Back to Counseling

Grace Leadership

Follow Up and Review

These are notes from past group meetings:

1) Satan is not the opposite of God. He may be the opposite of Gabriel or Michael, because Lucifer was once also an archangel, but he has no power against God. So while we may expect him to oppose us, we are not intimidated by him - that's because of the provisions we have from God against which no powers of darkness, human nature, or the world can prevail.

2) We are not made stronger by performance, but are broken down by it. Rather, we are made stronger by the choices we make for conditioning. This means, storms/troubles do not make us stronger but, instead, turn us to God who does.

3) Weights (the same as hills) are useful to make us stronger, but only in the sense that they make a demand upon us for a strength we do not have - and for which we must connect to God’s provisions (oxygen and food uptake) to receive it.

4) A schedule is important - the same way as a budget - because of the tendency of our fallen nature to make pain relief choices instead of health choices. Although the time may come when we are increased in strength so that we don’t rely as heavily on our schedule, still at the outset, schedule and budget are needed supports. It is for this reason that I encourage counselees to read systematically through whatever book of the Bible they begin reading, rather than to spontaneously skip about. It is a discipline issue.

5) Concerning giving: It is always
  • to those God has called us to serve in order to meet their redemptive needs (not superficial pain relief needs),
  • as we are enabled, and
  • as the Holy Spirit clearly directs us.
6) To the one extreme, there is a type/style of music (a sequence of sounds - instrument or vocal) which is bland and dull. But to the other extreme there is a type/style of music which appeals to our carnal appetites (like junk food). But there is also a type/style of music which is redemptive (healing). It is sometimes called boring or funeral music by some who have no “taste” for it. Actually, it IS boring because it denies our poisoned appetite the sensual experience it craves. And it is also funeral music because it starves to death our addictions.

7) We leaders have the option to make demands upon others to meet our needs, or to invest in our own health with the hope that they will gravitate to us for support. In other words, we can make their lives about us (our wants and needs), or our lives about them (their health).

8) Nothing may bore and annoy those we serve more than our neediness for them, even our neediness to serve them.

9) Of course hurting couples want a better marriage (absence of tension), but without the healing God gives, relief from their unhappiness will be fleeting and temporary.

Hope some of this helps!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10L18

Follow Up and Review (Competent Husbands Giving Godly Leadership in the Home: God's Plan A for Happiness) 

Good afternoon, Gentlemen!

This is to follow-up on one of the important concepts we talked about last night.

1) Women tend to be security driven in their decision making (the same as Israel, the wife of God, spied out the Promised Land and cried out, “There are giants in the land, and we seem as grasshoppers before them” – Numbers 13:33).

2) Women also seem, like Eve, to be more at risk for deception. I think that is the reason the serpent approached her instead of Adam.

3) I think women can also be a little dingy. For example, a woman recently told me that when the stars twinkle, she knows it is her dear departed husband winking at her from Heaven. I think this is a gender-specific tendency because men don't tend to talk like that.

4) Even so, our wives often have understanding and insight in some matters better than we do. This might be by virtue of their experience, education, intellect, or common sense (temperament).

5) For that reason, husbands do well to hear the concerns of their wives, the same as wise leaders value the expertise of their cabinet of counselors or advisory boards and would not move forward with a project or policy without the help of their advice or support.

6) Still, God calls the husband to serve as the head of the home (the support vine in his relationship to his wife). His experience of God during his quiet time makes him competent to serve in that role. Mostly, I think, the Holy Spirit gives him understanding of God’s way. The husband then teaches that way to his family, first through modeling, and then through message.

7) The Apostle Paul instructed women not to teach or take authority in the church, but to be silent (that is, to not contend with men during public discussion), and if they desire to learn, to ask their husbands at home (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). This assumes, of course, that her husband has been made competent by God for his service to her. If not, it would have been best had she not married him.

8) When husbands have not experienced God’s enablement to live out their calling in the home, and particularly, if they submit to follow the whims of their wives, the concept of organic leadership is turned on its head. Such marriages can survive and sometimes do okay, but only equal to the outcomes that any Plan B (as in pharmaceutical) can produce (the same as Israel did in the wilderness when they missed God’s plan for them to cross over into the Promised Land). But they can only experience the full measure of his provisions for their health and happiness when they "walk according to the law of the Lord" (Psalm 119:1).


DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11B24 

Follow Up and Review

Good morning, gentlemen!

This is to follow up on some of the concepts we talked about last night:

1) Evangelism focuses on the unsaved to call them to trust Christ (his death on the cross for us) for eternal salvation (justification, reconciliation). Renewal ministry focuses on the saved to call them to trust Christ (his resurrected Life in us) for sanctification (holiness and healing).

2) A strong immune system is the best support for good health, so we take care to make the best choices for our diets. Refined sugar spikes blood insulin which is responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates, but at the same time, it signals the body to store fat instead of burning it for energy. We don’t say a lot about food choices to avoid, but refined sugar feeds bacteria and is cancer’s favorite food, is highly addictive like a drug, and can shut down the immune system for an extend time. It would be stunning to know how many sicknesses we get just after eating sweets.

3) Even traditional doctors agree that Vitamin C is an infection fighter. Studies show that the blood at any given time has only about 400 mgs. This means, if we take more than that, it gets flushed out since it is water soluble. I take 1000 mgs 5-6 times throughout the day, but would do better to take smaller amounts every few hours. Also, I think we build a dependence on Vitamin C, which means, when we start taking it, we should continue.

4) I don’t always think to discuss this, but I believe our bodies have different nutritional needs based upon heredity, past lifestyles, and current health. David is a Health Minister certified by Hallelujah Acres ( which is the leading program especially for addressing health problems. Rubin Jordan, “The Maker’s Diet” ( and Dr. Joseph Mercola ( are also good resources, as is Dr. George Mataljan (rhymes with Italian) (

5) Good outcomes for our health and in our homes are the result of our investments. This means, the daily choices we make will be different if our goal is minimal health (the absence of sickness and weakness) than they will be if our goal is maximum health (the presence of health and strength). The same is true regarding the health of our marriages and homes.

Tare care!

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11C03

Follow Up and Review

Good afternoon, gentlemen!

This is to follow up on some of the concepts we talked about last night:

1) I wonder if I might sound a little overly-pious sometimes when I assert that the concepts I share with you are from my quiet time and not from books or sermons. But mostly I am rejoicing (and want you to know) that our faith (beliefs) can be rooted in the Truth God teaches us by the Holy Spirit through his Word as we sit quietly before him each day with an open Bible.

2) The outline I gave last night concerning the meaning of “according to your Word” is:
  • According to Truth (which sets us free)
  • By reason of your Power (making him the explanation for the outcome
  • Consistent with your redemptive plan (sowing and reaping)
3) The work of God in our lives to transform us and also our homes is powerful and real. This is the Truth that I wanted to illustrate by telling you of the accidental recording of Carole’s and my private life. I would not want my life to be fully exposed to people on earth for 24 hours of every day, but Carole and I are mostly what you see. Also, I know Heaven sees our lives, and I welcome it. I suspect they grimace at times, laugh at others, but mostly smile.

4) Thanks, David, for the tour, and for providing us such a nice place to meet.


DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11C17

Grace Leadership Concepts: Follow Up and Review

Good morning, Gentlemen!

1) The husband is the pastor, teacher, and physician in the marriage. Regardless of his wife’s brokenness or behavior, it is his role to support her for making the wise choices (beginning with her quiet-time worship experience of Christ by the Holy Spirit through his Word) which result in her healing.

2) This support for her begins and is made effectual by his own personal experience of those choices which establish him in health.

3) In the same sense that she experiences Christ through the water she drinks, it is God’s redemptive plan for her to experience Christ through her experience of her husband’s love and care for her. This means a husband cannot pass off his wife’s need for water (or for him) by insisting she really only needs God. Again, that’s because God is providing for her needs multidimensionally.

4) Both personal healing and the healing of relationships is a long process, so we continue in faith and hope to sow in those we serve the seed which God has sown in us.

5) In the interim, it is appropriate (and effectual) for a husband to confess (to God, himself, his pastor/counselor, and those he serves) his personal brokenness and ongoing need for increased renewal.

6) Confession of weakness is a strength.

7) It is not the same as apology for failure to make wise choices for health - which is a weakness, the same as assertion of strength (intellectually, physically, or spiritually) and boasting of success.

8) Confessing our need for support from our resources is also a strength and measures our growth in grace – the same as our denial of weakness and need for support measures our arrogance and carnality.

I hope this helps. I welcome and rejoice in the opportunity you give me to support you in this way.

See Follow Up and Review

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11F23

Grace Leadership: Class Review/Follow Up


This is to follow up on our discussion in our last Grace Leadership class:

1. Our experience of Christ’s leadership in our own lives is the basis for our understanding of grace leadership (organic support for wise choices) - which we live out in managing first ourselves, and then others in the home, church, and community. The words that identify and guide this leadership are:

  • Experience (of God’s leadership in our own lives through his resources, beginning with Christ)
  • Example (personal compliance/response to God’s leadership in our lives)
  • Education (information)
  • Explanation (of information)
  • Expectation (not a focus to keep score of success and failure, but in the sense that the plan/formula is fixed and compliance to it is essential to good outcomes, so is not optional)
  • Encouragement (positive, non-judgmental support for staying the course to make wise choices/investments through affirmation of God’s unconditional love, intense interest, and unfailing commitment)
  • Evaluation (includes scorekeeping to review compliance record, but mostly a focus on results/production)
  • Enforcement (not punishment to pound on failed behavior, but a strategy of discipline to give opportunity for experiencing, rather than circumventing, the “cause and effect” outcome/penalties of wrong choices)
2. Schedule supports us for making the wise choices that increase us in good health which subsequently supports our leadership to others.

3. We schedule the connections to our resources, but we also schedule the choices that support us for making those connections. For EXAMPLE, if I schedule my quiet time for 6:00 (and exercise for 7:00), to support that, I schedule to get out of bed at 5:30, to be out of the BR, drink ACV, have green tea brewing, and dressed for exercise by 5:45, and in order to have 15 minutes for easy warm up, stretching, and upper body strength exercises.

Every choice is supported by the choice before it. So we schedule not only the choices we make to include God’s provisions in our lives, but more importantly we schedule the choices that support those choices.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective/11K17

Initiator and Pathfinder: The Servant Leadership Role of the Husband in the Home

Dear (Husband): Service to your wife involves more than opening a door, assisting her with a seat, or bringing her breakfast. It involves more even than providing protection or an income for the home.

By definition, leadership charts the course, then clears the way to provide a path. This means you are the initiator and pathfinder in the home. But the path you chart is first with respect to your own health needs. (The best thing you can do for your wife and children is to give them a healthy you.) It begins with making wise decisions for your own life (food choices, exercise, and lifestyle). It includes getting sufficient sleep and starting your morning early in quiet time with God and with exercise and a healthy breakfast so that you can show up in your wife's life throughout the day strong and enabled to be what she needs you to be.

Also, servant leadership means you give yourself up for your wife (that is, your self-serving desires, preferences, and addictions) and that you research to learn in what ways she needs you in her life. This is your role in the marriage to the extent that if she is not healthy and happy, you should consider in what ways you have complicity and are failing her.

It is not the role of your wife to be responsible for your health and happiness needs, especially your moral, spiritual, and recovery needs. These needs are valid, but every need of yours that she helps to meet must flow back to you reciprocally out of her strength from the investments you have made in her life.

Don Loy Whisnant, DCC, LCPC/The Grace Perspective 7G19

The Role of the Husband in the Home to Invest in the Health and Happiness Needs of His Wife: An Open Letter to Husbands 

It is not your right or privilege to impose your snoring, bad breath, and body odor on your wife.

You do well to learn communication skills in the marriage enrichment seminars, but until Christ has transformed your heart to love (agapao: to value unconditionally) your wife and to invest in her health and happiness needs in the same manner as he loves and invests in his bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33), your new learned skills will not be very effectual or enduring.

I drove many miles in my early life before one day I read that turning on my signal light when changing lanes is a courtesy that promotes good will on the highway. But before I experienced Christ to transform my interest to care for the needs of others, that information would not have mattered much to me.

Your home is indeed an organization, but it is mostly an organism. In its existence as an organization, it functions as a co-op, a partnership of husband and wife and even children to support productivity. But as an organism, the husband is intimately related to his wife and children, like a vine to its branches, to meet and support their essential health and happiness needs.

Your wife can know if a resource is from God. It will support her health and happiness needs, and do so without expectation of return.

Of course we encourage wives to help support the needs of their husbands. But not to do so motivated by religious rules and obligations, or by her husband's expectations, or in order to stay out of trouble with him or God. Instead, her support for him is appropriate only as she is connected to and enabled by God's resources for her life, especially by the strength which flows to her from her relationship to Christ and his Word, and also from the investment her husband has made in her health and happiness needs.

I hope this helps. I welcome the opportunity to serve you during this time.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 7I08

Hard Concepts for Hurting Husbands to Consider: An Open Letter

You should not think too much about being a leader at this time except in the sense you are attending to yourself. The leadership you give right now to your wife will not be effectual, which means it may do more harm than good. That's because, as I have explained, the seed which God is sowing into your life must have time to produce healing in you. Only then should you hope to sow it into others.

Also, you should not think too much about your wife's issues. My support to you is to set her free. Actually, she needs to set herself free because God does. I understand your grief and your fears for her, but the solution begins with your embracing and trusting in God's redemptive plan leading to your personal healing and, in time to the recovery of your marriage.

Setting her free means you give up your expectations for her in your life. I know that is hard and may not make sense to you sometimes, but it is consistent with you focusing on your own health needs right now. Indeed, the investment you make in yourself is in the behalf of your family, but the program begins with you investing in your own recovery.

You should also give up your expectations for outcomes. Making wise choices for your health is your business, outcomes is God's responsibility. If God is the explanation for the healing in your life, the outcome will always be the same. 

Trust that God is working in you as you remain connected to him.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I03

Leadership: An Open Letter to Husbands

The leadership husbands are called to give begins with the investment we make in ourselves. This means, every man should focus first and foremost on
  • the choices he should make for his own health renewal and 
  • the resources he connects to that support him for making those choices.
Then, after a period of time (months, maybe), when he has been renewed to a good measure of strength, he can begin investing in (giving leadership to) others, beginning with his family. Now that's leadership.

This means, also, that right now you should be identifying where you need to be and what you need to be doing throughout the day for your own health. We can easily be drawn away by good things which interfere with God's best for us. For example, recreational time with family is important, but if they are hurting because you have failed in your leadership to them, then your most critical need right now is to stay connected to the resources which support your renewal. That’s because, the greatest support you can give your family is a healthy husband and dad.

I always have God's care for you in my heart. 

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I07

Open Letter to User Husband in Recovery

I am sorry for the hurt you are experiencing right now. I will try to help. The support I offer you, however, is different from mainstream counseling. Consider the following:

1) Whatever disappointment you have with your wife right now, it is the result of her unmet needs which you (and her dad before you) were responsible to care about. You need to be in full confession of this and take ownership for the solution to any problems. Fussing about it now won't do any good (except the therapeutic value of venting to me and also to God - which I welcome you to do).

2) Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions, including your wife, but your concern for her regarding that need cannot be your first focus; instead, it must be on your own health. This is sometimes hard for user-husbands who are in recovery. They still have expectation for the performance of those they have used.

3) Your wife is not going to be okay just because you say "Oops, sorry, I messed up!" My counseling to her is to support her for experiencing Christ so that she can be renewed in her desire for health. I want her to know that her hurts are valid, that they are mostly the result of the failed leadership in her life, and that it is not God's plan for her to “just get over it,” but to begin making choices for her life that support her healing. This takes time and cannot be hurried along because of the expectations others put on her.

4) Your conversations with your wife should not be about her failure or about your expectations for her attitudes or behavior, but only to give testimony to her of your experience of God's faithfulness in your life.

I welcome the opportunity to support you during this time.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I13

An Open Letter to a Healing Husband

Whatever your wife feels right now, it is important that she is honest with you and herself about it. Only then can the healing begin. Wives can get stuck when they are told their feelings are not valid and to "get over" them. By gender, women tend to be people pleasers anyhow. Sometimes the tendency is compounded if they are Sanguine in Affection needs. Also, when they are connected to resources who have an expectation for them to perform, especially in the name of religion or tradition, in time, they will get burned out and unhappy. My counsel to wives is to 1) focus on their own health (not just superficial pain relief) so that they can be enabled for ministry to their children, and 2) stop attempting to be a support person for their husbands or others who are not their responsibility to support.

On your part, you are a recovering user, which means you are subject to the tension and anxiety of withdrawals, much the same as an addict. Maybe years from now, after your wife has recovered from the “making everyone happy” load she has carried for so long, you will be able to occasionally express in a small amount the challenges of your recovery, but you absolutely have no opportunity to do that at this time. Instead, she needs leadership from you. That means for you to live in health so that you can be a support to her. Again, she is not a resource or support for your recovery.

That is part of the reason for you to be out of the home during your recovery period – so that she won't continue to see you in your current state of brokenness – even though you are healing.

You are doing good right now to have your quiet time each day. But that is only the foundation. There are other critical choices you need to be making. They include:

1. The Sunday A Grace Renewal Church Experience
2. The Thursday Basics for Building Fitness, Faith, and Family class
3. Weekly individual or couples counseling

If you hit and miss with these, even to substitute other choices which are "good" but not most important for you and your family at this critical time in your lives, the outcomes you hope for will be compromised.

Also, you would benefit by talking with others who have been on the journey you are now on and who know The Plan and the challenges.

This is straightforward, but I want very much for you and your family to be established in health and happiness.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10I14

Taking Ownership for the Healing: An Open Letter to Husbands

1) I understand the intense demand your work and home make on your time and energy and know you must often be exhausted, and sometimes even frustrated. You must find extended time, though, for reading the Scripture, confession of need, prayer, and quiet-time worship in order to hear God and in order to experience Christ (his Life). It will support every other good choice you make for your renewal. Without making this first connection, you will not have enablement for the others. That's because God's redemptive plan for your health begins with your experience of him. If you miss it, it will be the same (for illustration) as not including in your diet the food and water you need. Whatever you might learn and understand about living out your role as a husband and dad will only be information to you, but you will not be able to follow through. This is the message of Romans 7:18-25.

2) I commend you because you have given honest consideration to the concepts we have talked about. Not every husband is willing to do that because our counseling calls him to accept ownership for the status of his marriage rather than putting the blame on other circumstances or on his wife - even if she may have brought a lot of unmet needs and pain into the relationship from her past. But still he is the pastor/shepherd/physician of his home, not his wife. This means, the principles of leadership for the pastor of a church are basically the same as for the husband in the home. For example, when a pastor is called to serve a church, he accepts in order to invest in their healing needs. Sometimes the church is not doing well because maybe they have been hurt by previous leadership. If so, he should consider this (count the cost) before accepting the responsibility. But if he accepts, it is with the understanding that his role is to tenderly love, care, sow, and invest for their healing in the way Christ, the Great Physician would, rather than making demands for behavior that meets his expectations and needs. That is the reason I say that the solution to the issues in a hurting marriage begins with the husband. It is not the same as saying he is necessarily the problem, but that the solution begins with him, and for that reason, if the marriage is failing, it is his failure. This is also the reason the counseling support I give targets the husband more than the wife, especially at the beginning.

3) Our counseling also supports the husband and wife to make choices for their own health rather than to work on their marriage. Of course the goal of health is in behalf of the marriage, but the marriage cannot be the goal. This is in the same way, for example, that conditioning must be the first goal of an athlete, not the performance or score of the game. That is the reason I say that if a husband moves past making choices for his health in order to work on his marriage, he will lose both.

God has put his love in my heart for you and your home. I earnestly pray that he will use me effectually to support you in the way you need right now.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J23 

Personal Health: The Priority Goal for Husbands (An Open Letter)

I am sorry for the hurt you are experiencing right now. I know your heart gets heavy sometimes. Please consider again the following concepts.

1) God's first goal for you is to experience him. But he wants it for you in behalf of your wife and children - because the most important need they have in the home is for a godly, healthy husband and dad.

2) The heart of Christ within you will support you to focus/invest in your own health needs so that you will be enabled to focus/invest in the health needs of your wife so that she will be supported to focus/invest in her own health needs so that she will be enabled to focus/invest in the health needs of your children.

3) Two people needing each other for superficial pain relief (codependence, maybe also addiction) is the dynamic that drives most marriages - but it is also the reason most marriages are hurting.

4) It is possible that your wife may be returning to you on the rebound (although I suspect she is responding to God's call to health and to his resources that support it). Regardless, you can not control her choices, attitudes, or motivations. Your focus must be only on the choices you make that result in your healing so that, in time, as you increase in your renewal, you can sow effectually into her life.

5) Sometimes a husband can do that while he maintains a relationship with his wife in the home, but sometimes he needs to take time away as he would for physical healing in a hospital. It depends on the depth of his brokenness and also the state of his wife's health and interest in the marriage.

6) If a wife opens the door for her husband to come back into her life too quickly (that is, before he is established in his recovery), usually it is at that point where his growth stops in the sense of his commitment to make wise choices for his health, especially to connect daily for intimacy with Christ. This will be particularly true if his goal is more to recover his lost marriage or to meet superficial pain relief needs than it is to be renewed in wholistic health.

7) It may also identify her goals, that it is more to recover her lost marriage or to meet superficial pain relief needs than it is for personal health.

8) Again, personal health must be the goal for the husband and wife or the marriage will always be troubled.

I hope this helps some.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J27

Grace Counseling: Providing Support to Husbands Consistent with Principles to Guide Their Own Ministry to Family (An Open Letter)

During my counseling time with you, I have followed the leadership principles consistent with those I have held out to you for your ministry to your wife.

1. I have been faithful to connect to God’s provisions for my own life (with some challenges) so that my ministry to you could be effectual and not driven by my unmet needs and addictions.

2. I have been caring, committed, and compassionate, but also tough and firm.

3. I have been stubborn to target your personal recovery as the priority need and goal for our counseling together as you have given me opportunity.

4. My ministry to you has been without expectation of a return from you which would be for my personal or professional gain. This means I have invested in you to set you free. This means, also, I have been willing and prepared for you to walk away - which is not the same, understand, as kicking you to the curb or not caring if you do not respond, but rather, knowing that I cannot rescue you from your choices.

5. I have given up the ownership for the outcomes of my sowing to God “who gives the increase" (although I have had earnest hopes and deep desires for your healing) - which means I have been surrendered to his will, not insisting on mine. (In Gethsemane, Christ asked the Father to alter his redemptive plan, yet “not as I will, but as you will.” He also taught his disciples to pray, “May your kingdom come [redemptive purpose be accomplished], and your will be done on earth [in my heart and life] as it is in Heaven.”)

6. At the same time, I have earnestly called your wife to her own relationship with Christ and to the wise choices that follow which would increase her in health so that she could live out her calling to support her children for making the wise choices that would also renew them in health. Also, because she has insisted she has been unhappy and discouraged in the marriage, I have provided secondary support aimed at keeping her in the home while you were advancing in your own journey. But the goal of my counseling has never been for her to endure or get over her unmet needs.

Please take time to think on this.

Don  Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J29

Finding Support for a Long Process: An Open Letter to Men

Dear (Husband):

1) You are indeed “getting better.” I think it is
  • mostly the result of you more and more allowing God to work in your life and also
  • motivated by your desire to serve your wife in the way she needs.
Getting better, however, is relative. It is not necessarily the same as health – which means you can be better but still broken and only at the beginning of a sowing and reaping process.

2) This process is a long one. As you increase in your health, the seed of your life which you sow into your wife’s life is incrementally made more effectual. Then, after you begin sowing into her life, it will take time for that seed to begin producing fruit in her (relative to the choices she makes for her own health and also her response to you).

3) You cannot work on or fix yourself. You can only include God’s provisions into your life daily. This means, the healing you want is not really the result of something you do, but the results of something God does in and for you.

4) Counseling to help you identify a list of action steps and to provide accountability to support you for following them is helpful. But the most critical action step for which you need support at this time is for 
  • Reading the Scripture in order to
  • Hear God in order to
  • Experience God so that you are enabled to
  • Manifest “who Christ is” to others, beginning with your wife and children.
Without the enablement Christ provides (basically the nine-fold fruit of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23), your commitment to the list of action steps would be rooted in weakness, not effectual, and, therefore, more hurtful than helpful.

5) Your wife will look more to you for support when she does not sense that you are needy.

6) Enjoying your wife’s response to your support for her is not the same as you needing her. Most of the wives I counsel have broken under the weight of their husband’s neediness. The change Christ makes in our lives (incrementally over a long period of time) is to transform us from using others to meet our needs to investing in them so that they can be supported for making the wise choices that help establish them in their own health.

7) Your wife very likely brought her own brokenness into the marriage, and while we do not isolate the husband as the problem in a failing marriage, his taking ownership for the solution is the first step to its recovery.

I hope some of this helps!

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K09 

Support to be Patient for a Slow Process: An Open Letter to Men

Dear (Husband):

1) You can trust that God will be faithful to prepare you for his use as you continue to offer yourself to him for the work he wants to do through you into your wife’s life.

2) Vows to God are not really a grace concept. We do not live out of our faithfulness to him, but out of his faithfulness to us.

3) We do, however, sometimes make promises or commitments to ourselves and maybe to others, but it is always to connect to God's provisions for renewal, not to perform.

4) God’s promise/vow to you is that he will provide to meet your health needs and that his provisions will always be effectual.

5) As you continue to increase in your experience of Christ, the behavior of others toward you will have less and less power to offend you or to make you miserable (Psalm 119:165).

6) Your wife needs you to respond to her pain and broken behavior more than to react to it.

7) The leadership you provide to your family at the outset is mostly to make choices for yourself which establish you in health so that in due time (probably many months from now) you can be effectual to support your family for making those choices.

8) Even then, you will need to take care to proceed slowly – that you do not move too quickly to make up lost time which will not have a good outcome.

9) Health means that you can move forward in strength (love and faith) rather than in weakness (fear and anger).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K10

Leadership Concepts to Help Husbands: An Open Letter

1) I am proactive at home to take care of myself. I know of a minister who rings a little bell when he is ready for bed at night so that his wife can turn down his bed covers. She also makes his coffee, pours milk on his cereal, and packs his luggage for travel.

2) Absolutely, men enjoy being served. But that is not the same as expecting it. A wife who attends to cleaning the house and preparing meals (for examples) is not really serving her husband but fulfilling her role to care for the home. When she jumps around to perform, it is usually to win favor – which is rooted in fear, not faith.

3) I understand you sometimes being overcome with the pain of your suffering. Some of it is because our fallen human nature is hostile to God and, like Jacob, it sometimes makes a final desperate effort to stay alive when we open our hearts to Christ. Also, sometimes it expresses itself in anger - not too unlike the accounts given in the Bible about demons raging in anger when they were being cast out. I have often thought that counseling sessions are sometimes like exorcisms.

4) When you call, don’t worry that I might be busy. If I answer the phone I can talk. Only my own scheduled health regimen and ministry to my wife would precede my commitment of ministry to you.

5) Take special care to never, never discuss the problems of your marriage in front of your children.

6) Our counseling is similar to the emergency care provided to someone who has been run over by a truck. Its goal is specific to saving a life - not just health enrichment. That is the reason the cop or first responder providing the emergency service will instruct others to step back - so that appropriate help is not hindered or blocked. (It is not true that “any counseling will help.”)

That is the reason I am protective and sensitive about the other ministry resources you connect to. Of course, God uses different ministries to support our growth in grace at different times in our lives. But not every ministry is always relevant to the unique needs of hurting people. A patient lying on the road or in the ER or ICU at the hospital has different support needs than one leaving the hospital for aftercare.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K12

God's Redemptive Plan for Resources: An Open Letter to Men

Dear (Husband):

1) Resources serve only to support us for living out God’s calling – which is to be healthy and to serve others.

2) We absolutely do not invest in our resources. Instead, they invest in us and we invest in others. (Sometimes we may consider investing in others through our resources, but we take a lot of care about this to investigate how our investments are used).

3) Our resources do not need us in the sense of dependence. They need God and the resources he provides for them.

4) To honor God (or his resources for our lives) does not mean we jump around to please him or win his favor, but rather, to open the door of our hearts to give him opportunity to invest in our lives so that we can, in turn, invest in those he calls us to serve. Christ told Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”

5) The shepherd cares for the sheep and the watchman protects them from thieves and robbers (users) who may seek to come into their lives. God sometimes uses resources to serve in both roles.

6) Of course we want those we serve to "get it" - that is, to embrace grace concepts and to make appropriate choices for their lives which establish them in health. But it is more important that WE (who are the resources) get it. This is God’s redemptive plan – which means, our best hope for the healing and recovery of our wives and children and others we serve is our own healing and recovery.

7) But there is no guarantee. Yes, God’s provisions are effectual, and he has sovereignly appointed the law of sowing and reaping to govern outcomes, but the Bible clearly teaches that some soils do not accommodate the seed we sow.

8) So, although we can trust that God will lead us to invest in appropriate soil so that our harvest will be good, if we nonetheless, willfully or in ignorance and without any consideration of investing, but only of using, make choices for sowing in soil where God does not send us, we may not have reason to hope for the same measure of harvest – at least not without many unfortunate burdens and trials. For this reason I am passionate about premarriage and preenagement counseling, although I have little opportunity to provide it.

9) But during these unfortunate burdens and trials (sufferings of brokenness [the result of our choices], not sufferings of adversity such as Christ had [the result of living in a fallen world]), God calls us and gives us opportunity to experience him in fuller measure than others. This means that a wonderful aspect of his redemptive plan is accomplished after all.

I welcome the opportunity of service to you!

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K16

Support for Pursuing Christ Fully: The First Goal of Grace Counseling (An Open Letter to Men)

Dear (Husband):

I understand and grieve deeply the pain of you missing your wife in your life in the way you have enjoyed her at times in the past. Consider, however, that

1) You may suffer from a psychological addiction to her. If so, it will be hard for you to think clearly about the choices you should make right now.

2) It is not God’s primary role for a wife to meet the enjoyment or affection needs of her husband, but to take care of the home and to invest in their children.

3) Your needs are met first through your experience of Christ, and then, out of the strength he gives, through your redemptive service to your family.

4) God’s first call to men is to be established in health before attempting to serve as a husband.

5) The first goal of the counseling we offer is not to help you save your marriage, but to support you for pursuing intimacy with Christ – not just mostly, but first, fully, and entirely, so that you can be healed of your neediness.

6) Whatever brokenness your wife has, her healing comes primarily through intimacy with Christ and then, secondarily, through the support that comes from him through you.

7) Your own healing may take many months or even years.

8) Her healing to give you opportunity for influence in her life, which may also take many months or even years, may not start until you have been established in health.

9) If she is “done” with the marriage, your attempts to control her behavior will not have a good outcome, but will continue to push her further away.

10) Your attempt to recover your health while living in your home will be much harder if you do not connect to the essential resources (in creation, community, and especially Christ) which support you. I understand the reasons you give why you do not connect more, but they will not give you a pass on the outcome. For example, you may have good reasons why you do not have time to exercise or drink water, but the outcome will be the same.

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10K19

©GracePoint, AGRC. All Rights Reserved