son “create his testimony” as while he did that, it meant a life of drugs and crime…

But, Christ’s ministry was to have a wonderful teaching and healing ministry and then have nails hammered through His hands, and die on a cross as a sacrifice for a sinning world.

And you and I put him there.

What if one element of your ministry is to endure the shortcomings of fellow journey takers on a daily basis?  What if one of these journey takers is your husband and through relationship with you, you are to model Christ’s lack of condemnation while he figures out his own walk with God?  Just like Adam in the garden, he even blames – but one day, he won’t, as he grows in the Lord, the Lord’s strength and character will appear in him, just like it has in you and others of His followers.

In the meantime, God has learning for us, as well – we cannot control our husband’s walk, but we need to not judge him, either.  I judged my husband, too, but what God showed me was that I was sinning and not loving while doing that.

We also learn perseverance, which is what mature faith is made of.  What if God wanted you to learn perseverance?

I think He wants us all to learn this.  DEEPLY.

Few things like marriage provide a context through which we can learn at this level.

Did I do things I didn’t want to do out of respect?  Yes.  Did they really matter?  Not in the long run.

Did it cause me to die to my pride?  Yes.  And it is still ongoing, unfortunately.  As my 16 year old son likes to say, “Know the hypocrites – they are us.”

You are on the right track.  Beg God to reveal Himself to you.  Right now, the enemy may be influencing you if he has stymied your growth – and he’s slowing your husband down, as a result of interference from you, too.  He has his own journey, at God’s and his pace, not yours.  Ask God to help you love him as a brother on the journey, and be his friend while he travels.

Women tell us over and over again that they go through several stages in “getting to the other side” and I’ve found this to be true in my own situation.  To the best of my ability this morning, I’ll write these stages out, in the way we see them appear.  I might be missing a few things, but here goes!  The stages go something like this:

  1. Discouragement, desperation to try anything to make things change in her marriage
  2. Quiet – a cessation of communication which does two things:
    1. Creates silences so our husband can hear more from God and less from us (thereby causing the experience of a kind of “relief” of sorts, but not as secularly defined)
    2. Creates opportunities within us for God to reveal to us the hideous nature of our hearts, as we are typically starting from a place where we are prideful in thinking we do not “sin as much as our husbands” – we do, even though they may not be “as big of sins” in a culturally defined way, but they are still sins, and still would separate us from God, without relationship with Christ
  3. Quiet with tongue biting and focus on being “agreeable” and “respectful” with continued cessation of communication which teaches us how much we really do need to control what we say, and begins the process of “controlling our tongues” and eliminating criticism and judgment (judgment is a sin), developing more respectful and mature communication behaviors
  4. Edifying communication – where we begin to say words that encourage those around us, even when dealing with problems, mistakes, or concerns
  5. Observations of blessings – where we begin to SEE our husbands and those around us the way that God does, precious in His sight, travelers on the same journey
  6. Expectation crash – where we realize two things, often spaced far apart:
    1. That our husbands haven’t grown as much as WE would have liked them to
    2. That we’ve been “doing all these things in an effort to change our husbands” and not to obey God (the “wrong motives” talked about in James)
  7. Anger at God – where we complain that “we’ve been doing all these things” and the marriage has stayed the same, or our husband’s haven’t changed (sometimes we start lapsing back into old communication patterns at this point)
  8. Awareness of our sinful attitudes about our marriage in light of what Christ did for us, and how that ties into obedience to Him in our marriage, and coming to wrap our identity up in what God thinks of us, as opposed to people – secularly called, “self esteem” but really is a secure sense of identity in Christ that changes everything – our worth is no longer determined by what others think
  9. Repentance (confession of sin with a contrite heart and changed behavior) of our attitudes and judgment toward our husband
  10. Acceptance of forgiveness from God for our sins
  11. Deeper recognition of the preciousness of our husband and ourselves to God
  12. Cycle back through steps 2-5, sometimes 6, depending on the depth of experience of 8 and 9
  13. Recognition that our husband is just a brother on the same journey, which facilitates our ability to be a better friend to him
  14. Depending on satan’s attacks and our own sin nature and selfishness, reoccurrence of the above, but deeper relationship with God if we are still pursuing Him, which results in shorter and shorter cycles such that we are able to “journey with our friend” and enjoy our marriage, have it be a “safe place to fall” for both of us
  15. Arrival at “the other side” where we can SEE ourselves in any of the above, and lean on God to get out of the wrong places, and rest in the right more quickly, based on our deep relationship with Him
  16. Communication with husband that is more of a partnership, rather than a place where needs are constantly focused upon, and a majority of the communication is edifying – this area constantly needs to keep growing, and a lack of effort here will cause an attitude of discouragement

Hope this helps!!  We’ve seen this over and over again, and if we’ll just persevere, there’s blessings on the other side!  Unfortunately, many women give up way too early.  I did the above for about 10 years, and find myself going now through 13-16, but am thankful and hopeful at what God is doing.

Thanks for the opportunity to write it all out.  Please feel free to comment if I’ve missed anything, or if you have something to add.  Dare you to share and be an encouragement for others today! :)

Glad you are on the journey with us.

Love to you,

~Nina

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

It took me over 2 years to feel like these new mindsets and ways of interacting felt almost “normal” instead of awkward, exhausting and foreign.  It took my husband 2 years and 10 months from my repentance over my disrespect and control until all of his walls came down.

And please keep in mind – we both had parents with very stable, solid marriages and our parents were all believers in Christ.  Neither of us was abused or mistreated.  We had never had any other significant romantic relationships than with each other.   We waited for marriage to consummate the marriage.  We did a lot of things right – and I was STILL really messed up just from our culture and some ideas I got in my head that I had a lot more power and sovereignty than I really did when I was little.

So if you have serious baggage – it is going to probably take even longer to recover.  That has to be ok!  It will be baby steps.  Sometimes you will fall.  Then you repent and get up and seek to obey Christ.  Keep your eyes on Him alone.  Seek to please Him alone.  Be sure He is your focus and be willing to give Him ALL of yourself and allow Jesus to be the Master of your life from now on.   Seek His will, not yours.  Pray often.  Study His Word.  Repent of every sin.  Delight in obeying God.  Ask for His Spirit to fill you.  Realize you can do NOTHING apart from Him.

I spent a few hours per day those 2+ years studying, praying, trying to understand God’s wisdom and His design.  This is TOTALLY counter-intuitive, counter-cultural and not PC at all.

But doing things God’s way is SO worth it.  Being close to Him is reward enough.  We will trust Him for the results in our marriages.

If you notice you are disappointed or resentful – check your motives.  Are you only seeking to please God?  Or are you seeking to change your husband or make him love you a certain way?

Let me know how you are doing!  I am always glad to pray with you!

%d bloggers like this: