Our culture has accepted that wives nag. We see it on commercials, TV shows (think Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond, Carrie from King of Queens), many of us heard our mothers do it, many of us do it ourselves.
Nagging is one of the most culturally embedded problems in our marriages. And the tragedy of it is that nagging has become expected, accepted as “the way marriage works” – and nagging paves the way for huge problems in marriages.
Think about the cliché for a minute: “paves the way.” Nagging smoothes out the road for other problems, welcomes other problems, makes it easy for other problems to enter our marriages – and the marriages of millions of Americans. Once we get into a habit of nagging, we’re more likely to be unsatisfied in our marriages. And why wouldn’t we be? If our focus is constantly on what our husbands are doing wrong, what they aren’t doing, why they aren’t doing it, etc., how do we expect to feel satisfied in our marriages? And if we aren’t satisfied, that can lead to many, many problems: seeking male attention outside of marriage, griping to our friends, etc.
So, here’s my advice: Don’t let a TV show or even the dominant cultural norms define who you are in your marriage. Yes, nagging is normal in this world. Yes, short term, it feels kinda good to “get it off our chests.” But, no, it’s not God’s Will for our marriages. It is not God’s best for our lives.
Like any bad habit this one will take time (and God’s help) to break. It’s a process of being intentional about trying, leaning on God’s power, and apologizing when we mess up (to our husbands and to God).
The fact is, nagging is not just seen as something women do, but it’s often seen as actually part of a woman’s nature. And while it certainly wasn’t part of our nature in the paradise God created, it does seem to be part of the corruption of femininity – a temptation common to fallen daughters of Eve. And God, in His infinite wisdom, knew this was an issue we’d struggle with. He knew this aspect of our sin nature would conflict with His Spirit Who lives in us.
Galatians 5:16-18: 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
And consider this: 5 times in Proverbs a “quarrelsome wife” is referred to. While this can certainly be seen as a warning for men (Don’t marry this type of woman!), I think this can also be seen as a reminder for women (Don’t be this type of woman!).
Proverbs 19:13b — a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping. [Think about that: Drip, drip, drip, drip……same sound over and over and over……gets annoying after awhile.]
Proverbs 21:9 — Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Proverbs 21:19 — Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
Proverbs 25:24 — Better to live on the corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. [Identical to Proverbs 21:9]
Proverbs 27:15 — A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. [This calls to mind “adding insult to injury.” It’s already raining, and a quarrelsome wife makes things worse for her husband, instead of making them better.]
Consider what these verses are telling us: Terrible living conditions are better than living with a quarrelsome wife. We make our homes less welcoming than a desert, when they should be sanctuaries for our husbands. We make even embarrassment and exposure to the elements preferable to being in a house with us, when our homes should welcome our husbands with open arms.
I think the “living on a corner of the roof” imagery is interesting. The typical Israelite house at this time would likely have a flat roof made of mud and twigs (which required a lot of upkeep). Even living on that would be better than living with a quarrelsome wife.
I wonder – and I can’t prove this, but I wonder – if there was also an element of embarrassment to this image. Bear with me here: Patriarchs were incredibly important in this society, and housing arrangements were often designed around this familial structure. For instance, a father (and his wife), his sons (and their wives and children) would often all live in a closely networked series of structures. If you were living on your roof, it seems like everyone in the family would know. And if the head of the household was living on the roof, it would seem pretty obvious that something was wrong in the husband-wife relationship. That, I imagine, would be embarrassing for a man. BUT, from these verses, it sounds like that embarrassment of living on your roof would be better than having to live in the house with your quarrelsome wife. Again, this interpretation in not explicitly stated in Scripture. I think it follows, though, from what we know about the time period and the family structure.
And make no mistake, quarrelsome wives are still embarrassing today; even if their husbands don’t end up on the roof, often their husbands end up trying to avoid them in other ways. They may not retreat to the roof or the desert, but usually they’ll try to retreat to somewhere else. I’m not saying this is the correct response from the man; on the contrary, I think men retreating instead of leading the household is one of the biggest problems in modern marriages. But I’m also saying that as women, this retreating is partly our fault. We often make it harder for our men to lead, and we make it easier (and more tempting) to retreat.
We nag. We degrade. We embarrass. They feel disrespected. So they retreat. They close us out.
They retreat. They close us out. We feel unloved. So we nag. We degrade. We embarrass.
You get the picture.
The cycle has to stop somewhere. Why not with us? Why not today? I know a lot of you have heard this song, but give this video a listen. Anytime he says “city,” substitute “marriage.” There’s no reason to wait — start here. Start now.
So, what’s the challenge today? Stop nagging. Why wait? Start here. Start now. (And if you’re a younger woman reading this — maybe just married or not married yet — please remember, it’s hard to break these habits. It’s much easier not to form them in the first place.)
Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Strategies? Failures? Successes? Leave a comment below!
Next Monday: Want to make your husband resent you? Want to make his friends pity him? Want to swing the door to your marriage wide open for Satan? Find out how next Monday!
Click here to start reading the wife series from the beginning.
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Hi, y’all. Two requests today:
1. Sunday’s daughter (Amy) has bronchitis. Please pray for a quick, permanent recovery.
2. I’m going to try to make a long story short. Those of you who know me know that this can be difficult for me. (**Okay, I’m on read-through 4 or so now, and every time I read over this post, I add things to it. I just have so much to say about this! I’m going to stop now, though. If you’re interested in hearing more, you can feel free to ask!**)
A year ago two missionaries visited our church. Rodney is from South Africa and Shobane is from Swaziland. A little background on Swaziland: They have the highest percentage of AIDS cases of any country (42% infection rate). Largely because of this epidemic, there are an estimated 120,000 (some estimate 200,000) orphans in Swaziland (in a country of about 1.1 million people) with about 15,000 households headed by children. The life expectancy for someone born today is 32 years. About ½ of the residents of Swaziland do not have access to clean drinking water. This causes short-term and long-term health issues.
During their visit a year ago, Shobane spoke to our LifeGroup class on Sunday morning, and when asked what his most pressing need was he said clean drinking water for his village. The women of the village (his wife and daughter included) have to hike more than a mile to the river to get water for the family. They have to get there each day before the animals do because the water is cleaner before the animals get in it. The water, even before the animals arrive, is not clean. A well would provide water for Shobane’s family, but also for the rest of the village. (With such easy and immediate access to water, I think not having clean drinking water is hard for me to imagine. I don’t know what it’s like to literally being dying of thirst, but I do know what it feels like to be dehydrated – it’s not pleasant. More upsetting, though, is thinking about the children I know feeling that way – and not having any way to ease their pain. Dirty drinking water (that I have to hike miles to get) or having no water at all is not an acceptable choice. If I wouldn’t accept it for my children, it’s hard to ask Shobane to accept it for his. My husband and I both felt burdened about this project last year, and followed up with our church leaders about getting a well for Shobane’s village.
Here’s what we found: Once someone goes back to Swaziland, coordinating details becomes much harder. Despite people working on both ends, thousands of miles, a number of bureaucratic and financial roadblocks, and other pressing needs kept the project from moving forward.
Shobane and Rodney came back this year. Shobane still does not have clean water. Shobane spoke to our class (along with some other classes) again this year and, when asked, again said that clean water is his most pressing need. Upset that the well hadn’t happened yet (and that, from what we could gather, a solution was still months away), we felt a clearer and more dramatic burden for this particular project. Since Sunday, we have been researching well options and trying to get the details straight regarding what exactly is needed.
Yesterday (Wednesday) there was a breakthrough. A meeting with Shobane, Rodney, and the director of missions at our church yielded a new and more-streamlined plan. Most of the previous ideas were going to take 6 months to a year to implement, but everyone expects this plan to give them water within the month!
So here’s the prayer request: In order to make this well happen, we need to raise $7,000 by Monday. (Shobane and Rodney leave Tuesday, and the logistics of making this happen long-distance will again push the project back, maybe by several months. We firmly believe they’ve waited long enough). This amount covers all the needed materials for to provide clean, reliable water to both Shabone’s village and a nearby Christian orphanage. (Plus, having reliable water will allow them more stability raising crops, giving them reliable food and income as well.) As for the manual labor needed to implement this plan, Rodney and Shobane both said that if the money was available, the people are eager to work and would begin immediately.
Our church mission budget is already tied up in other projects, both in this area and elsewhere. So we’ve got to find the money elsewhere. And in some ways $7,000 seems daunting. We don’t have that in our bank account – that check would bounce so high! But, at the same time, it’s not so much. It’s about 100 tanks of gas. It’s about 150 dinners-for-two at an Olive-Garden-type restaurant.
We know there are pressing needs everywhere. We know that not everyone will feel burdened for this need just because we do. And I’m really not asking for money here — just your prayers.
So please pray that, if it’s God’s Will, we’ll be able to raise this money by Monday. Through a few big donors, though a lot of little donors, through some avenue we haven’t even thought of yet. Our God is a big God. We can’t do this, but HE can!
Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Last time we talked about some things we might need to let go of as wives. Today, I’d like to spend a little time on some things we might need to start doing — or at least ways we might need to refocus our efforts.
So let’s start here: In what three areas do you least like serving your husband? Or, put another way, what three specific things do you know he likes/wants/appreciates/needs, but you just don’t like to do?
By doing the things we like to do to serve our husbands, we’re really serving ourselves, not our husbands. These things might still be helpful to our husbands, but as long as they’re things we also want, they are service to ourselves primarily. That doesn’t mean they’re all bad things. If my husband and I both want the laundry done, and I do the laundry, that’s good — it’s just not selfless service.
By intentionally ignoring the aspects of serving our husbands that we don’t like, we’re ultimately saying “I’ll ‘serve’ you as long as I like it, as long as I want to, as long as I’m getting something out of it, too.” Consider what terrible marriage vows that would make: “I promise to love and serve you as long as I like what that entails. When I don’t like what it entails, however, I will choose to not serve you. You’re not that important.” Yikes!
But essentially that’s what we’re telling our husbands when we don’t seek to meet the needs they want met. We put ourselves first by only meeting his needs if we’re not being too inconvenienced, as long as it’s not too much extra effort for us. This is incredibly hurtful. Imagine if your husband only loved you when it was convenient for him — if, when you were difficult to love (and for some of us, this is much of the time!), he stopped bothering. And I know some of you don’t have to imagine this at all; you live it. But you know how hurtful this is, and how harmful it is to a marriage. And this is exactly what we do to our husbands oftentimes. We “love” them (read: put their needs first) when their wants and needs don’t interfere with our own – so we’re not really putting their wants needs ahead of ours at all.
Okay, so consider again those three ways that your husband would like to be served that you don’t like. These might be mundane. For instance, while my husband isn’t a fan of piles lying about the house, I don’t really like putting laundry away:
(This photo is from about 5 years ago. Generally my piles aren’t quite as bad now…..)
One (or more) of the three might be of a more adult nature. (I will not be inserting a picture here.)
Some of the three might be things he’s been asking you to do for a long time. This summer I made an extensive chart of things I wanted to get done and things my husband wanted me to do. Some of these things had been on my to-do list for years. Let me tell you – it felt REALLY good to get them all done!
Now, once you’ve thought of your three things, ask yourself: why do you dislike them?
First, are they illegal? Are they physically dangerous or otherwise harmful to you or others? If so, obviously I’m not advocating that you do them. I am suggesting that you seek help outside yourself, however. Here’s a resource that may help: http://referrals-loc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/referrals_loc.cfg/php/loc/enduser/loc.php.
If none of this is true, consider: Is it because these three things are boring to you? Or time-consuming for you? Or uninteresting for you? See the pattern? All of these have to do with our preferences — not his needs.
God has so much more in store for our marriages than we ever allow Him to do! The sorts of blessings He can give us in our relationship with our husbands are unmatched in any other human relationship. But He will not flood our marriages with these blessings if we are serving ourselves instead of one another.
Do we always feel like serving (again, read: loving) our husbands in selfless ways? No! (Well, if you do, then you’re a much better woman than I am!)
Why don’t we always feel like serving our husbands? Plenty of reasons, I believe. Sometimes the fault is theirs: they act in hard-to-love ways sometimes; they don’t always love us like they should. Sometimes the fault is ours: we’re too busy with our own needs or the needs of others (unless you are clearly led to do this by God, don’t replace service to your husband with service to someone (anyone!) else); we’re tired; whatever he’s asking for doesn’t seem important to us.
But the main reason we don’t meet our husbands’ needs is that we aren’t loving God the way we should. Once we are continually (daily, minute-by-minute) being filled with God’s love, loving our husbands becomes possible. It becomes fulfilling. Even enjoyable. . . . usually.
And what does it mean to continually be filled with God’s love? (See the previous post about abiding in Him.) Ultimately, the main thing in our lives has to be our relationship with God — He is our Source of strength, our best friend, our Father, the Lover of our souls.
And He has an amazing design for our marriages! Not all good marriages will look the same – and that’s good – our walks with God don’t all look the same either. My prayer is that we’ll all find God’s best for our marriages – and this takes time. Time with God. Time serving our husbands. All of this, though, is time well spent.
Here’s my challenge to you today: Look at your list of three ways your husband would like to be served that you don’t like. (Again, as long as they’re not harmful, etc.,) prayerfully consider doing all three of these sometime this week. I know that might seem ambitious, but we put a lot of effort into lots of far-less-important things.
Think about this: If someone from church called and needed you to do three things that would take some rearranging of your schedule and some extra time from your week, would you do them? What if your child’s teacher needed you to do something for the classroom? What if your boss needed you to pick up some work, maybe for a co-worker who got sick? What if a friend needed some extra attention? We rearrange and reallocate our time for lots of different reasons. Reasons that, ultimately, should come AFTER our service to our husbands.
So, rearrange and reallocate what you have to. Show your husband that next to God, he’s the most important thing in your life. And, remember, he’s not going to believe he’s important if these things are done grudgingly. This has to be done with a cheerful, servant’s heart.
I’d love hear about successes or roadblocks, either in the comments here or in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Trust me, ladies. Our husbands will notice this!
Next week: part 3 of the wife series: the biggest and most culturally-encouraged saboteur of marriages….
Click here to read part 1 of the wife series: “why won’t he________?”
Click here to read the “(becoming) fully submitted” series.
To find out more about this blog, check out the About page.
Thanks to all of you who are praying for the anonymous girls in this week’s (prayer) warrior wednesday post!
In 2012, Kingdom Pictures will be releasing acalled The Sound of the Spirit. While I have not yet seen this movie, I’m pretty fond of a particular actor in it: Matt Hodges (one of my wonderfully talented younger brothers). It will be a few months before the movie comes out, but the trailer is out now, so I wanted to share it. (Matt’s the cutie in the gray sweater who shows up about a minute into the clip.)
On Monday, look for (becoming) a godly wife, part 2 — a little less talk and a lot more action!
Here’s the first wife post: (becoming) a godly wife, part 1 — why won’t he ________?
If you haven’t yet, please check out the prayer requests from wednesday!
To read the (becoming) fully submitted series from the beginning click here: (becoming) fully submitted, part 1
To learn more about this blog, check out the About page.
In one of the stalls in one of the women’s bathrooms at school, there is a “wishing wall.” On it young women write their wishes. Every so often the facilities crew paints over it. As soon as the paint is dry someone writes “wishing wall” on it again and more young women start writing their wishes. I understand that facilities has to paint over the wishes – and I’m not saying that I support vandalism – but I think this wall is important. Important and heart-breaking.
The topics of the wishes run the gamut: “I wish I wasn’t so fat” to “I wish I knew who my real mom was” to “I wish someone could love me” to “I wish I wasn’t depressed all the time” to “I wish my boyfriend lived closer” to “I wish he’d stop cheating on me” to “I wish I wasn’t pregnant.
What this provides me with is a snapshot of what these young women are searching for – what these women, in comfortable anonymity, would identify as the major wishes in their lives. So, vandalism aside, I think it’s important that someone, anyone, know how badly some of these girls are hurting. I know. And now you know, too.
This isn’t a problem specific to my school. These problems are on all college campuses; in all high schools; and more and more frequently, in all middle schools. But the fact that many of these wishes are common doesn’t diminish their enormity in the lives of these young women. Just because scores of young women before you have felt unloved doesn’t make the fact that you, right now, feel unloved any less painful.
I’ve put some pictures below so you can see some specific requests. (Yes, I was in the bathroom stall taking pictures! As you’ll quickly see, I am not a photographer. There are some amazing photographers in my family – as you’ll see from photos I post in the future. But for this venture, it was just me in a cramped bathroom stall with a quickly failing battery, so these photos will have to do.)
As you’ll see in the photos, inevitably, some well-meaning young woman will put something about seeking God, about Jesus loving them on the wall. I think that’s good, and I think that’s probably comforting to some of these girls. However, what happens is someone objects (usually harshly) to Christianity. Then someone defends it. Then someone else objects. Etc. But what this allows me to see is that there are Christian young women on this campus who need our prayers. Some of them are clearly trying to figure out how to share God’s love with others. We can help support these young women by praying that God would give them courage and wisdom as they seek to share their faith.
Whenever I read this wall, I want to round these young women up and give all of them hugs, tell them everything will be alright. I can’t do that, but I can do one better. Instead of physical hugs, we can give them spiritual hugs. (Okay, that’s a little corny for me, but I think it’s an accurate description of what we can do.
So, today, I’d ask you to pray for these girls – the girls of anonymous wishes and the Christian girls trying to provide comfort and healing. For many of these young women, our prayers might be the only prayers they get. And while they’ll probably never know we prayed for them, that doesn’t mean our prayers will be ineffective: “if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15).
One thing I pray for these girls is peace, specifically “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” talked about in Philippians 4:7. When they feel that in their lives, they won’t know I prayed for it, but they’ll know they feel it.
I also pray that God would draw them to Himself. The only lasting peace will be found in Him, and I pray that they find that. Again, they won’t know I prayed this, and I probably won’t ever know if they become Christians, but that’s okay. These anonymous girls need someone to pray for them, and I’m willing to be that person.
If you’re also willing to pray for them, please join me. A simple comment like “praying” in the comment section below will let me know that you’re praying for them – and would be much appreciated. More appreciated, of course, are the prayers, even if I never know you prayed them. Also, if you’ve seen similar struggles in your school, work, community, church, etc., let me know, and I’ll be happy to pray for those concerns as well.
Thank you, honestly, for offering up these prayers. Even if we never see the fruit from them, we can rest assured that none of them go unheard: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Ephesians 5:22 reads: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
And I’ve been wondering:
Do we struggle to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord because we aren’t submitted to the Lord in the way we should be?
If our relationships with God are out-of-whack, it shouldn’t surprise us that our relationships with our husbands have problems. If we’re having trouble putting God (who is all-wise, all-good, has our best interests at heart all the time) first, of course we’ll have trouble putting our husbands (who are, as humans, flawed) before ourselves.
And, while those of us who are “good wives” often pay lip service to submitting, to putting our husbands’ needs in front of our own, when it comes down to it, we often want to hold our husbands to a standard that we don’t want to hold ourselves to — we expect his selfless service to us, and we feel like anything less than that lets us off the hook. We find ourselves thinking things like: “He didn’t seem interested in my day, so I’m not going to have sex with him tonight.” OR “He doesn’t seem to be handling this problem correctly/fast enough, so I’m going to take over.
This is not an option we’re given in Scripture — it doesn’t say “wives submit to your husbands when you feel they’re living for you.” Nope. It just says to submit. Well, submit as to the LORD. Which brings us back to our original question: Are we having trouble submitting to our husbands because we’re not fully submitted to God?
Hopefully, we’ve begun working on fully submitting to God. That, in and of itself, will do wonders for our marriage, because it is God’s Will that we honor and respect our husbands. If we’re in God’s Will at all times, respect for our husbands will naturally flow from that. This post, though, is about what respecting our husbands looks like a little more specifically.
TWO NOTES BEFORE I BEGIN:
ONE: While this post is specifically about marriage, I think it’s important for unmarried women as well. First, many of you will eventually marry, and being aware of some of these common problems beforehand might help you and your husband avoid some of them. Second, those whom God never calls to marry will, very likely, have married friends who face struggles in the husband-wife relationship. Perhaps something here could help you as you minister to them. Plus, much of what we’re going to talk about affects all of our relationships, not just the husband/wife relationship. (Mark 9:35: Sitting down Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”)
TWO: I’d like to note here that it might seem like these next couple of posts are unfairly hard on wives. That I don’t say enough about what our husbands should be doing. Here’s why: We can’t control what our husbands do. We can only control what we do. What we’d like to do is change our husbands so they’ll do what we’d like them to. Or we’d like to use their shortcomings as an excuse to not improve ourselves as wives. All of this is selfishness (sin) and all of this is very natural. We like easy fixes. We like comfortable things. We like getting what we want. But, as Christians, we’re called to something better.
In addition, these posts are about the Biblical role of the wife, not the husband. I’m not going to handle the husband part because I feel like that will tempt us to focus on his shortcomings, instead of our own. What follows is meant to help us become better wives — no matter what kinds of husbands we have. I can almost guarantee you, though, that allowing God to make you a better wife will help make your husband a better husband. But that can’t be our goal. Our goal is to honor God and our husbands. Period.
Without further ado…….
This post is going to pose several questions. These are NOT rhetorical. I think it’s helpful if you stop and answer them. They also don’t always have a right or wrong answer. Sometimes, it just a matter of taking stock of where you are so you know how to move forward.
First, what three things do you feel like you’ve told your husband over and over or asked him to do over and over?
Second, why can’t you let go of these things? This isn’t meant to imply that you should have to, but I think trying to articulate why something is so important to you can help you plan how to handle the issue in the future.
For example, if you’re constantly telling your husband to drink less because he’s had a DUI, is spending too much money on the habit, and frightens the kids when he’s drunk, I’m not telling you that you have to stop being so selfish and leave him alone. Quite the opposite in this case: your concern is stemming from actual safety and relational concerns. I would recommend, though, getting help other than just yourself. (A great resource is Focus on the Family’s website. They offer solid advice on a wide variety of issues: www.family.org. You can also call to talk to family care specialist or look up Christian counselors in your area: http://family.custhelp.com/app/home.)
However, for many of us, what we nag our husbands about is not nearly so important. So, once you have your list, consider why you can’t let go of those issues. WHY is this so important to you? What need of yours would he be meeting if he did these three things?
For instance, let’s say you always tell him to get projects, etc., done faster. Just totally pulling this example out of the sky. Have no real experience with it or anything…. J
And this speed is important to you because, well, you want these projects done. The house would look better. Or he could then move on to a new project. Etc. He should want to do this for you because you want it done. In this case, though, if it doesn’t get done, there’s no real harm.
Consider, too, why he might be taking so long. Does he even know how to do the project? Does he have other things that are more pressing priorities? Is he just a slow person? Is the project not important to him?
1. If he doesn’t know how to do the project, there’s a good chance this is causing him quite a bit of anxiety. As we’ll talk about in a later post, there’s a lot of pressure on men to know how to do stuff. More than there is on women. Maybe easing up on him would relieve some of that pressure. And really, is the project so important that it’s worth causing him anxiety over?
2. If he has other, more pressing concerns, then he probably needs to be cut some slack. If he actually has more to do than he can get done in a day/week/month, then asking him how you can help with the load might be a good idea.
3. Is he just a slow person? Honestly, this was probably something you knew about him before you married him. But maybe he’s gotten worse. Or maybe you thought you could “fix” him. But, if this is a trait you knew he had when you married him, you’re probably going to have to let your timetable go in a lot of cases.
If you’re pretty sure he’s just a slow mover, I’d ask him about this. My husband is notoriously slow at almost everything — and I knew this going in. The positive side of this is that almost everything he does is done to an incredibly high standard and he makes very few mistakes. The negative side of this is that he’s SLOW! And I’m NOT!
We’ve found lots of ways to cope with our different styles (and I’m happy to talk about them, if anyone finds themselves in a similar situation) — and for the most part, we work very well together. That doesn’t mean, however, that the slowness never gets on my nerves. However, this is usually a personal preference thing, not an actual issue. (Even if I sometimes feel like my preference is the correct one!) If this is the case for you and your husband, I would recommend talking about it. Our discussions have taken us some time (time I don’t always feel like we have to spare), but they’ve allowed us to utilize our strengths really well — and spending the time talking about it when we’re both level-headed has led to far fewer disagreements.
4. Is the project not important to him? Sure, he should want to do it because it’s important to you, but the fact is, he’s not perfect at this putting-others-first thing either. Again, you might find out why it’s not important to him. Was he not consulted about the decisions regarding the project? Is it a project he doesn’t see the need for? It is outside his area of interest? Talking about this might help you handle projects better in the future.
Overall, though, I’d recommend prayerfully considering letting go of the top three things that you feel you tell your husband over and over or ask your husband to do over and over. Unless, as discussed above, this is an actual issue (drinking problem, violence, etc.), it’s probably a matter of preference. And, as we’ve discussed, his needs should be put ahead of your own.
I’ll grant here that this is much easier if you’re both trying to do this the right way. If both of you are trying to put the other first, you won’t bother him so much with projects, etc., and he’ll get done what is important to you. Both of you will make some sacrifices and both of you will have needs met. And if, like me, you’re blessed enough to have a husband who leads and puts you first, take some time to thank him today. I think sometimes those of us with husbands who do this well underestimate how much easier that makes our roles as Biblical wives. If, however, this is a one way street, it becomes much harder. The truth is, though, that it’s still what we’re called to as Christian wives. If your husband isn’t a Christian (or claims to be one, but doesn’t show much evidence of it), remember that you are not alone! God is with you through this journey – and other women who have been in the same situation can offer solid advice. Here are some resources that can help you:
Focus on the Family Advice: http://family.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/25920.
Book Recommended by Focus on the Family: http://family.christianbook.com/spiritually-single-raising-godly-doesnt-believe/nancy-meyer/9781576838747/pd/38747?event=CF
Another Book Recommended by Focus on the Family: http://family.christianbook.com/doesnt-believe-encouragement-alone-their-faith/nancy-kennedy/9781578564347/pd/64344?event=CF
So, Challenge One on the road to becoming a more godly wife: Prayerfully consider letting go of some things that you most nag your husband about. Realize that “why won’t he . . . . ?” isn’t the only question to ask. The right question to ask might be “why won’t I . . . .?” Remember that this is a sacrifice you’re making for the good of your marriage. Remember also that it doesn’t even begin to compare to the sacrifice God made for the good of your relationship with him.
I’d love to hear about successes, questions, concerns, etc., as you work on loving your husband more and more. Please comment below!
Want to read more? Check out the start of the (becoming) fully submitted series.
To learn more about the purpose of the blog, check out the About page.
Looking for the list of recommended books from (unsolicited) suggestion friday #3 and #2? Here you go: Recommended Christian books: Contemporary and Classics.
Today I thought I’d share with you some of the awesome stuff I’ve run across as I’ve gotten acclimated to the blogging world.
I was super excited to see how many women are sharing their faith online – many of them very articulately and very lovingly. And these are some fantastically creative women! So, below you’ll find some links to blogs that I’ve been checking out lately. (Please note that I haven’t read everything on all of these blogs. Therefore, this is not a blanket endorsement of the content.) Also: for more blogs I like, check out my “blogroll” on the sidebar!
One thing I’m looking forward to is a challenge (Frumps to Pumps) that starts Monday at www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com. See, I usually work at home 1 or 2 days a week. Long hours to be sure, but in the comfort of our home – which is nice. On days when I teach or do observations of future teachers, I dress up. On days when I stay home to grade, work on lesson plans, write……not so much. Now, I’m very fortunate because the husband works exclusively from home — this means we often get to have lunch together, bounce ideas off each other – it’s a huge blessing, and I’m very grateful for it. I’ve realized, however, that I tend to “dress down” on these work-at-home days. Like way down. Like not just to the ground, but through the ground into some deep cave.
When it’s summer and dressing down means little shorts and tank tops (we don’t have kids, so the dress code is pretty loose around here), I don’t think he minds one bit. In the winter, though, I tend towards pajama pants and long-sleeved t-shirts or sweatshirts. (I have told him that if he’d turn up the heat, I’d gladly wear shorts all year. I don’t think the thermostat is going to change, though….)
So, this challenge to actually get dressed “up,” even if you’re staying home, is perfect for me. Actually, I started today. (And by started I mean I put on jeans and a shirt, a little make-up, and let my hair down.) After the husband saw I got dressed, here’s how the conversation went:
“Are you going somewhere?” the husband asked.
“No,” I answered.
“You just decided to put on your big girl clothes?” he questioned, looking a little confused. (I call them my big girl clothes; he’s not being condescending here.)
So, yeah, I could probably stand to make this dressing “up” thing more of a habit! If you’re interested in joining me (and lots of other women), check it out:
Also, if you’re looking for other Christian blogs, Faithful Bloggers (www.faithfulbloggers.com) is a great place to start:
And, finally, Time-Warp Wife (http://time-warp-wife.blogspot.com/) is in the middle of a 31 Days of Love challenge where guest writers challenge us with different ways to show love to our husbands. Awesome!
What sites or challenges would you recommend? Tell us (and please leave links!) in the comment section below!
Have a prayer request? Check out the latest (prayer) warrior wednesday.
And coming up on Monday: (becoming) a godly wife, part one. Ever wonder why he won’t <insert thing you’ve asked him to do 1000 times here>? Check back Monday for a discussion of potential answers – and for advice on how to respond to the situation.
To learn more about this blog, check out the About page.
Below are the requests for the week. Please take just a minute to pray for these requests. If you would, please leave a quick comment – “praying” as a comment is sufficient – so the ladies making these requests can see they’re being prayed for.
Remember: if you have a prayer request for the week, you can put it in the comments below OR email it to me by Monday night, so I can put it up on Wednesday. (Email: email@example.com)
Thanks, everyone, for making this sort of encouragement possible!
1. Praise for a healthy, wonderful addition to our extended family! Welcome baby Gemma!
2. Please pray for a family friend who is hoping to get some good news this week regarding her health.
I hope my previous challenge to you is going well! And I pray that you’re learning more and more about God as you learn to love Him more and more. My next challenge to you is related to the previous one. While it’s awesome to get our daily time with God established, we have to be careful not to compartmentalize God. Not to essentially say to Him: “okay, You had Your time. Now I’m going to get on with my day.”
This next challenge took me longer, and I’ve found it to be far more difficult. Primarily because, to be honest, it brings more change and refocusing to my day. My daily time with God helps get me focused, helps me connect with Him, and teaches me valuable truths, but staying in communication with God all day actually keeps me focused on Him (and others), connects me more deeply with His heart, and allows me to put those truths into action. And, frankly, that’s not always what I feel like doing. But, as we’ve discussed, loving God isn’t about a feeling. It’s about an action, a choice, to put Him above yourself.
So, I started making a specific effort to involve God in every part of my day. Every decision, every interaction, every word. Daily I fail at this. Daily I say something and immediately realize I shouldn’t have — and that, had I checked with God first, He would have helped me avoid those careless words.
I also fail in another way, which I think is actually the more problematic. See, I think God rewards, and is happy with, our sincere efforts. As He has been training me to look to Him all day, I think He accepts that I will sometimes fall into the old habit of going about my day without Him. We cut this kind of slack to people in our lives and even to the animals in our lives.
If I’m training a puppy to go to the bathroom outside, and he’s trying, but then has an accident, I may gently chastise him, but I also recognize that he’s still learning. (Yes, I am the puppy having an accident on the floor in this metaphor.)
However, if the dog is grown and trained and knows he should go outside, but chooses not to because he doesn’t feel like it or it was more convenient not to or because he’s just being defiant, I have a much bigger problem with that.
I think it’s similar with God. During our training stages, he knows we’re going to make mistakes. However, once we’ve been trained to look to Him all day and we CHOOSE not to, then I think we have a real problem.
For instance, sometimes I get an email that I want to respond to right away. Sometimes it’s an email asking for volunteers for something that sounds fun to me, and I want to make sure I’m one of the first to reply. So many times God has to sort of clear His throat and remind me of His presence — and remind me that I should probably check with Him first. This makes me anxious. The opportunity in the email seems like a good one, I want to do it, but time is limited. (You’d think I’d remember that God isn’t much bothered by our ideas of time as I talked about in last Monday’s post, but often I don’t — at least not at first.)
Over and over, God has shown me why I need to listen to Him. Opportunities that sounded good ended up going really wrong for those involved. Something that sounded fun ended up being more work that I would have been able to do. Whatever the event was ended up conflicting with another, more pressing obligation that I couldn’t have known about at the time. And sometimes, He just asks me to wait, to seek His will, then He gives me the okay.
But here’s the puppy and the carpet mistake I make: Sometimes, I let my anxiety get the better of me, and I respond quickly because I think that this opportunity working out for me is somehow in my control. I think that if I seek God’s will on this, I will somehow be at a disadvantage. That He won’t move on this fast enough. Etc. Pretty presumptuous stuff, really. In these moments, I know I should wait, but I don’t. I’m essentially looking at God and making a giant pile on the floor because it’s what I want to do. I think God is far more angry about that sort of willful disobedience than our more honest mistakes at the beginning. Sometimes in my haste to respond to an email, something goes wrong. I later regret it. It causes me trouble later. Sometimes it goes just fine, except for the guilt of not trusting God.
This is just one of countless examples where I often let my own fear or anxiety or pride or confidence override my love for God. What area(s) do you least trust God with? What is the source of that distrust? Why, honestly, do you think you can handle it better than God?
So the challenge today is to let God’s presence into every part of your life. Make a concerted effort to go to Him in prayer before you speak, reply to an email, make a choice. You will mess this up; we all do. But try in the next few days to start concentrating on allowing God to infuse more of your life with His light and His love. (And, as always, I’d love to hear about successes, roadblocks, and helpful strategies!)
Want to read more?
Start of the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted
Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife
Start of the stewardship series: (becoming) a good steward
Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one
Start of the wisdom series: (becoming) wise, part one
Start of the Proverbs 6 series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6
Start of the Christmas series: (becoming) peaceful
Are you a worrier? Try this post: (becoming) less of a worrier
So, last Friday, we talked about Contemporary Christian books. This Friday (ahem, Saturday), I thought we’d go with Christian CLASSICS! (And we’re going with the same arbitrary classic/contemporary distinction this week: after 2000=contemporary.)
And here’s my pick:
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: This is the best attempt I’ve found at explaining Christianity from the ground up. And – bonus! – he avoids weighing in on many divisive (and non-essential) topics. He sticks to the basics. And – double bonus! – he’s the master of the metaphor. Even though I was a Christian before I read this book – and already knew much of the content – I continually go back to his metaphors when talking to others (and when trying to get my own thoughts straight). Finally – triple bonus! – he has some hilarious moments. Yes, they’re pretty understated usually, but hilarious nevertheless. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
I also strongly recommend his book The Screwtape Letters. The premise of this book (high-level devil training a beginning devil regarding how to turn people away from God) is fantastic. On a technical level it’s executed exceptionally well (as is everything I’ve read by Lewis). I also found myself continually recognizing some of the tactics the devils in the book talk about in my own life. It definitely made me more aware of some areas where my life was vulnerable.
So, what’s your favorite classic? (Feel free to tell us why, too!)
Who Got the Free Copy of For Women Only?: The winner is……………… Sara! I’ll get the book shipped to you sometime this week! (I know you’ve read it, so you can either keep it (I think it’s a good one to have around), or give it to someone else!)
Next Friday, I’ll post a list of the classic and contemporary books you guys have suggested. (That way you won’t have to read through a bunch of posts/comments if you want a book suggestion.)