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Survey – What Are Your Triggers?

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned some of my “triggers,” things that if I expose myself to them, may tempt me into sinful thinking and sinful motives.

 

For me, some of my triggers are:

  • reading about what “godly husbands should do”
  • focusing on what I want for a prolonged period of time instead of what God asks me to do
  • romantic novels/movies (even rated G ones) – can trigger thoughts of “I wish Greg would say/do that for me!”
  • some songs – even Christian ones, like the one that said “lead me with strong hands…”
  • reading a long, heartfelt prayer of a husband for his wife
  • hearing or reading about a husband flirting a lot with his wife
  • hearing/reading about a husband connecting spiritually/emotionally very intentionally with his wife
  • a man praying for me or just praying intensely in general (that is not my husband) – I have to be SO SO CAREFUL here. Β Seeing/hearing/reading about a godly man praying fervently is very attractive to me. Β I have to really put all my guard up in some situations like this.

What about you?

Let’s look at the things that get us thinking in a negative way and that encourage us to spiral into sin.

If there are things that I didn’t list in the poll, please leave me a comment and share what things trigger feelings of discontentment, covetousness, idolatry of your husband, idolatry of marriage, idolatry of being in control, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred, hopelessness, etc… for you. The more you share, the better. These are things we need to talk about together!

PS

Be sure to check out the discussions we are having at my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page this week, too!

79 thoughts on “Survey – What Are Your Triggers?

  1. Whew! Thank you again for another thought provoking post. A few months ago, I went off FB. Completely. I haven’t been back since..not even for a peep. And I don’t regret it.

    The reason I did that was that I found myself caught up in the things other people were posting and secretly envying them. I would then use this a yardstick for my own life – I’m not where I should be. My house doesn’t measure up. My husband is not good to or for me….i am so ashamed of some the things I thought. As a result, I was ungrateful for what I have been blessed with and felt inadquate as a woman, wife and a person in general. Needless to say, God laid it on my heart to seek my identity in Him and through his word and told me to shut out all other voices. So, I chucked out all music that reminded me of my life BC πŸ™‚ and replaced it with gospel music that reminds me of my future and my present with Christ. I also found that some of the music i listened to, corrupted my way of thinking about my husband and men in general and also conveyed a certain manner of acting which I was so uncomfortable about (thank you Holy Spirit)

    I also deactivated my FB account (never had instagram) and have never looked back. The sum total of my social media now is Twitter and blogs like this which build me up in my walk with Christ and role as a wife and mother.

    I have less influencers in my life and as I continue to seek out the voice of God and my identity in God, I sieve out all others which do not edify or bring me closer to Him.

    Thank you for this post. There are a few more triggers I definitely need to address!

    x

    1. Lebo,

      Thank you so much for sharing this!!!! I am thrilled that you listened to God and removed the triggers for temptation that you were able to remove. That was wise! I also love that you replaced worldly influences with godly influence and godly input. I went a very similar route myself. It makes it so much easier to focus on God rather than my fleshly or worldly desires.

      LOVE THIS!

    2. Hi LEBO,

      I totally relate! I don’t facebook at all.I found myself doing the same thing you did and after an hour or so on FB I would hate my life. I still wonder what I am missing and wish I could FB but it truly becomes a sickness for me. I too have to stay focused on Christ and what he has done for me and my family. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Hi, I recently deactivated my Fb too. I would be on there for hours looking at peoples lives and hating my own life. I felt like others lives whether good or bad were filling my head crushing me. I went back on two days ago to delete the entire page and FB wont let me. They want to keep you coming back there. I don’t know why. also I am a Facebook stalker looking and looking for stuff then hating when I find it. lol

  2. One of my big triggers is thinking about “what-if” Hubby passed away. This leads to thinking about living somewhere special or imagined freedoms. I have had to commit to stopping those thoughts immediately.

    1. Dougswifeamy,

      I agree with you! These kinds of thoughts are definitely breeding grounds for sin. I’m very glad you saw the danger and desire to stop those thoughts right away. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Thank you for your blog in ALL its (godly) honesty. Your writing is gracious, gentle and it delivers what I need to hear from another Christian woman’s perspective. My reactions to it are varied…sometimes I have a mild conviction and sometimes my reaction is like a volcano rising up in my sinful heart and mind! (that is just on MY end, for sure!) It helps to know that other sisters in Christ struggle, too…and reading the posts gets me back on track when I decide to jump the rails and start searching elsewhere for my identity, joy and peace (which are only found in the Lord). Thanks for what you’re doing through the Holy Spirit’s work and for sharing that with all of us! ; )
    God bless, Susan

    1. Susan,

      What an answer to prayer that God is using me in some way to speak to your heart! Thank you so much for sharing!

      The things I talk about here are the things, in my view, we most need to learn in our local churches as believers in Christ, but that most of us never hear. My journey to becoming a godly wife was so painful for so long. It felt like I was having to reinvent the wheel to figure out respect, biblical submission and godly femininity. I begged God to let me put the dots closer together for those who came behind me.

      This is never an easy journey. It is HARD and DIFFICULT and totally counterintuitive and counter our sinful nature to look at our own sin and our own accountability before God. But what blessings await those who are willing to lay all that they have and all that they are before Jesus Christ in total surrender and who long to obey Him and to know Him more and more.

      I pray God might continue to sanctify you so that you will be mature, strong, persevering and completely equipped for all that God has in store for you to do in His kingdom’s work – in your own life, in your marriage, in your family and everywhere else God places you for His glory.

      Thank you so much for sharing! it is wonderful to meet you!

      Much love,
      April

    2. I totally agree Susan! What April writes is something you don’t hear from many other people, but so biblical and so needed! It’s really encouraging!

      1. BrokenbutGrowing,

        How I wish we had heard these things from the generations that came before us. But since we didn’t, it is up to us to figure out (through God’s Word) how to get rid of worldliness and sinfulness in our hearts and to seek God with all our hearts and ask Him to transform us into the women He desires us to be.

        I’m so glad to meet you and I am so glad we are on this journey together! Thanks so much for sharing that this site has blessed you.

  4. Hi April

    I want to remember the blessings of my husband Simon first so my comments are balanced. It’s not meant to trigger anyone else negatively – but if it triggers sisters positively to think of great things about their hubbys then praise the Lord.

    Good sense of humour
    Conscious about being healthy
    Kind and compassionate
    Leader at work and home
    Responsible father
    Creative
    Good friend to me and others
    Generous
    Trusts me and my heart
    Prays for me and his daughter
    Goes / comes to church
    Shares his heart
    Listens to feedback about himself
    Commits to growing individually and as a couple in Christian living despite the discomfort it can cause (books, seminars, DVDs, sometimes bible reading)
    Is intelligent without being egotistical
    Forgives
    Feeds back to me what pleases him and what doesn’t
    Speaks well of me
    Encourages me
    Has good ideas about things in the home
    Takes initiative
    Is romantic
    Doesn’t curse / cuss
    Is a good provider
    Comes on Christian holidays
    Play amazing guitar and has a wonderful singing voice
    Has a heart for senior citizens ministry
    Prays
    Apologizes
    Stands up to me when I’m manipulative
    Tells other wives about Peacefulwife.com (woohoo!)
    Wants to have more kids biologically or by adoption / fostering
    Stands up to bullies (usually other managers) at his workplace, regardless of cost to himself
    Shares his faith when asked

    Wow what a guy I’m married to, and there’s more I could add I’m sure. We just had a weekend away camping which was good and challenging in so many ways. There was lots of ‘quiet frustrating’ times and dying to self! With that said I guess my main triggers are:

    – When he is super affectionate and jovial with his teenage daughter (who lives with us) for hours and barely affectionate for a moment with me
    – When he takes up his mother’s offers without my input to decorate, purchase or make something for our home that I do not want, like or already have in hand. We rent from his parents who live below us. (Would love some help and prayers with this one please sisters. I want to have a thankful spirit but also want our home to be ours, not hubby’s parents!)
    – His overspending
    – Reading men-to-men Christian advice forums (thank God one blocked me – I can no longer lurk)
    – His reactions. Am slowly learning not to react to his reactions, which helps me to assess whether I’m really suffering for doing good, or whether my motivations and timings are off. It also gives valuable time for prayer about whether and how best to express myself to my husband – time that could be lost in the toxic cycle of reacting back.
    – Yep other ‘spiritual guys’ as you said. Gary L Thomas deals with that well in Sacred Influence in a chapter on the costs and demands of being married to someone sold out for the Lord.
    – Sometimes (I’m not proud to say) a trigger is when he is about to go out with the guys in the evening and I get a slightly negative attitude / feeling when he is about to go or has just returned.
    – A daily low level peacelessness, triggering petty fears and self-righteousness. I’m not worried though, the enemy is under my feet and the Lord paves my way.

    So my main triggers seem to be in reaction to my hubby and I am seeking God’s word and female fellowship with friends much more. I am a stepmother too and step families have their own challenges (Gail, an email may be coming your way for support soon!)

    But overall, I love knowing that we don’t know everything that God knows about us. It makes what we come to discover about ourselves interesting, often painful but hopefully in Christ glorious.

    And I love that in the midst of it all we get to love our husbands as God commands and that there can be much joy in it. What an awesome God we serve.

    Mich x

    1. Mich,
      I love this! And thanks for warning other wives about triggers in advance. Good idea!

      I love that you listed positives first. And I love your heart for God and your husband at the bottom.

      I have a feeling there are plenty of wives who relate to you on these things! Thank you so much for sharing!

    2. Mich,

      I have to tell you this… I used to be greatly upset by my husband going out on weekends to do things with his friends…. not that the activity was bad or ungodly but I was upset and hurt that he wanted to do things without me but didn’t seem to have a lot of interest in doing things with me. This was a hard and hurtful thing to deal with. Let me tell you what helped me.

      I got my own thing going. I got a life. No, it isn’t the most exciting life ever but I began to concentrate on finding my own fulfillment and enjoyment. I do things I enjoy. I go out when my husband goes out. Those make for great nights to shop or watch a movie with my daughter. They are also great night off from cooking so hit the drive through and watch a movie nights. But I do something.

      This may not be what you need to do but it helped me tremendously.

      On the subject of your stepdaughter, I have been there, too. My advice for you there is to let go and pull back a bit. SO HARD! I know. But for me, once I let go of my desire to control my husband’s relationship with his daughter and went on as if I didn’t care and even removed myself a bit from the equation…. he came looking for me, missing me and inviting me back in.

      I so hope this helps you. Praying for you!

      A Fellow Wife

  5. Looking at these results it is very clear that “Comparison truly IS the thief of Joy”. … I know for me this is a huge trigger, probably my biggest.

    1. A Fellow Wife,

      Isn’t that the truth!?!

      But, I noticed, what we inevitably compare is what other people seem to have that we don’t. Of course, when we are focused on what we feel like we don’t have, we cannot be thankful for all that we do have.

      God actually commands us to be thankful in all circumstances 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. And He commands us to rejoice in The Lord Always. Philippians 4:4. He also commands us not to argue or complain Philippians 2:14-16.

      If we are walking in obedience to God, we can find all of our contentment in Him.

      “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I 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. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

      Doesn’t this passage apply to our spiritual and emotional needs in marriage, too?

      Thank God, it does!!!!!!

      I don’t know if we realize this, but, even if we suddenly had all that we thought we wanted on this earth, we would never be content. Jesus is the only source of real contentment and true joy and peace.

      I am so glad we can share this journey together, my sweet sisters!!!

      1. That is quite the truth, April. We women got our start with discontentment in the Garden of Eden, didn’t we? God gave Eve pick of the garden and all of its delicious edibles, but Eve wasn’t content because she wanted the one fruit that was off-limits.

        I think we women have a greater tendency to think the grass is always greener on the other side. That’s a dangerous tendency that is a very slippery slope toward sin. One of my children and I have an almost daily conversation about envy and jealousy. I am teaching them that, when we see that someone else has something that we like, we need to prevent jealous thoughts from taking root by saying a prayer and thanking the Lord for blessing that person so richly.

        I, like Paul, know what it is to have plenty and what it is to be in want. I have learned the secret to being content in all circumstances and that is sincere thankfulness, not only for what I have been given, but for what others have been blessed with as well. It’s an attitude of gratitude.

        We had a big discussion here a little while ago about personalities in husbands. We were talking about Mr. Steady, Mr. Visionary, and Mr. Command Man. I think that many women have a tendency to want their husbands to be a different personality type than they are. If they have a more steady man, they wish they were more daring, spontaneous, and bold. If they have a strong husband, they wish they were more gentle and easy-going. If their husband is a wonderfully consistent and wise man, they wish he was more creative and enterprising. We must be careful not to let these thoughts take root or we will become embittered toward our men and will open ourselves up for the enemy to gain a foothold. Emotional and eventually physical adultery stem from discontentment in our marriages and husbands.

        We must choose to recognize that, if the Lord was the one who put our marriage together, He chose our spouse for us to refine us and help us become more like Christ. The sooner we accept this truth and develop a gratefulness for God’s plan in our marriage, the more blessed we will become.

        As John C. Maxwell often says…

        “Blessed are the flexible, for they seldom get bent out of shape.”

        1. Thejoyfilledwife,

          I love this!!!

          I was actually thinking about the different personality types yesterday, too. And how easy it is to see the strengths of another man’s personality type and wish our husbands were more like that. But we forget that the other personality types have weaknesses our husbands don’t have and that our husbands have strengths that the other men don’t have.

          Every man (and woman) is human and sinful and has weak areas. There is not much that is productive about comparing our husbands to someone else. And we aren’t really able to do an accurate job comparing anyway. And, comparing easily leads to sin, which is destructive in our own spiritual lives and it leads us to ungrateful, disrespectful thoughts. That is also destructive to our marriages and families.

          I had to lay down some dreams for my marriage myself last night, things I didn’t even realize I was still holding on to. Releasing them totally to God. And I realized, if my husband did do these things I want him to do, I still wouldn’t be satisfied if I am looking to him to meet my spiritual needs. And honestly, him not doing the things I wish he would do forces me to depend completely on God. That is a blessing!!!!

          I am so thankful to be on this journey with you and all of our sisters here!

          1. April,

            You and I have had some great conversations lately about how God has used the absence of others to lead us to rely completely on Him, haven’t we? I think, when it all comes down to it, God wants us to see that He is more than enough. That He is able to fill every longing and every void in our hearts. If our husband, children, friends, and family, were all to die tomorrow, our life would not be any less complete. We would be heartbroken, and understandably so, but our actual needs in life would not be forfeited. That’s something that the Lord has shown me much of lately. Spending nearly all of my marriage winning my husband without a word and truly not being able to rely on him to meet most of my needs and longings, the Lord was so faithful to show me that my marital poverty was an opportunity for spiritual abundance. I can say from experience that Jesus is more than enough. He is my first and truest love. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with my Savior for even the most perfect of marriages. I would rather live desolate than to never know the love of my Savior.

            I was listening to a sermon yesterday by Dr. David Jeremiah. I couldn’t keep my eyes dry. He is so spot on regarding God’s purpose for pain and suffering in our lives. We must choose to look at every seeming deficit in our lives as a blessing in disguise. When God prepares us for greater things, He must strip us of the lesser. He is pruning us so that we may bear greater fruit for His Kingdom. Without that pruning, we would wither away and die. The storms of life are meant to expose our weaknesses so that we may strengthen them and build a stronger foundation. Without the trials and storms of life, we would never see the areas of our live that are disintegrating. May we rejoice in our sufferings and the times when Jesus graciously tells us “no” so that He can say “yes” to something so much greater and more worthwhile.

            Love you, sister. You are such a blessed and faithful friend to me.

          2. thejoyfilledwife,
            AMEN! AMEN!
            AMEN!

            Thank you so much for sharing this. How I pray we might all cultivate this holy perspective about our trials and the obstacles and problems we face.

            There is an apple tree near a school in our neighborhood that is never pruned. I think of God’s pruning us as believers every time I see that tree. In the late summer, the tree is so loaded with fruit that the unpruned long branches begin to bend and bow over until many of them break completely off of the tree every year. The poor tree looks wretched! I can’t help but wonder what it would look like and how much more fruit it could bear if it were pruned properly by someone who knew what he/she was doing.

            I would love to share this comment in a post, my friend! What do you think?

          3. And the apple tree illustration is spot on. I hope you use that, too.

            Some family members of mine have several fruit trees in their yard. It’s quite costly to keep them pruned and they are far too busy to care about doing it themselves. Every time I visit, I can’t believe how tiny the fruit are that grow on those trees. They are puny. If the trees were pruned properly, there would be large, ripe fruit growing there and the branches would be able to sustain the harvest. The puny, overly ripe fruit is completely useless. It never develops the proper texture or flavor to be pleasurable to eat. How similarly our lives are when we refuse to let go of the useless, worldly things in our life that choke our ability to ever be used for God’s pleasure and glory. If only we would stop resisting God’s faithful pruning and let go and let God, we would be amazed at the beauty of the fruit He develops in our lives.

          4. TheJoyFilledWife,
            Oh that is so good!

            Ok, I want to use that, too, please ma’am!!!!!! πŸ™‚ And, I think I have a picture of the unpruned apple tree. My daughter and I have tasted the apples from that tree. They are awful! Isn’t that interesting how important pruning is to produce the best possible fruit.

            Gives me a lot to think about!

          5. Hello Joyfilledwife & April! Your post here has blessed my heart!! Being a relatively new Christian, I have had to learn that I do in fact have influence and that my job is to win him without words. I have mentioned that I’m unequally yoked; and it is lonely – but I thank God for the loneliness – it only furthers my dependence on Him! Love the apple tree analogy w/ the pruning vs not pruning – it is so true. God bless you lovely ladies πŸ™‚

          6. Melanie,

            I am so excited about your new walk with Christ!! Woohoo!!!!!!!!! You may want to read thejoyfilledwife’s story on the post two weeks ago about God equipping a wife to stand firm in the face of her husband’s sin. It may bless you. πŸ™‚

            I am with you about seeing godly men worshipping and praising God. It is easy to get caught up in admiring them and then it can be easy to imagine being with them instead of your husband. Not good. I am glad you see that those thoughts are dangerous and destructive. It is important to nix those kinds of thoughts as soon as we have them and to very purposely turn our full attention to Christ.

            I am praying for you and your husband!

  6. Amen, A Fellow Wife.

    Wise words. I don’t get upset with my husband going out. I often encourage and welcome it. And I have lots going on for myself. A negative feeling sometimes crops up is all. My hubby has the odd moment like that too. The best thing the last time it happened is that we had such a laugh about it – we were literally laughing and hugging before he went out because it’s in a way ridiculous how we can let the enemy get a foothold. In that way we took the negativity captive.

    So true about stepfamilies though. Again I count my blessings because they outnumber the trials.

    M xx

  7. Thanks sisters for the sharing.My triggers are:

    A man talking to a woman or me with his total attention,that is, making tender eye contact
    Watching movies with a strong man holding a woman in their arms as she cries (oooh this is very captivating to me!!)
    Being asked how my day was, not just to answer “fine” but in a way that invites me to talk it all out.

    Of course, fantasizing about my hubby being financially stable than he is currently.(i have had to be careful especially around his friends who are stable to avoid the thought” they are better men”. I have realized that it is difficult to respect a man who is not leading financially. it takes God by His Holy spirit. no body prepared me for it before i got married.I guess its also because of my desire to stop working. But am grateful to God thus far.
    I also find my self thinking of if he passed away, would i remarry? or just enjoy the freedom? Am learning to live in the present, accept and appreciate it even as i wait for better days

    1. Your first two triggers are mine, also. My husband has no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who wants direct eye contact, nor does he have sympathy for tears (he says they are manipulative). But I have WAY more to be grateful for than to be negative about, and I have found other ways to meet my emotional needs. He’s a fabulous father, and so many men aren’t. I had to realize I am an adult, and the children are children, therefore more vulnerable. I can afford to be last on the list; they cannot.

  8. My goodness I had never truly taken the time to assess and recognize that such simple, everyday things truly were triggering me in my thought life. But YES they do. Thank you for posting, thank you for your honesty. WOW. I have a lot to think about now.

  9. Triggers. Wow. There’s a subject I could write a lot about. Mine are different than what most people have written here. I guess in a big way, I’m selfish. From these comments, it appears a lot of women think negative thoughts about who they wish their husbands were. For me, it’s more about who I wish I was. That sounds righteous off the bat – but I assure you – it’s not. It’s selfish and superficial.

    PICTURES – are a huge trigger for me. Pictures of myself – having to face the reality that I look like me and not like someone else. Pictures that slip by before I can delete them – or get pasted into a VBS slideshow without my knowledge for all the world to see. Pictures of everyone else in the world looking just as beautiful as they can be. Longing to look like anyone other than myself – and feeling so sorry for my husband when he calls me beautiful because we both know it’s just wishful thinking – even though he insists he means it. Pictures of everyone else looking thin and beautiful when I have to work so hard to stay the size I choose. It seems so easy for everyone else. And no matter how much weight I lose – I still look enormous in every. single. photo. I hate pictures.

    Videos people send me or link me to about things like body image or confidence. People mean well. The thing is, the people talking in the video are always stunningly beautiful!!! SO duh – they may have lacked confidence at one time, but it’s kind of hard to take them seriously. Another blogger once sent me a video of ten or so women sitting around a table talking about body image – and how they struggled with it. It was VERY unbelievable because every woman in that video was absolutely beautiful. Not an ugly duckling in the bunch. So where they get these made up body image issues they claim to have, I’ll never know. It was more harmful than helpful. Very hard to take seriously.

    I am not on Facebook – never have been. I know that would be a dangerous place for me to tread. I have heard that most people put their very best selves on Facebook and others often get down about it. I have no need to go there.

    Blog entries or comments about all the wonderful trips and dates everyone else goes on. My husband works so hard – too hard – and there’s not much time left for spending together. Sometimes that makes me sad.

    I am trying to learn to work past these thoughts. We DID just have a nice long weekend vacation as a family and it was a very good time. I only got upset a couple times and I try SO HARD to keep it to myself. But my husband can read me like a book and while that may sound great, sometimes it’s very annoying. :o) But I love him for it.

    I’m also trying to learn that I can’t look to him for all my fulfillment and happiness. That’s another tough one to understand. But I’m working. A work in progress – with a long, long way to go! :o)

    1. Becca,

      Thank you so much for sharing!

      I have thought of a lot more triggers in the past few days. This may have to be a series! But I appreciate you sharing yours, because I am sure there are many other wives who feel exactly like you do.

      I am really excited about the steps you are taking toward trusting Christ and getting rid of toxic mindsets that have you ensnared and hurting. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you! This is very helpful.

    2. Becca,

      I used to hate almost every picture of myself and every video! I couldn’t take compliments and it made my husband upset too. I thought he was lying!

      Now that I am 45 I have a different perspective on things. First of all, I regret all of the missed opportunities I let slip away by not posing with my babies or jumping in their videos. I always felt not thin enough or not pretty enough. I wish I could go back in time and just not care. I wish I had these memories recorded for my children. Really, what was I worried about? I think I have spent most of my adult life obsessing about my weight. I wish I could have those moments back.

      Here is a secret: MOST of the women I know are not happy with the way they look. Not just you. I think women in general are over critical of their appearance. WAY more then men are of themselves or the women they love.

      It is so annoying to watch those perfect looking women talk about self esteem I agree! I hear that! I have no idea what you look like, but looks matter less and less as time goes by. When you talk to someone else, are you thinking about how thin they are or attractive? Probably not, once you get past first impressions.

      Do you have some close friends? People you can be with who know you so well that how you look just doesn’t matter anymore? Do you have friends you can laugh with and share your experiences?

      Feeling these insecurities is actually a gift. Your suffering with self image can help others. Do you have a daughter? Niece? You can understand the shy insecurities of others in a way the beautiful people can not.
      My husband always told me that when I actually relax and forget to be mopey I look the most beautiful. I think that is true for everyone.
      Think about stopping the negativity for your marriage and children if you have them. It is a hard habit to break, but why punish yourself? You have the power to do this! It is a choice! Drop the burden you are carrying around and feel the joy!
      Amy

  10. One of the biggest triggers for me – can be when I see godly men worshipping at church; especially during the praise and worship music. I greatly admire them for it and if I’m not careful that thought leads to a bad place. I try to see them as brothers and move on, change the view.

  11. Some of my triggers are related to past issues. If you’ve had a father who was abusive and treated you like you didn’t matter, and didn’t care if you were hurt, those wounds are already there, so finding yourself married to an uncommunicative man who can be harsh and insensitive or selfish can spark some pretty poisonous thoughts and states of heart. Certain qualities in a guy, like leadership, courage, strength and integrity, and esp. loyalty can be triggering. Being treated with value and complimented on personal qualities and beauty are some others. Seeking inward truth and being to the bone honest and thoughtful has quite a drawing power too.

    A related topic that might be interesting is biblical boundaries; lessons learned about what ones are necessary and how to implement them in one’s life.

    1. Patricia,

      Childhood wounds can absolutely be huge triggers! Such a good point! I pray for you to find healing in Christ for those wounds, my sweet sister!

      Thank you for sharing your heart.

      Biblical boundaries – meaning – with other men outside of the marriage?

      1. I imagine to some degree in discussing triggers we have to avoid, we are already somewhat discussing the kind of boundaries we have to have to guard our hearts; boundaries with men outside of marriage and even boundaries with other people and situations that are needed to walk rightly with God . It could be what we are now doing to guard our walk with God and marriages, or mistakes we’ve made and what we’ve learned from it. Boundaries aren’t just needed with men but can also be needed with friends and family as well in terms of guarding our hearts and marriages, and our walk with God.

        1. Patricia,

          Yes, I think this discussion is helpful for us to be aware of areas where we may need to guard our hearts.

          I also have some posts about some of these issues:

          Do Not Expect Outside Support

          The Danger of Having Guy Friends

          Is It Wise to be Friends with Other Men?

          Choosing Girlfriends Wisely

          Giving Godly Marriage Advice to Friends

          Respecting Our Husbands Around Extended Family (also includes around friends)

          A Challenge to You Ladies (not to argue or complain – Phil 2:14-16)

          expectations

          The Respect Dare, Day 1 – Expectations

          Bitterness

          You can also search my home page for these topics which may be helpful with boundaries:

          – playing the martyr
          – using guilt to manipulate
          – the snare of people pleasing
          – control and boundaries
          – forgiveness
          – idols
          – idolatry

          I hope this may give ladies a place to start. πŸ™‚

  12. My biggest trigger is the “husband trashing” that happens when my group of women get together. I am so guilty of this! It feels so good to hear others trouble spots too. It helps me to hear the things other wives deal with and it is almost impossible for me to stop! I love my friends and they are such a huge support to me in a lot of areas.
    The danger is that my girlfriends know too much about my husband’s faults and they don’t forget! Sometimes they bring it up months later. Also, if the tables were turned, and my husband was doing the same amount of sharing about me to his friends, I would be livid!!!!! and embarrassed and so very hurt.

      1. I have had to dump friendships because of gossipy tendencies and husband bashing. I had a friend whose mother insisted she was called to be a pastor. She was at war with all the men who wanted to “suppress her giftedness” and were jealous of her call and she openly bashed and disrespected her husband in front of me while the poor guy was sitting in the living room listening to it all. My friend also had this same “bashing” spirit and would gossip and slander others, so even though she otherwise was a good friend in some respects, after talking to her about it, and seeing that she did not even recognize being out of line with scripture I had to let the friendship fall to the wayside. There’s a scripture that says ” what fellowship has light with darkness”? I’ve noticed that I have to pay attention to how I am reacting and responding after being with someone else and what it is that I am actually trying to fellowship with; I have one person in my life whose presence always seems to spark contention between my husband and I. Unbelievers and those walking in blatant disobedience can definitely be used of the enemy, with or without their knowledge and consent, to bring things into your life that contend against righteousness.

        April, I will check out some of these links, they are always helpful.

        1. Patricia,

          I know that women want to be equal to men. And we ARE! We are all of equal worth in God’s sight – Galatians 3:28 – men and women and people of all stations and walks of life and from every race are equal at the foot of the cross. But, we don’t understand the danger we can get ourselves in when we ignore and usurp God’s authority structure in our marriages and families and in the church.

          God’s Word is clear that it is only to be men who are in positions of authority over other men in the church. And He is clear that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church (I Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:22-33). And He makes it clear that when a woman usurps her husband’s authority and does not respect Him, the gospel of Christ is maligned (Titus 2:3-5). How that grieves my heart! That is what I was doing, not even realizing it, all those years that tried to be in charge and thought I had to lead because my husband wouldn’t or couldn’t. πŸ™

          When women take over leadership positions in the church and in the home that are not given to them by God, there are consequences and damage is done in our families and in our churches.

          I’m glad that you noticed that you were being too influenced by some of these relationships. Our close friends have such an impact on us. We pick up their attitudes and mindsets. It is important that we choose godly friends who will honor, support and bless our marriages and our walk with God, not tear these precious things down.

          Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. I think the triggers definitely change as we go along, maybe something gets better & then something else comes up…. Right now I’m triggered when I see my husband browsing his cell phone. That same position, that same action, seemingly all the time, causes very negative thoughts with me, i.e. we could be doing so many other things….or He could be doing something else….or I will think about leaving the house since he’s distracted anyway……..I wonder if others experience this & how they handle it.

    1. Rose,

      Absolutely, something like him being preoccupied with the TV, the phone, a tablet, sports, a video game, etc… that can definitely trigger angry, jealous, bitter, resentful feelings for a wife who feels she is not getting enough of her husband’s attention.

      I can relate to that!

  14. Rose & April,

    That is me completely with the phone! Right now, that one doesn’t bother me as much though because I know he understands my stance on the phone (I respectfully told him & then let it drop) so usually he quickly puts it away now when I see him on it and I don’t have to say anything.

    Possibly my number 1 trigger is when my husband is rude to me. This immediately makes my blood pressure rise. I try to respectfully say, “Would you let me finish please?” or whatever the situation is & then he gives excuses which makes me even more upset. Any advice on how to handle these situations? Right now I just say I need a minute and walk off so it doesn’t turn into something big. Is this me being too picky? I guess I’m still struggling with the when I can say stuff & what I can say that is still being respectful or if I should just stay quiet which then sometimes makes me feel as though I’m being walked all over. I know I need to work on giving up control and trust God to handle things but I guess I’m still unsure as to what that looks like exactly. Thanks for the blog April!

    1. Courtney,
      It is so hard to figure this stuff out at first!!

      Would you like to give an example of when he was rude? Maybe you can share what happened and what each of you said? And we can talk about possible ways to handle it?

      1. Haha Well, after taking it to God and thinking about the situation, I see that I need to show more grace in situations like these. I love that God is opening my eyes to my sin so that we can change it.

        It’s interesting to me though that movies or books, etc don’t effect my thinking as much as my husband doing something wrong. Repeat offenses get me especially. But God has opened up my eyes to how I need to be more forgiving. I was reminded of Matthew 18:22.

        My husband can do one thing, a relatively small thing, and I get all worked up and seem to lose sight of all the good things that he does. There’s that pride creeping in..

        Your blog is such a blessing to me. It is so awesome to have a place where I can read biblical truths about issues that I am going through & be totally open and honest about my journey.

        1. Courtney,
          I am thrilled that you took this to a God and listened to His Word! Wow!!!! That made my day!

          I am so thankful that God is willing to use my story and this site to bless you. That is a big answer to prayer for me!

          Just so you don’t feel weird, a husband being ride would be a big trigger for most wives.

          Gary Thomas – Sacred Marriage – writes that we are never more tempted to sin than when we are sinned against.

          But we have been shown much grace, forgiveness and mercy, and, through God’s power working in us, we can extend that all to our husbands.

          I love the book Grace Filled Marriage by Dr Tim Keller. πŸ™‚

          I am so glad we can walk this road together!

          Much love!
          April

          1. Hi Courtney! This blog has helped me sooo much! One of the main things I’ve learned is to Not focus on negative things about my husband , but instead on how I can be a Godly wife. There are so many ways we can bless our husbands (as April puts it) and it does make a difference. I’ve seen God bless our marriage in many ways as I let go and let God. Thankful for the encouragement and support here….

          2. Hello, Rose! Yes, this blog is so helpful! And you are completely right that shifting focus to what I can do vs. what my husband may not do is the way to go. I’m new on this journey and still struggle, but I have seen many times already where this has made such a difference for us. Thank you for the encouragement!

            Hi, April! That makes sense what Gary Thomas says about being sinned against. I am starting to read through the books on your list. I’m only on my 2nd one (The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands – very eye opening) but Sacred Marriage is definitely on my list. & I want to read Grace Filled Marriage once it is out.

            One thing that has been hard for me is trying to “win my husband without a word” since I am a woman of many words. πŸ™‚ My husband is a believer, just not a follower and I used to think how much easier it would be if he wanted to persue a relationship with Christ too. God has recently changed my thinking & I feel honored that God would use me to win my husband over. It is a long road though, and I know I must be patient. God is definitely using my marriage to refine me. I just never saw it that way until now.

            Praying for you both!

          3. Courtney,

            Almost all of us as women are women of many words! That is why God’s commands are so difficult for us. They are totally counterintuitive and go against our normal nature. πŸ™‚

            I’m really excited about what you are learning and about how open your heart is to hear God’s voice and learn to get rid of your old ways of thinking and embrace God’s wisdom.

            Much love!
            April

          4. Courtney; you are not the only one who suffers from a “loose fan belt” πŸ™‚ lol! Sometimes I find myself doing what I call “prattle” – mindless babbling. It can be for a variety of reasons, everything from using talk to dominate and control the relationship, and all the space in between, covering over anxiety and discomfort, avoiding reality, avoiding myself, you name it. My husband and I were driving somewhere the other day and the entire trip, he made no conversation. Which is typical. Our talk was limited to my asking him occasional questions to which he replied in one or two word phrases and trying to get him to engage in two way conversation. Of course to a woman, refusing to share from the heart back and forth various ideas and feelings equals rejection of intimacy and closeness, so you can bet this made me very anxious and uncomfortable and once again I was trying to make happen what I thought should be happening. At one point I listened to myself and thought ” My goodness, I am making the most mindless, inane conversation! I mean, I sound like an airhead! I am far from a non intelligent person and think deeply about many things and I have a bent sense of humor too, so yapping way like a brainless small dog was ultimately not even respecting myself. It was as if I felt somehow that I had to “manage” the discomfort and silence between us and offer a running commentary on everything like some kind of crazy tour guide. Since responsibility and control go hand in hand, taking that much responsibility usually equals taking that much control. Sometimes I think we are uncomfortable with silences because of awareness of “what lies beneath it”; in my case a whole history of sin and offenses that have cooled our affection towards each other and brought up some serious questions about our relationship. I forget all the time about that verse about winning our husbands without a word. I’ve thought about having my mouth boarded up often! But this is a good reminder. Godliness solves a lot of problems but verbal diarrhea if anything just makes them even more accentuated.

          5. Patricia,

            I can relate to that!

            As women, we want to have constant verbal communication – at least I do. My husband doesn’t really need that like I do. He can feel totally connected to me without talking at all. It was a blessing when I discovered that he always feels connected to me, unless I tell him I feel disconnected. I used to think that unless we were actively “verbally/emotionally/spiritually connecting” that we were unconnected. It helped me to know how differently he views this.

            If there is damage in the relationship, that can definitely contribute to silence as well. It took Greg about 3.5 years into this journey before he felt safe with me again.

            Praying for wisdom for y’all!!!

            Thank you so much for sharing!

            Love,
            April

  15. My hugest, HUGEST trigger has to be my husband allowing others to behave badly towards me or even worse, actually supporting them instead of me in situations like that. I have contributed to it to some degree and some of it is definitely people pleasing behaviour.

      1. Hi April,
        I have prayed about it, voicing my concerns to God; I’ve talked to him about it too but he just “ignores” the issue and acts like he’s being hassled and its unreasonable for me to expect him to risk himself on my behalf or for me to see it as a betrayal. I’m not talking about minor crankiness on the part of a relative either, but rather staged acts of disrespect, blatantly insulting behaviour, attempts at overriding boundaries, that sort of thing. its a huge respect and marriage commitment issue to me. However, the only idea of what to do I have at this point is to begin opting out of going anywhere that this situation occurs and letting him know why. Twice he’s told me that from now on, if it occurs with his family, he will do something about it but then something occurs and he minimizes the offense and then maximizes the blame on me. I have clarified for him several times that he needn’t stage some big tough guy scene, and that it would be fine with me if he merely stood up with offended dignity, took my hand and escorted me out without saying a word if he prefers. Quiet dignity and a withdrawal from that situation or person can speak just as loudly as calling someone out. I am not interested in him starting a major brouhaha where he could get hurt.
        I’d be interested in knowing what others have done in situations like this. Its really affected my feelings for him and respect to say the least.

        1. Patricia,

          I do think that you could choose not to go, with a brief, respectful explanation about why if he asks.

          Has he ever stood up for himself to his family?

          What does he do when they insult or disrespect him personally?

          Praying for wisdom for you!

          1. Hi April,
            I kind of had this discussion with him earlier today; we covered a lot of ground. I did manage to let him know in a non attacking and respectful way how I felt and where I now stood. The subject matter was pretty “flammable” if you know what I mean but because I kept my voice low key and matter of fact and stated things more in a this is where I am at and this is what I need to do now” way instead of a ” If you don’t do x or y, I am going to do this!!!! way, it went fairly well without a fight erupting.

            The idea of just drawing in my boundaries and not going places where I’m being subjected to sinful behaviour, because he is allowing it and won’t stand with me, had actually never occurred to me before. I think that’s because I didn’t think I could do this without having others including him mad at me and I have a hard time with that sort of thing. But really, there’s a point where what you gain by this kind of compromise, fakery and lack of self respect isn’t worth keeping anyway. I explained to him that what I did wrong was compromise what was right to organize my life around a person or people’s approval, instead of holding to what was right and letting life and others arrange around right, because I trusted God. This has a way of separating the wheat from the chaff anyhow. Like scripture says, “and if he listens, you have won your brother, but if not…..”.

            Hope my attempt to explain my thinking makes sense, lol. I have sat there holding in the tears with a phoney smile pasted on my face when something was being done or said that was intended to hurt and demean, and I didn’t have the courage to take my purse and get up and leave, because I didn’t want to risk losing my man – so I sat there and pretended I was fine with something I was far from fine with, tolerating outrageously mean and disrespectful behaviour. As a result of such idolatry I’ve wound up being pulled way off course. So this is quite a change for me to have done this without getting angry because he wasn’t responding how I’d like. The beauty of it is that it wasn’t dependent on how he responded but on what was right. And because I am looking towards God, its not about ” I’ve had all I can take and now you’re going to get it”, either. I have not ceased to value him, just ceased to try to uphold a fantasy and pretend things are fie that aren’t. But its far from a done deal and there will be challenges ahead as I figure out how and where to redraw out of boundaries and motives to become aligned with God again and integrity. Definitely need continued prayers April and sisters πŸ™‚

          2. Patricia,

            It sounds like God gave you self control and wisdom. I love this!!!!
            I am praying for continued sensitivity for you to God’s Spirit. I am glad you found a way to respect him and yourself. This sounds very good!

  16. Thank you April, this support in trying to figure out a path through this without falling into the ditches that exist on either side is so much needed and appreciated.

    He has from time to time, refused to do something he was being pressured to do that was an act of deliberate disrespect. sometimes he argues back and gets into it; Mostly he just pretends nothing happened, denies having any feelings about it, acts like its no big deal. I’ve seen him tolerate incredibly demeaning behaviour and say nothing about it. It isn’t coming from humility I think but a sort of victim mindset of powerlessness. A relocation has removed the number of times relatives can be a problem but the lack of proper boundaries and willingness to tolerate behaviour that is aggressive and disrespectful continues in other situations. Its as if he wants so badly to be just a good ole boy with a lot of friends that he doesn’t want to recognize when people’s motives are less than friendly.

    1. Patricia,

      If he is accepting this kind of treatment for himself, he may not be able to defend you either. But, I believe, as he sees your respect for him grow, he may develop the confidence to stand his ground. It will require a lot of patience, prayer and sensitivity to God’s Spirit as you wait for God to work in him.

      Praying for wisdom for you both!!! πŸ™‚

  17. Patricia,

    I have had a similar situation happen not too long ago, and it definitely isn’t completely resolved. I wish I had words of wisdom for you, but I still have to pray about this constantly too.

    The latest thing God has laid on my heart about this is that I am to love and forgive them no matter what. This is where I feel things get complicated for me though, because as April has said before we are commanded to love & forgive but we are not commanded to trust. That did make me lose my trust in them, but it’s hard for me to know for sure that I am actually loving and forgiving and not just distrusting.

    I’ve tried to not be upset at my husband because this has to be an awful, awful situation for him, and although he may not have reacted the way I wanted, it was not him who initally caused the hurt. It sounds like you have told your husband respectfully how you would like it handled, so maybe try your best to drop it with him and hopefully he will come through for you!

    I know how hurtful it is to feel like you weren’t stood up for. Any time they are brought up, we have to tread very carefully which is so unfortunate. I try not to mention them at all, if possible and just respond respectfully (but saying as little as possible) when they are. I’ll also be praying for wisdom for us!

    1. Courtney,

      I am so sorry that you have had such a painful issue.But I am very excited to see the good God plans to bring from this. I pray that you might be able to rebuild the trust and for you to be very sensitive to God’s Spirit and leading in your life.

      I am praying for wisdom for you and healing for you and for Patricia, my precious sisters!

      1. Hi Courtney,
        Thank you for sharing your situation with me. Its definitely a difficult one isn’t it? For a long while I felt powerless and as if there was nothing I could do about it to set boundaries. I realize that this is an area where I failed before; I am not very good at releasing offenses esp if I feel devalued, but I also have realized like you that if I really want to be Christ’s discipline ( and not my own ) that I have to walk in love and forgiveness. I cannot say right now how disappointed I am repeatedly with myself when I destroy whatever witness I might have had, because my life is so much about me and my love level so lacking. Some of it is not being sure about what boundaries to set in certain situations; is it legalism, control, compromise or righteousness sort of thing. But a lot of it is also plain old idolatry of self and others too. Thanks again especially for your prayers for both of us, much needed πŸ™‚

        1. It is so difficult! I ran across some verses today that spoke to me about this situation that I wanted to share with you. Hebrews 12:7 says to endure hardship as discipline. Then Hebrews 12:11 tells us “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

          I get down on myself too, when I look see how my love level is lacking or has lacked in past situations. These verses give me hope though because we are still growing in Christ & He is using these difficult situations to make us more like Him! Continued prayers for us friend!

  18. GREAT discussion….and as always, VERY timely for me. I just recently realized that a big trigger for me is husbands who compliment their wives or brag on them to others. I have had to remind myself that it is my ego and pride that is desiring this so intensely…..AND…perhaps God has been holding my husband back in this area in order to break me of me need for this.

    God really spoke to me the other night. He reminded me that my husband and I are two halves of one and that whatever I pray for my husband, I need to also pray for myself. I started doing that……and the very next day God answered my prayer to bring whatever is hidden to the surface for healing. God showed me how my deep fear of my husband cheating on me or leaving me is rooted in something I have never been able to do for him in the bedroom (because it is painful). Right now, I am praying for wisdom and discernment about whether I should have a conversation with my husband and admit this fear to him. I am also praying that if it’s God’s will for me to do this, HE will prepare my husband’s heart and mind to really hear and absorb it. I am also praying that God will give me HIS words. If you have a minute, join me in this prayer? Thank you!

    1. I almost forgot to mention….my trigger (husbands who brag on their wives in public) happens almost every time I listen to my favorite sermon podcast. I mentally compare my unbelieving husband with this pastor and I now have to just skip through the opening of the sermon to get to the meat of the message. That helps for now. I am confident that as God heals me of this need, I won’t always have to do that!

  19. I wonder if reading Proverbs 31 could be a “trigger” for a man?

    I actually think it’s good to be aware of others’ faults BUT only such that you can respond to them in love. πŸ™‚

      1. To me, April, your blog has (among other things) a similar effect that my Bible did back when I seriously started studying it in my early twenties: “oh, so women really aren’t supposed to make men feel absolutely miserable?” And, it actually matters when they do. It’s sinful when they do. Despite how normal (and oftentimes outright exalted) for women to men harm with out it mattering at all, I can see that it matters a great deal to God–that is to say, men matter. And not just because we’re “useful.” πŸ˜‰

        Regardless of whether I ever marry or not–and I’m leaning heavily towards “no” right now (not until I find true community of the Body of Christ)–it is an incredible liberation. It has nothing to do with being married or not. “Romance” has nothing to do with it for me.

        A great blessing. πŸ™‚

        1. Rose,

          What do I mean that my blog could be a trigger for men? Well, many husbands read what I write and how we talk about honoring and respecting husbands but their own wives are very disrespectful and controlling, and it can be hard for a husband not to feel jealous or resentful about why his wife doesn’t practice these things.

          Is that what you were asking about? πŸ™‚

          1. I see, that makes sense. I know I’ve shared with my husband how much I enjoy this blog & how I feel that it helps me. I’ve wondered if he might look at it. Oh well, he won’t know my name, haha! I would like to know the men’s triggers. That would be interesting. Thanks again!

          2. Rose,
            Many men read my blog and find great reason for hope! Some men read my blog and “reverse engineer” how to help things work better in their marriage. Some men are able to use my blog to better understand their wives’ challenges and perspectives and to show greater empathy. But, some men do feel bitter about how badly they feel they have been treated in marriage (just like some women do). And it can be difficult for them to read about godly wives should do, just like it can be difficult for some of us to read about what godly husbands should do.

            The fact that you are working on your end of the relationship tells me that he is probably feeling very, very blessed to have you! πŸ™‚

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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