I may want to change to please my husband without considering if I am pleasing God.
I want to treat my husband well to try to get him to stay and give me the love I want from him.
I love and respect my husband with strings attached. I have a lot of expectations of what he should do for me in return for what I do for him.
I would be devastated if my husband is not happy with me, even if I am doing what is right.
I would be devastated if my husband leaves me or dies and feel like there is no hope if he is not with me.
If my husband left me, I might grovel at his feet and do anything to get him to come back, even if he was involved in serious unrepentant sin.
I might be willing to disrespect myself in order to meet my husband’s definition of respecting him.
The fruit of my attempts to respect my husband will be frustration, disappointment, fear, loneliness, worry, bitterness, and/or possibly even physical sickness because I am not acting in the Spirit, but in the flesh.
If I have Christ on the throne of my heart and His approval is most important:
My motives are to please God and to satisfy Him at any personal cost to me.
I seek to bless my husband because I know he is made in the image of God and he is beloved by God.
I want to treat my husband well because God wants me to treat him well and because I love him with the love of Christ.
I look for the good things in my husband to admire because that honors the Lord.
I change to please God primarily. I want to do things that please my husband to a degree – but only if I know God is pleased with those changes.
I love my husband unconditionally without strings attached.
I can be content even if my husband is not happy with me, as long as I know that God is happy with me – it wouldn’t be my favorite thing, but I could deal with it if I had to.
I measure my success as a wife and woman by God’s Word not my husband’s current mood or emotions.
I can stay at peace in Christ even if my husband is upset at something or even if he is in a bad mood.
I can even stay content in Christ and full of His joy no matter what my husband may do or not do.
I honor my husband’s God-given leadership because I reverence Christ and trust God to lead me through my husband if my husband is not asking me to clearly sin or condone clear sin. I do want to trust my husband as much as possible, but ultimately my trust is in Christ alone.
If my husband were to leave me or die, I would be very sad. I would grieve. But I would know that if I have Jesus, I have the greatest Treasure in the universe.
If my husband left me, I would pray for my husband. I would want him to come back and to reconcile the marriage. But my greatest concern would be his soul, not my personal happiness.
The fruit of my respecting my husband would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life because it is God’s Spirit empowering me to do this (Gal. 5:22-23).
It’s not wrong to enjoy pleasing our husbands. It’s very helpful to us when they give us some feedback and we know that they appreciate what we do for them. We feel so blessed when our husbands smile at us or show us that they are responding positively to our respect. But we can get sidetracked by their feedback sometimes – or lack of feedback. God can use our husband’s feedback to benefit us and help us on this journey. But not all feedback from our husbands reflects God’s feedback. We must test our husbands’ feedback against God’s Word. I hope that makes sense.
I remember scoffing at the idea that my husband would EVER “rule over me” or control me in any way! I didn’t like the idea of being what I thought of as a second class citizen in my marriage.
I had a post recently here on April’s blog where I shared how that worked out for me. My husband felt so emasculated and discouraged, he completely gave up. We both made many mistakes, eventually leading to divorce. We were actually remarried March 1st, 2016 (praise God) but only after a long, painful journey in which I learned the importance of submission – not in the horrifying way I always thought it would be, but in the way God intended.
Here is an example of a situation where my husband’s leadership works when we disagree:
Our living room furniture is in awful condition, so we decided to shop for new furniture last month. We have VERY different taste so I was dreading the idea of ending up with couches I don’t even like! We sat down and planned out a budget for new furniture, and my husband asked me what color I wanted. I told him I thought gray would look best with the existing walls and decorations, and he actually agreed with me on that part. However, when we went shopping the first day, he was drawn toward couches that didn’t match my taste at all. I asked what he thought about taking some photos that day, then going home and looking over them before we made any decisions, and he agreed.
In the past, I would have demanded this instead of asking him. It makes a big difference to him that I ask respectfully, and generally he goes along with my suggestions when I do this.
That night we looked through the photos both of us had taken with our phones. I told him I didn’t like the overstuffed/oversized look of most of the furniture he picked. I didn’t yell or attack him; I just let him know that the style wasn’t what I had in mind. I asked him what features he liked most about those particular couches, and he actually didn’t care at all that they were the overstuffed kind – he was more worried about the fabric (we have pets) and how easy it would be to clean! Once I realized where his mind was, we got online and found some options that had:
(1) the gray color
(2) the same type of fabric
(3) a more streamlined look.
He was still worried that the couches I liked would be uncomfortable, so we went back to the store the next week to sit on them and try them out. We were able to find a set of couches that met both our requirements, and even though he made the final choice, he was very concerned about making sure I was happy as well.
That’s a small thing, but in the past it would have been a huge fight. I would have insisted we get the furniture I wanted without even understanding (or caring) why he was picking something else. I would have refused to even hear his opinion… I might have even insulted him by saying something like “Furniture is something the woman picks out, not the man.” None of these things would have made him feel respected and it would have driven a larger wedge between us as neither would have felt heard.
Instead, as he has become secure that I trust him to make the best decisions for our family, he seeks my input MORE than he ever did before. He wants me to be happy and is careful to make wise choices.
Not because I’ll make life awful for him if he doesn’t, but because we’ll get along so much better if he does. Before I submitted to him as the leader of our family, I would have never known he was trying to make my life easier by selecting a fabric that was easy to clean – I would have yelled and screamed to get my way and he never would have mentioned WHY he wanted the couches I didn’t like.
Submitting was so foreign to me at first. I had no idea how to be happy in a situation where I thought I would never get to voice my opinions or make decisions. But the only thing that really changed is “how” I share what I think and how my husband reacts to it. He thinks of things that never even cross my mind and I learn so much from him now that I allow him the space to share without feeling like I’ll dismiss or attack him. It’s a difficult mindset shift but I have received nothing but blessings since I allowed myself to trust God’s plan for our marriage.
In God’s design, the husband and wife have equal value and worth. Both have an important voice. Both feel listened to. Both contribute all of themselves. Both feel loved, honored, and respected. We are not the same, but it is our differences in body, mind, and spirit that attract us to each other. It is our differences that allow us to function as a team and as one. We have different roles, but we have the same goal and we are equally valued and precious in the kingdom of Christ. We both have equal access to God and we are both co-heirs with Christ.
A godly husband and wife would both seek to be selfless, humble, generous, thoughtful, considerate, understanding, and compassionate when they are making decisions because of the Holy Spirit working in them. They would want to attempt to reach a win/win solution. There should be teamwork, calm discussion, and collaboration. It is only after such steps are taken for each spouse to understand the other and to honor the other and to try to reach a solution both husband and wife would like – that if they still can’t agree, the wife would then choose to honor her husband’s leadership and trust God to lead her through him. Sometimes decisions may have to be made quickly, without time for discussion – if there is an emergency. Some situations don’t have compromises. But both spouses ideally would be seeking to do what is best for the family and seeking to be selfless and should desire to do what is ultimately best in God’s eyes for everyone in the family.
Many times, the actual decision isn’t as important as how we treat each other during the decision-making process.
A guest post from a reader – I so appreciate her allowing me to share her story:
I just want to encourage everyone here on this journey to stick with it. I started on this whole journey about three years ago and I recognize all these feelings and the days of hard-heartedness and times of being in a black cloud.
God is not after your exterior, or your acting respectful by following rules of behavior (although it is a good place to begin to learn self-control), He is after total transformation and that takes more time than we imagine it could.
After a few years of this I FINALLY am beginning to experience freedom from the bitterness and cynicism that I had allowed to dominate me. I have read all the posts on this blog many, many times! I LOVE how I was nurtured and mentored here through such loving and patient wisdom. I had to learn how to give my heart to Christ first and examine myself first and extend Jesus’ love without expecting return.
One story sticks out for me when I knew I had turned the corner:
This was just over the Christmas holiday a few months ago. My husband had painted our walls three years ago but I came home and noticed that spots were thin, showing the old color through, and the trim was messy, including color on the corners of the white ceiling. For these two years I have had the “ugh” factor when I look at my walls, it interrupted my enjoyment of my home, I stopped having friends over, etc etc. I demanded. I pointed out the flaws. I asked politely. I stayed quiet for long periods of time hoping he would get around to fixing it, but of course he felt criticized by my pointing out the flaws and never did it.
Well, this Christmas I was going to have time off and I asked him to get out all the paints for me and the ladder. I painted all the trim and fixed the thin spots over about three days – morning till night.
The amazing thing was that the whole thing became a prayer.
I was motivated to do it from love, because my prayers had led me to release my resentment and think about my husband as a little boy being criticized by his mother. I had gone through my own process of repentance and I was so clear-headed and light-hearted that it was easy to start the work.
While I painted, I noticed that different times of day made the light change and it was really hard to tell whether I had really painted enough layers over the old color. It kept changing. My husband had painted while he was in his busy season of work before (while I was out of town for six weeks). I realized that it was not so easy to see what you had done while you were painting. I forgave him more deeply. While I worked I had fun! I sang, carefully moved the ladder, kept a good spirit, because my work had become a prayer of healing for my family.
When I worked on the trim, I realized that it was the perfect thing for me to do and that my husband was the type of person who was not cut out for the detail work. But I was so thankful that I didn’t have to do the big strokes of the whole wall, which would have exhausted me totally. So God showed me we were a perfect team — man to do the big muscle work and woman to fill in details and make the whole thing more pretty.
I allowed myself to receive my husband’s gifts even if they weren’t my fantasy picture — to see what was in his heart.
He was pretty defensive the whole time expecting me to fall into resentment and complaining, but God kept my heart lifted up as He showed me so many ways I had to look at myself and repent. This was a test and I was thankful for it, because it showed me that I had actually found transformation. I wasn’t just boiling inside and keeping my mouth shut. I was joyful and thankful that my husband had done what he could and that I could step in and help (even though it took a very long while). I was so thankful to be working on our home together (which I always wanted) but in this different way (him first then me following). I have always had an idolatrous fantasy of us working side by side on our home, but he needed space for his work and I for mine.
I felt we were working together as one, though, more than any other time in our marriage except for the births of our children.
I was so happy to share this with my husband and I could tell it was a milestone for him, too. Since that time he has been so much more open and calm, we have been able to talk more freely without falling into old patterns. We are still working on it all, but there was some kind of a shift. The shift happened in my heart, and its fruit was my being able to paint and learn more amazing things God showed me. The shift came first. During these other years it definitely started as me learning to be quiet, say things in different ways, etc,etc, but now I see with new eyes, which is a gift of that outside-in time I had to go through first.
I would never have known how this felt unless I had a guide, a Titus woman I could trust. Thank you April for what you do here. Christ is saving families through you. Bless you and your family.
Since you asked, I’ll share a recent obedience/submission story:
A few weeks ago, our family was at a garage sale and our daughter (8) found a used violin with books for a great price! She loves all things musical and we are homeschoolers, so (in my mind) I thought it was a definite go! How much fun we could have with that!
I agreed with her – only that it was a great price, NOT that we should definitely get it – (an improvement for me) – and told her to go ask her Daddy about it.
My husband said, “No,” to the violin because our daughter had struggled to obey him just the day before several times and he didn’t feel like she deserved to get it.
She was very disappointed, and so was I. BUT I did not argue with him, and I encouraged her not to, as well. Instead, I took her aside and told her to trust her Daddy to lead our family. I prayed with her that if she was to have a violin, one would be provided for her somehow and if she wasn’t, we could forget about it and focus on the instruments we do have for now.
She seemed to forget about it soon enough, enjoying our keyboard and guitars like she usually does throughout the week. She mentioned it once or twice, but i reminded her that we are blessed to have what we do and if the Lord wants us to have one, He will provide one.
Fast forward about 3-4 weeks…
My husband and sons went to help his musician brother move out of state. When they returned, my husband had a surprise for our daughter. This makes me cry typing it now, but it was EXACTLY the same violin – for FREE! (Nothing special, just your average middle-school beginner violin, but still the same.) My brother-in-law had received it in a trade with some other stuff and had no need for it and no room to store it in his new place. So, he asked my husband if we’d take it.
My daughter and I prayed prayers of thanks to the One who knows us and loves us and takes care of the little things for us. And I praised HIM because my daughter (and I) got a lesson in patience and a tangible example of how obedience and submission works! God can still meet our needs (and sometimes our wants) if we will just trust HIM to provide for us and trust HIM to lead us through these human leaders He’s given us. It doesn’t always look like this, and sometimes we don’t recognize it, but sometimes it DOES and sometimes we DO. And it’s fun to be pleasantly surprised and cared for!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would love to hear more stories about how God used your submission to Him and to someone in a position of spiritual authority in your life, even when you didn’t understand it at the time, to bring about good in your life or your family’s life.
Here is one Christian husband’s response to this post earlier in the week:
Thank you for this post. Your advice is spot on!
The thing that I want from my wife is input and cooperation, not demands, domination, manipulation or deception.
The former draw me to her, the latter drive me away from her.
I want to reiterate what you say about wives not undermining or overruling their husbands with the children.
The scripture is pretty clear that children are to obey their parents. When my wife overrules or undermines a decision I have made or a command that I have given, she teaches our kids that I should be ignored.
The long term effect this has had is that my children stop listening to me. They just tune me out. I become more and more disengaged and leave the parenting duties to her.
I don’t think most wives realize the long term consequences of undermining our husbands’ spiritual authority in the family. I know I didn’t until God opened my eyes to all of my disrespect, pride, control, self-righteousness, etc… in Dec 2008.
My husband had become very unplugged with me and our children. I was constantly asking (or demanding) for him to do more with us.
I had NO CLUE why he had unplugged. I thought he was just unloving.
Now I know, of course, that I had disrespected him and taken over control. Now I know that I wouldn’t listen to him and wouldn’t support his parenting and thought I always “knew best” since I had read more books about parenting. It’s heartbreaking to me now to realize how destructive my attitudes, words and actions were at times back then. In front of the TV, he was safe. With me, he was not very safe at times.
When I began to learn about respect and biblical submission. I seriously felt like I was trying to learn some VERY foreign language – without a teacher. That is how little it all made sense to me at first. It took me over 2 years of constant study, prayer and journaling (for hours a day almost every day) to BEGIN to feel like I remotely had a clue what I was doing.
Soon into my journey into being a godly wife, I began to talk to our children (our son was 7 and our daughter was 2) and say things all throughout the day like:
– God made husbands/dads to be the leaders in the family.
– I was wrong to try to be in charge of things before. I am so sorry. I hurt you and I hurt Daddy by the way I treated Daddy. I don’t want to do that anymore.
– Daddy is in charge now the way God’s Word says he is supposed to be. We will all treat him with respect.
– Please use a respectful tone of voice to Daddy and to me. That wasn’t a respectful tone of voice. Please try saying that again respectfully.
– That was a disrespectful attitude. Please apologize for talking to Daddy/me like that.
– Obey Daddy and Mama because God commands you to obey your parents so that you can please God and you can have a long life.
– If one of us says no to something, don’t ask the other parent. It will be “no” from both of us.
– Your Daddy asked you not to jump on the couch. I know he’s not here right now – but we are going to honor him and obey him whether he is here or not.
– (If a child is slow to obey my husband) You heard what Daddy said. Please obey Daddy now.
– That decision is up to Daddy (for bigger decisions). We will honor whatever he decides. You may ask for what you want respectfully, just one time, and then please accept whatever he decides is best.
We will continue this discussion in Part 2 tomorrow! 🙂
Last October, this blog reached 1 million hits. Yesterday, it reached 2 million!?!?!? Thank You God for all that You are doing and may Your Name alone be exalted here!
Greg doesn’t have a big preference in many areas. He is not controlling or demanding at all. In fact, he never asked me to be more respectful or to submit to him. Never. God opened my eyes to all of this without Greg saying a word. Greg often defers to me and gives me quite a wide range of freedom to make my own decisions. He loves to see me happy and I love to see him happy, too. I share my concerns, needs, desires, emotions, ideas, beliefs, values, thoughts and goals with him. If he were to get involved in sin, I know that I can humbly, respectfully approach him about that. And I am thankful when he gently, lovingly tells me about sin he sees in my life. But now, I share things my perspective about decisions in a way that is most effective for him to hear – by me sharing briefly, without pressuring him, in a pleasant, friendly tone of voice with sincere respect. And I am willing to joyfully honor his leadership, even if I disagree with him now.
Greg doesn’t demand things of me. And he really doesn’t ask me for much at all. So when he does ask me to do something, I know it matters to him and is important to him. If there is an issue that is important to him, and maybe I think it is not a big issue, I ask myself, “Will this issue matter to God when I stand before Him? Will He care where we sat or what paint color we chose? Or will He care that I showed respect and honor to my husband (as He commands me to do in Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6, I Corinthians 11:3 and Titus 2:3-5)?”
When I live for Christ, I die to myself. I die to my will and living life for what I want. I must take up my cross daily and follow Him. Now, I live life only to bring glory to Jesus and to do His will.
I have learned over the past 5.5 years on this journey that my level of biblical submission to Greg and my level of respect for Greg are a tangible indicator of my level of submission to and reverence for Christ. This is ALL about my walk with Jesus, my trust in Him, my faith in Him and my love for Him.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” John 14:22-24
Nikka pointed out yesterday a verse that I believe is very applicable here:
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10
God’s will is not about the individual details of the outcome of little decisions as much as it is about what is in my heart. What is controlling me, the Spirit of God or my old sinful nature?
And, here is a question I also ask myself –
How do I know that God is not leading my husband to do what he wants to do about an issue? If Greg is not asking me to blatantly sin, is it possible that God has inspired him to do something because God knows things I don’t know?
I know a family where the dad asked his elementary school boys to tread water – for a long time. The mom thought he was being to hard on the boys. But the dad insisted they keep treading water. The next week, the family was at a river. Those boys were swept downstream. It took time for anyone to be able to get to them and both boys had to tread water for a long time.
My precious sisters, how do we know what is ahead? What if the thing our husband wants to do is something God is prompting him to do that we will not understand until later? Our God is sovereign! He is able to lead us through our men as we trust Him.
(If you have serious issues in your marriage – drug/alcohol addictions, uncontrolled mental health disorders, real abuse, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP. My blog is not written for those dealing with severe problems. There are times when a wife may not be able to submit to a husband who is not in his right mind. I don’t have experience with a situation like that.)
God does not give husbands any command to demand their way or to lord anything over their wives.
Godly marriage is not based on one spouse demanding something of the other, but on selflessness, sacrificial, voluntary and unconditional love and honor. Biblical submission and godly respect for our husbands is not about our husbands at all, but is all about our love and reverence and obedience to Christ. And it is about bringing Him great glory and setting a godly example for those around us, to make the gospel as attractive as possible.
God commands us all as believers not to argue or complain so that we can shine like stars in the universe as we hold forth the word of life. Phil. 2:14-16.
A wife who argues, complains, is uncooperative with her husband and who insists on her own way (even in the “small things”) makes the gospel unattractive to unbelievers and to her own children. She makes the gospel less attractive to her husband if he is not a believer. She also makes it much harder for her husband to do what God calls him to do even if he is a believer in Christ.
One Bible teacher at church, Rev. Weaver, talked about fighting in marriage…
“Only fight about issues that are more important than our obedience to Christ and are more important than the unity and covenant of our marriages.”
That kind of narrows down the “important” issues pretty significantly.
Obviously, there are very few things that are more valuable than those things. The only exceptions would be if our husbands are asking us to very blatantly sin against God. For what to do in such a situation, please check out my notes from Rev. Weaver’s class on Spiritual Authority.
The ironic thing is, that as we honor and respect our husbands, they will usually care more about our feelings and will do almost anything to make us happy. Husbands, almost all husbands, deeply desire for their wives to be happy. That is how many of them measure their success as men! Did you realize that? I wish they measured their success by God’s pleasure with them instead, but many husbands gauge their success as men, husbands and fathers by the happiness of their wives.
Usually, if we just simply, briefly, calmly, respectfully share our desires, a husband who feels very respected will bend over backwards to do what his wife would like. My husband does this now for me. It took awhile for him to feel safe with me again. But once he felt safe and knew I honored and truly respected him – he wants to do anything he can to make me happy. But the more we try to force or push our way, the more our husbands feel repelled from us and the less they care about our desires.
When we obey God, we get to experience blessings of God that we can hardly begin to imagine. And when we refuse to obey God, we will experience some very negative consequences. I am not saying we will all have lots of money and no problems if we obey God. That is not God’s promise. But we will have access to all the spiritual resources and treasures of heaven as we walk in total faith, trust and obedience to God, trusting Him to work all things out for our ultimate good and His glory.
Also, husbands do NO have absolute authority, God does.
They will be accountable to Him, to His Word and to those in authority over them for how they lead and manage their families. They will ultimately answer to God for every decision they make for their families, whether they obeyed God to love their wives unconditionally, whether they honored their wives as the weaker partner and co-heir with Christ and whether they were gentle, kind, understanding and patient with them and nurtured their wives as their own bodies.
Let me know if these things clarify things for you. 🙂
** Husbands – We would love to hear your take on this issue to add a masculine perspective to our discussion. **
FROM THE WIFE AGAIN:
Thank you so much April! This was very helpful to me.
What I need to remember is that ultimately it is not between my husband and me, but between myself and Christ. I certainly don’t want to malign the gospel. I think I have overlooked Titus 2:5 in relation to the little things. It’s hard to remember sometimes that God cares about our little squabbles and petty disagreements but I know that He does. It is terrifying to think I will have to answer for all these things when I stand before God one day. I am so thankful that ultimately my answer is “Christ” but to see it all played out in front of a holy God? Eeek!
“Only fight about issues that are more important than our obedience to Christ and are more important than the unity and covenant of our marriages.”
Wow, that really does narrow things down!
I am going to take the time to memorize the Phil 2:14-16 verse. I grew up in a home where arguing and complaining were normal. Most of our “pleasant” conversations were complaint sessions. When I met my husband I would complain just as a form of conversation. It would make him so upset and it took me the longest time to understand why. It is so hard to not fall back into old patterns but by the grace of God I am working on it!
You are right that the more I do respect my husband, the kinder he is to me.
I don’t want to hurt him or destroy our marriage over stupid things. I don’t want to disobey God. I am starting to understand Luke 16:10 a little better. I think it’s the little things that are so much easier to stumble on because we aren’t on guard for them the way we would be with the big things. So if we can be blameless with the little things, the big ones will be no problem for us.
I do feel like God has been withholding blessings because my heart is wrong in my marriage. I am not trying to please God in order to get blessings, but I do see the connection.
I keep overlooking God’s protection of me in my marriage. I keep trying to submit but feel fearful that no one will protect me if my husband abuses his power (I don’t think he will). I need to remember that God is sovereign in all of this and has my good at heart. It comes down to my trust in God which is something I need to work on.
Thank you so much for talking with me April. Your blog is such a blessing!
Oh if only I had known then what I know now and what Eliza is about to share with us! Listen up ladies, this is CRITICAL, life-changing information you are about to learn! It will save you untold heartache if you apply God’s wisdom to your life ASAP!
Greg (April’s husband) with our son as a newborn
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND, LADIES!
This post is a priceless treasure for those of you who are mothers. May God richly bless your walk with Him, your marriages and your children as you seek to honor, wholeheartedly love and obey Christ! (Warning – you may need tissues for this one )
From a precious sister in Christ, Eliza:
I don’t feel like an old lady speaking to younger women. I still feel very young and find it pretty hard thinking of myself as a woman in her early 50′s. But I definitely am an aged woman as I have raised my family from beginning to end. So, I’ve experienced the end result and know the full spectrum from sowing to reaping. I really hope my life experiences can help other women be the mothers God wants them to be. And HE can accomplish it in our lives if we simply submit to His principles with our children as we also diligently submit to the principles we are putting into place regarding our husbands. They really go hand in hand. To God be the glory for all He has accomplished in my life!
For some reason, however, it isn’t necessarily the pain of what hurt I caused my husband (although I deeply regret hurting him and it breaks my heart that I hurt him so much), but it is the pain I caused my children that hurts the most.
They were innocent and weren’t part of the dynamics of our marriage. You just absolutely cannot imagine how painful it can be to have your children tell you the hurts you caused them. Not sure the rest of my life is enough time for healing for that. I agree that you cannot have a testimony without having first had the trials. I’m not trying to make anybody feel bad about that… I just wish I had learned a lot sooner. But, I’m choosing not to lament over it because it isn’t the attitude God wants when He did so much to accomplish forgiveness for me.
Because my husband has a very meek spirit and he also has the gift of mercy, he was very gracious towards the kids’ “mistakes, sins, disobedient behaviors.” I was very militant with the kids, and lacked greatly in the mercy department. I was really strict and was always trying to keep control of everything and everybody.
It hurt the kids to see me control their dad ~ they thought he was the best dad ever.
But I was really tough on all of them too because I was so controlling. They did not feel loved by me. (did you hear what I said??) Imagine your kids telling you that!!
I was blind. All those years I thought I was a good mother. Then they sat me down and told me otherwise. I thought I was going to die of a broken heart. I was devastated. The truth is that the Bible advocates Mercy AND Truth. God always puts the two together. You can’t have Mercy and no Truth, and you can’t have Truth with no Mercy. Look up mercy and truth and you will see how God puts them together in His Word.
I needed somebody like Debi Pearl (“Created to Be His Helpmeet”) to wake me up and show me what I wasn’t seeing. Her book did exactly that. And I am confident that that is the kind of book God ordained that I read because I needed that to wake me up. I experienced great conviction, as I said, and I repented. I apologized to everybody and now I am trusting God to heal all of our relationships. (For Nikka’s review of this highly controversial book, please click here. April has not read this book as of yet.)
Slowly, He is doing that, and I am grateful. But I will go to my grave knowing I caused such pain and hurt to my precious babies. I am so so so thankful God got a hold of my heart through this book. He has changed my life. Praise God, my children have all forgiven me and we are now working on building new relationships with each other. I know they are shocked to see me so calm and so peaceful. It has given them hope. I know God will accomplish much in His timing.
I should have relied more on God’s Word, strength, and Holy Spirit power when I was raising my kids. I was prideful; I thought I was doing great. I don’t recall ever asking God for His opinion. Yikes! It’s just nuts how you can think you are A-OK and then God shows you otherwise. It’s pretty humbling. But I praise God for His humbling me and showing me who I was and the hurt I was causing. I never want to act like that again…I am determined to continue to learn and grow and trust in God’s power and not my own. I am so dependant on God now and don’t trust in myself. I was so high strung before because I was doing it all on my own. And now, I have God’s peace and He enables me and keeps me on track. It’s a night and day change in my life. And I am eternally grateful to the Lord to lead me to April and Nikka’s blogs because they have been such a blessing to me. Thank you, Ladies!!! And praise our awesome God!!
I DIDN’T SUBMIT TO MY HUSBAND’S AUTHORITY WITH DISCIPLINE
One area I feel I really negatively impacted the kids is in the area of discipline. What I would do differently now is submit to my husband’s choice or method of discipline for the kids. Resisting his authority in front of the kids by taking over was SO disrespectful!! For whatever reason, I always thought I was pretty good at it.
Time has brought the truth to light that I wasn’t so good at it! I was too militant and harsh as a woman.
I think it was a contradiction in itself to be a woman and be that way. It confused the kids.
They really wanted their mom to have a meek and gentle spirit.
They wanted me to submit to and respect their dad.
They wanted to me speak few words.
They wanted lots of hugs and encouraging words from me.
I was too busy being in control of everybody to be a soft place for them.
They needed mom to be softer and dad to have full control.
He also always disciplined in love, and he definitely had a lot more self control than I did. I could get pretty upset and emotional. I 100% believe now that the husband should make the decisions regarding this area of parenting.
I just did whatever I thought was best — I didn’t take my husband’s preference into consideration.
When this happens, the kids can see that the parents are not in agreement. That’s never a good thing either. It makes the kids feel insecure. They need to see their parents in agreement; and if the parents are not in agreement, they need to see the mother defer to the father. Not being respectful to my husband in other areas also really caused the kids some deep hurts. “No man can serve two masters.” The kids should not be torn between having to please both parents & when they are not in agreement, that makes it very tough on the kids. God wired the kids to thrive in the environment that He ordained for the family. There is a chain of command that God set into place, and if we do not follow that, we will have problems and it will affect the children in negative ways.
Debi Pearl also said something that impacted me. She said that control and dominance are masculine traits and that a woman’s calling is to be submissive and yielding to her husband. I never lived like that and that was NOT a good testimony to my children…now that I am living according to God’s Word, I see the kids noticing and I hope they learn from what I am practicing now — not what I practiced when I was in rebellion to God and His Word.
Unfortunately, I now only have one child left at home. Maybe I will be a better grandmother than a mother! I’m trusting in God’s goodness and mercy. I want Him to use all my mistakes for good, and I do know and understand that He can use all this for good if I use it for ministry to help other ladies. I want to be used by God to warn women that there is a day of reckoning and it just might be extremely painful. It doesn’t have to be that way. God can change us before it is too late.
“A child’s view of God is formed in the likeness of his dad.”
I am extremely thankful that your statement (above) is 100% true and my own experience confirms it too. I can tell you for certain that God allowed our children to take on more of the character of their father, not me. They all love and adore their dad and are very similar to his personality and temperament. God graciously allowed them to learn to emulate him, not me. It is as though the Lord caused the children to retain what he taught and set by example and reject all the negative, unBiblical stuff I was doing. God put it in children’s hearts and minds that the father is meant to be the head of the household, and they seem to want to live that out whether or not the mother and wife applies it herself.
God honored my husband’s behavior and rejected mine.
You did such a good job teaching the children to treat their father the same way you did. That is how it should be!! In your situation, God honored your teaching because it was Biblical and so He allowed the children to emulate it. Mine NEVER emulated my behavior — thank God!! You have saved yourself so much unnecessary pain. I encourage you to continue to apply these principles no matter what! Thank you for seeking God in your life and learning the proper order for the home before any major hurts occurred. I praise your efforts and am so thankful for all the wisdom the Lord has given you. May God do this same work in homes across our land and even throughout the world for His honor and glory!!
1. FROM AN ANONYMOUS WIFE who had been very upset her husband had been working six 12 hour days a week (at a very labor-intensive job) for over two months and wanted more time with him:
The craziest thing just happened!! My husband just walk in and said he quit his job. He has never ever in his life quit a job or anything else for that matter. He is the hardest working man I know. And he is as happy as he can be. I know this sounds bad but I really don’t think it is. He will now have time to complete his legal things from his injury and take a career job. He couldn’t do that until after March 21st which is why he took this job temporarily. The old me would have freaked out big time! And even if I agreed, I would have asked him a million questions until he was mad. But I just told him that I supported his decision. I am trusting that God has another plan.
Here is the part that I didn’t say about the job. Maybe I just didn’t want to admit it… But I am the one who picked out this job.
He told me not to look for jobs for him and to let him handle it but I didn’t stop and then I found this one and badgered him to call about.
He didn’t want to at first but finally he did probably to shut me up and he was hired immediately. ….sigh…. We see how good that worked out when I took control….
I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare. Ecclesiastes 8:26
2. FROM NIKKA (pictured above): www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com
I was an extremely controlling girlfriend/wife before the Lord convicted me of my sins. As a married woman, between 2009 to 2011, my most controlling phase; I was the family’s primary provider and leader.
Dong acquiesced to my headship because he felt that it was what I wanted, and him being a big Golden Rule believer, he allowed me to lead because he felt that it was what would make me happy.
During this time, Dong was in and out of jobs. He worked for the Business Process Outsourcing industry, or what the Philippines normally calls the “Call Center” industry. He was a voice/non-voice agent and then a quality analyst later on. He worked the night shift and would come home in the morning spent and stressed from answering phone calls and appeasing irate clients. He hated his job but he felt that he had to do it since there was no option at that time for another job.
He has always been a businessman at heart. Even as a young adult, he would venture into small businesses – a VHS rental shop, a computer ink refilling shop, making of calling cards, etc. He loved selling things. But, he felt that my idea of a provider was to be an employee… and so he worked as one for me.
When he quit from his job due to extreme stress (He was already becoming depressed, having insomnia, and hyperacidity daily.), I got mad. But I did not show it. I felt that it was so irresponsible of him to quit just like that! I did not care if he was sick, I still felt that it was a selfish decision. (See how prideful and judgmental I was then?
Whenever he was out of a job, I would be there to “rescue” him. I would look for job openings and shove it to his face. When he lost his job at the call center, I looked for job openings for him immediately. This was not the only time I forced him to apply for a job though. I had a history of prodding him to apply for jobs, short of going to the job interview myself! I thought I was being encouraging. I did not know then that I was being controlling and disrespectful.
1) As a computer programmer. 2002. We were not even married yet at this time. I saw this ad on the papers. I felt that since he was adept at computers, (He was a gamer and he was really good with fixing our PC, etc.) he should give it a shot. In it, the ad read that “KNOWLEDGE OF Auto Cad A+”, I think it was. I read it to mean that it was a plus to know that particular program, but it was not necessary.
He went to the job interview. They asked him to go straight to the computer. They asked that he draw using his knowledge on Auto Cad A+ on that computer!!! The A+ did not mean knowledge of it was a plus, it was really a specific skill!!! A+!!! Yikes! Dong just stared at the monitor, fiddled with the mouse and drew a pathetic figure. He had no knowledge of that computer program!!! The interviewees even had to ask, “Are you okay? Do you know what you are doing?” To which he said,
“I am sorry. I have no idea what it is you are asking me to do. My wife just sent me to this job interview.”
2 ) As a sports announcer. 2005. My husband was once a basketball TV host. He was such for around two years. He felt that he was not good at it, sometimes flubbing his lines, but I saw an ad for a basketball halftime announcer, and I prodded him to apply for it!!! He did. For me.
When he went to the venue, he was embarrassed. People there were 10 years his junior! People who were in line with him in that job interview recognized him and even asked what he was doing there. They were looking for a certain type within a certain age, and he was overaged for the job. He went home humiliated, his self-esteem deflated.
3) As a sports reporter. 2011. I knew that there was an opening in a big TV network, being from the broadcasting industry myself. So, I made the calls, did the rounds, and informed Dong that so-and-so was already waiting for his resume. He just had to turn it in. This, before I even asked if he wanted to apply for such a job!
I felt that he would enjoy it and be good at it. I felt that he was qualified for it. He applied, and he was hired immediately. I knew it! I was on the dot on that one. He was fit for the job! Yay! Pat on the back for me. He did it again for me.. See a pattern here?
He went at it for three months. Three months of 12 to 14 hours workload, going out of town for coverages, only going home to sleep and then off again to work. He looked miserable but I kept on egging him on. “You can do it!”; “Just focus!”, I would cheer.
Then one night, he texted me from work. The text: “We have to talk.” I knew it. He would quit…again.
I was not prepared for the emotional outburst he did as soon as he went home. He was nearly screaming, which was very unlike him because my husband is mild-mannered and even-tempered. He became very emotional as he was telling me about his hurts:
that I did not love him
that I never accepted him for what he was
that he could never make me happy
that he was a loser
that maybe we should just separate and have me find somebody who was equal to me in terms of success….
That was the beginning of the change in me.
Seeing my husband in that state of brokenness, I told the Lord to help me view the situation differently and to make the most of it, since it seemed that I could not change Dong. I could not understand him! But, I did love him. So, I would try to be patient with him. That was in late 2011. That was enough for the Lord to implant a seed in my heart…
The Lord convicted me of my sins of disrespect, pride and everything else in September 1, 2013.
That was when I let go and let God; when I submitted fully the Lord and then to my husband. And the rest, as they say, is history…
You can read about all the wonderful, miraculous things that have happened and that are happening to my marriage in April’s blog or in my own Peacefulwife Philippines blog.
I would love to see us support, affirm, encourage and show confidence in our men as they search for jobs. And I would also exhort us all to allow our husbands freedom to choose their own jobs for themselves. The motivation to go to a job is strongest if the person who has to do the job has that motivation in himself, not if he feels coerced into a job he hates.
Some men may appreciate their wives helping them look up jobs online. That is fine – if your husband asks you for help, you can help him. But my suggestion is not to pressure or try to force him into something.
Many men tend to derive a great amount of their identity from their jobs.
If your husband is unemployed and trying to find work, or he is disabled – that is a VERY, VERY difficult thing for most men to deal with. It can be, according to some counselors, “more difficult for a man to face unemployment than terminal cancer.” I know I did not fully appreciate this during the first 6 years of our marriage when Greg was looking for an engineering job. That was very hard on him and I had no idea how to bless him or approach this issue back then. I am sure that what I did pushed him further into depression at that time. 🙁
As we show genuine faith in our husbands – often – that is the most powerful thing we can do – give them inspiration not condemnation. There may be times we find out about a job they may be interested in. I think it may be a good idea to share leads we know of – but then we can allow them to make the decision.
** If there are major issues in your marriage – please seek godly, wise, biblical counsel!
We would love to hear your insights on this important issue!
Do any of you have stories that relate to this? What have you learned? What has your husband said?
I am lifting up all the families and people who have been impacted by the tornadoes in the Midwest of the United States. I am praying especially for my readers who may be in harm’s way. I hope you will let me know if you are safe.
Here are a few scenarios I have witnessed at various times in the past year that I think may be helpful for us to talk about:
1. A couple was looking for seats for themselves and their toddler at a children’s show. The husband pointed to some seats towards the back. The wife went up towards the front. The husband started showing some body language that he was frustrated – quickly tapping his hands against his legs. He pointed towards the seats in the back again, and his wife went and sat on the padded floor near the front. The husband’s body language showed he was not happy. They ended up all sitting on the floor.
Sometimes, if we are not careful, we may miss the subtle signs that our husbands are feeling disrespected. Sometimes it is a subtle clenching of the jaw, or a slight movement of his hands or feet.
I know that this is a simple thing, it may seem small to us, but, I love to try to honor my husband by allowing him to choose where we sit when we go somewhere. Of course, many times, he will ask me where I would like to sit. If I have a preference, I will share that in a pleasant way, but if he has a strong preference about where to sit, I cheerfully allow him to lead and I sit wherever he feels is best.
2. A couple was walking in front of us to a public building with two young children. They were approaching the corner of the building, one young child took off running to the left in the front of the building. The dad followed the child, which I thought was very responsible of him. His wife called out in a very annoyed tone of voice, ” Babe, WHY are you going THAT way?” She told him he should go the other way. At that point he was already very close to the doorway on the front of the building that went to the same area inside that the door on the other side of the building went to. Maybe the mom hadn’t seen their child take off and didn’t realize her husband was keeping up with him and keeping him safe? I don’t know.
If both doors go to the same place, and my husband is already near one door, I would have to ask myself, “Does it really matter what door any of us use as long as we all get to the same place?” At this point in my life, that is a non-issue in my mind.
My goal now is that when we are walking somewhere together (a store, a park, a city, in public, in the woods…), I try to let him lead and I try to follow whenever possible. Of course, if there is somewhere I want to go or something I want to do, I share that. But I don’t run ahead anymore or try to make him follow me around. And I encourage the kids to stay behind or beside their dad since they don’t know where he is going. It is much easier to follow someone when you walk beside or behind him instead of way in front of him!
3. Sometimes we as wives will say, “I love you” to our husbands, and we think we are just stating our love. But, there is a way that we sometimes say this, a certain tone of voice and inflection of our voice that shows that our real motive in saying “I love you” is that we want our husband to say “I love you” back to us. It is really not just a statement that we are content to share. It is a test. Does he love me, too? Will he say he loves me, too?
I personally vote to not say anything if we are tempted to say “I love you” in that pressuring, expectant, strings attached kind of way. Some husbands may like to hear “I love you” but for a lot of husbands, those words aren’t a big need. Our honor, respect, admiration, faith and trust mean a lot more than those three little words to most men.
What do you think? Am I representing the husbands accurately here? Or do you disagree or want to clarify anything? We would love to hear from the men on these issues.
if you know how your husband feels about any of these issues, or similar issues, you are welcome to share his point of view and anything God has shown you about how to honor and respect your husband in these issues.
From a Fellow Wife. There is no specific “right way” for a godly couple to handle money issues. I love to give lots of different couple’s approaches so that wives can prayerfully consider different options and seek God’s wisdom for their own marriage and maybe have some ideas about how to respectfully approach the issue with their husbands:
April asked me to write a bit about how my husband and I handle our finances. I want to say that to my knowledge, there is no one certain way this has to be done. But this is what we do and what is working very well for us.
First, let me paint you a before-things-changed picture:
The way we used to do finances was that *I* did them. I had the checkbook. I had all of the bills. I paid them or if there was not enough money, *I* decided which ones to pay. This was difficult for me. I was very capable of doing the clerical work. But the weight of making the decisions on what should be paid if there was a shortage in our finances really weighed on me. At times I would find myself worrying late at night about our bills when I should be sleeping. I gave our bills and our finances a lot of mental space.
It got to the point that I just could not do it any longer. I reached a place when the weight of dealing with the bills was just too much and was really stressing me out. Sometimes I would even cry because I was so upset and stressed over our finances. I would tell my husband that I was worried about these things and he would be unhappy because he doesn’t like for me to worry and he would feel badly and feel that perhaps he was not providing well enough. But I didn’t really know what to do about it.
It was also at this time that I was working on becoming a peaceful wife and was also reading about how many women turned the finances over to their husbands. I thought that sounded wonderful! I thought about the pros and cons of that situation but decided that the idea of less worry was very enticing!
So I told my husband that I just could not do it any longer and I needed him to either take over completely or take over the decision making and I would be the secretary. He chose option 2.
Now, here is how we do our bills….
We have a bi-weekly meeting where we sit down and I have all of the financial stuff ready. (Bills laid out, envelopes, stamps, checkbook, calculator). I give him the stack of bills and then I write checks for whatever he decides is going to be paid. I tell him what I need for groceries or any other expenses I know of that I will need money for. (Gas, copays at a doctor’s appointment, etc). He is careful to leave that amount in checking for me to have. It is so much easier and better to just sit and write the checks for the bills he decided to pay rather than handle all of this all on my own.
I think my husband does so much better at making these decisions than I did.
For one thing, I come at doing bills and finances from an emotional (heart) viewpoint. I would think, “Oh, we have to pay this dr. I told them I would. They will be mad if we don’t pay this month.” Or I would think “I feel really sorry for our insurance agent. They are going through a hard time right now so I should pay this bill.” It sounds silly now but it is true that my emotions got totally wrapped up in doing the bills.
My husband is able to keep emotions completely out of it. He comes at bills and finances from a logical (head) viewpoint. If there is a question about what needs to be paid, he goes in order of priority. What is most important? What do we need? As he says, “What keeps us living?” He prioritizes. Mortgage, utilities and groceries come first. The other bills come second. I admire his wisdom in finances. And every time we sit down to do bills, I always think about how talented he is in this area and express that admiration and respect to him.
I was not good at prioritizing.
Not only did I come at bills with my emotions attached but I tried to pay it all and at times that was not possible. With this arrangement, I can relax and trust in him to make the best decisions for our family. There are times -very rarely- but there are occasional times when I feel a different decision than the one he makes might be better.
But here is what I do then:
I remind myself of how stressed I was when I had the bills on my own and how even if I don’t agree with a small decision he makes that this is still a better arrangement. I also sometimes mention that I might feel concerned about something in our finances but I STILL choose to follow whatever decision he makes. I can tell him my feelings and concerns and he welcomes that. Sometimes he agrees, sometimes he does not but I feel heard and I trust him to make the best decision for us.
This is working out beautifully for us. I feel so much better without the full weight of that responsibility on me! I love not having that burden any longer. And to my husband, it isn’t a burden or something that weighs him down like it did me. He is much better equipped to carry this load than I am. I love being sheltered from that worry and overwhelming weight of dealing with the finances all by myself.
There are a lot of different ways handling finances can be done. This is the one that is best for us. I hope this different perspective has been helpful to some of you.
NOTE: The Peaceful Wife is not a licensed marriage counselor, therapist, pastor, or psychiatrist. Any information presented here is intended to encourage women to strengthen their walk with the Lord and any decisions women make are ultimately between themselves and Christ. If someone is in a dangerous situation, please reach out for help and try to get somewhere safe. Those with severe marriage issues or who have experienced abuse, please seek one-on-one, trusted counsel (medical, legal, and spiritual) as appropriate. My site is not intended for those experiencing issues with active addictions, unrepentant infidelity, uncontrolled mental health disorders, nor abuse.