Here are some questions I asked at the bottom of yesterday’s post and I am going to answer how I handle things now (by God’s power and wisdom) VS how I used to handle these issues (the first 14.5 years of our marriage until 12-2008):
1. Can my man safely trust even my thoughts about him?
I concentrated on the negative things, the things I wanted Greg to change. I was judgmental, critical and unforgiving. I looked down on him. I was impatient. I focused on his failures and weaknesses. Back then, my husband could not safely trust my thoughts about him. 🙁 By the way – this was the same way I treated myself. I did not have grace or forgiveness for myself. I expected myself to be perfect. I beat myself up relentlessly. I was full of guilt constantly – worldly sorrow. I focused on the bad things that I needed to change, too. If I got a 99 on a test, I was upset that I missed one question.
I look at the good things in him. I apply Philippians 4:8 to my thinking about my husband and our marriage.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I don’t meditate on his weaknesses. I don’t compare him to other men. I don’t watch romantic movies or read romantic books – those things created unrealistic expectations for me and would create discontentment in my spirit. I focus primarily on Christ and put Him WAY, WAY above my husband. I lay my expectations down and focus on being thankful and joyful in Christ for every blessing I have, and for suffering as well.
I am careful to be very respectful about Greg even when I pray to God.
I don’t even think disrespectful things in my own heart and mind anymore. God has regenerated my heart! I AM SO THANKFUL!
2. Can my man safely trust my words about him when he is not there, when I am talking with my girl friend and my mom and sisters?
I used to tell my family, my sister, my coworkers and my friends all about the things that bothered me about Greg. 🙁 I held nothing back and complained about him and told them all the things I wanted him to change and how I couldn’t believe I had to deal with these issues. I am SO DEEPLY ashamed of my behavior now.
I learned to take a few steps back emotionally from other people. I asked God to teach me wisdom and discretion. Now, I don’t share negative things about Greg or our marriage with anyone. If he were abusing me or had a major addiction, I may need to seek godly help. But I am VERY, EXTREMELY careful not to say anything negative, disrespectful, critical or condescending about Greg to anyone. And I try to be extremely careful not to say negative, disrespectful things about anyone to anyone else. My goal is to not gossip about anyone, and preferably, not to even hear gossip.
3. Can my man safely trust my words to him – in public and in private?
I am sure that I probably did put down my husband in public in the past. At the time, I wasn’t conscious of my disrespect, so I have a hard time remembering exactly what I said that may have been disrespectful. In private – unfortunately, I felt totally free to say every single thing that entered my mind. I did not use wisdom or discretion. I was free with my criticism of my husband. 🙁 How I wish I could go back in time and redo those moments! We would have had a very different marriage. But God is using my sin now to bring other women to Himself, so I praise Him for that.
I am VERY careful not to put Greg down, tease him in a cruel way, make him the butt of a joke, insult him, criticize him, correct him, lecture him, tell him what to do, act like I know so much better than he does – in public and in private. I seek opportunities to praise him to others and to build him up in public and in private.
4. Does my man know that I will do him good, not evil, all the days of my life? Are my motives towards him clearly for his good at all times?
I thought of him as my enemy many times. My motives were not for his good all the time. When I hurt, I wanted him to hurt. 🙁 I thought he didn’t love me, and there were times I wanted to hurt him because I hurt so much. I, sadly, listened to the voice of the enemy, the accuser – instead of the voice of God.
I probably should ask him, but I feel pretty sure that he knows he is safe with me and that my intentions towards him are good. If I slip up, I immediately apologize. Sometimes – I am concerned that maybe my tone was disrespectful and I ask him about it- but he usually says he didn’t notice it these days.
It is my goal to ALWAYS be safe for him and to always make him feel very welcome with me. I pray for God’s glory and His will for Greg. I ask God to change me. I thank God for Greg. I thank Him for his strengths and godly leadership. I ask God to give Greg wisdom and to protect him from evil and temptation. I trust God to work in his heart if there is anything that God wants to tell him. I don’t try to be the Holy Spirit anymore! I have humbled myself and see how unbelievably arrogant and prideful I was to attempt to take the place of the Holy Spirit in my husband’s life.
5. Am I thoroughly trustworthy in all things?
I thought I was trustworthy. But I was blind to my disrespect and the way I was disloyal to Greg in my talking about him to others and the way I spoke with disdain about him even in my prayers and in my thoughts. 🙁
It is my goal to be completely trustworthy in everything. My primary goal is to please and obey Christ. Out of that comes a very sincere and fervent desire to honor, respect and cooperate with my husband. I ask God to speak through me and to only let me say things that are edifying to others, that will bless them and lift them up. I would rather be too quiet now than recklessly use words that may wound someone else. I seek to listen to God’s Spirit and be full of His power so that I can live out being a godly woman every day. I cannot do this in my own strength! I am DESPERATELY dependent on God!