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“I’m Going to Stop Pursuing My Husband” (in the wrong ways)

I am not an expert, a certified counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor.  My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules or guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him, to seek His wisdom in the Bible and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not.
NOTE – I write specifically for wives who tend to have strong Type A personalities. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that some of my blog posts may not be a good fit for them that are written more for the Type A wives. If you are a more passive wife with a more dominating husband or if your husband is abusing you, please check out my recommendations at the bottom of the post. This post is not about an abusive husband.

Today’s post is from a Fellow Wife who is determined to stop demanding things from her husband, expecting him to be totally responsible for her happiness, idolizing him, and to learn to give him space and allow him to make his own choices without trying to make him choose to give her attention, affection, phone calls, emails, texts, etc… We are not talking about giving him the cold shoulder, being bitter, resenting him, giving up on the marriage, giving up on loving and respecting our husbands here.

This is about stopping ourselves from attempting to force our husbands to give us the attention, love and affection we want. It is about stopping trying to control our husbands in an unhealthy way. I am not saying “don’t ever say what you need or want.” 

It is important to respectfully say what you need and want – you can check out yesterday’s post about that. But we might only say what we want once – not 200 times. And this is about being able to graciously accept the times when our husband cannot or will not meet our needs – and how we can find strength in Christ and depend on Him and find total acceptance, love, purpose, peace, joy, strength and our identity in Him alone.
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FROM A FELLOW WIFE:
In my ever analytical, think on paper mind, I have made up some goals going forward with my husband…. I want to share them and ask if you have any to add or any suggestions?
What I really mean I am going to do (a concrete plan of action) when I say I have quit trying to force him to show me his feelings for me…
GOALS/PLAN–(In no particular order)–:
  • Stop calling him so often. (Limit calls to when issues are immediate/letting him know about the kids & I after dr apps.)
  • Stop asking him every day after work, “So, did you think of me today while you were at work?” (Like I had been doing.)
  • Allow him the time and space to be affectionate and sexual instead of pressuring him constantly.
  • Tell him when I would like to go out and leave it open for him to take it from there/respond in his own way.
  • Give him more time and space overall… pulling back a bit can draw him to me. (“Men respond to distance, not words” –  a quote by Bob Grant.). Allow my distance to speak rather than my words.
  • Remember that it is not healthy for me to pursue him for either me or our marriage. Remember it should be him pursuing me. Give him that chance.
  • Not talk about this subject with him anymore unless he asks me questions or brings it up. I said I was done, so be done. When I feel hurt or overwhelmed, choose to pray about it instead and ask God to work on him, me & our marriage.
  • Stop fishing or hinting for compliments.
  • Not expect my husband to be Christ to me – to see disappointment in him as a flag that I may have my husband as an idol.
  • Allow him to choose to be with me or not when the kids and I cannot attend church events or family functions due to illnesses. Let go of this and do not try to demand for him to stay with us.
  • Stop trying to prove to his family how much he loves me & stop trying to push him into showing it. This only makes me look insecure. Instead, give him the space to show it and it will mean MUCH more when he does. They will get the point MUCH better that way.
  • Continue to try to meet his needs, be a respectful wife, and be grateful for any effort I see.
  • Realize and remember that anything negative his family does has more to do with them than me. That speaks of THEIR personal problems and issues and is not my problem.
  • Remember that no matter how his family acts, they cannot and will not change the fact that he deeply loves me.
I realize that I will fall short at times but having a list of GOALS that I am working toward is helpful to me… I know I am so type A, but this is how I function best.
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FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Here are some of my thoughts for whatever they are worth…
This is a REALLY important part of dying to self. It is PAINFUL!!!!!! It feels like you will never get what you want and need from your husband if you can’t constantly tell him what you want and need.

But verbal pressure does not usually motivate men!

If I am frequently insisting on my husband sending me emails/texts/messages, calling me, giving me affection, giving me attention, having intimacy with me physically – I put him in a lose/lose situation.
His two choices are:
1. Disrespect himself by “submitting” to me.
2. Refuse to do what I demand, look like a “jerk” and risk my unhappiness.
A man will usually see that even if he did what his wife insists that he do this time, she will not be satisfied for long. After awhile, he gives up trying to make his wife happy. It seems completely impossible. She seems to be a black hole of insatiable needs. (This is true especially when a wife has her husband as an idol and expects him to be responsible for her joy, happiness, contentment, emotions and purpose in life instead of depending on Christ for those things.)
Something in a man just won’t allow him to be told what to do or ordered around. He won’t respond well to demands. No grown adult would, really. God designed the husband to be the leader and the wife to honor the husband’s leadership. Not the other way around.
Also, he knows that if he does what she wants, just because she told him to, his actions are meaningless. A man wants to do loving things for his wife because he wants to do them, not because she kept telling him to do them.
  • It is not that a husband in this position doesn’t care about his wife or love her. The issue is that he needs some space to breathe and he needs less verbal pressure so that he can do what he believes is best on his own. He has to be able to choose to love her his way. He has to be able to have the freedom to have his God-given free will, just like everyone needs to have.

I have heard it said, “The only thing worse than a man you can’t control, is a man you can control.”

Now, I am actually really thankful my husband wouldn’t bend to my demands earlier in our marriage. He has a backbone and convictions. Those are good things for a leader to have – to refuse to cave when he doesn’t believe something is right.
THIS IS WHERE A WIFE MUST FACE HER DEEPEST FEARS:
  • What if he really doesn’t love me and never talks to me, touches me, emails me or even stays in the same room with me again?
  • If I don’t constantly tell him what I need and want, how will he know what I want?
  • He doesn’t really care about making me happy at all – now my backing away is just going to prove how unloving he is.
  • I have to give up on my dream marriage if I don’t try to make it work right. I may lose everything that matters to me if I stop trying to control things.

GOOD NEWS:

What most wives don’t realize is – when they take their emotional hands off of their husbands’ emotional throats – and they calm down and just wait – THAT is pretty attractive to most husbands. A calm, gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear attracts God and husbands.

No, there is no guarantee that your husband will be more loving if you stop trying to control him. But – if you continue to try to control him, I can guarantee you he won’t be more loving! God’s way works. He has wisdom that is infinitely higher than our own. 🙂

Men respond much better to respect and a joyful, cooperative attitude, than angry demands.

I know my husband sure does!

UNDERSTANDING A HUSBAND’S LOVE

Many wives do not realize that a husband’s love is usually pretty stable and constant. Unless he leaves, or is cheating, or actively saying, “I don’t love you anymore,” most husbands’ love remains pretty constant day after day. Most husbands don’t understand why wives seem to need so much reassurance of their love. They believe they are showing love by providing for the family, being there, being faithful, doing things to help their wives and children. Words don’t always mean a lot to men. They often try to show their love through actions.

When I began to understand my husband’s concept of love, I was able to just rest in the knowledge of his love – even without constant words of affirmation and assurance. But also, I put my primary trust and faith in Jesus and rest in His love and peace – so I can be unshaken.

DYING TO SELF IS PAINFUL. TEARING OUT IDOLS IS PAINFUL.

This is a difficult part of the journey – where we must lay down all of our dreams, our wisdom, our plans, our desires, our marriage, our husbands, our future, our happiness… and lay it on the altar before Jesus. We must be willing to give up what we want so much – the things we have wanted more than we wanted Jesus. And it is time to seek His will, His wisdom, His plans, His desires, His priorities and hold everything loosely so that He can give and take whatever He sees is best.

Will we trust God? Or will we continue to trust self – which is idolatry?

It is a pivotal question in our spiritual lives and our marriages. One we may have to ask more than once per day.

Is God really big enough to meet my needs and take care of me if I trust Him? Is He sovereign enough?

These are questions we must each wrestle through on our own. I am glad to talk with you and encourage you and pray for you as you wrestle through these difficult issues and decide for yourself whether God is worthy of your trust, worship, adoration and total submission to His Lordship or not.

I promise – there is no peace apart from trusting Christ with ALL.

POST SCRIPT 2017 –

This wife and her husband are closer than ever now and have a much stronger marriage than ever before. The issues she discussed in this post have been resolved. He is much more affectionate now. She doesn’t have to beg for attention. He has drawn much nearer to her and has been so protective of her since she has given up control and has shown him honor and respect. It has been amazing to watch the Lord slowly heal this marriage.

SHARE:
I’d love to hear from some wives who have been through this part of the journey and what they realized they needed to stop and what they started doing differently and what happened.
And I would love to hear from some husbands who might better be able to explain how unpalatable it is for a wife to demand attention and affection. I’d also love to hear what kinds of things a wife might do that would be endearing to her husband and that would draw him to her.
Thanks, y’all! 🙂
OTHER POSTS FROM A FELLOW WIFE:
RELATED:
To see how A Fellow Wife is doing in August of 2015 – and what she wishes the new her could tell her old 2012 self, please click here.
FOR MORE PASSIVE WIVES WITH MORE DOMINATING/CONTROLLING HUSBANDS:
Posts by Radiant may be a good fit.
FOR WIVES WHOSE HUSBANDS ARE ABUSING THEM:
If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! My blog is not written specifically for wives whose husbands are dangerous, unhinged, not in their right minds, actively addicted to drugs/alcohol, etc… I would encourage wives in such situations to seek counsel in person if at all possible by someone very experienced with that particular issue.
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