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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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The Unveiled Wife Book Review

03/02/2015 - Author: Jennifer

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If you have been around here, then you know I have had the privilege of stumbling across Jennifer’s blog Unveiled Wife. When I found it, I was looking for resources that focused on wives, not motherhood. Please do not misunderstand me–I enjoy being a mom and there are a lot of good resources out there, but as a new mom, I wanted something to help me focus on my most important relationship here on earth: my marriage. I did not want to neglect my husband like I see so many moms do, which usually leads to a decline in the marriage (or sadly, the end of the marriage). I did not want that to happen. So, when I did a search, Unveiled Wife was found and I have been following her blog since due to her honesty, vulnerability, encouragement, and how God uses her to help me be a better wife. Well, this has taken me on a journey I could not of expected! One of them is contributing some articles to Unveiled Wife in the hopes of helping other wives.

So, when I learned that she was writing a book, I wanted to help spread the word because I knew it was going to be good, especially after going through her devotional. I knew it was a story that needed to be shared. I knew that her story would help marriages just as her blog is doing. Here is what you get when you read The Unveiled Wife:

  • A love story between Aaron, Jennifer, and God who never gave up.
  • Bravery as she tells her story of the struggles she and her husband endured in the early years of their marriage.
  • Vulnerability as she opens herself up to us and admits where she needed to be “unveiled”.
  • Encouragement in the fact that you are not alone as a wife with struggles.
  • Hope because she shows you how God never left her or abandoned their marriage.

There are times that I felt like my heart was breaking for her. There are times when I cringed because I understood what she was saying. I related to how she felt lonely, isolated, ashamed, angry, frustrated, doubtful if their marriage should have happened, and questioning God, all while being a newlywed.  If we are honest, I believe that we have all walked those paths as humans, not just wives. I have questioned God’s existence, but like Jennifer experienced, He never stops pursing us.

The book is broken down into small chapters with questions at the end of each chapter. I honestly did not think that I would care about the chapters since I did not have her exact struggles, but I was wrong. Jennifer dares to ask tough questions that I challenge all wives to honestly answer. She asks what causes you to be “unveiled”? I never thought that this was an issue, but whoa….she has me thinking. The Unveiled Wife bravely tells her story of refinement and just how hard it is, but worth it. I believe that every wife, no matter how long you have been married or where you are in your marriage, can benefit. I encourage you to buy a copy of The Unveiled Wife, but until then, here is a preview–you can download the introduction and Chapter 1 for free!!!!!! Also, check back here soon because I will be hosting a giveaway of The Unveiled Wife. I hope you will stop by.

Be blessed 🙂

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Release

06/20/2014 - Author: Jennifer

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker hosts Five Minute Friday. What is it? Check out the rules here then come back and read my post.Release

Today, the word is….RELEASE

I think that we have all been hurt by someone. People will let us down. If this isn’t you, then you probably have superficial relationships and you don’t need to read on.

I think there are things we need to release and things to hold on to.

What to release:

  • Fear
  • Resentment
  • Unforgiveness
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Hurt
  • Expectations (sometimes)

What to hold tight to

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Trust that good can be done from this
  • Love

What can you find

  • Freedom–we can be free to breath and live and laugh.
  • Happiness–maybe not right away. It might take some getting used to, but you can be happy.

Be blessed 🙂

Five Minute Friday

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A Secret I wish I knew before I Married

01/05/2014 - Author: Jennifer

Secret to happy marriage

I was debating and procrastinating about writing this. I mean, my husband Matt and I are going through one of our hardest seasons in our marriage and attending counseling. I felt like I would be a fraud writing for this. I struggled with wanting to be a part of this so I could feel like I was “fitting in” or one of the “cool kids”. I wonder if wives really want to read what I have to say? I feel unworthy and not-equipped, but the truth is….I am still happy being Matt’s wife.

If there was just one secret I would like wives to know is to remember that your husband is human, and a sinner, just.like.you. He will disappoint you when he fails. You can not depend on your husband to make you happy. Yup. He can’t do it. Nobody can. If you would have told me that any of this would of been me before I married, I would not have believed you. As a newlywed, I would have politely nodded, smiled, and said “whatever’ in my mind. (You can say that marriage has humbled me). I was so disappointed, and honestly, confused, when Matt made me so mad. I would blame him for my unhappiness. Yes, sometimes he was the cause and there are times I have made him unhappy, but to put that kind of pressure on him was wrong.

You are not perfect and you need to not expect your husband to be. He will fail. You will too. Learn, grow, and love through it all. I am not saying to make excuses, but don’t place each other on a pedestal. If you expect perfection, you will be disappointed. There have been times when Matt and I have had to choose happiness instead of discontentment.

I am still happier being a wife than when I was single, even though Matt and I are crawling our way out of the trenches. We have had to not heap guilt on each other, but instead offer grace. I would still do it again. Marriage has made me more selfless and has grown me as a woman. I am more empathetic and more sympathetic. Yes, women can grow in those ways without being a wife, but I feel that this is the path God laid out for me, so I am trying to be obedient to what He wants me do. I believe that being obedient to God by staying in my marriage is why I am still a happy wife.

Marriage is hard, but I do believe that it was designed by God. He didn’t say it would be easy, and I don’t think that His original design for anything was to be hard, but we have sin. If marriage (or anything really) was easy, He would not be needed in my life. Since He designed marriage, I am going to try and let Him keep doing what designers do–make things beautiful.

Be blessed:)

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PS–Fawn from Happy Wives Club wrote a book and I am so excited for my copy to get here! Check it out!

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My Selfishness Holds Me Back

08/08/2013 - Author: Jennifer

As part of an online study, I was asked to reflect on Deuteronomy 6:5~~ And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (NLT) Guess what I was reminded of? This is a command. The word must makes it a command. Ummm….ouch. I have failed. A LOT! Thank God for grace.  So why don’t I follow this command? What is holding me back? Why have I not been willing? Why am I so selfish?

  • Excuses~~ It is too hard. It may hurt. Not enough time. I need to put my family first (doesn’t that sound good)?
  • I want to fit in~~ I hate it when someone doesn’t like me or I feel left out. (I really need to get over this and gain self-confidence).
  • Fear~~ Does God really want me to do this? Am I hearing this right or is it my selfish desires telling me to act upon something?
  • Someone else can do it better. (Again with the self-confidence).
  • I don’t want to~~ I want to do something else. I only have this one life, and I want to be selfish with my time.
  • I don’t have what it takes. My lack of faith wins with this argument. I am saying I don’t believe He will give me energy, knowledge, etc. to do what He has called me to do.

What have I missed by only going halfway and not completely serving Him?  Have I not grown/matured as much as I could? How many times have I said no instead of yes that I have not allowed His light to shine and allowed Him to be seen? How  often have I not let God do what is best for me because I only serve Him half-heartedly? How many people have I not served because I was disobedient by not following His command in Deuteronomy 6:5? What are those numbers? Do I really want to know? Have I missed more blessings?

So how can I serve God with all my heart? What do I need to do? One area is in my relationships. I need to forgive. I need to be a better listener. I need to not judge. I need to not expect perfection. Accept that there will be hurt from me and done to me. Don’t hold a grudge. Love more. This can be part of how I serve Him~~ by loving others with a desire to show Jesus.

What is holding me back? Fear. Fear of unknown. Fear of not hearing Him. Fear of messing up. Fear of consequences. Fear of others. Fear of not knowing if I am doing it the right way/His way. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen the way I thought it would/take a different route, but it does happen the way it needs to if I let God do the driving.

I need to read the Bible less and STUDY it more. There is a difference. I need to take it in. Think about His words and what He is saying. There is no way I have what it takes, but I do have God and He promises to give me what I need. Elijah is proof of that in 1 Kings 17. Hebrews 13:21 also says it:

may He equip you with all you need
    for doing His will.
May He produce in you,
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to Him.
    All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen. (NLT) 

I need to make it about HIM and not about ME.

Be blessed:)

P31 OBS Blog Hop

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11 Years Later

06/28/2013 - Author: Jennifer

I read a post from Sarah Bessey about telling her kids about her and her husband’s love story and I was inspired. My husband Matt and I are going to be celebrating 11 years of marriage and I started wondering~~ what will we tell our son?

11 Years Later

Where would we start? We grew up together, but I didn’t really know you. I never thought (nobody did really) that God knew we needed each other. How can 2 people so different be so compatible? We were assured that we can help each other where we are weak, but let it be said–that can be exhausting and annoying at time. (Really, your optimism can annoy this pessimist at times). It does hold true~~ we accept what we are, what we are not, and help carry the burdens of each other when needed.

What does a geek with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree see in a girl who just can’t figure out what to go to school for, loves to shop, and seems flighty to most people? Please, tell our son why you looked at me. What was it about me that  you agreed to be set up by your sister ~~ then ask me out again.and again. I will tell him how I saw that you are an introvert, but can be funny. You are smart, genuine, and I knew then and know now that you would die for me. I will admit that I just couldn’t get past your long hair and unkept beard. I hope to remember to tell our son that you shaved your beard, got a haircut, and for that~~ this vegetarian ate a steak due to a lost bet.  In case he doesn’t see it, I will tell him how you enjoy helping people with their computer questions, have the patience of Job, and try to learn from mistakes. I want our son to know that you try to make my life easier everyday that you wake up. (I think it is your personal mission).

You asked me to be your wife a couple of months after dating. We got married exactly one year after our first date. Will we freak out and say it is too soon if our son follows the same timeline? Please, make sure he knows that when someone told you I wasn’t smart enough for you and wouldn’t be able to have conversations with you, that you didn’t care about their opinion. I know I appreciate that. You did what was right for you, for us. You have no problems going against popular opinion. I hope our son sees your integrity.

Let’s make sure he knows that when he gets married to throw tradition out the window and not wait a year to eat the top of the wedding cake. I wish we had it on our honeymoon to snack on. The mini-bar is expensive and I don’t care what others say—cake after 1 year does.not.taste.good.

I hope to tell our son that we don’t do anniversaries the way most people would expect. Do you think he will think we are cool because we celebrated our 1 year anniversary in the Florida Everglades so we can see alligators and go on an airboat ride? There was the one anniversary dinner where we filled our condo with smoke when we made dinner at home. How about our 10 year in Boston so we can see Fenway Park? We need to make sure our son knows that it is his mom who wanted to see Fenway more than you. I want him to see and understand sacrifice. I want him to know that sacrifice can bring joy when done for love. Yes, it can also bring heartache, but hopefully, always worth it.

Speaking of love–tell him when you knew I was “the one”. I will tell him that it took me by surprise, and the surprises don’t stop coming. (Good and bad).  I was surprised that it was you I fell in love with. You are not what I wanted, but now I know that yes I did. I will tell him that when I was a bridesmaid in my friends wedding, I thought “I could do that” with Matt. Only you. That is when I knew. Weird? Maybe.

We will tell him that he has a brother or sister in heaven that we miss, but we are so glad that we have him. Losing our first born was difficult and we survived. We didn’t know how to comfort each other, but we made it through. I also want him to know that being married for awhile before we wanted to expand our family was great and I have no regrets.

I think we should be transparent and tell him that sometimes, we stayed married out of obedience to God. Thank you for always coming home, especially on the days when I didn’t make it a happy home. Let’s make sure our son knows that love is a choice and I can say that I am glad I chose to stay. I hope that not only our son, but when others see us, they see that marriage can be good and not always bad~~ they will want a love story of their own.

I hope everyone who sees us sees how much I appreciate you and love you.

Be blessed:)

Happy Wives Club

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