3 Reasons I’m A Lousy Lover and So Are You

So back in October? Maybe? I confessed to God that I didn’t know how to love Him well. Yes, I had relationship with Him. Yes, I read the Bible daily. Yes, I prayed, AND listened. But still, I wanted more…I wanted the deep, intimate, wonder, awe, friend, father, and romance relationship with Him as a result of coming to know Him more. Yes, our relationship had grown over the years, but I ached for MORE. I knew people with it… I longed for it with Him.

I confessed to Him that I also don’t know how to love my husband or others well.

I’m really too selfish.

Aren’t we all?

And as you read this, you’ll see how this relationship with God, specifically through Jesus Christ, impacts our ability to respect our husband.

One day in the middle of my sleep-deprived-holiday-heart-surgery-recovery-period stupor commonly known to the rest of the world as “the holiday season,” I was scrubbing a pot in my kitchen. And fussing at Him about it all. My devotional time and scriptures could have had multiple meanings. I didn’t know if I was to quit ministry or work harder. I didn’t remember why I did it in the first place. I forgot the reasons I breathed. One of my sons had gotten engaged and left home for college and was gone maybe forever during this time.  I didn’t even have time to process that – and I wanted to, so desperately, but there were doctors appointments and medicines that had to be done right, and packages to order, boxes to wrap, food to make…

It seemed like everyone needed something from me and I couldn’t give it all well. I wanted sleep more than I wanted food or drink, or air. So I fussed at God, all the while scrubbing my pot…  

It went something like this, “Why is this so hard? Why am I doubting my calling? Why can’t I get a straight answer and a confirmation like all the other times before? I’ve been in Your Word and on my face before You for longer and more than ever… and I still don’t know what I’m doing or why I’m doing it.  I still feel inept and like I’ve failed. I know in my head I’m precious to You, but I no longer feel that way… What is it that I don’t know that I don’t know? Am I blind to my sin? What haven’t I confessed?? How is it all my trusted advisers are giving me different advice?”

Finally I got an answer because I asked the right question.

In my heart He answered, “It’s not their journey. It’s yours. You will know.”

So I chewed on THAT for a while.

You know how a woman’s mind works, rabbit trails and all, and so the thoughts of how none of this was a waste for my team and friends who were lovingly, patiently pursuing me while I avoided it all and them filled my head… I remembered that God is good, all the time – and He means ALL things work together for good for those who Love Him and are called according to His purpose… As I was meandering through all the conflicting things I’ve been told and felt over those last five weeks, I heard Him again.

“Didn’t you ask Me to teach you how to love?”

OHMYEVERLOVIN’ WORD.

How could I not remember that?

How could I not remember that.

We grow when the muscle is nearly exhausted and broken down, and we learn the thing we’re supposed to in the middle of times when we need the knowledge/skill/ability/hope/faith the most.

Growth occurs most often when we do our

My husband and I of course had engaged in conflict that morning. NOW, in light of THIS Word from Him, I start wondering, “What would love look like? How can I respond in love in this Now to this man who confuses and confounds me? I know he has good motives with me.”

So I’m still washing this pot (I’m slow and it was really dirty) and I realize that I can keep going through this again and again, or I can choose Now to do something different, to not waste the opportunity.

So I asked myself and Him, “When worn, as I was then, what do I often do?” The answer came easily: I get scared, feel threatened, feel ignorant, feel exposed, and feel worthless, a hundred other wrong things… which often results in shut-down style behavior that reflects all of those things. I kept thinking about Jesus telling Peter to “feed my sheep.” I believe the Spirit prompted me with a question: “What would a godly woman of strength and dignity do here? How would she respond?”

And then I realized that THIS was submission. To God and to my husband. It was also LOVE.

A woman of strength and dignity responds to her circumstances with gentleness and self-control, regardless of who she’s dealing with or how she’s being treated. She smiles at the days to come because she knows who she is and Whose she is.

So then I said (all this is taking place in my head, mind you, so the enemy didn’t have access to it at all), “Okay, Lord. This sounds all fine and dandy and convicting. Stellar-style. But I don’t know it’s all from You. I’m sorry to need confirmation, but I do. I need Your Word to confirm all of these things. So can I have a Scripture that does that? Then I’ll know.”

So I’d already done all my devotions and Scriptures for the day. But I thought about my Bible app on my phone that I sometimes use. It has a daily Scripture thing. So I felt led to see what it had to say for today.

There was a verse from Luke 6 that fit with this Now. So I went to Luke 6. Read the whole chapter. If you do that, you’ll get this on a deeper level.

The last verses about the foundation of rock and sand – they are my husband’s life verses. They were also spoken in our wedding vows.  I confess I have never paid attention to the reference, but there they were…

The rest of the verses were about how I am to behave in the Now I’m in today  – and every other day, regardless of who I’m dealing with or how I’m treated. And the Truth is, I didn’t fail.  I didn’t need to quit. I could even maybe remember a little bit of why He had me start all this… and the girl I knew, I found her again inside of me…she was a little lost, but was starting to find her way again. Then I realized I needed to move into the Now I’m in.

And I realized something else: I didn’t know how.

So then, I tell God, “I don’t know how to do that.”

Shortly after that, Jim walks up to me, smiling, as if we didn’t have the conflict an hour before, and says, “Do you want to take a class on essential oils?  I know you’re getting into them.” … then, “Do you want to do this ballroom dancing class together?”

And he smiles.

The old me was tempted and tried to stay sad and dwell in the remnants of the earlier conflict with him. Seriously. WOW. Hate to admit that. But I could see it as it happened.

Have you ever done that? UGH.

BUT: God reminded me that part of love is giving, but the other part of love is RECEIVING.  

Part of love is giving, but the other

The New me (oh, how many verses have I had about dying to self and being born again, having New Life have I seen in the week before this…!) listened to the prompting of the Spirit, who simply said, “Smile. Engage.”

Because there are essentially three reasons why we stink at loving God and others.

3 Reasons We're Lousy At Loving God &(2)

And so I did what the Spirit suggested. I smiled. I engaged. I obeyed in a “small thing.”

Fear, defeat, discouragement, worthlessness, stupidity and pride left and were replaced with hope, humility, obedience, and strength. Not saying they’re all completely gone. Pretty sure they might return (does pride EVER go away?? UGH).

But for the first time in weeks, I was somewhat confident in something He’s said. I was sure it’s Him. Confusion left. It couldn’t be the enemy, because he can’t read my mind. And God never contradicts His Word.

All of this has purpose. One of those purposes is to teach me how to love Him and love my husband (and others) better.  

We both have room to grow.

And God is teaching us both to love.

I said “Yes!” to the dance class. I’m terrible at it. I don’t care and neither does my husband. 🙂

What about you? When’s the last time you’ve been in the battle, and God’s pulled you out? When is the last time you decided to dance? 🙂

Love to you,

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titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

23 thoughts on “3 Reasons I’m A Lousy Lover and So Are You

  1. I’ve just stumbled across this blog as I was surfing the web in search of some answers to questions I have. I’ve been brought to tears by how real and relevant your content is. My marriage has been struggling for many years and I’m finally at a point of honestly addressing my contribution to our conflict and difficulties. I worry at times that it is too late. That there is too much hurt and resentment between us. But then I am reminded that our hope is in Him. I don’t think there is any coincidence that I found this site. I’ve already signed up to receive your TIPS and I will actively follow the blog. I’m also going to ask God in prayer to put a select group of women in my path with whom I can read through the Respect Dare. Thank you for sharing of yourself through this blog. Be blessed!

    • Doris, if you can’t find some in person friends to do Respect Dare with, you could always join us in the e-Course. It’s a great way to get support and learn from other women walking the same path as you. 🙂

  2. That last line should read turn into “something” that you never dreamed possible, I’ve seen it happen many times, so I’m believing it will for you two also!

  3. Sister Susan, I can’t speak to the likes of everybody here, but I’m sure for the most of us, you don’t need to be embarrassed, we’ve all been through it. As part of the body of Christ we are family, and as family we should be able to open up honestly to one another. That’s all I read, an honest heart cry for help. I’m going to be praying for you and your husband to have the perfect time and words to have a much needed heart to heart talk and that out of that, the two of you will see your marriage turn into that you never dreamed possible!

  4. I just read the beautiful comments to my posting. I couldn’t look until now-I was embarrassed at all my emotion tumbling out. But you made me feel loved and oh how I needed that! Thank you for caring enough to respond with wonderful loving advice. I will do all you suggested. I’m tired of hurting so I will do my best. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for caring!!

  5. Susan Marie, my sweet sister in Christ. let me encourage you to in this most difficult time to take yourself to the foot of the cross with all your pain and hurt. Place it at the foot of that cross, then look up to Him,our risen Savoir Jesus. See how much He loves you and just how valuable you truly are to Him. See how beautiful you are to Him. And don’t listen to the lies of the devil that say otherwise. The fact that you’re here, seeking God first and others for Godly help shows strong faith. Trust God, this season will change, a breaking will come and both of you will be better for it. And now you have us praying for you, you are not as alone as you feel. Nina’s suggestion to join one of these special pilot group’s is a very good idea. I highly recommend it.It’s amazing to see and be part of what God is doing for all of us! My wife is one of the leaders. These materials that are available here are excellent. Dr. Kevin Lemans book, Have a new husband by Friday might be of some great help to you at this time too!

    • It’s all God, not me – He is so good, isn’t He? Glad you are here! And praise and thank Him – it’s His gift to you. 🙂 Yes, I get it that I was useful, but had I not been available, had I not written this, He would have found another way to confirm things for you. 🙂

      You’re not crazy, by the way.

      But you ARE in good company, 🙂

      So glad you are here!

      Love to you!

  6. Oh Nina, this isn’t about your post-I’m sorry! I just have hung on all day to pain-my husband zapped me first thing this morning and now he did it again at bedtime-he snaps and using a complete degrading tone with it-it’s always after me asking a legitimate question or something I do -like changing the TV station this morning-tonite it was asking if he was done plowing the snow from the driveway/am I doing something wrong cause I. Feel so wrong and so worthless-he doesn’t talk to anyone else this way-he is nice and so so friendly but with me.. He always says that you treat your closest the worst-is that a free card or what? When I try to talk to him abt it he rages that I have such a good life what is my problem? I hurt so much I can’t stand the pain and everyone thinks he is so very nice-am I too sensitive like he says? Where is God? I read and reread the Psalms and Proverbs-I begged God for help –NO ANSWER-what do I do? I’m so tired of hurting-I just want the pain to stop-I have no one to talk to and to tell me I do matter -I’m not worthless and I’m not too sensitive or too needy-his office mgr texts him all the time and he answers while I’m in the same room altho he doesn’t talk to me-I’m not worth talking to and I feel so low and unworthy even of Gods love-Gods complete silence scares me and tells me I’m believing in something that’s not really there-I’m so confused and the pain keeps throbbing -I’m afraid of what will happen tomorrow-another day of pain and aloneness-

    • Oh, Susan. I am so very sorry! I know you hurt. The pain seems unbearable at times. If you are willing, God will take you on a very special journey through all of this. One where you share in the sufferings of Christ and come to really believe your true identity in Him. I will be forming a very special pilot group of this journey soon – so stay tuned to the blog for the announcement. 🙂 I would love to have you join us. In the mean time, perhaps search up “got pain” and “conflict” and “verbal abuse” in my search bar for some ideas that could be if help to you in the meantime. And know that I pray for you, and your meantime is a mean time… but you can find your hope in Him…1 Peter 3:1-6 style. :). Run to the nearest womens Bible study and get you some girlfriends. You are going to need them.

      Love to you, sweetheart.

    • Susan Marie (–that’s a pretty name by the way), I offer this advice to you very humbly: First of all, your value comes in the fact that you are alive, period. Life is a gift only God could ever give (See Jeremiah 1:5, Acts 17:25 and then memorize those verses so they come to your mind if you doubt). You are valuable and special simply because you are here, period. Second, you say: “Where is God?;–NO ANSWER; no one to talk to; I’m believing in something that’s not really there”. Susan Marie, that’s raw honesty. Unhedged and unguarded honesty. That means you are not far from the Kingdom-of-God. So even if God’s mysterious divine hiddenness brings nothing but emptiness & darkness, keep praying and seeking. Even if the reality of that darkness, coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches your soul, just keep praying and seeking. These incidences move us far closer to God than anything else. Eventually, you will be able to treasure hunt your PAIN. Third, don’t let your happiness depend on something or someone other than God. I know it takes time to get there but have ZERO (0) expectations for others and a whole list of expectations for God and yourself. God will show up for you just make sure you show up for yourself and address the list of things God shows you that you need TO DO to be loved well: Study your Bible; Have Christian friends; Help those much less fortunate; etc. You and the Lord need to do that groundwork first then you will be healthy. The real enemy (usually) is within us. Don’t confuse that enemy with your husband or your family, even if you need to set boundaries with him/them and deliver consequences to him/them for the way they treat you. Do not let them abuse you verbally (It is not okay to “treat your closest the worst” that is not a “free card”) but evaluate that very objectively. Think about the way you treat yourself and make certain you are treating yourself well. Realize God is love and can fill you to overflowing. Just keep reaching out, He’ll reach in. Zealously, really irresponsibly (its God, it’s okay to go after Him that hard), pursuing God, we become filled to overflowing! That kind of grounded love will terrify your husband, your family and if you are doing it right, it will even terrify you because you realize you have all the love you need and more. You will realize that God is all you need and He will deliver Love to you. That love will come from Him plus plenty of people in your faith community that will study the Bible, pray with and love on you. Your husband will realize you are not needy but plugged into some kind of UNSEEN POWER (real love and real life) and unless he is bad-willed (that’s very rare) that strength will draw your husband into you. Start with God first, then reach out to your faith community. If you change, your husband has to change because the former you is not even there anymore. He can’t interact with that former Susan Marie. One thing I do is memorize Bible verses that relate to my issues. Memorize about fifty of them, cold. Then when an issue comes up those verses will automatically come to your mind to guide you (try it, you’ll see). Susan Marie, the internet, blogs, et. al. are no substitute for live Bible studies, live Prayer meetings, live Church services with real, live Christians. They are God with skin on if you know what I mean. Much Love to you (and be very careful which people you choose to give power to until you are stronger)!

        • Surrendered & yielded Christians like you inspire all of us to give more. When I think of people not wasting their life, you are one of the people that comes to my mind: More holiness NOT more happiness -But when they are one and the same, all the better 🙂

        • I always need to remind myself too. Christ is, indeed, our lost love (Revelation 2:9, 1 John 4:19). Blessings to you, and lovely to “meet” you!

  7. God is giving you wisdom. I am thankful that you share with us. It is good to know that others have these thoughts and feelings and fears and how they handle them. So often it is like you know my worries and your writing feels as if it was written for me. May God give you strength and wisdom to go through these mega stressful times. In Jesus name, Amen

    • Oh, Melanie. Your words bless me so. Some times I do wonder if I am doing what He wants, and within a day, He always sends me someone like you to confirm that its all worth it. Any good you see is Him, beautiful! I assure you I am quite a mess without Him. 🙂

      Especially when I am not listening.

      So glad you are here.

      Love to you.

      Nina

  8. This last week I was struck hard by something Lecrae said, “It takes a strong person to be vulnerable.” I was struck because I want to be strong. However, I am only strong in Him, when I am weak.

    • YES. It’s all upside down and backwards. We want to appear confident and strong, but we really only actually ARE that way when we are transparent with others. Real. Humble-style.

      It’s His way. 🙂

      Love to you!

  9. Leah, thank you so much for your prayers! And I’m so glad we are sisters, glad you feel the connection, glad you (and I 🙂 ) don’t feel alone…

    And my soul nods in agreement with all you have said. 🙂 Truly beautiful. Truth. 🙂 I think every story is about learning to love. Every lesson… because if we learn to love Him, we receive Him, we obey His Word, we’re drawn to the Bible, we start the never-ending cycle of learn-obey-love-yearn-learn-obey-love-year… round and round it goes… and like you said, it spills over onto others.

    Thanks for the encouragement about my son – we just absolutely LOVE the young woman – they will bless each other. 🙂

    Love to you!

  10. So helpful. Thank you Nina. For me, pride goes away when God hits me where I live but then it creeps back to a normalized set-point because I’m, I am all too human. That’s the battle. I rarely doubt that God will do the best for me. I just always wonder how painful that best will turn out to be. Honestly, it’s usually a twenty-foot thundering wave when my back is turned and then a bloody, nasty scaring session all the way across the razor-sharp coral of the reef. When I come up, gasping for air, I’m decimated but when I look UP it is always full sunshine East-to-West and a rainbow. So Lord God, hit me with everything You’ve got. I’m on my knees calling out Your name, Lord. I need to hear from YOU! So I’m waiting.

  11. Nina, I prayed for you during that silent time and knew something was up…Even told my husband. Was praying then and when you first started telling the hospital story; out here in blog Iand the Spirit of God called us to you!!!
    And now I just want to say, I deeply relate to you and your heart in so many details though I never met you or heard of you before this blog!! You are a twin sister, (though I am a few steps ahead in years~ hmmm, sisters/ relatable is probably not just to me!)
    I sooooo get the need to hear HIM and him alone during these struggles, and the need for that confirmation, and the Glory of seeing so majestically when God pinpoints perfectly, a LIFE verse during the deepest, soul agonizing type struggles of the inside, (the kind that spill over into everything on the outside). It is a GIFT of the GOD of the UNIVERSE to his dear daughter, to you!!
    He is teaching us to LOVE! Glory to His Name; He is Holding us and KEEPING us in HIM!! Helping us to LOVE our men, and love these of that next generation in POWER! In Humility…. in HIM.

    Love you stranger/ sister!! LOL!!
    (ps…praying for the joy of processing your son’s engagement! My oldest got married 3yrs ago; it was glorious; now I’m “grammaLele” with baby Juliana born on my birthday this past July, 4 months after my mom went to Glory as her HOME!…. Talk about a gift…. 🙂

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