Dare #4 Are you sabotaging your marriage?
You know you can set it up to succeed or fail, right? I know it takes two, yes, but when we’re thinking about our part, we need to pay attention to HOW we think about where our marriage is headed.
Are we worrying about how it might fail? Often?
Are we negative, focusing on what is wrong?
Or are we optimistic, even in difficulty, and working towards what we want?
There’s a proverb that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
We’re specific about how the vision statement is written because it propels us forward, helps us get “unstuck” from the past, if you will. I know from tons of personal experience with something as difficult to manage as weight, that when I focus on what I don’t want, I end up doing exactly that. When I instead focus on where I’m headed, I achieve that instead. I literally fight the weight battle mentally by looking toward where I want to be (and I have a 10lb range, btw) instead of thinking, “OH NO!” when it’s in the wrong spot. I get the info, then I reprogram my thoughts to think, “Here’s what’s soon to be true about me!”
Seems like a necessary thing after the holidays. 🙂 Every year. So maybe that’s something I should pay attention to… 🙂
It’s a thing – called a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” You can check some science here. We have a saying at our house, that “Whatever we pay attention to GROWS.”
And in the RESPECT DARE we pay attention to the right things.
Sometimes we’re so emotional we can’t even figure out what those are, but sometimes we get it right – with His help – and in focusing on those right things, we’re able to grow ourselves, and often our kids, and our marriages into something that glorifies God.
Lots of times there’s bumps. Conflict. Trauma. How we respond to those things matters – keep forward looking, and it helps. Dwell on what’s not the goal, well, we create that, too.
Our gloom creates doom. :/ Know what I mean?
I really believe that it is in this mindset that we allow Him to create joy out of any circumstance.
And if you want to check out Backyardmissionary’s post about the vision assignment, you can do so here. 🙂
And I love how this teen went from letting someone else’s negative opinion of her define her to NOT. Thanks to one of our Strength & Dignity class members for sharing this with me!
I think these things matter tremendously because our daughters (and our sons) are watching – and what they see is what they’ll DO, not what they hear us proselytize.
What about you? How are you doing with the “self-fulfilling prophecy?” Do you create doom or joy in your relationships? Would love to hear from you on this! If you are “Doing the DARE” with us, feel free to share your vision here! 🙂
Just to keep in line with the transparency goals here, I’m going to confess that I’m really struggling with a thing right now. I’m not ready to talk about it yet, but I could use some prayer. I appreciate you so much – am thankful that I won’t get judged for asking, and that you’ll be patient with me while I muddle through it. I’m actually practicing my own vision statement with even more intention during this time. Had to remind myself of the rules! 🙂 They’re based in Truth, and proven through science, so I am trusting and doing… even when it is hard.
Can’t wait to hear from you today!
Love to you,
P.S. I know a few of you were seriously bummed about missing the discount for the eCourse. We’ll have another group rate in March, but if you can’t wait, I put up a coupon on the sidebar to help with that if you just have to get in NOW-style. Also, Boot Camp – September 7-12, 2016. Discount through Valentine’s Day. More info HERE. 🙂 Seriously, if you lead women’s studies, and you want to do marriage ministry that makes a crazy wild lasting difference, you need to join us. Pray about it, but there’s nothing like it out there. I recently discovered that many of the same elements in Celebrate Recovery and AA (two proven programs) are in Daughters of Sarah. There’s a touch of them in RD, too, especially if you do the videos and the small group experience. The training method is unlike anything else you’ve probably done. Okay, I’ll stop now.
I get excited. 🙂 The women that keep coming back do so because they LOVE what they see God doing, too. We just want to support them. Okay, I said I’d stop…! 🙂
Why your marriage is a mess… and what to do about it #1
There’s probably a bazillion reasons why your marriage is a mess, but we’re going to start this week with a LONG and small segmented series on respect – one that will deepen our relationship with God, ourselves, and others to help you straighten things out.
And even if your marriage is NOT a mess – there’s stuff you need to know so you can help others. 🙂
It’s what I call Minutia Momentum – and it’s based off a couple of proven (and Biblical) ideas. And it’s not going to make you a doormat.
First, understand what a “Minutia Moment” is by reading this.
Then, get the skinny on Transforming Your Habits by subscribing to James Clear. He doesn’t know me, and I don’t know him, btw. He’s just a stinkin’ smart guy who understands how vitally important the tiny decisions we make every single day are.
We get freaked out when we think about the mess our marriage is in – and that freak out leads to behavior that actually makes things worse. My marriage isn’t now nor has ever been PERFECT. It’s had plenty of messy moments, some that last a while. A LONG while. I admire my husband’s approach – it’s actually a bit better than most, and totally goes against our natural tendencies. He just focuses on one small thing at a time – and over time, those small things add up to lives CHANGED.
NOT focusing on the small daily positives (positive minutia moments) often creates more problems than are fixable. Check this for the top ten ways to destroy your marriage if you want to understand some of the Gottman Institute research behind that.
Too often when a man or woman starts making changes in their marriage after things have been bad for a long time – TLTL syndrome sets in… “It’s too little, too late.” Both people need to understand that the minutia moments are the most important – if there aren’t many good ones, or if most is negative and not much effort is put into things, it’s unlikely the marriage will make it.
So we need to both give the small – and receive the small.
Because people are usually lousy skill-wise at something new – so we need to give ourselves and others TIME (and grace) for things to get easier and become more natural.
Ramping up the little positive things is often the best thing people can do. If your marriage is in a state where Gottman’s four horsemen of the apocalypse are present, however, you need immediate triage. That starts with apology. And probably a Gottman counselor (85+% success rate with couples as compared to 20% traditional counseling. Spend the money. GO.)
We’re going to assume you don’t need triage, however. (If you do, leave a question in the sidebar and we’ll get to it in September).
And stick with me to the end here, so you can chime in on how often you want the experience of what we’re about to start (although if you’ve been doing the dare journey with us, you’ve already started!)
So here’s what we’re going to do. James Clear talked about how adding just a little weight each day to his workout made it easy to have an end result weeks later that was actually a lot more weight – this works in relationships, too, and it’s part of the reason Daughters of Sarah and The Respect Dare book work.
We’re going to stop listening to our nature:
And after that, we’re going to take small, consistent baby steps toward respecting God, ourselves, and others, and we’ll see our relationships start to change.
Small, doable steps, done daily, over time – minutia moments + time = momentum.
So I’m going to toss out SMALL Minutia Moment sized dares for you – ones that will change your relationships if done consistently over time. They’re Biblically based. 🙂 Research supported. Legit.
I’m going to get started Wednesday morning this week – you can join me, and I’d encourage you to bring a friend or two as we have learned that peer pressure can be a good thing if it’s encouragement toward the right behavior.
We are wired this way for a reason and we can use this social influence to our benefit if we will but seek out the influences that encourage us in the direction we want to go. We have seen the famous Asch Experiment repeated in multiple demographics and it always turns out the same – people will knowingly go with a crowd, even if the crowd is obviously wrong.
Wise women surround themselves with people who have the same goals as they do.
In other words, if you want to turn your marriage around, stop hanging out with the women who are busy husband-bashing. Stop spending so much time with people who are divorced or having marriage issues and thinking about divorcing.
Surround yourself with STRONG WOMEN. Seriously – and I mean strong as in, “I’m not giving up on this, God means all this for good, and I’m going to do my best to bring glory to God no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.”
Why? It literally can be as simple as: if you want to get divorced, hang out with divorced people. If you want to get fat, hang out with fat people. It’s called conformity.
We’re wired this way. Purposefully.
And we can use it to our benefit.
Frankly, my ego is a little damaged by how simple this is, but God knew what He was doing – we just need to listen and use it to our best interest. (His best interest for us!!) That’s why the Bible tells us to avoid angry people or we’ll become just like them.
Other people are CONTAGIOUS.
Their thoughts, their habits, their lifestyles, even the way they look… So be wise in who you pick for “besties.”
(And I’m not saying dump your friends when they hit a rough patch – everyone has them. I’m saying have 3 solid friends who will love you enough to tell you the truth regardless of what it is.)
If you are currently doing the new dare journey with us, you’ll see this fits right in and is intended to carry us through to the next thing. I know some of you are doing groups with that, and this should fit into your groups with just a little tweaking. Please forgive me for being inconsistent with it – long story short, there were things I didn’t know I didn’t know. But we’re moving forward now. 🙂
So what do you think? How have you seen small things impact your relationships? Are there small things that are done or not done that over time have caused issues? What do you think about turning this direction as we keep working through the dare process?
And here’s one more big question – how often do you want to talk about this? Is 2-3 times a week too much?
Can’t wait to talk about these things with you this week! 🙂 Give me a little grace on the timing of my responses – have a deadline with my publisher… 🙂 (Can’t wait to tell you about it, too! 🙂 )
Love to you,
If you are just joining us, these might be of interest, too:
If you got this as an email forward from a friend who cares about you and your family, know we’d love YOU to join us on this journey. You can join the journey, get marriage TIPS! articles, a free copy of my latest eBook to help with your marriage, and other marriage info here. We promise not to share your email with anyone, ever. You’ll get just one or two TIPS! articles a week, plus a blog post as they come, usually 1-2 a week.
Friends, we are seeing glory revealed – and the load seems a little lighter because of YOU – THANK YOU!!
You have been so so patient with me as I spend most of my time doing life and getting our team ready for Boot Camp. I promise we’ll get back to marriage advice and the new dare journey when Boot Camp is over. 🙂
And I don’t deserve your grace, but I appreciate it so much!
So THANK YOU.
The other day, I was delighted to see the prayers, and sensed His presence as I read through them. We are still eager for blessing and encouragement, so if you want to leave a prayer, there’s still time! We STILL have registrations trickling in for Boot Camp – and God is already bringing 3 times the number of women we had last year to learn how to deeply and forever-style impact women. The method we use really IS like nothing most people have ever seen before. 🙂
These gorgeous women are devoted to serving Him Titus 2-style, and we’re humbled to help. Most of them plan to run a Daughters of Sarah or Respect Dare class this fall. I can’t wait to hear their stories. 🙂 I can’t wait to get to know them better! 🙂
I can’t wait to hear how they partner with God as He brings an end to destruction and increases communication and connection in marriages. 🙂 All while growing closer to Him. 🙂
And I know they will need prayer coverage.
OH BOY DO I EVER KNOW. 🙂
So please, don’t stop praying. 🙂
We covet your prayers now until Sunday morning. I am so thankful for our official prayer team (you can join, too!), but I am grateful for the emails, the prayers in the comments here, and the messages on Facebook.
You are beautiful.
We feel the impact of your time with Him.
I feel it.
(we are praying too, but we are also working like crazy. 🙂 )
We’ll keep you posted as we can through out the training or after. 🙂 And I promise I’ll get back to the dare journey again. Thank you for your patience! 🙂
So please don’t stop praying – because we’ve learned from experience that the enemy likes to devour people after a spiritually awesome experience. I’ve seen too many things to not pay serious heed to that.
Eyes wet, heart full-style, I am just so very grateful for you.
Love to you,
and… if you want to leave a prayer, please do so! Thank you!
How do we have such a healthy identity in Christ that we’re able to respect ourselves? And teach our daughters to do the same?
One of the things we’re going to talk a lot about in this journey (where we started here) is our relationship with ourselves. I know that sounds a little weird, “relationship with myself?” Do I mean talking to myself?
Actually, yes, but not in the out-loud- crazy-lock-me-up-style way.
Every time we experience anything, particularly within relationship, we tell ourselves a little story or make an evaluation. Usually these evaluations are about who we are – and they are often based on mis-perception.
You know what I mean, you’re at the mall, picking up a few things to wear with a friend, and you see a group of girls on the other side of the aisle, walking and laughing.
And you think you saw a few of them look at you and your friend.
What goes through your head? Bet it isn’t, “Oh, they’re probably just looking at the store I just walked by,” or “They were probably looking at the cute guy in front of us.” More likely, it’s something like, “Are they laughing at me? My friend? The two of us together?”
And you can see how easy it is for our thoughts to begin to run away with us. And then we’re not respecting ourselves – from that very first thought.
One of the biggest mistakes we women of all ages make is wrapping our identity up in the opinions of the people around us. We see it all the time – moms living vicariously through their kids, wives idolizing marriage or their husband, kids looking to their parents or friends to define who they are, or maybe work or position contributes to our perception of who we are.
We are actually wired from birth as newborns to look to mom first for how we fit into the world – babies will seek out faces over any other object right away. Mom communicates whether we are worthy of attention by smiling, making eye contact, attending to needs; or she communicates a lack of worth by neglect, or worse, abuse. We grow up looking to others for our identity. We look to others for acceptable social behavior and we often copy that. We strive to be in the popular crowd at school, in the neighborhood, where we work, etc.
Research shows that our surroundings and our friends have more influence on us than we are aware of. Want to lose weight? Hang out with skinny people (unless they’re skinny over-eaters). Want to be more fit? Yep, befriend a few joggers in the neighborhood. It works the other way, too – want to get off meth? Move away from your drug dealing friends.
Don’t you think this social friend influence shows up worst and first in junior high? *insert eye roll* You know what I mean – the “in crowd” deciding what is cool and what’s not. When we stand back as adults and look at some of the things that were so “necessary” when we were that age… it is ridiculous. The most popular girl at my school had our entire class rolling their lips into a funny position and saying, “Moi!” – then one day, she decided it was over, and you became “so last week” if you were caught doing it.
Deep within us is a God-given desire to feel accepted, loved, important. The world fills us with false notions of how to make those feelings happen. Most women wrap their identity up in what boys and their friends think of them.
Yes, He wired us to crave something, but that something isn’t food and it isn’t men. It’s Him.
We are supposed to focus on what GOD thinks of us, dwelling on how He sacrificed His Son to pay the price for our sin. Who loves like that?
No one loves like that.
Who in your life would you die for? If you are a mom, that’s an easy answer.
If you’re not a mom, can you think of someone you love enough to die for? Who is it?
Would you die for a stranger?
Would you do it for people who hated you at the time?
God’s plan of relationship with us involved putting His own Son, Who was also Himself, Son and God in one, along with the Holy Spirit, on the cross, to suffer and die, making the payment for our sins. Before He did it, however, He asked His Dad, God, if there could be another way… and we know there wasn’t.
Would you sacrifice the one you loved most in the most painful way imaginable to save the world – even if it was your own child, and he asked you not to?
Man. As a parent, I just can’t even imagine.
And I wonder what God thinks when instead of seeking more of Him, we waste all this time trying to be “cool” and wrap our identity up in what other people think of us, when He did this HUGE THING with His Son to help us be in The. Most. Amazing. Relationship.
To the extent that we “get it” – that’s the depth of our relationship with Him. And the coolest thing ever is simply this: there’s always more to Him. You cannot ever get bored with God, once you know Him. And you can always grow deeper.
That’s the point of this life – to learn to love Him, and as a result, His people.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like you get it yet. Most people start off knowing “about” God instead of truly knowing Him. Like any relationship, however, the more time you spend with Him, the more you share who you are with Him, the more you listen to Him, the more you know Him. Add to that worship and praise, and you’ve got yourself a relationship that’s a romance like no other.
And it’s okay if you don’t get it yet.
I’m here to help with that.
It takes a while.
The following is from my blog post entitled, “Who Am I?” at NinaRoesner.com. Very simply, it’s a number of verses that help us discern identity in the way God wants us to understand that He is the One Who defines us – not anyone else.
Here’s an excerpt (and I really recommend chewing and journaling on each Truth as you work through them, thinking in terms of “what does this mean to me, personally?”):
God wants to talk to me any time I want to talk to Him, and I can approach Him with confidence because of Jesus. Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
No one can judge or condemn me. Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
God has a plan for good things for me, regardless of what I am going through right now. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God has a plan for me, and listens to me, and allows me to find Him when I look for Him. Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I am made in God’s own image, and a joint heir with Christ. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Galatians 4:6-7 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, ” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I am a saint. Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ their Lord and ours:
I am righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Through Jesus, my work will have a lasting effect. John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
I am made new and am a reconciler and ambassador for God and His people. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
What About You?
Will you join me in prayer?
Dear God, Your Word tells me that I am worth a great price, and have been purchased with Your own Son. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” God, thank You for making me. Help me understand the depth and width of that. Help me understand what it means to be worth so much to You that if I were the only person on the planet, You would still have sent Christ just for me.
Help me remember that I am pursued, sought after, precious, honored, loved, wooed and worthy of nations by You. Lord, You are the Lover of my soul, the One who knows me, who created me, the One who formed me. Isaiah 43:1, 4 (NIV) But now, this is what the LORD says — He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine … Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. How is it possible that I am worth that much to You? How does that great of love even exist? You are love, Father. Help me get it, help me get You. Help me in my unbelief! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
• How did today speak to you as you read through the thoughts about identity? Could you relate? How?
• Have you ever thought about being identified by what God thinks about you? What are you doing instead, if you’re not currently doing that?
• What about the verses? Do you struggle believing those things about yourself? Why do you think that is?
• How did you feel as you prayed?
• What, if anything, did He reveal to you as we did this today? What A-Ha! did you have today?
Dare you to seriously consider what God did for you. Write yourself a letter about how He feels about you – and how you want to live in response. Double dog dare you to share today your responses to the above below – it will help others feel like part of our community here.
Be sure to comment on others’ responses in an encouraging way – if you’ve taken our eCourse, you are familiar with this type of encouragement experience.
By the way, we have a new group starting this week – if you are a married woman and haven’t done our eCourse, you should, especially if you haven’t got a group nearby that you can join. We’re doing something really special this round – I absolutely LOVE this – Sandi, the “Dean of Respect Dare University,” and I are doing these 15-30 minute calls each week and I’ll be answering questions – this round only. I hope you’ll join us – we have a bunch of women who already got in this week, I think they’re planning on Dare #1 for Monday.
Love to you,
Oh, and if you got this as an email forward from a friend who cares about you and your family, know we’d love YOU 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, a free copy of my eBook, 101 Ways to Respect Your Husband, and other marriage info here. I’ll be taking down the 101 Ways eBook in the next week or so and putting up a new eBook, so grab it while you can. We promise not to share your email with anyone, ever. You’ll get just one or two TIPS! articles a week, plus a blog post as they come, usually 1-2 a week.
If you are just joining us, these might be of interest, too:
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?
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.
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.
Do you know what I mean? Let me know if you do!
So choose this day whom you shall serve.
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,
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.
Her husband is angry again.
He paces back and forth in the bedroom, looking for his belt, his hand running through his hair. His face wears anxiety. Worry furrows his brow.
“Can I help you with anything?” she asks.
“I can’t tell you anything because you will think I’m telling you that you’re a bad wife, so I can’t ask you for help finding my belt – and then you’ll just get mad at me because I didn’t put it away and I never pick up my clothes and it will be all about how I need to change and be better,” he says. His words fly out of his mouth with disdain and contempt, dripping accusation onto her heart.
She wonders silently to herself, a little confused, but familiar with the misperception toward her. She used to get upset at these outbursts aimed at her or whoever else might be handy, but she has been spending regular time with God for a long time, so her sight is clearer in this moment, and she can see what is true.
And what he says is not true. She has owned these things in the past, but that was nearly 20 years ago when his losing something would make her think he was irresponsible, or his comment would result in her feeling like she should be picking his clothes up off the floor for him. She realized years ago, however, that those attitudes were the sin of judgment – toward him and herself. They were sin. She’s been different for a long time, nearly two decades, actually, but he can’t see it.
She thinks maybe the accusations come from old tapes, but none originate from things she’s actually saying (or even thought) or how she actually felt in many years. She also usually does not feel inadequate at all, thankfully. She knows the Father’s Truth for her: she’s a sinner saved by grace, not perfect, but she also does her best, tries to improve, and makes mistakes and apologizes for them. She wishes her husband did not come up with these negative ideas about her, and sometimes, when she fields more than several from him in a day toward her and their kids, she is worn from the onslaught of accusation…but in this one moment, she knows she can’t control his thoughts.
Unfortunately, his words toward her nearly daily are negative. Prescriptive. Accusing.
His communication toward her in small ways repeatedly communicates he thinks she is insincere, uncaring, unloving, and even hateful toward him. He doubts her love and affection for him – and as a result, rejects her efforts toward him. But daily, she still keeps trying, obeying God in how she treats him.
At her core, she knows he doesn’t feel worthy of positive anything from anyone, not just her. She has watched him reject affection and kindness from others, attributing their behavior to heinous motives instead of receiving gifts of God’s love through His people. She feels sad for him. How alone must he feel? Her prayer for years has been that he deeply receive God’s love, fall in love with Christ and see himself the way the Father sees Him. So far, God seems to not be answering, or maybe she can’t see through her own hurt, too. She is not sure.
As her thoughts dwell on past failures with him, she begins to long for something different for them both for a moment. His words combined with the twist in her own thoughts begin the sting. Tears well. She begins to feel the accusation threatening to crush her heart. “What’s true, Father?” her soul cries out.
Love is true. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love speaks the truth, gently, with intent to restore.
So what is true? She knows he loves her, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. She knows she loves him, too, so in this moment, she will choose to act on that, instead of taking his words personally and being hurt by them.
And she doesn’t sense the leading to confront his sin against her in this moment. She remembers. The accuser wants to blame, to criticize, to judge. The accuser wants her to be useful to him. She knows that like her husband, she has also been useful to the accuser, the enemy.
She could join him now in blaming her husband and justifying her hurt – but that is also not being loving.
She refuses to receive accusation – toward herself or her husband.
She refuses the invitation to join the accuser in discouragement, despair, anger, hurt, and resentment.
She refuses the invitation to battle with her husband.
She receives Love.
She accepts that she is precious, even though someone is not treating her as such right now.
She accepts God’s invitation to join Him in a place of peace.
And her heart calms. She then invites her husband to join her in that same peace.
“I’m so sorry you are having trouble finding your belt – but know I’m just wanting to help. I’m not upset at all about you not knowing where it is… Please know I don’t feel responsible for your stuff, and yeah, I do put it away sometimes, but I’m not judging you or myself about your belt. Which one is it? Can I help you find it?” she inquires. “It’s not your problem,” he says, sighing, and wanders off.
She owns none of this and goes about her next task, wondering if her husband received her love, knowing he at least received the invitation to join her in peace. True, he refused her help, but he also refused to continue to be useful to the enemy and continue the battle toward her.
He who seeks good finds good will, but evil comes to him who searches for it.
In the midst of the many moments of a day, we are repeatedly presented with THE CHOICE.
In just a few seconds, we either choose to walk the path of the enemy, or the path of Christ. If we are “prayed up” and “read up” (meaning we’ve had regular devotional time with God – reading the Bible, listening to Him, and sharing with Him our struggles and requests) we have a greater opportunity to see things through what we call the Lens of the Holy Spirit – seeing the way God sees.
We are not as easily deceived.
It’s Philippians 4:8 in action: whatever is true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and excellent – think about these things. That verse is the theme of our ministry, Greater Impact. It is also my “life verse” and has been instrumental in changing all of my relationships in positive ways, including my relationships with God, myself, and others, especially my husband. When I look at Dare 26 from The Respect Dare, I can see another verse coming to life in both the book, and the story above.
I also see the reviewers who criticize The Respect Dare on Amazon or on their blogs differently than I may have in the past. I just feel sad for them as they pen their own accusations. They don’t get it. They see respecting our husbands as being a doormat, when in fact, it is not. I wonder if they believe that demanding better treatment from anyone actually works? Has it for you? I know it has not for me, or others. Marriage provides a strengthening context where we learn to not be selfish, pull together, and are not alone – if we’ll but do it God’s way.
But when our heart is at war with God, no truth can penetrate. They misunderstand me and misperceive the words He had me write – I’m not endorsing second-class citizenship for women, but rather freedom from our own sins of judgment, which shows up as self-justification and blame. Love instead of hateful behaviors that destroy relationship. Speaking the truth in love, not lying to “keep the peace” – and in the lie, the peace is not actually kept, but rather the deceiver wins another round, causing anger within us as we betray ourselves, our God, and others.
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
~ 1 Corinthians 1:10
The story in the book talks also about the Biblical concept of “submission.” There’s more going on here, however, than initially meets the eye. The more I come to know God, the more I understand that as we grow as followers of Christ, we naturally become more open to receiving Truth from other followers of Him.
I also fully embrace the Truth that women are not second-class citizens, but that we are told specifically to submit to our husbands because we are going to be less inclined to naturally do so. And submission isn’t what we think it is. I used to think the verse above in Corinthians meant I was to be a doormat and just go along with whatever anyone else said, laying down my own opinion. I used to think the concept of submission meant the same thing – except applied to my husband.
I was wrong.
Thankfully, God revealed that to me before I started blogging. 🙂
And lest you think I’m spewing heresy, understand I’m not the only one to claim this is true. Dr. Larry Crabb and others also speak to these in a number of writings.
What if “agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you” and being “united in mind and thought” meant that we wanted God’s best in the middle of a situation?
What if you could agree in such a way that you could still communicate that you had a different opinion without causing division?
THAT’S what I’m talking about here. Do you see the difference?
What if we were:
- OPEN to understanding that we are not perfect ourselves, and therefore OPEN to God’s Best, which might mean that we might be wrong, or that the “solution” was a combination of our husband’s thought and ours – not specifically either person’s alone!
- CLOSED to “owning” accusation from the enemy
- OPEN to whatever the solution might be because we are OPEN to God, and OPEN to other people?
Being “open” to other people means that we can disagree without creating division. Does this make sense to you? Do you see the difference from being a doormat and being agreeable while disagreeing?
It’s disagreeing in an agreeable way, if you will.
It’s being agreeable, even as we in an gentle but “open to the person as precious to God” disagree.
It’s caring more about the person than we do about being right, even if it ends up that God’s best sides with our opinion.
It’s submitting to God’s best first, and in doing so, submitting to peace, not battle, with our husband. Even if he is at war with you, your kids, or anyone (or everyone!) in his life. Even if this shows up as anger, which it often does. … So here are the 6 Ways to Overcome Your Husband’s Anger:
- Know the Father – daily time with His Word, the Bible, then listening and praying. It’s the most important 15-60 minutes you can spend in a day, even if it is broken out into 5 minute increments. It’s an investment that pays off more than you will know this side of heaven. It will teach you how He loves you – which deeply changes 100% of your relationships, especially your relationship with yourself, which spills over into all others.
- Obey His Word – even when you don’t fully understand it. I’ve struggled through submission, respect, grace, forgiveness, apology, love, etc., and still do – but trying to obey creates a vertical growth curve in which you can truly know Him – and you’ll start hearing His voice and seeing Him everywhere.
- Be Thankful – there’s no room in a heart of entitlement for peace. Failure to be deeply moved and grateful indicates a heart battling against others and God, a disagreeable heart, a heart with idols.
- Refuse to receive accusation or dish justification of your own behavior or blame towards others. Those are calling cards of the enemy. ANY TIME we are engaging in those behaviors, we are useful to him.
- Speak Truth in a gentle, open, agreeable way – like our girl above did.
- Daily create positive small communications in your marriage – take inventory and take action. Recent research by Shaunti Feldhahn indicates that the happiest couples believe the best about each other, instead of doubting sincerity, or hurling accusations about one another’s motives. Her research also indicates that it is the “little things” that matter most. We have a list of those for men and one for women to help you. The daily dishing of negatives usually involve contempt, which is present in most couples miserable enough to file for divorce, according to research by Dr. John Gottman. Bottom line? Assume the best, toss the rest, and daily dish small positives.
I’m glad you are on the journey with me! I hope you will subscribe to the blog on the sidebar – know we never give out your email to anyone for any reason. I also hope you’ll join us via email to receive tips about how to have a healthy and happier marriage:
Love to you! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this today!
Today’s Dare always gives me pause.
Truth is, when negative sentiment over-ride has created a place within a marriage, the wife often can’t translate what her husband actually DOES into a positive character trait.
Often these folks are headed for separation or divorce and don’t even realize it.
I’ve talked with too many wives who have said, “He goes to work,” and not realized that he’s providing for his family.
Even more that say, “Well, he practices baseball with our son,” and can’t see that he’s trying to be a good dad.
Even more women are seriously stumped when these questions are asked about themselves.
Today, I’m daring you (double-dog-style) to ask God to help you live His Word from three verses today:
Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.
Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above, and not on earthly things.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
I added the italics to emphasize one thing: we have some control over what we think about. And if God is going to tell us what to think about, we should pay attention.
So what are YOU thinking about?
This is one of the few things I know that will change a marriage – how you interpret another. If you decide he’s all bad, if you think YOU are all bad, then you aren’t seeing what is true – look for the Holy Spirit’s way of seeing things. And no, I’m not saying we’re not sinners in need of a Savior, what I’m saying is that there are reasons that God loves us – and His Spirit within us is good. LOOK for that. Think about that.
Dare ya. 🙂
Tomorrow we’ll talk about something even more powerful – because just sharing the positives isn’t going to completely overhaul your marriage – there’s more. 🙂
Where are YOU at today with these things? What lies are you believing about yourself or your husband that influence your interactions? Would love to hear from you on these things now – please comment below about where you’re at. 🙂
Know that I’m personally glad you are on the journey with us. We’re blogging our way through The Respect Dare book and hope you’ll subscribe and pick up the journey with us!
Love to you,
It was 35 years ago. I stood outside the police station with a group of 12 year olds, waiting for things to get started. As I watched my dad drive away in the car, my heart started to pound. The police officer outside started collecting the permission slips from the other kids…and I realized mine was still sitting on the table in the kitchen.
What to do? We’d been looking forward to this for WEEKS.
My face grew hot as I worried about being the only kid who didn’t get to shoot that night.
I looked around, and saw lights on and people moving in the house across the street from the police station. I bolted out of line, crossed the street, and ran up the front steps and rang the doorbell.
I needed to use the phone.
I wouldn’t get to shoot and finish hunters safety if I didn’t get my permission slip.
Yes, I was a tomboy, Yes, I grew up in the West, and NO, I wasn’t the only girl. And Yes, I was/am a great shot.
I knew they were home. I saw them a minute ago. Why weren’t they answering the door? So I rang it again.
Finally, a girl about my age answered the door. “Uh, yeah?” she said.
“Can I use your phone to call my parents?” I asked.
“Um, sure…it will take me a while to find it,” she replied.
I walked in behind her.
There were three adults in the family room, all watching television. I think it was the Andy Griffith Show.
And the TV picture was in black and white.
Yes, I am that old.
And I watched her climb over piles of laundry, books, dishes, food wrappers, boxes, and I don’t even know what…to get to the wall, where the phone was plugged in.
Obviously this was a while ago, back when all we had were land lines.
And no one thought twice about going to a stranger’s house.
She found the cord, and followed it under the piles of stuff. I called my parents.
None of the adults even looked away from the television to acknowledge that I was there.
The girl and I talked for a while.
I never asked her why she didn’t go to school where I did.
And I never saw her again.
I got to shoot that night, but I remember less about that than I do about this girl’s home.
And now, in the world we live in today, there’s a name for folks like this and even a TV show or two about them.
We in the west make light of the many serious issues our gluttony causes – we lightly refer to them as, “first world problems.”
And I’m not exempt – I have too many dishes, too many pairs of black shoes, too much makeup, and I’ve kept too much STUFF that I don’t need over the years.
And this year for Christmas, when I was asked what I wanted, I said, “I want someone else to get chickens.” I want my own chickens, actually, but I can’t have them in my subdivision. So I wanted someone else to have chickens. And regardless of what you think about the controversy with World Vision about a month ago, they took chickens to people in another country for my son as a gift to me.
And it made us both happy.
Because honestly, I would rather have things that money can’t buy – time with the people I love to pieces.
There’s never enough of that.
And I don’t really need anything else.
And who has too much love in their life?
But having said that, a friend of mine on our ministry team sent me the plaque below – it has my life verse on it. And it makes me exquisitely happy. WAAAAYYY happy.
And the best thing? I don’t get to see her that often because she lives in Georgia. So every time I see this, it makes me ridiculously happy and helps me think the best-est of things – about her, about my life, about everything He gives us.
So understand I’m not saying to be uber-minimalist.
But I am saying to be careful where you store up your treasures – because that’s where your heart will be. Matthew 6:21
Dare ya to get rid of some things and get a tax deduction. Double dog dare you to share what you’re getting rid of… 🙂
And if you are around Tuesday morning (April 29), we’d love to have you at Horizon Church in Newtown for our last video session for Daughters of Sarah! We’ll have coffee (thanks to a special donor!!) at 10am, and get things started around 10:30am and be done between noon and 12:30pm.
You can be part of our live studio audience. And I will have a very special personal invitation for YOU at the end. I hope you’ll come. Maybe I won’t be so nervous about getting it right! 🙂
If you are parenting small people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner. Come join the discussion!
Love to you,
The marriages all start out the same – big party, gobs of joy, intense happiness.
And about 2-3 years in, I’m getting a phone call or email from the bride.
She’s lost her joy and wondering what to do about it.
I know when it happened to me, I was surprised, shocked, and miserable. I literally thought I had married the wrong person.
Thankfully, I was wrong about that!
We spend a lot of time talking about how to walk through our marriage in a way God intends for us here, and there are many things one should consider before getting married…
These are just a few that jumped off the page to me today.
Three things you should know if you are considering marriage:
- 1 Corinthians 7:28 lets you know you will have trouble if you get married – someone in your life might be trying to tell you that. You should listen. The way you feel now is going to “wear off” as the “infatuation stage” dissipates for nearly all couples sometime between 6 months and 18 months after marriage. Yeah, I know, you’re probably young, believe it won’t happen to you, and because your frontal lobe (the part of your brain that facilitates common sense) isn’t fully developed until ages 25-27, you think you know better. Okay. Come back in a few years. I’ll be praying for you. 🙂
- You should not get married to someone who does not follow Christ. 2 Corinthians 6:14 is pretty clear – and understand, when you have the “trouble” mentioned above, it’s worse when your husband or wife doesn’t have faith as a basis for decision making. We see this frequently – it’s worth talking about and making certain you and your future spouse will have the same foundation upon which to do life.
- Check your spouse’s level of anger before you get married. Proverbs 22:24-25 tells you not to even associate with someone easily angered – these folks are not just contagious as the verse says, but immature – you’ll become like them. Understand that what causes someone to get angry is a significant reflection of a person’s character and maturity. This means be engaged for at least two years like Dr. Kevin Leman recommends, so you can see your potential mate in a number of different circumstances. Know you can’t change this person, btw. If parents who have known and cared for him/her better than you do at the moment haven’t been able to facilitate growth for this person, what makes you think you can change him or her? It doesn’t happen – and if this is a 2nd or 3rd marriage for either of you, understand that your chances of success are even less likely, statistically speaking. Listen to your friends and family. They aren’t caught up in infatuation. 🙂
What about you? How have you dealt with some of these things? I know some of us married unbelievers and angry men anyway, and many of us are dealing with the troubles!
And God is good all the time, isn’t He? He means it for our good – so how has good come out of your situation? Dare you to share today, and maybe join us by subscribing as we journey through The Respect Dare together, learning how we can turn things around and find our joy again. 🙂 We’re on Dare 14 this week, but we’re just doing one a week, so just jump in – you’ll get caught up in no time! 🙂
If you are parenting small people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner. Come join the discussion!
And PLEASE keep us in our prayers as we walk through the next steps of finishing the work for the video version of Daughters of Sarah!! We’re back in the studio this week. I can speak to large groups of people, but the camera… not my favorite!
Love to you,