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How to Avoid Becoming a Controlling/Disrespectful Wife


A newlywed posed this question to me,

“How can I avoid becoming a controlling/disrespectful wife?”

Goodness, this topic could be a book in and of itself. I have many posts about respect that will be helpful.

Spiritual Authority  – God’s design structure for spiritual authority in our lives in marriage, business, government and the church
A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage
Biblical Submission
Submitting Under Protest

What Is Respect in Marriage?

This post is primarily for women who tend to be Type A personalities, go-getters, leaders who like to be in charge and who feel very strongly that they know what is best and they are “right” all or almost all the time.  If you are a more passive wife who has trouble speaking your mind and knowing your own heart, some of these ideas may be counterproductive for you. You will have to approach things from the opposite angle and learn to speak up more and share your heart, ideas, feelings, emotions and personality more. Many of the ideas below would be for all of us. I hope this might bless you, especially the newlyweds!

In my view, some of the greatest ways to prevent becoming a controlling, disrespectful wife would be to:

1. Stay as close to Christ as possible. Abide in Him. Be Spirit filled. You can’t be a godly wife without your power source!!!!!

2. Focus on God’s sovereignty. Trust God. Trust God to lead you through your husband. Realize that even if you don’t get your way, or even if your husband makes mistakes, God is able to use your husband’s good and bad decisions to accomplish His will. This is the greatest test of faith most wives will ever experience.

3. Do not ever allow a little decision to become more important to you than your obedience to Christ or the unity of your marriage or your husband. There is no issue that is that important.

4. If your husband asks you to blatantly sin, then you will have to respectfully refuse to submit to him. But check out the post Spiritual Authority to be clear on what this means. Many wives assume things are sin that really aren’t, and resist their husbands’ leadership to the destruction of the marriage over things that are not sin.

5. Watch your motives every day all day long. Pride and self-righteousness can easily creep in.

6. Watch your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself? Are you putting your husband down or criticizing him in your heart? Repent and turn to Christ right away! Replace those accusations and assumptions with the truth of God’s word and truth about your husband.

7. Maintain your time with God, His Word, prayer, worship and praise daily. This is your only source of power!

8. Guard your heart and your marriage from other men. None of us are above adultery. Set up healthy boundaries to protect yourself and do not seek to be close friends with other men.

9. Realize that God can and will speak through your husband to you. Be accepting and prayerful about correction. (Unless he is asking you to blatantly sin or condone sin or there are extremely major issues and your husband is not in his right mind – uncontrolled mental health problems, addictions, infidelity, severe sin issues, etc.) Prayerfully consider your husband’s comments and ask God to help you see what is true and what He might want you to work on.

10. Study your husband to know what speaks respect and disrespect to him in particular and learn to speak his language.

11. Give unconditional respect and honor even when he doesn’t “deserve it.” (This doesn’t mean you trust him if he has broken trust. Trust would have to be rebuilt.)

12. You will be most tempted to sin when you are sinned against. (Gary Thomas “Sacred Marriage”). Be on your guard in those times and seek to respond in the power and grace and mercy of Christ not in your sinful nature. More sin will only cause more damage.

13. Learn to share your feelings, your heart, your desires and personality in a vulnerable, respectful way.

14. Be a safe place for your husband to share. Let him experience the grace of God and forgiveness of God in you.

15. Be loyal, don’t share things that will hurt your husband with others. Speak well of him around others. Don’t criticize him in front of other people.

16. Assume the best never the worst about him. Give him the benefit of the doubt. That is what I Corinthians 13 love does.

17. Learn how he likes to bond and do things he enjoys just to bless him. That may mean going fishing, hunting, playing golf, sitting with him while he works on the car or watches TV. Most men don’t bond with words. Sitting together or doing something together quietly is often the way they like to bond best. That is not wrong! Show him that you are willing to do the things he likes to do that are important to him.

18. Accept him, don’t try to change him.

19. Appreciate and enjoy him as he is.

20. Share all of your emotions and feelings in a way that doesn’t blame him but be honest about your feelings. Don’t hide your heart from him. I like to share positive and negative emotions by simply labeling them. “I’m feeling so happy!” “I feel sad.” “I feel afraid.” “I am thankful!” “I love being your wife.” (Some of these ideas are from The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle.)

21. Share your desires in a non-threatening way. “I want X.” “I don’t want Y, please.”

22. Offer suggestions and requests not demands or directives.

23. Take his leadership seriously and his opinions and advice very seriously, and realize God may be leading you through your husband’s advice.

24. Don’t put your parents, friends, children or anyone above your husband in priority.  God commands us as spouses to leave our father and mother and cleave to our spouse. So many marriage problems come from not leaving our parents or not cleaving (becoming one with) our husbands. The only One who can come before your husband is God.

25. DEFINITELY put God way above your husband as a priority! Don’t idolize your husband and expect him to be responsible for your happiness.

26. Be responsible for your own emotions and find all your contentment in Christ.

27. Do not give way to fear.

28. Be aware of Satan’s strategies to attempt to destroy you, your husband and your marriage.

29. Forgive quickly. Realize that you are married to a wretched sinner and you are also a wretched sinner. Be prepared to extend grace generously!  Do NOT hold on to bitterness or unforgiveness – that gives Satan a huge foothold in our lives!

30. Repent quickly! Keep short accounts with God. Repent DAILY or as soon as you realize you have sinned.

31. Be quick to respond to God’s Spirit, His conviction and His nudging.

32. Embrace humility and shun pride. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Do not lean on your own wisdom and understanding but on God and His truth.

33. Realize that your husband is different from you, but that does not automatically make him “wrong.”

34. Approach marriage with the assumption that your husband is “good willed” towards you and that you have a lot to learn about how men think and how your husband thinks.

35. Rest in your husband’s love and God’s love. He married you. He loves you. Most men view their love as pretty permanent and stable. It seems very odd to them that a wife would keep asking over and over again for assurance of their love. It is unnecessary to be needy and desperate. We are daughters of the King of kings. In Christ, we are accepted, dearly loved, forgiven, seated with Christ in the heavenlies, more than conquerors, cleansed, empowered, Spirit-filled, full of joy, full of peace, full of purpose, etc…

36. If your husband is like my husband, his “neutral state” in the relationship is to feel “connected” to me. I used to think we were always “disconnected” unless we were actively “connecting” (emotionally and spiritually and physically.) What a revelation to learn that my husband always feels connected to me, unless I begin to attack him. This helps me rest in his love. Maybe your husband is a lot like mine?

37. Realize that your sinful nature contains the power to destroy  your husband and marriage. If you try to do marriage in your own power, you will speak death to the relationship.

38. It is only as we die to self and live as living sacrifices for Christ daily that we live in the power of God. When we live in His power, then we have the power to heal, build up, encourage, inspire, affirm, honor and breathe LIFE to our husbands and our marriages. Yes, if we die to self, we lose our sinful power to destroy, but that is a GOOD thing!  And, praise God, the power He gives us to give life is so much stronger than our sinful power to destroy.

39. Commit to obeying God’s Word even when it is hard, even when you don’t understand, even when you disagree. There is great blessing in living in obedience to God! Make your decisions based on God’s Word, not on feelings! God answers the prayers of those who walk in His Spirit and live in obedience, not the prayers of those who are disobedient and rebellious against Him.

40. Don’t argue or complain – but focus on developing a joyful, thankful, peaceful spirit that is fully dependent upon Christ.

41. Smile at your husband just to bless him!

42. Do things for your husband just to bless and honor him, expecting NOTHING in return.

43. Lay down expectations.

44. Recognize and put to death any idols/sin in your heart – desires you have that you tend to put above Christ – the desire to have control, to have romance, to feel loved, to change your man, to have children, to have your way, beauty, food, perfectionism, people pleasing, the approval of others, pride, self-righteousness, greed, unforgiveness, bitterness, unbelief, fear, etc…

45. Stop and listen to him when he talks.

46. Learn not to trust your feelings when you are hormonal, stressed, exhausted or sick. Depend on God and your husband’s wisdom during those times much more than your feelings.  Your feelings can and will lie to you and can quickly become the playground of the enemy to attempt to sabotage your marriage.

47. Be willing to let go of toxic friendships that undermine your husband or your marriage. Seek to surround yourself with godly friends who will support and bless your marriage and your obedience to God.

48. Treat him like a grown man, not a child!

49. Enjoy him sexually! Make yourself available to him sexually whenever possible. (A Precious Example)

50. Be flexible. Be able to roll with whatever God brings your way.

51. Don’t look down on him and think you are better than him. We are all on equal footing before the cross of Christ. None of us are good on our own! We are all desperate for Christ Jesus.

52. Remember that husbands have their own learning curve and journey to take, too. They don’t know everything from day one either. We can learn and grow together.

53. Be ok with not always getting your way. Seek God’s will WAY above your own will.

54. Realize that your husband is not always wrong and you are not always right.

That might be a start!

Remember to breathe. This is a LONG, lifelong process of learning and growing in our faith and walk with Jesus and learning to become godly wives. We will mess up at times. We can’t absorb everything at once. We have to take a day at a time and chew one bite at a time. We won’t be perfect. But God will lead us when we are willing to follow Him with all our hearts.

Other wives, what would you say to a newlywed who asked you this question? You are welcome to share what you have learned and are learning! 🙂

62 thoughts on “How to Avoid Becoming a Controlling/Disrespectful Wife

  1. Wow, I think you covered everything extremely well yourself April 🙂

    I tell you what, I wish I had this advice as a new wife.

    I would say some good pre marriage counselling helps to get this in the forefront. I never had any, sadly my FIL married us, so the counsel was one way focused and we had to hide things from his parents (hubby’s previous drug use, sexual relationships). So for me, pre marriage counselling is the first thing I always suggest 🙂

    1. Godlywifetobe,

      My FIL married us! He said we didn’t need counseling because we had been dating for 6 years and we had practically raised each other. We had no counseling. Not a good thing. I wish I had this advice as a new wife, too!


    2. My FIL also married us, and guess what…no pre-marital counselling!

      The pastor at our new church with whom we are counselling said that he will administer pmc to us since that could help us to see where we have gone wrong.

      Pre-marital counselling is a must!!! Those honeymoon feelings of bliss only last so long. PMC helps you to realize that and sets up a realistic perspective for those early years.

  2. If I could choose only one from among all these very insightful and wise pointers that April wrote, it is NUMBER 2. It is my godly wife mantra. 🙂

    I live by it, breathe it, rest in it.. God’s Sovereignty. I believe in my heart that I am being led by God through my imperfect God-ordained authority on earth, my husband Dong. When I decided to let go and let God, trusting in God meant submitting to Dong. That was when the Lord freed me from my three decades-long bondage of control.

    Thanks for this list, April. I would read it again and again. 🙂

    You feeling better now, sister?



    1. Nikka,
      I am feeling a lot better. Thank you! 🙂

      Yes – God’s sovereignty is the key to our ability to have peace! That was what I was missing for so long in my marriage. My lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty kept me in fear and thinking I had to make things happen myself.

      Much love!

  3. I too wish I had this list as a new wife. However, all of us who didn’t get the wisdom until now, can pray for a new beginning, or a new relationship with the husbands we have. I think from this point forward I will consider myself a “newlywed” since I’m becoming new each day! I hope you’re feeling better April!

    1. Catherine,

      I love your idea of considering yourself a “newlywed” because you’re becoming new each day. What a wonderful way to think of our journey to becoming godly wives. 🙂 Here’s to our new beginning each day! I am so thankful that God (largely through April) opened my eyes to so much wisdom, and that we can continue to encourage each other here. Blessings to you, dear sister.

  4. I agree, too, that this should be part of pre-marital counseling. How sad that so many of these have become a habit & not thought through about the impact on my husband, let alone the message I’m sending my daughter. Yikes! The messages in my head are my current challenge. To undo this one alone can change so much in my marriage. I’m wondering if you could pray that I stay focused on this today & not get too wound up in taking every thought captive? That I replace my thoughts with God’s truth? I would be so grateful. Thanks, April, for another heart inspiring & challenging post.

  5. April,

    What a wonderful list for all of us to read and keep close to our hearts! As for other suggestions, my husband and I read Jeff and Shaunti Feldman’s books, For Men Only and For Women Only, and Dr. Eggerich’s book, Love and Respect. They made such an ENORMOUS difference! We had no premarital counseling at all, and if we had only understood each others’ fundamental needs before we were married. . . .Dr. Eggerich helps couples get off the “crazy cycle” of conflict and stay on the “energizing cycle” of love and respect. The Feldman’s books were such eye openers!!!! My husband took his into the bathroom to read and I had to wait a long time for my turn. 🙂 And all your posts, April, are a HUGE blessing to all wives. If a woman reads all these, and she and her husband read the books too, how much easier and happier married life would be!

  6. April,
    I hope you’re feeling lots better today! My little three-year-old granddaughter just recovered from scarlet fever, a reminder of how fortunate we are to be living in a time when formerly deadly diseases can be cured with antibiotics. Please continue to get lots of rest. Much love to you!

    1. Elizabeth,

      Yes, I am feeling much better today, thank you! I am so glad your granddaughter is better. Scarlet fever can be scary. I am very thankful for the medical care we have today.

  7. This list is awesome! I really needed this today. Blessings to you. I have been married for 16 years but I am still learning, wish I had this list before we got married.

  8. Hi April, This list is also conducive to most passive wives. I am a passive wife with a dominant husband and this list is helpful to me also. Thanks.

    1. I agree, Tobiyah! I’m a passive wife who is controlling (yep – a weird combo, but I shut down easily) & has a dominant husband. The list was definitely helpful. 🙂

  9. I love your posts April, you have such wisdom and a blessed ability to word things so they are straight forward and easy to understand! Thank you!
    I would like to add that although premarital counseling can be very helpful, it cannot be expected to prevent or solve all problems. I the couple is not committed to getting to know who each other truly is and learning to communicate effectively it will do no good. I have known people who had lots of premarital counseling and still seem to know very little about themselves or their spouse! They have many communication and respect/control issues. It can be very effective, but is not a cure-all.

    1. Monica,

      Great point!!!! There are no guarantees in life or marriage and there will definitely be many surprises that we are not prepared for even if we try to prepare well. This forces us to rely on God and His Spirit and to realize we are totally dependent on Him. 🙂

  10. First, I hope that you are feeling better and recharged!! I do have a question ( a million but we will start with one. Regarding #12 How do I respond in the power and grace and mercy of Christ (example may be helpful for me here) when my husband is behaving in sneaky ways and being disrespectful to me…example this past week he has been extremely snappy with me and blaming me when he can’t find his own possessions and being rude to me at times. I am trying hard not to withdraw and become cold but he is hurting my feelings and I have ideas where the frustration lies and it isn’t likely with me or my actions but his own issues… I just don’t know how to respond. I calmly ask is everything okay and when he acted especially frustrated with me yesterday over a misplaced item (he put somewhere a month ago and was frustrated he couldn’t find it). I apologized but I didn’t remember anything about this item (a cd) from a month ago?! I helped him look? What else? In the past I would have snapped and responded in an equally sinful manner but I didn’t and 92% of the time I don’t anymore over the last year…

    1. Prayingwife79,

      It sounds like you handled things pretty well. If you know you didn’t misplace the CD, you don’t have to apologize, but offering to help him look and empathizing with his frustration and responding calmly sound like very grace-filled responses.

      If he is attacking you, you can say very softly, “Please don’t talk to me like that.”

      Or “Ouch.”

      Or “I don’t recall moving your CD. I am so sorry you are feeling frustrated. I’d be glad to help. What can I do?”

      Or, depending on your husband, just getting out of his way could be wise.

      I think also, in a situation where you know you didn’t do anything wrong, it can be helpful not to take his attitude personally and realize that he is just frustrated.

      Of course, the Holy Spirit can give us much guidance in specific situations, ultimately, it is my hope that we will listen to and obey Him about whether to say something or not and what to say and how to say it and when.

      Does that help? 🙂

      Much love to you!

    2. Hi, Prayingwife79 – A similar scenario happens at our house sometimes & what April & other wives here have taught & encouraged me is to keep going, keep being respectful, etc. My husband has 17+ years of disrespect to deal with & he’s a little gun shy on coming around. In fact, the more respectful I get (& I’m not totally consistent yet, so this is just a baby step for me) the more intense his response gets. This afternoon I didn’t hand the camera to him right (the strap was still on my wrist because I wasn’t finished passing it off to him before he grabbed it) & was told that I’m such a pain to work with on things, that nothing is ever simple or easy with me. It hurt, but I know that’s about him & not me. Just remember that God knows what’s going on in your heart (& your sisters here!) & is doing the happy dance for how far you’ve come. 🙂

      1. Sally,


        You know what? One of the most interesting parts of this journey is to see wives respond in the power of God’s Spirit in situations like this and then to see how the husbands will often come back and apologize because when the wife doesn’t sin in return. eventually, most husbands will begin to realize that the only words ringing in their ears are their own sinful words. That can be pretty convicting for a man.

        If you haven’t seen it before, you may want to search “Portia’s Story”. On my home page. Really good. And there is another one where a husband was so harsh and his wife was quiet. He yelled at her for not responding to him as he berated how she was handling the children and she said gently, “I am listening, I was quiet because I was just thinking about what you were saying.” He went off to take a shower. When he came out, he said, “God told me to apologize. I am sorry I yelled at you.”

        I think it is necessary at times to express that what they say hurts us. But there are other times when silence is even more powerful. And sometimes, an act of sincere kindness will make bring major conviction on a husband in a moment like that. This is why we need God’s spirit to know what He wants us to do in a particular situation.

        It is good to be able to realize that sometimes something is your husband’s issue and not to take on that weight on yourself. I can tell you that when a wife does better with obeying. God, many husbands get more angry at first, there are a variety of reasons for that. I have a post about it (I’ve been trying to be respectful but my husband has been more unloving than ever – what is going on?)

        This is when a lot of husbands will try to get their wives to engage in a fight and go back to the old pattern. But when the wives keep responding in a godly way, husbands begin to get really confused. That is a good thing. Eventually, they will begin to see that their own harsh behavior is sinful and unnecessary and that their wives aren’t doing anything that justifies this kind of sinful behavior in their minds. God convicts them without a word from their wives many times.

        But even if your husband never changes, I pray you will continue on obeying God and growing in Christ because God will reward your obedience in heaven. 🙂

        Thank you all for sharing! This is the kind of support I believe wives need on this journey… Sharing struggles, challenges, prayer requests, victories and joys. Love it!

      2. Thank you ladies so much. Yes I do respectfully say, “you seem to be getting irritated with me, is it something I have done?” And usually it is something else but occasionally he is ready to point the finger. I apologize because I am notorious For putting up things and not remembering where they are 8 months later?? But if it were up to my husband everything would stay on eyesight and we would likely end up on the show hoarders 😉 a slight exaggeration but only slight. God has definitely been working on me and through this wonderful blog and Christian advice, my ways are changing. Baby steps are good!

  11. I have recently discovered this website. In a short amount of reading, I have had some breakthroughs in my previous attitude-in a positive direction.

    In regards to the husband handling the finances; my husband did this for 10 years, and hid that he was terrible with the responsibility. The savings accounts were emptied, debt incurred and retirement wasted. Tens of thousands of dollars are now gone, and this was not necessary, since his income was more than adequate (I had handled the budget for years).

    I took over the finances again.

    The basic problem in this area and others is that he lies.

    So, how can it be wise for him to handle the finances?

    Thank you

    1. Kathy,

      In most situations, a husband will want to be responsible and will handle things well when he knows his wife trusts him.

      In an extreme situation like yours, the approach may need to be different.

      Has he been diagnosed with a mental disorder, or does he have any addictions? What is the root of the lying? Do you both have a relationship with Christ?

      Has he ever apologized. Did he admit wrongdoing? Is there any history of criminal activity?

      Much love to you!

  12. My advice would be to choose one or two of these things to work on at a time. Be patient with yourself.

  13. I waltzed into marriage fully expecting to get love, protection and provision with nothing but my charming personality in exchange. My grandfather was rather possessive and I was his little princess. I didn’t know what it took to help a man become a success. My grandpa was already a success when I was born. He seemed to have so much confidence (I now realize he was insecure and had many fears) and my grandmother was very passive. I also became passive and passive-aggressive and compared my poor, young husband to my wealthy grandfather. Both dominant types. This did not bring out the best in my husband! I now know I had an obligation to give submission, protection of his manhood, and empowerment to succeed both with my cooperation and my influence/perspective. My husband has gone without these things for years and became quite beastly. My grandfather made it seem that he was a self-made man. I now know all too well all that my grandmother gave to help him become so successful and a few things that would’ve helped their relationship and also honor her dignity. They were married 53 years. I now focus on my relationship with Christ especially for my marriage and what I am giving, rather than getting. Your list of books is awesome. I just finished ‘what’s submission got to do with it?’ After reading so many, one certainly gets a sense of the bigger picture. My husband has been really thoughtful the last few days even saying that he wanted to hold my hand and just look at me for awhile. I found myself thinking he must be pulling my leg. When was the last time he looked at me? Then I thought, just go with it! I find I may go through that same process he is going through to readjust to his kindness. It doesn’t feel real. But here we are.

    1. Refined,
      I love the insights you are experiencing!!!!!! This is beautiful!!!! And wow! I’m glad you just enjoyed your husband when he wanted to hold your hand and just look at you. That was unbelievably sweet!!! I vote to accept his kindness at face value and savor what he gives you in each moment. 🙂 Beautiful!

  14. To answer your questions, my husband was addicted to pornography (he says intermittently) since before our marriage.
    This was discovered, after much lying, in year 25. After the financial mess was discovered.
    There have so many years of counseling and he appearing to want our marriage restores, but he always sabotages the advice.
    In regards to mental issues, the use of his addiction can actually damage the functions of the frontal lobe ( which controls some very important day to day functions). I have learned this through my research.
    In regards to criminal activity; he was a police officer for 28 years-his whole career. The only crime I know of is his being a peeping-Tom.
    Yes, we both have a relationship with Christ. My love for Jesus, and His for me, is why I am still alive.
    My husband sat with me in church for over 20 years, claiming to be a Christian. But he did not actually accept Christ into his heart until 2 years ago (he says).
    He is extremely passive-aggressive. He says “yes” but it turns out to be “no”.
    We have been separated for four years.

      1. Thank you for your your response. I understand how you would conclude that, as I did 6 years ago. I sought godly counseling. We have seen 12 counselors, including three pastors. I sat there as my husband lied to them all. He deceived counselors on the phone also, I discovered. He admitted to reading the given books to find what was wrong with them-after 2 years of claiming that the books were correct.
        The counselors were baffled because my husband is very good at being deceptive and acting like he agrees. But than, when no one is looking, he follows his flesh and breaks every agreement. For 28 years. I eventually discover that his “yes” was “no”.
        So now what?
        I have read that you want to help women, and this case is a challenging one. It is easy to respond when readers are in agreement. But what about us wives who have deceptive husbands? When no amount of submission will change their hearts? When a man actually believes that women are objects, of little value, should not be taken seriously (pornography does that) – they can not love or care.
        How can you help women like us, if you do no understand what physically happens to their minds?
        Telling me to get godly counsel is actually a hurtful thing to say. Hurtful because you are assuming that I have not. And hurtful because I have sat through countless hours of it as my husband is cold and callous.
        It is difficult for me to even write these things; I am crying out for help. Your single, simple sentence shuts it all down.

        1. I’m sorry you’re hurting Kathy.
          You sure are in a tough and hurtful situation.

          I think what April was meaning was it’s beyond her scope of expertise. She only likes to give advice from persepectives closest to hers so she’s not talking out of turn.

          Do you think your husband may have a mental disorder? Narcissism or something similar?

          Not all of us here have similar personalities or husbands that are similar but we can all support and pray for one another and some things are universal in all our marriages.

          I’m praying that you get the help and support you need and God gives you wisdom and strength in this trial!

          1. Thank you for your loving response.
            Yes, my husband has a mental disorder.
            Pornography damages the brain’s ability to see reality.
            I am not able to abide this any longer.
            I will continue to seek the love of Jesus, my only true love.
            But I have decided to end the marriage after 28 years of struggle.
            Better to be alone than be a despised, unloved wife.
            I sincerely thank you again for writing.

            1. I’m sorry that things have come to the point they have.
              Has your husband been diagnosed with a mental or personality disorder by a doctor?
              I hope that you have good support from your church and leaders to help you through this time 🙂

        2. Kathy,

          If what you desire is for me to help you draw closer to Christ – I can do that. But I have zero experience with what you are dealing with. I am not a trained counselor, pastor, theologian, therapist, social worker, psychiatrist or psychologist. I am just a wife who loves Jesus who sacrifices massive amounts of time to minister to thousands of wives for free. I do know my many limitations.

          I can walk beside you as you seek to draw closer to God. I can help you focus on your relationship with Him. But I refer wives with severe problems to find more experienced help because I am not qualified to offer specific advice about extreme situations. I often mention that if wives are dealing with active addictions, uncontrolled mental problems, abuse, infidelity, severe sin issues, etc… that my blog may not be for them and that they will need to find qualified, experienced, godly help.

          You cannot change your husband.

          I cannot change your husband. I am well aware of that.

          Your submission and respect won’t change your husband.

          He apparently has a very severe sin issue here. That is something you can pray about. Ultimately, only God can change your husband. And your husband will have to want God to change him. God is able to give him that desire. I have total faith in God’s ability to work in your life and your husband’s life.

          I have not assumed that you have not gone to godly counsel. And I absolutely don’t intend to hurt you. I know that I don’t have the experience and wisdom you need in your situation to tell you what you should do in your marriage. I know that it would be foolish of me to assume that I have greater wisdom than the pastors and counselors you have seen. I am sure I do not.

          I can pray with you and for you. I can point you to Christ in your personal walk of faith with Him. I can hurt with you and for you – and I do! But I do not have the experience level you are going to need for me to give you specific marriage advice.

        3. Kathy,

          I care very much about your heart, your pain, your marriage and your husband. I’m glad to talk with you if you would consider being open to talking. You are welcome here. I do believe there are some things here that may be applicable. I wish I could be more help.
          I have been praying for you, my sister. 🙂

          1. Kathy,
            My greatest concern is that I don’t want to do you any harm. And I think it is possible that if you try to apply some of the things I write, that it could cause you harm. I never, ever want to hurt you or make things worse for you.

  15. Two thumbs up! You nailed it in your #1 point…abide in our Messiah! It is in Him that we learn what true submission looks like. Once we grasp that concept, transferring it to our marriages is so much simpler! Thanks you for a great post, I’ve been sharing this page with all women (and a few men) who are truly seeking a marriage to last a lifetime. Bless you, sister!

  16. This is wonderful, thanks so much once again!! I have been so blessed to come upon this blog & all of the wisdom shared here. My 2nd year will be way better than the first!!

  17. how do i attract a woman like you peaceful wife? what should i be looking for? i’m 23 and i’ve been reading this blog for a while and i think i’ve found god in a sense through my own research and reading your personal revelations on relationships. i’ve been a very jaded person concerning relationships, but reading about the kind of wife you chose to become fills me with this warm sensation, dare i call it hope.

    i’ve yet to meet a person who truly embodies the word of god, only those who use his name in vain. i’d like to learn what i can do to find the right kind of people and bring them into my life, so i can grow into a stronger version of myself.

  18. Not long ago, I posted on this site using a pseudonym, thinking that that would prevent hurt. I let loose a lot of my thoughts, frustrations, etc. in the hope that I might learn from the wisdom of other ladies. But, I left my log-in in a place where my husband found it. He knew my pseudonym from there and read all that I had written about us and specifically about him. I hurt him deeply. Thankfully, he is a gracious man and he initiated a process of reconciliation. I’ve never been more proud to be his wife.

    It’s hard to find help in seeking a biblical marriage and I’m grateful for this site, but I just want to share this to urge my sisters to be careful. I wish I had guarded my words and had been more fair in what I shared.

    1. Goodness! I’m glad that it worked out ok and he was understanding!

      I use my phone only to post so that type of thing cannot happen.

      1. I am thankful for his response. My regret is not so much that he found my words, but rather that they hurt him. My intention was to get help, not to cause him pain. I just thought I would share so that others would be careful with what they say to avoid causing hurt.

        1. This is wisdom, Lucy! I try my best to never say anything (or write) that I wouldn’t say if he was standing next to me. How we present our spouses to others says a lot about our level of respect for them. This isn’t a journey about their short-comings, but our own. Blessings to you ~Terrie C

  19. April,
    As a pastor, I commend you for how you allow the Lord to use you to minister to so many through your amazing articles and dialogue. It is refreshing to see the resources and Biblical truth you provide to those that are hurting. I found your site about a year ago, and have prayed often for you and those who serve and contribute with you, that many homes and hearts continue to be healed, by Him, but through your efforts and service. Thank you.
    My wife and I, both saved out of pretty horrible families of origin, have had our struggles over our 35+ years of marriage, but lately things seem to be coming to a crisis point. In vitriolic outbursts, she routinely expresses how I am a failure as a man, a husband, a father and a pastor. Once she has gone down the list, which seems to grow and take surprising twists and turns from outburst to outburst, she affirms how much she is a submissive wife. Then she threatens to leave. I try to make adjustments based on her criticisms and demands, as I admit my imperfections and try and see where I need to change or improve, but nothing seems to draw us together, emotionally or otherwise. I might mention that our marriage has been sexless (her need, not mine) for 20+ years. I truly seek to love her as Christ does the church, unconditionally and selflessly, but I keep getting to a place which I can only describe as being “stuck”, not able to be connected or provide the emotional support my wife needs and deserves.
    One thought that keeps coming to me is that while my wife sees herself as submissive, and I suppose she is, though I don’t consider that I often put her in a place of submitting or not, hers is a submission out of duty or fear of the Lord or whatever, not from a basis of respect. The times I have dared express that I feel disrespected, she brings up a long list of how she works hard for our home and makes sacrifices, so, how is that not respect? I acknowledge, thank and praise her regularly for the things she does (as least I feel I do, though she often says I don’t), but to me, that still misses the point. It is a radical idea, as most laws of His kingdom are, but, as you express in your writing and videos, Biblical submission is possible only when it is offered on the grounds of unconditional respect. I don’t consciously or intentionally withhold affection or conversation or other expressions of (platonic) intimacy from my wife, but what you express so well makes perfect sense; that if I were receiving, or perceiving, respect from my wife, my ability to meet her needs would be greatly enhanced. I just don’t know how to get “unstuck” or be what she needs if that respect is not present.
    Any insight the Lord might give you to pass along, I would be anxious to receive. It is a sad and miserable situation that two people who are very active and involved in ministering to others are in the dilemma of having such painful, unmet needs themselves.
    – A wounded shepherd

    1. Woundedshepherd,

      Thank you for the encouragement and especially for the prayers. I need them! How I pray God will continue to change many lives and marriages as He has been doing so faithfully here. I pray that He might empower me to share the messages He desires me to share and that He might bring healing to women, men, marriages and families by His power, His wisdom, His love and His Spirit.

      My heart breaks for your situation. I have actually heard from many, many pastors with similar stories as yours. The enemy wants to take you and your marriage down. You are quite a target, I am certain.

      If you both had very ungodly examples, there may still be a lot of healing left to do from childhood wounds. Does your wife have a godly wife mentor? Does she have any mental health issues? Is she going through peri-menopause or menopause? Are either of you dealing with any addictions? Is there any abuse in the marriage?

      I used to believe I was a submissive and very godly wife. I thought I was the best Christian wife ever – actually. If my husband ever did put his foot down about something, I would eventually concede to him – after hours or days of arguing about how I was right, explaining how he was wrong, quoting verses that supported my view, trying to change his mind, telling him he was wrong, etc… Then I would eventually do what he said – with great resentment, bitterness, pride and self-righteousness in my heart. I was deceived. I was so blind to my sin. 🙁

      Is the lack of sex due to a medical condition? Was she sexually abused as a child?

      What is her relationship with Christ – from what you can observe?

      How is your relationship with Christ?

      Is she willing to read books with you? Has she read any books about being a godly wife – The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn, The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner?

      What does your wife say about your needs?

      How are y’all able to minister to others with so much pain in your own marriage?

      How is ministry going?

      What do you need in your marriage?

      What do you believe God desires you to do?

      Does your wife understand that you are so deeply wounded by all of this? The term “disrespect” may not mean much to her. Does she know the depth of your pain?

      Praying for you, my brother!

    2. Wounded Shepherd,

      I am going to set your email and name to flag for moderation. I can keep your answer unapproved if you would prefer. I understand that a pastor and pastor’s family has to be careful about what they share.

      But when I have a better idea of what is going on, I will do my best to share anything that I can that may be helpful and healing, if you are interested.

  20. Hello, Peacefulwife. New wife, here. I just wanted to say that number 38 had a profound effect on me. I always knew that dying to self was the Christian thing to do. I did not think about it being a gateway to being filled with the power of God.

  21. That’s an amazing list. You covered so many good points! I wish my wife followed a few of them. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for her to fight against me, deny affection, act bored of me, idolise money and seek control of the relationship. Rather than support my efforts or spend time with me, she just quickly criticises my attempts at cooking for myself.

    She will not cook and won’t do much for me. She works hard in her job though. She used to swear and break my belongings. She has also told me she wants a fake divorce to sponsor a random man from China to collect visa money.

    Instead of spending quality time together connecting, she either spends it at work or yelling at me. We rarely go out and we often fight if we do. When we fight, she reminds me that it’s the reason why she won’t kiss me.

    She is an angry woman. The role of the husband and wife are supposed to be supports for each other but unfortunately I feel that’s not the case for us. I hear talking to others a lot about her property, her plan for children etc.

    Pre marriage counselling is definitely something we should have experienced.

    Now our marriage is filled with a toxic history over just 4 years. I don’t see a long term commitment beyond another year. I’d do anything to get her to be more supportive and listen to me. To change her mind on pursuing illegal means to make money and to start including me in her long term plans to travel the world.

    Because we have little money and a few debts, we can’t travel. I wanted to save and surprise her for a trip to India. But unfortunately when I suggested we should do a bit of travel, she said she would never go anywhere with me. So I gave up and started plawning for myself and to take my mother to Japan. Every year or two, my wife will travel alone back to China. No contact with me for three weeks. I have given up on meeting her family again. I didn’t know that when I left China, I would never be going back to see them again. But my wife has her own plan to get pregnant and wait until the baby has grown enough to our future child back to see the family with me.

    But I have already started thinking about splitting our first home before it has been finished. On the plus side, she does show me affection and wants children with me. She just shares different values and I find myself locked in a power struggle where she tries to suit herself and damages things when angry.

    I have tried suggesting couples counselling but if I make suggestions that things are wrong, she gets defensive and tells me we can divorce the next day and I can be free to find a new woman. I have tried to tell her those words hurt me deeply. I fear that one day I will be hurt enough to follow through and walk away.

    Right now I’m trying to explain to her the importance of children growing up to see the right examples. But it appears to be a case that no matter what I say, she won’t listen and will go outside the marriage every time for advice. Being unheard is only making things worse. My judgement or wisom is discounted repeatedly.

    I have prayed to God. I am Christian. I just feel a kind of shame for being undermined and not a leader anymore. I feel like my power is being challenged on a continuous basis. And rather than being happy and seeking my wife’s company, I’ve grown used to seeking my own. There are times where I will be feeling more affectionate towards her but often they are not met with the same level of reciprocation. We just don’t actually like a team supporting each other.

    And it’s that last point that hurts the most. The fact that we don’t act like a team supporting each other! Instead of building happy memories, I’ve had to deal with years of pain. At 33 years old, I feel like time is stacked against me.

    1. Soul83,

      My heart breaks with you, my dear brother. I just got to read this comment today. Hoping to get to respond in the next day or so. Thank you for your patience! I want to take my time and respond very thoughtfully and prayerfully to all you have shared.

      Is your wife a believer in Christ?

      Is she willing to read any books or watch any Christian material with you?

      How is your walk with Christ going, if I may ask?

    2. Soul83,

      My heart hurts over your pain. 🙁

      Since I haven’t heard back from you, I am going to assume that your wife doesn’t know Christ? That is her greatest need, my dear brother. Only He can open our eyes to the destructive things we are doing and give us new desires, a new heart, and new spirit.

      Would she be willing to read any marriage books with you? Like maybe something like Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs? It has things for both husband and wife to do to bless the marriage. That is the book God used to open my eyes to my disrespect and sin. Or perhaps she may be willing to read something about finding peace? Surely she does not enjoy being so angry all the time.

      Is she open to hearing about Jesus? Would she be willing to listen to sermons or read books by David Platt, John Piper, or Wayne Grudem, for example?

      How is your walk with Christ going? That is going to be so key as you will need His power to know how to best respond and as you fight this spiritual battle. There is massive spiritual warfare going on in your home. Your wife is not the enemy – Satan is the enemy. But he has your wife ensnared. She needs to be set free by Jesus.

      Praying for God’s power for you and His healing for your wife!

      Many husbands find healing here, too. You are most welcome here.

Comments will be closed for Lent from 2-14-18 through 3-28-18.

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