Sometimes we encounter problems in marriage. That is inevitable. At times:
- We will be sinned against
- We will be hurt
- We will feel unloved
- We will feel lonely
- We will feel overwhelmed
- We will face DIFFICULT circumstances
- We will feel misunderstood
- We will be exhausted, sleep-deprived, physically/emotionally/spiritually drained
- Things will seem impossible to fix
- It will be tempting to view our husband as the enemy
- He will be wrong
- We will make mistakes
- We will sin
- Our husbands will mess up
- We will have bad days, so will our husbands
*** If you have VERY serious problems in your marriage, please seek godly help ASAP! If there are mental disorders, addictions, infidelity, physical abuse, extreme control and mind games going on in your marriage – PLEASE, PLEASE talk to a trusted pastor or Christian counselor or find appropriate help. These things go beyond the scope of my blog.
In these moments, how incredibly important it is for us to abide in Christ, to feast on His Word, to be willing to die to self, to extend grace, mercy and forgiveness and to be super sensitive to what God’s Spirit is speaking to us.
These times can be times of tremendous spiritual growth and opportunities for us to see God do HUGE things in our lives. They are also times of testing – where God refines our faith and reveals our true character so that we might allow Him to change us and make us more and more like Jesus.
How I pray that we will remember to keep Christ the center and focus of everything we think, say and do. I pray we will remember that this is ALL about Him. I pray we will respond to our husbands in His power and strength alone. I pray we will seek to please Christ alone. I pray we will find our contentment in Christ alone. I pray we will do what He commands us to do and prompts us to do because HE IS WORTHY of our obedience, worship, praise, reverence and devotion. And I pray we will remember that Jesus counts the way we talk to and treat our husbands as if we were doing those things to and for Him. May we be able to look past our husbands’ shoulders and see Jesus standing there in all His glory – face shining brighter than the sun, eyes blazing with love for us, arms wide open to us, feet ready to help us and the power of heaven ready to move mountains and do miracles as we trust in Him completely.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit may inspire us to:
- Stay quiet and wait
- Bless and not curse
- Acknowledge when our husbands have a hard day, too – and empathize with them
- Just stop what we are doing and really listen to them
- Spend a LOT of time in fervent prayer, maybe even with fasting, seeking God’s will and His glory in our life and our husbands’ lives and God’s protection, provision and wisdom for our husbands and our marriages
- Focus on meeting their needs for respect
- Just sit beside them and cuddle with them quietly – if they would appreciate that
- Pray about how we could honor their leadership in this difficult time
- Think about how we could use our words to give life and build up and encourage our men and show our faith in them
- Gently, respectfully, calmly, humbly bring up our husbands’ sin to him when the timing is right – only after a careful and thorough search of our own sin and sincere, godly sorrow and repentance of our own sin first (Matthew 7:1-5). If we do this, it must be in a spirit of teamwork, humility and without anger, self-righteousness or pride – sincerely desiring the best for our husbands.
- Overlook an insult
- Say, “I WANT to be able to trust you. What has happened has forced me not to be able to trust you right now. But I want to be able to trust you again. This is what I need in order to be able to rebuild trust… X, Y and Z.”
- Apologize for something we have done that wounded our husbands (without explaining or justifying our behavior)
- Repay evil with good
- Seek to bless our husbands and only do them good all the days of our lives
- Respond to sin against us without sinning in return
- Ask for a separation in very serious situations with the goal of reconciliation and seeking God
- Say, “It deeply wounds me when you look at porn. I feel betrayed and violated. Please don’t use it anymore. How can we fight this thing together? I’m on your team. Tell me how I can help. I will do whatever I can to support you so that we can overcome this.”
- Say calmly, “I am feeling really overwhelmed. I can’t do all of this.”
- Say softly, “I have a problem, would you please help me?”
- Realize that our husbands are far from God and that only a I Peter 3:1-6 approach will be effective, so, for now, no talking about spiritual things, church, the Bible, etc… but just being empowered by God’s Spirit to live out a life of respect, honor, grace, mercy and love to partner with God to draw our husbands to God and make it easier for them to hear His voice
- Realize that we are hormonal and can’t trust our feelings and say, “Honey, maybe I am hormonal right now? I choose to trust you more than my emotions. If you think everything is ok between us, I believe you and I choose to rest in that and trust that I will feel better in a few days.”
- Prayerfully involve a trusted godly male mentor or pastor when our husbands have serious, unrepentant sin and do not respond to us. (Use caution in this. I would reserve this approach only for very serious situations.)
- Realize that we are exhausted or have low blood sugar or need some time with God and go take care of ourselves so that we have reserves to be able to give of ourselves to our families.
- Lovingly, respectfully, gently come alongside our husbands and express concern for an addiction they have that is destroying them, letting them know we are on their team, that we want what is best for them, that we can’t sit by and allow them to continue on this path, that we want to look for help together.
- Lovingly, humbly, respectfully refuse to enable an addiction and contact Al-Anon or the Salvation Army or Celebrate Recovery for help!
- Say, “This is not ok” “please don’t do this” or maybe, “You are a better man than this. I know you are” if our husband sins against us
- Recognize that our husbands are grumpy sometimes if they are sexually frustrated and carve out time to give our men the attention they need.
- Share our emotions calmly, briefly without blame.
- Say what we want and desire in an unemotional, friendly, pleasant, concise way without manipulation, guilt or strings.
- Really listen to our husbands and be willing to accept constructive criticism graciously and to prayerfully consider what our husbands bring to our attention
- To say “That really hurt me.”
- To softly say, “Please don’t yell at me.”
- To say, “I want so much to trust you and to feel safe with you, but right now, I don’t feel safe.”
- Calmly, briefly say what we need when our needs are not being met – but then not pressure our husbands about doing what we want, but leave them room and be gracious
- Respond to our husbands with humor to lighten the heavy mood
- Put our hands on our husbands and pray for them (silently if they are far from God, but maybe out loud if they are receptive to that)
- Focus on the good things in our husbands.
- Focus on the things God wants to change in us and allow God to work in our husbands, realizing we are NOT the Holy Spirit
- Say, “I always want to honor and respect your leadership. What you are asking me to do is a very clear violation of God’s Word. I can’t do this. Please don’t ask me to do this.” (Going against our husbands’ God-given authority is a VERY SERIOUS thing that I do not take lightly at all. We will be held accountable for our biblical submission and respect for our husbands as leaders. For me, it would have to be something extremely blatant for me to refuse to follow my husband – murder, being an accomplice to a crime, immorality, adultery, idolatry, stealing, abortion, joining a cult, etc… Greg and I believe a husband’s authority (or any God-given human authority) is not absolute, that God’s authority and the authority of God’s Word is absolute and trumps a husband’s authority. We would also have to refuse if the government told us we had to renounce Jesus or worship an idol or if our boss told us to cover up her embezzling company money. We must obey God rather than men! No one answers to me for going against your husband’s authority. We all answer to God. I am not an authority on deciding when it would be appropriate to resist your husband. This would require great sensitivity to God’s Spirit and possibly godly counsel. Please be extremely careful and be VERY, VERY sure you are honoring God and acting in a spirit of respect toward your husband, not acting in a rebellious spirit or out of pride or contempt if you decide to not submit to something your husband asks you to do. That should hopefully be an extremely rare occurrence and only to be able to obey God’s Word. I am not saying that with every little disagreement about disputable matters we can just do what we want and ignore our husbands’ leadership. If it is a minor thing in scripture, if there are a variety of ways to interpret something, let’s honor our husband’s approach. If it is a matter of thinking we know God’s will and our husbands don’t, let’s say what we want and pray for God’s will and trust God to lead us through our husbands. Most things do NOT fall in this category – only very serious sin against God, in my view, would be a valid reason for me to respectfully refuse to do what my husband asked me to do. I hope to have a much more detailed post about this in the coming months. Such an important topic!)
Or, God’s Spirit may direct you to do something not even on this list. I don’t know what God may desire you to do in a particular situation.
What is most important is that we are so close to God and so filled with His Spirit that we clearly hear and willingly obey His voice and God’s Word and that we are seeking His glory above all else every moment – no matter what the personal cost to ourselves.
Much love to each of you!
For wives in very difficult marriages, please check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.