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Husbands Have Expectations, Too – GraceAlone’s Journey

Correspondence between GraceAlone and Peacefulwife. Peacefulwife’s words are in blue. After today’s post, I plan to share GraceAlone’s posts and updates more on a weekly basis. But – there is SO MUCH to dig through in the beginning, and I am excited to share the insights she is experiencing. So – let’s continue with her journey again today. (Post 1, post 2, post 3)

We held very high standards in our dating relationship and stayed pure for our wedding night.  My husband was extremely affectionate before we got married – I remember he was always playing with my hair, or rubbing my back or something, and I LOVED it! Affection is my primary love language with words of affirmation being second.  
Making wise decisions before marriage is wonderful, but that doesn’t mean there will be no problems in marriage. I think it is wonderful that y’all obeyed God before marriage. You have spared yourselves a lot of pain that could have come from things that could have happened during that time.

The first month or so seemed great – my husband was always initiating and I remember even thinking, “again???” one day. (Oh, how I deeply regret that thought.) Fairly early into our marriage, the topic of children came up – and that is when I found out he did want children. Ironically, I found out I had a health issue that could impact fertility that same week. When I found out my diagnosis, my first thought was “My husband will be happy.”

I was crushed beyond words. Felt like I had been lied to, etc. Well things went downhill fast. I gained a LOT of weight quickly. I had been very fit before we got married. I began noticing our intimacy was fewer and farther between. Talk about adding heartbreak on top of heartbreak. I was and still am at times dealing with the fact that I may never have kids, and then that my husband is barely intimate with me anymore. I pressured him, and kept asking what was wrong?  I seriously did not know what to do.
I have some posts about “expectations” that may be helpful here.  One quote a reader shared with me that has always stayed with me is this,
“Expectations are premeditated resentment.”
True, your husband has NOT met your expectations because he:
  • said he won’t have children with you, which seems very “bait and switch” from how he said he would want children eventually before you got married
  • stopped being affectionate with you
  • stopped being intimate much with you
  • stopped giving you compliments
  • is not giving you the attention you would like him to give you
  • plays video games too much in your view (possibly an idol for him)
  • has not “made you feel happy”
  • has not “made you feel loved”

He is definitely a sinner – as we all are. He has areas where he could certainly improve. But, your husband also probably had a lot of expectations going into the marriage. I would imagine he may feel you let him down, too. He may have had expectations like:

  • that you would respect him  
  • that you would be responsible for your own growth in Christ, your own emotions, your own happiness
  • that you would not have idols before Christ in your heart (him, children, marriage, feeling loved, having control, having what you want, food)
  • that he would feel emotionally safe with you
  • that you would not emasculate him with your words
  • that you would be on his team
  • that you would be relatively happy most of the time or at least some of the time and not cry every day (a wife’s happiness is often how a husband measures his success as a husband and a man).
  • that you would offer him grace, mercy and forgiveness because you are a believer in Christ and have been in your faith much longer than he has.
  • that you would not hold on to bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness against him
  • that you would maintain a certain level of fitness at least for some amount of time (a lot of husbands have that unspoken expectation, see Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only”)
  • that you would continue to grow in your faith in Christ
  • that you would honor his God-given leadership
  • that you would put him above your family
  • that you would speak of him in a positive way to other people
  • that you wouldn’t pressure him for sex or humiliate him sexually
  • that you wouldn’t constantly pressure him to have kids
  • that you would trust him and God and not be worried all the time
  • that sex would be enjoyable for both of you
  • that he would be able to perform well and feel strong and powerful sexually in the marriage (he may be extremely depressed about this, he may have something medical going on that makes it very difficult for him which is possibly the most emasculating thing for some men. To constantly hear from you how unsatisfied and discontent you are and what a total failure he is sexually has got to be devastating for him.)
Everything I ever read, heard , or saw, was that men always wanted intimacy. I did ask him at that time if he struggled with pornography. He said no, he doesn’t, and I believe him. I don’t think my husband would look at pornography. I believe he is way too consumed with games to do anything else. Anyway, sex became a very sore subject – one we would always fight about.
After months and months of fighting, listening to my newly married sisters-in-law and friends talk about how fantastic their sex life was, I finally kept asking my husband until he told me one the biggest reasons was my weight.
I felt like the ugliest person in the entire world. For some women maybe that would motivate them to lose weight – for me it pushed me further to food.
I would see men at church who’s wives may have gained weight and I knew they were not suffering sexually. I would think, “Well, he just needs to choose to love and feeling will follow.” It was the hardest, loneliest time of my life. Add to that- my husband stopped complimenting me (probably because I became very disrespectful) so there now my 2 primary love languages were crushed to smithereens! I still feel like the ugliest person in the world and I do not know how I will ever heal from some of these things.
These things DO HURT. And hurt very deeply. I can definitely understand why you are feeling so down and discouraged. I believe your husband is just as wounded, if not more so, than you are. My heart breaks for both of you to see how much pain there is in your marriage. I believe that you will begin to heal when you stop looking to these things and to your husband to find affirmation, worth, value, acceptance, unconditional love, contentment, happiness, etc… but instead realize that this is ALL about you and JESUS.
Your husband is not responsible for your happiness, your emotions or your spiritual growth. You are responsible for that. You have to decide to take charge of those things and to seek God with all your heart and to set your heart on Jesus alone and stop looking to other things instead of Him upon which to build your life. You have chosen to build your life on sinking sand instead of the Rock of Christ.
Jesus is plenty capable of being all that you need.  He is totally able to fulfill you and give you abundant life, peace, joy, love, purpose, identity, meaning, satisfaction and contentment no matter what your husband does or does not do.
 – But, you are going to have to be willing to lay down all your sin, idols, fears, insecurities,
Right now, because it has been like this for the past 31/2 years, I am indifferent and numb. Sex has become so weird and awkward between us that I don’t even feel like I want it anymore. I certainly do not initiate at all – I mean how can I when I know my husband is not attracted to me physically.
He says he still thinks I am beautiful  (at my prodding) to which I always reply, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Oh, YIKES!!!!!!!!!
Ok, I need you to promise me something, my precious girl.
Please do not prod your husband or demand a compliment from your husband. Please. Please! I am begging you! And, if he actually does give you a compliment – then please do not then emasculate him by saying, “actions speak louder than words.”
I know that you probably don’t realize the pain that statement caused him. But YIKES! That was destructive and self-sabotaging.  NOT WORTH IT!  You cannot afford to make demands for compliments and then little remarks like that to try to pressure and control him if you want this marriage to heal.
Every time you do something like that, it may well cost you WEEKS or MONTHS in the healing process for your husband and marriage. YOU CANNOT AFFORD those kinds of comments! Not if your goal is to bless your husband and be a safe place for him.


Thank you for that email – Some of the things you mentioned are truly causing me to think and examine myself – things that I said to my husband in the past and my motives. This was a tough – yet much needed email today. I did want to share with you briefly that I was having my quiet time today and I was in John 5 – I always try to read a post or 2 from your site as well in addition to my prayer and Bible reading. The post you had up today about kryptonite stuck out to me- something I can relate to.

When I have my quiet time- I try to journal things God shows me for that day. I try to make it more about what God is showing me. Anyway, I wanted to share a little bit on how your post was something I felt went along with my bible reading today.

“As a blog that I read from peacefulwife said “my tongue is kryptonite.” Growing up watching Superman – this was something I could so understand. Anytime Superman is exposed to kryptonite he becomes weak, powerless and unresponsive.

This is what happens to my husband when I speak “krptonite” to him- he becomes weak, powerless, and unresponsive.
Interestingly enough, if Superman is exposed to the ”sun”, he regains “new strength,” “new power” and “new responsiveness.” Wow.  I have to draw near to the SON and MOVE out of the way and allow my husband to draw near to the SON so he can gain NEW strength- the closer to the SON the stronger he gets. If I am constantly exposing him to kryptonite- he will truly never see the (Son).  This is a hard area for me as I so quickly want to point my finger and say things when I feel hurt or rejected – that is kryptonite.
In John 5 – Jesus comes to the paralyzed man and says “Do you want to be made well?” The man replies that every time he tries to go down to the pool to be healed – someone steps in front of him and gets in his way.
My husband will never “heal” if I am in his way.
In turn, I will never “heal” if he is in my way; meaning. I am making him more of a focus than God.  In my study Bible in John 5 it says. “ If He commands us to do something, He will enable us.” This is huge for me- I always doubt that I will be able to truly change, and think that it will be very short-lived . I MUST remember that God COMMANDS me to be a respectful wife and to honor HIM thru honoring my husband. For me, this means that if I continue to depend on Jesus the SON as my source of strength, and the closer to the SON I come, the stronger I get- than Jesus will “enable “ me to be able to respond with grace and pray before I speak. “
I LOVE what you are learning! This is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!  I am so excited that you are opening your heart to absorbing the things God is showing you. This is just the beginning, but I am ecstatic about the amazing things God is already doing in your heart. I am so glad to be on this journey with you!!!! My favorite thing is to hear what wives learn each step along the way. The things God showed you about the “kryptonite” stuff are really good! Thank you so much for sharing with me and with other wives!


48 thoughts on “Husbands Have Expectations, Too – GraceAlone’s Journey

  1. Dear Grace Alone,

    I know how painful and disappointing it can feel when your husband has unmet expectations and appears to reject you. I don’t struggle with weight, but instead with forgetfulness and organization, and embarrassing social awkwardness. I struggle constantly to keep up as much as I can to his housekeeping standards, and have to generally just keep my mouth shut when we visit his relatives. He has become much more understanding and appreciative now that he sees me trying so hard, and now that I avoid the things I know are disrespectful, and show appreciation for the things he does. He has become more loving than I have ever known him since we were dating, though we are still just learning. There was a time, near the beginning of this journey, when things were so bad I started to wish I could give up and die. We had just moved, and I was working so hard, and my husband would regularly say things to me like “I can’t say for sure, but I might just leave you”. Essentially, it seemed he felt I had nothing to offer. It was devastating, not to mention what it did to my sense of self worth. I found out later that he was struggling through a period of great self-doubt. He had always been very close to his parents, (who didn’t approve of our marriage), and taken advice from them on everything, but was taking steps to cleave to me and stand on his own two feet. It was SCARY for him, and all his fears, (my flaws), stood out to him constantly. April is spot on with her advice to put all your faith, trust, and need for love in Jesus’ hands, and to get your strength from Him alone. God made you who you are, and has a purpose for you. He “knit you in your mother’s womb”, and knew you before you were born. Sometimes he uses us to help our husbands grow. It’s hard to see out of this place. Remember that Jesus is walking right here beside you, and He will never let you down.

    Grace Alone, I am not a health professional of any kind, but if you have a prediabetic condition, it might be worth your while trying to figure out if you have a gluten sensitivity. Many people do, even when they don’t have digestive complaints, and it can show up as rapid weight gain. Some people have found that taking wheat and table sugar out of their diet, and replacing those things with vegetables, fruit, and non-trans fats can make the pounds melt right off. I began a grain, sugar, chemical, and starch free diet a year ago, to get rid of my brain fog, and improve my mental clarity… One if the side effects was rapid weight loss.

    Stick in there. God has a plan for your life. Praying for the grace of Christ in your marriage.

    1. To Be His Clay,

      Wow! Thank you for sharing your story! I am so glad that things are doing better than they were in the beginning of this journey. Thank you for your willingness to build up and bless and encourage GraceAlone. You are a treasure!

    2. To Be His Clay,
      Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know those seasons are hard to be in. Thank you for encouraging me as well. I am striving to take better care of my health- this is one of the biggest idols I have in my life- turning to food as comfort instead of Jesus. Thank you so much for your concern- I will pray and look into it! Blessings to you!

  2. Thank you gracealone for ministering to us by sharing what God is showing you! Love how He weaves together what you need to learn with His Words of Truth, April’s blog, and conviction in your heart/mind. Only God can weave all this together so beautifully at the perfect right time for you. This is The Creator of the Universe reaching into your life in such a personal way to give you what you need to spur you on in your obedience and laying down of self.

    This encourages me to keep up the same battle. Blessings to you dear one.

    1. Thank you learningever! I am praying God uses me as he as used April and all of you to minister and encourage me! I am so grateful!

  3. And just a note of hope for you… The amazing thing about admitting that we have caused damage is that just as we can’t be sure exactly what issues our behavior has caused in the marriage, (and that is a sobering thought), we don’t understand what God’s restoration will look like! We just don’t tell God how to restore things. You don’t tell a master chef how to cook, you just watch! His clean-up of this situation is going to blow your mind. He’s got this.

  4. I don’t mean this to pile on, but that little “Actions speak louder than words!” salvo is an ideal way to ensure that your husband never compliments you again.

    In fact, I would see it as my wife communicating to me that she is more interested in self-righteousness and scoring zingers against me than she is in receiving anything from me. It really would do this.

    Essentially, I would feel like I was in a no-win situation (and that it was all my fault). My best strategy would be to just keep my mouth shut and at least I wouldn’t get the horns.

    Just want to echo the plea to resist the urge to score little zingers like that against your husband, if you have any interest at all in improving the relationship.

    1. johnmcg,

      I really appreciate your willingness to share a masculine perspective on that little phrase. I don’t think most wives have ANY idea just how destructive something like that would be. They may dismiss it as not a big deal. I know I would have years ago – if I had heard something like that or said something like that, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it.

      Now – I know that one little comment like that is extremely disrespectful and damaging. And I just do not want to ever go there! It’s so not worth it.

      Thanks, John!

    2. Thank you so much for your input- johnmcg,
      I am really learning how my words have been as a cancer towards my husband. I pray that I can now respond in a kind way and be gracious to my husband for the nice things he does tell me. Thanks so much for offering a man’s perspective!

      1. GraceAlone, I have learned that it is not only words said, but words not said. Body language, looks, silence. There was a time I was so focused on getting to my devotions and fixing myself, I neglected signals from my husband. He had just gone through a difficult time and just wanted a hug. No words, but time enough to give him a hug to let him know I loved him and supported him.

  5. Grace alone,

    I am so sorry that any wife has to hear such hurtful admissions from her husband. I’ve experienced this kind of pain and know how difficult it is to let the wound heal in love.

    Having said that, I think sometimes we fail to realize how many other feelings in our husbands might be fueling their hurtful remarks about our bodies. A husband may be feeling unloved because his wife gained weight in the first place, thinking she just doesn’t care about him enough to keep herself attractive to him. He may feel she did it on purpose, trying to get even for something. Or, he may criticize his wife’s appearance because he feels physically inadequate himself in some way but doesn’t want to face it. Or he may think weight gain from “comfort eating” is evidence he’s not good enough for her, that she isn’t happy with him. All of us are guilty of thinking primarily from our own perspectives (it’s SO hard to die to self and love as Christ loves us), so these issues figure more predominantly in the minds of many men when they are thinking about their relationships with their wives. The hurt their comments have produced may seem much smaller in comparison to the hurt THEY are feeling, and they may even feel justified in having made them. Only with God’s help can we die to ourselves and love our husbands as Christ loves us, and only by doing this can the cycle of hurt be broken. May God be with you on your journey!

    1. So true Elizabeth! These are hard lessons to learn, and I am definitely having to learn the hard way, but trusting God that he is revealing my sin to me and healing me. Thank you for sharing and your encouragement!

    2. Not to derail the discussion, but the husband in this case did not volunteer “remarks” about his wife’s weight; by the wife’s admission, she had to pry this out of him.

      Some of these may be true, but the post seems to assume the husband was gratuitously hurting his wife, when it seems possible he was trying to spare her feelings (albeit ineffectively).

      1. Johnmcg,

        I believe he was trying to spare her feelings in many ways, too. I don’t believe this husband has evil intentions towards his wife. I appreciate your insights! 🙂

  6. GraceAlone, thank you for being willing to put your journey out there so other wives can see it! I, too, am impulsive and often hurtful with my words, and though things are improving greatly in my life, I had a setback this past week and slipped back into my sarcasm and snapping back. I really love the sense you made of the kryptonite post, and am grateful that you shared it. That really spoke to my heart, and was exactly what I needed to hear today.

    I pray that God will continue to shine light on the words you need to see, and open your heart to receiving those words.

    1. Thank you so much hsaas! It is hard to be vulnerable and bare my soul, but I am praying that thru doing so, God can be glorified and women encouraged! Praying for you!

  7. Hurting people hurt others instead of owning up to their hurt and speaking plainly. There is a big difference between saying to someone, “I hate the way you treat me, it makes me feel like crap!” and “When you don’t come to the table when I made food special just for you, I feel like you don’t appreciate the fact that I did it just because you are you and I want you to know how much I care about you. I feel like you don’t appreciate my extra effort just for you.” I have been working on speaking and living in the moment. Even though my husband might have skipped supper 3 nights this week, it doesn’t mean that he means the same thing by it. I might still feel the same about it, but I need to communicate that in a plain way.

    1. Needing Support and Suggestions,

      That was a really important point you just made! That your husband skipping supper may not mean what it feels like it could mean. I know that for me, I got myself in a lot of trouble by assuming that things my husband did meant certain things – when, I found out later, I assumed wrongly.

      I like how you are working on being vulnerable and sharing your emotions and feelings without blaming. Thank you so much!

  8. In the book his needs her needs, building an affair proof marriage. Weight is discussed as it is a need for some. To have a healthy in shape spouse is as important as any other need . It was a real flyer opener and this book is Christian based and as helpful as live and respect and almost as much as a surrendered wife!

  9. Grace Alone, the very name you have given yourself speaks volumes. It is only through HIS grace that we have salvation. It is to Him we must run with all the junk that ways you down and causes you to doubt. If you are doubting yourself, and doubting your husband you can bet those thoughts are not of God and you must stop them dead in their tracks, before they snare you and hold you captive. You are in a bigger fight with the enemy in the world than you are with your husband. Devil don’t want you to have a successful marriage. Tell him, “Get behind me satan!! You have no place in my home, my heart, my mind, or my thoughts. Put your armor on because Jesus gave us that armor to protect us in every way. Don’t know where you go to church, but can only hope that you do. Go to your pastor and tell him you have things you need to lay at the alter which is at the very feet of Jesus. Surrender all those feelings you have towards your husband over to the Master. Ask Jesus to begin to mold you and make you into the wife you need to be. If you can get your pastors ok you can write it out or put it on tiny scraps of paper and place it in a sealed box. No one has to read it. Tell your Pastor you are going to leave it on the alter, and ask for him to destroy it. Whatever you do the most important part of this is that you leave it there. I too have battled many of the feelings of inadequacy you have experienced. Before I would let it drag me down, Now instead I say, I am a redeemed child of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, made perfect in HIS image. He knew you as you were being knitted together in your mothers womb. Take a long look at your priorities if your husbands compliments or lack of compliments are what make you have self-esteem and self-worth then you must kick your husband off that pedestal you have him on and put Jesus 1st. Find verses in the Bible that remind you that your strength comes from God through HIS Son Jesus. You are not alone, there have been moments when I thought my marriage was not going to make it. I started reading PW’s blog and dug deep into scripture and quit trying to figure out what was wrong with my husband. I discovered the work began with me. Try this experiment. Start small and when he walks in the door show him through your smile and your countenance that you are happy to see him. Ask for his opinion on things. These aren’t ways to blow smoke his way but instead they are the building materials needed to build a bridge between you and your husband. It helped me and things actually feel better.

    1. Beenthere,
      Wow! thank you so much for sharing this powerful post! I so appreciate your ideas and encouragement!! You are so right!

  10. Rookie Writer,

    I appreciate your willingness to share your heart from a masculine point of view. Unfortunately, we wives are not always very good at understanding how men think. So – it is extremely helpful for us to hear how a husband feels in a situation like this. I know for me, Greg never talked about how he felt or that I had hurt him. I didn’t think he could be hurt. I had no idea how much my words and disrespect had wounded him. I would ask him to tell me what he needed, he would always say, “I don’t know.” Sadly, just about all of the assumptions I made about his needs and motives were wrong and the things I did hurt him so much more.

    So – I am always extremely thankful when a husband is willing to share how he feels and what his side of the marriage looks like. I think that your response may help wives to understand their husbands better.

    I pray for healing for you, your wife and your marriage.

    1. Rookie Writer,
      Thank you very much! This is extremely helpful.
      Would you consider allowing me to copy and paste your post to the comment section of today’s post, please?

  11. Pingback: After Years of Disrespect, It’s Hard to Believe You’re Going to Change. | Rookie
  12. Rookie Writer,
    Thank you so very much for sharing from a man’s perspective. I so appreciate that! I am humbled as I read your words, as I know I I have sinned greatly by some of the things I said to my husband in the past. I am pressing on towards the goal of Jesus now,and I am completely desiring to be a respectful wife. Thank you again for sharing, it definitely helps me understand more and more how much I have hurt my husband.

  13. When you have healed and decide to make healthier choices in life please make sure you set healthy goals and expectations. Don’t make your goal being ” beautiful enough for my husband”. This will enforce the mind set “I am not beautiful enough yet”. Especially since weight loss journey’s take alot of time. You will probably fall of the band wagon more then once and a goal like that will just make you feel worse.

    Your healthy goals should be about making you feel good about yourself, giving you confidence to work on any intimacy issues, and improve how you see yourself.

    When you feel good about yourself you will feel good about having sex. Confidence and eagerness for intimacy are highly attractive just by themselves.

    Realize that any intimacy improvements that can be gained from a healthy life will be side effects of your improved self image, they will not be the end result.

    I think you should also examine why intimacy is important to you. Is it important to you because it is another affirmation that you are attractive/beautiful? This mindset is also unhealthy because you will equate any increase or decrease in intimacy with how you think you look. This goes right back to the “actions speak louder than words” comment where you directly equated his compliment to the level of intimacy. There are many factors that can affect levels of intimacy, looks being one piece of a large puzzle.

    1. JuliaJ,

      Yes, I agree – our decisions about our bodies need to be, in my view, primarily about honoring God and being good stewards of the lives God has given us – not about “being beautiful enough” for our husbands. It is easy to make weight loss or thinness into an idol.

      Intimacy can also become a measure of our worth sometimes. I know it was for me for a long time in our marriage. That was not good! I pressured my husband so much. It just did not work.

      When God is in the center and we are depending on Him for everything, He can help us get all the other details lined up in healthy, good, beautiful ways, too.

      Great comment!

    2. So true Julia, and something that I am definitely learning! I am learning that I just feel better emotionally, and physically when I take care of my health! Pray for me- this is a very tough area for me! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  14. What you said about emasculating a husband is so to the point for me (I am the husband). No matter how my wife has aged or gained weight (which she has done both of wonderfully) she keeps putting on ME her negative feelings about herself. I meet so many women in the world who despite their physical shortcomings do not self deprecate like my wife does, it really bothers me – and it additionally causes pain when she tries to project those negative feelings on me, disregarding my positive words and actions towards her. She actually tries to make me feel like a fool for seeing her attractive. (Note that this is another problem contributing to our lack of sex issue I wrote about in another one of your articles). Instead of accepting what I say, I am being TOLD what I think. Her family member’s opinions are more “accurate” than mine. She doesn’t seem to realize that I am not her sister, or differentiate between a sibling and a romantic partner. Of course your sister is going to tell you your this and that – what does that have to do with me – or what men in general think about you??? I don’t get why she does this – I would think that I would represent her attractiveness to MEN, and her sister would represent something else; but instead she wants to take the lowest opinion and apply it to every one – including the man she is married to… arrrgh! So frustrating.

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