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I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually – Part 1


I am not the Holy Spirit. It is not my job to convict my husband – or anyone else – of sin. And it is not my job to make people repent. I don’t get to make people’s decisions for them. I am not them. I don’t have the right to usurp their free will. Even God does not usurp our free will. He allows us to make our own choices.

My husband is not also not the Holy Spirit – and he is not me. I cannot try to make him responsible for me spiritually. He doesn’t get to make my decisions for me.

Yes, he is in a position of delegated spiritual authority over me. God can and will use him to lead me and even to teach me some spiritual things – especially if he is a believer. (I have seen God use unbelieving husbands to speak sanctifying truth and even give godly rebukes to their believing wives sometimes, as well.) God may also use spiritual leaders at my church to help guide me and to teach me spiritual things. But, ultimately,  I must weigh what my husband and pastors/teachers/mentors say against God’s Word and seek to obey God to the best of my understanding as I seek to be filled with God’s Spirit and to handle His Word rightly. God, His Spirit and His Word are higher authorities in my life than any human. I am accountable to God for my obedience and my sin. Those in positions of leadership are accountable to God for their leadership, their obedience and their sin.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. I John 4:1

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

 I may need to confront my husband  about sin in his life, when appropriate and necessary, once I have taken care of sin in my own life. (Matthew 7:1-5, Matthew 18:15-17) However, my primary responsibility is to ask God to show me my own sin so I can repent of anything that offends God in my life and focus on walking in the power of God’s Spirit and in obedience to Christ myself. God hates pride and self-righteousness and loves those who are humble before Him and others.

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

I may gently, humbly, respectfully confront sin in the lives of others, as I am sensitive to God’s Spirit, walking in obedience to His Word and to His promptings at appropriate times when necessary, but I must leave the results with God and the people involved. I can explain something ten times a day about God to a wife every day for 6 months, but until God opens her eyes, she cannot see or understand.

I cannot open anyone’s  eyes to God and His truth. I cannot even open my own eyes. That is the Holy Spirit’s job.


My job is to point people to Christ, to share His Word, to obey God, to love them, to love God, to be filled with His Spirit, and to be fully available and useful to Him. But He is the key here. Not me. He doesn’t NEED me. He loves me. He can use me. But He doesn’t depend on me – as if His plans would all be thwarted if I mess up. His sovereignty and my free will work together in ways my brain cannot begin to fathom.

I need God desperately and depend completely on Christ.  I must do what God calls me to do to share with others and then leave them in God’s hands and trust and pray that God will open their eyes in His timing. I rest in His sovereignty and let Him carry the weight of other people’s problems and their souls. I cannot carry that weight.

When it comes to pointing a husband to Christ, God gives wives a very specific way to do that – it is without our words about spiritual things, but through our respectful, pure, chaste behavior. I Peter 3:1-6. If I want to point my husband to Christ, I must trash my own way of doing this! My way, in my human wisdom, will only repel my husband. If I am to influence my husband for Christ, I must be willing to do it God’s way!

  • The decisions other people make belong to them, if they are grown adults.
  • My decisions belong to me.
  • Their decisions are their own to make whether they do what I want them to do or not. They will face the consequences for their decisions. They will answer to God for their decisions. I don’t have the right to try to use manipulation, guilt, playing the martyr or people pleasing to try to get my way.
  • I cannot force anyone to do anything. Of course, I may experience some of the painful consequences of the sins of others. That is going to happen at times as we live in relationships with sinners. And others are going to be hurt by my sin at times, too. Thankfully, God is “so sovereign” that He is able to even use what others intend for evil against me for my ultimate good and His glory if I belong to Christ (Romans 8:28-29 and Genesis 37-40, the story of Joseph). He is able to do the same with my sin, too, I am so thankful!
  • My goal cannot be to “always avoid pain” and “never let anyone sin against me.” My goal must be to trust God to empower me and to be with me – to walk through whatever may come. If someone is severely sinning against me and is unrepentant even after I follow Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:15-17, I may have to set appropriate boundaries until he/she repents.
  • My decisions and the consequences of them belong to me. Other people cannot force me to do things, God gives me a free will.
  • I can chose to follow and honor my husband’s leadership if he is not asking me to clearly sin or to condone clear sin or to do something illegal or seriously dangerous and if he is in his right mind (not high, drunk, mentally ill, physically abusive, etc…). But I do need to be able to decide to obey God rather than men if someone in authority over me (the government, my husband, my boss) asks me to do something that blatantly goes against God’s Word. (for more on this issue, please check the post Spiritual Authority)


  • I am responsible to God to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and to love others with His love, including to love Greg with the agape love of Christ (Matthew 22:37-40, I Corinthians 13:4-8) no matter what anyone else is doing or is not doing. (For wives who are in actual danger, please see the note at the bottom of this post.)
  • I am responsible to be the wife and woman God commands me to be in His Word no matter if no one else in the world is seeking and following Christ, no matter how badly the generations before me dropped the ball, no matter how ungodly/godly the examples I had in my life were when I was growing up and no matter what my husband is/is not doing at the moment.
  • I am responsible to examine my own motives and to confess any sin, to turn away from it and to be in right relationship with God through the power of what Jesus did for me on the cross independent of what anyone else is doing.
  • I am responsible for my motives, attitudes, actions, behaviors, sin and obedience to God even when others sin against me. There is no “free pass” for sin available to me. God always hates all sin.
  • I am responsible to tell others directly, and usually – privately,  if they are wronging me or sinning against me so that they have a chance to make things right (Matthew 18:15-17).
  • I am responsible to forgive others’ sins against me (that does not mean I must trust them until they are willing to rebuild trust, my trust is to be fully in God) if I want God to forgive me (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • I am responsible TO others to love them with God’s love and to treat them with honor (The 2nd greatest commandment God gives us is to love others, Matthew 22:37-40) – but I am not responsible FOR them or their decisions or to try to rescue them from the consequences of all of their poor choices.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Other people are responsible for these things in their own lives. We each own our own sin and our own obedience to God. God will judge us individually.

I can and should share my desires, needs, feelings and ideas. I can share God’s truth. But it is wrong of me to attempt to force my way on others. God doesn’t force Himself on us. He is a Gentleman. He allows us to have free will. He waits for us to invite Him into our lives voluntarily – at the prompting of His Spirit’s call. I don’t have the right to try to take away another adult’s free will.

No one has the right to take away my free will, either.  My husband can ask me to do something, he can direct me to do something. But then I ultimately have the choice as to what I will do and I will bear the consequences for my choices. Of course, if anyone makes sinful choices, they will suffer for that, those around them will suffer and God’s heart will be grieved. Sin hurts everyone and is a toxic poison to all of our relationships.

As a believer, I willingly sacrifice my will to my Lord and choose to die to self and live for Christ. Now I live for His will and His desires, not my own.


When My Spouse Is Wrong

Do I Condone Marital Rape or Abuse?

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

I Am Responsible for My Emotions

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean That I Can’t Say How I Feel or What I Need?

My Husband Gets Angry When I Respectfully Disagree with Him


If your husband is extremely controlling (i.e.: monitoring your every keyboard stroke, monitoring every conversation you have, monitoring where your car is and where you are every moment of the day), has a violent temper or is physically hurting you, please seek appropriate counsel and help. Some abused wives think if they were “more respectful” their husbands wouldn’t be abusive – that the abuse is “their fault.” That is not true. Abusive husbands (or wives) who are very controlling or physically abusive need help. They will be abusive no matter what their wife does because often there are major issues in their own lives. A wife could purposely try to rile up the anger of an abusive husband. That is unwise. But abuse is about something going on in the abuser’s soul –  that is how he would treat any woman to whom he was married.

In a similar way, I would have been a controlling, disrespectful wife no matter to whom I was married – because my sinful nature was bent that way.  We need the power of Christ and His blood shed for us to overcome the power of sin in our lives.

If your husband demands respect in a violent way or tells you that you are always 100% of the problem in the marriage and never takes any responsibility for his own sin and/or you are not safe, please seek appropriate counsel or get somewhere safe ASAP if you are truly in danger. Contact the National Hotline for Domestic Violence if you need to.

  • A wife’s respect and biblical submission can bless most husbands and can be healing in most marriages. But a wife’s respect and biblical submission cannot “fix” violence, alcoholism, drug addictions, mental health problems or real abuse.

I believe a wife can act with respect, as in – she doesn’t have to sin against her husband even if he is abusive. But, she may need to set up boundaries or possibly leave if she is in true danger. If this is your situation, my heart absolutely breaks for you, but please don’t read my blog and quickly seek appropriate help! God is able to heal you and transform you. His Word is powerful and healing for us all. But I am not experienced with abuse and you are going to need very specialized, experienced help.

60 thoughts on “I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually – Part 1

  1. Hi April, not sure but here’s my thinking so far on this one.

    Hmm. Total surrender to God and a walk of faith will cure all marriage ills. I am not sure if Debi is saying that a surrendered walk of faith will turn all marriages into wonderful marriages so that jerk husbands will always become wonderful husbands and get saved to boot. If that’s the case then Paul failed to teach correctly when he advised believers that some unbelieving spouses may wish to end their marriages due to their spouses’ new faith and that the thing to do is to allow them to go in that case. Obviously not a blanket guarantee that being a sincere believer equals always having a wonderful marriage.

    Or is she is saying that if you follow God’s principles from your heart, with God’s motives for doing so, ultimately it will bring everything to a head one way or another. Someone will have to ask her directly if she is issuing a guarantee that all marriages will be fixed and made wonderful by obeying God which is possible because her website has a comments/questions area that they usually respond to.Ills are cured either by repentance or departure, I’m thinking.

    My personal feeling is that some marriages will end because some spouses refuse to repent and want nothing to do with following Christ and are not willing to have a spouse who does. When getting away with sin is not an option, some folks rebel and refuse to be part of a scenario where they cannot get away with doing as they please no matter how wrong it. And Paul calls those people “unbelievers”, which includes a professing Christian who has been disfellowshipped because his lifestyle denies his claim of Christ following and he refuses to submit to biblical truth and authority.

    Sadly, some churches and pastors actually teach, submission only, minus rebuke, minus a wife removing herself from the home and depriving a husband of the privilege of marital comforts if he’s continually violating his vows , minus church discipline/disfellowshipping, and law enforcement. It’s churches that give members tacit permission to continue in sin without consequences that are the culprits here and us too if we comply. Obviously we must use wisdom. For instance, if your husband will beat the daylights out of you if you so much as speak to him about his sin, then when it’s time to confront, you would not confront him alone and you would not remain in the home but would leave with your co confronter after having made some arrangements to do so. You would also have law enforcement on alert and possibly present, since such a person is violent and dangerous. One could win him by visiting him in prison and showing love to someone undeserving of it. The thing is, when we compromise out of people pleasing and that erodes our boundaries, we lose that very contentment in Christ and moral authority that allows us to do such outrageous things as being the real deal as a believer.

    I think when scripture says ” if your brother sins against you, go to him in private and show him his sin”, the term brother is a reference to brotherhood and sisterhood by faith and assumes that the other person shares the same reverence and understanding of mutual submission to the truth and to Christ as you do, and so would have an ear to hear. If it was an all inclusive term meaning the brotherhood of humankind, then I think the term would have been “neighbor”, not brother. That’s not to say we don’t confront unbelievers, how else could we witness to them? But our expectations are different as to where they are at. We are still fair and give them a chance to respond before going public in many cases. But there are times when immediate intervention is necessary. Would you go to a child molester and say ” Hey, I don’t think what you are doing is right” and then leave him to give a him a chance to repent? How many children would be abuse while “thinking about it”? No, you involve law enforcement because they are God’s sword to reward good and punish evil, although you would take care not to further create danger for the people involved.

    Discipline is necessary and continues into adulthood which is why we have a police force, laws and a court and prison system. The same applies to sinful adults who are acting like selfish irresponsible children.

    However, out there in the current world, much of Christendom lies in nominal, compromised worldliness, which means that it is not easy to find a church that will actually practice what scripture teaches. Too many churches and pastors are more concerned with maintaining the popularity vote, avoiding making waves and shying away from any “unpleasant” or thorny business which can make it hard for someone dealing with a difficult sin situation to find truly biblical help with a heart of courage and integrity. It would be great if there was a list of churches that actually are scriptural. I’ve attended churches whose statement of faith is bang on but in practice, the total opposite happened because the flesh, fear and human wisdom ruled over what scripture says. We have to be creative in such situations and find ways to follow scripture when we don’t have the church support that we should.

    What do you think, April?

    1. Patricia,
      I think you explained this much better than I did! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights, Patricia. I agree very much with all that you have shared.

  2. Hi, i am writing because i had received advice from you regarding respect for my husband. I made sure to apply this to my life ans even after working on myself to become a better wife my husband decides that he wants to leave and be a homosexual male. I am having a hard time dealing witg this not only do i love my husband but we have three children. We are both Christians and he now sayys that God’s word is a lie and that since he had not taken tge desire away from him to want men he is never going to so he should just live his life. He knows in his heart that it is wrong but is now justifying this. He now says it is in my genes. I can’t believe that this i my life. I need a word or something please.

    1. Kimberly,
      Oh my! 🙁 what a heartbreaking, painful situation.

      It may be tempting to assume you did “something wrong,” but it seems to me that homosexual desires are his issue. Most likely, that has nothing to do with you whatsoever.

      Was he abused sexually by a man as a child? What was his parents’ marriage like? Was he in homosexual relationships before? Is he using porn?

      I can absolutely understand why you would have a hard time dealing with this. That would HURT!!!

      God Didn’t make him like this. But his sinful nature may have done this. I have seen God deliver people from homosexual desires, but this will be primarily between him and God.

      We will pray together for God to open his eyes and bring him back to Himself.

      Do y’all have a trusted pastor or godly mentoring couple you can talk with?

      I am sending you the biggest hug, my precious girl!!!!!!

        1. April, posting this relative to Kimberly’s situation so you can edit if need be. Kimberly:

          First thing you need to know, this is not about you. It is not about you not being good enough, woman enough or desirable enough. You could not fail enough as a wife to cause your husband to be drawn to men, and you could not be sexy or submitted enough to shut down a desire for men. This is about the power and deceitfulness of sin and the hold it can get on a person. This is not something you can defeat by human means. Your husband is talking like any sinner who has yielded to sin and is now trying to make it seem normal and even right.

          I cannot even begin to know how I would respond were I in your shoes, but can only imagine, the hurt, betrayal, confusion and anguish you must be experiencing, esp. as you contemplate how this will affect your innocent children.

          April is right that you need to protect yourself sexually. Do not agree to have intercourse with him as long as he is involved in this sin as this could have very serious consequences for your life and that of your children. You cannot afford to risk your life. You may be tempted to in the hopes that it will draw him back to you and show him what he may be missing but this could put you in a dangerous and even fatal situation, so resist the temptation by all means until you are certain and assured that he is repentant and solid in his walk with God.

          Regarding the battle at hand, you are fighting in prayer for a man’s life. His repentance is the first concern. He needs to be delivered from the intricate deception and bondage that sexual sins can be and this will only happen through God’s people fighting for his life in prayer regularly and committedly. Find some real serious Christians who have faith and will contend for his life with you. Love is choosing the highest good for the other and right now he needs repentance to escape the captivity of the enemy more than he needs anything else. Let God worry about the rest. Clear your heart of idols and surrender every desire you have for your life and his so that you can be totally and completely submitted to God without condition. Christ must be your first love, not your husband. Leave that part to God, as hard as it is. If you do this, you will find yourself at some point able to have peace that passes understanding. Because he has free will, it is true that he can choose to prefer his sin over being saved from it. That is always a possibility for anyone. But because Christ came to seek and save the loss, and this was the very reason He emptied himself of his divinity to come and be one of us including even dying on a cross to pay for sin and to ransom sinners, I’d say you have a better than average chance of seeing God do something in your situation. But prayer support from committed, believing Christians is critical and will be your very necessary support during this time.

          Wishing you the privilege of seeing God do what is impossible for man but possible for Him.

  3. Robert,
    It’s great to hear from you! Thanks for sharing. Yep, you may steal any of the disclaimer that you would like. May God richly bless your walk with Him, your marriage, your family and your ministry!

  4. I am just having such a hard time actually understanding and doing this. I think I may secretly and unintentionally try to control my husband. He is always buying new things, picking up a new hobby, it annoys me and upsets me, as I feel it is not in the best interest of our family, I tell him, if I went out and got everything I liked we would be broke! He went off tonight. Saying I do not support his decisions, I am always putting his interests down and whenever he has an idea I am the one who will be negative about it. This broke my heart, but then he said it’s because he never had a dad who took him hunting or took him to do manly things, so he is trying to now figure it out on his own. Well to me, that is searching for happiness in the wrong place, in things? But he says God wants us to have hobbies and enjoy things? I feel so bad for how I’ve made him feel, I apologized and he accepted it but I just feel like I strongly disagree with him here and think he should be less selfish with his time and put effort into others, his family, his job, not random hobbies he may or may not want later on. I’m trying to figure out how to support my husband and be kind and happy with his decisions when I completely disagree with him, it’s Something I’ve worked on in the past but naturally I just get this angry or annoyed feeling inside me I can’t shake

    1. LearningWife,

      I think a lot of wives can relate to your situation. Let’s hash through this issue a bit, if you are up for it. 🙂

      Are you handling the finances or is he? What arrangement do y’all have? Are you in the position of telling him what he can/can’t spend?

      Is he generally responsible with money?

      How much is he spending on these hobbies? Is the family in financial danger?

      Does he have any mental health issues or addictions?

      Is it possible that he is not sinning?

      What is the worst thing that could happen if you support his desire to figure out what hobbies he likes?

      Are you walking in obedience to God yourself in how you treat your husband and how you approach him?

      Is God able to change his heart about the hobby thing?

      Can you nag him into being more selfless and spending more time with the family? Do you have that kind of power over him?

      What do you believe would most motivate your husband to want to be with the family more?

      What if he doesn’t change? Are you able to accept him just as he is?

      What would happen if you were supportive of him? What are you afraid of?

    2. Learning Wife,

      Yes, it must be very difficult not to try to impose your own preferences on your husband’s spending habits and pursuit of hobbies. I wondered as I read your post whether or not your husband might be trying to create an outlet for creativity/enjoyment/satisfaction that he doesn’t find through his work. Many must work at jobs they don’t enjoy, and for some, this creates an almost desperate feeling to change their situation so they will find enjoyment in something they do, even if that must come through a hobby or other unremunerated activity.

      This is the mind’s defense mechanism, in some cases. Little children who don’t have enough mental stimulation will quickly misbehave until they are appropriately engaged in an activity that they find of interest. If they didn’t seek this stimulation, the rapidly developing brain would not develop as it should. Adults aren’t so very different; we seek what we need mentally, albeit not usually with crying and/or misbehavior. So, would it help to approach this possibility with your husband in a gentle, loving, non-threatening way? If he knew you cared about this it might motivate him to fill these needs in a less financially threatening way. Wishing you all the best, and much love!

      1. Elizabeth,
        I agree! I know Greg needs some outlets like this to find purpose and to stretch his talents and creativity. It rejuvenates him to work on remodeling projects or to be involved in fantasy football. I don’t have those same needs. For years, Greg told me I needed a hobby. I had no desire for a hobby! But for him, it is a way to add depth to his life and to do things he enjoys. So I don’t begrudge him that now. I used to! But now I know that he needs these outlets. And he is not wrong to be different from me.

        I seek to be supportive of his interests, to ask about them and to be enthusiastic when he talks about them.

        I think that especially for men who are not finding fulfillment in their jobs, this may be even more important.

        Thanks so much for sharing!

        1. April,

          I believe the reason you don’t need a hobby is because writing and helping others here and in the pharmaceutical field feeds you. I too love to write and am a teacher, a similar nurturing profession. But I worked in the advertising field at one point in my life, and although the money was good and I was quite proficient in that field, I felt so empty. The hours dragged. I tried to still the little voice in my head that said, “Why are you doing this?” I needed the money but hated promoting material products and the cutthroat atmosphere of such a competitive business. Eventually I entered a profession that was fulfilling, though often frustrating and exhausting in this culture and political climate. So I understand why people almost desperately seek hobbies and other enjoyable activities if their work isn’t a good fit. I sought refuge in lots of nature activities during those years and still find solace and peace in the wilderness. I hope all wives and husbands will have empathy for their mates who may be unhappy in this way, and do what they can support efforts to change unsuitable employment or find refuge in another way. Knowing that our husband or wife cares about our happiness builds love in such a big way!

          1. Elizabeth,

            Thank you for sharing this perspective! I think you are describing the way a lot of men may feel (and women, too, of course). Thank you for this. I think it will help us as wives to build more empathy for husbands who may be feeling unfulfilled in their careers.

      2. thank you for your response, I do kind of believe he is not happy with his job at the moment. Even though it is something he wanted very very much.. he actually works in ministry… there are a lot of things at the church he works at that he wishes was different and I feel he is unhappy with his work…

  5. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    I’d like to invite y’all to join the discussion about this topic. I believe every Christian needs to understand where our responsibilities end and the responsibilities of others begins. It would prevent a lot of conflict! And, as we learn to understand what is God’s responsibility vs. our own responsibilities, we find such peace and freedom!

  6. Learning Wife,

    Ok, I feel like I am getting more of the picture.

    I do understand your concerns with smoking/tobacco and alcohol. I don’t smoke or use tobacco, and am very allergic to cigarette smoke. I don’t drink and don’t have any desire to drink. Greg doesn’t do those things, and it is a lot easier for me not to have to deal with these particular issues.

    However… I do want us to be really careful about what we label as sin.

    Would you please do a word study in Scripture? Please look up everything the Bible says about alcohol, wine and getting drunk. I would like for you to show me where it is a sin for a person to drink alcohol, please.

    Cigarettes are very addictive, nicotine is one of the most addictive substances there is. It is expensive and it causes all kinds of health problems. It smells awful.

    I would love for you to do a word study in the Bible about smoking or addictions. Can you prove that smoking cigarettes is a sin in God’s eyes based on Scripture?

    Is it possible that you and your husband have different financial priorities, but that maybe neither of you is “wrong”?

    Is there biblical support for not having a huge savings account and simply trusting God?

    Obviously, we are stewards of all that God gave us, and He does want us to honor Him with our money. But, is there more than one approach to that goal of being godly stewards?

    If you had a large savings account, you would feel more safe?

    Are you building your house or tearing it down with your own hands? Prof 14:1?

    These are questions for you to prayerfully consider. I don’t have to see the answers. These answers are really between you and God.

    What would happen if you are not in control?

    Do you believe you are more spiritually mature than your husband?

    Do you believe you know what is right and what is God’s will more than your husband?

    Do you believe God is so sovereign that He can lead you through this imperfect man?

    Are you living in full submission to Christ and in full faith in Him?

    What would happen if your husband spent some money on hobbies and “found himself”?
    Is he sinning by spending money here and there on hobbies?

    Have you asked him about the things you want? What does he say? Can you live without those luxuries?

    What if you don’t support your husband’s hobbies? Are you willing to destroy your marriage over this? Is this issue more important than your obedience to God or your marriage?

    What if your husband felt respected by you, accepted, loved for who he is and supported? How might that impact the dynamics in your marriage?

    Are there any sinful attitudes in your heart that you get need to look at before you attempt to remove the speck from your husband’s eye?

    Are your feelings more important than obeying God?

    What is your greatest desire here? What is your goal?

    What do you want to do going forward?

    Much love to you!!

  7. looks like I have a lot of bible study to do.. lol
    April I would like to take a week maybe 2, or however long I need and look up some of the things you mentioned. I would like to read my bible and really pray on these things to see if they are sin or why I feel they are sin, it is possible that maybe it is my own opinion that they are gross, or wrong and that they are not sin. During this time I will also be changing my attitude completely towards my husband. Lately it seems being right, proving my point, showing self pity, playing the blame game and disrespectful tones have been more important to me than my marriage. That is the little feeling I mentioned in my last comment that feels so hard to control when my flesh wants to do those things. So, what I want to do is in spending time in prayer and bible study, ask God to give me the strength to try something new. To nurture my marriage, to serve my husband, to find the joy I had not too long ago. Sometimes I go through spiritual dry spells like I am right now. The one thing I’ve noticed is constant is when im going through a drought it seems I focus only on my husband’s “sin.” I forget to look at myself every day. I forget to repent of my sin and forget to ask God to reveal to me what im doing wrong and what I can do to glorify the Lord. Whenever I take the focus off of myself and look too much to my husband this tends to happen. Because then I start looking at his sin or what he doesn’t do for me, when really he is an amazing husband. God revealed something to me through scripture last night while I was reading in Matthew 15:11, it said –

    “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” It is what comes out of the mouth that defiles believers; it is by our words that our heart is revealed.

    Now this could not be talking specifically about smoking drinking or tobacco. But for me it popped out at me. My husband is perfectly capable of doing these things sometimes and still loving me, coming inside after he does this, and making me food, giving me a hug, speaking gently and nicely too me, but what do I do in return? Speak harshly, judge him, be rude telling him he smells and is disgusting and to get away from me? or when he wants to try a new hobby I say “this is dumb, why would we spend our money on this that’s stupid!” This is what is defiling me and my marriage! Not my husband. ugh 🙁 sometimes I finally realize things and am so disappointed with my self.

    Sometimes I also sit and think way into the future… I see myself old and gray and alone because my husband has passed away… will I be able to say I loved him with all I had and loved him like jesus did and served him and not regret anything? Or will nasty words be replaying over in my head about something he did that wasn’t worth the argument.

    🙁 I will start my bible study tomorrow. And my attitude change, then I will get back to you and see how the next few weeks are different from the past 2. Thanks for the food for thought!!

    Much love to you too!!!! <3

    1. Learning Wife,

      I think that sounds like a good idea. There may be some things that are sin – but I want to be sure you are finding those things in Scripture, not just in the traditions of men/churches. And, ultimately, you are responsible for your sin. He is responsible for his sin. He will answer to God, not to you. (Today’s post is about that, actually!)

      Take all the time you need. This is not about my thoughts. I have a number of verses in mind. But I think it would be more beneficial for you to be able to look up and study these things yourself. I agree that drinking and smoking can be gross – and smelly – and distasteful to some of us. But I don’t want us to condemn our husbands for “sin” for things that the Bible doesn’t call sin. That is not right.

      I am really glad that you are seeing some things in your own life that God wants you to work on. As you are able to see your sin for what it is and see how much it grieves God’s heart – you won’t want to sin against God anymore. He will help you see things in proper perspective. He can give you His love for your husband. He can give you His hatred for your sin. And He can give you the power to walk in His Spirit and in victory over your sin and the power to become the godly wife He desires you to be. Then you can focus on your own walk with Christ, seeking to find His approval – regardless of what your husband is or is not doing. And, you will know how to better support your husband and how to share any concerns in a respectful way that honors God. Then your husband may find that you are a blessing to him and to his walk with Christ. Wouldn’t that be the most amazing thing!

      If you are focusing on your husband’s faults, that is generally going to be sin. If you are judging and condemning him – you cannot also love and respect him. Your power comes when you focus on what Jesus asks YOU to do. And when you get rid of the sin in your own life, then you are no longer grieving God’s Spirit, and you can abide in Him and have His power to do this thing! 🙂

      I love what God showed you about Matthew 15:11. Wow. That is quite a contrast in your behavior and your husband’s behavior.

      Thankfully, God is able to change us. I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for you!!!!

      Sending you the biggest hug!

      Much love,

  8. I have loved this article very much.Am in a relationship with a very very wonderful man we’ve been dating for 6 months been friends for past 2years.And now that we are dating I realise when differences come up we will always solve them and come to agreement bt there are times we’ll take long to understand what the other person is saying.He’ll say something and I will read so much into it,I will say a thing and he’ll do the same so by the time we come to a conclusion we’ll have hurt each other with words and we’ll now apologize for an added wrong lol.Before I read this article i’d come from talking to God about us;I desired that we’ll get to that point where we communicate and minister grace to each other even when have differences,that we’d understand each others’ heart…I have lots of peace after reading this because I realise its selfish of me to want him to say stuff how I want him to or to feel like he is the one who needs to change,I am more wiser if i’ll trust God to build a great communication foundation for us……We communicate well at all times bt when we have our differences although we solve them we hurt each other in the process.But now I know better than to focus on our wrongs.I’ll trust God

    1. Annah,

      I’m excited about what you are learning. What a beautiful prayer for your relationship. Yes, I believe it is much more productive to learn to understand the way he feels, thinks and communicates than to demand that he talk, feel, think and communicate exactly like you do. You will be different. That is a good thing!

      I love that you want to minister grace to one another and that you want to understand his heart.

      Praying for God’s wisdom and His glory in your walk with Him and your relationship. 🙂

  9. Hi April,
    how are you doing? I know you have a lot going on with your family and with your kitty missing 🙁 So I totally understand if you can’t respond to me for how ever long. I was going to wait a little longer but I just feel things getting worse. Here is a little update, I did a lot of studying on verses in the bible about Alcohol. I have found it is not at all a sin to drink alcohol itself. In fact in Psalm 104:14 it talks about it being a gift from God that makes the human heart happy. However I did read a lot about people abusing the gift and giving in to drunkenness and how if they are led astray by beer and wine they are not wise (prov 20:1) I do not feel like my husband abuses alcohol so that is good. I know he is not sinning in this area. When I thought about why I may feel this way, it’s because I’ve seen so many people in my life abusing it and the bad things that can come from alcoholism or drunkenness and so since I haven’t seen it used the way God intended, I have a perverted outlook on it. I compared this to how I used to feel about sex. I was taught it is dirty and wrong, and so it wasn’t until later on I realized that it is a good gift from God and satan has just used it wrongly and perverted it. So i’m glad I did some studying on alcohol.

    I had a nice conversation with my husband after we talked about telling me things, and not hiding anything from me. He agreed and promised me he would. He’s been so good at telling me when he is visually tempted. I feel like I can finally understand him and his struggles in this area and he feels safe to talk with me about it. With smoking and tobacco it is different, though. He wanted to STOP being unfaithful to me visually, he does not want to stop these other bad habits and that is what makes me so mad. Yesterday I found a pack of cigarettes in the house. I said well when did you get these he said a couple days ago I said well why didn’t you tell me you bought them? He said oh I was going to (he always says this) I kept questioning him and he ended up saying listen, I bought them, I wanted them, I hid them because they weren’t safe around you I don’t want you throwing my sh*t away! (I couldn’t believe he cussed at me, he only does this when he is very upset and it hurts me, he never ever ever curses on a regular basis, he does not like cursing and doesn’t want it around but he will curse at me when we get in big fights, even though ive told him its wrong and I don’t want him doing that) I said ok and asked if he wanted to quit? He said no. I said well how long do you want to smoke and dip he said for a little while. I said ok and left the house to run errands, he texted me and said i am sorry for what i said to you where are you, I replyed with I really don’t want to tell you because we don’t tell each other things anymore so i’m just going to start doing my own thing. He replyed with that is childish and you are over reacting.
    I know this is childish but I am so upset.

    I started doing online research on nicotine addiction and he definitely has it. 3 out of every 4 people who start smoking or dipping are still doing it 40 years later. We don’t have kids but I will never allow that around my children. I will never allow it in my house and if this is something I knew about before we got married It would have been a deal breaker. That is how serious I am about it. I started feeling really really negative towards my husband. I couldn’t think one good thing about him. I started thinking of divorce. I don’t know what is wrong with me. For some reason even into today I am just so disgusted with him.

    You may be noticing by our convos that it is ALWAYS something with him. There is always something he is doing that I disagree with something he’s doing unapologetically, that upsets me or effects me negatively. It’s not the same thing always, its something new! I am on an emotional roller coaster with this man and I want to get off. He has an addictive personality and he doesn’t know how to react when I get mad. I want him to come near me and tell me he is sorry for what he’s doing that’s hurting me or even say it’s just hard to quit but I will try, no he just says im doing it and that’s it. So it’s like its always something new he has to do weather it’s buying something random for himself or smoking or drinking or porn or cussing or whatever it’s like I am not even happy anymore. What is holding us together because I don’t approve of anything that he does and he isn’t even loving me how I feel I need. If he was hurting me but could still be loving then that would be one thing, but hurting me, hiding things, and being distant?! I can’t have that.

    This is what I am afraid of – his addictive personality is going to destroy him physically. Age him prematurely, cause hair loss and bad teeth, anxiety, sleeplessness(which he already has) wrinkles, it is going to effect his life, our intimacy, or marriage, how long he has on this earth with me and our kids! and I am going to have to be dragged down with him and his bad choices. I will one day have to lose my husband earlier than I should because HE WAS SELFISH in his choices!! I am feeling so devastated and defeated. My grandpa died at age 62 from nicotine addiction! His father died at age 50 of alcohol overdose! Does he not see these kind of things kill people. If he follows in their footsteps he could only have 25 to 30 years left on this earth with me and his family. How can he be so selfish.

    I have started writing a paper on why I think he should quit all these thing and the terrible effects they have on his body and how bad his behavior is for him. I planned on printing it out reading it to him and telling him to make a choice. I was going to include if he continued to be addicted at this rate what age he would die and how old our children would be and just be very extreme because it is a big deal to me. But something is telling me it is not going to help. He is so bad with “people telling him what to do” and so prideful I feel like even his own wife wanting him to stop something wouldn’t even help.

    I just don’t know what to do. I cant force myself to be lovey towards him, or feel good about him. He just goes about the house whistling and seeming happy and I am dying inside. If I was near my parents I would leave and stay with them for a while to get away but he has taken me 5 hours away from my family. We basically have each other and that’s it but he finds friends wherever he goes like our neighbor who he has been smoking and drinking with and I am just left feeling alone. He says God wanted it this way so that we can’t just leave each other because I have a tendency to do that, he wants us to focus on our marriage but it has just been miserable and ive never felt this negative about him before.

    I have bought the love dare devotional online and waiting for it to arrive. We need some sort of devotional or something because I feel our marriage is in a really bad place right now . I don’t know what to do or how to act around him, I don’t even want to be around him because I know I will be disrespectful and I don’t want to be. April what is going on with me ? Is it me? Do I need to change? Is there something wrong with me or is it him?
    I’m sorry for venting but I need help 🙁

    1. Learning Wife,


      Ok, I have to warn you that I have only had 3 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours… So – not sure my brain is working very well.

      Well, I am excited you studied about alcohol – and about where the line is with sin with that.

      But, what did you find about cigarettes being a sin? I know you hate it. I understand that. But your husband is hiding smoking from you because you give him the 3rd degree about his cigarettes. He has a free will. He has the right to decide to smoke or not. You don’t have to like it. But if you treat him like it is the Spanish Inquisition every time you find a pack of cigarettes – any guy in his position would start hiding the cigarettes. He is addicted. And only HE can decide to quit. God can change his heart. Why not focus on praying for God to work His will and His glory in your husband’s life rather than trying to force your way self-righteously down his throat? I don’t know anyone – man or woman or child – who would respond to that approach by saying, “Sure, Honey, I will quit today! Thank you so much for all the demands and criticism. I am completely motivated to quit now!”

      And, if he was sinning against you with the cigarettes, which I don’t believe he is necessarily, by the way, then – what would a Christ-honoring response be?

      Is being hateful to him, telling him he stinks and to get away from you, disapproving, condemning, resenting and hating him and being full of bitterness to the point that you are ready to divorce him a Christ honoring way to live in response to his addiction to cigarettes? Will being angry, demanding he change, writing him a novel about how wrong he is, nagging him, criticizing him, thinking only of negative things about him, focusing on the bad, refusing to see any good, refusing to live out I Corinthians 13:4-8 or Ephesians 5:22-33 or I Peter 3:1-6 going to be an approach that pleases God?

      What if he has an addictive personality?

      Is there no grace available to him in your heart?

      How much grace have you experienced for your sin?

      I hate cigarette smoking and drinking myself. I am very allergic to cigarette smoke and can’t stand the smell. You have expressed your feelings of extreme displeasure to your husband – more than once- I believe, right?

      Now, what can you do to honor him, build him up, bless him, focus on the good, respect him, honor him as the God-given authority in your life?

      Do you realize that it was not until recent decades that smoking was considered to be “bad”? My parents’ generation – MANY, MANY people smoked (not that they should, because it is dangerous for their health) – but there were thousands of wives who were able to respect their husbands who smoked even if they didn’t like it.

      Yes, scripture does say that we should not be mastered by anything, that everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial. I Corinthians 6:12. It would be awesome if he quit smoking. But your approach is going to ensure that he will continue to try to hide it from you and keep doing it anyway. He wants to still smoke. You cannot make him quit. You can ask him to stop, but you cannot force him. You don’t get to control him. And the more you try to, the more miserable you both will be.

      You are familiar with Proverbs 14:1, correct?

      Is smoking cigarettes (which is debatable whether or not it is a sin) a worse sin than destroying your marriage, disrespecting your husband, holding on to bitterness, trying to control your husband, being filled with hatred and wanting to divorce your husband?

      Smoking cigarettes is absolutely harmful to your husband’s health. It is extremely addictive and very difficult to quit. People have to be willing to quit on their own and often need a lot of support in order to quit – positive support. Lots of men do things that are harmful to their health and may shorten their life span. Is it my job to demand that my husband not ever do anything that could shorten his lifespan? I can share my concerns respectfully – probably once. And then, I trust my husband and God to work out the details of his lifespan. What if we have 5 years less because of a bad habit of his – and I make the years we do have completely miserable? Why not enjoy the precious time we do have together?

      My vote – please stop writing the paper. He doesn’t need a lecture or a sermon. As a pharmacist, I can tell you conclusively that lectures and sermons don’t get people to quit smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol or doing drugs or eating too much or having any kind of idol/addiction in their lives.

      If you allow God to change you radically – and focus on the sin in your own life – I believe you will be shocked at the healing that can take place in your marriage. Let God deal with your husband. And ask Him to deal with you. Focus on your walk with Christ and your sin. That is where your power is, my precious, beloved, sister!

      Please search for these posts:

      – Why Do I Have to Change First?
      – Are Women Morally/Spiritually Superior to Men?
      – But I am a Good Person!
      – I’m Right
      – A Wake Up Call for Wives.

      And prayerfully read each of these. Ask God to speak to you about the sin in your own life, please!!

      Much love to you!

  10. Hey April 🙂 how are you? I am so so happy to hear you guys found your precious silver! I already love your first post about your children and I am sure God can create many other beautiful things out of the hard times you experienced the past few days. Can’t wait to hear how else he used a bad situation for the good of your family 🙂

    I took some time away from the computer the past week or so, so I never got to respond to your comment but I did read it, and I never got to thank you. So thank you so much for your wonderful response and guidance! It definitely opened my eyes, as your comments and posts always do when I am going through a tough time of pride and selfishness. I do want to mention I am only 22 and in my first year of marriage, so I know God still has a lot of work to do in me and my husband (who is a few years older than me) to grow us and mature us in Him before we are where we need to truly be for each other.
    I know sometimes I am just so up and down, but I appreciate you staying so faithful to the Lord and not giving up on me, or getting annoyed by me, and always taking the time to be honest and loving and to help me! 🙂

    So after I wrote you and just was such a mess of emotions, I decided to take your advice and I never gave my husband the stupid letter I wrote. Instead I just started praying for my husband. I read the posts you recommended and I started to get a grip of myself and realize I am not in control and really am not in control of anything no matter how much I think I am or try to be, my life, my marriage, my husband is all in God’s hand. So what if my husband does do something I disapprove of? Or something I don’t like? Or something I don’t prefer myself? That doesn’t mean its sin. And even if he does sin – in general or against me, I know my God can take care of that, and the Holy Spirit can speak truth and convict him way more than a nagging wife can. I trust my husband and know that he never wants to purposely hurt me, and I trust my God even more! 🙂 So I know everything will be ok.

    So I started praying for my husband and for me, and just repenting and spending time talking through things with God, and writing things down, reading the word aloud and just being with God for a small amount of time just changed my heart. its impossible to be in the presence of Jesus and still be bound by Satan’s lies. Jesus started giving me Joy, giving me Peace! And then I was able to have a forgiving and kind countenance towards my husband. It is seriously almost funny how different he is when I am being respectful vs disrespectful, when I approach him with respect, it’s almost like he physically can’t be unloving towards me. Not that this is about controlling my husband’s love towards me, but just goes to show how much men do respond to respect, and how God desired this marriage thing to work. But he can’t be loving without Christ flowing through him and I cant be respectful without Christ flowing through me, that’s why we must always make sure we are looking towards Jesus because when we look to each other, it just plain fails, we are sinners!

    So – since then me and my husband have started “The Love Dare” It was great to see him be so open to it when I suggested it. We’ve been reading through together and accomplishing the dares 🙂 we are only a few days in. – Also, I have not seen my husband one time go out and smoke a cigarette. He even commented on someone smoking outside the gym before they went in and how silly that was (it reassured me he is not a constant smoker) He has not one time looked to our neighbor for a guys night with a few beers, or even called him up or anything like that. Instead we’ve been eating dinner together, watching a movie, going to do things together and I can tell he wants to be with me. He even told me that he dipped the other day while working on a hard job and said he immediately took it out and threw it away and that it wasn’t empty, something he would otherwise never want to tell me! But instead he bought sunflower seeds to chew on the rest of the day. Then it occurred to me, my husband hasn’t been doing those things because he is deliberately trying to upset me or deliberately trying to “do something bad” … they were escapes to get away from ME! The person who is supposed to make him feel safe. Instead I was making him feel the opposite, I mean who wants to stay inside with a nagging woman when you can be out with a buddy having a calm evening? No one. I hated that, That crushed i decided i want to be a safe haven for my husband and let him always feel welcome, good, happy, at peace in his own home and around his woman. After all he deserves that.

    I did feel a tiny bit of annoyance when my husband and I were out and he saw these headphones that he just HAD to have… and started telling me why he needed them for the gym and things like that… I was like thinking here we go again, another thing you “need” but then something inside me was different this time… I actually could see his point of view… why he might really need or simply want these, how they would make his life a little easier and how it would simply make him happy, and put a smile on his face, and suddenly for the first time like ever, I wanted my husband to get the thing he wanted! I wasn’t thinking of the money, or thinking of something I could get with that money, I just thought about him! It was so nice to feel that way. And then I remembered allllllll the times I get what I want. It is in a different form than his, but he Never tells me no! either it’s oh stop here for a coffee im craving one, or ooh, I like this lamp here in the house lets move it, or oh this sounds nice for dinner or even the time I wanted a dog and we got the exact one I wanted without a question or comment from him… All he does is smile and say “okay sounds good :)” or “whatever you’d like” or “sure babe” See, I missed all these times, thinking so selfishly that his hobbies are stupid or expensive or shouldn’t I be getting something or what makes him think he can have whatever he wants whenever he wants it? Well duh!!! That’s what I get! I just didn’t notice because I was too busy worrying about money or not putting him before me or not seeing ways I could serve him for all the ways he serves me.

    I love that my eyes are being open to these things. My husband is not a perfect man, but he’s a darn good one and I need to stop tearing him down and start building him up to be the man God called him to be! That’s why i’m here and I want to be used by God as his vessel for my husband and for whoever else he needs me for, but I have to surrender to him first.

    Thanks for helping me see this April!!
    Sorry for the long book! Just wanted to update you on my growth and thank you for absolutely everything 🙂
    I will always be so appreciative to you.
    Have a wonderful evening with your precious family!!

    1. Learning wife,
      You remind me so much of myself our first year of marriage! I was 21 when we got married, and BOY, did I need someone to speak this kind of truth in love to me. But, i didn’t have it. So I continued on in that awful mindset for 14+ years.

      I LOVE your long comment. In fact, if you would allow me to, I would like to use it as a post.

      What God is doing in your heart is BEAUTIFUL!!! It is so obvious He is at work. The contrast between that last comment and this one show just how much He is doing in your heart. WOOHOO! I believe He may use your story to bless a lot of other wives and marriages, too.

      Thank you so much for the update. You made my day! I am try ripped that we get to walk this road together.

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

  11. Wow! I feel honored you would want to use my story as a post! It’s always a great feeling knowing I could help others… I know God never wastes our pain!
    You are welcome for the update, im glad it made your night 😀
    So excited we walk this journey together too, and many other wonderful wives!

    much love!

  12. My beloved wife of 14 years left me in August suddenly. What I found out later confirmed my suspicions, she suffered from long term depression. We suffered with it for fourteen years and she blamed me. All part of a pattern of LTD. She has lost most of her memory regarding our marriage, seeing another man while we are still married and is on anti-depressants which will further change her brain. The majority of the damage has been done.
    How does this tie into your site, quite simply, I am not responsible for my wife’s choices even when they have been altered by mental illness. I am a husband till death do us part. I am now to live alone under the law of GOD until I die praying for my poor wife and myself. GOD work in mysterious ways and His will be done. A good wife will guide her husband just as much as a husband guides his wife. Partners in life and faith.
    GOD bless you all, women of faith! Pray for my family in whatever condition it is in because your tears are counted not mine. GOD Bless you.

    1. Bryan,

      How my heart breaks for your situation. My precious brother!!!!!!! But, in the midst of this fiery trial, your faith in Christ is solid and your commitment to your covenant is intact. Wow. What a beautiful, God-honoring, powerful testimony to our Lord!!! Thank you for sharing! And you are correct, you are not responsible for your wife’s depression or for her sin. How I pray for God’s Spirit to draw her to Himself and to open her eyes to His truth. I pray that she might turn to Him and be healed. I pray for reconciliation and healing for your marriage and family. I pray for your walk with Christ to continue to deepen and for God to continue to empower you to be the man of God He calls you to be for His greatest glory. You are a blessing to us. You are most welcome here.

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