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Winding Country Road through autumnal Landscape

A Fellow Wife Reflects on Her Two Year Journey

Winding Country Road through autumnal Landscape

 

I first “met” a Fellow Wife Β in October, 2012. I can’t begin to count all the discussions we shared together. Β  This has been a difficult, painful and challenging journey at times – as it is for all of us who seek to know, obey and please Jesus. We must die to self, go against the wisdom of our culture, deny our sinful nature, let go of the things we cherish most and seek to trust God rather than self. Now, as I see where she is today spiritually compared to where she was two years ago, I have to thank and praise God for His goodness and power! I believe that the more wives’ stories we can hear, the better. I know her story will bless you:

 

 

It was 2 years ago next month that I first began pursuing becoming a more godly wife. It was 1 year ago this August that I really got it–what this journey was all about and how it could work for me. At first I thought it was all about putting all these little behaviors into practice by memory and it was all about memorizing a new way of being and being someone different than I really was…. 1 year ago this month, it REALLY clicked for me and I saw that this was not about changing who I am and following a bunch of rules that would make me a plastic Stepford wife. It was about letting go of so many things I was trying to hold onto and manipulate. It was about learning boundaries and what and who I am and am not responsible for.

It has been a very interesting year. It has been a year filled with learning, changes and challenges. Sometimes I have passed with flying colors. Sometimes I have failed miserably and fell flat on my face. I thought I would take a look back at THEN (being the time period before I really *got it* or surrendered- and NOW (being 1 year into this new way of living and being married.) I will be very real with you about the good, the bad and the ugly. But it is my hope to reflect back for myself and share a bit of my story that it might help some of you relate or be encouraged. Let’s begin.

THEN: We had big arguments any time there was conflict. I fought tooth and nail, determined if I just hung in there and talked long enough, my husband would eventually get it.
NOW: Arguments are rare. I approach them differently… making it my goal to speak my thoughts and feelings and exit the discussion giving my husband time to process. Sometimes a few sentences is all I say because it is all I need to say. I have found that when I don’t act ugly, my husband is thinking about how I feel vs how I acted. He is more likely to apologize now. MUCH more likely.

THEN: I was an endless pit of need. My husband could not do enough to make me happy in the way of affection, attention or time. I griped and fussed about this often. He was very tuned out.
NOW: While I still want affection, attention and time from my husband, it is not my entire focus. I give my husband much more space to decide to give or not to give me those things. I am much more secure within myself. I don’t depend on him as deeply.

THEN: He never noticed me.
NOW: He compliments me on occasion…. maybe 1-2 times a month. This is huge considering in the past, years would go by without him complimenting me.

THEN: I thought I could control his feelings for me and his actions toward me.
NOW: I have had HUGE lightbulb moments that have taught me there is no way you can control another person’s feelings or make someone show they love you. At best, all you have is manipulation. You may manipulate your husband into making a gesture of love but neither of you are satisfied with this because you both know it isn’t from his heart, it is from your pushing.

THEN: I sit home and cried when my husband went out a few times a month. I whined. I pouted. We argued.
NOW: While I can’t deny I still feel a twinge of wishing he wanted to spend more time with me from time to time, I don’t sit home and feel sorry for myself. I go out with my girlfriends and have fun on my own. I arrive home happy and refreshed which makes me a wife he is happy to come home to.

THEN: I begged for time together. It was probably our biggest point of contention.
NOW: I no longer beg for time together. I will, on occasion, mention something I would like to do together. I still want to spend more quality time together. But I am okay without it and find other things to occupy myself. I hope someday that we spend more time together. But I can be okay either way.

THEN: There was no inner happiness in me. I kept myself in a constant state of worry over our marriage and worked hard at forcing changes I wanted.
NOW: I understand boundaries better. I realize I am responsible for myself and my own emotions. I realize he has the right to make his own decisions.

THEN: I was clingy and needy. Embarrassingly so. I thought the harder I tried to cling, the more pressure it would put on him to be affectionate and loving toward me. It never worked. In fact, it smothered him and repelled him. It also left me feeling desperate and altogether yucky. Not pleasant.
NOW: I understand how to give my husband space. While I am occasionally affectionate with him just because I love him and want to reach out to him, I give him a good amount of space. AND, I am thrilled to say that after some time had passed…. maybe 3 months?… he started searching me out. He now puts his arm around me sometimes. He will kiss or hug me when he passes me in the kitchen. He is overall more affectionate and loving. This was a wonderful gift! I learned that men need space to give you the things you long for.

THEN: I pursued him. Totally. And I did not like that feeling.
NOW: I give him room to pursue me… and he does. It isn’t as aggressively as I might hope but it is definite pursual.

THEN: I did not understand him or the ways he was trying to show me love.
NOW: I understand men MUCH better, although not perfectly. This is because I have studied and read several books on the subject. I have also learned to ask my husband questions. A lot of times I think he meant one thing when he really meant another. I ask him what he meant. I ask him how he feels. I don’t take for granted that I automatically understand him.

THEN: I called the shots and did things my way. This also weighed on me heavily.
NOW: I am perfectly happy with him being in charge. It makes me happy to submit to him. (most times). I trust his judgment. I feel much lighter without so much on my shoulders. I know that I can offer my perspective and ideas and then allow him to decide what is best.

THEN: I saw us as totally intertwined and as if we owned each other.
NOW: I have learned about interdependence and that I do not own him. He has to give his love freely to me and cannot do so if I am trying to force it out of him. He is defeated before he even begins.

THEN: I thought this was something I would do and then be done with- mark off my to-do list and move on.
NOW: I realize this is a journey. It is a lifetime thing. It is something I will always be learning. It is something that I will mess up on at times but will continue to improve on overall, with time.

THEN: He did not care about my feelings and was not interested in hearing about them.
NOW: He does care about my feelings, especially when I can express them in a clear, feminine, softly spoken manner.

THEN: I thought being a respectful wife was about following all these hundreds of rules that I could never remember all of them and felt very panicked at trying! I had true anxiety attacks for days after trying to implement all of them.
NOW: For me, this was all about releasing my husband and letting go of any attempt to control him. All other respectful behavior will grow naturally from that action. There are no rules to memorize. There are things you will realize and learn and click in place.

Overall, my husband is more of a leader because I vacated that spot. He is a bit more assertive now. He is comfortable correcting me through a gentle rebuke when I am disrespectful whereas before he had just given up and wouldn’t try to tell me because it did no good. I am more comfortable listening to him and truly hearing him and his feelings. If there is an argument, order is restored much more easily between us. He is more affectionate, more observant and overall more loving toward me. He has even done some very surprising, bold things to show that in the last year which I treasure.

There are still some changes I would like to see come to pass in our marriage. But even if they never, ever do, our marriage is much, MUCH better for my surrendering to him. It is healthier. I am healthier within our marriage.

This is a God thing. I could not have done this without God’s help. And every change I have made is backed up by God’s instructions on how to be a godly wife. God KNOWS how men work and how wives can best live with their man in a happy, healthy way. I cannot tell you the moments of amazement that I have experienced in the last year when I discovered how spot on April was about men or how spot on Shaunti Feldhahn was in her books “For Women Only” and “The Surprising Secrets Of Highly Happy Marriages”. My husband would verify almost 100% of the time that these were correct about how men think and feel- or at least how he thinks and feels.

But in addition to it being a God thing, it was a decision I had to make for myself, because being a controlling, aggressive wife that acted very masculine was not healthy for me or my marriage. That did not fit. It felt comfortable because it was all I knew but it wasn’t the way a wife should be. Making the decision to let go of my husband and give up my attempts to control him- which did not work anyways- and to find my own joy and contentment was a very healthy decision. I love this way of living.

Yes, I have had some times of hurt and frustration since I began my journey. But the times of true peace within myself and the peace that I have at not trying to control everything is so much greater. There are also many wonderful, sweet and joyful moments such as when my husband does decide to show his love for me in his own unique way.

I hope this offers you a word of encouragement to stay the course.

55 thoughts on “A Fellow Wife Reflects on Her Two Year Journey

    1. Love the then and now comparisons, and I can relate to so many “thens” right now as I begin the journey. Thank you for sharing!

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey. What books did you read? I need help in these areas and am often anxious about feeling unloved and become clingy which starts to pudh my husband further away.
    thank you for sharing – may God continue to grow your marriage and grow you!

    1. Hi, Bonnie! I have read lots of books. First of all, I have read the articles on this blog- some of them many times.

      But on to books I have read that helped me:
      The Surrendered Wife
      Love & Respect
      For Women Only
      The 12 Secrets Of Highly Successful Couples- at least the title is something like that. It is by Shaunti Feldhahn, the same author of For Women Only.
      His Brain, Her Brain
      The Grace Filled Marriage.

      I hope these help you! The most helpful for me were The Surrendered Wife and For Women Only

  2. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    Much of what this friend of mine has learned in the past 2 years applies whether a woman is single or married. It is the attitude of the heart, the learning to trust God and stop trying to control things ourselves that we all must learn as we seek to become the women God desires us to be. I believe this will bless you. πŸ™‚

  3. Today’s blog was awesome. It is somewhat my story. I have been on this journey for two years now. I am not married but had two dates set to get married and he cancelled them because I argued allot. I was trying to control the relationship and instead I called him controlling. I unfortunately lost him a few months ago, even though we have still talked. He can’t seem to believe that I have changed, He wants to know the difference now and before and I couldn’t explain it. But the blog this morning was so much of how I was before and how I am now. I forwarded it to him, in hopes and pray that he would now understand and if he doesn’t, then I will have to let it go. I thank god for the wife who got it. I am almost 50 and never been married, never had a loving relationship until this past one and so I never understood what submission really meant. God bless all of you as you continue your journey!

  4. I am not sure where it could have changed, only you know that… Perhaps you let a bit of your independence and inner self slip away? Maybe you can start working on getting back to who you truly are. Best of luck!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I’m on it too, and have been for half of my year marriage. It’s comforting to know it won’t happen over night, I too at times feel like it’s a to-do list thing, like oh I did it today, or didn’t do it, but honestly the Times I “fail” at being a respectful wife, are the days I didn’t pray, or think about God or ask Him to guide me all through my day, when I get busy with life, I forget this is about me becoming more like Jesus, and less of a burden I must do to get my husband to be more loving. So Thank you April for sharing this wives journey! The then and now really helped.
    I have one question about one of the things the wife said about pursuing her husband. I try not to do this but what exactly is pursuing him? I tend to be very lovey and touchey and affectionate, kissing and cuddling in the morning, giving compliments, doing things for him(food laundry) is this pursuing my husband?
    Thanks!

    1. Learningwife,

      It is so great to hear from you!

      Yes, if we think that this is “about following a bunch of rules so our husbands will love us more” – we will be REALLY, REALLY frustrated!

      This journey is about being sanctified as believers, it is about allowing God to be LORD in our lives, it is about Him refining and pruning us and making us more like Christ. πŸ™‚

      A Fellow Wife is welcome to respond to the pursuing thing. But, what many of us did (or do), is smother our husbands with affection to try to make them return affection. Does that make sense? If you are constantly being affectionate with your husband and then you are disappointed when he doesn’t return the affection, or he says something like he feels smothered, then, there are times when backing up a bit and giving him a bit of space can be important.

      If he is happy with your affection and he responds favorably, and if you aren’t mad at him for his response or lack thereof , keep doing what you are doing! πŸ™‚

      1. Hi, LearningWife….

        A good example of my perspective on this is captured in an article I wrote to help myself learn to stop pursuing on September 6th, 2013 called “I’m Going To Stop Pursuing My Husband (In The Wrong Ways)”. You can find it on April’s timeline or over on the Popular column on the right hand side.

        I want to add that I think it is perfectly fine to be loving and affectionate as long as it is coming from your heart and you aren’t trying to manipulate a certain response from your husband. You also do want to give him enough space to show you HIS feelings.

        And I don’t think taking care of things like food and laundry is pursuing him at all! You are fulfilling your role as his helper there.

        I hope this was helpful.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing that!! Every word of that is what my journey has been too. I was controlling and aggressive. And when I tried to change my marriage, it was to change my husband. Then I wanted to try the submissive thing and had so many rules that I couldn’t keep up! When something didn’t work, I was either despondent or angry or hurt.
    It is so wonderful to be off that roller coaster!! I can’t say I do everything perfect now but at least I can refocus more quickly when I get off track. I am not spending all day every day focusing on how I can change my marriage and over thinking every little thing. I am trying my best to obey God, be loving and peaceful and let God do the rest.

    1. Yes, trying to keep track of rules is overwhelming and impossible. Focus on trying to change YOURSELF into being a godly wife and respectful actions will follow.

  7. Do women ever go through all this and then realize that they don’t really like their husbands anymore? Do some women realize that they can have a wonderful life no matter what their hubby is doing and when he finally comes around they dont want to be around the husband? Do you force yourself to go on date with a man you don’t like anymore, or politely tell him that you’re fine not going (if he’s doing it just because he thinks you want to)? I just wonder how women continue to want to spend time with men who aren’t very enjoyable.

    1. Lisa,
      I haven’t run into this being an issue. As a wife allows God’s Spirit to be in control, He helps her see her husband from God’s perspective and fills her heart with the love of Christ for her husband.

      Generally, husbands respond in time by being more loving and attentive. But, our greatest goal is to please and honor Christ and to bless, love and honor our husbands, whether or not they change.

      1. I love my husband, but I’d rather spend time with girlfriends than him. I sometimes turn him down for them. He doesn’t seem to mind. He isnt a bad guy, I’m just not that into him. After I started this journey, made lots of changes and realized that he is who he is, I also realized that who he is isn’t someone I want to spend copious amounts of time with. We can love people with the love of Christ and not necessarily want to spend time with them. I don’t want to change him anymore, but I also don’t want to spend my time basking in his precense. I’m not angry, I’m just not that interested. In some ways I think angry was better than indifferent.

        1. Lisa

          There is no doubt that girlfriends are important. No one can quite get you like they can and they are so much fun to talk with, shop with and just share with.

          But I have to say that I think you need to realize how very blessed you are that your husband WANTS to spend time with you. That is something I have wanted very much for my whole marriage and am still waiting to happen. Some husbands love their wives but do not feel a need for quality time together. (like mine)

          Please realize what a special blessing you have in having a husband that wants quality time with you.

          You can certainly have both- time with girlfriends and time with your husband. And if you have already made plans with your girlfriends, that is fine and you don’t have to break them. But treasure that your husband thinks you are a treasure.

        2. Lisa,

          Based on the other comments you have made about your lack of attraction to your husband and the seeds sown before marriage – I am concerned for you and your marriage. I’m sad about your indifference to your husband. I pray for healing for you, your husband and your marriage. I know that God is able to make something truly vibrant, beautiful, passionate and healthy from your marriage.

          Much love to you!

          1. Thank you! I agree that I made some mistakes early on. I thought that being a respectful wife would change things more than they have. He thinks our marriage is perfect. Sometimes I worry that I’m wide open for an affair, but I wouldn’t want a man who would pursue a married woman anyway.
            I think that things will most likely continue the way they are. At least one of us thinks things are fantastic. I’m not being sarcastic.

            1. Lisa,

              I am definitely concerned that you are ripe for an affair. How are you doing with focusing on things to respect and admire your husband about? And how are you doing with focusing on things that are attractive about him? How is it going with shooting down thoughts of other men?

              How long have you been on this journey now, 2-3 months?

              What is your relationship with Christ like at this time, my precious sister?

              Much love!
              April

              1. Lisa,

                I believe the enemy loves to use ideas like, “I think it was a mistake to marry him,” or, “I married the wrong man,” with many, many wives. The truth is, almost every wife feels this way at some point. But then, we are able to decide to honor our vows and to seek God’s strength that goes way beyond our human strength to make our marriages stronger. We can choose to not believe the lie, “I married the wrong man.” And we can choose to accept that we ARE married to the guy we have and we can choose to believe that at this point THIS man is God’s will for us and that God can make something beautiful from this situation.

                I think it is easy to assume that another guy would make our lives so much better. But I actually believe that we would be in the same mess if we had another man. Because ultimately, the reason for our discontent lies within US.

                I am excited that you love Jesus and that you want to honor your husband. I see that you know you need to focus more on God and prayer and your time with HIm. And, I would also note, please focus on a long list of things you are thankful about for your husband in your prayer time, and do not focus on anything you want to change about him. Only focus on what God wants to change in you.

                I encourage you to focus very much on shutting down any thoughts that are destructive to your marriage. That would include negative thoughts about your husband and it would include thoughts of attraction to other men.

                I believe that God can change our feelings, especially as we obey and trust Him.

                I have often talked about this principle – obedience first, feelings later.

                And, thankfully, we don’t have to be held hostage to our feelings. We can even choose to change our feelings as we change our thinking.

                Much love!
                April

              2. Some things to take into consideration:
                Women who have affairs often consciously detach from their marriage before getting involved. When a woman has an affair, it is more often the result of long term marriage dissatisfaction. Women’s infidelities are about unhappy marriages and falling in love with somebody else. Well intentioned Christians who had not planned to stray are betraying not only their partners but also their own beliefs and moral values. The person most at risk? Those who say “I would never do that.” Morals stand no chance against starry dreams when a man shows up who finally gets her, who is so “into her” in a way she believes her husband could never be. The illusion of a soul mate is intoxicating, particularly to the woman who has already gone “off line” at home, because she “married the wrong man.” What you are dealing with, Lisa, is nothing new nor uncommon and you particularly need to recognize that your thoughts are grinding into a very deep long numbing groove. ANY man can become The Wrong Man in your head if you work at it long enough.
                God has more for you than this un-marriage, Lisa. He really does. But it will definitely require you to consciously seek the narrow path that few take.”For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

              3. Marked wife,
                I responded above before I read your comment – and you are reiterating exactly what I did! Thank you!

                I love what you said about how any man can become the wrong man if you work at it long enough. That is so true!

                That is the beauty of Philippians 4:8. Whatever you think about grows. When I focused on Greg’s failures and shortcomings, they grew and grew until that was all I could see. But, when I began to focus on the good things, the admirable things, the praiseworthy things, the lovely things – those began to grow until I could barely see his faults.

                It is easy to think that another man wouldn’t have our husband’s faults. And he may not. But he would have others. Each personality type has shortcomings and failures and struggles. There is no perfect man – or woman.

                The only “soul mate” that we can truly count on is Jesus. No human can perfectly meet our needs. Only Jesus can meet our deepest emotional and spiritual needs. I am glad you brought up the soul mate concept. I believe it is a dangerous and misguided belief. It encourages women to label their husbands “not the One.” And to assume that there is a special man made just for her out in the world waiting for her. When Jesus says: ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH ‘? 6″So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Matthew 19:5-7.

                Once we are married, it is God’s will for us to focus on building a healthy marriage with the man we are married to.

                Thank you for sharing this godly wisdom, Marked Wife. I can attest to the fact that when we are feeling very disconnected and unplugged from our marriages and our husbands, we are at great risk of temptation. I don’t want to see any of my sisters go down that road. Adultery leads to death. It destroys marriages and families and careers. It grieves the heart of God. The consequences can last for a life time.

                THANKFULLY, for any who have strayed, God’s grace is available and He is able to heal and redeem broken people and broken marriages. I have many friends who had an affair in their marriages, but whom God has healed and has made something beautiful from their marriages. But, I would love to see everyone avoid that awful road if possible!

                Check out my friend, Kayla’s post about Soul Mates.

                Much love!

              4. Lisa,
                When i have had inappropriate thoughts about other man, or anything, and i know i should not..
                What works for me is speaking out to the devil.
                For example: “I love my husband. Stop putting these thoughts into my mind.”
                I do not claim these thoughts as mine but the devil trying to influence me. So far it did work for me. I hope its helpful to you.
                You are not alone.

            2. Lisa,
              I am wondering… What attracted you about your husband when you first got married? Are those qualities in him not there anymore? If they are, can you try to focus on those things and think about those things? Or try writing down all the things that do excite you about your husband even if there aren’t many, there must be one. You married this man after all.. Also I am wondering do you want to be attracted to your husband? Do you wish you felt something more for him? If you do want this, you can Pray faithfully for as long as it takes to ask God to put that back into your heart…!

              Good luck, praying for you sister

              1. Learning Wife,
                I was attracted to him when we were dating if about 8 months. Then I started wanting to break up with him. I wasn’t sure. I eventually got pregnant and married him because of that. The more I got to know him, the more I wondered if he was the right man. I put myself in a situation where my circumstances forced the decision to marry. I’ve been trying to make the best of it for for about 3 years now. We have been married for 12 years. I was a pretty bad wife for the first 9.

              2. Hi Lisa,

                My cousin actually talked to me about his marriage at one time. One of his questions was, “What if I didn’t marry the right woman? What if she wasn’t ‘the one’?” My answer to him was, “When you married her, she became the right woman. That day, she became your ‘one’.” In other words, (to apply it to you) it doesn’t matter whether you were “meant for each other” before… when you choose to marry your husband, he became your “one”. It was interesting (and I thank God that he asked me, because though we love each other very much, we hardly ever talk and he lives hours away), because their marriage seemed really rocky before… I think he was considering divorce. After we spoke though, I believe the Lord also spoke to his heart, and his marriage seems to be a lot better. In fact, they ended up pregnant again, so that’s a sign they at least liked each other enough to do that… LOL

                One thing we tend to do as wives is expect too much out of our husbands… and then when they fail to deliver, we almost have a “Yep, I knew that’d happen” defeatist/passive aggressive attitude about it. As April said, whatever we dwell on is what grows. Perhaps you’ve done what I’ve done: tried out being respectful, then didn’t see the results you were looking for, so you started to get frustrated and think negatively about him again without realizing it.

                You didn’t say you have lost respect for him… but I feel you may have. My reasoning for this is that I have never thought, “I don’t really want to be around that person too much. I respect them, but I don’t really want to be around them.” The people I avoid (or choose other things over) are all people I DON’T respect. A short list of people I respect: My husband, my boss, my momma-in-law, April (peacefulwife), the older ladies at my church, the senior pastor, children’s pastors and youth pastors at my church… all of these people, I LOVE hanging out with! I think, “Wow, it’s great just talking with them! They have so much wisdom to share with me, and they’re so fun!” I never feel it’s a “downer” to have to spend time with the people I respect: I look forward to it! πŸ™‚ I feel like I can’t get enough time with these people.

                Another thought I had was, is it possible that you respect and admire/enjoy your friend’s company more because they’re more likely to tell you what you want to hear? I’m not saying this is the case, I’m just asking if that’s a possibility. Of course, we identify more with people who are like us… but has it turned into an “ear-tickling party”? Are you spending time with them in lieu of your husband possibly because it’s more comfortable that way: because they don’t confront sin in your life or offer you the truth, difficult it may be, when you need to hear it? Our husbands can be super-adept at seeing our failings, since we are who they’re around most. It can be painful and frustrating, for sure (trust me, I had one of those painful moments earlier today). But sometimes we need to sift through what they say and do to find the nugget of truth in there. Maybe their words came across harshly… maybe it felt really unloving… but sometimes, they’re really onto something and it just came across poorly. When this happens, it is sometimes easier to complain to girlfriends who you know will sympathize “How uncaring! What a jerk!” rather than say, “I don’t agree with how he said it, but he’s kind of right, you know. You are that way sometimes.” A husband can be like a great big magnified mirror, showing us every little imperfection. That’s painful… it’s painful to look at and painful to deal with. We’d rather look away. But if we take time to really look and deal with those things they reveal to us, God can do so much more in our lives.

                Ultimately, this is really about you and the Lord. You said earlier that your husband feels things are going well in your marriage: praise the Lord! I think it would be beneficial if you were to continue seeking the Lord in this regard… perhaps with renewed fervor and dedication.

                Another suggestion (if it applies): if you have noticed you gravitate more toward your friends because you’re more comfortable with them (or because they tell you what you want to hear), you may want to prayerfully consider a break or “fast” from them for a while, in order to hear God speak to you more clearly. Sometimes, when we add in too many voices, it can be hard to hear God’s voice. I know how much you enjoy your friends’ company, so I am aware this may be difficult for you… but sometimes the difficult things are the most necessary and beneficial. Just pray about it and see what the Lord reveals to you. It would also force you to become more invested in your husband, as he’d be your sole companion (besides the Lord, of course) during that time.

                Let me know if any of this helps… if I’m WAYY off base, feel free to ignore me. πŸ˜›

      2. I can actually kind of understand where Lisa’s coming from. I feel like I have tried and tried to make our marriage something great, but it hasn’t really been reciprocated and, in fact, my husband can be quite hurtful. So I’ve been on the respect journey for a while, and the combination of letting go/not controlling…along with protecting my heart from the hurt…along with finding things to do on my own to make me happy…have made things a bit confusing. I have discovered that I can be quite happy apart from what he’s doing/not doing, and it just exacerbates the fact that he can be unloving, dismissive, etc., and not very fun to be around. So it’s natural to rather do the things that bring peace to my mind rather than conflict. I pray and pray that he comes around (though I think I would be really, really, really happy if he did), but maybe if too much time goes by the feelings become irreversible.

        I do know that having an eternal perspective (holiness vs. happiness); understanding the sin nature; seeing him through God’s eyes, etc., can keep my heart soft. I’m trying to stay in that place. But I do get where Lisa is coming from.

        1. I am glad you mentioned again how long it took you to really feel comfortable and for your husband to become comfortable with the new you. It is a good reminder that I am still relatively young in this process… 2 years in but only 1 year into ‘getting it’. That gives me encouragement for the future and the blessings and peace it may hold. And how much more that I have to learn and look forward to.

          1. A Fellow Wife,
            Well, I wouldn’t say I was comfortable with living out respect and submission at 2.5 years, that probably took another 6-10 months. But I started to see the general direction I needed to go. πŸ™‚

  8. This last discussion has really got me to thinking of something else I am thankful for and ought to remember each and every day. I have a best girl friend but I don’t like to go out with girlfriends. I much prefer watching football with my husband. He also turns down opportunities to hang out with the guys. He likes being home. I need to be VERY grateful for this!!

  9. Lisa,
    I am wondering… What attracted you about your husband when you first got married? Are those qualities in him not there anymore? If they are, can you try to focus on those things and think about those things? Or try writing down all the things that do excite you about your husband even if there aren’t many, there must be one. You married this man after all.. Also I am wondering do you want to be attracted to your husband? Do you wish you felt something more for him? If you do want this, you can Pray faithfully for as long as it takes to ask God to put that back into your heart…!

    Good luck, praying for you sister

  10. My one year anniversary on this journey is coming up in November. I can see how important that milestone is and how things really begin to get interesting about a year or so in.

    Fellow wife, your story encourages me and gives me warm fuzzies. I used to get excited if my husband was able to pull off some huge expression of romantic love. Now I get excited when he can be tired and grumpy and my response is consistently graceful. The little things aren’t so little and they sure do add up. I think of how you’re demonstrating real love towards your spouse and I just think “Wow, wow, wow!” Your marriage has become so rich. You’ve become so much more fluid in this language. I feel proud of your work and how you represent faith and family to a dark world. God is so patient with us and absolutely faithful.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Refined!

      I am excited, too, to get to see some of the wives who have been at this for awhile and how their journeys go. There are definitely stages of this journey. For those who haven’t seen the descriptions of them, you may be interested in these posts:
      Learning to Respect and Give Up Control Is a Process
      Stages of This Journey

      I hope to be able to rewrite the stages one after I have more wives who have been through various stages. Maybe I can get it to be a bit more accurate. Although, each wife’s journey is unique and the stages are not always in the same order.

      I love seeing what God has done with A Fellow Wife. All of us still have thousands of miles more to go. I am excited about all I have to learn. I know that I will never stop learning and I think that is wonderful!

      I love being on this road with so many of our sisters. I think it is helpful to hear as many wives’ stories as possible. They are each inspiring in their own way. We are kind of like snowflakes – no two are alike. But all are beautiful.

      Much love!
      April

    2. Dear Refined.

      Thank you for your precious words of encouragement. They are so sweet.

      I assure you that ANY good that is in me is from Christ. I myself am nothing.

      May God bless you on your journey!

  11. Oh! You are going to love that book!! That is the one that God used to first open my eyes to my sin. But, my suggestion is, don’t read the parts that are for husbands. πŸ™‚

  12. @Lisa,
    I was in a similar position to you. Although we married before we had kids and I didn’t have very many friends. After the birth of my first child I had post natal depression. Although I didn’t realise it at the time. I thought I was submissive, but in reality I wasn’t. And I still struggle with it. When my first child was 6 months old I left my husband with my child for another man. A decision I’ll forever regret. My husband rarely saw our daughter for the next 9 months. And yet during that time I’ve been told by many that he never said a bad word about me, and he constantly wrote me letters and even sent me close to $400 worth of my favourite flowers! We had gone before the courts to work out custody issues before divorce proceedings and praise be to God, we had lots of people praying for us and God convicted me and we were reunited. πŸ™‚ our lawyers were shocked and said they had never had that happen before. And hubby’s lawyers were Christians! ( bit of an oxymoron really πŸ˜‰ ) it’s’ now been 10 years and we still struggle. But this blog has really helped me understand what true submission is. While affairs might be somewhat attractive, they are soon not worth it. I still bear the scars of my wrong choice. I was having daily almost parylising flashbacks. I now only have them once in a while but seldom. My suggestion is if it takes you stepping away from your girlfriends for a short time to focus on your husband, then do so. But please do not give having an affair a single thought. It is not worth the pain. Do what you can to protect your marriage while you can.

    1. Megan,

      Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. How I pray that we might all learn from your example and PRAISE GOD for what He has done to restore your marriage! I am so thankful!!! I can’t wait to see all that He has in store!

  13. I appreciate everyone’s prayers and support. My computer is being worked on and I can’t see anything on this thread on my phone anymore. Just an FYI so I don’t seem rude or unappreciative if someone new has commented.

  14. Staying in the game with this mindset has been a great work and I am thankful for the ability to now see another perspective. I understand your disappointment. I don’t mind discussing it. It is personal, but I am thankful for the safe places we can bring up the topic to find answers. Rather than miss the affection I focus on pleasurable moments that build a treasury of family memories (like our whole family cheering at a soccer game tonight!). Rather than think of him rejecting me I think of him as simply not being emotionally available. But I must be very intentional about the choices I make with my thoughts to keep working in this direction. When I want to feel loved, sometimes I am strong enough to sing a praise song to remember how very much I am loved. When I want to feel beautiful, I give myself a spa day and then go out with a girlfriend in my heels and fro’d out hair ( I always bring a sweet treat back for him).

    It would be very difficult for me to hear my husband say that he -flat out- wasn’t attracted to me. I would imagine someone would have to understand their identity in Christ very well to disregard someone’s nonsense. I understand your spouse may have been honest with you but I’ve met couples who grow to greatly love and appreciate a spouse they didn’t know very well because their marriage was arranged. I also know that what I feed grows and it’s my choice to allow God to mold my desires into what glorifies him.

    Your husband may not yet realize what a gift you are to him and how this union blesses him beyond his initial plans. He may not yet understand that his own concept of love and beauty is upside down. His brokenness, his humanness, doesn’t have to break you.

    You are so precious in His sight. I mean that. Sometimes all our spouses can give to us does not reflect the love of God. But that’s all they can give – at that time. That does not mean we are not worthy of love or that circumstances can’t change. It means we lean on God like never before so we can learn to reflect the love of God even as He leads us through a valley.

    1. “Sometimes all our spouses can give to us does not reflect the love of God. But that’s all they can give at that time.”

      Thank you for this insightful reminder. It touched me, brought tears to my eyes, and a burst of love for my husband.

      And then it turned me around to know that sometimes I have not loved my husband with the love of Christ… But I gave what I had to give. We are all broken. Each story is different but we are all sinful and damaged because of this world. I am so thankful right now for God’s love. I pray that it pours out of my thoughts, actions and words and showers those around me with compassion, grace and mercy.

      This journey is a lifelong change walking closer to God’s glory. I do hope to lay down all of my expectations for my husband and my marriage at the foot of the cross. I pray that my focus stays on God and how to draw closer to him.

      I am guilty of trying to manipulate my husband’s love. Thankfully God continues to work with me on this! At times in this journey it has been 3 steps forward and 4 steps back. I pray constantly, read God’s word, and attempt to check my motives frequently.

      I have triumphed leaps and bounds with my words or disrespect over the last 2 years. That is ALL GOD!! I was soooooo disrespectful in my thoughts, words and actions. I thank God that he spoke and showed me definitively my sins!! I am still working on several weak spots that continue to arise, but watching my tongue (my wicked wicked tongue) has gotten better with God’s guidance. Thank you peaceful wife and all of you lovely ladies taking this journey one step at a time, triumphing over each heartbreak and misdirection one at a time. God bless each of you!

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