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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 ย in October, 2012. I can’t begin to count all the discussions we shared together. ย  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.

87 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. I feel like my marriage is in reversal. Your now statements are my then statements. I wish I understood where it changed, how, and why.

    1. 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!

    2. MHMC,

      Often, both people change and stop doing the things that they used to do when things were going well. Thankfully, many times, if even one spouse begins to do the things that bless the other, and stop any sinful patterns, in time, sometimes things begin to heal.

      And, of course, as you completely submit to Christ and are filled with His power, that opens the gates of heaven and all of the resources of God to assist you in being the wife God desires you to be.

      Sometimes, we can pinpoint a certain time when things changed. Other times, it is more of a gradual thing.

      I pray God might give you clarity about why things changed. But even more important than that, in my mind, is to focus on your walk with Christ and becoming the woman He desires and calls you to be. As He transforms you, He can give you the power to breathe life and healing into your marriage. And, you can get out of God’s way so that your husband may be better able to hear Him, too.

      Husbands are sinners, too. In every marriage, husbands and wives have sin issues to deal with before God. You are only responsible for your part and what God commands you to do.

      Much love to you!

      1. I’ve been thinking about what you said… It dawned on me that I remember exactly when things changed. For years when we were first married, I wanted to be the “Proverbs Wife”. I read the books, (SO many books), did Bible studies, and listened to all the popular teachers tell me that in order to be a “good wife” I had to submit to my husband and be the doting caretaker of everyone in my home. What they never taught me was that when taken too far, a woman very easily becomes a doormat. Everyone starts to expect her to wait on them hand and foot, they treat her almost like a second class citizen in her own home, and soon, as she starts to feel neglected and abused, the guilt sinks in. Making it even more important to try to be the “perfect” wife. This was me. I was working full time, but the guilt of not having a clean house, perfectly behaved child, fine clothes and nice dรฉcor made me feel inadequate.

        Then, after my second child was born, I read “Love must be tough” my James Dobson. For the first time in my life I felt that I had “permission” to lay down boundaries, and speak up when I felt pushed to the limit. For the first time I found my voice in my marriage. I was a type A personality at work, and passive doormat at home. I went on a weekend away with my mother in law- first time in 12 years (without the rest of my “brood”). When friends invited me out, I went out. got When I needed something, I bought it. I had independence, and sense of “freedom”.

        This was when the dynamic changed in my marriage. As things happened to hurt me, as “secrets” were revealed, as behavior was confronted, my husband became more and more withdrawn, the more he withdrew, the more I pursued, until 2 years later I felt a sense of desperation. My marriage was falling apart, and there was nothing I could do to save it. And I was crazy over the fact that my husband didn’t desire to make the changes necessary to put our marriage on the path to healing.

        He still refuses counseling. He still refuses to really talk to me. Our “conversations” turn into arguments, and he has been getting better at hurting me with accusations and insults. I feel like my only two choices are to suffer silence or suffer neglect. My friend pointed out that he seems most content when I am working full time, making a decent income, and paying my own way (our finances have been separate our whole marriage). But now I’ve been unemployed for 8 months, recently started two jobs, and he is emotionally detached from me, unwilling to support me financially or emotionally. He blames me for failing my licensure for a recent job offer, and has not taken any responsibility for his part in our breakdown. Do I continue to let him blame me for it all? Do I just stay silent and wait for things to change? I’ve tried being the quiet wife, and it just made him think everything was “just fine”. I’m heartbroken. I feel very rejected.

        1. MHMC,

          Great job dissecting what may have happened!!! I think you are on to something important!

          Wen we take things to extremes, we end up steamrolling our men and disrespecting them or becoming doormats. There is a healthy, godly place in the middle, that only God’s Spirit can give us the power to achieve where we soar on wings like eagles.

          Reading too many books can be dangerous!! I have been there and done that. If our goal is to change our husbands, we will stay very stuck and miserable.

          I believe our power and freedom comes when we focus on our walk with Jesus.

          How has that been going lately?

          What are your greatest fears?

          Are you holding anything back from Him?

          What are your expectations?

          Much love!!
          April

          1. As a renewed commitment to Christ I recently got re-baptized. It was partly from a sense of conviction regarding my infant baptism, and also partly to “start over” in my walk with Jesus. I came to a desperately lonely place, feeling utterly rejected and alone, ready to leave my husband in a last ditch effort to show him how much I hurt- and God called me to Him. The crazy thing is, when I made the commitment to get baptized, and I made the plans with the church, all of a sudden I got attacked- like big time! From all directions. Financially, spiritually, in my marriage, extended family- it was awful. But instead of crumbling I saw it as an attempt on Satan’s part to scare me into backpedaling. I refused to back down. My husband even questioned my motives for getting baptized (are there ulterior motives involved in baptism???). The good thing, however, is after that event, he started coming to church again- which had been a HUGE issue for me before. (I’ve spent many years of our marriage going to church alone.) He’s very defensive right now- so I don’t expect things to change overnight. But I AM confused on how to approach my concerns with him. He has shown many behaviors over the last year that are very blatant signs of infidelity. I asked him about it and he denies any relationships. But I still have concerns- do I just ignore them? It’s so painful. I really have a hard time understanding where to take a stand.

          2. MHMC,
            I am really excited about you focusing on your commitment to Christ! I am not surprised that you are being attacked. The enemy does not want us to submit to Jesus, that is for sure!

            I am so excited to hear that your husband is coming to church again. That is awesome!

            Oh no. “Very blatant signs of infidelity” may not be something you can ignore. That is not ok. That is something that a wife would probably have to confront at some point. You do need to know what is going on. But this is going to require great sensitivity to God’s Spirit about what to say and when and what not to say and when to get help from a godly mentoring wife or biblical counselor or pastor.

            I am praying for you!

          3. I have asked him about the “signs”. He seems offended that I brought them up, when I explain that the behaviors associated with the sign speak louder than hi words, he makes no effort to change his behavior patterns. I have shared with my trusted friends what I happening, and this first reaction was to assume infidelity as well. It is very concerning to me- I don’t feel I can trust him to tell me the truth. He is doing some very strange things, and I feel like he is a stranger.

          4. MHMC,
            Yuck. That doesn’t really help that he isn’t changing his behavior and that he is offended, and not willing to be transparent.
            Do you believe you are safe? Do you have a godly pastor/mentoring wife/biblical counselor you could speak to who knows you?

            Are you still having intimacy with him? If you feel strongly he may be involved in infidelity – that is a big concern.

            Do you know with whom he may be involved if it is going on?

            Is there any chance that he is just being careless and thoughtless, but is not actually being unfaithful?

          5. I’m safe. We are not intimate. The last few times we tried, he could not physically do it. If he’s not cheating, then he’s being really weird. Not coming home for hours after work, leaving early for work. Working out more (fitness has always been a priority for him, but it has been put on a higher priority than anything else), dressing more trendy, and the one that took all doubt away for me, shaving his groin. (Been married 14 years and never even implied that I thought that was necessary). I even asked him in a way that wasn’t gender specific- at this point, I just have no idea what to expect. He is not bein open with me. I don’t know how to give him the benefit of the doubt, if I don’t trust him to tell the truth.

          6. I didn’t really answer all your questions, though, did I? ๐Ÿ™‚ My greatest fear is losing my marriage. Do go through this 14 year effort, and come out a failure, I just don’t know what I would do with that. I know I probably wouldn’t try to find anyone else. I was convinced when I first met my husband that we were meant to be together. I can’t see us being torn apart like that.

            Am I holding anything back from God? Oh, yeah. But God is peeling back layers, one piece at a time. He stripped me of my confidence in our bank account- that is all gone now (ALL of it) that I’ve been unemployed for 8 months. He took away my pride in my career- I now work two jobs just to help make ends meet. He took away my confidence as a parent when my daughter needed counseling for trouble at home and school. I have been praying for years that God would create in me a clean heart. That he would show me the truth. And that I would trust him, have greater faith, and learn to love. These prayers are being answered, one idol at a time.

            My expectations? Right now, my expectations for my husband is to see him try. I don’t want perfection, I just want effort. I don’t want to be last place in his life. Our pastor preached on idolatry last Sunday, and afterwards, I asked my husband if he saw any idols in his life (I of course have seen them, just wondering if he is aware of them!) and he admitted to putting work and school ahead of me and the kids. I do feel somewhat better knowing that he is willing to admit that.

            My prayer is simply that my husband would discover a deeper love for me, and that we would only have eyes for each other.

          7. MHMC,

            I can totally understand your fear… it seems like a very legitimate fear. I have succumbed to fear myself, far more than I care to admit.

            However, one thing the Lord has been showing me (and perhaps is showing you as well) is that He doesn’t desire us to live our lives in fear. “Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18) and “God does not give us a spirit of fear… but of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). These verses speak deeply to me of my need to let go… even of the desires and things that are good in my life.

            In your first paragraph, I don’t only see your greatest fear (losing your marriage), but also a fear of failure. You feel that if your marriage falls apart, it will be a reflection on you… that you failed, that you weren’t “good enough” to keep it going. Please know that there are times when no matter what a woman does, she can’t save her marriage. The only one who can save is Jesus… that goes for marriages as well as individuals. If your husband is choosing to ignore the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart, no matter what you do, your marriage may end. That would NOT be your fault!!! Please hear me when I tell you this!

            When you said He was peeling back layers – that is so like Him. If he sees idols in our lives (which can often stem from our fears), He will begin tearing them down in order to refine you and cause you to rely on Him even more than ever before. He has done this in my life as well. He has spoken gently to my heart (regarding dreams, aspirations, etc): “Even if you never did anything ‘great’… would I be enough for you? Could you be content in Me?” This was a huge wake-up call… and it’s definitely something for all of us to think about.

            It’s a harsh thing to think about, but these questions might help you figure out where you are as far as your relationship (and these are questions I’ve asked myself as well):

            -If I lost my husband, would God still be enough? Would I continue to love Him, or is my love for the Lord only conditional?

            -What if I lost my kids? Would I take that pain to the Lord, or let bitterness and resentment for Him grow in my heart?

            -If I never realize my dreams, will I still be OK? Would I be content, or be absolutely miserable and bring that misery to everyone I come in contact with?

            -If I lost my house, my car, my job, my friends… if I lost EVERYTHING like Job did… would I lean on the Lord during that time, or turn against Him? Would I continue to praise Him, or “curse God and die”? Would I allow God to put His peace into my heart, or would I stubbornly choose to suffer in agony and depression rather than allow His healing balm to soothe me?

            Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure how you would handle something until it actually happens. But there are certain things, that when you first hear them, your reaction would be, “Oh, I would NEVER get over that.” I have told my husband that if anything happened to him or the kids, I’d end up in an insane asylum because I’d be suicidal. (For real, I actually said that to him and meant it – scary!) He said, “NO. If anything happens to me, you keep going to church… you keep loving God. It’s not HIS fault if I get hurt or die, and you’d better NOT do that, because I want to see you in heaven!!!” But it took a LOT more years till I got to the point where I think (hope!) I would be OK, though it would be incredibly painful. I know Who to lean on now. But it took a lot of struggle for me to get to that point.

            Anyway, I thought those questions might be a helpful thing for you to chew on, and pray to the Lord about, if you feel led to do so. Like I said, it’s certainly not a pleasant thought, but it’s important to seek out these corners of our hearts for anything that might be displeasing to God, and then ask Him to help us take those things away.

            God bless you, my friend. You are in my prayers.

  3. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 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!

  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

      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! ๐Ÿ™‚

      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.

          2. 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

          3. I read “The Surrendered Wife” after seeing it mentioned on a marriage blog (not Christian) about 3 years ago. I have been pretty respectful for a little over 2 years. I do still struggle with thinking about other men if I catch a good looking man checking me out or showing interest. I never behave Inappropriately though. I love Jesus and have integrity. I know I shouldn’t be thinking about them later either though.
            I know my Bible, and I strive for daily time in the Word, but there are sometimes stretches when I don’t spend any time in the Word due to a hectic schedule. I only listen to worship music when things are busy.

          4. 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

          5. 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.”

          6. 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!

          7. 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.

          8. Lisa,
            I am wonderingโ€ฆ 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 arenโ€™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 heartโ€ฆ!

            Good luck, praying for you sister

          9. 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.

          10. 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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜›

      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. Anon,

          I am sure that MANY, MANY wives can relate to where Lisa is right now. That is not a place anyone wants to be.

          I’m actually glad that she realizes she could be vulnerable to temptation. I had an emotional affair, an infatuation, 18 years ago. And even though the guy would always insist he was just friends with me, his goal was to “conquer” me and I allowed myself to daydream about how “exciting” it would be to be with him. He was so talkative, and funny and gave me compliments – a lot. But then he started getting a bit controlling – how I should dress, how I should wear my hair, who I should talk to… Thankfully, he ended up dating another girl and God spared me from it going any further. But I caused so much damage with my thought life. I could have easily destroyed my marriage and left my wonderful man for a guy who is an unbeliever, and now, apparently, an alcoholic. Wow.

          When I think about what I could have lost and what misery I could have gained. It is very sobering.

          At the time, Greg was shut down. I was lonely. Greg wouldn’t really talk with me. I told him all the things this other guy said. Greg said nothing.
          I was so prideful, that I truly believed I was “above” adultery back then. UGH! It is only by the grace of God that I didn’t go farther.

          Yes, it is discouraging when the feelings we want are not there. We women would really like to have very intense romantic feelings all day long every day – or, I know that would be great with me! But, when we allow our feelings to take control, we make very unwise choices. So, that is my prayer, that God might open our eyes to where we are and to the temptations we may be facing and that we might turn to Him for the power and strength to walk in obedience – even without knowing what the outcome might be. None of us know that ahead of time. We all have to risk everything to follow Christ, not knowing if we will get what we want in our lives.

          I think wives do need some time with friends and some time alone – I think everyone (almost) probably needs that.

          Thankfully, even when our husbands are not our favorite people, or we think we made a mistake – God’s promises still stand and we can trust Him to use ALL of these things ultimately for our good, to make us more like Jesus, and to bring Him glory (Romans 8:28-29).

          When I started this journey, Greg barely spoke to me, barely looked at me, wouldn’t listen to me, barely touched me. It was PAINFUL. And miserable. Being with him was not fun. I remember choosing to work evenings sometimes in the pharmacy because I wouldn’t have to be with Greg as much that way and it wasn’t as painful. If I was home, I would be upset.

          It was a LONG, LONG time before I knew what I was doing as a wife – 2.5 years. And it was 3.5 years before Greg began to feel safe with me again.

          So, that was a long stretch of time where Greg was still pretty shut down and I had to learn to find all of my joy in Christ. I had to learn to be content even though Greg was still unplugged for a long time. Is everything absolutely the way I would want it now? Nope. There are still some unanswered prayers. But I can be content and joyful in Christ. I can choose to enjoy my husband and what he gives me.

          The awesome news is that we have a LOT of power here to change our feelings and our moods and our perspective as we allow God to work in us.

          And then, we will also be rewarded by God in heaven. This marriage thing is actually all about us and Jesus. It really isn’t about our husbands that much. It is a big spiritual test – to see if we will learn to live out God’s design and obey God’s commands and learn to trust Him no matter what.

          This is sometimes a scary journey. Sometimes it is very painful. Sometimes it is frustrating. For a long time.

          I’m glad we can talk about this stuff together. I had no one to talk to when I started this journey but God. I had to learn to depend totally on Him because of it. But my prayer is that He might use me to put the dots a bit closer together for those who come behind me.

          Much love, Anon and Lisa!

          I wish I could hug your necks!

          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.

          2. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  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. Wow! What to say! That will be 2 years in December I started this journey. I rot tally recognize myself in being too needy, pursuing him, begging for time, he never compliments me…. Incredible. The only thing is I didn’t have like you a bulb moment. I try to change by God’s grace little by little like learning a new language. Like you, I have to remember it’s a long life progress and I’m still waiting for the day where I will really get it (which not might happen).

    My husband has travel for a 5 weeks trip and I have some time to think, pray and do things differently when he comes back. I started to release the fact of asking for affection or for sex. That will be a 3 months without when he comes back and it’s not easy but I am determined not even tackle the topic. Maybe I should think about a way how to give him some space too, like not staying a long time in a living room at night when he’s there. But it really speaks to me: thanks a lot for sharing. I do overwork also on my marriage and should probably give more time to time.

    April, I was visited a friend at night and as I was looking at her book I saw she has the one “love and respect”. I told her what her treasure she has and she knows I am into a lot of respect blog. And she lend it it to me and I am going to start it tonight. That’s really nice. Big hug

    1. Sonadewonderful,

      I know this has been a very difficult journey for you, my precious sister. I will pray for you right now!!

      I am so glad that a Fellow Wife’s story blessed you.

      Nina Roesner, author of The Respect Dare, shared that it took her 10 years into this journey to feel like she began to understand what she was doing.

      Each story is different.

      But I am so thankful that God gives us spiritual blessings as we seek Him above all else, even when it is painful.

      I can’t wait to see the coming chapters in your story and how God uses you and your husband to bring great honor and glory to Himself!

      Much love
      April

      1. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Sonadewonderful,

      My spouse and I have been on a once a month schedule for intimacy for a few years now and then it went to maybe every other month. Occasions of affection have increased since the spring but sex? There were times when I’d approach gently and still be rejected. VERY painful. So at some point I also let this go. I had to accept that my husband was just not ready and that he had his own healing to do. I couldn’t push him in this and I couldn’t let our sex status determine my value. So a good 3 months went by without any sex or my initiating anything. I realized my smile set the emotional tone with every encounter and I continued my efforts in respect and self care. I gave him lots of space but quick attention and admiration when he desired to interact. This was definitely part of my learning to love without strings especially since I still could find many, many things to be grateful for regarding our union. But this meant no expectations for him and no chains of disappointment for me. It’s nice to know that I can definitely live without sex even in marriage, and still obey my Lord. My husband’s been in a great mood for a few weeks now, spending lots of time with us and has initiated several times. (Interesting that that’s just after experiencing letting go of my husband’s love as an idol) Currently I feel this is a nice moment of closeness in our overall movement forward but I won’t get sucked into begging for more than what he can give. If he begins to withdraw I’m prepared for that. I’m learning to rely totally on God. That freedom feels great.

      I wanted to share because my husband and I may have anywhere from a day to 60 more years to build that tapestry between us. I no longer feel the urgency to make our relationship “work”. I feel settled in God’s care and am happy to offer acceptance to my spouse. This seems to be good medicine for us both.

      I just wanted to encourage you. Your steps sound wise. You’re already ‘getting it’! I think you’ll enjoy the ‘Love and Respect’ book as it will add to your understanding but April’s right about skipping the guy’s section.

      ‘The Grace filled Marriage’ may be next on my reading list. God bless!

      1. Thank you so much Refined. I know that is a very personal topic but I have no one to share about it except that here on that blog. When we got married little bit more than 2 years ago, it was about once a week. I was already thinking it’s not much cause I’ve got a higher drive. But then came disrespect, wounds…. Though, I know that my husband needs also to be set free and to heal cause he has a very rough and deep sin life before coming to The Lord. Though, I don’t know if I can wait for years this way as you do. I do think sex is a very important part of marriage even if as you said, we can live without it and don’t die.

        I was preparing myself before getting married as all the marriage book talk about it: woman, be willing to give more sex than you want or need to fulfill your husband needs. Well, the disappointment was huge.

        I know that God united us for multiples reasons though sometimes I still wonder why he matched me with my husband knowing his past and difficulties and my long long waiting as a single to fulfill finally this need.
        I do believe that God wants to give us a great sex life.

        At the beginning of our marriage, my husband shared very freely with me that he wasn’t attracted to me physically but marry me that I will be helpful in his ministry. He didn’t think to marry a white woman as his mum but a darker skin woman like him. Then he wanted to marry a woman half his age, quite common in his culture and he married one 5 years older (which he still doesn’t manage to accept even if people tell me I look younger than him or the same age). It is hard for a woman to realize your husband is not excited by you. When I put lingerie, he said I look like a prostitute and it blocks him instead of boosting him.

        Well, like you I have to keep my eyes of The Lord and really let it go, hoping for the best. It’s hard to have to give your rights away but I guess this is what we call to die to ourself.

        Thanks for the support: I really appreciate it.

        Bug hug

        1. sonadewonderful,

          Goodness, so painful!!!!!!

          It is hard to lay down our expectations. But there is much freedom when we do. I am praying for you and your husband, and will continue to pray for God’s greatest glory in both of you and in your marriage!

        2. 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!

          2. Wow. Your answer definitely touch me. We got married very fast: 6 months and 1/2 before we met. The truth is we didn’t know each other and we never talk about sex or other very important topic as we were very involved in marriage preparatives. I met him though a friend who was friend with him. We connected on FB and a week afterwards, he called me and we stay 1 h in the phone. I was definitely looking actively for someone at that time. I was 37 years old already. I was amazed at our common points: he’s a nurse as I am, was missionary in Africa as I was (he’s also a pastor), loved French (my nationality) and I found in love with Brazilians people (his nationality) in Africa.

            We talked on skype for about 3 weeks before we met. At that time, I was living in a town in a middle of Canada and him, at the far east. But I needed to go in his town to do my passport and I went for 3 days in his town. Almost the same day, we were starting to hold hands and date.

            He introduced me to his friends and invite me to talk about missions in his church. Then I went back in my town. The piรฑa was to pray to know if we are mean to be together and if it was, I would come back a month later to get engaged on Christmas Day. I really prayed and sensed God’s peace and him too. Before him, I date a Canadian for a year and 1/2 and he dumped me 9 months I met my husband. I was so sure we will get married and I was so in love.

            I laid down everything at God’s feet and was willing to stop and even asked him if it wasn’t His will. Christmas Day came and I traveled again for 3 day in his town to get engaged. Then, he left for Africa and I for my town.

            We met 3 months later for a week in France that he’ll know my family. Then we can of date 1 month and 20 days before getting married. We did 2 weddings in Canada: in his church, mine and one in France in only 2 weeks.

            So really discover one another after our marriage. We stayed about 5 months in Canada and then, we took his mum who was in Portugal and moved to Brasil altogether. I got to know the very close relationship he has with his mum (and the fact he hasn’t cut the ombilical cord) at that time.

            His parents got married again after 16 years of separation and divorce (they had a very rough relationship) and we lived togheter for little bit more than a year with them, living upstairs of a big house.

            You can imagine the pressure I endure the first year, going through cultural shock, I, who left my mom’s house at 20 years old, living again with people after so many years of singleness, his mum cooking for everybody, cherishing his only and unique son and I wonder where is my place in all of that . I even wonder sometimes if she doesn’t idolater him cause he’s everything to her (they grow very closely as his father was beating his mum and he was protecting her). And I pass about my in laws disputes, non stop yelling of my mother in law and I, making more and more pressure to get out.
            There were quite a lot of tensions and disrespect at that time.

            Then one day, something bad happened between us and I went to share with one of our pastor. I never thought a Christian could do this even if I really did provoke him. I was a big wound for him and I still pay the consequences of this choice.

            Since, I’ve been trying to grow more and more in respect. I still fall time to time but things are better, especially since we rented our own house in the same street that his parents.

            We did a week end couple seminar before he left to a trip and we had possibilities to talk about our Pb. At that time, he haven’t had forgiven me. Many times I told him that the key for healing for him was it forgive but it’s an area really hard for him as often, I forgive in few minutes. In one of the meetings, we had to repeat the forgiven prayer and he did it and I too, I hope it had release forgiveness in his heart but I can’t do anything but pray about it.

            I hope and pray that this 5 or 6 weeks of being away just after this very important seminar will give time to God to work in both our hearts. I know I need to be patience and things won’t go as fast I wish but I do pray that my husband will desire me, that God will redeem not only our sex life but the all relationship. And I am decided not to make any comment (I often joke about sex to see if it gives him a thought), not not pursue him and wait,

            Thanks for your sharing about focusing in what is good instead of bad. I need to grow in this area.

            Thanks for the support and sharing, it’s so good to be able just to share freely without condemnation knowing that the other person understand you.

            Big hug to you Refined

          3. And you are right: my husband gives me what he can. Actually, he can’t give me the affection, sex, admiration and affirmation I need so I need to looks to God to fulfill these needs

          4. Refined, I have experienced the same. Lack of intimacy, lack of interest, rejection. It is so painful. I have not, however, learned to let it go. I want so badly to understand how to not crave the love and affection from my husband that I so desire. How do I move on from hearing “I don’t love you”? I am trying to be strong, unemotional, friendly, and helpful. But the hurt is still there. I cry constantly. The disappointment of living in an unloving, unaffectionate marriage is destroying me. Instead of growing deeper in my love, I have felt a greater hatred for myself. I was taught as a child that I was not “good enough”. So now, I have asked “what’s wrong with me?” He is unable to love me, so therefore I am unlovable? And if I’m not the problem, then how come I’m the one hurting so much while he enjoys his freedom? I wish I could understand the purpose to this pain- because right now, it’s just making me sick, and weak. I work six days a week, on top of being a wife and mother, while he is only gone 3 nights a week. I am tired. I try so hard to be acceptable to him, but it’s never good enough. My appearance, my home, my income. It’s not good enough. Do I keep trying to be “good enough”, or do I wait for him to change his attitude about it? Because honestly, trying is killing me.

          5. MHMC, I’m so sorry you’re hurting so much. I think many of us, if not all of us, never in a million years guessed marriage could be so painful. What a place to learn that indeed, God is close to the brokenhearted? How powerful it is to witness how our Lord truly rides the heavens to help us. But that experience is only for those who, like St. Peter, get out of the boat and do the impossible – walk on water or for those who, like the Israelites, step into the raging Jordan BEFORE the water is moved to show their faith. This journey is like labor. But I tell you, what ever idols you may be holding onto, it will be gut wrenching to let them go and near bliss after you do. I didn’t see my own as an idol but what I “deserved”. I thought that if I just did everything “right” that’s one thing I could control. I was wrong.

            Nothing I would do could MAKE my husband love me. And even if I could, would I really want that? For me, the answer was “no”. In truth, any good thing from my husband is merely a shadow of God’s perfect love for me but I acted like my husband’s love was my air, food and water. It was an idol and without it, I didn’t even know how to think. I asked God to treat me like some preschooler and make plain to me how to breathe and go about my days living without the drug I was so addicted to. Perhaps I sound like I’m exagerating but when I realized my husband could not or would not help me out of this pit the only alternative I had was to get myself together. It was just me and Jesus. I even had to stop reading this blog for awhile. I had to digest what that decision meant and follow through with obedience.

            When we fall on the mercy of God He allows us to see others with clearer vision and we see ourselves as God sees us too.

            Now I can see that my husband has so much good in him but barely respects himself. How in the world did I expect him to love me so selflessly? My husband is easily overcome with shame d/t his own childhood scars and so is burdened, often moody and may chase after the next thing that will make him feel alive. How can I expect him to be strong enough to hold me up when I am hungry, angry, lonely , tired or scared? Allowing a mere man to define my worth was evidence of my own sickness. I was trying to pull from an empty well. I was asking a starving person for food.

            This is what I tell my children daily as they head off to school, a friend gave it to me – “God made you dear one, and God made you good. You were in the mind of God so long ago that even your mama cannot tell you when that was. Always He knew you and always he wanted you. And because He knows all things He knew when was the perfect time for you to come so you could do all the plans that He has for you. God made you because He loves you and so do I.”

            Even before I layed down that idol, I had to recite this to myself daily. This has been such a process of peeling back the layers while accepting God’s love, learning how to walk in it. God has used – and is using- His Word, April and this blog, dear friends who’ve kept me prayed up and who would meet with me and laugh with me, and time for my own recovery and healing to have enough in my heart to willingly share with an unconventional husband, my children in need of nurturing, a patient in pain, or a neighbor now going through her own marriage crisis. I can look back at the “love” I’ve given to my husband and see where I, too, have fallen far short of pure selflessness.

            If you are tired and burdened, Jesus tells us to go to Him. If you are as desperate as that woman at the well, do what she did. Trust him to lead you into a good future, then let everything else go. For me this included the idol but also co-dependence, contempt, and other nasty things. You being “good enough” was never the issue. God settled that long ago.

            I am praying for you.

          6. MHMC,

            I re-read some of what you wrote above. April is so wise to encourage you to consider safety and use discernment in your communication with your husband. I once thought my husband was having an affair too and I was wrong. I hope I did not mis-speak with my long entry below and I pray you may be comforted.

          7. Oh, it is a comfort! Knowing that someone else has been through this, and that there is a way to get through this. I need to know what is not working. I don’t always see it. I have seen where I’ve tried to control. I understand that I can’t demand anything from him. (And I wouldn’t want it if it wasn’t coming from his true desire to do so). I have my bad days and my good days, and today was just a bad day. I’m a playful, affectionate person, and my husband rejects that about me. It hurts to think that my personality is what he dislikes. It hurts that I would have to change WHO I am, not just what I do, in order to be “loved” by him. Learning not to rely on his love is going to be hard. I’m married. God told men to love and cherish their wives. I expected that I would be loved by my own husband. Who gets married thinking that they won’t at least love each other?

            Like I said, God is peeling back the layers. And maybe the reason this hurts so much, is because it has become an Idol and I’m holding on too tightly. I trust that God will get me through this.

            I do, however, struggle with self hatred. This is hard, especially when so much of my self image is based on what others see and think. When your own husband doesn’t like what he sees, how can you convince yourself that you are still beautiful and valuable? I have many people in my life saying I am a beautiful, caring, loving person. I have one friend that said I am her only friend that loves her unconditionally. This is who I am. This is how I’ve loved my husband. Why does he reject me? This is where my pain settles, and I can’t get out of the pit. And when he walk by me, and I feel that love and attraction, it pains me to know that it is not reciprocated. To understand how to not let that affect me- it would be a burden lifted.

            Thank you for your encouragement and support. I pray I may gain insight and wisdom into my marriage and let God transform us both.

          8. MHMC,
            If I remember correctly, your husband doesn’t know Christ, right? He is acting entirely in the power of the sinful nature. He can’t act like Christ yet because he doesn’t have him. Maybe God will use you to help draw him to Himself. There would be no greater honor than to be a missionary to your husband and to see God open his eyes and transform him, in my mind.

            He may be unloving because he is a sinner. It may have nothing to do with you. I pray you will seek only to please God. He is the one who will ultimately judge you, not your husband. Pleasing people is useless and destructive. Focus on kicking out the lies you believe about yourself and receive God’s truth, my sweet sister! There is freedom and peace and joy available to you in Christ right now, today!!

          9. My husband was baptized when he was 14, we met in church, and lived like a Christian for several years at the beginning of our marriage. He attended church regularly, and claims to be a born again Christian. He no longer attends church on a regular basis, but is increasing his attendance due to family obligations. He was offended when I got baptized, but I don’t understand why. I can’t judge his relationship with God, but his fruit does not match his words.

          10. MHMC,

            It seems to me that the fruit of his life, from what you have described in the past, may indicate he may be far from God right now. In which case I Peter 3:1-6 is God’s most powerful approach for you – as you walk in obedience to Him, filled with His Spirit, I believe He is able to heal you, open your husband’s eyes and bring healing to your marriage. But, there may be a long time of waiting and it may be difficult. It is easy to wish that our husbands would just suddenly be the most godly husbands ever. But, I do know this… if Greg suddenly changed and became Billy Graham or something a few years ago, I would never have had to face the sin in my own life and the idols and my lack of faith and trust in God and my determination to have my way and be in control. I thank and praise God for not changing Greg first now. And I praise God that many times, He chooses to change a wife first, and that often opens the door for Him to begin to work in a husband’s life and to heal the whole family.

            I pray you will cling to Jesus and keep your eyes completely fixed on Him, my precious sister. That is where your power, hope, peace, joy, purpose, fulfillment, contentment and abundant spiritual life is.

            I personally can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you!

          11. MHMC,
            How my heart breaks for your pain!! ๐Ÿ™

            He is your time with God going, my precious sister? He is the only source of strength, peace, fulfillment, comfort, healing and refuge there is.

            Praying for you and sending you a huge hug!

          12. Wow. Your answer definitely touched me. We got married very fast: 6 months and 1/2 before we met. The truth is we didn’t know each other and we never talk about sex or other very important topic as we were very involved in marriage preparatives. I met him though a friend who was friend with him. We connected on FB and a week afterwards, he called me and we stay 1 h in the phone. I was definitely looking actively for someone at that time. I was 37 years old already. I was amazed at our common points: he’s a nurse as I am, was missionary in Africa as I was (he’s also a pastor), loved French (my nationality) and I found in love with Brazilians people (his nationality) in Africa.

            We talked on skype for about 3 weeks before we met. At that time, I was living in a town in a middle of Canada and him, at the far east. But I needed to go in his town to do my passport and I went for 3 days in his town. Almost the same day, we were starting to hold hands and date.

            He introduced me to his friends and invited me to talk about missions in his church. Then I went back to my town. The plan was to pray to know if we are mean to be together and if it was, I would come back a month later to get engaged on Christmas Day. I really prayed and sensed God’s peace and him too. Before him, I date a Canadian for a year and 1/2 and he dumped me 9 months I met my husband. I was so sure we will get married and I was so in love.

            I laid down everything at God’s feet and was willing to stop and even asked him if it wasn’t His will to stop me. Christmas Day came and I traveled again for 3 day in his town to get engaged. Then, he left for Africa and I for my town.

            We met 3 months later for a week in France that he’ll get to know my family. Then we can of date 1 month and 20 days before getting married. We did 3 weddings in 2 weeks: 2 in Canada: in his church, mine and one in France.

            So we really discovered one another after our marriage. We stayed about 5 months in Canada and then, we took his mum who was in Portugal and moved to Brasil altogether. I got to know the very close relationship he has with his mum (and the fact he hasn’t cut the ombilical cord) at that time.

            His parents got married again after 16 years of separation and divorce (they had a very rough relationship) and we lived togheter for little bit more than a year with them, living upstairs of a big house.

            You can imagine the pressure I endured the first year, going through cultural shock, I, who left my mom’s house at 20 years old, living again with people after so many years of singleness, his mum cooking for everybody, cherishing his only and unique son and I wonder where is my place in all of that . I even wonder sometimes if she doesn’t idolater him cause he’s everything to her (they grew very closely as his father was beating his mum and he was protecting her). And I pass about my in laws disputes, non stop yelling of my mother in law and I, making more and more pressure to get out.
            There were quite a lot of tensions and disrespect at that time.

            Then one day, something bad happened between us and I went to share with one of our pastor. I never thought a Christian could do this even if I really did provoke him. I was a big wound for him and I still pay the consequences of this choice.

            Since, I’ve been trying to grow more and more in respect. I still fall time to time but things are better, especially since we rented our own house in the same street that his parents.

            We did a week end couple seminar before he left to a 5 weeks trip in Africa and we had possibilities to talk about our Pb. At that time, he haven’t had forgiven me. Many times I told him that the key for healing for him was it forgive but it’s an area really hard for him as for me, I forgive in few minutes. In one of the meetings, we had to repeat the forgiven prayer and he did it and I too, I hope it had release forgiveness in his heart but I can’t do anything but pray about it.

            I hope and pray that this 5 or 6 weeks of being away just after this very important seminar will give time to God to work in both our hearts. I know I need to be patience and things won’t go as fast I wish but I do pray that my husband will desire me, that God will redeem not only our sex life but the all relationship. And I am decided not to make any comment (I often joke about sex to see if it gives him a thought), not not pursue him and wait,

            Thanks for your sharing about focusing in what is good instead of bad. I need to grow in this area.

            Thanks for the support and sharing, it’s so good to be able just to share freely without condemnation knowing that the other person understand you.

            Big hug to you Refined

  12. Wow! I really could identify myself to this post. I’ve been in this journey for more than a year and an half now. I felt also very demanding, needy, pursuing him physically, begging for affection and for sex.

    My husband has traveled since 9 days now and he’ll be away for at least 4 more weeks. I started to let go slowly before he left but I know I’ve been trying to let it go for affection and sex many times and have been struggling to release it completely.

    During this time he’s away, I want to spend more time with The Lord and really start to change how I will act when he’ll come back. Maybe I should give him more space too. But it does encourage me to continue on that way. I felt I could have written this article except I didn’t have a moment where it did click and I thing she’s one step further than I am in this journey.

    I should realize it is a long life journey and not be too impatient about reaping results now. And one thing interesting is that my husband doesn’t compliment me ever. They might be twins. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As I was visiting one friend’s house April, I saw she has the book “love and respect”. She knows about the fact that I am into blogs of respect. I told her she had a treasure and she offered me to lend it to me. I am going to start it today and want to finish it before my hubby is back. I’m happy about it.

    Big hug

  13. @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. ๐Ÿ™‚ our lawyers were shocked and said they had never had that happen before. And hubby’s lawyers were Christians! ( bit of an oxymoron really ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 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!

  14. 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.

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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