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A Fellow Wife Focuses on Overcoming Bitterness

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A Fellow Wife began this journey with me in October of 2012. I have seen God do such a mighty work in her.  And He is not done! A Fellow Wife’s husband is a loving, devoted man. He treats his wife very well.  There is no abuse or anything awful going on here. But he doesn’t always do everything that A Fellow Wife wants him to do. So, there are a few areas where a Fellow Wife struggles – and I appreciate her sharing that today. We are all going to face some areas like this. Our husbands are not going to always do everything exactly as we want them to. (Sometimes, that may be a good thing!) If we try to force them to do everything we want, or we resent them that they don’t do every single thing we want them to – we can create a lot of problems. We can ask for what we desire respectfully and politely. We can also be aware that if we have been very demanding that our husbands do certain things for us for many years in the past, it can take some time for husbands to be willing to do those things, even after we stop demanding. This can be a time for us to learn the sufficiency of Christ and to trust God to work in our husbands as we focus on our own walk with Christ and finding our contentment in what we do have.

THE TOXIC POISON OF BITTERNESS

I was really struggling with bitterness in the last few months, I’m going to admit. All I could focus on what how my husband had hurt me so much in the past and how his priorities are out of order and how he can be neglectful. It was really, REALLY dragging me down. I was feeling very sad about all of that and feeling very negative and down about our marriage and the future of it. That was NOT GOOD. While some of those things are true, they aren’t the WHOLE truth. And meditating on all of that day in and day out was dangerous.

I read Sacred Influence (by Gary Thomas) around this time and it really helped me (From Peacefulwife – I LOVE THIS BOOK, TOO!). It reminded me how very blessed I am and how I’ve been forgetting to appreciate all the “common blessings” that I have in my husband.  

I was reminded that if I focus on the negative, it will grow. If I focus on the positive, it will grow.

So, I’ve been working very hard on shifting my focus. It isn’t easy. I’m not necessarily a pessimistic person but I’m not naturally optimistic. I’ve always said that I’m realistic.

I’ve been working very hard – DAILY – on focusing on all the wonderful blessings I have in my husband and in our marriage. My words for 2015 are APPRECIATE and ACCEPT:

  • Appreciate what I have in my husband – many, many blessings
  • Accept that some things are what they are and give them to God.

When I can do that, the weight shifts from me to Him.

I do not want to be bitter. Bitterness was threatening to pull me under. Enough that it scared me into being intentional about focusing on the positive. I’m sure there will be days I don’t do well at focusing on the positive but I plan to be very intentional and do my best to think and meditate on of all the great things I have in my husband and marriage.

I was a bit confused about the bitterness I was hung up on. I was thinking that you had to just tear bitterness out – and you do – BUT you have to replace it with something- or at least I did. I had to replace all the old bitter thoughts with new thoughts about how blessed I am to have him as my husband and all of the wonderful things about him.

I noticed the other day that I was telling a girlfriend how sweet my husband was to me over the weekend when I was exhausted and stretched thin with work and house cleaning and told me to take a nap and cleaned the kitchen for me. (Yes I said he cleaned the kitchen for me! NOT something he’s always done!) And I noticed how happy I felt about ‘us’ in talking about the good.

Our words and thoughts are so powerful. That’s hard to always remember.

I feel like I’ll never get all of this at one time. I’ll still be working on this in 10 years. I think I’m one of the slow learners! LOL!

But I’m thankful that I’ve been able to start working on focusing on the positive. It makes me feel so much happier. Please pray I can keep my focus centered on all the blessings I have in my husband and give all the rest of my concerns over to the Lord.

SELF CARE

I’ve also been giving some thought to making myself happy which is turning out to be very enjoyable. Instead of thinking about my marriage every waking minute, I also think about things for me… what would I enjoy today? Trying to do things to make myself happy instead of expecting my husband to make me happy… sometimes this means I read or treat myself to my favorite hot chocolate or enjoy talking to a girlfriend or go out with my daughter for some girl time.

I think it’s very easy to miss that you need to make yourself happy and put time and effort into self care. Women/wives/moms tend to be slave-drivers of themselves. I know that I am – if I’m not careful.  We can work ourselves into the ground, from the time our feet hit the floor until we crash at night. That isn’t good. That’s a recipe for unhappiness! Planning some things to make your day more joyful and enjoyable is really important. It really does a lot for your mood!

A VERSE UPON WHICH TO FOCUS:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

A big part of self care is that we MUST have time in God’s Word and in prayer. We must feast on His Word and abide in His presence, praise Him, thank Him, worship Him, fully trust Him, hold nothing back from Him, and learn about His sovereignty and His character. We also must seek to try to get the rest, exercise, nourishment, and down time we need. We are responsible for our own emotions and for our spiritual growth.

Bitterness is one of our greatest temptation, in my view, as wives. I was trapped by bitterness for many years. It is such a toxic poison to our souls, to our walk with Christ, and to our marriages, and all of our relationships. If you know a woman who has carried bitterness for many decades, you know that the whole atmosphere and emotional temperature of any house immediately becomes chilly as soon as she gets there. Others cringe when she walks in the door and wish they could be anywhere but where she is. She is able to create misery in the lives of all she touches.

Bitterness is a form of idolatry that consumes us. It starts as a small root and then grows into an evil tree that completely consumes our entire identity, our lives, and all of our energy. It steals our joy in Christ. It destroys every relationship we have. It is contagious and spreads to others around us. Bitterness destroys many more marriages than adultery or pornography do. In Jesus, we don’t have the option to not forgive and to be bitter. We can’t forgive in our own power, but with the power of God’s Spirit flooding our soul, we can forgive anything. (Forgiveness is different from trust. We are commanded to forgive. We are not commanded to trust those who are untrustworthy. We are commanded to trust God. But until a person is willing to rebuild trust, we do not have to trust someone who has proven to be untrustworthy.)


For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

It took me about 2.5 YEARS to begin to feel like I had any idea what I was doing with respect and biblical submission. It took another year after that for Greg to feel safe with me and for most of his walls to come down.

I am STILL growing and learning every day. I can’t wait to see all that I can absorb and learn and how God will grow me along this journey. We will never be done learning about Him, learning to love and trust Him, and learning to live in the power of His Spirit. How wonderful that God has provided us with everything we need in Christ to have victory over sin, to know Him, to love Him, to obey Him, and to bless and love our husbands, children, and everyone in our lives.

RELATED:

Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! – by A Fellow Wife

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Bitterness Is Contagious and Toxic

Finding God’s Victory over Bitterness

Why Your Husband May Not Immediately Do What You Want Him to Do

I Just Want Him to Spend More Time with me

An Incredible Story of Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness Stories

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Finding Contentment in Christ

Things that Fuel a Spirit of Discontentment in Me

Triggers for Sinful Thoughts

How Do You Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?

The Excellent Wife – by Martha Peace has a fantastic chapter with a big long chart of many different bitter thoughts wives think and then kind thoughts with which to replace them. I love that chapter! The whole book is great. But, I do have a few concerns about the last chapter about confronting our husbands about their sin – to me, there seems to always be one sentence in her examples that strike me as possibly disrespectful to some husbands. But this is an amazing and very helpful book in helping us to grow in Christ and to become more godly wives and women.

Sacred Influence – by Gary Thomas has some of the most beautiful examples of wives influencing their husbands in godly ways even when the husbands are in sin. I love the chapter on dealing with angry husbands. That is an area where I am weak here on my blog – so it may be a good supplement for those who face angry husbands at times. I highly recommend this book to wives who want to become a godly wife and godly, beautiful, powerful, good influence and blessing to her husband.

I Am Responsible for My Emotions

 

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NOTE – I FOUND THE LOST COMMENTS! THEY WERE IN MY SPAM FOLDER!!!!!!! I think I have recovered all of them from the past two weeks now. HOORAY!

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For many years, I expected Greg to be responsible for my emotions.

I expected him to “make me happy.” I expected him to “fix me” if I was upset. I expected him to meet needs in my heart and soul that only Jesus could meet. I expected that being close to him would give me peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment and happiness.  I also thought it was my job to “fix him” if he “wasn’t right” in my eyes.  I made Greg into an idol. I also did not take personal responsibility for my own sin, but justified all of my sin in my heart or, even worse, didn’t even see my own sin. (Sin is an archery term that means “to miss the mark” of the holy standard of God.)

Then God showed me my mountain of ickiness in my own life. It was quite overwhelming at first to see just how evil my motives and intentions were.  I had SELF on the throne of my heart, not God.  I was trusting April, not Jesus. I was overflowing with pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, unbelief in God, selfishness and idolatry. Those things are ugly to God. And they are toxic poison to me, my relationship with Christ and my relationships with others.

I was shocked to realize that I needed to take responsibility for my own spiritual growth and emotional well-being. I had been living as if Greg was responsible for me and as if I was responsible for him. I had it backwards!

  • I am responsible for myself.
  • Greg is responsible for himself.

No one can rob me of the peace, love and joy of Christ. Those things are mine unless I chose to give them up. My husband cannot keep me from experiencing God’s joy. My mother cannot steal the peace Jesus has given to me – not unless I allow her to. My friends and coworkers cannot take away the gifts God has given to me in Christ. I have the power to keep these things as I abide in Christ and His Spirit overflows in me.

MY EMOTIONS

My emotions are a warning system. If I feel angry, upset, betrayed, slighted, or sinned against in some way, my feelings tell me that I may need to address an issue with someone. It means that I need to do some digging and investigating.

However, sometimes my emotions will tell me that there is something to be upset about, when really there isn’t. So, I need to pray about whatever my emotions are telling me and be sure my emotions are accurate and that I am listening to God’s Spirit before I forge ahead and confront someone else. (Confronting Our Husbands’ Sin) Sometimes my negative emotions can be a warning that there is sin in my own heart – idolatry, pride, self-righteousness, control, bitterness… so it is important to notice my emotions and to lay them before God to get an accurate diagnosis of what the real problem is.

SOMEONE ELSE’S EMOTIONS

If my husband (or someone else) is angry or depressed, that is for him to deal with. I can seek to bless him. If I have sinned against him in some way, it is my responsibility to make things right as best I can (Matthew 5:23-24). But there are times when our husbands will be upset, and it really isn’t our fault or our responsibility. This requires much prayer on our part to figure out where our responsibility ends and theirs begins sometimes. But sometimes they have their own sin issues or just their own stressors to deal with that don’t have anything to do with us. I don’t want wives to take responsibility for things that truly are not their responsibility. (I Am Trying to Respect and Submit, but My Husband Is More Unloving Than Ever! What is Going On?)

EMOTIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS ACCURATE AND THEY ARE NOT “FACTS”

It is always easier to blame someone else when we are upset. But our feelings and emotions are not always accurate and dependable. We must examine them under the Light of Scripture. Just because I feel angry at my husband, doesn’t mean he actually sinned against me. It could be that I have PMS. Or it could mean that my motives need to be examined. Just because a husband feels angry at his wife, doesn’t mean she sinned against him. She may have. That is possible. Or, he could be frustrated about something else and maybe he is taking it out on his wife. Or maybe he has some other issue going on in his heart that he can’t even articulate.  It can take time to dig down and examine exactly what the root of the anger is coming from. And if it is someone else’s anger, we may not be able to see the root or their real motives or issues.

If a husband is sinning, he owns that, not his wife. Of course, “We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against” – like Gary Thomas says, in Sacred Marriage. But, I am only responsible for my reactions and my responses. And if I am sinning against my husband, I own that, not Greg.

WHEN I USED TO GET UPSET

Crying used to be a pretty common thing for me. Sometimes every single night for months and months at a time. Greg didn’t know what to do to help me back then. When he tried to help me, it was never enough. I was insatiable – because I expected Greg to be God to me. I was a black hole of neediness. Eventually, he gave up trying. He knew I would be upset if he tried to help me and he knew I would be upset if he didn’t try to help me. So, what good was there in trying if I continued to be upset?

He shut down more and more. He felt like a failure. He wanted me to be happy, but it seemed that I was impossible to please. And I really was impossible for him to please. If he did what I demanded, I wanted more. Every time.

NOW WHEN I AM UPSET

I don’t cry nearly as much as I used to. THANKFULLY!

If Greg is awake and hears me crying, he will come find me and check on me. That night last week, he didn’t even hear me – he had fallen back asleep while I was taking a long time to contemplate my answer. 🙂 But when he is awake and conscious, Greg always asks me what is wrong and tries to comfort me if I am crying or even just if I am upset about something. He will often hold me. He listens. He offers wise advice. He encourages me. That is what I had always longed for him to do earlier in our marriage. Now, he is the husband I always knew he could be.

It took a few years into this journey for things to be like this. Now Greg knows he can please me. He knows he can help me. He also knows that I don’t hold him responsible for my emotions and my happiness. That takes so much pressure off of him! He loves to see me happy. He loves to delight me. And he is a lot more willing to try to do things for me now that I am appreciative, responsive, respectful and cooperative instead of nagging, complaining, negative, resentful, bitter, contentious and disrespectful.

MY REAL SOURCE OF COMFORT

I have learned to take my pain to God first. That is where my true comfort and healing is. In Christ. I run to Him when I am hurting.  If Greg does comfort me, that is awesome, and I greatly appreciate it. But if he is asleep, busy or not home, that is ok. His comfort is a blessing, but it cannot replace God’s comfort. I am not dependent on Greg to heal me and fill me with abundant spiritual life. I am totally dependent on Jesus. Those first couple of years of this journey, Greg was still checked out and unplugged from me for the most part. It was just me and God. That turned out to be a GOOD thing because I learned to be completely dependent on Christ and nothing else. I had no mentor. I had no husband to lead me in prayer and in healing. He was too wounded and battered himself at that point.

But I had God. I had His Word. I had my journals. I had the books I was reading. That was enough. Jesus was more than enough. He was more than sufficient.

I learned that whether Greg is here or not, I am going to be filled to overflowing with good spiritual things as long as I cling to Jesus and His Spirit is nourishing my soul – even we face trials, even if Greg dies or the things I used to be so afraid of were to come true, if I have Jesus, I have all that I need.  He is my Source. He is my LIFE. He is my Greatest Treasure. He is EVERYTHING to me!

As I seek Him, repent of any sin, love Him, adore Him, praise Him, worship Him and fully submit myself completely to Him,  His Spirit floods my soul. I pour out my heart to Him and spend time writing out my thoughts and then being quiet and listening to Him and to His Word. His supernatural love, peace, joy, contentment and abundant spiritual life well up and bubble over in my soul. I know that if I have Jesus, I have all that I need. I can be content.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

 

Praying for spiritual and emotional healing for each of you, your husbands, your marriages and your families!

 

PS:

I talk at times about not automatically assuming our husbands have evil motives toward us. That does not mean it is impossible for them to have evil motives. It is possible, of course. Men are sinners, too. But in many cases, our husbands don’t have evil motives toward us and when we assume they do, incorrectly, we actually create much more damage. In fact, in Shaunti Feldhahn’s survey, over 95% of husbands and wives actually have at least some good will toward their spouses. Most really do love their spouses and want their marriage to work.

However, if your particular husband does have evil motives toward you, and you can see that is a fact by evidence, not just by your feelings, please seek appropriate, godly, experienced help and get where you are safe if you are in danger. I pray God will give you wisdom to handle this and to respond rightly.  If you are being abused or there are very severe issues in your marriage, please don’t read my blog but seek wise, trustworthy counsel to help you navigate these issues.

 

RELATED:

Psalms = a great book to read about emotions and taking them to God. 🙂 Of course, this issue is a recurring theme all throughout scripture.

Do I Base My Marriage on My Feelings and Emotions? Part 1

Do I Base My Marriage on My Feelings and Emotions? Part 2

When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Contentment Comes from Having Christ as Lord!

Things that Fuel Discontentment in Me

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Bitterness

Why Is My Husband Not Being Supportive of Me As I Seek to Change?

The PMS Issue Part 1

The PMS Issue Part 2 

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Idol of Happiness

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’t appreciated.
  • I will ask him if he needs me to do anything but I won’t 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’t get it. Yes, I know you say this all the time, April but I just didn’t seem to get order of things. 🙂

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! 🙂 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’s responsibility or business, like “changing” one’s 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 ‘CONTROL’ 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— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but 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

"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 – life 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’t 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’t 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. 🙂

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

The Respect Dare, Day 9 – Overlooking Insults

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

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

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

IN THE PHARMACY

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

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

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

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

In retail pharmacy, we are trained to

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

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

IN MARRIAGE

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

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

WITH HUSBANDS

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

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

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

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

RESPONDING TO INSULTS

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

I have found more success with:

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

There are times we must address the insult.

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

IN MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE DARE FROM NINA

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

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 🙁   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.

“My Husband Didn’t Get Me Anything for Our Anniversary – and I am SO HAPPY TO BE MARRIED TO HIM!”

From the archives – Here are the ways that two wives handle the “My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary” situation in respectful, God-honoring, husband-honoring, marriage building ways!
WIFE #1

Since my hubby’s and my birthdays are only one day apart, he never forgets my birthday! Pretty sneaky, huh? :D

Seriously, in my first marriage I received tons of big gifts and acknowledgement on special celebration days… but not much love. These days, I am very happy and blessed to be married to a wonderful Christian guy who doesn’t always remember our anniversary, but so what? He brings me little gifts every so often “just because” and never lets me forget how much he loves me.

When we were first married, almost 14 years ago, God showed me that I needed to be the one to bring special days and events to his mind. So this begs the question: why does it always have to be the husband’s job to make celebration plans? I know that as women, we love the romantic notion that our hubbies will come through the door with a huge bouquet of roses and sweep us off our feet, but that reality is rooted in unrealistic TV shows and movies. It is not real life!

Please, ladies, love your husbands for WHO HE IS, not for what he can do for you or for whether he can remember your birthday or anniversary, etc. God placed you with each other because you are perfect together.

I’m sorry this is so long, but I’d like to share an analogy that our pastor gave my hubby and me during our premarital counseling: if you take an orange and rip it apart with your hands (NOT cut it with a knife), you’ll have a jagged edge on both halves. There is only one way that orange can go back together perfectly. So it is with the marriage relationship. You and your husband each have areas of strengths and weaknesses, and your strengths complement his weaknesses and vice versa. You both fit together just like that orange.

So, don’t pine away for what might not be the way you think it should. Don’t fight the dynamics of your God-given relationship. Use those strengths and weaknesses to uplift and love each other in the Lord!

I think I’ve said this before, Peacefulwife, but it bears repeating: thank you for such a wonderfully blessed and uplifting blog. My hubby and I are thankful that you and Peacefulhusband are not afraid to share yourselves and your marriage with those of us who need to hear it!

WIFE #2
Hi there…
Just wanted to say I was so thankful for that post the other day “forgot our anniversary.”
I would have hoped I would have responded well even if I didn’t read that post…but sadly I probably would have failed to some degree.
Anyway..today is our anniversary and we already have a date next month that we will be getting away just the two of us to celebrate.
So I didnt want to make a big deal about today, but its still our anniversary so I got him a card and some yummy chocolates and put them
on his desk this morning before I left for work. I did kiss him good bye with a quick Happy Anniversary, I love you.
Later this morning, I got a text saying, “thank you for the card and gift, (I haven’t opened it yet)”…then he said, “I am sorry I didn’t get you anything. I have been so busy with work and the girls I dont have a spare second.”   He said, “Give me a couple weeks when work is less crazy and I will make it up to you.” He then said, “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am so thankful for you.”  I said, ” Thank you, Baby!  I know your heart, Baby, and I don’t need a card to tell me that. I did it for you because I love doing things like that.”  Then he said, “I will have something for you, just not today.”  I said, “I’m being honest, Honey, when I say, ‘I have all I need because I have you.'”  And I do truly mean that.
In the past (or probably even before I read that post)…I would have gotten sad or disapointed and thought, “Well you had time to go the Jeep store this week because your mind is on that stuff, but not on me.”  So in reality…yeah that thought did enter my mind, but I quickly dismissed it!  My husband loves me to death and that is all that matters.  Its about him and me and our marriage that God joined together 7 years ago. I refuse to let Satan have anything on this day!  My husband never goes out to “man” stores or spends time with guy friends…so if he spent some time at the Jeep store this week, I am so happy for him. He needs that. Its the same thing as me going to the mall to buy a new outfit, right!  LOL!!!
Anyway..I wanted to share this with you because I am thankful for what I have learned this past year in my marriage! I am thankful that God led me to your blog to help “change me” which has helped changed my marriage in an incredible way.  I am so excited for what God has planned for this next year in our marriage. I know its going to the best one yet!

“My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary” – from the Archives

This is an email I received from a sweet wife that I think really showcases a classic misunderstanding between husbands and wives.   So, with her permission, I’m going to share her email and then think about some possible respectful and husband-honoring, Christ-honoring ways to tackle this issue.  I’m REALLY thankful that she brought up this topic.  It’s actually the 2nd wife in one week who has had this dilemma who has emailed me.  I hope the ladies might pay close attention to the little red flags in her email.  See if  you notice the areas where she ventured into disrespect (and also into some other possible pitfalls – like judgment, condemnation, pride) before you read what I wrote.   My perspective is certainly not the only respectful way to handle things – but it may give wives a starting place to begin praying and thinking about how God might want them to change.
Little bit of background: my husband has kinda forgotten about special days in the past.  He usually doesn’t plan my birthday gifts and holiday gifts very well. If he does, it is usually last minute.  I have gotten very upset about this in the past and hurt because my birthdays and our anniversaries are dates that I want to feel loved and special (like most girls) but like most guys, he doesn’t put much thought or planning into these days.  He has an hour commute to and from work and I’ve suggested in the past that he takes at least 1 minute of his commute time to think or plan for us, but he hasn’t taken my suggestion.  
 
So present day problem:
Today is our 3 year anniversary.  The past few days I have been worried he hasn’t thought much about it.  This morning, I woke up and tell myself to not be too upset if he has forgot.  I don’t want to set him up and pretend I forgot too, so I lean over and say “Happy anniversary” then I ask him if he remembered (probably this is where I first went wrong???) Or maybe I shouldn’t have said happy anniversary at all (this is where I’m getting stuck)
 
He said, “Yes,” he forgot but he told me that he told a customer yesterday about our anniversary so he really didn’t completely forget.    I said, “It’s ok” and got up to start getting ready.  (He could tell I was upset even though I was trying to hide it – maybe I went wrong there too and should not have tried to hide my feelings but I did not want to put him down and make him feel like a failure).  He asked, “What’s wrong?”  I said I was ok. Then he asked why I got up out of bed like that and I said, “Sorry I got up like that, but I needed to get ready.”  
 
He then started saying that is was first thing in the morning and of course he’s not thinking about that when he’s half asleep.  Then the argument broke out
(I heard him as making excuses and started to defend my point)!!!!
 
He brought up how hard he works and how burnt out he is. I said,  “I wanted to feel special” by having him make plans for us and I always worry he will forget since he has in past.  Things got blown up and I started crying.  I tried to tell him I was hurt and didn’t intend for things to go down like that but it took him a few minutes to stop being angry before he could comfort me.  We apologized and are ok now but I have no clue how to handle this when it happens again.  Which it will – he is human and it is kinda his nature.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Whew.
This situation got really out of hand – and it didn’t have to.  This precious wife did what most wives would do – but it’s not working for anyone!
Let’s talk about where she went right and where she may have been able to prevent this entire argument and tense situation that might well ruin the entire day.
I have a hunch that something very similar has happened at least once or twice in almost every marriage.
THE RIGHT THINGS – IN MY VIEW:
  • I’m proud of her for telling herself not to be too upset if her husband forgot their anniversary.  Good job!  Especially since she knows he isn’t really strong with remembering dates.
  • I’m so glad she woke up and smiled and said, “Happy Anniversary!”
  • I’m glad she apologized – even though she was feeling unloved and hurt.
  • I’m glad she is trying to accept that he is human and wants to be prepared to extend grace.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:
WHAT IS THE GOAL?
It’s FINE to plan something for him and do something for him to make him feel special and cared for and loved if you want to.  Be sure to do something he would like.  And be flexible enough to be gracious if he doesn’t get as excited about what you did for him as you would if he did something for you.
But, if you expect your anniversary (or birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas) to be about him planning a party/a romantic evening/a surprise  for YOU to make YOU feel loved and special – then you are setting yourself up for  huge disappointment – ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T TELL HIM WHAT YOU DESIRE.
  • Your husband is probably a horrible mind reader.
  • Your husband thinks like a man.  He is not a woman.  Remembering dates and anticipating what you want without any input from you – may be unrealistic – some men seriously have trouble remembering things like that.
  • You can’t control your husband.
  • You can’t make him do things.
  • You can ask for things pleasantly and politely and tell him what you would like.
  • You can appreciate what he does for you.
  • You can do things for him.

One of my readers told me, “Expectations are pre-meditated resentment.”   (For more on healthy boundaries and what you actually can control vs. what you can’t control, click here.)

IDOLS

I think we have to be very conscious of the temptation to have idols – something we set our hearts on more than Christ.
If I am thinking
  • “I HAVE TO HAVE X TO BE HAPPY.”
  • “If my husband doesn’t do what I want – I will be devastated.”
  • “If he doesn’t do Y, I will not be ok.”

These are  huge red flags to me that I am probably holding something as an idol, or, at the very best, that I am setting myself up for major disappointment.  It’s time to do a heart check and make sure I am looking only to Christ for my fulfillment and contentment – not to my husband.

The human heart is an idol factory.  All of us must constantly ask God to check our motives, and make sure we don’t allow anything to creep in there and take God’s precious place in our hearts.
SOME HEALTHY WAYS TO HANDLE THE ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
1. It’s FINE to say, “Happy Anniversary!” smile,  give him a kiss and maybe even initiate physical intimacy if there is time that morning and he is interested.
2. It would have been fine earlier in the week to say, “I would LOVE to go to X restaurant for our anniversary this week!”  With a big smile on your face.  But then leave him with him and allow HIM to decide what he wants to do – or he may ask you about making reservations.  That’s ok, too.
3. If he forgets  – you can say something that night like, “You know what?  I really just want to enjoy being with you tonight for our anniversary.  I’m SO glad I get to be your wife!  You are the biggest gift from God to me.”  And enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches at home, or take out or going to a restaurant if he wants to. (Of course, if you had smiled at him brightly and said, “Happy Anniversary, Honey!” that morning, it would make it really hard for him to forget. :))

If you can extend GRACE to him – you can probably salvage all the things that matter most!  You can still have a great time together.

He will be so relieved that you aren’t making him feel like a failure for forgetting something he really didn’t mean to forget.  And then you can make wonderful memories!
FRIDAY NIGHTS FOR US
I enjoy my husband on Friday nights when the children are at their grandparents’ house.  Sometimes my husband takes me out to a nice restaurant.  I love that.  And sometimes we have take out.  I love that, too.  And sometimes we have leftover chicken bog from the night before, or two nights before.  (I know…  you are asking yourself, “What on earth is chicken bog?”  Well – it is a South Carolina thing with chicken and rice.  It’s my husband’s favorite so I try to make it 2-3 times per month).  The point is:
I savor THE RELATIONSHIP more than where we go or what we are doing now.  I am joyful and content to be with him – no matter what we do.
I personally would like to see wives not get quite so caught up about their husbands making the plans.  If your husband isn’t a big planner – it might be a gift to him if you do the planning – as long as you ask him and he’s ok with that.
HOW TO CELEBRATE AND ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
If you had just said, “Happy Anniversary!” and hugged and kissed him and smiled at him with that adoring look in your eye… you would have given him time to think of something to do for you while he was at work during the day.  He could have salvaged the situation.  He could have delighted you and been your hero.
That is exactly what the other wife who wrote to me this week did – and her husband realized he forgot and he felt AWFUL!!!  She didn’t have to say anything or ask if he remembered or not.  He really tried hard to make it up to her.  Give him the opportunity to be your hero!!!
THAT EXTRA LITTLE QUESTION DID A LOT OF DAMAGE
To wake up and say, “Happy Anniversary!”  is awesome – but  then to ask, “Did you remember?” – was a problem – he may have even felt disrespected.  Now he can’t win.  He may even feel ambushed. If he did remember – she assumed the worst about him and he’s not going to be praised – and if he did forget – he can’t honorably extract himself from this situation.
When I disrespect my husband – it is unreasonable to expect him to comfort me.  First, I must apologize for my disrespect – even if it was totally unintentional.
Let’s assume the best, not the worst, about our men!  I think there is something about that in I Corinthians 13:4-8!
A HEALTHY FOCUS
In my mind, an anniversary is not an occasion to spend days worrying about if he’ll remember.  It’s a time to be thankful he is in my life.  Whether he wakes up remembering the date or not is WAY secondary to the fact that HE IS HERE.  HE LOVES ME.  HE IS MARRIED TO ME.  He belongs to me and I belong to him.  What an incredible blessing and gift!
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"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’t 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’t 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. 🙂

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!  He IS able!  He is sovereign – even 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 – if you have a story about how God worked in your marriage, or is working  in you and your marriage – please let me know!

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