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Friday, June 20, 2014

When Being "Too Respectful' Makes You a "KillJoy"


Am I "Too Respectful", I've Become a "Killjoy"?!?



I received two comments with highly similar "problems" just this past week from two sisters in Christ, who are experiencing great transformations within themselves and their marriages (Yay!), but are "afraid" of being themselves, at the risk of becoming "too respectful" and a lot less "joyful". (Yikes!)


Sister #1:

Hi Nikka,
As I mentioned in a previous post, God has done great things in my life these few months, by calling me back to him and changing me as a follower, as a wife, and as a mother. I have been so inspired by your and April Cassidy's blog, and have been practicing being respectful and submissive to my husband. God has enabled me to submit to my husband, who is a wonderful Mr. Steady. I now also filter what comes out of my mouth to him, which is 90% of what I used to say. I no longer burden him with my worries, my moods, my gossip, my issues with other people, my frustrations, my parenting issues, etc. I now take all that to God. God meets all my needs.

I treat my husband like a VIP in our house, always saying nice respectful things to him, don't argue with him, working hard to do what I think pleases him, making sure the kids respect him, holding my tongue when I get annoyed at him, etc. He likes the new peaceful me. However, I have a problem now. I feel that while initially this brought us closer, now I feel like this is distancing us. I feel like the way I treat him is the way I treat my boss. So it's like I'm living with my boss. Kind of a dry, awkward relationship.
"My husband is boss...and now our relationship is just like that of a boss and employee!"

And now that I take almost all my daily issues to God instead of burdening my husband with it (he's a workaholic and comes home late and exhausted), I don't have much to talk to him about, other than "bottom line issues" that require a decision. So I feel like there is an emptiness in our relationship. I know it's not supposed to be that way. Is he supposed to be my best friend? Or is that a secular notion? In fact, when we were dating he said to me that he sees our relationship as us being equals. Now I don't see him as my best friend, I see him as my boss or a special VIP in our house. He has not demanded anything from me and continues to be Mr. Wonderful Steady; all this is my own confusion and turmoil. This bothers me a lot. So I wonder if I'm not practicing submission correctly? I would love to hear your thoughts on this if you have time.





Sister # 2:


Thank you for all your blog posts! Your writing has been such a blessing for my marriage, and myself.

I have a question about being a quiet and gentle spirit: My husband has said to me that he misses when I am sarcastic, playful and witty. Can I be what God wants me to be as a wife and still tease my husband in a playful way? I thought teasing was disrespectful, but my husband wants me to be like that. I'm still new or this journey, and somethings can be confusing.
"I am zipping up my mouth lest I sin again!"



If you have any advice i would to hear it, thank you!

________________________________________________________________________________   


First of all, let me begin by saying, I can totally relate to what they both are going through. Initially, when I was convicted by God for my numerous sins against God Himself, my husband, and so many others, I was astounded and dumbfounded. I was not aware that I was sinful, or that I was that sinful at all! :( I even felt that I was one of the "better" ones -- I did not do anything deliberately to hurt another person; I tried my best to be kind to all; I was spiritual, not very gossipy, etc. 

How I viewed myself was not how God viewed me. :(
Imagine then how jaw-dropping it was for me when the Lord flashed before me (The Lord "showed" to me through flashing images in my mind's eye all my sins and failures) all the sins that grieved His Heart that I committed against Him and others!!! 

I was self-righteous.
I was prideful.
I was envious.
I was ungrateful.
I was judgmental.
I was bitter and resentful.
Etc. etc. 




After this realization, I repented to God and then to my husband, and eventually to people whom I have sinned against. I have also forgiven those who've sinned against me. (The process of asking for forgiveness is still not over though; as with forgiving of offenders, even as I write this blog.)

And when my husband forgave me, I was then too afraid to open my mouth lest I sin against him again! I was super quiet, holding thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5) so much so that nearly ALL my thoughts were captured and nothing was coming out of my mouth anymore. I couldn't decipher which was sinful and which was just a normal observation and opinion. It was tricky, to say the least. But I felt that if I were to err, I would err on the side of silence.

I kept still and kept my mouth shut!
My decision to biblically submit to God then to my husband, was also taking up so much of my energy!!!! Not at doing things for God or for Dong, but at keeping still! When I let go and let God on September 1, 2013, and decided to submit to my husband as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22); the Lord had instilled in my heart a desire to stay put, which I followed, with much restlessness at first. I am known to be all over the place, a great bubble of energy, undertaking this and that task, having a full-fledged career while attending to the children, and basically spreading myself too thin. I was a bundle of frayed nerves all the time, constantly worried about the future, and wanting to control all aspects of my life and our marriage.

It would be hard to STOP a fast-moving "train", that's for sure... so when the Lord made me STOP, there was still a lot of tire-screeching before "I" went to a full halt.

Here's an excerpt of my journal dated January this year:

January 4, 2014

 I never knew keeping still would need so much energy! I feel like wanting to surge ahead and lead, but I know the results of that, as proven in the past, would be disastrous – resentment, bitterness, anger – with still no success at reaching a goal, anyway. I have not mastered this – the art of keeping still -- and it is getting all my efforts and energies to be honest! But I have decided on this… and I know the Lord is pleased with my efforts to NOT LEAD. And so, I pray that the Lord help me be still…
  “Be Still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) 

_________________________________________________________________________________
It was taking ALL my energy, just to NOT move ahead of Dong or God!!!

I was used to taking control. It was an illusion that I held on to for a great many years. Mainly because I did not know Who God really was/is. I had a wimpy picture of God (that He was not sovereign or all-mighty or that at the very least, I had to be self-reliant because He was so slow in giving His Blessings.) so I felt that I had to take charge. Yikes. :( 

Shades of my former fast-paced life (2012)

I still battle with my sinful flesh, that which wants to still take over when things are not going as fast or as planned, but I now know that when I am experiencing that, I am again acting like a god and not resting in God's Sovereignty. I'd then immediately repent for being fearful and worried, and either read His Word (The Bible opened my eyes and heart in knowing Who God really was/is/forever will be.) or try to remember the many times He had delivered me from seemingly hopeless or depressing events in my life; and all is well again. :)

* * * * * * * *

Going back to the issues raised by the two sisters in Christ earlier:


"I treat my husband like a VIP in our house, always saying nice respectful things to him, don't argue with him, working hard to do what I think pleases him, making sure the kids respect him, holding my tongue when I get annoyed at him, etc. He likes the new peaceful me. However, I have a problem now. I feel that while initially this brought us closer, now I feel like this is distancing us. I feel like the way I treat him is the way I treat my boss. So it's like I'm living with my boss. Kind of a dry, awkward relationship."
                                                                              AND

"My husband has said to me that he misses when I am sarcastic, playful and witty. Can I be what God wants me to be as a wife and still tease my husband in a playful way? I thought teasing was disrespectful, but my husband wants me to be like that. I'm still new or this journey, and some things can be confusing."

CAN ONE BE "TOO RESPECTFUL", SO MUCH SO, THAT IT HAS "KILLED" THE "JOY" IN YOUR PERSONALITY?!?
Alejar Family 2013

I believe that for many of us who are just starting with this submission and respect journey, initially, with all the respectful behavior and speech and holding of tongues, yes, it will seem to make us appear "killjoy" at first. 

Like what the first sister shared, it might even feel like being with one's boss! All the good manners and right conduct are practiced with our bosses, right? And so, knowing now that we have to respect our husbands as is clearly pointed out in the Bible (Ephesians 5:33), we might be wont to mimic that same respectful behavior with them, just like we do with our bosses. But as this sister pointed out, it has become a "dry, awkward relationship." While it is true that the husband is the boss or leader of the marriage, the wife is still the help meet or partner, not his employee or worse yet, his slave!

The second sister on the other hand has stopped her sarcastic, playful and witty snide remarks, which her husband misses of her now. She is afraid of being disrespectful so she has stopped altogether her teasing and playful nature. Her husband wants her to be teasing and playful, but she is wary to be such because, what if she becomes disrespectful again in the process?!? Really confusing!

What is the right balance when it comes to biblical submission? Is there still room for being a bit "irreverent" in humor and behavior with one's husband and still be respectful? Should one really be this "joyless", "humorless", boring, overly respectful shell of your former self, now that you have become biblically submissive to your spouse?

Being an all-or-nothing gal, I must admit, it was a great temptation to be "all of the above" for me, just so I would NOT leave any room for my former disrespectful self to rear its ugly head ever again! But as time passed by, and as I learned to adjust and as I continue to adjust my new ways of thinking and speaking, I have realized that I couldn't metamorphose into this odd, overly respectful "stranger" without "turning off" Dong in the process... 

Yes, he loves the new respectful me.
Yes, he loves being respected (and therefore feeling loved) for real.
Yes, he loves being able to lead me and our family.

But no, he doesn't want this new Nikka who has no opinions/thoughts/voice.
Boyfriend-girlfriend having fun in front of camera -- 1997
No, he doesn't want this new Nikka who is "too respectful" that he now feels like he is the master and I am his slave. (We are partners and best friends, after all!)
No, he doesn't want this new Nikka to stop being witty, funny, sarcastic at times, and playful. 

Husband and wife -- June 15, 2014
Yes, we need to stop our judgmental attitudes, our condescending behavior, and our controlling natures over our husbands but....

No, we should not stop bringing into the marriage all of the lovely, unique, eccentric character traits that made our husbands fall in love with us in the first place.


I know, I know.. It's really hard to find the perfect mix of naughty and nice, of knowing the difference between being witty vs. being snotty, of being playful vs. being hurtful... but dear sisters, it will take a LOT of practice and a LOT of discernment and prayer for us to be led into being the kind of respectful wives that our husbands will cherish vs. the Stepford robotic wives that (normal) husbands will find weird and repelling. [I am pretty sure there are some men who find this type of woman "ideal" but it is not really godly. Women were made by God to be equals of men in dignity (Gen 1:27), although not equal in roles/abilities (Eph 5:22-33)]. Finding that balance doesn't happen overnight though. 

If it makes you feel any better, I am still trying to adjust this way and that, even till now. The New Normal is still not quite normal. Truth be told, I am still not out of the Frustrating Quiet Phase myself. I still find myself more quiet than I usually am. I still find myself battling with my tongue whether to speak out or hold it in. I still find myself more serious than is usual.... 

But, don't worry, dear sisters! This is a journey. The prize is not gained ONLY by getting to the Destination. The rewards are already ripe for the picking with each and every step we take, and with each and every obstacle we hurdle. :) 

If you are still feeling too awkward and confused with this biblical submission journey that you've undertaken, do not feel disheartened. Be more patient with yourself. Be more open to the Holy Spirit's Leanings on how best to make your husband feel respected, without losing your own personality in the process. Let's continue to focus on Jesus and on His commandment for us wives to submit to our husbands, while also not forgetting to relate to our spouses, in ways that they find enjoyable and in manners unique to us as a married couple.

I am with you too in this journey. And believe me when I tell you, it gets better with time. :)

                                       

                               Philippians 3:13-14 (personalized)

"Sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

May we all be richly blessed! :)










2 comments:

  1. This article made me SMILE! You are blessed with such a gift of using your words in a positive, encouraging, helpful way, Nikka :) ~ Blessings, Eliza :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dear Eliza! :) God bless you and your loved ones as well. :)

      Love,

      Nikka

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