Dear Mike and Debi,
How can a wife “encourage” her husband to participate with family/children without being a nag? Things like having the husband help tuck the kids in at night without having to ask him over and over, or to take an interest in homeschooling? My 3 sisters-in-law have the same problem, and my mother-in-law says she was always frustrated with her husband when the kids were young. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, and I know he is committed to our marriage and loves the kids and the Lord very much. It is just frustrating how fast he loses interest in what is happening or needs to be done in the house and is ready to take a nap or do something fun instead of what seems needful.
You have two important clues. First, your husband is a good man and loves the Lord, and second, all the men of the family had the same “faults”. When you live a little longer, you will discover that ALL men share many of the same “faults”, and ALL women spend their time and emotional energy trying to correct those faults and are frustrated when he is man enough to stand firm against it. A splinter in a man’s eye is hard to get out when a beam is in your own eye. Love, joy, and peace will never come until you lay down your expectation for your husband and learn to cheerfully appreciate him as he is. God’s word is very clear in our position as women in that we are to honor, obey, reverence, and love our husbands. Being critical of him is the opposite of this.
As mothers we are to be the keeper of the home and the children. 1 Peter tells us that even lost men are won by the wife’s chaste conversation. Chaste conversation would include honoring, obeying, and reverencing, but does not include being disappointed, critical, or manipulative. You need to do a personal study of Proverbs 31, Esther, Ruth, and Sarah. The Word of God is effectual. It will work into you the amazing ability to see things from your husband’s point of view, which will cause you to be happy, fun-loving, and joyful. This will change your expectations of him, and it will cause him to have an interest in what pleases you. It’s called “the circle of love.” You please him, and he likes it – then he pleases you, and you love him – then you honor him, and he grows – then…
Children may suffer a lack in their education and personality when they don’t have more involvement from their father, but they will not be rebellious, disrespectful of authority, and dishonoring of their mother unless mother is bothered by her husband’s lack of participation. Given the father’s lack of interest, the kids may have an incomplete education, but don’t let your attitude leave them with an incomplete soul.
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Sounds like the wife is as much a leader in the family as the husband, but in a different way. It's odd how she seems to be blamed more often in a marriage for a bad attitude than a man...his bad attitude being her fault, and her bad attitude being her fault also. Adam blamed the woman and God, but Eve blamed only the one worth blaming, Satan, though she still could have obeyed God. I sure would like to see some articles helping men make it easy for their wives and children to honor and obey with a smile. Why do men get to be accepted for all their anger outbursts and selfishness and the women and children have to be joyous about it while being blamed for it? The husband gets to have very high expectations of the wife and she must have no expectations of him. We are told we are weaker but are expected to be stronger, or else. I am getting worn out, but am so thankful for Isaiah 40:11, Gal.6:9, and Luke 18:1-8 and that there is no marriage in Heaven. I will take responsibility for my attitude only, and maybe the kids, but NOT my husband's. I can only try to make it easier for him to be the husband and father he should be by doing my part and treating all his positive behavior as a gift from God, which I do because all good things come from God.
@ Amy: Re: You would like to "see some articles helping men make it easy for their wives and children to honor and obey with a smile." Most men won't read those articles. They don't want to be told how to act. Those types of articles would only provide useful for women who want to have their feelings of bitterness validated somehow. I think that most men know that they could be doing better. Just like most of us women know that we could be doing better also. Try to pray and trust that God is not done working on your husband yet, nor is he done with you.
This article helped me alot! I don't feel like everything falls on the woman in a bad way. The woman was originally intended by God to help her husband. My husband and I have only been married 5 1/2 years, but in my experience as a wife I've learned that women have a natural desire, in their flesh of course, to control things. I believe what I have learned in this article is that if I want to control something, I can control myself, instead of my husband. There are things I expect from my husband that I don't get or that he isn't enthusiastic about doing, especially when it comes to our young children and marriage talks. I totally agree that as long as I'm okay with how he is, that my children will continue to just love and respect their Daddy. When I feel like nagging and I feel resentment bubbling up, I try to remember that my husband is my children's example of God the Father. I don't want to teach them to blame God when life isn't going their way. The most ladylike and truly precious women I know are completely humble and meek. My greatest desire for myself (my daughter too)is that I learn how to adorn myself with that beautiful quiet and humble spirit that is so rare. My husband and I started on a rocky path in our marriage. We had no one to give us any biblical guidance about how to treat each other. I learned through prayer and leadership of the Holy Spirit and later on from my church family, that telling my husband what I want him to change doesn't do much good, because a husband is not made to take commands from his helper. I take my feelings to God and while many of them He sorts out as bitterness and helps me to let go, some things are things that He wants my husband to do, also. I learned a wonderful tip a while back that I like to hang onto! I am a wife, NOT the Holy Spirit. I may be able to teach my children, but my husband is a man, and doesn't need me to be his mother. God can change him, but I can't. I don't ever want to think as highly of myself again as to believe that I can do with my words what it takes God to do on our hearts. The book, "To train up a Child" has helped me SO much, a dear sister in the Lord lent it to me and it was such a revelation! My husband, who isn't big on reading, even enjoyed it and learned some things. He EVEN puts the learning to use. I prayed and God gave him the motivation. He started noticing that the kids listened the first time, and the whining had stopped, with the exception of when they didn't feel well, and wanted to learn more. Had I nagged him about it, it would've been a different outcome. I believe that God's recipe is better than any person's. If He says to treat your husband with respect and love no matter what, it will always be more beneficial that whatever I can come up with. God Bless You All!
Excellent! The fact that you learned and believed so early in your marriage that you are wife and not the Holy Spirit has surely helped to lead you to the avenue of God's peace and rest. Can't say that's true for me. Has taken many more years for me. So blessed, though, that you have found it early! Continue in His love and wisdom.
I agree with you Amy. I read Created To Be His Helpmeet, which truly did help me, and started on my path to a heavenly marriage. Problem was: My husband didn't want me to be any of those things. Yes, he wants me to love him no matter what, and to honor him, which I do. But he never liked the idea of me obeying just for the sake of obeying, although if I know he is extremely serious, I do it. Actually, most of the time I just obey happily and get it over with, whatever it is. But he and I have talked about this book several times. He had me get rid of it, because he felt like it was taking his spunky, funny, loud, fiery wife away from him, and replace her with an obedient quiet woman. Not that I knocking women who are like that for their husbands, because you HAVE TO BE WHAT HE WANTS. My husband loves me very much and desires for me to have a say in all of our life's affairs. He wants me to tell him when I think he is wrong or making a bad decision. What Debi Pearl's wonderful book taught me was that I need to be very careful with how I present my viewpoint. I always start with, "In my opinion..." If he completely disagrees with me, I let it go. But he desires for me to be who I naturally am, just more lovely about it. We have a heavenly marriage, and I have gotten over a lot of bad teaching through this ministry, but that way does NOT work for our marriage. God's word is the SOLE authority on marriage and family. Nobody else. Debi has been a catalyst in the saving of many marriages, but for mine it did not work and my husband promptly put an end to me owning it. I obeyed and have worked very hard to stay being the woman he married three years ago. Reverance, honour, beauty, and respect are what my husband wants, but he desires it the way I GIVE IT. Blessings in the namer above all names, Jesus Christ.
I had to make sure i didnt write this question haha! It seems like exactly what im going through. Love my husband and all but alway feel like he will go to work, come home, play games on the computer, come to dinner, more computer, then goes to bed. I try so hard not to resent him or be nagging or disrespectful but there are times where my fuse just wont go anymore....especially with me being pregnant again and less energy to do things. My concern was the example he's having on our (almost) 2 year old. Thank you Mr. Pearl for answering that for me....as for me I am going to continue to pray for my husband and His relationship with the Lord.
You are definitely not the only one! I have the same concerns, and it is so hard! Sometimes I fail and grow resentful, but it goes away quickly. I try to remember the many times when he does things for me, with me, and with the kids. Because truthfully, it's not like he never does those things. I also try to remember that one of the things I love about him is that he is loyal and a homebody. He could be more ambitious and have hobbies that take him away from home at night and on weekends. He could go out to bars with the guys from work instead of coming home to play games, eat dinner and play more games. Certainly, I prefer him to come home! I love my job as wife and mom, but sometimes it is so hard to see your partner spend such seemingly abundant spare time so frivolously. When I let it get the better of me, I just feel worse. It does none of us any good. Boy, and look at me, chatting on the computer when there are other things I should be doing.... I should be praying more.
It seems to me that many women read Debi's articles about woman's role, and they take from them the idea that it is always up to the wife, and the man is always blameless. That is not a correct interpretations of her writings at all. She never says or implies that the man is never at fault. But it is a waste of time to discuss the sin of the husband with the wife, simply because she can do nothing about his sin and his attitudes except by fulfilling her own role.
I'm wondering when a woman crosses the line from communicating desires in a Godly manner to becoming a nag.
My desire is to respect my husband and be submissive, but I often feel like when I express a need or desire, he doesn't hear or realize how important it is to me unless I keep bringing it up. Examples would be things like wanting to paint the bathroom, start a garden, visit my parents who live 2 hours away, donate clothing to a charity, or volunteer at my church. Often, when I bring up things like this that I'd like to do, he doesn't give me an outright "no" but he's very reluctant to give the go-ahead too. Then, if he does consent, I feel guilty--like I've twisted his arm or something. Do I need to be asking permission all the time? People tell me I should just go ahead and do things without waiting for his consent. I feel like I'm viewed as a push-over (and I feel like one myself sometimes), but I really don't want to overstep my bounds and assert myself in a way that would not honor my husband.
Paint your own bathroom. Mike has NEVER painted mine. If you want a garden, then YOU do it. Dig up just a 4 x 4 space for one. Do it by hand. Go visit your parents when he is at work. Donate your own stuff to charity. If he wants to volunteer at church, that is his business. You can volunteer to work while he is gone.
I wanted to comment on this answer. The problem may be the husband does not want her to do anything she wants for whatever reasons. I have been married for 25 years and my husband did/will not let me do things that I want...no visiting my parents, no redoing the bathroom, not being in my siblings weddings, or visiting them, etc,,it is not an issue of doing it myself...he would be livid if I did such a thing. There are some women who are married to men that rule with an iron fist and that may the be the case with this woman. She would probably be thrilled if she could do it herself but is not allowed to. Her husband sounds like my husband ...he wont' always come right out and say no but beats around the bush about it and you know he doesn't want you to do it..so you don't because you are trying to be submissive, but then you never get to see your family or redo that bathroom or plant that garden...Just my take on this gal's question.
It sounds as if both of you are married to
All your comments make me so sad. Your relationships sound like they involve a whole lot of control and not much love or respect. I used to be married to a controlling man and my happiness hinged on making him happy. I completely lost my personality without even realizing it. Thank god he left me. I am now free to be the person that god made me.
I think most of us would like to stay married. Divorce is what is sad.