We are continuing to talk about giving our husbands space. (When Your Man Needs Space– was Monday’s post.) I know this won’t apply to every marriage dynamic for every wife. But I have a feeling there are a lot of you for whom this topic is a difficult one and a relevant one right now. Let’s tackle it together. 🙂
Some thoughts from A Fellow Wife as she wrestles with this issue:
Giving space is something you have to do both externally and internally…. (I think)
– You give space externally with your actions toward your husband.
– You give space internally with your heart attitude toward your husband. This is where you’re pulling back emotionally.
(From Peacefulwife – I agree)
Another line of thought:
Just as you have to replace bitterness with thoughts of thankfulness, you have to replace your husband as your idol with Jesus as your true love… you can’t remove anything in your heart and not put something in that place or the old thing will fall back in and grow again.
(From Peacefulwife – YES!)
Wrestling with Thoughts:
Okay, here’s where it gets dicey. I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking and wrestling through tons of my thoughts.
- I’ve thought about the fact that my husband deserves freedom to make his own choices and direct his own life just like I do.
- I’ve thought about a lot of worst case scenarios that could happen but have realized that my husband has pretty much done whatever he wanted anyways in a lot of situations where I didn’t agree.
- I’ve never had control and trying to control only pushed him to be stronger willed…. like you’ve said, what you fear, you create… so therefore, giving up control has the POSSIBILITY of turning his heart more toward caring for my feelings… and perhaps not.
I feel as if I’m going back in forth between clutching him emotionally and letting him go, day by day and sometimes changing hour by hour.
Here’s pretty much where I am:
– I know my husband loves me. It’s not always what I think it will look like because it’s in a “man” way.
– I don’t think my husband has evil intentions toward me most of the time. Maybe in the middle of a heated argument but I don’t think that he goes around thinking about what he can do to hurt me intentionally.
– I do think my husband struggles with selfishness at times and with his priorities. (But I have my own list of issues, probably longer than his.)
– Trying marriage any other way than God’s way does not work. It’s time to follow his plan as close to the letter as I can.
I think the very best way for me to think of all of this and where I need to keep my heart and mind is in giving up hope that anything will EVER change UNLESS God changes things. Not that my husband doesn’t love me BUT I think it’s best to expect him to continue to not have any interest in time with me and to continue to put other things and people ahead of our marriage UNLESS God changes his heart…. and God can certainly do that! I need to leave room for that possibility BUT I think there’s a lot of peace in accepting things are as they are now.
I actually did this last summer in one small way and it helped me a lot…. last summer, he started spending a lot of time out of the house doing his hobby – as in every day till it was dark for MONTHS on end and I just told myself to accept he was going to do that and that way it wouldn’t upset me as much and it actually worked. I just expected him to come in from work, sometimes talk to me a few minutes, sometimes go on and leave – and I saved myself a lot of anguish and sadness. Not that I wasn’t a little sad at times but nothing like I was when he first started that.
I pray there will be changes in our marriage. But even if not, by accepting things may never change, I’m saving myself a lot of pain, hurt and anguish. Accepting that all this is in God’s hands is better than trying to manipulate it all in my weak hands.
- Accepting things are as they are feels so PEACEFUL.
- Forgetting about any changes and just trying to go deeper in my relationship with Christ and focusing on my life feels PEACEFUL.
- Giving him space without expectation of changes feels PEACEFUL.
All this means our marriage will be very different than it’s ever been.
Staying in this place mentally and emotionally is not easy… I feel like I drift in and out of it, almost hour by hour. I think that’s because it’s flesh battling spirit and trying to adjust to this.
Question: That’s normal, right? To drift in and out of this place as you’re wrestling through?
Another Question: Am I in the right place emotionally? I think so because it feels peaceful and peaceful usually means RIGHT with God. If you have peace, that’s kind of God’s way of saying yes, I think.
I do think that the wrestling and swinging back and forth between wanting to cling to our husbands and giving them space is normal for wives who have been rather controlling, disrespectful (from our husbands’ perspectives), or desperate to be close to their husbands and who are having a hard time laying down expectations. I think this is a spiritual battle many of us struggle with.
I get the sense that a Fellow Wife is going the right direction emotionally and spiritually. I don’t hear bitterness like I did before in her thought processes. I hear understanding and empathy for her husband. I hear a desire to release her expectations of him. And I hear her saying that she realizes she needs to replace her deep desire for lots of connection with her husband with a deep desire for constant connection to Jesus. Those are good things.
God can give us that continuous incredibly deep emotional/spiritual connection that we long for that our husbands truly cannot provide to us.
When we are filled up and overflowing with the goodness and the power of the Spirit of God, we can be genuinely peaceful, joyful, content, and satisfied. I learned – during the 3.5 first years of my journey while Greg was still shut down – to have my needs for emotional and spiritual connection met by God alone. And you know what?
He is enough. Jesus is more than enough.
I’m so thankful for that prolonged period where Greg was still shut down because if Greg had changed immediately, I would have put too much trust in him and would not have learned about the sufficiency of Christ. I would have pulled out all of my old expectations of Greg and tried to make him meet my deepest spiritual needs again.
Now, I can be content with time to myself or when Greg wants to be together. I still do give Greg space in many ways – but it is no longer usually a strain – and I enjoy being by myself to cherish time alone with God. Now that Greg has felt safe with me again for a few years, he is generally receptive to me talking with him or sitting with him just about any time. There is a lot of freedom, joy, and peace in living this way.
Of course, I didn’t know when I started if Greg would ever open up to me again or if we would be able to have emotional or spiritual closeness again. I had no guarantees. It took a LONG, LONG time to get rid of all of my unintentional disrespect and to fully trust and submit to Christ. I believe that accounts for a lot of why this whole thing took so long. But also, a husband who has felt extremely disrespected for many years has a lot of healing to do and has his own journey and time table, too.
- So Greg and I do have more emotional/spiritual intimacy than ever now – BUT – the emotional/spiritual intimacy I have with God is MUCH, MUCH greater than what I have with Greg even now, and that is a GOOD thing. I know that it has to be this way. If I started expecting Greg to meet God-sized needs again, I would be in trouble very quickly.
Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His First Priority! – By a Fellow Wife
I’m Going to Stop Pursuing My Husband – By a Fellow Wife
A Fellow Wife Focuses on Overcoming Bitterness
God, Please! Ask Me for Anything but This! – A thirty-something single sister in Christ lays down her dream of marriage and children – God calls ALL of us to lay down our most precious dreams and to choose Him over our dreams.