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GraceAlone Has a New Breakthrough in Her Spiritual Vision

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We are continuing to follow GraceAlone’s progress as she began this journey to become a godly wife about 3 weeks ago. I am no longer able to email every wife, but I hope to correspond with a few wives who are willing to allow me to share their stories so that maybe many more wives might be blessed and encouraged as they embark on their own journey to submit to the Lordship of Christ fully, to tear out idols, face sin, face fear and live in the power of God’s Spirit to become the wives and women God calls us to be. This is a continuation of the email discussion GraceAlone and I had from yesterday’s post. I hope to take on another wife or two maybe next month if anyone is interested!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

You are going to realize very soon that you cannot afford to skimp on time with Jesus. It will be like trying to drive a car with no gasoline in the tank. Not going to happen!

What did He say about your family and making him your priority?

I am so proud of you for going to work out with him!!!! Woohoo!

It is going to take months to find that line, if not longer. I vote to err on the side of too much silence right now because you don’t know what is disrespectful very clearly yet. Later, you will understand better and learn what to say. Or you can email me and we can talk about it. 🙂

I believe your husband will will probably care a lot more about your opinion when he feels safe with you, feels respected by you and doesn’t feel attacked and disrespected for a long time. I promise!!!!

I pray for Greg now, very carefully, watching my motives constantly, being sure I am not being selfish but only praying for God’s will. But for a long, long time, I only prayed for God to bless Greg and change me. My motives were way too easily sinful for me to pray for him beyond that for a really long time.

Love that, yes! Pray for God to bring your husband’s sweet wife back.

When I was in the first 2 years of this journey and I felt lonely and unloved – which was often – I would turn to the Bible, to prayer and to all the books I was studying about becoming a godly wife and seek with all my heart to get rid of my sinful, wrong, unbiblical ideas and to embrace and absorb everything I could about God, my identity in Him as a woman, marriage, femininity, being a godly wife, etc. Sometimes I would go sit beside Greg and read. Sometimes I would go cover my head and pray for Greg. Covering my head in obedience to I Corinthians 11:3-11 really helped me tangibly understand that I was putting myself under Greg’s protection, authority and leadership and I felt so much closer to him when I did that. It also helped me to focus on having a respectful attitude towards God and Greg when I prayed – and I needed all the help I could get!

(There are some comments on yesterday’s post that are extremely helpful for when a wife is feeling alone, unloved and ignored)

A PEEK AT YOUR HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE

Ok… Here is something to consider. It could be a possibility. What I am about to share is heavy. It is a theory. It may not be what he is thinking, but it could be. If you read this, please read it prayerfully and with enough time to be able to really think for awhile.

  • What if the reason he decided he didn’t want kids was because (at least in part)  he felt betrayed in the marriage?

I don’t know for sure that this is what he was thinking. But what I do know is, you have one VERY, VERY deeply wounded and disrespected-feeling husband. From what we have talked about,

  • He knows that he is not your priority.
  • He knows your family comes before him.
  • He may feel that children are more important to you than he is.
  • He knows that you hold him in contempt and don’t think his opinions are important many times.
  • He knows the way you have verbally lashed out at him, insulted, disrespected, pressured, tried to control and emasculated him – almost constantly.
  • He knows the idols in your heart.
  • He knows how anxious you are. He knows how you don’t trust God.

There is a point at which a man, even though he thought he wanted to have children before marriage, may decide that it would be a disaster to introduce children into a situation.

I don’t know his heart. Maybe there are other things going on. Maybe he is pure evil incarnate. I don’t really think so. But, is it possible that he was actually responding to the way he felt you were treating him in the marriage?

This is scary. But as you keep moving towards God and seeking Him, He will remove your fears and give you power to conquer them. 🙂

If you are like I was – you may think that your perspective is the only one there is. It’s not. That is what I used to think. Men have a totally different perspective and think about things completely differently from how we think. But – they have a legitimate perspective and reasons for what they do that are often legitimate, too.

It is going to be exciting to begin to open the doors to see the world of masculinity where your husband lives that you have never really seen before.

There are other reasons he may have decided he didn’t want to have children, too. From what I understand about men now, here would be what I would expect to be his potential motives:

– he feels very disrespected which means he feels very unloved
– he feels afraid, possibly because he had a poor example
– he may feel he can’t deal with the drama he has with you alone, and he knows that things would be much harder if you had children
– he may feel so wounded that he can’t even think about having kids
– he may realize what a huge responsibility it is and feel unprepared
– he may have decided that you are not going to force him to do anything and that he will not cave or be manipulated by your pressuring him.

Those would be some of the reasons I would expect a man to make a decision like that.
What I would like you to do is to assume that he is coming from a place of pain and hurt not a place of evil. And I would like for you to assume you don’t understand his perspective and for you to assume the best instead of the worst.

This will take some time to learn to do.

Your husband is not your enemy. He is a sinner – like we all are. But I have a feeling that his decision about children has a lot to do with what he experienced in marriage those first 6 months. That is my suspicion.

There is a lot of work to do. But it is more than worth it! I am so glad to be with you on this road and I can’t wait to share each step – the struggles and the victories.

FROM GRACEALONE

Thanks so much, April!

When I read your email I was immediately reminded about some of the things my husband would say in the heat of an argument – things like

  • “Why would I ever want to have kids with you?”
  • “All you care about is kids, that’s all you married me for.”
  • “You worry so much now, there is no way I could handle all your stress about you, let alone the stress about the baby. ‘Honey, do you think she is ok?  What if something is wrong?’ , I wouldn’t be able to tolerate both.”

I would hear those things, and truly just brush them off because I thought he was just saying them because he was frustrated with me. I would have a thought that his reasoning for not wanting children runs deep. I think that is one of the things that has bothered me so much, I never truly knew what the real reason was for him not wanting kids – I still don’t. However, reading over your email about certain possibilities as to why definitely makes me think… I mean do I think there is a deep penetrating fear as to why my husband doesn’t want kids–absolutely, but do I think that part of the reason could be me–yes, I must say I do.

  • When my husband told me some of those reasons as to why he may not want kids, you would think I would have tried to work on those issues he pointed out; but no, I chose at the time to linger in my pain and hurt.

I am starting to see that I have not been as innocent in this either. I remember I used to say things to my husband when he hurt me like

  • “I’m so glad we don’t have kids, because I wouldn’t want them to see you like this or have you as a dad.”

Oh, my word – how wrong I was – that one sentence could be 90% of the reason we don’t have children.

If he had any fears of his own at the time, I completely made a disaster with my words . He would than tell me that he “would feel sorry for the kids having me as a mother. ” I so wish I could go back in time and change things I said. Even knowing all this and that I have played such a HUGE role maybe as to why my husband does not want children, I still catch myself at times feeling sorry for myself – wondering why he won’t “come around.” Seeing all my pregnant friends pop up everywhere is hard, too.

I think you are so right, I always thought my perspective was the only one, but I know that’s not true. There were /sometimes still are times where I struggle so hard not think that my husband has pure evil motives towards me because of withholding these things, but now,

I’m seeing a little bit how evil my motives towards him were. How I tried to manipulate him into caving with his decision regarding kids, I would slather up the guilt with some extra guilt on the side.

I don’t want to do this anymore- I want to try to forgive my husband and not hold it over his head. I want to start fresh. I am VERY scared.

On a positive note, I did workout with him again today – that’s twice this week! That doesn’t sound like a lot , but it’s a big step for me!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE TO MY READERS:

What makes me most excited about GraceAlone is that even though she is terrified of all the changes that are going to take place, she is willing to listen to God and allow Him to work and to obey Him. She wants to change even though it is a huge battle. She wants to learn and grow. When I see that, I know God has GOOD things in store for a wife! Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, love and support for our precious sister and for each other! You are a beautiful example of what the body of Christ is supposed to be for one another. I am honored to be a small part of this incredible community of believing women (and men)!

AN ASSIGNMENT:

I have given GraceAlone an assignment for this week. If you are beginning this journey, you may want to work on this, too.

I asked her to list ALL the hurtful, disrespectful, sinful things she has said and done to her husband. We talked at length about this today. There is quite a list. I think it is important for us to see exactly what we have done and how we have wronged others, especially our husbands. Seeing it all in black and white in one place can help us truly appreciate just how sinful we are and just how desperately we need Jesus to cleanse us, heal us and transform us into His image. Then we can repent and turn away from our sin and accept God’s forgiveness and allow Him to restore our souls and make us right with Him. We don’t have to walk in shame and guilt. Jesus is able to cleanse us and make us whole!

A further assignment after this one (thanks for the suggestion, J!) – we can write down all the things our husbands have done against us to sin against us that hurt us privately!! Then we can ask God to help us forgive each item by His power and we can destroy the list.

 

This is how we can tear down the strongholds of sin that have us imprisoned and how we can enter into God’s amazing peace, joy and abundant life!

 

Much love!

Matthew 7:1-5

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

66 thoughts on “GraceAlone Has a New Breakthrough in Her Spiritual Vision

  1. Wow! This is powerful stuff! There is so much wisdom here that can be applied no matter what a wife’s level or area of disrespect toward her husband and her Lord. Thank you GraceAlone and April for sharing your dialogue with us. Iron sharpening iron! Bless you both, and all who walk the halls of the PeacefulWife Blog.

  2. I am a professional counselor and learned a great technique in one of my marriage and family therapy classes which is similar to the assignment you just gave Grace Alone.. Write out every hurtful thing (IN PRIVATE! DON’T TELL YOUR HUSBAND!) your husband has said or did to you.. then pray forgiveness over each one such as “God i forgive my husband for saying X” Do this daily until God tells you to stop, and this will also help the pain subside. Eventually, you can burn the paper! The point is not to keep remembering what he has done to you but to forgive him and put it behind you. Even though you may not “forget”, you can choose to forgive. This is a private exercise between you and God to begin forgiving your husband for the hurt and pain you are experiencing, which can help you move towards looking more at yourself and what you need to work on when you’re not holding anything against him anymore. (This exercise can be done with anyone who has caused you substantial hurt).
    And remember, God wants to forgive you of everything you’ve done to your husband too! You do not have to continue to walk in shame and guilt for what you have done once you have repented! It is good to remember who we are in Christ!

    1. J,

      Thank you so much for sharing! I love this!

      I benefited so much from an exercise years ago where I wrote down all that Greg had done to sin against me, and wrote down my sins against him. Then I forgave him for each thing and destroyed his list. And I kept my list and repented of each of my sins to God. So helpful! Then I claimed God’s lavish mercy and grace and forgiveness for each of my sins and asked Him to change me and get rid of every trace of sin as I humbled myself before Him in all of His holiness.

      We don’t have to walk in shame or guilt – PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!

  3. If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ you are…

    I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10).

    I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).

    I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

    I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me (Isaiah 54:14).

    I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18).

    I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).

    I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).

    I have the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

    I have the Greater One living in me; greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

    I have received the gift of righteousness and reign as a king in life by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

    I have received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my understanding being enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18).

    I have received the power of the Holy Spirit to lay hands on the sick and see them recover, to cast out demons, to speak with new tongues. I have power over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm me (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:17-19).

    I have put off the old man and have put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of Him Who created me (Colossians 3:9-10).

    I have given, and it is given to me; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, men give into my bosom (Luke 6:38).

    I have no lack for my God supplies all of my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

    I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one with my shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).

    I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13).

    I show forth the praises of God Who has called me out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

    I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23).

    I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).

    I am a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

    I am a spirit being alive to God (Romans 6:11;1 Thessalonians 5:23).

    I am a believer, and the light of the Gospel shines in my mind (2 Corinthians 4:4).

    I am a doer of the Word and blessed in my actions (James 1:22,25).

    I am a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).

    I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loves me (Romans 8:37).

    I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11).

    I am a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

    I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).

    I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).

    I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

    I am the temple of the Holy Spirit; I am not my own (1 Corinthians 6:19).

    I am the head and not the tail; I am above only and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).

    I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

    I am His elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility, and longsuffering (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12).

    I am forgiven of all my sins and washed in the Blood (Ephesians 1:7).

    I am delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

    I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Galatians 3:13).

    I am firmly rooted, built up, established in my faith and overflowing with gratitude (Colossians 2:7).

    I am called of God to be the voice of His praise (Psalm 66:8; 2 Timothy 1:9).

    I am healed by the stripes of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).

    I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12).

    I am greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).

    I am strengthened with all might according to His glorious power (Colossians 1:11).

    I am submitted to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the Name of Jesus (James 4:7).

    I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward (Philippians 3:14).

    For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

    It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).

  4. “I’m so glad we don’t have kids, because I wouldn’t want them to see you like this or have you as a dad.” That would be nuclear bomb devastating to pretty much any man.

    My greatest fear when we had kids was that I wouldn’t be able to overcome or avoid the failures of my own father (outbursts of temper, etc.), and I worked very hard to treat our children differently than my father treated me. My wife knew this. Nevertheless, on one occasion, she looked at me over the head of an unhappy child and said, “You’re just like your father.” She might as well have dropped a house on me. That was probably 20 years ago, but I still remember the full effect of her words — the feeling that my heart and lungs had stopped, the terror that she might be right and that all the counter-measures I had taken had been wasted and that I would leave scars on my kids, and the deep anger that if she was wrong she had just hurt me in one of the worst possible ways. She later half-heartedly took it back, but she also continued to verbalize her disrespect for me as a father in other ways, so that the shock and hurt never did really go away. I believe Grace Alone (and God) can undo what she said, but any future disrespectful words about his worthiness as a dad will immediately take him back to that earlier statement and raise questions in his mind about whether her apology was genuine. It will take a lot of consistent affirmation and respect, probably for quite a while, before any apology/repentance will be deeply convincing to her husband, but she and God can do it together.

    1. David J.,

      I am so deeply sorry for the pain your wife’s comment caused. My parents separated when I was ten, after many years of conflict, and afterwards my mother always referred to him as a “rat” and forbade us to see him. During an argument with her when I was 14, she said, “You’re just like your father!” I’ll never forget it. I immediately felt rejected, worthless, and unloved because I knew she had zero regard for him. I hope that none of us as wives or mothers would ever make this mistake in speaking either to our husbands OR our children. This kind of hurt lives in the heart and memory for decades afterward. My mother didn’t realize how deeply she wounded me either, not remembering that I still loved my father very much and had a perfect right to have similar personality traits. And after all, SHE had chosen him to be my father, as I immediately reminded her.

      I congratulate you on working hard to be a fine dad, and hope you will remember that we’ve all inherited a mix of characteristics from each parent, many of them quite fine! May we all remember the power of our words to either deeply wound or build up in love. Best wishes to you!

      1. Elizabeth,

        Your story breaks my heart! But thank you for reminding us how powerful our words are as wives and also as mothers. How I pray we will use our words wisely to build up our families and husbands instead of tearing them down.

      2. Elizabeth: I appreciate your kind words. I don’t understand how a parent could say something so damaging to a child. Nor do I understand how one parent, even in a divorce situation and even when the other parent has behaved badly, can think that it’s ok to try to alienate the kids from the other parent. Even the secular courts try to advise divorcing parents not to do that, for the sake of the kids. Interestingly, my ex-wife has been on both ends of that. Her own parents divorced, remarried each other, and divorced again. Her mother was promiscuous and an alcoholic. Her father was a rigid, extreme fundamentalist Christian. One time when she was in her teens, in criticizing her for a particular act of disobedience (something that wasn’t really a big deal), he told her that she was just like her mother. His comment crushed her like your mother’s did you. Yet later in her life, as I noted above, she would do the same to me. Then, during and after her divorce from me, she has gone out of her way to undermine me with the kids. Most recently, she told our youngest son (who lives with me) that I hadn’t yet bought him a car of his own because I didn’t want him to be able to go visit her where she relocated (400 miles away) with her new husband. Nothing could be further from the truth (in fact, I simply haven’t had the money, in large part because I’m paying her a significant amount of child support for our daughter). But, as a wise older pastor told me once, if you give a dog an ugly name, it makes it easier for you to kick him.

    2. Thank you for sharing, David. Reading this post was definitely making me think about things I have said, and wish that I could take back, and hope I never say again.

  5. April & GraceAlone,
    Thank you sooo much for sharing this journey. I, too, am facing fears about my own motives in my marriage & am scared. Hearing your heart to walk through the fire anyway is encouraging. My husband, who is very wise & articulate, pointed out this morning that my main motive for marrying him was evil. Ouch. But there is truth in what he’s saying. Were my motives totally evil? No. But nevsrtheless my heart wasn’t with God in all of this. I continue praying for you, GraceAlone, as you face your fears. And I continue praying for you, April, that you will continue to speak God’s truth to GraceAlone as it is having such a *huge* impact. I can’t wait to see how God will be glorified through your courage to seek Him.

    1. Thank you Sally! Praying for you too! i am learning that fear has controlled me for so long, it is scary to try to let it go, but I won’t heal it I don’t learn to not fear and trust that God has good plans for our marriage!

      1. GraceAlone and Sally,
        I can’t wait to see you full of God’s love and truth and power and free from every fear!!!!!! Such a beautiful, freeing, joyful, peaceful, amazing place to be!

      2. Thank you so much or your prayers! They mean so much to mean. Knowing there’s a sister walking with me through this crazy is a huge comfort. And so true about letting go & not healing if we don’t learn to let go! Just this morning my husband asked me why I won’t admit that I have failed at marriage. It shocked & angered me at the time, but what he was trying to say is that what I am doing isn’t working so why not try something else? Letting go of fear, trusting God with His plan for our marriages. Definitely the way to go because hanging on to what’s not working is … well… not working! I am struggling to let go of this idol of marriage that I have built up in my mind, but clearly I have to. Clearly I have to trust God & His plan. This is sooo hard!!! Huge hugs, to you, GraceAlone.

          1. Thank you so much, April. I know he’s trying to get my attention with his comments. I am rather hardheaded. But I struggle with acknowledging the hurt because what he says is true. Not sure how to wrap my brain around this.

          2. Sally,

            Well… many times the truth does hurt. That is for sure. It has for me more times than I can count. Now, I try to thank Greg when he points out any sin in my life that he sees. And then go pray about it. And write things down and seek God with all my heart.

            God is giving you the tools you need to become the wife and woman He desires you to be. Ultimately, you primarily answer to Christ. But – God can and does speak to us through our husbands at times. So – maybe you can ask God to show you what He would like you to do with this pain and with what your husband said.

            Would he be able to share 3 things he would like you to stop doing and 3 things he would like you to start doing? Maybe they could be written down?

            My greatest desire for you is that you please God. I pray that God will bring healing to your marriage!!! And that you might walk in His power and abide constantly in His presence.

            Much love to you!

          3. Thank you so much for the ideas, April. I actually have the ideas in mind from things he has said, so am working on the areas for stopping & starting. This is sooo challenging because I realize how much fear is wound up in all of it. Definitely not trusting God in this & the results are a controlling, demanding woman! Yuck! Praise God He has given me concrete steps to take, thanks to your listening to Him. I find myself hopeful one minute, things going well, then so discouraged the next, things not going well. But, it’s one baby step at a time & success most recently has been in not defending myself. This is happening more often than not, which is a huge praise!

        1. Sally,
          Wow!! That is hard. It is so very easy to make marriage and our husbands/having kids an idol. I have done that a lot and it has just made myself and my husband more resentful and made things worse. I am learning that I absolutely have to let go of fear! it is scary, because fear and I have been very close for years. I am scared but trying to trust God. Praying for you! Hugs to you too!!

          1. “I am learning that I absolutely have to let go of fear! it is scary, because fear and I have been very close for years.”

            So true, Grace Alone! Fear is deceptively powerful and it makes me wonder, is fear the true opposite of faith? Is fear satan’s sharpest weapon? My brain feels like it is going to explode…fear is not the innocent emotion I’ve believed it to be.

            April, can you shed any light on this?

          2. Livelywriter,

            YES! I can shed light on this!

            Fear is unbelief in God. Fear is the opposite of faith. We have fear when we are trusting ourselves not God.

            Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

            Fear is not an innocent emotion – it is a theological declaration of what we believe to be true about God and ourselves. It declares to us and everyone around us that we do not trust God, we do not believe God is who He says He is and that we are not claiming God’s victory, power, promises and His Word.

            Yes, fear is a powerful weapon of Satan. He LOVES for us to be paralyzed by fear.

            All of the controlling wives I know, myself included – were motivated by FEAR to control. When we have idols, our motive is fear – fear that God will not give us what we REALLY want if we trust Him. Fear that God will hold out on us and not give us what is truly best for us.

            For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7

            Fear is never from God. NEVER. It is always from the enemy or from our sinful nature. It springs from lack of faith and unbelief and mistrust of God. That is why the Israelites didn’t obey God and take the promised land. They were afraid. God was VERY angry with the entire generation because of their unbelief and allowed them all to die in the desert and wander for 40 years and He refused to allow any of them to enter into His promised land and His rest because of their unbelief and lack of faith in Him.

            This is VERY SERIOUS stuff.

            We cannot build our lives on fear and live for God. It is impossible. We have to choose one or the other.

            Here is a passage from I John 4 – this is a summary of the entire Christian walk and what God intends for it to look like:
            7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

            13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

            God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

            19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

            The only motives God wants to fill our hearts and minds are:
            1. deep, wholehearted, absolute love for Him
            2. genuine godly agape love for other people.

            Everything else has to go.

            Fear cannot live where God’s love lives. It has to flee. The more we know God, the more we see we have no reason to fear – because greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. And the more we understand His sovereignty (which is a HUGE key I was missing for decades), the more we understand His power, His purposes and that He is in control and He WILL make all things work together to make us more like Christ and to bring Himself glory – and those are our goals, too. We can’t lose when we completely surrender to Christ! We get HIM!!!!!! He is all we need!

          3. April, wow this is a mind-blowing revelation for me. I have lived so long being afraid–it is oppressive. Now that I see fear as a statement against God, I want nothing to do with it! Fear is bondage that I put on myself, but I haven’t realized this until now.

            Too much is going on in my head to express anything adequately. Oh I am so full of excitement over this knowledge!!!!

            Love to you all!

          4. Livelywriter,

            YES!!!!! This is a HUGE LIGHTBULB MOMENT!

            Yes. Fear is oppressive. It is of the enemy. It is NOT God’s will for His beloved children! Ever!

            Today, the door to your dungeon cell swings open. Your shackles fall off… and you are free to run out of there into God’s glorious freedom, peace, joy and abundant life, my precious sister!!!!!!

            WOOHOOO!

            It will take some time to really absorb the depth of all that we are talking about today. Yes. Take all the time you need. I know God will help you see and grab onto Him with all your might. This is an exciting day!!!! 🙂

            Isaiah 61 – this is my mission here…
            The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
            because the Lord has anointed me
            to proclaim good news to the poor.
            He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
            to proclaim freedom for the captives
            and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
            2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
            and the day of vengeance of our God,
            to comfort all who mourn,
            3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
            to bestow on them a crown of beauty
            instead of ashes,
            the oil of joy
            instead of mourning,
            and a garment of praise
            instead of a spirit of despair.
            They will be called oaks of righteousness,
            a planting of the Lord
            for the display of his splendor.
            4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
            and restore the places long devastated;
            they will renew the ruined cities
            that have been devastated for generations.

          5. “All of the controlling wives I know, myself included – were motivated by FEAR to control. When we have idols, our motive is fear – fear that God will not give us what we REALLY want if we trust Him. Fear that God will hold out on us and not give us what is truly best for us.”

            I think this is exactly right. I saw it, and still see it, in my ex-wife. She fought me on everything because she was afraid, first, that I was wrong and would bring negative consequences on her and our kids, and she was afraid, second, that God couldn’t or wouldn’t protect her and our kids if she didn’t force me to do things the way she wanted. (Not surprisingly, this stemmed from a childhood where it seemed no one was protecting her.) Most of the time she would think/say that she was more spiritual than I, but occasionally she would admit that she didn’t really trust God. Unfortunately, those occasional insights didn’t result in any change. When she filed for divorce, she was very sneaky about how she did it and how she informed the kids, directly contrary to earlier promises she had made. During the divorce litigation, she was absolutely paranoid about anything I said or did, always attributing the worst possible motives to me, frequently coming up with imagined rationales for what I was doing that had never even occurred to me. It made the whole process much more difficult (and expensive) than it needed to be. A friend commented to me at the time that she thought I was smarter than her so she was deathly afraid that I would figure out some way to take advantage of her. Since the divorce, and even though she quickly remarried, she has continued to overreact to every situation and to try to wall herself off from imagined plots by me, with negative consequences for the kids and our respective relationships with them. It’s sad, or it would be if I didn’t allow myself to be angry about it instead.

          6. David J,
            Fear is a very powerful motivator. Especially fears that we learned in childhood. It can seem impossible for us to let go of them because our ideas of God and ourselves and what we are responsible for were warped so early in life.

            I pray for healing for you and for your wife and for God’s glory in your family.

            Thank you for sharing.

  6. I’m so proud of the breakthroughs happening for GraceAlone.

    I want those too…I’m just struggling.

    I would love to get some extra help April and share my development to help others…I don’t know if 3 weeks will change me like GraceAlone but I can try!

    1. Godlywifetobe,

      I am not able to change anyone. But God certainly is! 3 weeks is just barely beginning to scratch the surface. If you are willing to listen to God and are willing to face your fears and allow God to radically change you and get rid of anything He wants to get rid of, and you are willing to obey Him even when it is hard, I am glad to take you on next month, God-willing. 🙂

      1. Yes, all glory to God. He does use you April. We are all blessed to know you! For many of us you’re the answer to prayers of a mentor, wisdom, godly example…

        I am willing to try. There’s part of me that thinks I’m all right but I know there’s sin in me and that’s what I want to cut out. I know it’s going to get ugly and difficult but we aren’t here to sit in our sin but be transformed to be more like Christ!

        Let me know when you’re ready 🙂

        1. Godlywifetobe;

          Yes, God certainly helps us by using people here on earth with us — but don’t be too hard on yourself. Just from reading your comments, I think you are a long way from where you were originally! You have been growing a whole lot! I think “weeks” is a wrong unit for the typical person. The important thing is that you are not at the same spot you were at the beginning of your journey.. …where you are exactly is less important (as long as you keep moving up!).

          I think it takes months to start understanding yourself and your flaws, repenting for your part and forgiving your spouse for the parts that are truly not yours. That is just preparation for the journey itself, let alone reaching anywhere on the journey.

          1. Thank you for your kind words.

            I feel like some days I’m making steps forward and then morning comes and I take steps back!

        2. Godlywifetobe,

          It can be shocking to see all the layers of sin that God reveals to us over time. I’m so glad you want to learn and want to be more like Christ. That is the best place to start!

          I’ll be in touch!

          Much love,
          April

    2. Praying for you Godlywifetobe,

      I am about three weeks into this journey, and God has turned on some lightbulbs for sure, but I have just now started to take some baby steps, and I have a long way to go for sure! I am thankful that God is slowly revealing some things for me, but I am definitely still in the beginning of my journey. 🙂

  7. Dear All,

    Thank you for sharing. J, your providing quotes from scripture couldnt have been more timely (my Bible is in storage and I struggle with perusing all the online sources, I never know exactly what I should be searching).

    April is so right about the layers. My eyes are opening to all the experiences that twisted my thoughts and beliefs about life to the place where I am now. This is way more than just a conflict about a baby in my marriage too.

    I have been hurting inside for a long time. I can honestly say that I have grown from all my trials. I 100% believe He provided me the strength to survive terrible situations and come through with hope still alive in my heart. My problem has been why. Why, God, am I suffering all these things when I have tried so hard to be good? Why, husband, are you betraying me when we went into this together on the same page? I think I need to do these exercises to change my perspective too. Is it cowardly to admit that I am afraid to see all the ways I have pained God? Or to face the regret of all the times I didn’t turn to Him for consolation from my pain?

    You all are so precious to me. Your generosity in sharing your experiences has helped me to see that Someone wants my attention. And that my current problem is too great for any of man’s solutions. This site is a tool, a clay if you will, that God is using to cure me of my blindness of spirit.

    1. Livelywriter,

      I am so glad you are finding more hope in Christ and looking to Him! This is painful stuff. Excruciating at times.

      I hope you might check out David Platt’s Secret Church series on The Cross and Suffering. It is a 4 part series you can find at http://www.radical.net or on Youtube. LIFE CHANGING, FAITH CHANGING, EYE OPENING truth from God right there.

      Praying that you might glean every single drop of goodness from this fiery trial and that you might be able to cling to Christ and allow Him to completely rebuild your heart, mind and soul – removing all the lies and damage and rebuilding on Him and His truth alone – that you might heal and live in the power of God’s Spirit and that God might be greatly glorified in your life and marriage!

      Sending you a huge hug!

  8. The content of this post provides a cautionary tale for those who read about GraceAlone’s original appearance on this blog and hastily labeled her husband an “abusive man”.

    I hope that those who are quick to appoint themselves to judge a man will be more cautious next time.

  9. And as I said in a comment a long time ago here, when women drop those nuclear judgements on a man, he will retreat. Perhaps forever.

    When a woman does that to a man, it is scarcely different than if she physically abused him.

    What is striking is how many times people try to “scold” and “shame” a man into the correct behavior. This can only come from a place of extreme pride.

    1. Here is the comment Jack is referring to:

      I consider words and emotions to be womens’ main “power center”.

      Much as physical strength and capacity for energy and aggression to be mens’ power center.

      Please bear with me, because the following illustration may seem negative, but it will help make it clear how a man’s mind works, at least for many of us.

      Situation #1:
      Suppose my wife got real mad at me, and in a moment of anger, slapped me very hard on the face.

      Situation #2:
      Suppose my wife got real mad at me, and in a moment of anger, told me that I was a worthless man, overgrown boy, bad provider/husband/dad, or any other insult.

      I’d prefer the slap, believe it or not. Why? Because it is not her power center – it is actually easier for me to get past something she did in a moment of frustration. But her words – her power center – directed right at my actual value as a human, and as a man, would hurt much more.

      So, once we understand the power behind a woman’s emotion-fueled words, we can see the importance of positive words.

      But here is the catch – you have to mean them. Yes, there is a certain practice-makes-perfect effect (or for the cynics, “fake it ”til ya make it”).

      Just as we must first love the Lord before we can pray effectively, we must first regard the other in love before positive words will carry the maximum effect. It’s okay to say positive things for the sake of doing right, but the real effect will not be evident until a person practices seeing that person in a positive light, and deliberately looking for things to admire in them.

      Few things in life come without intent and practice; from tying our own shoes to becoming a professional at our job. So why would we think that we can be passive or negligent in the development of our attitudes to (and ABOUT) others?

      Our regard for others, especially our spouse, is simply another of life’s fields that needs care and cultivation. Left to chance, it will be full of thorns.

      1. I somehow missed Jack’s comment the first time around, but it’s very well put. I agree with him about the relative harm of the slap vs. the verbal attack by a wife. But I’d add a point (which I think Jack would probably agree with) about the double standard that gets applied to men’s and women’s attacks on their spouses. The man is supposed to just take it, whether it’s a slap or an insult. But if the woman is the recipient, the slap is domestic violence (true, but true for both) and the insult is emotional abuse (may or may not be true, but should be the same for both). My own experience was that my (now ex-) wife could raise her voice, could engage in the most devastating character attacks, and could do some of these things in front of the kids, without any remorse or recourse. But any similar behavior by me — even though it was milder in volume and content, and never in front of the kids — was reprehensible “emotional abuse” and additional grounds for divorce. I would just ask that the wives here frequently ask themselves how they would feel if their husband said to them what they’ve said to him. It’s likely that he’s as hurt as they would have been, though he may not show it the same way.

        1. Slapping and verbally sinning is all sin and sin hurts people. As God’s people – how I pray we will not hurt anyone with our words or actions – but that we might love with His love. That is the test of whether we belong to Him or not, after all! I John 3

    2. Jack,

      I think a lot of people don’t ever get the man’s perspective if they are talking with a wife, or the whole story about what is happening. This is a big part of why I believe God warns us not to judge. There are so many variables that we may not be aware of in various situations.

        1. Absolutely! Proverbs says one person’s story seems right until you hear the other side. That is why I ask wives SO MANY PROBING QUESTIONS. Because if I am not talking with the husband, it is very easy to just hear the wife’s side and not realize how different the husband’s perspective may be. But, of course, there are always two perspectives when there are two people in a relationship.

          This is also why I never immediately believe one of my children when they come complaining about the other one did but always ask “What did YOU do first?” Funny how that little piece of information changes the entire story most of the time!

          Thanks, PrayinglikeHannah!

  10. This is really good. Thank you GraceAlone for sharing your journey.

    April, I’d be open to sharing my story if you thought it might be of help to others. I know my situation is a little different in some aspects though.

    1. Jeanne,

      I think that having different stories is ESSENTIAL! We are all different and our stories are unique. I love to see how God works in every marriage in different ways, but how the same basic truths and commands and God’s power and love apply to us all.

      Thanks for your willingness to share and your generosity!

      I’ll get with you on this!

      Much love,
      April

  11. Thank you all for the prayers and encouragement! I am just now beginning this journey, and I am so thankful to have so many people praying and encouraging me! I am so grateful for you all!

  12. GraceAlone….you and are were very much alike…I am sad to say. I had no control over my words. I can see that my husband would have responded the same as yours if having children were brought up. And I agree with April in that he would be thinking, “She is not going to control this or force me”. I know you want children right now and I would bet that your husband wants children too. Even though our issues are different, yours and my plan has to be the same. Focusing on getting closer to God, building up the man that we tore down, refusing to ever be the woman we were in the past, giving up our desires and wants for a while and giving our husband the chance to lead our family. I know for me that is hard. I want things to be perfect right now! I don’t want to have to wait, to feel lonely, to hurt. I want my happily ever after now! Pray for me and I will pray for you that we can be stay on this narrow path and be successful and that we will not give into the enemy’s words in our head, that we will only hear God’s words and follow his plan. We are very blessed to have April pour her heart out to teach us. I am scared right now. I haven’t been successful and I know it is so easy to slip right back into the old ways especially when my husband is distant and angry. I am trying just to cling to God right now.

    1. Daisymae,
      Thank you for loving and encouraging GraceAlone!

      I am not sure if you saw it, but the post yesterday had so many comments about overcoming fear. I think they would bless you so much!

      I hope to do a post on fear soon.

      Praying for you my precious sister!!!!!!! I love your plan right now. There is no better place to be than in the center of God’s will. This will take longer than you want it to take. I guarantee that! But it is by God’s design so that He can refine our motives and purify our faith so that we don’t go right back to our old idols. He is definitely using these trials to make us more like Christ. WOOHOO!

      Sending you a big hug!

      1. Thank you April for always being an encouragement to me! Fear for me is huge. I will go read those posts right now. 🙂

        1. Daisymae,

          I think fear is a huge issue for all of us – it is the primary reason we feel we have to control. And it is a symptom of our theology and understanding (or lack of understanding) of God.

          Can’t wait to see all that God is about to show you! 🙂 Praying for Him to totally release you from your fears as you learn to trust Him and see Who He really is.

    2. daisymae,

      Thank you so very much for your encouragement!!!! I am so grateful! Thank you for sharing! Praying for you!!!!

  13. I praise God for this site! I have been reading this for a little while now, and wow! It is very inspirational. It brings a deeper understand of how God intends for a marriage to be. How He first wanted it at the beginning of creation!

    Thank you everyone for sharing! God bless all of you:)

  14. April, do you have any advice if it feels like your husband actually enjoys punishing you (emotionally, not physically) for your disrespect? I know I have been disrespectful, I’m working on changing, and I know my husband has noticed the change. He told me last night that “a few weeks of good behavior” is not going to make him know whether or not he wants to leave me or not. He actually said I need to be punished. Not physically, but I think he thinks keeping me in “limbo” or the “grey area” of not knowing whether or not he is going to stay married to me is “what I need”. He comes by this naturally, his family will go YEARS without talking to each other, missing major milestones in each others’ lives, over the smallest infractions. I know I cannot get him to change or step out of the cycle he grew up seeing, but what do I do while he is turning that cycle on me? Do I let him ignore me at night or do I go and sit quietly with him while he watches TV so he knows I am not giving up on us? Do I continue to act like I think everything is going to be fine in our marriage and put on a happy face when at any given moment he could leave? I feel so lost. And in the midst of all of this, as you know, we are struggling with infertility. He told me he is willing to go through IUI to try and have a baby since we were told its “now or never” and that he isn’t divorcing me today, but he doesn’t know if he can get over what I’ve done to him, so he doesn’t know what our future holds. This is so confusing to me, I don’t know what to think or what to do. He told me to schedule the appointments with our fertility doctor. We literally only have a few more months to try and have a baby, and then its over. Do I do this because he said to and have faith that this is the right thing to do? Or do I not because having a baby right now seems insane given the uncertainty in our marriage? I am getting so many conflicting messages and I dont know what to make of it all.

    1. sc13,

      Oh goodness. 🙁 He actually said you need to be punished?

      What is his relationship with Christ?

      If he said to go ahead with the appointments, and your time is that limited, I think after much prayer, if you believe this is what God desires you to do, you could do this.

      How long have you been on this journey of learning to respect now?

      Husbands often are very skeptical – for months, sometimes a year or years. If they have felt extremely disrespected for a long time, that is pretty normal. I don’t think most of them will come out and say “you should be punished.” But, I am sure that is how a lot of them, in their flesh, may feel. Especially if they don’t have the grace and mercy of Christ to extend to others because they have not received it themselves. But, even if a husband is a believer, it can take a LONG, LONG time for him to believe the changes in his wife are real.

      Greg was very forgiving right away. But it was 3.5 YEARS into this journey before he felt safe with me again.

      Keep in mind, he is a sinner, too, and he will have a lot of issues to work through with God, too.
      Here are some posts that may help:

      I’m Trying to Respect and Biblically Submit to My Husband – and He Is Being More Unloving Than Ever! What Is Going On?

      Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Seek to Change?

      Respect Doesn’t Work on My Husband

      None of us ever know what our futures hold. This is a walk of faith.

      Are you willing to honor and obey Christ no matter what your husband does and no matter what happens with the pregnancy thing? That is the real question, in my mind.

      I am praying for wisdom and healing for you both!

      Let me know if these posts help clarify things a bit?

      Much love!

      1. Thank you, April. These posts were very helpful. He does not have a relationship with Christ. He is fine that I do and fine that we raise our daughter as a Christian, which I am extremely thankful for.

        I’ve been on the respect journey for only about 6 weeks. But its been 6 weeks of us not sleeping in the same bed and barely talking, leaving me unsure about the future of our marriage. I am not afraid of being single, I know I would survive. I am afraid of missing him. I love my husband and I know he is a good, honorable man. He is a wonderful father and a very hard worker. To me, he is irreplaceable.

        I cannot figure out if my motivations to expand our family are pure. I desperately want more children — but I want our family, not just more kids. I know my husband wanted a big family, too. Part of me feels like moving forward with the children despite knowing what will happen in the marriage will show him I believe in us and I am committed to him, as weird as that sounds (this seems to go against everything you hear that you should NOT have kids if your marriage is on shaky ground). His parents and sister have abandoned us over what really was a silly argument, so I would guess my husband thinks anyone he cares about will just up and leave, and my disrespect just compounded his fears. I feel like perhaps he is testing my resolve to see how committed I actually am. Maybe I’m overanalyzing, I just don’t know anymore!!

        How do I figure out if my motives are pure? I feel like I miss God’s voice. I pray constantly throughout the day, but my thoughts flop back and forth between the old me who screams out that I am being treated unfairly, that my husband can be so vicious and uncaring, that I am unimportant to the new me who tells the old me to quiet down and be patient and do the right thing.

        1. sc13,

          It is an extra challenge when your husband is not yet a believer. That definitely adds to the difficulty on this journey. However, what is impossible with men is possible with God!

          You are VERY, VERY early in your journey. And things are obviously severely strained right now.

          I do think it is important to tease out your real motives – about your marriage, about God, about another baby. And obviously it is very important to focus on God and your prayer life and faith and walk with Him.

          It is God’s will for you to be in this marriage. God hates divorce. If your husband should leave in the future, you cannot control that. But as far as you are concerned, my view is – be all in.

          Still, it is important to be sure you are not putting your husband or marriage or having more children above Christ in your heart.

          Check out the post from yesterday about sinful triggers, and the comments. That can help you examine your motives.

          And, here are some posts that may be helpful:

          When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God
          My Secret Idol
          how to make your husband an idol

          Your only responsibility is to obey God for your part of the marriage and your life. You cannot control your husband. But as you focus on repenting of any sin in your heart and obeying God and becoming the godly woman and wife God calls you to be – God can use you to bless your husband.

          What is it that your husband says he wants?

          I believe as you continue to show real respect over time, and as you allow God to refine your motives, your husband will notice. As God changes you – your husband will eventually see that this is for real, and there could be no more powerful testimony of Christ to him than God radically changing you.

          He may be testing you. I’m sure he doesn’t trust you yet. That’s ok.

          What can you do to honor your husband and God. What can you do to refine your motives and to get rid of all motives except loving and obeying God and pleasing Him and loving, respecting, honoring and blessing your husband?

          Are you honoring your husband’s leadership??

          Is there anything your husband is asking you to do, or says he needs?

          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.

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