Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Trusting God to Work Through Your Husband

Leslie Basham: Erin Davis remembers the day her husband announced he wanted to invest four thousand dollars to start a small business. Even though he had proven himself resourceful in the past, Erin reacted out of fear.

Erin Davis: I got caught up in the dollar amount and something I didn’t understand. I threw out the window everything I knew about him as a man. I should have just taken what I know about him—which is that he loves me, he loves our children, he loves our home, and he would never do something to harm us financially. I should have supported him.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for Friday, February 16, 2018.

Wives have a huge influence in their husbands' lives. Are you using that influence to discourage your husband? Or are you encouraging him to take on opportunities God is giving him? A panel of women will discuss a wife's influence today. Kim Wagner is one of our guests. She’s the author of Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. Erin Davis is the author of Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role. And Vicki Rose is the author of Every Reason to Leave: And Why We Chose to Stay Together.

They’re all talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about how to follow the lead of a husband who wants to do God’s will, but who also isn’t perfect.

We’ll start with Erin. A woman in the audience asked her, “How do you hold your tongue when you feel like spouting discouraging words?”

Erin: Well, when I’m feeling “fleshy” and I try to do it in my own strength, it can make me . . . sour. It’s a clear area of struggle for me. But, when I stop and pray and think, I want to say all this, Lord, but I’m not going to say it now—we’ll talk about it later, that’s great for my attitude. God is at the helm at that moment.

It’s not like I sit there mumbling, because sometimes I find that’s what I do when I don’t say it.

Kim Wagner: But if you continue the process she’s talking about—I’m right there with you—wait half-an-hour, even. Say, “Okay, Lord, I’m going to talk to You about this, and I’m going to wait.” Usually what happens to me when I look back at the end of that half-hour, I'll say, “It wasn’t worth expressing those words.”

Erin: I think we can give life to things that don’t deserve to be given life to by talking about them. After a few rounds of thinking, I could have caused a mess there and that was not even worth giving life to, I find some other outlets. Writing is how I get it out. I used to write, and he would have to read it. Now I just write, just to get it out. He doesn’t have to read it. I have a very active journal.

Vicki Rose: I buy these three-dollar journal refills, and I write it instead of saying it. It’s my prayer time with God. I just work it through with the Lord in prayer and in written words and wait. I’ve been learning to wait and see how God responds, rather than taking it to my husband.

Another thing that I’ll do is I’ll ask myself, How important is this? I’m trying to learn to stop myself before I speak. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry.” It’s as you said, if I write it out often I find that it’s not that important, it’s not something that needs to be blown into a mountain.

Kim: Vicki, I do that as well. Another good thing is to take that at the end of the year and read back over that. How God has used that with me is to encourage me in seeing changes that He’s brought an answer to prayer, but He’s also used it to convict me.

I’ll look back to the early part of the year and say, “Whoa—I was so selfish then, I was so self-focused. I was not full of faith here.” It’s convicting, not in a condemning way, but in a way to encourage me. “Okay, press in deeper, learn to walk by faith here.”

Vicki: I also see God’s faithfulness. When I’ve written it out and prayed it instead of jumping on it in some way, I see how God responded to that prayer and changed me in the process, to see maybe it’s not so important. The strongest tool we have is praying Scripture for our husbands and for ourselves.

As you said, knowing how great God’s love is and taking that time . . . I went away for a few days a couple years ago. I turned off the phone, the computer, and the iPad and just sat and walked. I was outside. I listened and looked at the sky and the birds and prayed. I asked God, “What do you want me to do right now?”

I walked away from that time—it was a time of crisis in my marriage just two years ago—knowing one very important thing—how much God loved me. It’s not because of anything I do or don’t do. I didn’t need to perform for God anymore. He just loved me.

Knowing that comforted me to rest in who God created me to be. I don’t have to prove it with my husband or anyone else that I’m “this,” or “that,” or “not.” God is there and as we pray Scripture over ourselves and our husbands, He answers. His grace is sufficient, and His love for me is the love I crave.

The love that I crave from my husband is never going to satisfy, because he’s not God. He wasn’t created for that, and he doesn’t have that. But the love that God has for me is ultimately what I’m really longing for in all of these instances that we’ve talked about.

That’s the answer, and that’s what I need. That’s what God now reminds me of. So I don’t look to my husband to be what he wasn’t created to be. In the process, it’s changed the whole dynamic of our marriage. He’s not looking to me, either, to be what I wasn’t created to be. It’s turned both of us closer to God and made us more reliant on the Lord than on each other in a really healthy way.

Erin: Every time you have that moment, that chance, where you could really unload a lot of words on this man, I call that a “vine moment.” You can glean a “vine moment.” Apart from Him, you can’t do it. You can’t zip your lip. So it’s a real opportunity for God to show up in power in your life—and that can’t be bad for your attitude.

Vicki: I’ve been married twenty-one years now. I think the key is less words and more prayer. I realize in going to God with my list of things that I would normally go to my husband with, I started realizing how much God loved me.

He would just talk to me and would comfort me when I would be crying and wanting out of my marriage because it was so difficult. It was so painful. Once I got that all out, hearing His soft voice saying, “Come to me my daughter; I love you . . .” One of my favorite verses in the whole Bible is Ephesians 3:16,

According to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God (vv. 16–19).

I have come to realize that if I understand how much I’m loved by God, then I’m able to love my husband, to give grace to him, to allow God to work on him. I have a lot of prayer lists, and God showed me when I prayed certain Scriptures for my husband and things that he was not producing those early years—but I kept going to this list, I stopped going to my husband.

Sure enough, as I look back now, my husband’s an elder of the church. Those things I prayed for, he’s doing that stuff. Again, it’s because I tapped into God’s love. We want that agape love. Men need respect; we want love. They just can’t do it the way God can do it.

For me, the turnaround in my relationship was when I started going to God more, and He started pouring out His love. That was a healing process in our relationship.

Amy: My husband is a good man. He loves the Lord. I’m more type-A, and he’s more laid back. So there’s a lot that you’ve said that I really need to apply. One specific thing that keeps coming up for me with the family is things that I think should be addressed—in their behavior and in their character—with our children.

He doesn’t necessarily address those things, so that can be frustrating.. What I’ve found has been happening is that I have an expectation here, but he disappoints. Then there’s this gap. I think it’s okay to say something, because he does regard my role in that I’m in tune with a lot of what’s going on with the family, because I’m there.

Yet, at the same time, I think I intimidate. So how can I have a good balance there, where I can say something, but then be done with it? Do you know what I mean? So he doesn’t respond the way I think he should, or he doesn’t deal with the behavior, or he lets them watch a movie that I think he shouldn’t. How do I balance that?

Kim: I really think that’s the hardest, most challenging thing in the marriage relationship—the time that is the formative years for your children. Because, like you said, Amy, especially if you’re a mom, you’ve invested a lot of time into those children. Whether it be through homeschooling or being very involved in their extra-curricular activities, you’re with them all the time, and he’s not with them as much. You’re very clued-in.

Then he comes home and lays out a course of action that’s completely opposite of what you think needs to happen. Again, you're going to have to be having some of what I call, “salty grace talks.” You’ve got to be careful about the timing of it—not in the heat of the moment for sure, not when you are both exhausted. But you need a time to just say, “Can we talk a little bit about some parenting issues?” or “What are your thoughts on this? What is your approach to this?” A time to talk rather than jumping into it at the moment.

You’re in that season, Erin, so jump in and share.

Erin: I am, baby! I would also say, as mothers, you have that sense that, “No one can parent that child like I can. That child was in my tummy; I nursed that child. I know what’s best for this child at all times.” There’s some truth there, but he’s their daddy. Just because he doesn’t do it like you think he should do it, that doesn’t mean it’s not the right course of action.

We have very different roles, and I think it can be easy in those little years to feel resentful: I’m doing all this, and you come in and you wrestle them, and you’re the hero! They’re very different, but they have equally important roles.

I’m thinking of an example from our life, recently. We have a four-year-old who has a wild stallion of a heart, and who was really struggling with his behavior for weeks and weeks and weeks. I tried everything I knew how to do, and of course, I was saying to my husband, “You’ve got to get involved; you’ve got to get involved! You’ve got to talk to him; you’ve got to talk to him.” And it was not helping.

Then one afternoon Jason and Eli went off for a little while. Jason had taken Eli out to the shop and had cut a quarter in two. He gave Eli a half, and he kept a half. He just had a talk with Eli about, “We’ll never be torn apart. You keep half of this because that’s our heart, and I’ll keep half and our hearts are united.” And Eli’s behavior changed instantly.

Would I have ever thought of going to the woodshop and cutting a quarter in two? No, I wouldn’t have. That wasn’t even on my radar screen, but that is what Eli wanted. Would I have Jason intervene weeks earlier? Yes, I would have. Would I have had him do something differently? Yes, I would have. But I’m not the only parent of that child, and he did things in a way I wouldn’t have, but they were effective.

Sometimes we just have to let the daddies be daddies. Our kids wear weird things when we let the dads be daddies, and they eat really weird things—and that’s okay.

Kim: And along with that, Erin, there is something biblical, something tangible that occurs when the dad does step in and we allow them to step in and take leadership and to parent . . . and to do it, not necessarily like we would (like you said).

I know it’s a spiritual principle. There’s something that occurs where that child responds powerfully to the dad. And so, if we demean the dad in front of them for what he’s wanting to do or how’s he’s parenting, it is so destructive for our children. It may be much more destructive than what your husband is wanting to do or the movie he’s wanting them to see or whatever.

Erin: And often, when Daddy speaks, they listen. Daddy hasn’t spoken as often as we’ve wanted him to speak or intervened as many times as we’ve wanted him to, so you have to choose your battles. Is that movie going to undo everything you’ve done? Nope, it isn’t.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: But your attitude might.

Vicki: And pray . . . pray for the opportune time to talk to your husband. Pray if you think something that he’s doing is so wrong—that God would change his heart or open his eyes.

Erin: I think it’s extra hard for daddies. When that baby comes, we know what to do. Our body responds, and we know what to do. In those early months, there’s nothing they can do. It’s all on the mom for a while. So I think it’s hard for them. Then often when they do dip their toe in the water in regard to parenting, we’re quick to say, “You put them in what? You did what? It’s his naptime! Yada yada yada . . .”

I think a big mistake I made with our firstborn is that I didn’t leave him with his daddy at all. Then, just by nature of work, I had to leave him with his daddy some, and it’s been so good for their bond. They’re with their daddy all day today, and he won’t do things like I do them.

Nancy: We have just a few minutes left. Erin, I wonder if you would tell us the sewing machine story?

Erin: My husband is a real Renaissance man. His grandmother taught him to sew. I don’t know how to sew, but he knows how to sew. He has a great leather business—it’s not little at all—that he started from the ground up. Apparently, you need a $4000 sewing machine for this leather business.

So, he literally finds the $4000 sewing machine. We go and visit it for weeks, and he says, “Isn’t it great?” And I don’t get it. Then he wanted to buy it. I didn’t want him to spend $4000 on a sewing machine.

Nancy: Especially since you can’t sew . . .

Erin: . . . since I can’t sew a lick . . . (laughter) He’s a real entrepreneur. He’s one of those guys who is always starting a thing or having an idea. If you’re married to one of those guys, after a while you’re kind of like, “I’m not sure this is gonna fly!”

But he’s great, and it usually works out. But this time, I was thinking, I don’t know. He was already working so many hours, and did I want him to have a business on the side. So we went 'round and 'round and 'round, and finally I just said, “Do whatever you want to do,” which was passive-aggressive.

The Lord has recently told me that passive-aggressive is aggressive-aggressive. It’s not better; it’s not kinder to ignore, to stew, to say something flippant like, “Whatever you want to do—just do whatever you want to do.” It was not kind or supportive.

But, that was all he needed to hear, so he went and bought the $4000 sewing machine. (Laughter) We had to borrow the money for the sewing machine, which I think most people would counsel against, but he earned back the money from that purchase in something crazy—like six weeks.

He has a very profitable leather business with crazy clients, and he makes money. It will probably be our kids’ college fund. He loves it, so I should have been more supportive. I should have responded differently.

Nancy: In that case you didn’t think it was a good idea. How do you discern whether to support or raise questions?

Erin: Well, you get into the Word. The Word is clear . . .

Nancy: . . . about whether you should buy a sewing machine?

Erin: Well, no. But I think that you can take every question to the Word and come up with an answer. That would be an easy one, out of Ephesians—that I’m supposed to submit to him. He is not a man who buys boats. I should have been able to, in the context of who I know him to be as a man, I should have known it was safe. I know that he loves us and takes care of us, and I should have known that he wouldn’t ever want to do something to harm us.

I got caught up in the dollar amount and something I didn’t understand, and I threw out the window everything I knew about him as a man. I should have just taken what I know about him—that he loves me, he loves our children, and he loves our home, and he would never do anything to harm us financially—and I should have supported him.

Kim: And what she just said, Amy, is the answer to your question as well. In that parenting struggle, take what you know of your man—you know he doesn’t want to hurt your children; you know he loves them; you know he wants to be a good father; he wants to be a man of God.

I believe every Christian man, deep down, no matter how they’re living, deep down they want to be that champion for God. So, at appropriate times, in small ways, when it is necessary (a lot of it you can let go) have those “salty grace” talks in humility and love. Say, “What do you think about this . . .?” Ask questions.

Nancy: What if the sewing machine hadn’t made enough money to pay it back.

Kim: Don’t beat him up over it; that’s for sure.

Erin: It was a sewing machine. It would have gone back to this heart of a man who was trying. The right thing would have been to support him either way, whether or not it would have paid itself off, because he’s a good man, and he doesn’t need me to okay every financial decision that he makes. He’s the breadwinner in our house.

Kim: Is it worth destroying his dreams, his being a dreamer, a risk-taker at times?

Erin: And that’s what I want him to be. I want him to take risks, to try new things, to have successful side businesses—several, preferably. I want him to provide for us. I want him to think outside the box. I love that he’s a Renaissance man. When my curtains need hemmed, he can fix them . . . faster, now, with this very deluxe machine.

I just thought about it the wrong way. I should have thought about how great he is and how much I love him and that he’s safe.

Vicki: In the process it’s really helpful to have a prayer partner—a woman, for me—as iron sharpens iron, speaking the truth to each other. We pray every week on the phone (we don’t live near each other) for an hour at least. We share and pray and have for the last twelve years.

She knows me. She knows the good, the bad, and the ugly, and she’s honest with me. I will take some of my questions . . . “What do I do about this?” and “Will you pray and ask God to show me?” She can see it so clearly because she’s not involved. Like, whether we can spend the $4000 on a sewing machine or not.

She knows my character, and she knows my husband’s character, and she loves us both dearly. She has godly wisdom and that’s very helpful in the thick of the battle.

Nancy: So, Erin, if you had to do it again, what should you have said instead of, “Do whatever you want”?

Erin: “Will you take me out for ice cream after you get the sewing machine?”

“Sure, I support you!” I don’t think I would have had to say anything elaborate. “Sure, I think that’s great. I support you.” Even, “I’m proud of you.” Maybe.

Kim: Maybe, “I don’t understand the whole sewing machine thing. I’m not necessarily all on board with the whole leather business because I don’t understand it. But I do know you, and if you believe in it—this is your dream—I’m with you. I’m behind you.”

Leslie: Kim Wagner has been talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about the power of a wife’s encouragement. And we also heard Erin Davis and Vicki Rose. We’d like to encourage your marriage by sending you a devotional book Nancy’s been telling you about this week. Gary Thomas has written a book for couples to read together called Devotions for a Sacred Marriage. If you take a few minutes each day to focus together on the Lord, it’ll make a big difference in the way you relate to one another.

We’d like to send you Devotions for a Sacred Marriage when you support Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount. You’ll help make the program possible each weekday and enjoy the book as our thank you. Call 1–800–569–5959 and ask for Devotions for a Sacred Marriage, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your donation and ask for the book.

For over a decade, the book by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free has been challenging women to consider their habits in light of God’s Word. It’s just been re-released and refreshed and Nancy will be teaching brand new programs on lies and the truth next week. Please be back Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help your relationships thrive. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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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.