So, a LOT of wives are working daily on trying to respect their husbands and not control them anymore, trying to follow Christ and do the whole marriage thing His way. That is AWESOME!
But MANY wives are getting stuck at the beginning of the journey – wondering, “What about ME?” “What about what I want?” “When do I get MY way?” “Why do I have to be the only one forgiving, changing, respecting and cooperating?” “What about HIM?” “Why doesn’t HE have to change?” “What about MY needs?”
THE FIRST PHASE IS HARD! IMPOSSIBLE, REALLY ON OUR OWN.
This is a LONG process of growth and learning. It is not an instant flip on the light switch and you are suddenly a godly wife. It’s a painful process. The beginning is especially painful because that is when you begin to die to self.
Dying is PAINFUL. Killing self HURTS.
It goes against everything in our sinful nature to be willing to nail it to a cross. But if you try to skip this step – your marriage will not heal and you will not be intimate with Christ and full of His powerful Spirit on a daily basis.
At first, it is HARD to tell God – “Not my will, but Your will be done” the way Jesus did the night before He was crucified. At first, it is SCARY – but it is only scary when you have a very inaccurate and wimpy picture of God. Yielding and sacrificing self to the REAL God of the Bible is actually freeing and brings great joy! After the pain. THEN you realize that the scary thing is trusting yourself, and that trusting God is the only SAFE choice!
There really isn’t room in my relationship with Christ for me to say, “What about ME?” “What about MY turn?” It would be awfully arrogant of me to complain to Jesus about that – after He submitted to God to die a painful sacrificial death on my behalf! I seek HIS will and HIS glory now, not mine. I am a living sacrifice every day, placing myself and all that I have on the altar to be used for His glory. That is what it means for Him to be my LORD. Selfishness has to go. As I give myself to Christ and I delight in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart. But the amazing thing is that He will change my desires to match up with His desires and then He will accomplish His desires in me. And really, His desires are infinitely better than mine! So what a joy and blessing that is!
I can ask God for what I want – but then I trust Him to do what is actually BEST for me in the long run.
Honestly, if I am asking, “When is it MY turn?” “What about MY needs?” “What about MY rights?” It is a huge red flag that I am probably not fully yielding my heart to God.
THERE WILL BE SUFFERING – AND IT IS FOR GOD’S PURPOSES
I had to write out all my specific fears and then list scripture that explained how God was plenty big enough to handle each one. And I had to get to the place where I knew that even if God led me through my deepest fears – I would be ok as long as God was with me. The problem was that I used to live in total fear, anxiety and idolatry (with myself being “sovereign,” huge and in charge, and God being a wimp). When I lived like that, I did NOT have God’s presence and power in my life, and it was almost impossible for me to understand how I could be ok if my biggest fears happened. And I can definitely say even today – if I had to face my biggest fears APART from God’s presence – I couldn’t do it! But I know now that if His presence and Spirit are in me – I will still have His joy and peace and I know that He will use whatever happens for my ultimate good and His glory. There may be suffering involved. But if it is from the loving hand of my Lord – I can accept the suffering. I don’t have to fear suffering – it will be God’s tool to shape me to be like Christ and to refine my faith – and God will use my response to bring others to Himself.
This whole journey toward respecting and submitting to our husbands MUST be centered entirely around Christ. First we learn to respect and submit to Christ and obey His Word. This is about imitating the submission of Christ to God the Father – Who, “though He was God and equal to God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” He submitted His will to God’s – not because He was inferior, but because He loves God so much and the role of submission was part of the role He took on in order to provide salvation for us from our sins. PLEASE catch that! Submission began in the trinity – and it was between equals – God and Christ! So submission is in marriage – it is between equals – husband and wife. Submission is not about inferiority, it is about accepting God’s design and His will and about real love.
I had to come to the place where I could honestly say, “God, I want Your will, not mine” about EVERY SINGLE THING IN MY LIFE. I had to learn to be ok if God said, “NO,” or “Not now.” I had to be willing to confess EVERY sin and repent of it and turn away from it. I had to tear out every idol. I had to examine every belief against God’s Word. I had to rebuild my entire definition of godly femininity, marriage, being a wife, masculinity and being a Christian solely on God’s Word and trash all the poison I had learned and accepted without question from our culture.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
The ONLY way it is possible to obey God and be the godly wife God is calling you to be is to know God more – to understand Who He is, to understand Jesus, to understand the trinity and the submission of Christ to His Father. Then we have to allow Him to do open heart surgery on us to take out all the rotting filth and gangrene before it kills us. THEN, we will be able to ask His Spirit to fill us and He really will! But the sin has to be gone, and we have to get rid of everything we thought was more important than God. And when His Spirit fills us, He will supernaturally empower us to be the godly wives He calls us to be. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY it is possible! You can’t do this in your own strength.
In our own flesh, the only things I know that we can be as wives are either dominant/controlling/disrespectful wives or wimpy/2 dimensional/doormat/weak wives who completely give up the powerful influence God gave them and do NOTHING helpful for their marriages or families.
HOW IT WORKS
As you become filled with the Spirit of God daily, He changes your heart and renews your mind and changes the way you think. He takes out the pride and gives you humility. He shows you that your desire for control is idolatry. He makes you long for the things of God and want Him more than anything else in life. His Spirit floods your soul with peace and joy that you have never known before.
Then, from that position of POWER in God’s Spirit, you begin to show real respect for your husband to cooperate with God and influence your husband God’s way. It means that you have to totally accept your husband exactly as he is and not try to change him anymore. It also means you have to completely forgive him and anyone else who has wronged you. If you cherish unforgiveness in your heart – you forfeit the power of the Spirit of God in your life! The only way God will change your man – is when you accept your husband as is. It means you extend grace and mercy and forgiveness to your husband just like Jesus gave to you for your billions of dollars worth of sin debt that you owe to Him. And the more you see how much Jesus actually had to forgive you for – the more grace you will find for your husband. You’ll see that you are just as wretched a sinner as your husband is and you BOTH need Jesus desperately! It means that you submit to your husband’s God-given authority in your marriage, but you are ACTUALLY submitting to Jesus and trusting Him to lead you through your husband. You are not really putting all your precious faith in a sinful man. That would be TERRIFYING! And CRAZY! Now if your husband asks you to sin or do something illegal – you must respectfully refuse and resist him. But if what he is asking you to do is not sin – then God is leading you through your husband and He will bless your obedience to His Word and He may just have miracles in store to provide for you when you are trusting in Him completely and obeying Him! I have seen that happen!
EVENTUALLY – GOD WILL CHANGE YOUR HUSBAND
As God changes YOU – and develops in you a gentle, peaceful and still spirit that does not give way to fear but is of great beauty and worth in God’s sight – God will use your powerful, godly influence to begin to shape your husband. But if you are reading this, precious wife, it is YOU He wants to change first.
It’s amazing, as I obeyed God, God began to change my husband. The more he felt respected and honored by me – the more he started to soften towards me and love me. The more he saw my faith and trust in him, the more compelled he felt to do a better job and be a more godly man. The more he saw my admiration, the more he wanted to serve me and make me happy. A man who feels greatly respected by his wife WANTS her to be happy more than almost anything in the world! So once you get to that stage, you just say what you want, and if your husband can do it, he will do it for you! You end up getting what you want SO much more often than when you tried to make your way happen. But your desires CANNOT be your goal or idol. Christ has to be Your Lord.
Not to worry, though – God will deal with your husband. He will work in his heart, too. And your husband WILL change. It will be in God’s time and in God’s way – and a big part of that is you changing and becoming a godly wife first. As you cut out the negativity and begin to build up your man and praise and respect him – your husband will be able to hear God’s voice so much more clearly! And as you put your faith in your man to lead you – he will step up to become a better leader because he feels the weight of responsibility on him. That is part of God’s plan for how men learn to be godly leaders – they need lots of responsibility on their shoulders. When we take over and do things FOR them, we ruin the opportunities God was going to use to teach them to lead. We can be helpmeets – but we don’t take over. We wait patiently on God and on our husbands. And we savor each moment of the journey.
Let me know if you still have questions! I am praying for God to open all of our eyes to His ways and His wisdom and His Word!