I am planning to feature this wife’s journey occasionally as she takes her first steps towards healing in Christ as she faces a very painful situation in her marriage. I hope that this email correspondence may bless other wives who have very similar issues in their hearts. We will call her “GraceAlone.”
I believe that this wife’s struggles and concerns are extremely common and she has agreed to allow me to share her journey. That takes an incredible amount of courage. She hasn’t even taken the first step yet – but is willing to allow me to share her story publicly. She is still very fragile, so I know that all of you will rally around her to love, encourage, pray for and support her as you do every hurting wife. 🙂
We are going to go in very small steps. This is going to require a complete overhaul of this wife’s heart, mind and soul. I can’t fix her. I can’t change anyone. I am not the key ingredient here – God and His Spirit are. I can point her to God’s truth and the power of Jesus.
The responsibility will rest on her to decide to accept or reject the help, hope, love, power, healing, grace, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. This will be PAINFUL. Not as painful as staying where she is – but it is very painful at first when God opens our eyes to what He wants to change in us. She will have to allow God’s Word and truth to shine brightly into the darkest, most sinful recesses of her soul and allow Him to remove everything that is not of Him and radically change her by giving her a new heart, mind and spirit in Christ.
He will expose the spiritual foundations upon which she has built her life and she will have to choose to allow Jesus to be LORD and rebuild everything completely on Him alone and His Word. This will involve her being willing to discard everything she thinks she knows about being a godly woman, about God, about herself, about masculinity, about femininity, about being a Christ follower and about marriage and replacing all of that with the truth from the Bible.
Despair, depression, misery, anxiety and the spiritual frustration are inevitable when we build our lives on anything but Jesus – which we all do unless we allow Jesus to radically change us. Please realize, this wife is a believer in Christ. She and her husband are in ministry in the church. Her husband is a sinner, too, as we all are. He has plenty of things he needs to work on himself – NO DOUBT. But we will trust God and His Spirit to work in him as Gracealone focuses on herself and her walk with Christ. That is where her power is:
GRACEALONE’S EMAIL #1
I grew up in a Christian home. My husband was not a Christian when we very first met, but was saved quite a while before we got married. He did not grow up in church. We went thru pre-marital counseling and the question about kids came up. My husband said he would want kids , but would like to wait a few years first before having them. My deepest, greatest dream has always been to be a wife and mother.
- I noticed that every time I would bring up children, my husband would not want to talk about it. I finally pressed a little more, and he eventually told me that he does not want children – ever.
I was shocked and heartbroken beyond words. I asked him about what he said in premarital counseling, and he said at the time he thought he would want kids, but decided after we were married he did not.
This sent me into a spiral – I gained a lot of weight, found out I had a medical condition that affects fertility (maybe a direct result from weight gain) and was depressed beyond measure. As a result, our sex life has almost stopped. Maybe once every 8 weeks. I hate my body now, and my husband when asked , admits that he struggles due to my weight gain.
I do not know how to move on or heal from this fully. I have tried many many times to pray, surrender, pray more, but feel as though I keep failing. I want kids badly, but feel as though with my medical condition, it will be too late to have my own if my husband comes around later.
I see no sign of him changing. I have no desire to lose weight because I feel like my motivation to lose weight was to have a baby. My primary love language is affection—so to have that gone is unbearable. My husband and I have talked so many times about these things. I’m at the point now to where I don’t know what to do. My husband is a good man, but I don’t feel like he wants to go to counseling.
I know God hates divorce and there are only a few biblical reasons for it, but I would be lying if I said I don’t think about it. How do I stay with a man who never wants children and barely has intimacy with me? Both biblical commandments.
GRACEALONE’S EMAIL #2 (Peacefulwife’s questions are in bold)
As I was reading over your questions to me, the question that keeps coming back to me is How?
- How do I respect my husband when he talks down to me?
- How do I respect him when I get so frustrated at the mass amount of time he spends on the computer?
- How do I show a loving attitude to a man that barely touches me physically?
- How do I keep bitterness from a man who doesn’t want children?
I know that the answer is probably prayer and God. There are so many times where I feel like I have tried that and through praying get increasingly more frustrated. I cannot tell you how many times I feel like I have tried to do the right thing – only to find that I get hurt and become so much more weary of trying. I will try to answer your questions as best I can.
How is your walk with Christ going?
It could be better. I have good quiet and prayer times maybe once to twice a week. I do pray a lot to God every day, but as far as sitting down with my Bible it happens a couple times a week. I know I need to get better with this – I will try to reckon myself to do so and then never seem to be really consistent.
Are you fully submitted to Him?
No. I guess I am probably not submitted like I should be. I have good intentions to be, but find myself fearful of fully letting go and trusting.
Is it possible there could be things that are more important to you than Christ?
Yes. It is possible I have put children, marriage, health, etc things before Christ unintentionally.
What are your fears?
This is a sensitive one for me.
1. I am afraid that I will never be able to have my own biological children.
2. I am afraid that if I fully trust God in my marriage, that I will become a doormat and my husband will never change (I have seen this many times) – From Peacefulwife – That has not been my experience on this blog at all. We aren’t talking about wives becoming doormats here – but becoming godly, Spirit-filled, holy women who bring the power of heaven to bear in their marriages and pour healing and blessing into their families in a powerful way.
3. I am afraid I will always wonder if I made a mistake marrying my husband and if I will ever feel at peace and happiness with my marriage.
4. I am afraid that if I fully surrender God may allow some terrible thing to happen to “bring my husband and me closer.”
5. I am afraid of being unhappy the rest of my life.
6. I am afraid of not being good enough (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally).
7. I am afraid that I will never measure up in the physical department to what my husband would be attracted to.
8. I am afraid of not being loved.
Are you holding anything back from God?
Probably my trust, and surrender. I fear that with anything I fully surrender to God, that He won’t fix it or that if He does it will take years or something bad happening.
What are you praying for?
I try to pray that I would be a respectful wife, that God would restore what the locust has taken, that I would fear God but not be afraid of Him, that I would laugh with my husband, that God would restore our marriage and intimacy, that he would change my husband’s heart, that I would find peace and joy, that my husband and I would grow spiritually.
What do you believe you need to be happy and content?
I know the correct answer is probably God is all I need. Sometimes, I feel like I need more. I need a husband to affirm me verbally and physically. I need a husband who has a strong always growing relationship with God and mentors that can speak into him. I need to not always worry about money. I need to feel at peace with my marriage and I need to know that there is hope for change.
How are you honoring your husband and respecting him?
I work part time. Something my husband mentioned was that he wanted me to make his breakfast and lunches more and keep the house clean. I try to do those things, I am not perfect and could always improve, but I try. I try to build him up occasionally when I think about it, I pray for him.
Are there ways you are disrespecting him?
Yes, I know there are. Sometimes, I react out of hurt. I know that it’s no excuse. I may share things with others at times he may not like, or I may put him down, or if we have arguments I tend to say what I feel – which often comes across as criticizing to him. I guess I have been guilty at times to play his Holy Spirit, as well.
What is your motivation to take good care of your health?
I don’t feel like there is a whole lot of motivation right now. I used to want to be in shape for future kids, but I feel like that is off the table. I feel very apathetic about myself. Sometimes, I will have a little motivation because I worry about my health long term, but often it is cancelled out by just hating myself more.
Are you trying to punish him in some way?
Maybe. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I do think sometimes to myself that it shouldn’t matter if I have gained some weight, he should not let that interfere with our physical commitment. Or, at times, I was so hurt to know that he thought I was overweight that I just kind of let myself go more. I don’t try at all anymore because I think he is not interested.
I never initiate anything because I feel like he thinks I am ugly and I have been turned down many times before. So, I completely stopped trying and then with the kids thing – maybe it was in some form a punishment. This area of our marriage is in dire ruins. We are awkward with each other now. How will I ever feel comfortable in this area again unless I am supermodel pretty? I almost hate to even think about it and will do things to avoid it. Not that it happens a whole lot to avoid in the first place.
What is your motivation for eating? Is food a source of comfort to you?
Right now I feel like food can make me feel happy for a short time. It is a feeling of satisfaction that I don’t feel anywhere else. I know a lot about health and research it often, but never stick with anything.
What has your husband asked you to do? Are you cooperating with his leadership?
He always says he wants me to be happy and content. To not always be in a bad mood, to exercise and eat right. I find all of these very hard to do as it is our marital circumstances that often merit hurt and unhappiness.
Do you believe and trust that God is able to change your husband’s heart and desires? Is it possible that you are depending on your husband in areas where your faith should be fully in Christ alone?
It is possible. At this point I feel hopeless. We have been married a few years and it feels like an eternity. Instead of God changing my husband, I feel like things have gotten worse. I almost have no desire left to want to work on it, because I am so tired of feeling like I always have to be the one to change before my husband changes.
Is it possible that God is still sovereign over your husband even though he has has free will, and that God’s purposes will still be accomplished in your life regardless of your husband’s current attitude and feelings and that God could hold your husband’s heart in His hand and direct it anywhere He wants it to go?
It is possible, but does God still work in a husband’s heart, who I feel is not listening to God at times??
Are you ready to begin to fully trust Christ with all of this? He is able to handle even this situation. It is not beyond His power to act.
I want to, but the same self-doubt keeps coming back. What if I do this and things never change? What if I am miserable the rest of my life? Do I really want to spend the rest of my life with this man (with things as they are right now, I don’t know). I feel like I am barely holding on.
I am concerned that your eyes seem to be so much on your husband and his current feelings instead of on Christ, His power and His will.
How do I change this? I feel like I have tried so many times.
Thank your for letting me pour my heart out.
Please understand, my precious sister, almost every wife who begins this journey begins it from almost this same place where you are. When I began, my husband would barely touch me, talk to me or look at me. I didn’t think he could hear God or be a godly leader.
I was wrong.
God was able to change my husband’s heart – but He had to change me first. I was standing squarely in God’s way, making it so much harder for Greg to hear God’s voice in his life.
Your questions are the same questions every wife has as she begins this road. We will be addressing them all in time.
When the sinful nature is in control, we cannot have God’s Spirit in control. We cannot have God’s love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control if we choose to cherish sin. Idolatry (dreams of what I thought I HAD to have in life to be happy), pride, bitterness, resentment, self-righteousness and unbelief in God were my sins. God will NEVER let me have contentment, peace and joy if I am cherishing sin in my life. I can only have those things when I willingly lay them down, agree with God that they are sin, turn fully away from them and give my life completely to Christ.
I had to face each of my fears – which were similar to yours – and decide –
- Do I trust my fears or do I trust God?
- Is God who He says He is?
- Is His Word true or is it a lie?
- Do I trust Him or not?
Your husband is not responsible for your happiness and your emotional/spiritual well-being. You are responsible for yourself. You will stand alone, my precious sister, before Christ one day. I want Him to be able to say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!” You are responsible for repenting of your sin and for obeying God in EVERYTHING He has commanded you to do.
God is able to handle your husband. But your husband cannot hear God’s voice very well if you are standing in God’s way in his life and your voice drowns out God’s voice, which a wife’s voice can easily do in a husband’s soul.
This is a very painful and extremely long (lifelong) journey – but not nearly as painful as staying in sin – and the rewards of living in total faith, trust and hope in Christ are incredible! He is SO MUCH MORE than anything this world has to offer!
You will have to wrestle with God over these things and decide for yourself whether you will choose fear or faith. You cannot have both. You must decide between the two. You can cling to idols, fear and bitterness, or you can have Christ. If you have Christ, He must be LORD. He must be in charge. There is no saying, “No, Lord” to anything He commands us to do.
God showed me my mountain of sin in december 2008. It was PAINFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to go live in a cave for the rest of my life when I realized that I am a really awful, evil, wicked sinner. But I thank and praise Him that He showed me my sin and opened my eyes and has shown me the way to His narrow path that leads to Life.
I can’t wait to see what God is about to do in your life!
God is already beginning to work in GraceAlone’s heart. Please pray for her as she begins to truly seek Him. This is just the beginning place where she started. It is a very painful place. She does need a lot of help – she needs Jesus. And He is here with her, on the scene already. She has already had several lightbulb moments. I have seen God heal many marriages, many in much worse shape than this one. Both the husband and wife here have very deep pain and also sin to deal with. I don’t talk about what husbands should do. I only minister to wives. Yes, the husband needs accountability and godly counsel, too. But my job is just to help this precious wife focus on her walk with Christ and her end of the marriage.
UPDATE 2017: God did MUCH to transform GraceAlone’s heart in the past few years. And He brought much healing, over several years, to her marriage. The Lord changed her husband’s heart after about 2 years and they welcomed their first baby this year.
** If someone is severely depressed or there are major uncontrolled mental health issues, active addictions to drugs/alcohol/porn/gambling in a marriage or someone is suicidal or in actual danger, please get experienced appropriate help ASAP! I am not writing for people in these types of severe situations. If anyone is having major struggles in your marriage, please seek godly counsel at your local church or from a Christian counselor.
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