It’s weird how we can sit in cafes or walk streets, expecting everyone to be kind, even though most are complete strangers to each other.
We all just kinda know how humans are supposed to treat each other.
Most of us wouldn’t be too impressed with someone yelling at a customer or someone receiving a favor without saying thank you or showing appreciation of some sort.
We’d probably wrinkle up our noses and be happy we can walk on. Some people are just yuck and make us glad we don’t have to be around them.
And if someone continuously criticized a friend, that friend would probably either confront the problem, or quit hanging out as much.
Negative actions usually cause negative responses.
But, this simple principal seems to be forgotten by many spouses. So I’m writing from my heart here, and just asking this:
1. Do you ignore your spouse—yet get hurt when you’re not pursued?
2. Do you avoid conflict—yet remain bothered that your spouse doesn’t know how you really feel about something?
3. Do you continually give negative or correctional responses when your spouse shares an idea or simply vents his/her feelings—yet get hurt when they close off and don’t want to talk?
4. Do you avoid helping out—yet carry a grudge when your spouse doesn’t help as much as you want him/ her to help out?
5. Do you ignore them when they speak—yet feel hurt when they don’t look at you when they speak, but choose to focus on another person in the room?
6. Do you make your dislike of them known—yet become hurt when they don’t pursue you in the bedroom?
7. Do you treat them as little more than a room mate—yet complain when they don’t date you well on special events?
I’d like to call attention to the fact that people often treat strangers better than their own spouses. Strangers who may be a million times worse than your spouse, strangers with whom you have no connection—hear this carefully—are getting better treatment from some of you than your spouses are getting.
That very stranger would keep distance if you treated him/her as you treat your spouse. Withdrawing to avoid more pain is a natural response of the human heart.
There’s a story of a man who greatly disliked his wife and went to get counsel. His therapist told him that he could divorce her after three months IF he tried the following recommendation first.
He was to go home and treat her as if he genuinely LIKED her.
We can picture what this meant. Smiles, kind words, acts of service, hanging out, and all the things we do with our best friends.
His therapist waited in vain for the man call, then finally called him. He was ecstatic. “I treated her as if I liked her, and everything changed”
You better believe there was no divorce for that couple! Simple, basic human kindness and dignity re-ignited their love when it would have otherwise been snuffed right out and the courts would have seen one more broken couple filing divorce papers while their children’s eyes take on a whole other look than the care-free, joyful ones they previously had.
So I’m here to say to every unhappy spouse who is married to a faithful, albeit imperfect, person: Just take a big, bold dare to love them, and show it. This can be the bravest thing you do. And sometimes, this dare to actively show love does more than many hours in a counselor’s office.
(To those who’ve tried this and nothing changed, please know that loving is something we do because we’re connected to God more than because we’re connected to our spouse. Sometimes, loving well doesn’t change a drastic need in a spouse. In those cases, we simply do what God asks us to do, then leave the rest. We are not responsible to change another; we are responsible to love well, then trust God with the results.)
Remember this–we love because God loved us first. Loving well is something every person does who sees the value God places on each human being.
Loving well is not optional when we see the great love God gives us personally. Loving well is part of our own dignity, character, and value. In Christ, it is who we are. Someone else’s character cannot rob us of God’s character and grace within us.
Treat your spouse as well or better than you treat your best friends, and watch what happens! If you know what it takes to stay a friend to someone, please know it takes the same kind of thing to create a happy marriage where both of you find the companionship you crave.
(Co-Authored by a man with a heart for Christ centered leadership)
I’m not sure I’d want to sit under a tree named after myself, judging the tribes of Israel.
I most certainly would not want to join an army—and if the battle was won, I probably wouldn’t sing a song describing myself as the mother of Israel.
The thought is almost funny.
Yet, scripture is written for our edification and instruction. The story of Deborah tells us a lot.
She was a WIFE.
She heard from GOD.
She was a PROPHETESS.
She sat under a palm tree named after herself, “The Palm of Deborah”.
She summoned a man to her station and delivered a WORD FROM THE LORD.
She gave detailed descriptions of what Barak needed to do during this war.
Somehow, she had gained the utmost respect of Barak, who was a leader and commander, most likely a type A man with great abilities of his own.
After victory, she gave glory to God, and included herself in that story.
In a patriarchal culture, she reminded a strong man that the battle would be won by a woman.
God Himself chose to use two women to execute victory in a battle fought by men.
Deborah wasn’t trying to DO EVERYTHING a man could do; she was fully BEING EVERYTHING she was called to be as a woman. (please note the difference here).
When Barak asked her to go with him into battle, she agreed to go.
Barak was not too proud to ask—and she did not disqualify herself from a place of great importance in this story because she was a woman.
Both man and woman did exactly what God wanted them to do by working together to perform what He asked.
Then there is the awe-inspiring, Proverbs 31 Woman! A woman can expect to hear the words “You’re such a Proverbs 31 woman”, —when she arises early to pack her husband’s lunch, do his laundry, or prep his dinner. But there is more that we need to be teaching our daughters.
I want to take a deeper look at this distinguished woman from the book of Proverbs. The Proverbs 31 woman also:
Had a husband who trusted her decisions.
She made intelligent business moves that put their estate at an advantage.
She didn’t just shop locally, but sought out the best purchases from around the country. This meant being well informed and knowledgeable.
She had maids to free up more of her own time.
She purchased real estate.
She took care of her body and strengthened it.
She knew that her business was profitable.
She helped the poor.
Her clothing was fine linen and purple.
She created, sold, and distributed her products to merchants.
She was marked with strength and dignity.
She opened her mouth with wisdom (which meant she had wisdom others heard and received).
She spoke with kindness.
She looked after her household WELL (and that also meant knowing her limits by hiring maids).
Her husband, who was an established, productive leader, PRAISED her.
Notice, she excelled personally, at home, at business, in her community, in the market place AND she was PRAISED by her husband.
While we see far reaching extremes from oppressive patriarchal “Christian” cultures for women, all the way to brash, feministic, non-christian culture, it is clear from the examples of Deborah and the Proverbs 31 woman that both of these extremes are a far cry from the good, loving heart of our Heavenly Father.
I’d like us to take a quick look at Sarah, who is mentioned in 1 Peter 3. Sarah is described as a woman who obeyed her husband and called him lord. Unfortunately, this passage is often taken so out of context that it has produced a cult-like, oppressive environment for women, where, in all honesty, if she operated like a true Proverbs 31 woman, she’d be labeled as “too much”, “too strong” or even “rebellious”. Scripture never contradicts scripture, but actually compliments scripture. If it appears to contradict, we must simply look further or deeper at what God is saying as a whole, which can involve context and further study.
I have seen women who are struggling in painful marriages, yet afraid of “dishonoring” their husbands by getting help and exposing the real truth of his actions and words behind closed doors, The husbands expect their wives to quietly “find a solution” that protects their reputation, which usually looks like the (already submissive) wife being “more submissive”.
In many of these marriages, the problems are quickly blamed on something a wife does or doesn’t do while the man refuses to own his need simply because he’s “the leader”.
There are times where the topic of lust and purity is a matter of how a woman dresses more than that of the man’s own heart.
Some of these men are content leading in minor material areas of life (or being the admired leader/authority figure) of their homes while leaving the most important (relational or spiritual) areas to their wives.
It’s become more of an emphasis on Position and Authority than being the reasonable, responsible and respectable leader by God’s standards. The aftermath of this “authority” focus is devastating on women.
For example, there are women still weeping over sexual abuse after many years because they’re told to forgive more than told that God is angry with what has happened. (forgiveness can only happen when you know God is just and will bring justice). In some of these cases, a perpetrator is still allowed to live freely among the women he violated. (Even a minor can be removed from the girls he wronged).
At times, if women become “too upset” because they are NOT BEING HEARD, they’ll be labeled as being “bitter” or “rebellious” and told to submit. The men of the church will decide what should and shouldn’t be done—which sometimes, means the perpetrator is allowed to stay. I realize this would be unthinkable to many good and Godly men, but this is the reality for many women in some religious communities.
To add Insult toInjury these same women are strongly admonished to: Serve their families, especially their husbands; Be eager for sex; Continue admiring of their husbands; Stay silent on what matters most—unless the husband agrees. At most, she can very gently and “submissively” broach the subject but cannot make strong statements on things even as great as what to do with a perpetrator.
The Result?? Christian men, many of your women are weeping. Some of them are becoming emotionally distraught by the lack of true friendship and loving relationship.
It’s time for God-Inspired Leadership. What does it look like?
Listens – the cry of every woman, (person really) is “to be heard” – Do you value her voice?
Leads by example – Purity of heart, sacrificially, does the hard things, NOT just the fun things.
Lets her function in her gifts, too – She has God-given influence – can you “allow” her, or even better, HELP her accomplish her goals, pursue her gifts and talents?
Lavishes her with goodness – Give to her & help her, provide for her, be generous to her.
Lessens her Load – Help her with the kids, share in household responsibilities, hire a maid…
Loves Loudly – Leave no doubt in her mind of your love her, let her hear it often, and see it always …Love hard!
This is what Godly Leadership in our homes should look like! A man is a covering, not a lid. We cover what we love and want to protect, we cover what we value, we cover what we don’t want any damage to come to.
Recently I asked one of my happily married friends if she would defer to her husband if a major decision needed to be made and they did not agree. She immediately said “Oh, yes!”
I asked her because I noticed that they were mutually happy in their relationship.
I asked her because I noticed her countenance was joyful.
I asked her because I noticed she lived without pressure, and her atmosphere spoke of peace rather than stress.
Let me assure you that I’m still in love with 1 Peter 3, where Sarah is spoken of as an exemplary woman, one we would do well to follow.
But, the leadership we often see in Christian churches is destructive for men as well, because it is producing women they don’t want to produce. Unknowingly, men are digging their own graves to a happy, fulfilling relationship—all in the name of “Biblical” teaching. Women usually won’t be happy and fun unless they are treated well, with differing roles but with equal value.
Satan laughs while women weep. He’s successfully taken a beautiful, God-given plan for the family and turned it into a damaging, patriarchal system of selfishness and hierarchy.
Godly leadership will make a good woman COME ALIVE.
Before I close out, I want to thank every man who’s shown us what it looks like to love a woman well. I sincerely hope some of you speak up in the church, for the church, for your sisters who are suffering in ways you have no idea and would come to arms if you only knew.
My faith in men stands strong because of you. And my faith in God’s plan remains unshaken as I continue to pursue a culture of honor. Perfection is never expected on either end. But mutual effort, open and kind communication, love reciprocated, and mutual honor for each other.
As one Godly man said, “It looks a lot like team work!”
“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.
……….Let each of you love his wife as himself.”Ephesians 5:25-29, &33a, ESV
I’m a single woman with strong convictions on sexual purity outside of marriage. But, I was married for many years and have been passionate about women’s health for many years—so it’s time to pick back up where I left off and not allow my status as a single woman render me voiceless on this important topic that is still dear to my heart because it concerns the health of women and relationships.
The sex topic is huge. Not only huge, it is sensitive, vulnerable, threatening to some, and painful to others. Some avoid it while others seek it. So I write this carefully, but I’m writing to those who are married, given my stand on sex only being permissible within marriage.
I’m not very old (yet), but I’ve seen a lot. From the purity culture to a feminist world, the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of women took my interest many years ago. I saw door-mat-like, voiceless women, I watched truly happy, fulfilled women, and I observed feministic women who talk about “being themselves” while avoiding everything feminine that would bring out the best of their true make-up as a woman. “Being themselves” led them far from their true selves.
In both the Amish world and the secular world, I noticed something—women are happier, healthier, and more satisfied in their marriages when they see the goodness of sex.
Not just monthly sex, either. Sex as an important part of life, where you make time for your husband and uncover the beauty of sex, makes for happier women in the long run. Not just happier, but also healthier. Some women may say they don’t need it—and if hormones are causing your body a temporary shut down, that’s understandable—but you still need to connect with your husband sexually before too much time passes.
Sex is a goldmine that should be pursued and uncovered at the expense of other priorities, if need be.
In a healthy marriage, sex brings mutual satisfaction to both partners. It is no longer one giving and one receiving, but both giving and receiving for a mutually satisfying experience.
Sex is a unifying physical act with major emotional and spiritual ties connected to it. This is why God wants commitment to precede sex. It is not cheap, light, or without ramifications.
Women are valuable. I try to speak that to my daughters in a sex saturated world where the pressure is high. Some loser kid in a truck hasn’t earned you, child. You’re worth more than to be used, then discarded for the next hot kiss.
I’m pulling my teens onto my bed at night while I read Teaching True Love to a Sex-at-Thirteen Generation by Eric and Leslie Ludy. Of course they groan and think I’m giving speech number 101 on sexual purity, but I smile and tell them that at least they’ll never be able to say that mama skirted uncomfortable topics.
At our house, we talk about all of it. Body parts, bodily functions, sex, it’s meaning, it’s value, when it should and shouldn’t happen. The topic is endless when there are three teens in the house.
Sex is a good topic, not a shameful one. Mothers need to embrace and enjoy sex, then transfer that attitude to their daughters. Some days you’ll laugh, some days you’ll be serious—but whatever you do, don’t assume your child is okay, even if they’re in youth group or church.
There can be so much toxicity even in church groups that we can take nothing for granted. A mother can think her child is in good company, yet find out there was a loser kid in the crowd who took advantage of her daughter.
When your children are extra sad or grumpy, check in. Ask them if they’ve been violated. Leave no stone un-turned when you sit on that bed and talk to your teen. Even if they don’t want to talk at the moment, they will know that mama is unafraid of any topic. When they’re ready, they will know it’s okay to talk.
Silence in the sex arena has led to devastation on all accounts.
Sexual abuse runs untamed because women are too afraid to uncover the sin. Sometimes, they’re even told to forgive by being silent and letting it go. What a horrible, wrong interpretation of forgiveness. (Read more on forgiveness in a previous blog).
Women like this often grow up afraid of sex rather than able to enjoy it. Now, they wonder how to bridge the gap between themselves and their husband. Could this have been avoided if mothers had checked in many years ago and helped a daughter process and heal long before marriage?
Sex is important to men—and to many women as well. We may laugh about it, joke about it, make fun of it, or heaven forbid, resent it. But it’s importance is true, and God wants us to embrace it gladly and make it a vital part of marriage.
Habitually depriving your husband of something his body needs can be debilitating to a man. Especially because a good man will know that his wife is the only one who can satisfy his (God created) sexual needs. He may be tempted to cheat—but God forbid he does, even after years of deprivation.
If he did cheat, you better believe all the ladies would rally around his wife and comfort her. I would, and so would you. Rightly so.
But here’s the punch line.
Not giving your husband sex when you’re the only one who can righteously do so, yet expecting him not to get it anywhere else, is a bit like your husband not giving you food, were it strictly in his power to bring it to you.
If you were hungry every day, yet your husband didn’t feel like bringing you food, I think you’d run to the nearest grocery store even if (hypothetically speaking), It was forbidden. You’d make sure you weren’t half-hungry all the time.
What if he only fed you once a day, just enough to function and get by, yet ignored your repeated requests for more needed energy and food?
Is that just a little like a wife refusing to engage in sex when it is strictly in her power to give it to him?
Some of you may be a little upset with me by this analogy. That’s okay—but I want us to seriously stop and consider what would happen if our men deliberately deprived us of a major need, then expected us to feel loved as we lived in deprivation.
Feminism has taken over and given women a brash attitude about a man’s sexual needs. Or, it has taken over and given women entitled attitudes about “not giving him sex if he doesn’t take me on dates every week”, or “doesn’t help enough around the house” or “doesn’t know how to meet my emotional needs”.
The aftermath of selfish women is devastating. A man literally has to know it all, do it all perfectly, and be it all before his woman is available sexually.
Ladies, may I ask you, do you want your man to withhold his love from you when you also have gaping flaws, needs, and things you don’t change even when he’d love you to change?
Who gets to deprive the other first?
Men are suffering because women nonchalantly dismiss one of their greatest needs.
“Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5, ESV)
There can be times for abstinence, but Paul makes it clear that it should be for good reason, with good communication, to give ourselves to prayer before coming together again. This indicates a purposeful abstinence that needs to end at some point. Time for healing from abuse, time for prayer, time for anything good that you can talk about and express clearly to your husband. Coming together again helps avoid temptation both of you would fall into were you to remain abstinent.
If you choose a season of abstinence, your husband needs to know that your heart is to find answers so you can be there for him sexually.
You may say, “I don’t need sex and wouldn’t be tempted without it.” But in marriage, we are called to give 100% for the good of the other. This means we are no longer only interested in our own needs, but just as concerned for the needs of the other. And if you don’t “need” sex, you most likely need connection and will be tempted by another man if you are not actively building connection in your marriage.
Sex needs to be viewed by women as a powerful connecting tool in their marriage rather than a selfish want a man may have that he can live without. The latter is a lie straight from the pit of hell.
If sex was merely a physical “want”, purity would no longer matter. Sex could happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone—just as we eat food or drink water, or sleep when we’re tired.
Sex is so much more. This is why God places boundaries on it, elevates it, and asks us to honor it as a vital part of marriage.
God’s ways are perfect, and as you give yourself to this, you will notice a place in your soul that is healed simply by the act of sex with the man you wed. God knows what he’s doing when he creates a man to need it, often. Sex is good, holy, fun, and can bring a couple closer together than ever before—even when there are areas of need in your marriage that you have yet to find answers for.
What if you embrace the goodness of sex and allow that to help dissipate trouble in your marriage rather than add to it?
What if you transfer this attitude to your daughters, and allow yourself to be a small part of bringing sexual wholeness back into our society?
Most people, when they mention moving on, are referring to a readiness to get into another romantic relationship.
But moving on can be so much more. I’m here to tell you that you can “move on” without moving into the arms of another man. For me, moving on means finding soul-freedom from my past more than it means finding human love.
Letting go of a person when he’s dead can be difficult, but letting go when he’s alive can be brutal. Death brings finality and closure that cannot be avoided; divorce brings rejection and betrayal that, by all means, could and should have been avoided.
Divorce brings the death of a dream. It wasn’t only a marriage, though that would be enough. For me, divorce also brought the death of my children’s security, my dream home, my friends, the mountains and sea that I loved with all my heart, and my church. My ex didn’t think the loss would be so great, and wanted me on good friendship terms while he slept with our daughter’s 16 year old friend five minutes away. In his mind, we could live a good “friendship’, co-parenting life style in close proximity with each other.
When I realized how his brain really worked, I realized how confused mine had become. Narcissists are good at that—love bombing while tearing you to shreds—and if you don’t enjoy it, they’ll tell you that something must be wrong with you for being so sad.
Divorce taught me to see God, but it also taught me to see a lot of other things. Facing my grief with God allowed me not only to see His hand move on my behalf, but also His Love so pure that it was nothing like the “love” I thought I had with my ex-husband.
Seeing God means you own up to what He’s saying about everything. You start seeing evil for what it really is while you see goodness in ways that take your breath away.
Yesterday when a friend asked me how I’ve moved on, I had to stop and think. How has all that not destroyed me?
By choice, I don’t have a boyfriend. So I can’t credit healing to finally being in a healthy relationship.
It sounds clique to say that it was God’s presence that allowed me to stay intact and learn how to thrive again, but it’s true. I learned how to live autonomously before Jesus Christ and see what He said over me, to me, and for me—completely apart from any other human being.
You can lose everything, yet still hold on to the most important thing. This is because Jesus’ death on the cross annihilated not only sin, but also the effects of sin. Salvation was not only meant to take your sin away, but also to remove the affects of another’s sin toward you.
I took years to process the fact that my husband would walk away. I took even longer to process the fact that he wouldn’t come visit his children, and my little boy hasn’t seen his father in almost two years. Trust me when I say the processing included many tears, more grief than anger, and that devastating realization hitting hard when I woke each morning not wanting to place my feet on the ground.
So I’m not offering you some magic formula of moving on. It’s more like a solid refusal to go under no matter what you might feel in a day. It looks a lot like reaching out for help, like processing long and hard, like talking to God through it all, about it all. It looks like owning your own faults, while recognizing that the divorce is not your fault.
Moving on takes some hard-knock-life stuff. Avoidance or oblivion may make you feel momentarily that you’re moving on, but in reality, you’re only shutting down. Be willing to engage every day, even if you have a few where you don’t get out of bed.
Some of that hard-as-hell stuff in life will knock you flat for life unless you get hold of the delight Jesus Christ has over you. He says to me, to you, “I loved you before marriage, I loved you during marriage, and I love you just as much after marriage.”
The purity culture has good to offer, but we often end up idolizing the perfect romantic relationship, thinking that our well being is tied up in another person. We are much less prepared than the world is, to be cheated on and discarded. We find our identity in serving and submitting to a man, and try to perfect ourselves and our relationships as much as we try to have a relationship with God.
Slowly and unawares, a man becomes God to us. We really don’t think we can be okay without a good man in our lives.
The best women can be wrecked the most when betrayal happens, or even when marriage is less than it should be. But I want to tell you that your man is not your God. Your man is not your Savior. And your man will never keep your heart full of pure, unadulterated joy before God.
Idolizing marriage puts you in a cage of your man’s perfection—which he will never attain to, and if you expect him to be perfect for you, you’ll spend each day griping about one thing or another.
I’ve seen women gripe daily over good, faithful men as if they cannot live autonomously before God and find soul satisfaction on their own. As if it takes their men seeing a need and fixing it before they can fix their own hearts. As if their entire well being is contingent on their men treating them perfectly.
Heaven help these men if they’re trying hard, yet aren’t filling the quota their wives place on them to fill.
Coming out of abuse and the worst kind of betrayal allowed me to see the idol marriage was to me. Surrendering that to the Lord allowed me to take hold of His love, plan, purpose, and design for my life. No man can wreck that up—the only person who will ever wreck God’s perfect design for your life is YOU.
Seeing God changes everything.
Moses knew there was a burning bush in his vicinity, but the Lord started speaking to Moses when He saw that Moses turned aside and looked.
Moving on doesn’t have to mean moving into another relationship. The best moving on comes when we turn to face what God is doing—first, in grief, sorrow, pain, and anger. We don’t run from these negative emotions, but process them facing Jesus.
As the Lord started speaking to Moses when He saw Moses turn aside to really look, so He will speak to you when you stop everything to look at His face.
If you really face everything with God, you’ll find more soul freedom than many find who never have trauma but live a relatively easy life.
Facing God with our emotions is the only way to heal properly. Denial is not healing; it is debilitating.
As we face God with our grief, we begin to see God do things to help us. We credit God for His works as we move aside to see God.
I knew it was God who helped me run a successful AirBnB.
I knew it was God when I paid for my car in cash.
I knew it was God when I craved chicken and a widow lady called me up to ask if I could help her eat a larger amount she didn’t need. Somedays, small things meant even more than big things. They showed me God was watching closely.
I knew it was God when I found a house online and moved within three weeks from one coast to another.
Friends, God is always doing things for us, yet we are not always turning aside to see God and give Him credit. Many times we are stopping in our tracks to gripe over what we don’t have, and missing out on the marvelous works of God on our behalf.
“And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.
When the Lord saw that He turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’” (Exodus 3:3&4, ESV)
God spoke when Moses turned to see.
Friends, if you’re seeing devastation in your life, imperfections in your spouse that leave you empty and wanting, make sure you turn aside to see God and His works even more.
He will come to you.
He will work in you.
He will work for you.
Though your spouse may never change, remember that the gift of Life is autonomously given, no man can take it, and, just as importantly, no man can give it.
Recently a friend and I were discussing the divorce epidemic, and how it seems many people are justifying divorce without proper cause.
Both men and women are taking Dr. Henry Cloud’s teaching on boundaries out of context, and the results are devastating. I do believe there are times where divorce is inevitable, but I’m addressing something different, here.
I can’t put the dilemna into better words than he did, so I’m going to revise his words a bit and share them anonymously (with permission).
“Dr. Henry Cloud’s boundaries have their place, but people start misapplying these principals, and it’s comparable to deciding to get chemo and radiation treatments when you need a much less aggressive or invasive treatment.
So many people are taking that teaching and saying things like, ‘I’ve been telling my husband I need help around the house for years. He always apologizes and promises to help more, but it only lasts for a couple of weeks. Then he slips back into the usual. I can’t handle these broken promises, continual apologies, yet no lasting change. If he loved me, he’d change and help me more around the house. I deserve better. I’m putting up boundaries; no contact, no connection until I see lasting change. I’m so hurt, maybe I should even separate from him until he sees what he has and changes for good.’
Then enters some man showing kindness, attention, money, etc. They are already disconnected and the grass looks greener to her. Boom—marriage done.
It’s like all the “You deserve to be happy” and “It’s your time for you” folks grabbed that boundaries teaching and boxed it into a “mental health” box with pretty new wrapping paper on it, and started selling their same old secular, selfish-minded philosophy in a way that opens minds to a deceptive way of thinking.
In my opinion, it is hell’s new form of psychological warfare on believers.”
“Mic-Drop” was all I could think when I read this.
For some years, I’ve been hesitant to share parts of my story because I didn’t want people to take what I say, run with it, and keep hollering the “Stand up for yourself” cry.
But I also saw the other side of the planet where women can’t say anything without being told they’re not submissive enough. This was me. This is many, many women—and it is for these women that I write.
On the other hand, there are many men and women who take truth and twist it into self-serving, humanistic approaches to gain what they want by taking the easy way out of a marriage that has issues to work through. For these men and women, I write this caution.
Emotional health and mental clarity will never come from selfishly applying boundaries to good-hearted spouses with needs you don’t like. Your health will come from obeying Jesus and loving your spouse as you love yourself.
My parents are still married after forty-three years, not because my father fills all my mother’s emotional needs, or because my mother fills all my father’s needs. They are still married because love and commitment over-ride an entitled view of themselves that would make them ditch each other for “something better”.
Their home is established on more than unmet needs; it is established on the Word of God, the God who promises to be more than they will ever need. With grace, they love each other and help each other grow. With even more grace, they accept each other’s flaws and choose to keep loving–whether or not the other changes.
I signed my divorce papers for one thing only—and that was my husband’s ongoing affair with a minor child almost the same age as our oldest daughter. Today, the girl is pregnant and they are still together, albeit not legally married.
Hear me carefully when I say there were many things I could have divorced him over. I had no lack of “reasons” I could have used. But I refused to sign divorce papers until it became undeniably clear that there was no other way.
I am divorced with a good conscience. My plea to everyone out there is this: love your spouse, stay with your spouse for better or for worse unless it is simply impossible and your spouse’s sin meets the criteria for divorce as said in the scriptures. Don’t take this teaching on boundaries to mean you can put up walls for everything hurtful in your marriage. You will not heal your heart like this; you will hurt your soul, your spouse, and your children. You will be selfish, refusing to love until your own needs are met. This is not the way of the cross.
In God’s kingdom, the way up is the way down. Get on your knees, ask God how you can love your spouse best, and learn what specifically speaks love to him/her.
Somewhere along the way you will be surprised with inner soul freedom that is so much greater than you’d experience if you quit and ran for something you thought was better.
It won’t be better.
Every good marriage has at least one partner who is willing to love extravagantly even when the other does not deserve it.
My challenge for all of you today is this: take your spouse’s faults and choose to love extravagantly, anyway. Give 100%. Love the person you once fell in love with, and love them hard. Find out what makes your particular spouse feel loved, and just do it, without question.
What speaks love to your spouse may be entirely different than what speaks love to you. Study your spouse, ask questions, and go all out for the growth of your marriage.
You will never regret it!
Stay faithful, and God will faithfully clarify your thoughts, bring healing to your soul, and help you grow—even if your spouse’s faults continue.
Never give up unless, as in my own case, your marriage is no longer possible. Cheers to all beautiful, committed souls who grow, grow, and grow a marriage!
The day I walked into a professional counselor’s office started the change in my life.
It was hard, and I wanted to disappear. I had chosen an older, christian male counselor because I desperately wanted to know if I was wrong. He looked at me kindly and said, “So, you’re a strong woman, aren’t you?”
All I could do was whisper, “I hope so”, then cry for the next hour as years of pain surfaced and I shared the dilemna I was in with my husband’s repeated suggestion that perhaps marriage should be “open”. He’d promise me that he’d never live it out unless we were both okay with it, and he didn’t know where he stood on the matter as of yet. But it threw me into turmoil, and lots of it.
I remember asking myself if I was selfish for wanting to be the only woman in my husband’s life.
I wanted God’s will, I wanted to please my husband, but when it came to this topic I would have rather been alone than be in an open marriage.
For many years, I kept hearing things like “Maybe God designed men to have multiple women and that’s why they struggle with lust.”
Or, when seeing one man surrounded with three beautiful ladies at dinner, “See? Isn’t there something exemplary about that?”
I’d shake my head and want to gag. No, that didn’t look exemplary to me; that looked needy and sinful to me.
The pornography topic wasn’t even mentioned in our home as a problem until one night, out of nowhere, I was prompted to ask him about it. The answer I got put me in turmoil for many years.
“I’ve been looking at some to pray about whether or not it’s right to view. I can’t lie about that—and you shouldn’t have asked me about it.”
At that moment, my inner reality changed while my outer world kept spinning as if nothing happened.
Amish girls are raised with the three big S words: submit, serve, and silence.
So, though my stomach tied in knots, that is what I did. Obviously, with the three other S words, there came a fourth S word: SEX.
I absorbed blame in our relationship and took internal responsibility very quickly. Saying “I’m sorry” was much easier for me than learning how not to say “I’m sorry” while asking for what I needed and deserved in a relationship.”
Writing about all this sickens me because I see who I used to be. Pathetically naive and dependent, with no ability to see beyond the perceived safety I felt in marriage to a man who would confuse my brain, then leave me with four children to figure life out on my own.
I thought he was good. I idolized him as good. And I was determined that nothing in all the world would wreck our marriage.
I should have known, right after marriage, when he told me I wasn’t allowed to go home to see my parents and siblings “because you’re addicted to them”, that something was dreadfully wrong. But, I wasn’t raised to think—I was raised to obey and serve.
I don’t know if I had even heard the word narcissism.
I had watched little to no movies or television, so I operated with an incredibly small worldview. I had never traveled out of the country or lived on my own. From working hard to please my father (who is a good man), to working hard to being a good wife and mother, this is what I knew to do.
The Jesus I know now was more of a God to please, back then. I didn’t know I could trust Him fully to love me unconditionally. I had no idea of a relationship where I didn’t have to perform in order to be loved and accepted.
I had little autonomy, but even while married, I began to see that something was off balance. God used friends to show me what could be, and I embraced it eagerly. I was beyond excited that God had a beautiful balance for women, somewhere between the door mat thing I saw in one world, and the feministic attitudes I saw in another world. Slowly, I learned that it was ok to be myself, that my voice really mattered, that I could think, reason, and be alive with or without the approval of others.
The voice of God was strong enough to start changing me while I was still in an almost hopeless situation that only got worse with time. As with everything else, I started writing out what I was learning, so when my publisher asked me for a book, I hesitated, then gave her that file on my laptop. I have no regrets in letting her publish it, even though my marriage ended afterward.
The only thing any one of us can do is change ourselves. We have no responsibility or ability to change another person, but growing ourselves up is imperative.
I thank God for healing me, for loving me, for giving me a voice to use, for giving me life apart from any man on this earth. I thank God that I now know this one thing—I am as important to God as any man could ever be. He loves me, and I trust Him.
But many years ago, though my heart was crushed over the answer I received about the pornography issue (many years before my husband left), all I knew to do was pretend nothing happened. Hear me carefully—this brought fake peace while it allowed the problem to continue until one day, years later, I received an email telling me that we disagreed on this matter and I was free to leave him.
“I might come back to you in five years,” he’d tell me and others. The pain and confusion of it all rocked me.
I continued to fight for our marriage until he packed his bags six months later and told me that he doesn’t want to sleep with other women while he’s married to me, but after the divorce he’s not sure. In reality, it was only a very short time until he was sleeping with our daughter’s friend, a few long years before the divorce was final.
Do you see the confusion here? And you, men and women whose spouses are acting up in similar ways—- know that freedom comes when you no longer try to make sense of the mess. Evil is often confusing and doesn’t make sense. Give your brain a break.
Hear this carefully—for many years, I was too frightened of the trouble that would come if I didn’t “submit and be silent”. Are any of you in that place? Please know that you don’t have to stay there.
No one has to suffocate under a religious definition of “submission”.
The patriarchal system gives the picture of a perfectly loving man IF the woman does everything right. “If you give your husband lots of sex, he won’t be tempted to have an affair.”
“If you submit to him well, he will never raise his voice.”
I tried it, friends. I tried to be “perfect” so the end result would line up with what I was basically promised—a kind, loving husband who would adore me and treat me well.
That never happened. Outward, public chivalry, yes. Holding my hand, yes. But emotional healing, mutual respect, love in the places of my soul that were hurting, no.
Anyone can pull off decent outward behavior. Only some will wound your soul with moral issues while they hold your hand, pretending the problem doesn’t exist.
Before I go further, let me assure you that I’m a firm believer in the goodness of sex. What I’m calling our attention to is something different—and that is, either partner shutting down vital parts of their emotions in order to function well in the bedroom. Marriage should be a safe place for body, soul, and spirit together, with neither part of us shutting down but all aspects of us becoming better.
When either partner is breaking trust, it is not only right to discuss and work through the pain of it all; it is vital.
But many of us do the opposite. We shut down our brains so our bodies can comply with our inner false responsibility to give and enjoy sex while the other partner breaks trust. We do this out of fear and a desperation to connect on some level.
I was determined that if my husband was into pornography, it wouldn’t be my fault.
If he ever left me, he wouldn’t be able to say it was because I didn’t give him enough sex.
So, I did what it took with my emotions so that I could keep doing what I thought constituted a “good wife”.
I kept the house clean, home schooled the children, cut the grass, did the grocery shopping, laundry, packed his lunches and cooked his dinners.
But, I hurt my heart and soul by not validating the pain. I didn’t know how to live as if I was worth something, too.
Later, the truth met me that there were some things no one can fix, no matter what they do. That truth saved me.
“Am I selfish for not wanting to study open marriage with my husband?” Is he right that we should be able to discuss these things together?”
My husband ordered a book for us to study on the topic, which I agreed to study with him. I was desperate for his approval and reasoned that God could keep me in truth by His Spirit.
But when the book arrived, I could read one page before begging him to remove it from the house. My husband was disappointed and said that time was the best time of our marriage as he felt we could talk about everything.
Do you see the number this put on my dependent brain? He wasn’t mentioning SIN; he was talking God’s will, an open mind, best time of our marriage because we could communicate about everything.
He used everything I wanted most to pull me into the thing I wanted least. Hear me carefully on this—this is a very, very common tactic for narcissists to use.
I needed help to keep my head on straight. And whether or not your situation is as drastic as mine was, you need the same help. The kindness we get one day mixes with the abuse we get another day, until it is very difficult to think clearly on our own.
Keep your brain sharp. Keep your mind above the fog. Reach out for help. This is point number three. Please don’t do what so many men and women do—stay silent out of “respect” for their spouses. That, my friend, is not respect; that is fear.
Those who truly love you will assure you that you’re not selfish to want answers. They will tell you that you’re right on track. You need to hear truth verbally, whatever it is—and you need it now.
This time, don’t walk to a closet to cry it out–walk to a counselor’s office to find answers. Trust Jesus and His heart for your emotional healing and mental clarity, trust that others will surround you with love, trust that you can and should reach out.
Going through a divorce and an-over-three-year-long court process has been anything but fun. But as is His nature, God is redeeming everything by allowing me to encourage others going through similar things.
My heart could faint a little at the stories I hear from both men and women. You see, girls, this is not just a male problem. I’m hearing of far too many women using the same nasty tactics on their men.
Narcissism is a human problem, not just a guy problem.
One man writes of his wife leaving him after years of neglect.
A young woman writes of her husband blaming her for not trusting him after he actively broke her trust.
Another wife asks me if she should have sex with her husband if he’s with another girl.
Humanity is groaning under the weight of a heavy humanistic mantle that shrouds the beauty of simple goodness.
“I don’t love you anymore, so I’m not going to have sex with you.”
“I’m not happy anymore, so I’m going to divorce you.”
The things we experience and are told really do affect us. I’m not here to tackle all of it, but the one thing on my heart to take us toward is how to clear our minds from years of psychological manipulation where we’re told things we know aren’t true, yet lodge in our heads as if they were.
Does that wake you up a little because you can relate? If so, this series is for you.
I’m going to walk you into personal scenarios of my own or others (anonymous) lives so you can see and relate clearly. Then, I’m going to take you step by step through the experience and out of it to the other side with the opportunity to have your mental sanity restored or intact.
The grace and goodness of God promise peace rather than confusion.
I don’t have a counseling degree. I simply share my experiences with those who ask advice, what I’ve learned, how I found freedom and clarity after years of confusion, and of course, the Jesus I know and love Who talks to me personally and through His written word.
God is the author of peace. Let’s take a look at that peace when our lives have thrown us the opposite.
How does a person keep mental sanity when someone throws curve balls that spin us into confusion because we can’t reconcile what’s being said and done one day, to the person who does the opposite the next day?
Being held and hugged one day to being torn apart the next day is confusing and doesn’t line up. We desperately want to believe the problem lies with us because we know we’re the only ones we can fix. We’re ready to repent and ask forgiveness.
For some of us it may take years to see that the problem doesn’t lie with us, and there’s something we can’t fix.
As ready as we are to shoulder blame, as much as we’ve done it for years, it seems a foreign idea floating somewhere in outer space that maybe—just maybe—it’s not our fault after all.
But that sends us into greater fear because at that point, we realize how powerless we are to change anything.
I remember reading some blog on narcissism and being blown away that I could relate so readily to what was said. Like someone finally gave a name to my experience. I took a page of notes, then threw it all away.
Like a cancer diagnosis, realizing the truth of what’s going on in your marriage can be more terrifying than closing your eyes and going about your day.
It can be easier to give, give, and give than to wake up to the truth that no matter how much you give, you will never be enough.
If you have to admit you’re married to a narcissist, you also have to realize they probably won’t change.
Remember, sin is not a gender problem; it is a human problem.
I was a bit like the person who knows she has a tumor growing on her chest but avoids seeing a doctor because pretending is easier than getting a scary diagnosis she may not be able to heal.
But the tumor is still there, and it is growing.
In the same way, faking peace in your marriage without dealing with the real issue is like turning a blind eye to a tumor while it grows steadily into something fatal.
It didn’t matter that I cried alone while my husband went out to bars at night, nor that I shut my mouth when he told me to submit to it. It didn’t help, save, or heal our marriage; it merely pacified him while the problem festered and he knew I’d always do what it took to keep his disgust at bay.
There was “peace” but there was no peace. I lived with a gnawing knowledge that there were deep underlying issues we needed help to get to the bottom of. That didn’t happen, and once again, I was told to submit rather than bring up the need for counseling one more time.
Everyone’s situation is different. But the underlying theme I keep hearing is what prompts me to write this blog series. Men and women are suffering greatly with spouses who pull off abnormally wrong behavior but want to be treated as if nothing is wrong.
This does a number on people.
When a man breaks a woman’s trust by asking for a threesome, then treats her as if she’s stupid for not trusting him, that’s a wrench on her mind.
First of all, she has to come to grips with the fact that her husband actually wants other women in her bed. (For the record, ladies, not all men want multiple women. I know a lot of good men who would cringe at the thought of a threesome because they wouldn’t want to wreck the special connection with the woman they love.)
And secondly, she automatically wonders if she’s the problem. She’ll most likely double up on sex, buy new lingerie, and try her best to “trust”–all the while taking responsibility for something that is not her problem at all.
Did you know it’s humanly impossible to trust someone who hasn’t earned it? Like, that’s not even something you should try to do because you are incapable of doing it. Not because you’re incapable as a person, but because two plus two is not five; two plus three is five.
If your spouse is giving you two plus two, wanting you to say “five” as the answer, you cannot honestly say “five”, but will say “four” instead.
If your spouse at that point gets upset that you are not giving them a “five”, whose fault is that? How can you possibly give a number that is not honestly feasible to give?
At that point, you will need to express the impossibility of what they’re asking. If they become upset with you, you will need to calmly ask for a two plus three so you can give them their desired “five”.
The truth will set you free regardless of their anger with you. This is what I want you to see in the blog series I’m giving over the next months.
We will be rerouting our brains into truth.
We will be owning the truth of all things, whether it’s the truth of our pain, their wrong, our faults, our fears, or simply our utter incapability of giving them what they’re asking, and how terrified we are of losing them.
No denial can exist in a healthy brain.
I didn’t realize how unhealthy my brain was, how I had never learned to think for myself, and how that only fed into the problem in my marriage.
A man may want control and he may want you to submit when he’s wrong, but deep down he will respect you far more if you’re not desperate to keep him. My addiction to my marriage was sickening and it wasn’t broken until long after he packed his bags.
My desperation to please my husband put me in an impossible wrench. We must never be desperate for anything other than Jesus and His truth, allowing light to shed clarity on even the most painful things we’d love to avoid.
We are going to draw a line in the sand between ourselves and falsehood.
Until next time, stay in grace. To those who are asking me, I promise you there is help, hope, and peace.
God is who He says He is—even when, and especially when, people are not.
So if every boy is born with a question, what questions is a girl born with? Some people say, “Am I beautiful?”
I believe it’s, “Am I accepted?”
When God went to form Eve, He could have used dirt just like man. But he chose to instead open Adam’s side and remove a rib. Adam was human.
There was blood and sacrifice involved.
Eve lived because Adam sacrificed his body.
When she was brought to Adam, the man verbally proclaimed her identity over her. His approval was not based on how well she performed her role. At that moment she had not done anything.
He approved of her, because she was HIS. She was taken out of him…and the man celebrated his sacrifice.
When Jesus came to earth, He left His acknowledged identity. He left His honor, His comforts, His dignity and His preferences. Laying down his life was much more than the cross. And when His life culminated on Golgotha and He died on the cross, His side was pierced and out flowed both blood and water.
His side was opened.
There was blood and sacrifice involved.
The church lives because Jesus sacrificed His body.
And Jesus verbally proclaims her identity. His approval is not based on how well she performs her role. We are approved of before we have done anything. He approves of us because we are HIS. We live because of Him and Jesus CELEBRATES His sacrifice.
There is a REASON for everything God says and does.
Women were created to be a physical representation of the church.
We are worth sacrifice.
We are valuable.
We are vital.
We desire to be loved, approved of, accepted, chosen and seen as blameless in our husband’s eyes, even IN our unacceptable state, because that is how Jesus sees His church. Innately we desire what we were created to receive.
And THAT is why men are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
He chooses her above his own reputation, comfort, conveniences and preferences. Put that with a woman who gives back to him all the honor, respect and admiration she can muster …you have something unstoppable.
You see, what most men don’t realize is when they truly forsake all others and cleave only to his wife and LAY DOWN THEIR LIVES, the honor, respect and submission they crave will be a spontaneous outflow of gratitude. Just like the church’s worship, respect, love, praise and celebration and the church’s spontaneous overflow to JESUS for what He has done.
Satan’s goal isn’t only to keep men isolated.
He is also out to keep women from feeling loved, because he knows that if he can keep us from feeling loved, we will have a hard time to truly honor.
There are many men who refuse to forsake all. Instead they cling to their identities, reputations and entitlements. If Jesus had done that, there would be no church.
But I don’t believe fulfilling our role depends on the other’s performance.
We have no excuses. And we will get into that later on.
We need to understand GRACE.
You love him with his imperfections, just as Jesus loves YOU.
John 15:12 “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”
In order to GIVE this kind of GRACE, we have got to have experienced it ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have.
We have got to understand the grace God pours out on the church. We have got to be able to see ourselves in God’s eyes. Our identity has got to come from GOD…not our husband.
When our HEARTS are turned towards the FATHER, no matter what our actions are, He loves and accepts us. He accepts us when we are unacceptable, because our position is TOWARDS HIM.
It’s when we turn our back to Him, no longer willing to receive HIS input into our lives, that creates the void between us. And I believe that is what sinning against the Holy Spirit really means. It’s repeatedly choosing to block out His voice and refusing to listen. It’s hardening your heart. God doesn’t turn His face away. WE are the ones who turn.
Grace is being accepted when we are not acceptable.
It is trusting the identity that JESUS spoke over your life. That never fluctuates by your performance. The approval of God on your life is not dependent on the approval of your husband.
And when we can live in unshaken grace, we can extend unshaken grace.
You cannot extend what you don’t possess.
Pt. V: LIVING OUT EZER
Every military establishes a strategy BEFORE the conflict.
OUR STRATEGY: RESPECT & HONOR
Matthew 10:16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.
Let’s back up and review.
God believes in male and female equality (Gal 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.)
God strategized, by establishing order and divvying out strengths/weaknesses.
We are not to look at our roles as “greater and lesser”. Jesus is “under” God, but we all know He isn’t lesser.
Women are a physical representation of the Bride of Christ and we relate to our husbands the way the church relates to Jesus.
every boy is born with a question: “Do I have what it takes?”
We know Satan wants to answer this question. His agenda is to prove to the man that he is as insignificant and incapable as his deepest fear whispers he might be.
Respect isn’t something we do because it’s the “right” thing to do. Remember, God doesn’t get bright ideas just for the thing of it. He does everything with a purpose. Showing respect is for a certain RESULT. It’s to accomplish something.
Have you ever asked the question, “Why should I honor, respect and submit?”
Unlike many authorities, God is never threatened by our questions. Acts 17:11 Paul commends the Bereans for questioning and studying. His reasons are big enough for questions.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
To understand the meaning of a word, we need to back up and look at two things.
The etymology (original definition) of a word
And the context
So let’s do that here.
The Greek word “submit.” hupo-tasso-mai
The Greek word “submit” is a combination of a verb with a prefix. The verb “tasso” could be translated as “set, arrange, order.” What we miss right away in English is that this verb was a military term for arranging soldiers in ordered formation to confront an enemy. It was primarily military language for “designating, commissioning, appointing or deploying. Or “assign, appoint, arrange.” The ending of the word tells us we’re in the passive/middle voice.
Literally, we could read the verse, “deploy yourself under”.
Now we could read the verb as it appears in Ephesians 5:22 as “place yourselves under your husband” and you might be technically correct, and then you might look, as past translators have, for something like “be subject to” in order to render the verse in better, quicker English.
But…you lose the military context of hupotassomai, which is about forming up for battle and about deploying or stationing yourself to support.
Should we even be surprised? If God chose the military word Ezer to define woman’s role, doesn’t it make sense that He would chose another military term when assigning her the strategy?
What we are talking about is not an ancient Greek word for abstract obedience, but a concrete metaphor of military support!
Context of its use:
This translated word, “submit/deploy” is embedded within a passage that provides an extended military metaphor.
Eph 1, God’s power and plan:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,. (He just gave us the end goal.)
We celebrate the fact that we are adopted into God’s own family.
Vs 9 “God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ–which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ.”
This is why He does the things He does. Think of this next part as his strategy, equipping us so we can help him accomplish this. This is going through Ephesians and giving a basic overview of subjects covered.
We are reminded how we are made alive again.
Importance of peace and unity among believers.
Explains how we are a temple of God.
The giftings to each believer. Your giftings are to forward the Kingdom of God, NOT to make you feel good about yourself.
Living as Children of light in a practical way.
Living by the Spirit’s power
Chap 5 Spirit-guided relationships “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (He talks about how we should walk as children o light…and then goes on to specific instructions to relationship: wives, hubands, children, servants…)
And THEN it goes into:
Putting on the Whole Armor of God
At the time, these letters were being written to challenge hierarchy, not support it.
Numerous times Paul talks about how men and women are “one body, fellow heirs, and husbands to love their wives as their own body.”
1 Cor 11:11-12 But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God.
Lots of women cringe a little bit when reading 1 Cor 11. But I’m pretty confident that in Paul’s day, it was the MEN who were doing the cringing.
Eph 6:10-18 (Read this with your relationship with your husband in mind.)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
Now, I want to explore the meaning of the word, “head” used in Ephesians. I believe in God’s order of authority. We see that authority order lived out in Father God-Jesus-Church. Take a moment and dwell on how that order is lived out. I know a lot of us have experienced negative church experiences, where we haven’t experienced the Church living as a beloved Bride. But she is. And as we go into this, let’s mirror the God-Jesus-Church order and line it up with God (3-in-one)-man-woman order.
GOD (3 in 1) – MAN – WOMAN
“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
The meaning of the world translated as “head.”
The Greek word used here has two meanings. “Head” and “Origin.”
A “source. Like the head of a spring or a head of a river. ”
We don’t respect or submit because the man has better ideas. We don’t respect and submit to him because he is always right. We don’t respect or submit because it’s wrong to disagree.
And let’s think again. WHY does the church submit?
If we need to submit like that, we need to understand this.
It’s not to gain approval–we are approved of because of what JESUS did for us…not our own works. It comes from a genuine feeling of THANKFULNESS that spontaneously outflows. And that is how it should be in submitting to our husbands.
We respect him because we are accomplishing a goal.
We are strategizing WITH GOD.
We have a point to prove.
We have a question to answer.
We have a man to help.
And we are given the tools to accomplish that.
And this leads into something else. This is why I don’t believe in excuses. We aren’t victims–even if you find it impossible to submit with the same attitude that the church does. Remember that God is using military language, and war is never easy.
1 Peter 3:1-22
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
1 Timothy 2:11-12 “Women should learn quietly and submissively.I do not let women teach men or have authority over them.
WHY? God did not intend these verses to be a three point plan on how to have the least conflict in marriage. He’s not afraid of conflict. God actually values tension.
I want you to remember that you are strategizing with God. Remember, God is the one who created man….and He knows how to teach you the language of a man’s heart.
And it goes right back to the question haunting your man’s every day. “Do I have what it takes?” To a man respect, honor and submission means, “I value you. You got what it takes. Your mistakes do not change the way I perceive you and YOU are more important to me than being right.”
It allows him to put his guard down, as he has nothing to prove.
It creates a safe space.
It opens his ears so he will listen to you.
It gives us a platform to speak into his life.
It is so much BIGGER than just doing what he says.
Like everything else, it’s your heart and what motivates you.
There are a lot of women going about the motions of respect and submission. They never dispute or challenge. They agree and comply. But all these motions are just for “doings sake.”
The purpose is forgotten, and just like a church loses life when religion sets in, so honor loses its power when it is no longer done on purpose.
2 Timothy 3:5 Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
The goal is not to “do the right thing.” We need to know what we are doing. WE need to be aware and active. We women have the Spirit of God inside us. We host power in that Spirit. And with the power invested in us, we can come against the devil and his agendas.
There is devastating damage when a church embraces religion. When the outward actions are put before the inward heart. When DOING is more important than BEING.
And God created us to exemplify the church.
Remember the ditch of Deadly Compliance? That passive control? Putting on a form of godliness for our OWN benefit. So we can feel good about ourselves. There are many women who submit just like that. To feel good about themselves. And it destroys their home, their husband, their children and their own lives.
Proverbs 31:10-12 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her,and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.
We often think of finances when we talk about your husband trusting us. But can you prove to him that he can trust you with his failures, or does he always have to prove to you that he was right? Can he trust you with the painful parts of his past, or is he afraid that you will think less of him? Do you know RIGHT NOW what his present struggles are? Does he know you are co-laborers TOGETHER, with Christ, or does he feel like he is slogging up the path by himself?
So we build trust and believe in him.
We create safe spaces.
We have patience.
We do not fight for a place. We PREPARE a place.
Now some people stop at honor and respect, but Ezer isn’t just about making a man feel like he is capable of going out to battle, it’s about being willing to go out with him and fighting FOR him.
1 Corinthians 7:13 “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he is consent to live with her, she should not divorce him.For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband.”
I know. Most of us are married to really decent guys who love God and go to church.
And as women, we desire the approval and acceptance of our spouse more than anything. And what holds us back the most from being Ezer is fear. Fear of criticism, fear of rejection, fear of conflict. Fear of vulnerability. Exactly what Sapphira was afraid of.
Do you remember what Peter said about Sarah?
We are her daughters if we aren’t afraid.
If your actions are motivated by fear, they are the wrong actions.
So what do we do?
Stop and renounce fear. Refuse to participate.
Fear will not only affect any decision you make, but it will make your husband react as well. When a woman is afraid it makes a man go on the defensive. He will feel like you don’t trust him and he will tend to want to control or else he will give up and stop trying. Neither stance is the response needed for healing.
When you allow yourself to see what is really going on, If all you can do is stand against fear, know that that in itself does a lot. There is power in recognizing a hurt area in your husband’s life, seeing for what it is, and standing against fear in your heart.
Why? Because standing against fear takes the power of God. You engage the darkness with light. You are willing to accept the tension it brings. And what is the opposite of fear? Yes, it’s faith. Faith, knowing that God is there. It’s not you and your words and your suggestions. Standing there, allowing yourself to see what is going on, and standing silently in faith before the Throne of God. Your husband doesn’t even have to know you are doing it. He’s feeling your love and respect. He is aware of your honor. Your presence means safety and warmth.
PRAYER IS WARFARE!
2 Corinthians 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
Matthew 18:18 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
We do not have authority over the man, but we definitely DO have authority over the spirit world!
Using your authority:
First we need to understand where it comes from.
Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore….”
God himself is the power behind our authority!
We need to understand it belongs to us.
The Bible says that you are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). Jesus is the Head, we are the Body — and His authority is perpetuated through the Body. When Jesus rose from the dead, He transferred His authority on earth to His Body, the Church. In God’s mind, when Christ was raised, we were raised.
Ephesians 2:6 “ the God raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”
Both the Head and the Body are seated there, next to God, in the place of power and authority.
That means YOU are seated there! You are seated in the power position, and you are His heir (Romans 8:17). That means that everything that’s His — including His authority — now belongs to you.
You have got to understand your true position of power in order to use it. Remember the verse that I read “Having a form of godliness but denying the power”? Meditate on your position in Christ until you fully grasp the revelation that you are seated with Him, and YOU ARE the one He moves through.
Then use your authority by speaking out what His Word says, using the Name of Jesus.
Think about that! When you use the Name of Jesus, believing that you’re seated with Him at the right hand of God, you are backed by all the power in heaven! Every knee must bow to that Name (Philippians 2:10).
Jesus made it very clear that His Name is the key to all authority:
“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 13:13-14).
How does this work out?
You know your husband’s weaknesses as well as satan does.
You can identify the vulnerable areas and approach the areas satan is destroying in your husband’s life and come against them in Jesus’ name.
If it’s a relationship with a child, you can pray over that area. Even while an encounter is going on, you can pray against satan’s agendas. You can barr him from entering into the relationship.
You can pray that Holy Spirit will enlighten your husband to lies he believes. And you can ask Him to strategize WITH you by giving you thoughts, questions and words you can speak into his life.
All this can be (and I believe should be) done without your husband knowing it. All he is aware of right now is your honor, your trust, and a new confidence and strength that radiates out of you.
Remember, it’s not your husband you are taking authority over. It’s darkness.
For some of us, this is the hardest part of all. It feels super vulnerable to allow the Spirit to flow out of us to our man. And honestly I have no formula to give you, except love.
When Holy Spirit speaks, the motivation is ALWAYS love and empowerment.
If you are not motivated by love, it’s not the Spirit of God.
And the right words spoken in the wrong spirit are NEVER right.
Have you ever prayed outloud over your man?
Have you put your hands on him and blessed him?
Have you looked him in the face and told him, “
Holy Spirit is in you. I believe in you. I see Jesus in you. I really love the way you related with that child. I’m so thankful for you. May your spirit rule over your mind and body today. Thank you for all your do for us.
Are you intimidated or afraid by these suggestions?
If so, I ask you why? It’s worth exploring.
And I remind you that just like Sarah, you should not allow fear in your life.
I am not sure when He will tell you speak life into the man in your life, or what words God will give you, but if you allow your heart to overflow in honor. If you stand against darkness. If you pray in the spirit. I know that in the moment you need them, God will give you in the exact moment you need them, the words he needs to hear.
So what would have happened, if Sapphira would have been willing to be Ezer?
What if she would have made herself a safe place where Ananias could have voiced his insecurities? Showing honor, voicing appreciation, refusing to cower, refusing to bow to the spirit of fear…and yet asking nudging questions, little by little to guide him into exploring the places in his heart he’s afraid to go.
And once she was a safe place and Ananias opened up, sharing his insecurities, she held his heart and PROVED her trustworthiness. What if instead a lecture or silence, she spoke words of faith and love. All bathed in respect and honor. Proving to him that he wasn’t a “lesser” man in her eyes. Proving to him that he isn’t his worst fears.
And yet, when the time came. If he still decided to go ahead and pretend religious righteousness, she could have stood for what is right. She wouldn’t have lied to Peter.
She wouldn’t have been afraid.
Believe me, you are up to this task!
God has equipped you with every skill needed to be Ezer.
He gave you an identity to represent in physical form the most treasured part of His life. His bride. His church.
He has given to physical characteristics to see past the physical day-to-day.
He gave you the tools and strategy you need to reach your husband’s heart.
He gives you grace–seeing you as accepted even when you are unacceptable.
He gave you all authority to resist darkness.
And He has given you the strength to see it through, because He promises that you can do ALL things through Him.
Matthew 16 the disciples start worrying if they have enough food because they forgot to bring any. Jesus reminds them of all the miracles He worked, providing for their needs.
And then in verse 13 He asked a question:
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
I believe that we can take that verse literally.
Jesus will provide not only the daily bread you need, but He also has given you the keys. When we know who Jesus is and thus know who we are in Him, any lie, stronghold or struggle the man in your life faces, cannot withstand an Ezer. The gates of hell cannot withstand us.
“Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.”― Erick S. Gray