The most useful blog I have run across is April Cassidy’s Peacefulwife blog. It is an absolute treasure trove of insight and information about marriage and relationships. April is a devoted Christian and takes very seriously the Bible-inspired wisdom that what a man needs more than anything else from his wife is respect. In her blog April addressess the whole concept of biblical respect and submission from every imaginable angle. Please follow the link below to one of April’s posts which I believe is particularly informative and useful. Even though April’s blogs are written for women, I find them extremely valuable in understanding some of the thoughts and issues my Shirley must have in her relationship with me. I know the posts inspire me to work at being a better husband — a husband who makes it easier for my wife to actually respect. This blog posting is especially useful as it deals with the thornier questions that arise in a wife’s mind and spirit. These questions are posed to April and then April responds. RMF
I so appreciate your ministry- It is such a blessing to so many of us and I so look forward to reading your book in the near future. I pray that the Father empowers you and energizes you to work on something everyday- filling you with faith that dispells all the fears…
Two weeks ago I made the keys for my husband and gave them to him – promising him ‘my’ money,respect and the keys to my heart..He said it was endearing- I hope more that everytime I see them near his Bible that I would remind myself of the line I have crossed…
April, just a quick question- your posts about resentment of late have been so up my ally- as one truly puts oneself last in the marriage and prefers the other etc..
- how do you prevent your heart from getting resentful if you feel you are always putting/giving out and your natural self says, “When is it going to be my time?”
I feel so spent and hence hurt when I feel I am putting all my energy and sacrifice in the marriage and one doesn’t feel built up by you spouse in a way you really need…
- how can one do the impossible task of ‘dying to yourself’ without trying to self resurrect every time?
- How does a wife truly cultivate the sense of peace and contentment without clothes or pretty things..I know this may seem superficial but if you feel so run down and spent how do you honently feel feminine? I know it is great virtue to dress and adorn ourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit but how do you practically cultivate that place of nurturing or allow the Lord room to nurture us as wives when our husbands may not be so we don’t expect it from them and can really get on with our minstry towards them without feeling resentful and bitter?
- How does respect go from the head ( a set of rules that I need to obey) to real heart understanding? Many woman I speak to feel like, “Why did I get married in the first place if it feels like I am always trying to make this work and I am always trying to build my husband up?”
- I really want to get to that place that Jesus is enough for me again like it was when I was single…how do I get to that place as a wife? Somehow when I was single this was so much easier it was just the Lord and I and courting my man was a joy- I could even prepare breakfast,lunch and supper for him ( I lived a block away and he would walk past my house each morning to pick up his little lunchbox)..I was preparing for the future…and wanted to serve my husband-to-be…now in marriage I feel so used – I get the self-sacrifice in my mind but I guess my flesh doesn’t see how it all adds up?
- Doing it all for the King but somehow it is still head-reasoning …How do we practically get refreshed by God?
- How do you get your heart nurtured as a mother, too? We are strongly thinking of giving God our womb completely and not manipulating anything with pills, etc – but honestly, now and again when I feel so spent,hurt or just used I wander how I will be refreshed when I have kids also? How do we move from seeing our spouses and kids ‘milking’ us dry that can lead to bitterness and see it is a nurturing ministry that we can sustain day after day in season and out of season? What things help one to refresh? I used to have dates with the Lord for some 10 years as a single – just me and the Lord..I don’t really have money to go out for coffee these days and I am always conscious of being there for my husband ..how does one cultivate ‘you’ time..is it an ungodly thing in your mind?
Would so appreciate the feedback.
Great questions!!!!!!!!! Wow! I know all wives face these same issues.
- I put Christ FIRST!!!!! I HAVE to make time for Him. I HAVE to have time in His Word and prayer and I MUST confess all my sins as soon as I am aware of them every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. If I don’t take that time to be with God – I have nothing to offer to my husband or my children. And everything quickly spirals downward totally out of control.
- I do not let resentment make a nest in my heart. IT HAS TO GO and it has to go ASAP! I cherish my intimacy with Christ too much to allow bitterness and anger and unforgiveness to grieve God’s Spirit and make Him have to back away from me. I NEED Jesus desperately. I am a wretched sinner! I am as sinful as murderers (I have hated many times) and adulterers (I have imagined being with other husbands and being discontent with my own – that is also coveting) and I am an idolator. I used to live in idolatry every waking moment of every day for many years. There is no worse sin than that of idolatry – breaking the first commandment. I am a WRETCHED sinner. Keeping my own sinfulness in my mind keeps me humble before my Holy God and it keeps me full of unspeakable gratitude for all the Christ has forgiven me from. How can I be bitter or resentful about serving the Jesus Who has forgiven me billions of dollars worth of sin debt? If my husband sins against me $10-$50 worth – I can find the grace to forgive him for that after what Christ has done for me!
- I make time to do things I LOVE TO DO. I do things that bring me joy. I am responsible for my own happiness, joy and well-being. Laura Doyle, “The Surrendered Wife,” suggests doing 3 things a day for yourself. She suggests having two lists – one list of things that are good for you and you feel better after doing those things (cleaning out the closets, exercise, health stuff) and the other list of things that just make you feel good (lunch with girlfriends, reading a good book, taking a nap, painting your nails, pampering yourself). So I make sure that I run every day for at least a few minutes – because I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I do that. And I have my Bible study time and prayer time before God. And then I listen to praise music when I do chores and sing at the top of my lungs. I also take time to cuddle with my husband every evening. So I make sure I am taking care of myself and trying to get enough sleep and eat healthy food.
- If you do not take care of yourself (your spirit, your body, your emotional needs) at all, you have nothing to give to your husband but scraps, left overs and grumpiness.
- When my husband seemed distant, and I didn’t feel “connected” to him – which was most of the time for many months at first – I would read godly marriage books about respect and submission or about men (His Brain, Her Brain By Walt Larimore MD or For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn) – and learning about how my husband may think and about his needs and perspective as a man made me feel a lot more connected to him. Sometimes I would put a scarf on my head as I did chores and think about how my husband is my “covering” – and that made me feel extra connected, too.
- I look to God to meet my emotional and spiritual needs. And then I am unshaken if my husband doesn’t pray with me or is in a bad mood or doesn’t have time to spend with me or rejects me sexually. I have no expectations of my husband, that way, anything he does give me is a gift and I am very thankful for each thing he does.
- God has been gracious to me because He allowed me to see some changes in my husband fairly quickly – MORE LOVE, MORE INTIMACY, MORE TENDERNESS – and that was a powerful motivation to continue on this journey in spite of how awkward, foreign and unbelievably difficult and painful it was!
- Most of my past resentment came from my sky high expectations of my husband. He “should” be doing THIS and THAT and what a horrible husband he is because he didn’t do the things I expect him to do!
- Self WILL try to resurrect – and at first, you will be putting self back to death constantly. Eventually, self will stay dead longer! But at first, you will be constantly getting out the hammer and nails and crucifying self and then it is a daily putting your life on the alter before CHrist and offering yourself to HIm as a living sacrifice. It is as conscious choice of the will to seek God’s will and give up your own will.
- As I died to self and gave up my will and embraced God’s will instead – He filled me with His power, His joy, His peace, His patience…. His Spirit. And once you experience THAT… YOU WANT IT EVERY MOMENT! I would do ANYTHING to keep my fellowship with Christ. I know how much I need His Spirit and what priceless gifts He gives to me. THIS IS REWARD ENOUGH. Serving my husband comes from my heart to serve Christ and serving Christ is PURE JOY. The things that originally seemed like such inconvenient sacrifices are now treasures and pure joy!
- I used to trace my hands outstretched on a piece of paper and write things in my life on all the fingers and tell God – I give you my health, my husband, my marriage, my children, the death of my loved ones, my future, our money, our house, my career, my ministry, our freedom, our country, our government…. EVERYTHING and imagine holding my hands out with palms up and fingers flat and opened up so that God can take things away from me at any time and God can give me things at any time and that is ok. I trust Him to know what is best and to take and give according to His wisdom.
- I spend a lot of time THANKING and PRAISING God. It is impossible to be bitter and self-absorbed when I am full of gratitude and praise for my Father!
- I used to work on a list of all the things I respected, admired and appreciated about my husband and I would thank God for those things daily and thank my husband for those things.
- I also learned to have a thankful heart in ALL THINGS and not complain or argue about anything. My complaining and arguing prevents me from shining for Christ as I hold forth the Word of Life! Paul says, “I have learned to be content in plenty or in want… I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength!” It is a very conscious leaning of all my weight and trust on Christ. And Paul talks about being content if we have clothing and food. I developed contentment (well, God developed it in me) by me REFUSING to focus on negative things and to stop complaining first out loud, but eventually, I stopped even thinking the negative things because God renewed my mind and heart. And then by FOCUSING on and TALKING about the good in everything. And by praising God constantly.
- I had to realize that “feeling loved” was an idol for me. My husband was an idol – I wanted HIM to MAKE me be happy by doing all the things I THOUGHT he should do. Being in control myself was an idol. I had to tear out all the idols and only seek Christ. I had to kill my will and learn to want God’s will NO MATTER WHAT IT WOULD BE!
- YES! You can be content without pretty things and expensive clothes when you have a thankful spirit.
- I also think about serving my husband and family as if I am serving Christ. I am cleaning the house for Jesus, and picking up the dirty clothes for Jesus. I am treating my husband with respect, but really, I am actually looking past my husband to see Christ and I am treating Christ with respect. Jesus counts the way I treat my husband as if I am doing it directly to HIM!
- I realized that I can’t fake respect. For a time, I was respectFUL, but my husband knew I really didn’t respect HIM as a man. That DID NOT WORK. I had to actually find REAL things about my husband to respect and focus on that. He had to know I accepted him and didn’t want to change him! I became CONTENT with my husband.
- I accept my husband isn’t perfect. I accept that he will sin and I will forgive him. I accept that he and I are both huge sinners. I accept that we both need Jesus desperately. I don’t expect my husband to be God or to be perfect, or to be near perfect. I know we are on the same level – sinful humans who need a lot of grace and forgiveness. And I know that Jesus has given me a huge reservoir of forgiveness and grace for me to use for my husband. So I have no worries or fears. I know Jesus will empower me to handle whatever happens and that God will take me only where His sovereignty wants me to go. I have no reason to be afraid – even if the WORST might happen. My confidence is in my powerful, sovereign Lord!
- I find my joy in God – I don’t look to my husband to make me happy. I had to hash through my biggest fears – including if my husband were to die or commit some awful sin – would I trust God to take me even there? And I had to decide that I would. I had to hang ALL my faith on Christ – so what my husband does or what he doesn’t do does not shake me. My faith is in Christ. When I am joyful in CHrist, and my husband does something loving, I thank him and appreciate it. But no one can take away my joy in Christ! If my husband is not meeting my needs – NO BIG DEAL – because I look to my Heavenly Husband Who never fails!
It is MUCH harder to do all of these things when you are sick or exhausted or pregnant. And when you are nursing a baby every 2-3 hours for months or over a year – being physically and mentally exhausted makes it VERY easy for resentment to creep back in. There are some stages in life you DON’T have the time to get recharged like you really need to – and you just have to trust God to take care of you in those times and help you by His strength and grace! I was still being very disrespectful when I was nursing my babies and completely sleep deprived for years. That did NOT help my attitude at all – the chronic lack of sleep made me so much worse!
But – if I had understood what I know now, I could have definitely adjusted my expectations and also depended on my husband to lead more and take his suggestions that would have helped me get more sleep. A wife does have to try to make her physical needs a big priority! My husband would have rather me had a nap than worked so hard to keep the house clean during that time!