Friday, December 28, 2012

When Your Husband Isn't On Board

 By request, I'm republishing two very old posts.

WHEN YOUR HUSBAND ISN'T ON BOARD



I recently was posed the following question by a blog friend–a question that has come up many, many times, and an issue I went through myself:
When you made these gradual changes (referring to changing my home from a worldly home into a more godly home), was your husband behind you or in other words leading the way? I really feel that is important. It is as important as my own examples for the children. Can you speak to this, or have you already in another entry? I feel strongly that there are changes to make in our family, but I also don’t want to be the one leading.
What a wise lady, one whose heart is sensitive to true submission to both God and her husband!  She is already on the right track!  But I will share my thoughts and comments from my experience, and maybe one thing will stand out for you and your situation (all husbands are different!).  I believe there are several areas you can evaluate and "take action" as a godly wife and mother.
1. Keep your priorities in check.  Is God your King?  Do you live to please Him first and foremost?  Are you motivated to examine everything you do and be aware of how it pleases your King?  If you don’t have this heart attitude, PRAY TO BE THIS WAY.  The following two verses explain that EVERYTHING starts here.  I think sometimes as Christians we hear these verses so much that we can be a little immune to them.  But don’t be!  Jesus himself calls this verse "first and great."  It is important.  All else hangs on this.  If your home needs to change, if your life needs to change, if your family needs to change, this is what is "first and great" in the life of a Christian.  If you get this part, things will fall into place.  If you skip this, you will struggle. 
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  Matthew 23:37-38
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things (the things you need) shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33-34

Once your eyes are on God and God alone, this next part is easy.
  Wives are commanded to submit themselves to their husbands "as unto the Lord."
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Ephesians 5:22-23

Did you catch that? "AS UNTO THE LORD."
  If God is your King, then so should your husband be seen as king.  And, it is your calling as your husband’s helpmeet to make your husband look like a king and feel like a king–NO MATTER WHERE YOUR HUSBAND IS SPIRITUALLY.  The Bible makes no exceptions or loopholes in its commands to wives to submit to their husbands.  You can rest confidently in God’s principle of working through His chosen authorities, and husbands fall into this category.  God chose the husband to be the head of the wife.  God also commands wives to make their husbands their "king."
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4
A "crown to her husband" is a wife who treats her husband as the king and makes him look like the king to all others who view their lives.  "But she that maketh ashamed…"  is the wife who complains to others about her husband, or who even has a complaining, judgmental, critical, irreverent spirit.  That is as rottenness to his bones.  Rotten bones… that is not a husband who is poised for spiritual growth.  That is a spiritually crippled husband.–critically injured.
But even better is this:  God promises to move the heart of kings.  So once you truly are a crown to your husband and you have made him "king," God can then begin to work.
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.  Proverbs 21:1

What a great promise!
  Your husband, if he is the king (and you can make the decision for him to be king or not), his heart is in the hand of the Lord, and God will turn it whithersoever He will.  And, you ask, what is God’s will for the king of your family?  A godly home raising a godly seed?  You bet!
Just look at the example God made of Sarah for us!  She is mentioned in the New Testament exactly for being a wife who made her husband king.  She is called a "holy woman." 
But let it be the hidden man of the heart (your beauty), and in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well and are not afraid with any amazement.
I Peter 3:4-6
This passage is referring to a time when Sarah’s husband, Abraham, was not being very wise and even put her in jeopardy–referring to when Abraham took her to Egypt and told her to tell them she was his sister, upon which the Pharaoah took her and added her to his harem, intending to make her his wife. She was in great danger, if you can imagine!  In the harem of a pagan court that worshipped all kinds of pagan gods and had no regard for God’s standards of purity.  But Sarah was a "holy woman," she put GOD FIRST, and that is why she made her husband the king, and trusted God to protect her and to deal with her husband’s heart. And did God protect her?
And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.  And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?  Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. Genesis 12:17-19

I can imagine Sarah DID NOT have a smug expression on her face as God dealt with her husband by giving him a chastising through the most powerful king on the earth at the time.
  I imagine Sarah remained, as she had from the beginning of the situation, meek and quiet, an adornment to her husband, and inwardly praised God for His goodness and His perfect ways.  Yes, she was a holy woman!
Do you want God to move the heart of your husband?  Make him the king.  Do you want God to chastise your husband?  Make him the king.  As Sarah did, with your meek and quiet spirit, and with your 100% trust in your true King, the Almighty God of Abraham (and Sarah!), Isaac, and Jacob! 
So, you ask, how do you make your husband the king?  First, let me tell you that you do NOT make him king by correcting or changing him, and trying to fix his "unkingly" flaws.  But the answer is simple. Just ask yourself: How would you treat a real king, if you were that king’s number one servant?  An adoring gaze. Be on board and support him in his decisions, in his person, in his work, in any way you can. Bring him his slippers. The best meals. His home in perfect order. His clothes cleaned, ironed, and organized. His every wish and desire and whim carried out and supported with joyful reverence.  His preferences always your only priority. He is also King when his children are trained to honor, respect, and obey.  His children trained to greet him with absolute delight each evening.   
"But!" You cry, "My husband wishes ungodly things!" 
You must quit worrying about your husband's ungodliness-- which is a sin, because it means you are judging your husband. You must only focus on you, yourself, obeying God with your own heart and your own actions!

 What about the wife whose husband spends too much money while leaving her to figure out how to pay the bills?  She should view the new items as a blessing from her "king," and she should stand back, as Sarah did, with a meek and quiet spirit (better yet, ABSOLUTE SILENCE!) and see the salvation of the Lord (including His provision for her family).
When I started on this "journey" of wanting to be a godly wife and mother, I didn’t even think my husband was saved. He definitely was no leader (I had destroyed that in the first place).  He definitely wasn’t godly. Our home definitely wasn’t godly.  But over time, as I put God first, and then my husband next, and prayed to be a crown to my husband, my husband pulled along side me–and then ahead of me as our family’s spiritual leader and my spiritual head.  God moved him. I didn't have to do a thing except obey God. I hope I gave you enough scripture above.  It is God’s way, and GOD’S WAY WORKS (touche).
2.  EXAMINE YOURSELF
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s (husband’s!) eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother (husband), Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

Oh, I’ve been there.
  Sitting in every sermon, beside my husband, thinking not of what was in that sermon for me, but what was in it for my husband.  I wanted to elbow him in the side, thinking, "Did you hear that? Did you hear that?"  My eyes were not on me and the beam in my eye.  They were on the splinter in my husband’s eye.
Examine yourself. What is your spiritual condition?  Are you submitted wholly before God as a living sacrifice, willing to be burned a purified by Him?  Are you willing to focus only on the beams in your own eyes?  Where do you start on examining your own heart?  Here are some areas to evaluate and to pray fervently for:
What is your fruit?  Do you have love (how is your kindness and compassion?), joy (what is the expression on your face, the attitude of your heart, and the atmosphere of your home?), peace (do you have stress, anxiety?), patience, goodness, faith, meekness (how is your anger doing?  How about forgiveness? Bitterness?), self-control (how is YOUR spending? YOUR time management, YOUR eating? Your orderliness?)  How’s your "selfishness" factor–are you always looking to be loved, cared for, have your needs met, or get what’s fair?  Do you make husband give the kids a bath because you’re too tired–or do you joyfully give your husband a kiss on the neck, a quick rub on the shoulders, and joyfully get the children ready for bed yourself so that your husband can relax in a quiet home. Hmmm… Things to think about!  If you are putting you first in any way, worried about what is fair or just, then you definitely don’t view your husband as king.
How is your "conversation?"  In other words, your behavior?  
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (behavior and manner) of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear (submission!) I Peter 3:1
 
I am typing this post because many of you are concerned that your husbands "obey not the word."
  Yet you want to "obey the word," and you want your whole family to "obey the word."  This verse is key, and addresses your very issue.  It is your conversation, your behavior, your spirit of "fear."  That means–back to making your husband king!  Your fruit!  Your words. Your spirit! Your contentment. Your joy. Your forgiveness, love, and meekness.
 How’s your contentment?  Are you truly grateful and content for ALL–I mean–ALL God has given you?  Your current home, your current income, your current cars, your hot water, your clothing–all your provision that you have at the hand of God  If not, your husband will pick up on this in your spirit.   If you are not content, pray to be content.  Discontentment of any kind definitely means your husband is not king.
I had a chance to not be selfish and to treat my husband as king as I typed this post.  Although I awoke early with the intention of getting this post typed, my husband woke up before I was done. I instantly stopped typing, jumped up, gave him a hug and some smooches. I asked how he was feeling. I offered to make him tea (sometimes he says yes, sometimes he says no). Today, he said yes. So I made him tea.  Then the baby woke up.  I got the baby, made the baby tea and fixed him some cereal.  I made sure husband’s needs were met and his morning environment was peaceful to start his day.  Now, I am back typing this post.  And if I need to get up again, for the sake of the peace of my king, I will do so.
How are your motives?  Your motives set the tone of your home, because they are either selfish, or you do everything out of the motive to please God only.  Your wrong, selfish motives give you a "controlling" or "complaining" spirit that definitely keeps your husband from being the king.  Your motives will reveal to you if God is truly first in your life.  Your husband can’t be king unless God is your King.
How is your "readiness?"  Have you cleaned spiritual house?  Is your home prepared for a godly spiritual leader?  This one may surprise you, so I encourage you to evaluate this and then get busy preparing your field for rain. If your husband stepped up and said, "No more TV,"  would you be ready?  If he said, "No more eating out at fast food restaurants," could you do it? (I had to do that one–OUCH!  Taco Bell was gone overnight! But it has been well over two years now and I have adjusted quite well)  What about your books?  Your movies?  Your internet time?  Your bad habits?  Your comforts?  Your weaknesses?  Could you give up anger? Could you give up impatience? Could you give up your fiction novels? If your husband decided to become a strong spiritual leader and began to lead your family AWAY from the world towards godliness alone, would you willingly give up your Facebook and trust your husband as "Lord?" (Think of Sarah!)  Is your heart truly, spiritually ready to have your husband’s leadership?  Is your husband trying to lead you in some of these areas but you have been deaf and blind to what his preferences or wishes are?
How’s your mouth?  Are you quiet? Do you guard your words?  Do you speak out of turn? Do you talk too much?  Do you say angry words? Selfish words? Contentious words? Whining words? Arguing or disputing words? Read through Proverbs to learn VERY quickly about the importance of a woman and her choice of words, and how it affects the strength and peace of her home.  Here are three of them that should convince you that this issue is key for the peace and spiritual condition of your home and family:
A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Proverbs 27:15
It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
Proverbs 21:9
It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house. Proverbs 25:24
Do you get the point?  Are you someone who just has to speak your mind–especially when you think your husband is wrong?  When you think something is not right or fair? When you’re stewing about something that happened (how he spoke to the children, what he bought, why he’s outside working in the garage instead of inside with you, why he's eating food that is bad for him (silly--why do YOU eat it?), why he’s watching TV AGAIN… )  Do you find it hard not to speak your mind?
Learn to shut your mouth.  Speak your mind to God.  One of my favorite verses as God was teaching me this lesson (you’re going to love this….)
The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:14
Sometimes it seemed to me that my husband was that Egyptian army, wanting to oppress me! Sometimes, as my husband was actually changing and trying to lead our family, I felt the pinch–I had never let him before.  It was hard to let go.  I wanted to go back to Egypt, sometimes. Back to my comfort zones.  If you feel this happening, remember Israel, and pray for God’s grace as you let Him transform your mind.
But if God is your King (like He was for Israel), HOLD YOUR PEACE.  God will show himself strong on your behalf if your heart is perfect towards Him.  God must be your king.  Then you can confidently hold your peace! Hold it, I tell you.  Hold it.
There are several times that I felt I was facing "BIG" things in our marriage and in our home. Things I was desperate to change for the sake of the spiritual well being of our family.  I mentioned them to my husband once, twice, maybe even more, with disastrous results. It only led to fighting, crying, tension, and anger.  So after  seeking God first on the matter, I made a VOW to the Lord to never mention these things again.  To hold my peace. And you'll never guess what happened.  Well, of course, the  Lord fought for me. And He always wins. 
I will share a very personal example.  I wanted more children. We had two, but then my husband had had a vasectomy and there were going to be no more. But then I became a Christian and God changed my entire viewpoint on having children. God had revealed to me his plan for having children, and showed me my calling and purpose to raise up a godly seed.  I was so burdened and convicted. I was so yearning for a new little baby to raise up from birth with a mother who loved God!  I did not know much of my husband's spiritual state at this point, but he had been going to church with me and hearing the same teachings on children.  I asked him if he thought he should get a reversal, explaining to him what I thought God’s word said (WRONG! It was making me the spiritual lead!).  He said, ‘No."  I pressed further, and to keep the peace, he said, "I don’t think so."  My efforts to speak about what I thought was God's best way to live only caused tension and fighting. I was freaking out.  But then God pressed upon me that the battle was His, and I promised God I would not mention it to my husband again.  Not even once.  And I didn’t. Whenever it came to mind, I looked to the Lord and gave the battle to Him--and whatever outcome. 
Several months later, my husband was driving on a cross country trip through Kansas by himself, and he saw a billboard in Kansas for a vasectomy reversal doctor in Florida.  He wrote down the number.  He scheduled it.  I didn’t say a word.
Over the years, I have gotten much better, but I am still a selfish human sinner.  Even though I have become someone who does not speak my mind, I still sometimes have to leave the room quickly so that  my husband does not sense my protesting  spirit.  You see, my husband is no longer king if he even senses frustration or discontentment. I leave quickly to give my frustration over to God and remember that God is fighting  for me and there is no need for frustration on my part regarding anything.
Now–I’m not a robot.  I’m human.  It is okay to be frustrated, angry, sad.  It is not okay to sin because of it.  When we are hurting or angry, we are in "selfish" mode and it is very difficult to see the whole picture–too see both sides of the story–and to judge ourselves correctly. It is far more wise to be silent and turn our trust to the Lord alone.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.  Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.  2 Chronicles 16:9
Is your heart perfect toward Him?  Or have you done foolishly?  That could be why you have "wars."  You don’t want wars in your home.  A house divided cannot stand. And especially when you don’t control your tongue–or even the expression on your face, you divide your home, because your children instantly pick up on the dissention and disagreement. And no man can serve two masters–including your children. (Matthew 6:24).  Keep your peace. Make God your king, and make your husband the king of your home–even in the eyes of your children, and your home will stand.
Let me give an example of how this works and why it is God’s command to work on yourself first.    Let’s say you have a habit of always getting irritated when your husband calls home to say he is going to be a little late.  So irritated, in fact, that you instantly get short with him on the phone and then hang up without saying goodbye so that he knows your displeasure.  Let’s say this happens often.  And each time, husband gets defensive, hurt, and irritated and comes home stressed knowing he’s coming home to a displeased wife.  (I won’t reveal who used to do this, but let’s just say I know her intimately).  So, instead of focusing on the husband’s fault of not coming home on time (What? Doesn’t he realize I’ve worked to get dinner on just for him? Doesn’t he want to be with us? Doesn’t he love me?), if the wife focuses on her own "beams," (such as supporting the husband’s work, being forgiving, joyful), THE PATTERN CHANGES.  If the husband calls home and the wife, all of a sudden, takes his call lovingly and joyfully, and cheerfully agrees to whatever time he says he will be home, offers her sympathy and understanding for why he is late, offers to keep dinner waiting or warm, and lovingly says goodbye, the husband has no choice but to change how he responds to the wife. He is no longer coming home to a displeased wife.  So he is no longer coming home defensive, angry, or hurt.
You change yourself, your husband has to change how he responds to you!  When you uproot your personal sinful cycles, those immediately around you have no choice but to act differently.  (Psychology a la God’s Word)
3.  WORK IN YOUR JURISDICTIONS
Don't feel as if your hands are completely tied in making godly changes to your home!  They are not! Most wives in America have areas where their husbands expect them to make some decisions, and they have the freedom to make choices in some areas.  Where do you have jurisdiction?  What are some areas where you can make the decisions and be in charge without stepping on your husband’s toes?  Here are some ideas:
  Your Personal Belongings. Have you set a meek and quiet example by purging your own personal possessions or cleaning out your "areas" to make them more of a testimony?  Your books, your movies, your CDs, your "junk," your hobby room (do you have too much stuff that you will NEVER get to?), your kitchen (how many coffee mugs does your family really NEED?), your clothing, your shoes, your kitchen food stock, etc.  
Here are examples of some things I have done: I cleaned out my sewing room.  I closed my eyes and got rid of hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of fabric, yarn, and craft supplies. I kept one tub of a few favorite projects, and made a vow not to buy any new materials until the current projects were completely finished, and then only purchase one project at at time.  I was being a testimony, instead of a bad example of someone who had a bunch of unfinished projects lying around (hmmm.. took the beam out of my own eye a little bit). I cleaned out and organized the kitchen cupboards and pantry.  My spice cupboard has been alphabetized for years!  I changed the children’s appetites for the things they wanted to watch on TV, or read, or play with. I taught them skills and hobbies and crafts that were useful and productive, so it pleased my husband when he saw the children weren’t interested in "these movies anymore," we decided to get rid of them.   I also made the rule of no TV when the children were home with me.  I told the children that daddy is the only one allowed to touch the TV. I turned it off during the day.  It was in my jurisdiction.
Your time.  Your time is your jurisdiction. If your husband works during the day, do you turn the TV on? Do you spend too much time on the phone, the internet, shopping?  Does your husband trust in how you spend your time? Is it a testimony to him? Or does it continually frustrate him?
Your children.  Are you the one with the children most of the time?  Does your husband leave the bulk of the child care to you?  If so, how are you doing?  How is your child training and discipline?  Are you training your children in the things of the Lord?  Are you feeding their appetites correctly during the day? Are you training them that Daddy is #1? Are you training them to love him, revere him, respect him? Are you setting an example by the fruit of your spirit?
Your Spending.  Does your husband expect you to pay the bills?  Either way, how’s your spending (yes, YOUR spending)–does it honor your husband? Can he "safely trust in you" with how you spend the money? (Proverbs 31:11)
Your eating habits.  I cannot even count how many women have brought up the subject of their husband's unhealthy eating choices.  But if there is tension in your home in this area, you can remove it immediately.  It is actually your fault alone.  You are in control of your own eating habits--that is your jurisdication, and you may make it your goal to seek the Lord for  yourself on how to carry out wise eating habits in a way that don't offend your husband (your king)--the way Daniel did.  But, not only is your husband an ADULT perfectly capable of making his own choice about what to eat (and I am sure he is not clueless about what is bad for him), he is also your KING. You are out of line giving him any opinion at all on what to eat, unless he asks you for it--and even then a true servant of a King would not dare to give an answer. If asked, the true servant would say, "It is your choice." The Bible also clearly states that what goes into one's mouth is not ever the problem--it is the sinfulness that issues out of the heart.  But instead of spending time fretting over the fact that your husband bought another box of snack cakes, or went through the drive thru, or drank a can of pop--focus on working in YOUR jurisdiction!  Are you making dinner? Then make something healthy, satisfying, and delicious!  Do you grocery shop? Then be creative, and provide healthier things. And in the mean time, you seek the Lord for yourself about how He wants YOU to eat.
Read the story of Abigail, if you would like inspiration.  She was a woman who knew how to work within her jurisdictions, but still make her husband–a man that God depicted in the Bible as one of the greatest fools–be her king.   (I Samuel 25)  Read how God dealt with her husband!
 4. APPEAL WISELY AND APPROPRIATELY, with a meek and quiet spirit.  Very calm;y trying to discuss your spiritual reasons for something is not an appeal.  First of all, using Esther's example, an appeal isn't really  necessary unless someone's LIFE is on the line.  All other things can be turned quietly over to God and He will simply take care of it for you.  But if it is a life or death situation, and someone's life is in danger because your husband is about to make a grave, sinful error, God may use you to make an appeal, if, like Esther, you fast and pray, and prepare a gentle and meek way to make your request known (and God will lead you how to do this if the time comes).  In all other areas, don't fool yourself. You are not "appealing," you are trying to "reprove" your husband.  If you would like further teaching in this area, I wrote a book called, "How to Reprove Your Husband."  Would you like to read it?  I will quote the entire book for you here:  DON'T.
5.  FORGIVE.  This is where this post has been edited to vary a bit from the first one.  Point five used to talk about your "conversation," but I moved that to a more appropriate spot in point two, and here I want to talk on your issue of forgiveness.  Is your husband totally and completely forgiven by you at all times, just like Jesus forgives you? I don't know about you, but my husband has the ability to hurt me to the core with just the slightest word, look, or action.  And when I get hurt, I get mad, and when I get mad, I get vengeful!  This is such a struggle in marriage, but we cannot forget one of Jesus Christ's most basic and fundamental commandments, forgive others as Jesus forgives you.  And how does He forgive you?  Instantly, without question, He removes your sin as far as the east is from the west.  And He commands us to forgive others.  Here is a little snippet I wrote to encourage a friend once, titled "You are the Eraser. I made a few edits to generalize it and make it mostly pertaining to our marriage:
If we have the spirit of forgiveness--I mean TOTAL FORGIVENESS--like Christ commands us to have, then we need to offer others a clean slate--each new moment, all day, every day.
This is a hard calling, but we must. 
Each time you face your husband--each morning when you awake, each day when he comes in the door from work, or even each time you enter into the same room with him or say "hello" to him on the phone, in an email or in a text, will you have given him a complete clean slate?  Will your husband be before you as if he had never sinned against you?  Will he feel loved and accepted fully, or will he feel judged? This means you never once have the slightest attitude of, "I told you so," or "It's about time."  If after a misunderstanding, will he feel fully restored as if he never lost his place?  Will you have a mental checklist of areas you are looking for his growth, repentance, or areas to "make up" for past mistakes--or will the slate truly be clean? A clean slate has no record of past wrongs. Do you get that? No record.  You will do no further mental accounting of anything he ever did to hurt you or sin against you, from the smallest selfish or thoughtless word to the gravest misdeed.
I have been working to offer my husband and all my children a continual clean slate.  Is there any better way to be Jesus Christ to them, and draw them forward and closer to Him?  Perfect love casts out fear--fear having to do with punishment.  We must not let our husbands or children fear the least bit of judgment, retribution, or punishment because we have held on for more than a second to their mistakes, sins, or failures.  That fear drives them from us and from Jesus.

Erase, erase, erase.
6.  MAKE YOURSELF LESS
I remember at one point praying to become "less" so that my husband could be more.  If you write a blog, you are probably a pretty powerful personality.  You have a message. You have a mission.  You are a "doer."  You are a superwoman.  I prayed for God to make me the weaker vessel.  To make me less.  Some ways I did this, and some ways God did this:
I stopped studying my Bible openly in front of my husband.
I stopped attending a women’s Bible study when my husband was not attending any extra Bible studies himself.
I stopped teaching children’s classes at church if my husband was not teaching them with me as his assistant or assigned teacher.
I stopped speaking out in church. I stopped participating in discussions, giving opinions, and even stopped giving testimonies unless I had my husband’s permission.
I kept my encouragement and counsel with other women private and discrete.
I trained the children quietly during the day, not loudly under their father’s nose, to not only love God, but to respect and honor their father.
I stopped giving my husband my theological opinions.  This was a tough one!  I love God’s Word!  God has shown me so many incredible things!
I began asking my husband my spiritual questions, and not even giving "my side of the story."
In my case, my husband seemed freaked out by my "spirituality."  Jesus got a hold of me and changed me so radically–and I wanted to preach it to the world.  Back then, I wanted to be the next Joyce Meyer! (don’t laugh–I didn’t know any better and was just so excited!).  I was talking all the time about what God was showing me–telling my  husband, because he was my closest friend.  I didn’t realize it could have been intimidating him.
But God convicted me of my "conversation."  If my husband was going to be my leader, I needed to be less.  I prayed to be less.  I shut up,  I deferred. I kept my opinions to myself.  I began asking my spiritual questions to him, asking his advice.  And taking it graciously.  He slowly became no longer intimidated. I became weaker. I allowed myself to have need of him and his spiritual leadership.  Now, my husband will freely speak of what he gleans from God's word (but I am saddened to report I still sense in him a fear that I will criticize or find fault with what he says because of how I was in the past).  
Another way God answered my prayers to correct our capsized marriage where I had steamrollered my husband for years with my willfulness and selfishness--he made me physically ill.  It started with debilitating arthritis. I couldn't understand what God was doing at first, having a new baby but with arthritis so crippling it was dangerous to carry the baby, and sometimes I couldn't even get up or downstairs. But God revealed He was actually answering part of my own prayer to correct the mistakes I made in our marriage.  God was making it so my husband could actually SEE me as weaker.  That is not the way our marriage started. My husband picked me because I was, and I styled myself to be, STRONG, INDEPENDENT, and definitely not needy of him in any way. But through simple sickness, in my weakness, I did need him. I couldn't open jars, or sometimes lift the baby.  And as an update to this post as of today (12/28/12), I just spent the last three years coming through very life-threatening and debilitating  illnesses (I am still unable to walk and use a wheelchair when I go out!).  Through this time, I was nothing BUT weak. My husband had to make medical decisions for me, and had to take over managing almost all areas of my life.  I really learned to put my life in his hands--a true sign that I had become a weaker vessel needing the protection and care of my God-given husband! This correction was a rebuilding of our marriage from the ground up, fixing a foundational flaw! As I sit here today, with my crutches sitting beside my chair, I am so grateful for God's kind hand that rebuilt not only our marriage, but me, in so many ways!  
7. Don’t use your submission as a bargaining chip. 
The lady who asked the above question wanted to make changes in her home, but being very wise, she did not want to "lead."  I have met women who "force" their husband’s leadership by refusing to make decisions or being almost challenging in a way.  For example, "We will not do anything unless YOU decide… ."  After, of course, the husband has already made it clear he does not care or has no opinion.  Also, when it comes to throwing away things or choosing how to spend time–you must defer to husband if the things in question are not in your "jurisdiction."  Be discerning! Make yourself "less," and God will make your husband "more."
And last, but not least,
8. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
I PRAYED.
I PRAYED.
I prayed, every chance it crossed my mind, sometimes 50 or more times a day, for God to bless my husband.  To bless him as the spiritual leader of our family. 
And I prayed and begged God in any area I was lacking in the things I wrote about above.  Those things are God’s will (that is why I tried to include so many scriptures), and if you ask something that is God’s will,
HE WILL DO IT.
Pray for Him to do the work in you that needs to be done.  If you really want it, pray for it. And then pray for the grace to accept the change. It is harder than you think sometimes, to give up not only ourselves, but our husbands, too!  I remember freaking out a little bit when my husband began changing and was no longer the same man that I had married–the one I had control over, and could predict!  Are you ready for the change!  Pray for God to make you ready in all ways!
God answered my prayers.  I know He will answer yours, if you pray accordingly.  And, dear readers, if you are reading this post, you are in my fervent prayers as well.
Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.  Isaiah 2-3
Two great resources are the following sermons by Dr. S.M. Davis:
How a Wife Can Use Reverence to Build or Save Her Marriage
The 7-Fold Power of a Wife’s Submission
Both of the above sermons are available on DVD through the www.solvefamilyproblems.com website.
God bless you,
Mrs. E
 


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