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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Love vs. Respect -- Where Does Love "End" and Respect "Begin" In Marriage?

"Love makes the world go round."
"Love conquers all."
"Love is the answer."

I think all of us know what LOVE is. I am blessed to experience love from my husband and from my children constantly. I am blessed to have people to love -- my husband, our children, family members and friends. I could NOT imagine a world without LOVE. That would be just too cruel. :(

Lately though, I had a very "unsettling" experience on this very same subject. You see, I have been on my respect/Biblical submission journey for half a year now, and I am following these particular Bible passages in my marriage:

Ephesians 5:33  
"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

1 Corinthians 11:3
"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God."

1 Peter 3:1
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives"

After my spiritual conviction and regeneration in September 1, 2013, when I turned over my life to God and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I consciously made the decision to finally let go and let God.

Part of this decision was to let go of my obsessive desire to control everything and everyone around me, including my marriage and my husband, and to let God lead me through my imperfect God-ordained earthly authority, Dong.

Letting go of all my worldliness and selfishness and letting God rule meant that I would abide by all that He wanted me to do, based on His Word -- the Bible -- in every area of my life, including my marriage.

Part of being Christ's follower is to follow His Commandments for me, as a wife. If I were to be godly and pleasing to the Lord's eyes, I should be willing to die to myself and throw in the trash can ALL of my worldly ideas and skewed understanding of what it meant to be a "loving" wife. 

April and Greg Cassidy
April writes The Peaceful Wife Blog for Christian wives.
Greg writes The Respected Husband blog for Christian husbands.
My AHA moment came in the form of April Cassidy's Peaceful Wife blog. Before I chanced upon her and her blog, I was already convinced that letting go of my career, being Biblically submissive to my husband, and keeping still while waiting for the Lord to lead me, were what I definitely wanted and needed to do. But when I started reading the Peaceful Wife's blog on what husbands needed in marriage, and what our roles as wives were in a godly marriage... with eyes open wide and my mouth even more agape, I cried out to myself, "Yikes! No wonder Dong seemed to be so withdrawn from me and sooooooo passive in our marriage! I was NOT respecting him at all!!!"

Boyfriend-Girlfriend in 1997
I have loved Dong ever since we became a couple in 1997. We got married in 2004 and right till that time that the Lord opened my spiritual eyes in September 2013, I thought that I was "loving" him to the max! I even thought he was sooooooo lucky to have me as his wife! I was doing everything for him! I was everything to him!

In my mind, I was over and above just being a wife to him. He won the lottery with me!!! He was soooo blessed to have me as his wife! I would marry myself if I could!

You see:

- I was "patient" with him on his lack of life direction.
- I was "understanding" of his inability to "provide" the way I thought "providing" for a family looked like. 
- I was "very tolerant" of his video game-playing.
- I was "very tolerant" of his sleeping late and waking up late.
- I was "understanding" of his lack of motivation or drive to achieve something or make a name for himself.

I used to think I was "all that."

I was also to my mind, "attractive, curvy, talented, intelligent, hardworking, popular, moderately wealthy, religious... and to top it all off, very loving!" (Whoa!!! Did a strong breeze suddenly pass by where you are?!) I mean, other wives in my place would have ratted out on their husbands already or nagged them to death! I did not do any of that. I was "patient", "tolerant" and "understanding". I was even doing my husband's roles, that of providing and leading, so "unselfishly" and so "capably" at that!  What more could he ask for, right?!

Boy, did I have it so wrong!!! :(

Going back to the "unsettling experience" I mentioned above... I had the chance to talk to this godly, much older woman whom I held in high esteem and whose faith in God I really admired, just a few weeks back. Following the death of her husband, she shared with me that she found "fulfillment in having been able to love him with agape love, all the way to his death." (They were married for more than half a century and he died in his late 70's.)

Allow me to share about their marriage in a nutshell:

They had a very, very difficult marriage, in that her husband stopped working altogether when he turned 40 after their family business collapsed, following the Philippine economic downturn in the late 80's. Since then, her very high-minded husband got depressed and did not try to redeem himself nor their business again. He was simply too scared, I believe, to fail a second time. He was content with not doing anything, and she "helped" make that possible.

From then on, it was her who moved and led the family. She "put up" with his lack of movement and even incurred monumental debts to keep the family afloat to pay for their numerous bills, brought about by a grand lifestyle (his decision) that they could barely afford. Already a senior citizen by that time, she even courageously went abroad to work as a caregiver to pay off her debtors, only to end up not being able to pay back most of them because her husband, whom she left in the country at that time, was losing his mind from depression and jealousy! He thought she went abroad, to look for somebody to replace him!!! At her age!!!!!

On and on and on this went. She was very "loving" towards him. She was always serving him hand and foot. She was always "understanding" of him and his "situation." She was also obsessed with his spiritual state. She would tag him along to all her prayer meetings. She would be overjoyed with every little "progress" in his spirit, sharing it with anyone who would care to listen, "He is not as proud or boastful anymore! Praise God!" or "I think he is changing now... It won't be long before the Lord will bless us financially again!" Much to the humiliation of her husband, who usually was just an earshot away.

She treated him like a "baby" or as one of her children. She led the family, provided for the family, and just sort of dragged him along, so that he won't be "bored" at home or resort to "negativity" as he was prone to do. This went on for more than two decades. He was not disabled though. In fact, he was able-bodied, very mentally sharp and actually quite brilliant. Being spiritually more mature though, she was obsessed with changing him and making him repent of his sins (pride, foremost of all). She found fulfillment and purpose in leading him in all aspects, including leading him to God. 

Not really bad from the outset, right?

She was really a good Christian woman. She still is. I have no doubt that she did what she thought was God's Will for her, which was to treat her husband with SO MUCH LOVE since in her mind, he was so flawed, so worldly and so sinful. The only way she felt she could "save him" was to constantly remind him of his sins and to make him change his sinful thoughts and ways, and for her to just continue on "moving" since her husband had stopped moving altogether for their family at the young age of 40. Life they say, begins at 40. He "retired" at 40. 

After he died, I asked her: "Did you find purpose in being his wife?"

She quickly said, "Yes. I think the Lord gave me to him because He knew that I was the right partner for somebody like him. I was his answered prayer. He prayed for a godly wife at age 12...  You know him, Nikka. He was very vain, very proud, always wanting prestige and honor...."

I asked, "How about him? Did he find purpose in his own life?"

She stopped. Silence passed. There was a long awkward pause.

She said, "Hmmm... I think so...", not sounding so sure. Then she continued, "You see, Nikka. What I gave him was LOVE. Love conquers all. It is what Christ wants us to do. In the end, we will be judged by how much we LOVED...."

I agreed with her and then asked, "How about RESPECT? Did you respect him?"

She said, "In all honesty, I have lost all respect for him. What I gave him was agape love. Respect? What is that anyway? That is nothing. That is not important."

I almost fell off my seat. 

* * *

You see, my sisters in Christ... 

Respect is part of love. 

Respect is what we are called to give to our husbands. Yes, we are all called to LOVE. I wouldn't argue with anybody on that, but, if we are to have a godly marriage, we should follow God's Design for marriage, which includes RESPECTING our husbands, as our way of loving them.

Ephesians 5:22-33

New International Version (NIV)
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Why do we need to respect our men? Because that is their LANGUAGE OF LOVE.

Why else? Because that is what the Lord commanded for us to do. 

Now, how do we respect our husbands? That is the tricky part. We have been ingrained and inundated with feminist, modern ideologies that we just do not know anymore how to respect our husbands, and sometimes even ourselves!

I will share with you, April's, the Peaceful Wife's convicting post on WHAT IS DISRESPECTFUL FOR HUSBANDS, the same post that made my eyes nearly pop out and my jaw drop, when I first read it:

Ladies – we have so much power to destroy our husbands or to build them up.  How I pray God will convict us and open our eyes and that we might learn to be respectful, cooperative wives who value our husbands’ leadership and who honor Christ with every thought, attitude, word and action!
SUMMARY OF WHAT IS DISRESPECTFUL TO MEN (FOR MORE DETAIL, PLEASE READ BELOW).  Keep in mind that even barely hinting at these things can often feel VERY disrespectful to men :
  • implying he is not intelligent/capable/competent
  • implying he is not enough for you sexually
  • implying he is not providing enough for you financially
  • implying that you are superior to him morally/spiritually
  • displaying contempt for who he is as a man – not accepting him as he is (I am not saying you must respect sin, but that you respect him as a person and as your husband)
  • telling him what to do/bossing him
  • taking control of the marriage/family and not allowing him to fulfill his God-given leadership position
  • making fun of him, putting him down, criticizing him, belittling him especially to others
  • body language that communicates contempt/hatred/judgment
  • implying that you respect another man more than you respect him
  • implying he is not a good father
  • undermining his authority as a father
Here are some things that feel disrespectful to many husbands – thanks to the husbands who contributed to this list:
  • asking him to do something, then doing it myself before he has a chance
  • body language – especially frowning while you talk
  • lack of attention/appreciation
  • too much help
  • criticism
  • interruptions
  • not really listening
  • asking “Why…?” when paired with “Why would you do it like that?” and rolling the eyes.. or “Why would you go that way when it’s easier to go this way?”
  • Asking a question starting with WHY is automatically saying, “What you did is wrong and it should be done like this! How can you not see that?”
  • always putting herself first and having the family fit into her plans/schedule
  • second guessing/lack of confidence
  • being too busy to spend time with him – too into your tv show to listen to him
  • complaining
  • speaking negatively of him to others or in front of others
  • scowling
  • body language – arms crossed, a look of condemnation
  • answering for him
  • telling him what to do
  • undermining his authority as a father – telling the children they don’t have to do what he asked them to do
  • disagreeing with his parenting in front of the children
  • insinuating – even slightly – that he doesn’t make enough money to satisfy you
  • not accepting his answer – continuing to question him
  • putting him down to other people
  • Being irrationally afraid, as if I can’t protect her from a spider in the next room. A lion? I understand, but I have a gun for that :-)
  • Being critical of my driving (actual safe driving with mounds of proof)  
  • Automatically assuming we were going to call someone for a repair. Let me decide and let me handle it.
  • Asking me if i remembered to pack something.
  • Telling me to go speak to someone or tell someone goodbye at a social function.
  • Asking “Are you sure? ” after I have already given a confident “yes” to “Do you know what you are doing?”  (Peacefulwife here – Probably best not to say, “Do you know what you are doing?” ladies!)
  • In short, only question me once, especially if its something you know no nothing about.
  • withholding sex from him out of spite or manipulation
  • cussing/yelling/name calling
  • Arguing with me when I make a family decision
  • Remaining silent in front of  the children rather than supporting me when a discipline decision is made
  • Lack of acknowledgement of hard work/providing for the family
  • Failure to say “You’re a good dad.”
  • Failure to say thank you in general
  • Failure to support a decision I’ve made in my absence
  • Speaking poorly about me, even in a “joking” way to others
  • Correcting me when I am telling stories
  • Making light of or “poo-pooing” something that I think is important
  • “The look.”  It may vary from woman to woman, but you all have one.  Used whenever you disapprove of whatever just happened, whatever was just said, or whatever idea the husband just floated.  May be followed by verbal elaboration of the disapproval, but 100% effective without the elaboration.  The longer the marriage, the less need for any verbal elaboration.  It’s funny to talk about for everyone but the husband who receives it.  Believe it or not, it’s soul-crushing — at least when it’s a frequent occurrence.
  • Obviously, the eye-roll, the sigh, the huff, the pursed lips, the crossed arms, the tapping foot, the hands thrown in the air, etc.  These are all distinct from “the look.”
  • The comment to the kids that’s actually directed at dad, frequently while leaving the room with the child after getting dad’s input and not being satisfied with it.
  • Any disagreement with or disapproval of the dad in front of the kids is exponentially more crushing (and, probably for most men, infuriating — anger being the emotion that immediately follows hurt).
  • Refusing, avoiding, or qualifying your apology when the husband calls you on any of these disrespectful behaviors.  It doesn’t take very many times of hearing “I’m sorry I said that in front of the kids, but you [reiteration of the original complaint/criticism and/or addition of another].”  Why seek an apology if it’s only going to net another insult?
  • Keeping “your” finances separate from the “family’s” finances.
  • Blaming your husband for economic circumstances beyond his control — loss of a job, difficulty finding a job, diminished cash flow because customers are slow in paying, etc.  NOTE:  Complaining about the circumstances or wishing out loud for different circumstances feels like blame to your husband.  Find a way to commiserate with him about the circumstances without complaining about them.
  • Holding a grudge against your husband for economic circumstances that were within his control but turned out differently than he expected.
  • Complaining about an offense that he committed, usually unintentionally, and then not letting him fix it, or even attempt to.
  • Giving him your input (which he solicited) for an important decision — choice of a church, choice of a house, etc. — and then rejecting all the choices he comes up with, even if they meet all your stated criteria and nothing else does.  Bonus points for holding a grudge if he goes ahead and picks one of those choices, whether it works out ok or not.
  • Remaining silent when one of the kids complains that dad won’t listen or doesn’t care, rather than actively attempting to defend dad, when dad has in fact tried to take the child’s wants/needs into account but has made a decision that the child doesn’t like.
  • Expecting your husband to meet your need for security in a way that requires perfection or omniscience.  Of course he shouldn’t knowingly do things that undermine your security, but the reality is that his ability to keep or make you secure is very limited.
  • Implicitly or explicitly letting him know that, once your early days of poverty are behind you (those days when you told him that as long as you had each other, you had enough), you are going to be very unhappy about any prospect of being back there again, for whatever reason.
  • If marriage counseling is necessary, communicating (or simply believing, which will be communicated one way or another) that he is the problem.  Bonus points for firing the counselor (or simply not going back) if the counselor puts too much pressure on you to change something.  TEST:  What would your reaction be if your husband fired a counselor or refused to go back because the counselor was putting too much pressure on him?
  • When your disrespect for your husband has become too manifest to ignore, and your husband makes the rather obvious deduction that perhaps it’s time for the two of you to seek outside advice in a particular area (from a pastor, marriage counselor, financial counselor, etc.), reject the outside advice if it is in line with what your husband was doing or recommending.  Put him in a can’t win situation so that there’s no authority you’ll submit to and there’s no one whose endorsement of your husband will have any meaning to you.
  • If there are theological non-essentials on which you disagree (Calvinism vs. Arminianism (or just 4-point Calvinism vs. 5-point Calvinism), mode of baptism, music, determining the will of God in a decision, etc.), behave as if his view is dangerous.
  • Insist that your standards for acceptable family entertainment be the governing standards, and let it be known every time your husband’s choices stray from your standards.  Bonus points if you can criticize him, preferably in front of the kids, when a protective measure he has attempted to use (a language filter, fast forwarding, etc.) isn’t 100% effective at eliminating the content he was trying to avoid.
  • Live in fear because you can’t trust God to take care of you through your husband or, if necessary, in spite of your husband.
  • Attach catastrophic significance to every personal and parenting choice out of fear that if you and your husband do not “measure up,” God will punish you, including by allowing your children to become prodigals.  [Bonus points if you can, with a straight face, agree that God doesn't behave that way but arrive at the same level of fear anyway because "actions have consequences."]
  • When put on the spot to compliment your husband on something, focus on his skill at his job and not anything about his performance as a husband or father.
  • Write him flowery compliments four times a year (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, and his birthday) and then live the rest of the year as described above.  It will take him years to figure out that you didn’t really mean any of those nice things you wrote — at least not when times get tough.
  • Generally treat sex with him as a chore or an imposition (when you’re not ignoring it altogether).  Bonus points if you can occasionally (twice a year may be sufficient) behave as if you actually want to have sex with him.  You’ll have him thoroughly confused pretty much right up until the time you ambush him with the divorce.
  • Deriding me in public.
  • Joking with another woman at my expense in front of me.
  • Making me feel that I’m less of man because I don’t look as attractive as I did years ago.
  • Making comments about my lack of ability to remember.
  • Doubting what I say until it’s affirmed by someone else.
  • Thinking that I’m not smart enough to know when she’s lying to me.
  • Treating me like I’m a child, and can’t take care of myself.
  • Taping notes to the refrigerator or cabinet telling me what to do, and how to do it.
  • Taking credit for things I did.
  • Changing the channel when I’m watching something.
  • Ordering me around like I’m her personal assistant.
  • Griping me out when I get something wrong that she should have done herself.

* * *

I was so shocked to learn that there were so many things on this list that I did and was guilty of! No wonder Dong felt so unloved and no wonder he felt like wanting to die! He felt that he could never make me happy. I felt and thought that I "LOVED" him, but truthfully? I did not RESPECT him.  :(
Uhm, somebody looks really unhappy! :(

During those dark years when I was most controlling, I had faith in God (or so I thought -- more like faith in myself alone!) but no faith in Dong whatsoever. I felt that my reason for being in this world was to "help" him find his purpose. Both Dong and I thought that HE was the problem!!! I could not change him and he could not change himself (on things that I wanted him to change)! We were stuck! He lacked purpose and I couldn't make him find his purpose, no matter how hard I tried! (You can read about how he felt like dying from being so "useless" in my three interviews with him: here, here and here.)

However, we could never find purpose for another person. That is a matter between God and that person.

I wrote this post not to deride this godly woman whom I hold dear. She was just too set in her ways (she is in her late 70's) and "blinded" by her love for him. I also think that she just did not know that the language of love for men, especially one's spouse was RESPECT. She thought that "LOVE would really conquer all". 

Yes it does. But, to be able to empower our husbands, we have to turn down the "love notch" a bit, and turn up the "respect notch" a lot. If we do not do that, we could "LOVE" our husbands till our hearts bleed dry, but without RESPECT, they will still NOT feel LOVED.

I wrote this post so that starting TODAY, if this post has blessed you or given you your own AHA Moments, you can make your marriage more godly by focusing on RESPECTING your husband instead of merely "LOVING" him.

Would you want to be guilty of your husband passing on in this life, not having found his true purpose or calling, because you were too busy doing all his roles, so much so, that he has found NO REASON to even exist, because he was already redundant?  If a wife could function without his input and contribution, what was his reason for being?

Let us not fault our husbands for not stepping up the plate when we ourselves get in their way and spoonfeed them or even infantilize them. 

Let us not fault our husbands for not providing for the family the way they should, when we are too busy with our careers and have become so fiercely independent that no amount of money they put in seems valuable anymore. 

Let us not fault our husbands for not leading our families if we are used to having it our way  and just informing them of our decisions, after we have done them. 

If our husbands are not being the godly men that Christ calls on them to be, let us ask ourselves: 

Are we the "problem"
Are we their "enablers"? 
Are we "disabling" them and "emasculating" them just by our being so able and capable
Is their lack of drive to "man up", caused by our wearing of the pants in the relationship? 

Isn't it too much to ask from them now, to step up the plate when all this time, we never believed in them anyway? Proof of this is we are doing their roles that are not assigned to us by God.

And a more pressing question:

Do you really want to live this life being your husband's MOTHER? The one who would tell him what to do and what to think? The one who would criticize him when he does wrong and would praise him when he does right?  If you got married to just gain another child, (whether knowingly or unknowingly) something is really wrong with your marriage.... :(
I never felt that he was my child, but I did feel that I was superior to him. :(
Controlling Nikka -- 2010.


After the Lord convicted me of my mountains of sin -- pride, envy, self-righteousness, obsession with control, obsession with validation, vanity, bitterness, etc. -- I was stunned. I could not speak for days. It was too humiliating and too humbling. :(

I repented.

Then, I asked that the Lord rule my life.

By then, I was tired of living my life in fear, in bondage and in doubt.

I was ready to live my life for God starting within my family, beginning with my marriage.

And that was when I answered these questions: 

Am I willing to be led by my imperfect husband, Dong, and let go of all desires to control our lives and to control him? Answer: YES.

Am I willing to stand by my man, no matter what the outcome? Answer: YES.

Am I willing to allow the Lord to lead me and show His Will for me, via choices that Dong will make on my behalf or for our family? Answer: YES.

Am I willing to submit myself to my husband, know my rightful place (as his helper, not as his leader) and find purpose in God's ordained role/s for me as his wife? Answer: YES.

Am I willing to "help" him find his purpose, not by being pushy or bossy like I was before, but by simply keeping still and trusting in God, as the Lord molds him into the man He wants him to become, no matter how slow or how long the process might take?  Answer: YES.

* * *

After answering all of those questions in the affirmative, I then asked forgiveness from my husband. It was Dong himself who suggested that I blog about my respect journey after he saw the genuine change in me, in order that I be able to help wives in the same boat as I was/am. 

It was he who asked that I share about this rich secret about God's great design for marriage, after he experienced, for what seemed to be the FIRST time in our many years together, feeling good about himself and not being judged or looked down upon, by me.

When I RESPECTED my husband sincerely, was when he felt LOVED truly. 

When I STEPPED ASIDE, he STEPPED UP the plate. 

When I KEPT STILL and did not go ahead of him, he MOVED.

When I STOPPED LEADING, he STARTED LEADING me and our family.

When I FOCUSED ON MY ROLES (as nurturer, helper, supporter), he FOCUSED ON HIS OWN ROLES (as provider, leader, protector).

When I RESTRAINED MYSELF  from being too "ACTIVE", he stopped being PASSIVE.

When I SHOWED FAITH in him, he FOUND FAITH within himself.

At his father's funeral -March 26, 2014
I have to be honest. My years of controlling him and our marriage made him lose his faith in God a bit. Okay... a LOT. :( I put everything in my hands during that time and did not respect him nor believed in him. By virtue of marriage, and us being ONE, my destructive behavior made him lose faith in himself and even in God. I was too adamant and insistent that his kind of faith, the one that believed that "God is in control" was fake. I made him believe that my kind of faith, the one where I put things in MY hands and controlled things, hoping God will "follow through", was the TRUE faith. :( How totally prideful and even blasphemous of me to believe that I was in control, and that God was not! I am ashamed at my prideful and sinful thoughts and behavior! How totally wimpy my view of God was then! Shame on me! :(

God is still repairing that lost part of Dong, but already, I can see that with my change of heart, Dong is restoring his faith in God. :) Maybe his faith had to be shattered too, in order for him to have a deeper relationship with Him. 

It is not my business though to check on his spiritual progress. 

I am NOT the Holy Spirit; I cannot convict him nor change him. 
I am NOT the Messiah. I cannot save him from his faults and failures. 
I am NOT God.  I cannot give him purpose
That one is between him and his Creator.

I can only be here for him if and when he falls. And I am just here beside him, as we walk together in this journey we call LIFE. I am content, focusing on my side of the equation, that is, to be his helpmeet and the mother of our children... as I leave him to do his own side of the equation, all the while praying unceasingly to the Lord to bless him and give him His Wisdom, Guidance, Favor and Provision at all times.

 At the end of my life, I will not be asked,  "What was your husband's purpose?"

God will ask me, "What was your purpose on earth? Were you able to fulfill it?"

Hopefully, after realizing for yourself that you are getting in the way of your husband's finding his true purpose, you will now willingly step aside, and let God work in your husband's heart and in his life. You wouldn't want to be guilty of him not finding his purpose in life simply because you were too efficient doing his roles!

So, where does love "end" and respect "begin" in marriage?

The answer to that is RIGHT HERE, 

If you see that your "love" is not making him bloom as a man and as the head of the family, 
stop the "LOVE"; start to RESPECT
Step aside and let him lead.

If you see that your "love" is making him lazy and unmotivated because you are too efficient and hardworking, stop the "LOVE"; start to RESPECT. 
Stop working, if need be.

If you see that your "love" is making him lose direction and purpose, 
stop the "LOVE"; start to RESPECT.
Stop directing him and his life. Just keep still.

If we really LOVE our husbands, we would "LOVE" them less (the way we view "love" to be), and RESPECT them more.

If we are Christians, the way we claim to be, we should obey Christ's command for us wives, that is, to respect our husbands and submit to them the way the Church submitted to Christ. In turn, our husbands are asked to love us the way Christ loved the Church. In fact, they should be even willing to die for us like Christ died for the Church! Their part of the equation is much, much harder, don't you think? ;)
March 22, 2014 - at our son's moving up ceremony

RESPECT is not "nothing", my dear sisters in Christ. To our husbands, it is EVERYTHING. 

That is how they feel LOVED. That is the men's language of love. You can smother them all you want with your affection, kisses, devotion and "selfless" service, but if you do not RESPECT them and allow them to be the rightful God-ordained authority in your homes, that "LOVE" will not be understood or accepted. It may even be shunned and resented. :(

NOTE:  While it is true that respect has to be earned and not freely given, this is only true outside of the home. It is clear in the Bible that UNCONDITIONAL RESPECT has to be given by the wives to their husbands, in the same way, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE has to be given by the husbands to their wives. Nobody is forced to give those to either party. It should be sincerely and genuinely given by one or the other/both to experience a life-changing impact. In cases where the husband is sinning (womanizing, gambling, physical abuse), the wife should still RESPECT the husband, while NOT respecting the sinful behavior. Being Biblically submissive does NOT mean being a doormat. It also does NOT mean condoning bad behavior. My above post is most helpful for wives who tend to be controlling and dominant, while their husbands tend to be passive and unmotivated, but generally loving and not abusive. In cases of spousal abuse, kindly seek godly help and counsel. This post might not be helpful to you. All Bible verses still do apply for all types of marriages and all types of personalities. God's Wisdom is TRUE for all.

May we all be richly blessed! :)


  1. What should I do? It's my husband who wanted me to work in the first place.
    My husband is working too but I'm earning more than him. We have two kids. We're living at my inlaws place.

    1. Hi Anonymous!

      Thanks for dropping a line. :)

      Although the IDEAL is that the husband is the primary or sole breadwinner, and the wife is the secondary breadwinner, or not working at all; unfortunately, in a fallen world and in these times, the Enemy has made it harder for families to subsist on only one income. :(

      Not to say that it is impossible to just subsist on one income (preferably the husband's), but it would usually entail temporary and even long-term sacrifices from the whole family, example: not going for that vacation to save up on tuition, and the like.

      Families that teach sacrificial love though, but with all basic needs still met, grow up to be less worldly and less materialistic. After all, who needs a 7th cellphone or another iPad? These are just wants, not needs, and one can do without them. It is good to teach children the value of money, and of living within or even below one's means, in order to teach them simple joys.

      I can sense that your situation is a bit stressful, in that you are still living in your in-law's place... Again, it is IDEAL for a husband and wife to live alone or as a unit APART from both sets of parents in order to practice independence and responsibility as a married couple. That is why it is written that:

      Ephesians 5:31 "As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one."

      However, living in a fallen world, there are times when this ideal is not met. Most probably due to economic factors. That is understandable. It is easier to be practical, than think "ideal."

      Part of being a Biblically submissive wife is to honor your husband's desires and preferences. If he thinks that by working as a team, with you bringing in the bulk of the income, that you are able to provide for your two kids, then so be it. Working per se is NOT bad.

      It just becomes so, if like in my case, I was TOO DOMINANT and my husband TOO PASSIVE, that by my bringing home the bacon, I have become not only the provider but also the leader of our family.

      If that is not the case with you, and you still respect your husband and not feel resentful towards him because you are working and earning more, then I see no problem with that. You can still be Biblically submissive and know your rightful place in your home, without having to quit your job. It could be that you are successful outside of the home in your career, then go home and be a doting mother to your kids and a supportive wife to your husband. That is actually very commendable of you, if you are able to fulfill all roles without losing sight of God's order in marriage.

      It only becomes a problem when by being the primary breadwinner, you now have lost respect for your husband. And also, in living with your in-laws, you have built up resentment against him or his family. Then, those are feelers and BIG signals that you have to do something to correct the situation.

      Whatever the setup though, if you are honoring Christ and living for Him, I see no problem that you cannot hurdle. In fact, you will be able to be "one" with Him and share in His Sufferings, as you go through all of your burdens and trials.

      Do you want to quit working? Is that what is in your heart, sister? If it is, then lift it up to the Lord so He can direct your steps. If it be His Will for you, like it was for me, He will manifest Himself in your situation and change your husband's heart too in the process, thereby allowing you to fulfill what is in your heart and carry out God's Will for you too!

      I will be praying for you.



  2. Here is a link that may be of help, from April Cassidy, my Titus 2 mentor and sister in Christ:

    Here is a link to my own blog on that same topic.

    I hope both links can somehow enlighten you and help you in your dilemma right now.

    Do not worry. God is in control!


    1. P.S. The reason why I had to quit was because I was already getting in the way of my husband and in the way of God. I was too prideful, too self-righteous, too "in control". The drastic thing that had to be done was for me to stop working so that Dong can lead once again without me getting in his way. He is loving and passive and when I am in my "Ms. Well Put Together" stance, he cannot help but always give in to me. It's just his nature to always want to make me happy or to make me have my way.

      I had to give way to him by completely stopping and keeping still, thereby allowing the "new normal" to be in place without me still "controlling" things.

      Don't know if I am making sense, but I hope that somehow cleared it. :)

      Not to say that I will never work again. In fact I have part time jobs that are contributing to our family income now. If and when the opportunity arises that I would be given projects or shows again, I will prayerfully consider them, with my godly priorities in mind. :)


Feel free to comment. I would love to discuss things with you. :)