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Greg and our son in 2003

There Is No Respectful Way to Insult Your Husband

Greg and our son in 2003
Greg and our son in 2003

(Note: Today’s post is for wives whose husbands are generally responsible, law-abiding, reasonable men who are in their right minds. If your husband is truly abusive, involved in an active drug/alcohol addiction, infidelity, criminal activity, or has an uncontrolled mental health issue – please do not read this post but seek appropriate help. You may decide to communicate that you WANT to be able to trust your husband – but that trust will need to be rebuilt first. Thanks!)

If the thought of your husband doing even very simple things fills you with panic and terror (and your husband is a decent man) – maybe this post is for you. 😉

I know some wives who feel so frustrated when they are trying very hard to respect their husbands, but their husbands still feel really disrespected at times. It seems the wives have to “always walk on eggshells.” A wife may try not to give directives, may  use a respectful tone of voice,  smile, and  choose respectful words – and that is awesome! But if the underlying message is something like:

  • I don’t trust you.
  • I think you are incompetent and irresponsible.
  • I am completely consumed by fear, worry, and anxiety to imagine that I have to depend on you to take care of this little responsibility for me.

etc… please note:

There is not a respectful way to communicate these ideas.

Any time I communicate a lack of faith, a lack of trust, or a lack of confidence in my husband – I am insulting him. Even if I don’t intend to insult him, he will probably feel insulted.

I can’t insult my husband respectfully.

Does this mean that we must always trust our husbands no matter what? No. There may possibly be times when we truly cannot trust our husbands. If my husband wanted to drive with our baby in the front seat without a seatbelt or infant seat – I would have to insist on the baby being in the back strapped into her car seat. (Thankfully, this has never been an issue for us!) If he truly makes an extremely foolish, sinful, or dangerous decision, there may be areas where I cannot trust him until he changes in those areas. I may have to say something about it as respectfully as possible. He may still feel insulted. I may not be able to avoid that in this kind of situation – but I can be aware of trying to avoid insulting my husband if at all possible. And in most normal situations, I really can respect him and not insult him.

I need to approach my husband (if he is truly doing something dangerous, sinful, or foolish) with much prayer, great caution, and the wisdom and power of God’s Spirit. There are times I may need to confront my husband about various things as I listen and respond carefully to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, NOT my own sinful flesh. (Here are some ways I can tell I am operating in God’s power instead of my own flesh in being a godly wife. And here are some differences between godly anger and sinful anger.)

For those of us whose husbands are truly responsible, decent men – maybe there is something else may be going on here at times? If your husband is able to hold down a job (or is capable of working and is seeking work if he is not disabled), take care of things at work, dress himself, and drive around town safely all by himself – but you are afraid to trust him with anything at all – could it be possible that maybe he is not the real problem? Could he be trustworthy?

If you find yourself freaking out, consumed by doubt, worry, and fear as your general state of mind – and you are terrified to let go of control in your marriage or with your children… maybe it is time to prayerfully ask God to help you look at your thoughts and beliefs. Maybe your husband is totally untrustworthy. I don’t know. But – sometimes, our lack of trust, respect, and faith in our husbands is really not about our husbands – it may have more to do with our own control/fear/faith issues – at least, that was the case with me. (Please check out the related posts linked at the bottom for more on these issues.)

God didn’t design me to constantly freak out about things – that is my flesh being in control rather than the Holy Spirit. The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6) That is what I want each of us to experience! Something that is beautiful in a woman (to God and to our husbands) is our trust in God, our trust in our husbands (whenever possible) and our peaceful, still spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear (I Peter 3:1-6).

Lord,

For some of us, the idea of giving up our attempts to control and our fear – seems very, very scary. We may have warped ideas of you, of ourselves, of where our responsibilities end and Yours or our husbands’  begin. We may have learned error as children and we may still have some ungodly fixed beliefs. You know the hurts and scars in our hearts. You know the wounds we have suffered as children and in our relationships and marriages. You know our fears. You know our level of terror at the thought of giving up control and trusting You. You know that as You draw us closer to You – You will cause our fear, worry, and anxiety to all melt away.

For those who are paralyzed by fear and who don’t know how to approach You in faith – please help us in our unbelief! Help us to understand where our responsibility ends. Help us to understand that what we think of as control is an illusion. We don’t have the power to control other people or to always protect ourselves, our husbands, or our children from every possible bad thing. We are not sovereign. You alone are sovereign! Help us to learn to understand and rest in Your loving, powerful, holy sovereignty.

Help us all to understand that we are responsible primarily for ourselves – not for our husbands. We are responsible TO them – to treat them well. But we are not responsible FOR them. Help us to take responsibility for our own emotions, our actions, our thoughts, our sin, our obedience, and our faith in Christ and spiritual growth. Help us give our husbands freedom to make their own decisions as grown adults just like we would want that freedom for ourselves. Help us to bring all of our fear, worry, anxiety, and unbelief to You. Help us to lay down every single burden. Help us to understand more and more of who You are.

Help us to see that the truly scary place to be is when we trust ourselves or another person or something in this world rather than Christ Jesus. Help us hash through our fears and anxieties by the power of Your Spirit. Help us to determine to trust You with each one of them and to rest in Your love, sovereignty, power, and providence. Help us to trust You to direct things as they should go for our ultimate good and Your ultimate glory. Help us to fully submit and surrender to You as Lord. Help us to live in today and not be filled with worry about tomorrow, trusting You to know what is best and to lead us as our Good Shepherd.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

RESOURCES:

Verses about God’s sovereignty

Lies Women Believe – by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

RELATED:

Control and Boundaries

The Idol of Control

To Trust or Not to Trust? – 9 minute VIDEO – There are times we can trust our husbands, and there are times we shouldn’t trust them, how can we tell the difference?

What Causes a Woman to Become Controlling? VIDEO

A Lightbulb Moment for a Wife Who LOVES Control

How to Avoid Becoming a Controlling/Disrespectful Wife

Walking in Faith Instead of Control

Finding God’s Victory over Fear

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Respecting Our Husbands As Fathers

61 thoughts on “There Is No Respectful Way to Insult Your Husband

  1. Wonderful post, April, with a wise disclaimer at the top. Much appreciated by me and I’m sure, those like me who have been with husbands, or are still with husbands who aren’t, as you describe, in their right minds.

    The struggle with control is such a big one! I tend towards anxiety and have found that counseling/psychotherapy have been wonderful and would really recommend it to anyone who suspects they may have an anxiety disorder. But the best treatment for anxiety, for me, is The Lord’s Prayer. I can only say that it works to calm me down and bring me peace, and often to put me back to sleep again. During those times when I become too anxious to pray with my own words, I always fall back on this special prayer Jesus gave us, often just saying it over and over, until I am at peace again. Loved your video too (and you’re so pretty!)

    1. Miss Min,

      I am thankful that this was a blessing. I had my own battle with controlling issues just the past few weeks – my pride and self-righteousness started to slowly rise up again. 🙁 Yuck!

      Focusing on God’s sovereignty and love is the best solution to anxiety that I know of. Those are the things that bring me such peace.

      Thanks for the compliment, you are so kind. 🙂

      Much love to you!

  2. You’re right! I have problem with trust in men. Thank God it is better and better. I still learn to be a good woman (and in the future a great wife)

    Greetings from Poland!

    1. Diana,

      Hello over there in Poland! How wonderful to meet you. 🙂

      There are times we cannot trust people. Thankfully we can ALWAYS trust God. That is the wonderful thing! Praying for God’s wisdom as you seek to trust – that you will trust when it is appropriate and not trust when you shouldn’t. But most of all, that you might be able to fully trust Christ and rest in His love and sovereignty.

      Much love to you!

  3. April,

    How beautifully written! My husband is a man of integrity and is super responsible, and I know cerebrally that he is also an excellent driver. HOWEVER, it is extremely difficult for me to ride with him when the road or driving conditions present extra challenges–either in icy conditions or when we are in a big truck. We just moved some possessions and had to drive across mountains with a heavily loaded large truck pulling a car on a dolly. I imagined the brakes failing, ramming into the back of a car ahead of us, etc. On the last trip like this I drove the truck and was just fine. I know it’s the lack of personal control part that creates such anxiety in me and I hate it, but it’s there. I explained to my husband that I was once in a bad car accident and am trying to get over this, but the situation hasn’t changed much, despite my efforts. My husband is patient but doesn’t really understand, of course. I sit quietly for the most part, but have to look away a lot. He understands now that it’s more than simply a matter of whether or not I trust HIM, but I’d love to get over this. Do you or our other sisters have any ideas that have helped them with this situation? Elizabeth

    1. Elizabeth,

      It sounds like you may have some PTSD issues from the awful wreck you were in. I can understand why you would feel anxious. Have you talked with a godly counselor about this to help you work through your fear? Do you do ok if you close your eyes? Can you focus on verses about God’s sovereignty or singing hymns in your mind? I don’t like steep mountain roads with sharp curves and long drops either. I sometimes close my eyes for the really scary parts – it has nothing to do with whether I trust Greg’s driving, I just don’t like those kinds of dangerous roads. My imagination is way too active, I think!

      In 1998, we went to Israel with Greg’s parents and our church group. We were on a bus on the very steep, one-way narrow dirt road from Jericho to Jerusalem – I was on the outside edge of the bus, all we could see was thousands of feet straight down. No guard rail, of course. It was terrifying! Our guide was so sweet, he led us all in singing a hymn about God’s goodness and protection. That was such a blessing and helped me to redirect my focus from my fear.

    2. I think April may be right, Elizabeth – in that you may be suffering from PTSD, which would be very normal after a bad car accident. If you could find a good Christian psychologist who specializes in PTSD (not all do), that may be a positive step towards recovery. Wish you lived where I do. I know the most beautiful psychologist here – a good friend of mine – who, I know, would be just wonderful for you.

      1. Thank you for your kind thought, Miss Min. The accident was years ago, and it just seems as if time should have “healed all wounds” by now, but I am working on it and determined not to let it get the best of me. This has given me a lot of empathy and understanding for others who have phobias, etc., so something good has come from it. Thank you again, and best wishes!

    1. Galatians 5 19:23

      The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

      1. AnonyMan,
        I used to skip over the stuff I was actually guilty of – the idolatry (didn’t recognize all the idols in my heart), the unforgiveness, bitterness, self-righteousness, discord, dissensions, factions, and envy… Those are sins, too!

        Thank you for sharing this reminder what our lives will look like when God’s Spirit is in control compared to the flesh. 🙂

        1. We all have our weak spots and places where we are most vulnerable to sin. So much of what you discuss crosses gender lines.

          When you speak about motives, I often think of the Galatians 5 reference. The fruits of the flesh really are the things that keep us away from God. We become slaves to these types of sins. If you don’t think you’re a slave to your sin, just TRY to stop. Soon you’ll discover that you really are a slave to it. The fruits of the Spirit are all good things. When you speak about motivation, it parallels this reference. You nailed it!

    2. April,

      I have not ever spoken to a counselor about it, because it seems so silly–yet, how REAL it is! What helps is looking over at my husband instead of the road and telling him out loud, “You are a GREAT driver! You are just GREAT!” However, it’s still very hard to breathe and I can’t imagine singing. But, maybe next time I’ll try. 🙂 I can’t imagine how terrifying your bus ride in Israel must have been! There is a narrow road in Colorado called “Skyline Drive” with steep drop-offs on both sides as well. Whew! I’ll keep trying. Thanks, April!

  4. April,

    I just wanted to say how thankful I am that my current situation has led me to you and your husbands blog. Maybe that’s what God was doing for my husband and I. We’ve only been married for 2 years, and have been very bad about how little we have kept God in our lives. Lately I have been feeling such a strong emptiness and realized it was God I was needing so bad. My husband realized the same thing.

    Like most newlyweds we didn’t fully understand the love and respect concept. I was even give the book Love and Respect as a wedding gift but even then as I was reading it I wasn’t truly getting it and didn’t finish the book. I just thought like most that it’s just the same for both of us. During our first years we have had a lot of challenges thrown out way. Health issues, custody battle issues with exes, and everything in between. We had no idea how to deal with them. Every time I would see a movie that had to do with God or heard a song I would get so choked up and just sob.

    I think it was a combination of guilt, missing God, needing him, joy that I knew he was still there, and other thoughts. I knew I really needed to get back to him and bring him into my families life more because I didn’t think the way I was praying daily was really the right way. Since our last big struggle it sent me desperately looking for good Christian readings, as well as my husband. I’ve found several but that’s when I came across yours and your husbands and I have to say, the both of yours is truly my favorite and the ones that has spoken to me the most and has uplifted me.

    I see so many things now and feel relieved and so excited and hopeful and blessed. I get it now. I get what I started out reading in the love and respect book and can’t wait to start over and read it again with open eyes now. I truly believe God sent us thru all of those challenges to lead us to your inspiring blogs to get thru to us and make a difference. Now my husband and I are reading both of you and your husbands blogs together, and I just wanted to say thank you for following what God had planned for you and being there to help people like us. I will be a follower of yours for a while to come. Thank you, both you and your husband, and thank you God for leading us here!

    1. Crystal,

      I’m thrilled to meet you and I am so excited about what God is doing in both you and your husband’s lives. Such a blessing. How I pray He will continue this good work He has begun in each of you. 🙂

  5. I didn’t understand this very well until I saw a Dr. Phil episode where men were micromanaging their wives and I thought it was ridiculous. I imagined my husband doing that to me and how I would never put up with that. Then I thought, “I do this to my husband, oh no!” It is scary at first to change, but when you get to the point where the bad habit of picking and micromanaging is gone, there is a weight off of your shoulders and it leaves some room to start admiring your husband as a separate human being, instead of a child that annoys you.

    Sometimes if your husband is messing up, I have found it helpful to bring up a time where he did the right thing and say, “Remember that time when you did ______, that made me feel so loved and taken care of!” Top it off with, “I know you would never want to let me down, especially when you know something is important to me.” Those phrases work with almost everyone.

    1. Kimmy,

      Wow! Thank you for sharing. I love this. I love how you were able to see how awful it would be to have a husband micromanage and nitpick you – and then how God showed you that you were doing that very thing to your husband. So thankful for God’s conviction!

      I love how you shared what weight comes off of our shoulders as we give our men freedom and stop trying to manage or control them. So true!

      And I love the suggestions you give at the end. Very powerful!

  6. Reading your post, I found myself struggling with the title (silly of me, maybe). I have assumed that there is a difference between actually insulting our husbands versus them “feeling” insulted. There are times when the things we need to say will hurt their pride. I agree we need to approach those topics with sensitivity and respect, but to expect that we can go through marriage without insulting them (in that sense) is a little hard to swallow, especially those who have fragile egos or those who lack maturity and engage in “pity parties” for themselves. Am I on the right track? I’ve assumed that your definition of “insult” is more along the lines of an unfair assault on their capabilities or intentions.

    1. I think there are two parts to this.

      1. It is unreasonable to expect to go through decades of marriage without hurting the other person, intentionally or not.

      2. When we do, we still need to seek forgiveness, bring about healing, and try not to repeat the hurtful behavior.

      I think what April is offering is in the spirit of making wives aware of behaviors that may be hurting their husbands unintentionally. I don’t think she means to accuse anyone of ill intent

    2. Leah,

      I don’t think many of us intentionally insult our husbands. Some of us may. And there may be some times when a husband is doing something very foolish where it may be impossible to avoid him feeling insulted if we do need to bring something up.

      I don’t think the point of my post is for us to try to get through marriage without our husbands ever feeling insulted.

      I was talking with a wife a few weeks ago, the conversation that inspired this post, and the wife had to depend on her husband for two very small, simple things that she had always done for her children before (they are now teenagers). She did NOT trust her husband to handle these things. And she was so frustrated because she had tried to ask him respectfully to make sure to do something and he got really upset. She didn’t understand how he could possibly feel disrespected because she had asked so respectfully. But the fact that she had to reiterate instructions to be sure that their daughter didn’t die in the process of him doing this very simple thing came across as quite an insult to him. It really wasn’t about her not trusting him. It was about her not trusting anyone, not even God. She didn’t intentionally insult him, but he felt insulted and I can totally understand why. She couldn’t even see the message she was sending. I sent many similar messages to Greg in our marriage, too. I didn’t see what I was really communicating to him. I don’t know if that helps define where I am coming from on this?

      There are times we do need to question things respectfully. And there can be emergencies when we need to jump in and take over. Hopefully those moments are rare.

      But there are also times when our men are actually very capable but we are completely terrified to trust them. If we are constantly feeling absolutely terrified to trust our husbands with small things – and they are reasonably responsible people – that is a flag for us to look at our own thinking and fears and to take them before God.

      If I have a panic attack at the thought of my husband changing the baby’s diaper, I may have a control issue. If my schedule can never ever be interrupted without me freaking out, I may have some issues to look at in regard to being able to be more flexible. Does that make sense?

      I am not saying, you can never communicate that you don’t trust your husband or don’t think he is capable or competent. But I am saying, be very cautious and sober about when and how you communicate a message like that – and it better be something that is truly of paramount importance. I want us to seek to try to trust our husbands whenever we possibly can (and to trust God ALL the time), and to communicate that we generally view our husbands as genuinely responsible and competent men.

      Here, the only insults I am referring to are insults of their intelligence, competency, reliability, and responsibility. There are many more things that can be insulting. When a man feels disrespected, it is a synonym for his feeling insulted.

      I am not sure if that helped? Let me know, please. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment! I appreciate feedback greatly! It helps me write with greater clarity.

  7. I cheated on my husband 7 years ago, because he worked 14 hr long days and I didn’t think he loved me!! (Physical & Emotional cheating)
    I have deep regret, when my husband found out he filed for divorce but we didn’t go through with it, we went to counseling instead, that helped. Now I’m doing my best to be a godly wife and respect him but he told me he doesn’t ‘accept’ my respect? Please help me get through to him!!! 🙁

    maybe I’m on the wrong website to ask this

    1. Minnie,

      My precious sister! Such a painful situation for everyone involved. Breaks my heart. But I praise God that you repented and that you want to be close to God and to your husband and bring healing and restoration to your marriage.

      How long ago did your husband file for divorce and how long ago did y’all receive counseling?

      When did he say that he wouldn’t accept your respect?

      What kinds of things are you doing to show him respect at this point?

      So, he is staying – and wants to work on the marriage, is that correct?

      How is your relationship with Christ?

      How is your husband’s relationship with Christ?

      Of course you are in the right place. You are most welcome here.

      Much love!
      April

      1. My husband and I went to counseling for quite a long time. They helped him and I with trust issues ect. He filed for a divorce 3 months after he found out I cheated. (I cheated on him with his brother) He didn’t go through with it and we continued going to counseling. I have two children ages 9, and 11. We have stopped going to counseling 9 months ago and I’ve been doing studies involving being a godly wife to him, respect him, submit, ever since we stopped counseling. It’s taken a lot of willpower to do that after some horrible things he’s said to me. Our home is settled now and I tried to never argue in front of the kids. He says he loves and forgives me but he doesn’t like ‘the respect’ I’ve been giving to him, he says he thinks it’s a lie because I lied to him in the worst way possible (cheating). He said he stays with me for the children’s sake.

        He says he’s a godly husband and a godly father, he takes us to church every Sunday and Monday evening and I thank him for that. He told me he sees me as ‘used’ and ‘ruined’ and he doesn’t “want” my respect.

        I don’t get it!!!!!! 🙁
        I cheated 7 years ago!!
        I’ve been sick for the past 7 years with deep regret and all he does is see my efforts as nothing.

        1. Minnie,

          Oh, goodness. Such a mess – that it was with his brother probably doesn’t help the healing process, I would guess.

          Well, there is good news and bad news.

          You cannot change him.
          You cannot make him accept or receive your respect.
          You cannot make him forgive you.
          You cannot change his mind.

          But God can.

          I vote for you to continue seeking to be the wife God desires you to be just to please and obey Christ. He will reward you for your obedience when this life is over, and you can walk in His peace and joy now. No one can take that away from you.

          Your husband has to make his own decision. He may eventually realize that he is not very smart to continue to reject your respect. You are not responsible for his response.

          You only control you.

          I love you and am sending you the biggest hug!!! How I praise God that there is no sin Jesus’ blood cannot cover!!!

        2. Okay the red flags are going up here! This is a blog, friend. Not a place to come to ask the author to solve a problem that’s been going on the past 7 years.

          And the thing is, in this situation, it seems like you are the one being mentally abused. He is calling you names and making you feel guilty for something that happened LONG ago. And saying he is only with you for the kids’ sake..which is basically saying he doesn’t care about you.

          Please PLEASE seek professional advice in this matter. It’s YOUR life. Not your husband’s. Not the church’s. And not this blog’s. You don’t deserve to be mistreated no matter what you’ve done. You don’t need to stay in this situation out of guilt. That’s not good for your OR your kids.

  8. I thank God for the work He has done in my heart. The peace and joy I have in Him has helped me in the past week to not get anxious and start arguments with my husband. He has said he wants to buy a dirt bike and has been looking at property to buy so he can ride it. A bike helmet he bought for my daughter!!!! Arrived in the mail yesterday. We don’t have a lot of money and I am afraid of my city kids and husband hurting themselves. I’ve quietly told him my doubts, but left it with him. I don’t want to point out to him what I know he knows so I have entrusted it to God and He has given me peace. Praise God!

    1. Charli,

      I’m glad you shared your concerns. I think that was good. I’m also glad you are entrusting this to God. God is able to change your husband’s heart. And even if He does not, He is sovereign – which is SUCH a blessing!

      Let us know how you are doing, how things go, and how we can pray with you!

  9. Minnie. My heart goes out to you. I don’t believe you are in the wrong blog to ask this question. April has so much Godly advice and encouragement here if you read back. You are here for a reason. May Jesus bless you and yours. I send you a big hug.

  10. Hello, April. I’ve been watching your videos on youtube for the past week or so. I was looking for something to help my wife since she doesn’t much like to hear what I have to say. Coming across your videos has been a real blessing and encouragement to my heart. I asked my wife to watch a few of your videos and she responded very positively to them. However, she continues to really struggle. We are both born again Christians, but she was saved only about 2 years before I met her (8 years total) whereas I was saved as a young boy.

    On one of your videos you mentioned that you periodically do classes for women at your church in Columbia SC. Well, my wife and I are only an hour away from there (Rock Hill, SC), so I’d like to know when your next class will be starting. I am willing to do what’s necessary to get her there every week (assuming the class is weekly). Please let me know. Thanks so much for all you’re doing!

    1. Carlos Montgomery,

      It’s wonderful to meet you – and greetings to your wife, as well, my brother! 🙂

      I’m so glad God used the videos to bless you and your wife. At the current time, I am not teaching a class at my church. I am supposed to have my first book published this coming winter and hope to do a conference after that – God-willing. I will be sending out information about this when I have a specific date. Y’all are not too far away at all!

      This is a LONG, LONG process for wives. It took me over 2.5 YEARS to begin to feel like I had any clue what it meant to stop disrespect and to respect Greg – and I am still learning!!! I will always be learning for the rest of my life. Are there particular issues that she would like for me to address? I may have posts about them or videos that I can suggest, if y’all are interested. 🙂

      1. A pleasure to meet you as well :]

        I really think that the videos and blogs you already have posted are quite good and cover most everything I can see that she needs. I feel that I understand her pretty well, but she will have to see for herself if there is something more specific that would help her.

        I understand that it is a process. I understand that I am to love her as Christ loves the church, and I know how He is patient with me. I am to do the same for her. I pray for patience.

        We’ve been married for 3.5 yrs to this point, and she has grown quite a bit during our time together. But for some reason she really struggles with moments of intense rebellion and disrespect which are often unprovoked. And in those times I am not able to reconcile with her. I must just wait for her to come to the point where she is ready to repent. And it is not uncommon for that to take days.

        Perhaps you may be wondering if there is a mental health issue (my pastor wondered this when I first explained to him), but there is not. As best I can tell she just really struggles with selfishness and pride in a big way, and although she has grown some she hasn’t yet let go of her “pet sins”. Consequently she returns to her “old friends” from time to time.

        I don’t want to take up too much of your time with my post. After all you are here for women (and doing a fine job!). Thanks for responding so quickly. I’ll be looking for the conference details. I pray that God’s blessings and peace would continually be on you and your family.

        1. Carlos,

          I know that sometimes hormones can be an issue. I have some posts about PMS if that might be helpful. And I have a post about how we are responsible for our own emotions.

          But there is sometimes wrestling in prayer that we must do on our own as God speaks to us and as we learn to see our sin and to lay it down in repentance. I trust that the battle will become less time consuming as God continues to help her grow.

          There is an amazing book that I am reading with our children right now that may be helpful called “Lies Women Believe” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

          I’m glad you are committed to loving her and praying for her and to seek to become the husband God desires you to be.

          May God richly bless your walk with Christ, your wife, and your marriage!

          1. Thank you. I will take a peak at the posts as well as the book.

            I wanted to recommend a book to you as well. You have been a blessing to my wife and I, and I’d like to bless you. There is a very short book (you could easily read it in less than a day) that my pastor gave me for my wife about a year and a half ago. It is entitled “Me? Obey him?” by Elizabeth Rice Handford. You can get it on Amazon for pretty cheap.

            My wife was encouraged by the book, and so she read it pretty quickly. I think you would enjoy the book, but there is one particular section I think that would be of great interest to you. So in the future if you have a little time and are looking for a book to read, I would recommend this one.

            If you do decide to read it, I would like to know what you think of the author’s take on biblical submission.

          2. Thank you for the suggestion, Carlos. Someone has mentioned that book to me before. But I don’t think I have read it yet. Sounds very interesting!

          3. April, your daughter is fairly young, right? My memory is bad, so I’m not sure. Mine is going to be 8 next month, I thought our girls were around the same age. When you say you’re reading the book with your children, is the material at her level where she understands what’s being taught? Do you just read a chapter a day to them?

            I’m asking because I’ve heard so much about that book and I really need to find more ways to connect with my girl and teach her.

          4. M,

            My daughter is 8, but she is reading on a middle school reading level, so she is able to understand a good bit of Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I am not covering all of the topics. But we are already dealing with a lot of emotional/hormonal issues, I think, so we have talked about lies women believe about emotions and about God and about self. I won’t read all of the stuff about marriage to my children at this point. But, many of the lies DeMoss talks about impact men, too, so I think it has been very good to read with our 13 year old son, as well.

            I try to read about one lie per day. There are multiple lies addressed in each chapter. I have been trying to read about one lie (usually 1-2 pages) while they eat breakfast. Some of the lies we have read about are things like:

            God is not really good.
            God doesn’t love me.
            God is just like my father.
            God is not really enough.
            God’s ways are too restrictive.
            God should fix my problems.
            I am worthless.
            I can’t control my emotions.
            I can’t help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack.
            I can sin and get away with it.
            My sin isn’t really that bad.
            God can’t forgive what I have done.
            I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions.
            I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin.
            If my circumstances were different, I would be different.
            I shouldn’t have to suffer.

            Really good stuff! I do skip over some of the narrative that wouldn’t be age appropriate.

          5. That sounds perfect! I may need to look into getting a copy of that. My daughter is reading on a much higher level also so it could be just a helpful to her. Thank you for writing out some of the topics for me!

          6. M,
            You’re welcome! The topics are good reminders for me, too! I have written about many of these issues before – but I love to hear what DeMoss has to say and the loving way she shares God’s truth. 🙂

  11. Hi April! I came to ask you a question. Not a marriage question, but a question. This morning I went on cnn and the home page is full of “Christainty Declining” “Islam fastest growing world religion”

    Islam will be very common, surpassing christanity by 2050! The cause for this is Muslim women have a higher fertility rate and immigration. In America Christians are leaving the faith at record numbers. My question is, how should we feel about this? Should Christian women teach their children about chrsitainty more? Should women have more children? Or should we welcome Muslims as the majority world faith? I’m concerned how the world is going to look for our children.

    Link to article: http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/12/living/pew-religion-study/index.html

    1. Teresa,

      I saw that article. It was not a surprise, but it certainly is discouraging.

      Believers should seek to live Spirit-filled lives in obedience and holiness and do what God calls us to do in His Word. Of course we should be teaching God’s principles and love for Christ to our children! And there are consequences for our decisions to embrace birth control, yes. I think that would be something each couple would need to prayerfully consider.

      The Bible does describe a great apostasy – a great falling away from God – before the end times. I believe that the world will become predominantly Muslim, and that it is very likely that Islam may be the false religious system that comes against Israel.

      I don’t know that we can stop that from happening – but our job is to be faithful and obedient to God in all that He asks us to do. We can pray for repentance for our nation and for God’s people and for His Spirit to send a Great Awakening – that is my fervent prayer – before we destroy ourselves.

      We will trust God and I believe we must equip our children to understand that persecution is likely coming and likely to be intense and that we must be willing to give our jobs and our lives for Christ, if necessary.

      Much love to you!

      1. Teresa,

        If I may, I wanted to offer an answer to your question on whether or not women (husbands and wives) should have more children. I believe that biblically speaking the answer to this question is yes.

        In the first chapter of Genesis, it reads “27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (KJV)

        Unless I’m mistaken, the very first command ever given by the LORD was to “Be fruitful, and multiply,…” He has never changed or rescinded this command. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard this preached as a command, and I’ve been going to church all my life. Consequently, I believe that this is a command that largely is disobeyed by the church today. I believe that according to scripture we probably should have as many children as God will bless us with, almost certainly we should have large families to say the least.

        Personally, I don’t see how I could stand before the LORD and justify choosing to have no children or only one or two when He clearly commanded me to be fruitful and multiply in His word. That is of course assuming I could have had more. Based on this command I believe it is God’s intention, especially for His people, to have large families. I’m in no way writing this to be condemning to anyone who has made the choice to limit the size of their family. I’m just offering for consideration what I believe God has shown me in His word, and sharing my personal convictions that have come out of that.

        Although my wife struggles at times, she is growing. And since she has begun to grow, she has come to the point where she desires a large family. She desires 8 children, and we’re halfway there. I have not directly had anything to do with this heart change she has experienced. I believe it is the work of God in her life. As for me, I’ve wanted a large family for quite some time, primarily because of God’s command to be fruitful and multiply.

        Something to also keep in mind is the definition of the word replenish. When the King James Version of the Bible was written, I understand that the word replenish meant simply to fill. Years later, a second meaning – to fill again – was added in secular dictionaries. Later on still, the primary and secondary meanings were switched. So at this point, according to dictionaries, the primary meaning of the word was to fill again. Years later still, what was once the primary definition was removed altogether. Now you’d be hard pressed to find a dictionary anywhere at all that defines replenish as “to fill.” I think it is important to keep this in mind when reading the creation account, but that is a separate topic.

        Getting back to my main point, please consider that if we as God’s people obeyed His word and not only fulfilled the great commission, but also were fruitful and multiplied…. the world would look much different today.
        I’m not making the point that periodic or temporary use of birth control is wrong. Nor am I making the point that it is ok. I do not yet have a 100% conviction about that, but, I do see it as potentially dangerous both physically (hormonal birth control) and spiritually. So in my home we have cautiously chosen to avoid any hormonal forms of birth control, and may choose to avoid birth control altogether in the future.

        In any event, we must prayerfully seek to understand and obey God’s word on all matters. Many times we are told to “be careful ” to obey and observe His commands. I hope this helps. God’s blessings to you!

        1. I can’t help but agree with you about Scripture always referring to children as a blessing. Again and again, when someone is sterile, it is described as a curse. In no way am I passing judgement here, for everyone’s lives are dynamic and I can’t (and don’t want) to judge what’s in their heart.

          Grow… Multiply… Spill your seed and get struck dead. God clearly intends the marital act to be an act open to life. It’s a matter of control, many people want to control their lives rather than follow God’s commands. Mary said “fiat” to God. “Yes” in her obedience and submission to God.

  12. I clicked on this post because it talked about insulting our husbands, but my question is a little different than insulting-by-not-trusting. My husband has asked me to compliment him more. I was already trying to do this and I agree that it is important. The problem is, he has become a very negative person and hates his job (and has a bad reputation). He comes home and spends all evening in front of the TV. He has no hobbies and no friends. I compliment what I see that is good, and I try to encourage him, but because he does nothing in life, has no ambitions, no goals, no activities, it’s hard to “see” anything other than the obvious and the banal. He says he wants me to tell him things like I think he is strong and brave and things like that, but he’s not those things. In fact, if something is scary to him, he makes me do it. He wants me to say I’m proud of his job, but I’m embarrassed of his attitude (I have never said that to him). How do we show respect and compliment our husbands when they don’t show the attributes that they want us to acknowledge? I try to compliment the little things and the “exceptions” but he sees this as an insult. I can’t blindly flatter him with nonsense and untruth, either. How do I show respect in this situation? He wants to feel admired, but I do not admire him. I see respect as being a matter of how I treat him regardless of who he has become, but I see admiration as a reflection/result of how he chooses to live his life and/or his character.

    1. Stuck,

      I do understand your dilemma. I felt very much like you do when I started this journey 6.5 years ago. But here is the awesome thing: as you begin to focus on good things, even if there is only one or only a few things – the good things will begin to grow and the bad things will begin to shrink over time. “Whatever you focus on grows.”

      You can thank him for working. You can thank him for his work ethic and the fact that he goes to a job that he hates to provide for you and your family. That is a courageous thing. Let’s ignore the complaining for now. THANK HIM for the sacrifices he makes and the difficulties he endures in order to be such a good provider. That is a very important good quality that he has! Thank him that he is there with you. Thank him for being your husband. Thank him for his love for you.

      Perhaps he has an introverted personality? Or perhaps he is depressed and discouraged?

      What are some things that used to make him happy or that he used to really enjoy?

      Does he have a relationship with Christ?

      Does he go with you to church?

      Does he come home every night instead of going out to drink?

      Has he been faithful to you in your marriage?

      Is he responsible with money?

      Is he intelligent?

      There are many things for which you can truly respect your husband.

      Ask God to show you the good in your husband. Ask God to help you write a list of things for which you are thankful about your husband. Go back earlier in your marriage or when you were dating if necessary.

      At first, I tried to be respectFUL of Greg, but I truly didn’t respect him. That will not cut it. They need actual, genuine respect. And God is plenty capable of helping us to develop real respect as we look to Him and allow His Spirit to radically change us and as we seek the good things in our husbands.

      I would love for you to start a respect journal or at least a few pages in a journal where you write down every single thing your husband does that you admire – and everything you can think of that he has done in the past that you admire.

      If you haven’t read the things at the top of my home page, the posts about disrespect and respect may be helpful.

      If your husband tends to be passive – please search my home page for “passive.”

      You may also be interested to read my husband’s post “When She Surrendered” to see his perspective as God changed me.

      And you may want to check out “My Husband Doesn’t Deserve My Respect”

      How is your walk with Christ, my friend?

      Do you tend to take over in the marriage because your husband seems so unplugged?

      What are the general personality dynamics in your marriage right now?

      Much love to you!

      1. Thanks for the reply, April. I’ve been to multiple counselors (he will not go with me) to try and move forward. I’ve done everything they (and my pastor) have suggested. It does not work. I do it with a good spirit. I have tried, for years, to find the good. I kept a journal. I tried every “challenge” out there. All it did was make it worse because it’s very hard to find things that matter and then it becomes more obvious. He is not a Christian, he does not spend time with me (unless it’s on his terms doing what he likes, which is watching TV and playing video games), he has a reputation at his job for being a whiner and doing nothing more than the minimum (he is union and cannot be fired, but they have now moved him into a job that his boss deems “inconsequential” because of his attitude), he makes no sacrifices (I once asked him what he sacrifices for me in yet another attempt to understand him, he says he sacrifices nothing), he’s home and not drinking but simply being in the house and acting like a child is not much better. If I leave decisions to him, they will simply never be made. Doesn’t matter how simple or complex they are. If there are decisions to be made that have a deadline (such as booking a flight to visit his family), I will tell him that a decision needs to be made by whatever date. He’ll do nothing. Then I book the flights. If I don’t do anything and let there be consequences, he will yell at me because I was stubborn and deliberately sabotaged it. He knows that if he just stalls and stalls that eventually i will do it. No, I don’t take over. I wait and wait and there is a long list of things that have never been done because he will not do them and I will be called disrespectful if I care enough to do it myself after waiting for months and months. I don’t know if it’s better to leave things undone or to be insulted but have them done. He was tested for depression and it came back that he’s fine.

        I would say my walk with God is fine. He has blessed me in so many other ways and my goal is simply to be faithful to Him in how I deal with my husband. I’m just at a dead end after several years of effort and struggle and putting my pride in a dumpster.

        As for respect vs admiration, I will politely disagree with Carlos. They are completely different things. I work in a very structured business; I respect my boss – he has authority over me and has been given legitimate power to make whatever decisions he wants. This doesn’t mean I admire him, particularly if he disregards his workers or shows poor character. If he’s unkind to me, lazy, or makes bad decisions – I will still respect him for his position and will still do my job. But I cannot admire that.

        1. Stuck,

          I’d love to get a bit of a better understanding about where you are spiritually before I attempt to address anything else, my dear sister, if that is ok.

          How have you been made right with God? What did you have to do in order to be a believer in Christ?

          What things specifically do you desire in your walk with Christ?

          What do you pray for for yourself and your husband?

          Do you believe that the Bible is true and authoritative in your life?

          Do you have bitterness against your husband in your heart?

          Do you have any bitterness against God?

          What does God command you to do as a wife in general (Eph. 5:22-33) and as the wife of an unbeliever specifically (I Peter 3:1-6, and I Corinthians 7)?

          Are these things optional in your case?

          Are you fully and completely submitted and surrendered to Christ as the absolute Lord of your life?

          Much love to you!

          1. I grew up in a Christian home, then left religion behind (which was what it was at the time, just legalism and rules, I had no relationship with God) as an adult. I got married while still away from the church. Several years later, I went back. My relationship with God and Jesus is based on a personal decision and commitment to follow and serve Him. My views on submission in marriage are affected by the model of my parents, where my mother wasn’t even allowed to have opinions, so I struggle with that view of intelligent, talented women being reduced to doormats. I understand this is not what you are teaching. 🙂 My husband doesn’t believe in submission, but he is not a Christian so he has a bit of an “out”.

            He was different before we married. He liked to talk about all his plans for the future – it seemed we had a lot in common and we had many similar dreams in life – but over the years it’s become apparent he’s not willing to put in the work to make those things happen. I’ve asked if i can help; I was happy to do so. But he just blames the world and wants life to be easy, and over time just retreated. He was repeatedly rejected in life, but it was always because he would refuse to put in the effort to succeed. For example, he wanted a promotion but he wouldn’t “try” at work. Two of his colleagues put in tons of effort and one of them was promoted. He still says this was unfair because he was there longer than they were and therefore it should automatically be his. He was on a sports team for a while but he wouldn’t practice so they benched him during games and he saw this as unfair, too. He was tested for depression but not other mental illness and he sees that as an insult if it’s suggested. His view of marriage is very similar, where he doesn’t feel he needs to do anything himself but will be rewarded with results anyways. I used to take great offence to this but I know I can’t change it, so I’ve just chosen to not focus on that anymore.

            I focused a lot on fixing the marriage but that wasn’t working so I’ve spent about the last 2 years just working on my own attitude and relationship with God. That has helped immensely in the rest of my life and I feel a lot more free and joyful and less stressed.

            Do I have bitterness? Yes. I’m working on it. A year ago my pastor gave me some great advice on working through that. There are lingering issues and days when I become very angry at all the broken promises and disappointment and all his excuses, but i try to hand those over. It’s not easy. It’s hardest to give up all the things I was looking forward to (things that he had promised), now that I have finally come to grips they will never happen. It’s empowering to release those dreams that hold you down, but it’s very painful. You grieve the loss. Also, it’s like forgiveness, when you have to keep making the decision over and over to forgive.

            i have no bitterness against God. I see God as trying to have protected me, in retrospect, but I wasn’t willing to listen at the time.

            I’ve spent much of the last year or two just living my own life since my husband doesn’t want to be a part of it. I have released him (mentally) from being my partner. I figure it’s not right of me to expect him to engage with me when he doesn’t really want to. That doesn’t help anyone. I try to do my role as a wife and just focus on my own responsibilities but it’s harder when the other person doesn’t participate. He knows I’m a Christian so he likes to point out my failures and I feel like he’s right, I just accept that. I haven’t asked him to change who he is, I frame my concerns in the context of the relationship so that if there are any changes, they’re of his own doing and not because I’m expecting it. For example, I don’t tell him to stop playing video games, I just ask if we can spend time together and then leave it to him to make his own decisions how he prioritizes. This hasn’t produced any positive results but at least I have no guilt over how I’m treating him.

            So I want to do my job as a wife, I will do my best to respect him. It would be an added bonus to feel attracted to him or be proud of his character, but i know this is not something we are guaranteed.

          2. Stuck,

            I hope to get to have time to respond properly in the next day or two, my dear sister! I don’t want to rush through a response to this delicate and difficult situation.

            I am praying for you!

          3. Stuck,

            My heart breaks for you both. It would be very challenging to be married to any unbelieving man for starters – but it seems to me that he is in bondage to certain ways of thinking – from what you are describing – and maybe to depression, as well. How I pray that God might draw him to Himself and that he might find REAL LOVE and REAL LIFE in Christ!!! Only God can change him, clearly. He is the only one who can heal and change any of us.

            I’m really glad that you released a lot of your expectations. THAT IS AWESOME! And it is usually the first step. (I have a number of posts about expectations that you can search on my home page if you are interested. But it sounds like you have done a lot of laying those down already – which is definitely very freeing!)

            I have a number o posts about bitterness, as well – you are welcome to search my home page search bar – they may be healing.

            There is absolutely a time of grieving and mourning over the loss of our dreams (and even our idols) when we realize we must lay them down. (I also have a number of posts about idols and idolatry.) It was terrifying for me to release my dreams, my goals and plans, my idols, my fears, and everything else to God. It seemed like a greater sacrifice than I could possibly give – and yet – this dying to self brings new life in Christ! God is amazing that way.

            I am glad you don’t have bitterness against God. That is such a blessing!

            I’m really glad that you are focusing on what God desires you to do. That is where I found so much hope, healing, and blessing – in just focusing on me and God and allowing Him to change me.

            I’m glad you aren’t trying to change your husband. That is wise, my precious sister!

            I love that you ask for what you want but don’t pressure him and allow him to make his own choices. Then you will have no regrets.

            I have tons of posts here about respect that I believe God may use to inspire you. You can also search “respect” on my home page, as well.

            As you learn to take your thoughts captive – and you focus on Philippians 4:4-8 things – I believe that God can develop genuine respect in your heart for your husband – and genuine attraction. As you allow God to reshape your thinking about your husband and focus on the good things that are there, even if there are only a few good things – and you don’t allow yourself to focus on the negative things – I believe you will be amazed at how differently you will actually begin to think and feel about your man.

            May God continue His powerful work in your life and may He draw your husband to Christ!!

            Much love!

          4. Thank you for this kind, encouraging and very thoughtful response. Thank you for caring so much that you would put so much effort into this response. I will look up the other posts. Thanks for the motivation and the encouragement to not give up. I feel like I’m on the right track. Still work to do, though! Love to you.

          5. Stuck,

            I can relate so much to the frustration, discouragement, and difficulties you are having. I didn’t have a mentoring wife when I began this journey, and it took me SO long to understand this stuff. I’m thankful that God allows me a chance to share with my sisters. Maybe He allow the dots to be a little closer together for you on this road.

            I am always glad to hear from you and pray with you. Let me know how you are doing and what God is speaking to your heart!

            Much love and the biggest hug!

    2. Stuck,

      I wanted to share with you a little about respect. I hope it helps and it is a blessing to you.

      The world’s definition and idea of respect is very very different from that presented in scripture. The world’s idea of respect is based primarily on accomplishments, qualities, character, etc. You may have heard it said that respect has to be earned. I sure have heard that all my life since childhood.

      The only problem is, when I read scripture I saw a very different picture of what respect was supposed to look like. Respect was to be based primarily on position. Look at the example of David and Saul. David gives an excellent example of what biblical respect is all about. And God honored David. I think that David’s refusal to go against “the Lord’s anointed” (as he so often called Saul) is one of the reasons why God called David a man after His own heart. David respected Saul primarily, or perhaps even entirely, because of the position given him by the Lord.

      If I understand scripture, respect from wives for their husbands is to look similar. Of course it is wonderful and good if a husband displays many wonderful qualities, but biblical respect is not to be earned in this manner. I think you probably understand that already, but the part that you may not understand is the connection between respect and admiration.

      Although I primarily use the KJV, I do use the Amplified version of scripture as a reference of sorts. Here is Ephesians 5:33 in the Amplified Bible: However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].

      According to the front of the bible, the portion in brackets is what would be obviously understood by someone who read the text or heard it in its original language. In other words, it’s information for better understanding which may have been lost in translation. Notice that the word admire is in this list which clarifies what it means to respect a husband. Even some of the secular dictionaries (not all) will give definitions for respect which include admiration.

      The advice and encouragement being offered to you by April is good. Please be encouraged. A woman has great, great power to motivate a man. This is God’s design. He knows the importance of respect to a man, because He made us to need it. It does something for us that gears us up and we get moving. It seems like your husband may be asking you for this in the only way he knows how at the moment. That is not to say you are to blame for his faults. You are not. I am simply saying that God designed us and he knows what works. I hope and pray you are encouraged to respect (admire) your husband right now.

      Again, the advice offered by April is right on the mark. I encourage you to take it to heart. It will benefit your marriage.

      God’s peace to you.

      1. Carlos,

        Oh wow! What a powerful example of David and Saul. I wonder if you might allow me to quote some of this comment in a future post, my brother? It is SO helpful!

        1. Of course. Whatever I can do to be a help and a blessing, I am happy to do. In fact, you do not have to ask in the future. I see your heart and I am convinced that the same Spirit is at work in you which is in me.

          My heart burns for us all to have the abundant life Jesus came to give. I am firmly convinced that this will occur only as we understand (study to show thyself approved) and obey (turn not to the left or to the right) God’s word.

          If you would be so kind as to pray for my wife and I, it would be greatly appreciated.

  13. Hi,

    Asking ALL of you to pray for me and our family right now and our church – under great attack right now – pray changes things – please pray for my protection and wisdom and that of our family. thank you so much

    1. Tricia,

      I am praying for you right now – and for your church. For God’s victory – for Satan’s tactics to be exposed, for unity for believers, for God’s defense against the attack, for increased faith, for God’s greatest glory, for His protection for you and the church and you family, and for God’s clear wisdom and leadership.

      Sending you the biggest hug!

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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