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!