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Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority!

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I have always loved the story of Hannah in the bible because I identified with her, but not in the conventional way that you might imagine.  I have actually wept as I read this story because my heart hurt so much for Hannah- the woman with a deep desire who was provoked by her husband’s other wife, Peninnah. 
When I thought about writing this yesterday, I thought I was going to go in a different direction with the lessons I see in this story for me in my life but there is a lesson that has been specifically important to me.
Thankfully, I have two beautiful children the Lord has given to me so I have never experienced infertility.  I do not identify what Hannah experienced in that. 
But I do STRONGLY identify with Hannah’s feelings of wanting something so badly. 
You see, I have an idol that I keep struggling with.  I am crying as I share this with you because it is such a raw and tender place in my heart.  I think that I have crucified this idol… and it springs back.  I think I have thrown it away… and it reappears. 
My idol is that, in my marriage, I have always wanted to be my husband’s number one priority.  And in many, many, MANY, too many to count ways, I am.  But that has never satisfied me.  I have craved being his priority above all else. 
This has almost destroyed me at times.  This has given our marriage more dings and dents than any other issue we have faced.
And to be clear, a wife should be her husband’s first earthly priority.  Why else would God have commanded that a man ‘cleave’ to his wife?  But the enforcement of that is not a wife’s responsibility or her jurisdiction.  It is God’s.
Priority has been something I have craved.  Maybe you can identify?  I wanted him to not only have me as his first priority but to be very verbal and strong about letting others know that. 
I wanted to be his priority when it came to his free time and activities and when it came to all his other human relationships.  Thankfully, I have always been okay with him having his own time, hobbies and relationships with other people BUT if I felt threatened or if push came to shove, my idol would rear it’s head.  It would scream to be sated.  Until I felt there was some gesture on my husband’s part to prove his devotion lay first with me, I felt bitter and hurt.  Sometimes he made that gesture on his own and my idol would sneer in victory.  Sometimes me made that gesture after a not so gentle shove from his wife and my idol would taunt me for the insincerity of it all.  Sometimes there was no gesture at all.  At those times, I would not know how I would ever deal with my heartache.  The bible says that Hannah  “was in bitterness of soul” and I get that. (1 Samuel 1:10) I feel you, Hannah.  Bitterness of soul is a perfect description  for how I felt when I did not get what I wanted.
Now, before you think I am comparing myself to this saintly woman of God, I am asking you to just stay with me.  It is going to come together.  I have/had an idol.  Hannah had a desire.  But hang on….
 
Because of this sin in my life- of idolatry- this lesson has come to me time and time again… because I kept failing it, I had to keep retaking the class. 
Hannah wanted a child so badly.  On top of that, Peninnah was very, very unkind to her.  It wasn’t enough that she “was in bitterness of soul” but she had to deal with her husband’s other wife, Peninnah.
Have you ever been there?  You have a wound so raw and so painful and there is someone who knows exactly how to pour salt into it?  How to increase your pain and hurt? And seems to take pleasure in doing it? 
I have felt that way.  I have felt like the relationships my husband seemed to put before me were with people who took pleasure in hurting me and flaunting that.  The bible says this of Peninnah, “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret.”   (1 Samuel 1:6) Sometimes people know just where to hit you.  They have something that you want so badly and they let you know they have what you want. 
Here is where Hannah and I have taken different paths.  Hannah made a godly choice.  She chose to give this situation over to God.  Right after the bible tells us she was in bitterness of soul, it tells us that she “prayed unto the Lord and wept sore”.  In the very same verse- she was in bitterness of soul and then she prayed unto the Lord and wept sore.  She GAVE this over to God.  She poured out her heart to Him.  And she did it without hesitation.  And she left it with him, to answer or not to answer in the way she hoped. 
I did not make the godly choice.  Thankfully, I am learning to do so, now.  But for many years, I stayed in bitterness of soul.  I did not move on to give this to God to do with as He saw fit as Hannah did.  I stayed in that bitterness for 10 long years. There was MUCH hesitation on my part.  I enjoyed my bitterness of soul.  I got very comfortable there.  That bitterness was my constant companion and I was very, very attached to it.
But that bitterness was not healthy for me.  Although it fed my pride and my arrogance and my sinful nature and that felt enjoyable to wallow in, it also was misery to live with. It robbed me of many precious moments I could have and should have enjoyed with my husband.  It gave me a skewed sense of reality.  It made me see everything through my’ bitterness lens.’ A lot of times things I felt like I was put as second and I really wasn’t.  Sometimes I truly was.  This bitterness lens kept me so focused on the idol of always being my husband’s first priority that I missed a lot of blessings along the way.
Working through giving up this idol has been a process.  I think I am through with it and it pops back up again.  I had to fight it down again this week.  I have to be alert for it at all times and deal with it the minute it appears.  I have to make the decision to turn away from this idol and toward the one of true peace- allowing God to be my all. 
How I wish I had made the choice to turn to God earlier and hand Him my heart like Hannah did.  I wish I had not allowed myself to dwell on the salt others were pouring into my wounds and let that salt become poison.
Thankfully, I am learning.  I cannot say this idol will never spring up again because I believe it most likely will.  I also believe that God will help me to crucify it each and every time if I turn to Him, if I keep handing Him my heart, if I keep my eyes focused on Him.
Don’t be fooled; I still have to deal with this idol at times.  It is not as strong as it once was.  I don’t feel it lingering as often.  Some days, I have let go of it completely. 
Letting go of this idol allows me to breathe.  To relax.  Standing guard as the priority police was hard work.  The flip side or retiring from that position is that you can really get addicted to living in peace.  I am.  🙂
And the beautiful thing about this is that many times when I let go, I see the love that my husband does have for me.  My eyes are opened to all the ways he does express that each and every day.  It was like for years he was handing me flowers and I was screaming and rejecting them because they weren’t the right color.  I am lucky he kept trying at all.
I am learning to be thankful for any gesture of love that says I am a priority to my husband.  Sometimes this even inspires him to want to give me more.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  I can be okay either way without that pesky idol in the way
Letting go of your husband is only one part of this equation.  Letting God have your husband to deal with is completely a different one.  Putting things in God’s hands makes a beautiful ending.
RELATED:
A Huge Key to Contentment – By StillJennifer

68 thoughts on “Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority!

  1. Satan is very good at finding our weaknesses (wounds) and sticking his finger into them (pouring salt). He gets other people (including husbands) to do this for him.

    1. I understand cause in 4 years and 1/2, I’ve never been his priority, so far. His first wife is his mum and it might stay this way until she died and above maybe.

      My husband doesn’t valorize me, he treats me harshly, many times insulted me. He even bested me 3 times and if he will do it another time, I’ll go to the police and he may go to jail.

      We live as a couple but it’s just a illusion to keep his pastor ministry. We have sec once a year but I think, it’s not only hormones problems as he pretends but sexual identity But I can’t get anymore continue this way. My heart cries out for the son he adopted in Africa as a small child and who is now my son since 2 years.

      He tried to avoid a divorce which will be a scandal for him and try to send me to China to teach there or try to convince me to come back in France. But I told him my place is here in Brazil and I will stay here no matter what.

      I’gonna come back and see my family for 3 weeks in midDecember in France and ask God to show me his will. I
      Never thought I could divorce but my husband doesn’t want to change and I can’t live that way anymore. Please pray for me for wisdom.

      A sister who suffers

      1. Sonia Lucena,

        You have had a very painful road, my dear sister. 🙁 I am praying for God’s wisdom for you. I can certainly understand that this may be a situation that is too toxic to live in. Especially if you are getting beaten. I long for you to be completely healed and filled up with Christ – and then I know God can give you the vision and clarity you need to see what He desires you to do.

        Much love and the biggest hugs!

  2. Oh my Heavenly Father what an amazing richness of wisdom I see in this post. I too love Hannah and have actually taught and used her story on many occasions, but never have i seen it felt in this manner. Life lessons are to be shared so we all can benefit and as tender and personal as this story, I am so thankful for the sharing of it, I believe truly it can help many who may not even realize they are walking in the same path. Blessings

    1. I am glad it blessed you today. It is good to know that your struggles can help others. Please pray I can continue leaving this idol squarely where it belongs- in God’s huge, capable hands.

  3. I need some help please–and help seeing things in a new way. I have been struggling with some of these ideas as someone in a fairly new marriage. Shouldn’t a wife be her husband’s first earthly priority? Is it wrong to think when vowing your lives to each other? What is the point if not? I have been trying to learn how to be a good wife and partner and what love and respect look like to my husband. Most of the Christian blogs I read leave me thinking I should learn how my husband perceives the world as a man and give his needs and ways of doing things priority at the expense of mine. I am willing to give to him and learn for him! But truthfully I have been feeling a bit hopeless. I may be misunderstanding but I am feeling like my needs, thoughts, female perspective, hopes for my marriage and life don’t matter and I can’t ask for anything or explain anything to him because it is disrespectful. I’m not sure I’m processing things the way they are meant or even if I’ve explained this well but if it makes any sense I would appreciate your input! I love my husband and I know he loves me but sometimes I feel like I am always searching for the ways he shows his love rather than actually feeling loved the way I am designed to feel it.

    1. Anon,

      These are awesome questions!

      We DO commit to make our spouse our first human priority when we marry.

      The issue is – we cannot control our husbands or force them to do what we want the way we want it to be done. If feeling loved or feeling like our husband’s highest priority becomes the major focus and goal of our lives – above our obedience to Christ and above His Lordship over us – THAT is where we get into trouble.

      – If I say, “I’d like to be your first priority after God, Honey.” That’s fine.
      – If I say, “I feel like you are putting other things above our marriage, Babe. That really hurts me. I would like it if we could do things like X instead, please.” That’s good and necessary to say what you need and how you feel and what you want.

      If we put feeling loved or feeling like our husband’s greatest priority as an idol, then that is serious sin. It looks like this:

      – “You WILL put me above your mom OR ELSE!”
      – “I don’t care what it takes, I’m going to make sure I’m your first priority.”
      – “If I am not your first priority, then my life is ruined!”
      – “I’m going to make sure to prove to everyone that I am my husband’s first priority.”
      – “If he doesn’t do things the way I want him to do them – I can never be happy again.”

      If we are depending on our husband’s love or behavior to be a certain way – that we want – and we refuse to be content in life unless he does exactly what we want when we want him to do it – that is a problem.

      In fact, what we really want is for our husbands to submit to us in this case.

      It’s fine to say how we feel and ask for what we want – but then we can still be content in our lives because we are depending on Christ primarily for our sense of identity, our being loved, our purpose, our strength, our joy, our peace.

      If I make my husband completely responsible for my happiness and do not take responsibility for my own emotions – that is a problem.

      If I remove Christ from His place as Lord of my life and try to force things to happen my way to get what I want no matter what I have to do to get what I want – even if I have to sin to do it (disrespect my husband, control him, violate his free will) – then I am dishonoring Christ and not living for Him as Lord.

      Does that make sense?

      I have a Youtube video about how to ask our husbands for things. My channel is “April Cassidy.”

      If things are still not clear, please let me know.

      Part of being a believer in Christ is that we do die to self daily. My life is to be about bringing glory to Christ not getting my way primarily.

      It’s awesome if your husband shows you love in the ways you like best. But if he doesn’t – that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It’s really helpful to learn to appreciate and recognize all the ways he shows you love and to be thankful for him and not try to change him to be something he’s not. He may change. If so – great. He may not. If so – it is still our job to love and respect our husbands and accept them as they are.

      Much love to you!

      1. Thank you very much April. I have tried to learn a different way to talk to my husband after he would tell me he feels like he’s doing something wrong when I’d tell him something I was feeling or needed. I’ll look at your video though. I’ve basically just quit telling him anything real or important bc it is too much work to figure out how to say something in a way he won’t take wrong and that’s just causing me to be a fake person and sadly I think it’s changed the way I look at everything-I think I may have lost the ability to see and expect good in the world, am becoming negative and critical of everything except him as I’m hyper sensitive to being respectful now, and am admitting I think I have lost my trust in God. I had the thought tonight that I should unsubscribe to the Christian marriage blogs bc they make me feel like all the burden is on me as a wife to figure out his way of communication, being respected etc. which is adding to my pain and I should see if I can try to feel happy thinking of him as a friend and roommate instead of having expectation of feeling loved, heard, or fulfilled in my marriage. I know my outlook isn’t good but realistically I know he is not motivated as a man to search out ways to make things better, ways to communicate w me, find people who could help us etc and I’m just feeling tired and resigned.

        1. Anon,

          It is important to figure out how to speak your mind respectfully. I know it can seem overwhelming at first.

          Being fake is NOT the goal here.

          The goal is to die to our sinful selves and become the new self Christ wants us to be in Him. This is a long process.

          If you are feeling overwhelmed – it may be time to take a break for a bit from the blogs and spend time in God’s Word and do some fun things for yourself.

          Nina Roesner wrote a post about the stages women tend to go through in this process that I think may be helpful.

          If you don’t have a godly mentoring wife, you may want to pray about that, too.

          And, you are welcome to comment when you are struggling. You don’t have to do this alone!

          Laying down your expectations does not mean that you don’t ever get to feel loved, heard or fulfilled. In fact, it is often only after we lay these things down that we are best able to experience these things – once we are not trying to force them.

          If you are hormonal – it may be a good few days to take a break.

          If you are not sleeping or eating well – be sure to take care of your body! Get some exercise. Do some things that are fun for you.

          How is your time with God going?

          One thing I have noticed is that if I don’t have joy – it is usually because I am either not spending time with God, or I am cherishing some sin that has grieved God’s heart. After confessing and repenting of sin – God is able to fill us up and give us supernatural power to do the things He calls us to do. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be the godly wives God wants us to be in our own strength.

          This is a lot like eating an elephant. You can’t possibly digest all of it in a day or two, or even in a week or a few weeks.

          Let’s talk some more about what is going on. You don’t have to do this alone!

          I’m glad to walk beside you on this journey.

        2. I feel the same way how can we submit to a husband who has not put his wife first, I don’t care what my husband does nor do I care for who but when a husband puts his family before you and pays their bills and our house hold sufferers then there is a problem I’m Not gonna sit back and play the submissive role when my husband doesn’t do his part all it does is cause me to dislike him and have no.respect for him. Example the day we were suppose to marry he had to stop and get his mom breakfast first before he came to me……yes and I know I should have never married him………..I’m kicking myself cause I thought with my heart and not my brain btw we only been married four month.

  4. Gosh, I needed to read this post sooo badly! God is so good! Thank you to the wife who wrote and shared this with us!

    April, you have no idea how much your website/blog has helped me. I cannot WAIT to buy your book. I thank God for blessing me with you. 🙂

    1. Heather,

      I’m so glad this was helpful! 🙂

      It is a painful journey at times. As God chisels away to sculpt us into something beautiful in His eyes – that chisel hurts! But what God is doing is so very beautiful and will bring Him glory in the end. 🙂

  5. This was an interesting topic for me. I have been married for 25 years. I have been trying to force my husband to love me the way I think love “should be”, and this has brought me nothing but struggle and frustration. This actually led me to a long-term affair. (That is long confessed and over).

    Now that we are back together, though, the truth that i have found is that i am still me. Still trying to make him love me. He has been my idol (I know that it sounds silly that i would say in one breath that i had an affair, but that he is my idol…but when you elevate someone so high and they disappoint you, it can lead you down paths you never thought you would go.)

    So one of the struggles that has been in our marriage for years is that my husband and I have basically worked opposite schedules almost the entire time we have been married. I feel like this has been a real block in our relationship because regarding time it feels like i am “waiting for our life to start”. And then just a few months ago, I had this light-bulb moment where I suddenly realized that maybe the reason my prayers for us to be on the same work schedule haven’t been answered is because I have my husband in first place. EVERYTHING else is a distant 2nd. So now I have been working on me – going to ladies bible studies, prayer, reading this blog, reading books…and i am really seeing how I have not let God have first place. I have literally been the reason I have had no life…I wouldn’t even go to my best friend’s bachelorette party or baby showers since my husband couldn’t go! That is just crazy!

    The good thing is that I am aware of it and have taken this to God. ANd although I know i will always struggle with putting God first, I believe that I am obeying God when I make God my priority instead of idolizing my husband.

    Sorry, this wasn’t a well thought-out proofread comment…but my husband has been my idol and I am trying to move him down to the place he belongs…and put God in first place.

    1. Jaref

      I am so thankful you are working on you and more importantly, your relationship with God. That is wonderful and so important!

    2. Jaref,

      Thank you for sharing your story! No – I understand the husband being an idol thing – and how easily that can lead to disappointment and a desire to look elsewhere for that “feeling loved” thing.

      I am SO excited about what God is doing in your heart!!!!! I can’t wait to see His plans for you. 🙂

      Much love to you!

  6. Still on this journey, had to stop myself much this evening asI dictate to my husband and sons. I caught myself each time I started doing it. They built me a wonderful rabbit pen for my bunnies to run around outside. I love it but almost ruined the feeling of love I felt from them bytrying to control everything they did. Stopping myself is great. I never was aware of it before. My behavior use to (tick) them off. Today was really nice. Im baking their favorite cookies tonight as a thankyou for my bunny pen and they are relaxed and happy cause I left them alone 🙂 yaaa me.It was hard to control myself but thank uou God for helping me stop. Its an awful struggle and I hope one day itgoes away.

      1. I found this blog site thru a google search on “how to encourage your husband to be more godly”. Lol. And in reading your blogs and the various responses I have found some great encouragement and tools to help me with my concerns.

        And the “first priority” topic hit head on. I can definitely admit I struggle with the same idol. I want to be first in my husband’s life and in every motivation because he is that for me.

        My husband is a very sociable person. This is the thing I love and hate at the same time. His love for social media has gotten him into trouble before in our marriage and to this day I despise social websites simple because of the bad memories and soreness it brings to mind. To be honest i don’t know if I completely trust him on these sites. I saw his Instagram page recently and if I didnt know him I would think he was a bachelor. Seeing that made me wonder about his priorities in life. Are your friends, bars, beer, and yourself (b/c of all the self-portraits) more important to you in life? That was the question as i saw the page. It hurt. Out of all the photos of him and his friends (male and female) only a few are of me and him. I feel like he does it for show.

        This really got my head going. We’ve talked about it before. He sees nothing wrong with the page and when i try to explain how it makes me feel its likes I’m speaking a different language. What do i do???

        All i know to do is pray and seek God for the answer. I see this more deeply than he does. I see this as a way for the devil to seep into our marriage. More of a spiritual warfare. And not to mention my husband has a ways to go in spiritual maturity. So how do I reach out to him? How do i tell him what im feeling without making him feel bad? How do u help someone understand something spiritual when they just aren’t there yet to fully understand?

  7. I can relate to this. When my husband and I were first married 26 years ago, we understood and agreed that God would come first for us in terms of priority and we’d come second to each other followed by our children. We were really okay with that yet somewhere along the way, *I* wanted to come first. I don’t know if that attitude was due to my reading one romance novel too many (I don’t recommend that) or buying into what Hollywood sells as romance, but I’m here to tell you that feeling sorry for myself just didn’t work for either of us. It caused strife and made us both unhappy. In the last three years or so, we’ve been striving to work on our marriage together and to be on the same page. We’ve focused on a biblical marriage and we’ve never been happier. Like you, I’ve learned that wanting to be first in my husband’s life was an idol and most importantly, I’ve learned that the more he puts God first, the more he loves me the way Christ loves the church. I am very well loved, indeed.

  8. it was like reading my own story…just couldnt put it into words! thank you!what a struggle it is to just let go,seems the easiest yet is one of the hardest things for me to do!your words did open my eyes to the depth my bitterness laid and the time wasted just makes me sad to think about!but the great news is that our Lord is with me every step of the way loving me beyond imagine!thanks again for the beautiful words!you are a blessing in my life!:)

  9. NOTE – This is a generic comment, not intended specifically towards the wife who wrote about her experience:

    Regarding the statement: “a wife should be her husband’s first earthly priority”, the only way this will be the case is if he is being led by the Holy Spirit to do so, as this isn’t a natural stance to take. If he doesn’t have a close walk with the Lord (or any at all), then he will be inclined to address life via “the flesh”, which is generally self-centered.

    There are two things to consider here:
    1) You may have expectations regarding how you think he should be treating you, as he actually may have it in his heart that you’re his first priority but it just doesn’t appear to be the case because of what you think/feel that looks like.
    2) He may not be in tune with the Lord, so may not understand that you are supposed to be his first priority.

    One thing’s for sure…you can’t change him. That’s God’s job. But you can change you. Examine your heart and see if you are walking in the center of God’s will for your life. As you deny yourself and seek to bless your husband, you will find contentment in knowing that you’re doing what you are designed to do….even if your husband never changes.
    I would definitely encourage you to ask the Lord to draw your husband into a close relationship with Him.
    Lastly, remember that you’re not his Holy Spirit, so don’t allow yourself to behave like you are by telling him how he should be behaving towards you. I assure you….that can’t end well (been there, done that – just sayin’).

  10. I too have longed to be my husband’s first priority, although I believe I have not made that an idol. I used to have huge anger issues over how my husband acted, treated me, talked to me, etc and after years of denial of that anger or justifying it, God healed me and I have felt such peace despite the fact my husband really hasn’t changed. God has helped me love him and accept him as he is – and where he is and it was so freeing to let go of the expectations. Yes, I still wish he made me more of a priority, but I accept who he is and am grateful for the times he does show me love and kindness.

    However, more often than not, he is obsessed with himself – his desires, wants, needs, his unhappiness….and what he wants from me. Almost all our arguments have been about how he couldn’t deal with my anger (and he was completely justified in that) or it’s how I’m not following through on the things I said I’d try to give him – – more respect, listening to him, asking him questions, asking for advice, etc. He recently told me that his deepest desire is to have a deep and intimate relationship with a woman and he feels his only choices are to go without it (by staying with me) or break up our marriage in order to find it elsewhere. I’m simply tired of not being who he wants me to be. I try and if I’m still not doing it right after 14 years I suspect I never will.

    Also in a recent argument, over how I don’t trust his views on things (we are complete opposites politically) he said “What am I here for?” – which I took to mean that he thinks he has no purpose as a husband if I’m not looking to him for advice and leadership. I do understand that the husband needs to be the head, but I feel the answer to “What am I here for” should be to love and cherish me, to take care of me….I guess that makes me just as selfish as I think he is. But I’m just weary and ready to give up, and let him go so he can find what he really wants in a woman.

    1. Anon,
      I am really glad that God has done so much healing in your soul!

      Goodness, what a painful situation. 🙁

      Does he have a relationship with Christ?

      How is your relationship with Christ going?

      What was his parents’ marriage like?

      What was your parents’ marriage like?

      Do you allow him to lead you?

      Check out the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect and respect and biblical submission and let’s talk about this some more. 🙂

    2. Anon…Goodness thats a lot of stress.He sounds terribly insecure.Maybe your relationship with God is unsettling him. He has made you his idol?

  11. Wow! Beautiful post. I commented on one of yours I read earlier and then read this one. It kind of answered my previous comment. Thank you. Spoke to me immensely. 🙂 I am so guilty of this and need to get better at just surrendering all to my Lord and Savior. ♥

    1. I am so thankful for my friend who wrote this post. She had a TOUGH, TOUGH time laying down her idol of wanting to be her husband’s biggest priority. But after a lot of tears, she did.

      It’s amazing, she actually has been his first priority (after God) all along, but she just couldn’t see it. She laid down this idol in August, and their marriage has experienced a lot of growth since then.

      I’m so glad this was a blessing to you!

      Please let me know how you are doing!

  12. I know this is an old post but I was just thinking. We hear a lot about how men may make certain unpalatable requests of their wives after watching porn. In the same way I think women should also investigate what the source of their desire is. I mean their desire to be loved a certain way. What if women are getting their ideas of romance from the wrong place, are those desires not then in fact wrong?

    1. Nick,

      It has been my experience that MANY women tend to make Hollywood style and worldly romance into idols these days, as well as “feeling loved” in specific ways. We don’t even realize what we are doing. We don’t know we have these things as idols, but they are what we want more than anything, and we will do anything to try to get what we want at times. Many times, we want to feel romanced and feel loved the way we want more than we want Christ, sadly. 🙁

      Yes, if we put our feelings, happiness, our feeling romanced above Christ or above our husbands and marriages, we can definitely have very sinful motives. Another thing we have to be very careful of is – we tend to make our husbands idols. We tend to expect them to be responsible for our happiness, instead of finding our own joy and peace in Christ alone. We must be responsible for our own emotions and our own spiritual growth. If we expect our husbands to meet all of our spiritual and emotional needs, that really only Jesus can meet, we will constantly be disappointed and upset and frustrated with our husbands, and we will be no fun to live with, that’s for sure!

      Thanks! Great point.

  13. I just began my journey as respectful wife a month ago. I can see several positive change in my husband. He began spending some alone time with me voluntarily. Thay makes me happy. Praise the Lord! However, one thing keeps nagging at me…he avoids bringing me out for social gatherings, like his friends’ birthday parties or weddings. He always claims that I will be bored there (even though I love to socialize) and would love to have new friends. His friends also bring their wives or gfs to those events so i know it’s not boys’ night thing. When I respectfully request to join him…he suddenly becomes irritable, moody and shows me unhappy face. He has boys’ nights 3 times a week so I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t spend enough time with his friends. His rejection of me makes me feel very sad. Please help…thanks.

    1. Aryanella,

      I am excited to hear that you are seeing some healing. That is awesome!

      Is your husband a believer in Christ?

      What is your relationship with Christ, please?

      How long have you been married?
      How long has this been going on that he hasn’t brought you with him to social events?
      When did things change?

      What were things like before you got married?

      Much love to you!

      1. We are both believers but we do not actively practising the life. I am trying to start, though. We are married for 6 years. Before we were married and before kids, we always go to social events together. But after we have kids, it seems that he always abandons me at home with the kids and go to social events by himself. When I suggested that we bring the kids together, he always rejects on the reason of inconvenience. Both of our kids are still toddlers and can be quite a handful. Sometimes I just feel like he is trying to lead a double life…single when out with friends and married when at home. I don’t want to keep having negative thoughts of him because it is exhausting. On a bad day…I sometimes think he doesn’t like married life and want to live like a carefree bachelor…which is a set back on my respectful wife journey. Is there any way to solve this? Please help.

        1. Aryanella,

          If you are not living for Christ, then, I think it is time to evaluate if you are actually a believer in Christ. Someone who is a disciple of Christ puts their faith in Him AND lives in obedience out of gratitude for all that He has done for them. We cannot separate living for Christ from believing in Him. Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will obey me”… and… “Anyone who does not obey me does not love me.” John 14:22,24. And He calls all of us to lose our lives for Him, to take up our cross daily and follow Him, to die to ourselves and our desires and to live in total submission to Him.

          Your first order of business, in my view, is to get right with Christ yourself. Please read the book of John and let me know what God speaks to you, my precious girl.

          Much love to you! I am glad to walk beside you on this road!

  14. “If we expect our husbands to meet all of our spiritual and emotional needs, that really only Jesus can meet, we will constantly be disappointed and upset and frustrated with our husbands, and we will be no fun to live with, that’s for sure!” Thank you so much for that reminder today. I have been married for 12 years and have never felt like I was a priority or in the top 3. It has been a constant struggle.

    Dear Lord please continue to draw my husband closer to you so that you will be his number one priority. Lord I am giving you this struggle I feel with not being a priority. I know you can work in him for me. It is not my responsibility. I pray it happens soon for my 3 daughters to witness since they deserve to see a man modeling how to put his wife as number 2 priority. My wish is for them to see what a Christ loving husband/father is. Lord make changes in me to make our lives more peaceful. Please work in me to become a better role model for my children of a Christ loving wife/mother. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!

    1. Sarah,

      As you focus on just your walk with Christ, that is where your greatest power, strength, purpose, peace, joy, fulfillment and delight will be. We will trust God to work in your husband’s heart in His timing for His glory. You cannot change your husband. God knows how to convict people of sin and how to change their hearts. Your primary job is to keep your eyes on Christ, to worship Him, to walk in His Spirit’s power, to seek to obey Him yourself, to seek to please Him far above anyone else, to seek to bless your husband and children and to trust God to be enough. Jesus is sufficient. Even if your needs are not being met in your marriage, Jesus is sufficient. Yes, I pray that God will cause your marriage to become more and more what He designed marriage to be. But, I also pray that you will seek to find your needs met primarily in Christ, not in your husband. That is the path to such joy! Then you can hold your husband and your dreams very loosely and you can be content no matter what your husband does or does not do, trusting God to meet your needs and trusting Him to work in your husband for His ultimate glory and HIs purposes to be accomplished.

      Much love to you!

  15. I don’t normally feel this way, but tonight my husband chose to go see a friend rather than come home with me, he told me openly in public where he was going, and in front of the people he was going with instead of speaking to me about it first, and asking if I would be okay with it. I have never felt I am not first in his life except for recently when he has spent at least 2-5 hours a day at his friends house, sometimes late into the night, 4 days in a row now.. He helped these guys come to Christ recently, and now says they are just fellowshipping and I know they have the same interests and have been working on their dirt bikes together… they are good men and I am glad my husband has found friends but I have just been feeling bitterness and jealousy really start to sink in… I am so happy I found this article about Hannah I really needed it tonight because I really need to give this to God and spend my time focusing on him but it does just make me sad 🙁 I am so thankful for this blog, and the word of God <3

    1. Learningwife,

      Praise God that these friends have come to Christ recently! WOW!!!!!!!!!!

      Have you shared that you would like to spend some time with your husband soon? Maybe you can say, “Honey, I am so excited about your friends coming to know Christ! Thank you for taking the time to disciple them. I am thrilled about how God is using you in His kingdom. How can I support you right now? I’d love to spend some time together sometime soon. I love being with you so much.”

      Praying for wisdom for you! And that you might use any time to yourself to deepen your walk with Christ and seek Him and study His Word and pray and allow Him to work in your life, as well. 🙂

      1. yes i have actually started to be thankful for my time alone to spend with Christ 🙂 But – deep down i do know i wish my husband would choose me first… this is something i hope my heart changes, but i will try telling him i want to spend time together! Actually i already do that a lot- so maybe i will just give him his space and be there when he is ready to spend quality time together 🙂

        1. Learning Wife,
          It is not wrong to desire to spend time with your husband. You love him! THAT IS A GOOD THING! I love that you want to be with him.

          What does he say when you talk about wanting to spend time together? How do you share your desire with him?

          Sometimes giving space works very well. And, if you can enjoy yourself while he is ministering to these young Christians – and if you can find that this time alone is a blessing – you will not have to feel resentful of him while he is gone. And then, when he does spend time with you, really light up and thank him and tell him how much you love being with him. If there is something you know he really likes – a special meal, a certain kind of massage, etc… maybe you can offer that to him, just to bless him – with no strings attached.

          And, something that really helped me a lot in those first several years of this journey where I was still very much living with a shut down, unplugged, silent, wounded husband – was to see that this ache to be with my husband is how God feels about me. He longs for me to want to be with Him. Now, I get SO excited to have time alone with God! I can’t wait to read His Word, to pray, to seek Him with all my heart! These days, I don’t even want to stop my time with Him. That time is SO VERY PRECIOUS to me. I just soak in His presence and try to absorb all the truth, love, power, and presence of God that I possibly can each time. The first 3 years of my journey, Greg was there, but didn’t talk with me much at all. So, I learned to sit beside him and read. When I wished I could be close to him, I would study about godly femininity, being a godly wife, understanding masculinity, and seeking God. I learned to understand my role and to understand men so much during that time. It was almost like I was studying for a college class. I spent a good 3-4 hours most days studying, reading, praying, journalling, seeking God, asking Him to change me. Not having much of Greg’s attention ended up being such a blessing. I know that sounds strange. I love Greg. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE spending time with him. We spend time together just about every night now and have long talks (while he watches TV), but he is available almost anytime I want to talk now. But – not having much attention or affection from him or affirmation during those years allowed God to refine my motives until my only motives were to seek to please, obey, honor, and love God and to bless my husband. It couldn’t be about me wanting to feel more loved or to have more attention from Greg or to want to change him. It had to all be about me and God.

          The ability to be content, satisfied, peaceful, and overflowing with joy even when your husband isn’t able to give you the attention you want – is so freeing! You can choose to use this time to learn to seek God even more wholeheartedly and to savor these precious moments. You can thank and praise God for working through your husband to bring these other men to Christ! WOW! That is amazing!!!!! And you can pray for him that God might empower him to disciple them and to train them in truth. And you can pray for these men and their wives/girlfriends/families – for protection from the evil one and for the filling of God’s Spirit in them.

          Much love to you, my precious sister!

  16. Please pray for me. I need to let my hurts go and begin to love my husband for the good man he is.
    I have a very deep hurt from childhood; I feel unwanted.
    This problem will not go away and it becomes reactivated when my husband is distant and unavailable.
    I try to buck up and take it and not mind. I try to be patient and just believe he loves me; which of course, he does.
    But the pain eventually wins.
    I need a healing
    thank you

    1. PamW,

      Healing is available for you in Jesus, my precious sister! Have you talked with a godly, wise, spiritually mature woman about the hurt you have from childhood? How is your walk with Christ going? What are the things you are telling yourself?

      Are you willing to write down all of the lies you are telling yourself and then write down the truth from the Bible that God says about you – if you belong to Christ? Then you can purposely tear out the lies, taking your thoughts captive for Christ, and you can purposely rebuild your soul and your mind on the Word of God.

      Here is a post about taking our thoughts captive.

      What things are you praying for now?

      What are you reading in God’s Word lately?

      Have you experienced the overwhelming love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness that God offers you through Jesus?

      Much love to you!

  17. Thanks! Exactly what I needed. Putting it in God’s hands. Let go and let God! Such a sweet and comforting truth.

  18. I am so glad I found this.

    My husband does the same with his sister, who not only rubs salt in my wounds, but does it also in the wounds she creates. I nearly divorced him because of her. Tonight I decided that she will no longer have any power in our marriage because I’m giving over my place of first priority to her, and that’s exactly what I told my husband. From now on I will consider our plans tentative so that, when her wants and needs arise he can attend to them without affecting our marriage. In my heart I know it is wrong for him to do this, but I have to hand it all over to God and let Him deal with it because otherwise I’ll go crazy. If her coming before me in his life is what needs to happen then so be it. I’m tired of fighting, I’m tired of desiring divorce every time there’s an issue. I’m going to give it to God each and every time and try to still love my husband in it.
    This is not what I want… I want her to go away and let us have a nice marriage, but it’s pretty obvious I’m not getting what I want. So the next best thing is to stop her power, and I feel this is the only way to do it. I truly hope this works, because I really don’t like him right now and I’m fighting a very strong desire to leave. I’m just so very grateful that God doesn’t put me in second class… He loves me better than anyone on earth, and His love is something u can ALWAYS count on.

    1. Joanna,

      This breaks my heart! I hate to see other family members try to destroy a marriage. 🙁

      Is your husband and/or your sister-in-law willing to go to godly, biblical counseling?

      Would you be able to at least talk with a godly wife mentor or biblical counselor about this?

      What did your husband say when you announced your plan?

      How do you usually respond when your husband gives first priority to his sister?

      How is your walk with Christ going, my precious sister?

      Much love to you!

      1. Thank you for your concern. My husband stopped believing in God right after we married. His sister says she’s a Christian and that she prays, but she’s an alcoholic and pain pill addict who has huge temper tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants. She’s in her 50’s. She has threatened me, tried to turn other in laws against me including my daughter in law, and created so much havoc in our lives that I finally said enough, no more, she is not welcome to be a part of our family until she gets help and changes her ways.

        I pray for God to bless her, which is difficult, and I feel guilty because what I really want is for God to make her go far away. Right now I’m still angry with my husband and feel the distinct need to close my heart to him again… This feels like a skip on a record, playing the same few notes over and over again. I’m hoping that by relinquishing my place in his life that her power over my marriage will stop. I have no idea how else to fix this. I’m tired of hearing my husband say that there are no issues with her when I’m not around, that he’s known her longer, etc. These words hurt and make me close my heart to him. I’m praying God changes this situation because I’m back in a place where I just don’t care anymore.

        1. Joanna,

          Such a painful mess. 🙁 I can just feel the hurt and years of pain in your words. Makes me so sad for all of you!

          Does your husband acknowledge that his sister is an addict? What does he believe is the best approach to help her heal from this?

          I would imagine that your husband wants to feel like he can be close to you and his sister. I would imagine he doesn’t want you to think bad things about her, so maybe he feels the need to try to defend her because he loves her? (I am guessing here, of course.)

          What does your husband believe that you and he need to do to fix the problems on your end?

          Has he ever confronted his sister about her issues?

          How often is she involved in your marriage?

          Does she live with you?

          Does the rest of the family see what is going on? Is there anyone else who wants to see her get help? Is anyone else willing to help stage an intervention with her?

          What does your husband say he needs from you in the marriage?

  19. So I’ve been struggling the last few days. Last night I told my husband I want a divorce, and that the last 12 years of my life with him has been a complete waste that I wish I could undo. When I hurt, I tend to hurt back with harsh words. And I’ve been hurting for so long.

    The tears are falling as I write this because I feel so overwhelmed and alone most of the time. I have no one to talk to about how I feel. I feel like exploding. I fear I’ve held onto the soul of bitterness for a very long time, made it my idol, and I’ve subsequently built up walls so high that I don’t really let anyone in. You said it perfectly though. There are those who like to pour salt in our wounds. Unfortunately, they just so happen to be family…well in-laws.

    What do you do when someone keeps hurting you over and over?!!! I’m at a loss because my husband tells me that to forgive means I have to let them BACK in to my life. But what if they’re not good people? What if they like causing you pain? I don’t want to live my life having fake relationships for the sake of “they’re family”. To me it’s like this. When a child touches the hot stove and gets burned…they learn NOT to touch the hot stove again right? I’ve learned to stop touching the stove. I cut those people out of my life because I don’t want to get burned anymore.

    My husband sees this differently….in part I think because it involves some of his family. He says I have to forgive and not take things so personally. When someone attacks you physically I take it personally. When others get together to talk negatively about you I take it personally. I’m tired of being married to someone who is so afraid to speak up and have my back in this. He agrees that what’s been done to me is wrong. But somehow I’m suppose to want a relationship with these people?

    They feel toxic to me and I’ve endured them for many years. We haven’t spoken to them in quite sometime. My husband wants things resolved. I would love that as well, but I feel that can only come about if I’m fake and I look to have superficial relationships. I’d rather have a few close friends than a bunch of fake ones. I know that God wants me to forgive. I know that. I’ve prayed for this many times. I think one of my problems is that I’m too loving and trusting. I’ve given the people several chances in the hopes that they would change, but to no avail. So the only other option is for me to change who I am and become fake and a doormat like my husband?

    I realize from your post that I have made the huge mistake of putting my husband 1st and not God. How easily that happened. I didn’t even realize it. I’ve given up on my marriage, often times I want to give up on life. The enemy feeds me these tempting glimpses of what life would be like without being married to someone who seems to see my suffering as something I need to get over. I feel like I’ve been fighting this for years and it’s only been building and getting worse. How do you forgive people who continue to treat you badly? My feeling is that I can forgive, but that doesn’t mean I have to let them back in? Aren’t we supposed to stay away from toxic people? Please help me. I’m desperate and alone and need Jesus and just don’t know what to do with all this pain and anger.

    1. Pelagia,

      Oh yikes! It sounds like things are not going very well at all. 🙁 My heart breaks for you and your husband. Did you mean what you said to him, my friend? Did y’all talk at all today? What did your husband say in response?

      I’m really glad that you are seeing some of what is going on. If you can see the bitterness and that it has become an idol, that is a GOOD thing.

      Forgiveness does NOT mean that you have to trust people again or that you have to let them back into your life. If you have been physically attacked, I can understand you would be reluctant to go back. You don’t believe you are safe there, I assume?

      Has your husband ever stood up for himself against his parents? What is his relationship like with them? What is his parents’ marriage like?

      What is your husband’s general personality? And your general personality?

      Thankfully, in Christ, there can be resolution that is not fake. Would you be able to share a bit about your walk with Christ and where you are right now with Him?

      What do you want in your relationship with God?

      What do you want in your marriage?

      What do you want in your relationship with your in-laws?

      How is your husband feeling in your marriage? Does he feel safe with you?

      No, the only option is not to become a fake doormat. BUT – yes, God does want to change who you are. He wants to get rid of the sinful nature and empower you to live by His Spirit. It is a radical change of heart, mind, and soul that He requires of all of us. It means total surrender to Him as Lord.

      I don’t think the problem is too much love and trust. There are healthy ways to handle even toxic people that don’t involve harboring bitterness and resentment. The bitterness and resentment have to go – because they are toxic to you and to your relationship with God. They grieve His Spirit.

      We almost all tend to put our husbands first and not realize it. That is scary, isn’t it? I did the same thing – and had NO clue what I was doing. Of course, I put SELF before God, too. 🙁

      How about we take this a step at a time? I don’t think you are ready to talk about letting your in-laws back into your life yet. What if we talk first about your relationship with Christ, what you want in that relationship, and about your marriage and finding God’s healing for it?

      Hang on and please don’t make a drastic decision yet – there is every reason for hope in Christ! I’m glad to help you in any way I can.

      Much love to you!

      April

      1. Dear Peacefulwife,
        Thank you so much for responding! I stumbled upon your blog yesterday while my husband was at work and I was home desperately trying to figure out what to do. I Googled the word “Christian” and the word blog showed up in the search engine as an option. I clicked on it and your blog, thankfully, was the first one that caught my eye. How thankful I am for that. After writing to you yesterday I felt God urging me to call my husband…even though I didn’t want to and I didn’t know what I’d say. We still hadn’t spoken since I told him I wanted a divorce. We talked for almost 90 minutes. There were some awkward silences as we waited for the other to talk first. But it ended beautifully. I admitted to him that I’m very angry and bitter and I want to change but I don’t know how to. He told me how he’s dropped the ball in our marriage by not leading and standing up for me from the get go in these situations. We admitted how much we love each other, how God brought us together for His purpose, and that we do NOT want to separate. God was there with us. We have a ways to go I feel. Christian counseling is definitely in our future, but I feel there’s hope.
        I was so relieved to see you write that forgiveness does NOT mean you have to let toxic people in to your life. My husband and I struggle with that. To answer your questions…My husband is very sweet. Everybody likes him. If he has a difference of opinion with you…chances are he’ll play devils advocate and pretend he sees your opposing point of view, or he’ll avoid it all together. He hates any type of confrontation. So he does not confront his parents about anything really. Hisbparents divorced when he was 10 yrs. old. In his family disputes get swept under the rug and nobody brings it up, so nothing gets resolved. But resentment builds. They see this as “resolving the issue”. In my family it’s a bit different. I was raised that it’s OK to have an opinion BUT to only express it respectfully. And also that my opinion doesn’t always have to be expressed. So I am the opposite of my husband. I like having an opinion. And I express it when needed. And I’m sure I’ve done it to the extreme from time to time. I hate confrontation as well, but the difference between us is that I don’t fear confrontation like he does. If it arises then I deal with it. The only people that I’ve ever not really been myself or expressed my opinions around is his family. They don’t know how to react to differing opinions other than their own. If you do express a differing opinion then they label you as too outspoken, blunt etc. I’ve spoken up maybe 4 times in the last 12 years. And it’s usually about spiritual things. One was about one of his parents who has been living with a man and sleeping with him. My husband was actually with me on that one. They hate it when we touch on what God wants for us. I asked a simple question: “Is this person born again?” I asked it because I am concerned that the person his parent is with may not be who God wants them with. Needless to say that question I asked is a prime example of what NOT to say to his family. They all claim to be followers of Christ.
        So my personality is alot more outspoken than my husbands. But I’m also very sweet…I think. It’s funny because my husband and I always say to each other : “One of the reasons God brought us together is because he has what I need and I have what he needs”. Meaning my husband has a sweeter, calmer approach, which I need, and I have the stronger, not a doormat/pushover approach that he needs more of. So its difficult when he’s suppose to lead us. I feel often times that I do more of that, and I get overwhelmed because I know that’s not my role.
        My walk with God is distant right now. We haven’t been to church in awhile because we got a puppy recently and can’t leave him alone or else he howls the whole time. Lame excuse, I know. I speak to God daily though. I remember when I first gave my heart to Christ. I was on fire for God. I want that back. And I know he’s never left my side…it’s me. I wish I had Christian girlfriends that I could hang out with. Because right now it’s just me and my husband in a new city.
        I want for my marriage to be centered on God. I desire adventure with my husband. We love trying new things. We met when we were both at the height of our walk with Jesus. It was awesome.😊 We may have drifted a bit, but we’ve never lost sight of God or our need for Him. We love Jesus and talk about our desires to know Him more. When we talk about these things…I feel like we can do anything. Having God in our lives excites us about the future. The problem is…I think…that we let God slip from being the CENTER of our lives. Now we focus on bills and paychecks. I want our marriage to be adventurous.
        What I want with my in-laws? For a long time all I’ve wanted was to be close. My husband has pointed out on numerous occasions that they aren’t the “close type”. My Mom for instance, callsy husband Son, not son in-law because she loves him just as much as she loves my brother…like another son. I had always dreamt of having in-laws that I could be close to. But they’ve always kept me at a distance…and I don’t know why. So I guess thats all changed what I want with them now. I want to be able to be me around them and not have to walk on eggshells in their presence. I don’t think they’ll ever accept me as part of their family…I feel they accept me for the sake of my husband. Like an obligation.
        I can’t thank you enough for this blog and for responding to me. I honestly didn’t even think it posted. I feel like I can talk to you about anything and THAT is more valuable than I can put in to words. So thank you for your kind words of wisdom and for helping me through this. Praise God for divine interventions.

        May God bless your socks off!
        Sincerely,
        A hopeful Pelagia

        1. Pelagia,

          I’m so thankful that you had that conversation with your husband! THAT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! I praise God for this step toward healing! 🙂

          I have a video on my youtube channel about trusting that may be helpful. https://youtu.be/HGCYIAuY2bM

          God commands us to trust Him – many, many times. But there are a lot of verses about how we should not trust people – kings, rulers, mere men, sinful people, etc… Jesus did not entrust himself to the people when He was on earth “because He knew what was in the hearts of men.”

          A book that may be helpful for both of y’all could be “boundaries” or Leslie Vernick’s post about dealing with toxic and critical people. http://www.leslievernick.com/newsletter/091713-newsletter.html

          The passage in Matthew about how to handle conflict Matthew 18:15-17 ends with shunning unbelievers who continue to be unrepentant if they have been confronted in private, confronted with multiple believers present, and confronted before the church. Not out of hatred or malice – but so that the unrepentant person will eventually feel the pain of being out of fellowship with the other believers and want to try to make things right and be restored to Christ and to the fellowship of the church. The ultimate goal is reconciliation, but there can be times when separation can be necessary if a believer is unrepentant.

          Yes, when God is not on the throne, and in the center – things get messed up. That is for sure!

          Your in-laws may not know how to have a close, healthy, loving relationship. They may only know dysfunction. If that is the case, they can’t love with godly love or be close in the way you would like. They may be too wounded and ensnared in wrong thinking and ungodly ideas. His parents are not your parents. Their family culture is different. Their understanding is different. They are probably doing the best they know how to do right now. They may only know how to keep people at a distance.

          For your own sanity, I think it will be important to grieve your dream of having a relationship with them that is like your relationship with your parents, and to lay down your expectations of what you want them to do (for the most part), and accept them for who they are now, even if they don’t change. Then prayerfully work with your husband, and maybe a godly counselor, to figure out how to build a healthy relationship with them on your end as far as it is up to you. You can’t make them want a close relationship. You can leave things open so that they know they are welcome in your life. But if they want to be distant or even hateful – you can’t change that. It doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong – it may mean they just need more healing and maybe they need the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit. Some people are too wounded and scarred to be able to have healthy relationships with anyone. You can let them be responsible for their sin, their obedience to God, their relationship with God, and their behavior toward you. And you can focus on what you are responsible for, and trust the outcome to God. It may take a lifetime. That will have to be okay.

          If they accept you because of your husband – you can be thankful for that. If they can’t or won’t love you – you can accept that they are not able to give love at this time. If God begins to heal them, you will be ready. But you can also be content even if they never change because as long as you have Christ, you have EVERYTHING that matters!

          Much love to you! 🙂 You are welcome to share any time. I don’t have all of the answers – but I will seek to point you to Christ. He DOES have all the answers we need.

  20. Ok, so I know and believe God is 1st in everything, but I am having the problem where I feel like my husband puts everyone else and everything else above out relationship.

    I don’t go do much for myself because I feel like I don’t have permission. I feel like I’ve lost all my desire to any hobbies I may have had. I feel a lot that he takes the wives should submit to their husbands pretty literal. When I do try to speak my feelings about things and talk about it, it does not go well. I usually hear how I am doing it all to myself and that I cause myself to feel this way.

    I recently lost my job and so all finances have been on him and he really seems to let me know it. I have never been without a job in our relationship. As well this is not my first marriage. When we first got together things were different and felt less controlling but since we’ve been married I’ve often felt like I’d rather still be dating. He put me as a priority then. It seemed like we had a better relationship. I pray a lot that God would help show us both about priority in our marriage.

    I have seemed to become bitter and I feel like he is being selfish. Everything revolves around his work and what he wants to do with his friends. His friends’ wives and I don’t talk, when we do go to his friend’s place I sit in quiet, just waiting to go home. I honestly don’t have any girl friends and I feel that it is because of my relationship with my husband. Before I lost my job I would try to talk about the issues there with him and I just get a sense that he didn’t want to hear about it.

    I feel beyond help and like the hole just gets deeper. I don’t know where to go from here. Just like I’ve asked him in the past to “let’s get bikes and go riding together” he wasn’t interested, but now where is he, he is out test riding a rather expensive bike with “his friends” because now that they’ve shown interest in him going riding with them he is now interested in bike riding. I’m not invited, because it’s a “guy” thing I guess.

    Any ideas are helpful.

    1. Anda,

      The goal for each of us should be – God first, then spouse, then children, then jobs and ministry etc… We will each be accountable to God for our priorities and how we use our time, as well as our motives, thoughts, words, and deeds. I am glad to hash through some things with you, if you would like me to – and I will do my best to point you to the healing that is available in Christ. 🙂

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Are you willing to allow God to help you tear out the bitterness and heal from that? Not that you would condone any sin in your husband’s life, but are you ready to find healing in Christ for yourself?

      What is your general personality? What is his general personality?

      What do you believe would bring you happiness?

      What do you believe you need in your marriage?

      What are your greatest fears?

      Are you feeling depressed?

      What do you want in your relationship with God?

      When is the last time you talked with your husband about you doing something that you would enjoy with a friend?

      Are you sure he didn’t want to hear about it – or do you think it could be possible that it was a misunderstanding between you or that maybe it was more a matter of how you approached him?

      Much love and the biggest hug to you! You are always welcome to share here. 🙂

  21. I am glad I found this this morning. I am struggling with this now, and I didn’t realize what I was doing is creating an idol. Anytime he tells me he is choosing to do something with his family, other than what I want to do, it causes heavy friction. I need a way to deal with this, and I do need to turn more to God and pray about it. While its always easy to say, just pray about it, its often a very neglected task, and must be implemented more frequently.

    Thanks again.

    1. Keisha J,

      I think most of us as wives tend to do this. I know I did for most of our marriage and I had no idea that what I was doing was putting my husband and his attention first in my heart above Christ. That was a SHOCK to me when God revealed my motives and my heart with all that sin in it. It’s not that it is wrong for me to desire my husband’s attention or to want to do things I want to do – but if I am willing to sin to try to get my way or I am willing to try to take away my husband’s free will to control him and to force him to submit to my will – I have a big problem.

      I should be able to be content in Christ even if my husband does not do what I want. I should be able to respond graciously and accept his, “no,” just like I want him to graciously accept if I say, “no,” to something.

      I have TONS of posts here about this topic. You are most welcome to search my home page for:

      – idol
      – idolatry
      – bitterness
      – control
      – But I’m Right
      – fear
      – healthy vs. unhealthy relationships
      – godly femininity
      – disrespect
      – respect
      – insecurity
      – discontentment
      – security
      – contentment
      – lordship of Christ

      Much love to you! I’m here if you want to talk some more – but I invite you to start reading some posts and to ask God to speak to your heart by His Spirit and His Word.

      🙂

  22. I know this post is several years old, but I just came across it and it exactly pin points what I have been realizing about myself lately! All I have ever wanted all my life was a marriage relationship. It is definitely an idol that I struggle with, especially at 38 years old and still unmarried! I am in a long-term relationship, and we are now praying about if we should get married. I think I have driven my boyfriend away with my hurt feelings, frequent crying jags, etc… all because I often feel he hasn’t made me the priority that I wanted him to. I realize that I basically want him to worship me and adore everything about me. That’s crazy, right? I know. It occurred to me yesterday, that maybe God has me with a man with certain imperfections (struggles to express his feelings, is not mushy, romantic) because then it’s easier for me to keep from idolizing him? I am really trying to give him up to God and say “You’re will be done.”, and then just rest and enjoy the blessings I have right now at this moment! I might not have a ring, but there are special moments that I could enjoy and not waste by feeling sorry for myself.

    Please pray for us! As I said, we are praying about whether marriage will be in our future and we know we can’t move forward until we have peace that we have clearly heard from God.

    I know God led me to this website, and I’m grateful for the network of Godly women here! I have been touched and encouraged many, many, MANY times by different posts I have found here. Thank you and God bless!

    1. jOy,

      Thank you for sharing, my sister! I think that most of us struggle with this same thing. It isn’t something we talk about in our churches for some reason. It isn’t something the older women are teaching the younger women – how to recognize and stop idolizing marriage, our men, romance, emotional connection with a man, etc… But it is practically a universal issue even among believing women, in my experience, in our culture, at least.

      I invite you to search my home page if you are interested in more on this critical topic:

      – Please God! Ask Me for Anything but This!
      – husband idol
      – control
      – romance
      – separation paradox
      – closeness in marriage
      – oneness in marriage
      – enmeshed
      – healthy vs. unhealthy relationships
      – godly femininity
      – men emotion
      – husband emotion
      – space
      – shut down
      – I’m responsible for my emotions
      – I’m responsible for myself spiritually

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you, my precious sister! I pray you will savor the gift of what you have and not rush ahead of God or this man of yours. 🙂

      Much love!

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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