I’ve been troubled a bit recently with some of the comments and emails I’ve been getting. Don’t get me wrong, about 75% of the comments you leave are so encouraging and they make my day, like, all the time! But some come to Living the Sweet Wife carrying heavy burdens, and those of you who do are so welcome here! Being a wife myself I only find it fitting to write about marriage from a wife’s perspective. I find that easiest for some reason ;). Although I have learned a lot from my husband about what it’s like to be in his position. (Did I mention I actually got him to write a post for LTSW?? I’m saving it for juuuust the right time, but let me tell you- it’s a goodie!).
Anyway, I wanted to share a couple comments I received with you because I think these women bring up a very good question that needs to be talked about! I’m sure they’re not the only ones thinking these things. I’ll keep their names to myself for now.
“Strange to me how there are so many “self-help” columns for women and women actually seek them out and read them. How many of your husbands do you “catch” on the internet seeking ways to improve themselves in the husband department? I thought so! […] Some of these guys need to grow “some” and outgrow the need to be coddled! That was mommy’s job not wifey’s!!!”
“Why is it up to the wife always to make sure the hubby is happy? It seems to me hubby gets a free ride. Shouldn’t he have ideas on how to help his Wife and the mother of his children. to make her life a little easier. Even to this day I’m sure men think that women are subservient to them and should be waiting at the door. with full make up a pretty dress dinner on the table and his pipe and slippers ready.”
First of all I’d like to make it clear that I’m not bringing up these comments because I thought they were mean and I want to call them out. Like I said, I think these women raise a really good question and I’m sure they’re not the only ones thinking it! I’m not really going to address why men don’t search relationship tips on the internet. I’m pretty sure a huge reason for that is due to the fact that of 1 million active Pinterest users, 85% are female. I don’t think it’s because men don’t care, they’re just not exposing themselves to clickable self-help articles as much as women are. (I got my stats from here).
What I will address is this:
“Why is it up to the wife always to make sure the hubby is happy? It seems to me hubby gets a free ride.”
Let’s talk about that.
Where do we get our standards from for our husbands?
First of all, we need to ask ourselves this question: Where do we get our standards for our husband? If we really think about it, this is the reason why our husband upsets us, when he does. It’s because we have standards and expectations for him. If we expect our husband to to be mindful and clean up after himself, we get upset when he doesn’t. If we expect our husband to not cheat on us, we get upset when he does. When we reading that, it seems pretty obvious. But what’s not obvious is where these expectations come from. Do they come from the patterns you grew up with in your family and saw in your parents relationship? Do they come from societal norms? A book you read on marriage? The Bible? And then if your husband is not living up to your expectations and standards, ask yourself why not? Did he grow up differently? Is he a different religion than you? What are his morals? And have your expectations and reasoning behind them been communicated?
Phew, sorry, a lot of questions there. Take a few minutes to think about them before moving on…
If your husband is not a Christian
I want to warn you guys that the next few sentences might be hard to hear, but they need to be said. Since my husband calls himself a Christian, he has a set of standards and expectations that he is held to outside of my own expectations and preferences. If your husband is not a Christian, whether or not you are, ask yourself what it is that would call him to have the same expectations, morals, selflessness, and standards as you. Other than just the motivation to make you happy, which he might not always be feeling, there’s not much that is holding him to being a good, selfless, loving husband. Other than the fact that you simply want him to.
If your husband calls himself a Christian
He may not scour the internet looking for self-help articles on “How to be a Good Husband in 6 Easy Steps”, but he will know where your expectations for him will come from. If your husband is a Christian, he will know that even though he is saved by grace, his actions will be the evidence of that for others to see. Romans 3:28 & 31 says,
“For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”…”Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”
So, if your husband is a Christian, he knows that he is saved by grace, but he is expected to live by God’s standards. Standards such as these:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her,”
“In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
Are we doing too much?
For a lot of wives out there, I want to say, “No, not yet.” For many of us, our husbands haven’t reached the point where we need to show the tough love in order to enable them to be a better man whose heart longs to please God. Most of us have well-meaning husbands who miss the mark more often than we’d like, but we are in the place where we need to practice self-sacrificial love and forgiveness. That’s not to say that confrontation isn’t necessary. It probably is from time to time. But reconciliation should and can probably happen sooner in these cases.
However, there are also many women who will read this whose husbands call themselves Christians and are not at all trying to honor God with their lives. Although they have been saved from a life of selfishness and have been given the ability to live a selfless life (serving, loving, helping, providing for, and protecting their wives), they forget the grace and forgiveness that God has given them and they don’t show the same grace, forgiveness, and selflessness to their wives.
Take a minute and read this story Jesus told about a man who was shown forgiveness and then those not to forgive someone else:
“For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began to settle accounts, one who owed 10,000 talents was brought before him. Since he had no way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.
At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything!’ Then the master of that slave had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.
But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’
At this, his fellow slave fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he wasn’t willing. On the contrary, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. When the other slaves saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened.
Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart.”
This story in Matthew 18 makes me very wary for anyone who calls themself a Christian and are not striving for a life of grace, forgiveness, and selflessness. This goes even more so for husbands!! God designed marriage specifically to be a picture of His relationship with the Church. If a Christian husband is not acting “Christ-like” to his wife, how do you think that will make God feel about the way that man is representing God to the world?
If I’m a Christian, do I need to put up with my husband’s crap?
That being said, as a wife who is trying so hard to love her husband and serve him despite his imperfection, I do believe that that honors God! But there comes a time and place where self-sacrifice can be set aside to lovingly improve the Christian man in our lives that is not living in a way that brings glory to God. And this doesn’t just end at being more helpful around the house, this affects everything first and foremost his relationship with Christ and, if your husband understands God’s grace correctly, he will show grace to you and love you self-sacrificially, whatever that looks like. Keep in mind, that just because your husband loves God, doesn’t mean he will naturally take on the role of husband of the year. But it does mean that he will treat you with respect, serve you, forgive you, and love you self-sacrificially. Even in these things, be patient with your husband.
A word of caution
I want to caution wives, though, before you decide that it is time to lay down the law with a selfish husband, spend a lot of time in prayer. Pray and ask for discernment that what you’re feeling isn’t just about your own preferences, expectations, and pride, but that your desire to confront and help correct your husband’s behavior really comes from a desire to see him honor God with his life (which will give him the extra love in his love to give you). Josh and I have the first portion of this C.S. Lewis quote hanging on our wall, but I absolutely love the whole thing!
“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”
How do I know that my intentions are right?
Whenever I am tempted to be angry with Josh’s actions, I think of this verse from Matthew 7, “First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Before you decide to confront and/or find help for your husband, check yourself. Check your motivation and intentions. Pray for your husband that he would desire to live a self-sacrificing life that honors both God and you. Ask yourself if your husband could use more forgiveness from you or if your forgiveness is enabling him to live a sinful life. If decide and confirm with prayer that your husband is taking advantage of your forgiveness and needs his behavior to change, then it is time to confront in love and very possibly seek help from a Christian counselor.
Keep this in mind:
Keep in mind that every household functions differently. My husband never cooks. Like, ever. But for him, that’s not being selfish. The stuff he tries to make is just not nearly as good as what I make 🙂 and we both agree it’s usually better when I cook. But in many other families, the husband is great at cooking and loves to cook. That’s just one example. Just keep in mind that every family functions differently and what actions may seem selfish in one family might not seem selfish to another family.
I love you all so much and I hope this cleared up a few things for those of you were were thinking similar things to these two commenters here.
Keep the comments coming, you guys! I love hearing what you all have to say and hearing about your own experiences! And don’t forget to share with friends.
Love, love, love this. I am so glad I’ve found your blog!
I find it interesting that women such as yourself think you can give marriage advise. How long have you been married? Maybe y’all should ask someone who has had a bit of experience! Someone who has been through the trenches, say. Just saying!
Maybe there’s a reason her and her husband haven’t “been through the trenches”. She doesnt claim to be a marriage counselor, only offering to give her Christian advice.
Very nice post 🙂 I wish I could get my husband to read it.
This is wonderful. Thank you for your blog! I was fully aware I wasn’t at the psychiatrist paying for services. This is great advice. Keep writing dear!
Maybe you should pray before you write something Like this! I believe God gives people the words to help others. Sounds like you need me to pray for you. I felt her bog helped me through a really hard time I’m having with my husband. I pray for you.
Ty Craig says
I am a part of the 15% of males on Pinterest, and I love your blog. This is very helpful and I can’t wait for my fiancee to read this.
Kim Davis says
Your fiancee loves it! I’m so blessed to have a man who meets & exceeds all my expectations!! XOXO!
You two are adorable.
I came across this post on Pinterest, the title made me curious, so I clicked. Glad I did! My gut answer was, “No! You are to submit to God above and before anyone, including your husband.” But it isn’t that simple – or that easy. I am a very strong-willed woman, only child, not spoiled but very independent. And I don’t take crap. Over the years I have learned to approach him with a more gentle tone but often even that doesn’t go well. He is very defensive and has trouble being called out even when it’s necessary, which only makes me become more determined. He is also an only child but, unlike my parents, his are divorced. His parents loved him but his mom went through a phase where she focused on herself and his dad paid more attention to his girlfriends than his son. My husband’s relationship with his mom is good. But I feel like his issues with not being able to handle even constructive criticism from me stems from those issues with his dad. Instead of him seeing it as me attempting to help, he sees it as me attacking who he is. Then it all blows up and nothing gets resolved and it’s left hanging there until it all happens again. While I still can’t change my husband’s reactions, reading this has helped. Your perspectives and advice break the issue apart to where we can see it from the inside.
You are correct you don’t HAVE to be a Christian to deserve these things, that is God’s grace.
Meredith Van Binsbergen says
Jenn, I agree with your overall reaction to this article…all good stuff but doesn’t really address the issues faced by those of us loving and married to very defensive and difficult men. For some reason no one in the Christian community wants to address this “dirty little secret”…that Christian men (who are walking in defiance) can be a nightmare to live with. This may explain why the divorce rate is just as high in within the church as without. At least in the secular world women can talk about it but because of the expectations of what a Christian home is to look like and the expectation of women to be submissive it throws things into a quandary. I will write this book! I’ve lived this for 26 years, I love God, I love my man and I’m making it work but it has been a difficult and painful road at times. And there is little resource support on this topic. We need to talk about this so God can be glorified in marriage! He does not expect women to be doormats. And I have found that God will call a woman to stand up for herself and her children when her husband is out of line. This is what being a Daughter of a King involves. When a man is not loving his wife as He should SHE MUST TAKE ACTION being lead by the Holy Spirit. Sending love to all my Sisters loving men in rebellion and sticking it out! God bless you all!!’
How do you stick it out ladies??? I had to take a step out of my marriage when my husband screamed out he hated me and to leave ‘his’ house. A few days later, after losing hope in our covenant, he calls to tell me God spoke to him saying, and I quote “don’t you see my son, without me in your marriage, it will never work” you know how hard it is to not feel double minded about this? He has nobody to cook for him or watch his children during the day when he is at work (we have a his, mine, and ours family). Nobody to wash his clothes or the dishes or feed the pets. I married a faithless man and by the blood of the lamb and the strength of the holy spirit I got him to the church and God did the rest. But even so, he does not honor me as his wife and emotionally abused me and verbally and on a few occasions physically. I have stood in my vows that I have to my man in front of god, I kept my word. Does god not want to have be happy as well? I asked then to put his clothes away and I was told that I was lazy and despised by him. He will not apologize to me and acts as if it didn’t happen again and again. I have only been married for 3 years, I will become a shell of a person if he cannot soften his heart. I believe in obeying God’s law and not divorcing, even though at this time we are separated. I have asked to go to counseling and he refuses to go as long as I stay away. Pray for my grievances and for my husband. Thank you and God bless you all.
Thank you for the honesty. There needs to be more attention made to matters like this. Every marriage is not perfect and women need to know they are not alone when they are having doubts and start having different feelings in their marriage. My husband has changed in the last part of our 28 years of marriage. His OCD that was tolerable (& even comical) in the early years of our marriage has increased to the point that sometimes I wonder if I can continue loving him.
I have to say, this is an incredibly insulting article. Firstly, I should say that I’m not a Christian, although I was baptised and raised and confirmed as one, and my parents are, but for reasons like this article, I’m not. Neither is my live in boyfriend.
The first thing that insults me if that you’re insinuating that non Christians have no morals. The section taking about if you or your husband aren’t Christians pretty much says that you aren’t going to have any morals or your standards week be baseless and selfish. And you said that your husband wouldn’t have any reason to put forth any effort in your relationship other than to make you happy… Which he won’t always care about? Why the heck would anybody ever be with anyone who just disregards then? At any time? If you ever don’t care about your partners happiness, you don’t care enough about them, and you shouldn’t be with them. That doesn’t have anything to do with being a Christian, it has to do with being a good partner and a considerate person. Seriously, you don’t have to be a Christian to have a little consideration. It’s kind of rude of you to say something like that. Just because I don’t worship your God doesn’t mean I’m a sociopath. Especially when your god promotes things like the woman needing to be submissive. Why? No other reason than she is a woman. Your pre written tweet was that “submission can be paused” so you can confront your husband. As a woman, that’s super insulting. I want to be an equal in a relationship. That’s what everyone deserves. Especially if you’re a woman doing all the work in the house. You need a little consideration and to be seen as an equal. It’s not hard for someone to look at you doing laundry, dishes, sweeping, vacuuming, etc, and say, “gosh, I would hate to do that all by myself, it looks like she could use some help”. You dont have to be a Christian or be held to a special expectaion, you just have to be a good considerate partner and not be a selfish jerk. It’s like this, if you get to just sit there and not do anything around the house, why don’t I? Why do I just automatically have more responsibilities than you? No one should have to put up with that kind of crap, Christian or not. You shouldn’t have to be submissive or a mother to your partner. You’re not being treated as a partner if that’s the case, more like a maid, really. A subordinate who’s just there to cleann up after someone.
This article was meant for husbands and wives. Not boyfriends and girlfriends living together. Two totally different things.
No, not really. Coming from someone who lived with my husband for years before we got married. There is no need for being condescending to another’s relationship status.
Kayla, I think you’re misunderstanding some of what Chelsea has written here and her blog along with this article are written from a CHRISTIAN perspective, which will of course be different than your own if that is not the way you choose to live your life. She is merely stating that there is a certain Godly standard in which Christ intended us to live, so that will naturally be a bit different than the rest of society, not to say it makes Christians better than others or that other men who are not Christian do not wish to be a quality partner who is kind, considerate and meets their partner’s needs. In fact, I meet many who are not Christian and are wonderful in those areas to to their girlfriend or wife, much of it is a matter of upbringing and what was experienced while growing up.
You had mentioned your ‘live in boyfriend’. First of all, let me say, life is a bit easier and less problematic along with more romantic and light when you’re in the dating zone and are not married. While I didn’t live with my husband before we got married so I didn’t see some of the things I did afterwards, I will say that marriage does change things. Dating is more carefree, both partners know they are still in essence two individuals living either apart or under one roof loving the other. Two become one after becoming married, and that can be wonderful but also challenging as there is a sense of individuality that can be lost and new compromises that need to be made. You may share domestic life together right now but it is NOT the same thing as being married, so please don’t confuse the two. When you become married and are with that person for a few years, maybe you’ll think back on my comment because I think this is common in a lot of marriages for wives to feel this way.
I’ve been married for nearly 10 years and as an independent woman, the idea of submitting to my husband is not always easy. We are both very head strong people. He is very complementary of my cooking, notices when I clean or do something for our daughter (even just regular everyday things like giving her a bath since he never does), he acknowledges and is grateful but doesn’t help in that area an many others domestically. It can be frustrating but he brings in the majority of our income at the moment so I try to keep that in mind, that we both contribute to this family in different ways. I have noticed a change since he has been more of the provider since our little one was born. He has selfish tendencies (we all do as human beings) but ones that involve travel for extended periods of time as his heart is for missions work and living in other countries (something that he knew before we got married that I would travel to such places, but wasn’t interested in living there long term. So, this is a constant battle as he feels called to live and work in other countries, particularly Asia) and an attitude of ‘you can come with me or stay here’ which I absolutely cannot stand and is maddening as it’s an ultimatum, something we can’t get past. We are still together but I am choosing to leave because while he is a man of God, is a Christian and is helpful with our little one when I really ask (it’s rare he just sees I’m struggling or need help and offers), he has been disrespectful verbally especially in public lately and our relationship is now even more dysfunctional and I feel it will be best for our child not to see and hear us fighting all the time. I’m not perfect, and I haven’t always been the most helpful or respectful to him in the past but it was based on feeling a bit powerless, out of control and as if I was never the first or even second priority, he wants to have a family but still wants to do his own thing without coming together to compromise and after nearly 10 years I don’t think he ever will. Like I said, marriage is not easy, and people do change over time. Our dating life was much different and while he and I are still the same people in many ways, we’ve also changed (and changed one another for better and worse).
I think this article goes beyond cleaning and domestic life though, as I mentioned, sometimes it’s differences of opinion on where to reside, whose career takes the front seat at the moment. The key to everything is communication and when one person only chooses to see things their own way, it’s hard to get past.
Kayla, you say your not a Christian and so I am sure your not reading a Bible and following God’s word. That in itself speaks volumes!! I don’t find God’s word insulting or degrading. Being submissive seems to be insulting to non-believers because your not reading what he is saying. My husband is not a believer but I know God has a plan for him and it’s about his soul. Ask your mom what a Proverbs 31 woman is <3. …. maybe you read this for a reason! God bless
You took the words right out of my mouth. I just really feel bad for people who live like this. I love that I have an equal partner and best friend. He wouldn’t even dream of treating me otherwise. He does tons around the house and with the kids. He views our roles as nearly the same. And when there’s a problem, we both are comfortable speaking up and dealing with it in a respectful way. I would never tolerate less. What an awful way to live, wondering if you have right to speak up for yourself and expect equality.
Why are you on this article if your are not a Christian? That’s part of the title… it seems to me that it’s a proven point that you don’t have to believe and love jesus for jesus to believe and love you, dearly… clearly you read this article for a reason. Amen! Glory to God!
Dearest Kayla, I understand your frustration. I hear you are annoyed and offended. However, I hope you will hear some points about your comment. This article was written for Christian women who’s standards are set in the bible. I hope you can just look past the article as a letter found from one friend to another, not really applicable to you. Also, I hear you say that consideration can be a standard you set for yourself and your boyfriend. While true, I wonder where you might have gotten your standard from? The people who you lived a majority of your life with? Perhaps your parents who’s stadard is set in the Bible as well? Just found that interesting. I don’t think Chelsea was trying to be offensive, I think what she was trying to say is that there is no PRESET Standard for those who dont have a relationship with Christ…they get to make their own. Perhaps yours is set in a biblical mindset that you can’t get past, lucky girl. But others who have not been raised to be respectful and loving towards their spouses will have a harder time with finding a standard to base their marriage upon. Until then, I hope that the imperfect grace you were raised on, helps you see past the parts of this article that you just plain don’t like…but also you have voided yourself from.
It sounds like
1. You’re saying that you have to be a Christian to have empathy, which is a bad thing, because you’re only doing it because your told to, not because it’s right and kind.
2. That Christian women are only there to be maids for their husbands. That’s kind of disrespectful to women to think that that’s all they’re good for in your belief system.
And I understand that maybe this article doesn’t necessarily apply directly to my specific situation, buy why does a woman suddenly turn into a slave when she gets married? Isn’t it the next step in a relationship? Live in boyfriend & girlfriend vs. Husband and wife might be different, but not like, worlds apart, both are very committed. And there was a section devoted to non Christians, too.
It’s sad that you are all so indoctrinated. Really, my heart weeps for you, because I know that you are all wonderful, kind people. I grew up in a fundamentalist church like most of you, but thankfully I used logic and critical thinking to free myself. When I see blog posts like this, I wish there was a way to help these young women realize that they don’t have to be locked into this way of life that keeps them tied up in knots worrying about what God wants. All it does is hurt you and your kids. I have been in years of therapy due to my mother’s inability to stand up and be the strong leader I needed her to be, and it was all due to her belief that women had to be subservient. We need strong women who can put logic above traditional roles for their children’s sake. Look up Sam Harris. He helped me break free from the indoctrination of my childhood and youth, and now I’m so much happier and more able to have a clear view of reality. Please don’t take this as a mean comment. When you’ve removed yourself from the indoctrination, it’s just so easy to see the problem, and that’s why posts like this truly sadden me.
Hi Corrie, thanks for reading and commenting. I can’t help but feel like you missed my point, though. Striving for godliness can many times mean not being submissive to your husband, as long as your motivation truly is to honor God. I think that’s what you were saying too. So I’m sorry you missed that when reading this.
Grace Houle says
Hi Chelsea! I really enjoyed reading your blog. I don’t always comment on articles, but for 1. I like your article, and am always encouraged when people are striving to live out a life that pleases God and is bold enough to encourage others to do likewise, and 2. some of the comments above, really nudged me the wrong way. I don’t like when people try to discourage others by using deceptive words. I am sure you have plenty of people to encourage you. But I just wanted to be one more. Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Hey Grace! Thanks so much for those encouraging words. It’s always great to receive comments like yours. And of course I usually expect ones like the one above from Corrie, too. I don’t really expect those who don’t love Christ to understand so I don’t let that get me down. Thank you for reading the blog!!
One thing that stands out to me the most is that when I usually look at my husband in this way: “Do I really need to put up with his crap” I myself am not being Christian. I am usually comparing him to myself or someone else and selfishly wishing he would overcome (fill in the blank). One of the biggest things I have learned is that I am equally yoked with him, which means two things to me: I am neither above or below him and I am also just as imperfect as he is. To me, the only times I have ever said anything was actually to have him help me to get over an unrealistic expectation of him or only if my help was something that brought him closer to God. I am his wife, his helper, his lover, his friend. The best part is he equally fulfills those for me. If I’m focusing on what he needs to work on instead of my own imperfections, I end up not being able to see the beam in my own eye. Right when we stop expecting perfection, (not laziness or not trying at all) we then are able to see strengths that we never before were able to see, and that each of our imperfections help the other grow. At least this has been my experience 🙂 and a wonderful one at that!
What a tough subject to tackle, you did a great job with it. The word submit always seems to get people into a tizzy and for a long time I was of the opinion that I would not submit, ever. Then I really started reading the Bible and thinking about what I wanted. I didn’t want to submit to my husband, but I sure wanted him to submit to me!
I love Proverbs 31, it gives a great description of a wife caring for her family and community, while working in and out of the home.
Good job on a tough subject,
Terri Smith says
What a great article. You have really touched alot of areas.
I myself have been married to a wonderful man for 30 years .
He does most of the cooking and I do the dishes . it works for us.
Most important in a marriage is to be God centered.
Then to have great communication and yes sex is important for both parties to enjoy.
Always have meals together as a family and be honest with each other and yes be quick to forgive.
Never go to bed angry and never yell at each other unless there is a fire.
Love always trumps hate.
So glad I landed on this page!! Very encouraging!
So glad I landed on this page!! Very encouraging!!
I’m Jewish and I completely love this article!! It’s true- God should be the center of the marriage. You hit so many great points! Always keep writing!! I’m subscribed now! 🙂
This was so encouraging!
God wants us to be at peace, if you will, therefore that is what matters most… God doesn’t want us to suffer. I can only presume this must be confusing and ever so difficult… You have the answers within yourself ( easier said than done ), so I understand that. Although this may sound like a Cliche, look to God and you know well, here on “Earth” life which isn’t easy because nobody ever said it was… I
God bless, Helena
Hi Helena! Thank you for reading and commenting! I definitely agree that God wants us to have peace. We can have so much peace through Christ. What I can’t agree with, though, is the suffering. Jesus warned us that we, as Christians, will indeed suffer for bearing Christ’s name (calling ourselves Christian). In Matthew 16:24 Jesus says, “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.'” The thing that separates a Christian’s suffering from someone who doesn’t have Christ is the peace that comes from Christ that remains through the suffering. Many people don’t like to think that God intends for us to suffer, but it is, in fact, what separates us from those who don’t know Christ.
Charlotte Harms says
Thank you , thank you, thank you!!!!!! You nailed again !!! I have truly been blessed to read your blog ! I also enjoy reading with husband, it gives us an opportunity to spend time together in a healthy way! And talk about different situations in our marriage! you have helped in so many ways many blessings to you!
God put this post in front of me as I am desperately seeking a way to help my marriage get back on track. My husband is a Christian man, he is selfless, and compassionate, a great leader, most of the time a fantastic husband. In the last year it feels as though loving me is an option, and respecting him like in Ephesians 5:33 is a requirement. I must fulfill every bit of his love language though it isn’t my nature at all, while he doesn’t seem to try to do mine which isn’t his nature either. It feels like it’s about making sure he feels respected and his love tank is filled is the only thing that matters. And I’m so worn out, tired, and sad. Which doesn’t help anything. It’s so hard to keep it up unconditionally when there seems to be nothing in return. And if I bring it up, it’s my fault because I am not fufilling my duties. Seriously I’m losing hope.
Submit to my husband?? Its 2016? Good grief. Christian or not, get a grip – seriously ladies!
Chelsea, Thank you for this post! My husband is currently deployed, and as I look forward to his homecoming and our reintegration as a family, I have been trying to read articles that really lay out boundaries and guidelines, because after a year apart, you’re truly living separate lives, and coming back together as one after that amount of time separate, is excruciating. I am glad that I stumbled upon your blog. I am grateful that there is a platform for Christian women to go for advice and moral support with tough issues. And although my husband IS the type to read about how he can improve his marriage…I’ve seen it myself on his web browser… a year in a war zone doesn’t leave much time to research “How to live with wife after year apart” lol. Thank you, thank you!
Jenni, thank you so much for your sacrifice and your husband’s service to our country!!! I can’t imagine reuniting after a year apart. My husband was in the air force for 6 years and even then the longest we spent apart was 4 months. I’ll keep you guys in prayer, what an exciting and scary time!!! I am sure it will go beautifully. And you probably smell better than most of the people he’s been around for the last 12 months – so you’ve got that going for you! 😉 Again, thank you guys for your sacrifice, it does not go unnoticed. <3
As a woman, as a wife, and as a Christian of over 35 years, I believe that your response to the subject is fitting; from exercising grace and forgiveness, to praying at length before confrontation takes place. I also read through all the comments. What stands out the most to me is that it seems that very few of us have any idea what submission truly means. I do not wish to appear as if I think I know everything, because I don’t have it all together, but I would like to share some of my thoughts.
To start with, submission is not spelled d-o-o-r-m-a-t, although many take it that way. There are many very blessed Christian wives whose Christian husbands treat them well, if not as generously and enthusiastically as first expected. You addressed this category of marriage very nicely, as above, that it is necessary in these cases to exercise grace, forgiveness, and humility. These women submit to their husbands without any real difficulty, other than a likely clash with their former nature. They are likely to believe that to speak up about the status quo in their household is not being submissive, or even being a good Christian.
There are also many Christian wives whose Christian husbands are so selfish that the women are experiencing real anguish, despairing of expecting any better treatment, and probably feeling guilty that they aren’t feeling “submissive”. You mentioned that as Christians, we should expect suffering, as Jesus warned us. I don’t think he meant being mistreated (or even abused) by one’s husband should be considered “expected suffering”, not in the face of the persecuted Church in our world, whose members are jailed, beaten, tortured and even executed for daring to declare their faith in God.
However, having to endure a truly bad marriage can actually be CAUSED by wrong concepts of what submission is, from both men’s and women’s viewpoints. Submission does not equal agreement in all matters, big and small. It doesn’t mean that the man gets to make all the decisions in the marriage and the household. Submission does not mean that a woman must silently tolerate maltreatment from her husband. Speaking up for oneself and submission should go hand in hand, not be opposites. A wife can speak the truth in love and still remain in submission to her husband. Submission does not mean relinquishing one’s dignity or human rights. Holding another person accountable (in love) for how they treat you is not a lack of submission, but a clear indication of self-respect. A wife has a right to be respected just the same as every other human being. Speaking up for oneself does not have to equal major confrontation, either. If a marriage has deteriorated that far, something is wrong, and has nothing to do with submission, or lack thereof.
So, what IS submission? Biblically, it means that a covering is provided for the wife by the husband in every way, spiritually, financially, emotionally, physically, etc., so that the relationship between a husband and wife embodies the relationship between Jesus and His church. In that light, being the husband means a great deal of responsibility before God. For the wife, submission means accepting the covering, and honoring her husband for providing it. If the covering is not provided, then may I propose that a wife has nothing to submit to? So then what? I believe that it means a marriage that is out of alignment with the expressed will of God for His church, which in turn negatively impacts the lost world that is watching Christians every day. We have a responsibility to represent Christ to everyone around us, individually and personally, as well as through a marriage that honors God.
Love your response. I agree wholeheartedly that people regularly misunderstand the word ‘submit’ in this context. I have always (cheekily) reminded my husband that he has a much harder role to fulfil and that my part is dependent on him doing his!! I think people need to step back and think logically, no partnership works if the two involved work in opposition – and someone has to lead, but that doesn’t mean the other doesn’t have an equal role or an equal say – it’s not a partnership if that’s not the case. Working out who will do what and how is part if the challenge of joining your life to someone else’s. None of us are perfect and it is easy to forget that in the mess of hurt feelings and disappointments, but disappointment is not the same as abuse. Sometimes we are kinder and more patient with strangers than we are with the husbands and wives we profess to love. So, submission does not equal doormat, patience and kindness and the way we behave with strangers should be the least of what we are prepared to offer our loved ones and marriage (in any form) is a partnership. And men are called to be ‘Christ like’ – women, just patient and loving, as long as he’s trying to live up to Christ’s example. I think I can do that.
Theresa, luv luv luv your response! tY for sharing your words of wisdom.
Hi there, I appreciate the post you have here and I agree with everything. I’m not sure how to stand up and hold my husband to an amount of respect that I should. I have PTSD from childhood experiences (verbal/emotional and physical abuse…. mostly verbal/emotional). My husband knows this. We’ve been married 15 years this April but we only learned of my PTSD about 3 years ago. From that time forward, I have been working with a counselor. We do EMDR treatments, which have made an amazing difference in my life; HOWEVER, it doesn’t take away the PTSD. I freeze, want to vomit, shake, can’t think, etc. whenever he gets angry and he can get REAL angry. He’s a fighter and I was told that years ago, when he used to compete, men wouldn’t fight him just for fear of the look on his face. I didn’t believe it for the first 2 years of our marriage… then it showed up. As I mentioned, I didn’t know I had PTSD (and severe anxiety and dissociative disorder). I would react to him correcting our children and would loose control and not remember what I did or said. I wouldn’t get violent, just try to step in and save them (from my experiences) – he wasn’t hurting them. As the years went by, it got worse and worse because I would not admit to the things he said I had done… I didn’t remember. I still don’t remember. Now that I have had treatment and I am better, he still holds all those actions against me and brings them up whenever he gets angry. We drink. I love wine… don’t like the feeling of being drunk so normally only a glass or two. He is a margarita lover, but always makes a point to abstain from drinking for a few days here and there to prove to himself he can and that he doesn’t have a problem. I agree, he doesn’t. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t get mean when he drinks. Alcohol makes him emotional. He can be as drastic as overly loving, crazy sexual or the worst, really really angry. I don’t fight back any more now that I am in control of my senses but he brings up everything I ever do wrong so I also don’t feel that I have a leg to stand on… it’s always warranted. I never bring up his failings so it always feels one-sided. Back in my dissociative days, I would fight back with where he failed, to make him see that I wasn’t the only broken one, but of course, that didn’t go well. He’s a very good arguer and always wins. I shut down. Then if I try to walk away from his anger, he texts and calls me or will come find me and start up again. He screams at me, throws things around the room, yells out in anger, mocks my efforts to try to defend myself or show where I’m trying, and finally sends me texts and messages about how I am not the Proverbs 31 wife. I don’t feel worthless. I know I am the daughter of the King but at the same time, I feel trapped. I live in a foreign country where only he knows the language (I’m trying to learn – this is the source of his current anger, that I haven’t learned Spanish in 14 years). I can’t leave but I feel like I can’t breath either. I want him to know that it’s not ok to keep tearing me down and then the next day either act like nothing ever happened, casually say he’s sorry for getting so angry (then do it again), or worse, tell me he’s sorry with the caveat that he wasn’t wrong and start all over again about my faults and failures. What’s so heavy is that he is the first to tell me that I am so very smart, successful, beautiful, etc but then tears me down in his moments of anger flareups. Anger is my PTSD trigger. He knows this and yet his answer to my reaction of shutting down or getting away from him to stop feeling like I’m having a heart attack is to ask when my next appointment is with my counselor and that I need to go more often. It’s like he sees my PTSD as just one more failure. Now here’s the kicker… he’s disabled (officially) and has his own limitations, but I never say anything about having to pick up the slack or what it takes to have patience with limitations. Some of his anger comes from his disability as it has affected his brain. We are an amazing team and have a company that we do so very well together. So…. where am I going with all this. 3 nights ago, he started in about the language thing. He yelled at me, fairly constantly, either in person or via text or phone for three hours. It only ends when he falls asleep. Night before last, I went to bed, thinking everything would be ok and that he was already asleep. He spoke to me once I was in bed and said that he was sorry but then started into how he was correct in what he said but not how he said it… then started working himself up again and ended up raising his voice, speaking through his teeth and cussing. I said “that’s it” and got up and walked out of the room. He yelled out, “Yeah, go hide. that’s what you do.” That hurt but what really hit me was the text he sent about Proverbs 31:10, basically telling me I’m not the wife God wants me to be. I waited until 1am to be sure he fell asleep before I tried going back to bed. (Understand, through all this, I’m trying to keep my PTSD under control and crying constantly – hiding in the dark corners of our home). I’m not afraid of him physically, I’m afraid of the emotional hits from his anger (which only come out once or twice a month but are really really bad). Now I feel like I need to take more of a stand. I can’t go to him and tell him how I feel and where I think he is going wrong because he takes that as an attack and fights….hard and strong. Rather, I’m distancing myself. Normally where I would chat with him, send him texts or pictures, talk about life. Nothing. All I will speak about with him is anything family related (our children are 14 & 11) or work. Everything else…. nothing. I’m not even sure he’s noticed. I don’t think guys care for their wives sharing with them anyway. My ex didn’t, and now my husband. I know he loves me, but I really don’t think he will ever think I am good enough. I never yell, never condemn or correct him, try to lift him up with praise, am very affectionate physically, try to be a Godly wife, I work very hard to make our business successful (I’m the CEO), etc. But to him, that’s just not enough to keep him from tearing me down. I’m stuck.
What if you husband is outwardly choosing to be selfish, like going out of his way to be rude and ignore, not loving at all? I want to honor God but I cannot figure out this boundary. I am looking for honest, Christian, responses. I know what society would say to do and that is my battle because then what difference would I be showing as a Christian if I just do what others who have not experienced the love of God do? I am really struggling. Please respond with Godly, practical advice or encouragement or please just pray for me and that my husband would turn back to Jesus and find the healing that he needs. Thank you.