But He is NOT Responsible!!
Yesterday on the blog, we had the following question from Geena:
So in my case is “respect” allowing him to make decisions even though everything inside me is screaming against it? Even though my instincts and logic say no? Do I respect him by allowing him to put our family at financial peril and risk losing our home? What does it look like?
I started to reply to her, and realized there was a ton of great info that might be of help to more than just her here, so I created a post about it. First of all, know our hearts go out to you if you are in a similar circumstance. SO sorry you are here, praying with you for guidance. Perhaps you haven’t heard what God teaches some of His women…if you haven’t, maybe this will be of some help. Given that the number one reason people divorce in the US is money issues – we’ve come up with a suggested formula for Christian marriage improvement: Dave Ramsey + Respect Dare = Better Marriages that Last.
Old Mothering/Controlling/Unwise/Immature Way:
He says: “I’m going to buy that (whatever it is that I want but can’t afford right now).”
You say: “Are you kidding me? Don’t you care that we owe Visa $2500? Where do you think that money’s coming from? Don’t you think about anything but yourself?”
The end result – argument started. Anger ensues on both sides. Feelings are hurt, damage is done to the relationship. Both people feel resentful.
He’s thinking: “Who does she think she is? I work hard. She can’t talk to me like that! I’ll do whatever I want. Why doesn’t she respect me?”
She’s thinking: Well, she said that. And “I’m scared to death! Why won’t he take care of me?! Why won’t he act like a grown up instead of a little boy?”
New Equal/Wise/Mature Way:
He says: “I’m going to buy that (whatever it is that I want but can’t afford right now).”
You say: “Oh! The one you’ve been looking at for weeks? The red one?”
**This is a respectful response, AND, you’ve just avoided Respect Mistake #1: Having a Harsh Startup in your response.
He says: “Yeah, isn’t it sweet? It will (do this wondrous thing that makes me feel awesome)!”
You say: “Oh, yeah, you are right about that…I can just see you doing (wondrous thing) and looking really hot while doing it!”
**This is a respectful response because you affirmed him as a man, AND you just avoided Respect Mistake #2: Being argumentative in your response.
He says: “You know it! 🙂 K. So I’m off to go get it!”
You say: “Hey, baby, I totally understand why you want to get (that thing you love) and I really DO think you would look just awesome (driving it, wearing it, whatever) (make sure all of that is sincere – there but for the grace of God goes you, remember?) …one thing I’m really struggling with is if now is the right time to get it. I know how hard you work and I know how cool it would be to have it, and I’m really struggling with spending money on that when we can’t make the house payment this month (or whatever it is). I really want you to have it, but I also know you want to take care of us – and I don’t think I could sleep at night if you got it now – can we just wait a little while? Maybe pray about it for a few days – I’m sure God will help us both, here. Will you do that for me?”
He says: “Oh, yeah…I guess so…”
You say: “Oh, honey, you make me feel so well-loved right now. I know you’ll do the right thing.” (smile/squeeze/kiss/hug/etc.)
**This is a respectful response because you empathized with his position, showed him you were his number one fan, regarded his efforts highly, and communicated your concerns, which gives him a high calling to rise up to, then asked a question he’s apt to say, “yes,” to.
Don’t you like to be affirmed? Or do you prefer having others “correct” you when you are wrong? Wouldn’t you rather have empathy and compassion instead of direct argument and disagreement? Don’t you prefer having others think highly of you?
If things do not go this way, and you’ve done everything above, then just like Sarah, you know God may use this situation to teach either you, or him, or both, a lesson. OR, God may have a third option that He wants to work out, one which neither of you had considered. Regardless, you do not have to be afraid, because you are obeying God. The above suggestions are Biblical in nature. Here’s why:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 We see this in both the first and second mistakes. If you begin by arguing, he’s going to dig in his heels and respond defensively – even if he realizes he’s wrong. Here’s why. Lastly, we are told, “Do not lie to each other,” in Colossians 3:9, so you should share that you are concerned about the house payment, but not in a nasty way. We are told Jesus “had compassion” multiple times in Scripture – and should likewise because it is Christ-like and treats people lovingly, kindly. We are also called to “build each other up” instead of tearing one another down in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Research in “For Women Only,” by Shaunti Feldhahn shows that men need to know they are needed, especially if you are a capable woman who also earns an income. Proverbs 26:5 tells us to deal with ‘fools’ according to their folly, so asking a question respectfully, but one which he can easily say, “yes” to fits there.
God is going to grow both of you. Just because we might do things differently doesn’t mean we are always right. And treating someone like a child – even if he’s acting like one – only generates more immature behavior – in both people… two wrongs do not make a right.
Sometimes we need ask ourselves if we have what it takes to be an Israelite. Would you wander the desert, not knowing where you would lay your head, find your next meal, or whether you would have any comforts? Or must you have all these things of this world? What if God meant for you to lay down your comforts for the soul of one of your children? Would you do that? Would you do the same for each of your kids? Of course you would.
Would you do it for another adult who doesn’t know Him?
I don’t know about you, but that’s the question that slays me.
And it speaks volumes of our relationship with Him. Do we have the mind and heart of Christ?
Are we living this life for what we can get out of it for ourselves, or to be useful for the Audience of One? For His glory? Or for our own?
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.
Don’t buy the lie that you are somehow “less than” him or “second class” because there is suffering in your life – the Christian life is fraught with suffering. Christ did NOT say, “Hop on my yacht and party with me!” He said, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” And 11 of the 12 disciples were murdered for their faith. This is not an easy road – stop expecting it to be.
And sometimes, after having a number of the above conversations and being met with no progress and continued worsening behavior, God may say, “Time for Matthew 18.” That’s the godly way we confront our brother’s sin against us. And our hearts have to be in a place of kindness, compassion, and love to do so effectively. Often, this is harder than the original situation we’re dealing with, as it’s done in escalating circumstances – with people to witness what you say to him and hold him accountable. Choose those people well, if you are in that situation.
Dare you to beg God for wisdom today. Double dog dare you to read a Proverb daily for the date – if today’s the 5th, you read Proverbs 5. Triple dog dare you to learn to walk in wisdom and do so in front of your daughters – so they also learn. I don’t know about you, but these mentors were missing in my life. Don’t you want to be that kind of woman for the young ladies around you? Sign up for Dave Ramsey, too. Totally worth it. (and no, I don’t get anything for mentioning him – it’s just really good).
Love to you,
My husband I are going through something similar to this. Reading this I see how wrong I was.I love my husband. He left me Friday morning around 1am and won’t talk to me. I’m so heart broke. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Oh, baby. These are difficult days indeed. So very sorry to hear of this.
Get to a library or bookstore asap. Get Michelle Weiner-Davis’ “Divorce Remedy” and start reading. Know you are not alone. Prayers for you…
Sent from my smart phone…please excuse the typos and brevity. 😀
Thank you very much for this response. Yet at least for the moment this seems impossible….as Colleen said my husband is being quite impulsive these days and I’ve gone to some extreme measures to avoid not making ends meet. Case in point? He went to see a friend, which turned into a night out and spent $100+ on alcohol which we really, really didn’t have. Of course I was mad….who wouldnt be? The next day, with his permission, I took the check book and credit card. Is this an ideal solution? Of course not ….I do not WANT to be responsible for everything, yet when your spouse acts out like a spoiled teen, what are your options? I certainly don’t wish he get the axe like Nabal, but at some point I can’t be the only one concerned with keeping to our budget and living within our means…thank you again.
Wow that’s such good advice – I hope I can find the strength to take it and say something respectful and enhancing rather than arguing!
Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:
Incredible example of handling a difficult situation with respect, gentleness, grace and godliness. This is the kind of example you will want to remember for decades and refer back to when those hard moments come.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way you explain this and your approach is BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you for this very practical example of handling a sticky situation with respect. I can’t wait to share this!
I love what you are doing. I have even lead a study group through the Respect Dare. I also understand how many women come on here and struggle with the implementation of Respect because the reality is that each of us often have unique situations where the examples and suggested methods of actions are not quite the right fit or response for us as an individual. This response is for all those ladies.
I do not disagree with Nina’s suggestions. I have just personally come to realize that in my own life the application of Respect was going to look different. I was struggling with this because I do want to act and walk in Respect with my husband. Having read Nina’s book along with the long list of Christian books on Respect I was working my butt of to put it into practice and only feeling more frustrated and desperate for workable solutions.
I was trying to hard, thinking to much, looking at the pages of every book attempting to implement actions. I was tired and desperately needing solutions. I was not effective in my attempts.
Some of us will not find our answers here. I can also tell you that if your answer isn’t here it probably is not in any other book or blog on Respect. So, for the ladies that perhaps have struggled like I have, here is what I have learned very recently – SIMPLIFY.
Respect for me was to stop trying everyone’s suggestions and to just start praying and worshiping. Praying daily and often. I grabbed a book of of prayers for families and my bible and just started praying scriptures over myself, my husband, and my family. In the time I have spent praying I have seen more change that any of the times I tried to speak right, respect him, and do the right things.
And if you break down what Nina is trying to tell us along with her great suggestions of how respect looks it really comes down to the simplicity of letting God do the change in each of us.
We do need to change our methods of communication and maybe even more importantly we need to change who we are communicating with and make sure it is with God, the only one who can truly create the change we need.
OH AMEN, Aren!
At the core of what we do is this: deeper connection with God and your husband – notice the order. 🙂 Thank you for noticing this fundamental premise of what we are about! YES. Relationship with Him, then him…and in the middle of it all is understanding Him and connecting such that our relationship with ourself is forever impacted as well – wrapping our identity up in His view of us, instead of others. These things change everything in ALL our relationships, not just our marriage.
Love that you are here! Love that you are a Titus 2 leader. Thanks for encouraging women to connect with the Creator – it’s everything. Yes, we offer practicality, but even with that, our goal is to point women back to the One who made them – and made their husband. He knows them better than anyone, especially us. 🙂
Love to you,
These are some good ideas, but unlikely that an irresponsible husband would talk about a purchase but would just do it on impulse and the conversation would be after the fact.
I also think of the story of Nabal and Abigail. In a serious circumstance, when Nabal was not doing what should have been done, Abigail did it and God blessed her for it. Of course, not every irresponsible husband is that extreme, but there is a time to take charge and do what needs to be done. It was not disrespectful to Nabal to just do what needed to be done..
Agreed – and I have seen God lead some women in that direction sometimes. More often, we’ve seen that turn into a pattern of behavior, and the wife ends up doing everything, being responsible for all of it, and her husband is frequently relegated to the status of another child. So while I don’t disagree with your point, I caution women to not start there because they can end up creating a different outcome – I’ve not ever seen God kill any of our community’s women husband’s, either, like He did Nabal.
I love this.
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