How to Destroy a Man…
“I just hate the world, Mommy…” she said.
“What?? Why?” I inquired.
“I weigh 20 pounds more than all my friends. A few of them are on diets. I don’t think I’m fat, but I’m not sure. And I keep thinking I should be dieting, too,” she replies.
“And did you know there’s girls that put feathers in the back of their throats to make themselves throw up so they’ll be skinny?” she added.
“Okay, so you know what? You are absolutely right to be frustrated with the world. So much around you tells you that you aren’t good enough and that you have to look a certain way, but that’s not right, is it? Who are these girls who are dieting?” I asked.
She told me.
“Well, they’re 9, 10, and 11. And they have cute little girl bodies – and yes they are a little on the chunky side, but most kids are until they start to mature – and everyone does that at different rates. YOU are nearly a foot taller than all your friends, so I’m not surprised you weigh more than they do. You do know you are the height of a 13 year old, right?” I said.
“Yeah, but still, it’s like I feel this pressure to be thinner than I am…” she replied.
“Where does that come from?” I asked.
“The enemy?” she said.
“Yes. Don’t listen. And don’t give in to those voices. They’re lies.”
We talked about bulimia and the horrifying physical consequences that result… although I didn’t give a name to the disease for her – she is too young, in my mind, to need to know its name…and I felt a little sad about this loss of innocence.
We don’t do a very good job keeping the “little” in our children – we seem to try to grow them up quickly. At warp speed we buy them adult clothing, put them into more mature situations than they should be handling, expose them to adult-themes all too soon.
And it makes me nearly half nuts to watch parents hand their kids a video game to switch their brain into passive mode, getting them (mostly boys) to shut up and calm down so they can carry on their adult conversation, or do whatever. Parents cave way too easily to the demands of the video/screen addiction of their kids, failing to set limits on the amount of time their brains are being rewired by these devices.
Dare you to read the concerning data on video gaming here. Double dog dare you to not ignore it. Triple dog dare you to set some limits (like an hour of outdoor physical exercise (not just sitting outside playing a handheld!) daily earns your kid a half hour of gaming) or get rid of them in your home.
There’s a quote on a sign at the bottom of the hill that goes up to my house – it says, “Do not pray for easier lives, pray to be stronger men.” It’s by JFK. This morning I am burdened for wives that are tearing down their homes with their own hands – our words destroy our little boys, our teen boys, and our men. They want to delight us and be heroes, and we constantly let them know they’re not measuring up. It takes years to undo the damage we do with our words…The result is rampant in the culture – boys are scoring lower on tests, going to college at a lower rate, and make up 2/3 of the special ed students… Grown men are checking out and choosing online gaming and internet pornography to dull their senses enough to survive the world they live in.
Double dog dare you to read why here: http://www.parentingoldschool.com/media/the-demise-of-guys-why-girls-rock-while-boys-mold/ . The other issue we’re seeing as a result is absent fathers, and men who won’t stand up for what is right, but are angry. Proverbs 29 today has a ton to say about this.
Recently, on two separate occasions, my husband got his righteousness on. I won’t go into the details, but he “called a spade a spade,” and rose up to protect his family. As a woman (and not a wussy one, I might add), his behavior spoke to something within me – and I deeply admired him.
I also told him that.
Know this truth – your husband will never rise up to become a man of righteousness unless you respect him, admire him, and encourage him – even when he doesn’t “deserve” it.
And the last time I checked, I didn’t “deserve” his love, and neither do you. We’re all a bunch of sinners. Extend the same grace you want to receive.
Ladies, WE need to rise up to do what is right in our homes, to create an atmosphere that will bring out the very best in the men that live with us. We need to communicate respect, in accordance with God’s Word in Ephesians 5:33. We need to help and not nag our husbands (check Genesis and Proverbs). We need to pursue our husbands sexually (yep, that’s in the Bible, too), and we need to stick with it and keep the vows we made. We need to figure out what Biblical submission looks like and do it (and sorry, but no, it’s not what you probably think – it doesn’t make you a doormat). Otherwise we destroy our men and sons, creating an environment for passive and lazy men.
We need to stop fussing about the things we think are big now, stop pointing our fingers at our husband’s inadequacies, and get busy figuring out what God wants US to do and doing it, so that we can go help other women get this right. MUCH is at stake – look at the data, and run the progression out in your head. Where will we be in 20 years if we keep doing what we’re doing now? As our family units are destroyed, so goes our country.
We CAN change our families – and we need to.
Remember, there was a day when I rated my marriage a “2” and was bitter, discouraged, broken-hearted, and angry about how things had “turned out.”
Truth was, I wasn’t obeying God’s commands for wives.
Ten years later, after I figured that out, my marriage was radically different than it was.
I want that for you.
I won’t lie and tell you it’s easy, but it is possible.
And totally worth it.
Dare you to spend some time with the Father today, perhaps chewing on the Proverbs above. Double dog dare you to join us in this prayer today …
Father, Your ways are not our ways. We cannot love and respect without Your intervention, without Your help in the day to day moments. Lord, we are so swayed by this culture, having bought too many lies, we can’t even see it. Help us know what to do, help us get to know You such that we can obey Your Word in the middle of interactions. Help us obey Your commands. Help us stick with our marriages. Help us build each other up, instead of being selfish. Lord, fill us with You so we don’t feel so empty… our longings for our spouse’s behavior change is really a recognition of the absence of You in our hearts… In doing these things, Lord, we trust Your glory will be revealed. We want the families and marriages You intended, but cannot get them on our own. Please help us do all these things in Your strength. In the name of the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
So glad you are on the journey with me…
Love to you,
I need HELP AND PRAYERS: Married wrongly in 1994 – I say that because we only connected out of selfishly needing each other. I was a carnal Christian, on prescription psych drugs trying to get on my feet when I met this ‘jerk’ who was supposedly an ex-alcoholic and new believer in Christ. He was recently divorced, sued by his own father and lost his house when I met him. He was very angry (but I didnt see it until after the 2nd week of married life). We both had serious issues/baggage from our past we were carrying. I actually suggested marriage so I could get out of the house I was living in because I didnt feel welcomed there any more, and Mark just wanted someone after his divorce. We went on 3 dates. Knew each other 3 months. We never bonded. Were never friends. It wasn’t love, not even lust. We married for selfish reasons and have lived that way for 20 years now. He does his thing and I do mine. ‘Two single people living together’ people have said. Most of our married life his work kept him away from the home. My loneliness and anger grew. I was hurting and selfish and surely wasnt looking so much to meet his needs, and he was just ‘needing’ from me. He never dealt with his anger. Escalted over the years and I have lived in fear most of this married life along with my 2 kids. (How do you love someone who is not safe, nor trustworthy?) He is not a Christian. I gave my life back to God in 2000. And for years God has been dealing with me about my selfishness, and how I need to show Mark the Father’s love. But like Sarah (Abraham’s wife) I laughed. “I dont even like him. In fact, I am trying not to hate him. How much power do You have? You think you can get me to love him?”, I said to God. I have tried over and over, but fail and fail. I just have not been able to gain victory. I am sure the Enemy is doing everything he can not to let me go – to be free from my reasoning and feelings that keep me bound and from obeying God. Ugh. Horrible turmoil I have been living in – within myself, relationship with God, and marriage. God had revealed to me I had ‘divorced Mark in my heart’ years ago. To me, marriage is nullified. It was never real. Mark knows I believe he was a jerk when I married him and only did so because I was on drugs and not in my right mind. Can God put a marriage (back) together from nothing? We had nothing to start with and now we have anger, hurt and pain on top of it. Pray I can really believe He can do it because I do not. How did we survive? He was gone most of the time, and I guess we are just co-dependent. Need each other no matter how sick our relationship is. I have no feelings for him. In fact, I just want respect (I gave up getting love from him), and he is the one who wants love. I can honestly say there is not one year I have ever enjoyed being with this man. Why do I stay? Maybe I don’t have the faith to make it on my own, but mainly I believe God doesn’t want me to give up on him because he literally has no one. No friends or family. (He is not a nice person – being so critical and angry about everything). And the, “Show Mark the Father’s love” burns in my heart as God’s will. It is my mountain I have not been able to climb. BUT, just 2 days ago (with failing health as a motivator) I desperately cried out to Jesus in faith – really meaning it from my heart this time, for DELIVERANCE! Mark said something that convicted me really bad earlier. After his daily, “Do you love me?” I hesitated to think of a different response (cause he doesn’t believe me anyway if I said yes any way). And he says, “Do you have to think about it?” “Yes I do,” I said. Ouch. That is hurtful. So convicted about that I got with God later that day, and he let me know He hears Mark’s heart cries for love just as well as mine! We are not loving each other. We constantly hurt each other. I wrote on my 3 X 5 card what God wants me to do: Love is a Command. Love is a CHOICE. Love is a RESPONSE to do good back to someone who has wronged you. No but’s. Do what you know is right, regardless of what you think or feel. And lastly, God shared his heart – grieved – “Never deny someone love”. Committed to this I pressed in to memorize it and obey it. Then the next day is when I heard Nina’s message on the radio coming home from work. Oh my heart! “Respect – what every man needs”. I have done and said such harmful and hurtful things out of my selfishness and hurt all of these years! I have done much harm to him. God is finally opening my eyes and getting to the deepest level of my heart for true change. I have read many books (never finished any honestly) about marriages. This morning God woke me up at 5 AM to spend time with me. I cried. Remembering ‘Malachi’ the other day and seeing how evil those people were to God worshipping idols and sacrificing blind and lame animals to Him – how pathetic and evil. And here I am, now seeing how evil I have been – the rebellion, disrespect, the selfishness! Then, God did something so awesome! With my heart being so down and crushed with this truth – He showed his amazing love for me despite my wickedness! I opened an email and saw a message, “Looks like you got your wish”….. to get a German Shepherd Dog to train as a service dog! One is being donated to a service dog school and she wants me to raise /train it. My husband and family know how I LOVE German Shepherds but haven’t had one for years. Why now would God do such a loving, meaningful thing for me when I obviously do not deserve it. My sin is so great – yet He shows me how great His love and mercy is in spite of it! Wow. Why would God do such a kind thing for me when I am at like at my worst? Blew me away. I saw today God’s love in a brand new light. “How great is your love O Lord” is so significant to me now. “Go, do thou likewise”, as Jesus has said. LOL Can I really show my husband (who is ‘outwardly’ wicked – and you would agree if you knew it all), God’s love like He constantly shows me? I ordered Nina’s book (I never was able to do the ‘Love Dare’). So please pray I will be able to follow through and live this out!! My health is at stake, as is my husband’s soul and God’s glory. The only one happy with this relationship is the enemy. Deb
Thank you for writing. We join you in prayer for your marriage, and you are right at how amazing the Father’s love is for all of us, regardless of our sin.
Love to you,
I’m so sad for your daughter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her body size. In fact, I think of her as “thin”, not that it matters what I think. This was quite interesting, thanks.
🙂 Don’t be – we dealt with the issue – and she has a very healthy sense of self now. I was thankful for the opportunity to engage with her on this subject and even more thankful she was real with me about it. 🙂 she eats right, is active and has dessert…without guilt…and has helped other girls her age feel better about themselves. She takes care if her temple and as she matures is continuing to develop a solid world view. Tough stuff – of which none of us are immune. 🙂
Heartfelt prayer … thank you Nina …prayed it with every fibre of my being ..
And then there are those whose husbands brought porn into the marriage unbeknownst to us, even after being made privy in premarital counseling to the awful reality of their wives’ molestation as a child and rape in college. Even after being warned that finding porn would inflict a wound deeper than she could bear. Those who pursued their husbands, paraded around in the lingerie, left the notes, let the “little things” slide, did everything the books said to ensure his faithfulness. It didn’t matter. Here we are 13 years later on the cusp of divorce, he addicted to porn, unrepentant, throwing his wife and children away for a cheap thrill, she being told that she is partially to blame by well-meaning Christian friends and counselors. She didn’t respect him enough. She didn’t pursue him enough. I cry foul. I, too, have grown weary of saddling the blame for my husband’s sin.
Nothing you do ensures anything on his behalf. Nothing we do is guaranteed to impact our husband’s behavior. I’m so sorry you’ve gone through this – sometimes men need women to stand firm Matthew 18 style to “get it.” Sometimes, God’s training both of us. Don’t wrap your identity up in your husband’s behavior. He sounds addicted. He sounds immature. We all have our own issues and wounds to heal from. Praying for you beloved… don’t give up – separation or divorce may be the thing God uses – just cling tightly to the Father during these days (and all, for that matter) and then do every next thing He suggests, no matter how hard.
Love to you,
Thanks for your reply, Nina. Thankfully, I do know that nothing I did or didn’t do would have ensured his faithfulness. I should have put “ensure his faithfulness” in quotes in my first post, as that was actually my point in posting that I guess I failed to get across; how every book and article I read led me to believe that if I just did A, B would happen. That God is too big for a marriage to fail. I was trying to give a voice to the fact, for those who ARE wrapping themselves up in their husband’s behavior, that we don’t yet live in uptopia, that broken vows are part of a broken world, that we can’t control our husband’s behavior and aren’t responsible for it. Thanks again Nina.
No, thank you!! Thank you for clarifying – honestly, after the day I have had, I misunderstood and mistakenly thought you were one of the too many people who shoot the messenger. :). Love n hugs to you, girl.
Praying in tears for you K .. I can’t imagine the hurt you must be feeling .. you are amazingly brave for sharing ..
This was much needed today, brought tears to my eyes, And conviction In my heart. Thank you Nina for sharing, your a Blessing.
Can someone point me to the place in the Bible that says wives should pursue their husbands sexually? This has been a point of contention in my marriage for years. And what does the Bible tell us about pornography? I recognize my need to change, and am working to do just that, but I would like to know that my efforts are Biblically based. Thanks!
MJ – thanks so much for your questions! They are deep and significant. First the Bible says we are not to “deprive” each other in Exodus 21:10 and 1 Corinthians 7:5. Current research and advice by Feldhahn (For Women Only) and Leman (Have a New Husband by Friday) say men feel respected and esteemed when we pursue them, that pursuit meets a fundamental need within them. We have seen this behavior change marriages.
Regarding pornography, it is adultery. Matthew 5:28 is clear.
However, none of us is without sin, and we should not be casting stones, either.
Here’s a link to what God and Jesus have to say about divorce: http://www.biblestudytools.com/matthew/passage.aspx?q=matthew+19:3-13
And yes, it is difficult to pursue a man who is into pornography – but know it has nothing to do with you personally. The women in the videos communicate complete acceptance, complete pursuit, and given the addictive nature of pornography, it’s more like you are dealing with someone who has a drug addiction, rather than is seeking someone else over you, if that makes sense.
For more on how a man’s brain is effected by visual images of bikini clad women and why we should ALL dress more modestly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtzIcz7MOkct
And for what it is worth, MJ, you are absolutely right to be focusing on what God would have YOU do instead of focusing on your husband’s sin. We are not to judge, but rather to love. We are called to respond biblically when sinned against, and that can mean everything from overlooking an offense (Proverbs 19:11) and choosing to suffer (1 Peter 2) to choosing conflict (Matthew 18) when our husbands sin against us (1 Peter 3:7, Col 3:18-19). However, if we have a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:1-6) FIRST, and are loving (1 Corinthians 13) THEN, our husbands have a better chance of being helped by our behavior (Genesis account of roles). Hope that helps.
Great answer and sound godly advice. I wanted to add some perspective from another view. I have been a woman that has always pursued my huband sexually through all the ups and downs.
We are all wired a bit differently in needs, drives, and desires, so pursuing your spouse is not always just an issue for women. I know first hand what it feels like to be sexually refused and turned away. Pornography became a quick substitute that I used to fill a void that I was longing for. His refusal did not make my sin right but it did make it easier for me to fall into that temptation.
I experienced a few years of constant refusal which resulted in self esteem struggles, anger, resentment, and lots of frustration. My pain and bitterness became rampant from being denied sex. I would love to say I was the respectful woman God desired of me but truthfully I was just so stuck in the pain of having such an important need remain unmet.
I finally gave my drive and desire up to God asking for control and release. He tapered my need greatly which I am so thankful for. I also removed all outside sources of porn from the house and threw them out minus the computer.
Porn was used on both sides of our relationship but I honestly had the bigger problem with it. There is a wonderful free website called setting captives free. They have 60 day bible study courses for those wishing to be free from sexual impurity, drug use, eating disorders, and a few other issues. There is also a great study for those with a spouse involved in an affair or porn.
It’s not easy to open yourself up to your spouse when you are hurting. Trust me. I know. Even with all the pain caused by his refusal I never turned his request down because I knew how important this act of love and expression is in marriage Lots of prayer and tears were shed in this process but in God’s timing it has worked out. BTW His timing is often a lot longer than what we hope for but that just means the result feels even sweeter.
Nina, thank you so much for your response. It is encouraging to begin to move forward knowing that I am in line with God’s Word.
I find that I fall into the typical ‘working mom’ category – 50 hour work week, children, schedules, house work, laundry – and admittedly sometimes I am simply too worn out to think about sex. But I know it is important to my husband, so I try to remain open and receptive. Deprivation is not really a problem, but pursuit of my husband definitely is. He has always told me it’s what he really wants from me.
The problem is that when growing up I was taught to be anything but sexually forward. Of course men to be pursued, but ‘nice girls don’t do that’. And this is not a subject the pastor brings up on Sunday morning! At least not in this context!
A clearer understanding of what God truly expects from both of us relieves so much guilt and pressure. And verses to stand on serve to make me feel strong inside. Maybe I am not letting God down at all by being more forward toward my husband. Maybe I am actually just doing what He has told me to do. Maybe I can finally give up the mental wrestling match!
Your thoughts make me keenly aware that my role in the relationship has everything to do with what got us here, and everything to do with what will take us to a better place. I won’t lie, I am hoping my husband will eventually see how deeply his need to find pleasure by looking at other women hurts me. But, armed with new knowledge and insight I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. I feel almost confident that I can make changes in myself, and that rather than disappointing God by giving in to what my husband has asked, my efforts might be pleasing to God and in accordance with His will.
wow. thanks so much – blog post is awesome and comments are real. I love that!
in tears at what the enemy has gotten away with because the saints couldn’t ‘keep watch and pray for an hour’ so to speak.
My situation is critical, and I know I need to do even more of what is mentioned is right to do, and I do struggle, but it’s hard to remember that my struggle is not with flesh and blood, and I do so desire prayers from others and encouragement. we are not currently in a church home/body and I truly think I ache because of that, but can’t be sure that’s the root.
Blessings to us all as we watch and pray for our own marriages and for others’.
Loving God and desiring His Will in my life above all else,
FORGIVE ME LORD WHEN I FAIL!? :*(
I destroyed my husband once again last night – and it took reading this to finally bring me to tears. How many times have I repented and truly sought God’s help to change? Thousands of times, but no matter what, eventually I fail and wound him again. Your blog, the Respect Dare, countless devotionals, workshops, etc…there’s so much I’ve read and done in order to change….but all it takes is a button to get pushed and I become the woman I don’t want to be…reactive, angry, self-righteous…
If I believe that God is calling me to be a different woman (and I do) – why can’t it take root? If respect is the language he desperately needs, why is it that I can be loving, tender, gentle and patient for 3 or 4 weeks…and then lose it so completely that I look like a completely different person? How can I repair (again) the damage I cause by one angry accusation? It will takes weeks to even begin to regain his trust again. How can I start over?
oh I feel what you are saying! And the answer for me is that I get to start over every day: Lamentations 3:22-23 22 The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
And the reassurance that this struggle is for ALL humans, even Paul:
Romans 7:14-25 22 14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
This is so well put! I had the opportunity to have a coffee “date” with my 10 year old son yesterday and he PULLED out my chair for me!! It was such an honor to realize what a sweet boy he is and he’s becomiong a fine young man!
So much of the above is reality in my own home that it saddens me. My oldest daughter, when she was in 5th grade, also went through the exposure to bulimia and even tried it once, I was horrified. Our blended family has a really hard time with exposure to “adult” because we are fighting other parents who don’t have the same values. Most of our kids spend their weekends away from us completely PLUGGED-IN to technology.
Also, my ex-husband was addicted (60+hours a week on top of his 40hr work week) to on-line gaming. One thing I discovered was that the more he played, the more he “felt” like a man. His game of choice allowed him to fight (provide) for his guild (family), he was rewarded with a new level (respect) and received coins from his friends for good missions (praise). I have now (thanks to The Respect Dare) that this is what he was looking for in real life and I wasn’t helping to supply. Not only does a video-game allow our men/boys to check-out into passivity it feeds their manhood.
I am still guilty of not allowing my boys to be the hero or to practice provision. I am seeing the results with my husband but had forgotten about teaching our 15 and 16 year old boys. Thank you for the reminder.
Hi girlfriend … thank you for the above. My husband has moved forward to trial and the manditory settlement conference is May 2 – our sons, our daughter and our family are being ripped apart by Satan. I think two words are missing here – repentance and obedience. Friend I am quite weary of saddling the blame for my husband’s disobedience and unrepentant heart. I fear his continuing hardness of heart while he teaches the Bible to our sons. Nina, where are the godly men who will stand in the gap and pray effectually and fervently for my husband and our family – or have they too bought the lie that they can divorce and go on and be forgiven and remarry and … the ultimate demonstration of respecting our husband is to what Jesus did – “I do those things which please the Father.”
Tona, so sorry!! Please don’t buy the Christian lie that you are responsible for his behavior – he still has choices to make that are his alone – but also do not give up in being Christlike! We’ve seen many husbands come back from divorce, because of the work God does in His timing.
YOU are a woman after God’s own heart. Don’t give up. Our Lord has trusted His Spirit within YOU as helper to this hard man.
As far as the other men go, unfortunately they’ve had wives like I am guilty of being, and haven’t been encouraged to rise up…and while I am not owning their sin, I do see my part in the demise of marriage. Do you see it? I hope you do – we can only allow God to change US and then stay out of His way through our obedience.
Love you, praying,
Tona – I am so sorry for your hurting heart. I don’t need the details to know that you feel discouraged and alone. My husband and I are both divorced, we DID buy the lies and now our children are suffering the consequence of that choice. God has been generous in His grace and forgiveness and has chosen to bless our marriage as we seek to follow Him. Be encouraged in that there ARE Godly men praying. My husband and I started an online prayer group called “Sundays at 6”; it is specifically to pray for the children of divorce that transition from one home to the other, typically Sunday night at 6. In the process, and through my own growth with The Respect Dare, we have been convicted to pray for marriages that are on the path toward divorce. We have been praying for YOU, without ever knowing you or your situation, now we will have a name to say to Father (who already knew your name). I will pray that God send someone into the path of your husband to boldly share truth. I will also pray for you sweet Tona to remain strong in your time of trial. Praise God that you are here among women who can encourage you in Christ – I chose to be angry at God and now my sweet children are paying the price by living in 2 separate homes. I pray that you are encouraged today.
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