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“Is It ALL My Fault?”

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My precious ladies, while it is true that a husband who feels disrespected by his wife is likely to act unlovingly toward her – there are MANY other reasons that a husband may be unloving toward his wife. Some of those reasons have NOTHING to do with what his wife does or does not do.

It is possible to be the most godly, Spirit-filled wife on the planet and to still have a husband who is unloving and sinful.

God was a perfect “husband” to Israel – and yet His people were unfaithful to Him over and over and over again – just like we are so easily unfaithful to Him. ūüôĀ ¬†It is not because God did anything wrong that His people are faithless.

My goal for us as wives is for us to concentrate on things that we can control Рbut please hear me that there are situations where husbands can be  unloving no matter what a wife does.

  • We can influence and possibly inspire our husbands.
  • We can obey God ourselves.
  • We can be full of God’s Spirit.
  • We can’t control our husbands.
  • We are not responsible for their sin and behavior.
  • They are responsible for their own sin.
  • We are responsible for our own sin.

Our respect and biblical submission may help many things in marriage, but we cannot fix everything in our marriages.
Husbands and wives are all sinners.  We are all capable of sin.  In fact, apart from God, we are all slaves to sin and unable to do anything but live in sin.  God has given us all a free will.  We can choose to love and obey Him or we can choose to sin and rebel against Him.  We can choose to love and honor others, or we can choose to be selfish, hateful and destructive.

  • One spouse’s sin can make it easier for the other to be tempted to sin.
  • One spouse’s obedience to God can make it easier for the other spouse to obey God.

But each person is accountable and responsible to God for his/her own sin no matter what anyone else has done.  (Ezekiel 18)


– If a husband has certain untreated or uncontrolled mental health disorders or medical issues:¬†depression, mania, bi-polar, PTSD, Asperger’s, ADD, autism, thyroid disorders, a brain tumor, dementia, side effects from certain medications, etc… these medical issues can cause a husband to act in an unloving way or to seem unloving to his wife and family. (There are resources to help in these kinds of situations!)

РAlmost everyone gets easily upset and grumpy when they are exhausted, sleep-deprived, sick, in pain or have low blood sugar.  These are times to offer much grace, in my view.  The flesh is weak.

– If a husband has a history of abuse in his past or his parents’ example of marriage was extremely ungodly, especially if he did not have a godly dad, he may not know how to be loving and may have a lot of wounds and scars to heal from. ¬†He may not know what love is or how to express it. ¬†He may need a godly male mentor in this situation to teach him how to be a godly husband.

– If a husband came to Christ, but is involved in unrepentant sin, his sinful nature is in control, not God’s Spirit. ¬†He cannot act like Jesus if he is cherishing sin in his heart. ¬†His life will bear ungodly fruit. (Galatians 5:19-21) ¬†His greatest need is repentance.

– If a husband does not have Christ as his Savior and Lord – he won’t have the power of God to give him the strength to love with God’s agape love. ¬†He is spiritually dead. ¬†A corpse doesn’t get up and lovingly serve anyone. ¬†Until God wakes him up and opens his spiritual eyes, he will be a slave to his sinful nature. ¬†His greatest need is Christ.

– If a husband is actively addicted to drugs or alcohol or some other addiction, he may treat his wife very unlovingly no matter what she does or does not do. ¬†She is not dealing with the real man, but with the addiction. She will need very specialized help. ¬†It may not be safe for her or their children to stay. ¬†Some wives believe God wants them to stay – ¬†I support them in their decisions if they believe this is what God wants them to do. ¬†Some wives believe God wants them to leave – I support them in their decisions if they are seeking to hear and obey God’s voice.


This is not an exhaustive list. But I do want women to know that they are NOT 100% responsible for all problems in marriage.  

There are very few situations where one spouse is completely responsible for all the problems.  Maybe we are only responsible for 10% of the issues.   Then it is our job to take care of all of our 10%.

  • We are responsible for our own sin, our obedience to Christ and our emotions.
  • Our husbands are not responsible for our sin, our happiness, our emotions, our spiritual maturity, our joy – Jesus is the only one who can give us true joy, contentment and peace.
  • Our husbands are responsible to God for their sin, their obedience to God and their emotions.
  • We are not responsible for our husbands’ sin, their happiness, their emotions, their spiritual maturity or joy – Jesus is the only one who can give them true joy, contentment and peace.
Our husbands’ sin does not give us an excuse to sin against God.
God still calls us to please Him, obey Him, be faithful to Him and to our marriage covenant. We don’t seek to be godly wives in order to change our husbands – we do it to please God. We leave the results with Him and seek His glory. ¬†We let God handle our husbands.

We don’t take on our husband’s responsibilities, or God’s responsibilities – ¬†only our own.

We don’t just respect our husbands as godly wives – we respect God first, and we also respect ourselves. (Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare)
We seek above all else to honor and glorify God. ¬†That is our primary purpose in life as disciples of Christ. ¬†I cannot let anyone come between me and Christ. ¬†I must obey God above all else and seek to please Him in everything I do. ¬†He alone is my Lord. ¬†I must say, “Yes, Lord” whenever He asks me to do anything. ¬†I have a holy, reverential fear of God above all else in my life.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 1:7
We also need to have respect for ourselves as women. ¬†We have a responsibility, perhaps even a duty, to set healthy boundaries and consequences if our husbands are mistreating us. ¬†If we don’t respect ourselves and we tolerate terrible behavior from our husbands, they won’t respect us. ¬†Respecting our husbands does not mean we cannot respect ourselves. ¬†Respecting our husbands does not mean we must take abuse and act like that is ok.

Marriage should have love and respect going in both directions.  

(I Peter 3:7 commands husbands to treat their wives with honor so that their prayers will not be hindered.  Husbands are commanded to love their wives in Eph. 5:22-33.  Wives are commanded to love their husbands in Titus 2:3-5 and to respect them and honor their God-given authority in Ephesians 5:22-33)
If our husbands don’t respect us – ¬†we lose our power to influence and inspire them. Men do not allow people they don’t respect to impact their decisions. ¬†One great thing about becoming a more godly wife is that as we become more like Christ, it should be easier for our husbands to respect us, too.
There are times that we may need to  pray, fast, seek godly counsel and we may have to respectfully say things like:
– Please do not speak to me like that.
РThat really hurts me.  This is not ok.
– You cannot live with me if you are involved with another woman.
– I want to give you the gift of my desire and my body – but I need to know that I am safe with you. ¬†I want to trust you completely. ¬†This is so painful for me to say, but I can’t give myself to you when you have women friends you flirt with and talk about sex with. ¬† That is disrespectful to me and our marriage. ¬†We have a covenant before God. ¬†This is not right. ¬†Here are the things I need to see happen so that I can trust you before I can give myself to you again…”
– I cannot watch you destroy your life with alcohol/drugs. ¬†I want us to tackle this together. ¬†If you are willing to get help, let’s beat this together as a team. ¬†If you are not willing to stop drinking/doing drugs, the kids and I cannot stay here (or you cannot stay here). ¬†It would be wrong and unloving of me to act like that was ok. ¬†This is not the real you. ¬†I miss you! ¬†You are a better man than this! ¬†I know this is not the life you want for any of us.
– When you use porn, it hurts me so deeply and personally. ¬†I feel betrayed. ¬†Please don’t use porn anymore. ¬† ¬†Let’s beat this thing together. ¬†Tell me how I can help and what I can do to support you.
Even if we must set healthy boundaries or consequences, there is no need for us to yell and curse. We can have respect for God, for ourselves and our husbands – without respecting sin.
***  If you are experiencing serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP!  The statements I gave are only examples of things wives may need to say in certain situations.  I am sure they do NOT apply in every possible situation.
Please listen to God’s Spirit and obey His promptings over my suggestions!
  • There are times when He wants us to say nothing.
  • There are times when He wants us to say specific things.
  • There are times when we need to leave for our safety.
  • There are times when if we left, we would be in even more danger.
  • There are times when we need godly, wise counsel before we attempt to say ¬†or do anything to our husbands.

I can’t begin to tell you what God desires you to do in your specific situation. ¬†

I trust that He is able to give  you His wisdom as you repent of any sin in your own life and put all your faith and trust in Him and learn to abide in Him, feast on His Word, seek His face, die to self and submit yourself fully to Him as Lord.


When My Spouse is Wrong

My Secret Idol¬†(from a wife whose idol was her husband’s salvation)

6 thoughts on ““Is It ALL My Fault?”

  1. Check out Spiritual Authority There is a section toward the bottom about having a submissive spirit toward a person in authority over us even when we cannot do what they are asking us to do – if they are asking us to clearly sin or something, for instance. There is also a section at the very bottom from our minister who did the class about women in abusive situations.

    Check out Nina Roesner’s course Strength and Dignity.

  2. Great information as always! I have felt like this a few times on my journey…”is it all my fault?” Even if I am doing things just right, this doesn’t mean that my husband will be doing right in response. I am also guilty of being codependent with my husband’s joy. I know this is sinful and I am repentant. I am working each day, praying to lay down my sinful nature and follow Christ … For obedience to God and to follow His will and not for my selfish desires. (Aka if I’m a good Christian wife (does NOT) = my Husband will honor me and cherish me and be a good Christian husband)

    I am guilty of making my husband and marriage my idol. I am also guilty of wishing to control my husband’s sin.
    Let me remember : “We are not responsible for their sin and behavior.”

    I pray that God will help me get out of my own way so that I may truly honor God in my marriage and life for God’s glory. Thank you!

  3. April,
    Thank you for this post! It’s amazing to me when I think of how powerful we wives imagine ourselves in the whole scheme of things. . . . . .

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my husband is my brother in Christ and how my disrespect makes him stumble in his walk. . . causing him to be unloving or short tempered (or whatever) with me. . . but to think I’m the ONLY thing that makes him stumble. . . that’s just egocentric.

    A large part of this whole struggle is the big power trip we are on. . . thanks for your help in convicting my heart of one more detail!

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