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Can You “Overdo” Respect or Submission in Marriage?

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Humanly speaking…

YES!

Anytime God gives us a command, we as humans are tempted to go way too far to the right of the command or way too far to the left.  There is this beautiful, godly place in the center where God desires us to be.  I think of it as walking on a high tightrope by the power of God’s Spirit working in me.  But if I try to do this thing in my own power and wisdom, then I fall way over to one side or the other – and God is not glorified or honored.

My motives MUST be only to revere, honor, please and obey Jesus.  My reverence and submission start with my reverence and submission to Christ alone.  It is from that place of the Lordship of Christ and dying to self that I may then obey God’s Word for me as a wife.  I respect my husband and honor his leadership NOT because he deserves it – but because Jesus deserves it.

(Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, Genesis 3, Colossians 3, I Peter 3, Titus 2:2-5 – God’s commands about marriage)

*****  If there are SERIOUS problems in your marriage – please seek godly help!!!!  If there are drug/alcohol addictions, issues with violence, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe unrepentant sin, infidelity, etc… those things go beyond the scope of my blog.  Please seek godly, experienced help ASAP! *********

Here are some ways.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS WE CAN BE “TOO RESPECTFUL” AS WIVES?

  • if we respect sin and act like it’s ok.  “Sure, Honey, bring women home that you find in the street any time.  I’ll cook you a fabulous dinner while you two commit adultery in the bedroom.  I’ll try not to be too loud with the pots and pans.”   I have actually seen women do this – or something similar.   No!  God does not call us to respect, tolerate and enable our husbands to blatantly sin.  I am talking about very clear sin here, not “my husband doesn’t want me to home school our children,” “I don’t feel loved,” “my husband lets my children watch movies I don’t approve of” or “my husband wants us to go to a church that I don’t like.”
  • if we put our husband’s authority over the authority of God or God’s Word.  God and God’s Word are absolute authorities, human authorities are people to whom God gives positions of authority over others to protect them, provide for them and take care of them.  They are not absolute authorities.  They are accountable to God for using their authority for His purposes, not their own.
  • if we make our husband into our idol and expect him to be Christ/God to us and act like he is infallible and a deity
  • if we allow him to lead us astray from the clear truth of God’s Word into a cult or false teaching
  • if we tolerate physical/sexual abuse of ourselves or our children
  • if we know that he is doing something illegal, but we help to cover it up (the exception being if he is illegally preaching the gospel – then we would support him because he is obeying God.)
  • if we go totally silent and give up our influence authority in the family and marriage
  • if we idolize “respect”  or  and and use it to try to manipulate, change or control our husbands instead of out of pure motives because we love and reverence Jesus and desire to bless our husbands.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS WE CAN BE “TOO SUBMISSIVE” AS WIVES?

  • if we submit to our husband on something but have very serious reservations and don’t share them.  I believe it is important for our husbands to know – “I believe we may want to consider this other option and these are the reasons why.  I do not agree with this decision, but if you believe this is best, I am willing to honor your leadership and I trust you and God to lead me through this.”
  • if we give up our influence authority in the marriage – if we don’t share our perspective, our feelings, our desires, our needs, our wants, our personalities, our full range of emotions – some women think that becoming subhuman or two-dimensional without feelings, thoughts or a personality is what submission means. NO!  Not at all!!!!  Our husbands NEED to know our feelings and desires so that they can make the best decisions.  How can they make the best decisions for our families if they are missing our valuable perspectives?  Our thoughts, intelligence, feelings and desires help to act as a compass for our husbands at times, letting them know how they are doing as leaders.  The key is to share respectfully, probably briefly and usually once.
  • if we don’t appeal our husband’s decision when he makes a very unbiblical decision.  Some husbands demand that their wives obey them 100% of the time absolutely, no questions asked.  That is not how Jesus treats the church!  He allows us to respectfully pray and share our hearts and ask for what we need.  We do this in a spirit of submission – ultimately seeking His will above our own.  But God grants us as His children and disciples of Christ access to His royal throne room in heaven.  He even allows our prayers to influence His decisions but always in line with His will.  “The prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  James   5:16  Greg and I believe that in a healthy, godly marriage – a husband leads in humility and is very interested to hear his wife’s input and ideas.  I cannot fathom Greg refusing to listen to me or refusing to allow me to respectfully ask him questions and give my input.  He values and cherishes me greatly and is very patient and gentle with me.  Greg never yells at me, calls me names or treats me harshly.  He treats me with honor and respect.  We both need to give and receive love and respect.
  • Some husbands demand that their wives must agree with them, not just submit (honor the husband’s leadership).   Greg and I do not believe that is biblical.   Believers in Christ are called to submit to spiritual authorities over us in the church, God-given authorities in the government, the workplace and the family because God promises to use God-given human authorities to guide us, give us wisdom and provide for us.  I know of no command for believers that we must agree with those in God-given authority over us.  We as wives are to submit to our husbands “in the Lord.”  If our husband (or any God-given human authority) asks us to blatantly sin or very clearly go against God’s Word, the absolute authority of scripture trumps a human’s God-given (non-absolute)  authority.  If my husband says I have to lie, steal, cheat, not forgive some one, watch pornography, worship him as a god, have an abortion, forge documents, break the law, go to a strip club, join him in a threesome, join a cult, etc… I must respectfully yet firmly resist him – still in a spirit of submission to his authority.  I show him I want to honor his leadership – but in this case I must choose to disobey him in order to obey God.  I better be SURE that what my husband is asking me to do is VERY CLEAR SIN.  I am accountable to God to submit to my husband.  This is a very serious decision not to be made lightly.  No one answers to me on this issue.  We all answer to God – so we better be VERY sure that we are honoring God before we would dare go against our husbands.  If my husband is not clearly violating God’s Word – I may be fighting God if I resist my husband’s leadership.  Having to respectfully resist our husbands in order to obey God will hopefully  be a pretty rare occurrence.  Greg has NEVER asked me to go against God’s Word in the almost 5 years that I have been submitting to his authority in our marriage.
  • never confront our husband’s sin.  There are times when we must confront sin, especially if our husbands are believers in Christ.  (Matthew 7:1-5 )  If a man is not a believer in Christ, his greatest need is Christ (see “When My Spouse is Wrong” link below).  I must be sure I deal with any sin in my own life and repent to God and my husband before addressing sin in my husband’s life.   If my husband is far from God, he may not be able to hear my words about spiritual things.  In that situation, my primary directive from God is I Peter 3:1-6 – to win him without words but by my respectful and chaste behavior and my my gentle, peaceful spirit that is full of trust in God’s sovereignty.  But if my husband (especially a husband who is a believer in Christ) sins against me, I believe it is my duty to go to him privately, humbly, respectfully and gently and show him his sin, just between the two of us.  Then I may need to bring another godly witness with me (maybe a pastor) – if he refuses to repent of serious sin (Matthew 18:15-17).  I would not bring in someone else for a minor or even a moderate issue.  Some churches still practice church discipline today – and would then bring the unrepentant brother before the church.   Most churches don’t do this anymore – except for staff sometimes.  Church discipline is often not followed today.  If he doesn’t repent at that point, I need to assume that he is not a believer and focus on I Peter 3:1-6.  I cannot make my husband apologize or repent.  I cannot make him change.  But I can respectfully, gently, lovingly, humbly show him his sin and tell him that it hurts me.  I can pray for God to work in his heart for God’s glory.
  • Blind/absolute obedience without weighing our husbands’ instructions against scripture.   This is what Nazi war criminals did, “I was just following orders, so I’m not guilty of murdering innocent people.”  God holds us accountable for our obedience to Him.
  • Agreeing to do something sinful to someone else, including our children.

RELATED:

When My Spouse is Wrong

How to Make an Appeal to a Spiritual Authority

The Influence Authority of Wives

Biblical Submission

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband is Always Right

A Real Life Example of Respect and Submission

Praying for Your Husband so that God Will Hear

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened.  Psalm 66:18

Unfortunately:

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

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

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

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

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

If you forgive men when they sin against you,

your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive men their sins,

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

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

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

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

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

4. I WAS EXTREMELY PRIDEFUL

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

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

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

Now – I know God hears me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Motives matter to God!

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

Lord,

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

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

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen!

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

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

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

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

A ROUGH WEEK (This is a fictional example)

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

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

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

How do you respond?

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

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

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

ENDING #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS

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

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

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

PERSPECTIVE

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

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

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

 

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

EMOTIONS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPECT DARE 32:

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

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

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

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

SHARE:

What have you been learning from God lately?

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

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

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

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

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

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

A ROUGH WEEK (This is a fictional example)

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

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

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

How do you respond?

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

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

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

ENDING #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS

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

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

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

PERSPECTIVE

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

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

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

 

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

EMOTIONS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESPECT DARE 32:

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

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

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

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

SHARE:

What have you been learning from God lately?

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

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

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

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

YIKES!

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

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

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

HOW MEN BOND

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

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

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

RESPECT DARE #31

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

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

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

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

SHARE:

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

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

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

YIKES!

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

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

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

HOW MEN BOND

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

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

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

RESPECT DARE #31

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

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

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

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

SHARE:

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

The Respect Dare, Day 24 – Intimacy with God

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

SO I CAN’T TALK????

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

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

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

WOMEN LOVE WORDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am not the Holy Spirit.

I am not the Holy Spirit.

I am not the Holy Spirit.

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

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

TIME WITH GOD

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

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

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

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

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

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

DARE 24:

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

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

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The Respect Dare – Day 19 – Order

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

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

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

WARNING!!!!!!

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

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

ALLOW FOR DIFFERENT STAGES OF LIFE

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

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

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

WHEN WORKING A LOT

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

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

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

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

WHAT DID I DO?

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

MY PERSONAL DREAM FOR ORDER

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

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

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

MY HUSBAND

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

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

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

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

🙂

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

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

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

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

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

IF THE HUSBAND IS MORE EXACTING

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

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

Lord,

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

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

FOR SOME ORGANIZING AND CLEANING AND HOUSEWORK TIPS:

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

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Pic from www.ninaroesner.wordpress.com

Ladies,

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

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The story in Dare 18 really happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t understand.

I fought God.

And then I did research.

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

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

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

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

And that’s what I did in Dare 18.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider…

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

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

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

Don’t miss them.

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

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

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

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

Love to you,

~Nina

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

A Wife Decides to Meet Her Husband’s Greatest Masculine Needs

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An email from a wife who has been focusing on learning to be a godly, respectful wife who honors her husband’s leadership.  Thank you to this wife for allowing me to share her story!  I LOVE seeing the way God works in many different wives’ hearts and seeing all the lightbulb moments.  I pray that many other wives might be blessed!

April,

I just wanted to tell you this new revelation that you helped me to arrive at is STILL working! I no longer get upset at my husbands very predictable responses to situations that are stressful to him. I just completely ignore the fact that he is starting to raise his voice/stress out. I stay calm and he calms down, very quickly.

It seems God has been steering me towards this message repeatedly over the past few weeks. The last 4 Focus on the Family broadcasts were about accepting and understanding each other’s differences and loving others even when they are sometimes being hurtful – how this most often ends up with the best outcomes for both people. Not FIGHTING the male nature but embracing it. And then I came across a secular book  but it may as well have been written by a Christian because it definitely fits with all the principles of a biblical marriage – he is basically providing research and evidence from his professional practice to back up God’s universal marriage laws.

I did a quiz which helps identify your man’s greatest masculine needs and my husband’s top 4 were:

  • The need to be the leader
  • the need to protect one’s family
  • the need for action
  • the need for acknowledgement of efforts.

The author said, “Your man will probably not be able to verbalise his deepest needs but think back to the main threads in your arguments, most will be based on these needs.” And most definitely, our arguments have been around these 4 needs of his.

Before we married I ADMIRED his need and ability to be a strong man.  I saw these as desirable traits before we were married – but once we were married his need to lead irritated me. The book helped me understand WHY he feels this need – it is because he does not want to be shamed in front of others, especially those he loves.

He wants to feel and look like a hero.

Surely I can protect these feelings and honour them – even if at times he will go about trying to get this need met in the wrong way.


He always talks about how he likes to be active... when we first got married I tried to stop him from playing basketball…!!! (that sounds so terrible now) but he told me he felt God doesn’t want him to play anymore because he could better spend his time (when we were dating).  I was actually surprised at first but then thought well if that is what God wants then that is what he better do – so I tried to ENFORCE it myself !?!?!? (go figure)  I didnt physically STOP him from going but I was not supportive at all. I deeply regret this and am finally realizing I am NOT his Holy Spirit!!!  I think he was deeply wounded by me trying to exercise control in this area and is only NOW 8 years later losing weight and getting back into basketball – something I have finally realized he TRULY loved since he was a young child. 

Last night when my husband needed to work, I didn’t complain but offered to bring him a hot drink – he very much welcomed this.  Then I thought “I’ll test out this need for acknowledgement” and I said, “Thanks for working so hard, Honey” while I rubbed his back. He instantly got such a pleased, almost relieved, look on his face, I could tell he was delighted.

He has been acting so sweet towards me lately. 

Today he really wanted to play basketball and was getting stressed out because he needed to be at the store.  So I offered to come in for him. He was SO happy. I am finally starting to realize that his needs are just as important and LEGITIMATE (duh?!?!) and that I need to actively show him love in ways that mean a LOT to him… not in ways that would be meaningful to me.

Then I am in a MUCH better position to respectfully ask for the things I want also and trust in his goodness to meet whichever need he possibly can.

For our anniversary he really did buy me flowers and they were these big expensive ones … then we went out to dinner… when we got back he really wanted to go for a walk so that he didnt skip his new weight loss routine.  Before, I might have become sulky saying “Can’t we just spend one whole night together?”  But I thought he was so busy at work today and yet came home got dressed up and took me to dinner – surely I can give something too…so we both went on the walk.

I am doing better at keeping in the Word lately and usually on my Bible iPhone app the very verse for that day seems to be very useful to me… I then also read the rest of that chapter for the day.

Just wanted to let you know how it was going, I know I still have so much to learn but these new truths and approaches have amazed me so much.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

a list of My Favorite Marriage Books

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