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Being Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally/Spiritually Shut Down

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From a sister in Christ who has walked this road and was willing to answer some of my questions about being married to a man who is very to himself and quiet…

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OUR BACKGROUND

This comes from being with my husband for 11 years (8 years of marriage), being his 4th wife, having 11 children between the two of us, 6 at home, 2 separations, and the last one almost ending in divorce (had a court date set). God still works miracles and although my husband did many things wrong, once i opened my heart to God he showed me how incredibly sinful i was being as a wife. Let me say that this email comes after being reconciled over a year and on June 21, 2013, we celebrated one year sobriety for him.

WHY MY HUSBAND WAS THE WAY HE WAS

First I want to say it is important as a wife to understand the REASONS her husband may be (non-communicative). In our case my husband finally opened up to me that he had been abused as a child an NEVER told anyone. This opened so many doors for healing for the both of us. He saw that I was still going to accept and love him and he could trust me and I understood that it wasnt anything that I had done for him to shut down and not even want to be intimate with me physically, but together we can overcome this.

To answer the questions….

1. How has God shown you how best to bless your husband?

God revealed to me that just because he needs to be alone and silent does not mean he doesn’t love me or is having an affair. Sometimes he loves to have me present in the room with him even if he doesnt feel like talking.. He just likes to know I am there. Other times he would prefer to go for a ride alone or stay home while me and the kids go somewhere and through Christ, I have realized that’s ok.

2. How do you handle your needs for emotional/spiritual connection in a godly way?

For any woman struggling with feeling alone, I highly recommend reading the book “Captivating.” It literally had me in tears and God spoke to me through it. There was part in particular talking about how God loves to give us “gifts.”  As I thought about it, I recalled times where I had seen things in nature that God knew I loved and He had shown me how much He loved me by giving me the “gift” of witnessing it. When I feel neglected or lonely, I turn to God.

3. How do you make it safe for your husband to share his feelings with you?

Oh my!!! I used to be so bad at this!!

I would ask my husband for advice on decisions with the kids, house, finances, etc and if I didn’t like what he said, I would voice that very strongly and do what I wanted to do anyway... talk about a shut down on his part!!

This took almost a year to regain his trust and it is still a work in progress.

I have had to SHOW him that I will respect his wishes over and over in order to get to where he is able to openly talk to me.  I can honestly say I think he feels I am a safe place now.  I try to listen to him an then offer my advice or opinion in a loving manner.  Even if  I disagree or am trying to point out something he has made a mistake on (and I do that rarely and usually only if pertinent) I do so in a loving manner instead of lashing out at him and belittling him.

(From Peacefulwife- some husbands feel disrespected if a wife offers any unsolicited advice.  Many men want to handle their problems on their own.  Some are only open to our advice if they ask us for our advice.  You’ll need to study your own husband to know what will work best for him. )

I am his other half and his partner, NOT his boss.

4. How does your husband show his love to you?

This is very difficult for him and for me to accept. My husband is not romantic.  He forgets things.  He’s not big on gifts or planning dates.

This had to be an acceptance on my part.

I know he loves me because

  • he listens to me
  • he values my opinions
  • he turns to me when he needs help
  • he comes home every night
  • he has given up alcohol

He doesn’t leave me little notes or presents and he doesn’t often surprise me or give me unexpected kisses.  I found  that I compared him to men that did those things and that was a trap from Satan.  

I have learned to read his facial expressions and nonverbal language and that’s enough for me .

 5. When did you learn to accept the ways your husband shows you love instead of expecting him to show it verbally?

I began a journey over a year ago to become a better wife. The first part of that journey only pushed him further away because it was too late.

He felt it was just a desperate attempt to get him to believe I had changed but

He didn’t believe it because it had been 10 years of me not listening to him and expecting things that weren’t his personality .

The journey is still ongoing but I don’t think he believed it was truly a change for me until I forgave him for an affair and loved him through it and he was able to tell me about his abuse.

6. Did you think marriage would change his personality and that he would talk more once you were married? If so, why?

This one doesn’t personally pertain to me because it wasn’t an apparent issue when we got married – but I do caution anyone who feels this way.  

Nothing can change a person except for God and that person’s will. 

You can pray for it, but it has to be a breaking of their heart and spirit to let God in… and frankly, it may need to be a breaking of your own heart to realize YOU are the one who needs to change.

7. What challenges have you faced in your marriage with communication?

I think this one I have pretty well gone over. It more or less had to be me realizing that my husband wasn’t really doing anything wrong. It was just his personality and I had to learn to work with him.

8. What makes your husband feel most loved/respected?

My husband feels the most loved and respected when he knows that I value his opinion.

  • If he is getting onto the kids and maybe doesn’t understand the situation or got the wrong kid, instead of calling him out in front of them,  I will ask for him to take a time out in the other room so we can discuss things.
  • In public, I let him speak.  So what if he got the day or the specific time wrong unless its someone’s birthday.  Does it really matter if the fish he caught was 5 lbs or 6 lbs?  Or who cares if the road you turned on to go to that cool place was on the right or the left??? Is it really worth making him feel inferior? It is very belittling to correct him in front of other people.

9. How have you been able to use your verbal/communication skills to adapt to your husband’s unique personality and needs?

I am a VERY communicative person. My husband is not. It is incredibly frustrating sometimes.

I have learned it helps me to write to him.

I write letters quite often.  I leave notes in his lunchbox, short texts throughout the day, etc.. Although he does not communicate much verbally, I do know that he enjoys reading my letters of affirmation. He likes to know that I respect him.

In situations like I listed earlier, I see the look on his face when I praise him in public or when I don’t correct him when he thinks I will – because he realizes he made a mistake. I used to call him all the time and interrupt his work. That was a huge distraction and annoyance for him.  I still want to do that because I like to hear his voice, but I have learned instead if I just absolutely must say something I jot it down and give him a note when he comes home.

There are so many other things I have learned personally.

While most people would have bailed on our marriage,  I am so thankful that I allowed God to use everything we have been through as a teaching tool.  It would be so easy to say he did all the sinning and I have every right to leave him – but in fact, I was a horrible sinner as well.

God is to be first in my life, and then my husband. I am learning that by working to please and help my husband I, in return, am finding more satisfaction and happiness.

It IS worth the effort! 🙂

RELATED:

The Introvert Husband – by the Genuine Husband

Being Married to a Man Who Doesn’t Talk Much – by Peacefulwife

How to Talk so Your Husband Will Listen and Listen So Your Husband Will Talk by Rick Johnson – AWESOME BOOK!!!!!!  I am going to be talking about this more soon!  But I heartily recommend it for single women and wives to learn to understand our men better and to learn how to better communicate in ways that are effective, respectful and powerful with our men – to bless them and our marriages.

37 thoughts on “Being Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally/Spiritually Shut Down

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. I prayed for wisdom around my situation and then read this this morning so wanted to acknowledge God working though the people that have the courage to post on your blog.

  2. “…REASONS her husband may be introverted…”

    Hi April, love your blog! Hello poster!

    Anyway, as an introverted person myself (in fact I’ve taken an official Myers-Briggs test and got INFP as a result), I took a bit of an offense to the insinuation that there is something inherently wrong with introverts. Rather, there are certain factors that can cause our introversion to “malfunction”, so to speak, and likewise for extroverts. Perhaps you meant he was uncharacteristically quiet or shut down at times? Personally, and as you’ve said, someone has to show they are a safe person for me to allow them in. A great book on this is “Safe People” by Henry Cloud (and someone else, his name escapes me, oops!). I took a small group class at church based on this book and it changed me for the better. Over the last couple years I’ve slowly went from a largely malfunctioning introvert so to speak, due to abuses, to a much less malfunctioning one (lol). In all I’m still stuck with the INFP profile and am okay with that.

    Anyway great post!

    1. Donni,

      There is nothing “wrong” with different personality types. The key, in my view, is our expectations. If we expect our husbands to be just like us – but they have a different personality, or are struggling with deep emotional/spiritual issues – it is going to be easy for us to feel resentful.

      I think as we can better understand our husbands and how they think, we can appreciate their personalities, their struggles and learn how best to approach them in order to bless them and build up the marriage.

      There are times, like in this wife’s experience with her husband, or in your experience, where introversion or being very non-talkative may be a response to abuse in the past. That is so important for our spouses to know so that they might be patient with us and maybe even help us to heal as we find sanctuary and safety with them in our marriage.

      My husband was shut down for a very long time, too. He had an introverted personality, but then he shut down much more after I treated him with disrespect for years – unknowingly.

      There are some things that are just personality traits we need to adjust to. But if our husbands are wounded by us or by others, I pray we might become a refuge, a safe haven and a place of healing for them.

      Thank you for sharing your story, 🙂

  3. Good Morning !

    I Have Verbalizing Issues That My Husband Really Dosen’t Care For .

    { Tone , Talking To Much For Clarity , And Something I Just Remembered . . I Interrupt As Well }

    { He Isn’t And NEVER Was One To Communicate .. So Really, My Verbalizing Issues Made Them Worse . . I Now Realize From What I Have Learned}

    So I Suggested , Writing Letters When Something Needs To Be Discussed . { I Xpress Better That Way , Too – But I NEEDED Communication , Face To Face With Him}
    So One Day . . He Came Home With A Spiral Notebook . . IT WAS NICE . . To Me It Was , Anyway !!

    ~ {When She Mentioned Letters , It Reminded Me Of That Moment In My Life} ~

    My Husband And I Communicated For Over An Hour Lastnight . { Once The Baby Was Down For The Night , And My Oldest Had Settled In }

    He Brought To My Attention By Saying . . ” Do You Realize That We Have Been Talking For Over An Hour , And In All Our Years Of Marriage . . We Have NEVER Done That ”

    It Is Indeed Incredible , How God Works !!

    I AM TRULY , THANKFUL

    1. Kimberly,

      I think writing things down or emailing can be very helpful – especially for people who need more time to collect their thoughts. It also keeps people from interrupting – and allows each spouse to speak his/her feelings/needs/perspective all at one time. For some people. It is much easier to organize their thoughts if they write than if they speak. Great idea!

      I am SO excited for you and your husband that you talked so much last night and enjoyed each other. HOW WONDERFUL! Thank you for sharing that. 🙂

  4. Amazing depth and heart to this woman who is seeking God’s blessings even more than the man she loves. And in that it is simple, she is seeing God’s promise that he told Abraham when Isaac asked where was the sacrifice – God Will Provide. And he still tells us that no matter how bleak our situation looks, when we truly trust him and walk in and by his Word – God Will Provide. May the Lord’s favor shine upon this marriage and the maturity and wisdom given from Heaven.

  5. Hello!
    I really enjoyed this post! My husband is a very quiet person who sounds to have a lot of the same personality “quarks” although it is just his personality. As far as I know he has never had any type of abuse or “cause” for his ways. Other than that is how his parents are. He is just very quiet and reserved to himself. I also find it very hard not to come off disrespectful. I try hard not to be but due to his quietness I tend to talk extra and that just seems to cause trouble. I often feel alone because he isn’t very verbal but he isn’t always very good at gestures either. This is a real daily work in progress! But I love him with all my heart and I know he loves me back. It just isn’t said or shown as often as I’d like in the way I prefer. We actually talked about this yesterday and he was saying i can’t believe you don’t see my actions show you how much I love you. But those actions he does do are things that were always expected of me growing up and never a “special” I love you sign. So most of the time he does something I don’t think oh this means he loves me, when really that is exactly what he is trying to show.

    1. Amanda,

      I need to find the post about romance a wife wrote a month or two ago… she talked about this very thing. She learned to interpret her husband’s gestures as “romance.” She would look very hard for the little things he did for her and then consciously say to herself, “Isn’t that romantic that he went to the store for me…” or whatever he did for her.

      I also learned to do this. THankfully – God made wives able to be pretty versatile with our language ability – so it is possible to teach ourselves to “speak” our husband’s language.

      I learned that my husband shows his love, too. He doesn’t use words to express love to me very often. He doesn’t write many love letters or loving emails – even now. He doesn’t usually say “I love you” unless I say, “I love you” first. He doesn’t give me a lot of compliments. He doesn’t give me a lot of verbal affirmation.

      But now – if/when he ever does any of those things – it is a HUGE treat to me.

      But most of the time – I am totally content and I have learned to receive love the way he shows it.

      – My husband shows me he loves me by working to provide for us. (Yes, I work some, too – but I know that for him, this is a huge way that he shows love to me – so I thank and appreciate him for it, often.)
      – He also loves to bring me things from the flea market. He likes for me to ask for things that he can look for to bring to me.
      – He likes to renovate the house to give me a beautiful home.
      – He also (now) will help with laundry without me even asking -especially if I am working that day.
      – Sometimes he takes us all on a walk on one of the beautiful nature trails nearby.
      – He takes the kids to school every morning so I don’t have to. He is always willing to stop by the store if I ever need him to.
      – He sometimes fills up my car with gas for me.
      – He tells me to slow down and cuddle with him and relax – that is a way he shows me he loves me.
      – He supports my blog and ministry and lets me talk about ideas with him and ask him questions about how he thinks. That shows me he loves me.
      – He comes home every night after work to be with me and our children – that is a HUGE expression of his love.
      – He plays with my hair when I sit beside him. That shows me he loves me.

      Maybe some other wives have husbands that DO things to show their love. That is often how men are. They would much rather SHOW their love by DOING something many times – than just talk about love. To a lot of men – words are cheap.

      If you want to know if your husband loves you – watch what he DOES for you way more than what he says.

      It is amazing just how romantic our husbands really are if we are able to learn to hear the way they express their love.

      It sounds like your husband loves you VERY much and is doing things often to show you his love. What kinds of things does he do for you? 🙂

      THank you so much for sharing!

      1. He is a very keep to himself kind of person. We don’t cuddle much anymore, which makes me sad. He isn’t very physical no pat on the back play with my hair type either although he used to be when we were dating. I am 9 months pregnant with a 3yr old and 22 mo old (whom neither seem to want to nap ever) so by the time he gets home from work (air force) I imagine I am a tad cranky, which I keep trying to remind myself of that. He does enjoy going to the store for me and he will happily do chores for me like dishes and laundry. But I have to specifically ask, then he asks me questions like how should I do this or that. Which I find irritating and tiring but I do know he is only asking 100 questions because he wants to do it perfectly for me. He likes to take our oldest on store runs so I can have a quieter house for awhile or take her with to the gym. He will always happily get up and get me a drink or snack or whatever I ask. I suppose when he stops doing those sorts of things is when I need to worry. He is very sensitive and I know it really hurts him to know he has hurt my feelings or made me feel unloved. I find myself telling him actions speak louder than words but then I seem to overlook his attempts, because it’s not the kind of action I was hoping for. I know I am more of the issue than he really is because I seem to have a different “love language” than he does and I tend to be selfish and hope he would change to my thinking but I know I should really try to be more accepting an take notice to his attempts and make his attempts know and show my appreciation more.

        1. Amanda,

          Your husband IS definitely showing you a lot of love – even though it is not verbally. That is actually pretty normal. Most men don’t value words very much, they value action. I would suggest smiling at him when he comes home! Hug him and welcome him home. THANK him for doing the chores for you. Many men wait to be asked to do a chore because to men, it is disrespectful to jump in and help someone unless they ask for help – to a man, that would imply that someone thought he was incompetent if they helped without his asking for it. So, I believe he is treating you with respect. That is a good thing! He wants to do things the way you would like them to be done – he wants to make you happy. 🙂

          Being 9 months pregnant with 2 small children is EXHAUSTING!!!!!!! (For you and for him!) I do hope you will learn to see the ways he shows his love and internally be able to translate – “Look how much he loves me! He is so romantic!” If you are able to accept the way he shows love – that is a huge gift you can give him – instead of wanting him to change to think more like a woman.

          It is great to hear from you!

          Congratulations on your baby on the way!!!! 🙂

          Much love!

  6. Yeah, I’ve learned to keep my yang mouth shut, even when he’s driving and we pass the correct exit ramp we were supposed to take! 😀

    1. Nena,

      Some husbands do take great offense if their wives tell them how to drive at all – even if the wife sees the husband is making a huge mistake.

      Other husbands would be offended if their wives did not say something if the wife knew the husband missed the exit.

      I’m glad you know your man and what he appreciates most in that situation. 🙂

  7. Great post! I found encouragement and practical advice in it.

    Can someone expand on question #5…how do u let go of the desire for words of love? My ‘love language’ is words of affirmation, and I really struggle with only hearing ‘I love you’ anbout twice a year and getting notes or other written words even less. I am starting to see that this is not his personality and I cannot somehow force him into doing this for me. But how do I let go of my heart’s desire for this form of communication? I feel like I’m supposed to stifle it somehow, which seems unnatural to me.

    God desires for us to praise him with our mouths, with our whole being. The Psalms are full of love letters David wrote to him. Song of Solomon is also very verbal. Isn’t my desire to be shown love verbally part of being created in the image of God, something to be embraced?

    Any wisdom would be much appreciated, I feel torn here.

    1. Victorious Spirit,
      I am definitely into words – I’m sure you can’t tell that at all. 🙂

      I used to demand and beg for love letters, words of affirmation, face-to-face DEEP conversations about feelings and emotions and spiritual things.

      For me – a HUGE step was to learn to accept my husband’s personality and the way HE expresses love instead of focusing on what I want.

      I personally had to lay down all of my expectations of my husband. And there were a LOT of them! You can search “expectations” on my home page if you want to. I have 5 posts just on that topic.

      I learned to get my need for words of love met from God and from His Word. I spent a few years absorbing myself in books to learn to understand my husband better, to learn to be a godly wife, to understand my husband’s language and world of respect and to learn to understand God’s design for masculinity and femininity. That helped me be able to appreciate the authentic masculinity in my husband and to accept him as he is instead of wanting to make him be just like me.

      In time, my husband began to open up more as he began to feel safe. But there are still lots of quiet times. Now – I am much more quiet than I used to be. I also get a lot of my need for words and connection through blogging.

      Words of love are wonderful! As Bob Grant says “Words are for women” -we LOVE words! It makes sense – because we represent the church in marriage and the church depends greatly on God’s Word to know Him and on prayer to connect with Him.

      Bob Grant also says “words are not for men.” Men tend not to give words a lot of value or weight. That is why our words of love are not particularly powerful with them but our respectful BEHAVIOR can be dramatically powerful. When you really want to communicate something strongly with your man – use non verbals, few words and actions. Sex, for many men, is a huge expression of our love for them. They long to know we physically desire them. If we are upset, distancing ourselves and using very few words “I’m upset” can be WAY more powerful than a one hour monologue about how hurt we are. You can check out the post from last week about “A Wife Handles Her Grumpy Husband Beautifully” to see that principle in real life.

      The more we accept our men as they are- the less we pressure them – the more they see our genuine respect and faith – they will often eventually begin to open up more. They may never say all the things we’d like them to and they may never talk as much as we would like to – but many times, things can improve as we begin to understand them better.

      For me – I began to find all of my contentment only in Jesus – and then I can be content no matter what my husband does or does not do.

      I can ask for what I want/need – but then I am gracious no matter what the answer – when I am living in God’s power.

      ie: “Honey, I”d love to relax, cuddle together and chat sometime tonight for about 10-15 minutes. That would mean the world to me. When we have time to talk, I feel so connected to you.” (in a pleasant, friendly voice with a smile – then let it go. Let him tell you when he is ready. But be ok even if he doesn’t invite you to talk.

      I hope this might help! Please let me know how you are doing! 🙂

  8. Great Posts! I am learning many things here. I see where about Being, Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally/Spiritually Shut Down . I have read all posts. I also, like some here been abuse in many way, but with the different that I didn’t bring this into my marriage, I trust my husband, I love to help another, I am very talkative, I love being with him and listening to him, He is also talkative, every friendly, love to help other and be there for other and We are both Christian. please keep this in mind, He has been unfaith to me, he has been mean to me emotionally, verbally, and he play mind games with me, sending me mix signal, has if I were a child, he doesn’t ‘t talk to me, we can be all day together, but not a word, I have to beg for him to help me when something is broken, I have to ask him not to get so offensive with me and use dirt words, I will say I remind him that we are Christians and as Christians, God would not like this way of living, when I speak he doesn’t listen, he can open doors for elderly and women than go in front of me and let the door go and 3 months ago he visit his family in NY, apply for a job keep in mind what I wrote about him, how he is with others, Jus to let me know 1 day in advance that he apply from a job in NY and he got the job and was leaving. He said he would send for me once he was stable. All this without tell me. I sincerely believe, that I can not change him and I am not trying to, But I do believe in giving second chance, I believe in forgiveness and prayer, but most of all I believe God can change and save a marriage. People tell me I love to much and he know it and that’s why He is like this with me. So Please what I am I doing wrong. God bless you all

    1. Pureheart,

      It is wonderful to meet you!

      I am SO SO SORRY about the pain you have in your marriage. 🙁

      When was your husband unfaithful to you?

      It does not sound like he is close to God right now. I believe that is why he does not listen to your words about God.

      I Peter 3:1-6 is your most powerful way to influence your husband to go toward God. As you have God’s power in you and as you obey God in everything – and you don’t use words but show God’s love and peace in your life by your attitude and actions – that may affect him. I don’t know.

      Has he been in contact with you?

      Has he said what he wanted from you?

      What was his parents’ marriage like?

      What was your parents’ marriage like?

      How long have things been bad between you?

      YUCK.

      I am glad to pray with you for your marriage and your husband. How I pray God will open his eyes. You cannot open his eyes to his sin. But God can. I cannot tell if you are doing anything wrong. If you want to talk about how you talk to him, the tone of voice, any words you use when you are angry, you could.

      It is possible that if you are respectful to him, he may respond. But he may not.

      It sounds like his heart is very hard toward you and to God.

      I’m glad to talk with you some more if you would like to.

      My biggest concern is your relationship with Christ and focusing on finding your contentment in Jesus. I believe He can heal you and can bring good even from this awful situation.

      I wish I could hug your neck!!!!

      1. God Bless, Peaceful Wife, He was unfaithful in 2009, it was very, very hurtful, I was overwhelmed with emotion, because I trust him , but my Lord helped me heal, I won’t lie, it took a while, but I forgive him. Yes, he calls and he said he misses me, he send for me twice, but things just aren’t right, because he would start an argument, little things,so I would leave. and once I am here, he call and say he love me, he would ask me if I love him, I answer, if I didn’t love u, I would have not come, to be here with you. His mom die when he was 2yrs. His, Father remarried and than they divorce. His father was a Pastor. He did tell me he was molested, as a child. I was also raped at the age of 19, so I understand. We been together for 12yrs, up and down. before we became Christian, we were do drugs, drinking, clubbing, lots of fight and I was away there no matter what happened. One time I left Him, because he became abusive. He looked for me, but he didn’t find me. I stop living the life of drugs and drinking when I left him. one day he found me and told me he love me and we got back together, but in different terms, He agree, we started going to church. I grateful to my Lord, He stop drinking, doing drugs. We married, but something, He and I didn’t leave was the was we treat it each other with respect. So my refuge was my God, and For the Glory of God, I started to speak in tongues, The more the Lord would work with me, the angrier, he would be toward me and till this day it hurts. The Lord would give me words, throw a Pastor or a Visitor and His angry would grow, a Sister in Christ once told me, she felt my husband was spiritually jealous, and two months ago, I had the courage to ask and he said yes. He said why can God speak to him, and I told him, he does, but you have to be willing to listen. I am lost for word, because I though, that being in Christian and Marry thing would change, He still argues, I am really tier and don’t have the strength, I have meant to him, I refuse to be the person, I was back then and I will not fight, don’t have the energy, I will not curse at him, it doesn’t please God, and all I want is true peace, harmony, love and what the blessing God has, its for both, just not for me. But what fright me is, He preaching the plan of salvation to people, but yet if I speak of God, he get angry at me and If I tell him trust in God or God will provide. He wont hear it. He is a sweetheart with everyone expect me, please What’s going on. I try to help, but I don’t knew what else to do, by keep praying for Us. The last thing, I told him is, I am going to look more than ever for the love of Christ in my life, because I will confess somewhere along the line, my faith was leaving, a devil lie.
        God Bless U all

        1. Pureheart,
          I have responded to you mostly on the comment you left on another post. I wish I could hug your neck right now!!!!!!!!! I am SO sorry for the pain you have been through.

          But here is something I just put up on my FB this afternoon that may be helpful:

          If things are not going well in your marriage, here are a couple of things that I personally suggest you NEVER, EVER do (for whatever my opinion is worth)…

          – Demand to have a deep talk with your husband about “where is our marriage heading?” Asking him to give you guarantees about your future relationship when he is shut down and already has one foot out the door will drive that final nail into the coffin of the relationship many times. I know that we women want to TALK about things – but the more you talk in this situation, the more you try to make him give you the answers you want, the more he will want to go far away – if not physically, than emotionally.

          – Ask him to explain all the intricate meaning and emotion behind something that he did that was uncharacteristically affectionate, kind, generous or sweet. Please don’t do that! Just THANK him and smile. Savor the gift. Do not have a discussion about it.

          – Focus on the things he “should” do – either telling him what to do or thinking about what he should do. That does not go to a happy place for you. It will turn you into a resentful, powerless, angry, bitter victim who tries to demand that he act a certain way or you cannot be happy with your life. You become his prisoner – and a prisoner to your bitterness. You lose your fellowship with Christ as you cherish sin in your heart. Then you have zero power to be content unless he does what you want. No! No! NOT GOOD! I have been down that road. Went down it for 14+ years. It is not worth it! YOU have the power to be content in your life no matter what he does because you can find all of your contentment in Christ alone. As you focus on asking God to change you and thanking God for anything good in your man. That leads to a healthy, happy, joyful, peaceful POWERFUL place where the resources of heaven come pouring into your lap.

          One of the reasons that God instructs believing wives whose husbands are far from God not to use words to win their husbands to Christ – is that the farther a man is from God, the less he can hear his wife’s words about spiritual or moral things.

          At that point – when our husbands are living in disobedience to God’s Word – EVERY WIFE WANTS to lecture, preach, nag, scold, criticize and try to verbally drag her husband to Christ. If we are far from God – and not filled with His Spirit – that is exactly what we will try to do. Every time.

          And it will NEVER EVER work.

          IF we want our husbands to be drawn TO Christ – God gives us the prescription in I Peter 3:1-6. This is our POWER in Christ – to obey Him, to trust Him, to do things His way, to allow His power to work in us to make us the godly women He wants us to be and to trust Him to be the Holy Spirit in our husbands’ lives.

          Our power is NOT IN WORDS. In fact – our words are poison to our marriages and to our husbands if they are far from us and far from God and we try to talk to them about it. Our words cannot make things better in that situation. Our words about spiritual things and about our marriage and what our husbands “should” do will only repel them from us and from God.

          If they are going to be able to receive anything from us when things are not going well – it will only be the Spirit of God working in us to empower us to respect the good in them, to cooperate with their leadership (if they are not clearly asking us to sin), our smiles, our encouragement, our faith in Christ and our faith in the good parts of them. As we become the wives of God’s dreams, God may use us to help draw our husbands back to Himself. And He will get us out of His way so that our husbands can hear HIS voice. Our voice has to stop first so that they can hear His voice.

          My husband told me years after I began this journey:

          “I knew you were close to God, much closer than I could ever be. I believed that I was a bad husband and a bad Christian. I began to believe I could never be close to God like you were.”

          “When you stopped all the negative things – the criticism, the lecturing, the nagging, the scolding, the telling me what to do, the condemnation, the sighing like I was an idiot, the eye-rolling, the angry tone of voice, the angry body language… it was like someone took a bunch of static off of the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”

          “Then, when you began to add positive things – encouraging me, praising me if I did something well, thanking me for things you appreciated, showing real faith in me, respecting the good you saw in me… it was like someone added an amplifier to the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”

          Ladies,

          God gives us the commands He does because His wisdom is infinitely higher than our own! He understands men. He knows how marriage is supposed to work. He is able to heal broken marriages. If we want God to work in our husbands’ lives – we MUST be willing to do things God’s way – even if we don’t like it or don’t understand it. If we will trust Him and walk by faith – it becomes the most amazing adventure ever. We don’t have guarantees our husbands will change or when they might change. But God does promise to change us and make us more like Jesus. I desire Him to find each of us faithful as wives that we might stand before Him at the end of this short life with no regrets and that He might commend us for a job well-done.

          Much love to you!

      2. I’m so sorry to hear of your pain too!
        And I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that a wife should always stay with and try to help her husband, no matter what. It sounds like this man is downright abusive. And even the Bible says that adultery is grounds for divorce. God loves us all, and I truly believe that He doesn’t want us to continue to be abused. If the marriage is in trouble, then yes, work on it. Go to counseling. But someone said it earlier: you cannot change him yourself. All you can do is do your part to work on it. If he won’t do his part to fix the problems, treat her respectfully, listen to God, and become a good husband, then I think God would understand if she headed for divorce court. This type of life is bound to be negatively affecting her own walk with God. Some people in this world only know how to take and not to give, and will just drag you down and drain you emotionally. At some point, it has to stop (And I don’t say all of this lightly, I’m a Christian and have been married for 19 years. But mine isn’t a happy union either, and after going through 3 rounds of counselling totalling 18 months (the last 6 months with a Christian counsellor and with him quitting all 3 times). I truly tried to do what we talked about in there, and I really tried to listen as well as to work on fixing the communication problems. But I was blown off by him 3 times, to the point where I frankly feel like I am done.

        1. Kathy Perdue,

          There are certainly times that separation may be necessary. That would be a decision to make with much prayer and fasting. I have a post about that issue, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

          And there are also times we need to confront our husbands about their sin. I have a post about that, too, “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.”

          There are sometimes when God calls a spouse to wait and pray. And there are times when God prompts a believing spouse to leave. I pray each one who is suffering in a difficult marriage will hear God’s voice and whispers clearly. Sometimes separation is a much needed step in healing. Other times, God works while a spouse waits patiently.

          Praying for God’s wisdom for you, Kathy, and for Pureheart. These are certainly very painful, difficult issues.

          Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Sorry, when I was writing all this, I became overwhelm with everything I was writing and I felt, I put out my life out there, but is this can help me or someone else Glory be To God. I am still looking to live the life has for me and will keep praying for all in the love of Christ.

  10. Enjoyed what i read thank you ……..i know why my husband has shut down and will not conform ….my daughter died in feb and her son is here all the time its my second husband so not his grandson very difficult time …im do glad my faith is strong thanks for listening lindax

  11. Hi April,

    What if you were dating a man who is showing these signs? If course the man is God loving and is a good man, but his personality is slowly showing to be quiet and withdrawn sometimes. Do you love them through it as God has commanded wives to serve their husbands?

    1. N,

      Is that simply his personality? Or is there some major stress or addiction going on?

      If this is his personality, are you willing to accept him for who he is and that this is probably how he will be even after marriage?

      Much love!

      1. Thank you for your comment April!

        Yeap it’s definitely personality although work and stress makes it worse sometimes. You’re right, it’s my choice to accept his personality as he is. 🙂

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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