Wives Giving Up on Hubby

“You’ve given up on dad, haven’t you mum?”

“Try that strawberry slice. You’ll love it.”

“Mum! I’m serious. You’ve given up on dad, haven’t you?”

“Don’t be so silly. You’ll understand relationships better when you’ve been married to Brad as long as dad and I’ve been married.”

“Mum, I don’t want to end up like you and dad. I don’t want to give up on Brad like you’ve given up on dad.”

“This really isn’t a nice way to have a mother – daughter catch up. Can’t we talk about something nicer?”

“It was auntie Barbara that made me see it?”

“What does my silly sister have to say about my marriage? It’s none of her business!”

“No, she hasn’t said anything. But I’ve been watching. When uncle Max was diagnosed last year I saw auntie Barbara change overnight. Suddenly she was caring and kind to him. I’d never seen her like that before.”

“Well, the poor old goat gave us all a scare there for a while.”

“Yes, but it showed me that auntie Barbara had given up on him. She’d kind of cornered him out of her life, until he took sick.”

“Well, your uncle is a difficult man. I tried to warn her, but she thought she knew best. She got what she deserved as far as I’m concerned. She could have had a gentleman, but she fell for Mad Max.”

“Mum. You’ve frozen dad out of your life.”

“That is a terribly impertinent thing to say!”

“Mum, it’s true. You avoid him. You don’t like him. You frown at him, mock him and find any excuse to be away from him. You’ve given up on dad.”

“I haven’t given up on him. I’m still with him, aren’t I? God knows how hard that is at times.”

“I don’t want to give up on Brad.”

“Well, my dear, men aren’t always what they seem. And you put your hopes in them and they let you down. Your fantasies won’t change the realities of life.”

“So, are you angry at dad?”

“No! I’m not angry. I may be disappointed, but I’m not angry. I got over that years ago.”

“But you gave up on him.”

“You keep saying that and it’s not true. I’m still married to him. I still cook his meals, wash his clothes and we still go to bed together.”

“Mum I care about Brad. I want him to be happy. I want him to succeed. I want him to be delighted in me. But you don’t feel that way about dad.”

“It’s called growing up. Or call it ‘reality check’ if you want. Brad is not going to be the man you want him to be.”

“Maybe so, but I still don’t want to give up on him.”

“Well, we’ll see about that.”

“I made a promise to love him for better and for worse. If I start to despise him isn’t that because I’m thinking about myself and not him?”

“Do you know how difficult it is to live with dad? We always talked about moving into a bigger house and now he’s set on staying where we are because he likes it here. And he still sings Sinatra songs in the toilet, at the top of his voice. The neighbours tell me that Frankie was in good voice this morning. I know we can afford to go to Bali, but he just doesn’t want to go. I’ve given up a lot to be married to your father.”

“Mum, you’re talking like dad owes you something. Your talking like it’s all about YOU.”

“Well, I have a right to be happy. ‘The pursuit of happiness’; isn’t that what life is all about?”

“Mum, if you are living for yourself then of course you’ll despise dad. But if you saw yourself as dad’s treasure, you wouldn’t give up on him.”

“Honey, I didn’t plan to give up. But your dad is impossible. Do you know he still puts his elbows on the table, after all these years? I’ve had to give up nagging him, because he just ignores me. And he still wipes his hands on my clean tea-towels and then leaves them bunched on the bench. I think he just does that to infuriate me. If I didn’t ‘give up’ as you put it, I’d have gone crazy by now.”

“Mum, I believe I am God’s gift to Brad. I am his helper. So I have to help HIM, not myself. I want to bless him, for who he is, even though he won’t be all I want him to be.”

“Well you just keep at that as long as you can, honey, because I don’t see you keeping that attitude for very long.”

“Mum, I don’t want to discover that I can love him, and care for him, and put up with his foibles just because they gave him a few months to live. If I can do it because he’s dying then I can do it while he’s strong and healthy too, can’t I?”

“You’re a good girl. You’ve always been idealistic. So what can I say? Yes, you can do it. You go ahead and do it.”

“Mum, would you help me?”

“Your relationship with Brad is your own business. I don’t believe in meddling in my children’s marriages.”

“Mum, would you show me how to not give up? Would you show me that you can still care for dad, even though he annoys you as much as he does?”

“That’s a big ask, my dear. I don’t want to make that kind of promise.”

“Then, would you let us work together? Maybe if we help each other we can both learn how to never give up on our husbands.”

Rebel Queen

While weak husbands can become Dungeon Lord of their home, wives damage their marriage by becoming the Rebel Queen. Some women seek to subvert their husband’s home from day one.
They run an ongoing insurgency in the home, either to resist the husband’s leadership or subvert his world under her own control.

Queen

Pride in Heart

Some wives live in the delusion that they are morally superior to their husbands. Their sensibilities to domestic order, cleanliness, social propriety and the like testify to them that they are the morally superior being and the husband in the oaf or ogre who must be tamed.

Such thoughts spring from pride and self exaltation. From that position the wife can justify her efforts to enslave the husband and make him serve her leadership. She can equally justify her resistance and insurrection.

If the wife cannot win the husband she may at least enlist the children to her cause, values and domestic wisdom. The “don’t be like your father” message may be played repeatedly by the wife to push her rebel cause.

Enslaving the Husband

Because most men want their wife to be happy it is possible for women to enslave the husband, making him servant to her standards and ideals. The wife may restrict the man in his own home (“Don’t sit in THAT chair!”), dictate what he eats and drinks (“Don’t eat before dinner!”), control his money (“Don’t come to me for more!”), set the family goals and plans (“These kids are going to go to Uni!”), and so on.
Some men happily comply with this rebel cause, to keep the peace and in gratitude for having a woman in their life.

Other men are more stubborn and set on their own will. The wife may then end up in a long-term cold war of passive resistance, contention, manipulation and the like. While she may not enslave her husband, she can be a constant resistance against all the things he wants to do that don’t fit her will.

Abducting His Life

I have seen wives who simply abduct their husband’s life. Instead of being his helper, as per God’s design for the woman in Genesis 2, she sees the husband as the means to fulfilment of her dreams.
Her aspirations of wealth, home, lifestyle, etc, are forced on the husband. She sees it as her role in life to tame his wishes, and make them subservient to her own.

Many men happily comply with this abduction, not seeing how completely the family values, direction, achievements and aspirations are being set by the wife. The wife’s values and goals may be fine. But when she asserts them, in place of submission to the husband as head, she abducts the home. She is acting in rebellion against God.

A True Wife

God created the role of ‘wife’, and He made the woman to be the man’s helper. The man who finds a ‘wife’ finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). The man with a rebel queen has not found a good thing. A woman doesn’t become a godly wife, as a gift to her husband, just by saying “I do”. She must fulfil her unique part as ‘wife’ in her husband’s life.

The true wife is instructed to submit to her husband. He is her head and she is his helper, assisting him to fulfil God’s call on his life. She is not lord of her husband. She is not queen of the home. She is not the focus on the husband’s life. She is not there to be served.

A true wife does not manipulate, undermine, compete, resist or frustrate her husband. She empowers him by being wind in his sails, as he seeks to be the man God calls him to be.

The Rebel

When a woman rules her own home she is in rebellion against God. As a rebel queen she not only stands against her husband’s authority, but against God’s authority too.

The reason many woman engage in subversion of the home is insecurity. She fears that the husband’s ego-driven decisions will be unwise, self-serving and damaging to future security. In her insecurity she rises up and take control.

She needs to put her trust in the Lord and find security in Him. She needs to worship God, by being what He made her to be, not what her self-interest prompts her to be.

Another reason women rebel is their pride. Many have a deluded sense of moral superiority as if that gives them a different place to the one God gave them. Pride exalts, and when women exalt themselves over the husband, pride is at play. But pride leads to destruction, so it must never be pandered to.

True Beauty

The Bible teaches that a woman’s true, inner beauty comes from a submissive spirit. When a woman submits to her husband, not because she fully trusts his wisdom, but because she is determined to glorify God, a new radiance glows from within her (see 1Peter 3:3-6).

The rebel queen will never fulfil her natural beauty. She will become hardened and her efforts will be unfruitful. Her pride will lead to destruction. Going her own way will lead to death and failure. Her fears will enslave her. She will pluck down her home with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1).

A Life of Trust

Women were designed to help their husband. They are designed to be under instruction, not taking lordship. This requires trust. Her trust is not in her husband and his wisdom. Her trust is to be securely placed in the Lord, as her source of supply and defence from harm.

A life of trust in God is the highest life a wife can live. Becoming a rebel queen is the total opposite to that high calling.

Life will not be without challenges. No husband will always delight his wife. We may all have to miss out on some things we desire. But when a wife can lay down her own life, to take on the calling of ‘wife’, she will find a life far richer and more fulfilling than the one she would demand her husband to build for her.

Dungeon Lord

While married life is a wonderful gift to mankind and brings some of the sweetest rewards that people can enjoy, it is also challenged by many things.

If the couple have godly wisdom and live in the fear of God, they can overcome the challenges and enjoy blessing upon blessing. If the couple are selfish, foolish and separated from God’s wisdom and grace, the challenges grow into destructive processes.

There are two positions people can take which pull down their marriage. One is that husbands become ‘Dungeon Lord’ and the other is that wives become ‘Rebel Queen’ in their home.

dungeon-lord

Building a World for the Wife

Back in 1972 I met Dr Jack Hayford on his first visit to Australia. It was my privilege to play chauffeur for him during part of his visit and I was wonderfully blessed by his messages.

Jack’s message to men challenged them that their wife has to live within the bounds of the world the men create for the family.
Small men, he pointed out, create small worlds for their wives. God’s best is that men become great in stature and create vast realms in which their wife can fully express who she is.

Jack told how he let his wife choose what car to buy and what house to buy for the family. When he told his church elders they were shocked, saying that such decisions were for men to make. Jack said he had much bigger things to think about than cars and houses. He was concerned about the whole nation of America.

Small men demand that they make the ‘big’ decisions. But those decisions are not really big. Compared to the realm of truly giant men those ‘big’ decisions are incidental.
Men can build a big world for their wife by becoming bigger in themselves and operating in an expanded realm.

Dungeons

Some men are small on the inside. Trapped in fear, insecurity, shame, loss of meaning and intimidation, they hide in a dark dungeon of isolation, petty values, distrust, confinement and the like.

When those men raise a family they cannot let their wife and children live with greater freedom than they feel within themselves, so they become lord of their own dungeon. They may effectively trap their wife in the home. They may monitor and police all the things their children do, for fear that they go outside the narrow bounds in which the man lives. They will be given to control, confinement, distrust, intense monitoring and so on.

Such dungeon lords create horrible homes in which their families are trapped. Usually the children make a break for it at their earliest opportunity. Wives can be trapped in the man’s private dungeon for their entire married life.

Dungeon Slave

An elderly lady asked me for help many years ago. She had been raised in the church and loved God. The man she married was from a heathen background, but she hoped to soften him in her role as his wife.

Instead of winning him over, this lady spent sixty years under the tyranny of a man who rejected all things Christian. He was given to intense anger, especially when his sporting team lost a match.

When the man was hospitalised, shortly before his death, the wife sought me out and asked if God would forgive her for marrying such a man. She had been trapped away from her faith and was unable to bring any of her children up in the fear of God. They only feared their father’s dominating anger. They became sports fanatics, but had no knowledge of the saviour whom their mother loved in her youth.

Slaves to Fear

Another man I knew a few years ago proved to be a dungeon lord. He demanded that his wife be totally submitted to him. He kept her away from friends, monitored her phone calls, gave her no money, inspected her shopping, dumped anger on her if she did not do exactly what he wanted, and trapped her in the dungeon of his own smallness.

The man was himself a slave to fear. He had no confidence in God, despite his religious connections. He felt compelled to lord it over his wife, out of fear, insecurity and obsession to control. He was first a slave; otherwise he would never have made his wife into one.

Men who become dungeon lords are really inmates of the dungeon themselves. They cannot live in freedom, so they cannot allow others to live in liberty. They fit the description given in Hebrews, “through the fear of death they are slaves for the whole of their lives” (Hebrews 2:15).

The Winning Way

People who are free on the inside do not enslave others. God, who is the ultimate in freedom, gives all His creations free will, even to rebel. Angels were able to rebel and mankind is free to reject God.

Rather than bringing God down and demeaning Him, the actions of others have no power to change Him. Men who fear that rebellion from their wife or family demeans them are not finding their value and wholeness in God.

The winning way is to love those in our care. When a husband loves his wife and places trust in her, he elevates her. When a father loves his children and places trust in them he elevates them. God loves us and trusts us, which elevates us into the potential to receive His forgiveness and become His children.

Women will upset their husbands and children will bring distress to their parents. No amount of slavery can stop that. So the game is not to enslave, but to lovingly nurture and direct.

Another aspect of the winning way is faith. When a man places his faith in God he trusts God to oversee the hearts of his wife and children. He also looks to God for loving wisdom that will enable the man to win his wife and children to the godly values which he embraces.

Chris Field has written “Marriage Horizons” and “Mending Marriages” to help marriages succeed. Check them out at www.FamilyHorizons.net

Find the Right Husband

I have met several men over the years who I think may make bad husbands. I would be reluctant to promote them to anyone I cared about.

So, what makes a man a bad husband? What are the qualities which women should
pay attention to when trying to find the right husband?

Putting on a Front

I recently heard a man advising young men to “look confident” when trying to impress a young lady. Girls don’t want men to be wishy-washy and so looking confident will enhance a man’s chances of making a good impression.

But can you see a problem there as well?

We all know that men who wish to impress will try harder than normal. They will dress neater, be cleaner, smell better, talk nicer, show their best qualities and restrain their less likable qualities. Once the man has won his woman he is likely to look scruffy, stay dirty, smell more, talk bad and let his worse qualities shine forth.

So women are in danger of being fooled by a man putting on a front to impress them. Looking confident is not a good thing to do if you are actually deceiving a woman into giving you trust you don’t deserve.

So, guys, the best thing you can do to impress someone is to actually become a wonderful person! Don’t put on a front, but actually become the person you would like to look like!!
That way you win and so does she!

Unresolved Issues

What comes out of a person, in their words, attitudes and actions, originates in their heart.When there are unresolved issues men will come out with actions and words that
betray their insecurity, need for control, fears, pride, selfishness and so on.

The key here is to deal with the inner garbage that is likely to bring ugly things out of you.
The garbage often comes out when the relationship is under strain. A young man might fear that his girl is losing interest in him, so he will tend to impose himself on her more and more, trying to control her. This will almost certainly drive the girl away from him, but it comes from the inner garbage, such as insecurity and personal need within the man.

So girls, be aware and beware of those unresolved issues in any man who comes along to impress you. When the friendship goes through its less happy moments be careful to see that unresolved stuff. If it is not dealt with it will be a curse in your relationship forever.

Openness and Wisdom

Another problem that spoils relationships is inability to deal with issues. When unresolved issues begin to spoil a relationship we then see how wise the man is in creating openness and effective processes for dealing with problems.

If a man has little wisdom he will rely on forcefulness in his personality, or
manipulation, emotionalism, fear, and so on. When these things are the man’s strategies for dealing with problems he can’t solve anything, but only make things worse.

That’s why some men go through various failed relationships. They do not have the wisdom to deal with their own weaknesses and failings.

For example, a man who is feeling insecure could tell his fiancé that he is struggling with personal feelings which are undermining him. He can then get help to become released from his
insecurity.
He can empower her with ways to tell him when he is reacting badly and damaging the relationship. If he did those things he would be displaying openness and wisdom.

Alternatively he can believe the lie that her affection will heal him and then put all kinds of pressure on her to be his salvation. That will be the end of the relationship.

Spiritual Landscape

A further compounding factor is what I call the Spiritual Landscape. By that I mean the factors that are in the picture, but which you cannot see. For example, you have probably never seen your guardian angel, yet the Bible suggests you have one. You cannot see curses on people, but the Bible says people carry them. You can feel blessed, but you cannot see who is carrying a blessing and who is not.

That fine young man who turns up at your door with a bunch of flowers is part of a
spiritual landscape
. There are good and evil influences at work in his life. If you are unaware of those things you will step into the problems and not know what has hit you.

Be a Wise Woman

A wise woman will prayerfully and carefully consider the Lord’s insights, so she can know in advance what are the unresolved issues, wisdom limitations and the spiritual landscape

A wise woman also listens to godly counsellors, especially her father, minister and mature, godly friends.

Find the Right Husband

If you want to find the right husband then beware of the man who is crazy about you but cold toward God.
Beware the man who can’t give you honour and grace when he is upset. If he
treats you with disrespect now, he will do it even worse when you are married.

Trust yourself to God. God can give you better than you can give yourself. And He can give you what you don’t deserve. Don’t rely on your figure, fashion and make-up to get the right man. Rely on God and those he has placed around you to watch out for you.

What if it’s Too Late?

If you have already married a bad husband, then your most powerful solution is to have God come into your marriage and make it better. You need to humble yourself before Him and call on Him to assist you, forgive you, heal you and build you into the person you should have been.

It’s never ‘too late’ with God. But the recovery doesn’t start with your husband, it starts with You!

Making Marriage Better

Since marriage is a dynamic interpersonal relationship some people struggle with the growth and change process that it brings. Here are some key issues to keep in mind as you make your marriage better.

Change and Comfort Zones

In order for your marriage to get better things are going to have to change. Did you see that word? I said “Change!” And change involves you being moved out of your comfort zone.

It’s all well and good to say you want things to be “better”, but better also means “different“. When things become different, even if the different is “better”, there will be a process of “change”. That will mean your comfort zone will be disrupted.

So, are you really ready for the change process?

The Demanding Wife

I have helped a number of couples whose relationship has been strained by the demands of the wife. A demanding wife often sees the weaknesses and failings in her husband and wants him to change. What happens at times, however, is that the changes upset the wife who is demanding them!

What some wives fail to understand is that if their husband was to become more responsible, more involved in things, more proactive, and all that, then he will displace the position which she currently occupies. That means her own responsibilities, behaviours, thought processes and personal meaning will all be challenged.

I have had to deal with situations where the wife has been upset about her husband changing, even when he became the person she wanted him to be.

The Unsettled Husband

Similarly I have seen husbands become unsettled when their wife changes her attitudes and behaviours. Even though those changes may be for the better, they can upset the husband’s comfort zone. Some men resent their wife changing in ways that put added responsibility onto them.

The change process impacts both husbands and wives and so I need to share with you two key principles which will guide you through that process of making your marriage better.

You Will Be Uncomfortable

Face this fact – You will be Uncomfortable! Change brings challenge. Change your job, your home or your lifestyle and see if you don’t find yourself challenged in the process.

So, uncomfortable is not bad. It is a sign that you are undergoing change. Don’t fight it or resent it. Recognise it and deal with it. Face up to it. This is a necessary part of the readjustment process.

In order for a man to rise to the levels of responsibility and authority which his wife wants him to attain the existing relationship will be left behind and new ways of relating will replace it. But even the new will be temporary, as the couple moves toward an even better balance.

Both husband and wife will face moments of discomfort, uncertainty and unfamiliarity as your marriage moves through change. But change is your necessary pathway to “better”, so don’t fight it or resent it.

Two Keys

As you navigate through the uncertainties and discomfort of the change process there are two keys which will support you on the way through. Remember that change can take time and you may be in various stages of uncertainty for many months or even over several years.

Key number one is to Fear God. Key number two is to Trust God.

The Fear of God

When you feel uncomfortable the worst thing you can do is to be out of order. If you react with anger, resentment, bitterness or the like you will damage your marriage. But when people feel challenged by change they can instinctively fall into such things.

I have seen husbands and wives argue, fight and damage each other, as they throw accusations, make justifications, and struggle with the uncertainties of the change process.

That’s why I so strongly advocate that you fear God. If you fear God you will bring your own actions into check, even if your spouse is out of order. You will think and do the right things, rather than giving in to your baser instincts. Instead of jealousy, anger, frustration, accusation or the like, you can respond by being the husband or wife the Bible instructs you to be.

And you will not justify your wrong behaviour on the basis of your spouse doing or saying the wrong thing. You will know that you do not have an excuse for any wrong behaviour, words or attitudes on your part, even though your spouse is out of order.

Faith in God

Faith in God, or trusting God is also needed. This is where you realise that God has everything under control, even though you don’t. It is the confidence that God is going to bring you through to a glorious outcome, even though things don’t look too good at the moment.

Faith keeps you moving forward, instead of pulling back and giving up on the marriage. Faith keeps you hopeful and prompts you to make new investments in your relationship, confident in a good harvest in the future.

Make Your Marriage Better

Armed with Fear of God and Faith in God you have nothing to worry about in moving out of your comfort zone and into the better place that your marriage is meant to move to. Don’t be afraid of change, and don’t be afraid of the future.

Put your trust in God. Ask Him to work on you and your spouse, so you can build a new and better level of relationship. Learn what a godly marriage looks like and determine to achieve that in your own life.

With God on your side, and with you determined to fear God and to trust Him, you are now ready to Make your Marriage Better than it has ever been.

For a good description of what a godly marriage is meant to be, I recommend “Marriage Horizons“. Check it out at the Family Horizons website: http://familyhorizons.net/html/marriage_books.html