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Facing Our Deepest Fears

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After watching my video about What Causes a Woman to be Controlling, A Fellow Wife shared with me:

I cannot speak for other wives but

For me, fear is THE driving factor to control and I realize that.

-I have tried to be controlling with how my husband loves me because I fear that he really doesn’t love me that deeply. If I can manipulate him into showing me he loves me the way I wish he does, it validates what I want.

-I fear in my deepest heart of hearts that I am not an important priority to my husband. I want to be his number relationship priority, coming only after God. This has caused me so many emotional wounds over the years. I have tried to manipulate and push him into putting me first because it is so important to me. I FEAR that he will make choices that show other people or things are more important than me.

Fear makes me attempt to control. I think when we are attempting to control, we are emotionally tensing up and bracing ourselves because maybe we subconsciously know we are crossing boundaries we have no business crossing.

When we step back and release our husbands, we feel very, very emotionally vulnerable – at least I do. I am giving him the power to prove his love in a powerful way or hurt me deeply.

But IF we pair that with expecting nothing but decide to be grateful for any good and loving gesture, we feel relaxed – again, at least I do. Taking my expectations way down isn’t holding him to a high standard that we feel he must meet. I am not constantly watching him to see how he does on my ‘checklist’.

That is where I messed up – I let go last fall but I still had high expectations. I let go of him to make those choices but I still EXPECTED him to do what I wanted. I didn’t really control anymore – I just waited for him to measure up.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

A Fellow Wife explains this very well, I believe. Yesterday, we began talking about that fear often fuels our desire/need/compulsion to try to control our husbands and other people so that we will “feel safe.”

Here is one very critical piece of information for us to understand:

We don’t actually have control over much in this life. We CAN’T control other people. It is not our right or responsibility to control others. God gave each person a free will and it is not our place to try to rip that away from people. Healthy relationships involve healthy boundaries spiritually, emotionally and physically. I also can’t control circumstances much. I can only really control myself – and, quite honestly – I can only control myself if I allow God’s Spirit to do the controlling.

This is where the prayer of serenity is so helpful:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (my husband, other people and many circumstances);

courage to change the things I can (me);

and wisdom to know the difference.

I have two choices about control in my life:

1. I can allow my sinful nature to be in control of my life. The results are always predictable. If I have ANY of the below characteristics going on in my life (Galatians 5:19-21), the sinful nature is in firm control. And let me mention, fear is always part of living in the sinful nature.

2. I can allow the Spirit of God to be in control in my life. When God’s Spirit is in control of my life, I will have all of the following fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in increasing measure as God conforms me to be more and more like Christ. And when I live in the power of God, His perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18). The more I know God, His character and His truth, the more I understand His sovereignty, the more I walk by faith in the Spirit of God, I realize I have nothing to fear:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16-24

 

HOW DO WE FACE OUR FEARS?

Well, sometimes fear is necessary to a degree. If a wife is seriously not physically  safe, then, she does need to consider her safety and the safety of her children and may need to take wise and appropriate steps and reach out for qualified help (this applies to husbands, as well, if they are not safe).

Most of us, though, are not in immediate or actual danger. Most of us are married to good guys, not perfect men, but men who do love us deeply. We must examine our fears, all of them, in great detail. I personally had to write out every single fear and all of the beliefs I held and the “tapes” I played over and over in my mind and then study Scripture, God’s truth and His character. I had to ask Him to show me my errors, my sins, to expose my warped thinking and every ungodly thing in my heart and to transform me into the image of Christ.

I think it would be fantastic to write out your fears on the left side of a piece of paper, (or a lot of pieces of paper – if you have a lot of fears, like I did), and then on the right side, write down the truth of God’s Word about that issue. Then, very purposefully, consciously reject the old sinful ways of thinking and embrace God’s truth and wisdom.

Cry out to God, examine all of your motives and priorities and probe as deeply as possible into what you have built your faith and life upon. Don’t do this in a hasty, shallow way, or you will not dig up all of the sin and you will stay stuck.  To do this well requires a completely thorough soul searching where we allow the light of God’s Word to shine into the darkest corners of our souls, holding nothing back from Him. What am I holding back from God? In what areas of my life do I not trust Him fully?

This takes time. It is a process. Actually, we will always continue this daily probing search into our motives, looking for any sin and repenting of it for the rest of our lives on earth as believers in Christ.

Sometimes God reveals layers of sin or fears or unbelief or warped views of ourselves and Him over time. That is ok. We can lay ourselves before. Him and seek to yield and surrender and submit to Him as fully as we can at this moment each day. Then we can trust that as we seek Him above everything and desire to want Him more than anything else and as we seek to live in His Word and presence and as we long to obey Him and please Him and live our lives to bring honor and glory to Him out of incredible gratitude for all He has done for us – He will work in us to transform us to be like Jesus.

Until we really carefully dissect each thought and our true motives under the light of God’s Word and with the power of His Spirit working in us, we can deceive ourselves and believe that our motives are good when they are actually completely sinful. It can be very shocking to discover just how sinful our motives can be. We are ALL wretched sinners. There is NO ONE who does good, not even one. (Romans 3:12)

According to God, our greatest attempts at right living and holiness look “like bloody, dirty, filthy menstrual rags in My sight” (Isaiah 64:6).

So, we learn to monitor the voice in our head and all of the messages we are saying to ourselves and we learn to pull them apart and look for sin. We learn to compare all of our thoughts to God’s Word as we stay in his Word and stay in fellowship with Him. We shoot down the lies, the ungodly ideas, the sin and everything that sets itself up against Christ and His truth. We learn to use our negative emotions to monitor our hearts and thoughts for sin, too.

  • We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10:5

– if I find myself feeling disappointed, that is often a sign to me to check my motives. Am I trying to find my contentment, fulfillment, joy and peace in something other than Christ?

– if I am feeling angry, why? There are some reasons to have righteous anger – if I see innocent people being mistreated, if I see God being blasphemed, if I see people sinning against other people and against God, if I see people in need with none one to step in and stand up for them… If I am angry about things that make God angry, I can ask God what He desires me to do to try to make things right, honor Him and show His love and truth. If I am angry because my husband won’t do what I want him to do, then I need to examine this closely. What do I want him to do? Are my expectations biblical or unrealistic? Are my expectations fueled by sin? Greed, idolatry, materialism, selfishness, pride, self-righteousness, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, a desire for control, a lack of healthy boundaries?  Am I crossing over from my responsibilities into my husband’s life and trying to control him or make decisions for him that God gave to him to make, that are not mine to make?

– if I am feeling lonely… Why? Am I spending enough time with God? Am I trying to make my husband fulfill needs in my life that only Jesus can really meet? Am I willing to ask for what I need and desire but respond graciously even if my husband won’t or can’t do what I desire him to do? Am I hormonal? Do things seem worse than they really are right now? How can I share my emotions without attacking or blaming my husband?  What are my motives?  Am I seeking to honor, love and obey God and bless, love and honor my husband no matter how my husband responds? Am I willing to respond in the power of God and His unconditional love and with genuine respect even if I don’t get what I want?  Or  am I trying to manipulate my husband or give him “love”  (worldly, carnal love) when my real motive is to get what I want from him?

There are also many poisonous lies (and even heresies) we have absorbed from our culture that we don’t even realize we need to question. Sadly, many of these have infiltrated the church today:

  • humanism – People are God. People are basically good. There is no God. We know best.

This is worship of people and of self. This is blasphemy. God’s truth is that God alone is God. God has great wisdom, we do not. People are wretched sinners in desperate need of the blood, mercy, forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ who died to give us the opportunity to be made right with God. We cannot be “good enough” to please God on our own.

  • feminism – (some of the messages of various stages of feminism have been incredibly harmful to us as believers in Christ) – Women are morally/spiritually superior to men. Men are bad. Women are good. If women are in charge, everything in the world will be “right.” Men are always evil and oppressive if they are in charge. Men are idiots. Women are smarter than men. Being masculine is “wrong.” Men should think, act and feel like women. Patriarchy is evil. God is female, or, whoever you want “her” to be. The Bible is not true. (For more on how feminism has impacted all of us, please read here.)

God’s Word declares that all people are sinful and that no one is “good” or righteous in God’s sight (Romans 3). That means men and women are all sinful. Women are not “better than” men. And men are not “better than” women. God designed the authority structure of the family, church and government to provide for, care for, protect and bring order to His people. People are sinners. Sometimes people in positions of authority use their free will to rebel against God and to abuse others. But that does not mean that God’s structure of authority is bad. God’s Word tells us that God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the husband and the husband is the head of the wife in marriage. I Corinthians 11:3. God put the husband in the position of spiritual leadership and authority in marriage, not because he is more “valuable” and women are “second class citizens” but because God designed marriage to be a living picture of Christ and the church where the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the church and because this is God’s wisdom. (Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Peter 3:1-7). Where someone is given authority (husband, parent, pastor, Bible teacher, church leader, deacon, elder, manager at work, government officials), he/she has much greater responsibility and accountability before God. (God’s design for Spiritual Authority)

  • universalism – every religious belief leads to God. No one particular religion is better than another. They all lead to heaven eventually. Everyone will go to heaven.

Jesus clearly states, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

There are many more ungodly influences and teachings we have been exposed to in the world and in the church. It is time to question every idea and premise and to throw away the ones that are evil and ungodly and to dig down to the foundation of Christ and build our lives on the Rock of Jesus and His Word alone!

Tomorrow, we will examine Finding Victory Over Our Fears in Christ!

SHARE:

If you have done the hard work of facing your fears – we would love to hear how you did it. I believe the more wives’ stories other wives can hear, the better. 🙂

 

60 thoughts on “Facing Our Deepest Fears

  1. I definitely identify with A Fellow Wife. It felt like I was reading my own words. I do fear my husband doesn’t really love me and put my first. I think the reality at this point is his actions definitely don’t put me first (he is far from God). So I battle with that a lot. I want his attention. I want to enjoy time in his company. I want him to delight in spending time here. Is that inherently wrong? Is it ok to desire our husband to be around and spend time with us?
    I guess it can turn wrong when we make that our only focus and seek that more than God (idols)? Or when we turn to manipulation, sulking, nagging, whining, controlling? Is that right April??

    1. Godlywifetobe,
      Your question made me smile.

      It is not wrong to want to have close intimacy with your husband on every level. That is the way marriage should be.

      But you are exactly right, if you make it your primary focus to have what you want from your husband, and that interferes with your primary devotion and wholehearted trust and faith in Christ and your obedience to Him – then you are dealing with sin. And if you are willing to use sinful methods and motives to try to make your husband meet your needs – again, that is sinful in God’s eyes, and destructive to the marriage.

      Much love!

  2. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    Part 2 of a 3 part series on Fear. Yesterday we looked at Examining Our Fears. Today we will Face our Fears and tomorrow we will look at Finding Victory over Our Fears in Christ.

    Fear is such a foundational issue to why we feel WE must try to control others. Until we face our deepest fears and really look them square in the face – we cannot find victory over our compulsion to control.

  3. Godlywifetobe, I feel like your post could have been mine. That’s exactly how I’m feeling. I asked yesterday if I never, ever receive anything from my husband, why am I in this marriage? I got several wonderful answers. I think you are right on target when you answered your own question. I’m with you, and feel for you, thank you again April for a fantastic post!

    1. Catherine,

      This makes me smile, too. 🙂

      You are in this marriage so that God can train you in holiness and so that you can learn what a wretched sinner you are and how desperately you need Jesus and so that you can witness God do miracles in your life for your ultimate good and His glory and you are there to produce fruit for the kingdom of God – in the family and outside of the family.

      This painful trial is actually the biggest blessing of your life, I would daresay. Because without it, you wouldn’t have had to really turn to God in faith and grow in Him and you would have missed the greatest Treasure there is.

      Praying for you!

  4. I almost forgot! I need to share good news (for a change) one of my fears is my husband not being particularly financially responsible. He spends a great deal of TIME and MONEY on his hobby. (Both are issues for me). However, yesterday, as he was on line working on another purchase, I very calmly stated, “I just wanted to make sure you remembered our daughter gets braces next week and it’s going to be a big bill.” He asked how much we were going to owe after the insurance (I had told him this about three times over the past few months) and I told him again. I just left it at that. The old me would have been very angry at him for one, spending money we don’t have, and two, for completely disregarding our previous conversations. Later, with no further conversation on the topic from me, he listed a few items to sell and said, “I better get some braces money”. I didn’t say a word, but boy did I want to just squeal with glee. THIS IS HUGE for us. 🙂 Yay!

    1. Catherine,

      This brings a smile to my face, too.

      Many wives believe that if they respect their husbands and honor their husbands’ God-given leadership, they will never “get their way” and will “lose their voice” in the marriage. But what actually happens is that our husbands are much better able to hear our hearts and care about our feelings and desires as we obey God’s Word and we end up having infinitely more power to influence our husbands as we submit fully to Christ and as we biblically submit to and respect our husbands than we ever had when we tried to use the power of our sinful nature to get what we wanted.

      Pretty nifty, isn’t it?

  5. That is where I messed up – I let go last fall but I still had high expectations. I let go of him to make those choices but I still EXPECTED him to do what I wanted. I didn’t really control anymore – I just waited for him to measure up.

    I don’t know if it is measure up, but just I feel so lonely. I read my Bible. I pray. I don’t know how else to try to be content in Christ when he isn’t here to give me a hug when I cry or speak words over me. I promise that I am never mean to my husband. I’ve never yelled at him or told him what to do. I did tell him I felt lonely the other day. He said he was sorry I felt that way.

    1. In Romans 4, the Apostle Paul refers to Abraham, who never wavered in his faith, despite having no real reason to believe he would see God’s promises fulfilled in his life. The book of Genesis records the process between God’s promise to Abraham to the hero of the faith we remember him as today. Along the way, remaining faithful was not as easy as it may have sounded. Often times, the promises of God don’t seem to make sense in light of what we see. When that happens, it can be difficult to keep our hopes up. Abraham’s faith to be strengthened, it had to have something to push against. Nothing gets stronger without resistance—not a marriage, not a church, and not a dream… Your faith needs a fight in order to grow.

      In Romans 4:19, Paul writes that Abraham “faced the fact” that hope seemed to be lost, yet never wavered in his faith. When God promised Abraham that he would make him the “father of many nations” in Genesis 12, it didn’t make sense to him. Abraham was 100 years old, without a son, and his wife was too old to conceive. Against all hope, however, Abraham still found a way to believe in hope and thus strengthened his faith. In the same way, our faith grows whenever we can push against all odds and find a hope to cling to within us.

      Still, it can be incredibly difficult to find our faith in the midst of seemingly impossible or hopeless situations. Throughout his life, Abraham was forced to face the facts, failures, and feelings that seemed to contradict the promise God made to him. Today, we live as recipients of many promises God has made to His people. However, many of our struggles can seem to weigh down our hopes and keep us living in discouragement. Sometimes, the facts of our present circumstances stand in clear contradiction of our hope. Other times, reminders of our past failures can come back to haunt us and cause us to lose hope. In all of this, our feelings, perhaps the biggest challenger to our faith, will drive us further from finding the hope of glory within us.

      In Romans 4:20, Paul wrote that Abraham was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, believing that He was fully capable of performing all that He had promised. In Hebrew, the word “glory” means “weight.” Therefore, to say that Abraham gave glory to God would literally mean that he gave weight to His promises—more weight than he gave to his facts, failures, or feelings.

      Like Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17, God’s glory will outweigh any of our struggles. I want to encourage you to continually remember all the ways God has shown Himself faithful. When what God says doesn’t line up with what you see, the key is to remember of what you saw.

      The hope of glory—and all of God’s promises—are within us, lifting our hopes above all our doubts.

      1. pco004:
        “Nothing gets stronger without resistance—not a marriage, not a church, and not a dream… Your faith needs a fight in order to grow”. WOW WOW WOW! This jumped right off the page to me!

        I read somewhere about the rubber band effect. Picture you and your husband with a rubber band around you. If you keep up your old sins with your husband, and continue to make him and idol, you’re chasing him, making the rubber band loose. If you turn to God, and get your needs met from Him, and follow Him you are making the band tight, the “resistance”!! A-ha!

    2. Elizabeth,

      How is your time with God going, my precious girl?

      Are you able to get out of the house during the week this week and do some fun things with some girl friends?

      Sending you a huge hug!

      1. Still trudging along with God. Reading in Galatians, with Paul telling them not to act like slaves. It goes along with the prodigal son thing I studied. I did go to a ladies night out thing. It was a craft thing. Not really my cup of tea, but at least I was there with other people. But just small talk. I don’t really have any girl friends here.

  6. So if one is spending time with God and has been reassured by hubby that she is behaving respectfully but still feels lonely because there is virtually no connection in the relationship . . . what is the coping strategy then?

    1. Over the years when I have struggled with loneliness for one reason or another, I ask God for practical ways to encourage or help others. I have found that to stop focusing so intensely on my own feelings and to instead meet some other person’s needs is a blessing.

      For example, is there someone you might send a note of encouragement to? Think how finding a sweet piece of snail mail might make their day…..It could be your pastor’s wife, or someone close to you, or an elderly relative.

      Or, perhaps someone who is going through a serious illness….Is there some little gift with a one line note saying you are praying for them today, left on their door step. Years ago when I had breast cancer, my brother used to tie little gifts like flowers to our front door knob to discover when coming home from a doctor visit. What a simple but winderful gesture. It was hugely helpful.

      The idea here is to stop focusing so much on what you are long for from your husband, and start focusing on being a blessing by serving some needs of others who may be hurting. God blesses us when we serve with a heart to bless others.

      Praying this morning for the dear women who are lonely for their husbands’ affections. May God give you some creative ways to not waste your loneliness but to use it to glorify Him.

      1. Julie, great advice! My pastor’s wife has been known to advise women to go scrub someone’s floors when a lady comes to her feeling dejected/lonely/without purpose. Thank you for the reminder!

      2. Julie,
        Love this! Yes, focusing on blessing others with the love of Christ is such a blessing to us as we minister.

        One thing I often did – was – I used that time that I was feeling lonely and ignored – to get in God’s Word, study and seek Him more. I found that if I am connected and abiding in Him, I don’t feel lonely. He is able to meet all of my needs. If Greg spends more time with me, awesome. If he doesn’t, that’s ok – I will use that time to learn at the feet of Jesus. Or now, if Greg is busy, I will use that time to minister to others, or to my children, or to seek God.

        Now, I also understand my husband’s heart a lot better, and I know that he always feels connected to me unless I disrespect him. Just knowing his heart makes it much more possible for me to know that he always loves me and that he feels connected to me – makes me feel more connected to him, as well. I have a Youtube video about this, here, called “I Want to Connect with My Man!”

        I think it is important that we ask for what we need, calmly, with a pleasant, friendly tone of voice and facial expression. But then if our husbands don’t give us the time and attention we want – we need to be able to accept that graciously and find all of our needs met in Christ. Our husbands will fail us at times. They will sin against us at times. These are incredible opportunities to refine our motives and grow nearer to Christ and to allow Him to make us more holy.

        1. April, yes, we need to have our needs met through Christ! The added benefit of having Christ fill up that lonely feeling is it makes us a breath of fresh air for others to be around us.

          Another thing I find helpful is to spend time praying while exercising. Or filling my mind with words of praise by listening to worship music while at home doing other things. Or having sermons playing….

          My brisk walks each evening are often precious times of talking with our Savior, and reflecting on what He has done in my life, praying for the needs of others, etc..

          I guess what I’m trying to encourage others to do is to look at times of loneliness as creative opportunities. Getting in the Word is excellent! We can also turn it to opportunities of worship in other ways, as well.

      3. Love the ideas Julie. One more question – what do you do when weeks (or even months) of no connection leave your personal tank of resources completely empty?! At the moment, I am working four part time jobs and for this week and next, I will work from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m. The issue of “time” becomes a factor as well!

        I truly don’t wish to whine. But I have been married for 25 years and for the vast majority of that time – with the exception of a week here and there – I spend most of my time feeling lonely and unloved due to lack of connection. Even when he tells me that I am doing a great job “speaking” respect and love to him, he continues to give all of his free time to his hobbies.

        1. Moj8668,

          How much time are you able to be in God’s Word and to just soak in His presence and be at the feet of Jesus with this awful schedule? If you don’t have time with God, there is no way you can be filled up with His power to do any of this.

          What were things like before you got married?

          Do you believe that he really doesn’t love you?

          Much love to you!

          1. I live with an iPod always within reach and listen to worship music, I read scripture during meal breaks, being and end every day with prayer, . . . it comes in small bite sized chunks but I am able to get the time in!

            Before we got married, there were regular moments for “just us” multiple times during each week. Now we can go for a week or more with no conversation beyond clarifying schedules, talking through budget stuff, etc.

            Truthfully? I do sometimes fear that he doesn’t love me. He physically desires me and makes that very clear. On a better day, I believe that he loves me but it is often an act of faith since I struggle to see any actions motivated by love.

            Like I said in another comment – we’re in a really bad place right now – have had exactly 30 minutes of connection in the last week and a half, almost two weeks and my “love tank” is completely empty.

          2. I’m sorry you’re feeling the way you do 🙁

            My marriage is similar. I don’t have a connection with my husband and most of the time I think he acts out of duty than love.

            Praying for you!

      4. Well, I went to the hospital to be with the daughter of a acquaintance while she had some tests run. ( Glad I went. She was there all by herself and was scared.) I made them a meal. I probably do something for someone in my church like that or sending a note or whatever 4 times a week or more.

        1. Elizabeth,

          I am praying for you!!!! Praying for the peace and joy of God to flood your soul, my precious sister as you depend on Him. Praying for wisdom and healing for you and your husband and your marriage and wisdom about the stress he is under at work. Praying for God’s greatest glory!

    2. This is exactly how I felt yesterday! I feel so disconnected with my husband.

      Unfortunately, I shared this feeling and the communication did end well. I just need to keep my mouth shut!

    3. Moj868,
      I believe we can apply Philippians 4:11-13 to times of feeling that we are “in want” in our marriages.

      “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

      We may modify it a bit to say:

      “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to feel unloved and lonely in my marriage, and I know what it is to feel loved and connected in my marriage. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether feeling emotionally connected to my husband or feeling neglected and lonely, whether basking in his attention or feeling ignored by my husband, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

      1. Moment of painful truth?! I really don’t know what it’s like to feel connected and loved in my marriage. Lusted after? You bet! But loved? Not so much.

        1. moj8668,

          I can definitely feel your pain today, my sweet sister. I am so sorry things are so difficult.

          You mean that you have never felt connected and loved ever in your marriage?

          Why would that be, do you think?

          Have you ever felt connected and loved by anyone in your life? If so when and with whom?

          What do you need from your husband that he is not giving to you?

          Sending you a big hug today!

          1. We’ve had stretches of good days here and there. He knows how to connect because when he chooses to do so, I am over the moon! The problem is, those moments have been the exception.

            There are two statements from him I have a hard time erasing from my memory and I think that’s part of the problem (a couple of abusive relationships in my past don’t help – one of which I have only VERY recently admitted and started dealing with). Those statements were –

            “Physical lust was one of the major reasons I married you.”

            and then there was

            “I don’t think I was really meant to be married or have kids so you can’t expect me to be loving.”

            He has since retracted both and apologized but I can’t seem to let them go. Prayers appreciated (obviously).

    4. April – I think you will allow me a moment to “vent” just a bit.

      If I was to withhold sex from my husband simply because there were other things I would rather put my time and energy into, there would be any number of people willing to counsel me that I am setting my husband up to be tempted and they would be absolutely right. I’m very grateful to have one or two women that I can trust with the most intimate details of my personal struggles who will hold me accountable. Yes, he would be responsible for his own actions and choices. But Godly women would counsel me not to make it tougher on him!

      Lack of connection with my husband is a powerful a problem as lack of sexual connection would be for him. Yes, God is to meet my needs but he also created us to need and be built up by others. What does a wife do when her husband shows no interest in being the primary source of encouragement and building up?!

      1. Moj8668 –

        I almost never talk about what husbands “should” do because that sets many wives on a very rapid downward spiral.

        Yes, there are things husbands SHOULD do. Yes wives have legitimate needs. Absolutely. Husbands should try to meet those needs.

        But, in reality, there are times when our husbands won’t or can’t meet our needs. And, just like it would be sin for a husband to go cheat on his wife even if she was withholding sex from him, it is also not ok for us to justify sin when we feel our husbands are not meeting our needs.

        We absolutely can find total contentment in Christ alone even when we feel lonely or disconnected emotionally/spiritually from our husbands. I have done it many, many, many times.

        1. April, I LOVE that last line of your reply!!! What a great truth! He is sufficient!! He is able to make us content!

          There is a line from one of Amy Carmichael’s books that I may be paraphrasing slightly, as I’m going from memory. It says, “The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our souls love.”

          He is wanting the pains of our lives to be tools to draw us close to Him. To teach us to find our contentment in Him. To show us that He is enough, that He is ordering the events in our lives, and that He is doing it in love. So we can accept our hurts with thanksgiving for what He intends to do through them.

  7. One of the biggest things that changed my life in this arena was my biggest fears coming to fruition. Now what?

    I had to face them. And I had to keep going. I really had no choice. I couldn’t let the circumstances break me. I had no control over my husbands choices – NONE. But I had two kids that needed me to pull it together and keep going. God, get me through each day; each moment. Each step forward felt like I had anvils strapped to my feet – each took SO MUCH EFFORT. But God sustained me; he gave me strength for the moment…”manna for the day”.

    I was reading excerpts from a book online. The book was talking about affair recovery and the woman described how she had to move to a place of not finding security in her “healed marriage” and trusting that he would not have another affair. Instead she had to put her security in the fact that she had no control over his choices but if he ever did have another affair that SHE WOULD BE OK. His bad choices would not break her and God would continue to give her the strength and courage for whatever she would face.

    So this is how I tackle my fears. It’s a continual process.

  8. I understand Mo’s struggle. Part of my difficulty, however, has been accepting that loneliness can be a part of marriage. It’s as if I really did believe Disney over the Bible. I believed that if my husband were truly godly, then he’d never hurt me or make mistakes that required grace-giving on my part. If we were really “soul mates” then we’d always be “connected” and “in love”. If I were a Christian, I’d have that white picket fence, well-behaved children and a great body no matter how many babies I popped out. April, you’ve been like a Moses to many of us helping us to navigate the Red Sea of our marriages and leave the enslavement of our sin, our culture, our wounds. This way of thinking is like taking the matrix pill that turns everything on its head.

    Our pain is real and the evil one uses it to enslave us. How wonderful to think that we have a choice in the matter. I can wallow in despair or offer up my suffering. I can align myself with others who have also felt loneliness while being in the center of God’s will (Mother Theresa, Our Lady Mary- Mother of God, St. Monica, Jesus himself and many, many others…) and find I’m in great company.

    I like considering what ‘creative’ opportunities my various stations in life can open up if I would just be open to seeing them not as the world does, or even my wounded heart, but as the Lord does. This certainly takes supernatural power!

    Keep going Mo! I’ve met many couples from other countries who knew very little about each other before they wed and found love over time. I practically have to fall out of love with my idea of love and what I thought I deserved in order to really love the man I chose.

    May you feel God’s love wrapped all around you as you walk through your dark night. And may you wake to a joyous dawn unburdened and all alight in His splendor. I pray that for all of us undergoing refinement.

    1. @Refined – Thank YOU for sharing that. That is exactly what I am struggling with. I always believed that if I found my soulmate, we would be so connected and in love, that I would never be lonely. I am now realizing how unrealistic my expectations were and how pressured my husband must have felt. No wonder he pushed me away. He tried for a long while to live up to my expectations, but became more and more unhappy as I was never completely satisfied by his efforts. He just kind of gave up trying to make me happy and became very selfish in an attempt to “become himself” again. I thank God that I can now see how I helped create this mess by believing the enemy’s lies about what a marriage should be. This idea that marriage is designed to make ME more Christ-like, NOT to meet my emotional needs apart from God…..is revolutionary. I’m trying to allow it to be life-changing. It’s difficult to give this awful lonely feeling to God, but right now, I am considering it my sacrifice of obedience to Him and trusting that He will bless it in whatever way He chooses for my good. My prayer is that he will use it to bring my husband to a relationship with Him….but that is another post for another day.

      I would love to hear how others are giving up the need for physical affection. That’s a big one for me. I SO want my husband to want me as much as I want him. I get attention from other men, which I do NOT want. I only want my husband’s attention and I don’t understand why he withholds it. Maybe it’s because I have made it an idol. I am working on tearing that out. It’s hard.

      1. NW Girl,
        I am thrilled to see what God is showing you! WOOHOO!

        Here is a post written by a Christian single man that I think has wisdom for us even as wives “Submitting Sexual Desire to the Lord” (I think we could dal so apply it to our desire for affection)

        I experienced much rejection in my marriage for many years. So, I definitely am familiar with the pain of wanting my husband to want me as much as I wanted him. And, I, too, got attention from other men that I did not want, but was so brokenhearted that my own husband didn’t seem to want me.

        As I continued to learn and grow in Christ, it took about 3 years, but, in time, as I stopped controlling and stopped the disrespect and learned to truly and genuinely honor Greg, our physical relationship began to heal, as well.

        Check out “Respect, Biblical Submission and Sexual Attraction”

        And “I Want to Feel Loved!”

        Praying for you and your marriage, NW Girl!

        Much love to you!

    2. Refined,

      Loneliness has been a huge part of my marriage, as well, particularly during the first 17 years or so. As an identical twin, who always shared every thought and every moment with my twin sister, I was completely unprepared for how disconnected and lonely I would feel once I got married. I did not respond well to that at all!

      I believe that a large part of the problem for many of us are messages we absorbed growing up from Disney and romantic movies and books. I have some posts about those issues:
      Breaking the Romance Addiction
      The Fantasy of Romance

      I also have an amazing post to share by my friend, Kayla, about the lie of being “Soul Mates” that we have absorbed from the world and how destructive that concept is.

      This journey is quite a pilgrimage, yes. We have veered so far off course from God’s narrow path that leads to life in the last few generations, that we do, indeed, have to travel through the desert now to return to His ways. Yes, it is an entirely different reality than what we thought we knew.

      It was about 2.5 years into my journey before I began to have any clue what it really meant to stop all the disrespect and to respect Greg. And it was a total of 3.5 years before he felt safe with me. So, there were years in the beginning of my journey where Greg was still very much guarded, aloof, unplugged, shut down and I was extremely isolated and alone. I had also pulled way back from family and friends and really just focused on God and learning what it meant to be a godly woman and wife. I spent hours and hours each day studying, reading the Bible, reading every book I could find on godly marriage, respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and praying.

      I do know what it is like to feel disconnected and lonely in marriage. It hurts.

      These days, I don’t usually feel lonely. If I begin to feel a twinge of disappointment in Greg, I immediately go to God and check my motives and try to dig in His Word and spend time in prayer. But now, Greg is almost always available to me if I want to talk or cuddle. If he is busy for some reason, I have learned in the past 5.5 years how to find my needs met in Christ alone – so it doesn’t usually throw me the way it did for so many years in our marriage.

      I long for each wife to get to feel deeply connected to her husband on every level. But even more than that, I long for us all to find total contentment in Christ alone.

      We do have a choice. We can choose not to allow anyone to rob us of our joy in Christ. We can choose to be responsible for our own emotions and not allow our feelings to be dictators and tyrants. We can learn to “boss our feelings around” as one husband said in Shaunti Feldhahn’s new book Secrets of Very Happily Married Couples.

      I pray for wisdom for each of us as wives and for our husbands, for the strongholds of the enemy to come crashing down by God’s power working in us, for unity with Christ, and for unity in our marriages to the glory of God!

      Much love to each of you!

    1. Hi, Victoria. She has a channel on youtube. I just type in April Cassidy and it always comes up. There may be an easier way to access it but thought I would answer your question so you can at least access it this way till someone gives you better instructions.

      1. And just FYI, to make it a little easier, if you have a YouTube account and subscribe to April’s channel, there is an option to be emailed every time a new video is uploaded, so you can just go right to it.

  9. NW Girl, your question about physical affection strikes such a cord with me. I have gone through bouts where I’d wish another man would look at me so I could at least turn someone down! My husband doesn’t really like touch. I would ache in the morning just hoping he would reach over and touch me. (My love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation) I was that woman who would ask him, “why don’t you love me?” I didn’t know I was pushing an already non-touchy person away even further. For a whole month last year my husband literally would not speak to me or touch me. When he looked at me it was as if he didn’t even remember who I was. Not until my father died did he come out of that somewhat.

    It’s been a year now that we’ve slowly been recouping. And touch is still an issue. We are that maybe-we’ll-have-sex-once-a-month couple but things are quite a bit different from my perspective. Early last fall I remember aching so badly for his love that I went and sat on the couch and cried out to God. I was there for hours pleading for God to do something with these feelings. In the morning I felt nothing. The absence of that ache was bliss. And for the first time I understood that God could even ease my emotional pain. I began to make some changes. Rather than wait and hope that my husband would touch me in the morning, I began to get up and go have quiet time with God. Rather than have evening after evening of tension in the air after the kids were put to bed, I began to either read on the couch, read April’s posts, go out with a girlfriend, take a bath, etc. I learned I could be ok without his affection while I learned to love without strings.

    I’m now working on being open when my husband does want to touch and connect because he’s slowly doing that more. And part of me is thankful that he had not come around sooner. If he had, I can’t say that I’d want for the relationship with God that I am now so desperate for. I love it. And I love being free from those chains. It’s funny because as much as I thought I loved my husband then, I honestly want to love him more now. See him as he is. Sometimes I don’t feel ready for attention from my husband because I want more time to get things right in my head and my heart.

    Weird how God can change us. My husband even texted me today saying that he was batman happily married to his catwoman. If that ain’t God, I don’t know what is. :0)

    1. Refined,

      Oh! This is REALLY GOOD!!!!!!!!

      I wonder if you might allow me to share this anonymously in a post? So many wives are struggling with this issue here?

      I think, for me, it was also very important to realize that just because my husband wasn’t as affectionate as I was, did NOT mean he didn’t love me. I expected him to act and think and feel exactly like I did. And if he didn’t, I would assume evil motives, “You don’t love me.” My husband actually always did love me. But he was not me. I had to learn to allow him space to love the way he loves and to learn to interpret his actions correctly – that he DOES love me, but if he is not as affectionate as I would like, that is just because of his personality. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.

      I hope that makes sense!

      Now, I know how to interpret his actions properly, how to assume the best. I know his heart so much more intimately now, and I know that he always feels connected to me unless I do something disrespectful or tell him I don’t feel connected. I always felt we were not connected unless we were actively doing something to connect – like talk, cuddle, be intimate, etc..

      Just knowing that he always feels connected to me – makes me feel more connected to him.

      But – I agree, I thank God that it took so long for my husband to heal and to feel safe with me again and to be more affectionate again, because I NEEDED that time to learn to be content in Christ alone.

      Beautiful!

      I love that text your husband sent you. WOOHOO!

      Much love!

  10. To be candid, I’ve had several close family members pass in the last few years. Mourning their deaths without the comfort of my spouse was very difficult. But I honestly think my husband felt so unable to sooth me that he just checked out. That may sound cruel but the combination of my years of disrespect and those deaths I think was just too much. I’ve learned that my husband is no prince charming who will come and rescue me from all the dragons in life. He is human, very human. And now he can remain human because my God is more than sovereign enough to slay all my dragons and then some.

    Keep up the faith NWgirl. We’re fighting with you.

  11. @peacefulwife

    I am currently loving your blog. There is so much going on at home in my marriage and I know I can only work on myself, which has me feelin down that i cant fix it all. I’ve prayed and prayed, and will continue to do so now that I am learning how to pray more effectively from your blog. I am curious, what church do you attend? I grew up catholic and would like a change so I feel better connected to the Lord.

    1. Anonymous2,

      I’m so glad that you are seeking God with all your heart and allowing Him to dramatically change you to be more and more like Jesus. That is awesome!

      I go to a Southern Baptist church.

      If you would like to hear some really solid, biblical preaching, I invite you to listen to David Platt, John Piper, Francis Chan, or Wayne Grudem (podcasts of Systematic Theology). David Platt has a number of “Secret Church” series on Youtube that are amazing!

      Praying for God to direct you to the church He has for you. 🙂 I pray for God’s healing for you, for your husband, for your marriage and family, my precious sister!

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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