Skip to main content

Stages of This Journey – Part 2

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter Sunrise

In Part 1, we talked about the beginning stages of the journey to becoming a godly wife

  1. Conviction
  2. Repentance
  3. The Frustrating Quiet Phase
  4. Seeking God First (tearing out idols and making Christ Lord)

Today, let’s continue on…  But please know that these stages are not always linear.  We cycle through some of them over and over again at times as we grow.  Some of them happen at the same time.  This is a refining process. We stumble at times.  We may not always be moving forwards.  That is normal.  But we continue to repent, get back up, seek God first and desire to obey Him above all else.  This is a LONG journey of many thousands of miles that we walk by foot.  It is not an instant thing.  You will not be the most godly wife in 1 day or 1 week or 1 month.  This is a process of many, many months and years.

5.  GIVING HIM SPACE

Giving our husbands more space is not usually a permanent phase in some ways.  It is possible it could be a long term thing, but once your husband begins to approach you and close that gap – then it is time to find a new balance and level of connection.

  • The permanent part is that we don’t make them idols again – as soon as we notice we are feeling disappointed in them, we check our motives to be sure we are only seeking our contentment in Christ, not in our husbands.

At first, we may give a little “too much space” – but that is ok.  It is important for us to do this, in my view, as we spend more time with God and try to learn and figure out how to stop disrespect and control and how to begin to be respectful and learn to be godly followers.

Giving more space is part of tearing out the idols of “trying to control our husbands,” “wanting to feel loved” and “wanting them to meet the needs we have that only Christ can meet” as well as our idols of “romance.”

If you had been smothering your husband, constantly calling/texting/emailing, expecting him to call/text/email/pursue you… if you have been pursuing him constantly and are being rejected often – then you may need to give him space so that he can breathe and begin to hear God’s voice himself again and so that you can be sure he has the freedom to make his own decisions.

The Separation-Leads-to-Greater- Intimacy  Paradox

6.  FEELING TOTALLY OVERWHELMED

Eventually, every wife feels overwhelmed in this process – not just once – but many times.  This can happen at any point along the way.

When you feel this way.  It is actually a good thing!  It usually means that

  • it is a flag that you are attempting to do this in your own strength
  • you may be allowing perfectionism to take over (that is an idol in and of itself, too!)
  • you may be trying to tackle too much at once – there is only so much you can learn and change at one time usually
  • you NEED Christ to be able to do this!!!!!!  Discouragement, discontentment and frustration are signals to set our eyes back on Jesus.

So, it’s time to slow down, breathe, and focus on Jesus.

  • You are going to basically have to “eat an elephant” on this journey.  You can’t do it all in one day or one week or one month.
  • Absorb what you can.
  • Allow God to change you.
  • Take a nap if you are exhausted
  • Take a break from studying about respect and biblical submission for a few days or a week or two as you regroup, but continue with Bible study and prayer and submitting fully to Christ.
  • Focus on a few things at a time.  If possible, you can ask your husband for the 3 biggest things he’d like you to stop doing and the 3 biggest things he’d like you to start doing.  Don’t argue.  Don’t justify yourself or explain why you were doing what you were doing before.  Thank him for his wisdom and insights and then get to work focusing on those things.  He may need a few days to think about those things, that is ok.  If he can’t verbalize what he needs, you can look at the lists at the top of my home page about what is disrespectful and respectful and begin to tackle those.  Some wives print out the lists and ask their husbands to check the things that would be the most meaningful to them.
  • If you are doing this in your own strength or you find ungodly motives or idols, repent and fix your eyes back on Christ

7.  LEARNING TO USE WORDS AND EMOTIONS TO BLESS – coming out of the quiet phase

As we get better at  NOT saying the negative sinful things, we can also begin to learn to speak this new language of respect.  We begin to learn to use words that genuinely and sincerely affirm, encourage, praise, build up and bless.   We are beginning to be able to speak with wisdom and discretion and to know when it is best to be silent and how and when to use words to edify.

This is going to feel foreign and awkward.  Much like learning to speak a new language.  At first, you will want to go back to your “native language” of disrespect because it feels normal and natural.  But, in time, as you practice this new language, eventually it will feel normal and natural and  your old sinful language will feel awkward and foreign and awful!

We still may not talk as much as we used to when we were stressed, worried, afraid, trying to control everything.  But we begin to find beautiful things to talk about, good things, and we begin to verbalize our positive feelings:

  • I’m so glad you are here
  • I love being your wife
  • I feel so full of joy today
  • I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am
  • I feel like the happiest woman on the planet!
  • I love  spending time with you
  • Thanks for listening to me
  • Thanks for eating supper with the kids and me
  • I appreciate how hard you work and how well you provide for us.
  • I love your strong work ethic
  • Thank you for your godly influence on our children
  • Thank you for being such an involved, loving father
  • I appreciate your wisdom and your willingness to share your ideas with me
  • Thank you for your leadership

By the way – I began to thank Greg for his leadership long before he began to lead.  I stepped down first.  I began to thank him for carrying the weight of responsibility, accountability before God and leadership before God in our marriage.  I thanked him for carrying that weight that was too heavy for me.  I told him I trusted him to lead us.  I told God I trusted Him to lead me through Greg and if God wanted me to do something, He would figure out how to lay it on Greg’s heart.  I told God I would not run ahead or take control anymore but just wait on God and Greg to lead me.  I told God I would be content to wait right there until I was 80 years old if I had to, but I was going to follow Greg, not lead anymore.

This involves A LOT of waiting.  I was pretty awful at waiting and possibly one of the most impatient people on the planet before.  But, thankfully, there is much to learn in the waiting and, eventually, waiting becomes sweet.

8. FINDING CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST ALONE

We begin to recognize disappointment, discontent and negative feelings as flags to help us evaluate our motives and set our eyes back on Christ to find our joy.

9. DYING TO SELF

We lay down our desires, our dreams, our plans, our goals, everything we have, everything we are, our wisdom, our lives – at Jesus’ feet.  We nail our old sinful nature to the cross to die with Christ and to be buried with Him.  We give Him all that we are.  We are “living sacrifices” for Him every day.  We learn to say in sincerity in every area of our lives, “Not my will but Yours be done.”

We put on our new self in Christ.  Then, we pick up Jesus’ desires, His dreams, His plans, His goals, His priorities, His wisdom, His identity, His heavenly riches and we seek His greatest glory.  This becomes the focus of our lives.

Now, our lives are all about Jesus, not about us.

  • We do lose our old sinful selves.  We die to that old self. (Eph 4:20-24, Romans 6:6, Galatians 5:24)
  • But we gain our new selves in Christ.  We put on “the new man” in Christ.

10. DEVELOPING A GRATEFUL HEART

We focus on Philippians 4:8 and on being thankful in everything.

  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

We focus on obeying God’s command in Philippians 2:14-16 to do all things without complaining or arguing.     Complaining comes from an ungrateful spirit.  That does not ever honor God.  Arguing comes from pride – thinking I am always right.  We focus now on humility and thankfulness as we learn to praise God in every situation and trust His sovereignty and His wisdom not our own.

  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Phil.2:14-16 

We learn to look for the good and focus on the good in our husbands and in life in general.

We begin to speak up about the things we are thankful for, the things that are good, the things we admire, the things we see that are beautiful and praiseworthy in our husbands, in our children, in those around us, in our day, in life – and we begin to become genuinely thankful women.

The sinful thoughts happen less and less frequently and when they do pop up, we recognize them more quickly and know how to shoot them down and not dwell on them when we have God’s Spirit empowering us.

11. TAKING EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE

The only way to truly become a godly wife is to allow God to change your mind, heart and soul completely.  A big part of this is learning to capture each thought and evaluate it against the truth of God’s Word and reject sinful thoughts, only holding on to the godly, biblical thoughts.

This means you will have to recognize your thoughts.  For me, I had to write down the “tapes” that would play over and over in my head.  Then I had to compare what I was saying to myself with God’s Word.  I had to replace the lies and sin with the truth of God’s Word.

Eventually, the sinful “tapes” stop playing in our minds all the time.  The worry, resentment, fear, bitterness, etc… go away as we kick them out and as we replace those thoughts with meditating on God’s Word, memorizing scripture, meditating on worship songs that exalt Christ…

One day, you realize that there is no constant chatter going on in your head and that you are not worrying anymore – and there is this amazing calm in your soul – God’s peace!

WOW!

God is REALLY addictive!  In the BEST way! You will want to do anything to keep God’s peace flowing in your heart.   We can do this by staying in God’s Word, seeking Him first, repenting of every sin as soon as we are aware of it, and focusing on learning more about God’s sovereignty and being thankful.

12. FEELING DISCOURAGED BECAUSE YOUR HUSBAND “ISN’T CHANGING”

When our husbands don’t change right away, we can easily think, “Respect doesn’t work on my husband.”  But this long time of focusing on becoming a godly wife while not seeing changes in our husbands is often good for us.  God refines our motives during this time.

As soon as you think, “Why should I do all this work and he doesn’t have to do anything?!?!”  or “Why should I have to change first?” Let that be your flag to remember why you are doing this.

  • You are doing this to please and honor and obey Christ.  You are doing this to bless your husband.

If these are not our only motives, there is work to do in prayer. It is a good thing to desire a healthy marriage and close intimacy with our husbands. But our ultimate goal must be Christ!

God and your husband will handle your husband.  Husbands will not instantaneously change in most cases.  That’s ok.  We can decide to accept, love, respect and honor our husbands as they are right now – even if they never change.  That is the kind of love God desires us to have toward everyone.  We learn to love unconditionally and respect unconditionally just because God asks us to, not because we think the other person “deserves it” or because we will get something in return.

This is a fantastic opportunity to commit yourself to obeying God’s commands for you as a wife no matter what your husband does or does not do.  And it is a great chance to learn to love with the unconditional agape love of God.  It is also quite a peek into God’s heart to see how He loves us even when we don’t love Him in return.

This is also a good chance to look to see if there are still ways you may be unintentionally disrespecting your husband (tone of voice, pressuring him to do things, body language, scowling, sighing, rolling your eyes, etc…)

STAGES OF THIS JOURNEY

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

RELATED:

Nina Roesner’s description of stages of this journey to become a godly wife

23 thoughts on “Stages of This Journey – Part 2

  1. Well Im back to the quiet phase again and my husband is sleeping in the downstairs TV room/spare bedroom. I need a physical break. I asked him if he would mind sleeping downstairs because he keeps such late hours (midnight or later) because of his eratic job schedule and disrupted sleep cycle that I never feel rested or able to go to sleep when I need to. Im in bed by 9pm asleep by 10. Hes just getting started LOL. This conflicting area causes exhaustion and agravation towards him and needs to be removed so I can get my sleep. He agreed.Thank Goodness. He has the TV and the garage right there so he can burn the midnight oil and not disturb everyones sleep anymore. I like it. He hasnt said much but dont think hes too happy about it. I feel better though. Rested. Peaceful. Except my mouth still wont obey me. I told myself to say yes please or No thank you and then shut up. Dont offer my opinions,talk about my feelings,make snarky comments. Just shut the heck up and give it a break already. Your right I cant do this. I need God. I go to my room. I send myself there, not as a punishment but a time out to be with God. Since my husbands not in there anymore this whole process is easier. Its important I have a space to myself. This is better than ending up divorced so I will do what works for now. I cant believe how hard this is. Im scared. Im a nasty B@@@@. God help me, I dont like what Im seeing in myself and that I cant stop for more than a week or so.Maybe I just hate men. I dont treat woman or my kids that way. Sigh…

    1. Dee,

      It is ok to ask him to allow you to have the time you need to sleep – but it will be important to try to nurture the marriage, too. 🙂

      Hopefully, you will soon be able to share your opinions, ideas, feelings and desires in simple ways without blaming him or launching into disrespect.

      Are there specific things you would like to say but aren’t sure how to say? I would be glad to give you some suggestions.

      Expectations are infinitely higher in marriage than in any other relationship.

      Are you holding on to bitterness?
      Are you placing anything above CHrist in your heart?
      How is your time with God going?

      Let’s hash through this together, my sweet sister! 🙂

      1. Marie,

        You do have a lot of healing to do, and probably will have to correct your view of God and masculinity and marriage. No wonder you don’t like men or trust them. I can understand why with your background. My precious girl! I wish I could hug your neck!

        Focus on healing your heart and your relationship with God. Then things will be right with you and your husband as God transforms your thinking. 🙂

        You will need to give yourself a lot of grace first, I think.

        Much love!
        April

        1. Peacefulwife, Yes Im starting to see my issues are at the root of my disrespectful behavior. Im realizing how deep it is and Im going to have to be patient with myself. Good thing thats my husbands finest quality. Although I dont want him feeling abused or unloved. He seems to know me better than I know myself cause he told me I was wounded many years ago. Im committed to counseling and spoke today with my counselor about this and it went well. Thanks so much for the support and encouragement todeepen my relationship with God and my husband. It pointed me to myself. Thanks for the hug 🙂 SEnding one back to you too.

        1. Its been a process. I have to remind myself that Im forgiving him whenever old feelings of anger come up. I remind myself he didn’t know what he was doing to me because he was acting out his own dysfunction. When my pain and hurt come up I remind myself of all the wonderful things my dad has done for me and that if he had been emotionallyhealthy himself he would have treated ,me better. He has apologized twice in the past. He said he made mistakes and there wasn’t any good counseling available to him back then so he was lost with how to deal with kids. I said I understand. And left it at that. Its a painful topic for us both and I thiunk we may need to finish that conversation soon so I can get some closure. Im focusing on healing my own wounds and correcting negative unhelpful thoughts as they arise.I know God loves me and my Dad and Im fortunate to have this time in my life to heal.

          1. Marie,

            If he could have done better and if he knew how to live by the power of God’s Spirit, he would have! I am glad he apologized. And I am sure he did the best he could – but he didn’t know how to make things right. I am sure he feels horrible about it – but even if he didn’t repent – I praise God that He can give you the power through His Spirit to forgive your Dad and to let go of all that toxic stuff so that you can heal.

            Much love to you!!!!

    2. Yeah, it really bothers me when I hurt him with my words. I feel instantly remorseful . It just got bad for a few weeks there. Its been quiet since he moved downstairs last week but hehas been coming up to see me lately. No hugs or anything. I feel so broken inside. Haveing to spend time with God to help me with this is bringing up a lot of sad memories for me. We are starting to miss eachother but I need to be alone longer.THanks Tami for replying.

    3. Hi, Marie… when I read your comment about going through child abuse at your Dad’s hands, I knew I had to respond. I can SO relate, sister.

      Thankfully, I have a great Dad but I can relate because my first husband treated me horribly. There was some physical abuse and much more mental and emotional. He mistreated me and hurt me deeply. It was a nasty, ugly divorce that ended up with me having protective orders that were renewed for years.

      I say that to say this. I was so hurt and so bitter. I had a wall of defense a mile high when I left him. I hated men. I even remember thinking, “I love my Dad and my brother but they are MEN so they cannot be good people.” I was so bitter.

      When I met my now husband, he had a LOT of barriers to overcome to get through to me. I was bitter, fiercely independent and constantly on guard. Those measures were unnecessary. Some of that I had to see through time- that I had no reason to feel that way toward my husband.

      Just like there are sinful, twisted and cruel women and good, kindhearted women, it is the same with men. One is not all.

      Someone once told me, “Don’t punish this man for the sins of the one in the past.” It was true. I had to REALIZE – on a very deep level- that my husband is NOT my ex. He would never hurt me.

      We may have a disagreement from time to time but my husband would not only never hurt me, he would protect me with his very life if called for.

      And I had to learn that I did not have to be defensive and on guard…. instead of running FROM my sweet husband, I can run to him- for shelter from all of life’s storms.

      I was never diagnosed with PTSD because I never went to a counselor but I am quite sure I suffered from it. I woke up screaming at times and terrified. If I saw my ex-husband out in public, I would panic and then freeze and then break out in a cold sweat. You can heal from this. I did. 🙂

      I hope this offers you some perspective….. your husband is not the man who hurt you. He may have hurt you some in the way that we ALL hurt each other in a relationship but he did not cause those deep scars you carry.

      Praying for you, sweet wife, that you can open your heart to your husband more and more.

      Something I am learning, even now, is that it takes a woman of true strength to allow herself to be vulnerable.

      1. a fellow wife…Thank you for shareing this with me. You said you had to REALIZE the truth of your situation,thats where Im stuck.Hadnt thought of that till you said that. Im just feeling past emotions and takeing it as truth. But its not true.I sort of knew this but I get stuck in it and never think it through or let that fact sink in fully. I see my counselor today and Im going to bring that up with her. How to get unstuck from my past so I can see and feel whats real. Not just see and feel my wounds.I have to start processing some of this stuff with her. Stop avoiding it. Shes been trying to help me for a year and a half and says I distract myself and avoid my feelings. Shes right. I know if I do the work she wants from me I can heal. I was afraid Id just feel worse. Thanks for your encouragement. I apprecite it so much. Im sorry you went through such poor treatment from your Ex. He must be in a lot of pain himself to spew such uglyness onto a woman. Im glad you got outand have been rebuilding your life and emotions. It does take strength to heal. Thanks for shareing yours sister in Christ.

  2. I love your way of speaking…i just wish I would have followed this for the 20 plus years of marriage, officially 1 yr ago my husband moved upstairs, filed for divorce I counter filed while my father was passing, the judge awarded my husband be removed pay all bills, child support,alimony etc. He came and cried I cancelled and asked to seek family counsel. His attorney responded he didn’t and to this day he has gotten worse, I found out he was talking to another woman, I called her she informed me he lied and said he was divorced. Other things happened, we are still living separate in same home, he really has disconnected. But I am still standing seeking Gods help:) So to wives that are on this site, stand for what you want and that is you cannot live the way you have God our father has got to heal you in order to continue into a peaceful journey. I just wish other women would respect themselves and know there are men and women out there that lie. This world is not getting better without following righteous lives, in the end we hurt families. Please pay attention and read worship and be peaceful:) I ask for prayer to not give up until the ink is dry.

    1. Debez,
      I sure wish I had followed this the 19.5 years of my marriage, too!

      Praying for God’s wisdom and direction for you and for Him to reconcile your husband to Himself and for healing for your marriage my friend!

  3. What a journey and I love that you have helped describe the stages to allow me to visualize what this process is I am slowly (oh so painfully slow) walking through. I am currently going from 4 to 6 back to 2 to 4!! Stage 4 is hanging me up!! I KNOW that God is my Lord and my Savior! My selfish, controlling nature keeps grabbing the reigns back (not on purpose, that’s for sure). Prayers appreciated! I am joyful that God convicted my heart to honor and respect my husband ! I had no idea what a painful journey this would be. I have been so ashamed at my sinful, prideful, controlling way I’ve lived. I have no godly wives to look to just yet outside of this blog but God is showing my heart that there is likely a woman close to my age that follows these biblical principles that I hope to reach out to in the future. I also would like to formulate an apology to my husband that let’s him know the journey I have begun. I have apologized for particular offenses but I have not described the journey specifically I’ve begun. Thank you thank you thank you! I’m so glad God lead you to share your journey and help give us wives direction and focus to show obedience to Him ! Women, I hope we all stand strong and unite to give our culture’s wives back to God.

    1. prayingwife79,

      Dying to self is REALLY, REALLY painful! So is the process of tearing out idols. But it is SO worth it!

      I pray God will give you wisdom, my friend! Thank you for encouraging the other wives. 🙂

  4. I loved how you started out by saying these stages can cycle through! Sometimes we feel like once we have moved past one stage or “defeated” it we will not have to deal with it again. But that is not the case! The devil sneaks in on us in our weaknesses where we struggle so of course things will be cycled through more than once!

  5. Wow.. So grateful for this website.. I am 6 months into my marriage and have never cried so much and been so challenged. For us it is my unlove and not hearing of my husband that is causing us grief. I want to justify myself when he expresses himself and I cannot catch myself in the moment to keep my mouth shut. By the time I realize I am causing damage he has stepped into anger and has shut down. Each time we re-connect I notice he is sharing less and less and I feel as though I am doing so much damage in such a short time that I am scared it will be permanent.
    I run straight to God each time something goes wrong, which is most days although my husband asks why I dont go to God more to make sure it doesnt happen in the first place.
    I have read about so many women that have been in years of pain and I am amazed with the healing that can happen to cover so much hurt. I feel so anxious in these 6 months that I am heading down a terrible path.
    I am taking it all to God and see so many areas I need God to take charge of and each time something new comes up I feel like I am adding it to the pile of things to work through. It also feels as though it is my husband pointing the issues out and that he has to wait for me to move through them all as I dont seem to be able to hear his while I am dealing with my issues that seem to block my view of him.
    How do I get through all of my stuff and still move it aside long enough to be able to see and hear my husband and love him how he needs. He doesnt ask much, only that I hear him.. The one thing that I have so much trouble with!

    1. Pip,

      I am thrilled to hear all that God is doing in your marriage already. Things went terribly wrong in our marriage 1 week into it. 🙁 The first summer we were married was the most emotionally/spiritually painful time of my life. I had never hurt so much. And I had never hurt Greg so much before – but I didn’t see that is what I was doing for over 14 years. 🙁

      I’m really glad to hear you are running to God when things go wrong. At first, you will notice sin and wrong attitudes and words and behavior right after you do them. Then eventually, you will start to see the temptation right before you step into them. Then, as you have more light from God and His Spirit’s power in you, He will give you light to see the temptations from farther away many times. This is a process. It is a long, sometimes slow, process.

      It can be overwhelming at first to see how much sin we have in our lives. It was for me! But THANK GOD, He is able to transform us and regenerate our hearts, minds and souls. This is a total renovation. First the old, yucky stuff has to be torn out. Then we can rebuild on Christ and His Spirit’s power and His Word.

      What does your husband say to you?

      Mostly, as you allow God to expose sin in your own life and you turn from it, grieve over the pain you caused God, and receive His mercy, grace and forgiveness through the blood of Christ, God will help you to be able to hear your husband more accurately. But I also have a lot of posts about all of these issues that may be helpful. You are welcome to check them out and scroll through my blog. You can also look up things by searching a key word or by category on the bottom right column of my blog.

      Some things that might be helpful. Search:
      – idol
      – idolatry
      – are women morally/spiritually superior to men?
      – leader
      – lead
      – husbands emotions
      – a wake up call for wives

      And please check out the posts at the top of my home page about respect, disrespect and biblical submission. As well as the one on Spiritual Authority.

      Much love to you!!!!!

      I’m right here if you want to talk.

  6. Hi, not sure where to post my question but I think here might be the best place as it is sort of where I am right now.

    I am wondering if other wives experiences this and how other wives have handled it. I am emerging out of the quiet phase, and really starting to develop a greater appreciation for my husband. I feel like I am quite often seeing something “new” about him that really isn’t new, yet I guess I’m seeing it with new eyes 🙂 i find that I am becoming more grateful and have a desire to thank him more for what he does for us, and I feel much more open about admitting my failures and wanting to make things better for him.

    Yet I find that right now I think it’s a bit awkward some times for him, maybe I am catching him off guard because he isn’t expecting it. I just find that he maybe doesn’t really know how to react, maybe because it’s different than it used to be. I sometimes wonder if maybe he isn’t sure what to think, I don’t want him to feel like I am not being real! He will often say things like I don’t need to apologize or thank him, maybe he is just uncomfortable, and I am just afraid that he might start questioning my intentions or something.

    He doesn’t know much about the “why” behind things other than I have told him I have realized how awful I have been and apologized. Maybe he just needs more time to absorb, but I wonder sometimes if I should reassure him that I am not expecting any response from him, that it’s ok. Anyways sorry I have rambled a bit just needing some guidance from those who have been there… Thanks!

    1. Melanie,

      YES! I totally relate to this. He probably doesn’t know how to react and maybe he feels embarrassed. Yes, you can share that he doesn’t have to respond, but that you just want to be able to thank him for the things he does and that you want to quickly apologize if you have done something disrespectful or hurtful. And probably keep the comments brief.

      Here is a post that may be helpful about the things I finally discovered after 6 years into this journey about the things that really meant the most to Greg.

      Much love to you!

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.

%d bloggers like this: