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Interviews With Wives – Rhonda Stoppe

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Rhonda, tell us about you!

 

My name is Rhonda Stoppe and for more than 30 years I have worked to help women build NO REGRETS LIVES. I am 56 years old, have four grown children (all married) and 8 grandchildren!

 

I am a pastors’ wife (married almost 36 years!), author, speaker and mentor.

 

We live on a ranch in Northern California where we raise all kinds of farm animals – including a dozen peacocks (who kill rattle snakes in case you didn’t know).

 

I LOVE COFFEE & CHOCOLATE and visiting with friends!

 

What difficulties have you faced as a wife?

 

As a young bride I remember feeling resentment when after the honeymoon we settled into the “work” of keeping house, paying bills and such. I love to have fun and dating & courtship was SO much fun. When life began to take on a more “responsible” feeling of duty rather than fun I remember resenting my husband for it.

 

But the resentment scared me. I come from a long line of broken marriages and I knew the number one thing that ruined their marriages was resentment that turned to bitterness on the part of one or both spouses.

 

In fear of becoming the wife I did not want to become I looked to older women in our church for help. Titus 2 calls older women to teach the younger how to love their husbands and their children. Steve and I were working with the youth in our church at the time, so I had the privilege of observing the marriages of the parents of our teens. To the wives I wanted to emulate I went and asked them to mentor me.

 

Here’s a link to listen to me talking about that season in our marriage after the honeymoon: https://soundcloud.com/rhondastoppe/chapter-1-old-faithful-stoppe.

 

Where there any unhealthy expectations you had going into marriage that you later learned were not helpful?

 

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only woman who came to believe my happiness would lie in the prince charming who would sweep me off my feet. I thought it was Steve’s job to do whatever it would take to make me happy. I thought my worth rested in who loved me and how well I felt treasured.

 

It was through the Titus 2 women I had asked to mentor me that I came to learn how God created us to find our worth and our happiness in relationship – in who first loved us. God’s design is for mankind to find our value in our relationship with our Creator. I learned how misguided it is to look to another person to fill the void that God put in my heart to be filled only by a relationship with Him.

 

As I discovered the secret to living well is to love God with all of my being (as Jesus stated in Mark chapter 12), I soon found my longing to be loved was satisfied in the adoration I had from the One who created me to love Him. When loving God became the priority of my life, loving others (which is Jesus second commandment in Mark 12) became a natural outpouring of my heart. No longer was it hard to love my husband with God’s selfless love because as I lived to love God, His Spirit empowered me to love selflessly my husband (and my children and others).

 

How have you struggled with housework and/or differences in amount of work each spouse does, and what has helped in this area?

 

Housework has never been my thing. My mom was a perfectionist and preferred to do it all herself, and I was happy to let her! When I lived on my own it was easy to keep up my housework because it was just me. When Steve & I got married I remember the man loved to make peanut butter toast. Many times I would come into the kitchen to find a ridiculous amount of crumbs all over the counter from yet another making of peanut butter toast! (Why I did not realize the man’s obsession with making peanut butter toast before we married is beyond me!)

 

I remember biting my tongue as I wiped up the crumbs until one day I walked into the kitchen and he had made toast for both himself and his visiting brother. The crumbs all over the freshly cleaned kitchen counter sent me over the top! I gasped loudly––as if someone had just murdered the cat. Steve came running into the kitchen as I burst into tears and began ranting over the crumbs.

 

In confusion he explained how he had been making toast on the counter, rather than on a plate, to save me from having another dish to wash. After I settled down I was able to explain to Steve how the “crumb crisis” made me feel like he did not respect how hard I worked to keep the house clean.

 

I learned that day how important it is to evaluate my own heart when something is bothering me. When I get honest with myself about the real issue––rather than what seems to be the problem, then I can better express to Steve what I need from him. In this case it was respect for my hard work. Once Steve hears the true issue of my heart, he has a better opportunity to evaluate how he would like to respond and either comply or at least discuss why he thinks his way of doing things makes more sense.

 

My husband is a pastor so he and I often do pre-marital and biblical marriage counseling. Helping couples take a step back and evaluate the reason for their intense feeling about a perceived issue or lack of respect is often the first step to teaching them how to live in a way that is both loving and respectful. Learning to ask God to help you evaluate your motives and wisdom to talk about the issue to move toward reconciliation––rather than arguing to win a fight is the first tool in building a NO REGRETS MARRIAGE.

 

Have you struggled with intimacy, and if so, what have you found that has helped?

 

I remember when we were first married sex was fantastic. After the babies came, life consisted of sleepless nights, exhaustion, and over-sensitized from being touched all day by the kids.

 

During that season making time to have sex became a real effort. While saying “not tonight” was tempting I had learned from the older women in my life that making love to my husband needed to be a priority.

 

Just as deeply as women need to connect with their husbands through conversation, God made our husbands deepest need to connect with us in the marriage bed. In the years of biblical marriage counseling we often meet with couples who admit sex has taken a back seat in their marriages. Men feel they must apologize for wanting sex, and wives feel like “doing it’ is just one more thing on their “to-do” list which often causes resentment.

 

The Bible calls husbands to live with wives according to knowledge. That means we are their coach. What once was romantic in a less stressful season of life may no longer feel like romance. For example, Steve used to bring me flowers when we were first married which spoke romance to me. However, when I was drowning in motherhood I had to learn to tell Steve that I appreciated the flowers, but real romance to me would be for him to roll up his sleeves, get in the mix and make all the crazies go to bed while momma got a few minutes alone in the shower to wrap my head around seducing him in the bedroom…not to mention shaving my unkempt legs and armpits!

 

In my book, A Christian Woman’s Guide to Great Sex in Marriage https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-christian-womans-guide-to-great-sex-in-marriage-rhonda-stoppe/1122499283?ean=2940151175883 I go into more detail about how a wife can learn to enjoy sex in the marriage bed.

 

And here’s a short audio of me teaching” What Sex Means to Him https://soundcloud.com/rhondastoppe/chapter-7-what-sex-means-to-him-stoppe

 

Do you struggle with communication with your spouse? What have you found that helps?

 

As a young wife I remember finding the best way to help my husband realize how I was feeling about a particular situation was through word pictures. For example…

 

After I had my third child I was plagued with postpartum depression. After that I was left with severe PMS. I had never had any hormonal imbalances or struggles with PMS until that time. My husband tried so hard to understand what I was dealing with, but I knew he just couldn’t grasp why I couldn’t just “stop” the way I would feel every 28 days.

 

One day I told my husband a story. “Imagine if you were a werewolf. And every full moon you would turn into a werewolf no matter how badly you tried not to. And the only hope you had during that time was that someone would keep away from you the people you loved so you didn’t eat them…” I’m not kidding you I almost saw the lightbulb appear over Steve’s head as it began to dawn on him how much I hated the hormonal imbalances and how completely helpless I felt whenever “the full moon” was upon me.

 

What I learned, talking so he can hear me means waiting until he is well rested, and well fed. And then trying to think of a way through a story to connect his emotions with my situation to help him empathize with me and my current situation.

 

How did you connect with your spouse when you were raising your children?

 

When our kids were little we would put on a movie for them and go into our room to connect for awhile. Sometimes it was just to talk, other times it was more intimate time together. The kids learned this was “mommy and Daddy’s time” and they were not to interrupt unless there was an emergency.

 

As the kids grew up and our oldest could watch the younger kids we would put the younger ones to bed, and then Steve and I would go to an all night home depot to shop for materials for whatever remodel project we were working on at the time. (We used to live in and remodel houses back in those days.)

 

My favorite story is of Steve & I dancing in the aisle at midnight to one of our favorite 1970 songs playing at Home Depot. It’s about finding ways to be romantic and create romance amidst the busyness and every-day-ness of life that has made our 35 years of marriage so special.

 

What do you see young wives struggling with today? What do you wish they knew?

 

I speak all over and the one complaint wives share with me repeatedly is that they do not have any godly mentors in their lives. As I share how much I value the Titus2 women God brought to my life when I was a young wife and mother, women reveal how much they long to find those kind of mentors in their own lives.

 

That is why I write the books I do, and speak as often as I do both on radio programs and at women’s events. Imagine if you had your own personal marriage or mommy mentor, that’s what I attempt to be through the pages of my books.

 

Often young women say, “I’d love to be mentored by you, but I’m not a reader.” To which I respond, “Well, you likely read Facebook all day long, so we’ve established that you’re a reader. I write books that are easy to read and feels like you’re just hanging out with me over a cup of coffee!

 

If you were to look back at yourself on your wedding day, what do you wish you would’ve known?

 

I would tell my younger self:

 

Your husband married you because he believes you will always be his best friend, greatest source of encouragement and love. Don’t lose sight of that by letting life get in the way. Make building your love for your spouse a high priority.

 

The only way you can love your husband with selfless love is if first you commit to LOVE GOD with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength (see Mark 12:30). Jesus said the priority of life is to love God with all of your being. Only then is it possible to live out Jesus second command, to love your neighbor as yourself. This means the only way I can love my husband (my children and anyone else for that matter) is if I commit the priority of my life to love God – beginning with a personal relationship with Jesus – and then daily growing to know and love God through studying His Word. When my love for God is right, He is free to love others through me with His unconditional love.

 

Anything else you would like to add?

 

Staying in love is all in your mind. We fall in love by how we think about a person, and we stay in love with him by choosing to dwell on those things that are good, right, honorable, and praiseworthy (See Philippians 4:8).

 

Listen to this short excerpt of me teaching : Staying in Love is All in Your Mind https://soundcloud.com/rhondastoppe/chapter-3-staying-in-love-stoppe

 

And then finally, JOY is strength so FIGHT FOR JOY! Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” This is a secret to building a NO REGRETS MARRIAGE.

 

Learning to fight for joy amidst life’s ups and downs is crucial to building the strength of your marriage. Your kids are watching to see if what you say you believe about God is true. If they see you facing life with supernatural joy they will more likely be drawn to Christ.

 

How did Rhonda’s interview speak to you? We’d love to hear!

 

*Share to win! You can win a FREE audio of A Christian Woman’s Guide to Great Sex in Marriage AND FREE ebook of If My Husband Would Change I’d Be Happy by Rhonda Stoppe!

Simply click “Share” to share Rhonda’s Interview, and a winner will be randomly selected at 9 am CST 7/7/17 and the name will be posted on Amanda’s Facebook Page!

Rules/Disclaimer: This promotion is open to those 18 and above in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.  Void where prohibited.  By “Liking” you enter and agree that this promotion is in no way associated with, administered by, or endorsed by Facebook; and acknowledge a complete release of Facebook by your participation.*

 

*Listen to more of Rhonda’s short audio excerpts taken from each chapter of her book: IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY

http://www.rhondastoppe.com/if-my-husband-would-change-id-be-happy-and-other-myths-wives-believe/

 

View More: http://jplazaphotography.pass.us/stoppe-family-2016

Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 30 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets. Rhonda’s book Moms Raising Sons to Be Men is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her book IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY & Other Myths Wives Believe is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages. To book Rhonda for your event and to learn more visit: www.NoRegretsWoman.com.

As a pastor’s wife, speaker, and author, Rhonda has helped women to: Discover significance and purpose for their lives; Impact the moral fiber of the next generation by raising children with integrity; Find victory over people-pleasing; Experience a No Regrets Marriage; Build an incredible legacy; Become more influential than they ever dreamed possible.

Watch for Rhonda’s new books to release with Harvest House Publishers in 2018:
-Real Life Romance
-The Marriage Mentor

2 thoughts on “Interviews With Wives – Rhonda Stoppe

  1. One of my favorite takeaways is the framing of mentoring. In a media-driven culture, it is easy to overlook that one of the positives of access to guidance and wisdom of others. I also love the wisdom of why our husbands chose us (for friendship, companionship, etc.). It is a beautiful reminder, among the pressures of being a wife.

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