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The Respect Dare, Day 38 – Taking Initiative Sexually in Marriage

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You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God. I Peter 2:2-3 MSG

Today, Nina Roesner – author of The Respect Dare – talks about how God truly knows best for us and is kind to us. When He gives us guidelines or commands – it is for our ultimate good. Even if we can’t see it at the time.

Let’s get ready to really trust Him – in EVERYTHING.

The topic for Dare 38 is about wives initiating physical intimacy more with our husbands.

  • If you are dealing with infidelity, this post is not about that kind of situation, please seek godly help!  Trust must be re-established before sexual relations can be re-established, in my view.  And it would be wise to be tested for STDs if there is or was infidelity going on in the marriage.  Keep in mind that HIV doesn’t show up until 6 months after the sexual contact that could cause the infection.
  • If you have SERIOUS problems in your marriage – physical abuse, active drug/alcohol addictions, uncontrolled mental health problems… those things go beyond the scope of this blog or this post.  Please seek godly, experienced, professional help ASAP!
  • For the sake of wives who need very practical suggestions and examples, I am going to go into some detail – more than usual – about things to avoid saying and things that may be productive to say.  If you prefer not to read about details on this topic, this may be a post to skip.

While I am very passionate about this topic – I also cringe inside – because I know that there are many of you who DO initiate – or try to initiate love making with your husband – and you are rejected often. The last thing I want to do is make those of you who are being sexually rejected by your own husbands feel even worse. So, I am going to speak to you for a minute – and then redirect you to some other posts that I think might be helpful for you. You are NOT alone if your husband rejects your sexual advances. There is a very sizable minority of women for whom this is reality. It is extremely PAINFUL to desire your husband and to be turned away.  So, I am going to write two posts today.  One for wives who are being sexually rejected by their husbands, and one for wives whose husbands desire them to initiate more and participate in sexual intimacy more often.

FOR THOSE WIVES WHO ARE FEELING REJECTED:

If you have been trying to initiate intimacy with your husband, and he is turning you down, or just not very responsive, here are a few ideas to consider and pray about for your particular and unique situation

1. Many women try to initiate sex with their husbands verbally.

Here is a very important piece of information – men aren’t really into words as much as we are. Not only that, sometimes our words can actually be a turn-off  ESPECIALLY if we are not very tuned in to respect.

If you have been attempting to initiate intimacy by saying things like,

  • “I want to have sex now.”
  • “Let’s have sex.”
  • “We need to have sex!”
  • “When are we ever going to make love again?”
  • “Goodness, it’s been TWO WEEKS!  How long do I have to wait?”

Words like that are not the way to get your husband’s blood pumping.  Flirty words or telling him what you want to do with him may work with some husbands. But a verbal demand for sex, especially if your man tends to reject you,  is WAY too much pressure and feels controlling to many men.

There are some men who don’t like for their wives to pursue them.   They like to be the one to pursue.

2.  Even worse, sometimes wives try to initiate sex by saying disrespectful, blaming things.

  • “Why won’t you ever have sex with me?”
  • “Turn off the stupid TV, I want you to make love to me.”
  • “If you were a real man, you would want to have sex with me X times a week.”
  • “You must be cheating on me if you don’t want to have sex with me!”

These approaches are a sure ticket to his refusing you today, and probably many times in the future.

Disrespect is a HUGE sexual turnoff for many men!

3. Or, if you are being controlling about it and trying to force or guilt him into making love with you – it is probably not going to work – particularly if your husband is feeling very disrespected and controlled in general in the marriage.

So, approaches like…

  • “This book says that men want sex more than women. You hardly ever want sex. Something must be wrong with you! You need to see a doctor or something because I am dying over here.”
  • “I need to have sex 4 times a week. You aren’t holding up your end of the bargain. What am I not good enough for you? Am I not enough for you? You think I’m too fat, don’t you? That’s it! That’s why you never want me anymore. You don’t love me at all!”
  • “I need sex and you aren’t giving it to me. What kind of man are you? Any other man would be GLAD to have me.”
  • “I should have never married you, you are terrible in bed. And you never do X, Y and Z for me like I want.”
  • “If you really loved me, you would want to have sex with me right now.  You better show me that you truly love me or it’s over!”
  • “After ALL I’ve done for you this week/month/year!  You won’t even make love to me!”

…are NOT going to work!

You can’t label your husband the bad guy and expect him to be full of wonderful sexual feelings for you.

You can’t try to manipulate and guilt and shame him into physical intimacy.  This is not only going to make it improbable that you would be able to be intimate that night, but you may hurt and wound him so much that he permanently shuts down sexually with you.

 

2. If you have been critical of your man’s sexual performance lately (or even a long time ago, depending on the severity of his wounds) – he will probably reject you.

That is a very deep pain for a man, a verbal emasculation. It will take time for him to heal and feel safe enough to trust you.

Sexual criticism of him HAS TO GO.

If you have been disparaging in the past – only say positive things about any affection or touching he gives you from this point on. Try to heal the damage that has been done by your words.

If your man feels you disrespect his sexuality, or you imply he doesn’t satisfy you or that he is inadequate sexually – expect him to shut down on you sexually. There is almost nothing more destructive to a husband’s sexual desire for his wife than her complaints or disrespect of his sexuality. I cannot possibly emphasize this enough!

Make sure that you are respecting your husband and not inadvertently treating him with disrespect. Disrespect is a huge turn off for many men. Check out these posts if you haven’t because many times wives come across disrespectfully towards their husbands without ever knowing it or intending to.

3. I would suggest attempting to initiate WITHOUT words if you are going to try anything.

  • If your husband is very visual – lingerie may be a great idea
  • But, if your husband feels pressured by you when you wear lingerie, then skip that and just wear short shorts and a tight t-shirt or something fairly casual. Let him get a glimpse of you changing but be non-chalant about it. It has got to be no-pressure if you have a man who resists if he feels pressured sexually.
  • Offer him a massage if he likes that. Go slowly. See if he is interested in more touching after the massage.
  • Spoon up to him and press yourself against him and just relax and inhale his masculine presence and enjoy touching him if he is ok with that.
  • Kiss him passionately.
  • Hug him passionately.
  • If your husband likes to flirt, flirting with him is a good idea. If he hates it, don’t do that!

Some husbands will feel too pressured even by the things I have mentioned in this section.  In that case, you may have to back away and wait and be receptive for him to come to you.

4. Whatever you do – if he tends to reject your advances – be prepared that he may reject you and be prepared to take “no” gracefully.

Assume it is not personal, unless he tells you it is, just assume the best – that he is not up for intimacy right then. Then be available and receptive to him if he begins to come closer to you. Take your pain to Jesus and pray for His will.

I have a story one wife shared about her husband who prayed for her as his wife for 9 years for her to have a sexual desire for him. She had almost no desire at all that whole time. He prayed in faith. One day, God changed his wife. Now she is the one initiating all the time. The prayer of someone who is in right standing with God is powerful and effective. This is an AWESOME subject to pray about for God’s glory and for the unity and strength and health of the marriage.

Some other related posts:

The Devastation of Sexual Rejection

Making the One-Flesh Relationship a Huge Priority in Your Marriage

Respect and Sexual Attraction

SHARE:

If you have experienced sexual rejection from your husband – and God has brought healing and you would like to share what God has done with other wives, you may leave a comment anonymously.

FOR THOSE WIVES WHO HAVE NOT BEEN INITIATING BUT WHOSE HUSBANDS REALLY WANT THEM TO:

I know that there are a myriad of issues that can be going on with this side of the coin, as well. Some of you are afraid to trust your husband. Some of you feel like a piece of meat to your man. Some of you don’t feel emotionally/spiritually connected and feel cheap and used when you have sex without the rest of the connection going on.  (Remember, if there are SERIOUS issues like drug addiction, alcoholism, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health issues… please get help ASAP!  I am not speaking to wives in these extreme situations in this post.)

Quoting Nina Roesner here:

“Initiating sex communicates respect in a unique and special way to our husbands. When our husbands feel desired by us, their esteem is built, thus enabling them to fully and confidently engage in their roles as men.”

For a much deeper understanding of just how critical our sexual desire, availability, receptivity and willingness to initiate sex can be to our men, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, “For Women Only.” It will help you really get inside the minds of men to see that:

For our husbands, sex IS a very emotional and spiritual connection.  It is FAR MORE than a physical release or physical connection.

I’d like to see it be a very emotional, spiritual and physical connection for all of us in our marriages, too!

For them, it empowers them to be confident in every aspect of their lives – ready to go “slay the dragons” for you. It makes them feel like our heroes. It gives them strength and energy in ways that we may not be able to fully understand. And in marriage, sex bonds them to us in a powerful way. It is possibly the ultimate way that we can allow our men to feel our love, acceptance and respect – it is how they most feel loved for many men.

Here is an important note –

For your husband, it is not just about having sex – it is knowing you desire him and experience pleasure with him that is key here! He desires you to enjoy him sexually, not just tolerate him as a chore or duty. He needs to know you are excited to be with him.

SIDE NOTE:

This is a picture of what God desires with us in our one Spirit relationship with Him!  He wants us to be EXCITED to be with Him, to be passionate for His Spirit to fill us up.  He wants our hearts to be completely captivated with Him – not just worshipping Him and praying out of duty.  NO!  He wants our hearts to be on fire with longing for Him – to be One with Him in Spirit.

That is what sex is!  It is a picture of the unity Christ desires to have with His church.  The one flesh picture between the husband (who represents Christ) and the wife (who represents the church) is ALL ABOUT us worshipping God, inviting His Spirit to live in our hearts and in our bodies.  We become the temple of God’s Spirit.  Much like the wife, temporarily houses part of her husband’s body in the one flesh relationship.

This is a sacred and holy act.

WHAT ON EARTH DO I DO?

Well, you can see a few ideas in the section above for wives who are feeling rejected. There are some basic do’s and don’ts there that may be helpful. But if your husband is feeling sexually starved for you, or he is asking or begging you to initiate. It’s time to just jump in! ASAP!

  • If he likes lingerie, wear some special lingerie and maybe let him get a little peek in private before you go out for the evening.
  • ENJOY his attention.  Be THANKFUL for the fact that he desires you.  WHAT AN INCREDIBLE BLESSING AND GIFT!  Many wives never experience that joy.
  • Send him sexy text messages (IF he won’t get in trouble at work and won’t be too distracted and IF you are REALLY, REALLY sure that you are texting the right person! Careful here, ladies!)
  • Flirt with him if he enjoys that!
  • Ask him to slow dance with you (if that doesn’t embarrass him).
  • Boldly take him by the hand and take him to the bedroom and lock the door.  Begin to undress him.
  • Start with a massage. Use oil if you want to. (Put a towel down on the bedding first!) Just enjoy touching him.
  • Kiss him with passion and genuine desire.
  • Tell him what you want to do with him.
  • Tell him what he does to you – how he makes you feel – this makes him feel so powerful! ie:
  1. you give me chills when you touch me here!!
  2. you make my heart race when you do that!
  3. that feels so good!
  4. I really like that!
  5. mmmmm
  6. please don’t stop!
  7. your hands feel so warm, you just make me melt.
  8. I like it when you hold me close like this.
  • SMILE at him a lot!
  • Be verbal about saying when things feel good.
  • Savor this gift that God has given you to be able to enjoy this holy and sacred moment of being one flesh together!
  • HAVE FUN!!!! ENJOY HIM!!!!!!
  • Talk about what first attracted you to him.
  • Talk about what you find attractive in him now.
  • Ask him what attracted him to you.
  • Tell him any little fantasies you have.
  • Ask him about any fantasies he has and what he might like for you to do with him/for him.

Ok, hopefully these ideas will get you started. A big key is for you to:

Focus on sensual thoughts and ideas about what you want to do with him all throughout the day. Using your imagination often to purposely think about sex and about how intoxicating your husband is to you helps get your motor primed and simmering so it will be easier be “on” later.

THE RESPECT DARE, DARE 38:

Pray that God will help you overcome any embarrassment, fear, concerns, medical issues, anxiety, privacy issues, body image issues and that God might help you embrace the idea of initiating physical intimacy with your husband. Be confident in your body. Stand tall. Enjoy this gift God has given you to share with your husband.  Pray for healing of any past issues or wounds. Pray that God might tear down any strongholds of resentment or bitterness in your heart or unforgiveness. Pray for Him to help you take your physical intimacy with your husband to new heights. Pray for the resources you need if you have physical issues or emotional issues – that you might begin to take steps this week to seek how to overcome those issues.

  • I’d like to dare you to plan to attempt to initiate intimacy 2 times (or more) this week if at all possible.

AND,

  • I would also like to dare you to have a willing and receptive spirit towards your husband sexually this week. If at all possible, if he attempts to initiate intimacy, please warmly receive him with joy and delight. (Unless he is actively involved in infidelity or there are extremely serious issues going on) Please think about the verses in I Corinthians 7

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt youbecause of your lack of self-control.

So, if your husband asks about having sex or pulls you in close  or even if he grabs you in a way that doesn’t seem super romantic to you – melt in his arms and say, “yes!” with a smile on your face.

Eventually – pray about this becoming a life-long habit. 🙂

***  God does not endorse spousal rape.  He desires husbands and wives to be available to each other willingly and voluntarily.  There is nothing in Scripture about demanding or forcing a spouse to have sex.  Christ is a gentleman to us.  He desires us to be one with Him in Spirit every day, but He does not force Himself on us.  He waits for us to come willingly and voluntarily to Him to have spiritual intimacy with Him.

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 23 – My Knight in Shining Armor!

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Yikes!

I am going to be totally honest  and tell you that this is one thing I really messed up!  It’s kind of embarrassing.  But – we’re all friends here, right?

So, I got to dare 23 in The Respect Dare.  The dare encouraged wives to give something tangible to our husbands to show our respect and admiration and show that we appreciate his protection and manhood.  There were ideas like giving a medal, a sword or a knight in armor figurine.

I LOVED this idea!  Then I started trying to find a knight in shining armor – and you know what?  You can’t just waltz into K-Mart or Wal-Mart and find one of these things!  So, I began to look online to find just the right knight to show my husband how much I appreciate him and how he is MY HERO.  It actually took me almost 11 months to actually finish this dare and find the right gift for my husband.

DID I EVER TELL YOU THAT GIFT-GIVING IS NOT MY TALENT?

Well – gift giving has NEVER been my talent.  It is not my love language, I guess.  I don’t particularly “need” gifts – and I am  pretty awful at giving gifts. 🙁  I never feel like I can find the right thing and it often stresses me out trying to find the right thing – especially for people who truthfully don’t “need” anything.   In fact, I turned the gift giving over to my husband a few years ago for birthdays and Christmas for our children and our family.  He IS very good at giving gifts and finding the right thing for just about anyone.  I so admire that about him!

I decided to get my husband a pewter knight as a symbol of how I see him as my knight in shining armor.

It looked perfect!

Unfortunately – I didn’t pay attention to the dimensions.

THE PACKAGE ARRIVED

I gave my husband the package from the online place where I bought his figurine and was a bit surprised that it was just a padded envelope that it came in.

Hmmm…. that didn’t seem right.

My husband emptied the contents of the envelop into his hand.

And then he BURST OUT LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY.

Here is part of the post my husband put up on his blog www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com about my gift to him  (Ladies, your dare is at the bottom after his post):

——————————————————————————————————————

Father’s Day was a few weeks ago, and while we don’t go crazy getting each other gifts for the card holidays, my wife decided to break tradition a little bit and buy me something really special. You can see it in the picture I took above. I was totally blown away that she would make a purchasing decision this great without even consulting me. I think she did quite well, though. Look at the craftsmanship on this thing. Look at how every detail was carefully considered and incorporated. Only the finest materials were used to construct this thing. In that first picture I might be a little too far out for you to appreciate it. Let me move in a little closer so you can fully grasp my prized gift.

I knew you would be able to start to see why I am so excited at this distance. The viewing angle on this thing is almost infinite. No matter how you look at it, from the sides, below, or above there is virtually no loss of detail. You might think I am crazy, but I want you to see it a little closer. I don’t want you to miss any details. Let’s move in a little closer.

Wait a second, I see, you thought I was talking about the TV. Can you see the fine craftsmanship? The incredible detail? Can you see the use of the finest materials now?

What? You think it is a bit small. It is not that small. Let me put it next to something for you to get some perspective.

How about next to a Lego Knight minifigure? The Lego Knight isn’t armed but is still a fair bit bigger than the knight.


A tube of chapstick? I guess the knight could try using a bomb on the balm to try to take out his superior foe.

A shaving razor? No competition really and the razor is powered at that.


Fingernail clippers? Yep, the knight needs to stay far away for fear of losing a limb or a head.


A Band-Aid? On the bright side it would only take one to mend up all the knight’s battle wounds and it could probably be double wrapped.


Finally, a toilet roll? This is probably the most useful comparison because the knight could easily hide within the hollow cavity.

So, I can see you are not nearly as excited about my Father’s Day gift as I am. Truth be told, my wife purchased the knight online and didn’t pay particular attention to how tall the knight was. She just saw the picture of the knight (below) and thought, “I want my husband to know that this is how I think of him. He is my knight in shining armor!”

The package arrived at our doorstep on a Friday. On Father’s Day morning, she opened the package to give it to me and realized that the knight stood a whopping 1.75 inches tall. It didn’t bother me at all that it was so small and it was kind of amusing for us just how diminutive it actually was. (From Peacefulwife – we and our children all laughed until we were crying when we compared this little knight to each of these objects and thought of other things to stand him beside so we could really portray just how tiny it was as my husband took pictures.)

I understand what my wife wanted to do by getting me the knight for Father’s Day. She wanted me to know that she looked at me as that knight in shining armor in her life. That she appreciated what I do and what I am about. That she gets me. She wants me to lead our family and trusts me to this position. She wants me to be my best. She wants me to protect our family from all sources of evil.

In For Men Only, Jeff Feldhahn asked the women they surveyed for their book, “What is one thing that you would like for your husband to know?” As they began to go through the responses to this question, they were blown away that the number one thing that women wished their man knew was, “You are my hero.” The surprise was that despite how lousy we are at being our best for our wife we really are their life. They admire us, need us, appreciate us, want us to be happy, and are truly grateful for us. They respect us. The survey found that while your wife may not always express it well to you, almost every woman said that they “deeply need, respect, and desire” their husband.

Wow….how good is it to know that despite all of our downfalls our wife still looks at us as her knight in shining armor? No, not the 1.75 inch one that came through the mail, but a living, breathing personal He-Man, Gladiator, Round Table Regular, and Superman. The one she dreamed about when she was a girl who would marry her and live happily ever after.

Knowing that my wife thinks about me this way inspires me.

I keep my Father’s Day gift by our bed on my “knight” stand. It reminds me every day to try to be the husband that she sees in me. It reminds me that my BIGGEST gift is her.

—————————————————————————

LADIES – THIS IS PEACEFULWIFE AGAIN! 🙂

RESPECT DARE 23:

– What successes has your husband accomplished?   How have you celebrated those successes with him?

– What gift might he appreciate that would show how much you appreciate, admire and respect your man? What symbolizes manhood to him?  A certain sport?  Hunting? Golfing?  The military?

– Pray that God might help you bless your husband with pure motives – expecting nothing in return – just celebrating him to bless him and to please God.

SHARE:

PLEASE share your ideas and how it goes with the rest of us !!!!! 🙂

RELATED:

For the whole post my husband wrote, click here.

From Clark Kent to Superman

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:

Many women LOVE www.flylady.net

The Respect Dare, Day 12 – Wise Words and Kindness

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She opens her mouth in wisdom; and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  Proverbs 31:26

Nina Roesner shares a very relatable story in The Respect Dare – on Dare 12 – about a wife who had a rough day and asked her husband to take care of the dishes and put the children to bed so she could go to bed early.  He agreed but then forgot to finish cleaning up the kitchen – she discovered this when she went to make coffee the next morning.  She had a choice – to explode in anger or to extend grace, mercy and kindness with her words, remembering he had had a bad day the day before, too.

Nina shares that sometimes what seems like an inconsiderate action or insult – is really just an oversight by someone who is just as tired as we are.

Whether you are working through The Respect Dare book right now, or not, you can read my posts and participate in the discussion and challenges I give.  Everyone is welcome! 🙂

WHICH IS THE MORE POWERFUL APPROACH?

WORLDLY:

Worldly wisdom tells us that if someone “drops the ball” we are entitled to blow up at them, get highly offended and demand that they do what we want them to do.

Worldly wisdom says that overlooking an insult means we are going to be “taken advantage of” – as if that is the worst thing that could happen in life.

Worldly wisdom says that we are totally justified to yell, scream, cuss, disrespect and emasculate our husbands if they don’t meet our expectations.

Worldly wisdom says, “I WILL have my way, no matter what the cost to others.”

Worldly wisdom says, “Life is all about me.  Who cares what problems other people have.”

Worldly wisdom says, “I’m going to make him pay for what he did for me.  I’ll show him!”

GODLY:

Godly wisdom says if someone makes a mistake and doesn’t meet my expectations to offer grace and seek to understand that person, offering mercy and forgiveness that I have been given in Christ.

Godly wisdom says that  there are times when overlooking an insult prevents an unnecessary conflict and is an exercise in self-control.

Godly wisdom says that I am accountable for my behavior, attitudes, motives, actions and sins no matter how much someone sins against me.

Godly wisdom calls me to repay evil with good, to pray for those who mistreat me and to be kind to those who are cruel to me.

Godly wisdom knows when to gently confront and when to let things go.

Godly wisdom says that the person who insulted me may be having a bad day, too, or may be exhausted, in pain or stressed.  I don’t have to necessarily take their insult personally.

Godly wisdom says, “I will wait for God to take revenge, it is not my place to seek vengeance.  I will respond in the power and love of Christ when someone hurts me.”

(If your husband is physically abusing you or has an uncontrolled mental disorder or you have serious marriage problems – please seek godly, wise counsel!!!)

QUESTIONS:

1.  When you are tired, hormonal, have low blood sugar, etc… how do you normally interact with others?

2. How can you honor God today if your husband says something harsh?

3.  When you are having a bad day, how can you sympathize with other people who may also be having a rough time?

CHALLENGE:

It is better to say nothing than to say something hurtful.  Let your words today be words of kindness.

From Nina Roesner:

“First comes the control,

then comes the ability to see things how God sees them,

then comes the ability to say things wisely to others.”

SHARE:

How are you doing with the dares?

What has been the biggest struggle so far?

What surprises have you had?

What victories have you seen?

The Respect Dare, Day 9 – Overlooking Insults

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A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.  Proverbs 12:16

Nina Roesner has a great story to share in Dare 9 of The Respect Dare.  I hope you get to read it!

Many times, when people insult us, there is a lot of pain, hurt, anger and mess going on underneath the surface in that person’s life.  Often, if we can extend grace, we may just be able to salvage the relationship or avoid a big fight.  Taking every insult personally and trying to repay that person back with an even bigger insult does not honor Christ.  And it doesn’t bring people closer to us or closer to God.

IN THE PHARMACY

I have been working in retail pharmacy since I was a pharmacy student in 1992.  I can definitely attest to the fact that when you work with the public, you are going to be insulted sooner or later.  It doesn’t matter how kind, compassionate, competent and caring you are.

I have learned that insults usually come from something difficult that is going on in that person’s life:

  • he is in a lot of pain
  • she is a drug addict, and I won’t let her have her narcotics early
  • he has very low blood sugar and needs to eat something quickly
  • she has unrealistic expectations about what pharmacists are legally allowed to do and is unfamiliar with all the laws and policies I am required to follow
  • he has a dying wife at home on hospice and he is taking out his frustrations and anger and feeling of being out of control on me
  • she has been up for 5 nights with a sick baby
  • he has a lot of anger in him all the time and is just ready to dump rage on anyone he happens to come across
  • she has a mental illness and has not taken her medication properly and isn’t thinking clearly
  • he has a family emergency going on
  • she has had a really bad day
  • he has early dementia and his personality is changing
  • she is in perimenopause and her hormones are out of control
  • he is running very late to pick up his son from daycare
  • her mom talks to her this way all the time, so it seems “normal”

Sometimes, in the pharmacy, I know the back-story and that helps me to respond appropriately with grace, compassion and understanding.  Sometimes I still have to be firm and not give in when someone wants me to do something illegal.  Sometimes I don’t know the back-story – but now I am able to deduce that I am missing information when someone blows up at me and I am usually able to not take the insult personally.

In retail pharmacy, we are trained to

  • strive to give the best customer service even when patients get very upset.
  • listen so that the person feels heard before we try to swoop in and “fix” things.
  • respond with concern to a patient’s complaint and to do whatever we can to make things right.

Isn’t that what we need to do in marriage and other relationships, too?

IN MARRIAGE

I have learned that certain situations make it much more likely for someone to blurt out an insult.  When a person is:

  • hungry
  • exhausted
  • hormonal
  • sick
  • in pain
  • overwhelmed with stress
  • trying to rush too much and running late
  • out of fellowship with God
  • cherishing sin in his/her heart
  • having conflict with someone else
  • worried or afraid
  • feeling misunderstood
  • feeling disrespected or unloved

WITH HUSBANDS

Many times, if a husband suddenly snaps at his wife – I suggest a wife ask something like Dr. Emerson Eggerichs suggests in Love and Respect “Honey, that felt unloving, did I come across disrespectfully just now?”

If a husband seems fine and all the sudden gets really angry or shuts down – MANY TIMES, he is feeling disrespected by something his wife just did or said.

But sometimes he might be having stress at work or some other issue going on.  It may have nothing to do with you at all.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Proverbs 15:1

RESPONDING TO INSULTS

If we respond with more insults – that is going to be a huge fight.

I have found more success with:

  • listening
  • asking gentle questions
  • waiting for the person to calm down
  • asking the person to please treat me with respect so that we can work together (with a particularly hateful patient in the pharmacy – that actually worked wonders.  She and I were great friends after went out into the waiting area and sat beside her.  I calmly and politely called her out on her very disrespectful attitude towards me and I respectfully asked her to treat me with respect so that I could help her.)
  • asking with concern, “Is something bothering you?”
  • asking respectfully, “What can I do to help?”
  • depending on the situation, sometimes humor can diffuse the anger and the insult

There are times we must address the insult.

When I am in the pharmacy and a drug addict hands me a forged prescription, I have to refuse to fill it.  There WILL be conflict.  I try to keep it as low key and respectful as possible.  I try to maintain a pleasant tone of voice.  But I cannot cave in that situation just because the person is upset.  In fact,  I have to call the police if someone is attempting to get a prescription illegally.

IN MARRIAGE

Sometimes what seems like an insult, may actually be constructive criticism that we would be wise to listen to.

Sometimes we must gently but firmly respond and engage in the issue.

Sometimes, it is wise just to let the insult go.

God does not say “Never be angry.”  But He does say

  • “In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”  Ephesians 4:26
  • “For a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires.”  James 2:20

If I am to be angry, may it only be about the things that make God angry.

THE DARE FROM NINA

  • “While being slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen – actively choose to extend grace to your husband…. Actively choose not to take something personally.”  – The Respect Dare
  • Search the Bible or online in a Bible reference about God’s anger

The Respect Dare, Day 6 – A Servant's Heart

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Do everything without complaining or arguing.  Philippians 2:14

I really love today’s challenge in The Respect Dare.  Nina Roesner asks us to continue to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry – and she asks us to do “one act of kindness or a chore for your husband that you know is important to him.”

WHERE DOES A COMPLAINING SPIRIT COME FROM?

For me, it is when I think I am getting “less than I deserve.”  And it comes from a sense of entitlement, “I should have what I want.”

The truth is that we are all wretched sinners with hearts that are entirely bent on evil apart from Christ.  What I deserve is separation from God and punishment in hell. 🙁    But God lavishes His grace on me – not because I deserve it or can ever earn it (I can’t!) – but because He wants to.

When I focus on what is wrong in my life, that 20% that is not what I want, or maybe it is only 0.05% – but when I focus on what is wrong, I am not living in a spirit of gratitude and joy.  I am focusing on myself in a selfish way.  And I am tarnishing the image of Christ.

Why are we to do everything without arguing or complaining?  

“So that you may shine like stars in the universe as you hold forth the Word of Life.”  Phil 2:14.

It is God’s will for me to live humbly and to be content with Christ, food for today and clothes on my back.  If I have those 3 things – God instructs me to be content.

A complaining spirit also says arrogantly to God, “You are holding out on me.  You are not giving me what is best.  I question your intentions and motives towards me and I distrust You.”

Check out the story of God’s people during the Exodus from Egypt.  How did God respond to them when they grumbled?  God hates it when His people whine, complain and grumble against Him.  It is by faith we please God – not by complaining.

CAUTION – IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY WHAT YOU NEED/WANT and HOW YOU FEEL – usually once.  Especially if you have strong views about something.  I am not saying to be quiet and never have an opinion or a voice.

But I want us to learn DISCRETION and WISDOM so that we understand what is important information to share, vs. what is complaining.

If I am hot – there is no need to complain about that.  Everyone knows it is hot outside.

If I am about to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke – I need to tell my husband that I need to get to water and get inside quickly because I am not ok.

See the difference?

WHERE DOES AN ARGUMENTATIVE/CONTENTIOUS SPIRIT COME FROM?

Why did I fight and argue with my husband?  For me, it was because I believed I was RIGHT about whatever the little issue was.

I had PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE through the roof.  I seriously believed I was always right.  And therefore, my husband was always wrong.  I did not trust God.  I trusted myself.  I said I trusted God.  But that is not how I lived.  Honestly, I believed I knew better than anyone else.  And, if you look at how I lived, I believed I knew better than God – because I was not obeying His Word for me as a wife.

I fight and argue because:

  • I want my way.
  • I think I am right.
  • I want control over my husband and my circumstances – and, truthfully – I want to be sovereign instead of God.
  • I am afraid of what would happen if I wasn’t in control.  I don’t trust God.
  • I am rebelling against God’s Word.
  • I am selfish.
  • my sinful nature is in control, not God’s Spirit of peace and unity.
  • I am stubborn.
  • I am carnal and worldly.
  • “Being right” is more important to me than the unity of my marriage.
  • “Being right” is more important to me than meeting my husband’s need for respect.
  • I am making the little issue and “being right” more important to me than my obedience to God, my intimacy with Christ and the strength of my marriage.

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

God detests pride.  I MUST humble myself like a little child before God in order for Him to work in my life and for me to become a godly woman and wife.

QUESTIONS:

1. What could you do for your husband today that would be very meaningful to him?

2. What expectations do you need to drop so that you can do this with a cheerful, joyful heart – expecting nothing in return and not storing up resentment in your heart?

3. What does today’s verse at the top teach us about the kind of women God desires us to be?

4. Commit to sharing important information and feelings with your husband in a brief, concise, unemotional way.  How could you share your heart, desires and needs with him without blaming him, making him the bad guy or raking him over the coals?

5. How can you be responsible for your own feelings and emotions and allow your husband to be responsible for his feelings and emotions?

6. How can you tell the difference between sharing your needs and your perspective vs. complaining or arguing?

RELATED POSTS:

A Challenge – Do Not Argue or Complain for 1 day or 1 week

Handling Adversity with Joy and without Complaining

Healthy Boundaries and Control

Sharing VS. Complaining

The Respect Dare, Day 6 – A Servant’s Heart

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Do everything without complaining or arguing.  Philippians 2:14

I really love today’s challenge in The Respect Dare.  Nina Roesner asks us to continue to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry – and she asks us to do “one act of kindness or a chore for your husband that you know is important to him.”

WHERE DOES A COMPLAINING SPIRIT COME FROM?

For me, it is when I think I am getting “less than I deserve.”  And it comes from a sense of entitlement, “I should have what I want.”

The truth is that we are all wretched sinners with hearts that are entirely bent on evil apart from Christ.  What I deserve is separation from God and punishment in hell. 🙁    But God lavishes His grace on me – not because I deserve it or can ever earn it (I can’t!) – but because He wants to.

When I focus on what is wrong in my life, that 20% that is not what I want, or maybe it is only 0.05% – but when I focus on what is wrong, I am not living in a spirit of gratitude and joy.  I am focusing on myself in a selfish way.  And I am tarnishing the image of Christ.

Why are we to do everything without arguing or complaining?  

“So that you may shine like stars in the universe as you hold forth the Word of Life.”  Phil 2:14.

It is God’s will for me to live humbly and to be content with Christ, food for today and clothes on my back.  If I have those 3 things – God instructs me to be content.

A complaining spirit also says arrogantly to God, “You are holding out on me.  You are not giving me what is best.  I question your intentions and motives towards me and I distrust You.”

Check out the story of God’s people during the Exodus from Egypt.  How did God respond to them when they grumbled?  God hates it when His people whine, complain and grumble against Him.  It is by faith we please God – not by complaining.

CAUTION – IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY WHAT YOU NEED/WANT and HOW YOU FEEL – usually once.  Especially if you have strong views about something.  I am not saying to be quiet and never have an opinion or a voice.

But I want us to learn DISCRETION and WISDOM so that we understand what is important information to share, vs. what is complaining.

If I am hot – there is no need to complain about that.  Everyone knows it is hot outside.

If I am about to suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke – I need to tell my husband that I need to get to water and get inside quickly because I am not ok.

See the difference?

WHERE DOES AN ARGUMENTATIVE/CONTENTIOUS SPIRIT COME FROM?

Why did I fight and argue with my husband?  For me, it was because I believed I was RIGHT about whatever the little issue was.

I had PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE through the roof.  I seriously believed I was always right.  And therefore, my husband was always wrong.  I did not trust God.  I trusted myself.  I said I trusted God.  But that is not how I lived.  Honestly, I believed I knew better than anyone else.  And, if you look at how I lived, I believed I knew better than God – because I was not obeying His Word for me as a wife.

I fight and argue because:

  • I want my way.
  • I think I am right.
  • I want control over my husband and my circumstances – and, truthfully – I want to be sovereign instead of God.
  • I am afraid of what would happen if I wasn’t in control.  I don’t trust God.
  • I am rebelling against God’s Word.
  • I am selfish.
  • my sinful nature is in control, not God’s Spirit of peace and unity.
  • I am stubborn.
  • I am carnal and worldly.
  • “Being right” is more important to me than the unity of my marriage.
  • “Being right” is more important to me than meeting my husband’s need for respect.
  • I am making the little issue and “being right” more important to me than my obedience to God, my intimacy with Christ and the strength of my marriage.

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

God detests pride.  I MUST humble myself like a little child before God in order for Him to work in my life and for me to become a godly woman and wife.

QUESTIONS:

1. What could you do for your husband today that would be very meaningful to him?

2. What expectations do you need to drop so that you can do this with a cheerful, joyful heart – expecting nothing in return and not storing up resentment in your heart?

3. What does today’s verse at the top teach us about the kind of women God desires us to be?

4. Commit to sharing important information and feelings with your husband in a brief, concise, unemotional way.  How could you share your heart, desires and needs with him without blaming him, making him the bad guy or raking him over the coals?

5. How can you be responsible for your own feelings and emotions and allow your husband to be responsible for his feelings and emotions?

6. How can you tell the difference between sharing your needs and your perspective vs. complaining or arguing?

RELATED POSTS:

A Challenge – Do Not Argue or Complain for 1 day or 1 week

Handling Adversity with Joy and without Complaining

Healthy Boundaries and Control

Sharing VS. Complaining

The Respect Dare, Day 5 – Slow to Anger

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My dear brothers, take note of this:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  James 1:19

In the Respect Dare, Nina Roesner shares a story on Dare #5 about how a wife applies this verse and avoids a serious argument with her husband.  The awesome thing is, he soon came to see his wife’s point of view and agree with her without her forcing the issue or having an argument about it.  Sometimes we as women figure things out before our husbands do.  But, there are times when wise wives will wait and allow God to reveal things to their husbands instead of trying to tell their husbands what to do or taking over.

QUICK TO ANGER, QUICK TO SPEAK

In the first 14.5 years of our marriage, before I really understood respect and biblical submission, I would often ask Greg a question –  And then Greg didn’t answer immediately – I would get UPSET.

I expected him to  know his mind on any issue right away- just like me.   I expected him to answer within 10-20 seconds.  I would wait – and sigh and watch the clock and count the minutes ticking by as he seemingly “ignored” me and “refused” to answer my question.

Then by about 15-25 minutes – when I had waited impatiently and pressured him to give me an answer, I would explode in anger and storm off – incredulous that Greg “wouldn’t” answer a simple question.

I was most certainly NOT quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Now, when I ask him a question, I give him time to think because I know that is how he works.  He is not being hateful or unloving.  He just needs to think quietly on his own for awhile.  Now that I understand this about him, I am able to offer him time, grace and plenty of patience.  God has changed my heart and opened my mind to see things from his perspective.

THE HOUSE

When we first moved into this 1960s era brick house in 2007, my husband said that the renovations that needed to be done would take 6 months.  Sometimes, Greg would stop working on the house and go tear vines off of the back fence.  I wanted that house DONE in 1 year or less – which seemed pretty generous and patient on my part, considering he had estimated 6 months.

(When I say renovations – I mean: making a new kitchen out of an old office, making a new master suite out of the original living room and den, taking down walls, tearing out most rooms all the way down to the studs and starting from scratch.  And this is a big house.    He worked on the house 5-6 days per week until midnight after his full time job for a year and a half.  My husband  wanted to be careful, methodical, spend money wisely and do things perfectly.  My goal was SPEED.  We had very different priorities.)

So when I saw Greg outside pulling vines, I stomped out to the back yard and said, “Why on earth are you pulling vines back here?  The fence is NOT a priority right now!  You said the house would be done in 6 months.  It’s been 5 months already and you have barely gotten anything done yet.  I want the house done as soon as possible!!”  (at that point, he had closed in the carport and made it a garage.  And we spent about 3 months just deciding where the master suite would be, where the kitchen would be, if we would have a dining room or not, what walls would stay and what walls would go… you know, normal stuff.)

I didn’t even ask Greg questions.  I didn’t try to understand his perspective.  I wanted the house done and I wanted it done ASAP.  I NEEDED HELP!!!!!!  I was beyond nervous breakdown mode by the second summer we were here because I had been EXTREMELY sleep deprived for a year and a half nursing our baby around the clock almost every night (Usually I only slept 4-5 hours/night of sleep in 30 minute intervals).  She was often sick.  I was often sick.  I was also working 20+ hours/week, caring for our 5 year old and handling all the housework, shopping, cooking.   I was beyond being totally overwhelmed.

A year or two after I learned about respect and biblical submission, Greg shared with me that when he was frustrated with a renovation project that was not going well – he would go outside and pull vines and try to clear his head and think through the problems he was having so he could work out a solution.

YIKES!

Imagine if I had been more interested in listening to my husband instead of demanding my way.  What if I had not been quick to fire my anger at him?  Maybe there wouldn’t have been any tension at all because maybe he would have shared with me that he used that time to think through possible solutions.  If I had known that, I feel sure I would have been a lot more understanding – even if I was very sleep deprived.

I see now that he was fixing up that house as a HUGE gift of love for ME.  He wanted to give me my dream home.  He wanted me to appreciate his hard work and the beautiful rooms he made.  What an amazing, talented, loving, generous man I have – to devote himself to such a massive project just to make me happy.  Wow!

NOW:

I understand how my husband thinks a WHOLE lot better which has made a huge difference.  I have let go of many unrealistic expectations.

I know that he:

  • does not think or feel or process emotions like me at all.
  • often thinks without words and uses formulas or imagines a scale as he is making decisions.  So it is difficult for him to verbalize things for awhile until he arrives at a decision.
  • feels disrespected when I pressure him to come to a decision too quickly.

So, now (by God’s power working in me) I:

  • am patient and ask a question casually and leave a lot of time for him to think without any pressure.
  • LISTEN when he does speak and pay careful attention to his unique masculine perspective and wisdom and I know that many times God is leading me through his words.
  • patiently wait and don’t try to force my way or force a quick solution.
  • share my feelings and desires and perspective calmly, in a pleasant tone of voice with a friendly expression on my face.
  • ask questions respectfully and softly if I don’t understand.  But I try not to ask “why.”  That question is disrespectful to many men.
  • am gracious if we don’t do what I had suggested or what I wanted to do.  My goal is to seek God’s will first, not my own.  I trust God’s sovereignty to lead me through my husband if my husband doesn’t agree with me.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER AND PRAY ABOUT:

1. What were some of the disagreements/arguments my husband and I have had lately?

2. Why did I feel it was necessary to argue?

3. How could I have applied this verse (James 1:19) and handled things without an argument?

4. How can I apply this verse on a daily basis when I start to feel angry?

5. Is it possible that I might be making small issues more important than our marriage or my obedience to Christ?

6. Do I believe that my sinful behavior (disrespect, yelling, cussing, throwing things, becoming violent, attacking my husband verbally) is justifiable because I believe I am “right” about the small issue and I believe he is “wrong”?    Is God more concerned with the little issue or with my sinful attitude?

7. Is it possible that my husband’s idea might just be different, not “wrong”?  What if he has valuable wisdom to share with me that I am missing when I get angry quickly and don’t listen?  What might I be missing that God wants me to hear?

8. Is it possible that I am exhausted, hormonal, hungry, in pain or have some other major physical issue that makes things seem a whole lot worse than they really are right now?  If so, I need to take care of that first before I unwisely get into any kind of argument!

YOU ARE WELCOME TO SHARE YOUR ANSWERS AND YOUR STORIES! 🙂

RELATED POSTS:

A Real Life Example of Respect and Biblical Submission

How Do Men Process Emotions

Men and Emotions Part 2

Men and Emotions Part 3

How Do Men Think?

How Men Think – Part 2

How Men Think – Part 3

Why Men Need Space Sometimes – Youtube Video (5 minutes)

God May Be Leading Your Husband’s Decision – Youtube Video (under 3 minutes)

Responding to Our Husband’s Constructive Criticism – Youtube Video (5 minutes)

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