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When Greg and his dad transformed our living room into a master bath

When Your Man Needs Space

When Greg and his dad transformed our living room into a master bath
Greg spent years remodeling our old house – which meant, hundreds of nights of me taking care of our children by myself while he and his dad worked until midnight many nights per week after their full-time jobs. God taught me to be thankful and content during those times rather than resentful and bitter. God also taught me to appreciate that they were doing all of this because they love me and our children dearly. That was quite a sacrifice for both of them – I could bless them by appreciating their hard work and bringing them soft drinks and snacks and by telling them how thankful I was for all that they did for us.

Not all husbands need a lot of space. Some husbands want their wives to be right beside them all the time, involved in everything together. Others need some time to themselves to recharge or to work on things. There are many different personality types. Here are two broad categories of personality types (that apply to men and women).

  • Extroverts are people who tend to get energy from being around others, being alone may eventually be draining for them.
  • Introverts are people who tend to be energized by being alone, being with people may eventually be draining to them.

In marriage, often one spouse will be more extroverted and one will be more introverted. So it can be a bit tricky for both people to feel that they are each getting the time they need to be alone and enough time together to connect.

  • Sometimes the more extroverted spouse may feel that the more introverted spouse is being unloving when the introvert wants to spend some time apart.
  • Sometimes the more introverted spouse feels smothered when the more extroverted spouse wants more together time.

What I would like for us to see is that a person with a more introverted personality isn’t being unloving when he/she wants to be alone for awhile, this is a need this person has. If my husband is more introverted than I am, my giving him space can be a blessing and a gift. Also, if a husband has felt very controlled, disrespected, or smothered by his wife, he may need even more time alone than usual to recharge and to feel like he can make his own decisions. And a more extroverted spouse is not trying to be annoying, he/she just loves to be with his/her spouse and feels more energized when they are together a lot. And sometimes extroverted spouses also need and want to have time with friends, as well.

My husband, Greg, is rather introverted. I used to be offended when he wanted time to himself. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept that space could be a gift to anyone. I felt like he wanted me to hate him when he wanted space. I knew that if he gave me space, I would feel very unloved, so how could he want space and love me? Thankfully, I understand now that Greg’s personality is just different from mine. He is not unloving. He just has different needs than I do. Sometimes he is using that time to himself to do things to bless me and our children (house renovations). Sometimes he is using that time to himself to recharge.

I have learned to use the time when I give him space to draw closer to God. Now I LOVE having time to myself, too.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11b-13

Let’s apply these verses to ways we can be content in Christ whether we have lots of time, attention, affection, and love from our husbands or whether we feel we are lacking in time, attention, affection, and love from our husbands.

Ways I Could Smother and Repel My Husband:

My husband wants to watch a game, work on a hobby, or work on a project that is important to him.

  • I could get angry and upset with him, demanding that he spend time with me.
  • I could sit beside him and cry about that he is watching a game rather than enjoying my amazing company.
  • I could accuse him of not loving me because he wants to spend some time by himself, not emotionally connecting with me.
  • I could yell at him because he is “such a horrible husband” because his desires are different from mine sometimes.
  • I could resent him and become very bitter that he isn’t spending every possible moment with me.
  • I could destroy any time we actually do have together.

Would these methods draw my husband to me or repel him?

HOW DO YOU GIVE A HUSBAND MORE SPACE?

(Note: I am not talking about situations in this post where there is infidelity going on, addictions to drugs/alcohol, abuse, uncontrolled mental health issues, criminal activity, actual abuse, or severe issues. If you are dealing with one of these situations, please seek appropriate help ASAP!)

** Keep in mind, some wives have husbands who want more time with them – these wives will have to focus more on learning to give more of themselves to their husbands and getting by with less time alone. Marriage stretches us and causes us to become more holy as we allow God to work in our hearts. And some wives have extroverted husbands who need space and time to go out with their guy friends, that is a possibility, as well.

Giving space can involve giving physical space, giving time, being quiet, and being emotionally/spiritually tranquil and peaceful myself.

Here is something interesting Greg told me a few years ago, “I always feel connected to you, unless you tell me you don’t feel connected to me.” That has been so helpful to me, and allowed me to rest in Greg’s love for me, realizing that he felt our connection all the time, even when we weren’t together. Hmmm…

If my husband wants to watch a game or work on something that is important to him, I can give him space in several ways:

  • I don’t assume Greg has evil motives or that he doesn’t love me, but simply rest in his love.
  • I understand that he loves sports and that he needs some time to himself.
  • I can focus on a list of things that I admire, respect and appreciate about Greg.
  • I can go somewhere and do something I enjoy – a walk, taking the kids to the zoo, etc…
  • I can be in another room enjoying something for myself – time with God, time with my children, writing, journaling, emailing/blogging, time doing something I like to do.
  • I can be beside him, but mostly quiet during the game, maybe I will talk in a pleasant, friendly way during commercials.
  • I can cuddle with him and make occasional comments about the game, depending on how important the game is to him, making sure that I don’t comment during the plays.
  • I can cuddle with him and close my eyes and rest or read.
  • I don’t have to emotionally cling to my husband, the only one I cling to is Christ – I hope that makes sense, if not, please read the linked post.
  • I can say something encouraging to him like, “This room is going to look amazing when you are done working on it!”
  • I can smile at him, give him a big hug and a kiss, and say, “Okay! Have fun!” Then I can allow him to have time to himself.
  • I don’t have to know exactly when he will be back, unless there is something we have scheduled later. And even if we have something scheduled, I can simply mention that to him in a pleasant tone of voice, and trust that he can figure out how to be back in time for that event.
  • I don’t ask Greg to tell me how long something will take. When men are working on a project, it almost always takes longer than they expect – in my experience, at least. So, I just don’t worry about how long it will be.
  • I don’t constantly text or interrupt him.
  • I can be available if he says he needs my help.
  • I might do something fun with the kids or focus on helping them with homework and getting ready for bed, work on some chores, and then I might have time to myself to pray, read, study, or minister to women online.
  • I welcome him back with a big smile and a hug (unless he is filthy, then I wait to hug him after his shower!)
  • I listen to anything he wants to share about what he worked on.
  • I enjoy whatever time we do have together.

Would these methods draw my husband to me or repel him?

How can I be content when I am giving space? When I am close to Christ, and His Spirit fills me – He gives me His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, as well as His contentment no matter what my circumstances might be. (Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:12-13)

(If a husband has been feeling very, very smothered and disrespected for a long time, he may need more physical distance for awhile – weeks or months. If a husband resists cuddling, that is okay. If he is alright with you being in the same room, show him that you can be peaceful, friendly, and pleasant in the same room and enjoy being in the same room without smothering him. If he is very tense about you being in the same room, it may be good to give him more space for awhile.)

A HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE:

Some husbands have shared with me that if spending time with their wives has been painful in recent (or even not so recent) history, if they feel really disrespected or if their wives get upset a lot, seem disappointed often, and things don’t seem to go well – it can be really difficult for a man to get excited about spending time with his wife.

Ladies, let’s make sure that we are pleasant to be around by showing genuine respect and honor to our husbands, by not demanding things, and by being thankful for what they do give to us.

SHARE:

If your husband needs space sometimes, how do you give him space in a way that blesses him?

If you are a man, what are some ways a wife could give a husband space that he might greatly appreciate?

If you are a wife whose husband wants MORE time with you, how have you learned to give more of yourself?

71 thoughts on “When Your Man Needs Space

  1. Sometimes giving space means giving time…..wow. That hit home. My husband is extroverted, but does not feel comfortable around me due to my former disrespect. But he isn’t moving out, still sleeps in our bed and tries hard yo come home every night. He accepted me giving a backrub and loving touches. When he said he needed some space, I was willing to give it to him..as an introvert would….it made things worse. One time he said maybe he needed time. This drove me nuts. I was so eager to try to bless him and “do” things for him etc, I didn’t understand why he wasn’t progressing forward. I now realize with that statement and this post that he doesn’t want physical space…I gave him too much of that in the past anyway, he wanted temporal space…to be able to progress on his own timeline…not mine. Thank you April for that timely article and especially that line.

    1. LMS Daily,

      For me, giving physical space and time at first were both SO counterintuitive and made no sense to me at all. But now that I understand how much I had smothered Greg, and what his personality needs, I understand how it is a gift.

      My husband needed quiet more than he needed physical space. At first, he needed both, but then he was able to enjoy me being with him without me talking all the time. That was a kind of giving space.

      I think one of the greatest parts of this gift is when we are truly at peace spiritually and emotionally, not asking for anything, not trying to fix our husbands, just peaceful and able to let them have the time they need, without any resentment on our part, and without pressuring them.

      I am praying for you today, my dear sister!! 🙂

      Glad this post was a blessing!

    2. Your response really blessed my life. My fiance’ is an extreme introvert and has told me he is not sure how it will be living together after we’re married because of this. He stated initially he will need some space but will probably warm up after a while. Thanks for your response because truthfully I flipped out lol Your response has taught me where to target my prayers. Thanks again!!

      1. TJ,

        I hope you will do some research on relationships/marriage with introverts. It is going to be important to have realistic expectations going in and to appreciate your man for who he is without trying to change him or resent him.

        I have some posts here – you may search things like:

        – husbands emotions
        – space
        – introvert
        – emotionally distant
        – expectations

        I would not expect his personality to change. How much time do y’all spend together now?

        Perhaps, you can talk about your expectations before marriage so that you can be on the same page in understanding one another. If talking for more than a few minutes a day wears him out – for example – don’t expect that to change after marriage. If he needs time to himself to recharge now, expect him to continue to need at least the same amount of time to himself after marriage.

        Much love to you!

  2. I guess the way I give my husband space is by not judging him or trying to control the amount of time he spends doing his hobby. I respect him and understand that he loves it a lot and it gives him energy. but by showing him more understanding, we actually spend more time together.

    We used to spend a lot of time apart because I would be angry or pouting about it. Now, if I am in another room doing something, he will find me and say, “I would like you to come into the living room.” We actually spend a lot of time together in the same room whereas we used to be apart. He likes for me to assist him on projects, so even more time together.

    We are both introverts, but he doesn’t seem to need to be alone. If I come and sit with him on the couch in the living room (where he normally is) he will say, “Oh you’re gonna spend time with me!” Occasionally I like to run errands alone and just have some quiet time. But we are both home bodies and enjoy being in our home together. Looking forward to having an empty nest. Our youngest leaving in July. Our oldest moved back in with her husband and son in our basement apartment. 2016 we will have our house to ourselves, well except for my mother-in-law lives with us as well.

    1. Monica,

      I love this! I think it is interesting to see the different dynamics – and I especially appreciate you sharing as a wife in a couple of two introverts.

      I think that because I grew up as an identical twin, I didn’t really know what it meant to be alone – until we got married, and that summer, Greg and his dad spent 6 nights per week until 1am for the first 3 months of our marriage working on a different old house for us to live in. I did not respond well to that! I had never been alone, and I sure didn’t expect to be more alone than ever when we got married. I wish now that I could have been thankful and appreciative that summer – my response made things so much harder for everyone. 🙁 I had to repent for that to Greg and to his parents.

      God put me in many, many situations where I had to learn to be alone. Working a night shift in a pharmacy for 2 years. More house renovation projects for years at a time. At first, I HATED being alone! But now, how I cherish my time alone with God. I NEED that time! Now, I look at time alone as a great gift – to be with God, to write blog posts, to work on my book. In fact, my personality has shifted as God has been changing me the past 6 years – to be much more introverted myself – which I think is interesting, and surprising!

      When I began to give Greg more space, and once he began to feel safe with me again, he would start looking for me sometimes, too, and invite me to be with him. So sweet! Now, Greg doesn’t really need physical space. He seems to be fine if I am beside him, cuddling, or in the same room. But I do give him periods of silence and time to not have to be “on” and involved in constant conversation.

      Congratulations on your soon-to-be empty nest! I’m so glad you are enjoying being together. What a blessing!

      Much love!

  3. This past summer we were camping with another married couple. My husband spent almost the whole day away from us fishing. At one point in our marriage this would have bothered me, but it no longer does. I was asked by the couple how it didn’t bother me. That the wife would probably be frustrated, because she likes for her husband to have fun, but with her. I said I totally relate to that, because I do, but that I know that this is what brings my husband peace, and how thankful i was that gee was able to have time to rest. I stayed busy with the kids, chatted with the wife, had a great time. My husband came back feeling happy and peaceful, and thankful to be with me. Had I been upset about it, firstly I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself, secondly my husband would have felt frustrated and resentful, and we would have left the trip further apart from each other. Which I think is the biggest thing I’ve learned, that when my husband feels free to be apart from me without fear of disappointing or upsetting me it actually makes him feel closer to me.

    There was a time that I used to try to force the closeness to happen. That i thought being apart would pull us apart. But it doesn’t. I related very much to the wifes feelings because I’ve been there! Why does he want to have fun without me? If he loved me wouldn’t he want more time together? All those feelings can easily creep in. But knowing my husband, and changing my perspective from me to him, what does he need, what will make him happy, what will make him feel loved changed everything. I think what we have to realize is that it really is a choice. A choice to love and put their needs ahead of our own. It seems whenever I do he makes up for it, by showing me more love in return.

    I think another little change that made a huge difference, and a very difficult one for me was when he was home he would want to go run a quick errand, and i would always ask a million questions, where are you going, how long will it take, when will you be back? Making a huge deal. He let me know one day that it made him feel trapped, so I stopped doing it. At first he would just say I’ll be back in a little bit, and I would bite my tongue, kiss him, tell him I loved him, and ended it there. But after a month or two he started telling me what his plans were, where he was going, when he’d be back and so on all on his own. It showed me that sometimes I don’t give him enough credit, he wants to please me, but he wants to do it on his own. And it actually means so much more when it comes from him.

    1. Sarah,

      Thank you so VERY much for sharing this! I love seeing the transformation in your attitude and then seeing the beautiful results. I know your words will greatly bless many other wives, as well. 🙂

      I love that you were able to see that you could enjoy things on that trip, and your husband could enjoy some time away – and that didn’t tear you apart – it drew him nearer. It is very paradoxical, but many times, giving our husbands space does draw us closer as a couple. The more we try to force connection, the more we repel our husbands. But, just as you shared, when we allow them to come to us in their own way and in their own time, it means so much more and it is better for both of us.

      Thank you for sharing the perspective change. This is so powerful!!!

      I also love the part about not asking him questions. Good for your husband for having the courage to share with you that he felt trapped when you asked a lot of questions. And how wonderful that he later began to tell you more on his own.

      Much love to you!

  4. My husband tends to work late most evenings, and will go into the office on Saturdays for part of the day, and Sunday as well sometimes. A lot of weekends if he is not at the office, there are things he wants to work on around the house or other jobs/errands he needs to get done. I am always okay with this, because he does make very strong efforts to spend time with me and do family things when he can.

    The only times I have a problem are when I feel like he isn’t being honest about where he is, when I wonder if he has actually left the office and went out with the guys but decided not to tell me. This has happened in the past, more than once, which is why I tend to be skeptical when he tells me he is still at the office.

    I am always okay with him taking that time to himself, so it baffles me when he keeps it from me. I realize his family life growing up created in him a need to…distort the truth…quite often, and this may very well just be a habit of his that is in no way intended to hurt me, but the lack of openness does hurt me greatly.

    I’m not sure how to be okay with giving him space when he isn’t open about where he is during those spaces. I’m trying very hard to find peace in those moments knowing that he does love me and knowing that God can convict him about this lack of transparency. I also realize the lack of transparency is NOT a sin, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

    1. M,

      Yuck. I totally understand your desire for him to be transparent. I think that is reasonable. Praying for God’s wisdom about when and how to approach this difficult issue – that His Spirit might work in you both. Lying is a sin. It is especially surprising to me to hear of a husband lying about where he is when his wife wouldn’t freak out about his answer. Praying for God’s wisdom that is so much higher than ours, my dear sister!

  5. I think it’s also important to note that an extroverted husband may still want space, mainly for the purpose of enjoying guy activities….

    I think my husband is a bit of a mix. He’s extroverted BUT he also likes his alone time and is VERY independent… won’t ask his Dad or friends for help in moving something heavy or with a project…. he’s extroverted but likes his alone time, too.

    I just wanted to put that out there because I thought there might be a wife that thought “oh no! My husband is extroverted but still doesn’t want to be with me a lot.”

    I almost think it’s the normal yin/yang of a relationship for a guy… they need a balance of both- time away and time with you. I see this in the marriages of friends and family, too.

  6. I haven’t been commenting lately but I have been reading. I have been in a low place lately and when I comment during those times, it comes out very negative and I don’t want to do that.

    Financial issues have been overwhelming and now my ex husband is taking me to court to try and force me to sell the house that is in both our names.

    I have needed love and support from my husband and he too is overwhelmed and not able to provide that.
    I am believing that God has a plan for us and I am trying very hard to stay on that path.

    Anyway, I wanted to comment on this post. One of my husband’s love languages is quality time but I have seen him need lots of space when I have been disrespectful. And it takes him a long time to get over it and feel safe with me again. It took me a long time to realize this and to see my part in his withdrawal from me. I would get offended, hurt and angry thinking that he just didn’t love me.

    1. Daisymae,
      I am so very sorry that things are painful and hard right now! I want to give you the biggest hug! You can always come here for prayer support and encouragement any time, my dear sister!

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you and your husband in this time of financial crisis. And for God to show you both the way He wants you to go. Praying for His provision.

      Are you receiving love and support from some godly friends, mentors, prayer partners, a godly mom/sister?

      Yes, I think a lot of men respond to disrespect by withdrawing. That is so important for us to understand as wives. I wish I had understood this 21 years ago.

      We’re here if you need to talk more.

      Ladies,
      Please join with me in praying for Daisymae, her husband, and the financial issues they are facing!

      1. Thank you so much, April. I would so appreciate the prayers. And I will consider myself hugged. 🙂 I do have lots of support with family and friends and for that I am very thankful.

  7. I confirm that if a wife has been chronically disrespectful for years, that when she walks into a room with anything but a genuine smile, physiologically it is a heightened level of stress, and I prepare for battle. Especially if I “get caught” doing something I enjoy that she doesn’t consider “helpful” to her. (in my experience it might be a pesky game on my phone, or my absolute favorite is building wooden furniture – a big trigger in my home).

    Space doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you. Sometimes he needs space simply because he’s introverted. Other times he needs space because he doesn’t feel he’s safe around his wife at the time, or sometimes always unsafe. 🙁

    The word “peaceful” in your blog is wonderful, a sense of peace at home would be divine, literally. I hope this didn’t sound like a complaint, but simply more information.

    1. AnonyMan,

      This is exactly the kind of masculine perspective that I believe will be a blessing to many wives. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Hmmm… that is interesting about how attractive a wife’s peaceful attitude, demeanor, and spirit would be to a husband. We may need to talk about this more. If there are any insights you’d like to share about what a wife’s genuine peacefulness and contentedness and agreeable attitude would be for a husband, we are all ears. 🙂

      1. Nothing is more attractive than a happy girl. Can I say that again?
        Nothing is more attractive than a happy girl! Content, happy, and grateful. Contempt and bitterness is ugly and repels. Happiness and gratitude are gorgeous and attractive.
        Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be content and grateful.
        Ladies, you have a power over everyone else’s emotions in the home. I think the old phrase “If Momma aint happy, nobody’s happy,” comes from this truth, and I hope that phrase isn’t demeaning. However it’s so true that if Mom is feeling good, everyone feeds off that and feels loved, respected, and feels freedom to enjoy life. If Mom is not feeling well, everyone is doing their best to 1) Not dig her into a deeper hole, and 2) Help her feel better.
        If your wife is chronically complaining, sad, angry, and contemptuous, please see point #1 above. Goal #1 for everyone in the household is to 1) Not dig her into a deeper hole (damage control). If she’s contemptuous (if you don’t have contempt, this doesn’t apply), I have done extensive studies and discovered that anything that bothers her can (and will) be blamed on the husband. I have also discovered that no man can “make” a woman feel better.
        I’ve gone the long way around to get to this point, but here it is. If a husband knows you’re in a foul mood, (short term or long term, it’s irrelevant), then why wouldn’t he want space? He wants you to sort through your stuff, because he views you as a hot stove, and he doesn’t want to get burned….. again.
        Happiness breeds happiness. When my wife is happy I want to reward her with flowers, hugs, back rubs, family time, chores. When she is sour, I want to RUN AWAY. And that isn’t unique to marriage. Any other person who treats you with contempt, resists your every move, and criticizes you, and is generally mal contented is a turn off. You spend as little time as possible with them. That’s one reason why he might want space besides generally being an introvert.

        1. AnonyMan,

          This is really helpful! Sometimes, I think that we wives may need to have a camera follow us around when we are interacting with our families. It is easy to be stressed and to not even realize that edge in our tone of voice or the lack of cheerfulness in our countenance. I do think if we had to see ourselves on camera, we might understand a bit better why our husbands sometimes want space.

          You are saying almost word for word things that my husband, Greg, has said to me a number of times. Thank you for helping me think through a future post about how godliness with contentment is great gain – and it is so attractive to our men. Then we are a blessing to everyone in the home. Maybe that is why Greg goes so far out of his way for me not to be stressed! 🙂

          Thank you so much for sharing!

          1. Hey April, you might want to clarify that the camera idea isn’t a good one for men to facilitate. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought of it, and none of the other dudes lurking ought to think it’s a good idea and that “April said so.” lololol. That wild game camera mounted on the TV stand might not go over well. (stick to the deer and turkeys fellas) Ha, sorry, I’m cracking myself up here.

          2. AnonyMan,
            Ha! True. Wives probably wouldn’t appreciate being ambushed with that. But, I do know some marriage counselors who use cameras in their sessions to help husbands and wives see how their spouse might perceive them. 🙂 I think it is with the couple’s knowledge.

            🙂

          3. AnonyMan,
            You have inspired me, I hope some other men will also share about this topic with us. If there is anything else you want to add about the attractiveness of a peaceful, calm, content, happy, joyful wife, I’d love to hear it!

          4. Every man of good spirit has a goal of having a happy wife. It’s invaluable to his life. Proverbs 31 talks about how a woman of noble character is worth far more than rubies. They don’t say that to be poetic. It’s TRUE!
            But as I was saying, the happiness of a wife is a goal that every good willed man has. As any spectrum of virtue vs. vice, there is moderation in this goal (avoid idolatry, but avoid apathy). When a wife who loves her life and carries herself with esteem and respect, she is priceless. A man places a lot of his worth as a human being and his manhood in how his wife feels. If she feels contemptuous, angry, frustrated, and complains a lot, that man feels like a failure. He will literally feel unworthy of being a husband and a father. If she is grateful, respectful, loving, and cheerful, he literally feels like a million bucks, and has a purpose to get up and keep going every day. Additionally, that attitude stokes a fire for him to want to continue to be the “Servant Leader” that God designed him to be.
            What gift could be greater than letting your man know that he has a purpose? If a man knows that he is wanted, respected, and appreciated, would it not completely change the entire relationship dynamic? The two scenarios are contrast so strongly.

          5. AnonyMan,

            I agree – it is possible to make a spouse’s happiness into an idol, or to think we are each responsible for our spouse’s happiness – which is not true. Of course, in our culture, we tend to make happiness an idol in general.

            But what a blessing to see our spouse filled with the fruit of the Spirit of God!

            Thank you so much for sharing how a husband may be impacted by his wife’s demeanor and spiritual well-being. When one spouse begins to obey God and is controlled by the Spirit, it makes it easier for the other spouse to do the same.

            Love that – “If a man knows that he is wanted, respected, and appreciated, would it not completely change the entire relationship dynamic?”

            Powerful stuff here, my brother!

  8. Hey April,
    I keep wandering away to process and come back with more questions, as you know, I’m separated, massive repentance, deliverance, seriously and very determined to remain with God and under His grace without exception. Although we had more than enough assets my lack of integrity and deceit affected everything including my work, finances and obviously my marriage. Just to be clear the financial stress i put my wife under was significant, she took over a lot of business debt and as a result has lost any credit rating and has her name discredited due to my inabilities. She has had to suffer the shame and dishonor of my own shame and dishonor to the point where creditors would be constantly ringing her, court judgments against me, her or us depending.
    When I came to my senses a few months ago, i sold a property I had inherited and it will clear all the debt. I have given her power of attorney to distribute the proceeds because I have promised to “fix” the debt before and it hasn’t happened – so i know my trustworthiness is non-existent and rightly so. As a means of furthering my trust with her I gave her the same power of attorney with the house and all of my income in the next six months.

    Here’s where I am going with all this – she will fluctuate between two days ago offering me cake, talking with me and telling me what she is going to do to but then recently rang me so angry that she said “I am feeling like I just want to go away and disappear” and saying that I completely don’t support her, demanding that I physically leave ( which she demanded six months ago but due to lack of finances was not possible) and saying that I am a hypocrite for spending fifty dollars to go to bible night school even though I have given her absolute authority over all of my income, assets which i have now given to her and I have given her complete access to all my computers, phones, anything and everything.

    I understand that my helpers are men so I am hoping that you will be able to offer a womans perspective because without exception every single person is flabbergasted at my wifes lack of concession but for me I think i am missing something really important because she is a very genuine person although understandably hurt. She says that she is not being “heard” and that the money is not important.

    So I guess in relation to your post today I am saying as a man I don’t want the “me time” at all, just want to sit and share things with her? so, any help in removing the scales from my eyes and heart from you or your readers would be so brilliant!

    1. Gary,

      You are in a situation where a wife has been severely emotionally wounded and scarred. So, this post isn’t completely applicable – but the part about how a husband who has been feeling disrespected and controlled for a long time would need more space would be comparable to what your wife may need.

      I don’t know your wife’s heart, obviously. But here is what I do know – when someone has felt severely sinned against, lied to, and betrayed over a long period of time, it takes a long, long time to rebuild and re-establish trust. Even for me where I had not been lying to or deceiving my husband, it was 3.5 years before he felt safe with me again after my disrespect, pride, control, etc… Sin hurts people and relationships. All sin. So, I am sure that your wife is wrestling with a lot of hurt, pain, and confusion. I am sure she wants to believe that you have changed. But I also know it will take a long time of seeing that you have changed and seeing you be completely transparent and feeling heard, loved, safe, and secure before she will be able to be healed enough to trust again. I don’t know a shortcut around that process.

      I am extremely thankful to God for what He is doing in you and the steps you are taking toward reconciliation. I love that you sold a property to take care of the debt. That is awesome! I love that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make things right and that you seem to be approaching her with great humility. That is the most healing attitude and posture possible.

      There is a great battle in your wife’s heart and mind right now. I am not surprised that she seems to be going back and forth between attempting to show love and between anger and resentment. Is she receiving godly counseling, as well?

      It sounds like she may be very depressed. She does not feel emotionally supported, is that what she means? Without hearing more of her words, I am not sure exactly what she is saying.

      Praying for wisdom for you both and for God’s healing for you both and for your marriage in His perfect timing!

      1. Thank you April,
        My wife (normally) is the most genuine, open and true person I have ever met. For her to have to face the fact that I was not morally at least equal must be extremely confronting. My only choice was to change drastically and, by His most undeserving grace, not only confront and confess my deceit, shame and sin but go beyond that to my selfishness and beyond that to the cowardice that supports or excuses even sin itself. Fortunately, the Lord, in His mercy, allowed me to see the blackness of my own soul at that time which was a turning point for me.
        This is such a pivotal time from which I can never go back. It is easy in church to admit you have sinned, it is easy in church to talk about your fears of rejection but I have found it so confronting to recognise that my cowardice and self-preservation actually expose the lie when I have said that I love my wife because love is not self protecting. So I imagine this is the battle that she must be facing now in trying to understand who she married.
        I don’t know how to emotionally support her when my words have not held truth. One of your readers asked why i don’t just “blurt” the truth and I haven’t been yet able to find what is my truth but I think I am getting closer now. I was certainly becoming aware that transparency is one thing but I can be transparent without being “true”.
        To answer your question, my wife has become very afraid of counselors because I, like M’s husband, was able to provide all the “right” answers in my head and the counselors weren’t looking at my heart nor my wifes heart. “Right” answers and deceit go hand in hand but Jesus deals very much with our heart. Your blog here looks for truth which is why it is so important.
        Thank you again April,

        1. Gary,

          I have learned that we are all wretched sinners on equal ground at the foot of the cross. None of us have any goodness in and of ourselves, that includes me. I didn’t really get that for a long time. I’m always excited when I see someone truly willing to humble himself or herself before God and his/her spouse – good things come after that.

          I’m thankful you have this time to focus on yourself, your sin, your walk with Christ, and to receive godly counsel. I pray that God might richly bless this time for both of you to help you both find healing.

          Yes, your wife means emotional honesty, I am pretty sure. I’m also very glad that you are working on that letter. It sounds like a good step.

          Praying for continued wisdom and the power of God’s Spirit to radically transform your heart, mind, and soul more and more into the image of Christ for real!

  9. Hi April, I think my last comment got zeroed with a computer fault so I will try again. If you think this is too far off your post today, no problem I understand but I am learning that men and women are really struggling to understand each other at the very core levels. You know my story and between your comments and those of your readers you have achieved more than what a dozen male counselors could have done because they are not women, have generally not been hurt or abandoned and so struggle to be able to get to the real reasons.

    In this case it is my wife, not the husband, who wants the space, big time, to “heal” and to be able to reassess. After having being separated for six months and with very serious repentance and genuine change of heart I thought that we were making progress. She had visited me several times, offered me food, texted me very regularly but then, a day later, rang me really angry that she is not being heard, actually offended that I had signed over to her the house and my income for the next six months and stating that she is getting angrier and angrier because she is not being heard and feels like she just wants to “disappear”

    She has had every reason in the world for distrust but six months later I could react and repeat what everybody else is saying about how great a job I am doing and what a great change is evident but one thing I have learned through this is that my wife, who is very genuine, is not receiving the healing to the hurt that she is feeling – until that happens i don’t believe that I am in the position that God wants me in as her husband and her true needs are not being met. Jesus had a good and true relationship with all the women He met and he is my example for a true husband. It seems that it is not the actions that create the trust but the heart behind it but I, and several other husbands, are trying to get to the core of ourselves so we can actually be the blessing we are meant to be……

    1. Gary,

      Six months into your change is actually a pretty short amount of time. My guess is that this will take over a year, maybe years of her seeing the new you for her to be able to trust, love, respect, and open up again. I don’t think this means you are not making progress. I think it is just a very prolonged healing process.

      1. Hi Gary,

        I wanted to respond to your comment because I am actually in a position similar to your wife’s and so may be able to shed some light on why she is acting the way she is. Although April’s response was also full of wisdom.

        Having been financially deceived by my husband as well (and we are currently separated), I can tell you that it felt like an incredible betrayal. It will likely take years before I trust him with money again. And it’s not just about the money–it really affected my heart. Those betrayals were scary to me, and left me feeling very financially insecure and vulnerable. It left me doubting whether I could believe anything he said and whether he would ever be able to provide for a family.

        I am often inconsistent in my dealings with my husband as well. I’m actually not depressed, though, it’s just really hard. What happens is that I’m feeling encouraged or positive about something and am willing to take a step (or several) towards him. And so I do, but then I start to feel scared or overwhelmed or hurt all over again and I realize I wasn’t ready to take that step after all. So then I take a step back, causing my husband to feel really hurt and confused. I’m not saying that’s right, and I wish I could be more consistent, but your wife may not be feeling very consistent, and may be just as confused as I am by her own emotions. It’s a hard road to walk for both of you.

        I also think that there are many layers of hurt still needing to be healed, but I’m not always aware of them. I sometimes think I’m doing better than I am. And then something seemingly minor happens, and it’s like ripping off a bandaid to find that the wound is still bleeding after all.

        I’m going to share a suggestion that you can feel free to discard because you know your wife better than I do 🙂 I would ask her to take some time and write you an email explaining how she does not feel heard and what it is she wants you to hear.

        I oftentimes process better in writing, and when I try to speak, especially in an emotional situation, I don’t make any sense. Because of the specific issues in my marriage, I am also afraid of sharing my heart with my husband, and I feel much safer sharing vulnerabilities if I can do so in writing.

        Given that I am in a similar (but not identical) situation, I am happy to answer anymore questions you might have about how your wife might be feeling.

        But regardless of what happens with your marriage, God will honor your repentance, and your obedience.

        1. Em,

          Thank you so much for sharing with Gary! I think this will be really helpful. I love that so many people are able to talk here about a VERY difficult thing, and may end up better understanding their own spouses. Praying for healing for you and for your husband, as well, Em! 🙂

        2. Oh Em and April, thank you so much, I have had to confront both my pastor and my counselor (both male) and say to them that we are not hearing what my wife is feeling and am still surprised they don’t really understand. I have been doing a men’s course of late and the same again, it is a man’s perspective, and as an example they talk about a males tendency to look at other women – even in my state I sit there and think “then die to it you idiot” how much damage are you doing to her heart if you keep saying”its just the way I am”?

          Em, I had built up such a facade of false “i’ve got it covered” scenarios that I felt like a Canadian lumberjack trying to keep all the logs moving down the river. I think, as April, you pointed out, six months is not very long and I am still getting under my “layers” but I think as I am, she is being able to be angry with me. She is open in telling people that she has seen changes in me but even i would caution her to believe that yet.

          I will take you up on your offer with questions, I have dozens, I have never before had the opportunity to be true and genuine and I am so humbled by the Lord allowing me to be and also to fight for my wife but a long road is so much better than no road!

          With regards to money, I thought it best to give her power of attorney for the next six months over all my income so that she can have final say in where money goes and see where it is spent. Its just a step…

          Em, thank you for explaining your feelings, it makes sense and I want her to be comfortable and trusting enough to say “you idiot! I am so angry with you….” and I have spent all my life trying to appease her in one way or another. I struggle with the concept of “happy wife, happy life” because it seems to lack truthfulness or it certainly has in my case because I didn’t want to say or do things that I felt would lower her “superman: image of me which she very truly had.

          I am writing a letter to her at the moment because I don’t think I can start to build up until I acknowledge the truths about me and own up that I have always put myself before her. Its a horrible thing to face but it must be done….Sarah and M had previously commented on the importance of this honesty and i am only just starting to get that you all mean honesty about how I feel inside not honesty about actions outside?

          Thank you all again and again, I have been very open with those around me about who I am and am finding so many men in similar and desperate situations “perishing for lack of knowledge” but wanting to get to a position where they can love their wives and be loved in return.

          1. Hi Gary!

            There are a few things I see that are really encouraging–first, you’re fighting for your wife’s voice to be heard with other people. That’s really important. I can’t speak for her, but most women want to know their husbands will stick up for them and go to bat for them when necessary.

            I also think it’s really encouraging that she’s telling people that she sees changes in you, and that she’s comfortable telling you she’s angry. Those are good things, and if she’s angry, she hasn’t given up yet.

            I can’t speak to your particular financial situation, as my situation is different. I do know that in certain areas with money, my husband has recently tried to give responsibility to me, because he thought that’s what would make me most comfortable. I’ve told him no on both occasions because what I really want to see is him growing in responsibility in that area. Again, my situation is different, so I’m not trying to tell you or anyone else what to do.

            You mentioned that “happy wife, happy life” isn’t true for you. You’re not actually responsible for making your wife happy. We all have our own responsibility for our own emotions and what we do with them. And personally, I don’t want to be appeased. I want my husband to seek the truth, and be confident enough in who he is in Christ to stand up for that truth, to stand up for what is right, even if it means telling me that I’m wrong. Like most people, I hate being wrong and I don’t take criticism all that well, so I would prefer gentleness in those moments 🙂 But deep down, I want my man to seek to honor God long before he ever seeks to please me.

          2. Em,
            Amen! Amen!!! Very well spoken, my dear sister! I heartily agree with what you are saying.

            Gary,
            I’m glad you want your wife to feel heard, too, and that you want to understand her and you want your counselors to understand her needs.

            I’m so glad your wife is able to tell you that she is angry. That is an important step in this process. I know that when wives are changing, they get confused sometimes because husbands seem more angry than ever – but lots of times it is because they finally feel safe enough to voice their pain, when maybe before they didn’t, or they didn’t realize what was happening clearly before and are only now experiencing anger.

            I agree with Em, as well. I have not been through what Em or your wife has been through financially, but I long to see my husband take charge as a responsible steward of God, being trustworthy in God’s sight with our resources.

            And I completely agree – no spouse is responsible for their spouse’s happiness, or anyone else’s happiness. We get confused a lot about this in our society, where we tend to idolize happiness and have messed up boundaries and dysfunctional relationships. But I agree with Em. I don’t want my happiness to be the ultimate goal for my husband. I want him to do what he believes is right before God, taking my feelings and needs into account, but doing what he truly believes God is calling him to do as a faithful, obedient man of God.

            Thank you for sharing, Em. I think this is some powerful information. 🙂

          3. Em and April, it is as you say, very powerful information. The tears are finally starting to roll….not from remorse or despair, just from starting to understand!

            I want to tell her that I can hear her anger now because I have grown enough to be able to hear it now – I have always controlled her ability to express herself solely because I saw it reflecting my lack of ability to fix something. I have been so very fortunate not to get angry at her, initially, to be honest, it was because of fear but this slowly turned to genuine care and respect for where she is at the moment. It is pretty weird to confess that i was frightened of my wife but when someone has so much integrity and I didn’t, it is one of the most frightening things to come against and certainly stops truthful communication as well. Thankfully, through God’s mercy, that is one very big change, and as everything is brought in to the light, you really are set free.

            And I so kooked it with the money, I went from completely controlling it in the worst possible, shameful and secretive manner to completely abandoning any responsibility at all and throwing it all on her shoulders which is crazy – April, I think you were suggesting that this might have been a bit extreme last week but no one else has. I think a lot of the men around me are just as confused as I am and haven’t known what to do any more than me. When I could not fix something financially I just put my head in the sand, and would let creditors, lawyers etc do whatever they wanted and all they also wanted was communication!!

            My wife would surely be the first to say that I was not responsible for her happiness but I had it so ingrained into my thinking I would nearly try to force her to be happy through all manner of things.

            I feel so foolish through all this, it is all in the Word but it doesn’t spring to mind easily but it does start to communicate the extent of Christs love for us and also His expectation of how we are to love as well. I don’t know if there is a spirit of stupidity but if there is, it was on me big time! Its particularly grounding because I am always being told how “together” I am, what a great husband, father….ppfff!

          4. Hi Em and April and M,
            I wanted to thank you again so much for helping and listening and taking the time for someone you have never met. As the walls fall things change pretty quickly and I am learning this is such a multi faceted journey for all of us and there is probably about thirty people helping me through this, all members of this body of Christ to which we belong. As you have been listening to me and making observations I usually go to the prayer room and, not so much pray through what I have learned, but just spend often quite a bit of time in His presence and it seems He weaves understanding and next steps in through this.
            My journey really started when I was a small child, really early years were very happy and then something changed to where massive walls were put up, I locked out everybody and even when I became a Christian, got married to the most amazing girl I was still somehow aware that I was not “connecting” but kept going but things progressively got more complicated.
            The last six months despite my separation and in actual fact dependent upon my separation, it has been non stop miracles of grace and some very, very stressful spiritual battles along the way as we are seeing the walls coming down, leaving shame and deceit behind but in these last few days I have realised that there is a truth and genuineness in me that I have never seen since I was that child. I recognised it because it was the same as when i was a child and I’m fifty six now!!
            It is overwhelming seeing this in me, words cannot describe the difference, all secrecy is completely removed, shame gone, all by His grace. My main reason for telling you this is to encourage you Em and M and probably April you recognised a similar “shift” in your journey. But Em and M, I am no special person, and certainly my wife hasn’t strolled back into my life with a “it is finished” kind of thing going…..but when it happened, all of a sudden I could understand my wife or maybe just understand normality and I wanted to say that when I was living in the deceit for so long the greatest problem is that I thought I was ok in it….somehow excused from the Bible or something.
            The difference is that now I can ask questions of you and understand your answers but similarly I can offer to you my experience with a clarity and humility that were totally absent for the last thirty years at least. This truth thing is amazing because lies just become so recognizable, my own lies, and just lies around me. When I was in lies, I just didn’t have that frame of reference, lines are so blurred, compromise is so rampant and nothing is black or white and as time goes on EVERYTHING becomes gray. I can look back over every single action I can remember in my entire life now and immediately decide true or false whereas when i was in it I couldn’t even do that for yesterday which as a husband (as a human being) is pretty frightening. April, I cannot tell you how important a platform this is and one day we will all recognise and remember the contribution this platform of honesty has played in drawing us all to God. I’ll keep bothering you all with questions but I am so relived to be able to start understanding some things now and I hope this encourages you EM and M, your prayers will change your husbands and you will win the fight….

          5. Gary,
            This is so awesome! How I praise God for what He is doing in your heart. 🙂 Thank you very much for sharing. I can relate – not to the deceit – but to the idea of not seeing clearly. I like Dr. Eggerichs’ description how “the scales of disrespect” fall off of a wife’s eyes and then she can see. I didn’t see my own sin for all those 14+ years of our marriage. Had no idea I was contributing to the problem whatsoever. But then God opened my eyes. Suddenly, everything became clear.

            What a good God we serve! So gracious and willing to extend mercy and help to us. We all desperately need Him.

            Thank you very much for sharing, our brother!

  10. My husband and I are both introverts. We like alone time away from others, but not from each other. We, like another commenter said, are looking forward to being empty-nesters. We have really great children and love them dearly! But my husband and I love our alone time together. I guess it helps that our love languages are identical in order – we love quality time and physical touch (with each other -not so much with others), so just sitting together holding hands is wonderful! We are one of the few couples we know who are so similar to each other.

    It is said opposites attract, and I think that would help one become more Christ like and understanding. 🙂 I read somewhere that marriage isn’t meant to make you happy – it’s meant to make you holy. Just want to encourage you all that you are doing a good thing by taking the time to understand your spouse and give them what they need, even if it means putting aside your own desires -dying to the flesh.

    I just wrote a post about how we should be using our earthly marriage to practice for our heavenly marriage. Instead of treating our spouse like a child, treat him as a lord. Then it will be easier to respect him as we should. How would we treat Christ in our marriage? Most of our husbands are serving their families by getting up early to go to work and be able to provide for all of our family’s needs. We should be serving them by providing for their needs – whether that means giving them space, or putting aside our plans to spend time with them.

    I love reading all your encouraging blogs, April. Marriage really is a beautiful blessing when we learn how to die to ourselves and live for Christ. May you all be blessed in your marriages!

    1. Leslie,

      I appreciate you sharing this! I love to hear how different personalities interact in marriage. 🙂 I think that as we grow and mature, even when we started out with opposite personalities, we kind of come toward one another and are able to enjoy things together mutually that maybe we couldn’t earlier in marriage.

      Love your perspective! Thanks so much!

  11. April, I am in a very disturbing situation.Like many ladies have said, I haven’t commented for long but I have been reading the posts. My husband is extrovert like me but we also like time off every other time. What is disturbing is that he will shut down , sulk (I think) for even days. He will even stay away from home for days. as am writing this, I haven’t seen him since sunday. In the past, he has told me he stays in his office and work overnight. Last month we got counseling from a church elder and he promised it wont happen again. Barely a month after that, it has happened. Many times he will sulk over very tiny issue. I have learnt to give him space to sort his emotions because at that moment, he will look for any opportunity to turn it into a quarrel and blame me for all the problems. A few months ago he threatened to beat me. that’s why I involved the counselors(church elders).Is this just need for space ? I have been thinking that he may be having deception issues like my brother Gary above.
    Let me give you a recent scenario, we went to his mother’s home for easter.while on he way, he had called me ( he had gone ahead to a shopping mall pick some items we were to go with) but I missed his call, then called him back after a few minutes and he was angry that I was ignoring his call. in the morning when we woke up, I brought it up and calmly told him that I wasnt ignoring his call. before we could even finish the discussion, he pulled away and slept. He sulked upto Sunday and even left me there with the kids. we had to organize our transport back to our home. He has not come back home since. We have issues with finances too. I have talked with the elder again and we are praying for him. I have always welcomed him when he came form his disappearances. this time round, I don’t know what to do. my trust has been bruised so badly but I am in the meantime spending time in prayer and reflection on God’s word. I don’t want to call him because that’s what I have been doing in the past for him to come back home. I sense it is all manipulation and am not giving in to that again. I have let go of him to God and asked God to teach me to love him from his hand.

    Thanks April for this forum. only God will reward you for hearkening to his call.

    1. Godswoman, I am so sorry for what you’re going through. God has certainly granted you much grace in your journey so far.

      You said that in the morning, after you woke up, you brought up the situation of the phone. Was he still sulking at that point and angry with you?

      I don’t know what God wants you do to in those times of your husband leaving and you calling him back. My first thought is that it might be good to not pursue him when he leaves. Then, my next thought is that God is always calling us to Himself even when we are running from Him. 🙂 I think, as always, we need to be led of the Spirit. And, I remember a story in the Old Testament where God told David or someone else (sorry! I should have specific information here!) to do certain things ahead of an upcoming battle and they were victorious. Then, the next time, they went ahead and followed those same previous orders. The plan failed. God made it clear that they were to get instruction from Him each time, not assuming that because God spoke this way in this situation that they should always operate in that manner from then on whenever a similar situation occurred.

      I feel like a couple of years ago God let me see some things that were happening in our marriage that were manipulative. It was like a lightbulb moment. It really came right after my diving into learning how to be respectful, etc. I’m so glad that God didn’t let me see that when I was still operating in my former really disrespectful, self-righteous ways or it wouldn’t have been a pretty thing. So, instead, He enabled me to use that information and put it together with respect and love and the ideas of the kind of forgiveness that we should show others because of what Christ has done for us. And, things have definitely improved. We are able to communicate much more effectively now (not perfect by a long shot, though! And, that’s on both of our ends!)

      How long will he be away sometimes before you call him to come back home? How often is this happening? Will he call at all when he’s gone or you are always having to initiate the communication again? I wonder if you could call as soon as he left and very quickly and to the point say something like: “I’m so sorry that you feel like you have to leave when we run into disagreements or when you’re disappointed in me. I can’t tell you how much it hurts me and what it’s doing to me. I would love for you to come back and am willing to listen to anything you believe I have truly done to disrespect you, but if you want to leave, that is your choice.” Don’t get pulled into an argument with him or a back-and-forth. Especially if he starts to verbally tear you down or yell or basically is not communicating with respect, I think it’s important to learn how to get out of that conversation as quickly and respectfully as you can. And not call back. It’s his choice to make that when he wants to have a respectful conversation with any hope of fruitful outcome, he will have to come on those terms. But you never say that specifically to him, he will figure it out as you make choices to not get pulled into those kinds of games. Basically, a tone that what he’s doing is HIS choice and with a confidence in your voice that you will be o.k. whether he comes back home or not, whether he wants to talk to you and work things out respectfully then or not. You will just go on with life and wait for him to get there, but without pursuing him.

      Give him some time to think and be alone without pursuing him. It has made a world of difference in our marriage.

      During the waiting time, the worst thing to do is to dwell on all the things that he does that is wrong. Ask God to show you anything that you’ve done to contribute to the latest argument, ask Him to show you the why’s behind what your husband does so that you can love him better and meet his needs. I’m not saying that there will be anything, but it’s a bad place to get when you’re not open to hear that you may have things to work on as well.

  12. Jennifer,
    thanks my sister for the words of encouragement.
    He was not sulking until we started talking about the conflict. many times he would go even without a conflict (well , according to my judgment). You are right, I need to listen to God’s spirit every time on how to respond. I have also learnt to stay in divine order enjoying my life and respecting him with my words and actions as much as I can. The hardest is to be intimate with him after the come back. By God’s grace I am also learning to give him space to be alone so that he can be who he wants to be. We haven’t talked about it yet, because am still confused how to handle the situation and he wouldn’t bring it up ordinarily. previously, I would call him and he would eventually come back home. sometimes I would call for several days without his response. I realized he waited until I got desperate; that is
    how I realized it was manipulation. I have learnt not to bother him. the couple we talked to have also advised me not to bother with him when he is gone.
    I know God is working in his heart. It may take time but it is HIS job. All am praying of wisdom to live out my life in a way that glorifies God even in the midst of the hardest situation. The Lord will do that which needs to be done

  13. HI April, Thank-you for all of your work to host and maintain this blog and your YouTube channel. It is so deeply appreciated.

    April, I’d like to ask for insight on how to ask my boyfriend for time together on the weekend, and communication during the week.

    I’ve been seeing him for 4 months, and I’m feeling unloved. I see him maybe once a week, it is usually Monday night, and between Mon night dates he goes communication silent. I have respected his need for space, I have sent an email of admiration, but another weekend has come and gone, and he’s not made plans to see me Fri-Sunday, and at this point, Sun (am) he’s not yet set up for Monday night either.

    I have gone ahead and booked a date wtih another man for next weekend, but I’d very much prefer to be growing in my relationship with the first fellow.

    How do I respectfully ask for him to set up dates with me for more then once a week, preferrably one night Fri-Sun, and to email and/or phone with me over the days we are not seeing one another…

    I don’t feel confident he likes me very much at alll. I’m in the “weird silent phase”…every combination of words I try feels disrespectful of his actions that clearly demonstrate a need to create space.

    Brun

    1. brunwynne,

      You’re welcome! 🙂

      How are things when you are together? He doesn’t email or message or call you at all during the week?

      Have you talked with him about that you would like more contact?

      What is his general personality? Does he tend to be in touch with other people?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      What do you know about his relationship with Christ?

      Does he have a super busy/stressful job or family issues or something going on?

      Have y’all talked about seeing only each other exclusively?

      Much love to you!

      1. HI April, thank-you so much for your reply, it’s of such great value to be able to ask questions!

        When we are together we have a lovely time. He decided to leave his job at the end of March to take time to re-tool in his industry so he can obtain a more fulfilling position. That is the focus of his day, and he shares his accomplishments with me when he see’s me. He does not email , call or generally respond to my email (although out of respect, I have not emailed much…I am waiting to be pursued).

        On this past Tuesday I did ask if he would advise me how I should connect with him during the week, and if we could have some daytime dates together. But, his response was that he didn’t have a response, I asked if he would think on it and let me know.

        My walk with Christ is new. I have attended chruch off and on my whole life, I’ve recently come back around as I am wanting to change how I interact with other people, and feel Christ and God through the bible offer me a radical model to try.

        I am not aware that he is a believer. He grew up Catholic I think, but currently practices Zen Buddhism if he practices anything at all.

        He lost his last relationship late in 2014, from I infer infidelity. He disengaged completely from that social community (that was his social outlet 3 -4 x a week, and a place he held leadership and respect). He is rebuilding his social life, friends network, and self-identity…and I know that for a man, the combination of rebuilding his work, his friendships and source of external respect is enormously draining.

        I am exercising all of the teaching I can find on respecting your husband/bf/ and applying it to this man. I wrote him a letter of respect two days ago, verbalizing all the things he does for himself and me that I admire and appreciate. I’ve had no response 🙁

        About 3 weeks ago I did write a letter letting him know that when he was ready, I was ready for an exclusive relationship. He didn’t respond to me for over a week and a half, so I wrote an apology, outlining how I had been wrong to try to lead the relationship forward at a pace he may not have been ready for, and that I acknowledged I had been disrespectful and that it was wrong, and I had been wrong. He didn’t respond to that for several days, eventually he emailed and asked if I would see him for a movie, which I did. All in all, it was almost 2 weeks.

        I would like to be able to express a desire for more time together, in a variety of date settings, and the comfort to have email or telephone communication between that is respectful of where he is at, and not create any reason for him to pull back from me further,,,

        perhaps it’s too much for a guy with all the other bits going on, and I will need greater patience until some of these other concerns resolve for him….

        what do you advise April. thank-you so much for readng my letter, I can’t express how much I appreciate the opportunity to hear your thoughts and share in the journey with you.

        brunwynne

        1. Brunwynne,

          I am so thankful that you have a new relationship with Christ! That is AWESOME! WOOHOO!

          What I am going to share with you might be hard to hear – but what I want for you is God’s best in the long run.

          My precious girl – if this man is not fully submitted to Christ, he is not in God’s will for you. God commands us to only marry someone who is “in the Lord” – I Corinthians 7:39. Believers in Christ are not to marry unbelievers. You can read the comments on my blog from all the women here who did marry unbelievers to discover the painful reasons why God gave us this good command.

          You can certainly pray for him. But – please do not pursue a relationship with any man who is not actively following Christ on his own. Please prayerfully commit to only date godly men who don’t just go to church and say they are “Christians” but who live out their faith and desire to obey and please Christ more than anything else in the world.

          My prayer is that God might continue to transform you to be more and more like Christ, my precious sister! That you might become the woman He desires you to be – growing more and more mature and complete in your faith. Please plug in to solid Bible teaching. I would love to encourage you to listen to David Platt’s sermons, Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology podcasts, or John Piper’s sermons.

          Much love to you!

  14. I am a recent marriage as if October 17th. I have dealt with insecurities from childhood and adulthood. Now, I have a family which include a 9 month old baby girl. I don’t want to run my husband away from me due to my behaviors. How can I get attention from me and work on me? I love this home page.

    1. Valerie,

      Congratulations on your marriage and baby. 🙂

      Perhaps some good places to start would be to search my home page for:

      – insecurity
      – security
      – what does God say about me?

      What is your relationship with Christ at this time? 🙂

      Much love to you!

  15. Well, besides the disrespect, i got this one also all wrong. My husband used to be either in the band when we lived in the US, for the first 10 years of our marriage, or he liked playing music with his brother. Boy, did i smother him! I pouted, i was angry, i disrespected him before and after he went to practice. I always felt that his music was more important to him than i was. Well, now since we moved to Europe, i would be so glad if he finds somewhere he could play music with. He also misses it. At least i definetely learned my lesson. I give him space now, whether he wants to play guitar by himself, watch tv alone, or whatever.
    He doesnt want to cuddle, or for me to be in the same room with him when he is doing those things. I understand that, the way i used to treat him its no wonder he is so hurt now.
    Thank you April for giving me hope with your blog!

  16. wow, my husband was brought up in a family where the women did everything and the men nothing, except work and spend time to themselves.Letting your partner spend some time alone by themselves is healthy, but if a man wants to spend almost all his free time away, or by himself, something is seriously wrong, it is the responsibility of both partners to work on the marriage, not just the woman.

    1. Nancy,

      Yes, there is a healthy balance of space and closeness. Too much space or too much closeness are both problematic. The tricky thing is that both spouses often have different expectations about how much space and how much closeness is appropriate. It can take time to work through that together to come to a balance that works for both spouses. This particular post was written primarily for wives who don’t want to give any space – who feel that giving space is not ever loving.

      I agree, both spouses do need to work on the marriage! 🙂

      On my blog, I only address wives and what we can do on our end of things. But the awesome thing is that many times, as we focus on our walk with Christ and becoming the women and wives God calls us to be, He often begins to heal the marriage, too, in time.

      Here is a post that addresses the balance of space and closeness.

      And here is a post from a wife who did not want to give any space and who used to believe that giving any space meant a lack of love. Thankfully, as she learned to give her husband space instead of trying to control him – he eventually began to come toward her again.

  17. This was very helpful. Although in my situation I feel like it’s a vicious cycle. My spouse works so often and then doesn’t have the energy or time for us ( our child and myself). I am a follower and I keep digging into my new found faith and it’s helped me a lot but I wonder if my loneliness and feeling like we never get to spend time as a family will break us in the future.

    When i do bring up my feelings , they’re not heard and things never change. It turns into an argument more then bit and things stay the same. I’m not sure what to do. He is an introvert and I’m an extrovert . I’m worried that his job is so stressful too that anything outside of working is how he copes with destressing from his work (video games/ reading ECt) but takes away from living.

    1. Carly,

      I can understand you would want more time with your husband. Most wives would!

      How much is your husband working? How much is he sleeping?

      How do you approach him about the situation?

      How much time does he usually spend with you and your child per week?

      How much time would you like him to spend?

      How do you pray about this?

      How is your relationship with Christ going?

      Much love to you! 🙂

      1. My husband works about 55-60 hours a week.
        He probably sleeps 7 hour sleeps per night.
        I ask him if on Sunday’s (his only day off) if we can do family days or get out of the house together. He will say yes but then it never happens. I usually after a couple of weeks I end up getting really frustrated and taking it out on him :(.
        He spends probably a total of 4-5 hours i’d say or less with my child. With me I’d say 7 hours, and this is including the time spent with my child (and the other few hours is when she’s sleeping).
        I’d honestly love if his Wednesday morning (when he’s off of work) he can sometimes(not asking for all the time) but sometimes get up and do something with us. Or on Sunday’s instead of sleeping in / playing video games , he’d want to come out of the house simply to enjoy a nice walk outside or go to a park: museum .. Anything really.

        I pray to god that he’ll find God, and I ray for him to come to church with me and open his heart to Jesus. I always felt if he came to church and found his faith on a deeper level, then he’d want these video games/ things to occupy his time so he’s not stressing about work, less stressful. So he can enjoy life with us.

        My relationship with Christ is going. I still feel new and a bit confused at times. I’m in an Alpha course at my church to dig deeper in finding that bond.
        Thanks for listening and replying! It’s nice to get this out. I don’t tell anyone I’m afraid others will judge him or think he’s a bad father/ spouse. He’s not I don’t believe that. I just don’t know what to think though.

  18. It’s amazing how something that was written well over a year ago could show up in my life at the exact moment I need it. Because of the job situation with my FH, we rarely see each other (weekends only), and still I find I have been managing to smother him.

    I constantly call him and want to be on the phone with him. I want to know where he is, what he is doing, why he is doing it, who he has talked to, and I consistently ask him if he misses me. We’ve been struggling with this lately, and he has even tried to tell me that sometimes it would be nice if I would leave him alone so he can miss me.

    I’m very sensitive and after reading this post I’ve realized that I need to stop translating “I need space” into “I don’t love you” and instead realize that he just needs alone time and it would be as unkind for me to never allow him alone time as it would be for him to deny me quality time together.

    We are going to be married in a matter of weeks, so while I am not a wife yet, I don’t want to wait until we say “I do” to begin my journey to becoming a peaceful wife. I have a lot of poor patterns ingrained in me from childhood and watching the marriage that my parents had. I’m just grateful that I feel like God has begun opening my eyes to my destructive behaviors. My fiancé is so long-suffering and kind, he does what he can to appease me, but I never truly realized how much I am damaging our relationship by being so clingy.

    I’ve been praying about this and I am going to continue to read this blog and hopefully use it as an extra outlet to give me something to focus on when he needs space.

    Thank you so much and God bless you all.

    1. BecomingaBetterBride,

      It is wonderful to meet you! I’m SO thrilled that you are realizing this stuff before you get married. That is AWESOME!!!!!! 🙂 Brings joy to my heart!

      Yes, you are welcome here and you are welcome to reach out if you need to talk about things. We will love you and seek to encourage you and pray for you as you desire to become the woman God calls you to be.

      I invite you to search my home page search bar for some other terms, also:

      – needy and clingy
      – husband idol
      – happiness idol
      – husbands emotions
      – responsible for my emotions
      – responsible for myself spiritually
      – wish my husband would text me more
      – insecurity
      – security

      Much love to you! And congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  19. Wow! this totally hit home as of recent. I have been dealing with this for a while and recently my husband spoke out and said he needs “space to reset”. While I been wanting to pull things together. We don’t sleep in the same room nor have intimacy. We get caught up in our lives with our kids. He is an introvert that’s for sure and im an extrovert. But I realize what makes him happy is spending time with this new group of friends and they are so important to him. He doesn’t include me either. So my insecurities are at its high – so how can I cope with giving him space?

    1. Trying to Save Us,

      It is wonderful to meet you! I’m glad this was helpful. But my heart breaks over the painful situation you are in right now. Would you be interested in talking with me a bit about what is going on? I think I may have some resources that could be a huge blessing to you in this time of difficulty.

      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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