It was going to be a quiet peaceful Sunday afternoon. The plan for after church was football on television and husband on the sofa. If I'd gotten still, I probably could have heard the sounds of potential peace and joy radiating through my house. But I couldn't, because instead, all I could feel was myself getting more and more annoyed at the thought of my husband just sitting on the sofa all afternoon instead of tending to the list of things to be done around the house.
In Chapter 22 Ignore the Red Herring of The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle, she describes the red herring as the misleading information that keeps the detective from discovering the truth. It's a great example of how we may lean on our nature to control as a way to distract us from examining our own hearts and dealing with our own issues.
Instead of succumbing to your urge to control and put your hands all over a situation, let it be an opportunity and an invitation to check your feelings. When our morning porch time together over coffee turns into a time of me giving my husband his 'to do' list for his day (instead of football), something is afoot in my own heart.
So as I start to write that list in my head...
I halt. I pray. I speak life.
HALT! It's important to stop the thoughts racing through your head. If you let them run unbridled, they will trample every good thought that could sprout up in the midst of your situation. Take those those captive and make them submit to Christ...including the words 'what if.' Ask yourself some questions: Are you hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? When we're out of sorts, it seems even our spouse's breathing can be annoying! So take care of those things...and then...
Pray. Invite Jesus into the swirling thoughts and emotions. Invite Him in, asking Him why you're feeling afraid, sad, angry, hurt, annoyed, isolated. Ask Him to examine your heart, Psalm 139:23 style: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Just because you are feeling something, doesn't mean you have to drag your husband on your emotional roller coaster or through your stream of conscientiousness. Venting is DANGEROUS, foolish, incendiary and selfish, so don't blow up.
Speak life. Whatever that might look like in your situation, choose to speak life. Whether you are responding to something that could start that same old argument (you know what I mean), something that shouldn't be a big deal, or your button being pushed, speak life.
What does that look like? I loved the example given on page 233 of The Surrendered Wife, where Janet's husband repeatedly causes Janet to be late for choir practice because he's late coming home from work. Usually, she let her anger get the best of her, and they would have that same old argument about how selfish he is. But one week, instead of responding angrily, she simply stayed focused, and told him that when he comes home late, she's disappointed because she's late for practice. After practice that night, as her husband was trying to engage her in that familiar argument, she instead thanked him, told him how much she appreciated his love and support and opportunity to be part of the choir. Speaking life caught him totally off guard, his attitude changed...and he wasn't late the next week.
What did this look like on that Sunday morning in our house?
In checking my own heart that Sunday morning, I prayed, and I realized that I was putting a ton of pressure on myself to get my to do list accomplished, and I wanted my husband to be toiling with me on his own list. Instead, I invited him in to help me with a couple of things on my list, which we completed together in time for us both to watch some football together. WIN!
If you want the same results you've been getting, keep doing the same things. If you want different results, do something different. Halt, pray and speak life.
NOTE: One thing I want to mention here is that yes, I am disappointed that with all God has to say about the role of wives and submission, the author doesn’t cite any scripture, yet manages to quote Buddha. It’s still a great book, it still lines up with God’s Word, the author’s frankness was a practical wake up call for me…I just wish she’d embrace and share that God is the author of surrender.
In case you've missed it, this post is part of a series following along with The Surrendered Wife. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read along! Catch up on the blog series now by reading: Control or Intimacy, Did You Marry a Loser?, Chauffeur or VIP, Shhhh!, Crazy Resentful, Your Heart's Desire, You Bought a What?!, Just Say Thank You, Girlfriends, Button Pusher, Expectations, Not a Mind Reader, Space to Work, A Wife's Role, It's Okay to Say I Can't, Intimacy: Naked & Unashamed, If You Can't Say Something Nice, Let Your Husband Be the Dad, Listen, Seduce Your Husband, Say Yes to Sex and Not Every Thought is Your Own.
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