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Stages of This Journey – Part 1


Each wife’s story and each marriage is unique.  I write primarily for wives who tend to be dominating, controlling, “overly-helpful,” perfectionistic and disrespectful in their marriages.  Most of us don’t realize that we are doing these things and aren’t purposely doing them.  Many of us start out thinking we HAVE to act the way we do because our husbands “won’t” or “can’t” lead.  That’s what I used to think!

I have walked beside hundreds of women on this journey now, and, of course, I have been walking it myself for almost 5 years now.    It took me over 2 years before I BEGAN to feel like I had any clue what I was doing with respect and biblical submission.  It felt VERY awkward and foreign at first.  And I scrambled trying to learn from many different books but I felt like I was having to reinvent the wheel by myself, trying to learn what godly femininity was, what godly marriage was and what it meant to respect my husband and to honor his leadership.  It took 2 years and 10 months for all of my husband’s walls to come down.

  • My prayer is that God might allow me to put the dots closer together for those coming behind me than they were for me.

There are still some things I have been praying for in my marriage that haven’t happened yet.  That’s ok.  I desire to keep my eyes on Christ.  I want to obey and please Him and I want to bless my husband.  I trust God to work in my husband’s heart and to lead me through my husband.

Let me see if I can describe some stages from my perspective that may be helpful for the wives who are in the trenches early in this journey from being a controlling, disrespectful wife to a godly wife with a peaceful, gentle spirit who respects and honors her husband and does what is right and does not give way to fear.


This is where God opens our eyes to the magnitude of our sin.  We may not immediately see absolutely all of it, but we can see enough that we are mortified, shocked, horrified and terrified to see that we are actually wretched sinners.

For me, this happened when I read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in December of 2008.  For the first time, I realized that Greg needed respect the way that I needed love and our whole 14.5 years of marriage passed before my eyes and I realized that if “respect” was the measure of my being a “good wife” – I had fallen far short.  I didn’t have an A+ on my Christian wife report card like I always thought I had.  It was more like a D-.

I finally came face to face with my sin:

  • idolatry of self
  • idolatry of wanting to be in control
  • selfishness
  • PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE – thinking I was always right and I knew best
  • rebellion against God’s Word and against God
  • disrespect towards Greg
  • disrespect towards God
  • unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness
  • usurping my husband’s God-given position as leader in the marriage
  • living like I was sovereign instead of God

For many of you – conviction came as you read my blog.


This is the stage when we mourn over our sin, acknowledge how very sinful we are and how much we have offended God’s holiness and we turn away from the sin and to Christ.


I am truly a wretched sinner.  I owe you BILLIONS of “sin dollars” that I could never possibly repay.  I have fallen very short of your standard of holiness.  I cannot begin to make things right with You on my own.  I cannot earn my way to heaven.  I cannot impress You with “good works.”  My “good works” are like You described them to be in Isaiah 64 – “filthy, dirty, bloody menstrual rags.”  I need the blood of Christ to cover my sin.  I turn from all my sin and turn in total faith to You, Jesus!  I accept your death on the cross for my sin – that in God’s sight – You took on Yourself all of my sin and all of God’s wrath and punishment against my sin.  You have paid my debt in full.  You have given me Your “bank account” so that when God looks at me, I owe Him nothing.  He just sees You, Jesus.  I receive you GLADLY as my Savior and also as my LORD. I want You to be in charge now, not me.  I owe you EVERYTHING!  Now, I want to obey You in everything You ask me to do out of gratitude for all You have done for me.  There is nothing You could ask me to do that I would not be willing to do.  I am fully Yours.  Make me more and more like You, Jesus!  I surrender my life completely to You.”

We also repent to our husbands – apologizing to them for our disrespect and control and deciding to learn to be the godly wives God calls us to be.

  • Apologizing once is probably sufficient.
  • A brief apology WITHOUT any explanation or justification of our sin is often best.



I realize now that I have been very disrespectful toward you and very controlling.  I see now how wrong I have been.  I am SO sorry!  I couldn’t even see all of my sin until now.  I apologize for my sinful attitudes and behavior and words.  I want to become the wife God desires me to be and that you need me to be.  I have a lot to learn.  I pray you can be patient with me as I ask God to teach me and change me.  I want to respect you and honor your leadership from this moment on.  I am very new at all of this, so, I may need help.  It is kind of like learning a foreign language to me.  Maybe you can let me know when I am being disrespectful or controlling, please.”


I personally wanted to go live in a cave by myself for the rest of my life for quite awhile after God convicted me and I repented.  I saw my sin.  I knew how sinful I was.  I realized that almost every word out of my mouth was sin.  But I didn’t know how else to talk or think yet.

This is the phase where:

  • we learn to hold back and not say everything that we think in our minds
  • we begin to learn wisdom and discretion by stopping the negative, critical, hateful, prideful, bossy, condescending, judging, cutting sarcastic comments
  • we stop bashing and criticizing our husbands to others
  • at this point, we are still thinking the disrespectful, controlling thoughts, we are just trying not to say the thoughts
  • it can feel like trying to hold back an ocean of negative emotions
  • this phase is not sustainable forever – it can feel like “faking it” or “acting” at first, because we are not voicing our sinful thoughts
  • if we have been very verbal, this can feel extremely awkward and very, very quiet
  • we begin to step down out of the leadership role
  • we begin to allow our husbands to make decisions
  • we lay down all of our expectations of our husbands and of God
  • we recognize the source of many of our thoughts about our husbands – “My Demon
  • we take our emotional and spiritual hands off of our husbands’ necks
  • we may pull back emotionally from others (for me, I pulled back from everyone) in our lives as we try to figure out how to talk to people without sinning with our words
  • we may need to repent to other people (coworkers, friends, extended family) for our disrespect and control as well as our gossip and our negativity.  Usually, if a woman is controlling with her husband, she is also controlling with others as well.  I sure was!
  • this can be lonely, and we may not feel like we have a lot of outside support during this time
  • ideally, we would have a godly mentoring wife to talk with during this time and/or godly girlfriends who will support us on this journey and who are committed to respecting our husbands and holding us accountable for our sin


We must tear out the idols (video) and dig out all of the sin.  We allow God to reveal to us more and more sin and we shovel it out.  We lay still on the operating table as He does open heart surgery on us and searches the deepest, darkest corners of our souls for every trace of ungodliness and gangrene so that He can remove it.  This is PAINFUL!  This happens many times in layers.  As we continue to go, God reveals deeper and deeper layers of sin.

This is where we “give up on our dreams for our marriage”

This is no quick and easy process.  It is God completely tearing out all of our old sinful nature.  The sinful nature does NOT want to die.  It is a battle. We dig down to the foundation of Christ and get rid of everything else we think we know about God, about ourselves, about being a Christian, about godly femininity, about godly masculinity, about marriage…  And we rebuild on the truth of Christ and His Word alone.  It is a total regeneration of our hearts, souls and minds. The tearing out of the old sinful stuff comes first.  Every idol has to go.

We must identify our idols, things we have been cherishing more than Christ.  Sometimes we can identify them by looking at our deepest fears.  Our idols are often the opposite of our greatest fears.

For me, some of my idols were:

  • SELF and being in control – I trusted myself, not God.  To get rid of this idol felt like I was flinging myself spiritually off of a cliff.  It was terrifying to feel like I was giving up control to God.  Of course, now I know that I didn’t actually have control.  It was all an illusion.  The only power I really had was to destroy my fellowship with Christ and my marriage.  But I had been living as if I was in charge of my life and circumstances and other people’s lives since I was about 5.  I didn’t understand the sovereignty of God.  So it was scary giving control to God at first.
  • feeling loved by Greg – I had to decide to find my contentment in Christ alone, not in my feelings or in Greg
  • Greg – I wanted him to be responsible for my happiness and if I wasn’t happy, it was his fault.  I expected him to meet needs for me that only Jesus could meet.  I drowned him with my neediness.  He could never do enough to satisfy me.  Eventually, he stopped trying.  When I idolize a person, I become a black hole of need to them.  I repel them.  Only God can meet these deepest needs of my soul for purpose, value, identity, acceptance, security, feeling loved and only He can give me real joy, peace and contentment.
  • romance – I personally had to stop reading all romance novels, even Christian rated G ones, and stop watching romantic movies because they created false expectations in me for what I expected Greg to do and they helped to create a spirit of discontentment in me.  (breaking the romance addiction)

Seeking God first requires TIME in God’s Word, study and much prayer.

It also requires us to humble ourselves before Him and open our hearts to everything He wants to show us and say to us.  It requires my willingness to acknowledge that God has wisdom, I do not.


To tear out all the idols, we must confront our deepest fears.   I personally had to write down my deepest fears and then wrestle with whether God is really who He says He is in the Bible or not and is He able to handle my fears or not.  And if He is really sovereign, and He were to allow me to go through some of my biggest fears – can I trust Him?  Will I be ok?

  • What if my husband dies?
  • What if one of us got a terminal illness?
  • What if one of our children died or got very sick?
  • What if we lose our jobs?
  • What if the government collapses and the nation is destroyed and we are living in ruins?

Is God big enough and sovereign enough that He can take care of me even if He allows one of these things to happen?

We submit ourselves fully to Christ as Lord.

Stages of this Journey:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4



Nina Roesner has a great description of her view of the stages wives go through as they walk this journey of becoming godly wives and women here.

How to Pray for Your Husband so that God Will Hear

Avoiding Legalism

SOME TANGIBLE THINGS THAT HELPED ME KEEP MY FOCUS – these are things  that helped me greatly in the beginning of my journey, and they are things I still do.   Could be some things to prayerfully consider, pray about and seek God’s will for your life.  The internal is the primary thing.  If we are doing these things out of a desire to please God and honor Him and to bless our husbands – these can be very good things.

45 thoughts on “Stages of This Journey – Part 1

  1. I thank God for finding April and her blog for me at the perfect time when I myself said to the Lord that I was willing to let my husband lead me. I decided on that two weeks before I saw the Peaceful wife’s blog. Talk about a divine appointment! Thanks April! Praise God for a godly mentor who made/makes this difficult and awkward journey less daunting and more exciting! 🙂

    I really hope we can have a Peaceful Wives’ Club. 🙂

    1. Amen Veronica!

      April, I feel so blessed to be able to draw from your Godly example daily during this journey. It saddens me when I think you had to go through it alone – BUT I also think that might have been best in order for you to fully rely and depend on God rather than your girlfriends. . .you seem to have such clarity now! Thanks so much for being a willing spirit!

      I handled something differently this week & I feel like I want to give a little victory shout- out to God for helping me through it! I’d love to share the details with you (and everyone!) But my husband reads your blog & I don’t want him to identify me yet.

      I do want to say that I’m finding the “apologetic” phase interesting . . . God has not yet allowed me to say a big “Honey, I’m really sorry for being ugly and disrespectful for the last 20 years” sort of prayer. . .Instead, he is showing me specifically each time to say, “Honey , I’m sorry, I really handled that wrong. . .what I should’ve done/said was. . . “. As if to say, “Don’t go back, just move forward. . .”. Anyway, I find it interesting & am wondering if others have experienced this. . .

      Have a great day everyone!

      1. fallenshort,

        I do know some wives who do not do a big apology.

        Sometimes, I think it can be a wise approach. I am sure God will give each wife wisdom.

        I will say that there are times when a wife does a big apology, that a husband expects immediate perfection. That is NOT really possible! So, I can see where apologizing for current situations would be good.

        You know what? It did make me depend totally on God for everything. I wasn’t alone at all. 🙂 He was with me every moment.

        That has been my prayer – that God would allow me to pave the way for women coming behind me so that it would be somewhat easier. It’s not “easy” – but maybe not quite as difficult and frustrating, I hope! 🙂

        Thanks for the comment!

        Much love,

  2. Great post for those just getting started and great refresher. It can be a very painful process but so necessary. The peace and joy that come from trusting God in every detail is just amazing. Praying for you April and this ministry. Such a blessing!!

  3. Very briefly I wanted to thank peaceful wife. I discovered your blog on September 5;2013. I applied everything I learned and am so grateful. My dear husband passed away on November 10;2013. Although my heart aches I can honostly say I have NO REGRETS.My husband left this world knowing his wife loved and RESPECTED him! There was nothing left unsaid. He was only 53 and had an unexpected hemmorragic stroke. Dear wives no matter how hard and frustrating it may be to follow this Godly council do it NOW! We aren’t promised tomorrow. God Bless!

    1. My dear girl!!!!!?!?!?

      I weep with you! I praise God that He allowed you to have those 2 months and a few days. I PRAISE GOD that you obeyed God and that you had that precious time to make things right.

      I weep with JOY that you were granted this time with your husband to be the wife God desired you to be. I mourn with you over the loss of your husband. But I am so thankful that you have no regrets!

      When you are ready – if you would like to – I would love to share your story.

      You are always welcome here. How I wish I could hug your neck, cry with you and pray with you. If you want prayer, encouragement or just some love and a long distance hug – I am here any time.

      What a blessing you are to me. Thank you for sharing!!!!!

      1. Yes you have my permission to share my story. I do need prayer as this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to walk thru. Within an hrs time my whole world was turned upside down. But looking back I see the faithfulness of God. Even stumbling upon your blog. Thru all of this my prayer has been God I Trust You! I tilt believe with all of my heart we go thru things for others. It’s urgent that all your readers take the Godly council from this blog and RUN with it! I will be contacting you my dear sister in Christ via email. God Bless!

        1. kls,

          I lift up this precious sister of mine to Your throne room in heaven where tens of thousands of angels and saints praise You continuously in the highest heaven. Thank You for Your sovereignty. Thank You for Your hand working in her life and marriage. We thank and praise You for kls’ faith in You, her relationship with You for what You have done in her life and in her marriage. We trust You to use her to draw many, many to Yourself. Thank You that You are close to the brokenhearted. Comfort, heal, guide and protect KLS, Lord! Let Your people surround her with prayer, love and encouragement. Give her the strength and courage she needs to just breathe and take each step right now. Thank You that You are good. Thank You that we can praise You even in the dark valleys. I wish she could spend 5 minutes in heaven right now and see all that You are doing – but I know that You are at work for her good even today.

          Deepen her faith. Deepen her love for You. Let her know You more and more.

          IN the Name and power of Christ

          Much love to you!!!! Thank you for allowing me to share. How desperately many wives need to hear your wisdom!

  4. April – what if the HUSBAND is doing this to the wife…I wanted her to be responsible for my happiness and if I wasn’t happy, it was her fault. I expected her to meet needs for me that only Jesus could meet. I drowned her with my neediness. She could never do enough to satisfy me. Eventually, she stopped trying. When I idolize a person, I become a black hole of need to them. I repel them. Only God can meet these deepest needs of my soul for purpose, value, identity, acceptance, security, feeling loved and only He can give me real joy, peace and contentment….My husband treats me this way and it is SO stressful. He is VERY needy and is NEVER satisfied with me. He tells me my only purpose is life is to meet his needs and be his helper…he told me this morning we are NOT equal. He is unemployed, so I am the primary breadwinner. He has bouts of deep depression and is suicidal at times. He refuses to get help…so he puts the burden on me to counsel him…He puts his emotional wellbeing on me…it’s my fault he feels a certain way. VERY stressful for our marriage. I daily cast my cares upon Him, it’s the only way I can cope…and I will keep on trusting God!

  5. Dear PeacefulWife,

    I have been thinking about this all day (for real). I think there is 2 side to this thought :

    1.I didn’t want to tell dh my feelings because I thought this was the same as pursuing him and I had decided not to, after reading a previous post. But I guess one can share their feelings without pursuing their dh. Or, maybe I misunderstood what was pursuing dh. But the line is thin. If I share my feelings, I have a feeling I am doing it for closeness and if I get close, I feel like I am pursuing him. Or again, I was scared that it would come out in a bad way.

    2. Now, I didn’t tell him I trust him with his decision. I don’t. I am not pleased. But, I am not angry (any more). I just leave it to God. Now, as the leader of our family, he is allowed to make a decision that is not my favorite. And I don’t want to wine about it.

    1. Yas,

      Sharing feelings is part of being a partner and a team mate and a person. 🙂 Your feelings are important. What you don’t want to do is cram your feelings down his throat and make demands. But sharing feelings without making demands is a good thing!

      If you don’t trust him, then it is better not to say that you do. But, I pray that you might be able to genuinely say it in time. 🙂

      I am glad you are able to allow him to make a decision that isn’t your favorite. THAT IS A GOOD THING! And I am glad you don’t want to whine about it.

      I do trust God, and I trust He is able to lead your husband. 🙂

      Much love!

  6. This is so what I need. Thank you so much. So you have an offline Pdf of these stages? I feel like it’s so much information I really need to digest it. I am ordering love and respect and surrendering wife. I really need to change.

    1. Tia,

      I don’t have a PDF version – but you could certainly copy and paste and store it in a file. 🙂 I’m so thankful this is helpful. 🙂 Can’t wait to see what God wants to do in your heart.

  7. I may have read a blog of yours not too long ago, I’m not sure; just doing these dares has been MORE than enough in processing what you’ve begun to disclose in this ONE entry.
    So seeing a blog here or there has not been remotely anything I’ve wanted to open ever since my open heart surgery began. How I ever opened this today is beyond me because I was about to take a nap from sheer mental exhaustion.
    But, I somehow ended up here and read every word. Heck, this entry alone was every thought and struggle I have been facing myself.
    I’ve gone through shock, through awe, through wanting to SCREAM at Nina for not enclosing a Big red flag that popped out of this book when you first open it’s cover. Something that describes how ‘you’re about to enter an operating room and you will be receiving “open heart surgery!” ‘
    It’s exactly how I’ve felt in addition to the humbling going on, seeing how Prideful I truly am (I already knew I was proud…and I was proud to be proud… But ooey gooey, sticky gross gum on your shoe chewy, SICK with serious grotesque Pride). So much pride, I am almost too proud to admit how prideful.
    Oh, and idolizing myself?? THIS one alone has knocked me down from shock and surprise. I’m sure I’ve been to proud to see I had elevated myself high above my Lord… Because “I was lord.”
    I must say, I’m still in shock. Of course from my pride being poked for being so blind, mixed with some humility for being so arrogant.
    And, I’m feeling quite paralyzed but it all. I don’t want to be held captive any longer.
    My biggest fear? Trust… I want to trust, but I don’t trust……. Anyone. I’m sure God is included in the ‘anyone,’ which really exposes my lack of faith.

    This morning I begged God to corral me like a wild horse…. With a bit in my mouth, so I can’t gossip or smoosh another person with my words….a bridle around my neck so I can be led…. And blinders over my eyes, so I won’t be tempted to look around but stay focused on Jesus.

    It’s tough, but one thing I do know?? God disciplines those He loves.

    Thank you for sharing!

    I’ll be reading more, I am sure 🙂

    1. Tracy,
      It is wonderful to hear from you!

      Yes, it absolutely is open heart surgery of the soul.

      This was the biggest shock of my life, too. I thought I really wasn’t much of a sinner, seriously, for most of my life. I didn’t think I owed God much at all. When He showed me my MOUNTAIN (it was way more than a 2X4 in my eye) of PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE, self-righteousness, gossip, bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rebellion against His Word, unbelief, idolatry (of self, of begin in control, of having my wants met, of my own happiness, of my feeling loved, of romance, of my husband… the list goes on and on) – I was in utter and total shock.

      I thought I was the best Christian wife and woman ever.

      When I saw the depth of my sin – I wanted to run away to a cave and never talk to anyone else ever again. How could I talk again? I suddenly realized that almost every thought in my head and almost every word that came out of my mouth was filthy.

      I relate to you so, so much.

      It took me about 6 weeks to dig out all the pride and sin. And then, God showed me more and more in layers over time.

      Yes, it is terrifying to trust God when you really never have before, even though you thought you did. I felt like I was spiritually flinging myself off of a cliff.

      This first part is REALLY, HORRIBLY, EXCRUCIATINGLY painful.

      But it is SO WORTH IT!

      I praise God that He opened my eyes and showed me the gangrene that was killing me and destroying my soul before it was too late.

      Right now, you are “poor in spirit” – that is EXACTLY the place we must be to begin this journey.

      I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you my precious sister!!!!!!!!

      Much love and a HUGE hug!


  8. Pingback: What Causes a Woman to Become Controlling? – VIDEO | Peacefulwife's Blog
  9. April, I thank you again for your blog and I thank God for showing it to me in perfect timing (no surprise, hey!!)

    I only just started learning about the surrendering journey and right now I am very convicted and repenting for so many years of controlling and disrespectful behaviour. It has been so painful but I finally see my sin and I am committing to God that I will now stop fighting for the control that is His and His alone, and never was and never can be mine no matter how hard I tried.

    I have a question about apologizing to my husband. I guess really I just need to talk to it and get some reassurance and advice I guess. I am finding I have specific situations that God is showing me that I must repent for to Him and also apologize to my husband. I have apologized to my husband for my general behaviour but there are specific things I feel so convicted that I need to address as well that were “bigger” situations. I just feel like I have to apologize, yet I don’t want to be overwhelming him and making him uncomfortable that I am bringing some of these things up. Has you or anyone else felt like this and how did you handle it? Will too much and too many words just sound like I’m a fake? Perhaps I am worrying over nothing. I just feel like I need to address certain things I am particular sorry for yet I know I don’t want to further bombard him. Thanks

    1. Melanie,

      You are so welcome. I’m thrilled that I get to be here with you on this journey and watch God working in your life. 🙂 How I praise God for what He is showing you!

      Have you searched my blog home page for “apologizing stories” yet? I think they may be helpful.

      Where is your husband now? Is he very shut down and upset? Or is he still pretty open and able to have conversations with you?

      Much love to you!

      1. Thanks 🙂 I did read the apologizing stories and it was what encouraged me to step forward to approach the subject with my husband. I was so overwhelmed with guilt I could not go on without an apology on my part to “clear the air”. My husband has done some apologizing as well in regards to some things, however up until that point I was still looking to him as it being “his” fault we were in the mess we were in (because of course I was perfect!), and not acknowledging my own part as I was blind to my actions.

        He is still pretty open and able to have conversations at this point and he did acknowledge how he felt having our discussion in which I apologized was a big step in the right direction. Both of us recognizing the fact that words need to be followed up by action, but at least I was not shut down. I am so grateful although there was a lot of tension and distance and shutting down, it was not at the point that he had given up, thank God for that.

        I guess the more I am thinking and learning and the more God is showing me, the more convicted I get about particular things that I know were big issues for him where I was trying to have complete control, and I feel like I need to address it yet I don’t want him to end up just questioning why I am bombarding him with all these apologies now and feeling like by me telling him all this I’m just expecting him to do a complete turnaround instantly, again trying to “make” him see it my way. I’m done with that kind of attitude that I had, but I guess I’m just very apprehensive because I am so new to figuring out how I need to be respectful. I guess I just don’t want him to get the impression that again I’m forcing all this on him at once. Do I make any sense? I’m not the best at explaining my feelings, hence some of the reason we are already in the mess we are in 🙂

        thanks again your support is such a blessing!

        1. Melanie,

          This won’t be an instant thing. It is a long journey of slow, sometimes pain-staking growth. But if you can show your husband you truly want to change and learn and understand his world and perspective, hopefully he will have grace for you as you learn. Sometimes husbands expect a big sudden change, but that it is usually baby steps and there is often a lot of stumbling at first.

          You can share that you are just now seeing s lot of areas where you have been blind, but that this is going to take a total renovation of your soul and thinking and that you appreciate his support and help as you try to learn. You may invite him to share if he feels disrespected and then listen without defending yourself if he feels upset.

          I have a lot of posts about all the different stages of this journey, so let me know if you get stuck or need to talk.

          Much love! Praying for God’s healing and glory for you both!

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