Submissive Wife? Will it Save Her Marriage?

A friend of mine tried everything to save her marriage.

She is what any mature Christian woman would call a “submissive wife” – know there’s a difference between that and being a doormat. More here if it’s confusing. And no, I’m not talking about writing up a contract to allow some guy to whip you.

She did everything she knew to do – and even learned a TON more things to try in an effort to save her marriage.

And none of it worked.

“I don’t know what there is left,” she said, tearfully to me. “I don’t know what I could possibly not know. I have read all the books. I’ve taken the classes – even done your stuff –  The Respect Dare AND Daughters of Sarah® and I’m still alone, he’s still unkind, sarcastic, rude, and isn’t even interested in me as a person. And when I ask for love, for affection, for kindness, he launches into a tirade about how he does all these things for me and the kids, works a stressful job, takes night classes to climb up the ladder, and we don’t appreciate any of it. Do you know when the last time he asked me a question was? He’s only interested in himself and getting things done.”

I didn’t know.

She didn’t either, it had been so long.

“I did the ‘treat people the way you want to be treated’ thing – I joyfully served, even when he just took advantage of me. I joyfully gave to him, and he just took from me, seldom appreciative, often critical. And I did it for years without complaint. I finally tried a totally different approach, and just came right out and asked him to treat me differently, was specific about it, and gentle when I said it. You tell women to ‘ask for what we want’ … well, I did that. You know how he responded?” she continued… “He told me that just wasn’t who he is, and I just needed to stop trying to change him. I feel like I’m dying. He says we have a good marriage, and if you are him, we do. If you are me, it’s just not…”

They’d been married three decades plus.

“What do I do?” she asked me. “I’m thinking of leaving.”

My heart hurt for her. Eyes wet, I told her what was true. I said this:

Sister, sweet friend, beloved, I just don’t know. I have no idea under the sun why everything you have tried hasn’t “worked,” like it does for some other women, other than it just isn’t God’s timing, which I know doesn’t make you feel better. I know you hurt. I hear your loneliness, your broken heart… and I’m so sorry that you are feeling this way, so sorry you’ve worked so very hard for all these years and are still so alone. It’s horrible. It’s wrong. It’s not what God designed marriages to be…but…can I offer a few things up that you may not have considered?

She nodded.

I told her these things:

You may be in training for ministry. And you need to remember that our Lord hears your heart. He tells us in Revelation 2:2-5 (emphasis mine):

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.

And He catches all of your tears in a bottle. They are precious to Him. I know you feel forsaken, abandoned… alone. There is also much that you probably don’t see that is going on in the heavenlies. We may never know what those things are, but we can still trust God. And you, my friend, are the poster child for Daughters of Sarah®. She’s a woman who walks in strength and dignity, living with a man who isn’t walking with the Lord (following and obeying-style), maybe doesn’t even know Him at all, but still she puts her hope in God, instead of in her husband. Her marriage is not her idol. She perseveres regardless. And I have no idea if you are to leave him. I’ve seen it all – women change and there seems to be a few end results:

  • He is inspired by all the changes in his wife and begins to love her better
  • He is oblivious about what “following” God looks like, or even that it matters, and so he still doesn’t love her well – because he doesn’t know Christ personally
  • She is taken advantage of by him because he likes being treated well without having to reciprocate
  • She hangs on, persevering in a marriage where she is not cherished and treated like a second-class citizen
  • She separates for a while from him, trying to escape the pain of not feeling loved by her husband – this may or may not get his attention
  • She tries to get him to go to counseling – which unless it is a Gottman trained counselor, fails 80% of the time
  • She loses her ability to rally, and ends up with a hard heart toward him – sometimes she’s still obeying God, still serving and persevering and loving well, but she no longer cares about him
  • She is devoured by bitterness, hardens her heart, and sins repeatedly towards him
  • Both of them lose intimate relationship with God because of their sin toward each other (“quenching the Holy Spirit”)
  • One of them files for divorce
  • If she stays strong, they eventually have a new marriage after separation or divorce, sometimes as long as a decade later
  • If she gives up, they don’t get back together

We cried and prayed together that day, my friend and I.

She left him for several weeks. He begged her to come back.

I think there’s hope. Looking at the Now they’re in, you may not see it, but I have tons of hope.

She’s encouraged.

He’s trying.

We’ll see what happens. I’ll let you know when/if things start happening. Please pray for her and the many (too many) women like her, the ones who have done their best, and decades later, still feel alone in their marriages, and have lost their friendship with their husband.

The foundation of friendship is the rock that good marriages are built on.

The foundation of Christ is what the friendship should be built on – as in both obeying and following Jesus daily-style. It’s tough though, isn’t it? You know what I mean – you have friends who know Him, and friends who don’t – but who are really your intimate friends? The ones with whom you share Christ, where you both speak the Word to each other, pray for each other, lovingly admonish each other… It’s really difficult if not impossible to be intimate with people who don’t know Him when you do…

But don’t ever let that be a source of judgment for you towards those other friends of yours.

We tend to think of this Now we’re in as a big deal. If we could just look back over our lives and remember the things that consumed us, stressed us, hurt us, excited us, etc., they have all passed. The only point of this life is to love God – to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and spirit – and as a result of His great love for us flowing out of us, we then can love others well – and they see Him in us, and want to know Him, too.

That’s the entire point of this life.

But because we are designed to worship, we will worship a ton of other things instead of Him because the world’s voice is loud, and His is still, and soft. And some of us are worshiping the idol of the ideal marriage. It’s not just the secular culture’s voice that assaults us, but also the Christian culture’s voice – instead of His.

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Do you know what I mean? Let me know if you do!

So choose this day whom you shall serve.

Yourself?

Idols?

Our culture? With it’s warped sense of values, and messed up ideas of who women are and how we should be treated? As in, 50 Shades of Grey style? Don’t even get me started. I hope you didn’t and don’t waste your time. If my 19 year old son can see what’s true here and put this on his band’s Facebook page, we should be at least as wise.

People have been asking me about blogging about 50 Shades of Grey. I don’t think I can say it any better than this summary review post from Unveiled Wife. I admire Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slatterly for taking on this controversial topic. Pray for them- they are in a war zone, I’m sure. If you don’t know what you think about the topic, please check out the review post.

Or Him. The One True God.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Interested in hearing your thoughts about these things today. 🙂

Are you in training for ministry? Is your marriage an idol? Other thoughts?

Love to you,

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Oh, and if you got this as an email forward from a friend who cares about you and your marriage, please know we’d love it if YOU choose to join us on this journey. The road is long and hard, and often paved with tears, but worth traveling – and you’re not alone.

You can get marriage TIPS! articles and a free copy of my eBook, 101 Ways to Respect Your Husband, and other marriage info here. We promise not to share your email with anyone, ever. You’ll get just one TIPS! article a week, plus a blog post or two here and there.

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

32 thoughts on “Submissive Wife? Will it Save Her Marriage?

  1. I have often had to pray for love for my husband. None of this will work without love. 1 Cor 13 Sometimes I can’t come up with it on my own. God has to provide it. I talk myself into thinking I love him but sometimes I just don’t. When I’m honest with myself and God and ask for love, He is always faithful and gives it to me. My husband knows when I’m short on love with him and it doesn’t matter if I submit, joyfully serve him, or not without love it doesn’t mean ANYTHING!

  2. Struggled yesterday BIG TIME. My emotions got the better of me, I lashed out, he responded in kind.. ANd he was even more upset because he is working hard to study to get a better job and the stress of our arguments makes him lose his focus on the task he needs to complete.
    Please pray that I can be silent for the duration of his study until he is granted this new license. I promised him last night that I would keep my frustrations and emotions to myself for at least that long. (God knows I can’t promise to never do it again!)

    The one ask of him I made was to try not to get frustrated and yell at me when I am already upset, even if the reason seems stupid to him, or that I caused it myself…

    I prayed hard last night and again this morning that God would be with him and help him have a clarity of mind to pass his tests. He so needs this. I know his self esteem is starting to be affected with how hard this class is for him. It pains me that I was not silent as I had tried to be and that I lashed out. I asked God to give my husband my portion of strength as he goes through this. I am a giver and a caretaker.. when I fail at it, I hurt…

  3. Hard stuff today. Been there and making it through to the other side. My survival kit contains a Bible, fasting with prayer on my face, and strong Christian women who I allow to speak truth into my life.
    I think women fear separating their spouse because of the kids, finances, what others will think, it’s not Christian and other reasons. They hear God speak and are afraid of what He tells them to do.
    Remember, a non-Christian husband doesn’t mean bad husband. And a Christian husband who produces bad fruit trains our sons how to treat their wives and our daughters that it’s okay to be treated bad.
    Today I heard testimony of a man who was glad his wife found out about his affair, he could stop the double life and pretending. She did divorce him and they eventually got back together (when he started living for Christ).
    Also remember, men who view porn aren’t nice to their wives. They think their secret sin doesn’t affect others, but their mess is oozing all over the family. It’s the nature of sin.
    My heart breaks for hurting marriages. Never stop seeking the Lord and know that He can put a Godly pressure on your spouse in a way you never could. My marriage is a testament to that.

    • I’ve been on the submission path for about 4 months now and not without my failures, but through the grace of God, I get back on track and refocus. I’m doing the respect dare now and am so passionate about my relationship with Christ, I can’t read or study enough.
      All while my husband tears me down, struggles with addictions to prescription pills and pornography that, you’re right, he will never admit affects me and our children. He takes them to hooters and similar restaurants against my wishes as soon as I’m out of town or unavailable to join them for dinner and he brags that he has bought our youngest his first playboy to give him when he’s 15 (like his mother did for him). It breaks my heart and I’m trying to strengthen my trust in the Lord to work in his heart in His time.
      This process is not without frustration or discouragement and a lot of resetting my perspective to focus solely on Jesus when everything in this world around me is encouraging me to fail.

      • It is so wonderful that you are so passionate about your relationship with Christ (RE: I can’t read or study enough). That is just marvelous! God’s love truly is the substance of real life. Your husband (and the majority of people) “fill” their hearts with the stuff of pure death (Dead while they yet “live”) -filth, false-highs. –I am praying the Lord God will so transform your husband and family that even you will be rebuked by their holiness and need to repent (-I know, that’s a serious transformation. I am praying for it anyway!) He will hear you when you seek Him (Ezekiel 22:30, 1 Timothy 2:1, James 5:16).

        • Thank you so much for your prayers and for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your encouragement and I will read those verses tonight!

          • Oh, –and maybe memorize a set of verses specific to your issues to get them to your heart so you can protect your heart (RE: my husband tears me down, struggles with addictions, etc.) Also, the great thing about memorized verses is that when you have a rough time, those verses will come into your mind. Out of your heart flows your whole life story, so even if your heart has been stepped on, ignored, neglected, un-protected, its time to protect it now and the Lord says your heart is worth protecting. So be careful to protect and guard your heart well.

  4. Tara,
    I feel for you! My husband claims to be a Catholic most of the time.. He hasn’t been to church in over 8 years now.. He is not a reader so I know he never reads the Bible! He knows that I am and that I follow the Lord as best I can. I cannot really confront him either. It is met with anger and blame. I have had to really cry and pray hard, ask for prayers from other strong ladies, and sometimes just vent to them so I don’t explode on my husband. I too am currently dealing with what I consider to be LARGE sin on his part… Very hurtful.. I have remained silent about it, asking God to PLEASE press on y husband’s heart to seek after HIM. I also include that I need strength and comfort.. The Lord has given my wonderful women who I can draw that strength and comfort from when I am in need of earthly support. The hardest for me was learning to listen, and being patient. I still struggle daily. My heart goes out to you my dear!

    • I’m so sorry you can understand this hurt. Thank you for responding, it’s comforting to have sisters who care. I’m going to pray for you right now. I’m glad you have women near you who can support you in this time, that is so, so important!

  5. To all the ladies. I’m praying for you, and hope I can be included in yours too. This blog and DoS have helped me stay strong and keep moving forward. I shared with one of the ladies on DoS that I feel like I’m being prepped for ministry. My experiences will serve to help others. I will become the Titus 2 woman like the ones I now depend on.. I so wish I didn’t have the pain, but if my life can help just one other sister, I’m happy to go through it. I’m stronger than most, and even stronger than I know! All through Him who strengthens me.

  6. She loses her ability to rally, and has a hard heart toward him…..

    Pray for me please, I think that’s where I am, and struggling right now. I’m so sad for the woman who has tried it all, I can so relate to some of the things she has said. What do you do when you decide you have had enough of being angry and resentful, when you are sick of being a doormat and when you have gotten to the point of being physically ill because of long term stress and you start to be honest, you start to say “it really hurts me when you talk to me like that” “could you please talk to me kindly” and you get met with even more anger, more blame, and when apologies are not given, or given insincerely, you know “I’m sorry you….” How do you handle a husband who says he believes but gets very angry when confronted with the Word and his sin. How does a wife respond to a husband who has issues with everyone and gets mad when you refuse to join in his tearing people down? How do you address a person can find a speck in everyone’s else’s eye but ignores the beam in his own?

    I’m sorry for the sister who has suffered this, I’m sorry there’s so much brokenness and hurt. Yesterday at church one of the brothers shared something I thought was profound. He said “all around us we see death, we see the results of sin and so many things are out there trying to get our attention, trying to get our eyes off Christ, and it makes me think of Peter, when he had his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on water, when he looked away he sunk” may our Father in heaven help us to keep our eyes on Jesus! I need this so much in my own life.

    Remember, I say this as much to myself as to any of you, you aren’t alone. He knows your suffering, and if you are in the beloved, you are His child and you are loved. So much comfort in knowing He loves us, faults and all.

    • “. . . How do you handle a husband who says he believes but gets very angry when confronted with the Word and his sin.” –A true Christian will be sensitive to the sin in their life and it will lead them to brokenness and genuine confession, but the person who says they are a Christian and are not sensitive to sin, –that is, it does not lead them to confession, a person who is that way is not a Christian. I do not say that lightly. It means you need serious prayer, have to set real boundaries and have to implement hard consequences. This needs to be done with the help of real Christian pastors, seasoned counselors and professionals. People are incredibly complex and unique.

      “. . . It really hurts me when you talk to me like that” “could you please talk to me kindly. . . ” –yeah, if I heard that, it would cut through me like a rocket-propelled grenade. I could not live with myself until I repented, so I don’t understand because you say that this verbiage meets with even more abuse. I don’t understand it but God understands it. In Romans 3: Their “. . . .talk is like the stench from an open grave; their tongues are filled with lies; they have snake venom dripping from our lips.” –radical depravity is our normative state. That is the path for a bad-willed man or women. The great news is that most people are good-willed.

      –So, with the help of real Christian professionals, you set boundaries and clear consequences (and giving people consequences is actually a gift.) God does it with us all the time and I have the scar tissue to prove it. If they keep doing it, you separate and if they keep it up you have to escalate consequences even further. Love is unconditional, relationship is not. If every other word I write here was vulgar, offensive and scurrilous, it would take no time before I was not allowed to post here. Also, consequences decrease the temporal and eternal consequences which accrue the longer a husband abuses. It helps to remember God hates abuse and abusers (Palms 11:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Ezek 9:9-10) and has overwhelming serious judgment on abusers (Is 10:1-2; Ezek 22:11, 21; Joel 3:19; Amos 4:1-3; Micah 2:1-2; 3:9-12; Matt 18:5-6). —Everybody wins if we can somehow get it right.

      God’s love is unconditional, relationship is not. Taking action to NOT allow this behavior to continue is good for your husband and one of the BEST ways to break through his distorted thinking because it stimulates repentance (–That is what we are ALL seriously praying for!)

      The really cool thing is that God can change your husband’s heart even if he doesn’t want it changed. If God waited for people to want to change no one would. Keep walking down that road of hope -faithful in your prayers. We don’t know what lies ahead but we know Jesus will be there (1 Peter 4:12-13). . . . And it is inspirational that you are honoring your marriage this way!

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, I will pour over and over this and so appreciate your time and caring, it’s a joy in the midst of struggle to know God is showing me love through His children.

        Can I honestly ask you all a question? Am I being a doormat or just having a bad attitude here? I have asked a few people and a few different places and can’t seem to get an answer.
        My husband voices his preferences and I try to abide by them. At times I just don’t agree, we are talking things like music preference, clothing preference, etc. not “big stuff” so to speak. On big things I really try to submit to his desires.

        I enjoy a different genre of Christian music that he does. But he has forbidden me to listen to it in front of the children, time and time again I will find something else I like and he always takes issue with it, the singer has too long or hair, dresses to unkempt, that guy has an earring, even I don’t like how that person moves his head while singing (I’m not kidding) and so on….the children and I used to really enjoy cleaning the kitchen together after supper and worshipping together and now we don’t because pretty much what I got limited to was aCapella hymns. He on the other hand has no issue playing secular music in front of the children and with them…..it seems wrong. I feel like I am a child who can’t mke any decisions for myself and it’s eating me up. It seems like a small thing, but it’s not you know? Music has always been a special thing to me. The music I like I like because it’s the songs I was singing to the Lord when he first saved me, you know it’s like “our songs” kind of thing. I have taken to listening to my music in private, alone when children are all in bed, and I still feel guilt over that, am I wrong to do so? Or is this false guilt?

        The clothing, it’s not so much a problem cause I really don’t care what I wear so I just dress to his preferences, it’s the way he got me there that bothers me, belittling, rude remarks about dresses I had made, unkind talk even in front of the children about how frumpy or shapeless I looked…..but I have daughters, little ones, and I cannot bear the thought of him treating them that way. So if it’s something I need to stand up for myself on so they don’t get it later I will, does that make sense?

        I’m just starting now to do things I enjoy again. I had given up sewing and knitting for a while because he was chronically irritated about it, the sewing machine was too loud (how often I hinted that a new one could solve the problem), knitting took up too much of my time (his opinion), but I sew most of my clothes, I knit most of our winter things. This year it hit me that the store bought gloves and things were there because I hadn’t knit and my children fight over the hand knit mittens cause they are warmer….I feel bad I let that happen. But how do I handle the criticism that comes from this? When he seems to only be happy with me when I am working myself to exhaustion? He gets annoyed whenever I sit down and do anything (at least it seems so to me). I have talked to him about these things which only leads to more trouble. Most often I get told “you are just trying to start an argument”

        I feel isolated, we have one vehicle and he wants it available to him all the time, if I have to go out to do anything he wants a specific timeframe and gets in a dig about being abandoned at home with no vehicle, but he leaves almost every day for at least a couple hours after work and doesn’t seem to think a thing of it. I tried to join a local women’s bible study during the day when he was at work (vehicle would be available to him that way) and he said no it’s a “book club” and he didn’t want me going. I have been told numerous times I don’t need a phone, thanfully, praise the Lord, my Dad had an extra phone setup and gave it to me a few days ago and asked my husband to set it up, and now I have a phone after years without one! My husband is a different man when other people are around and when it’s just our family, so my dad helped me out way more than he could ever know. I have been told I am not to gossip to others about our marriage issues, so I have talked to one pastor and you ladies here and posted a couple times on peaceful wife (before I realized our issues are beyond her scope of practice). Otherwise everyone sees what looks like a good marriage….and keeping up the facade is really hard some days.

        I feel so caught up in this that I can’t see clearly…am I off in these things? Am I being controlled? Or am I a controller? I sometimes sit back and wonder if I am the abuser in all this, then I think if I were wouldn’t I be able to leave the house without feeling guilty, or listen to a song I liked?

        If I am the problem and you can see that in this I want to know, I really do.

        • Tara,

          Have you read the 5 love languages? One of the lines struck me today… The things our spouse most complains or gives us critism about are the things that will fill their love tank… He thinks he is doing the right things, and that you should feel it as love.. he has not learned that what pleases him does not please you in the same way.

          I would encourage you to seek a christian counselor. Marital counseling would be preffered, but if he won’t go, go alone. I did it for 9 months before my husband would even think of joining me.

          I agree with you the way he is trying to motivate you is not very good… and I would not want my daughters to feel that either. I am not one to suggest this lightly, but if after this attempt at counseling, he still refuses you, you make need to shake his boots a bit. I mean you may need some space so he can think and God can work on him with out distraction. My husband and I separated for 4 months. It was VERY hard, and he lived in his sin for most of that time. He asked me for divorce twice and I said NO, I would not grant him one. We too have daughters. He told them many lies that I had to correct. They are older and in a position to hear the real truth.

          My best advice is to get down on your face and pray… my truth was revealed to me one night at 230am as I cried and prayed… Listen for His voice to give you direction.

        • Tara,
          I know just how C_R_A_Z_Y it gets when all this Ivy Tower BIBLE THEORY goes LIVE at the living room level. Some days are an absolute mystery to me too. But I believe that answers are revealed in time even when the path is in total FOG.

          “If I am the problem and you can see that in this I want to know, I really do.” –That is so refreshing that you have such a teachable heart like that. That’s a very good sign BUT you may be only a very small part of the entire problem! I always recommend professional Christ-Centered Counseling because, as I said before, people are incredibly complex and situations are very unique. I would also recommend reading as much as you can. The counselors will have you do that anyway. Maybe start with something like Unbreakable Bonds: Practicing the Art of Loving and Being Loved –by Dr. Cheryl Meier and Dr. Paul Meier. They are both serious Christians, theologians and psychologists. That book deals with “unlearning” all the wrong views of Love/Respect we have learned over the years by people just projecting. It deals with all the issues from controlling others, rejection, abandonment, abuse and conditional love, to focusing on God’s unconditional love. They work with whole teams of the Christian psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians, counselors at their Meier New Life Clinics. They know how to do proper diagnostics and they know what they are talking about. I especially like them because they understand how theological issues (Biblical submission, Biblical headship, Biblical respect, et. al.) interact with psychological issues (controlling immature responses, narcissistic personality disorders, high-conflict, emotionally-absent chronic liars, sociopaths, sex-addicts, et. al.) They are very God honoring and Biblically based, too.

          –You can’t let your husband abuse you verbally or in other ways (financially, spiritually, et. al.) It is not okay. Part of the solution is professional counseling help. It’s not even enough to know the theological answers because to implement those you often need psychological and sometimes even a psychiatrist’s help. This will not just get better magically and professionals like this want to help you quickly and cost effectively. They are into results for Christ’s Kingdom not billable hours.

          Unfortunately, the traditional teaching exists in much of Christian circles that you should absorb your entire personhood into your husband and do not ever comment negatively on what he says and does, lest you be seen as a nagging, unsubmissive wife. But, you are to lose your identity to only one perfect person, the Lord Jesus himself. He must be THE stabilizing force in our identity and our lives. The reason Jesus needs to be the stabilizing force in our identity and our lives is that our husbands are very self-centered, very human, and often fail us (and we do the same to them) -routinely.

          It sounds like your husband is trying to control everything: the image of your marriage, the music, the dress, vehicle access, phone access. If only men understood that they are actually Out-of-Control when they are controlling everything -they wouldn’t do it. They wouldn’t do it because it crushes the spirit of their precious wife. They are actually In-Control when they give you as much freedom as possible. Smart husbands realized this very quickly. The more freedom they give you, the more energy, excitement, honor, respect just flows naturally. What smart husband wants to kill those off with controlling immature narcissistic responses?

          You need lots of prayer and knowledge to initiate conversations with someone who is really that controlling. God will show up for you just make sure you show up for yourself and address the list of things God shows you in prayer that you need TO DO to be loved well: Study your Bible; Have Christian friends; Get the best Christian professional help –Someone like Meier New Life Clinics; Help those much less fortunate (-always someone in a worse situation than we are), etc. You need to do that groundwork either way to be healthy. The real enemy (usually) is within us. Don’t confuse that enemy with your husband, even if you need to set boundaries with him and deliver consequences to him for the way he treats you.

          I will be seriously praying for you.

        • It does seem that you are quite concerned about your husbands approval. We need to be more concerned about Gods approval. There is nothing to stop you from going to the Bible Study in the daytime. Just go. Tell him: “I will be a happier wife if I go out with the girls – if he really needs to know”. If he doesn’t need to know, just keep it between you and God. As far as the music, there is always headphones. I don’t know if you are a “stay at home mom” and therefore you and the children could sing in the daytime. Seems like you have “willingly given your power over to him.” That is disrespectful both to yourself and to him. Perhaps I am being harsh. That’s what I did in the past. I blamed my husband, when I was really a huge part of the problem. I know change is hard. Begin small – like womens group once a week. Start somewhere, yet be respectful in in all. And, it is good you are coming here. It is a good place to get good feedback. All the best.

          • Thank you for this, I think you are right and I have been working on that the last couple days. I actually sat and knit a mitten last night first project I had cast on in a year! And it was so nice!! He didn’t say anything about it, if he had I just planned that I would answer gently and finish what I was working on and then help with whatever was the need. But thankfully it didn’t come up, I went out today with the children to visit a sick relative and was ok when he seemed upset that he would rather I wait until he was done work to go. I simply said I think now would be a better time and he didn’t make a fuss. Perhaps some or even much of this is due to giving him power as you said. I need to realize that his preferences don’t rule my life and that its ok to do something not according to a preference if that’s all is it (for example color of head covering, or style of dress or skirts)….I really appreciate this. It’s helpful to me. Therapy is not really an option, unless it’s just counseling with a friend. I have two special needs children and homeschool and we just have the one vehicle. But getting together with friends, and making decisions for myself in some areas that I can do. So thank you so much for your very practical advice! It really is helpful and it means a lot to me that you cared enough to offer it!

            • As Dr. Cheryl Meier of Meier New Life Clinics always says: Nothing we can teach you can’t be learned on your own. Get whatever books, websites (this one), U-tube videos from whatever solidly credentialed Christians address your issues. Lots of these books are ridiculous cheap on Amazon: read, study, pray, implement. You will say: -Ah, ha. . . That’s why he does that and here is my best practice response to it. Some of these behavioral techniques are an absolute God-send they work so well. God can heal your relationships, especially the one with yourself. It is truly beyond anything you can imagine, His ability to redeem, -everything! But DO NOT fool yourself, it is a lot of hard work -but once it starts working, it’s so much fun you can’t even stop yourself. God is an awesome artist and the canvas is a person’s life …you get to work with Him to create something beautiful… much love & prayers.

            • Tara:

              I am really glad you thought I wasn’t harsh. Tact probably is not one of my best qualities. I just saw so much of “the old me” in you, and thought “what the *** – say it “like it is”. Also, I think our husbands really like it when we do some things that are good for us. It makes us a much better, happier person to be around. Also, sounds like you have your hands full. Looking after special needs is not easy, and you are going to need other women to talk to and share with. Men usually don’t enjoy too much talking about children, etc. Plus, it seems like your husband does go to work every day. They like it when we thank them for “being such good providers, etc.” I see hope for you and your marriage, and, good for you, that you are willing to take some suggestions to heart and try them. Hey, that’s the Holy Spirit operating in your life. Small changes are better than none. (I actually had to take my own advice today and talk to a friend – rather than nagging at my husband – because I really wasn’t in that great a mood.) So, we do need to “practice what we preach”. Now, that is the hard part!

              • mariajj2555 . . . yesterday when you said: “. . . Just go. Tell him: “I will be a happier wife if I go out with the girls – if he really needs to know”. If he doesn’t need to know, just keep it between you and God.” . . . .I thought ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha —it’s true —that’s exactly what I thought initially but didn’t want to be that “radical.” -Ha, ha, ha 🙂

                -You know one thing I can’t understand: How can women have equal value if their opinions don’t have equal value in a final decision? Woman’s subordination is contradicted by woman’s equality. It is not logically possible for woman to be essentially equal to man, yet universally subordinate to men on the basis of an essential attribute (i.e., femaleness). -And it won’t do to insist that even if it’s not logical it must be true because the Bible says so. The Bible says a lot of different things about even the same subject and not even God can make a logical contradiction true. –Well, maybe He can, but that means we can’t use that information in OUR human logic systems, our systematic theologies. I don’t see how –and if it can’t be true, then it can’t be biblical. Systematic theology means all the verses have to actually fit together in a logical system, not in isolation, not pulling a proof text from here or there like a bloomin’ trump card. –Too much thinking!!! -Ha, ha, ha 🙂

                • “It is not logically possible for woman to be essentially equal to man, yet universally subordinate to men on the basis of an essential attribute (i.e., femaleness).”

                  Howdy Rebecca,

                  Can I take a crack at answering how they can both be true?

                  We are equal in value in God’s eyes (who else matters right?), but not with equal authority. We choose to submit to our husbands. If you’re being forced against your will it’s not submission.

                  Your position as a wife comes with influence power, just not veto power. Don’t underestimate the power of influence because it’s what makes the world go round. Most people are influenced by someone. By not sweating the small stuff you are in a better position to be that person for your husband.

                  It does sound like he may be controlling and that you may need to set some boundaries. Have you read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend? It sounds like you kind of have a power struggle going on. Do you think your husband is feeling insecure in his leadership and is trying to control his own fear? Might he sense your disapproval of his decisions and that makes him dig his heels in?

                  Just a few thoughts 🙂

                  • “. . . We are equal in value in God’s eyes (who else matters right?), but not with equal authority. We choose to submit to our husbands. If you’re being forced against your will it’s not submission.”

                    -Sandi, that is excellent. I do see what you are saying. Thank you so much! That was so sweet of you. -That was ALL my fault because I didn’t put enough background on that question. That was a logic question based on the first 1900 years of Christianity, more than a current practice question. I truly get the position we all currently take (RE: consensus post-modern view on submission approximately 1976 on) -but for hundreds, maybe 1900 years, that is not what the Cloud’s and Townsend’s of those days said submission meant. That is why I am very confused. -Anyway, that was very kind of you to answer that. Let’s talk something fun for a minute because we can ALL –maybe– do even better than just submitting. This is the way I look at it:

                    Penultimate Dog Dare you ALL here:

                    “I should help him” –shame based –no points
                    “I ought to help him” –guilt based –no points
                    “I want to help him” –Getting a little better! -½ point
                    “I choose to help him” –Even Better!! 1 point
                    “I like helping him!!!” –10 Points –This is where we are at in my house thanks to the Lord God cleansing my heart!!!

                    “I Should” and “I ought” is like being on a treadmill– with a carrot in front of us and a boot behind us. It is a very surface motivation that does not run deep and it dishonors the Lord. We do not/cannot have deep conviction if/when our actions are the outflowing of a bunch of shoulds/ oughts.

                    Let’s go back to not so fun: “. . .Do you think your husband is feeling insecure in his leadership and is trying to control his own fear? Might he sense your disapproval of his decisions and that makes him dig his heels in?” –No, I think, I FEEL insecure about the post-modern biblical projection of what verses mean versus historical orthodox Christianity (RE: The Cloud’s and Townsend’s of the first 1900 years of Christianity.) -Are we dealing with timeless truths or text twisting injections/ projections from our modern culture? We are so deep inside our own culture we probably can’t even accept what it meant -even if 1900 years of serious Christians told us something different. That always gets to me. I heard a “Christian” scholar last year using “culture” and “more correct translations” and “frequently misinterpreted passages that mean something completely different from the writer’s intent” to make the verses on homosexuality in the Word-of-God not mean what they seem to plainly mean (at least to centuries of Christian scholars.) If the plain sense is not correct, isn’t the whole thing just a cultural game with words? We are completely free this man said. Free to divorce. Free to remarry someone of the same sex. Free to live a life of liberty in Christ! I thought, GOOD GRIEF, nothing means anything. Is this man the Cloud or Townsend of 100 years from now? Again, we are so deep inside our culture that I have to cry out to the Lord God to see beyond it. Our own cultural world view almost demands verses mean what we mean. We see in the text what we bring to the text. The only way I can get above my cultural glasses is to look at what other serious Christians of the past said submission meant and ponder it -of course they had our same issue too. If hundreds of years of Christians who gave their very lives for Christ said it meant “X,” I have a hard time with a post-modern Christian saying it now means “Y”

                    Nice to have “met” you and I send you much love and my prayers –and forgive me for asking a question nobody could have anticipated, especially given the way I put it!

                • Rebecca:

                  We are all “one in Christ Jesus” and God is no respecter of persons. I like to look at respect as “unconditional positive regard.” That means that we regard our husbands positively. And, of course, we want “unconditional love”. However, being the imperfect creatures that we are, we will fail in our attempts to regard positively all the times and our husbands cannot love us all the time. (And some times we could be quite unlovable, and it is fine for our husbands to let us know that.) Also, our husbands can we quite dishonorable at times. We can speak up about that too, if it is necessary. Ultimately, they are accountable to God, and, ultimately, so are we. It is still really God that needs to be first (even for us women). I think I am going to go through scripture and study submission and honor. There is even a scripture about “submitting one to another.” I like your sense of humor, and us women do need to lighten up a bit sometime. For example, children are to honor their parents, and parents are to love their children. It works if both are doing their part. That simplifies it for me. Some really great discussion here. More for me to learn. Also, we are no less than our husbands. In Gods eyes (the ones that count) we are equal.

                  • mariajj2555,

                    “unconditional positive regard” –that’s excellent. That is like assuming good-will?! That makes a lot of sense to me.

                    (And some times we could be quite unlovable, and it is fine for our husbands to let us know that.) –No it’s not! . . . . ha, ha, ha. . . .Oh, how true and I just LOVE your honesty. Nothing is more frightening than a group of all men/ all women applying motivated reasoning, motivated proof texts and Group Think to make judgments about the other!

                    “. . . Also, our husbands can be quite dishonorable at times.” –Oh, you know it!!!!! States Exhibits A, B, C, and D(1) above on this post. What ever happened to us as people? -Honestly, what is the matter with men/ women at times? I see these patterns of behavior that regularly dominate, deceive, disrespect, diminish, degrade, dismiss our spouses. That is not just dishonorable –it is sinful, it is abusive. —It’s just disgraceful. . . . Evolutionary biologists have a model for why all this is happening and it explains lots of the data (–data just meaning husbands and wives behaviors) but I don’t feel safe sharing that here. I would have to lay out too many foundations –and look up and down this post I’ve said too much already. . . . ha, ha, ha. . . Also, it’s not faith affirming and I don’t believe it. –But it’s pretty solid stuff (RE: explanatory scope; explanatory power; plausibility; less ad hoc; contains fewer suppositions, et. everything).

                    You know what I think happens? (You all already know this, I’m sure.) Men and Women set up various love tests instead of just asking each other for what they need. It is our pride in not asking. He should/ she should know. If I have to tell them then, well then. . . . . . .

                    Men and Women: please don’t frustrate your spouse with dishonorable and unloving behaviors. We all see this so much where everyone gets not only tired of their marriage but totally frustrated with God’s way and they want to break free from BOTH. Please don’t do that. God loves you and your children and your husband too.

                    “It is still really God that needs to be first (even for us women).” –Oh, I just love that. I never get tired of hearing that/ seeing that lived out. -I’ve found nothing in this world so sweet as the Lord’s presence in a life laid at His feet. Our goal is God Himself, not joy, not peace, not even blessing, God Himself, to know Him.

                    BUT, instead of telling yourself you’re bad for feeling the way you do (-I want to get back at my stinkin’ husband; -Jesus was just a legend, I got nothin’; — Is there anyone who really cares about anyone else?; -Nobody really cares about anyone else, etc.) a more helpful route would be to explore WHY we feel the way we do. Once we accept our feelings (without judging them) it’s more likely that we can fully understand what’s going on and repent if need be. The psalmist asked himself a question about his own emotions. He asked, “Why are you downcast, Oh my soul?” (Psalm 42:11). The psalmist could have felt guilty about feeling depressed, after all he should be thankful that God had given him so much. But he didn’t. He simply asked himself WHY? In exploring his own feelings, he understood that he had misplaced his hope. He had put his hope in what God would do instead of who God was.

                    I (Rebecca) need to hear that again: He had put his hope in what God would DO instead of who God WAS.

                    “. . .I like your sense of humor, and us women do need to lighten up a bit sometimes.” –Ha, ha, ha, ha –Oh, I just love to rejoice and laugh and laugh and laugh. My issue is that many of these problems are really so sad and very serious and I would NEVER want to have anyone think my heart doesn’t just bleed when I hear them and that I am not seriously praying for them.

                    -Always remember, we have already won. It is FINISHED. It can’t end wrong at this point. . . . Even if at the time No One knew the meaning of the final words Jesus said (John 19:1-30). Where are my accusers, nowhere to be found (1 John 1:9, John 15:3).

                    When the storms surround me, Lord, just speak the word and, for me, they will be still; because this thirst and hunger is a longing only YOU can fill (Genesis 15:2, Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 12:29, Psalms 40:2).

                    Much love to you.

    • “How do you handle a husband who says he believes but gets very angry when confronted with the Word and his sin. How does a wife respond to a husband who has issues with everyone and gets mad when you refuse to join in his tearing people down? How do you address a person can find a speck in everyone’s else’s eye but ignores the beam in his own?”
      Have dealt with those questions too. I can so relate to trying it all as well. Some portant things I learned the hard way are that:
      First a proud man is a scoffer (proverbs 21:24).
      Second scoffers sow strife (Proverbs 28:25).
      Third we are not to correct a scoffer lest he hate us (Prov 9:7-8), for a scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise (Proverbs 15:12).
      This is why many refuse counseling.
      And why some even know the Bible but fail to get wisdom(Proverbs 14:6).
      My problem was I would try to apply Matthew 18 and” go to him” as a “brother” in Christ, but it backfired because I was correcting a proud scoffer who only ended up hating me.
      Hope this helps! It really cleared up much confusion for me.

      • It does help. You are spot on. . . I think scoffers (except when they are missing parts of their DNA –RE:NPD) are hiding behind scoffing and sowing strife (-drama, men do it too!). The scoffer wants respect and love but has been so hurt when he opened his heart in the past (many times the even the distant past) that he winds up totally isolating (. . .will not accept correction, will not go to the wise, refuses counseling, knows the Bible but fails to get wisdom.) He is distancing to protect his heart but winds up in a depression (no matter how they fake it, -its lonely “love”) because they are not allowing real love/ real life in to heal and nurture. I call it the: “OH, NO not the love moment. –Anything BUT the love!!!” Many men are just too “manly” for their own good (-and ditto women going the other way). Men need respect but GOD’S LOVE truly is the substance of LIFE. – Only REAL LOVE is what will satisfy and keep us filled!! The good news is that there is an infinite supply of LOVE readily available to us right here, right now, right in this moment. The bad news is: we keep insisting on filling our hearts with the stuff-of-nothing…. It’s like that saying “Mr. Right!?! I’ll take ‘Mr. Right Now!!’ –As simple as that sounds, and as cliché as “Mr. Right Now” is–as long as we’re choosing the temporary solution (How is that for totally obvious?) then we aren’t building up the muscles and the perseverance we need to find and keep the true solution. Physical muscles, spiritual muscles, emotional muscles, we need them all. I was thinking while praying this morning: No second chance to live it all again -now or never (1 John 3:18). Will Jesus say He even knew me?; -living through me?; – pointing others to the Way?

      • That really does help and I have thought about those scriptures at times. I have run into the same situation, that bringing up a concern seems to just fuel the fire of anger and get me into a worse situation with him……so perhaps the scripture that tes is how to live with an unbelieving husband would be better to live out. 1 Peter 3… “Without the word” …..I think that’s where I need to be at least for a time. Thank you for sharing, I’m sorry you can relate *hug*

        • It is hard that so many of us struggle with the same issues.. but that is what lead us all to find eachother and share in the pain and the joys. My husband claims catholic, but hasn’t been to a church in YEARS. Many times he also says he doesn’t believe anymore.. because he can’t handle the bad stuff that has happened.. I just pray. I try to show him with my quiet example. HE KNOWS I PRAY FOR HIM. I have just begun to learn to how to quietly and peacefully share my pain with him. I have to choose the right moment. Sometimes there isn’t one and I have to just take it to God. It is the hardest thing for me to be quiet. I am a strong powerful woman. I have no brothers and Dad raised us to be independant. I am also “the boss” at my job. Transitioning to home is hard at times. I hate giving up control!!
          Since my husband has been seeing me pray for him for the last year or so, I know I have seen little changes in him. I sure wish they were bigger, but hey, even baby steps are good!

          Hugs to all of you! The Lord is with us!

  7. “The only point of this life is to love God – to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and spirit. . . “ –pure signal, that’s the whole of it right there. . . .It is impossible unless God opens our blinded eyes to see that God’s way leads to real everything: Real life, Real sex, Real adventure, Real love. Everyone wants the short cuts that lead them straight to hell, as you would say: 50 Shades of Grey style. Those short cuts destroy your life, your sex (its almost impossible to get “men” to understand this), your adventure, your love (its almost impossible to get “women” to understand this, -me too!) I was sensing the Lord telling me yesterday: Your goal is God Himself, not joy, not peace, not even blessing, God Himself, to know Him. I was afraid, however to pray what went through my mind right then: Lord God by any road or by any cost, I want you. How do I get the strength to pray that?

    The difficulty we find in letting go is that usually we have something tangible in our hands that we think is going to bring us pleasure and happiness. When we let go of it, we do not YET have anything tangible in our hands, yet we have opened our hearts and the doors to our own freedom in Christ. This, to me, is the very essence of faith: It is the way we find our way back, to God’s heart! It always seems the problem is letting go. In letting go there is a perception of a loss. Yet in many cases it is the loss of something that is usually an illusion. Yet, what seems to be is always better than nothing, then nothing at all, right? So, like a drug that makes us high for an hour, we think, if I let go, I’ll miss out on something really valuable (-and we know better). We know that is an illusion too but we take it as true. Loss means sadness, and many of us are petrified of experiencing sadness. The reality is, by holding on we are already experiencing sadness. It is just disguised in the form of anger, depression, anxiety, perfectionism, addiction, eating disorders, you name it. We are losing our very selves. If we let go of everything but the Lord, we have nowhere to go but UP. However, we do not want to invite loss and sadness, because we think to experience sadness would immobilize us. Yet we must travel through this sadness if we want to follow Jesus, forge a new path, create a new story, and build unbreakable bonds with our REAL lost love, our Lord God. Jesus Christ said take up your cross and follow. That means your not coming back! He told me how I am supposed to live and I have no right to live any other way. That’s discipleship…He’s Lord of absolutely everything… How much of my life is defined by what the word of God says, by what Jesus says, and how much of it is defined by culture?

    Point #6 above: “Gottman trained counselor” . . . .hmmmmm. . . Why, oh why, do secular researchers know more about what works than us Christians? -Sometime, sit, seriously clear your mind, and really think about that -res ipsa loquitur!

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