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“This Is Not Working. I Don’t See Progress.”

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I want to address a very common and extremely important concern that I hear from many, many wives.

When we as women have a history of being controlling, dominating, overly responsible, overly “helpful”, mothering and we tend to take over in our marriages, thinking we know so much better than our husbands – at first, we often approach the concepts of respect and biblical submission as tools to give us what we want.

  • We may see these commands of God in Ephesians 5:22-33 as things that will “guarantee” us the godly marriage we dream of and long for.
  • We may look at these new skills as a way to control/manipulate our husbands to make them love us and to change them.
  • We may think that this is a guarantee that if we do these things, we can control God and He will HAVE to give us what we really want.

It is almost impossible for us not to do this at first, in my view, if our real goals all along in life have been to control our husbands and have a godly marriage by our definition and to feel loved. Then, when our husbands don’t change in a few days or weeks or months, we may get angry and really disappointed – multiple times. This is a very important part of this journey, in my mind.

If you find yourself wondering things like:

  • What is the point of me having to change so much if HE doesn’t have to change?
  • Why do I have to do all the work and my husband doesn’t have to work in himself at all?
  • I don’t see progress. My husband is still distant and unloving. There is no benefit to me to work on my side of this marriage or my obedience to God whatsoever.
  • I’m doing “everything I am supposed to do” but my husband is still the same.

… You are not alone. Most wives ask these questions at some point. The answers to these questions are extremely important. If we don’t answer these questions with truth from God’s Word,  we will miss the ENTIRE point of this whole journey. THIS is a critical part of this journey where God refines our motives over and over and over.

If I am asking questions like these, which I have done on numerous occasions, it is a huge red flag to me. These questions reveal my true motives.  WHAT AM I REALLY TRYING TO MEASURE? WHAT ARE MY GOALS? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE HERE? Until I clearly see my true motives, I am stuck and cannot keep growing and I can’t have the power of God to transform my mind and soul or begin to heal my marriage.

Do you see what my priorities and motives are if these are the questions I am asking? My discontentment because my husband is not changing and not being who and what I want him to be when I want him to be it and my anger about my having to work so hard without any “progress” reveal:

  • My true goal is to change my husband.
  • I am trying to USE God to get what I really want – a godly marriage, a more loving husband by my definition, my own personal happiness, control over my husband, to feel loved, etc…
  • My measure of success is my happiness and my analysis of how my husband is treating me.

 

If these are my goals, I am probably still dealing with idolatry. My motives are still sinful. I am probably putting these things before Jesus in my heart. I want a godly marriage or my husband to change more than I want God.  This is part of the process we ALL must go through. It is time to do a very thorough spiritual inventory of my heart. I will have to do this continually along the way on this road. God will continue to reveal more and more layers of sin and evil motives to me.

*** A reminder – if you are dealing with uncontrolled mental illness, drug/alcohol addictions, infidelity or physical abuse or some other serious issue in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced counsel ASAP instead of reading my blog!

What does it mean to see “progress” on this journey?  Well – I think we have to decide what our goal is and what our definition of progress is to know if we are progressing:

Becoming a godly wife is ALL about my relationship with Jesus. It is not about my husband or what he is doing at all. It is about me realizing that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure in the universe. It is about me completely submitting to His Lordship. It is about me turning away from my sin and allowing Christ to radically change me for His glory.

Like David Platt says,

“We don’t come to Jesus to get ‘stuff.’  We come to Jesus to get GOD!”

In our Spiritual Warfare class this week, our Bible professor told us,

“The only way to overcome the strongholds of sin and of the devil and to resist him and his attacks is ABSOLUTE and TOTAL SURRENDER TO CHRIST.”

Amen!!!!!!

And I love what God said to Abram in Genesis 15:1 decades before God gave Isaac to Abraham and Sarah:

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Until I get this… I am missing EVERYTHING.

My goal has to be to know God more and more. My purpose must be to have God! My motives have got to be to love, please and honor Christ (out of pure thankfulness and joy for all the mercy, grace, love and forgiveness He has lavished on me so generously) and to love and bless others. That is it. This takes time. It doesn’t usually happen in a few days, a few weeks or even in a few months. This is a lifetime process of me allowing and begging God to transform me to be more like Jesus.

SOME DEEPLY SOUL PENETRATING QUESTIONS TO CAREFULLY AND FERVENTLY PRAY OVER OFTEN ON THIS JOURNEY:

  • Have I ever actually received the love, grace and mercy of Christ? Have I received Him as my Savior AND as my LORD? Have I yielded all control to Him? If not, I have got to start here!
  • Is Jesus what I desire more than anything else in life?
  • What are my deepest motives?
  • What is the purpose of my life?
  • What do I need to have to be truly happy?
  • What is most important to me here?
  • What are my emotions and priorities telling me about my real beliefs about God and His Word?
  • Am I building my life completely on Christ and His Word and truth and getting rid of every ungodly thought that sets itself up against Christ in my heart?
  • Am I willing to learn to be content with Christ alone? Are there other things I am still clinging to that are more important to me than Jesus?
  • Am I clinging to bitterness? I have to choose. I can have Jesus and the power of His Spirit and all of the blessings that come from abiding in Him and obeying Him – or I can have bitterness. I can’t have sin and Jesus. Bitterness opens a wide door for Satan to enter my thought life.
  • Am I clinging to pride, thinking I know better than my husband or I know better than God or God’s Word doesn’t apply to me because my circumstance is “unique”?
  • Am I clinging to hatred? God’s Word says that I cannot love God if I hate a person, and that if I love God I must love people, too with God’s kind of love. I John 2 and 3.
  • Am I clinging to materialism? Do I think I have to have money or stuff or luxuries to be happy in life?
  • Am I willing to allow God’s Spirit to shine His light into the darkest corner of my soul and am I willing to lay EVERYTHING before Jesus on the altar and sacrifice it all to Him, holding NOTHING back? What am I afraid to trust God with? Am I willing to ask Him to help me to lay it down?
  • Am I willing to face and hash through my deepest fears, deciding one by one that God is able to handle each fear and that I can trust Him and stop trusting myself? (this is a process)
  • Am I willing to forgive my husband (and anyone else) who has wronged me, trusting God to help me to begin to work through that process?

SIGNS OF PROGRESS:

  • If I am progressing, at first I will begin to see more and more of my sin as God reveals it to me so that I can mourn over it and ask for Him to forgive me and change me and I will want to turn from sin to God.
  • If I am moving towards God, I will humble myself before Him and begin to see my sinfulness and His holiness in greater and greater contrast.
  • If I am progressing, I will eventually see less and less sin in my heart and more and more of the fruit of the Spirit of God. I will repent of and turn away from bitterness, pride, self-righteousness, resentment, selfishness, impatience, losing my temper, criticizing my husband, humiliating my husband, disrespecting my husband, putting my husband down and me trying to control my husband. I will see an increasing amount of God’s supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control in ME.
  • If I am making progress in God’s sight, I will begin to be very grieved over any trace of sin in my heart.
  • If I am progressing, I will be less and less concerned about MY will, my desires, my plans, my dreams and my goals and I will be more and more concerned about God’s will,  his desires, his plans and His goals.
  • If I am progressing, I will seek to and begin to actually desire Jesus much more than anything else in life.
  • If I am progressing, I will become much less judgmental of my husband and other people
  • If God is at work in me, I will want to crucify my pride and eagerly embrace humility.
  • If I am progressing, I will have a deepening understanding of what a wretched sinner I am.
  • If I am progressing I will have a much deeper understanding of exactly how much my sin cost Jesus on the cross and I will be so filled with thanksgiving to Him that I will WANT to obey him and do anything He asks me to do out of joy, gratitude and love.
  • If God is working in me, I will be THANKFUL that God is willing to change me first and trust Him to work in my husband’s life in His way and His power and His timing.
  • If God is working in me, I will be able to accept my husband and love him even if he doesn’t change (I may not be able to trust him, if he has broken my trust, until we rebuild trust) – but I will begin to see him with new eyes from God’s perspective. I will begin to see him as a dearly loved son of God.
  • If this process is “working,” I will be focused on what I need to change and do, not on what my husband “should” do.
  • If this is working, I will see that I need to change the way I relate to everyone in my life! not just my husband.
  • If  I am learning what God desires me to learn, I will realize I CANNOT do anything good on my own and that I HAVE to have lots of time with God, in prayer and in His Word every day or I am going to mess up and sin a lot.
  • If I am progressing, I will be facing my fears and overcoming them by deciding to trust Jesus no matter what happens.
  • If I am progressing, the things of this world become less and less important and the things that are of heaven and God become more and more important.
  • If this is “working” I will see God radically change my heart, my mind and my soul over time.
  • If I am making progress, I am learning to take my thoughts captive for Christ and don’t keep dwelling on worry, fear, anxiety, what ifs, bad things or sinful thoughts.
  • if I am progressing my love will look more and more like I Corinthians 13:4-8 towards my husband.
  • If I am progressing, I will have an increasingly gentle and peaceful spirit because of what God is doing in me.
  • If I am progressing, I will begin to hate sin because it grieves the heart of God and I will want more and more to please him and bring Him joy.
  • If I am making progress, I will eventually feel the weight of sin and idolatry lifted off of me and I will begin to experience the freedom and spiritual abundant life of Christ living in me.
  • If God is working in my heart, He will change my desires to be more and more like His desires.
  • If I am making real progress, the things of this world will become less and less important to me and Jesus will become more and more important to me.

If I am making progress, I will see that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure there is!  

I will realize that if I have Him, I have everything that matters! And I will know that if I had everything else in the world but did not have Him, I would have nothing.

 

RELATED:

Be sure to check out the scriptures J gave us a few days ago in the comments (I have pasted them on today’s comments also) about our identity in Christ

Here is a followup post (from “Screaming on the Inside”)

When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

God, Don’t Waste My Time

Stages of This Journey

Learning to Respect and Give Up Control is a Process – by Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare

 

 

51 thoughts on ““This Is Not Working. I Don’t See Progress.”

  1. From our sister in Christ, J:

    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).

  2. WOW! I love that! I am one who needs detailed lists. I am printing this out. I have found this week that I am not progressing because I still need my husband to fulfill things in my life. That neediness/fear is overshadowing any progress I need to make. I read a good article the other day on neediness and I see that I put all the emotion in the marriage. I am afraid of backing off and letting there be distance and focusing on God alone. This is my goal this week with your list by my side.

    1. DaisyMae,

      Oh goodness, I love detailed lists, too! Can you tell? 🙂

      I am excited about what you are learning! If you want to talk about it a bit more, we are right here!

  3. This is great. It can be hard to not see the progress we want to see in our husbands, but thats not the point. Thank you for this great reminder and list. It really does help to see things like this to help us through this process.

  4. April,
    Thank you for this list. I get lost in my thoughts & having a list to focus me is sooo helpful. I am struggling with wanting it to happen now & move on from the pain I feel & really owning the pain I have caused. There is so much. Yet I have to do this in order to really walk out God’s plan, not my own. I am married to a very articulate husband who is very good at clearly communicating how I have hurt him. How do I stay focused on my baby steps (that sometimes are only visible to God & me) & honor my husband? When this happens more than once a day? Some days are just harder than others to remember that God is good, His plan is good, & I am fearfully & wonderfully made in His image.

    1. Oh Sally, please share your baby steps here! I feel also like my progress is invisible looking from the outside. I am so encouraged just to hear how you feel about your progress because it shows me I am not alone feeling this way. By sharing you are also acknowledging your progress and I think that helps to guard against our own critical judgements.

      Baby steps are still progress in the right direction–don’t forget that! ☺

      1. Thanks, Livelywriter! You have blessed me so much! I am so grateful you are here. I just mentioned above how my current baby step success is not defending myself. Who knew this could be such a struggle?! That alone can ease so much fear & stress for me let alone my husband. But the internal battle?! Well, that’s a doozie. The crazy thoughts about thinking if I’m not heard then … Well, God’s doing some work in my heart on that one. It’s not done by any means & I’m guessing this will be “oh so daily” for a long time…

  5. Another great and thought-ispiring post. This really helps to have a list of questions to ask ourselves. I have a long way to go based upon my answers! ☺

    However, I did have an interesting moment last night. While my husband and I cuddled I noticed that I was not relaxed, my body held tension, somewhere deep inside I was trying to have a sense of control. I imagined God telling me there is nothing to fear, my husband is imperfect, but I can trust in him because He provided him to me…and for 30 seconds or so, I was completely at ease. I managed to consciously let go like that a few more times. It felt so good.

    Having felt my whole adult life like I had to control things so bad things wouldn’t happen. I stressed myself out and have been ruled by fear by trying to protect myself, and guess what? Bad things still happened to me!!! I cannot prevent bad things from happening to me. My lapses in “patrol” aren’t the cause of bad things occurring. For me, this is a huge realization!

    It is such a baby step to figure this out, but oh how happy I feel to finally “get” this…I know it is a step on the right path. ☺

    1. Livelywriter,

      That being able to rest and relax in your husband’s love and God’s love – that peace – is what you will be able to experience almost all the time as you put your faith and trust in Christ and let go of your fears.

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you are learning! Yes, bad things did still happen and you trying to protect and control didn’t stop them – but your control and trying to protect yourself did rob you of intimacy, peace and joy.

      I wonder if you might allow me to share this on FB later anonymously?

      BEAUTIFUL!

      1. Most definitely you can share this!

        You are so right…I robbed myself of God’s gifts! I am my own biggest obstacle in my quest for peace! Wow…I need to examine this.

        A virtual hug for all you do April to spread understanding of God’s Word. ☺

        1. Thank you, livelywriter!

          Sending a big hug right back to you, my sweet sister! Please pray for God’s will and His power and His glory to be exalted and manifested here. Please pray that this might be a place of great healing for all who come here and that God’s Spirit might speak powerfully to everyone who reads and that He might draw each person to Himself.

    2. livelywriter,
      That is a huge realization. Something I had to come to realize too. I tried to control my husband so much to avoid me getting hurt and actually my control (and all the actions that came along with that) is ultimately what led him to the sin that I feared most. Yes, he is still responsible for his choices, but I sure didn’t help things. I thought I could keep bad things from happening but I couldn’t. I like what you said “my lapses in ‘patrol’ aren’t the cause of bad things occurring”. So true. One quote from April that I wrote in my journal relates to this: “It is a matter of weighing those fears with the peace of releasing my husband and having an open heart to accepting whatever God’s will vs. keeping those fears and trying desperately, but ineffectively to prevent them.” I’m right there on that path with you 🙂

      1. Jeanne! Oh my…you just opened my eyes a bit more. The very thing I feared most (not having more children) is what I am helping to make a reality. I am sitting here with my jaw dropped.

        Oh, I don’t fully understand this implication, but I sense this is powerful stuff.

        I am so deeply sorry for the pain you have experienced. It is so encouraging to know this path is not as lonely as I feared it would be. Suffering my fears in silence alone in my head was so much worse.

        Much love to you!

        1. livelywriter,
          I don’t usually quote Dr. Phil, but he said something that is SO true. “What I fear, I create.” Yep.

          Proverbs describes it another way “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

          What we think is who we are.

          When we focus on fear, we allow that fear to grow – fear is usually the opposite of whatever our idols are, in my experience. We become desperate for our idols and will do ANYTHING, including sin, to try to get what we want.

          God will NEVER allow us to find contentment in idols. HE will never allow us to find contentment in anything but Himself.

          I’m so glad you are all talking about these important building blocks of our spiritual lives. This process requires us to tear down every thought that has set itself up against Christ and to rebuild from scratch on Christ, His truth and His Word alone.

          It is PAINFUL!

          But it is SO worth it!

          1. Proverbs describes it another way “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

            It is time for me to look in the mirror and honestly assess the person I have been with a heart full of fear. I already know I won’t like what I see, but this will be so crucial for me to understand how my fear and faithlessness has hurt myself and others. I HAVE to see this.

            Dear Heavenly Father,

            Thank you for April’s faithfulness in You, which has given her the courage and strength to create this blog. Please bless her and all who come here seeking answers with Your Grace. Open our hearts to Your sublime Truth, so that we may accept Jesus’s payment for our sins and live fearlessly.

            In Jesus’s precious name,
            Amen

          2. I, too, don’t quote Dr. Phil much, but I like his comment, “You have to behave your way to success”. I’m sure there is comparable scripture, but can’t think of any off the top of my head.

            Good stuff today.

        2. I’m so glad that helped you. I hate to know other women are in pain but it sure is helpful to know we are not alone in our struggles.

      2. “It is a matter of weighing those fears with the peace of releasing my husband and having an open heart to accepting whatever God’s will vs. keeping those fears and trying desperately, but ineffectively to prevent them.” AWESOME statement! This can apply to wives too! Praying for complete restoration in all God honoring marriages for HIS glory!

    3. I remember when God revealed this to me and showed me that I was worshipping control and my worship of it was spurred on or fueled by fear. And all that I had sacrificed by worshipping control instead of the God who is in control!! We can’t prevent anything from happening its just an illusion that we can control anything. The truth God imprinted on my soul while helping me destroy the idol of control was romans 8: 28-29 He causes ALL things to work together for my good and to bring Him ultimate glory. That we be conformed to the image of His son. If we are believers that is our purpose being conformed to His image. And when our purpose in life lines up with Gods purpose for our life there is much joy and peace. When we really believe him that He is good and everything He does is good even when we don’t understand we will have much joy. As we walk by faith and not by sight. I know when I look back over my life it is the really hard things that have brought me closer to Him or he has used to minister hope and healing to others. I just praise God for what He is doing in US all ladies!!!!

      1. Love what you said here, Jessica.

        I had an “aha” moment a couple of months ago about control with how it pertains to my husband. I was trying to be bigger than God and I was trying to protect both of us from any potential sin or wrong HE could do that might hurt us. I realized that God has given us freedom to make choices when faced with temptations. He doesn’t try to do everything to keep us from being tempted (which is what I was trying to do with my husband). I was so focused on what my husband might do that I didn’t consider how my controlling actions might be sin. Thankful that I’m realizing that now, even though its still so hard to let go of that control and the sense that I can prevent things from happening. I need to step down and let God be God in our lives.

        And I love this quote from John Calvin. I heard it in a sermon about God’s sovereignty. “God’s providence is what brings about the end of all anxiety. And that is what every Christian should believe.”
        God is in control of everything!

        1. Jeanne,
          This is so powerful! AMEN!!!!!! Thank you for sharing! YES! As we understand God’s sovereignty and providence – we have no need for worry, fear and anxiety anymore. We have God. We have His promises. We have His power. We have His Spirit. We have His Word. We know His heart for us is nothing but love. We know that even in suffering, He is working to shape us to make us more like Christ – so we don’t have to be afraid.

          And, YES! We cannot keep our husbands from sinning. In our own strength, we cannot even keep ourselves from sinning! WE are not bigger than God. I had to see that. I had myself and being in control as god in my life. I expected God to submit to me and Greg to submit to me. OH I had it so backwards! So much pride. 🙁

          There is peace when we stop trying to be God and when we begin to know and trust Him. It is a process. There is much spiritual wrestling and warfare to get there!
          BEAUTIFUL!

      2. Jessica,

        YES! Many of us have an addiction to control – well – an addiction to trying to control God and people. We don’t actually have control, but we convince ourselves we do. It is all an illusion and self-deception. The only power we have when we try to control God and others is the power of our sinful nature to destroy our relationships.

        Many women are afraid to obey God and submit to Him and are afraid to obey God about marriage – thinking they will give up power.

        The only power we give up is the power to destroy. We GAIN the power of heaven to bless, heal, protect, inspire, encourage, affirm, honor and breathe life into our marriages.

        That is not actually a sacrifice – to give up our sinful power to destroy. It seems like it is at first, because it is the only “power” we know. But when you experience the power of God’s Spirit having control and you die to self and sin – you realize THIS is real power – the power of God to usher in miracles, blessing and healing.

        That is the only power I want to have in my life!

        Jessica,

        AMEN! AMEN!

    4. Livelywriter, God has used your comment to have more scales fall from off my eyes!

      I too have controlled things so bad things wouldn’t happen, and bad things still happened! God has given me an imperfect husband, but I CAN TRUST in him because He provided him to me! This is SO HUGE in my current situation. Glad I have a box of tissues close to grab, cause I’m crying like a baby!

      1. Aww!!!! Senterwife! I wish I could hug your neck and hand you some more tissues!

        It brings such joy to my heart – and happy tears of joy, too – to watch God shine His light and expose the lies of darkness and bring healing, freedom, peace and joy to His people!

        I didn’t have anyone but God with me on my journey for years. Of course, He was enough. But it blesses my heart to watch how God is bringing this community of women together to share and bless and teach and encourage and pray for and inspire each other.

        THANK YOU, LORD!

      2. Senterwife,

        Oh friend, I am so glad He gave me the courage to write about that experience. I am crying with you tears of joy that we are blessed to see the Truth to which we have been blind. My heart is so full of gratitude!

        An enormous hug to you!

      3. I love what God showed her as well to trust the husband, that is eye opening, I used to control my husband out of fear, fear was causing most of my controlling ways.
        Fear of my husband making the wrong decisions
        What if to God or husband is not trusting,we even have to trust God if hubby makes a mistake, it can be for his building up as a man.
        Fear of hubby making his own decisions without my input
        Fear of hubby making decisions without sharing details
        I in the past would think if I dont know every single detail
        about what he was doing It would be the end of the world. My hubby likes very few questions, and he has every right to make decisions that he decides to do on his own without my input. most of the time he tells me stuff, but not every single time, and sometimes he asks for ask for my suggestions and other times it’s a direct order of his final thought about something.
        Fear of hubby telling me no
        -I couldn’t ever handle when he said no to something I wants, I was so use to having my way, spoiled rotten,only child when I grew up I had expectations from hubby that were always met when I was little.
        Fear of asking for something b/c he may say no
        I would do stuff without telling him, because I already knew he would say no.
        Fear of asking his permission to do something that needs his input before I do it.
        I really feared no for an answer in anything which led to no where good, u can’t hide anything from God
        Fear of hubby taking over the finances
        I was afraid hubby would buy stuff and overspend or make finance descions, just not trusting him, I trust that God will guide him now.
        Any other fears ladies that u may have, that led to you controlling your husband or controlling situations?

        To sum this all up these are basicaly fears of outcomes.
        I was a dominant controlling/ wife vs. dominant/strong hubby. His dominance is a great thing, mine was ,
        un femine unsubmissive.

        1. Sharon,
          This is a great list, I think of many common fears wives have if they were to submit to thief husaband’s leadership. Hmm… I would like to do a post, or a series, on fear. May I please use this comment? Thank you for sharing!

          1. Yes April, I think that would be great, I’m excited, fear is a big issue with dominant controlling wives.
            Much love April!!!

          2. Whenever hubby said no I would throw temper tantrums, back talk to get my way, manipulate to get my way, and just pretty much idolized getting my way, my way or I will cause havoc, this was evil and now I’m repenting of this and trying to rip every evil idol out of my heart, fear reaps so much. Oh how I’m not trusting God or husband to make descisions for me or family when I fear, like of hubby says no, God says no. If hubby says no, it’s not God’s will, so may I walk on God’s path for my life and be able to handle when GOD says no. This is all a process, Gid hasn’t finished his work on me, I still come across situations that test my heart to rip the idols out. A lot of life trials occur so this can happen, praise God, make me over and new. I believe fear is an idol, and sin. Obviously because it leads to all of this!

          3. Fear, I am realizing, was the fuel keeping my crazy motor running. Fear is/was a humongous idol for me. (I will have to remain vigilant against it)

            Like Sharon said, it is the motivating factor behind a lot of disrespectful behavior for some wives.

            It would be really helpful to get more insight into fear. What I learned from our exchanges yesterday has already changed me so much!

    5. Thank you livelywriter for sharing that. I too try to be on patrol all the time so that nothing bad happens. April is right, it has just stolen from me. It has not added anything or kept anything bad from happening. Thank you for that reminder. 🙂

  6. It is helpful to remember something about change:

    Change occurs slowly and quietly, but manifests itself suddenly.

    Let’s look at the reverse first:

    Both men and women tend to remain quiet the first few times a spouse, family member, or friend disappoints us or disrespects us. Over time, if the offenses pile up, we begin to be hurt or feel resentment (which is natural).

    So too, does repair and healing from this take place.

    Some “installment payments” of respect might need to be made before the change manifests itself.

    Better to think of the change we wish to see in others as a “layaway plan” rather than on credit: “take it home now and promise to pay later…”

    The Bible says to “owe no man (or woman) anything but to love them”.

    When our love toward them is complete, our “payments” are completed, so to speak (paraphrase of the parable of debt forgiveness).

    Think of how one recovers from an illness: most of the time you are recuperating, you feel like crud. Even though you are healing. Then, at one point, you realize suddenly that you no longer feel ill anymore.

    To escape the swamp, you must retrace your steps. You gotta walk the same icky path in reverse to get back to where you want to be. Not always pleasant, of course.

    1. Jack,

      Thank you for this. You have blessed me beyond measure. I am struggling with my efforts being unseen by my husband but realize that after almost 18 years of living with a controlling, demanding woman, he has a different filter established & it will take a long time (hopefully not 18 years!), to undo that. He is so raw & hurt but I praise God for grabbing me by the cheeks & getting my attention. This reminder of installment payments or the layaway plan is so critical to remember. I am grateful to have my husband still here to be able to make installment payments to. It is completely undeserved. Thanks, again, for your wisdom.

  7. The only thing God commands us to fear is Himself. Not in a terrified way if we know Christ, but with awe, reverence and trembling – understanding His omnipotence, holiness, power, sovereignty and greatness.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Prov 1:7

    1. This article explains the differences between different types of fear: http://www.bible.ca/ef/topical-do-not-be-afraid-fear-god.htm

      There was nothing reverent or respectful about the fear that I let rule my life. Dominated by fear/anxiety, I was terrified every time I had to make a significant life choice. It wasn’t even a matter of cowardice either because under the grip of fear I did so many things I didn’t want to do, but felt I had to do.

      I understand now how you were able to handle your actions so well in your car trip battery story. Fear had no power over you!

      In total awe of everything right now. 😊😊😊

  8. Peacefulwife,
    Thank you so much for this post. I have been on this journey since December 14 and it has been life changing for me. I will have my 3rd anniversary on April, 2 and I have already separated from my husband once (only after 4 months of marriage).
    This post was right on time because I had become frustrated with my husband all over again this week and could not figure out why. I found myself crying all the time because he kept saying hurtful things and I was feeling so powerless. I knew I should forgive and immerse myself in Jesus, but I wanted to hold on to what he said. I wanted to give up on this journey because I said “what’s the use he is not going to change.” Wow, now hearing these words brings so much conviction. Maybe, I got a little comfortable and needed a little reminder that I need to keep moving forward. There is so much that I have to change that it gets overwhelming sometimes to keep moving forward. I guess I just have to constantly keep checking my motives, but how do I not hope for a better marriage? Is it still idolatry if I get discouraged by my husbands actions?

    1. A newlywed u should never get discouraged on your own path for God. notice that this is your own walk, your journey and. You are doing God’s will by treating your husband with respect and love. You can make the marriage better! As you change you will find peace within yourself and within your marriage, prayer and your conduct can only help your man, he will be blessed by your conduct. Prayer will change you and your hubby. Take your pain and hurt to the throne and bless the bad things your hubby says, You know how the word says to even bless your enemies, that is when it’s hardest but most important. How easy is it to love those who love you in return. If you hold on to the sin your husband has did, it can lead to resentment and bitterness.

    2. Anewlywed, I have been married 3 years also but this is my second marriage. I was struck by your comment….” I found myself crying all the time because he kept saying hurtful things and I was feeling so powerless.” I feel that same way too or if I make a request and he immediately says No. I find at those times I don’t want to be loving, respectful and forgiving. I fear that if I do he will just think his behavior is ok and continue it or worse. Since I am having a hard time believing that he will change for the better if “I keep letting him get away with things”, I am having to focus on this is what God would want me to do. I think this has really helped to take my focus off him and put my focus on being obedient. Now if I could just put it into practice all the time! 🙂

      1. Daisymae and anewlywed,

        It takes some time to find the right balance where we know when to be silent and when to respectfully, softly speak our hearts, thoughts, needs, desires and feelings. At first, many wives who used to be very verbal and disrespectful and controlling get too quiet. (The Frustrating Quiet Phase) And at first, wives who were too passive and too submissive, may speak up too much. We kind of swing back and forth, overcorrecting one way, then the other, as we figure out what it means to be balanced and to honor God and to be the women and wives He desires us to be.

        It is a long process!

        There are times to share our hurt. There are times to gently confront our husbands’ sin. There are times to be quiet and pray.

        We need a very sensitive ear to hear God’s voice to know which approach to use in a given situation.

        God is able to convict our husbands. As we sin less and less and are more filled with God’s power and His Spirit and we obey God – our husbands’ sin will also come more to the forefront and God can do some pretty powerful convicting – sometimes we don’t have to say a word.

        Check out:
        Portia’s Story

  9. The most beautiful feeling has been waking up not in withdrawal. I love not automatically falling into a pity party about how I might’ve married the wrong one, where is the affection I so deserve, etc. I feel lighter. Really. I can’t tell you how amazing that progress feels! To be free of so much self-sabatoging pain and to be able to look at my husband with compassionate respect. I can applaud all that is good, and I do. Then also, with all the effort I can muster, have new eyes for the areas I used to justify why respect was not merited. Last night I heard my husband lament over how imperfect his parents were. I felt his pain when he said he’d have to just let go of the expectations he had of their being the parents he deserved. How everything in me wanted to jump up and say “Yes! Let it go! You’ll find that they may be lost but loveable, imperfect people just like yourself!” But I kept quiet, only wanting to hear him and validate his ache. How interesting that he is only seeing through his own pain. That was me! And I can’t help but think, “Lord, if you could turn my heart, surely You are making me witness to his change too!” But I will seek to be patient. We are friends on this journey. I am his helper, not his Holy Spirit. My steps forward have been marked with showing grace over being fair, learning to inspire my spouse and influence over controlling, sharing a strength or a hope in my female friendships over gossiping about my husband’s weaknesses, empowering my husband by showing keen interest in his ideas over crushing his spirit with all my Bible knowledge. And today I think – this is only the beginning.

    1. Refined,

      This is awesome! PRAISE GOD!!!!!

      I hope you might allow me to share on my FB page?

      Thank you so much!!! I know many wives are about to be blessed when they read what God is doing in your heart! I sure am!

    2. Thanks, Refined, for the inspiration! I look forward to the day when I can be where you are. To know you’ve walked through the fire is sooo encouraging.

  10. Please do share, April. I am honored that these words might touch someone. Those words have cost me much. They are worth every penny especially when others get to share in the benefits. And the lessons just don’t stop! Just this morning I found myself journaling with the latest “encounter” with my husband. No tears touched the pages. No anger. Just reflection. Feels good. Praise God, indeed. Keep moving forward Sally! We strengthen each other.

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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