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Surrendering the Burden of Controlling My Husband – by Shannon Popkin

I am so excited to have Shannon write a guest post today as we celebrate her new book releasing this month! I hope you will check it out – it has been such a blessing to me. If you tend to struggle with wanting control, this is the book for you, my precious sister!

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This post was taken in part from Shannon Popkin’s book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible, published by Kregel Publications, 2017.

I often use the word “providence” when I tell about the day I first heard my husband’s name.

I was moving into my new apartment, and my only two friends in town—Chris and Jamie—had brought a meal over to welcome me to Milwaukee. As we ate, Chris shared a story from his day.

Chris was a Christian education pastor and had received a call informing him that the fourth grade boys’ teacher had quit. But after the call ended, immediately the phone rang again. This time it was Ken Popkin calling to say, “I’d like to teach Sunday school. Maybe fourth grade boys?” Chris said he just happened to have an opening.

We all laughed about the providential timing of the calls. Then my new roommate, who also went to the church, mentioned, “I know Ken Popkin from the singles group. He’s really good-looking.”

As I lay in bed that night recalling the events of the day, I whispered into the darkness, “Well, at least there’s one good-looking single guy in Milwaukee. And if he’s willing to teach fourth-grade boys, he’s got to be a good guy!”

I think God was listening to my thoughts with a big grin on his face that night. Because two years later, I wore my white dress and walked down the aisle into the arms of the Sunday school teacher of my dreams. (And yes, he is quite handsome.)

My heart swells every time I consider all the details God arranged to create that bit of foreshadowing. He prompted the back-to-back phone calls on that very day, arranged the dinner guests, and inspired the conversation—all as a teaser for the new girl in town.

Losing Control

Five years later, I didn’t doubt my decision to marry Ken, but I did doubt the extent of God’s control over the details of my marriage (among other things). I wouldn’t have said it that way, but my behavior and attitudes sure did.

My new husband, who had first brought me such joy, was now causing me deep frustration.

We had just moved to a new town, and I was feeling so lonely and anxious to get connected. Then one night, a young couple from down the street invited us over for dinner! I was almost giddy, sure that they were going to be our new best friends.

Ken was less than giddy. Not only was he less social than I, he was also exhausted. Ken is a driven, self-motivated kind of guy who gets up at four thirty in the morning, leaving him little leftover energy for Friday nights.

After a lovely dinner with our neighbors, they led us to the living room. Our conversation progressed nicely, but I noticed Ken wasn’t saying much. I glanced down to where he was sitting, petting the dog on the floor, and I noticed his hand, limp on the dog’s back. And his head was drooping at a strange angle.

Oh no, I thought. He’s asleep!

From where the neighbors were sitting, they couldn’t see Ken’s face, so I crossed my fingers and hoped they would think he was just oddly staring at their dog. I tried to hold their attention by talking faster and with more animation. But then someone asked Ken a question.

I nudged him with my foot, and his head yanked upward. He made some unintelligible remark with slightly slurred speech. I was mortified.

The neighbors laughed good-heartedly and said, “You must be exhausted.” So this beautiful evening, with these people who were now not going to be our new best friends, came to a screeching halt. They showed us to the door, and we walked down the sidewalk toward home.

In that space of about five driveways, I packed a lot in.

“Unbelievable! You humiliated me! From now on, mister, you are guzzling coffee before we go anywhere!” I spat the words into the darkness, pumping my arms with disgust. My husband lagged behind, saying nothing.

As I lay in bed on that night, recounting the events of the day and listening to the soft breathing of a man who was working so hard to provide for our family and lead us well, I was filled with regret and sorrow. This is not the sort of wife I wanted to be. I felt ugly and ashamed.

God’s Perspective on Control

In the heat of the moment, control always beckons to me with logic, clear and strong. It says, “You’ve got to do something! It’s all up to you! What if he falls asleep every time you’re invited somewhere? You’ll never make friends! Everyone will shun you! If this is ever going to turn out right, you’ve got to take control!

But lunging for the control—which always seems to slip from my grasp—never brings the peace and security I’m hoping for. In fact, it just makes everyone (me included) miserable.

Do you ever wonder what God thinks of our frustration, our anger, and our disrespect toward the husbands He has given us? Do you ever consider His perspective on our fretting, fearful, control-craving hearts?

I do. I picture God’s grin fading that night, as He listened to my sharp words, echoing off the sidewalk. And I picture His heart longing for me to find the peace that comes only from surrender. Though I wouldn’t have heard it, I imagine God whispering something like this:

Shannon, Shannon… These neighbor friends, whose opinions you’re stressing over? They’re going to move away soon, and in time you won’t even remember their names.

But that man you just emasculated? He’s building his career. He’s tired. So sure, he fell asleep. Does it really matter that much? He is a good, faithful husband. He is a kind, dedicated daddy. He is my gift to you. A life partner. Sure, he has weaknesses. But why don’t you let me handle those?

And this habit that you have of trying to control him? That’s what I’m working on in YOU! Do you think that this evening in your neighbors’ living room was out of my hands? I keep adding situations to your life that you can’t control, hoping that one day you invite Me to take that burden of controlling everything off you back. It’s a burden I never wanted you to carry.

Providence

We usually only use “providence” to describe the moments God causes details to fall into place the way we’d like. It’s heartwarming to remember the way God brought our marriages together. But has control slipped from God’s hand when marriage is hard?

No, not at all. When I think back to my early marriage struggles (like the one I described), I’m actually thankful. What if God had allowed me to persist with the illusion that I could control everything? I would have gone stomping through life as a Control Girl! Instead, God used the strain of marriage—two people trying to merge their lives—to confront me with the ugliness of my controlling heart.

Trying to control my husband is disrespectful and creates tension. It makes things worse, not better. But when I lay down the burden of trying to make everything turn out right, I find peace. When I surrender the outcomes to God, I find security. And when I turn to God with the things that seem to threaten my happiness (even a husband who falls asleep on neighbors) I find hope, comfort, and joy.

Friends, God is in control and we aren’t. If we convince ourselves that the reverse is true, we only make everyone (ourselves included) miserable. Won’t you lay down your burden of control today? Whether it’s a husband, child, situation, or outcome that you’re trying to control, God invites you to surrender that burden to Him.

He’s in control, so you don’t have to be.

Comment below for a chance to win one of three copies of Shannon’s book!

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Bio

Author and speaker Shannon Popkin loves to blend her gifts for storytelling and humor with her passion for God’s Word. Shannon is the author of Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible. Go to ControlGirl.com for free downloadable resources.

Shannon is happy to be sharing life with Ken, who makes her laugh every single day. Together, they live the fast-paced life of parenting three teens. For more from Shannon, please go to shannonpopkin.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

 

Godlywifetobe – Step 2 – Facing Her Fears

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This is some more of my correspondence with Godlywifetobe. I have also taken on another wife to mentor whose story I hope to share in the coming week. GraceAlone is doing well. There are definitely some days that are very hard, but there are also new blessings.  She is 3 months into her journey – which is still quite early. I hope to share another update from her in a week or two. She is making some definite strides in her understanding of God and her trust in Him and she is learning to refine her motives and to continue to seek to bless her husband regardless of his response. She has had a LOT of tests in the past few months that have really forced her to depend on God and to face some of her deepest fears. I love being on this journey with these wives and with all of you! I wish I could email every single wife, but I pray that these wives’ stories might bless you. If you are interested in being a wife that I mentor, I may be able to take another wife in about 2 months. So you can be thinking about that. 🙂 The requirements I have for wives that I take on to mentor are in Godlywifetobe’s first post. 

(Background – Godlywifetobe is a believer in Christ. Her husband is not. Things are often difficult right now.)

Ladies, you are all welcome to write out your answers to the assignments I give Godlywifetobe. You can send them in as comments, or you can keep them for yourself in a journal or a private file. The actual writing/typing out of these deep heart issues is so important as we allow God to shine His light into the deepest corners of our souls. We cannot heal and move forward in God’s power if we are clinging to lies or unknown sin.)

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE

I guess my fears are…

  • Being alone
  • Nobody wanting me
  • Being unloved
  • People not liking me
  • Not knowing what’s going to happen/future
  • Wanting romance. Which comes down to wanting to feel loved/cherished/important.

Growing up I always had to be the adult and the responsible one with my mother and father. I also watched my mum go through around 30 sexual partners growing up and mopping up the mess when they cheated on her or dumped her. I grew up having to be in control and take the lead. By being in control of things I also kept safe from the various abuses I had experienced as a child (sexual, mental, physical, emotional).

So giving up control is something very scary for me. I want things the way they should be done and I feel unsafe and scared when it’s not and that’s some of the anxiety I feel, I guess.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

What I would like you to do is to look at each of these fears and come up with scriptural truth to counter your fears. What does God say about you, about your worth, about if you are alone, about you not being wanted, about you being unloved, about His feelings for you, about pleasing people, about fears and worry for the future and about your desire to feel loved?

And, can you please tell me, what do you believe will happen if you do not “feel like you are in control”?

What are the worst case scenarios that run through your mind?

What are the tapes you play in your head and the things you tell yourself about you, God and your husband?

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE

Scriptural truths for my fears is a great idea…

  • Being alone-

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

  • Nobody wanting me-

Isaiah 54:5

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

  • Being unloved-

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • People not liking me-

Galatians 1:10

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

  • Knowing the future-

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

  • Romance/Feeling cherished and important

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

What do I feel will happen if I’m not in control? Well my head says nothing major will happen, that God will work it all out. I want things done the way I think they are to be done. I guess that’s pride and control isn’t? Ugh. I don’t want to be like that!!! I guess I feel anxious and worried when I’m not in control.

Worst case scenarios would be:

  • my husband cheating on me
  • my husband leaving
  • my husband getting more distant and mean
  • my children copying our behaviour in their relationships
  • my husband not coming to Christ

I guess the tapes that play in my head are that:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m a failure
  • I made the wrong choice marrying my husband (that one makes me sad…but it’s the truth)
  • my husband will never change and only get worse
  • my husband has issues he needs to deal with but is putting his head in the sand or using hobbies/smoking etc to drown it out
  • I guess with God I feel that I’ve done something to deserve this, that I’m not good enough
  • I feel He’s ignoring me

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Are these things you are telling yourself true?  If so, what will you do about it? If they are lies, what is the real truth?

What if God is able to even turn “mistakes” into something beautiful and glorious?

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE:

The things I tell myself aren’t true. No. It’s a false perception I’m believing. Satan is the father of lies and I’m sure he enjoys me believing these lies so he has me being less than I am…of who God made me to be.

Those lies stop me from doing things, they cause me to act of fear or control, they produce self pity and bitterness it me. I didn’t realise how powerful those lies were until typing this just now. It’s bondage. Chains. But Christ came to break every chain. He came to free me from the bondage of sin!!! I need to walk in this daily!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

You are so right. Those lies are absolutely creating bondage and they are very powerful. You end up believing those lies that you repeat to yourself over and over again.

Jesus DID set you free from the bondage of sin. You died with Him on the cross. Your old sinful self is dead and buried with Christ. Now He gives you a new self, a new heart, a new Spirit so that you can live in the power of His resurrection and in His truth. You can choose to stay bound by those old lies. But you don’t have to stay there. Jesus set you free already. All you have to do is thank Him and praise Him for it and begin to live in Him. 🙂

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Some things to wrestle with on a very deep heart level:

Are you willing to lay down all of these fears and the lies that you are believing?

Is God sovereign even if your worst case scenarios were to happen?

Are you willing to replace those tapes with the truth of God?

Are you willing to give up all resentment and bitterness towards your husband and God?

What are you afraid to trust God with?

What would happen if you fully surrendered to Christ and trusted His sovereignty?

Is God who He says He is?

Is His Word true?

FROM GODLYWIFETOBE:

I definitely want to. I feel like Paul when he’s talking about doing the things he doesn’t want to do…

I guess it’s all renewing my mind isn’t it? Feeding it on the Word of God and replacing those lies and thoughts with Gods Word.

I’m going to watch through your video on idols and read all the posts again on them. (From Peacefulwife – you can search “idol” “idolatry” “insecurity” “security” “control” “fear” on my home page)

Do you know of any sermons that cover this? I might google my favourite preachers and see if they have anything to say on it. (From Peacefulwife – I would suggest checking at www.desiringgod.org – John Piper’s site and www.radical.net  – David Platt’s site.)

You know I saw something on fb that said the more you are in the Word the more you believe His promises. That’s been true for me. Since you challenged me to read every day and not just go on my old knowledge of what I’ve read I’ve been able to take control of thoughts. I’m reading the Watchman Nee book you suggested, too, (The Normal Christian Life) and have nearly everything in it highlighted. Lol.

So I’m building my faith up, building my thought life up and now the next step is to start putting it into practice. So when hubby snaps at me for no apparent reason instead of me thinking he hates me or “poor me” I can think “I wonder what’s making him so mad and stressed? How can I help him share what’s bothering him? How can I show him that we love and need him around”.

Thank you for being submitted to God to allow Him to speak through you. I’ve come to see that I have lots of sin in my life and instead of looking at what my husband may or may not be doing, I need to look at me!!!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I love this!  What God is already doing in your heart is SO BEAUTIFUL! His Word is powerful. We need to feed our souls with it often. We have no power when we are starving ourselves spiritually. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you and your husband!

 

RELATED:

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Facing Our Deepest Fears

Laying Down All of Our Expectations

Expectations – Part 1

How to Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ

PEACEFULWIFE YOUTUBE VIDEOS:

What Causes a Woman to Become Controlling?  – 11 minutes

Overcoming Fear – Part 1  – 14 minutes(different content from the blog posts)

Overcoming Fear – Part 2 – 12 minutes

 

Facing Our Deepest Fears

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After watching my video about What Causes a Woman to be Controlling, A Fellow Wife shared with me:

I cannot speak for other wives but

For me, fear is THE driving factor to control and I realize that.

-I have tried to be controlling with how my husband loves me because I fear that he really doesn’t love me that deeply. If I can manipulate him into showing me he loves me the way I wish he does, it validates what I want.

-I fear in my deepest heart of hearts that I am not an important priority to my husband. I want to be his number relationship priority, coming only after God. This has caused me so many emotional wounds over the years. I have tried to manipulate and push him into putting me first because it is so important to me. I FEAR that he will make choices that show other people or things are more important than me.

Fear makes me attempt to control. I think when we are attempting to control, we are emotionally tensing up and bracing ourselves because maybe we subconsciously know we are crossing boundaries we have no business crossing.

When we step back and release our husbands, we feel very, very emotionally vulnerable – at least I do. I am giving him the power to prove his love in a powerful way or hurt me deeply.

But IF we pair that with expecting nothing but decide to be grateful for any good and loving gesture, we feel relaxed – again, at least I do. Taking my expectations way down isn’t holding him to a high standard that we feel he must meet. I am not constantly watching him to see how he does on my ‘checklist’.

That is where I messed up – I let go last fall but I still had high expectations. I let go of him to make those choices but I still EXPECTED him to do what I wanted. I didn’t really control anymore – I just waited for him to measure up.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

A Fellow Wife explains this very well, I believe. Yesterday, we began talking about that fear often fuels our desire/need/compulsion to try to control our husbands and other people so that we will “feel safe.”

Here is one very critical piece of information for us to understand:

We don’t actually have control over much in this life. We CAN’T control other people. It is not our right or responsibility to control others. God gave each person a free will and it is not our place to try to rip that away from people. Healthy relationships involve healthy boundaries spiritually, emotionally and physically. I also can’t control circumstances much. I can only really control myself – and, quite honestly – I can only control myself if I allow God’s Spirit to do the controlling.

This is where the prayer of serenity is so helpful:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (my husband, other people and many circumstances);

courage to change the things I can (me);

and wisdom to know the difference.

I have two choices about control in my life:

1. I can allow my sinful nature to be in control of my life. The results are always predictable. If I have ANY of the below characteristics going on in my life (Galatians 5:19-21), the sinful nature is in firm control. And let me mention, fear is always part of living in the sinful nature.

2. I can allow the Spirit of God to be in control in my life. When God’s Spirit is in control of my life, I will have all of the following fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in increasing measure as God conforms me to be more and more like Christ. And when I live in the power of God, His perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18). The more I know God, His character and His truth, the more I understand His sovereignty, the more I walk by faith in the Spirit of God, I realize I have nothing to fear:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16-24

 

HOW DO WE FACE OUR FEARS?

Well, sometimes fear is necessary to a degree. If a wife is seriously not physically  safe, then, she does need to consider her safety and the safety of her children and may need to take wise and appropriate steps and reach out for qualified help (this applies to husbands, as well, if they are not safe).

Most of us, though, are not in immediate or actual danger. Most of us are married to good guys, not perfect men, but men who do love us deeply. We must examine our fears, all of them, in great detail. I personally had to write out every single fear and all of the beliefs I held and the “tapes” I played over and over in my mind and then study Scripture, God’s truth and His character. I had to ask Him to show me my errors, my sins, to expose my warped thinking and every ungodly thing in my heart and to transform me into the image of Christ.

I think it would be fantastic to write out your fears on the left side of a piece of paper, (or a lot of pieces of paper – if you have a lot of fears, like I did), and then on the right side, write down the truth of God’s Word about that issue. Then, very purposefully, consciously reject the old sinful ways of thinking and embrace God’s truth and wisdom.

Cry out to God, examine all of your motives and priorities and probe as deeply as possible into what you have built your faith and life upon. Don’t do this in a hasty, shallow way, or you will not dig up all of the sin and you will stay stuck.  To do this well requires a completely thorough soul searching where we allow the light of God’s Word to shine into the darkest corners of our souls, holding nothing back from Him. What am I holding back from God? In what areas of my life do I not trust Him fully?

This takes time. It is a process. Actually, we will always continue this daily probing search into our motives, looking for any sin and repenting of it for the rest of our lives on earth as believers in Christ.

Sometimes God reveals layers of sin or fears or unbelief or warped views of ourselves and Him over time. That is ok. We can lay ourselves before. Him and seek to yield and surrender and submit to Him as fully as we can at this moment each day. Then we can trust that as we seek Him above everything and desire to want Him more than anything else and as we seek to live in His Word and presence and as we long to obey Him and please Him and live our lives to bring honor and glory to Him out of incredible gratitude for all He has done for us – He will work in us to transform us to be like Jesus.

Until we really carefully dissect each thought and our true motives under the light of God’s Word and with the power of His Spirit working in us, we can deceive ourselves and believe that our motives are good when they are actually completely sinful. It can be very shocking to discover just how sinful our motives can be. We are ALL wretched sinners. There is NO ONE who does good, not even one. (Romans 3:12)

According to God, our greatest attempts at right living and holiness look “like bloody, dirty, filthy menstrual rags in My sight” (Isaiah 64:6).

So, we learn to monitor the voice in our head and all of the messages we are saying to ourselves and we learn to pull them apart and look for sin. We learn to compare all of our thoughts to God’s Word as we stay in his Word and stay in fellowship with Him. We shoot down the lies, the ungodly ideas, the sin and everything that sets itself up against Christ and His truth. We learn to use our negative emotions to monitor our hearts and thoughts for sin, too.

  • We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10:5

– if I find myself feeling disappointed, that is often a sign to me to check my motives. Am I trying to find my contentment, fulfillment, joy and peace in something other than Christ?

– if I am feeling angry, why? There are some reasons to have righteous anger – if I see innocent people being mistreated, if I see God being blasphemed, if I see people sinning against other people and against God, if I see people in need with none one to step in and stand up for them… If I am angry about things that make God angry, I can ask God what He desires me to do to try to make things right, honor Him and show His love and truth. If I am angry because my husband won’t do what I want him to do, then I need to examine this closely. What do I want him to do? Are my expectations biblical or unrealistic? Are my expectations fueled by sin? Greed, idolatry, materialism, selfishness, pride, self-righteousness, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, a desire for control, a lack of healthy boundaries?  Am I crossing over from my responsibilities into my husband’s life and trying to control him or make decisions for him that God gave to him to make, that are not mine to make?

– if I am feeling lonely… Why? Am I spending enough time with God? Am I trying to make my husband fulfill needs in my life that only Jesus can really meet? Am I willing to ask for what I need and desire but respond graciously even if my husband won’t or can’t do what I desire him to do? Am I hormonal? Do things seem worse than they really are right now? How can I share my emotions without attacking or blaming my husband?  What are my motives?  Am I seeking to honor, love and obey God and bless, love and honor my husband no matter how my husband responds? Am I willing to respond in the power of God and His unconditional love and with genuine respect even if I don’t get what I want?  Or  am I trying to manipulate my husband or give him “love”  (worldly, carnal love) when my real motive is to get what I want from him?

There are also many poisonous lies (and even heresies) we have absorbed from our culture that we don’t even realize we need to question. Sadly, many of these have infiltrated the church today:

  • humanism – People are God. People are basically good. There is no God. We know best.

This is worship of people and of self. This is blasphemy. God’s truth is that God alone is God. God has great wisdom, we do not. People are wretched sinners in desperate need of the blood, mercy, forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ who died to give us the opportunity to be made right with God. We cannot be “good enough” to please God on our own.

  • feminism – (some of the messages of various stages of feminism have been incredibly harmful to us as believers in Christ) – Women are morally/spiritually superior to men. Men are bad. Women are good. If women are in charge, everything in the world will be “right.” Men are always evil and oppressive if they are in charge. Men are idiots. Women are smarter than men. Being masculine is “wrong.” Men should think, act and feel like women. Patriarchy is evil. God is female, or, whoever you want “her” to be. The Bible is not true. (For more on how feminism has impacted all of us, please read here.)

God’s Word declares that all people are sinful and that no one is “good” or righteous in God’s sight (Romans 3). That means men and women are all sinful. Women are not “better than” men. And men are not “better than” women. God designed the authority structure of the family, church and government to provide for, care for, protect and bring order to His people. People are sinners. Sometimes people in positions of authority use their free will to rebel against God and to abuse others. But that does not mean that God’s structure of authority is bad. God’s Word tells us that God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the husband and the husband is the head of the wife in marriage. I Corinthians 11:3. God put the husband in the position of spiritual leadership and authority in marriage, not because he is more “valuable” and women are “second class citizens” but because God designed marriage to be a living picture of Christ and the church where the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the church and because this is God’s wisdom. (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Peter 3:1-7). Where someone is given authority (husband, parent, pastor, Bible teacher, church leader, deacon, elder, manager at work, government officials), he/she has much greater responsibility and accountability before God. (God’s design for Spiritual Authority)

  • universalism – every religious belief leads to God. No one particular religion is better than another. They all lead to heaven eventually. Everyone will go to heaven.

Jesus clearly states, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

There are many more ungodly influences and teachings we have been exposed to in the world and in the church. It is time to question every idea and premise and to throw away the ones that are evil and ungodly and to dig down to the foundation of Christ and build our lives on the Rock of Jesus and His Word alone!

Tomorrow, we will examine Finding Victory Over Our Fears in Christ!

SHARE:

If you have done the hard work of facing your fears – we would love to hear how you did it. I believe the more wives’ stories other wives can hear, the better. 🙂

 

Fear Fuels Our “Need” to Control

 

FEAR is a major part of our motivation to grab for control as women. We are afraid we won’t be loved. We are afraid we aren’t secure in the relationship. We are afraid we will be rejected. We are afraid we aren’t good enough. We are afraid we aren’t beautiful enough. We are afraid of so very many things!  Lots of us learned fear when things were out of control and we did not feel safe as children. We also molded our image of who God is and His character from our fathers influence or lack of influence in our lives. I am going to share some extremely simplistic examples of ways our experiences in childhood may impact our view of God and our husbands. This really could be a book in itself, I am sure. It is obviously much more complicated than what I am about to describe, but hopefully these examples might be a bit helpful.

Our fathers were supposed to be godly examples of the character of God – that mysterious combination of power and gentleness, strength and meekness, holiness and mercy, unconditional love and justice. We learned from them what to expect from God and from men:

  • Girls who didn’t have fathers in their lives, learn that God/men are not there, not reliable, not dependable, and often these girls develop a fiercely independent spirit and learn to trust SELF. These girls often struggle mightily with the desire to have a father figure and to be loved and accepted unconditionally and may not think it is possible for God or men to love and accept them or to be able to grasp what God’s character and love are like  (or a godly masculinity is like) because they haven’t seen anything like it in real life.
  • Girls who had abusive fathers or father figures in their lives learn that God/men are not loving, not able to protect them, not able to stop bad things from happening to them, that God/men have evil motives and they learn that they have to try to control things themselves or they are not safe. They will easily develop an extremely warped image of God and possibly an inability to see the good in their husbands.  (These precious ladies are going to need extra specialized, experienced wife mentors/Christian counselors to help them work through the deep scars and wounds they have experienced. I have not been through abuse, and am not able to write from that perspective. My blog is not written for women in severe situations who have been through abuse, mental health issues, drug/alcohol addictions, infidelity. If you have experienced something serious like this, I pray you will seek godly, experienced, appropriate counsel. My blog may not be helpful for you. God can heal you, and His Word applies to us all, but my words may not!)
  • Girls who had domineering mothers and passive fathers learn that God/men are not very active or involved in our lives and that God/men don’t really care about women and that God is not in charge, and men are not to have leadership in marriage, women are supposed to lead and men should submit to their wives. They also learn to be very independent and to take charge and to be in control in the marriage. They may develop a very warped image of God and masculinity.
  • Girls who had very dominating, intimidating fathers may be afraid of God/men (in an unhealthy way), waiting for God to “zap” them if they do the slightest thing “wrong” and they may live in an unhealthy fear of God and masculinity, not knowing His grace, mercy, unconditional love and not realizing there is any safety or refuge in Him.
  • Girls who had overly permissive fathers may not really consider God or His Words much (or her husband and his words) and just think about what they want and ignore God’s counsel/their husbands’ counsel, His wise boundaries that are there for our protection, His holiness and the gravity of their sin.  They may not have appropriate healthy fear of God and reverence for God and may not have appropriate respect for their husbands God-given authority.
  • Some of us had pretty godly fathers but still absorbed so many lies from the world (from school, our careers, the church, friends or the media) or from traumatic situations that we still developed a very warped understanding of God and masculinity.
  • If our fathers seemed “weak” in our eyes, or “not in control,” or if they had addictions of some type, we may have felt that we had more wisdom than they did and that we were “the adult” in the relationship and they were the “children.” We may have this view of God and masculinity, as well when we are adults.

Whatever we believe about our dad and his character and his love for us, we tend to believe about God. Whatever our parents’ marriage was like, we have been “programmed” by living with them as we grew up to think that their way of doing marriage was “normal” and “right.” We often develop ideas about God and build our theology about God as children based solely on our experience with our earthly fathers (and, to some degree, our mothers):

  • He doesn’t really love me.
  • I can never be good enough for him.
  • I have to be perfect for him to love me.
  • If I could just make him spend time with me, I know he would love me!
  • He hurt me again, I can’t trust him. I can’t trust men. I can’t trust anyone.
  • He didn’t protect me. He isn’t able to keep me safe.
  • He is so harsh with me. He doesn’t have my best interests in his heart. I can’t be honest or vulnerable with him. I am not safe.
  • He ignores me. I mean nothing to him. All these other things are so much more important to him than I am.
  • I’m never going to let a man treat me the way he is treating my mom. I’ll be sure I am in charge and never let a man hurt me.
  • He has evil motives towards me.

Then, we end up believing these ideas we have about our fathers to also be true about God – no matter what the Bible says about God. We tend to believe our experiences with our fathers or father figures are more true than God’s Word. Unfortunately, every dad is a sinner – and even the best dads fail at some point or another. Sometimes we cannot shake the warped construct of God in our minds because we don’t even realize how deeply flawed our understanding of God is.

We may also have developed significant fear from having a mother who was very unloving, hateful or abusive – or from being abused by someone else emotionally/mentally/physically/sexually as we were growing up. Or, we may have had a very difficult romantic relationship in the past that created major doubt in our ability to be “worthy of love.” Maybe someone, even a pastor or a teacher, tried to use great fear and guilt to manipulate us. Or maybe we were constantly rejected by people we cared most about.

We also learned from our mothers how to biblically submit to our fathers and to those in spiritual authority over us and to God (and some of this we learned from our fathers, as well, how he related to God and those in authority.) If we did not witness our mothers respect and biblically submit to our fathers, we will have a much harder time learning to do this ourselves.

I am sure the possibilities are practically endless of all the ways that fear can become one of the biggest motivators in our lives. No matter why we have learned to do things out of fear, God calls us to learn to receive His love and healing and to learn to do things out of LOVE.

To become the godly women Christ desires us to be – we will have to be willing to examine everything we think we know about God, godly masculinity, godly femininity, marriage and living for Christ and trash everything that is not based on the truth of God’s Word. Then we will rebuild on Jesus Christ and His Word alone. Our lives require total renovation and transformation.

We also tend to take our fears and understanding of masculinity that we experienced with our fathers (or with prior boyfriends/husbands) and assume that our husbands are the same way. We want our husbands to make up for the things we were lacking as children or in an abusive relationship in the past – and to heal our wounds, many times. We easily turn our husbands into idols (something more important than Christ in our hearts) and lay certain expectations on them that they should meet spiritual and emotional needs for us that really only Jesus Christ Himself can meet. (We do need to some level of basic expectations of faithfulness, respect, love, honor, etc… But we want to watch for unrealistic, destructive, or unbiblical expectations.)

  • He has to show me unconditional love all the time.
  • He has to prove that I am his first priority in the way I think he should all the time.
  • He has to accept me no matter what I do wrong.
  • He should stop watching TV or working on the computer or working at his job and spend every possible waking moment with me and meet my needs for love, affirmation, romance and emotional connection.
  • He should just know what I need.
  • He should want to always emotionally connect with me like I want to always emotionally connect with him with words.
  • He should want to pray with me like I want to pray with Him.
  • He should be my hero.
  • He should be like Christ.
  • He should always have unwavering grace, mercy and forgiveness for me.
  • He should never sin against me.
  • He should never fail me, never leave me and never forsake me.
  • He should …
  • He should …
  • He should …

And if my husband doesn’t do what I want him to do – I WILL NOT BE OK!

  • I HAVE TO HAVE HIS LOVE.
  • I HAVE to be his number one priority.
  • I HAVE to feel loved and hear him tell me that he loves me.
  • I HAVE to have more quality time with him.

Or I will feel unloved. And that is not acceptable! I MUST feel loved all the time.

Sometimes we also make the mistake of believing our feelings all the time, even when our feelings are not telling us the truth:

  • If I don’t FEEL connected to him, we are not connected.
  • If I don’t FEEL loved in this moment, I am not loved.
  • If I FEEL lonely, I am alone.
  • If I FEEL afraid, I have good reasons to be afraid and my fear is always justifiable. (some fears are justifiable, but some are not.)

Our feelings are not always accurate about these things!

THEN WE THINK:

  • I cannot feel unloved. My worth and value as a person is completely dependent on my husband loving me the way I want to be loved. If he doesn’t love me the way I want him to, my greatest fear will come true!!
  • My happiness and contentment in life completely depend on my husband doing what I want him to do when I want him to do it the way I think he should do it.
  • My husband is responsible for my happiness, not me.
  • I am not responsible for my own emotional stability, contentment, happiness, fulfillment, peace and joy.

SO…

  • I will love him so that he will love me.
  • I will be kind to him so that he will be kind to me.
  • I will do things for him and give him things so that he will take care of me the way I want him to.
  • I will tell him what to do so that he will meet my needs.
  • I will make him love me the way I want to be loved.
  • I will dictate to him and demand my way because I WILL NOT allow myself to experience my deepest fears of rejection and feeling unloved.

If he does NOT love me the way I want him to, I am totally justified to be hateful to him, to disrespect and hurt him because he failed me. I can sin against him if I feel unloved because “he is supposed to love me the way I want him to love me.”

AS I TRY MORE AND MORE TO CONTROL MY MAN TO MAKE HIM LOVE ME (OUT OF FEAR):

  • I sabotage our intimacy.
  • I sabotage his masculinity.
  • I emasculate him.
  • I disrespect him.
  • I hurt him.
  • I push him away.
  • I become so prickly that it becomes increasingly difficult for him to love me.
  • I smother him.
  • I use negativity, criticism, lectures, ridicule, sarcasm, mockery, humiliation, manipulation, guilt, people pleasing or I play the martyr to attempt to control him if he will not do what I tell him to do.
  • I dig in my claws and try even harder to force my way because I cannot face my fears. And I don’t even see that I am creating the very thing I fear the most myself. I don’t even see that I am foolishly tearing down my marriage and my husband with my own hands and my own words and attitudes.
  • I become increasingly desperate, needy and clingy.
  • I become insatiable.

Eventually, my husband realizes he CAN’T meet my needs, please me or satisfy me and he gives up even trying. It is not worth his time because I am going to treat him with contempt no matter how hard he tries. He can never measure up and he can never be perfect – he cannot be Christ to me. He can never make me happy and he feels like a failure every time he sees me. It becomes easier for him to shut down and try to be far away from me (or to respond in anger) because he does not feel safe, respected, loved, appreciated or valued with me.

My motives are not to love him selflessly with the unconditional love of Christ and to bless him and honor God. My motives are to make him give me what I want. My motives are selfish.  My motives are fueled by fear of not getting what I want. This is not God’s brand of “love.” This is worldly, carnal, sinful “love.”

Tomorrow we will continue on to Part 2 where we will talk about facing our  deepest fears and  then in Part 3 we will talk about finding victory over our fears in Christ!

RELATED:

The Respect Dare with Peacefulwife – Laying Down Expectations, Day 1

Expectations – Part 1

Expectations – Part 2

Expectations – Part 3

Expectations – Part 4

Husbands Have Expectations, Too – GraceAlone’s Journey

Feelings

Anxiety Swept Over Me

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Greg and April – December 2013

Upon deciding that I must stop the emailing portion of my ministry to wives last week, I experienced intense anxiety for a few days – unlike any I have felt in a LONG, LONG time. I so don’t miss that awful, horrible feeling! I used to live with that kind of anxiety every day when I was controlling and had SELF as god on the throne of my heart, trusting myself to make everything turn out “right” as if I were sovereign instead of God. That was a lot of pressure – trying to take on the responsibilities of God, when I am (very obviously) not God!

I have enjoyed living in God’s peace these past 5 years SO MUCH! What a treasure His peace and rest are!

As I realized that I needed to let go of the 100-150 emails per day and the 3-6 hours of emailing per day – I began to panic.  I could understand intellectually that spending 40-50 hours per week on ministry at this point was too much – the volume just kept going up and up and up. But I want to keep up with it, no matter how great the volume is. Every single wife matters to me and is very important to me. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want God’s work and miracles to stop! I want to be faithful to disciple those women God brings to me. So – this has been an excruciating decision. I started thinking things like:

  • What if I am making a huge mistake?
  • What if these precious sisters of mine feel abandoned?
  • I’m letting them down!
  • If I don’t minister to them personally in emails, what will happen to them?
  • Lord, am I really hearing You correctly?
  • Am I being irresponsible? I HATE being irresponsible!!!!
  • I’m afraid to let go of all of these women, will they be ok?
  • What if they need me?
  • Where does my responsibility end and Yours and theirs begin, Lord?

I wrestled spiritually and emotionally for a few days after laying down the email ministry. The anxiety would get pretty intense at times, causing such tightness in my chest. YUCK!!!!! I don’t want to go back to that awful place of anxiety anymore! I probably am grieving a bit, too, I am sure.

THANK YOU, GOD, for delivering me from the bondage of anxiety and worry!!!!!!!

Your anxiety-producing situation is probably different from mine. Maybe you realize you need to cut your hours at work, or tell someone “no” or make your husband a greater priority or begin to trust him more with the children. Whatever the cause of  your anxiety, I believe the steps out of spiritually-induced anxiety are going to be pretty much the same no matter what the details of the specific situation.

What did I do? Well, it took me some time to hash through the issues. I may still have more hashing through feelings to do as I get my bearings and wait to hear more direction from God and figure out exactly how to restructure things in the best way. That is ok. When there are big changes, we have emotions. That is not wrong. We just have to work through them and lay them before God and talk about them with people we love and trust. 🙂

1. I got on my knees and turned to Christ

I got out the old passages that I used when I began this journey – Philippians 4:4-8 and slowly, conscientiously walked through each step of

– rejoicing in God for all He has done and for who He is

– giving thanks to God for all the blessings and gifts He has so generously lavished on me and my family and this ministry

– laying my petitions before Him for my husband, myself, our children and all of the women who read my blogs

– focusing on the good things about every aspect of my life

– embracing and receiving the gift of God’s peace, welcoming His peace into my heart

I laid all of the many hundreds of women I am concerned about before Jesus and placed them at His feet – knowing, they are actually His, they are not mine. Then I have to leave them there and not pick them up again.  That is something I have definitely learned to do many times in this ministry. I cannot carry the weight of other people myself. Jesus alone can do that. This is all about HIM, not about me. He is ABLE to take care of His daughters and His lambs.

2. I immersed myself in God’s Word

I focused on God’s sovereignty and I looked at many of God’s servants He has used to shepherd His people in the past and the example they left for me.

I know I am going to need a LOT more time with God in prayer, Bible reading and study. That is very clear to me. I cannot crowd out my time with God and be prepared to be the wife God desires me to be or minister to others if I don’t take the amount of time I need to get recharged in Christ myself.

3. I focused on thanksgiving and praise and God’s truth 

I sang praise songs to God. Loudly. At the top of my voice. I worshipped God. I humbled myself before Him. I thanked Him for all He has done, all He is doing and all that He has in store. I rested in His love, protection, leadership and wisdom and in Greg’s love, protection, leadership and wisdom.

4. I looked at my hidden motives and expectations

This was REALLY key!

What did I expect of myself and why? I had to write all of that down. I do better if I write things down – then I can see more clearly and tease out all the little hidden ideas, thoughts and sin that may be infiltrating my thoughts. When I feel anxious, I know that there is sin in my heart of some type. Usually, I have some kind of unbiblical expectations or I am trusting self more than God about something.

Some things I wrote down and contemplated:

  • Do I think people need ME more than they need Christ? I have to guard against that like the plague!!!!!! There is NO ROOM for any of my pride to rise up and contaminate my soul here.
  • I am not the key. Jesus is the key. God’s Word is the key. Jesus must greatly increase and I must greatly decrease.
  • God is sovereign. These are His women. He can use me to bless them, yes. But ultimately, they are His, not mine.
  • I am not the Holy Spirit. God may speak through me to people, but it is His Spirit that opens people’s eyes. I cannot do that.
  • Am I trusting SELF more than God here? What a dangerous place to be! I have got to be sure my trust is only in Christ alone!
  • God is able to speak to people without me! I have to remember that this is all about Him, not about me. I am not indispensable. God is. I was so amazed, last Friday, the day I announced I wouldn’t be able to do the emailing part of my ministry anymore, God gave me such a gift! He allowed me to see a dear friend for whom I have been praying for a LONG, LONG time. She was completely regenerated by the power of God’s Spirit. I had not spoken a word to her in weeks. But God convicted her of her sin, brought her to complete repentance and brokenness and was speaking to her clearly every day for the past few weeks. She was listening and obeying Him fully – without any input from me at all. 🙂 WOW! What an amazing God we serve! He really doesn’t need my “help!” 🙂
  • Greg has been asking me to cut back on emailing. God leads me through Greg. I want to cooperate with him. He told me that he and the children are going to enjoy having more of my attention. I have to keep my priorities straight!!!
  • My anxiety about letting this thing go shows that there is probably sin in my heart. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to examine all of this.
  • I had a couple of rough days, and a lot of tears. But I know that I have to hold all of these things loosely. I don’t need to have control here. God does. If I am not in control and am not personally emailing every wife, God is still so powerful, so sovereign, so loving and so good that He is still able to minister to each of these women personally. He DOES talk to each of us individually. And, He can raise up more godly mentoring wives to meet the needs. He is also able to give me wisdom and to pour His Spirit through me and through other wives to accomplish His purposes in whatever ways He sees fit through the blog posts and comments.
  • The worst times for me were when I was sitting doing “nothing.” I tend to feel like I need to do something “productive.” I am pretty horrible at relaxing. And I am awful at moderation and balance. I am wonderful at doing something 110% or not at all. Balance just gets so tricky! But, God blessed me with some very sweet times of intimacy with Greg and some real rest. I have not been sleeping well for a LONG, LONG time. Usually, I only sleep from 12:00am-ish until about 5:00am almost every night. So, a lot of times, I work on the blog way before anyone gets up – and while Greg is at work and our children are at school. Then I would often work on emails after the kids were in bed and I would sit beside Greg in bed. But – I NEED times when I am doing nothing. I don’t like it at first. But I need some down time. It was wonderful to go for a walk at the River Walk with Greg on Friday afternoon, then he took me out to eat at an Italian restaurant. We had a relaxing bath and lots of time to talk and intimacy. It was so beautiful to just slow down and enjoy my husband. I have been enjoying him. But – not as much as I need to. I see that I NEED this. God will show me the way.
  • Greg is VERY low maintenance. But – are there ways I can be more available to him that would greatly bless him that I am missing sometimes? We need those times of just relaxing together and joking and talking and even times of not talking but just being together where I am completely available to him.
  • What are my expectations of myself? Are they biblical? Are they from God? Where do they come from? Are there some expectations that I have that are not healthy that I need to drop? These are questions I need to ask any time I find myself getting anxious or overwhelmed. I think we will have to do this kind of “spring cleaning” in our souls on regular intervals, just laying everything bare before God and allowing Him to show us what needs to go.
  • Where is my security? Am I finding any of it in ministry instead of in Christ alone?
  • Where is my identity? Am I finding it in ministry instead of just in Jesus?
  • Am I willing to live in obscurity if that is God’s will?
  • Am I willing to give up anything that God ever asks me to give up? I want to be able to say, “Yes!” anytime God calls me to give up or start anything.
  • Am I seeking affirmation or the approval or attention of others?
  • God is still allowing me to do the blogs. I am so excited about that! I can still minister to women and bless them and be available to them. But I need to balance things in a more godly and healthy way. I cannot continue to spend 40-50 hours/week on ministry. My goal is to spend about 20 hours/week now.

I was walking through Wal-Mart this morning – and it hit me:

I think some of the biggest causes of my anxiety would be that I want do much to please and obey God. I don’t want to fail Him. I know His commands to go and disciple all nations and for the older wives to teach the younger. I want to obey Him and please Him so very much!

That is not really a “bad” reason for anxiety. For me to long to please my Lord. How it grieves my heart to imagine failing Jesus!!!!!! 🙁 I almost started to cry in Wal-Mart just thinking of that!  I am so acutely aware of just how much work is left to do in this world! I don’t want to stop working for even a moment. I don’t want to let any opportunities slip by that I don’t take advantage of. But – I can lay this down and trust Him to give me the wisdom, power and strength to do all that He calls me to do. That has to be my focus.

5. I will continue to be still and listen to God

He spoke to me through some David Platt sermons, through our Sunday School lesson on Sunday, through the pastor’s sermon, through Greg and through His Word and many of the wives here on my blog.

I don’t like changes and transitions! But I want to be flexible and able to hear God and respond in obedience to Him when He calls me to do something new. I will continue to seek Him with all my heart and to strive to hear His voice. I will continue to seek to be filled with His Spirit and pray that He might pour out His Spirit through me to speak to many women’s hearts for His glory.

  • This has been humbling.
  • I have had to let go of some control.
  • I have had to acknowledge my limitations.
  • I have had to see sin in my heart and am so thankful for the opportunity to shovel it out and repent of it.
  • I have found peace in finding shelter in God’s wings and also in finding protection and cover under my husband’s authority and leadership.

I am so thankful for God’s familiar and calming peace flooding my soul again. THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!!!!

I still have MUCH to learn!!! I can’t wait to see all that God has to share with me and with us.

Thank you for being on this journey with me!  I appreciate your friendship, love, support, encouragement, prayers, updates, stories, questions and sisterhood.

SHARE:

What causes you anxiety in your life?

How do you deal with anxiety?

How has God healed you?

You are always welcome to share updates, stories, questions, concerns, prayer requests and what you are learning! Thank you for this incredible community of women – for the love, concern, compassion and encouragement you give to each other.

If you would like to share what God has been doing in your life as a post, you are welcome to share your story with me, and I may be able to use it as a post to bless many other wives, as well.

Much love to each of you! 🙂

RELATED:

Spiritual Causes of Depression and Anxiety

Healing for Hopelessness

Contentment is in Lordship of Christ

Is Your Ministry for Christ Destroying Your Marriage?

Empowering My Husband’s Spiritual Leadership about Church Stuff

Insecurity

Security is in Christ Alone!

My Worry Insults My Husband

Fear fuels worry.
Fear motivates me to try to control other people and God.
Fear cannot cause peace.
Fear does not know how BIG God is or see God clearly.
Fear leaves God and His sovereignty out of the picture.
Fear causes me to doubt God and be a “double minded” person who is blown and tossed by the waves – and then I should not think I would receive anything from the Lord.
Faith and trust spring from love.
God’s Spirit always brings peace, not fear.
Perfect love casts out all fear.

I have to chose between worry or faith – I can’t have both!   This is true with God and it is true with my husband. 

God commands us as wives to respect our husbands and honor their God-given leadership.  That is a picture of how God’s people are to relate to Christ – with respect, reverence and submission to His authority and leadership as our Lord.  He also commands us not to worry but to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A WIFE DOESN’T TRUST HER HUSBAND UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES
  • Husbands thrive best in an environment where they feel trusted, respected, admired and important to their wives.
  • Husbands can become paralyzed, unplugged, bitter, angry and stunted when they feel disrespected and when they know their wives don’t trust them or admire them or have faith in them. 

Gary Thomas, in “Sacred Influence,” describes that husbands look into their “wife mirror” to see what their reflection is.  They often believe what we reflect back to them and become more and more like the man we say they are.  We have SO MUCH POWER to harm our men and discourage them and destroy them or to build them up, bless them and empower them to become the men God desires them to be.

 ****** If your marriage has serious problems, you may not be able to fully trust your husband, if there is some kind of major addiction, infidelity, physical abuse or uncontrolled mental condition – please get experienced, godly help ASAP!  Hopefully, you will be able to rebuild trust in time.  But you may need help.  There are times we can’t trust our husbands, but we can always trust God.
Here is an example:
How would a husband feel if his wife often tells him how to drive and where to go and how to park and is very anxious the whole time he is driving?  (For this example, I am talking about in town driving to very familiar places.  I am also talking about a husband who pretty much obeys the traffic laws and has only had one ticket ever in his life.)
  • “You are  going the wrong way and that if you went the other way, it would be so much faster!”
  • “Why didn’t you go through that yellow light?  (SIGH!)  Now we will be so much later to the restaurant!  I HATE being late!”
  • “You should have cut that car off!  You’re driving too slowly!  The speed limit is 60 here, you know.”
  • “This is such a dumb way to go.  Who would ever take THIS road?”
  • GASP!!!!!!!!!! CRINGE, SCREAM! (When he actually is driving responsibly)
  • “You are such a dangerous driver!  Slow down!  Slow down!  You are going to kill us all!”  as she clings to the door handle.
  • “You better take this parking spot!  It’s the best one.  How could you have passed that space up?  Now we’ll have to walk so much farther.  You can’t do anything right!”

Does he feel trusted by her?

Does he feel respected by her?
Does he feel admired by her?
Nope!

Does he feel more attracted to her?

Does he want to cherish her and protect her more?

Does he feel more love in his heart for her?

Nope.

A wife who trusts her husband’s driving is relaxed, happy, stress-free, calm, peaceful and enjoying the time to be together and the scenery.  Even if he takes a wrong turn – she trusts that he will figure things out and she is gentle, patient and at peace.

It is a wife’s genuine trust and faith in his abilities and his competence and responsibility that inspire a man to greater heights.  If she is worried, afraid, anxious and trying to control him – he may want to leave or not be around her so much.

– he may lose a lot of his attraction to her eventually

– he may even begin to believe her and become more and more the unreliable, untrustworthy, irresponsible, unplugged, uncaring man that she insists he is.

OTHER EXAMPLES OF AREAS WHERE A WIFE’S WORRY CAN MAKE HER HUSBAND FEEL DISRESPECTED:

  • his decisions as a father – he wants to know she supports him, especially in front of the children
  • his financial decisions – he wants to know his wife trusts him with the finances.
  • his having to work extra – which is one of the primary ways most husbands try to show love for their wives and families – if a wife worries and is very anxious about him working extra, it can make him feel like he is in a lose/lose situation.  He wants to provide well, but his wife is unhappy.  That is a difficult position for many husbands.
  • his struggles with visual temptation – if his wife cannot understand his struggle, blames him or condemns him or worries that he will leave her or accuses him of unfaithfulness, when he is actually being faithful – it can be soul crushing for a man

WHAT DOES MY WORRY TELL MY HUSBAND?

  • I don’t trust him
  • I don’t trust God
  • I think he’s going to mess things up
  • I don’t think he is capable and competent
  • I don’t have faith in him as the God-given leader in our marriage
  • I don’t have grace for him if he does make a mistake
  • I don’t think he is man enough, strong enough, smart enough, etc…. to handle things

A lot of husbands take their wives’ worry and anxiety pretty personally – more than they should, quite honestly!

MEN TEND TO MEASURE THEIR SUCCESS AS HUSBANDS BY THEIR WIVES’ HAPPINESS

Most men use their wives’ level of contentment, satisfaction and happiness as a barometer to indicate how well they are doing as husbands and as men.  An anxious, worried wife is NOT a happy wife.  So a husband may well feel like a failure when he has a continually worried, fearful, upset, anxious wife.

He is NOT actually responsible for her happiness.  He is responsible to please and obey Christ. She is responsible to God for her own joy and spiritual growth and trusting Him.    Many men don’t realize that a worried/anxious/fearful/controlling wife’s real issue is that her trust and faith in God is lacking and that she doesn’t understand God’s sovereignty – and she may even have idols in her heart.  I sure did!

SOME THINGS HUSBANDS NEED FROM THEIR WIVES:

  • faith in his abilities
  • a genuine look of admiration in our eyes
  • real respect for the good things he does to contribute to the marriage and family
  • grace, mercy and forgiveness – he is a sinner, just like us, after all!
  • a desire to re-establish trust if trust has been broken
  • a cooperative attitude towards his leadership, ideas, plans and dreams
  • a wife who is open and joyfully receptive to him mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically
  • a wife who can ask for what she wants and needs in a respectful, polite, pleasant way
  • a wife who understands his needs, his preferences and his unique personality
  • a wife who prays FOR him as a teammate, not against him
  • a wife who sees herself on equal footing with him, not above him as if she is better than he is

FROM MY SISTER IN CHRIST, ROBYN:

I used to worry a lot too! Darrell said he found it slightly offensive. I thought that was interesting. He said it was like I didn’t trust him to do the job that God called him to do of caring for and loving us by his leadership.

It makes sense. God as placed all authorities in place, so ultimately when I worry about my life or decisions that my husband could/would make, I’m ultimately not really trusting God. I guess it boils down to actions. You can say you trust God all you want but if it doesn’t transfer out of your heart into your actions, then it’s kind of a moot issue.

April, when you started to trust more and worry less, did you notice a difference in your man? I sure noticed one in mine.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

YES!  As I learned to trust God and my husband – I learned both at the same time – my husband began to stand taller and began to be much more confident as he made decisions. He began to come back to life and eventually, the competent, plugged in, loving, caring, amazing man I fell in love with – returned! Even better, actually!

FROM ROBYN:

Isn’t it totally a WIN/WIN !!! (some days the blessings are so intense it’s too much to bear)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

It SO IS a win/win.

So many women think that respecting their husband and honoring his leadership would lead to oppression and losing “power” in the marriage. It has been totally the opposite for me. I have found freedom, my real identity, my true purpose in life, my greatest power as a woman (godly power), and I am now a blessing to my man. And God has changed him, too – in time.  (it took a few years for both of us to really change – but there were glimmers of hope along the way that were very encouraging!)

Yes, the blessings are intense. I am in constant awe of God and my husband. :)

SHARE:

What is something you tend to worry and obsess about that your husband has tried to get you to stop worrying about and to trust him about it?

What is something that you worry about that you can’t seem to let go?

How different would your marriage be if you were willing to learn to trust God and trust your husband and let go of fear, worry, anxiety and control?

GENTLEMEN:

I’d love for  you to share your perspective on this topic!

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