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I Am Responsible for My Emotions

 

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NOTE – I FOUND THE LOST COMMENTS! THEY WERE IN MY SPAM FOLDER!!!!!!! I think I have recovered all of them from the past two weeks now. HOORAY!

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For many years, I expected Greg to be responsible for my emotions.

I expected him to “make me happy.” I expected him to “fix me” if I was upset. I expected him to meet needs in my heart and soul that only Jesus could meet. I expected that being close to him would give me peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment and happiness.  I also thought it was my job to “fix him” if he “wasn’t right” in my eyes.  I made Greg into an idol. I also did not take personal responsibility for my own sin, but justified all of my sin in my heart or, even worse, didn’t even see my own sin. (Sin is an archery term that means “to miss the mark” of the holy standard of God.)

Then God showed me my mountain of ickiness in my own life. It was quite overwhelming at first to see just how evil my motives and intentions were.  I had SELF on the throne of my heart, not God.  I was trusting April, not Jesus. I was overflowing with pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, unbelief in God, selfishness and idolatry. Those things are ugly to God. And they are toxic poison to me, my relationship with Christ and my relationships with others.

I was shocked to realize that I needed to take responsibility for my own spiritual growth and emotional well-being. I had been living as if Greg was responsible for me and as if I was responsible for him. I had it backwards!

  • I am responsible for myself.
  • Greg is responsible for himself.

No one can rob me of the peace, love and joy of Christ. Those things are mine unless I chose to give them up. My husband cannot keep me from experiencing God’s joy. My mother cannot steal the peace Jesus has given to me – not unless I allow her to. My friends and coworkers cannot take away the gifts God has given to me in Christ. I have the power to keep these things as I abide in Christ and His Spirit overflows in me.

MY EMOTIONS

My emotions are a warning system. If I feel angry, upset, betrayed, slighted, or sinned against in some way, my feelings tell me that I may need to address an issue with someone. It means that I need to do some digging and investigating.

However, sometimes my emotions will tell me that there is something to be upset about, when really there isn’t. So, I need to pray about whatever my emotions are telling me and be sure my emotions are accurate and that I am listening to God’s Spirit before I forge ahead and confront someone else. (Confronting Our Husbands’ Sin) Sometimes my negative emotions can be a warning that there is sin in my own heart – idolatry, pride, self-righteousness, control, bitterness… so it is important to notice my emotions and to lay them before God to get an accurate diagnosis of what the real problem is.

SOMEONE ELSE’S EMOTIONS

If my husband (or someone else) is angry or depressed, that is for him to deal with. I can seek to bless him. If I have sinned against him in some way, it is my responsibility to make things right as best I can (Matthew 5:23-24). But there are times when our husbands will be upset, and it really isn’t our fault or our responsibility. This requires much prayer on our part to figure out where our responsibility ends and theirs begins sometimes. But sometimes they have their own sin issues or just their own stressors to deal with that don’t have anything to do with us. I don’t want wives to take responsibility for things that truly are not their responsibility. (I Am Trying to Respect and Submit, but My Husband Is More Unloving Than Ever! What is Going On?)

EMOTIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS ACCURATE AND THEY ARE NOT “FACTS”

It is always easier to blame someone else when we are upset. But our feelings and emotions are not always accurate and dependable. We must examine them under the Light of Scripture. Just because I feel angry at my husband, doesn’t mean he actually sinned against me. It could be that I have PMS. Or it could mean that my motives need to be examined. Just because a husband feels angry at his wife, doesn’t mean she sinned against him. She may have. That is possible. Or, he could be frustrated about something else and maybe he is taking it out on his wife. Or maybe he has some other issue going on in his heart that he can’t even articulate.  It can take time to dig down and examine exactly what the root of the anger is coming from. And if it is someone else’s anger, we may not be able to see the root or their real motives or issues.

If a husband is sinning, he owns that, not his wife. Of course, “We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against” – like Gary Thomas says, in Sacred Marriage. But, I am only responsible for my reactions and my responses. And if I am sinning against my husband, I own that, not Greg.

WHEN I USED TO GET UPSET

Crying used to be a pretty common thing for me. Sometimes every single night for months and months at a time. Greg didn’t know what to do to help me back then. When he tried to help me, it was never enough. I was insatiable – because I expected Greg to be God to me. I was a black hole of neediness. Eventually, he gave up trying. He knew I would be upset if he tried to help me and he knew I would be upset if he didn’t try to help me. So, what good was there in trying if I continued to be upset?

He shut down more and more. He felt like a failure. He wanted me to be happy, but it seemed that I was impossible to please. And I really was impossible for him to please. If he did what I demanded, I wanted more. Every time.

NOW WHEN I AM UPSET

I don’t cry nearly as much as I used to. THANKFULLY!

If Greg is awake and hears me crying, he will come find me and check on me. That night last week, he didn’t even hear me – he had fallen back asleep while I was taking a long time to contemplate my answer. 🙂 But when he is awake and conscious, Greg always asks me what is wrong and tries to comfort me if I am crying or even just if I am upset about something. He will often hold me. He listens. He offers wise advice. He encourages me. That is what I had always longed for him to do earlier in our marriage. Now, he is the husband I always knew he could be.

It took a few years into this journey for things to be like this. Now Greg knows he can please me. He knows he can help me. He also knows that I don’t hold him responsible for my emotions and my happiness. That takes so much pressure off of him! He loves to see me happy. He loves to delight me. And he is a lot more willing to try to do things for me now that I am appreciative, responsive, respectful and cooperative instead of nagging, complaining, negative, resentful, bitter, contentious and disrespectful.

MY REAL SOURCE OF COMFORT

I have learned to take my pain to God first. That is where my true comfort and healing is. In Christ. I run to Him when I am hurting.  If Greg does comfort me, that is awesome, and I greatly appreciate it. But if he is asleep, busy or not home, that is ok. His comfort is a blessing, but it cannot replace God’s comfort. I am not dependent on Greg to heal me and fill me with abundant spiritual life. I am totally dependent on Jesus. Those first couple of years of this journey, Greg was still checked out and unplugged from me for the most part. It was just me and God. That turned out to be a GOOD thing because I learned to be completely dependent on Christ and nothing else. I had no mentor. I had no husband to lead me in prayer and in healing. He was too wounded and battered himself at that point.

But I had God. I had His Word. I had my journals. I had the books I was reading. That was enough. Jesus was more than enough. He was more than sufficient.

I learned that whether Greg is here or not, I am going to be filled to overflowing with good spiritual things as long as I cling to Jesus and His Spirit is nourishing my soul – even we face trials, even if Greg dies or the things I used to be so afraid of were to come true, if I have Jesus, I have all that I need.  He is my Source. He is my LIFE. He is my Greatest Treasure. He is EVERYTHING to me!

As I seek Him, repent of any sin, love Him, adore Him, praise Him, worship Him and fully submit myself completely to Him,  His Spirit floods my soul. I pour out my heart to Him and spend time writing out my thoughts and then being quiet and listening to Him and to His Word. His supernatural love, peace, joy, contentment and abundant spiritual life well up and bubble over in my soul. I know that if I have Jesus, I have all that I need. I can be content.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

 

Praying for spiritual and emotional healing for each of you, your husbands, your marriages and your families!

 

PS:

I talk at times about not automatically assuming our husbands have evil motives toward us. That does not mean it is impossible for them to have evil motives. It is possible, of course. Men are sinners, too. But in many cases, our husbands don’t have evil motives toward us and when we assume they do, incorrectly, we actually create much more damage. In fact, in Shaunti Feldhahn’s survey, over 95% of husbands and wives actually have at least some good will toward their spouses. Most really do love their spouses and want their marriage to work.

However, if your particular husband does have evil motives toward you, and you can see that is a fact by evidence, not just by your feelings, please seek appropriate, godly, experienced help and get where you are safe if you are in danger. I pray God will give you wisdom to handle this and to respond rightly.  If you are being abused or there are very severe issues in your marriage, please don’t read my blog but seek wise, trustworthy counsel to help you navigate these issues.

 

RELATED:

Psalms = a great book to read about emotions and taking them to God. 🙂 Of course, this issue is a recurring theme all throughout scripture.

Do I Base My Marriage on My Feelings and Emotions? Part 1

Do I Base My Marriage on My Feelings and Emotions? Part 2

When Do I Get to Feel Peaceful?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Contentment Comes from Having Christ as Lord!

Things that Fuel Discontentment in Me

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Bitterness

Why Is My Husband Not Being Supportive of Me As I Seek to Change?

The PMS Issue Part 1

The PMS Issue Part 2 

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

The Idol of Happiness

89 thoughts on “I Am Responsible for My Emotions

  1. April,

    Great post! Thank you.

    What’s so wonderful when we take responsibility for our emotional and spiritual well-being too, is not only does our spouse feel liberated, but we do, as well! God does satisfy. Frustrating unrealistic expectations of husbands is a burden to carry around. Praise God, we don’t have to feel constantly frustrated!

      1. Yes, it is amazing!

        I think this is important in close female best friend relationships, as well. We can lean to hard on girlfriends and chase them away. They are not to be our primary emotional need meeters, either. It took me some years to learn that and I feel such liberation finding my needs met firstmost through Christ!

        1. Julie,
          YES! We can make almost anyone or anything into an idol. We can expect that person or thing to make us happy and fulfill us. But people can’t meet those deepest needs and then we become a life-sucking black hole to everyone around us when we idolize people.

          I am so excited about what you are learning!

  2. I very much agree, April. I have also learned I cannot hold Don responsible for “meeting my needs,” only Jesus truly can do that. When Don sins in that regard, I can warn him in advance why I think a particular course of action is detrimental to him or to both of us, but if he commits that sin, it is on him.

    1. Ellen,
      Right! You can ask him for things respectfully. You can share your needs, desires, concerns, perspective and feelings. But ultimately, if he sins it is on him. He will stand accountable to God for that.

      I think there is a great need for us to learn to see where our responsibilities end and others’ begin. And to see where our responsibilities end and God’s begin. If we don’t have those boundaries correctly marked in our lives, we can really get ourselves in a mess! I sure did!

  3. April,

    I wanted to shout Amen thru this whole post!

    Emotions are tricky! They can guide us to show love and affection, but they can guide us into sin as well.

    I think we have all made idols out of things in our life. I used to be so jealous of any lady who was married because I wanted a husband so badly. How could a married lady be in pain? After all, she was married! She had a man to fulfill her every need. Wow! I am so thankful God opened my eyes! I am even more thankful He opened my eyes before I got married. I put marriage on a pedestal. Not a person, but the idea of it. If a man would love me, then all of my problems would just float away. Yikes! What dangerous territory I was in, on so many levels.

    The valley of loneliness I walked thru when I had to learn to depend on Jesus alone was hard! I cried a lot and I craved attention and love from a tangible source. Every single thought had to be reprogramed. Every single motive and idol had to placed at the foot of the cross, and boy did I struggle to leave it there. I wanted things to stay there for a bit, get covered in the blood, then pick them back up and carry them with me. It doesn’t exactly work that way. Just because my sins are covered in the blood, doesn’t mean I get to pick them back up and tote them around. It means I leave them there, allow the wounds they leave to be wide open, and allow His spirit and His goodness and His love fill them.

    -Lee Ann

    1. Wow. Thanks. Trusting God, walking around WITH open wounds, knowing people hurt you, not keeping yourself defended at all times, THATS deep. And difficult. Praying for strength to do just that, and heal by his grace.

  4. Hi April
    Hoping you were able to recover and read my post last week.
    Your early days of marriage sound so much like the way things are right now for me!
    I have been married exactly 4 months today and it has been horrific! The pain has been staggering and we teeter on the brink of disaster daily.
    The Lord has revealed it is because of my idolatrous heart and my desire for my husband to meet my every need. I too am insatiable and no amount of love or affection or time together is enough!
    I am actively in Christian counselling twice a week and I am trusting the Lord for the healing I need. I have struggled with fear of abandonment and rejection since early childhood and never seem to be able to get past it.
    Please pray that the Lord will deliver me from this awful bondage and will give me new desires.
    I want to find my fulfilment in Him alone.
    How wonderful that you were able to grow spiritually and now enjoy the freedom found in Jesus Christ alone.
    I look forward to the day I can finally say I enjoy that same freedom
    Love in Christ
    Tracy

    1. Tracy,

      You know what? When Christ is your greatest desire and you look for Him to be your source of wholeness, and strength, even if your greatest fears of rejection or abandonment come true, you will be okay! It took that realization to calm similar fears I had.

      Love to you, and praying for you!

      1. Julie,

        Yes!

        I personally had to write down all of my biggest fears – well, all of my fears – and then counter them with scripture and with the truth of the Bible. I had to purposely reject my fears and the lies I had believed and purposely replace those things with God’s truth. And I love the idea of praying for God to change our desires. As we seek Him, He is able to change our desires to match His own.

        There is definitely a laying down of all that we have and all that we desire and then a picking up of our cross and of God’s will and His desires. But, in time, we realize that this is actually a gift, a blessing and a source of great joy and peace, not a burden, and not a sacrifice. The things God asks us to sacrifice are toxic to us. Then He replaces those things with true treasures of heaven.

        Much love!
        April

        1. April,
          That’s a great idea, to counter fears with Scripture. Another fantastic reason to keep a journal!

          I think it might be good for me to add to my previous comment, that just because we rely on Christ…that doesn’t mean rejection or abandonment doesn’t hurt badly if they do come. But it doesn’t have to destroy us. It’s in those most painful times that God becomes so sweet in our lives. I think it’s one of the blessings of living long enough to suffer losses of many types, we get to experience the richness of life with Christ! He becomes dearer through the years….

          1. Julie,

            YES! We will hurt. Being in a relationship with a sinner is painful. Jesus experienced great anguish and pain as he loved us. He suffered terribly. Sometimes we think that we should never experience pain in relationships, and we try to protect ourselves from pain and suffering and guard ourselves from that. But, that is not love. Love is willing to suffer pain if necessary for the one we love. That does not mean we have to stay and be abused. But we don’t have to be afraid of getting hurt – we don’t have to be paralyzed by fear. We can trust that God will empower us to handle the pain and use it ultimately for our good and His glory. I hope that makes sense.

            The Bible talks about suffering a lot. God says that we will suffer – but our suffering will produce patience, perseverance, maturity, completeness and spiritual growth. I Peter and James 1. If Jesus had to suffer, and He was perfect and sinless. we will also do the same. Suffering and trials are kind of like boot camp that prepares us for great spiritual battle and future spiritual blessings.

            We may face many trials. I have no guarantee of anything going the way I want it to in this life. But I do know that God will be with me and He is sovereign and loves me more than I can fathom. The more I know Him, the more I have no reason to fear and trust that He knows best. My greatest desire becomes to bring glory and honor to Him – not to protect myself and be comfortable.

            Thanks for talking with me!

    2. Tracy,
      The first 3 months of our marriage were the most painful of my life. I had never experienced so much pain.

      What is the counselor asking you to do, my sweet sister?

      I will absolutely pray along with you for freedom from these lies and this bondage, and that you might be able to tear out everything in your heart, mind and soul that is not of God and rebuild on Christ and His Word and His truth alone. 🙂

      Thankfully, we are never alone, not when we have Jesus. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. What an incredible promise!

      Praying for healing for you. I have a lot of posts that address these types of issues.

      Much love!
      April

  5. I need this, I depend on my husband to make me happy and when he doesn’t meet my expectations I get mad & sad.

    I need to stop making my husband an idol and depend on Jesus. I just hate the feeling of feeling alone. 🙁

    1. Genesis,

      As you draw nearer and nearer to Christ, you will realize, you are never alone – not when you have Him, my precious girl! He allows us to learn alone sometimes, so that we can experience how sufficient He is for our needs.

      There are many posts here that may be helpful. You can search: idol, idolatry, lonely, discontentment, fear, contentment… I think some of those posts may be helpful.

      And also, there is a post called “The Separation-Leads-to-Greater-Intimacy Paradox” that may be helpful.

      You are not on this road alone. We are all here walking together. We can help pick one another up when we stumble and we can pray for each other. We’re here if you want to talk more.

      Much love!
      April

  6. This is definitely something I struggle with regularly. I am not as emotional as I used to be, but when I am called “naïve” for having full faith in God rather than reacting in the flesh, I get hurt and offended, as though the thought is I’m stupid for believing God’s ways are better than the world’s. When I bring something that hurt or confused me to my husband, and he lashes out at me in anger (I’m guessing maybe because he feels guilty, so he turns it around and blames me?), I feel like a horrible wife.

    My husband would walk through fire for me and works so hard to take care of me, to protect me and make me happy. I need to learn to trust in that when there are arguments. I also need to learn to trust that even if my husband is upset with me about something, that doesn’t mean God is upset with me! I can trust that no matter what, God will always, always love me and be pleased with me as long as my motives and efforts to please Him are pure!

    1. M,
      Can you please remind me, is your husband a believer? Is he the one saying that to you?

      Unbelievers will always think that faith in God is stupid and that doing what God calls us to do is foolish.

      It is easier to turn something around on someone else than to accept personal responsibility for doing something that hurts someone. I don’t know if that is what your husband is doing, or if he just doesn’t like to hear criticism? Accepting criticism is something that is pretty difficult for most people. Also, a lot of husbands rate their performance as husbands and men by their wives’ happiness. Unfortunately. So, if a husband sees that his wife is upset, he may take that really personally, like she is saying he is a failure.

      If you want to share an example of something that hurt you, we could talk about it and walk through some ideas to prayerfully consider if you want to. 🙂

      I love that you see the good in him. And, for me, it was important to realize that any issue we disagree about is never more important than our marriage, our unity and my obedience to God. The issues are often not a big deal in light of eternity. Some things are worth bringing up. Some things may not be – once we pray about them and ask for GOd’s wisdom.

      And you are right – just because your husband is upset, does not necessarily mean you sinned or that God is upset. That is also where we need God’s Spirit to help us see clearly.

      Much love to you!

      1. Yes, my husband is a believer. He’s made some mistakes in his past, but that’s brought him closer to Christ. However…I do think that he is holding on to a lot of pride, a lot of faith in himself over Christ. You know about some of the issues we were dealing with, through no fault of our own (that have been resolved in our favor, praise God!). If I would bring up a concern about something else, or if I wasn’t as “upset” as he thought I should be about that situation, he would tell me that I was naïve about the situation and what could actually happen. He got angry with me several times, saying that I just didn’t seem to care (when in reality, I just had faith that God would work things out for us). I know it was more that he was stressed. But even in dealing with my daughter’s father…if I want to be respectful, friendly, and kind, my husband tells me that I’m being naïve about how my ex is probably handling things and I need to be more ruthless.

        One example of something that hurt me was the last time we got in a huge argument, and the subject matter was something ridiculous. I normally take our shirts to be dry-cleaned each Friday. He offered to take them, so I thanked him. The following Friday, I had more to bring and said I’d pick the others up. He said he’d already picked them up. I asked if I could stop at his office to grab them so I could hang them up when I put the rest of our laundry away. He told me to let him know when I was coming to make sure he wasn’t in a meeting. An hour or two later, he showed up at the house, saying that he wanted to be honest with me (he had…misinformed me about a few things recently and he knew I was struggling with trusting him with a couple of little things like this) and the shirts weren’t in his truck, because he’d picked them up a few days ago but dropped them in a puddle and had to bring them back to the cleaners.

        At this point I was thinking he’d actually just forgotten to bring them in the first place, but I wasn’t concerned with it. It bothered me that he wouldn’t just be honest about that, but I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it. That evening, I offered to go pick up the shirts the next day, so he gave me the pick-up ticket. When I looked at the pick-up ticket the next day, it showed that he had actually dropped off the shirts that morning for same-day cleaning…he dropped them off just a few minutes before he had come home and told me he’d dropped them off a few days before.

        So, I prayed about it for a few hours and eventually decided to send him a text. I was very respectful, very sweet, just said I noticed the shirts were dropped off yesterday morning although he’d said he dropped them a few days before, and I wanted to know if I had done something to make him feel like he couldn’t be honest with me and if I had, I was sorry and I wanted to work on that. I said if he’d forgotten to bring them in the first place, that’s never a big deal, I’ve never gotten upset about that.

        He was so angry! First he tried to say he did tell me he dropped them off that morning. I decided to assume maybe I’d heard him wrong, so I said I was very sorry for hearing him wrong and bringing it up. He was still angry for hours after that, and said that normally when people question others about things, it’s because they have things they are hiding themselves, so he wanted to know what I was hiding.

        This was all during the stressful period when we didn’t know what was happening with the big problem in our life at the time, so I know he was stressed about that. He thought it was ridiculous for me to question him about shirts when we had “real life issues” to deal with. My point was that I felt like he couldn’t be honest with me – it wasn’t really about the shirts at all. But he didn’t see it that way.

        Anyway, now that the stressful situation is resolved, I figured it would be much easier, but he is still so stressed about his job (his boss makes things very difficult for everyone) that it hasn’t really let up much. Yesterday while I was at a late meeting at work, he texted me to say that he’d gotten an odd phone call regarding a man that we work with at church, and I should be prepared to discuss. He next few texts sounded very angry with me. When I got home, he asked me what my relationship was with the man. I told him I don’t have one, outside of the work my husband and I are involved in at the church. He still seemed angry with me, but later came into the room and held me for a few minutes. I finished putting laundry away then went to sit next to him on the couch, until he asked if I was ready to go to sleep. We went to bed and he held me as we fell asleep.

        I’m hesitant to share some of these things because I feel like it gives a very incorrect impression of my husband. My husband makes sure we go to church every week. He is involved in several ministries. He is a strong leader, and a servant leader. He loves and protects me and my daughter fiercely. He is incredibly selfless, generous, hard-working, and makes me feel so safe and loved. But like every marriage, it’s not all perfect and there are some issues that I could use some advice in how to handle.

        Sorry for being so long-winded!!!

        1. M,

          Hmmm….

          Y’all have had an EXTREME amount of stress on you lately – especially your husband. And, if he is not at a place where he is able to rest in faith and trust God, he may mistake your faith for not caring. I think that would be “normal” for someone to do. I remember in a wife’s post last year, her husband had great faith in God, and she did not, and she would ridicule him. Not good.

          I think that at this point, with all the stress that is going on, it could be wise to wait awhile, if the Holy Spirit prompts you – and just see how things go for a few weeks and see if he is able to calm down a bit?

          I am not sure if he was being forgetful, and didn’t want to admit that. I really don’t understand the reasons why he was dishonest about those little things. But, he is right, y’all have much bigger problems. But at the same time, I understand that you just want the reassurance that he will be honest with you – about the big and little things.

          Maybe, in the coming weeks, God might show you an opportunity to praise and thank him for being honest and tell him how much that means to you and how much you appreciate being able to trust him like that. Maybe just one sentence, not a big production. 🙂

          I’m glad that you said what you did about wanting him to feel like he could be honest and that you wouldn’t have gotten upset if he had told the truth that he had forgotten about the shirts.

          It sounds like he may be in a tough place spiritually right now. This may not be about you. That can get dicey sometimes – just trying to figure out if you are doing something wrong or if it is his issue primarily. But I trust God to give you clarity on that.

          Not sure about the phone call about the man at church. But, it seems that he processed what you told him eventually and decided to believe you. That sounds good. I wonder if that was his way of trying to apologize a bit?

          My prayer is that you just keep doing what you believe God is calling you to do – knowing you answer ultimately to Him alone. And seek His wisdom about these issues. He can give you the prompting that you need. I’m so sorry your husband is so stressed and upset. Praying he can rest soon and find some time to be with God and seek Him with all his heart, mind, soul and strength.

          Praying for wisdom for you to know how best to bless, honor and love your husband and how to determine when something isn’t really about you.

          Much love!

          1. Thank you, April! We could definitely use some prayer. He has been stressed all week, very short with me about everything, and today said he wants to talk soon about “the phone call, expectations, arguing, not seeing eye to eye on things, work pressures, life pressures, responsibilities, time conflicts, and honesty.” He says he wants me to start being straight with him.

            The major stress in our life was resolved last week in our favor. We celebrated. We anticipate more good news next week about something else, so that another stressful chapter can be closed and we can have more things to look forward to.

            And yet, this week has been very difficult. He has been stressed about work, irritable with me about everything, and it hurts my feelings more than I can express when he says he wants me to “start” being straight with him, as though I haven’t been…especially knowing that he has lied to me a few times but I have never once lied to him or given him any reason to doubt me.

            I am working to find my peace in Christ. I am working to find my security and validation in Christ alone. It is so difficult when I feel like my husband is blaming me for multiple issues.

            And this isn’t normal. He is the most loving, tender, selfless, protective man I’ve ever known. I can’t fathom things at work being so much worse in just a few days that he would change like this, especially with the other stressors being resolved happily. I am not sure what would cause this change. Maybe the phone call he received shook him more than he let on, but it is unfair for him to say he is going to take me at my word and then turn around and continue to be upset and irritable with me, when I have done nothing wrong.

            I would like to be EXCITED, knowing that satan works hardest and attacks the most when God has big, wonderful things in store. I would love to be positive and know that God is working for good on our behalf, and that satan is trying to deter any good plans God has for us. I know we’re under attack. I know satan is hitting my husband where he is weakest. I know that, but my heart hurts so much right now. I’m normally a very positive person, never really thinking about negative things, but I feel so defeated right now. Utterly defeated.

  7. I also thank you for this post. I am a husband dealing with same issue. I have based my worth, identity and happiness on my wife instead of Jesus. I didn’t realize it though until my wife told me that she wasn’t happy and that she wasn’t in love with me anymore. Her admission rocked me to my core and I immediately turned to God and rededicated my life to him. I believe, in faith, that God will restore my wife’s love for me and also restore our marriage. I wish it had not come to this point but I was too hardheaded, stupid and lazy to listen to God a long time ago. I now have realized that must keep God first in my life and not idolize my wife. She is a wonderful woman but not as wonderful as Christ. Even though I am a male in a similar situation I want to encourage all of you to “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mathew 6:33. Communicate with your husband, tell him what you want, don’t expect us to mind read and remember we are human. Also, if he is unsaved, pray hard for him, he can’t truly be the man God has called him to be for you or your children without God first in his life. Thanks for letting a man join in the conversation.

    1. Richie,
      It is great to hear from you! Men are absolutely welcome to share here, as well. I think we can all learn a lot from each other. 🙂

      Idolizing marriage or our spouse or even just happiness are very common idols in our culture. The scary thing is, we don’t realize what we are doing. So we can think we are honoring God and living for Him, not even realizing that what we really want most and are truly worshipping is something other than Christ. Until we see what we are doing, we are miserable and stuck.

      Idolatry can never bring happiness. It always brings depression, discontentment, frustration and often fear and anxiety. We are trusting something or someone that is not trustworthy. We are trying to have control ourselves instead of resting in God’s sovereignty.

      I am actually really excited about what God is doing in your heart. That is awesome!!! I hate that it took something this painful, but, if you come out of this being filled with God and being right wtih Him, that is a true Treasure.

      I just read Matthew 6 and 7 today!! I stopped and really pondered and meditated on that verse. That has to be my focus. It is easy to get sidetracked and start desiring other things. But those things can never satisfy.

      Thanks for sharing your story, your heart, so much encouragement and solid biblical counsel. You are a blessing!

  8. Your blog has been a complete blessing to me. I just found it about a week ago, and I really needed to hear this particular entry today. It’s so wonderful to give all of our burdens to God, take responsibility for our stuff, and free our minds and our husband’s mind from all of the clutter of resent, bitterness, anger, fear, etc. I believe I still have a long way to go in my marriage before things feel good again, but this is helping me more than you know. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. LaShawn,
      Welcome! Yes, there is so much freedom and peace when we do things God’s way. It is stressful trying to be God and trying to be sovereign over things we actually cannot control. And it is stressful depending on sinful people to fulfill our deepest needs because they fail us over and over and cannot satisfy us.

      Bitterness is such a dangerous sin. We don’t think of it as sin a lot of times. But it can destroy relationships faster than anything else. Even adultery can be overcome. I have seen God heal many marriages after that. But if bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness are cherished and nourished, they will strangle and destroy any relationship.

      I am so glad these posts are a blessing to you. That is a big answer to prayer for me!

      I am right here if you want to talk.

      Much love!
      April

  9. April,
    Thanks so much for this post. It isn’t really an issue in my marriage, but was a HUGE issue in a previous relationship. In that one-sided, abusive relationship, my GF’s happiness was solely my responsibility and I could never make her happy. I got the constant complaint that she wasn’t happy and that she hadn’t been happy since Greece (class trip she’d been on). I did everything I could think of and nothing worked. How could it? We’re responsible for our own feelings and being happy is a decision we need to make. Sadly, my happiness, well-being etc weren’t even a consideration in all this, so I was constantly miserable and depressed.

    In my 21 year old marriage, at first I took on the responsibility of making my wife happy, but fortunately we’ve dropped that mis-conception.

    Also thanks for making the point that feelings aren’t facts
    and we shouldn’t treat them as facts. This sure isn’t the message that we get from the world.

    Thanks much and God bless.

    1. Eric V.,
      Thank you so much for sharing!

      No, we can’t make other people happy. We can love them. We can seek to bless them. But they themselves determine whether they are happy. And true joy, contentment, peace and fulfillment are only found in Christ.

      I like that, not treating feelings as facts. That is a great way to put it. They are indicators. They are warning gauges. But, we must do the hard work of soul searching and praying and seeking God to determine whether our feelings are right and what the cause of them is and how we should then handle them. It is our responsibility to figure those things out. Am I upset because this person really sinned against me? Or am I sinning in some way? Or am I just super exhausted and hungry and not thinking clearly and need to eat something and go to bed and I will feel better in the morning? Those are important questions to ask ourselves!

      If I am upset because of something someone has done to me, and I truly have been wronged. It is not their job to figure out that they upset me. It is my responsibility to tell them that I am upset and why and how they hurt me – humbly, respectfully, gently and lovingly. Then what they do after that is up to them. I can ask for what I want and need. But the ball is then in that person’s court.

      If someone is upset with me, it is her responsibility to tell me. It is not right to expect someone to read our minds. Then, it is my job to make things right if I did wrong my sister. Whether she forgives me or not is her business between her and God. I cannot make her forgive me.

      When we see our own responsiblities clearly and the responsiblities of others clearly, it brings much wisdom and harmony to our relationships!

      1. All,
        When dealing with conflict, it is wise for us to repent of any sin in our lives first before addressing the sins of others. Matthew 7:1-5. And it is wise to approach the offender in private first, unless we would be in real danger to do so. Then if they do not repent, we may need to involve others. Matthew 18:15-17 is our model.

  10. This comes as usual at the right time for me.

    I’m sure you will agree emotions are quite high during pregnancy! Past two days I’ve been reminded of all the ways my husband has let me down and was so filled with emotions. I let my emotions control me, I was acting rude with my husband though he was trying to be nice. I had all kinds of accusations against him in my heart, looks like i was digging deep into all the hurts and wounds… It was a very bad experience, I was crying myself to sleep and what not.

    Last evening I just opened a word document and started writing down my thoughts and was conversing with God and I felt relieved. I tried hard to think of all the good my husband has done but could hardly figure out, the enemy dint want me to think right. However this morning I’m feeling quite better!

    Please do continue to keep our marriage in you prayers dear April.

    Love,
    Vinodhini

    1. Vinodhini,

      Yes! Emotions can be very difficult to tame during pregnancy! I am really excited about how you decided to journal your thoughts and speak to God. And I am so pleased you are feeling better this morning.

      Lord,
      I lift up Vinodhini, her husband, their marriage and children to Your throne room in the highest heaven. They are hurting so deeply, Lord. I pray you will draw Vinodhini to Yourself, and that You will draw her husband to Yourself. I pray that You might bring the dross to the top so You can refine and purify them and their faith in You and that You might sanctify, cleanse and heal each of them and their marriage. Let them set a godly, beautiful, Spirit-filled example of marriage and faith in Christ for their precious children. Bring beauty from the ashes, Lord! Help Vinodhini keep her eyes on You and be sensitive to Your Spirit’s promptings and let her obey You in all things, trusting You, not herself, not her feelings.

      In the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

      1. Thanks dear April, for the wonderful prayer.

        Actually the problems from my MIL has increased, I don’t know whats the solution. But shes trashing all her loneliness, her fears, insecurity, her hurts onto her son… Which definitely is hurting him and he has no option but to show his frustration on me. And again the problem of fighting against time!

        I need Gods strength to stay strong and not get into the viscous circle of feeling unloved and disrespecting…

        Please continue to uphold me in your prayers.

        Lots of Love
        Vinodhini

  11. Darn emotions! My husband comes to bed, promises to talk, asks a few superficial questions, drifts off to sleep. I feel hurt! I feel pain! Why? Because I “feel” unloved. If my husband would hold me, stroke my hair softIy, whisper to me how special I am to him–then I would “feel” loved! Yet…my husband’s love for me is unchanged no matter how I feel about it. It is so hard to give up craving the feeling. It is such an addicting reward! In the long run though, I am healthier by choosing to recognize the “facts” about his love, not my feelings. He stays with me, he made me supper, he checked the oil In my car. These are expressions of love that are factual, not based on MY feelings. This concept continues to be difficult for me to put into practice though. I wish I were better at it 🙁

    1. Marked Wife,

      Aw! Yes, our expectations can get us in trouble. Mine can! I am sure that every wife would love the treatment you described above that would make you feel loved. But I am so glad that you are able to recognize the way he shows his love in very practical, tangible ways. This is difficult, to learn to receive the love our husbands give us in the ways that they give it – but it is so beautiful when we can see and appreciate their way of showing us love.

      Sending you a huge hug, my precious sister!

      1. I just wanted to say apparently l am finally learning some applications from this blog. Tonight my husband came home after being gone on a long weekend hunting trip. I was so looking forward to him coming home, thinking of us maybe snuggling together and watching a little TV (I had a few Big Bang Theory episodes I was saving to watch with him) and maybe even sharing a special time of intimacy together tonight (he has been gone, after all ;-)! ). I made a favorite family meal for him (and I don’t even cook) and told him what I made when he called on his cell phone to tell me he was two hours away. He decided to skip eating on the road so he could come home to a family favorite meal! When he finally walked in the door, I made sure to jump up and throw my arms around him with a big smile and hug so he would feel welcomed. And I thanked him for thinking of me when he gave me a little box of chocolates he had bought at the Amish country store. Then he told me he was tired and had a stomach ache from too much junk food on the road. He got his stuff out of the car and promptly went to bed. I started to feel really disappointed and sad, but then I remembered I am responsible for my emotions. I can be miserable or I can accept that he’s not feeling well, and just let it go. I don’t have to take it personal. He would probably have done the same thing no matter who he was married to. Am I disappointed? You bet, but those were my own expectations for the evening, not his. I can’t hold him responsible for not meeting them. So I’m not exactly feeling satisfied or loved tonight but at least I’m feeling more peace and not upset. And at least Jesus is telling me I did the right thing as a wife. I’ll just get back to being busy with my grad school paper and do some praying while I’m at it. Thanks for the lesson, April.

        1. Marked Wife,
          I’m so glad you were able to feel at peace even though you weren’t able to have all the time and attention you desired. That is awesome! It is freeing when we are able to look at our husbands with empathy and be able to be understanding if they are tired or sick.

          I hope you will get a chance to connect more with him in the next few days. But I am thankful that we can be content even when things don’t work out the way we would like them to. That is what I learned to do, to use time I had to myself to connect more with God, to study, to pray and to seek how He might want to transform me. Then, I didn’t feel like the time was wasted, and I was able to enjoy rich fellowship and connection with God. That is a lot more productive than my old approach of getting upset and angry and needy.

          Thanks so much for sharing!

    2. Marked Wife,
      I can’t help but ask the obvious question. Based on my own life experience, I had to learn this the hard way. My question is, have you actually asked your husband for this? So many times, we expect things from our husbands that they have no idea we need or desire. I learned long ago that I must open my mouth and tell my husband. He can’t meet a need or desire if he doesn’t know about it. The same things goes for him…I am quite sure many men have needs that they never bring before their wives. That would be unfair to have an expectation without letting the other person know. If you haven’t shared this with your man, I would encourage you to do so! Open our mouths and telling our husbands what we want and need can bring us closer! Most men would love to meet a wife their wife has – they just have no idea. Men show love in different ways. Women love this kind of affection. Sometimes men don’t think that way. If you haven’t shared this desire with your man, I would strongly encourage you to think about doing so!

      1. Ah dear sweet Eliza….I have asked and asked and asked. Three marriage counselors have tried to teach my husband how to speak my love language, along with our “friends” Gary Chapman, Willard Harley, and Emerson Eggerrichs…lots of marriage seminars at various church as well. My husband has quite low self esteem and anything like this that makes him feel self conscious, he will avoid like the plague. He’s also quite self-absorbed sadly, like to the point where I could step out of the shower in front of him and he won’t even blink — and this is with me maintaining at 100-some pounds all these years. Yup. I’ve asked. It hurts even more that he does know how affirmation would make me bloom like a beautiful rose…but there ya have it. Hurts like hell actually, pardon my french.

  12. Im a bit confused, my husband & I were texting earlier enjoying the conversation than there was a 15 or so min pause & I asked if he was fallin asleep & he replied “Yeah Linda”….. My name is not Linda nor do I know anyone by that name. I asked who that is & he said he ment to say lmao but Linda came up instead. I have been feeling insecure lately with him bein away, i havent really told him about my feelings & than this happens. I was instantly upset, almost called him, typed a dozen txts but deleted them because they were all sinful. I cried for maybe a min & told him I was very upset & to please leave me be for the rest of the night & said gn! All he said back was that it was an honest mistake. I am now feeling content & at peace, is this Gods way of showing me it really ment nothing? Typically I would have lost it & started accusing him of all kinds of things & be buried in negative feelings, this is a new feeling for me in a conflict situation…. Should I say something to him or leave it alone?

    1. Nicole,

      Obviously I am not April, but my heart goes out to you because I can be so very insecure as well. It is something I have struggled with all my life.

      After reading your comment, I immediately looked at my iPhone’s keyboard and saw how close the letters are together, and I can see how easily someone could type linda rather than lmao.

      If your husband hasn’t been unfaithful to you, and he is generally trustworthy, I would accept what he said and leave it alone. I know how difficult this is. Trust me!

      If I were you (and I’m not, so if you don’t feel led to do this, please don’t!), I would call and apologize for getting upset. I would explain that I have some insecurity issues that have nothing to do with him, but satan knew where to dig in my heart and that’s exactly what he did. I would tell my husband that I know it was an honest mistake, I trust him, and I would love for him to pray for me to get rid of the insecurity issues. Again, that’s just me, but something to prayerfully consider.

      I’m glad you’re feeling content and at peace this morning, and especially glad that you deleted the sinful texts last night and decided to just go to sleep! That’s awesome!

      Praying for you!

      1. Hope to respond later, but, I agree it could be an auto correct or just a mistake with typing. I vote not to say anything about insecurity, and just to thank him for being such a great husband and for his faithfulness/trustworthiness if you believe you have no reason to not trust him. 🙂

      2. Nicole,

        If your husband is a strong believer, or if you really believe God is prompting you to do so, you may want to bring up the insecurity thing – if he is not a believer – it might be wise to prayerfully consider whether it would be best to not dredge all of that up, but rather respond with grace from this point onward and maybe even DO something special to show him your love if he is more of an action kind of guy than a words kind of guy.

        Praying for wisdom for you!

        M,
        Thanks for sharing your suggestions for Nicole to prayerfully consider! God may well lead her to take just that route. I especially appreciate you noticing how close Linda and IMAO are on a phone keyboard. Great point!

    2. Nicole,

      Goodness. I can understand why your husband calling you another name could be upsetting. Definitely.

      I’m glad you were able to type out your thoughts, but then self-censor them before creating more damage.

      It is possible that this was an honest mistake. It is possible that is the name of a coworker or client he has been talking to on the trip. I don’t know what might be going on. It would be easy to jump to conclusions that may or may not be true.

      I’m glad you are feeling content and at peace. I don’t know if it was nothing. It is possible that it could be nothing. We will pray that God will give you insight and clarity into that. I would hate for you to accuse him or attack him if it was just an innocent mistake. But, I pray that if there is anything going on, that God might bring it to light.

      This is a situation where you will need to be sensitive to God’s Spirit and prayerfully consider things very thoughtfully and carefully before proceeding. He can give you the wisdom you need. I don’t know what is going on, but He does.

      Praying for wisdom for you and for you to cling to Christ today and every day and live in His peace, joy and overflowing spiritual abundance. Praying for your husband and your marriage to bring great glory and honor to God, as well.

      I’m sending you a BIG hug, my sweet sister!

    3. Nicole,

      I understand how unsettling that can be! I am an English and Linguistics Major, and have studied how our brains are wired with regard to language and memory. Sometimes a name from our past experience, or names in the present that we may have actually used with someone or merely heard, are the ones that “come out” incorrectly in our speech. As we grow older this becomes more frequent, and is worse when we are tired. Usually the name we use incorrectly belongs to the same gender as the correct name we are trying to use, but beyond this, scientists really understand very little about why this happens, beyond knowing that it definitely does. It also tends to happen far more when someone is tired.

      That being the case, please grant your husband grace, unless there is definite evidence that another woman exists in his affections. It sounds like he was simply very tired. To my horror, I sometimes called my husband by the name of a former boyfriend during the first part of our marriage, and twice he even called me “Mom”! I have also transposed names when I am talking to him, calling him by a name that was most recent in something I was thinking about. This is simply a “brain blip” in most cases and not cause for worry.

      A counselor once gave me a wonderful bit of advice that has helped so much over the years. When I was inclined not to believe something my husband told me, she said, “I want you to practice believing and accepting what your husband tells you, unless clear and indisputable evidence exists that what he tells you is not the truth.” What a TERRIFIC principle this is to live by! It not only promotes love in marriage, but it gives one a marvelous feeling of freedom and promotes closeness and trust. You must feed and water what you want to grow, and not fertilize the weeds of doubt and fear. The more you practice this, the easier and more joyful it becomes. This in turn, makes you the kind of wife your husband can hardly wait to come home to.

      Wishing you all the best, and much love to you!

  13. Sounds good. Circumstances can be “good” or “bad” but what matters is that we find a good, god-honoring thing to do with them at all times. I think that’s how we stay in control.

    It can be tough.

    1. JC,
      True! And sometimes, just changing our perspective can change everything, too. I’m so thankful God walks with us through each circumstance and that He is able to empower us to respond in a way that honors Him. 🙂

  14. Oh, and I think you have a solid outlook on things. Sometimes I can get confused but I see a great reconciliation of being expressive and vulnerable (like we all are) while staying independent at heart, if that’s how I could put it.

    In general it’s great to see that combination: submissive/feminine woman/wife with an independent spirit in so doing. It’s truly the empowerment of a woman, a sense of personal pride in her pursuit of herself! 🙂

  15. Hi Peaceful Wife, I really enjoyed this post and I do agree that we are responsible for our own emotions but what I still cannot grasp is that my husband would listen and try to help anyone who has a problem but when I am sad or upset about something, he maybe interested to say a sentence but then that’s it. He’s not interested to have a conversation with me in trying to comfort or console me.

    1. Andrea,

      That is painful. I have been there. There were times earlier in our marriage where Greg ignored me, didn’t speak to me, wouldn’t listen to me, didn’t care about my feelings and wouldn’t look at me or touch me.

      In my case, I know now that a lot of the reasons for his behavior was that I was repelling him with my control and disrespect and neediness.

      What I believe will help you here is to focus on what you can control. What in this relationship can you actually control? And what in your marriage can you not control?

      Much love!
      April

      1. Thanks April, I do try to control things a lot because we have been through sooooo much and I have a fear if I let my grip off things will just fall apart. He was unfaithful in the past about 7 years ago and sometimes I am just waiting for it to happen again so it won’t take me by surprise like it did before.

  16. Well it got better than worse than better lol… Everything started out fine yesterday & I didnt think about it all day which is out of my norm. He got off work & let me know he was headed back 2 his place & than randomly asked me what my ring size is, our anniversary is next week & I broke a stone in my ring a few months back so that got me excited. He was on the phone with a friend & the phone started actin up & called me mid conversation & he just hung up on me so I called back & asked what that was about he explained I said ok & he got mad askin why I always say ok like im confused or dont believe him & all that made me think of the linda thing & maybe he was lying but I didnt say anything we got off then. Later I tried to talk about it he yelled at me so we got off & apologised to each other a few hrs later & its been ok since. Everytime we argue he say I am great for 2-3 days than go back to old habits for a day & that its gettin old & he keeps sayin he knew I couldnt do it. It really hurts my feelings.

    1. Nicole,

      Would you be willing to say “ok” in a matter of fact way like you believe him? I think it is your inflection and tone of voice that is upsetting him here.

      What did he say when he yelled about the Linda thing?

      Goodness. I am glad y’all worked through things. Praying for wisdom and healing for you both!

  17. Ive been reading my bible a lot lately & yesterday of everything I read what my mind is grasping is that during times of peace it is wise to prepare for the battles that may arise like the great kings of Jerusalem in the old testament & to do that we must study our bible regularly so we can grow spiritually but what stood out the most was 2 Chronicles 32:8 “We have the Lord our God to help us and fight our battles for us!” I just felt compelled to share that. God bless all of you wonderful ladies & thank you for all the great advice, its nice to have others point of views to consider its extremely helpful & im blessed to have found you all. Please pray for me to have strength & endurance through my journey.

  18. About the linda thing, he was sayin he is never allowed to make mistakes because I used to pick at them & hold onto them for long periods of time. Im not aware if I did it with small mistakes but I deffinately did it with the big ones & recently my sister helped me discover that im a fault finder through her confession…. It appears these poor qualities we have run in my family up to my grandmother, I never met my great grandmother so im unsure how long this curse has been running down the family line. I thank the Lord that He has shaken up both my sister & I, & has/is convicted/ing us both & placed it in our hearts to break this evil curse so it will no longer live beyond us.

    1. Nicole,

      Our sinful nature is such that we love to find fault in others while turning a blind eye to our own sins. I’m glad that you are seeing that and that you are willing to turn away from it and seek to honor God. That is awesome!!!

  19. Alright, so here’s my one thing. So, two people are there for one another. Ultimately, you can’t be super needy to your husband, but at the same time, you’re just going to have more emotions to work through as a woman, and that comes with the territory of marrying a woman. I do, however, think there’s a difference between “I’m having a bad day” and “I’m having a bad day, so you can’t hold it against me when I call you mean things.” I think the first one is a healthy emotion to process. The second one is very hurtful to people.

    1. Hello truginstar,
      Thanks so much for this. I know it goes both ways but I appreciate your acknowledging that having a bad day doesn’t give you a license to abuse.

    2. trugingstar,
      i totally agree. It is fine to share our emotions. I think it is important for us to do so many times. The key is how we share them and what we do with them as we work through them and whether we use our emotions as an excuse to lash out at or mistreat others.

      Thanks!

  20. Hi April,

    I had a good talk with my husband yesterday, and today. (We heard a great sermon this morning. Our Pastor preaches the Word and doesn’t mince words, and we learn so much.) I finally listened to my husband more than I talked. I linked back to this post from the insecurity article. I’ve read it before. But this is the first time I read it and actually paid close attention.

    I’m not happy about it, and this is almost too hard. But I think I need to put a lot more effort into changing myself. I’m going to need to find a way to ask God for help because I cannot do this in my own strength.

    1. Becca,

      I’m so thankful you had a good talk with your husband!! WOOHOO! And I am so glad you are feeling a bit better. I know that you have resisted allowing God’s truth to fill your heart in some areas and that you have wanted to cling to some old destructive lies about yourself for a long time. There is healing available – IF you are willing to allow God to change you. None of us can do this in our own strength!!! I sure can’t!

      I am thankful for God working in all of us – even though it sometimes seems like it takes a lot longer than it should. I know it took me MUCH longer than I could have ever imagined to begin to grasp what it meant to fully submit to Christ and to trust Him and what respect meant and how to stop controlling Greg and how to tear out all of the idols in my heart. It was a long, painful, difficult road. And God is still working on me! I still have TONS of things to learn and will not be perfect until heaven.

      But how glad I am that we can share this journey together, pray for each other, share what God is doing in our hearts, and share the treasures He gives to us in His Word.

      Much love to you!

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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