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Replacing the “Tapes” in My Head

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Greg and April in June of 2012

Before God radically changed my mind, heart and soul over the past 5 years, I would constantly have “tapes” playing in my head where I was always talking to myself about things – a running narrative of worry, fear, trying to figure out every possible “what if” scenario and basically, trying to figure out how to MAKE everything work out “right” myself (trusting SELF instead of God – which is idolatry).

Here is an example of a tape I used to play often – thousands and thousands of times over and over again:

  • Greg doesn’t love me.
  • If he loved me, he would do X, Y and Z for me.
  • I would never treat him like this.
  • I obviously love him way more than he loves me.
  • He doesn’t care about me at all.
  • He didn’t even answer my question!  How rude was that!?!?!
  • That is more proof that he hates me.
  • He wouldn’t hug me when I was upset.  He’s the most unloving man ever.
  • He ignored me!  WHEN I WAS UPSET!!!!!!!  (insert tears)
  • God, You saw him!  You need to change him!  NOW!  He is supposed to love me like Christ loves the church!  But all he does is ignore me and refuse to talk to me.  He won’t pray with me.  You need to make him pray with me and talk with me and love me today.  I know that’s Your will.

REPLACING THE OLD “TAPES” WITH NEW ONES:

I have to dissect them, look for the possible lies, assumptions and misunderstandings and replace that with truth about how men think, who Greg is, actual facts instead of opinions and what God’s Word says.  This is how I take my thoughts captive for Christ and how, eventually, I don’t even think the disrespectful things anymore because I can distinguish the lies and sin behind my disrespectful thoughts and God helps me to repent of them and to remove them from my mind…

  • Greg doesn’t love me.

I am making an evil assumption about Greg here.

What is it that I know is true?  He married me.  He lives with me.  He comes home after work every night.  He sleeps in the same bed with me.  He has never said he doesn’t love me.   He may not show love the way that I want him to, but maybe he is a man and maybe there are things about him that I don’t understand.  Maybe he doesn’t verbalize his love as much as I do or as much as I want him to.  But verbalizing love is not the same thing as actually loving someone.

What things has he done to show me he loves me lately?

Well, he put gas in my car, he helped me carry in the groceries, he said he thought I should take a nap because I haven’t been sleeping well, he goes to work every day to help provide financially for me and our children, he has been remodeling the house to try to make a beautiful place for us to live.  Those are all ways that he tries to show me he loves me.  Maybe for him, he shows love with what he DOES for me much more than with words.  Maybe words don’t mean a lot to him.

  • If he loved me, he would do X, Y and Z for me.

Have I respectfully asked Greg for those things?  Do I expect him to read my mind?  Maybe he would do things I would like him to do if I asked him politely, with a friendly tone of voice and didn’t pressure him, but gave him time to decide on his own when and if he would want to do something.

Maybe it is unfair to assume that if he loved me he would show it in certain ways that I think he should show it.

  • I would never treat him like this.

When I start to accuse him of evil motives, based on how I would treat him, maybe I need to learn to understand him better.  He probably has good motives toward me.  He is a decent man.  Maybe if I don’t understand why he is behaving in a certain way, maybe I just don’t understand the way he looks at the world and sees life?  Maybe I can’t see his heart clearly? Maybe I could have done something that hurt him?  Maybe he felt disrespected?  Maybe what seems loving to me would feel smothering to him?

Maybe he is treating me with respect the way he would want me to treat him if the situation were reversed?

Maybe what he thinks of as being respectful, I take as being unloving?  Maybe what I take as me being loving to him feels disrespectful to him?

Maybe I have a LOT to learn and discover about masculinity and about my husband and his world?

  • I obviously love him way more than he loves me.

This is an unfair statement.  I am accusing him of evil motives again and assuming that I can accurately judge Greg’s heart and thoughts.  I am not God.  I am not able to judge someone’s motives accurately. I am measuring his love by my expectations.  Maybe my expectations are wrong.  Maybe my expectations are unrealistic?  Maybe I have made my expectations into idols – things I MUST HAVE to be happy.  Maybe I am expecting Greg to fill needs that only Jesus can meet in me.  Maybe I am acting insatiable?   Maybe my expectations are that he would think and act like me, or like a woman.  Maybe that would actually be a bad thing.

Maybe I need to learn to recognize all the ways Greg tries to communicate his love to me instead of demanding that he show love to me in specific ways.

Maybe I need to take my deepest spiritual and emotional needs to Christ and be responsible for my own peace and joy in Him no matter what Greg does or doesn’t do.

Maybe Greg feels like I don’t love him after the hateful tone of voice I just used with him and how exasperated, impatient and mean I must have just sounded.  I am not justified in sinning against Greg just because he doesn’t do what I want him to do.  Even if Greg was sinning against me, God commands me to repay evil with good, not to respond in sin.  Romans 12:9-21

  • He doesn’t care about me at all.

This is also an unfair accusation.  The enemy is the accuser.  Who am I listening to?  Love believes the best and assumes the best about the one it loves, not the worst (I Corinthians 13:4-8).  Am I cooperating with the enemy?  Why am I accusing Greg of evil?  Am I listening to the voice of God?  That doesn’t sound like the kind of thing God would say about Greg.

  • He didn’t even answer my question!  How rude was that!?!?!

Maybe Greg is not a woman.  Maybe he needs time and space to process and think.  That is not wrong.  Maybe he wasn’t trying to be rude.  He might be different from me.  Maybe he doesn’t come up with answers in 2 seconds like I do.  That doesn’t mean he was being rude.  Or maybe I was pressuring him too much.  Maybe if I had asked politely and waited, he would have been glad to answer.  Maybe he didn’t want to make a rash decision.  Maybe he is attempting to make a thoughtful, careful, wise choice because he loves me and because he wants to be a responsible man.  Accusing him of being rude is not a loving or respectful thing to do – especially since I don’t really know his motives.

Or, maybe Greg is afraid to answer my question because he is afraid I will attack him if he doesn’t answer “the right way.”  Maybe he doesn’t feel safe talking with me because of how I have treated him.

  • That is more proof that he hates me.

Maybe this is more proof that he is different from me, or that he has shut down to protect himself from me.  But it is not actually proof that he hates me and does not love me.

I need to think about the good things about Greg like Philippians 4:4-8 commands me to do:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   Hmmm…  I have not been rejoicing in the Lord, I have been focusing on Greg’s flaws. Not good.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – I was not gentle to Greg, and I did not act like I knew I was in God’s presence.  If I could see Jesus standing behind Greg’s shoulder, would I have just spoken to my husband like I did?  NO!  Definitely not!  But Jesus IS right here and He DOES see how I treat Greg, and even every thought I have about him.  I am accountable to Him for each thought and careless word.  Jesus counts how I treat Greg as if I am doing these things to Him.  YIKES!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  – I was just trusting myself to try to make things work out “right” – I wasn’t trusting God.  I wasn’t taking it to Him in prayer.  I was worrying and trying to control.  Lord, I repent!  I need Your power and Your Spirit and Your peace!

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.  – The things I was just thinking and playing over and over in my head don’t fit any of these descriptions.  Those thoughts have to go!

  • He wouldn’t hug me when I was upset.  He’s the most unloving man ever.

How was I talking to him?  I had raised my voice and was trying to force my way.  Hmm…  I probably came across very disrespectfully just now.  That might be why he didn’t hug me.  Maybe he felt attacked by me.  Maybe I owe him an apology.

Am I being loving and respectful to him?

Let me compare myself to God’s love in I Corinthians 13:4-8:

April is patient and kind – OOPS!  I was not patient and I was not kind just now.  That was sin.

April does not envy or boast – OOPS!  I was just boasting to myself about how I love Greg so much more than he loves me.  That was sin, pride and self-righteousness.

April is not arrogant or rude – Well – I probably was rude to him just now when I think about my facial expression and my awful tone of voice.  That was disrespectful, and arrogant.  And thinking I am always right and he is always wrong is really arrogant of me.  I’m not doing very well on loving like God does so far.  UGH!  FORGIVE ME, LORD!

April does not insist on her own way – YIKES!!!!!!!!  That is exactly what I was just doing.  YUCK.  Lord, I repent of this sin, too.

April does not rejoice at wrongdoing – YAY!  I don’t think I did that!!!

April rejoices with the truth – Uh Oh!  I was holding on to a lot of untrue thinking just now.  More sin.

April bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. April’s love never ends. – Hmmm…  I have a lot of work to do.  I am not living in the power of God’s Spirit.  I have a lot of sin to repent of.

  • He ignored me!  WHEN I WAS UPSET!!!!!!!  (insert tears)

Maybe I hurt Greg deeply just now, and then had the gall to expect him to turn and comfort ME.  UGH.

  • God, You saw him!  You need to change him!  NOW!  He is supposed to love me like Christ loves the church!  But all he does is ignore me and refuse to talk to me.  He won’t pray with me.  You need to make him pray with me and talk with me and love me today.  I know that’s Your will.

God, CHANGE ME!!!!!!!  I am such a sinner!

Please forgive my pride!  Forgive my arrogance.  Please forgive me for listening to the enemy and for focusing on my assumptions instead of focusing on facts and on Greg’s usual good will toward me.  Please help me to understand his masculine viewpoint and the differences between how we think and feel and process decisions.  Help me to extend grace and mercy instead of bitterness and resentment.  Help me to see my sin and focus on his strengths.  Thank you for my husband’s strengths and gifts and talents.  You have given him so many strengths ….  help me to be thankful for those instead of focusing on that he wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted exactly when I wanted him to do it.  Forgive me for being controlling and disrespectful.  Cleanse me of all of my selfishness.  Let me find my acceptance, purpose, identity, strength, joy and peace in You alone.  Help me to take my hands off of Greg’s throat and allow You to speak to him instead of me trying to be his Holy Spirit.  Help me to be quiet about spiritual things so that I get out of your way and he can hear Your voice.

How can I bless Greg today?  What can I do to apologize?  How can I meet his need for respect and honor in a genuine way today?  Fill me with Your Spirit and let me have a sound mind.  Help me to be still and rest in Your love and in Greg’s love.  Thank you for Greg.  He is a precious gift.  Show me how I can make things up to him today.  Help me to LISTEN to him and understand him.  Help me to embrace the waiting and allow You to lead me and Greg to lead me.

I accept that Greg may not be as affectionate and verbal as I want him to be.  Help me to love, honor and respect him as he is right now.  Forgive me for wanting to change him.  I am the one who needs changing the most, Lord.  I don’t have wisdom.  YOU have wisdom.  I trust You to lead me through my husband and to make me into the godly wife and woman You desire me to be.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

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Tone of Voice

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24 thoughts on “Replacing the “Tapes” in My Head

  1. I so needed this today!!!! Praise our sovereign God and his perfect timing. I pray He continues to fill you and flow through you for His glory.

  2. I love your honesty. This is so helpful for us wives, struggling or not. Thank you for your beautiful effort of teaching and comfort. God bless you. I have been and will continue to pray for you and your family.

    1. Gleniece,

      I am glad this is helpful. Thank you for praying for me! I long for each word to honor Christ. I don’t want to do anything that offends my Lord. How I pray to please Him in everything for His glory.

      May God richly bless your walk with Him. 🙂

  3. This is amazing. I’ve committed EVERY sin you listed here and was caught in a cycle of misery and playing the victim. I still struggle with feeling like I am praying for acceptance and putting in all of the effort to maintain peace and that the men in our lives just get to “be”. I thank you so much for this article!

  4. Dear PW,

    This post is so funny. Not because it is funny, but because I bet you interviewed me a year ago and then wrote this – even though I just started reading your blog a few months ago!

    Many months ago, I had a fight with my husband that sounded like this:

    me : You don’t love me!
    dh : What are you talking about!
    me : You never say you love me.
    dh : But I told you the other day
    me : Yeah, it’s been so long, you don’t even remember which day
    dh : – silence –
    me : I knew it.
    dh : Anyway, I spend so much money at our wedding, so you should know I love you
    me : So this is about money…. I knew you didn’t care about me (tears)
    dh : Maybe we should talk later
    me : As you wish, it’s always as you wish (anger and tears)

    Wow, I am so happy I don’t do that anymore. Your blog has been such a great help. Plus, I can say my dh has not told me he loves me for a long time. But, now, I know how to recognize his love language towards me, and it is not so verbal, but, I will say, it is still sweet 🙂

    1. Yas,
      Thank you for sharing this! It is such a good example of how easily we as women completely misunderstand our men and make such awful assumptions that aren’t true. We think we understand them – but we miss their hearts because they are so different from us.

      I am so happy you don’t do that anymore either!

      I am very glad that you can hear your husband’s heart and love for you – even if it is not the way you would say it. 🙂

      What an incredible answer to prayer!

  5. Thank you for sharing this! It is so honest of you,and as usual, with great insight and humor, you have expressed something that has helped me step back and quiet my soul! l appreciate what you do beyond words! I so often think of commenting, but then feel either unworthy or afraid my ego will outweigh the value of your writings:)

    1. Hannah,

      You are always welcome to comment, my friend! 🙂

      I’m glad this was so helpful. I cannot tell you how desperately I needed someone to share this with me the first summer we were married when things went horribly wrong!

      I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you! 🙂

  6. I don’t want to be negative, but I feel like a bit of balance is missing in these blogs. While I don’t believe that we should accuse our husbands of “not loving us” and things like that, I do believe that husbands should be making an effort to show their wives love in the way that their wife personally desires to be shown love. So if I am the kind of wife that desires flowers, then the husband should bring me flowers. If I am the kind of wife that doesn’t care for flowers, but I really appreciate someone mopping the kitchen floor when I am too exhausted, then the husband should show his love accordingly. It doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate him. It doesn’t mean that my desires are selfish. But it means that a husband SHOULD learn to specialize in loving his life the way she WANTS to be loved. I can’t expect that from any other man. But I do expect it from the man I married. To the counter, if it wouldn’t be acceptable for me to expect for my desires to be met in the way that I want them to be met, then it absolutely would not be acceptable for my husband to expect for his desires to be met accordingly either. It can’t go one way and not the other.

    I believe that we should respect our husbands. They are human, they have needs, they are God’s sons. But I don’t believe that as women we are called to be ultimately sacrificing servants giving everything to our husband to be his ultimate source of joy and relief,–all the while not caring a whit about our own needs and desires. Or worse–waiting until our husband take notice of our needs and see fit to meet them. Our husbands or humans. Humans are selfish; it’s unfortunate, but it’s true. If you live your life in this ultimately selfless way, giving your husband all he wants whenever and however he wants it you will do two things: Make your human husband even more selfish as a person. And two, successfully turn yourself into a human doormat.

    I say this in genuine love. Far too many WONDERFUL Christian women spend their lives being doormats to their husbands because they haven’t learned the godly balance of being a submissive wife as well as a confident Christian woman. The secret is not is being EVERYTHING your husband wants, accepting him with all of his faults and telling yourself ‘no’ every time you have a single desire or thought for yourself. The best balance I have found is in loving God, THEN yourself and then your husband. In that love of yourself, you treat yourself like a valuable human being whose needs and desires are all crucially important and worthy of the effort to be meet them. The next step in the process is to actually fulfill your own needs and desires (assuming they are godly). More often than not, men are attracted to proactive, attractive women who fulfill their own needs–making the world what they want it to be. Men are more likely to work to give you what YOU want and need when they see that YOU value your needs–even above THEIR needs.

    I feel like these thoughts could start a social revolution and they probably seem highly controversial. But I know they are worth sharing. Respond as you see fit, but don’t respond out of raw emotionality. At least consider what has been said. There is a lot of wisdom in this.

    1. Shonte,

      Thanks for your comment! It’s great to meet you!

      Absolutely, husbands should be loving their wives, honoring them, and obeying God’s Word for them, too.

      I only focus on what wives have control over on this blog – and I don’t talk about what husbands should do. I spent 14+ years focusing on my husband’s faults and sins and what he should do and how he should change and that did not lead me anywhere good!

      My husband has a blog for husbands and he talks about the things husbands should do there. 🙂 http://www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com

      Husbands AND wives need love and respect. Yes.

      Husbands and wives are wretched sinners on our own and we are all in desperate need of Christ.

      I do not suggest that women do whatever their husbands want. I seek only to hold up God’s Word as the standard for us to live by. My own wisdom is more than worthless.

      God commands us to respect our husbands and to submit to them in the Lord – meaning – to honor their God-given leadership unless they ask us to clearly violate God’s Word. Christ also commands us to die to self, to put others before self. That does not mean we cannot respect ourselves. I believe we must respect God first, and respect ourselves and our husbands. I have many posts about not being a doormat. You can search “doormat” on my home page and “is it possible to be too submissive and respectful?”

      The secret is in being everything GOD wants us to be, and to live in the power of His Spirit for His glory alone – not to just try to be everything our husband wants us to be.

      It is important for us to take care of our own needs and not expect our husbands to be responsible for our emotions or happiness or spiritual growth. We need to get the rest we need, eat well, get exercise, etc.

      Thanks for sharing your heart. 🙂

  7. Hi Peacefulwife

    Ok we are a little different from all the other. We are not married. we are just in a relationship, a strong relationship but these days it doesnt feel so strong anymore (from his side)

    We only see each other on weekends, sometimes in the week but most of the time weekends because he work late ect.

    The thing is i dont know what to do anymore because he is not that loveable anymore. It feels as if he doesnt want to be around me anymore. He just doesnt seem happy anymore. I dont know if i am overreacting or something. Hes whatsapp profile picture was about us and he changed it. he doesnt even change it if we fight. something is going on i know it and it brakes me because I love him with EVERYTHING in me. he is the man i want to marry one day. he does say he loves me but only when we speak on the phone and say goodbye or when we say goodnight. i dont know if it is just a habit.

    Please give me advice I DO NOT want to loose him.

    1. France,

      Do you both have Christ as Lord?

      How is your walk with Him?

      When did things change?

      Has he said what he needs?

      Are you treating him with respect?

      Does he feel smothered or controlled?

      Are you able to be content in Christ even if you lose him?

      Let’s talk through this together. 🙂

      1. Yes we both have Christ as Lord. The Lord is my best friend there isn’t a day I don’t speak to Him. He knows all my pain and happyness and I thank Him everyday for everything. We did speak about everything tonight and he said there is nobody els. The only thing that upsets him is all the fights. But how do I stop it. What can I do to let him fall inlove with me all over again..

        I will praise God no matter what!!!!

        1. France,

          Check out the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect and respect. Husbands feel loved when they feel appreciated, admired, respected and affirmed.

          I have TONS and TONS of posts about how to meet your husband’s needs and how to find your strength in Christ to become the woman of His dreams.

          Check out those posts, and then we’ll talk if you need some more ideas.

          You can also ask your husband what the biggest things are that he needs you to stop and that he needs you to start – and then listen and honor him and take his feelings and needs as seriously as you would like him to take yours. 🙂

  8. I am so grateful for your post about replacing the tapes! I am currently working on doing just that. These thoughts of the enemy are so destructive. Unnecessary as well. Thank you and thank you heavenly Father. The devil is a liar.

    1. Sheila Lee,

      This is where our healing begins – to resist the devil and submit ourselves to God in our thoughts. This is part of how God renews our minds and transforms us to be more like Christ. It is painful work – but very necessary for spiritual healing! 🙂

      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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