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Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Say How I Feel and What I Need?

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Nope.

We CAN say what we want, how we feel, what we think, what our concerns are and what we need.

(Please keep in mind that when I talk about submission, I am always talking about the biblical concept, not the worldly definition. For more about biblical submission, please read here.)

We have total freedom to do this! I don’t know a healthy husband who wants a wife who has no thoughts, no opinions, no desires and no feelings. In fact, I believe it is our responsibility and duty to share these things many times – but in a way that is respectful and honoring to God and to our husbands and in a way that doesn’t involve sin. We can have pure motive as we give God’s Spirit total control in our lives so that eventually our only motives will be to love,  please and glorify God and to love, honor, respect and bless our husbands.

Do I do this perfectly?

Nope.

None of us will be perfect until we are in heaven.

Can God give us victory over sin?

YES!

MY PERSONAL WEAKNESS

God is continuing to transform me. I can ask Greg for things I want and need. And I do that every so often. I do fine if I ask for what I want and then drop the issue in my mind and heart and resolve to be content with or without whatever I asked for. But, for me, if I allow myself to dwell on my needs or marinate on thoughts about what Greg “should” do, I can get into trouble and slide into sinful motives very quickly. I have to remember that I cannot FORCE Greg to do what I want him to do. Truthfully, I can be pretty insatiable emotionally and spiritually if I try to look to Greg to meet all my needs. Only Jesus can truly meet my deepest emotional and spiritual needs. (Please note – I am not talking about severe marriage issues here! If there are very serious problems in your marriage – drug/alcohol addiction, mental health issues, actual abuse, infidelity, please seek godly, experienced help in person from someone you can trust!)

I started to slip a few days ago into obsessing about wanting Greg to do something. Maybe you don’t have that problem. But I sure do. I must always watch and check my motives and lay every thought before God, shooting down any ungodly thoughts, repenting of any evil motives and asking God to purify my motives and fill me with His Spirit. I have to have serious time in prayer and in God’s Word often – to maintain spiritual nourishment.

The second I take my eyes off of Jesus and begin to expect Greg to make me happy and meet some deep spiritual need, I start to spiral downward. I know that there are some things I cannot put into my mind. Even one sentence in a book, blog or sermon about “what godly husbands should do” (that is not something my husband usually does for me) can be a trigger for me, a temptation into sinful thoughts – pride, self-righteousness, entitlement, idolatry of my husband or of being in control, selfishness, resentment, bitterness, etc…I have to catch those thoughts immediately and repent and replace them with God’s truth and set my eyes firmly on Christ alone to meet my needs. Then my feet are on solid spiritual ground again – the Rock of Jesus. I do much better if I just don’t allow myself to focus on what husbands are “supposed to do.” Maybe you can read a whole book about how husbands should be godly husbands and it doesn’t phase you. That is awesome! But for me – I know I can’t go there. I also like to avoid romantic movies and books to avoid temptation to compare Greg to some fictional romantic lead. That way, I can be content with what I actually have and thankful for my particular husband and his strengths without adding fictional or unrealistic expectations to him.

I cannot personally approach Greg  about my feelings and desires if I have my heart set (with sinful motives) on what HE should do for me. It will inevitably be a disaster!

If I realize I am getting trapped in that issue of thinking about what Greg should do for me, I have to go to prayer immediately, repent to God if I have sinned in my heart and begin to focus on all of my many blessings and all that I am thankful for and all the things Greg does do for me and all the things I do respect about him. I must focus on finding ALL of my joy, contentment, acceptance, love, identity, purpose and strength in Jesus. I know I need to concentrate on what God asks ME to do. Then God gets me back in balance – usually – before I even say anything to Greg. This time, I did say a few sentences that started drifting toward sinful motives after I asked for what I needed and wanted, then realized what I was doing and repented. I have to have God’s power to do this. I can do nothing good in my own strength!

SUBMISSION IN THE BIBLE, FOR THE BELIEVER, IN MARRIAGE

Submission in the Bible began with the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. The Son submitted to the Father because He loved Him. They were equal in value and equally God, in fact, they are One. But, Jesus submitted to the position of authority of the Father. Did Jesus share His feelings, desire, concerns and needs with God? Absolutely!!!! He was a man of fervent prayer. Did God listen to Jesus’ prayers? Absolutely!!!!!! But Jesus said, “not My will, but Yours be done.”

When there was a conflict between Jesus’ will and God’s will, Jesus voluntarily chose the Father’s will because He loved Him and because He loved us. (Please read John 17 to read how Jesus shared His heart, needs, desires and concerns with God passionately, intimately, boldly, respectfully and lovingly.)

Submission for a believer begins with our yielding to the Lordship of Christ Jesus. Does He allow us to share our thoughts, desires, concerns, emotions and needs with Him? Yes! He already knows all of these things, but He delights in us connecting with Him and loves for us to pray to Him. (Please read “How to Pray for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear” for more about how to pray. You can also search “prayer” and “pray” on my home page for posts that may be helpful about how to approach God and how to pray fervently and effectively.)

If there is a conflict between our will and God’s will, a believer is to submit to God’s will. Ultimately, that is what we are all to seek above all else, God’s will and God’s glory.

Submission in marriage begins with a wife voluntarily choosing to honor her husband’s God-given leadership. A husband cannot force biblical submission. This is something a wife chooses to do out of her love and reverence for Christ.. Not that the husband is God. A husband is NOT deity! Some people think that if a wife submits to her husband, she is worshipping him as a god. No! That is NOT AT ALL what the Bible teaches! He is just a human being – a sinful and imperfect one – who has been given the position of authority and leadership in order that he might protect, provide for, nurture, lead and guide his wife and family. For more on all the different kinds of human spiritual authority (pastors, church leaders, government leaders, police, military, bosses, husbands and parents), please check out this post.

A wife is free to share her heart, her thoughts, her concerns, her feelings, her emotions, her needs and desires with her husband. And, she is free to share all of these things with God, trusting God to ultimately be the One to meet all of her needs through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

 

If a husband and wife don’t or can’t agree, then a godly wife voluntarily chooses to honor her husband’s decision, trusting God to lead her through her husband.

SHARING OUR NEEDS AND DESIRES

The key for a godly wife is that she is sensitive to God’s Spirit and His prompting about exactly what to say, when to say it, how to say it, when to not say anything and what is worth talking about vs. what is not worth talking about at any given time.

When a godly wife does approach her husband to share, she does so from a place of:

  • spiritual strength – being filled with the power of God’s Spirit and all of His fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23)
  • God’s love motivating her – I Corinthians 13:4-8
  • refusing to use sinful motives or sinful words or actions to attempt to get her way (she does not resort to humiliating, criticizing, demeaning, belittling, making fun of, bossing, controlling, being violent, arguing, disrespecting, complaining or judging her husband. She does not allow herself to be motivated by resentment, fear, bitterness, hatred, apathy, vengeance or anything that would grieve the heart of God. For more details on the sinful nature, please check out Galatians 5:18-21 or II Timothy 3:1-9 )
  • knowing her old sinful nature is dead and buried with Christ so she counts herself dead to sin and her old self but alive to God through Christ Jesus (Romans 6)
  • total submission to Christ as Lord (James 4:7-10)
  • being ready to extend the same lavish unconditional love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that she received herself from Christ (Matthew 6:14-15)
  • God’s wisdom which is much higher than the wisdom of people (James 1:5-8)
  • seeking God’s will above her own (Luke 12:31)
  • seeking to honor, bless and respect her husband and to obey God (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • leaning on God’s wisdom and not trusting her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
  • meekness – this is strength under control or “bridled strength.” The picture is that of a wild stallion who has been “broken.” His will has been broken so now he uses all of his strength to accomplish what his owner/rider instructs him to do. This is what we do for God. Our will is to be broken and we submit our will to His, allowing Him to control our lives, our thoughts, our desires, our actions and our circumstances and giving Him total access to everything we possess. (I Peter 3:4)
  • no fear, because all of her trust is firmly placed in Christ, so she overflows with His peace because she trusts in God with great faith (I Peter 3:6, Hebrews 11:6)
  • faith that God will use all things for her ultimate good and His ultimate glory even if she does not receive what she wants in a given situation (Romans 8:28-29)

There are times when a wife knows God is prompting her to wait and not verbally address an issue. This is particularly true when a husband is far from God. In such situations, God’s commands for wives are to win her husband without a word by their reverence, purity and godly behavior (I Peter 3:1).

There are times when a wife knows that God is definitely prompting that she needs to say something specific right now. There is not a formula for knowing what to say and when that I know of. This is about us growing in our relationship with Jesus and learning to depend on and trust in Him and learning to hear and listen to His voice alone. This means we have to spend TIME with God in prayer, seeking His presence, seeking His truth, asking Him to change us and feasting on His Word. THAT is where our power source is. If we try to do this without the power of God’s Spirit and His Word, we will not have the spiritual nourishment and strength we need and we will be much too weak!

SHARE:

How have you learned to share your heart, needs and desires in a godly way in your marriage? What are your temptations that trip you up? What approaches don’t work with your husband? What approaches do work and bless both you and your husband?

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control Is a Process

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right

Submission Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

The Secret of Submission

Can You Overdo Respect or Submission in Marriage?

Fear Fuels Our “Need to Control

To Speak or Not to Speak

The Frustrating Quiet Phase (this is only a phase early in the journey, it is not a permanent thing!)

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

When My Spouse is Wrong

 

Do I Make Decisions Based on Feelings/Emotions? Part 1

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ADMIN NOTE:

My internet is down for the time being. I will respond when I am able to. 🙂

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Emotions and feelings are good gifts God has given to us. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger and nervousness all have purposes in our lives and can be used for good. They help us know when there are problems and to be able to respond to our circumstances and to other people. They also can bring us and others great joy and blessing when we use them properly.

In our culture today, many of us build our entire lives upon our feelings. We make decisions based on “what will make me feel happy right now.”

Feelings are important. They can act as a compass and help us sometimes to know if we are headed in the right direction or not. They can be red flags to show us that we need to examine our feelings and to determine why we feel the way we do so that we can know ourselves, our hearts and make the best decisions.  BUT…

Feelings alone are a very poor foundation upon which to make decisions.

Feelings are not infallible. They are not a source of absolute truth. It is possible to put our feelings above everything else in life. We may even, unconsciously, put our feelings above God in our hearts. We may decide that we have to do “everything” we possibly can to avoid being upset, sad, hurt, scared or unhappy – no matter what the cost. We may decide that we need to put our own current feelings of happiness on the throne of our lives, basing all of our choices upon “what will make me feel happy right now?”

  • When we build our lives on feelings and emotions – we are building on sinking sand. When the storms come, decisions and lives that are built on feelings will collapse because they do not have a firm foundation.
  • Jesus is the Rock. When we build our lives on Him and His Word, we are building our lives on solid ground that will not crumble beneath the load of our lives. When the storms come, our house will stand.

HOW DOES THIS PLAY OUT?

When I face a decision, what level of priority do I give my feelings? Do I make them A factor, or do I make them THE factor?

When I allow my feelings to be in charge, they become tyrannical. Obedience to God easily goes out the window. Love for others becomes “too complicated,” “too costly” or “inconvenient.” If all that matters is my personal happiness in the moment, my deceitful heart can justify any sin against God or against others because my only concern is “I need to feel happy right now.”

When Jesus is my LORD, His Word is the deciding factor. I can certainly express my feelings to God. But then, if Jesus is Lord, I obey God. Period. No matter what my feelings are at the time. I value His wisdom much more than my own and His truth much more than my emotions.

Here is a little secret about obeying God.

Obedience comes first. Feelings usually follow obedience.

But even if good feelings don’t follow my obedience to God, my feelings are not important in comparison with my obedience to God. God calls me to live a holy life, to live in the power of His Spirit, to walk as Christ walked. He says that if I love Him, I will obey Him. He says that those who do not obey Him do not love Him. (John 14:22,24)

God will judge me based on how I lived my life according to His holy standards, not according to my emotions. The only way I can do this is to be filled up with His Spirit, abiding in Him daily and allowing His power to regenerate my spirit. Then He empowers me to live the way He commands me to live in ways I never could on my own. But I must be willing to submit fully to Him and abandon anything He says is sin.

TEARING OUT THE IDOL OF FEELINGS

It can be scary to stop basing our lives on our emotions if that is what we have always done. But there is so much freedom when we allow God’s Spirit to be in charge instead of our feelings! Then we are no longer slaves to our fleeting and ever-changing emotions. Being a slave to our emotions ALWAYS means we will also be a slave to sin. We want to feed the sinful nature and the desires of the flesh when we listen to feelings. When we die to our old sinful nature and live as living sacrifices for Jesus, there is great love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control in increasing measure in our lives.

Now, we allow God to be in charge and we boss our feelings around instead of allowing our feelings to be the boss and dictate what we will do in any situation. God’s Word becomes the standard and pleasing Him becomes our goal.

 

Tomorrow, we will continue this post and talk about some practical examples. 🙂

 

RELATED:

Your Emotions are a Gauge, Not a Guide – Desiring God

Praying for Your Husband so that God Will Hear

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I used to pray earlier in our marriage – A LOT.

Sometimes I would pray for 4 hours at a time multiple times a week.  Seriously.

I thought that I could clearly see my husband’s faults and I would pray and pray that God would change him. I would beg God to let us pray together as a couple.  I would pray for God to cause my husband to lead spiritually (the way I thought he should, of course!). That is CLEARLY God’s will, right?

And then when it wouldn’t happen by that night, I would be angry.  Literally.  No answer in 8 hours?  That was unacceptable!  I had prayed for God’s will.  I was dumbfounded.

Why on earth wasn’t I seeing answers to my prayers?

1. I CHERISHED SIN IN MY HEART – A LOT OF SIN

If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened.  Psalm 66:18

Unfortunately:

  • I got hung up on being resentful.
  • I was awful at forgiveness.
  • I had let a root of bitterness grow into a full-fledged evil tree in my life.
  • I was rebellious against God’s Word – to forgive, to not be bitter, to submit to my husband, to respect my husband (even though I didn’t realize I was disrespectful and controlling)…
  • I was committing idolatry (wanting MY way, wanting to be in control, wanting to feel loved, expecting my husband to be Christ to me).
  • I was overflowing with pride.
  • I was VERY, VERY worried and anxious every waking moment – I did not trust my husband and I did not trust God.  I only trusted myself.
  • I was self-righteous – I thought I was so much more spiritually mature than my husband.

I didn’t just have a 2X4 in my eye, I had a FOREST. 🙁

I needed Jesus and His blood and forgiveness infinitely more than I had ever previously imagined!  Turns out that I am a wretched sinner in total desperation for Christ!  I really didn’t “get it” before!

2. I WOULDN’T FORGIVE, I CHERISHED RESENTMENT MORE THAN INTIMACY WITH CHRIST

Unforgiveness is a really big deal to God.  He counts it as a major sin.

If you forgive men when they sin against you,

your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive men their sins,

your father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15

3. I DID NOT HAVE PROPER RESPECT FOR GOD AND THE GOD-GIVEN AUTHORITY OF MY HUSBAND

I really believed in my heart that I knew better than my husband. And I lived as if I knew better than God, too, because I did not respect my husband’s God given spiritual authority over me and when I prayed to God about my husband.

I was disrespectful about my husband to God. I was trying to control God, too!  I treated God with the same disrespect and attempts to control that I used on my husband.  I was demanding and prideful to God, Himself.  I thought if I prayed hard enough and long enough, God would do what I wanted Him to do – He owed me.  Wrong!

As soon as God showed me my sin of disrespect and pride, I quit focusing on trying to change my husband and trying to control everyone around me and God and began focusing on all that God wanted to change in ME!  It turns out, there was more than enough sin in my own life to keep me VERY busy for a long, long time – despite my long-held (quite erroneous) beliefs that I was nearly perfect, always right, and knew better than everyone else what needed to be done in any given situation.

4. I WAS EXTREMELY PRIDEFUL

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6

God opposed me before.  My arrogance and pride was sky high.  I don’t know if pride is measurable, but, if it was, surely I was getting close to the limit of what is humanly possible.

I prayed with a spirit of judgment and criticism and condemnation against my husband.  I was just like the Pharisees.  I looked down on my husband instead of praying with humility and seeing the depths of my own sin clearly and seeing how much Jesus has forgiven me.

Now – I know God hears me.

And even more importantly – He allows me to hear HIM!

Many of the things I was praying for years ago were God’s will. I still pray a lot of the same things now that I used to. But now – I see prayers answered every day!  Not all of them have been answered yet – and that is ok.

Now, I trust God’s timing and His sovereignty to do what is best for me, my husband and His glory, by His power and in His timing.  Now – I see miracles happening and mountains being moved. Now I see the power of God unleashed and working in me and my husband!  And it is AWESOME!

The difference is that now – GOD has changed me by His power working in me to be:

  • PATIENT – If I have to wait until I am 80 years old and things don’t change until then, I am ok with that.  I wait on God’s timing and trust His wisdom and timing are much better than my own.  I used to be one of the most impatient people EVER.  But I have learned that when you wait on God – there will be  a lot of waiting.  The waiting on His timing is important, and He has plenty for me to do and learn in the meantime.  So, I wait – and I praise Him and serve Him while I wait.
  • HUMBLE – I totally get that I do NOT know better than God and that I very likely do NOT know better than my husband.  My own wisdom is foolishness, and God’s wisdom is wise.  I do NOT know best!!!!!!!! I am open to the idea that God will use my husband to lead me even when I don’t agree and can’t understand.  I don’t insist on my own way.  I don’t make demands.  I make respectful requests, and I understand the proper chain of authority:  God>Christ>my husband>me.  I don’t try to go around my husband’s authority to get what I want from God if my husband won’t give me what I desire like I used to.  I know that my husband can’t keep me from God’s will if I am obeying and trusting God.  And I also know that if I am rebelling against God’s commands for me as a wife, I can’t be in God’s will!
  • RESPECTFUL – I understand that God put my husband in spiritual authority over me. I trust God to use my husband to lead me and guide me. I respect the position of “husband” as the leadership position in our marriage (ordained by God in Ephesians 5:22-33) and yield to his leadership willingly and cheerfully. I know that I cannot be disrespectful of God’s agent of spiritual authority over my life and receive God’s blessings on my marriage. I trust that God can and will use my husband to accomplish His will – whether my husband is close to God or not. I thank God for my husband’s authority over me to protect me and care for me and I thank my husband frequently for his leadership and authority over me. I began thanking him for being the leader and authority in our marriage WAY before he began to lead.  I stepped down and waited as long as it took for him to be able to take the helm.  I didn’t rush him.  I didn’t take over when he didn’t move.  I waited.  A LOT.  And I waited patiently and cheerfully with great faith in God and in my husband.  One thing I did early on in this process was read I Corinthians 11, and began covering my head out of respect for my husband’s authority over me when I pray.  It’s not popular today to do this, I totally get that.  But it reminds me to have the proper respectful attitude towards my husband’s authority over me and towards God – and I need that!  I need all the help I can get with having a respectful attitude towards my husband and towards God.  I believe God honors our obedience even when no one else seems to be obeying Him.
  • STILL – I don’t try to make things happen the way I think they should anymore. I don’t insist on my way. If my husband makes a decision I disagree with, I tell him my position respectfully. I tell him my feelings. I pray about it. And I accept it and wait with great anticipation to see what God will do.  I am not panicking and freaking out  and trying to force things to happen the way I think they should.  God has given me a calm, peaceful, still spirit.  It is AMAZING!!!!!  I LOVE the power of His Spirit working in me and would do ANYTHING to have Him filling me up!!!
  • GRATEFUL – I thank God for everything I can think of! I thank my husband for everything I can think of, too!  Every day.  All day long.
  • JOYFUL – I love God with my whole heart! Obeying His Word has given me the most joy I have ever experienced in my life! I didn’t have joy when I was being disobedient to God’s commands for wives.  I look to Him for my strength, purpose and joy now – not my husband or my marriage.
  • PEACEFUL – I truly live in God’s peace daily now. This is all His power and His Spirit at work, it’s not something I can do on my own. I trust God. I trust my husband. I trust God to work through my husband even when my husband makes mistakes. The pressure is off. I rest in the love of God and the love of my husband. I know that I am not in charge, and it is a HUGE weight off of my shoulders!  I am not stressed anymore!  I am not worried anymore!  I am not lonely or despairing anymore.  THANK YOU, LORD!  I praise You for what You have done in my life!  SO many miracles!  I can never repay You, Jesus!
  • OBEDIENT – I desire to obey God in EVERYTHING. I have a willing spirit to obey Him and please Him. And I am cooperative with my husband’s leadership. I don’t rebel against his ideas or direction. I do know that if my husband asked me to do something that went against God’s Word, I would have to respectfully stand up to him and refuse to follow him. But so far, that hasn’t been an issue.
  • FULL OF PRAISE – I praise my husband.  I praise God.  I sing in my heart happily all day every day.  Just like God inhabits the praises of His people, I believe that husbands inhabit the praises of their wives.
  • SURRENDERED TO THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST – I constantly check my heart and soul for any idols, and ask God to convict me – because I know that I can be so blind to sin.  I ask God to show me anything I am putting above my love and devotion for Christ. I am ready to tear anything out that is in that holy place that belongs to Him alone.  It has to go – without mercy – even good things cannot be in that place.  I MUST seek Jesus first WAY above everything else.   I lay down my own desires, my will, my wisdom, my purposes, my plans and my dreams and seek God’s will, His wisdom, His desires, His glory and His purposes.

WHAT INCREDIBLE CHANGES GOD HAS MADE IN ME!  I AM IN TOTAL AWE!

When God changes our hearts and we take off the old sinful self and put on the new woman we are in Christ – and are full of His Spirit and power – WOW!  THEN, we want to pray for God’s will, not our own.

And God purifies our motives.  It’s SO easy to have double motives or impure motives.

 Motives matter to God!

I must do the right thing for the right reasons to honor my Lord.  When my heart and motives are pure in His sight, and His Spirit is filling my life to overflowing, He hears and I can rest assured that He will answer my prayers for His glory and to accomplish His purposes in His timing.  There is no better place to be in all the world!

Lord,

I pray that other wives might find this freedom to live in Your peace and joy, too!  I pray that You might break the shackles of resentment, un-forgiveness, pride, idolatry, rebellion and anything that offends Your holiness.  I pray that we as wives might repent and seek You with our whole hearts!

I pray that we might learn to respect the leadership and authority of Jesus first and then also that we might learn to respect the God-given authority of our husbands.   Let us taste and see how good You are!  I pray that each precious wife who reads this might live in a spirit of humility, repentance, reverence and patience in Your presence and that they might see Your power at work in their marriages, too, for Your great glory!  I pray for Your will to be done – not our own.  We trust You with the outcomes – but we lay ourselves at Your feet and long only to know You and to obey You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen!

The Respect Dare, Day 32 – Just the Facts, Please, Ma’am, Just the Facts.

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Hebrews 10:24

One of the things that Nina Roesner shares with women in The Respect Dare is for wives to “just be factual and not emotional during conversations with husbands” and not to jump to conclusions, but calmly ask questions before assuming motive or intentions.

A huge part of this is being full of God’s Spirit.  That requires a lot of time in God’s Word and in prayer and setting our sites to want to know Christ more than anything else.  Then we can be sensitive to His gentle voice and little nudges.  He begins to purify our motives and helps us to begin to filter first our words and then even out thoughts through His Word.

A ROUGH WEEK (This is a fictional example)

Imagine that you asked your husband to help out with the dishes after supper so that you could go nurse the baby.  You had the older 2 children settled and playing together with toy trains in the den near the kitchen while you went upstairs with the little one.  Your husband actually brings the older children upstairs to you after about 30 minutes and you thank him and help them get ready for bed quietly, hoping the baby will stay asleep.

It’s been a long week.  You end up falling into bed, exhausted from the respiratory virus you have and from the round-the-clock nursing you have been doing since the baby has been sick, too.  Your husband also gets in bed around the same time.  He has had a rough week at work and he has started with a stuffy nose and a cough, too.  You can hear that his asthma is beginning to flare up and you hope that he still has his inhalers around somewhere.

The next morning, you go downstairs and see the mess.  The dishes are still on the table with dried and crusted food all over them.

How do you respond?

1. Stomp right back upstairs, thinking about how you are going to let your man have it for not taking care of the dishes.  Then start yelling at him right then and there, waking him and all the children up, “How COULD you leave that MESS for me in the kitchen????!?!?!?  You know how exhausted I am!   You know I have been sick and the baby has been sick.  How dare you leave all of that for me as if I am your maid?   You don’t love me at all!”

2.  Burst out in tears, start throwing dirty plates into the dish washer, maybe even breaking one or two – then maintain an icy distance and silence all day with your husband – avoiding him whenever possible and glaring at him any time he looks your way, seething inside with resentment that he didn’t do what you had asked him to do.

3. Sigh and begin to cry from sheer exhaustion, but then remember that your husband got up during the night a few times, and that his cough didn’t sound very good, and decide that maybe you would ask him if he was ok and ask a few questions to find out what happened before making any assumptions about his motives or intentions with the dishes the night before.

ENDING #1

You find your husband sleeping in your bed and notice the bucket beside him on the floor – the one that he always uses when he throws up.  You put your hand on his forehead – he is burning up.  You happen to have a forehead scanning thermometer and you check his temperature.  103.04’F.  Yikes!

You creep back down the stairs and decide you will handle the dishes yourself.  You find the ibuprofen and acetaminophen and leave them on his nightstand with a glass of water, and get his inhaler for him.

You pray for healing for him and for yourself and the baby and for God’s strength to just get through the day and somehow love your family by God’s power.

Later that day, once he is on some medication and his fever is down to about 100’F and he is awake in bed, you ask him calmly and with genuine concern, “Sweetheart, what happened last night after supper?  I saw the dishes this morning, are you ok?”

He suddenly realizes that he didn’t finish the dishes and apologizes.  Then he talks about how he suddenly felt very nauseous last night after supper and got so dizzy that he was afraid he might pass out.  He got the food into the fridge, but then had to lie down on the couch for a bit.  He did mediate some disputes between the older two children and managed to get them upstairs.  He knew that you were sick, too, and didn’t want to worry you.  He meant to come back downstairs later and finish the dishes, but he started feeling really horrible and forgot.

You silently THANK GOD that you did not jump to conclusions about your husband and the dishes the night before and praise God for the work He is doing in your heart.  You totally understand why the dishes weren’t done and you have no problem forgiving him.  You are glad you can be there to take care of him when he is so miserable.  You pray that God might use you to bless your husband today.

ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS

It is possible that your husband wasn’t in these kinds of dire straits.

  • Maybe he just had a very stressful day at work and hadn’t slept well all week either and honestly forgot about the dishes.
  • Maybe your daughter asked him to dance with her to her favorite song and he pretended to dance with “Cinderella” and brought the children upstairs, got distracted and decided to rest a minute, thinking he would take care of them later.
  • Maybe the kids freaked out about a big roach on the ceiling, and he got busy taking care of that and solving some disputes between the children and remembered it was their bedtime and brought them upstairs and forgot.

The point is – there is probably a reasonable explanation that your husband was just distracted, tired, not feeling well or forgot.  Most likely, he was not purposely being unloving at all.  If given a chance, he will probably apologize on his own if you are able to allow him some time to explain himself.

PERSPECTIVE

Sometimes, remembering the grace my husband has given me in the past is helpful.

Maybe my husband didn’t rake me over the coals when I:

  • was so sleep-deprived that I put the milk in the cabinet instead of the fridge.
  • absent-mindedly lost my wallet and he and the kids had to go with me to the DMV at 4:30pm one afternoon in a torrential thunderstorm so that I would have a driver’s license for work the next morning.   (He found it 7 months later in our kitchen pantry.  Behind some soft drinks.  I have no idea how that happened!)
  • remembered to pack our children’s lunches for school and totally forgot to pack his until it was time for him to walk out the door – and too late for me to get his lunch together.

 

Yes, these are true stories of things I have done for which my husband extended grace to me!  He didn’t complain at all.  He just dealt with the inconvenience and carried on, doing what he had to do, being his normal friendly self.

EMOTIONS:

You CAN express your emotions – but keep in mind that when you are responding to a situation where it could be easy to jump to conclusions, or if you are communicating something important to your husband that you really want him to hear – he will be better able to hear you with fewer words and less emotion.

And when you do share your emotions, if you can share them in a non-blaming, fairly calm way – that allows your husband to hear your heart much more accurately.  That’s why I like Laura Doyle’s method (The Surrendered Wife) of speaking our desires and feelings very simply.  Less words and less emotions actually get our message across many times much more effectively with men:

  • “I want X”
  • “I don’t want Y.”
  • “I feel sad.”  “I feel afraid.”  “I feel nervous.”  “I feel upset.”  “I feel lonely.”

ie: “I feel lonely. Would you please hold me for a  few minutes?”  or “I feel lonely.  I’d love/I want to cuddle for a few minutes, please”  work MUCH better than, “You never spend any time with me!  You obviously don’t love me at all!”

And, remember to share your positive emotions, too! Your emotions are VERY POWERFUL to your husband.  Using them in a constructive way will help you bond and become even closer.   I like to share all of my emotions with my husband – that helps him know me better and understand my heart more.

  • “I’m so happy being here with you!”
  • “I feel very safe with you.”
  • “I’m so glad we got to do X!”
  • “I really appreciate all you have done for me.”
  • “Thank you!!!!!!!!!”
  • “I’m so full of joy!”

RESPECT DARE 32:

Take a moment today and consider how God has changed you in the past 32 days.  What is different?

  • your motives?
  • your goals?
  • your understanding of yourself?
  • your understanding of your husband?
  • your understanding of God?
  • your ability to give grace, mercy and forgiveness?
  • your desire to let go of every sin?
  • your desire to see and tear out any idols – anything that is more important to you than knowing, loving and honoring Christ?

Pray for God to help you want to live completely for Him and for His honor and glory.  Pray for Him to purify your heart and life and remove anything that offends Him – even ungodly motives.  Ask God to help you desire intimacy with Him more than anything.

How can you stick with the facts and ask your husband questions calmly and unemotionally instead of assuming the worst the next time you feel disappointed in your husband?  How might God want you to extend grace?

SHARE:

What have you been learning from God lately?

Can you think of a time that you would like to share when you used calm, unemotional questions and were able to find out the truth and the facts about the situation before jumping to erroneous or unfair conclusions?

What has God been changing in your heart the past month or so?

RELATED

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Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk  NOW May Not Be  a Good Idea

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How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Respect Dare, Day 32 – Just the Facts, Please, Ma'am, Just the Facts.

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Hebrews 10:24

One of the things that Nina Roesner shares with women in The Respect Dare is for wives to “just be factual and not emotional during conversations with husbands” and not to jump to conclusions, but calmly ask questions before assuming motive or intentions.

A huge part of this is being full of God’s Spirit.  That requires a lot of time in God’s Word and in prayer and setting our sites to want to know Christ more than anything else.  Then we can be sensitive to His gentle voice and little nudges.  He begins to purify our motives and helps us to begin to filter first our words and then even out thoughts through His Word.

A ROUGH WEEK (This is a fictional example)

Imagine that you asked your husband to help out with the dishes after supper so that you could go nurse the baby.  You had the older 2 children settled and playing together with toy trains in the den near the kitchen while you went upstairs with the little one.  Your husband actually brings the older children upstairs to you after about 30 minutes and you thank him and help them get ready for bed quietly, hoping the baby will stay asleep.

It’s been a long week.  You end up falling into bed, exhausted from the respiratory virus you have and from the round-the-clock nursing you have been doing since the baby has been sick, too.  Your husband also gets in bed around the same time.  He has had a rough week at work and he has started with a stuffy nose and a cough, too.  You can hear that his asthma is beginning to flare up and you hope that he still has his inhalers around somewhere.

The next morning, you go downstairs and see the mess.  The dishes are still on the table with dried and crusted food all over them.

How do you respond?

1. Stomp right back upstairs, thinking about how you are going to let your man have it for not taking care of the dishes.  Then start yelling at him right then and there, waking him and all the children up, “How COULD you leave that MESS for me in the kitchen????!?!?!?  You know how exhausted I am!   You know I have been sick and the baby has been sick.  How dare you leave all of that for me as if I am your maid?   You don’t love me at all!”

2.  Burst out in tears, start throwing dirty plates into the dish washer, maybe even breaking one or two – then maintain an icy distance and silence all day with your husband – avoiding him whenever possible and glaring at him any time he looks your way, seething inside with resentment that he didn’t do what you had asked him to do.

3. Sigh and begin to cry from sheer exhaustion, but then remember that your husband got up during the night a few times, and that his cough didn’t sound very good, and decide that maybe you would ask him if he was ok and ask a few questions to find out what happened before making any assumptions about his motives or intentions with the dishes the night before.

ENDING #1

You find your husband sleeping in your bed and notice the bucket beside him on the floor – the one that he always uses when he throws up.  You put your hand on his forehead – he is burning up.  You happen to have a forehead scanning thermometer and you check his temperature.  103.04’F.  Yikes!

You creep back down the stairs and decide you will handle the dishes yourself.  You find the ibuprofen and acetaminophen and leave them on his nightstand with a glass of water, and get his inhaler for him.

You pray for healing for him and for yourself and the baby and for God’s strength to just get through the day and somehow love your family by God’s power.

Later that day, once he is on some medication and his fever is down to about 100’F and he is awake in bed, you ask him calmly and with genuine concern, “Sweetheart, what happened last night after supper?  I saw the dishes this morning, are you ok?”

He suddenly realizes that he didn’t finish the dishes and apologizes.  Then he talks about how he suddenly felt very nauseous last night after supper and got so dizzy that he was afraid he might pass out.  He got the food into the fridge, but then had to lie down on the couch for a bit.  He did mediate some disputes between the older two children and managed to get them upstairs.  He knew that you were sick, too, and didn’t want to worry you.  He meant to come back downstairs later and finish the dishes, but he started feeling really horrible and forgot.

You silently THANK GOD that you did not jump to conclusions about your husband and the dishes the night before and praise God for the work He is doing in your heart.  You totally understand why the dishes weren’t done and you have no problem forgiving him.  You are glad you can be there to take care of him when he is so miserable.  You pray that God might use you to bless your husband today.

ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS

It is possible that your husband wasn’t in these kinds of dire straits.

  • Maybe he just had a very stressful day at work and hadn’t slept well all week either and honestly forgot about the dishes.
  • Maybe your daughter asked him to dance with her to her favorite song and he pretended to dance with “Cinderella” and brought the children upstairs, got distracted and decided to rest a minute, thinking he would take care of them later.
  • Maybe the kids freaked out about a big roach on the ceiling, and he got busy taking care of that and solving some disputes between the children and remembered it was their bedtime and brought them upstairs and forgot.

The point is – there is probably a reasonable explanation that your husband was just distracted, tired, not feeling well or forgot.  Most likely, he was not purposely being unloving at all.  If given a chance, he will probably apologize on his own if you are able to allow him some time to explain himself.

PERSPECTIVE

Sometimes, remembering the grace my husband has given me in the past is helpful.

Maybe my husband didn’t rake me over the coals when I:

  • was so sleep-deprived that I put the milk in the cabinet instead of the fridge.
  • absent-mindedly lost my wallet and he and the kids had to go with me to the DMV at 4:30pm one afternoon in a torrential thunderstorm so that I would have a driver’s license for work the next morning.   (He found it 7 months later in our kitchen pantry.  Behind some soft drinks.  I have no idea how that happened!)
  • remembered to pack our children’s lunches for school and totally forgot to pack his until it was time for him to walk out the door – and too late for me to get his lunch together.

 

Yes, these are true stories of things I have done for which my husband extended grace to me!  He didn’t complain at all.  He just dealt with the inconvenience and carried on, doing what he had to do, being his normal friendly self.

EMOTIONS:

You CAN express your emotions – but keep in mind that when you are responding to a situation where it could be easy to jump to conclusions, or if you are communicating something important to your husband that you really want him to hear – he will be better able to hear you with fewer words and less emotion.

And when you do share your emotions, if you can share them in a non-blaming, fairly calm way – that allows your husband to hear your heart much more accurately.  That’s why I like Laura Doyle’s method (The Surrendered Wife) of speaking our desires and feelings very simply.  Less words and less emotions actually get our message across many times much more effectively with men:

  • “I want X”
  • “I don’t want Y.”
  • “I feel sad.”  “I feel afraid.”  “I feel nervous.”  “I feel upset.”  “I feel lonely.”

ie: “I feel lonely. Would you please hold me for a  few minutes?”  or “I feel lonely.  I’d love/I want to cuddle for a few minutes, please”  work MUCH better than, “You never spend any time with me!  You obviously don’t love me at all!”

And, remember to share your positive emotions, too! Your emotions are VERY POWERFUL to your husband.  Using them in a constructive way will help you bond and become even closer.   I like to share all of my emotions with my husband – that helps him know me better and understand my heart more.

  • “I’m so happy being here with you!”
  • “I feel very safe with you.”
  • “I’m so glad we got to do X!”
  • “I really appreciate all you have done for me.”
  • “Thank you!!!!!!!!!”
  • “I’m so full of joy!”

RESPECT DARE 32:

Take a moment today and consider how God has changed you in the past 32 days.  What is different?

  • your motives?
  • your goals?
  • your understanding of yourself?
  • your understanding of your husband?
  • your understanding of God?
  • your ability to give grace, mercy and forgiveness?
  • your desire to let go of every sin?
  • your desire to see and tear out any idols – anything that is more important to you than knowing, loving and honoring Christ?

Pray for God to help you want to live completely for Him and for His honor and glory.  Pray for Him to purify your heart and life and remove anything that offends Him – even ungodly motives.  Ask God to help you desire intimacy with Him more than anything.

How can you stick with the facts and ask your husband questions calmly and unemotionally instead of assuming the worst the next time you feel disappointed in your husband?  How might God want you to extend grace?

SHARE:

What have you been learning from God lately?

Can you think of a time that you would like to share when you used calm, unemotional questions and were able to find out the truth and the facts about the situation before jumping to erroneous or unfair conclusions?

What has God been changing in your heart the past month or so?

RELATED

Men and Emotions

A Husband Answers my Questions about Emotions

Why the “Rapid Fire” Method of Talking May Not Work Well

Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk  NOW May Not Be  a Good Idea

Sending Emails to Your Husband

The Painful Email Issue

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Respect Dare, Day 31 – “Watch Me!”

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Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.  Proverbs 21:9

YIKES!

I don’t think that any of us want to be labelled a “quarrelsome wife”  – but I have to admit that I sure was one at times in those first 15 years of our marriage.

I was quick to anger, quick to speak and slow to listen, unfortunately. 🙁

I was so task-oriented, that I didn’t just slow down and enjoy my husband or savor the journey.  Now I know, that is NOT at all how I want to live my one chance at life!

HOW MEN BOND

Do you know that men enjoy having peace in their lives?  Sometimes quiet is just the thing they need to recharge their souls.   Men do not usually emotionally bond with words or by talking face-to-face like women tend to do.

One of the ways men like to bond most is to do “shoulder to shoulder” activities (Shaunti Feldhahn “For Women Only” and Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ “Love and Respect”).   They often like to bond just by being together doing stuff.

Try just sitting quietly in the same room or out in the garage or in the driveway a few feet away from your guy as he works on a project sometime this week.  Don’t try to initiate conversation.  Just enjoy being with him.  Get him something if he asks for it.  Or surprise him with a cold glass of tea and a snack.  Sit on a stool or in a chair and just savor being with him, enjoying watching him work.  Smile at him if he looks at you.  Know that you are feeding his soul and nourishing your marriage.

RESPECT DARE #31

1. What can you do to be more relationship focused and to enjoy your husband more?

2. Think about what your husband loves to do – maybe he has invited you to go and you have always turned him down.  Do something he enjoys with him this week if at all possible.  Fishing, basketball, watch him work on a project, help him with a project (if he suggests it), go with him to a game or race.

3. How can you show your husband that you are “his number one fan” as Nina Roesner suggests in The Respect Dare?

4. How are you doing with not being a nagging, quarrelsome, contentious wife?  What do you believe God would have you to do about this if you have room for improvement?

SHARE:

You are welcome to share your ideas of things to do with your husband, or how to show your husband you are on his team.   How do you plan to turn down the negativity, arguing, complaining, nagging, criticism and negativity.

The Respect Dare, Day 31 – "Watch Me!"

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Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.  Proverbs 21:9

YIKES!

I don’t think that any of us want to be labelled a “quarrelsome wife”  – but I have to admit that I sure was one at times in those first 15 years of our marriage.

I was quick to anger, quick to speak and slow to listen, unfortunately. 🙁

I was so task-oriented, that I didn’t just slow down and enjoy my husband or savor the journey.  Now I know, that is NOT at all how I want to live my one chance at life!

HOW MEN BOND

Do you know that men enjoy having peace in their lives?  Sometimes quiet is just the thing they need to recharge their souls.   Men do not usually emotionally bond with words or by talking face-to-face like women tend to do.

One of the ways men like to bond most is to do “shoulder to shoulder” activities (Shaunti Feldhahn “For Women Only” and Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ “Love and Respect”).   They often like to bond just by being together doing stuff.

Try just sitting quietly in the same room or out in the garage or in the driveway a few feet away from your guy as he works on a project sometime this week.  Don’t try to initiate conversation.  Just enjoy being with him.  Get him something if he asks for it.  Or surprise him with a cold glass of tea and a snack.  Sit on a stool or in a chair and just savor being with him, enjoying watching him work.  Smile at him if he looks at you.  Know that you are feeding his soul and nourishing your marriage.

RESPECT DARE #31

1. What can you do to be more relationship focused and to enjoy your husband more?

2. Think about what your husband loves to do – maybe he has invited you to go and you have always turned him down.  Do something he enjoys with him this week if at all possible.  Fishing, basketball, watch him work on a project, help him with a project (if he suggests it), go with him to a game or race.

3. How can you show your husband that you are “his number one fan” as Nina Roesner suggests in The Respect Dare?

4. How are you doing with not being a nagging, quarrelsome, contentious wife?  What do you believe God would have you to do about this if you have room for improvement?

SHARE:

You are welcome to share your ideas of things to do with your husband, or how to show your husband you are on his team.   How do you plan to turn down the negativity, arguing, complaining, nagging, criticism and negativity.

The Respect Dare, Day 24 – Intimacy with God

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

SO I CAN’T TALK????

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

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

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

WOMEN LOVE WORDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am not the Holy Spirit.

I am not the Holy Spirit.

I am not the Holy Spirit.

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

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

TIME WITH GOD

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

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

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

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

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

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

DARE 24:

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

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

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The Respect Dare – Day 19 – Order

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For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…. but everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.  I Corinthians 14:33,40

Nina Roesner – in The Respect Dare – encourages us to “run your home in an orderly way, keeping only what you truly need, and you will have less clutter and more peace!”

The verses above are about running meetings of the church in an orderly way.  But I do think that having an orderly home is an awesome idea, too, and I think this verse can definitely apply at home.  Order  glorifies God and makes life better for the whole family.

WARNING!!!!!!

It is VERY easy to go to one extreme or the other on this issue:

  • being SO concerned with order that we become perfectionists (that was me!) and are more concerned with order in the home than we are concerned with loving people.  It is easy to make perfection and total cleanliness into an idol if we are not careful.  If I do anything without love for God and people, it does not honor God.
  • being so unconcerned with order that the home is messy, nasty and NOT a sanctuary of peace, love and harmony.

ALLOW FOR DIFFERENT STAGES OF LIFE

If you have young children – your house will be a lot more messy than you would probably like it to be.  That is going to get better as they get older and learn to put away their toys.  Sometimes sleep is more important than no clutter.  SERIOUSLY!

If you work full time or even part time – you may not possibly be able to do  your job well at work, have an immaculate house, be at your best as a wife and mom and sleep as much as you need to.  Something has to give.  You may want to respectfully, pleasantly ask  your husband what he sees that you could cut out of your schedule and list of to-do items.  And you can politely, respectfully ask him to help you.  But don’t try to force him.  Be gracious if he does not help and pray for God’s wisdom!

If you are suffering from a chronic disease – you will have to give yourself TONS of slack and grace and be willing to let some things go and ask for help.  It is unrealistic and unhealthy to expect to be able to do things that you cannot do.  Ask your husband to help you determine your limits if necessary.

WHEN WORKING A LOT

My hours in the pharmacy where I work were cut suddenly from 12 per week to 3 per week about 3 months ago.  So now, I try to pick up relief shift work when I can.  This week, I worked 3 nine hour days Mon-Wed.  And Mon and Wed I had an hour commute each way.  I had to let a lot of stuff go that I usually would do.

  • laundry – I tried to catch up on Sunday, and I mostly let it go.  I usually do 2 loads most days.
  • sweeping the floors – nope.  I usually do that every day.
  • cleaning the bathrooms – did not do it and I’m totally fine with that.  I do our master bath and I have been teaching our children to each clean one bathroom on Tuesdays this summer.
  • changing the sheets – will do that tomorrow or over the weekend.  I usually do that on Mondays.
  • grocery shopping-  did not get done until this afternoon.  I usually do that on Mondays.
  • cooking – Greg handled that for me! Thanks, Honey!  It was delicious! 🙂

I REALLY, REALLY missed my time with my children this week!  I got to briefly hear about Bible School as I ate supper.  Then it was time to put my 6 year old daughter to bed.

I had blog posts ready all the way through Thursday so I wouldn’t need to spend much time on the computer.

WHAT DID I DO?

  • time with God – I CANNOT SKIP THAT!  It was a lot shorter than usual.  That made me sad.  But I did sing praise songs all the way to work and back.  LOVED that!
  • a quick run in the morning before I got ready for the day.
  • dishes – I did keep up with the dishes and dishwasher.
  • trash – I did get the trash out!  WOOHOOO!
  • lunches – I packed my husband’s lunch and my lunch each day.
  • time with Greg – cuddled and talked a lot each evening.

MY PERSONAL DREAM FOR ORDER

Ok, I am going to share my idea of utopia for our home.  It is probably very weird to most people.  So I do not force this idea on anyone else.  But I would personally love to sell about 1/2-3/4 of our possessions and completely declutter. I would also love to sell the tvs and video games – note I didn’t say – the computer!   I would get rid of the computer if it was clearly God’s will for us.  But I would definitely go into withdrawal! I would love to give to the poor and spend the time we usually spend on straightening all the clutter and organizing stuff – ministering to others.  But that is my little vision.  I trust God to lead us as He wants us to go and I trust my husband to hear God’s voice and His timing.

I like having no little dust-collecting figurines or clutter out on dressers, tables, counters, etc.   I would love to have a very simple life with most of the emphasis on eternal things instead of STUFF.  It would be MUCH easier to be organized if we didn’t have so much stuff.

For me, when the house is clutter-free – my brain is more clutter-free, too.  In fact, I used to have to clean our apartment that I shared with 3 other girls in college before I could study.  It was that bad!

MY HUSBAND

Of course, my husband would not think of minimalism as utopia.  You know, you always marry someone different from yourself, right?  He loves to go to the flea market EVERY Saturday with his dad.  They both love to get toys for the kids and bring home things I would appreciate.  He is SO VERY THOUGHTFUL and GENEROUS!   I used to feel SO STRESSED about that!  All I could think was, “WHERE am I going to put THIS!?!?!??!?!”  I like to get rid of stuff.  My husband likes to find stuff.  I get a rush from sending 20 bags of stuff to Goodwill.  My husband gets a rush from finding good deals and bringing them all home.

Right now, life without a tv is not on my husband’s radar.

Organization is not a big priority for my husband.  Our garage  is nothing like the Lowe’s Catalog garages with all the tools neatly organized and the beautiful floor without an oil spot.  Our messy garage used to make me want to hyperventilate.  But now – I am at peace with it.  I appreciate Greg’s incredible talent at being able to renovate any room and fix almost any mechanical, electrical, plumbing  or carpentry issue.  I focus on that and give him grace and freedom to keep his stuff however he wants to.

Greg doesn’t want his stuff all super organized in matching totes with perfect labels.  His priorities are different from mine.

🙂

That is ok.  I don’t stress anymore.  I trust God’s sovereignty and don’t try to force my way on anyone.  I don’t make an idol out of my personal agenda for order and perfection.  I work at keeping things orderly and neat (within reason) – but my husband would rather us be able to live in the house and enjoy it than have everything look perfect every moment and me be stressing out and stressing everyone else out about how things aren’t ever clean enough.  I actually appreciate his wisdom these days!

I seek God and desire to know Him, please Him and trust Him to lead me through my husband.  Even about this topic!

Every once in awhile, I go through all the pantry cabinets and get rid of the expired stuff and organize every shelf.  And I go through my closet and my children’s closet and find clothes that don’t fit or aren’t being worn and I give them away.  LOVE THAT!  I love empty space!  I know – I am probably weird.  Having major allergies to dust will do weird things to a person. 🙂  I try to have my children organize their toys.  If I try to organize all the toys – I want to donate 80% of them and only keep a little bit.  It is better for me to just not see most of the “stuff.”  I also encourage them to give a few toys away to needy children every so often.  I know the day will come before I know it when they have outgrown all their stuffed animals and toys – and I will be able to sell it or donate it then.

I also know – chances are huge that I will be a widow one day.  I may be able to have a super tidy, minimalist house then.

What is most important for me – is to remember to enjoy, savor and appreciate each moment with my husband and children.  Each day is a precious gift.  And I long to be a godly steward of all I have been given – in my relationship with God, my marriage and with my children – as well as with our home and possessions.  But God comes first.  Then people.  Then things.

IF THE HUSBAND IS MORE EXACTING

This can be quite a challenge for wives if it is the husband who wants the house spic and span and the wife doesn’t have cleaning as a big priority.  It can feel like a lot of pressure when it seems like you never “measure up” to your husband’s high standards.

Whenever possible, show your husband that you respect him by working to keep things the way he likes them.  Maybe you can ask him for his top 3 household chore priorities and really focus on those.  If you are also working, you may need to ask for some help with the chores.  Working full time AND doing all the chores and childcare when you are home is a recipe for total burnout for women and often a recipe for neglecting God, your husband and marriage.  NOT GOOD!

Lord,

Help us to be wise keepers of our homes.  Help us to create homes full of peace, harmony, love, joy and rest.  Help us use our time wisely and honor You and our husbands even in the way we care for our home. Help us to do it in love.  Help us to be humble and to know that as we serve our families, we are pleasing You.  Purify our motives.  Help us not to be resentful, but to be thankful that we have our husbands and children to care for.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

FOR SOME ORGANIZING AND CLEANING AND HOUSEWORK TIPS:

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The Respect Dare, Day 18 – A Guest Post from Nina Roesner!!!!!!!

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Pic from www.ninaroesner.wordpress.com

Ladies,

I am so excited about today’s post!  Nina Roesner, the author of The Respect Dare, has very graciously written this one just for each of you.  I am thrilled to be able to share her words that – to me – are such a powerful expression of the main themes of my life and of my blog.  These are the treasures God has given to us as wives – the path to real peace, joy and godly power, the most amazing way to bless our husbands and families and the message that He longs for us to teach to the women coming behind us.

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The story in Dare 18 really happened.

Well, actually they all did. It’s just that some of them happened to me. This is one of them.

In reading back over it last week, I wondered what I could add that would be of benefit. I had no idea. Given I’ve spent the last two days in the hospital with my 15 year old son’s surgery, I really didn’t have an ounce of brain power to come up with anything good on my own. So I felt bad about that for about 38 seconds, then did what He knew I would do…and I finally asked Him what He wanted me to say today.

First, I want to thank Peaceful Wife for baring her heart and soul to help you. Like me, she takes some heat for living her life imperfectly before others. The most immature of her readers (immature in terms of where they are in the journey of faith – how well they know Him) attack her, having little compassion for a perspective other than their own.  We are all struggling with doing that to others in various parts of our lives. Often this lack of love shows up in our marriages or our relationship with ourselves.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.  Dare 18 provides a brief glimpse into a moment where I wish I lived 100% of the time.

And I want to reveal something that most people miss when they read the book – they miss a moment with an imperfect but strong woman who knows who she is in Christ, a woman who is no one’s doormat.

(okay, I’ll be 100% honest – there are still two people in this world with whom I do not have this figured out yet – but no, I’m not married to them)

But in that moment where I did get it right, pay attention to what I did.  And what I didn’t do.

There are several “extremes” within the women that we minister to.  First, there’s the domineering, controlling type.  The ones afraid of having a man exert any power over them. This might not be the norm in your world, but in mine, this seems to be a good sized percentage of women. And you should know I used to be one of them – corporate career girl, confident, had it pretty together (or so I liked to think), and a bit bossy at times. Unfortunately, I lacked wisdom. If I had an opinion, I shared it – because to not speak up (about everything) would be acting like a doormat…or so I believed.

So yes, I was lacking in wisdom. And I’m still growing.

When I first learned about respect and Ephesians 5:33, it made me angry.

I didn’t understand.

I fought God.

And then I did research.

And like a pendulum, swung all the way over to the doormat extreme.  You know her, the woman that is a shadow of a person. Invisible. I actually read teaching from others who said that my life should revolve around my husband and his dreams and aspirations. That God created me to help him achieve his dreams – and I wasn’t to have any of my own. I was to equip my children as well – even if it all meant losing my identity as the woman God had made me to be in the first place. I wasn’t a willing servant, even though I actually spent a good deal of time eagerly serving my family. I still do, actually, but all the talk about being my husband’s crown by being his 1950’s house wife (all while working part-time and home schooling, mind you) eventually brought me to a place of depletion.

I had been taught that “submission” means he bosses me around while I am “never disagreeing.” The experience left my husband confused because I went from being a competent woman to a person who couldn’t make a decision. It left me feeling like I had no voice. I allowed others to take advantage of me in my home in the name of “service,” and “being a good submissive wife.”

Not surprisingly, my children started behaving as though they had a sense of entitlement and I was their maid. Nasty little side effect.

What’s missing from the majority of teaching currently available is the balance that comes from what lies in the middle of the two extremes above. And how the bible doesn’t really contradict itself, but rather is useful for Him to provide specific direction in the everyday moments.

And that’s what I did in Dare 18.

  • I told the truth about how I didn’t feel loved.
  • But I didn’t do it in a disrespectful (to myself or my husband) way.

And it was a moment born out of God’s leadership and wisdom’s teaching from the Holy Spirit.

There are times when “love covers a multitude of sins” in marriage. Like knowing when to tell the kids, “Dad’s having a rough week at work, cut him some slack.”

There are also times when “iron sharpens iron” in marriage. Like knowing when to say, “The kids need to respect me more, and I’d like your help with that. I don’t know if you are even aware of this, and I’m sure you don’t mean to do it, but when you cut me off and disagree before you even hear what I’m saying, it gives our kids the impression you might not be a respectful person and that you might not respect me. Can you please listen and ask questions first instead?”

There are a few lies out there – that “submission” means not voicing a contrary opinion, not confronting your husband’s sin against you, or having a good marriage means the wife never states a different viewpoint from her husband.  That’s utter hogwash.

Another lie is that “submission” is a part of the bible that doesn’t apply to women now.  You can read gobs about why it matters here, but understand that lie is also complete hogwash.  We are to have a voice – but don’t subscribe to those who think you need to shove your opinion down other’s throats to be heard. And know this doesn’t just apply to marriage, but literally every other relationship, work environment, family, or otherwise. Being heard has a lot to do with treating yourself with respect so you teach others how to treat you. The fear of other’s opinions, having made them our God, will cause us to sin and not tell the truth or not be gently, compassionately bold. And be open to continuing to grow in this area your whole life.  There is no arrival.

Understand as well that there are several examples in the bible where people questioned authority, and even so, 1 Peter is still all about how we are to submit to authority.

Consider…

  • Sarah telling Abraham to get rid of Hagar – and God tells him to listen to her.
  • Abigail and David – she totally went behind her husband’s back to save her people and find favor with David. Smart girl.
  • Nathan and David – Nathan gave David (who was King) a serious chastisement for the killing of Uriah.
  • Esther and Xerxes – she breaks the law to get his attention, risking her life – and wins.
  • Jesus asks God to “take this cup” from Him.

The bottom line is simply this:  We are here to learn to love God and others as we love ourselves. Only the Father can teach us how to do these three well. If we will stay plugged into Him by daily reading, listening, obeying, and praying, we will know what to do in the minutia of the moments of our day.

Know too, that there are other examples of strength and dignity in The Respect Dare.

Don’t miss them.

Don’t buy the lie that The Respect Dare makes you a doormat.

Wise women of strength and dignity are not threatened by authority.

Dare you to continue growing and figuring out that sweet spot in the middle of His will.

And know we are so glad you are on the journey! Your sons and daughters will thank you.

Love to you,

~Nina

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To Buy a Copy of Nina’s Book, click here.

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