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Submission – A Husband’s View

10/26/2015 - Author: Matthew

There is a lot of talk about submission.  My husband, Matt, is here to share his views. I don’t know why this has scared me to post this, but here we go.

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How can submission be bad?  It is in the Bible after all —

Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”  There it is, in black and white.  That is what I thought early in my marriage — soon after I said “I do”.  I made sure that Jen knew that I was the leader of our household and she had to submit to my leadership.  I was not like that before we got married, but I definitely was after we were married. I honestly don’t know why. If we had an argument in which we reached an impasse, I would throw out submission.  If I felt I was in the right and she was wrong, I would throw out submission.  And, because she was led to believe that she was being obedient to God, she felt she had no choice but to accept that — at least for a time.
But, I slowly wore away her spirit.  She was no longer as carefree and easygoing as when we were first married.  Instead of treating her like a teammate, I treated her as an employee and I was her over-bearing boss. I treated her as if I was smarter than she was, almost like a child.  Finally she shared with me how I was making her feel.  Once I knew just how deeply I had hurt her, and how I was wearing down her spirit, it made me want to change my ways.
Then later on I also learned that Ephesians 5 did not stop at verse 22. I especially had missed the most important part for husbands: Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”.  When the full extent of the following verses started catching my attention, I was ashamed of how I had treated Jen.  I realized that I had been demanding that she sacrifice for me, instead of the way it should have been, me sacrificing for her.  I had been a dictator, not a servant leader.  And, I had been leading from my own desires, not chasing after the desires of God.
Now that I had these pieces of information (Jen’s hurt and Ephesians 5:25), I wish I could say everything was better.  But, years of thinking I had a right to absolute rule of my household did not go away overnight.  I was hard-headed and God had a lot of work to do on me.  It took more hurt on Jen’s part and marriage counseling to finally drill into me how much I needed to sacrifice. Even to this day there are still many times when I make Jen feel like far less than she is because of my arrogance and selfishness. And, the hurt that I caused over the years will not go away overnight.  That does not mean that Jen is not willing to forgive, it just means that healing and trust take time.
Husbands, it is our job to lead by example.  That is what Christ did for us.  He did not say things that He did not also walk out in front of the world.  I know that if I want Jen to feel love from me, it takes action on my part, not just words.  If I want to be a husband that she is proud to have lead our home, then I must first be a man after God’s own heart.  I must follow Christ and His example each and every day. I must serve Him and seek Him to know how to lead. Will I be perfect? No. But, that is not an excuse to not do my best — for myself, for my family, for the Church, and for the world.
And her submission does not mean she is a servant or a slave.  We are a team, fighting side by side as we face the enemy of our souls. There are many areas that God has gifted her in that I need help in and vice versa. I think that is what Ephesians 5:21 is all about, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  This is also touched on in Romans 12:4 where we are told that For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function. By each of us following the others lead where we are weak, we make each other stronger — each part of the body of Christ.  And, above all we both need to submit to Christ and His authority over both of our lives.
Also, submission is not something that is demanded, it is something earned. If I demand submission from Jen, then that is putting her into the role of a subordinate.  That is not what I want for her.  I love her and I would rather serve her any day of the week rather than her feeling that she is being forced to server me.  And, even if she does not feel like an employee, I want to love her with the same sacrificial love that led Christ to the cross.  I must die to self each and every day, giving up my rights to living a life focused on me.  I must consider others as better than myself (Phillipians 2:3), especially my wonderful wife, Jen.
Do I have this all down pat? Once again, I wish I could say yes.  But, I am very much a work in progress. I hope you can learn from my bone-headed mistakes and arrogance. I am just grateful that Jennifer has stuck with me through my learning and growing. I want to be a husband that Jen can be proud of.  So, I will continue to work at it, no matter how hard it is, or how long the road seems.

 

 

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Learning to Fight

06/24/2015 - Author: Jennifer

This month, Matt and I will be celebrating 13 years of marriage. This is the first year that I have a goal. My goal is to fight correctly with my husband. Yup. Some background.

My husband and I were having an argument that I can’t remember about what. During it, I said that we don’t even want common ground, each of us just want to be right. Then my husband said “let’s fix that.” People, that shut me up. I can’t believe that this man actually wants to do this.

I have to be honest–I don’t know how or what that looks like in my marriage. It is sad. I won’t lie–it has broken me a little (a lot). Our arguments/fights are about proving who is right and no compromise. We don’t try to find even ground.

IMG_20140503_184239In the past, with our misguidance and misrepresentations about submission (that is another post for another time) and leadership in the home, what Matt wanted is what we did. If he thought it was right, we did it. Let me tell you, it is a hard place to be. I don’t have a lot of confidence. I don’t have trust in him (due to other things). I feel low. I know, I know, only I can make myself feel this way, but when you don’t have anyone telling you different and the person you love and vowed to stay married to for better or for worse treats you and your opinions like they don’t matter, well, a huge part of me died. It also doesn’t help when he has people who support him. (I am not kidding).

Sure, my husband is book intelligent, so yeah, he has smarts and knows stuff. Guess what? So do I and I crave for him to acknowledge when I am right or that I am better at some things than he is.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want him to keep opinions to himself or crush his ideas. Sometimes, they are great and helpful. I don’t want my marriage to be a dictatorship. I want there to be equality. There needs to be reconciliation.

How do we fight towards a solution? For us, I think it starts with being open-minded. I also need to believe the best of Matt. I need to choose to believe that he isn’t always being selfish, and that he really wants resolution or what is best.

So that is my goal for this year (and all of the years after). To learn to fight, but not because I think that I am right, but to come to an understanding. For Matt and I to be on the same page and not do battle to prove who is right.

Be blessed 🙂

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The Unveiled Wife book giveaway

03/23/2015 - Author: Jennifer

 

There are bloggers who really want to help others and tell you about God, but there are few that are so transparent and vulnerable and helpful as Unveiled Wife. People, she and her husband over at Husband Revolution are honest, and frankly, needed. I need to read about real life, not just generic marriage statement that marriage is hard. I am also tired of reading that if you work at it and have God in the center/above all, it will work out. I am not going to say that this isn’t true, but I find you relatable if you tell me what you endured — not fluff it up — and how God healed your marriage. When you are honest about the ugly, then I can believe that God has made your marriage beautiful. When you tell me what your struggles are/were and how you are healing/healed/still being refined, well, honestly, God is more believable. It is easier to believe that God can restore. Your belief in God is more real. This blogger does it and she wrote a book. Unveiled Wife is raw and honest, but not oversharing. I appreciate her not skimming over the hard and ugly stuff.

In her book, The Unveiled Wife, she tells you about her struggles with pride, anger, doubt, insecurity, addiction, and other stuff. She wants to encourage you with her story of healing and refinement. She isn’t perfect and never will be, and she doesn’t try to tell you that she is. (See what I mean by relatable? I totally get her!).  There is no false hope of perfection. Just a story of how her marriage was hard and how she had to let go A LOT and let God work in her. Jennifer does not lie and say that she still doesn’t have some struggles, BUT she does have hope. She let’s us know that we are not alone. I take comfort in this. I need relatability (is that a word?) for you to be believable. Her story shows you there is a God who wants to heal and help, but it takes surrender.

This book of 30 chapters (don’t let that overwhelm you, they are easy to read) is fantastic! (I could probably write a blog post on each chapter because I so get her and you probably will too). Your struggles may not be identical, but you will definitely take something away from it.

So now–the giveaway! I have 2 copies of The Unveiled Wife book to giveaway. All you have to do is follow the instructions to be entered. 2 winners will be contacted by email if you are the winner.

Thanks for stopping by and be blessed 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Prayed for Future Husband, Praying for Now Husband

01/12/2015 - Author: Jennifer

Screenshot 2015-01-12 22.57.09Ladies, I know I am not alone. We are told from a young age to pray for your future husbands. We are told to make a list and tell God (basically recite it). Now, I am not saying to not tell God what you think you want. I did it. It sounded so spiritual and Scriptural (Psalm 37:4 anyone)? This was easy for me. (I don’t remember praying for my role as a wife very often, oddly enough). Now that I have been married for a dozen years, I have been humbled by a real lesson:

Pray for future husband=easy. Praying for the man I married and for my marriage=hard.

Not that I have never prayed for my husband or marriage–I have intermittently. They have ranged from blissful lovey-dovey (thank you God for my marriage), asking for God’s favor (please bless this marriage), to desperate (God save my marriage!).

I have asked God a couple of questions when I have prayed:

  • God who is THIS man?
  • Why did THIS happen?
  • Why did I marry him? (I will say that I feel the advice to remember why you got married in the 1st place feels ill-advised when I am going thru a hard season. People change and if he isn’t the same man anymore, I need a new reason).
  • WHO am I? I don’t remember anymore.

I have also been bossy and told God what to do (He is God. He can handle my bossiness):

  • Since You allowed this to happen, help me!
  • My husband does not meet my list/needs/wants that I prayed for or meets my expectations. Open his eyes.
  • He doesn’t get me anymore. Please tell him what I need since me talking is not working.

Why is it hard to pray for my husband? Why do I not devote sometime EVERYDAY to praying for someone that I made a covenant with and promised to forsake everyone else? I have a list of excuses:

  • Facing an unknown diagnosis/future for our son
  • Selfishness
  • Pride
  • Feeling defeated
  • Doubt
  • Life gets in the way. (Social commitments, church, family, etc.).
  • Health issues
  • Family issues (mine and his).

In all fairness, I do also fail to to consistently pray for me. I am a work in progress. I have no excuses.

I type this for a couple of reasons.

  1. I want to be honest and say that praying for my marriage is something I struggle with and I hope that I am not alone.
  2. Go ahead and tell God what you want, but you might be surprised. I married a man completely opposite of what I thought I wanted and honestly needed. Yes, I know saying needed will offend people, but I am just trying to live and learn where He leads and marriage is one of the ways He is refining me. I am trying to go with it.
  3. I can not give up! I can’t give up on this marriage when I don’t get my way or when times are hard.
  4. The Bible says to not stop praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Wives are you with me? Let’s commit not making any more excuses and be consistent in praying for the most important relationship here on earth?

Be blessed 🙂

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Being a Safe Place to Land

12/28/2014 - Author: Jennifer

Being a Soft Place to LandHave you ever had to go to someone and talk to them–scared of what they will say or how they will react? I hate having to talk to people if I think that it will start a conflict. I will usually just try to ignore it and hope the issue goes away. Sometimes it works, but not always. I think one of my biggest fears is how is the other person going to react. I don’t feel safe. However, when someone needs to come to me, I don’t want them to be scared. I want to be a safe place.

I want to be a safe place for my husband. If he needs to talk, confide, confess, or just share what is on his mind, I need to have love, patience, and listen without interrupting or attacking.

When my son needs to tell me something, he shouldn’t be scared of how I am going to react. I want him to feel safe with his mom. I want him to know I love him no matter what. Showing positive reinforcement and less frustrations I am sure will help.

When someone needs to talk to me, I want them to come to me with confidence, not fear. I need to be safe when others have opinions that differ than mine. I want them to feel comfortable talking to me.

I need to remember that I am not perfect. I will need to seek grace and help at times in my relationships. So why is it so hard to offer the same? I get so consumed by hurt that I want them to feel hurt. Offering grace is also being vulnerable. Vulnerability can make you feel exposed and make you feel as if you are opening the door to be hurt again. Truth? You are, but is the relationship worth it?

We also have to forgive. It is commanded in Matthew 6:14-15: “14 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NLT)

Let’s face it. I feel better when I forgive. Don’t you? I feel better when I don’t lash out or get defensive. There is good in being a safe place. I am working on it. I will get better.

Be blessed 🙂

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Is There Really A Purpose To Marriage?

04/01/2014 - Author: Jennifer

I had the privilege of chatting with Unveiled Wife about Day 1 in her devotional Wife After God. You can click here to see the video. I wanted to expand on it a little bit.

I need to live less selflessly. I can’t serve expecting something in return. I can’t serve thinking that I am the better spouse. I have to stop thinking of ways that Matt can be better and how I can help him be better. I need to let God take care of him. If He wants to use me, then I am honored.  I also need to pray for me to be a better wife. I believe that being a better wife is being a better servant to Jesus.

It is true that I have never thought about marriage serving a purpose. Jennifer really did open my eyes to see that it does! How cool is that? That God would allow my marriage to be used for Him? (If I let Him). How amazing is it that one of the biggest blessings from Him can be a tool for Him? Ummm…sure! It never occurred to me that marriage can mirror God’s love–marriage can tell God’s love story. How did I miss this?! Ephesians 5:22-33 talks about it, but all I ever heard was how wives should submit. (People usually don’t talk about how husbands are to die for their wives, but, that is another topic).

Jennifer asked me something that God has taught me. One of the lessons is that Satan is the enemy, not Matt. Another one that I want to focus on is that God is always there. I remember hearing that growing up in Church, but it was usually in relation to sin. To me, it seemed like God was looking down ready to punish me when I sinned. I felt like church people were trying to help me not sin and disappoint God. Then I read it in the book To Walk or Stay by Lara Williams and saw it in another way. I saw grace. Then I didn’t give anymore thought until it hit me in the head. However, I can honestly say that I HAVE FELT GOD WITH ME when I followed His will and when I have not. When I doubt. When I fear. When I am faithful and obedient to His Word. When I use harsh words. When I have bad thoughts. When I have tried to leave my marriage. When I go to counseling. He.is.always.there. He never left me. When I asked God “Do I really have to do this?” and I already knew the answer. God taught me/proved to me that He didn’t show up–He was already there and always is. [Really, I cringe when people pray for God to show up. I am ok if, like me, you ask Him to reveal what He wants or prove Himself (again). I am thankful for grace. OK–enough ranting].

Another way that my marriage is a mirror of God’s love is grace. I am giving it and so is my husband. Jesus does this daily for me, so it is only right that it goes into my marriage.

Yes, I know that all marriages need grace and selflessness, but for some people, grace comes a whole lot easier for them than it does for me. There are wives out there who serve joyfully with ease. I am too lazy and selfish for that sometimes. Maybe sacrifice is a way your marriage tells people about Jesus and His love for you, me, and them. Maybe it is something else.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Jennifer’s obedience to serving God with Unveiled Wife. I encourage wives out there to get the devotional. It might be hard to do, but worth it!

Also, thank you Jennifer for taking the time to chat and for the opportunity to serve in the Unveiled Wife community.

Be blessed 🙂

P.S. I do roll my eyes a lot, but it is not because I am bored. I assure you. I have a tic and my eyes do that and I don’t even notice it.

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The Guilt Has Started

10/13/2013 - Author: Jennifer

The Guilt Has StartedMy son is growing up. I noticed that his pajamas are too small. Time for another shopping trip. I know this is the way it is supposed to be. I celebrate his milestones.

Tomorrow will be his first day of pre-school. I know this is a good thing. There has been a lot of paperwork and evaluations leading up to this. It has been emotionally exhausting. It has been a long road getting here.

I think he knows. He doesn’t say anything. It is hard to gauge what he is feeling or thinking. That happens when you have a child with special needs and delay. I do not know when he is nervous. I do not know when he is excited. I do not know when he is anticipatory. This scares me. I feel a range of emotions. One of them is guilt.

I started a new job. I am excited, but struggle with mommy guilt. My son started going to daycare. I did not drop him off or pick him up that day. I was at my new job. I feel guilt. I will have the pleasure of dropping him off on his first day, but I will not be able to pick him up. I will be training at my new job. I am crying because of the guilt I feel. I also cry over the time I will not have with him. I am mourning over not enjoying my time at home with him more. I have prayed for forgiveness for my lack of appreciation for what I had.

When my son goes on his first field trip, I will not be able to go. Will he be the only one without his mom or dad who does not go? This is hurting me more than I ever thought it would. Does my son know that even if I can’t be there that I still love him? What does my son know? What does my son feel? Again, developmentally delayed and special needs hinders me from knowing.

These next couple of weeks will have my family in upheaval as we move into our new normal. The guilt I feel is heavy, even though my son and husband are adaptable. Honestly, this could not be done without my husband.

Yes, I know I have only 1 child. Yes, those of you with more kids have more chaos than me. Can I ask a favor? Please do not downplay how hard this is for me. He is my only child here on earth. I don’t get a “practice run” if you will. This is stressful. This is a happy time and a sad time for me. Please respect that.

So, I have guilt. I have excitement. I have gratefulness. I am in awe at how God has orchestrated this job. I know that my family is in His will. I do wonder if I will be a better mom because I have started working outside of the home. Is that wrong?

I will not let Satan take me down with guilt. You can help. Prayers and advice appreciated. I need all the strength and peace I can get.

Be blessed:)

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Marriage Under Attack

07/31/2013 - Author: Jennifer

Marriage Under AttackRecently, my marriage has been under attack. I should not have been surprised, but I was at first. I should not have been surprised because my husband Matt and I are committed to working on our marriage. We are committed to strengthening, nurturing, and enjoying our marriage by reading books, praying for each other, doing devotionals. We also recently attended a simulcast. I have talked about refinement. When you try harder to improve–attacks come. Well, we are being attacked.

It should not have come as a shock that our marriage was being attacked after I wrote an article on reconciliation and that I was going to have to put it into practice.

I really should not have been taken aback when my husband fell into temptation. Still, I was caught off-guard because I pray for him. I pray for his constant struggles with this, but I have been selfish in my prayers. I pray not just so he will exercise self-control and honor God (these are good reasons),  but I prayed that Matt would overcome temptation because I do not want to be hurt in this way again.  I need to refocus a little bit in how I pray to be a more effective prayer warrior.

When I pray for me  and in my role as Matt’s wife, I need to ask God to guide me as how to be the best helpmate to my husband. I need God to give me the strength and desire to trust my husband again. I have put the responsibility of restitution on my husband and I have not prayed for God to show me MY role towards restitution after the attack. Oh, I prayed that God would help me overcome and be stronger, but my role towards reconciliation—nope. That was reserved for my husband. I just wanted to look good and not do any work.

At first I was mad at my husband for doing what he did and then making excuses.  After the weekend was over, I was mad at Satan.  I am not saying that being mad at my husband was wrong, but I have to remember that Satan is the enemy, not Matt. Matt and I need to fight Satan together, not fight each other.

I feel the prayers that are being prayed for Matt and our marriage. My husband is taking more steps to help him in this area. My heart is softening towards him. I said things to my husband that I had to apologize for.  We are both in this marriage and we are both sinners saved by grace. I need to remember that.

So now, I am asking a favor. I need you. I need you to keep me accountable. I would appreciate it if you messaged me to ask me if I have prayed for my husband, and not selfishly. Can you do that?

Be blessed:)

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Reconciliation is not a Choice

07/20/2013 - Author: Jennifer

Reconciliation

I can hold a grudge. I mean, I am really good at taking my husband on a guilt trip. When I do this, I am not being obedient to the God I serve because forgiveness and reconciliation are not choices. They are commands.

Ephesians 4:32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 

Mt 5:23-24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 

Instead of holding a grudge or holding on to hurt, I can take the first step in reconciliation. When I am in the wrong, I need to apologize. I must choose humility. If my husband has wronged me in any way, I need to choose to forgive. To take this a step further, choose to forgive before the apology. 

No, I can’t do this on my own. I am way too human for that. Sometimes, it is easier to forgive and move on, and other times it seems harder or more work. God didn’t give anyone an exception when it comes to forgiveness or reconciliation, so He has to help me, right? Something that might help is to remember that husbands, just like wives, are God’s children. Try to see your husband as God sees us~~ we are all sinners in need of grace.

I need to remember that the end result NEEDS to be resolution and reconciliation, NOT restitution or resentment. With God’s help and grace, it HAS happened and it WILL happen.

Be blessed:)

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Present

07/12/2013 - Author: Jennifer

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker  gives us a word and a challenge. To write for 5 minutes without abandon. It is fun and I encourage you to try it. Here we go! The word is…

Present

         Present FMF

There are so many times that I wish I was somewhere else, somebody else, or with someone else. I whine. I complain. I do not appreciate the good things that I have. It doesn’t even have to be when times are bad or when times are hard. I get bored. I get discouraged. Instead of being present, I wish for more.

There are so many times that I am not present. The times when being a mom doesn’t seem enough. To just sit and be present with my son is so hard. Is this really important? To just be? Is my presence really that important to him? What message am I sending to him when I don’t sit with him during snack time? He doesn’t converse~~ so why bother? Is my presence important to him like conversation is important to me?

What about when my husband wants to sit and watch a movie? It is almost impossible for me to do so without having my laptop or phone with me to get me through the slow times of a movie. If he did that, I would be upset. I would feel like being present with me wasn’t enough.

I need to be fully present so my family knows I appreciate them. To let them know I love them. Being present can really convey a message, right? What do you think?

Be blessed:)

Five Minute Friday

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