Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Nancy’s Life with Robert

Leslie Basham: For years Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth helped wives understand the importance of respecting their husbands. Then she married Robert and is learning to live that out.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I realize Robert is not God, but I submit to Christ, trusting that He has my best interests at heart, and I trust that Robert has my best interest at heart. But even more than that, I trust that ultimately it’s the Lord I’m submitting to.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for March 19, 2019.

Yesterday, Betsy Gómez introduced us to a less-familiar side of Nancy. We learned some of the highs and lows in Nancy’s personal life and how a woman who knew nothing about sports became an avid Chicago Cubs fan.

If you missed any of yesterday’s program, you’ll want to go back and listen. You can find it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, today we’re picking back up in that conversation. Here’s Betsy Gómez.

Betsy Gómez: Nancy, I’ve known you for ten years, and I’ve seen you thriving as a single woman, but now, you’re radiant. Now you’re married. It’s not that you weren’t radiant before, but I think that there’s a glow in your face that is a testimony of God’s grace and that you’ve been loved and that you are in love.

Nancy: Oh, thank you, Betsy.

Betsy: So I have some questions that my friends in social media have asked about singleness.

Nancy: And they sent you as the messenger to ask these spicy questions? (laughter)

Betsy: Yes. So this is going to be the spicy Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy: In Spanish they say picante, right?

Betsy: Picante, exactly. Because people want to know: How are you doing in your marriage. And a lot of single women want to know how to persevere.

So the first question I have is: What are the most important characteristics to look for in a man? Like, imagine a young woman, or an older woman, that is considering marriage. What do you think she has to be looking for?

Nancy: Wow! That’s a big question. Actually, before I answer that, let me just say that whether you’re married or single, younger or older, the most important thing is to be looking at Christ and to be looking to be close to Him and seeking to build your relationship with Him. If you’re secure in that, if you’re growing in love with Him, if you’re trusting Him, if you’re leaning on Him, then marriage and singleness are going to take on a whole different perspective than if you are spending your life looking for a husband or looking for your husband to become a different kind of husband. Our expectations shape our contentment level, our happiness level.

So, for me, I didn’t set out looking for a man. I set out to love Christ and to receive His love and to walk with Him. And in the process of that, then God brought this Robert Wolgemuth into my life.

Then you start saying, “Okay, does this man have characteristics (which is back to your question) that would make a good husband and would make for a good marriage?”

But even before I look for characteristics in him, I need to say, “Are the characteristics in me that would make a good wife and would make a good marriage?”

You can get the greatest man in the whole world, but if I’m not a woman who is contented and joyful and grateful, then I’m going to have a hard marriage no matter how wonderful the man is.

Now, having said all of that, a couple things that I see in Robert that I think are really important to look for . . . One is a love for God’s Word and a priority on a relationship with Christ. The fact is that Robert was seeking the Lord more than he was seeking a wife. I think that many listening to this conversation have perhaps heard my story that Robert had been widowed. His wife had died of cancer. I had never married. So Robert wanted to get married. But more than that, he was wanting to follow Christ.

I saw in him a man who was very serious about his relationship with the Lord. I could know that if we got married and we had hard times—which every marriage does—that here is a man who would be not expecting me to be the answer to all his problems. I expected he would be looking to Christ and would be leading me to look to Christ.

So his relationship with the Lord, if it’s not growing and vital and vibrant, and if he’s not a humble man following Christ when you’re dating, then he’s probably not going to be that when you’re married.

I’ve watched so many women date guys that they like their personality or they like their looks or they make a lot of money, and they think, Wow! That would make a great husband! But if he does not love Christ and His Word and isn’t growing spiritually, then it’s not going to be a great marriage or as great as it could be.

So I don’t know if there’s any characteristic more important than that—his relationship with the Lord.

Another thing I really appreciate so much about Robert—you don’t see it a whole lot today, but when you do see it, it’s really precious—is that he’s . . . I came away from our first date saying to somebody, “He’s a gentle man, and he’s a gentleman.”

Betsy: Yes.

Nancy: And I love that! There’s a tenderness and a kindness.

You rode with Robert and me today over to the ministry center here, and you just watched him open my door and jump up and go around and carry my bag. There’s a sweetness to that. It’s not that I can’t carry my own bag or I can’t open my own door, but gentlemanliness is a way of saying, “You really matter to me.”

And putting me before himself, that’s a selflessness. Now, if he’s selfless, and I’m selfish, that’s going to be a bad marriage.

But he inspires me to be more selfless because he is a gentleman. He treats me like a woman, and that makes me want to be more womanly.

So those are just some of the things I’ve found really beautiful in him that I think any woman would be well advised to look for.

Betsy: Did you think that you were going to get married? Did it get to a point where you said, “I’m going to serve the Lord. I am called to singleness”? Or did you hold hope for marriage?

Nancy: People asked me a lot of times over the years, “Do you ever think you’ll get married?” I said, “I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s what the Lord has for me. I love what He’s called me to do. I love the mission He’s given me. He has given me contentment and joy in serving Him as a single woman.” I was very satisfied with that.

But I also always said, “I wouldn’t rule it out if that’s what God has for me some day.”

My view has been: You always say, “Yes, Lord!”

So for those years of singleness, I tried to say, “Yes, Lord!” And then when it seemed that God was wanting to give me a different gift, a gift of marriage, I said, “Yes, Lord!”

Betsy: I think that’s the importance of what you said back in the beginning about being satisfied and rooted in Christ before pursuing any relationship. That’s what makes the difference in every season of life.

Nancy: Even once you’re married—and you know this—you have a wonderful husband . . . I have a wonderful husband, but there are days when you think, My life would be easier if my circumstances were different, if we didn’t have this pressure that we’re dealing with.

But contentment comes from saying, “This is the circumstance God has placed me in, and I’m going to say, ‘Yes, Lord!’ today, to this marriage, to this man, to these challenges that we’re facing together, and by God’s grace, we’re going to get through it.”

That doesn’t make it easy—married, single, older, younger . . . We have some dear friends who are now in an elderly season of life and facing health challenges and really some hard, hard things as they get older. When I was a younger Christian I thought the older you get in Christ, it’s going to be easier. But as I look at people who have gotten older, a lot of times it gets harder. But you can weather that if your hope is in Christ, not in your circumstances, including a wonderful husband.

Betsy: So specifically for single women, how do you not to fall into despair when maybe that woman has been single for a long time? How do you take care of her purity and wait for God’s time if the Lord calls her to marriage?

Nancy: Last night Robert was out of town and I had dinner with a couple of young women. One of them was single and would love to have God bring a husband to her. And the other is a young married woman. We were talking about these very questions.

They’re not in despair, and they’re saying “yes” to Christ. They’re both beautiful women. They have sweet personalities. They’re talented. They have so much going for them. But the woman who’s married said, “Nobody asked me out, and I thought it would never happen.”

The woman who’s single said, “I’m wondering, Does God have marriage for me? I want this.”

We talked about how you don’t put your hope in the unknowns, in the what-ifs, or the expectations. I didn’t know if I would be married or not married, so I said, “I’m going to live today.” I did this until I was fifty-seven, and I’m still doing it as a married woman. I’m going to live today in the place where God has put me. I’m going to choose joy. I’m going to embrace the opportunities as well as the challenges of this season—and every season has both.

The woman who’s married is thinking about having children, and she’s wondering: This feels hard. She’s not sure about children. It’s the very same thing. If this is what God has for you, then there will be grace for that. But it’s a matter of receiving that grace, accepting what God has for you.

And even as to purity—whether you’re single and choosing purity or married and choosing purity.

Betsy: That’s totally true.

Nancy: It’s a daily decision. It’s what I put into my mind. It’s saying “yes” to Christ and being willing to say “no” to anything that isn’t worthy of Him.

Now, is that easy? No. And is it particularly tempting and challenging? For people who may have had a background that wasn’t pure, that can be really difficult. But the sweet thing is there is grace for every moment, for every temptation, for every season, for every situation of life.

Betsy: Amen. So let’s make a shift now and talk specifically to women that are married.

Do you have any specific advice for newlyweds?

Nancy: (laughter) It’s not been that long for me. I’m not sure if I’m still a newlywed, but I can certainly remember being a newlywed. I’m not ready to write a book on this subject yet. I don’t have that much experience.

But I would say I can laugh now at some things that early on in our marriage made me cry. It wasn’t anything awful. Robert is an incredible man. I’m so grateful to have him. But we had two very different backgrounds. I had never had been married. He had been married to a very different woman, an amazing woman, a godly woman. But I’m different.

One of our first really hard conversations was . . . We got married in the middle of November, and within weeks we were shopping for Christmas lights. It’s a long story. I won’t go into all the details.

But Robert had a very definite idea about what kind of Christmas lights he liked and didn’t like. And I had a very definite idea about what kind of Christmas lights I liked and didn’t like. And we didn’t know that we both had such strong opinions about this. So here we are standing in a Pier 1 store, realizing we have very different opinions about this.

I don’t know why I felt so strongly about it at the moment. We didn’t yell. We didn’t have an argument. It wasn’t that. But I let the enemy plant thoughts in my heart that aren’t true, and I listened to those thoughts. Things like, He does not care what you think. Why would he care about silly Christmas lights? Why wouldn’t he just say to me, “Have whatever kind of lights you want, Darling, Precious Nancy”?

So my heart is, like, snowballing. We’re standing there in Pier 1, and we’re having this adult conversation. We’re grownups. We don’t yell. But I got so hurt over that situation. And then I couldn’t talk about it like a grownup. I let it fester. I let myself think things about Robert and about marriage that weren’t true.

I look back on it, and I laugh. We laugh about it when we talk about it today.

Now, we did talk, and we both just humbled ourselves and realized that this does not matter.

So here’s the second piece of advice: The things that seem so big at the moment probably mostly aren’t. And that’s where I think perspective helps. You step back, and you realize . . . We had very different ways of operating in the kitchen. Now, I’m really thankful for a husband who helps out in the kitchen, and he does our dishes every night. He keeps a spic-and-span kitchen. But early on, we had different ways of loading the dishwasher and different ways of . . . It was a kitchen I was familiar with, and I knew how I liked things done.

I remember one day early in our marriage, as he’s standing at my side giving me a little bit of coaching about how to do these eggs, and I’m thinking, Do you not think I know how to make eggs? Of course, I didn’t say that, but I’m taking things personally.

It wasn’t like this all the time, but there were these moments that can fester, and you can become bitter before you even know it. So what would happen was I would counsel my heart, and I would say, “Heart, here’s the truth: He does love you. These eggs don’t matter. This dishwasher doesn’t matter.” We’ve grown . . .

Betsy: Well, how simple, yet profound. Right?

Nancy: Yes. I don’t want to say, “Don’t talk about these things.” Because we have talked about them. But in the big scheme of things, they don’t matter. So we’ve learned that if it really matters, we talk about it, and we come to an agreement. But a lot of those things . . . they aren’t worth it.

So I look back, and I say, I took things, some things, and probably made them too big or took them too personally. And now I look back, and I laugh at myself. I go, “Silly me. It didn’t matter.”

Here’s one thing I said when we first got married . . . because we were older, and I realized we would not probably have nearly as many years together as many of our peers have in their marriages. I said, “Life is too short, and our lives together are going to be too short for me to waste a single day being mad or upset at my husband.”

Now, we’re both going to do things that are . . . we both sin. We sin against each other. We say things we shouldn’t say. But I just decided I was not going to waste a day of putting up walls or the silent treatment or saying unkind things that I would wish I hadn’t said.

I just thought, I have a choice to make—and he does, too. We have a choice to make each other’s lives a blessing, to encourage each other. And why would we waste one of the days God gives us? Who knows how many days or weeks or months or years we may have? But it’s not going to probably be a lot of decades.

When you get married at twenty and you grow up together, maybe you don’t think this way, but I think it would be good for everybody to think this way.

Betsy: Totally.

Nancy: Life is too short to waste in stupid arguments.

Betsy: Exactly.

Nancy: It would be good for everybody to think this way.

Betsy: Totally.

Nancy: So when you can let it go—let it go.

Betsy: Yes, because you don’t know. How do you know? So, for example, I’m married to Moisés, and we’re supposed to be together for a long time. I don’t have a guarantee.

Nancy: Listen, Robert travels some—he travels quite a bit, actually. When he leaves to drive over to Chicago to get a flight to wherever, I want to make sure that when he leaves, the last words we said were sweet, were kind, were tender. Soif we didn’t see each other again, I wouldn’t have regrets.

We go to bed that way at night. We don’t go to bed angry. Now, we’ve had some hard conversations—every marriage does. We’ve had points where we’ve just misunderstood each other . . . he could tell some stories. I stood him up at a grocery store . . . it’s a long story. We were early married. We came back and had a really hard conversation about that, and we grew through it.

But we don’t want to end our days that way, any day. We don’t want to say “goodbye” to each other that way because you don’t know when that person isn’t coming back or just what opportunities you’re going to miss to bless others through your marriage if you’re so selfish that you can’t let something go.

Betsy: Yes. That’s great.

Let’s talk about submission. I have a friend who I think was in her first month of being married. I asked her, “What is the thing that you love the most about your marriage?” And she said, “I love to submit to my husband.”

Nancy: I never heard anybody say that!

Betsy: Yes. I was surprised. I was, like, “Wow! Let’s have this conversation in a year from now.” And, let me tell you, we had the conversation a year after. She was, like, “Oh, it’s hard. It’s really hard now. I really want to do it, but it’s really hard.”

One of the questions that I got, and I got it several times in different ways, was: How hard has it been to submit to a husband after fifty-plus years of being single?”

I know that you have been cultivating submission.

Nancy: That’s really important.

Betsy: Yes—to your leadership here in the ministry and people around, but living in the same place and sharing your things, it must be hard.

Nancy: There have been a lot of adjustments, no question. Just practical adjustments. I didn’t sleep well for the first several months of marriage. I just was not used to having somebody in the room. I’m at the age of life when a lot of women my age don’t sleep that well anyway. And when you’re sleep deprived, things can start to look worse than they are. It’s the same as having little kids, infants. You kind of repeat that when you get to a certain age as a woman.

So, yes, there were some hard moments. But I’m very blessed to have a husband who loves shepherding a wife, who esteems me highly, who respects me, who respects my expertise about things, who solicits my opinions. I realize a lot of women don’t have that kind of mutual respect in a marriage, and I think that is much harder.

I also have a husband who understands that the Bible never tells men to demand that their wives submit to them. That’s something a wife gives to her husband. It’s not something a husband demands from his wife. It doesn’t ever say, “Husbands, make your wives submit.” That’s not in the Bible.

What is in the Bible is, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord.” And that’s what helps me. I realize Robert is not God, but I submit to Christ, trusting that He has my best interest at heart, and I trust that Robert has my best interest at heart.

But even more than that, I trust that ultimately it’s the Lord I’m submitting to, that even if Robert is not understanding something or maybe his judgment on a certain thing is—usually it’s just differences of opinion—99% of the time, with us, if there’s a submission issue, it’s not a right or wrong thing. It’s just that we have a different perspective.

It’s good for me to say, “I trust the Lord to be leading my husband.” If my husband feels this strongly about something that we really should do . . . Usually we just talk about it, and we come to an agreement. We pray about something. We decide it together.

Submission is not a conflict or a confrontation very often at all in our marriage. But there are moments when he says, “I just really believe it needs to be this way.” We’ve prayed about it. We’ve talked about it. I realize my greatest protection in that moment is to bow my will and say, “Yes.”

Now, if were asking me to sin, that would be something different. But he’s not asking me to sin. He’s just asking me to do something that’s different than what I would prefer to do. So when I submit to him in that, I’m really submitting to Christ. I’m modeling to others and reminding myself of the beauty of being the Church, the Bride of Christ, saying, “Yes,” to Him and to His loving leadership.

So we go back to the gospel. I’m helping to tell the gospel story to myself, to my husband, and to others when I’m willing to say, “You know what? It doesn’t have to be my way. I’m willing to embrace your way.”

Betsy: What a beautiful testimony! Being single, you set your hope in Christ. And now, being married, you are submitting to the Lord by submitting to your husband. That’s a great encouragement for younger women that are listening.

Thank you, Nancy. This is so precious. This is such a treasure for us. Thank you for your faithfulness and thank you for pointing us over and over to the right place—to Jesus.

Nancy: Amen.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been reminding you that contentment comes from saying “yes” to Jesus.

Betsy Gómez has been talking with Nancy about how to apply God’s Word to some of the practical issues of life.

I know this kind of discussion is so helpful to our listeners—listeners like Janice Sickinger. She’s listened to Nancy’s teaching for a very long time.

Janice Sickinger: I’ve been a Revive Our Hearts listener from day one. I actually listened to Nancy on the radio when I would drive my son to work. I was able to listen to—at that time—the fifteen-minute program that she had. That just continued and ministered to me very much. I could only get her when I was in my car, so I looked forward to driving to my son to work. And it grew from there over the years.

Then we did move to an area where I did not have anyone I knew, did not have any friends. I was a homeschooling mom and was home a lot. My husband suggested looking for Revive Our Hearts on the radio. I could not find Nancy at that time, so there was a little bit of a gap.

Then I did pick her up; I found the website. Nancy was who I listened to and had coffee with every morning. And she truly ministered to me and just became my friend that I didn’t have.

And God just really used her to teach me a lot about being a godly woman and submitting that I thought I knew about it, but really had no clue until He opened that door for me.

Nancy: Wow! I’m so grateful for how the Lord is working in Janice’s life, and I love how she wants to pass the truth on to others because of the way it’s affected her life.

Perhaps the Lord has used Revive Our Hearts to help you grow, and your heart is overflowing, and you’re ready to take some new steps to get involved with the ministry. Would you consider doing what Janice did—join the Monthly Partner Team?

Janice and our other Partners receive a letter from me each month letting them know what’s going on in Revive Our Hearts and telling them how to pray, and they get a monthly devotional booklet called, Daily Reflections, that’s only available to our Partner Team. Janice and the other Partners also receive one free registration each year to a Revive Our Hearts conference.

And when you join this month, we want to welcome you with a big package of goodies, including two of my latest books, Adorned, and the updated, expanded version of Lies Women Believe.

To see the rest of the welcome gifts, and to get all the details about becoming a Monthly Partner, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Would you ask the Lord if He’d want you to take a new step in joining with Revive Our Hearts as together we help women experience freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ? Thank you so much.

Leslie: Tomorrow Nancy begins a teaching series from Ezekiel. She’ll remind you that God wants to give you life to the fullest. Join her for the series, “Where the River Flows,” tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is helping you find security in Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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