Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

Husbands and Organization

Leslie Basham: Say you’re finally ready to bring some peace and order to your home. It doesn’t mean your husband sees things quite the same way. Here’s Donna Otto.

Donna Otto: Men have difficulty appreciating what it takes. I remember that being true in my own home. I was working very hard at finally getting organized. I was working so hard, and I thought, “Does he not see? Does he not want to cooperate?”

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, May 11th.

Donna Otto has been helping us evaluate our homes this week. Are we creating a place of peace and order for God’s glory, or are we so focused on perfection that we’re not serving the people He’s put in our paths?

Donna’s been answering practical questions from our audience, and she’ll continue with the issue of organizing our time.

Woman 1: You said order starts the night before. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Donna Otto: Yes. I mean preparation particularly in the assessment of realization that there are two key times in a woman’s life. Whether she has many children or whether it’s just her and her husband, one is the morning hour when you’re getting up, getting dressed, getting fed, getting out. That cycle happens every morning.

Then in the evening again it happens in reverse. You’re getting in, getting fed, getting undressed, and getting to bed. So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say these are the two times of the day that I need to be the most prepared, because those are the crisis times for family.

And the larger your family, the more crisis there is. The more circumstances, the more complications there’ll be because we’re dealing with people.

I want to be as prepared for all the contingencies as possible. So the night before, I encourage you—train your children to lay out their clothes. Give them choices. “You may choose from any of these three costumes, based on what we’re doing tomorrow.”

When they’re in school and going to school, whether it’s home schooling or not, they are to finish their homework and put their school books and school things that they need . . . what our daughter had was a crate. It can be a shopping bag, a box, something that has their name on it so as they finish today’s activities they are preparing for tomorrow morning.

There’s not that last minute crisis: “But, Mom, I need my picture money.” “But, Mom, where are my school books?” “But, Mom, I need my gym shoes.” You’re training them to get ready.

The breakfast menu is planned. “You mean you make menus for breakfast?!” I do. When we had seven people in our house, the greatest challenge was who wanted what for breakfast. Tommy always wanted waffles and Peggy always wanted eggs and my husband always wanted cold cereal.

Well, I am not a short order cook, and God did not call them to do that. God called them to learn to accept what is set before them. There’s always the principle of glorifying God and encouraging one another. So I laid out menus and said, “Everybody gets their favorite breakfast.”

So when Tommy came into the kitchen and found he was not having waffles, he was having Peggy’s favorite instead, I would say, “It’s okay, Sweetheart, because tomorrow you’ll get your favorite.” So I prepared those. I was ready the night before for the breakfast.

The children all take part in home life. So, get ready the night before for the things you know are coming. There are plenty of things you don’t know are coming.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: By the way, I’ve found it helpful in relation to, if I want to have a quiet time in the morning, to get the items prepared for my quiet time so I don’t have to go running around looking for, “Where’s my Bible? Where’s my journal? Where’s my hymnal? Where’s my devotional book?”

If you can have those things, including thank you notes, cards, things that you may make a part of your morning routine or another part of your day . . . if you can have those things in one place, it saves some valuable time running around scrounging all that stuff up and can actually, for me, help start my morning so much more peacefully and smoothly.

Because once the day is going, it’s going. And you know, how many of us, how many families, fritter away evening hours with television, with computer, with things that aren’t fruitful or profitable?

That’s where time just runs away from us, and we pay for it the next morning. So that’s where I’m thankful for the example of a dad who was disciplined at night so that he could be the man God wanted him to be in the morning. That was a great example for our family.

Donna: Put it in a basket. We talk about that. Get your prayer things in a basket. It will not only help you be orderly, but there’s a sense of drawing, that sort of draws me to it.

For years I had a place and a basket, and it was a way of drawing me. When we would camp, I would take that basket. We have pictures of me lying in a hammock with that basket underneath my hammock. It’s a place of drawing you to it. You see it; it draws you to the Word of God, the hymnal, things you talked about.

Woman 2: I like organization. What about if you have a spouse that really . . . Sometimes I don’t think he appreciates when I try to get him organized, when I try to make him a part of it. I don’t try to preach to him, but you know, this is not what God intended, for us to live like this.

He has a lot of camping things, and sometimes he wants to bring it in the house. Just how do you help your spouse to want to be orderly?

Donna: Okay, I think you’re right. Men have difficulty appreciating what it takes. I remember that being true in my own home. I was working very hard at finally getting organized. Me, hiding my dirty dishes and piles of paper and closing the closet, stuffing things in it. I was working so hard, and I thought, “Does he not see? Does he not want to cooperate?”

I believe very strongly that there is an order in the home and that God has allowed him headship, has allowed me to respond in a healthy submission, not a toxic submission. I believe that God has called me to be David’s helper and that I am to speak from a heart of clear explanation.

One of my “Otto’s Mottos” is, “Say it and release it.” You are not responsible for your husband’s change. The power that you have over his change is not in the spoken word to him as much as it is in the power of prayer. You have complete access to his heart through the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit—complete access to his heart.

To have complete access to my husband’s heart in a verbal way I think is almost non-existent. I’ve learned to tell him stories. He loves stories, and I can grab his heart with a story.

So when I want to speak with him about something that’s very important to me—and I chose carefully what I chose to speak to him about, and order was one of them—I will pray for a long time and ask the Lord to give me a story that he will relate to.

I’m going to tell you one. It just came to my mind. As I was getting organized, I found that my husband, who was teaching a Sunday School class, loved to study on the dining room table. He has a desk in the house. Why not the desk?

He grew up doing his homework at the dining room table. It was the center of the house, and he loved being in the center of the house. Not that he was the center, because he’s a quiet, reserved man, but he liked being in the center. Then he would leave all his books and things on the dining room table, and he would go to work, and I would be stuck with a mess on the dining room table.

Well, I’m working so hard to get everything organized! So I said, “Lord, how will I speak to him?” So I called his office one day, and this is what I did. I said, “Hi, Honey; do you have a minute?” “Yes, I have a minute.”

Over the phone—usually not good timing. I said, “I want to ask you a couple questions I’ve been thinking about. How would you feel [my husband’s a retired lawyer, now] if the people you paid to come in and clean the offices came in the nighttime and had their McDonald’s food and left in on the conference table in your office?”

He said, “Well, I would be annoyed with that.” Second question: “And how would you feel if they opened up your files and left them on your desk?” “Well, that would just make me furious.” I asked him three questions. All of the answers were, yes, the right answers.

Then I said, “Well, Honey, that’s really how I feel.” Now, I said, “It’s how I feel when you do the work I’m so glad you’re doing in teaching the Sunday School class, the work I want to encourage you with. And for this time that I’ve been working hard on being organized, I haven’t known how to ask you not to leave your stuff on the dining room table.

“But you go to your work environment and you expect it to be clean and ready for work. I wake up in my work environment, which is my home—our home, my work environment—and you leave a mess that I have to deal with.” He understood that.

Now, the key word is what the Scripture calls me to do, and that is to respect my husband. I have to say it and release it and let God do a work.

And, my dear sister, there are times that our husbands don’t learn it in 45 years. They just . . . they don’t get it. How many of you have a husband who hasn’t gotten something? Oh, more of you raise your hands.

Or you’re too young in marriage; you don’t know it yet. I always tell young brides, “After you’ve lived with this man for six months, you’re going to find 15 things you didn’t know. Chose two or three of them, pray, and talk about them. The rest of them, accept who he is. Don’t have an agenda for this man.”

There’s far more opportunity for growth in a bed and a field of acceptance than there is in a woman who has an agenda.

Leslie Basham: That’s Donna Otto encouraging young wives to accept their husbands. The kind of wise counsel we heard today can also be found in Donna’s book Finding Your Purpose as a Mom. This book is about more than just cleaning and organization. It’s about God using your home for His glory.

When you make a donation of $20 or more, we’ll send you a copy of Finding Your Purpose as a Mom and a free bookmark containing some of Donna’s favorite sayings. She calls them “Otto’s Mottos.”

You can donate and order at And, Nancy, it’s been really exciting to see how that website has been helping women connect to each other and to God’s Word.

Nancy: That is so encouraging, Leslie. As we’ve often remind our listeners, our purpose here at Revive Our Hearts is to call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Everything we do—every radio program we broadcast, every book I write, every conference we do—it’s all intended in one way or another to do just that.

We’re so grateful for the opportunity God has given us, the many platforms available to us, that we can proclaim that message of hope. But you know, we couldn’t do that, we couldn’t be airing this broadcast in your community each weekday, we couldn’t be online with the transcripts and the audio version of the program, without the faithful prayers and the financial support of many listeners like you.

So I want to ask if you would consider partnering with us in both those ways. First, would you pray for us? Pray for me. Pray for the ministry and the outreach of Revive Our Hearts.

Then would you consider supporting this ministry financially? I want to make it clear that we’re not asking you to take away from your support to your local church. That needs to take priority. But beyond that, would you think about making a donation to Revive Our Hearts?

This month is the end of our fiscal year, and your gift this month will help us head into the summer months on solid financial footing.

If you want to sign up to be a prayer partner, or if you want to make a contribution to Revive Our Hearts, just go to Look on the left side of the screen and click where it says “Make a Difference.” Or, if you prefer, you can just give us a call at 800-569-5959.

Let me just say in advance, thank you. Thank you for praying. Thank you for giving. And thank you for the difference you are making in many lives.

Leslie Basham: Nancy, as we’ve been listening to Donna Otto today, some women are thinking, “My home is a disaster. How do I even get started?”

Nancy: Well, Leslie, sometimes it’s not just our listeners. It’s me, too. I’ve found myself often asking that question. And you’re right. We do get e-mails from a lot of women in that situation.

But I want to assure our listeners that there is hope. Donna Otto will be back with us tomorrow, and she’ll give us some practical steps you can take if you feel overwhelmed. I hope you can be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. You can play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead. Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.