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The Smiling Challenge – 5 Minute VIDEO

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I would like to issue you a little challenge this week, my friends!

Whenever you go in the room where your husband is ‚Äď

please smile at him.

  • Not to change him.
  • Not to get any specific results from him.
  • Just to bless him.

Stay close to God. Be in His Word daily. Lay your life fully before Jesus and give yourself 100% to Him as The Lord of Your Life. Let His joy flood your soul as you seek to obey Him and please Him and as you are overcome with gratitude for all He has done for you.

Let that joy shine and radiate from your face. ūüôā

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, REJOICE! Philippians 4:4

Focus on the Philippians 4:8 things in your life:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable‚ÄĒif anything is excellent or praiseworthy‚ÄĒthink about such things.

Bless your husband ¬†with some REAL smiles this week. You know the kind of smile that lights up your eyes and your entire face. Yep. That’s the one I am talking about!

You probably have NO IDEA the power your smile has over that man. When you are genuinely happy (or better yet, joyful in Christ) ¬†‚Äď he feels like more of a success as a man and as a husband. Your smile draws him to you. It is PLEASANT to be around someone who is smiling and welcoming.

Bless your children with some real smiles, too! They will thrive when they see you radiating love and joy.

Let me know how you do! ūüôā

A Lightbulb Moment for a Wife Who LOVES Control

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I am so thankful to the wife who allowed me to share her story. I have a feeling that God may use her lightbulb moment to trigger a lightbulb moment for many other wives, too! 

Why am I stressed? Well I could say because my husband works 12+ hours a day 6 days a week and I only see him 30 mins a day and on his day off he just sleeps and he is grouchy all the time or because I have a much needed surgery scheduled for May 6 and still haven’t heard if my insurance will cover the surgeon, But, that wouldn’t be true…I am stressed because I want to control these things and I can’t.

I am thankful to say that the last few days and with the help of your story, Nikka, I figured out many things and I feel better.

Lying in bed the other night, I wondered what I was not getting. Then it hit me. April, talks all the time about making your husband an idol and depending on God to meet your needs but it just didn’t sink in.

One thing I was doing was trying to be the perfect wife.

I was trying to do all I could to be happy and smiling and helpful when my husband was awake. Then he would just be grouchy and mean and I would get upset. I would make his favorite pie and he would grump at me. I would fuss at him for his behavior and take another step back.

Another thing I was doing was reading and praying and trying everything I could to fix me so I wouldn’t be emotional and I wouldn’t be upset by his moods and I wouldn’t be upset because he would not ask for less work hours. I was upset because he didn’t seem to need me at all anymore for anything.

So what hit me was

  • I am trying to get closer to God.
  • I am trying to be a good wife.
  • BUT, I am not learning to control me!

Being a person that likes to control, I need to learn to control my responses. I need to make my own life right – now, during this season. I had been reading Joyce Meyers book on controlling emotions and she laid it all out and I finally got it.

  • There is so much power in controlling one’s emotions.
  • Not controlling them zaps all our strength. ( I am a poster child for that!)

I can’t get closer to God or be respectful if I can’t even control me.

Since I like to control this was like offering candy to me. I get to control something!!

  • I stopped immediately trying to be the perfect wife. That only brought me hurt when it wasn‚Äôt appreciated.
  • I will ask him if he needs me to do anything but I won‚Äôt fall all over myself trying to please him.
  • I also decided to stop talking about my problems or even thinking about them. I mentioned them here as only a point. When I think about them or talk about them it only adds to my stress. Something else I can control!!

When my husband was grumpy with me, I just answered nicely and went outside to my flowers. Instead of feeling hurt and offended, I thought well that is his sin, I will go do something nice for myself and enjoy God’s beauty. Another thing I can control!!

I really like to control, can you tell? I just needed to find a way to do it the right way.

The weird thing is I was having a hard time focusing on God through all this. Maybe like Nikki, I was just thinking that God didn’t want to do things like I thought He should, so why bother? Why wouldn’t God want my husband to work less and spend more time with the family? Why wouldn’t God want me to have my surgery?

Because God knew I needed to depend on Him not my husband for my companionship, safety and love.

If I depend on my husband for those things, I will always be disappointed when I don‚Äôt get it. Yes, I know you say this all the time, April but I just didn‚Äôt seem to get order of things. ūüôā

I need to control my overwhelming emotions before anything else can fall into place. When I do that I will once again feel in control of my life.

So for me the order needed to be…

1. Control my hurt, anger, responses and thoughts.

2. Draw closer to God to meet my needs.

3. Respect my husband.

INSTEAD OF….

1.Try to be the perfect wife and respect my husband.

2.Try to be closer to God.

3. Hope God can fix my emotional messed up head and actions.

Seems like God should be first, right?…but He plainly showed me that He can’t be first until I get some of the junk out and make room for him.

FROM NIKKA:

 

Wonderful sharing! ūüôā Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

How refreshing your insight was on CONTROL.

Come to think of it, CONTROL should be amoral.

It is not bad or good in and by itself. It only becomes bad when one uses it for things or people that are clearly NOT one‚Äôs responsibility or business, like ‚Äúchanging‚ÄĚ one‚Äôs husband because that is not for one to control, only God can change hearts.

BUT,

and this is the exciting part that I learned from your sharing..

We are encouraged to CONTROL things too by no less than our good God!

  • Control our tongue.
  • Control our temper.
  • Control our emotions.
  • Control our passions.
  • Control our desires.
  • Control our thoughts.
  • Control our actions.

Yay! We can still ‚ÄėCONTROL‚Äô but in a good way, in a godly way!

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I LOVE this! ¬†I remember thinking something VERY similar. I realized that I needed to control myself and that I could change myself – with God’s help. And I thought, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¬†Something I can control! WOOOHOOO! ¬†I love being in control. I can’t control Greg. I can’t control God. But with God’s help, I CAN learn to control myself! So that is where I began to focus. That was also where my greatest power was and is.

What lightbulb moments have you had about these issues? We’d love to hear about it! You may just be the catalyst that jumpstarts many more lightbulb moments for God in other women’s hearts.

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This post is based on the fruit of the Spirit of self control (Galatians 5:22-23)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

and agape love that God commands us to have for all people (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

and showing honor and respect to our husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church‚ÄĒ 30 for we are members of his body. 31 ‚ÄúFor this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.‚ÄĚ[c] 32 This is a profound mystery‚ÄĒbut I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

and using wisdom as wives to build up our home instead of tear it down with our own hands (or mouths)

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

God Answers a Wife’s Question – “Why Doesn’t My Husband Want to Spend Time with Me?”

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From a precious wife. I am so excited about what God is beginning to do in her heart!!!!!  Thank you for allowing me to share!

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I stumbled across Peaceful Wife‚Äôs blog after Googling (seriously) “why doesn’t my husband want to spend time with me” (or something like that – I tried Googling it again to see and I can’t find the blog as a result anymore!)

Anyway, the post that was linked was¬†http://peacefulwife.com/2013/09/06/im-going-to-stop-pursuing-my-husband/¬†and as I read, I felt a huge weight being taken off my shoulders. I’ve been married for two and a half years, and my husband and I have a baby who‚Äôs just under a year old.

Although I try my hardest every day to uplift my husband, I never realized just how¬†disrespectful¬†I’d been – things like

  • withholding sex and cuddling because I wasn’t feeling loved
  • making enormous financial decisions without his input
  • trying to be the spiritual leader in our household… the list goes on.

It definitely got worse when our baby was born this past spring¬†‚Äď our baby is very fussy and needy, and I was¬†always¬†putting our baby first (hard not to do with a newborn) and barely giving my husband any respect or attention at all. Naturally, I began feeling very unloved. Despite all the work I was doing, it felt like my husband didn’t see it or didn’t care.
So I’d been praying for God to change my husband. I’d considered separation. I let thoughts of an old ex-boyfriend (from seven years ago!) with whom I have absolutely zero contact play around in my mind. But I bit my tongue (something I learned to do early on, thank God) and prayed. I got mad at God. I asked God why He wasn’t doing anything to help my marriage.

Then, your blog. Here was His answer:

“You need to recognize your controlling ways and learn to submit joyfully to your husband.”

And it was scary. But as I read Peaceful Wife‚Äôs post and all the comments, and continued to read the blog, I felt a joy I hadn’t felt in a¬†long¬†time. I am a steamroller! I couldn’t believe just how disrespectful and controlling¬†I’d been, all the while lauding myself for being that “cool, laid-back wife”… oh my. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I¬†asked God for the grace to allow me to step back and let my husband lead in our family. I recognized just how difficult this is going to be, but I absolutely trust God (not to mention my husband’s capacity for making smart decisions). I don’t know why I always felt like I needed to rush to make decisions, or not trust my husband, but his track record reveals a¬†man of sound heart and mind! And he is a terrific¬†father; I am so blessed to be married to him. I’m just so glad I found Peaceful Wife‚Äôs blog and was reminded of God’s sovereignty and my husband’s role as leader in our family.

I think a lot of my fear and control has to do with the roles my parents exhibited in their own marriage (which ended when I was in university, when my dad cheated on my mom [a recovering alcoholic]¬†with my best friend’s mother [a drug addict]…. sigh!) My mother was a doormat for my father. He walked¬†all¬†over her and treated her very poorly. He never abused her, but he was not very loving and my mother worshipped the ground he walked on. I can see now that my mother didn’t respect him, though. When I was 4 and mother had gone through a rehab program to finally kick alcohol,

She booted my father out of the house, saying she didn’t need him around to help raise the kids.

My dad revealed to me when he left my mom 30¬†years into their marriage¬†that he hadn’t loved my mom since that day in 1986. I can’t imagine the pain that ripped through my father’s heart when my mother showed him that phenomenal amount of disrespect. She did beg him back a few months later, and he did return, but it was not a joyful marriage, and like I said, it ended in separation nineteen years later. My father told me that the only reason he’d returned was for my sibling and I. ¬†I know my relationship is not my parents’, but at least knowing where my fear comes from can help me hand it over to God and¬†not live in fear.

After all these revelations and prayer, I am not joking you when I say I saw a difference in my husband within hours.

(From Peacefulwife – every couple’s story is unique. The timelines are different. Sometimes there is an¬†immediate response. Sometimes things get rocky after that for awhile. Sometimes it takes months or years to see a “response” from a husband, and there are some cases – rarely – where a husband never responds favorably to his wife’s genuine change of heart, respect and honor. We are not responsible for our husbands’ response, we are only responsible for our obedience to Christ.)

Whereas he’d barely said 10 words to me in the past few days, all of the sudden he posted a picture of me on Facebook, praising me with some sweet comments ‚Äď very¬†unlike him. The difference? God created the space in our relationship for us to fulfill our respective roles, and I am able to see my husband with new eyes. I am actively praying about respecting my husband. I have so much to learn, so much scripture to reflect on, so much repentance to do. I wrote a note for my husband this morning and put it in his lunch, apologizing for some of my ‘steamrolling’ behavior in the past few months.

I know it is dangerous for me to expect any response, so I am not.

When he comes home from work today, I will greet him at the door with our child, give him a hug, and allow him to pursue me in his time and space, whatever that may be.

Thank you to Peaceful Wife for creating a space online which has evidently already helped so, SO many women. I am not much of a YouTube watcher, but I began watching Peaceful Wife‚Äôs videos last night (channel “April Cassidy”). Submission is scary, especially in a culture that promotes aggression in women. I’ve followed God’s will in so many areas of my life and have been so blessed, and I’m excited for whatever His will is in my marriage.

THIS IS FREEDOM!

"My Husband Wants to Go WHERE!?!?!?!" – From the Archives

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From a reader. When we submit ourselves fully to Christ and live by faith and obedience to Him Рlife is such an adventure.  We never know what He might do!  THANK YOU to this precious wife for sharing her story and to God be all the glory!!!!!

BAD NEWS

I can’t even begin to tell you how my heart sank when I heard my husband say that he was planning to take a trip to Las Vegas with a single guy friend from work. You’d have to know a great deal of our relationship history to fully understand why this hit me the way it did, but nevertheless I was distraught over it. I think most wives would feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of their man going away to a place like Las Vegas without them. I felt VERY uncomfortable, given my husband’s past issues.

THINGS HAD BEEN IMPROVING SO MUCH LATELY!

Things had been really looking up for our family, especially within my marriage. I was finally coming to a point where God was really showing me so much about what it means to be a respectful and submissive wife. I was effectively putting it all into practice, and I was really watching the changes happen. My husband was again warming up to me, after I had made him flee, so to speak, with my controlling words and behavior in the past.

Our marriage had been very broken. Once I stopped trying to force him to get close with God and backed off, he began to take an interest in God again. He started to really step up as a leader of our family in many ways I had never seen in all the previous years of our marriage. He wanted to have a pure life like I did, and after all the years of struggling, for us to be in a place where we both wanted the same thing was really amazing. What was even more amazing was the fact that I was able to understand so many new things about what to do and not do as a wife.

I really felt like things were finally going to be okay, and I wasn’t going to have to deal with the same old behaviors from my husband.

As it turns out, I might always have to deal with those things, and just maybe, he might always have to deal with me struggling to be a respectful wife and messing it up more often than not. Unfortunately, we are sinners. This is the reality of all marriages, and I am learning A LOT about this. That is not to say that God can’t transform our hearts and make us more like Him everyday, but we will always struggle with our flesh. It would be foolish to believe that our husband’s are not going to make mistakes and hurt us.

MY FEELINGS ABOUT HIS PLANS FOR THE TRIP

When my husband told me about wanting to go to Las Vegas, I did not take it well. I tried very hard to respond as best as I could with many of the tools I’d learned from God and from April’s site, but it was hard. I was so confused. I thought my husband wanted to leave these ways behind.

  • Why would he want to run off and be in a place like that with his single friend?
  • Was I being judgmental by thinking this?
  • I thought he didn’t want to even drink anymore.
  • Why did he have to pick Las Vegas?
  • What would happen there?

My mind was racing. I should also mention that my husband works two jobs everyday so I can stay home with our sons. I am eternally grateful that he does this for us, but it can be very difficult, because we hardly see him at all during the week. It felt so wrong that he would take vacation time and be away from us by choice. It also hurt my heart deeply that he didn’t pick me to come along.

I wanted so desperately for him to want to whisk me away on a romantic trip and be his first choice as a companion.

All of these emotions were flying around in my head, and it was so painful. I knew in my heart that I really had been doing the things God asked me to do in my marriage and as a wife, so I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I would have understood him wanting to go with someone else if I were still being controlling, manipulative, and disrespectful, but I knew I wasn’t. I was actively making sure I wasn’t.

WHAT I DID

I did tell my husband all of the different emotions I was feeling. That was also hard for me, because in the past I had really worried about how he would react when I shared negative feelings with him. God helped me through this, however, and I was able to share all of the issues I had more calmly than I would have in the past. Instead of demanding him to respond to everything I said, I let it be. This is also very different for me, because normally I’d be asking a million questions like what do you think or are you mad I feel this way… but, I didn’t. I let him take what I said into consideration and then I had to let God do the rest.

GOD WORKED IN MY HEART – A LOT!

Over the course of a month I struggled with trying to accept that he was going on this trip and trying to mold my feelings to accompany that as a truth. I still felt like it was wrong though. I kept praying that God’s will would prevail, whether it was for my husband to go or not.

This was a pivotal time for me in my relationship with God, because I started to realize that my motives were not necessarily right when it came to what I was trying to achieve as a wife. I wanted to be a good wife, but I also expected that my husband was going to be a good husband as a result. That is not always the truth. God really showed me that

I need to be a good wife for Him. I need to make sure I’m being submissive and respectful for God regardless of what my husband is doing/not doing.

That was VERY eye opening for me. It was also a giant test, because I had to blindly trust God through it. I didn’t know how I’d survive those days he’d be away not knowing what was going on, but I had to just keep handing those fearful thoughts and feelings to God.

GOD WAS AT WORK WITH MY HUSBAND, TOO – UNBEKNOWNST TO ME!

Last week my husband came home from work and told me we needed to talk. My stomach was in knots, because I assumed he wanted to go over when he was leaving and all the details of the trip. Instead, he told me he realized that it was wrong to go with his friend. He said he left the whole trip in God’s hands and it was completely falling through. When they went to book the flight, the website would not accept their credit cards for some mysterious (GOD) reason. I guess his friend kept changing his mind as well.

My husband acknowledged that it was definitely the hand of God. He said he was very sorry, and that he wanted to make the family more of a priority. He then informed me that he wanted to take me on a trip instead! We will be going on vacation together at the beginning of next month!

I really am in awe of what God did with this situation. It’s hard for me to even express in words how thankful I am. The lessons I am learning are priceless.

MY MESSAGE TO WIVES

What I really want to say to wives is that you need to expect that your husband is going to mess up and do crazy things, but you can’t let that affect how you behave as a wife. Keep seeking God. Keeping asking Him to give you the strength to be the wife He wants you to be. He will equip you, and when things look grim, He is there, and you can most definitely trust Him. He will use your behavior and your faith to bring about positive changes in your husband, but it won‚Äôt always be in the way that you want or expect. It may just be a two steps forward, three steps back type of thing, but take heart, God is at work!

God works everything together for the good (of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose Romans 8:28). When I was struggling with all the confusion of this situation I felt like I couldn’t see what good would come from it at all, but then I remembered who God really is, and I knew I could trust Him with this.

If this hadn’t happened, I wouldn‚Äôt have realized my focus in seeking to be a godly wife is to be God and only God. I learned that we can’t get stuck on the plans and ideas other people have. God can definitely step in the way and change things into how He wants them to be. As wives we need to fully and completely fix our eyes on God, and not have our focus on everything that is going on around us. God is in control.

So, this was really hard, but it was also really amazing and good for me. I think so many of the things we go through as wives are like that. Lessons are hard, but so very valuable. I pray that we keep close to God so we can grasp all the wisdom He wants to give us, and that we can be that godly loving example of Him to everyone around us. ūüôā

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!! ¬†He IS able! ¬†He is sovereign – even over our husbands. ¬†We can trust Him. ¬†I can’t guarantee that every story will work out just like this one. But as we seek the Lord¬†wholeheartedly and yield ourselves completely to submission to Him, He will truly use all things for His glory and our ultimate good when we yield to Him and put our faith in Him. ¬†WHAT A STORY! ¬†THANK YOU, LORD!

OTHER WIVES Рif you have a story about how God worked in your marriage, or is working  in you and your marriage Рplease leave me your story on my Contact page Рlet me know that you would like for me to share it. I may share it anonymously as a post!

A Wife Battles Pride

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Here is an email from a wife that I think many other wives will relate to!  Thank you to this wife for sharing your heart!  This is part of how this journey looks as God shows us our sin and we hash through these issues, seeking to learn all we can and to humble ourselves and allow God to change us.  She read some of my posts about how I used to act towards my husband:
One ¬†(post I read) was your incident with the A/C guy and “cleaning the garage”. WOW, did THAT speak to my heart. I praise God for putting you in my life. It’s like we speak the same language (pride). If God changed you I BELIEVE He can change me. You give me hope and encouragement.

I got mad at my hubby AGAIN today. Yes, the root was pride. It took a while for God to expose it, I just kept hanging on TO WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE. I kept hearing, “Do you want to be right or be happy?”. “I want to be right!” was my response.

You see, that’s one of my big problems. I think I’m right all the time. Being like that makes it IMPOSSIBLE to have peace with others. ¬†(From Peacefulwife – that was me, too!) You’re in a dark room BUT insist that you see clearly and everyone else is unable to see. Now that God is showing me how deceived I’ve been (in my own pride and need to be right), I realize the battle is within. ¬†It’s like I’ve been conning myself all these years, the flesh, you know?

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The truth about me is a very freeing thing, but sometimes this flesh doesn’t want me to see or know the truth. It convinces me I am the victim and I DESERVE better. Or, it makes me think that “if only he saw it my way” everything would be good. He’s wrong, and when I show him how wrong he is then we can be okay again.

I get hung up on his role…..this is a very bad habit of mine. Thinking how he ought to be as a husband.

I kinda know I’m being disrespectful, but I’m so blinded by my own desires I can’t see straight.

It took the Holy Spirit about 20 min or more to finally convict me of why I was so upset. ¬†It’s weird because I see God CHANGING ME FOR GOOD, but He just keeps digging deeper, showing MORE AND MORE sin. ¬†God will not settle for second best. He wants the very best for me and He will keep chipping away….burning off that dross so I will reflect Jesus.

Why do we have SO MANY LAYERS OF PRIDE????

I talked it out with my husband (sadly we were both yelling at FIRST). Then I apologized and admitted my struggle. I shared where it was coming from, but I also confessed that I have a problem wanting HIM TO MEET MY NEED. I want him to value me (like Christ tells us a husband to). I just let it all hang out ūüôĀ¬†¬† My hubby was so sweet and kind, just listening. ¬†I gave him a big hug and told him I knew we both loved God and that we are going through a LOT, the house being under construction, my mother¬†in-law¬†moving into our home and his work being unsteady. There are so many uncertainties in our life right now. God/Jesus really is our Rock and we have been standing on Him and it IS NOT HOPELESS. We might fail, but God is there lifting us up and changing us.

April, I used to get so DISCOURAGED and believe it was hopeless. I just wanted to throw in the towel. We are in 8 and 6’s on the drama scale. God keeps them to a 2, but every once in a while the heat turns up and it feels like a 10. I find myself falling on my face, needing His grace….

I also read your blog about not complaining…OKAY that is a HUGE problem for me. It kinda comes and goes?

I will try for 2 weeks to not complain, even to God. With the Chronic Fatigue and stuff, I will need to use discretion on when to say something? Because even there, not everyone wants to hear I’m tired or hurting. So, God can help me with that too.

A Huge Reason Why We Don’t Have God’s Power

I had a reader ask about how to stop idolatry – and that is a REALLY CRITICAL topic that deserves a good bit of attention! ¬† If we don’t get to the root of our sin and rebellion against God and completely tear out our idols – we can’t fix the real problems and we won’t have the power of God’s Spirit. ¬†So this is an unbelievably important concept and it’s really the place to start at the beginning of our journey to respect and submit to our husbands and be in right relationship with God, in my view.

I believe that practically all sin against God is rooted in idolatry and pride.

Most of the marriage books I read did NOT deal with idolatry. ¬†This is a HUGE, HUGE piece of the puzzle here. ¬†We cannot skip this stuff! ¬†If we are not willing to do this VERY PAINFUL and difficult step – we will not see real change and we will not experience God’s power in our lives or our marriages!

Idolatry is probably THE BIGGEST problem with our relationships with God and our marriages.

WHAT IS IDOLATRY?

It is so easy to think – in our Western culture – that we don’t have a problem with idolatry. ¬†I mean, I never carved a statue and bowed down to it. ¬†I never went to a pagan shrine and bowed down and prayed to an idol made of wood/silver/gold/stone. ¬†I never gave money to a statue. ¬†I never sacrificed my children to a carved image. ¬†So – I’m not an idolator, right?

The first two commandments are about idolatry (Exodus 20):

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep my commandments.

HOW SERIOUS IS IDOLATRY?

Our God counts idolatry as the worst of sins.  It is the same to Him as adultery would be in marriage.  We are in a COVENANT relationship with Christ Jesus РHis blood is the blood of our covenant with Him.  We are not to break our covenant relationship.  A covenant is to be in effect for life Рand if someone breaks a covenant, the penalty is supposed to be death.

God HATES idolatry.  He punishes idolatry severely Рespecially when He has warned His people to repent over and over, sometimes for decades, and they refuse to repent and return to Him with all their hearts.  Read through the Old Testament sometime.  It was always idolatry that provoked God to wrath.

GOD ALONE DESERVES OUR WORSHIP AND PRAISE

God expects us to worship and praise Him alone.  He alone is worthy of our reverence, awe, total respect and fear.  When we REALLY understand how HUGE, how POWERFUL, how AWESOME, mighty, omnipotent, omniscient and sovereign our God is Рthe only response we can have is awe, fear, trembling, reverence and praise.  And we MUST put Him first and everything and everyone else in our life has to come a distant second to our love for God and willingness to obey Him in everything.

WE ARE SO BLIND

We don’t tend to worship statues. ¬†Our idols are much more subtle. ¬†And this is where it is terrifying to me. ¬†WE DON’T EVEN KNOW THAT WE ARE IDOLATORS!

We have NO idea the scope of our sin. ¬†We don’t see our mountains of arrogant pride – I sure didn’t! ¬†We don’t see our disrespect towards God or our husbands. ¬†We don’t see our idolatry – and we keep going 100 mph to our destruction. ¬†We don’t realize the debt we owe to Jesus. ¬†We think we just sin “a little” and we don’t have to be forgiven of much. ¬†THAT WAS ME!

COMMON IDOLS IN OUR CULTURE:

  • self ¬†– I put myself in God’s place in my life. ¬†I think I am sovereign and powerful and HUGE and God is small, wimpy and impotent – if I even acknowledge His existence at all. ¬†I think life is all about ME, what I want, MY way.
  • control – I think I have to MAKE things happen “right” or everything will be a mess. ¬†I think I am responsible for the outcome of circumstances and events and for controlling other people’s behavior. ¬†I think I am responsible for things that I actually have no control over. ¬†I can’t see where my boundaries of responsibility end and other people’s or God’s begin
  • our husbands – ¬†I put him in the place of God in my soul and expect him to be Christ to me (not just to represent Christ) but to BE Christ – to be perfect, to meet all my emotional and spiritual needs and to be completely responsible for my happiness every second of every day. ¬†If I am not happy – it is my husband’s fault!
  • our children¬†– we live for them, sacrifice everything for them, live vicariously through them, make their happiness our biggest goals in life
  • money
  • career
  • wealth
  • power
  • fame
  • expensive things (clothes/houses/cars/jewelry)
  • popularity
  • certain friends
  • parents
  • government
  • people’s approval
  • a presidential candidate
  • music
  • salvation of a loved one
  • healing from a disease
  • a singer
  • an actress/actor
  • a crush on someone
  • pleasure
  • comfort
  • health
  • being thin
  • beauty
  • looking young
  • sex
  • sexiness
  • modesty
  • being “religious”
  • following rules
  • being “good”
  • reputation
  • people being happy with us (not letting anyone ever be mad at us)
  • sports
  • tv
  • FB
  • media
  • unforgiveness
  • anger/bitterness/resentment
  • a loved one not dying
  • shows/books
  • our husbands’ visual purity/sinlessness
  • our children’s behavior
  • church
  • ministry
  • rituals
  • feeling “in love”
  • feeling loved in our marriage
  • feeling respected
  • changing someone else (especially our husband)
  • getting married/being married
  • having children
  • being busy
  • taking pictures
  • hobbies
  • saving money
  • travel
  • gambling
  • addictions of any kind
  • blogging
  • rescuing people
  • being overly responsible for other people

As Wes Church, one of our ministers, said – “The human heart is an idol factory.” ¬†We can make ANYTHING into an idol! ¬†And we don’t even realize it!

Some of these things are not bad.  Some are good things that are blessings from God.  The problem is when we try to use these things to fill the God-shaped hole in our soul that only Christ can fill.  We must keep these things in proper perspective and in their proper place of priority.  And we have to be willing to hold all these things loosely in our hands to allow God to take away and give according to His will and His wisdom and what He knows is best for us and those we love.

THE “WAGES” OF IDOLATRY

The wages of sin is death.

When we are rebelling against God and full of sin – and there is no worse sin than idolatry ¬†– we cannot have God’s Spirit in control. ¬†Idolatry CANNOT give us contentment, peace, joy, love, hope, patience...

My dear friend and I were talking about this. ¬†The fruit of God’s Spirit grows in us and turns us into a lush, lavish, fruitful tree by streams of water and all that fruit is just bursting from our lives. ¬†But when we have idolatry, pride and sin instead of God’s Spirit – our lives become a dried up, diseased, rotting tree that will eventually decay and die. ¬†The “fruit” of idolatry, pride and sin is:

  • FEAR – BIG TIME FEAR
  • lost connection and intimacy with God
  • constant anxiety and worry
  • discontentment
  • anger
  • bitterness
  • resentment
  • loneliness
  • curses
  • disease
  • insatiable appetite for more
  • we give up all that matters most to us as we pursue our idol – even if that means we have to sacrifice our health, our families, our marriage, our children, our money, our time – we will give up ANYTHING if we think it will get us the idol we want so desperately.
  • death and destruction – what we idolize often ultimately destroys us.

WHAT ARE SIGNS THAT I MIGHT BE COMMITTING IDOLATRY?

  • I MUST have THIS PARTICULAR THING/PERSON/EVENT to be happy. ¬†I will NOT be ok unless I have X.
  • I am spending an inordinate amount of money on that thing.
  • I am constantly worried about my idol and trying to figure out how I will MAKE things work out right so I can have what I want the way I want it.
  • I cannot stop myself, I am a slave to serving my idol. ¬†I am addicted.
  • I spend most of my time trying to acquire my idol or serve my idol.
  • I don’t care what the cost is to my family, my relationships, my health – I WILL have what I want!
  • I have EXTREME FEAR of losing my idol
  • I have no joy of God in my heart.
  • I am focused on negativity, complaining, arguing, rebelling against God-given authority.
  • I am cherishing sin in my heart.
  • I have no peace.
  • I have no contentment.
  • If someone asks me to give up my idol – I get REALLY, REALLY, REALLY upset, angry, defensive, combative and will do anything to keep from having to give up my idol.

Expectations – Part 1

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We all go into marriage with a lot of expectations.  (Click here for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

And, as a reader of mine quoted last week,

“Expectations are premeditated resentment.”

Ladies, what are some expectations you have of your husband and marriage?

Some expectations – I believe are valid. ¬†I believe we should be able to expect our wedding vows to be honored. ¬†But sometimes even that doesn’t happen, sadly.

WHAT ARE SOME EXPECTATIONS THAT GET US INTO TROUBLE?  WHEN I THINK:

  • if I love my husband well (or submit to him biblically and respect him), that my husband will always love and cherish me the way I want him to – that he will “owe me” and must please me or must be the man I want him to be or act in certain ways
  • if I do things right – God will also “owe me” and I will never have to suffer
  • my husband will never turn me down for sex
  • my husband must be perfect and must never sin against me
  • that marriage will be like a romantic movie, I will constantly feel “in love” and “loved”
  • that marriage will solve all my problems
  • that if I am married, I will never be lonely

There are many more possibilities, but this is a good place to start.   Keep in mind that these expectations can easily become idols for us Рand we can easily set our hearts on these things instead of on Jesus alone.

We will look at some additional expectations tomorrow.

LET’S TALK ABOUT REALITY VS. EACH OF THE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS

  • ¬†I have an obligation to my Lord, Jesus Christ, to obey His Word and to love my husband, respect him and honor his God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:2-5, I Corinthians 11:3, I Peter 3:1-6). ¬†But my accountability to God is for my own sin and my own obedience and God requires my obedience to His Word regardless of my husband’s corresponding obedience to God’s Word to love me as Christ loves the church. ¬†Husbands are people. ¬†They have free will. ¬†Just like my husband cannot force me to obey God and love Him, I cannot force my husband to love God and obey Him. ¬†And I cannot force him to love me either.
  • God values suffering when it is for His glory. God promises that we will suffer in this life. ¬†Jesus suffered as an example for us. ¬†And God wants to use suffering to make us more like Jesus. ¬†My life will have suffering. ¬†But God’s promise is that He will be there to empower me to endure and that He will teach me and make me more like Jesus. ¬†I will learn the most during my times of suffering if I will listen for God’s voice.
  • Reality is that husbands do reject their wives sexually, sometimes. ¬†Some husbands do this more than others. ¬†But the way I respond when I am rejected is a big indicator of how close I am to God. ¬†Can I take my hurt and pain to Jesus and find my fulfillment, joy, strength and purpose in Him alone? ¬†Or do I begin to cherish a grudge and bitterness and hatred? ¬†God can and will use these situations to help make me more holy if I am willing to do things His way and let go of my own wisdom.
  • Husbands are human. ¬†They are all wretched sinners in desperate need of Christ! ¬†So are wives! He WILL sin against you – the question is only when and how much. ¬†God can and will use these opportunities to reveal the sin in your own heart because we are most tempted to sin when we have been sinned against (Gary Thomas Sacred Marriage). ¬†If I cannot respond to my husband’s sin with mercy, forgiveness, grace, respect, gentleness and speaking the truth in love (after removing the sin from my own life first) – then I have a lot of sin to confess and repent of before my Holy God.
  • Marriage CAN be very romantic sometimes. ¬†But it is not Hollywood. ¬† And it can be and will be excruciatingly painful other times. ¬†It will not follow a carefully scripted movie plot line. ¬†When we expect men to act the way they do in romantic chick-flicks (which are often written by women) – we are buying into a fantasy that completely warps real masculinity. ¬†We set up false expectations for our men when we consume these things. If watching romantic movies, reading romantic books and listening to love songs creates discontentment in you – romance may be an idol and it is time to stop watching and listening to these things and time to focus on Jesus and His love.
  • ¬†Paul says that those who have married will have much trouble in this life. ¬†Marriage does not solve nearly as many problems as it creates! ¬†Marriage is a gift and a blessing. ¬†God designed it to demonstrate His love and relationship with His people. ¬†But in a marriage between two sinners – there is MUCH TROUBLE. ¬†Expect that. ¬†Be prepared for it. ¬†Don’t complain and argue. ¬†Be ready to give grace and to roll with reality and be flexible. ¬†Your way is not the most important thing. ¬†God’s will is the most important thing!
  • The loneliness that happens sometimes in marriage is a loneliness that far exceeds (in my view) the loneliness of being single. ¬†There are times that we will be lonely, VERY lonely in our marriages. ¬†I believe that is our cue to look to Jesus. ¬†Our husbands will fail us. ¬†But Jesus never will. ¬†When I keep my heart set completely on Jesus alone – I will find the belonging, the security, the peace, the love, the acceptance and companionship I so desperately long for.

WHAT DO I DO WHEN MY HUSBAND DOES NOT MEET  MY EXPECTATIONS?

Do I believe I am justified to sin against him by cussing, screaming, yelling, throwing things, hating him, resenting him, gossiping against him, undermining him to our children, withholding sex from him, not forgiving him, thinking I am so much better than he is, belittling him, disrespecting him, taking over and trying to control him and the family?  If I respond in even one of these ways РI am in sin before God.

The way I respond when my husband doesn’t meet my expectations reveals the level of sin in my heart. ¬†It shows whether the sinful nature is in control or God’s Spirit is in control. ¬†When God’s Spirit is in control, He empowers me to respond to my husband, even if he sins against me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

Take a minute and think about

1. What are your expectations of your husband and marriage?  Are any of them toxic?

2. How do you respond when your expectations are not met?

3. What idols and sin is God revealing here that He wants to deal with and remove from your heart?

Handling Adversity with Joy and WITHOUT Complaining

My husband and children at Legoland in historic Cypress Gardens

 

(our children at Legoland, FL)

I am obviously NOT perfect. I’m still very human. ¬†I need Jesus desperately EVERY MOMENT of EVERY DAY or I will mess things up majorly!

I thought some of you may appreciate a few real life examples of how a wife might have obstacles and problems to deal with but might handle that in a godly way without complaining and being negative and might actually still enjoy her husband and family – by the power of God, of course!

I take the following command from scripture VERY seriously:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life. Philippians 2:14-16a

I fully realize that many of you have much more burdensome and painful issues to deal with than I do. If you have learned to live with God’s peace in the midst of difficult trials, please leave a comment about your situation and how God is working in your heart to bless other women!

I am blessed by God beyond measure and very thankful for my health, my family’s health, jobs, home and income. But I know these things could change any day and I put my trust in God alone to take care of us and meet our needs. And – the truth is that the way we handle the small problems is the way we will handle the big problems. We can’t complain and whine about every little tiny thing and then handle a big trial with grace! It doesn’t work that way. So it is important to handle the little things well, in my view! Then we will have practice for handling the BIG problems in a godly way.

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23

OK. I am going to warn the men who read my blog – this post will have TMI for you. You are now warned!!

I’m going into detail for the sake of the wives who might benefit. I normally don’t talk about this stuff at all – and really, none of it is a big deal to me anymore – but I hope to show a godly example for other wives who don’t have a mentor to help them work through these kinds of things.

WE SET THE TONE

Ladies – we set the emotional tone for our marriages and families. We decide if the family will be peaceful, loving, warm, accepting, encouraging and grateful. We decide if everyone will enjoy their time together – largely. Or we have the power to make everyone completely miserable with our negative attitude, harsh words, negativity, resentment, anger and discontentment. We have SO MUCH CONTROL here. I want us to catch that it is NOT really our circumstances that determine how content, peaceful and joyful we are. It is our decision to have a godly attitude and to allow Christ to empower us to be content, peaceful and joyful.

A FEW CHALLENGES OF GOING ON VACATION LAST SUMMER

(Let me say that I don’t even think about the negative stuff much anymore – so it sounds funny to me to even talk about these things. I was EXTREMELY thankful to get to go on a wonderful vacation with my family.)

There are certain medical conditions all women have to deal with. And then we each have our own unique situations we deal with, too. There are things I could complain about. I used to have a long list of complaints every day. Here were my potential medical challenges as we were leaving for vacation:

  • I have chronic sinusitis (so I wash my sinuses out twice a day – haven’t had to take an antibiotic in almost 7 years by doing this!) – but I was having a flare up the night before and day we left for vacation
  • I have EXTREMELY dry eyes from having LASIK surgery 12 years ago and they tend to get infected easily. I was having a flare up of that, too. that day.
  • In the hot summer time in the south – that can cause issues for some women like me. Not going into detail here – let the women understand.
  • My period had just started with lots of cramping.
  • I have IBS – in my case because of muscle spasms in the lower back and pelvis – (it used to be almost debilitating daily) – but have learned that if I run as fast as I can, even for just a few minutes a day – I can keep it under control usually. I have also found that an anti-inflammatory diet can be quite helpful.
  • I have lower back problems, they have been seriously debilitating at times – but if I run and do my back exercises faithfully, I am usually fine. Riding in the car for 8 hours could easily aggravate my back.
  • I am allergic to 65 of the 79 things I was tested for at the allergist’s office. But I was allergic to the shots and couldn’t take them. Allergies are a daily issue.
  • I am now allergic to UV rays. (Yes, you actually can be allergic to the sun. I know – I am WEIRD!) Sunscreen doesn’t help at all. If I am in the sun for a few minutes, my arms, chest, neck and jaw break out with very itchy whelps hours later. So I must wear long sleeves and a hat even when it is 100+ degrees outside. I kind of feel like a vampire – I can go out after dark without a problem! (Note 3-30-2017 – I have been on an anti-inflammatory diet for 2 years now, and that has helped me not break out in the sun anymore!)
  • I have insomnia – most nights if I get 5.5 hours of sleep, I’m doing pretty good. If I get down to 4 hours of sleep or less, then I have a challenge the next day with functioning. But I really can’t drive more than about 15 or 20 minutes without starting to fall asleep.
  • My husband has some allergies and snores sometimes – that makes the insomnia worse for me. He is treating his allergies and things are a lot better – but sometimes it is an issue.
  • Our two children and I have food allergies – so we need to keep an Epi-Pen on hand in case we are accidentally exposed to something we are allergic to.

So – planning a vacation where we’d be outside in the sun, humidity and heat in Florida could bring up some health issues for me. But I actually didn’t worry about these things and just prepared so I could enjoy being with my family and enjoy our time together. Not a big deal – I know my limitations and know what I need to do to feel my best and I plan to take care of myself. I don’t talk about it unless I need to get something at the store.

HOW I HANDLED IT

I brought all the stuff I knew I would need. Rx ointment to prevent problems, tennis shoes so I could run every day, a hat and two UV SPF 50 long sleeve shirts to keep me from breaking out in the sun, supportive walking shoes, homeopathic eye drops that keep me from getting conjunctivitis, Sudafed and Allegra to help keep my sinusitis under control, all the normal feminine supply stuff, my sinus wash bottle and salt, our Epi-pens, ear plugs in case the snoring was an issue, Benadryl to help me sleep, a rolled up towel to put behind my back for the car ride, (a lot of meds in case of unexpected illnesses), my Bible and prayer journal to keep up my time with God.

DID I COMPLAIN?

I let my husband know in a non-whiny, pleasant tone of voice (once) that my period had started and I was having a sinusitis flare up and headache. I did tell him around 11:30 that night before we left and we were still packing that I was getting pretty tired. (I had worked 9 hours that day, then we had dinner and went shopping at two stores for the trip then we were packing till midnight. Then I planned to work 3 hours the next morning at the pharmacy and then we would leave immediately for the trip. Being tired can be a fairly normal issue – so I only tell him about that when I am REALLY exhausted.)

I don’t think I complained about anything during the trip. My philosophy is that if something gets a lot worse or changes – I let my husband know once so he is aware of what is going on, especially if I am going to need help from him in some way. Obviously, if I am having some kind of emergency, I would tell him immediately with urgency – and hopefully still respectfully!

It was HOT – of course. But I didn’t mention the heat. Everyone knew it was hot – no need to reiterate that point. My husband didn’t complain either – and that is one of the things I admire most about him!

I thanked my husband for bringing water with us. I thanked him repeatedly for bringing us on such an amazing vacation. I smiled a lot. I enjoyed watching our children have fun. I let my husband lead the way around the parks and kept the children together, held their hands and rubbed their backs. I encouraged our children to thank their Daddy often. I took pictures and hugged my hubby and children and smiled at them when we were waiting in long lines. Sometimes I even danced the Shag with our little girl to the music that was playing. I talked about the things I appreciated and enjoyed. I was calm and peaceful the whole time – like normal the past few years. And that is totally a GOD thing!

A FEW DAYS AFTER WE GOT HOME I DISCOVERED A NEW PROBLEM

I found lice in my hair! I guess it was from an auditorium seat in one of the parks? I’ve never had lice. A few years ago – I would have TOTALLY freaked out about this situation. I checked my children and husband. Our daughter also had some small lice in her hair. I got oil to treat our hair and a metal nit comb and began washing all the sheets and pillow cases and clothes in hot water with bleach (for things that could handle bleach). The next day, our son had it, too. (Yes I know there are lice shampoos with poison in them – but as a pharmacist, I have seen so many cases of resistant lice that I decided to go the oil and smothering route and use the nit comb frequently – especially since the poison is a neurotoxin to humans. I do have some on standby just in case, though!). UPDATE – the oil didn’t work too well, so I used Vaseline and a shower cap for 8 hours and that did the trick! It is hard to wash Vaseline out of hair but I don’t care!!

My husband offered to go to the grocery store and he got everything on my list and got some new hair stuff for me and my daughter, and a bunch of cheap combs that we could just use once and throw away for the next week, and shower caps to put over our oily hair to smother the lice. I thanked him A LOT for getting what we needed.

I did cry a little one time when my husband started combing my hair with the nit comb and the comb was ripping out a LOT of my hair (the comb’s fault – not my husband’s fault!). My hair is REALLY long, and I grew it out because I knew my husband loves it long. So, in a few weeks, I know I will have little tiny hairs sticking out all over my head after all this combing. That made me sad. I told my hubby I was sad about that – once.

If there is a problem, we will work to find a solution and we can handle it. Most things aren’t a big deal. Plus, we have God’s Spirit to help us! And now I trust God to use even these little medical conditions and lice to make my faith more mature.

I look for God’s sovereignty now even in the trials.

In fact, I took my children aside and had a Bible study with them after we all found we had lice. My son was REALLY upset about it – understandably. We read James 1 and talked about counting trials pure joy because they would increase our perseverance and faith and help us become more mature. I trust that my HUGE God is sovereign even over us having lice and might use that for His glory in some way that is beyond my understanding.

So, the 3 of us all wore oil in our hair and plastic shower caps all day yesterday. We are combing our hair twice a day with the nit comb. I am washing all the sheets and pillow cases in hot water with bleach every day for 10 days. I sealed up the stuffed animals the children played with in plastic bags for 2 weeks. And we all had a great day yesterday together! I am taking care of the problem – but I am not focusing on the lice. I am focusing on loving and trusting God, loving my family and being thankful for all the countless blessings in my life.

The children played games and we read books and did chores. We are staying put so that we don’t share our little “friends” with anyone. And I am at peace. If you had told me 4 years ago I could be at peace while having a lice infestation in my house – I would have NEVER believed it! But here I am. God is empowering me to do things that I couldn’t do on my own. When I trust Him, His perfect love drives out all fear.

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(My husband and me at a restaurant at one of the parks. Check out my UV SPF 50 long sleeve shirt! ūüôā I know you’re so jealous! )

 

For a real life example of someone finding God’s peace and joy in the midst of extremely difficult trials, check out Petr’s story.

"My Husband Wants to Go WHERE!?!?!?!"

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From a reader.  THANK YOU to this precious wife for sharing her story and to God be all the glory!!!!!

BAD NEWS

I can’t even begin to tell you how my heart sank when I heard my husband say that he was planning to take a trip to Las Vegas with a single guy friend from work. You’d have to know a great deal of our relationship history to fully understand why this hit me the way it did, but nevertheless I was distraught over it. I think most wives would feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of their man going away to a place like Las Vegas without them. I felt VERY uncomfortable, given my husband’s past issues.

THINGS HAD BEEN IMPROVING SO MUCH LATELY!

Things had been really looking up for our family, especially within my marriage. I was finally coming to a point where God was really showing me so much about what it means to be a respectful and submissive wife. I was effectively putting it all into practice, and I was really watching the changes happen. My husband was again warming up to me, after I had made him flee, so to speak, with my controlling words and behavior in the past.

Our marriage had been very broken. Once I stopped trying to force him to get close with God and backed off, he began to take an interest in God again. He started to really step up as a leader of our family in many ways I had never seen in all the previous years of our marriage. He wanted to have a pure life like I did, and after all the years of struggling, for us to be in a place where we both wanted the same thing was really amazing. What was even more amazing was the fact that I was able to understand so many new things about what to do and not do as a wife. I really felt like things were finally going to be okay, and I wasn’t going to have to deal with the same old behaviors from my husband.

As it turns out, I might always have to deal with those things, and just maybe, he might always have to deal with me struggling to be a respectful wife and messing it up more often than not. Unfortunately, we are sinners. This is the reality of all marriages, and I am learning A LOT about this. That is not to say that God can’t transform our hearts and make us more like Him everyday, but we will always struggle with our flesh. It would be foolish to believe that our husband’s are not going to make mistakes and hurt us.

MY FEELINGS ABOUT HIS PLANS FOR THE TRIP

When my husband told me about wanting to go to Las Vegas, I did not take it well. I tried very hard to respond as best as I could with many of the tools I’d learned from God and from April’s site, but it was hard. I was so confused. I thought my husband wanted to leave these ways behind.

  • Why would he want to run off and be in a place like that with his single friend?
  • Was I being judgmental by thinking this?
  • I thought he didn’t want to even drink anymore.
  • Why did he have to pick Las Vegas?
  • What would happen there?

My mind was racing. I should also mention that my husband works two jobs everyday so I can stay home with our sons. I am eternally grateful that he does this for us, but it can be very difficult, because we hardly see him at all during the week. It felt so wrong that he would take vacation time and be away from us by choice. It also hurt my heart deeply that he didn’t pick me to come along. I wanted so desperately for him to want to whisk me away on a romantic trip and be his first choice as a companion.

All of these emotions were flying around in my head, and it was so painful. I knew in my heart that I really had been doing the things God asked me to do in my marriage and as a wife, so I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I would have understood him wanting to go with someone else if I were still being controlling, manipulative, and disrespectful, but I knew I wasn’t. I was actively making sure I wasn’t.

WHAT I DID

I did tell my husband all of the different emotions I was feeling. That was also hard for me, because in the past I had really worried about how he would react when I shared negative feelings with him. God helped me through this, however, and I was able to share all of the issues I had more calmly than I would have in the past. Instead of demanding him to respond to everything I said, I let it be. This is also very different for me, because normally I’d be asking a million questions like what do you think or are you mad I feel this way… but, I didn’t. I let him take what I said into consideration and then I had to let God do the rest.

GOD WORKED IN MY HEART – A LOT!

Over the course of a month I struggled with trying to accept that he was going on this trip and trying to mold my feelings to accompany that as a truth. I still felt like it was wrong though. I kept praying that God’s will would prevail, whether it was for my husband to go or not.

This was a pivotal time for me in my relationship with God, because I started to realize that my motives were not necessarily right when it came to what I was trying to achieve as a wife. I wanted to be a good wife, but I also expected that my husband was going to be a good husband as a result. That is not always the truth. God really showed me that I need to be a good wife for Him. I need to make sure I’m being submissive and respectful for God regardless of what my husband is doing/not doing.

That was VERY eye opening for me. It was also a giant test, because I had to blindly trust God through it. I didn’t know how I’d survive those days he’d be away not knowing what was going on, but I had to just keep handing those fearful thoughts and feelings to God.

GOD WAS AT WORK WITH MY HUSBAND, TOO – UNBEKNOWNST TO ME!

Last week my husband came home from work and told me we needed to talk. My stomach was in knots, because I assumed he wanted to go over when he was leaving and all the details of the trip. Instead, he told me he realized that it was wrong to go with his friend. He said he left the whole trip in God’s hands and it was completely falling through. When they went to book the flight, the website would not accept their credit cards for some mysterious (GOD) reason. I guess his friend kept changing his mind as well.

My husband acknowledged that it was definitely the hand of God. He said he was very sorry, and that he wanted to make the family more of a priority. He then informed me that he wanted to take me on a trip instead! We will be going on vacation together at the beginning of next month!

I really am in awe of what God did with this situation. It’s hard for me to even express in words how thankful I am. The lessons I am learning are priceless.

MY MESSAGE TO WIVES

What I really want to say to wives is that you need to expect that your husband is going to mess up and do crazy things, but you can’t let that affect how you behave as a wife. Keep seeking God. Keeping asking Him to give you the strength to be the wife He wants you to be. He will equip you, and when things look grim, He is there, and you can most definitely trust Him. He will use your behavior and your faith to bring about positive changes in your husband, but it won‚Äôt always be in the way that you want or expect. It may just be a two steps forward, three steps back type of thing, but take heart, God is at work!

God works everything together for the good (of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose Romans 8:28). When I was struggling with all the confusion of this situation I felt like I couldn’t see what good would come from it at all, but then I remembered who God really is, and I knew I could trust Him with this.

If this hadn’t happened, I wouldn‚Äôt have realized my focus in seeking to be a godly wife is to be God and only God. I learned that we can’t get stuck on the plans and ideas other people have. God can definitely step in the way and change things into how He wants them to be. As wives we need to fully and completely fix our eyes on God, and not have our focus on everything that is going on around us. God is in control.

So, this was really hard, but it was also really amazing and good for me. I think so many of the things we go through as wives are like that. Lessons are hard, but so very valuable. I pray that we keep close to God so we can grasp all the wisdom He wants to give us, and that we can be that godly loving example of Him to everyone around us. ūüôā

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!  He IS able!  He is sovereign Рeven over our husbands.  We can trust Him.  And He will truly use all things for His glory and our ultimate good when we yield to Him and put our faith in Him.  WHAT A STORY!  It just gives me chills all over.  THANK YOU, LORD!

OTHER WIVES Рif you have a story about how God worked in your marriage, or is working  in you and your marriage Рplease let me know!

The Blessing of Having a Husband Who Won't Pray with His Wife

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WHAT??!!! ¬† Did you read that right? ¬†Surely, I’ve GOT to be kidding!
Let me start by saying:
I believe that husbands SHOULD pray with their wives.  I believe it is their God-given responsibility to do so  Рif they are believers in Christ.  I believe husbands will be accountable to God for their spiritual leadership Рwhich I believe includes praying with their wives and children and teaching their families the Word of God as well as living out a godly example every day.
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But what is a wife to do if this is not happening?
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Hang with me, ladies.  This gets really good.
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REALITY IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM OUR EXPECTATIONS MANY TIMES
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I used to be¬†REALLY upset about the fact that we didn’t pray together. ¬†I longed for my husband to pray with me and resented every day that passed that he didn’t do it. ¬†I wanted us to be close to each other and close to God. ¬†What could be more beautiful, godly, intimate, holy, intoxicating and powerful than praying together as a couple?
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Unfortunately, MOST Christian husbands and wives don’t pray together. ¬†I wish we all did. I think we all should. ¬†But reality is that a lot of husbands can’t or won’t pray with their wives for a variety of reasons.
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Sometimes our husbands don’t pray with us because we intimidate them, criticize them, condemn them, judge their spirituality, act holier-than-thou, take over control of the marriage, disrespect them, rebel against their God-given leadership or react negatively when our men DO try to lead spiritually in some way.(For more about this – check out this post¬†)
I CAN CONTROL ME. ¬†I CAN’T CONTROL HIM. ¬†I’M FINE WITH THAT NOW!
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I can ask my husband for what I want. ¬†And I do – now – but sparingly, respectfully and with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile. ¬†I ask him to pray about specific needs with me a few times a month – and he is always willing now if I ask him. (Each marriage and stage in marriage will be different – so pray and seek God’s wisdom about if you ought to approach your husband at all, or how often)
When I first started¬†learning respect and submission, I had to follow I Peter 3:1-2 and be silent about spiritual things, including prayer – after so many years of trying to MAKE my husband do what I wanted him to do. ¬†He needed time to hear God’s voice for himself. I fully understand now that I can’t MAKE him do what I want him to do. ¬†And that is actually a very good thing. ¬†God gave us all a free will. ¬†Part of being a strong leader is a man makes his own choices and decisions.
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He is not always going to do things my way.  Now, I know that is a huge blessing!.  His ways are often much better than my ways Рit turns out!
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He may not always do things God’s way – that is part of having a human, sinner as a leader.
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But I can still put all my hope, faith and trust in my Lord that He in His amazing sovereignty will work things out for my best and for His glory because I love Him and am called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28-29). ¬†And I can respond in obedience to God’s Word for me regardless of my husband’s behavior. ¬†Even if my husband sins or makes mistakes, my Lord is big enough, powerful enough and “sovereign enough” to turn those evil things into something good because I trust Him.
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AVOIDING BITTERNESS ABOUT A “PRAYERLESS” MARRIAGE
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  • Now, I have laid down my expectations. ¬† I don’t expect my husband to pray with me. ¬†I don’t demand that he pray with¬†me. ¬†I am thankful for what he gives to me in our relationship – and I graciously (by the power of God in me) accept when he does not do things I would like.
  • My goal is to be¬†receptive to God’s Spirit, my husband’s leadership, to be¬†a safe place for him to know that he won’t be criticized or judged and to make sure I am abiding in Christ and praying for my husband fervently and passionately myself.
  • It takes MANY years for a man to become a godly leader. ¬†I must be patient for God to work in my husband and focus on what God wants to do in ME!
  • I also keep in mind that scripture never says, “Husbands must initiate prayer with their wives.”¬†¬†I also can’t find a verse that commands husbands to pray with their wives. ¬†I think it is clearly implied! ¬†But I have to be very careful about my expectations and what I label as sin or about coming across as being spiritually superior, self-righteous or condemning and critical. ¬†Nothing will turn off a husband faster to spiritual things than ¬†catching a whiff of those prideful, self-righteous attributes.
  • I have prayer sisters! ¬†I get to pray with my Christian prayer partners and watch God at work together. ¬†It is AMAZING! ¬†I would strongly recommend that wives pray about finding a godly mentor wife and prayer partner.
  • I am free to grow in Christ – I do not have to “wait for my husband.” ¬†I am to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling and trust God to work in my husband. ¬†The closer I am to Christ, the MORE respectful, kind, gracious and merciful I will be to my husband – and that will influence him to ¬†draw nearer to God, too.
  • I now know that I can have total access to God’s will when I am trusting in my God. ¬†My husband cannot thwart God’s plans for me. ¬†My husband cannot take me out of the sovereignty of God.¬†¬†God is powerful and sovereign and will accomplish¬†His purposes in my life whether my husband prays with me or not. ¬†My faith is in my Lord alone!
  • I also know that there are MANY aspects to spiritual leadership that go way beyond whether my husband is initiating prayer. ¬†And many of those things – demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, obeying God’s Word, being filled with the Spirit of God – are MUCH more important and vital than whether he initiates prayer or not. ¬†I believe a husband can be a strong, godly, spiritual leader as long as he is tuned into God HIMSELF. ¬†Praying together would be great. ¬†But it does not mean our husbands are spiritual failures if they don’t grab us by the hand and have a daily prayer time with us. ¬†Check out my youtube video about this if you’d like! http://youtu.be/CgB9SiV9ZgI.
IT IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING FOR A HUSBAND TO PRAY WITH HIS WIFE
If he prays with the wrong motive or prays for the wrong reason(s) – that is sin – it is for wives, too, of course!
Ways that him praying with you could be sin:
– to please you
– to make you feel better
– to make himself look more spiritual than he really is
– to be heard by you
– to lecture you
– to manipulate you
– if his heart is not in it, if he is not actually intimate with God, it is hypocrisy
– doing it just because you want him to will not bring you satisfaction and it will not honor God
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If a husband is not praying to God on his own Рhe probably has no business praying to God with his wife.  He needs to have his own strong relationship with Christ independently first.
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I think that this particular issue is actually quite clear in Scripture – that when we pray to be seen or heard by people (if our motives are not pure) – God is NOT pleased and will NOT hear our prayers.
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Matthew 6:5-6 РAnd when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, Who is unseen.  Then your Father, Who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
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I don’t think this excludes praying together in small groups or as a couple or corporately. ¬†But I think that our motives for prayer matter greatly to God. ¬†If a husband only prays with his wife to placate her – but is not right in his relationship with God – it is a pretty useless activity.
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It can be a blessing for a godly wife when her ungodly husband (or a husband with ungodly motives at the time) won’t pray with her:
  • He would do more harm than good if he did.
  • She needs to learn to depend solely on Christ, not her husband.¬†¬†This issue can sometimes reveal¬†that a wife has her husband as an idol, or has his praying with her or his spirituality or his sinlessness as an idol in her heart.

I am SO glad God gave me time to learn to depend on Him alone!

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OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF A HUSBAND’S SINFUL PRAYERS
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Besides his prayers being fruitless, not honoring to God and not be heard by God – when a husband is not right with God and is living in his own flesh:
  • he may use prayer as an opportunity to try to humiliate his wife before God
  • he may use prayer to criticize his wife’s faults and flaws
  • he may pridefully brag about himself before God and his wife, bringing God’s opposition against him
  • he may use prayer to try to manipulate his wife into doing what he selfishly wants
  • he may claim something is “God’s will” just to try to get her to go along with it when it really is not God’s will at all
  • he may be cruel, critical and belittling to his wife as he “speaks to God” ¬†because he is not full of God’s Spirit
  • he may be arrogant and try to make himself look better and more spiritual than his wife

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Something that is much worse than having a husband who won’t pray with you is having a carnal/sinful husband who WILL pray with you in ways that dishonor God and seek to control, disrespect and manipulate you.

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OUR REAL DESIRE GOES MUCH DEEPER THAN GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS
What we as wives want – is for our husbands to be¬†strong men of God, thriving and growing and vibrant in their walks with Him. We want them to pray in private by themselves and come from a place of spiritual strength and to be filled with God’s Spirit – and then to pray with us. ¬†Not praying to go through the motions or to look spiritual, but husbands who are genuinely living with Christ as Lord and totally submitted and yielded to Him.
This desires we have for our husbands ¬†to be¬†close to God and to be spiritually one with us are God-given desires. ¬†And they are God’s will. ¬†So we can pray and know that God will cause these prayers to be answered in His time, in His way, by His power and for His glory – ¬†when we are praying with proper respect and reverence for God, our husband’s authority and proper motives.
And we can speed the answers along a bit by our obedience to respect our husbands and cooperate with their God-given leadership.  But it may be YEARS before we see our prayers answered.   There are going to be times, if we believe our husbands are far from God and acting in disobedience, that we practice I Peter 3:1-2.  That is what will bring them closer to God.
I pray for God’s wisdom for each of us about approaching our husbands about praying together. There are times when I believe it is good and important for us to ask for what we desire, “Honey, I have an idea. I want us to start praying together every day. Would now be a good time?” There are also times when God will prompt us to be quiet and pray and wait. I pray for each of us to be sensitive to God’s leading and prompting!
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http://peacefulwife.com/2012/09/03/being-a-good-follower/
http://peacefulwife.com/2012/06/28/im-the-spiritually-mature-one-in-this-marriage/
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MY HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE ON HOW HARD IT IS FOR HUSBANDS TO PRAY WITH THEIR WIVES SOMETIMES –¬†http://respectedhusband.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/praying-with-your-wife/
ANOTHER RESOURCE
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2012/11/hes-just-not-a-spiritual-leade.html?utm_source=hermeneutics&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=12202499&utm_content=145747842&utm_campaign=2012#.UMpCmqYlwVE.email
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