Correcting performance failure in relationships

In the previous post on How servant leadership is twisted I discussed the way in which the Church continues to choose culture over Christ. In one of Donal’s posts a couple weeks ago I explained the futility of basing leadership on the “evaluation” of those under you in the context of headship:

1. The main problem is that Christian women “say” they want Christian men to lead.

2. But when Christian men lead *AND* do something [that women] don’t like then they whine and complain and bash on the doors.

3a. Unfortunately, most Christian men instead of standing the ground cave to the demands. These Christian men become “nice” and “unattractive.”

3b. For the ones who don’t cave they get called jerks, assholes, and the like. Leading how women dislike and get angry about is not necessarily sin in most cases (rather preference). Although many Christian women SAY that it is sin because it goes against what they think and their feelings. Hence, Christian men get confused and suckered into “feelings are the truth” rather than focused on “learning how to lead even in difficult situations when no one is going to be feeling great.”

4. Knowing that there is absolutely no way a man can please a woman 100% of the time and agree with her, there’s no reason men should strive for that in the first place. [Nor is it Biblical] Hence, a “truce” is a false sense of interaction cause it would supposedly be between two equals which is not the case at all.

5. Thus, it follows that Christian women who want a “truce” need to learn to submit and stop whining and complaining when men lead the way they don’t want as long as it’s not a sin.

6. Put up or shut up.

Men need to lead based on their desire to please God through His Scriptures. It is difficult to adhere to the Scriptures when all evidence to the contrary is right in front of you: unhappiness, discontent, and the like. It is hard to choose Christ over culture until you get used to it. Then it becomes second nature.

I’ve mostly talked about behavioral cycles in the negative, but they also work positively. So I want to discuss it from the perspective of a wife.

A wife who does not nag her husband but submits to his headship and respects him will often find that she is treated extremely well and asked about her opinion on every topic that comes up when her husband needs to make a decision. This is the best of both worlds for her. She gets to have input on decision making; however, since it is her husband making the decisions she is also shielded from the responsibility of those decisions.

This is why 1 Peter 3 works because it encourages a positive behavioral cycle through behavior: submission and respect without nagging.

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.

The reason why Scriptures don’t work “immediately” is husbands evaluate by past history. If a wife has nagged, disrespected, and rebelled against the husband’s headship for 5 or even 10 to 20 years do you think that a wife respecting him once will change his mind about her past behavior and begin to trust her? Fat chance

Indeed, the vast majority of people will not believe someone has truly changed until they can see the sustained evidence of habit in their life. Habits take at least 3 if not 6 weeks to develop and implement consistently. For a wife that has nagged and disrespected and rebelled for long periods of time it may take 6 weeks or even a longer period such as 6 months or a year or longer to regain the trust of the husband. The deficit in the trust bank account is large.

This is inevitably why most wives “fail.” They adhere to the Scriptures for a time. They do what is right and the husband may respond negatively. They get discouraged seeing the husband continues to respond negatively to them and give up after a week or two. Some may do it for months and nothing changes.

Some wives *think* that they are obeying the Word by praying for him to change and doing things so that their husband changes. This is false theology. The Scriptures, even the Lord’s prayer, are about personal transformation through the power of Christ which affects those around us. We don’t pray for others to change as this is the hubris of pride… we pray that we change so that God’s power may work through us to change others. God can and does soften (or harden) hearts, but He doesn’t change others as that imposes on free will. Pray that God soften your husband’s heart, and that He may give you the grace and mercy to do what is right in all circumstances to regain his trust.

Back to the example, most wives don’t understand is that the husband is responding negatively because their relationship is bankrupt of trust. It is in the negative. He can still remember all of the times that he started responding positively but she responded negatively to him. His bank account is -1000 dollars or however amount of times that she has negatively responded to him. So he doesn’t want to trust anymore and ends up defaulting to a negative response.

The lack of trust in this case is Scriptural. Remember the parable of the talents?

Matthew 25:19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your [c]master.’

[… skipping the two talents for brevity]

24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money [d]in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Trust is about following through on your roles and responsibilities. A wife that has been rebellious and disrespectul is akin to the unfaithful servant. She is not trusted by her husband for good reason. She has been unfaithful in her roles and responsibilities and is afraid. The Scripture speaks to that on multiple occasions:

  • Matthew 25:25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.
  • 1 Peter 3:6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.
  • 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

The love we’re talking about here is no feeling. Hence, the fear that is present is a logical and appropriate reaction to doing wrong. Love in the Scriptures is always referenced to doing. If you do what is right… if you love (by doing what is right)… then you have no reason to be afraid. The only reason you have to be afraid is if you do what is wrong.

This takes the power of God. It takes sustained effort of the wife, through the negative bank account, to get back into the positive. A wife has to be willing to be distrusted through the negative bank account of her own making to prove that she is worthy to be trusted again.

Some may say there is an apparent contradiction. We’re supposed to live by desire and not performance right? Why then is this example one of a performance to prove worthiness rather than of desire? In reality, the desire must be there first to please God. Out of that desire springs good works. While God judges the heart and out of the heart comes good or evil, humans cannot know the heart. Thus, as Christians Jesus tells us to rightly judge works according to their good or evil fruit.

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will [k]know them by their fruits. [l]Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [m]know them by their fruits.

The fact that it is the good deeds which changes people’s hearts does not blunt the power of the gospel. (See Titus 3:3-8 and Eph 2:8-10). Also,

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus says that we are known as His disciples through our love, which is our works that show we love each other. However, it is first and foremost our desire to please the Father and Jesus that leads us to walk into His commands. Thus, desire leads to good works.

The the hard part is that if the wife does respond negatively it seems to her that it undoes everything she has done prior. While it seems this way, it is simply another chance in which you can show you have changed through the power of Christ. This is where apologies are needed, and the actions to turn in the other direction must be proven by walking out. True repentance. Walk the walk. Intentions mean nothing.

A wife that has not proved that she has changed through the power of Christ will talk the talk but default back to not walking the walk. She will revert to her previous behavior, and her husband rightly judges her by her fruit. She is deemed a hypocrite by him and distrusted more. This is why 1 Peter 3 calls wives are called to walk the walk and to win without words.

Now, this is true of both husbands and wives in different ways. For the wife it is in respect, submission, and not nagging, having sex and being physically attractive for him. For  husband it is in embracing headship that aims to please God and taking care of himself first so he can love her as himself. If you remember back to Ephesians 5, the way Christ loves the Church is analogized that a husband should love his wife as he loves himself.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.

This is the failure of headship that aims to please the wife. It deemphasizes the husband and puts more emphasis on the wife. If a husband puts his wife above himself he puts her on a pedastal. This sets her up as a false idol to him. Rather, the method is first to love himself completely just as Christ loves us, and then to love his wife as himself. In this a husband loves himself completely as Christ loves him, and he also loves his wife completely as Christ.

I’ve discussed this before in wives will never win their husbands with words, and husbands win their wives with words. However, I’m revisiting because I have a greater understanding of the dynamics now.

If there is dysfunction in a relationship, the trust must be rebuilt from ground zero factoring in that there is probably a negative trust balance in the relationship. This will take time of sustained desire to please God through which good works are manifest to rebuild trust. While we as Christians are required to forgive others if they ask, that doesn’t mean trust is rebuilt instantly. As the body of Christ we are told to call out where others are in sin. Likewise, changing behavior usually doesn’t happen instantly although it can in some cases through the manifest power of God. In most cases, a bankrupted trust account will take time to build back up. This is the importance of being good and faithful even through difficult circumstances. You start to build that trust that brings the good will.

As Christians we are called to be proactive. If we see a problem we don’t wait for someone else to fix it. Instead, whether we are the ones under authority or the one in authority we must be willing to take action to love others. This is especially true in an intimate relationship such as marriage that is supposed to reflect Christ and the Church. It takes consistent faithfulness to rebuild broken trust.

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29 Responses to Correcting performance failure in relationships

  1. Pingback: Correcting performance failure in relationships | Manosphere.com

  2. The rebuilding of trust is always the wife’s job, though. The men are always right. I have learned that over the years. If a husband has betrayed trust, or made life a living nightmare, for some strange reason it is always the wife’s fault. We all know that. I always love how people keep saying that the wife has to practically kill herself trying, while the admonition to the husband is to learn how to “love himself” first so he can supposedly love his wife. When I finally stopped worrying about whether he was happy with me and quit making myself sick with lack of sleep and started finally putting myself first for a change — which is, of course, evil and feminist — my cholesterol finally went down, my blood sugar finally stabilized, I finally got a decent night’s sleep, and I started losing inches (I haven’t so much seen weight loss per se, but definitely inch loss). My headaches and stomachaches started to go away. I would like to tell a few people that a woman who is overweight isn’t necessarily binging on doughnuts; she could instead be so sleep-deprived she’s walking into the walls.

    So, tell me, is that evil to try to preserve your sanity and your health for a change? Hmm? If it is, then I might as well forget about it all. You can’t please everybody, and if this is the way it is, then that’s the way it is. And I would be willing to bet most of you guys who are married see absolutely nothing wrong with your wife going crazy trying to please you, while she continues to become sicker and sicker and sicker, popping Tylenol like it’s gumdrops just to keep her head from throbbing. Well, this is one wife who is sick of living this way, and I’m sorry if that offends all of you. Call me a feminist, call me evil, call me whatever you like. I’m tired of living like that.

  3. Of course, we all know that considering your wife’s feelings and giving her something she would love is pleasing your wife, and therefore evil. Giving her a hug is evil, telling her she’s beautiful is evil, telling her she’s a good mother is evil, telling her that you’re happy that she’s educating your children is evil…..but the wife is required to tell him he’s great no matter what. Yep, I did that, too. Used to make him a homemade cheesecake (from scratch) with fresh fruit every birthday. Composed poems on homemade birthday cards and Christmas cards. Found a welder in 115 degree heat with all the kids in tow (while I had a throbbing headache) to fix a large spoon that he loved to use for spaghetti sauce (he makes that because cooking is his hobby and pastime) because it was his mother’s. For our anniversary all I wanted was a big hug and a snuggle on the sofa. Wouldn’t have cost him a dime. Instead, I got a knickknack, another thing to find room for and dust, which he knew I didn’t like to begin with. Grit teeth and bear it, or, as you succinctly put it, put up and shut up.

  4. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    @ traditionalHSMom

    You write sarcastically ” Of course, we all know that considering your wife’s feelings and giving her something she would love is pleasing your wife, and therefore evil.”

    It is not the consideration of the feelings of one’s wife that is evil, but the submission to them. Knowing her feelings is critical to shepherd to follow Christ, but acquiescing to her feelings makes her the head instead of Christ. When Adam listened to his wife instead of God it ushered in the fall, men repeat this failure everyday. When Eve was discontent to be a creature created as a helper to her man she was beguiled. Discontent women are beguiled every day, What every husband wants is for his wife to respect him in contentment. He bears the responsibility for command of the U.S.S. family. When he observes insubordination in his wife, he is vexed, his command is threatened and the family mission is endangered.

    HSMom, you post makes you sound discontent. Is not serving Christ as a joint heir of the kingdom of grace, submitting to your husband like Christ submitted to his Father and benefiting from infinite grace enough for you? Must your husband do whatever you desire in order for you to find contentment? When He is in full submission to you, do you think you will finally be content or will you despise him as weak? You seem you believe you are entitled, but if you are entitled it is not grace.

  5. Did you read my first comment? I have heard tsk-tsk-tsk about how expressing any complete frustration is “discontent”. Submit, submit, submit, until you are dropping….let’s face it, caring about her in ANY respect is “submitting” to her and therefore allowing her to usurp….I’ve heard it all. It’s been used as an excuse to scold me when I can barely stand up, as justification for him ignoring me when I ask him for five minutes of his time, and as justification for him lecturing me the day the dinner burned because I had to go deal with a child’s emergency. And it’s also used as an excuse for pretty much anything. I don’t ask him for a thing anymore because he’s only going to say no. It’s always submit and get yourself walked all over. That’s the line. I did it, I bore kids, I got up three hours after the baby was born, rolled up my sleeves and got back to work. I knocked myself to pieces to put together great Christmases and great Easters until I just about dropped. And that’s “discontent”? When did I say I was entitled? Maybe I do think I should be entitled to be treated like a human being instead of like a pack mule, if that’ll satisfy you. Like I said, try reading my first comment and then you’ll see where I’m coming from. I’m wrung out like a dishrag, if this be treason, make the most of it.

  6. @ Traditional Homeschooling Mom

    The rebuilding of trust is always the wife’s job, though. The men are always right. I have learned that over the years. If a husband has betrayed trust, or made life a living nightmare, for some strange reason it is always the wife’s fault. We all know that.

    Nope. We’re talking about dysfunctional relationships. It takes two to make it dysfunctional in 99.99% of cases; however, only one in most cases want it truly repaired. Either the husband or the wife.

    I always love how people keep saying that the wife has to practically kill herself trying, while the admonition to the husband is to learn how to “love himself” first so he can supposedly love his wife.

    Again, no. Fixing dysfunctional relationships is not about doing. It’s about desire first to obey God and find your fulfillment in Him. The works flow from that.

    When I finally stopped worrying about whether he was happy with me and quit making myself sick with lack of sleep and started finally putting myself first for a change — which is, of course, evil and feminist — my cholesterol finally went down, my blood sugar finally stabilized, I finally got a decent night’s sleep, and I started losing inches (I haven’t so much seen weight loss per se, but definitely inch loss). My headaches and stomachaches started to go away.

    That’s good. You stopped stressing about doing. This is the same trap that husbands with the overbearing wife have. They base their worth on approval seeking.

    I would like to tell a few people that a woman who is overweight isn’t necessarily binging on doughnuts; she could instead be so sleep-deprived she’s walking into the walls.

    Usually the two go together. Stress makes the body crave sweets.

    So, tell me, is that evil to try to preserve your sanity and your health for a change? Hmm? If it is, then I might as well forget about it all. You can’t please everybody, and if this is the way it is, then that’s the way it is. And I would be willing to bet most of you guys who are married see absolutely nothing wrong with your wife going crazy trying to please you, while she continues to become sicker and sicker and sicker, popping Tylenol like it’s gumdrops just to keep her head from throbbing. Well, this is one wife who is sick of living this way, and I’m sorry if that offends all of you. Call me a feminist, call me evil, call me whatever you like. I’m tired of living like that.

    Nah, approval seeking behaviors in either sex aren’t good. I’m not sure why you would believe that we think they are.

    To be honest, you’re reading into things that I did not say. Quote it and back up your point with Scripture if you feel you have a point.

  7. “Nah, approval seeking behaviors in either sex aren’t good. I’m not sure why you would believe that we think they are.”

    Because we win our husbands without a word through our actions. It’s all about doing. And if you want me to back up with Scripture, I’d like to direct your attention to some verses in Ephesians and 1 Peter that everyone ignores around here. I no longer care about what my husband wants or likes anymore. The last time he did ask me on a date, I declined; said thank you, but I was just too busy. I know if I go on the date, I’ll start letting down my wall, and that’s NEVER going to come down anymore. I’ve been fooled too often. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. That’s all I have to say on the matter.

  8. @ Traditional Homeschooling Mom

    Because we win our husbands without a word through our actions. It’s all about doing.

    Did you even read the main post? It talks about the context of desire versus performance.

    And if you want me to back up with Scripture, I’d like to direct your attention to some verses in Ephesians and 1 Peter that everyone ignores around here.

    Incorrect. I mentioned those in the original post.

    I no longer care about what my husband wants or likes anymore. The last time he did ask me on a date, I declined; said thank you, but I was just too busy. I know if I go on the date, I’ll start letting down my wall, and that’s NEVER going to come down anymore. I’ve been fooled too often. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. That’s all I have to say on the matter.

    So why are you here then if you’re a “Catholic” who isn’t interested in God or obeying the Scriptures?

  9. Because I noticed this post and thought I would read it, that’s all. Just as you’re free to read mine. I started it because I have been the recipient of manosphere ideas and I’m just trying to survive.

  10. By the way, why do you put “Catholic” in quotes? And why do you just assume I don’t want to obey God and the Scriptures? It seems like if I’m tired of being walked on I’m disobedient. If my husband were to ask me, “Do you want to go out to dinner with me?”, I would say, “No, I don’t,” and I have said this. I’m being honest; I am telling the truth. However, if he COMMANDS me to go out to dinner with him, I’ll go. One time he did say to me, “We’re going to dinner, get in the car,” and I got in the car. Admittedly, it was a delicious dinner, but we were polite. Our only conversation was small talk. When we got home, he said, “Thanks for going out with me,” I said, “You’re welcome,” and we went our separate ways. He has done me the consideration of not asking me since, because he does realize I don’t want to, and I am grateful for that. Saves money, too, so that’s all good. If he were to ask me if I’d like to make love, I’d tell him no, I really don’t want to anymore (that’s a long and painful story). But if he COMMANDED me to do so, I’d do it. (Not that there’s any risk of that happening; I used to approach him all the time, and boy, would I get it between the eyes about bothering him, so I don’t even go there anymore.) But I put that on my own blog, and see no reason to belabor it here. You can read it if you want to.

  11. @ Traditional Homeschooling Mom

    Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

    The reason I put Catholic in quotes is you just told me that you’re unwilling to follow the Scriptures. It’s quite obvious you don’t respect your husband:

    I no longer care about what my husband wants or likes anymore. The last time he did ask me on a date, I declined; said thank you, but I was just too busy. I know if I go on the date, I’ll start letting down my wall, and that’s NEVER going to come down anymore. I’ve been fooled too often. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. That’s all I have to say on the matter.

    and

    By the way, why do you put “Catholic” in quotes? And why do you just assume I don’t want to obey God and the Scriptures? It seems like if I’m tired of being walked on I’m disobedient. If my husband were to ask me, “Do you want to go out to dinner with me?”, I would say, “No, I don’t,” and I have said this. I’m being honest; I am telling the truth. However, if he COMMANDS me to go out to dinner with him, I’ll go. One time he did say to me, “We’re going to dinner, get in the car,” and I got in the car. Admittedly, it was a delicious dinner, but we were polite. Our only conversation was small talk. When we got home, he said, “Thanks for going out with me,” I said, “You’re welcome,” and we went our separate ways. He has done me the consideration of not asking me since, because he does realize I don’t want to, and I am grateful for that. Saves money, too, so that’s all good. If he were to ask me if I’d like to make love, I’d tell him no, I really don’t want to anymore (that’s a long and painful story). But if he COMMANDED me to do so, I’d do it. (Not that there’s any risk of that happening; I used to approach him all the time, and boy, would I get it between the eyes about bothering him, so I don’t even go there anymore.)

    There’s a reason why the Scriptures say not just to submit but also to respect in both Eph 5 and 1 Peter 3.

    You can say all the right things and do all the right things, but if you don’t have an attitude of respect you’ll get nowhere in many cases.

    Tell me: who wants to work with a disgruntled employee with a crappy attitude even if they do their job right? Not a boss, not me, not you, not your husband, nobody.

    How you do it matters almost more than what you do. When I work with people it’s possible for them to make tons of mistakes. If they’re respectful and willing to learn that’s awesome and I’m willing to teach. We’re both good. However, if they’re disrespectful about it and crabby then I want nothing more than to leave as soon as possible and I will never offer to help them again.

    Can you see how this attitude may be driving your husband away?

  12. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    I think what she is getting at is that her husband is not obeying the Scriptural command given to husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way. And just as the husbands that have found their way to the ‘sphere are frustrated, and sick and tired of being sick and tired of their wives being unsubmissive and disrespectful to them, she is just as tired and frustrated of dealing with her husband’s sinful ways. I’m not saying she has a good reason to stop obeying Scripture’s commands to wives (from what I can tell, she doesn’t), but what I said above seems to be what she is getting at.

  13. @ FBNF

    I know. Like I said in dysfunctional relationships the fault is 99.99% on both parties in some way. However, to fix dysfunctional relationships usually one person will have to be the catalyst to turn things around by obedience to the Scriptures.

    I’m here under the assumption that she wants to turn things around.

    If she doesn’t then why bother discussing it? Complaining about it won’t make things better either, and I’m not wiling to indulge complaining here as that’s a sin.

  14. Well, let’s put it this way. I am assuming we are agreed that honesty is a nonnegotiable. OK. Now, when he asks would I LIKE to do something, or do I WANT to do something, I am going to tell the truth. And the truth is, NO, I do not want to do it. It doesn’t mean that I won’t do it, it simply means I do not want to do it. Now, if he says, DO this, then I’ll do it. It is not too dissimilar from when I was a child and my mother told me something like this, “It doesn’t matter if you want to do it or not, you must still do as I tell you.” Whether or not I wanted to do something was irrelevant; the thing still had to be done. So it is the same principle. I used to enjoy doing what he asked, I truly wanted to do it. Over the years, the “want to” has disappeared because I am tired of being walked on. I recall a particular Christmas Eve feast in which he detailed all the things he wanted done for it (that’s a big deal for him). I finally had to tell him I couldn’t do all of it. I had no time, no energy and I was exhausted from having a baby six weeks before Christmas. He said, “Too bad, that’s just tough,” and I had to do it all anyway. I remember standing in the kitchen with tears running down my face because my head was spinning and I didn’t know what to do first. I had been to my doctor the week before and was told “take it easy this Christmas, you just had a baby” and I almost broke into hysterical laughter — was he out of his mind? Take it easy????? That’s a joke.

    See where I’m coming from? So, no, I do not want to do these things with him or for him. Would you please explain to me how I am being disrespectful when I politely say, “No, I do not want to do this or that”? On the contrary, I think I’m being very respectful. Now, if I were to say, “No, you pathetic jerk, I’d rather jump off the Empire State Building than do anything you ask,” now THAT is disrespectful.

  15. Els says:

    I have been mostly quiet for the past 2 months except on blogs written or run by women, but I am going to chime in here.

    It very well may be that THM’s husband is the Devil incarnate, but I have read enough from her to know that she is at least as much of the problem as he is.

    I started reading her now deleted blog and her misery tugged on that part of my heart which really desires to encourage wives. She isn’t interested in anything other than being a martyr, period. I spent time praying for her and her marriage before I started commenting, and had some other ladies who did the same.

    Having had the experience (3 of us) of being married to men who were at points in our marriages lavish with criticism and stingy with praise, we tried to encourage her on how important it is that she try with everything in her to live 1 Peter 3, in spirit, not just according to the letter. Even Alte, who never comments ANYWHERE, was moved to try and help her. No use.

    She is determined that she isn’t going to try, and no amount of encouragement that doesn’t extol her for her long suffering will be heard. She is slightly unhinged I think. I’m sure that is her husband’s fault to.

    But you know THM, you told me something on your blog that revealed a glimpse of how strong a hold you have on your household. That you call your husband string willed or controlling is laughable. You told me that he criticized your cooking in front of the children (rudely), and you told him to leave the table. And he left! I never could have commanded my husband to leave his table and had I commanded him to do so (especially in front of his children), it would have taken every ounce of Holy Spirit power in him to keep him from putting his hands around my neck. I using a bit of hyperbole, but just a bit.

    Alte said something to you that you need to take to heart. Your marriage is your children’s life blood. Not how well they are educated they are, or how classy they are, or how modest they are. If they grow up inhaling your hateful, bitter attitude towards your husband, that is what they will take with them. I have a story to illustrate my point and then I am done with you except in prayer.

    My FIL was a terrible husband. Everything you describe and a philanderer on top of that that. But his wife, (my late MIL) believed God’s word. She loved him, and her children picked up on that. She was near death before her husband came to faith and she was able to reap a bit of what she showed for about a year, and then she was gone.

    Her children, a couple of whom were very angry for what their mother had endured in that marriage, stepped up to take care of their father, see to is needs, help him as he needed. They still do. When they want to walk away in the face of his cantankerous nature, they don’t, because their mother taught them what it means to love unselfishly and obey the word concerning our responsibilities to our family, which have no conditions attached based on whether they deserve it.

    If you think for a minute that perfect parenting is going to nullify the effects of a cold, bitter, loveless marriage, then good luck with that. If I were a betting woman, I would not bet on your strategy as a winning one.

    Aren’t you glad Jesus doesn’t base his offerings of love,blessings, and forgiveness on how well we love. bless and forgive others?

    I certainly am. Blessings and best of luck to you THM. You need it.

    -Elspeth

  16. @ Elspeth

    Good comment.

    Unfortunately, the sad part is that THM’s comments exemplifies the performance failure I was talking about, I suppose that’s why it got her riled up.

    You can try to say the “right things” and do all of the “right things” but it means nothing to God if He doesn’t have your heart. Without a heart that desires to submit to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit what you do is going to be devoid of love.

  17. I appreciate the prayers and I appreciate the consideration, but I’ve already been there and done all of that, and yes, I am done. Just as there are men who say they’ve been pushed to their limit, I have been as well, and I deleted the blog because I see no point in continuing. Best of luck to you, too. BTW, nobody needs to “extol” me; I couldn’t care less about that, I just don’t need to hear anymore about what was rammed down my throat during all the times he scared me to death. Yes, I did tell him to leave finally; I was no longer going to allow myself to be treated like a worm. I had a little self-dignity at last. If your husband treated you like dirt, would you just stand there meekly with your head hanging and take it? I did, for years. And my kids started to do the same. Everything went out of control; I started to no longer care about doing anything because no matter what I did it was wrong. So I finally stood up for myself. Like I said, apparently that is pure evil to do so, and if my husband had, at that point, decided to put his hands around my neck after having bashed me verbally over and over, the police would have been called. But he didn’t, so that’s a non-issue. If you decided to simply take it, then that’s your business. I’m done. Very interesting how the sum total of his responsibility is to “enforce his headship more” meaning, I suppose, crack down on me even more, make sure I know who is the boss and probably something more to scare me stiff like he used to. Just one excuse after another to let us all know that he’s absolutely perfect and the wife is the ultimate evil manipulator.

    Prayers and best to all.

  18. hearthie says:

    I’d like to add one thing that might help either party – from being someone who was in a really awful place at one point, and who cannot get to the end of her list of blessings now.

    You must rely on God. When chips are down, your strength does not avail. Your will does not avail. Your plans are not enough. There is no, “If I just do this, then it will all work out”. CS Lewis wrote about the difference between the weak way of “letting go and letting God” and the way of coming to the end of your strength and calling out in humility and defeat and letting Him do the work that needs doing.

    There are days when we all, man and woman, have to just do what we do for the sake of God, because if we were doing it for the people we theoretically do it, we’d kill them instead. That’s people for you.

    But God is faithful. He will make good out of whatever comes our way, and He honors our obedience. Is it always in immediate change in our situations, does it always mean that the natural consequences of honorable behavior will show? No. Not every virtuous spouse will reap love. But every one of them will reap treasures in Heaven, and every one who chooses to obey God will have the privilege of pleasing Him. And He will make good out of it. Look at Els’ story!

    Such a row to hoe is terribly hard. Can it be done in our flesh? I don’t believe so. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in walking closely with our King. And in such – there is joy.

  19. Els says:

    Oh good grief. This is my last comment, but I feel compelled to defend my marriage against the “abuse brigade” even though I made it plain that I was using hyperbole in my first comment..

    What my husband would have done was say to me, ‘If you don’t want to sit at my table with me, then you leave it.”

    I have never been “treated like dirt”. I have in fact been well loved, continue to be so, and a large part of that is by being held accountable and not being cowed to, not allowing me to demand what the head of the house can and cannot expect from those in his charge.

    My husband doesn’t have to “enforce his headship more” because he has a wife who is convinced that obedience to God creates an atmosphere where he feels no need to enforce it, nor hide from it.

    I was simply trying to get you to understand that you are not some special case among wives. Stand up for yourself if you feel the need to do that. I don’t know if you do or not, but I don’t see where standing up for yourself and becoming a rigid, disagreeable, rebellious, and bitter woman have to go hand in hand.

    If there is one thing I know, while there are no guarantees, it’s that you have much better chance of seeing positive change in your marriage by resolving to love than you do by being what you are now. My marriage is passionate and loving, and my children are inspired by it which is more than your children will ever have if you don’t get a grip and get over yourself.

    I’m really gonna shut up now. I only bother because I care about this issue and it stirs my heart, but it’s not like what I said is going to make much difference. Gotta know when to let it be, which I’ve never been particularly good at.

    Thanks for your indulgence Deep Strength.

  20. OK, I need to apologize for getting angry. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have, but this is so typical of the constant stream of being told to do what I’m already doing, which is doing what he tells me to do without a peep — unless he asks me if I want to, in which case I tell him the truth (no, I don’t WANT to, but I will DO it if you require me to do it, which is still yet called disrespectful even though I am both telling the truth and doing what I’m told, and I am completely bemused by that).

    I think there’s no point to this, but there is one thing that DS said about everything you do being devoid of love if you don’t love God. He’s absolutely right, but that is in reference to loving God and keeping your eyes on Him. How do you “love your enemy”, also commanded in Holy Writ? By desiring that which is best for him. It is an intellectual decision. It doesn’t mean we like our enemy and want to invite him over for dinner (and that probably wouldn’t be prudent anyway), and it doesn’t mean we hug and kiss him and fawn all over him, either. It is desiring his salvation; that is the definition of love. It’s an act of the will.

    Husbands want obedience. Just as was said about taking wives’ feelings, desires or needs into consideration — doing that makes their wives into an idol. Same deal. We are called to obey and respect. We show respect by doing what we’re told. I also happen to tell the truth but only if asked — you have me wrong that I utilize my sharp tongue day in and day out, because I do not. I simply tell him the truth — he asks, do you want to do this? No, I do not want to. However, if you want me to do it, I will do it, because I am going to obey you no matter what. That is an act of the will. However, making the act of the will doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to like that person, nor does it mean we are all googly-eyed over them. Like I said, I am past the like stage and the googly-eyes stage. I have planted this firmly in my will and my intellect.

    He accused me once of hating him. I told him that was an unfounded statement because love is an act of the will, it is a verb, not a noun. I WILL each day to love him, to want what is best for him, which is his salvation. Therefore I love him. I did tell him frankly that I usually do not like him, and I am not very comfortable around him for the reasons that he already knows and we discussed, and that if I had a choice to spend an evening alone or an evening with him, I would probably choose the evening alone. That’s honesty. Our husbands are honest with us all the time, and more often than not that honesty breaks our hearts. DS alluded to this in his “husbands win their wives with words” post, in which he showed how the men have the duty to ignore their wives’ feelings and speak the truth always, no matter what. So, I put forth the question, is this a double standard, in which they are to be bluntly honest with us and shatter our hearts in two and we are to meekly accept it, but we cannot be honest about how we now feel after years of broken hearts?

    Nobody has even once told me what is wrong with that. I did get very embittered there and came across badly because it is the same thing I have heard over and over and over again while I keep on getting verbally and emotionally battered. I’m trying to keep myself sane, OK? And also I keep reading that the Scripture told us to respect our husbands as opposed to love. There is the Titus 2 admonition about loving your husband, but that generally means to do what he tells you to do. Men are very logical creatures. They appreciate women who can cut through the emotions and go right to the logic of a situation. I wept all my tears years ago, I allowed my feminine emotions to show themselves years ago. Now it’s time for intellectual logic, stoicism, and looking at the bigger picture.

    OK, this is it, I am not going to comment anymore, but I would be interested to see if anybody can answer any of these questions.

  21. KingProphetPriest says:

    The word “love” in English is very ambiguous. Greek is a lot different.

    When the Scriptures command husbands to “love your wives as Christ loves the church,” it uses the Greek word AGAPE. It’s not sexual love or romantic love (which is EROS in Greek). It’s not friendship or brotherly love (which is PHILIAS in the Greek). The love commanded by God from husbands to wives is one of compassion and sacrifice to one who is not deserving of said love. It is a benevolent love, a provisioning love, a supplying love. It isn’t a love that is earned, it isn’t a love that is due, it isn’t a love that is based on feelings or duty. It is a love that is giving sacrificially to provide for the needs of the receiver. In the case of husbands, it should be the love that overflows from a redeemed man who has himself been a recipient of God’s undeserved love and grace.

    The love commanded of wives toward husbands and children that THM refers to is different. The Titus 2 admonition that the older women should teach the younger women to love their husbands and children is not AGAPE. It is PHILIAS, or brotherly love, the love of friendship. It does not, as THM states, “generally means to do what he tells you to do.” And since God considers this friendship love to be something a wife should learn to do, THM should set her heart to be her husband’s friend. Yes, it may be hard. The fact that wives need to be taught to love their husbands correctly is an indicator that it isn’t something that comes naturally. It will involve more killing of the flesh and more uncomfortable conforming to the image of Jesus. Welcome to the war.

    THM’s husband may fail in his responsibilities to love her properly. Perhaps he is not living with her in an understanding way and forgetting that she is a weaker vessel. Perhaps he is sometimes harsh and disobedient to his calling. Most men fail in this way towards their wives. This in no way changes her own obligations or responsibility to fulfill what God has called her to do.

    This talk of “double standards” is meaningless. There are different standards, different requirements, different roles. THM is not equal to her husband. He is not equal to her. She is called to a path that is similar in some ways, but radically different in others.

    If THM’s husband once stated that he thought she hated him, it’s probably because that is what her actions were demonstrating. Though she states that “husbands want obedience,” if I were a betting man, I’d bet that that is not what her husband wants. It’s not what I want from my wife, unless it’s obedience to Jesus. What I don’t want is her rolling her eyes, sighing, giving me the silent treatment if things don’t go her way, withholding sex, holding grudges, angry outbursts, reminders of all the times I’ve failed her, treating me like I’m a brain-damaged three year old, talking me down to her friends (or internet strangers for that manner), or communicating in a myriad of ways that she has little respect for me or my opinion. Especially when she’s talking about Jesus all the time and reading her Bible and going to Bible studies.

    What do I want?

    Peace in my home.

    Evidence that I’m more important to her than the dog or the kids and that she appreciates what I do for her and the family.

    Good lovin’.

    A sandwich.

    I’m a simple guy. Most guys are.

    My experience is that when there are problems in a Christian home it is far more likely to be driven by the dissatisfaction of the wife rather than the failures of the husband. This may not be the case with THM, but we’ve had someone else pop up here with a different input. As the Proverbs state: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

  22. KingProphetPriest says:

    And I’d like to recommend the book, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

    She’s not a Christian, so she doesn’t approach the issue from a “Scripture says this, Scripture says that” viewpoint, but she gives some of the clearest and most straightforward info on husband/wife interactions that I’ve seen.

    There’s an article that gives a good overview at:

    https://bible.org/article/proper-care-and-feeding-husbands

  23. Cane Caldo says:

    The simple truth is that THM is a liar, and duplicitous. She set up her blog specifically to tell me off. You don’t have to trust me: When hits started coming to me from her site, I PDF’d her posts…along with whatever comments had then been posted.

    THM is a doppelgänger of Mom in the Shoe, and at least two other supposed women. I do not swear they are the same, but I believe it.

  24. @ Cane

    You are correct.

    I just went back and compared the IP addresses of both THM and Mom in the Shoe. Same person.

  25. dvdivx says:

    While posts like this are detailed they seem to be one of what is expected in a marriage or how to look for a spouse. I’d love to see a post about those of us stuck in dead marriages as to what we are supposed to do. I personally am in a sexless marriage (year 6 of 0 times per year) and at what point is it acceptable to pull the plug if your spouse has no interest in fixing the problem or even thinks there is a problem. The response of “just suffer” is just not a good one as I can’t have more children and the children I do have are forming some sad and highly negative views about marriage.

  26. @ dvdivx

    What’s the story? The story matters in context.

    For example, what type of man were you before marriage and did that change after marriage?

    For many men they tend to “settle” into the relationship and start to let things slide whereas they wouldn’t have in the beginning. That doesn’t excuse her behavior, but it does mean you may have to be more proactive in calling out disrespect.

    Or was she already rebellious and disrespectful but you kind of ignored it before marriage?

  27. KingProphetPriest says:

    @dvdivx

    Been there, brother, and I feel for you. My record was only two years though, another time we went a year and a half. It’s seldom been regular and, honestly, more draining to have sex with a woman who makes it clear that she’d rather not than one might think.

    Biggest cause of the issue? Me. I thought giving her every little thing she wanted and letting her make the decisions would make her happy (and I just loved her so much, I wanted her to be happy).

    It didn’t, she wasn’t, and my feelings got hurt and I withdrew and down we spiraled, blah, blah, blah. Yes, it was easy for me to see and blame things on her faults, but I didn’t understand male/female dynamics back then.

    And then one day I had a medical issue and they put me on some meds that caused me to melt down. Literal walk-out-of-the-house-with-a-suitcase melt down. I searched and searched the Scriptures for a justification to divorce. God left no loopholes, I obeyed and went home.

    We got the meds sorted out, but something had changed in me. Somewhere along the line I stumbled into the manosphere. Found Athol’s site. Found Rollo’s site. Found a whole lot of guys who didn’t know Jesus from a hole in the ground, but their descriptions of female behavior rang true. Scriptures started coming to mind and I saw them in a new way. I realized that I’d been lied to by the church world, that their view was skewed. Then I found guys who followed Jesus who were walking the same direction.

    I lost my wife goggles. I stopped playing the game the church had taught me to play. I stopped worrying about making my wife happy. I changed me. Things have started to turn around. I’m more demanding, not less. I discuss things with her and make a decision, she comes along even if she’s not happy with it. I am less likely to get drawn into her drama. I talk a lot less, lots of “Hmmm” and “I see.” I’m not quite to the point where I’m completely free of the old habits and I stumble now and again, but I’m fairly positive about the future.

    If I were you, I would start with myself. Get your house in order. Make the hard choices. Are you in debt? Get out of debt. Are you in the habit of letting your wife make decisions? Stop giving her the option to. Does your family live paycheck to paycheck? Find out why (overspending? No budget? simply don’t make enough?) and fix it. Your wife sets the spiritual tone? Take control. Are you reactive? Be proactive. Make things happen! Destabilize the everyday!

    Being a responsible man is a lot of hard work. Hard, hard work. I was lazy and passive. Just wanted things to fall into place naturally. Just went with the flow. It didn’t work. Now I work much harder, but on the right things. It used to be, I would start to lead, she wouldn’t follow, so I’d slink back to where she was waiting and complain how I’d lead if only she would follow. Now I just see where I need to go and go. She’ll catch up.

    And as I look at this it makes me sound like I’ve got it all together. I don’t. But I’m getting there.

    How would I handle a wife who wouldn’t have sex with me now? Hmmmm.

    1. Examine my own eye for a plank.

    2. Give her fair warning that her behavior was unbiblical, disobedient, destructive to our marriage, bad for our kids and unacceptable. I would call her to repent.

    3. I’d grab her hand and say, “we’re going upstairs now.” If she complied, I’d set the expectation that this was going to be a regular thing, as the Scriptures command.

    4. If she didn’t repent, I’d get a brother or two and explain my wife’s sin. Together we would go to her and call her to repent.

    5. If that failed, I would take it to the church and ask my elders to deal with her sin.

    6. If she still failed to repent (or the church refused to handle this hot potato for that matter) I’d make it public. Embarrassment about such things means we keep our mouths shut, but that’s a bad plan.

    7. If she still refused to budge, it’s time to burn things to the ground. I’d state, “You don’t want to act like a wife? Fine. You’re on your own. Finances on lockdown. It’s rice and beans and veggies, no fancy food. No movies, no trips to the mall, no new clothes, cut off the Internet, bye-bye cable (I don’t have TV, but whatever), shut down the smart phones, no vacations, trips, nothing.” If she has a job and her “own money” to buy stuff with, I would require her to pay for half the rent/mortgage and she can pay for whatever else she “needs.” I’d also cut off all relationship comfort. No discussions about her day or her friends. Not a word to her about my own life. Minimal discussions about the kids only. I would turn things upside down. She would seldom see me. Maybe I’d implement the “don’t even eat with such a one” option.

    I would not have done it that way two years ago. I couldn’t have pulled it off. I would have begged her to read a book. I would have sulked. I would have endured. I would have been embarrassed to say anything because what kind of loser must I be if my wife won’t have sex with me? I think I could pull it off now, but only because of the hard work I’ve put in over the last year or so.

    TL,DR: Be a man above reproach. Tell your wife you’re having sex or there will be consequences. Escalate according to Matthew 18.

  28. Pingback: On (why) men are angry (and what to do about it). | Dark Brightness

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