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A Wake Up Call for Wives

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We all hear in the news about cyberbullying and how many teenagers commit suicide over being bullied online as well as in person at school.   I know that all of us want to see bullying stopped and all of us want to see all suicides and suicide attempts stopped.  We don’t ever want anyone to feel that suicide is a good option.

BULLIES  DO THINGS LIKE:

– call people awful names

– insult people

– assassinate people’s character, worth and dignity as human beings

– say negative things about them to others

– bash their victims verbally on Facebook or in social media

– try to make their victims look dumb, incompetent or bad in front of others

– send frequent messages to people to devalue them, put them down and ridicule them

– use condescending words, tone of voice and body language to try to humiliate their victims

– try to turn other people against their victims

– act like they are “better than” those they hurt

– try to cause as much emotional pain as possible to others

– show no remorse, in fact, they seem to delight in inflicting as much pain as possible

  • We as moms and women want our children – and all children – to feel safe, accepted, loved, respected and precious.  We want them to know that God loves them and that He has amazing purpose for them.  We want them to know that they are image bearers of God and that their lives are important and sacred – not to be trashed and wasted.

Most of us would do almost ANYTHING to keep our children from being bullied.

What about our husbands? 

I believe most of us DEEPLY love our husbands.  You wouldn’t be reading about becoming a more godly wife if you didn’t love your man.

What if we found out that someone was using these same bullying tactics on them?

Take a look at that list about what bullies do to their victims again.   Think about how you would feel if someone was mistreating your husband in these ways.

Now…

Let’s think about how WE treat our husbands.

Yikes.

I am ashamed to say it now,  but I did some of these things.  I didn’t see it at the time.   I felt unloved. He was so shut down, I felt justified in how I treated him because of my own pain. I didn’t think he had feelings.  He never verbalized that  I hurt him.  I had no idea my husband was shut down and unplugged mostly because my behavior wounded him. 🙁

If you are using even one of these bullying tactics on your husband, today is the day for this behavior to stop.  It is NOT right for us to treat anyone like this!

The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21a

HUSBANDS ARE IMPORTANT PEOPLE, TOO

There are husbands out there, even in Christian marriages, who feel extremely unappreciated,  disrespected, unloved, unvalued, depressed and hopeless.  I don’t want ANY of our husbands to feel that way – not if there is anything we can do about it!

We are not responsible for our husbands’ feelings and emotions.  Each person is responsible for himself or herself before God.

We ARE responsible for how we treat our husbands, how we speak to them, how we act around them, making our marriage our first human priority and becoming more and more the godly wives God desires us to be.  God commands us to treat our husbands with honor, respect, godly love and cooperation – working toward unity on our end of the marriage.

  • I pray that we will all desire our husbands to feel safe, accepted, respected, loved and precious.  I pray that we will want them to know that God loves them and that He has amazing purposes for them.  I pray that we will want them to know that they are image bearers of God and that their lives are important and sacred – not to be trashed and wasted.  They are sons of God if they are believers.  If they are not believers, Christ still died for them and desires them to come to Him and become sons of God. 

I pray that our husbands will see in the way we treat them that they are valuable and greatly treasured by us and by God – not only for what they do but mostly for who they are.  Let’s think about how God might desire us to treat His sons, whom He dearly loves.  And let’s remember that Jesus counts the way we treat our husbands as if we are doing and saying those things to Him.

SOME RISK FACTORS I BELIEVE EVERY WIFE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

I heard some very sad news recently – that inspired me to want to write about this topic. So, let’s talk about something that is very serious.

I don’t know if you have looked at national suicide statistics recently.   It is a most unpleasant topic, to be sure.  I am going to list a few suicide risk factors our husbands may have that might surprise us as wives (These are risk factors for both depression and for suicide.  Not everyone who experiences these issues will be depressed and not everyone who experiences these situations is at risk for suicide – but some men are. I think it is worth a minute or two of our time to really think about these issues.):

  • unemployment – facing unemployment is more difficult for many men than facing terminal cancer. (Sadly, I cannot remember for sure which book this is from.  I will add the name of the book when I can think of it!). Men tend to find a huge part of their identity in their careers and ability to provide financially.  Unemployment is often a time of serious depression for men.  Our husbands are especially spiritually/mentally/emotionally fragile during this kind of stress.   They need our support, faith, understanding, love and respect more than ever in these kinds of situations!
  • marital tension – If he believes his opinions, desires, feelings and ideas don’t matter or aren’t important to his wife, that is demoralizing for a man.  If he tries to fulfill his God-given role as leader of the family (I Corinthians 11:3), but his wife won’t cooperate with his leadership or usurps his authority and takes over, insisting she is always right (like I used to) –  it is a lose/lose situation for a husband AND for the wife, too – although she cannot see it at the time.   He may allow her to do as she wishes to try to keep the peace, even if he strongly disagrees with his wife’s decision- but he knows he is not fulfilling his role as the leader, protector and provider for his family.   He knows he can’t force her to follow him.  Even the best leader on the planet has to have willing followers.   If he desires to please his wife but she seems impossible to please and is never happy with him, that is extremely depressing for many men.  If all he sees from his wife is contempt for who he is, that she thinks of him as a failure, that she looks down on him and that she doesn’t respect him – that is a very heavy, lonely, painful burden to bear for most men.  If he longs for physical intimacy with his wife, but she often refuses him – that can be another source of excruciating pain for many men.
  • separation and divorce – divorced men are four times as likely as married men to commit suicide.  They have often lost most of their income, their children, their home, usually their friends, many times their church, their wives… and they often have very few people they can go to for emotional/spiritual support.  Men do not like to be “failures.”  “Failing” at marriage can be more painful to many men than any other pain they ever experience in their lifetime.  Marriage is supposed to last “till death do us part.”  When we divorce, it is like tearing out half of our souls.  The damage can be incalculable – and, men are often much less able to handle that kind of pain than women are (Check out the CBS news report link at the bottom).

These are not remotely all of the risk factors that could trigger a man to feel very depressed or to consider suicide.  Some other things that increase risk factors are substance abuse, isolation, family history of suicide, personal history of suicide attempts and having access to a gun.  This is not a comprehensive study of depression in men or all the reasons why men commit suicide.

But this is, I hope, a wake up call, to us as wives to consider how we might bless our men and not hurt them, especially if they are already in a dark place.

SOME OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS

  • Men often have different symptoms of depression than women do:  (From WebMD – Common symptoms of depression include loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities, fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and apathy. In women, depression may be more likely to cause feelings of sadness and worthlessness. Depression in men, on the other hand, may be more likely to cause them to be irritable, aggressive, or hostile.)
  • If your husband talks about wanting to die, wanting to kill himself, wanting to hurt others, wanting to end it all – please take him seriously and try to get help!
  • Men can be extremely depressed and not talk about it.  This makes it easy for some wives not to realize the seriousness of the problem before it is too late.
  • If your husband says that he feels hopeless about your marriage, disrespected, unimportant or like he doesn’t matter to you – please take his feelings seriously!  Please listen to him just as attentively as you would want him to listen to you if you told him you were feeling unloved.
  • If a man has multiple risk factors going on at once – he is at greater risk for depression and possibly suicidal thoughts.  Be sensitive to the strain that is on him – be his partner and teammate and helper to work through the issues together instead of turning on him.
  • When men are stressed because of marital conflict/separation/divorce, they are also more likely to have heart problems, high blood pressure and physical health issues than women are.

Men tend to measure their success as men by the happiness of their wives.  

I am not saying they SHOULD measure their success as men by our happiness.  But they often do.

  • I wish they would measure their success as men by seeking to please Christ alone and seeking His approval alone – just like I desire to see wives measure their value and acceptance by the love and grace and mercy of Christ not by what their husbands do or do not do.

I know men seem SO BIG and tough.

They ARE on the outside.

But men have tender hearts.  They have emotions and feelings, too!  They may not verbalize them like we do.  But they hurt and hurt deeply when we disrespect them, treat them with contempt, laugh at them, bash them in public, make fun of them in front of others, undermine them as fathers, minimize their concerns and ideas, belittle them and use sarcasm to cut them down.

A man’s wife has the power to hurt him emotionally and spiritually in ways that no one else on the planet has the power to do.  She is past his walls and defenses.  She has the ability to destroy him with her words, her disapproval, her rejection, her self-righteousness, her withholding herself sexually from him and how she talks about him and to him – if she chooses to.

Or – a wife can use her incredible power over her husband to bless him and do more good to him than anyone else on the planet can do. She can build him up, encourage him, honor him, admire the good in him, see the hero in him and inspire him to be his very best self!

*** If you have SERIOUS issues in your marriage – if one or both of you are depressed, if there is physical abuse going on, substance abuse, uncontrolled mental health disorders, infidelity or you are considering separation/divorce – please find appropriate, godly help ASAP!

RESOURCES:

CBS News – Men Wear Divorce Badly

WebMD – Depression in Men

National Institutes of Mental Health – Suicide Statistics and Prevention

Protective Factors to Help Prevent Suicide (CDC):

Protective Factors

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
  • Family and community support (connectedness)
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation

CDC Statistics

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Could My Disrespect Contribute to My Husband’s Depression?

Being a Good Follower

Dealing with Financial Stress in Marriage

Supporting My Husband’s Leadership

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Don’t Often Notice

Husbands Share What is Disrespectful to Them

Signs that Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

I Want a Divorce

44 thoughts on “A Wake Up Call for Wives

  1. Beautifully written and quite thought provoking. I am so impressed with the community of set apart women here seeking the Lord’s guidance in marriage and wifery :). I am very newly married, (1 month on the 11th!) and am so thrilled to have found this site. I am still praying that the Lord would lead me to a community of women in my area who are of the same mind. I don’t know where to begin telling you how the Lord has stirred inspiration and passion in my heart through your writings and in the comments and writings of other women through this site. Blessings.

    1. Kala,

      Congratulations on your new marriage!!!! 🙂

      I am so excited about what God is doing in you and about your marriage. I look forward to getting to know you better. I hope you will give me updates along the way as we learn and grow together. 🙂

      May God richly bless your walk with Christ and your marriage for His greatest glory.

  2. On your point that our husband is a son of God……
    I heard it put somewhere that God is our Father, and thus God is also our Father-In-Law, the Father of our husband. That really hit home for me. How would you treat your husband in front of your earthly father-in-law. How would your earthly father-in-law want his son to be treated. It is sometimes easy to forget that God is there with us when we are arguing or being disrespectful to our husbands. However, very few of us would do that if our father-in-law were in the room. We can find ourselves looking more pleasing to God if we are looking at him as OUR Father, but most would admit we don’t look nearly as good if God is viewing us from the perspective of Father-In-Law.

  3. Excellent post, painfully all so true. Depression happens, especially when all of the factors above happen. No medicines worked for me. I guess in God’s time, not mine, it will get better. A strange thing happens. I see so many people seemingly get over it so quickly, I wonder what is wrong with me? That’s what happens when you shut down, Satan brings the harsh words, criticism and looks long after the person you loved so much and let inside is gone. You are so right in every aspect of what you wrote. What if I had tried harder, prayed harder, stood up more? It’s a learned response to shut down to keep some semblance of peace, in my case, just to keep her from leaving again. It’s a trap. As you know, through countless traumas from work, coding several times and being brought back, several life saving surgeries…..NO PAIN comes close to the pain from emotional and verbal abuse, the betrayal, the aloneness. Once I found out, realized that all of our Christian friends and leaders were told the lies ahead of time, there was no sense in defending myself. Once judged, the damage is done. God knows the truth. It still hurts. You are so on point with that too. I know Christ comes first. Unfortunately, I didn’t always do that, not intentionally. Satan is destroying Christian families for a reason. Of course I wasn’t perfect, my intentions were from love. Just yesterday, I was almost asleep and felt a sharp chest pain, instinctively I reached to the other side of the bed just to touch her for life giving reassurance….and she’s been gone almost a year. I share this in pray full hope that people will truly hear what you and Greg have to say. There is no doubt your ministry is inspired by God. The church, as a whole is missing it. Christian counselors and pastors (not all) are missing it. Who’s going to believe the tough guy express the incredible pain from it? You both are an inspiration with your honesty and obedience to God, along with the courage to bring forth such important messages not popular in our society. I pray for you both and thank you.

    1. J,

      I am so glad to hear from you! I have been praying for you often and have been concerned about your heart and your health.

      Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. You are able to voice the kind of pain that many husbands aren’t able to verbalize.

      My heart breaks for your pain. I pray for God’s healing for your heart and soul. I pray for your wife and marriage. I pray that one day you might reach out in the night and feel her reassuring touch again.

      I pray that God might bring joy from mourning for you.

      You have been through so very many difficult trials. And you are still here! I believe God has GREAT purposes for you, my brother.

      Please let us know how we can pray for you.

    2. I couldn’t agree more with you, brother, about how accurate April is. Sorry for what you have been through – it’s heartbreaking.

      1. Hello April,

        Sorry so long. The chemo has wrecked my brain and I am very forgetful. It’s a neurotoxin and cardiotoxin. Hopefully the damage is reversed soon.

        How are you and your family? I still read your posts but I haven’t been very active. I’ve been pretty sick and in the hospital with heart issues and pneumonia, not good with no immune system. Strange, but that was not my comment. I’m so glad you wrote though, it’s good to hear from a genuine Christian.

        I get so much from your posts, much studying material. I lost 80 pounds. I had a leukemia scare last month, the most common secondary cancer from chemo. Praise God, after two weeks of tests my white blood cell count went back to normal, probably from the pneumonia, it took 3 courses of three different IV antibiotics.

        I was served with divorce papers the day I was put on leukemia watch. I’m pretty much just sad about it. I really miss Denise and our kids, Dylan and Jordan. It’s been really hard with the depression from chemo. Some good news though. I’m now done with chemo and my scans came back clean! All the glory and thanks to God! I’m on surveillance for 5 years and then will be considered in remission. I’m not going to wait until then, I’m moving forward accepting healing from our Father. I get to have full abdominal surgery next month to reconnect my intestines! Last week I was in the hospital from chest pains, my 60 th admission in 5 years. My cardiologist and oncologist were stunned when the nuclear tests showed my heart is normal size, and stronger EF since my heart attack 5 years ago! They said there was no explanation, I said I knew why. They don’t get it, you know? I hAd to have fluid removed, no fun, several times from the pericardium by needle. The fluid is completely gone!

        I am starting to feel a little hungry and starting to gain weight. I was down to 138 at 6’3″. I was 220 in shape before she left me and the cancer. I’ll get back there, working out again. Feels good.

        Most importantly, I reconnected with a real Pastor at the gym, he was the principal too of a Christian school our kids went to when younger. His wife left him unexpectedly for another man 10 years ago the day after Christmas. Denise left me right before Christmas. He had melanoma. He was fired by his church for being divorced! We have a lot in common. He’s a writer, like you. God put him in my life to bring healing to my spirit and heart of hearts. He’s happily remarried. I was so hurt I couldn’t go to church. I committed to never trust another pastor again. Wow, did God confront me on that! He invited me to a small group at his home, I have learned so much! Then he invited me to church. He and his wife pick me up every week for church, I love it. It is the most genuine, loving group of people I have ever found in a church! He and his wife are writing a book, A God of Second Chances. He has his doctorate, but is so humble and caring. I always thought he had it together, but he has shared his dark times of depression and suicidal thoughts after his wife of, yes, 25 years left him. God even showed His humor with the same number of years. He has encouraged me to journal as God is moving so fast in my life.

        Sorry to babble. Thank you for your continued empathy and support. You have had a huge impact on my life during the rough times. I’m still struggling with emotions, but I have to say God has amazed me!

        I pray for you and your husband, and for the ministry you have in such a needed area! It was good to hear from you! May God continue to bless you and your family, and your much needed ministry. Take care,

        John

        >

        1. John!!!

          I’m so glad to hear from you! I have prayed for you often, knowing you were going through such an incredibly difficult trial on every possible level. Thank you so much for the update! How I praise God that you are doing so much better!!!!!! What wonderful news that the pneumonia is gone, your WBC count is doing better, and that your scans are clean!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!! And I am so thankful to hear that your heart is normal size again. Wow!

          I’m very sorry to hear about the divorce papers. I can’t imagine how painful this is, even more than the cancer and heart issues, I am sure. But what an amazing gift God has given you in your new friend. The parallels are obviously such a God thing! I’m so glad that God brought him into your life. I’m sure he understands more than almost anyone all that you have been through. I’m very glad for your friendship and that you are going to his church. 🙂 God is so very good!!!

          I appreciate all the details. Your update made my day!

          If there are specific things I can pray about for you, please let me know. Looking forward to meeting you one day – even if it is not until heaven. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you!

          In Him,
          April

  4. I propose this thought: If your husband said or did to you the things you say or do to him, would you say he is bullying you (or at least treating you badly)? If so, it doesn’t make any difference that he’s bigger than you or that “he’s a man so he can take it” or that he “deserves” it. It’s wrong, and it ought to stop. Permanently.

  5. I know you’re right about the health implications. We had to do a group project presentation and role play on the link between unemployment and depression in men and suicidal ideation and divorce in men.

    Four years ago, when my husband went through a period of unemployment, he let himself go a bit. One day I got the idea that since he no longer had the interest or energy to go to the barber, I literally went and found a guy at his regular shop who was willing to do a house call; he was able to convince him to let him use his kit which he happened to have with him (wink) and he groomed my husband at home in his pajamas. Later that night was awakened by a shaking feeling (I thought it was one of our California earthquakes) it was my husband crying.

    He had been unemployed or 8 months and got increasingly worse in being grouchy and irritable and just plain difficult; but that late night he finally was able to break through to the core of what he feared and what threatened him. I held him and kissed him. He got three calls for interviews the very same week and he has been back to his old self with his new position since.

    I still make more money than my husband, but he feels in no way threatened or diminished because he sees my support and how we was able to rebound with a little encouragement from a friend.

    1. Ronni,

      What a wonderful way to bless your man!!!!! How amazing that one haircut empowered him to break through that depression and begin to have hope.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

      I wonder if you might be willing to share your story as a post? It would be fantastic to have a real life example for other wives in similar situations. 🙂

  6. One of the greatest bible teachers of all in my opinion is Bishop Kenneth Ulmer of California. I don’t subscribe to some of the pentecostal or charismatic aspects of his ministry and ministerial affiliations, but he is a very educated man and I absolutely LOVE his teaching style, he is an authority on the subject of sin. I remember one time he was talking about a period in his life when he was unemployed and doing graduate studies, not making any real money to provide. The thing that stayed with me (and this was well over 5 years ago that I heard him give this testimony) is that he said his wife, Togetta, (what a beautiful name) could have emasculated him, destroyed him–his words. I thought “destroyed you, really?”

    So, yes, this is a very serious issue. Men are simple creatures by their own account, but in the sense of how they present versus what is going on inside they can be quite complex. They look so strong and unaffected, that’s what they were raised to do, but they are not machines like we often think, and many of them are late bloomers in terms of expressing their feelings in a way we can catch and appreciate we just have to give them a chance.

  7. I’m not gonna lie, you totally moved my heart with this post. You see men as human beings which more than can be said for many women. Your husband is one blessed guy!

    1. Joseph,

      I’m so glad that this post was meaningful to you. That is my prayer – that women might be able to see men as humans with emotions, needs, desires and pain, too. It is easy for us to assume so many untrue things – that men have no feelings, that they are invincible. I believe that if women understand men better and understand what hurts them – most women would want to change their approach. Even when I was disrespectful and controlling, I deeply loved my husband. I was clueless about how he really felt and thought about life. But if I had known that I had hurt him, I believe that would have stopped me in my tracks.

      I believe that most wives hurt their men out of feeling unloved themselves. If we could truly understand the depth of the pain we cause our men, I personally believe that most women, especially believers, would be mortified and would want to change.

      I WISH I had understood 19 years ago what I am able to see now. But I thank God every day for opening my eyes and teaching me to see myself and my husband from His perspective.

  8. A very true and detailed list! Oftentimes men like to hide their feelings, thoughts and emotions. They hardly make it obvious. They have to intentionally do it to show it but rarely they do. Men aren’t like women that can shout out or speak out their hurts easily that’s why it’s important to be an ear to men especially to your husband when they’re going through stuff. If you don’t know what they are going through, be there for them and make them comfortable of expressing it to you. Once again, a good read, @peacefulwife! GOD bless you!

  9. Wow, I want to share a little about this, I sometimes forget tht men have feelings and emotions like we do, they are human. My husband has complained about chest pain, and sharp pains in his chest, he went to the doctor plenty of times, they found nothing. But he has had high blood pressure, and even at one point almost fainted at work when we were going through an argument that left us both not tlaking to one another. The situation itself was horrible. He even wanted me in the room as he was having trouble breathing… I didn’t even want to be in there cause Ihad so much guilt…but he still insisted. That showed me how much he loved me and yet wanted the marriage to work.
    thank u for exposing men’s feelings, they can seem tough and have a type of manly pride that would keep us thinking they are so strong. Man I feel horrible right now…… not to long ago I actually was talking about a divorce, and always bring it up when things get bad(this is horrible) I see that this hurts men badly, actually the last time /i brought it up, my husband was so angry and hurt. I repent…..I cant give up ever again!!! I dont want to hurt my family.

    1. Sharon,

      Thank you for sharing!!

      And praise God you see the pain that marital tension was causing for your husband. Marriage is a covenant before God. This is not something we as believers just give up on because we are upset or things are very hard.

      I pray for healing for you both and for God’s greatest glory in your marriage!

      Your husband’s heart thanks you!

      What an incredible gift, to be able to give your husband safety and security and not to threaten divorce anymore. 🙂

  10. OH MY GOD!! Peaceful wife, may God bless and honour you a gazillion times. My heart just sends a ton of blessings your way for this article. I’m a man and have been married for two and a half years now…I’ve been through everything you described and I’m still going through it now…extreme depression, increased blood pressure(I’m 29), suicidal thoughts (she told me I could go ahead if that’s what I really want)…everything. I stumbled on your article looking for solace on the internet. I wish my wife would read this, and have the humility to even consider it. I’ll appreciate encouragement from time to time and would also like to know where I can get Christian support for men in my situation, just like your site helps women. Please keep the good work. God bless you again, may your heart and home be filled with overwhelming joy all the days of your life for this!!!

    1. Tosin,
      It is wonderful to meet you!

      My heart breaks to hear how difficult things have been.

      How are you now? Are you safe?

      What is your relationship with Christ?

      You are welcome here. I pray you will find great encouragement here, many husbands do. And many husbands tell me they understand their wives better and the issues they are facing as they read my blog. I have seen God heal a number of marriages through husbands who read here.

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you! You are precious to Him! You are made in the image of God! He is able to give you the power and wisdom to lead and love your wife as you abide in Him. 🙂

      1. It’s great to hear from you! I’m better and I’m safe…thanks. I’ve just survived another emotional ‘twister’ and I’m in that vulnerable phase looking for solace on the internet as mentioned earlier. Ironically my wife and have been born again since our teenage years…and I’m seeking to learn more and grow. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers.

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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