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When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

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Whether you are feeling deprived of attention, love, affection, sex (and yes, a lot of women desire sex more than their husbands do), or anything else – I believe there are some steps godly wives can take to move forward in a productive direction. (If there are severe issues in your marriage, please see the disclaimer at the bottom of the post.)

The power to overcome feelings of disappointment in our husbands is in our thought lives as we choose to align ourselves with God’s wisdom and His ways.

We have two main choices.

  1. We can focus on how unfulfilled, how deprived, how upset, how victimized, and how empty we are feeling at the moment in our marriages. We can focus on all that is wrong and on what we don’t have. We can blame our husbands, expect them to fix all of the problems, and change to meet our needs. We can nurture our bitterness/resentment and dwell on how much our husbands have failed us. We can be irritable, angry, cold, and harsh. We can choose to lash out at our husbands and punish them for disappointing us. That will teach them!
  2. We can focus on Christ and how in Him, we possess every spiritual blessing from heaven that exists in the universe (Ephesians 1:3). We can focus on all that we DO have in Him. We can change the channel from our desire/disappointment to Christ. We can take up our cross daily, placing all of ourselves on the altar before God, living as though we are dead to self and to our own will, following Jesus and finding true, abundant Life in Him. We can choose to see that He is more than sufficient to meet our needs. We can choose to shoot down sinful thoughts immediately and nurture our faith in Christ, our love for Christ, and our desire to bless our husbands. We can choose to be loving, warm, accepting, gracious, joyful, peaceful, and content.

Each of these paths has a very different outcome – spiritual  death or spiritual life.

We do have legitimate needs and desires. It is important for us to respectfully share our feelings, needs, goals, desires, concerns, and perspectives with our husbands. That is part of our responsibility as believing wives. Husbands and wives should all seek to meet their spouse’s needs selflessly, lovingly, and with respect.

But if our husbands cannot or will not meet our needs or do what we believe is best – then where does that leave us? Are we going to try to force our men (or anyone else) to do what we want even if we have to sin to do it? Or will we respect their God-given free will and choose to turn to God in faith with our needs?

Sometimes there will be trials and times of testing in our Christian faith.

God gives us tests to help us see where we are weak in our faith, to bring sin to the surface of our lives as He refines us, and so that sin can be skimmed off. He uses tests, trials, and suffering to cause us to grow in spiritual maturity to completion (verses about suffering). Many times that painful trial of us feeling rejected, abandoned, or alone in our marriage will be the very thing that God will use to draw us to Himself in ways we have never experienced before. Sometimes He will help us see that our husbands are only human and can’t meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs. Only God can do that! If we are willing, God will use the pain in our lives to chisel and shape us, to teach us treasures and wonderful things about Himself, and to grow and prune us.

How we respond is the key.

Instead of meditating on resentment, bitterness, or disappointment all day long, let’s focus on Philippians 4:8 things:

  • My husband has a lot of traits that I really admire. I’m going to start a list and really think about his good qualities today.
  • My husband likely has good intentions toward me.
  • God has good intentions toward me.
  • God is sovereign over my husband, over my life, and over this frustrating, painful situation. What good might God desire to do through this? What might He have for me to learn? What an adventure it will be to find out His plans!
  •  I can lay my needs and concerns at the feet of Christ and trust Him with them. I don’t have to freak out even if I don’t get what I want or need. If He wants me to have my desires and needs met, He will provide a way for this to happen that brings honor to Himself. If my needs are not met right now in the ways that I want them to be, I will use this experience to practice living for God’s will far above my own. “Not my will but Yours be done, Lord!”
  • By God’s power, I will contribute to unity, harmony, healing, respect, honor, and agape love in our marriage.
  • I have so many gifts from God – I’m going to start a list of all of the things God has done for me and meditate on being thankful for each of these blessings.
  • I am going to focus on allowing God to change me to become the wife and woman  God desires me to be.
  • I am going to sing praises to God for His goodness!
  • I am going to meditate on Scripture and the promises of God.
  • I am going to put my energy to use in fervent prayer to know God more deeply and to grow in my faith.
  • I can focus on NOT feeding my desires for sexual intimacy for this time – by avoiding suggestive books, music, movies, and also by redirecting my thoughts to God and other things when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I can choose to fill my mind with thoughts of things I do have and things I am thankful for rather than ruminating on what I don’t have right now. That is a way that I can “turn down” my libido to some degree if necessary for a time.

If my husband does not meet my needs – I will be okay. If I have Jesus, I have everything that matters!

If I only have Him, His Spirit, and His Word, I have the greatest Treasures of the universe. I will find all of my personhood, worth, acceptance, love, peace, security, safety, hope, faith, joy, strength, and contentment in Christ alone – no matter what my husband does or does not do. My hope is ultimately in Christ Jesus alone, not in my husband. My husband may fail me at times, but God never will fail me or forsake me! Jesus is my Rock, my Strong Tower, my Refuge, my Mighty Fortress, my Comforter, my Great Physician, and my Prince of Peace. He has made me right with God.

I give all of myself to Him and He gives me all of Himself in return! I am a daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords. I have all of the spiritual treasures of heaven at my disposal to accomplish God’s will. I am not deprived at all. I possess all of the promises of God’s Word, all of His love, all of His support, all of His power, care, and provision. My God can change my husband’s heart. But even if he does not, I will trust in Him completely!

This is how we take our thoughts captive for Christ, my dear sisters!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

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

Disclaimer:

If either your husband or yourself is involved in serious unrepentant sin, infidelity, abuse, active drug/alcohol addictions, or have uncontrolled mental health problems – please seek appropriate, trustworthy, qualified help for yourself and your marriage. I am not addressing serious issues in this post, although, some things about our walk with Christ will still apply. But you may need outside help in severe situations. If you or your children are not safe, please try to get out and get somewhere safe! Or if you are a danger to your husband or children, please get yourself some help and separate yourself from your family until you can be together safely. I don’t condone abuse or sin against anyone!

PS – a Note about Mutuality:

It is not wrong for a wife to desire for her husband to truly love her. It is not wrong for a husband to long for his wife to truly respect him. There is an expectation for reciprocity in the marriage covenant. Marriage should be a mutual effort and a beautiful interchange between two people who love and respect one another.

I don’t intend to say that wives should not want their husbands to love them. We should want this! Mutuality is a good thing.

My concern is that – it is easy for us to desire our husband’s love so much that we can desire it more than we desire Christ or we can desire it to the point that we are willing to sin to try to get what we want from our husbands. That is where I want us to be very cautious. It’s not that we don’t or shouldn’t want our husband’s love, but that we need to be careful where this desire is in our priorities. I hope that makes sense.
God designed marriage to involve two people who are both contributing to the marriage and both seeking Him. That is the goal!
If you feel that your husband does not love you as he should, that is a very painful place to be.
My prayer for my hurting sisters in this situation is that they might continue on being faithful to God, to their marriage covenant, and to their husband – allowing God to empower them, seeking to please Him, and seeking to bless their husband. We will trust God together to work in your husband’s heart to draw Him to Himself first, and also back to the marriage.
But no matter what our husbands ultimately do, my prayer is that we might walk in holiness, obedience, faithfulness, and by the power of God’s Spirit working in us – that Christ might be greatly pleased with us.

141 thoughts on “When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

    1. How do I comment on this site. I am a wife who is scared, lost, hurt and want nothing more then to see my husband whole again and happy and at peace and turn his life back to God. I feel no one understands and nothing I do helps him. He has pushed me away and wants to leave me. I will do what it takes.

      1. Sher,

        First time commenters must be approved in moderation. But after that, your comments should show up. 🙂

        Would you like to talk about what is going on? I am so sorry for your pain!

        Much love to you!

  1. Oh wow, am I convicted. This is good though. Lately I’ve felt like I’ve just been being told what to do, or that mine and the kids protection isn’t being thought of. Truthfully I struggle with feeling the victim in my marriage. It’s absolutely silly, because after being in prayer I see my sin and realize how selfish I am being with my husband, and even my kids.

    I struggle with being content at where I am. I am a SAHM of 2, and my husband works nights and really loves his job! I’m so happy for him, but I struggle because I feel like a single parent a majority of the time. We currently aren’t attending church (long story of why we left/aren’t going) and while I am continuing with my devotionals, I miss the fellowship with our church family. I’m not sure what this season is about- it’s been a long one. But, this post has reminded me to keep my eyes and heart fixed on the author and protector of our faith. Praise Jesus, because He never ever fails. Thanks April.

    1. anne-marie,

      Are you and your children safe, my dear sister? Is there abuse going on? I don’t want to condone abuse and just want to be sure I am understanding your situation correctly. Are you able to share your concerns with your husband safely?

      I’m glad this post was a blessing. I pray you might grow in your faith in Christ mightily even in the midst of this difficult time.

      I can understand that you would miss church very much. I pray that you might be able to go and that God will provide a way.

      I am praying for you today, my beautiful sister, and sending you the biggest hug!

  2. April, I woke up this morning feeling frustrated with my husband and very self-righteous. This post has been so convicting and I’m so grateful to you for speaking truth. God is using you as a mouthpiece for His glory. Thank you for reminding so many wives that Christ is the true fulfillment of all of our needs.

    1. Rachel,

      I needed someone to speak this truth to me 21 years ago the summer Greg and I first got married. I made so many wrong choices about how I dealt with my disappointment and unmet expectations – destructive choices. I don’t want anyone to repeat my mistakes!

      So glad this was a blessing from God for you. How I praise Him that He has lifted your eyes to Himself. 🙂 He will never disappoint us!! 🙂

  3. Good morning, April,

    What a lovely, encouraging reminder for us all! As a minister in my childhood once pointed out, when we look at a man wearing a snowy white shirt with a ketchup stain on the front, it’s the stain we immediately notice and focus on, not the rest of the shirt that in white. We have the power to work on our own “ketchup stains,” but not those of our husbands. And in some cases, what we see as a stain is not a stain at all, but merely another manifestation of a personality trait that we love and cherish in our husbands. Case in point: my husband is a gentle, thoughtful, private person who lives and speaks very simply, without any superfluous words or actions. What he says and does is said and done with purpose and complete integrity–always. I treasure this quality beyond words! Yet it also means he is inclined not to be as affectionate or reassuring of his love as I would like him to be–with cuddling and “I love you” daily–because he trusts me to know and remember that he loves me. He does consciously touch and reassure me more than he normally would, but this isn’t natural to him, and it’s still not what I consider ideal.

    However, focusing on the things Phillipians 4:8 urges us to think about is absolutely the best way for anyone to live. I never mention wanting more afffection now, because he knows and is trying. Instead, I’ve mentally “stepped back” from the situation and see that he is being who he is, and that is someone I love and truly respect. He’s not abundantly expressive in any way, but when he does say or do something, it’s powerful, genuine, and meaningful. Recently we cancelled plans for a wonderful evening together when we heard at the last minute that his father was coming for a visit. I could see that he really wanted to keep our plans but was torn because he didn’t want his father’s feelings to be hurt if we were gone the whole evening he was here. When I firmly said we’d cancel our reservations at the function we were planning to attend, the look in his eyes was better than a thousand reassuring words of love. Truly treasuring and accepting who he IS has made all the difference for me. And, I’ve come to realize, largely through your posts, April, that sex is largely a man’s way of expressing affection and closeness, so I really enjoy that even more now, with another whole dimension of awareness. Sometimes the old longing still arises, and I have to fight feelings of “I need more,” but thinking about my husband’s positive, priceless qualities really, really helps. Thanks for another wonderful post, April!

    1. Elizabeth,

      I can so relate to your story! My husband is very similar – not a man of many words, but a man of integrity, thoughtfulness, gentleness, patience, and responsibility. I used to get so upset that he wasn’t more verbal with compliments, praise, admiration, and love. But now I understand that he has so many good qualities and that he does show his love in many ways – if I am willing to see and receive the love the way he shares it. He shows so much of his love through acts of service – fixing the computer, the house, the cars, and anything that is broken, helping me with the children, helping me with my blog, helping me research things. And now that I am not putting him down – but honoring him – he feels safe with me and he does make an effort to reach out to me with words at times, too. It is really a win/win!

      I love that you are able to see his love and respect him now. When we can accept our men and choose to see the good – that change in perspective often makes all the difference in the world!

      Thank you so much for sharing, my dear sister!

    2. Love the ketsup analogy. This is what us going on in my marriage. All that my husband sees is stains. It keeps him safe and at a distance to see what is wrong, not what is right and noble about me.

  4. Really needed this right now. Thank you : )
    God our Fathers blessings, grace & peace April, to you, your husband & your family : )

  5. Hi April
    I just read your post and this has nothing to do with the post but I would like to ask you to pray for me. My mum is sick with cancer and the doctors have said they cannot do anything. I would really like if you could keep her in your prayers for us so that God will heal her and keep her here with us.

    Thank you for all your posts
    Antonija

    1. Antonija,

      We just lost a dear friend last week to cancer. She was 50 years old. Her faith in Christ was so amazing. She had peace about going to be with Him. I know she is dressed in a beautiful white robe singing praises at the top of her lungs to God right now. But it does hurt very much for those who are left here.

      I will absolutely pray for your family and your mom. I’m so thankful that doctors are not sovereign -God is. And He is a God of miracles. I pray for His peace for all of you and for His comfort, wisdom, direction, and strength. I pray for healing if that is His will. And I pray for Him to be greatly glorified in your family during this difficult time.

      Sending you the biggest hug!

  6. What do you do if your husband is weak, angry, impotent and underemplyed for so long he’s sucked away your entire inheritance of your parents’ life-savings in two years while promising he was starting his own business that would make us comfortably well -off but not rich ( exactly what we want) meanwhile doing nothing substantive toward that end? What do you do after nearly three years without sex? What do you do when, even while struggling so miserably and publicly in every direction, he comes home and speaks uncivilly every time he opens his mouth to any one but your youngest daughter – but most especially your only son? When he’s respectfully and gently reminded of my financial fears and concerns about his relationship with our teenage children and the way he bickers with them, it just seems that he “doubles-down” on exactly the behavior he visibly felt convicted about only hours before? What do you do when you face foreclosure due to his inaction? What do you do when he just keeps looking to you to hold more and more aspects of family life together while supplying less and less of what you fairly expect your husband to be and do? What do you do when prayer even feels empty because there’s more to handle than you can face without falling apart so you stuff it down so far you can’t even bring it before the Lord? What then?
    Thanks for letting me air that. It’s been a long time coming.
    Peace~
    Jocelyn

    1. Jocelyn,

      Goodness, it sounds like things are a big mess for you both right now. I can just feel the pain, tension, frustration, and misery in your words. My heart breaks for all of you in your entire family. I am not going to suggest that there are easy answers here. Ideally, you would both be seeking healing in Christ and finding appropriate, trusted help, if needed, to assist you both in getting back on track in every way in your marriage.

      Are there mental health disorders involved? Is it possible that your husband is very depressed and feeling completely emasculated and overwhelmed? Does he have any addictions that you know of?

      How do you respectfully and gently remind him of things? What tone of voice? What kind of words? What body language?

      How is your walk with Christ going, my precious sister? That is going to be your power source and lifeline!

      Is it possible you may be holding a lot of bitterness toward your husband?

      Does he say why he won’t have sex (I assume that he is withholding sex)? Are there impotency issues? Or is he on medications that cause side effects of sexual problems? Or is he feeling so disrespected that he has shut down?

      I wish I could hug your neck!

      This won’t be easy – but I do believe there is every reason for hope in Christ, my sister!

      1. Thanks for answering my questions with more questions – just what I needed. Especially that every series of questions you asked includes one suggesting it’s something I’ve done. I should have known better. Blah, blah blah. Yes I’m bitter. I wouldn’t be human if I weren’t. He’s chosen to utterly abdicate all responsibility as a husband while preaching at church and leading at prayer meeting and pretending to the world to be something other than he is the minute the front door closes on our house ( or even more often, the door to the car, his preferred place to berate the children – on the way to and/or from church!). They already see him as an utter hypocrite – and no, that’s not my doing – they came to me on their own about that. I even feel like he’s stolen church and God from me because I can’t connect to the God he represents or enjoy going to church with my family anymore. I’m sorry. I don’t live with a quiet strong man of integrity whose only failing is that he’s not emotional enough for my girly tastes. This is real world complete and utter fail. And know it is NOT because I emasculated him. Thanks for immediately assuming that without knowing me. Again, I should have known better. Please don’t reply and I won’t ever again either. Peace~
        Jocelyn

        1. Jocelyn,

          Wow. I am so very sorry that I upset you so terribly. 🙁 It breaks my heart to see your pain.

          It is totally understandable that you would be extremely upset and bitterness would be very natural considering all that you have been through. I, myself, went through about 15 years of bitterness – and it was very toxic – it almost destroyed our marriage. I had reasons for my bitterness, too. My husband had other faults, as well – that I don’t elaborate about on my blog. My blog isn’t about my husband’s sins/faults but about how God radically changed me. This prison of bitterness is something I don’t wish for anyone – especially one of my sisters in Christ – to go through.

          On my blog, I focus on what we as wives can control. We can’t control our husbands. I spent many years trying to control my husband, looking down on him, blaming him, resenting him, disrespecting him – that road doesn’t lead anywhere good. I hope that other wives might learn from my mistakes if they are beginning to take that same tempting road. I don’t know that you are – my questions were only designed to help me see where you are spiritually so we could start from there.

          I am not blaming you for what your husband is doing wrong, his mistakes, or his sins. He is fully responsible to God for his sin. You are only responsible for you. So my focus would be your spiritual walk and what is going on with you. Thankfully, no matter what your husband chooses to do – you can have total peace, joy, freedom, hope, strength and spiritually abundant life in Christ! What I do is seek to point wives to Christ and to focus on they own relationship to Him. That is where our power is – it is the only source of power we have to fight this spiritual warfare.

          My hope is to understand the big picture better. When I am only hearing one side of the story – which is usually the case on my blog – I ask questions to try to be sure I am understanding as accurately as possible what is going on before I attempt to address any situation. I do that with everyone, not singling you out at all. Perhaps I need to be more careful with my questions – especially for wives who are suffering great pain. But I regret that you felt attacked. That was not at all my intention. I will certainly more prayerfully consider my approach in the future in similar situations.

          If/when you are interested in healing from this bitterness and finding the hope that is available in Christ – I would be honored to speak with you some more and walk beside you on this journey. I want nothing but God’s best and His healing for you, your husband, your family, and this church. I know how the enemy attacks pastors, their wives, their families, and church leadership. I am a pastor’s daughter-in-law myself and know first hand the kind of pressure that happens in pastors’ families. I know that Satan wants to destroy you, your marriage, and your husband. I don’t want to see that happen!

          You are dear to me because you are dear to Christ. I want to see you filled with God’s Spirit and power – full of His love and joy – which no one take away from you (not Satan, not your husband, not me, not anyone). I want to see your husband filled with God’s Spirit and power, mature, complete, prepared and equipped to do the work God has called him to do for His kingdom. I want to see your children blessed beyond measure – as I believe you do, as well.

          There is hope in Christ! I know you are hurting very, very deeply. I extend a hand to you in love – not to judge you or berate you. I have no intention of hurting you, all I desire to do is share the power, love, healing, and treasure of God that God has used to heal me, our marriage, and hundreds of other marriages around the world. But I will seek to be more gentle now that I know how severe your pain is.

          Much love to you, my precious sister!

          Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

          Experiencing God’s Victory over Bitterness

          Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

          Righteous Jealousy and Anger

          1. Ladies,
            Please join me in praying fervently for Jocelyn and her family in their current struggles – for healing for herself, her husband, their children, their marriage, and their church.

            Thank you so much, my friends!

        2. Oh, sister. The pain comes so thick through your post. I don’t want you to feel like you are not being heard. I hear you. And, having come here, you are in a great community of hearers. There are others with your story.

          I am so sorry that your husband has fallen so short. So, your question is – what do we do when our husbands fall so short that everything falls apart? Do you think it is unwise to do as April suggested and explore whether he is depressed or addicted? And is it also unwise to consider how we, as wives, could make our own changes toward a humble heart, regardless of circumstances?

          I know this is tremendously difficult when we have been wronged to the point where we are in the kind of pain you are in. Please reconsider your strong opposition to the questions posed to you. April has no interest in attacking you. There is only love here, sister.

          I’m praying for you today, Jocelyn, and I’m also praying for you, April. I know these misunderstandings are hard on your spirit.

          1. Thank you, FreeIndeed, for reaching out to our severely wounded sister. And thank you for your prayers for her and for me. I know that you know my heart for women – and how much I long to see them experience the fullness of joy that Christ died to provide for each of them, and how grieved my heart is to think that one would feel that I increased her pain. I am also very grieved to know how much bondage she is in, and I want to see Jesus set her free. I know that He can! I am continuing to lift her up to the throne room in heaven – and excited to see the deliverance that God has in store for her and her family!

    2. Set boundaries for the amount of burden you are willing to bear in the marriage and refuse to do his part. Let him succeed or fail at whatever he is doing. Let him deal with the kids in whatever way he is going to deal with them and let his actions speak for themselves. Try not to comment on anything he does. Take care of yourself. Please don’t be offended by my answers, I’m praying for you.

    3. Jocelyn,

      I can relate; my husband won’t have relations with me, either. I’ll give you that I have gained weight (I’ve had six kids), and I haven’t really taken care of myself. He has so many and varied expectations I put myself on the back burner because trying to meet all the expectations and juggle all the things he wanted took up so much time. But you wouldn’t notice the weight if you just met me normally — it’s something only I (and he) would notice.

      I got blasted by another writer of a blog for Christian married ladies also. So please don’t feel it’s only you; there really isn’t a place for people like us in these sorts of groups. They do focus solely on what the wife can do, so I guess that’s only fair. They aren’t in the business of marriage counseling.

      However — and I sure hope you’re reading, because these things helped me — if you want suggestions from me, I would recommend strongly that you stop reading any and all books you may have on the subject of marriage. I gave all of mine away; it was a one-way ticket to utter depression, and I realized I was doing nobody any favors by spiraling into a depression. Get the books by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, the “Sidetracked Home Executives”. Even if you are already very organized, they will inject much-needed humor into your life and you will find yourself cracking up just reading a couple of chapters. At the same time, think about implementing their suggestions and get your home super-streamlined FOR YOURSELF, not for your husband or somebody else. You’ll get your confidence back and you’ll end up feeling better — I guarantee it. The companion books to their system, written by Marla Cilley (The Flylady) are also great to have around; I grab them all when I find them for a penny or so at thrift stores or on Amazon. Get them all, pull together the 3×5 card file system (or the Flylady’s control journal system), read all the books for inspiration, and focus on yourself and your children. Trust me, it will do wonders for your entire outlook on life. You’ll focus your energy elsewhere where it can make a difference.

      Whether or not he responds to the new, more confident you is his choice, though. Don’t have any expectations regarding him. Your expectations should only be for yourself, your children and your own choices in life.

      This will not be well received by most of the ladies here, I am certain, but it works. It will change you radically because it will show you the truth about the fact that only you are the one who can change anything. You’re not helpless, you are powerful. You can build an exciting life for yourself and your children. These books will also help you formulate and kick-off a way of earning a living for yourself and your children if you have to — which will probably also be unacceptable to many of the ladies here, but sometimes this is the prudent thing to do. I learned years ago that it was most prudent in my case to always have one finger in the working world so I had something to fall back on in an emergency. I foolishly removed my finger several times until I learned that I really had no choice. Some of us don’t have the choice to fully homemake in full, peaceful security. We need to be ready to earn a living at a moment’s notice.

      Anyway, I really hope you won’t just stop reading….not everybody is judgmental with a list of admonishments, scoldings and questions to answer questions. I have six kids, homeschool, bake and cook from scratch, sew my daughter’s clothes, and wear skirts and dresses all the time, and believe me it is no bed of roses. It is a hard, tough 24 hour a day job, seven days a week, no breaks, a husband who is certain you live the Life of Riley….and no remunerative pay. I know where you’re coming from. You can do this, sister.

      1. Anonymous,

        Thank you so much for reaching out in love to Jocelyn. What a blessing you are!

        Anonymous and Jocelyn,

        Y’all are both most welcome here. We all desire wonderful things for you both and much healing in Christ. This is not a place of judgement – but a place where many women find much reason for hope, and help in Jesus and in Scripture. I do ask women questions when they are hurting – maybe it is the pharmacist in me. I ask questions when patients come and want a recommendation to treat a problem. I want to be sure I am addressing the right problem. I want to be sure I understand the full scope of the issue and I don’t want to make dangerous assumptions. Of course, I ask questions as a mom, too. When our then 7 year old son came to me and said that his 2 year old sister had been sitting on his face – I asked him questions, not to blame or scold him, but to figure out exactly what had happened so I could make the best decision about how to address both of the children I love.

        I hate that you can’t see my facial expressions or hear my tone of voice – it can be difficult to convey tone with typing. But my motives are to point women to healing, to Christ, and to the Bible – not ever to wound. I don’t ever want either of y’all to feel judged here – but embraced, loved, and cared for. My prayer is for you to find escape from bondage and to experience God’s supernatural peace, joy, and abundant life for you both. 🙂

        With love,
        April

  7. This is a great post.

    My husband us choosing to set up walls, refuses to connect with me on any level. He is punishing me for falling short as a wife.

    I will do my BEST to focus on what God can do. I understand my husband doesn’t trust me and blames me for the state of our marriage. I can’t change that for him.

    I am so lonely. I am praying for the Holy Spirit to intervene….my question is how long do I allow this treatment to go on? I understand that my husband cannot meet all my needs, yet he does have an obligation to connect with me.

    1. Betsy,

      There are a lot of times when God begins to change wives, and husbands dig into their barricades even more deeply for a time. There is a period where a husband who has felt disrespected/controlled for many years believes that the changes he sees in his wife are not of God, but are another attempt at manipulation. Here is a post about that. It does take time, many months, sometimes years, before a husband will feel safe with his wife again. In our case, it was 3.5 years from the time God opened my eyes to my sin before Greg felt safe with me again.

      The usual chain of events goes like this when it is the wife whom God wakes up first (it is a similar process when the husband changes first, too):

      1. God convicts the wife of her sin and she repents to God and her husband.
      2. She wrestles and begins to slowly grow, but stumbles and falls a good bit, especially at first.
      3. She takes her disappointments to God and allows Him to refine her motives. She begins to die to self and live for Christ.
      4. She begins to truly do this only to please God regardless of her husband’s response or approval. She becomes more and more like Christ – being sanctified by God’s Spirit.

      In her husband:
      1. The husband notices the changes in his wife and doesn’t like them. He thinks she is pretending.
      2. He wants the changes to be real but is terrified to get his hopes up.
      3. He may even push or test her to prove to himself that the changes are not real.
      4. In time, he sees that she is really changing by God’s power and then God begins to convict him of his sins now that he can’t blame his wife for all the problems in the marriage. He realizes that she is truly more spiritual and Christlike now than he is even if she says nothing about God. He can see her godly countenance, the grace she extends, her peace, her joy, and how she doesn’t lash out at him in anger, resentment, and unforgiveness anymore – and he is confused and intrigued.
      5. He begins to really wrestle with his sin and God brings him to conviction and repentance.
      6. He begins the slow process of sanctification and allowing God to begin to radically change him.

      Then the marriage begins to heal in time.

      Of course, this is not exactly how things always go. But this is a generality.

      I don’t know exactly what your husband is doing or if/when you should leave. Only God knows that. Sometimes a wife does need to leave. Sometimes God uses that to wake a husband up. I have seen that happen before. But if a wife is praying about leaving, I hope she might check out this post first and examine her own motives before making any rash decisions.

      Another post that may be helpful, “How Do You Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?”

      Sometimes things do seem to get worse for a time before they get better. Listen to God’s voice and prompting – He will show you each step.

      1. April,

        What happened in your marriage to get you to the point of realizing that you needed to change and repent for your shortcomings as a wife?

        My husband says that he has changed and he will no longer tolerate my behavior ( another way he blames me). He has almost gone to the opposite extreme of arrogance, entitlement, shut down mode).

        I am learning that God has forgiven my shortcomings. He is restoring me everyday. I will have slip ups. I am standing for my marriage to be healed- yet- I will not be treated poorly in the process. This is where I need the help of God to show me How much of his poor behavior of me do I let go and how much do I confront in a way that he can see how hurtful he is being.

        Our wedding anniversary of 21 years is September 4. I have been thinking that he has until then to recommit to our marriage or make other arrangements. Last year when it was our 20th anniversary he ignored me.

        My husband gets ideas in his mind and won’t let go even if they are not true. He tends to over exaggerate things.

        I love your response. I can see both sides. When my husband asked for a divorce last summer….I woke up. I freaked out. I collapsed on the cross and asked God to wake me up. I have never been so committed to my relationship to God and healing then I am now.

        My husband has said that he doesn’t trust me and doesn’t know how to handle our situation. I also feel that he is projecting on me, lots of old wounds that have nothing to do with me. He gets defensive if I mention this.

        We need the movement of the Holy Spirit. Thank you April for your words of love and encouragement.

        1. Betsy,

          There was a big (to me) issue that was revealed to me that I didn’t know about before. I began to realize that I was not the only one hurting in the marriage – which is what I had thought for all those 14+ years. And I began to ask God, “What am I doing that is contributing to the problems we are having?”

          Yes, this will require sensitivity to God’s Spirit about when to take a stand and when to patiently wait and pray.

          I don’t know about if it is wise to put a time limit on him like that. We just had our 21st anniversary in May. Happy anniversary, my sweet sister!

          Sometimes husbands do respond the way yours is – I have seen that happen. And at first, they try to blame their wives, often. But then, eventually, they realize that their wives are no longer sinning against them much at all, and that they are sinning. It often takes awhile. But God usually does wake them up eventually, too.

          You just keep doing what God calls you to do and be faithful and obedient. God will work in your husband’s heart. I pray for God’s wisdom for you, my dear sister!

          1. Hi Betsy (and April, and Everyone)!

            I’m so sorry you are going thru such pain and hard times. Your story is inspiring to many, I’m sure. I wonder if you’d allow me to present a husband perspective here – from a husband who has gone thru similar things…and heard similar things from my wife. I pray that you would know in advance that there are no intended accusations or judgments here at all – just thought it might help. All of us are inherently sinful without the perfect Savior, Jesus Christ . . . and men/women are sooo different. Just thought a husband perspective might help? I truly hope so.

            Sounds like he’s hurt . . . and he’s passed that threshold in his mind where he went from caring too much (which probably means his relationship with you was an idol – see book “The Meaning of Marriage” for more on this) to putting up a huge barrier to block himself from getting hurt. For men, we operate in these places where we are constantly weighing risk/reward . . . benefit vs consequences . . . etc. We do this a lot! He probably still loves you very much, but is worried that he is going to get hurt again. He’s leery about there being any true change, so he sees the potential consequence of letting his guard down as much higher than the benefit of letting his guard down so he can reach your heart.

            Secondly, men have a lot of pride in the area of relationship. I wish that people could see men in the workplace whose wives either left them, cheated on them, or both . . . . the shame that they feel is so immense. Sure, they are hurt deeply. But the shame and embarrassment they feel is paramount to the hurt. Only 1 in 20 men have any sort of meaningful relationship where they talk about marriage, finances, emotions, etc. So they literally drown in that shame. #TailSpin

            This is **not** to say that you have done any of these things to him. Just an example of how men carry shame for a long time – whatever the source of that shame is. The example above is obviously kind of a “worst case scenario”.

            “…..another way he blames me” . . . I can remember my wife saying that about me, almost verbatim. . . . and in my heart, I wasn’t blaming her at all…. Even looking back at it now, that was so far outside of my intent. I was at a point of hurt though, and my communication towards her was brief, cut and dry, and few/far-between. My communication with her got less and less.

            “My husband gets ideas in his mind and won’t let go even if they are not true.” My wife has made these claims in the past, too…. And I’ll be honest – there have been a few times where she’s made that claim (that I’ve been privy to) and followed up with examples of these apparent untrue ideas. They also included things that I was apparently NOT doing, that I was very certain I WAS doing. All that to say, that when these chasms enter our marriages, both parties are very clouded to what “truth” about the other party really is. My wife feels “very, very misunderstood”, and I feel very “betrayed and disrespected”. Vicious, vicious cycle that we sinners get into. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

            When these marital chasms start to form between Husband and Wife – there’s one thing that I’ve noticed that does a lot more damage. First, note that again, men are very proud and easily shamed. That deep down place of shame is perhaps our most vulnerable place… we guard it very carefully. Men generally don’t “confide” in one another about our relationship issues. Women have “safe places that they confide in”. As men, feeling like we are being misrepresented is difficult. But perhaps most damaging, is when we feel like we are being gossiped about. To women, they are just “confiding”…. But to men, if that “confiding” occurs with more than 1 or 2 ladies, that is seen as Gossip to us…… and that Gossip is interpreted as Betrayal. It’s part of our “Man Code”.

            I promise this isn’t an attack or anything like that…. We men are very messed up, hard to understand, and difficult to live with. I just saw glimpses in my marriage experience when reading what you were saying, and wanted to try to help explain what my mental process was during those times – as messed up as it was.

            In closing, maybe this touches on some things he might be feeling . . . maybe not. There are also ways that husbands are injured in the long-term, which ultimately contribute to us “hedging our bets” and determining that the risk of getting hurt again is too high….. got this from the Ron Edmondson blog:
            –Going behind his back (Injuring his Ego)
            –Using the phrase “you always” excessively
            –Holding him responsible for your emotional well-being
            –Putting him down in front of others, or to others behind his back
            –Don’t appreciate his efforts, while driving at how unappreciated you feel
            –Complain about what you don’t have or get to do

            More than anything, as Ron Edmonson puts it, husbands need to know that his wife unconditionally respects him, and that you’re his biggest fan. “Doing well for the woman he loves is perhaps one of the greatest goals in a man’s life.”
            “If your husband feels respected in his home – he will do anything to keep it”

            Grace to You!

          2. hh,

            This is very helpful, in my view – to help wives be able to see a bit more clearly from their husband’s possible perspective. I think your words may foster empathy and greater understanding. Thank you so much for sharing!

          3. Thank you. So much of what you have written makes a ton of sense. I have heard my husband say some of the things you mention. I especially understand the shame part. My husbands first wife had two affairs, he has shame from childhood and things which occurred in his teen years with other relationships. I feel that he is projecting old wounds and hurts onto me without knowing that he is.

            The gossip part really struck home. I have a network of women who are praying for me and my marriage. I don’t believe that my husband is talking to any Christian men or asking for help. He is walking this path on his own, which causes the walls to remain thick and rigid between us.

            He gave himself 100% to me and our children. I took him for granted. I blamed him and didn’t look at myself. My heart breaks as i have a clearer understanding of what my husband is quite possibly feeling through what you shared.

            I walked into this marriage with my own set of baggage full of hurt, shame, and relationships lessons from my parents marriage( which was horrible). I didn’t know any of this until years into our marriage…I didn’t know just how broken I was.

            At this point in my marriage, I can do my best to love my husband unconditionally and show him respect. He always said that actions speak louder than words. He needs to see through my actions that I love and respect him. I pray that it is not too late. He may think that divorce is the easy way out, then to do the painful work of dissolving shame, pride, rage, disappointment, etc..old and current.

            So….hh, are you still married? If so, what have you done to heal your hurts and the hurt within your marriage? How do wives like me make amends to our husbands whom we have hurt? How do our husbands make amends to us because they too have caused us much pain? How do we, husband and wives, change the course of our marriages so thatbgets is healing, trust, joy, hope, and unconditional love again?

            Oh Lord….I know thAt there are women here that I caused a lot of pain in their marriages like I have, and so desperately want to heal our marriages because we really love our husbands. Something went wrong within our hearts, within our husbands hearts, within our homes. Please show us a sign that it is not to late to heal. Please give us grace, courage, hope, and a renewed mind. Please soften our husbands hearts and help them to see that it is not all our faults and that God can heal broken marriages. Please open the door of willingness, flexibility, hope, and restoration. Amen.

          4. He gave himself 100% to me and our children. I took him for granted. I blamed him and didn’t look at myself. My heart breaks as i have a clearer understanding of what my husband is quite possibly feeling through what you shared.

            Your husband neds to hear this, maybe repeatedly for awhile. 🙂

          5. Hi Betsy – Sorry, this turned out to be very lengthy. But hope it helps!

            Well, sometimes peacefulwife (April) asks people “how’s your walk with Christ” . . .and that used to annoy me – very much. But it annoyed me because it was a place that I knew wasn’t Front and Center in my life. Now, I get it . . . at least, a lot more than I used to.

            “What have you done to heal your hurts and the hurt within your marriage?”
            Yes, I’m married. I came to a point about 4 months ago, where things really seemed pretty messed up. Just felt like everything seemed to be spinning out of control . . . in reality, it was probably building up for 2yrs or so. Long story short, things came to a head, and at that point, God seemed to cut me off from several relationships – including relationship with my wife. His word seemed to be “Am I not completely sufficient for you?!?” I had several months where I was flailing to and fro . . . reading 4 or 5 marriage help books. To the point, where I stopped struggling, and submitted to what God seemed to be telling me so clearly.

            I realized that I had made my wife an Idol in many ways. I had put her approval of me on a pedestal where her approval was so important to me. I learned how we married people can make our spouses idols, how we can manipulate them without even knowing it, and also, I learned about attitudes of honor.
            –She belongs to God, and is made in His Image
            –I need to give to her without expecting in return
            –I want her to be successful in her God-Given Talents
            –God is using her to make me more like Him
            –I need to love her, even if she doesn’t respond to love
            **Source: “Marriage Matters” by Winston T. Smith**

            Many of the hurts in my marriage are cyclical . . . and I replay those same cyclical mistakes over and over. I don’t think that I am a manipulative person, but I realize that if I take the sum of all the wrongs I do in my marriage, that the end result is still the same. As men, we often withdrawal in a sullen fashion. We remove ourselves from the relationship emotionally. We feel that our wives don’t care enough to be available when we need them – so we subconsciously (or even consciously!) seek some weird sort of “revenge” by making ourselves unavailable to her. Like I’ve said before – vicious vicious cycle.

            I would venture to say that in his heart, your husband knows that it isn’t “all your fault”. He places much, much more blame squarely on himself, than you probably realize. He knows that he needs to talk to someone – but he’s shamed and embarrassed. **Side Commercial Here** . . I don’t know where you all live, but he needs to get connected with something like Men’s Fraternity/Authentic Manhood. Many “local” churches house those gatherings, and it is extremely powerful. http://www.authenticmanhood.com** I think this would be so powerful for your husband. I feel very strongly about this movement.

            Anyhow, back to your questions:

            How do wives like me make amends to our husbands whom we have hurt?
            Betsy, based on what you’ve said, I just really don’t think your husband really wants a divorce. I think he’s trying to lash out due to the pain/shame he’s dealing with. I feel like maybe, he wants to “prove a point” here …. Which is sinful and selfish on his end. In my journey, I feel like doing certain things to “prove how hurt I am” to my wife throughout our process. When we feel that our wives are in a “more spiritual” place then we are, it also makes us very defensive – because we then know that we’ve pretty much been a failure in the “spiritual leader” realm as well . . . and therefore, it’s just another area of life where we feel like a failure.

            I think there are some practical ways that you can start helping to make amends:
            1. Leave him little cards in his work lunchbox, briefcase, backpack, or wherever – and let him know that you are his biggest fan, that you appreciate how he provides for you and the kids, that you are praying for his day, and that you love him very much
            2. Immediately begin prioritizing him over the kids in the evenings. This obviously takes some scheduling – but there’s something to that.
            3. Though he may not “be there” yet, be extra generous in the area of affection and intimacy. On the affection side, when you all are in public, make him feel like he is Your Man. Draw near to your husband outside of the home, be very committed to sitting next to him, placing your hand on his shoulder when at gatherings… just affectionate things like that. On the intimacy side of things, be very available to things you know he used to like (before the hardships came). Chances are pretty high that those things haven’t changed all that much. And he may reject you for a while – but just stay the course.
            4. Pray that God would give you grace to avoid showing any spirit of disappointment or judgment directed at your husband …. He is already shamed – he likely feels somewhat out of control and hopeless – hence the lashing out that it sounds like he does. He needs you to be his biggest fan and support.
            5. Make sure he knows that despite his pushing, you’re not going anywhere….that you are “All In!”
            6. Somewhat of a bullet point off of 3, but there’s something to “Being Your Husband’s Girlfriend”. That isn’t you diminishing the struggles in your marriage currently – – and it certainly isn’t diminishing you as a woman. But it is taking your relationship back to a simple time, before life’s hardships, hurts, sins, etc, built barriers and chasms between you and your husband. A time when you both connected to eachother’s hearts.

            How do our husbands make amends to us because they too have caused us much pain?
            1. Realize that his wife is made in God’s image to be unique in identity (in Him), and that his wife’s life has significant Purpose
            2. Realize that his job while on Earth, is to help love and shape you in light of eternity
            3. He needs to force himself to talk to you. I know this sounds petty….. But REALLY force himself to have meaningful conversation with you. To do this, he will need to prepare his mind diligently, so that if anything during the conversation is a trigger, that he can quietly take a deep breath, let it go, and let the Holy Spirit guide his response.
            4. Begin attending a men’s group where he can have the truths of the Gospel spoken into his Soul – and build bonds with Christian Brothers that will sharpen him, strengthen him, and give him an outlet to communicate hurts/fears, and ultimately, to heal

            Praying for you and your husband. Don’t be shaken – Don’t lose heart! He is stronger, and greater, than anything we face in our marriages. Repeat those truths into your mind daily . . . and remember to just proclaim to the Lord, “God, You’ve Done This!”

            Blessings to you both!!!

            “All those against Him will fall
            For our God is stronger
            He can do all things!
            No higher name we can call
            For Jesus is greater
            We can do all things!”
            -We Will Not Be Shaken, Bethel Music

          6. hh,

            You know what, my brother? I am just amazed at all that God has shown you and how He has healed you and the absolute beauty of God and power of God that is pouring from your heart and mind.

            Wow.

            For a long time, I used to be the only one here offering hope to many who were hurting. And as I read so many incredibly godly, spiritually mature, Christ-centered comments from many brothers and sisters today I am in total awe of God and His goodness.

            What an incredible group He has assembled here to bless, inspire, encourage, pray for, and exhort those who are hurting.

            I am so thankful for you and the others who are willing to humbly, graciously take so much time to share.

            This is glorious!!!!!

            It also really hit me for the first time – not sure why it took so long :

            When husbands feel rejected, disrespected, unloved, or mistreated, they tend to retreat emotionally.
            When wives feel rejected, disrespected, unloved, or mistreated, they tend to retreat sexually.

            We try to protect ourselves from feeling so vulnerable and we may shut down the very part of ourselves that would most bless our spouse in times of tension.

            I love your response to Betsy, hh. Very well spoken. Very well done. I appreciate your willingness to minister to our sister (and the others who will benefit). Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights with us all.

          7. Hey April – Thanks! The seeds you’ve sown here are coming to fruition. Thanks to you and Greg for answering the Lord’s call with all of this.

            Isn’t it crazy how much traffic these last few Blogs that you’ve posted have generated? I think that really says something . . . . reminds me of how the World War 2 Bombers (that were bombing Germany) knew when they were over the high-value targets . . . because they got peppered with Anti Aircraft fire.

            I think you’re especially “over the target” with these last few Blog Post Topics given the Comment Activity and polarizing reactions . . . Satan wants us all to be complacent and just accept these problems as “facts of life that will never change”. He wants to keep us all selfish, infighting, “us versus them”. But I feel like he’s failing miserably lately here at peacefulwife.com … which is awesome!

            Keep this plane pointed right in the direction that you are already headed . . . You are obviously damaging Satan’s efforts . . . . Many of us here are behind you and Greg all the way. Thank-you for this ministry!

            Gratefully,
            -hh

          8. hh,

            I knew that these posts would have a lot of spiritual warfare with them. Even last week as I prepared for these posts, both of our children got extremely sick with very high fevers for many days, things started breaking around the house, our cat got so sick we thought we were going to lose him… just a lot of unusual problems and challenges hit. I expected there to be a lot of problems because of the topics I was covering on the blog – that is just how it seems to work. This past week, I got sick, more weird problems in our family. But – my prayer is that God might somehow use these posts to bring healing to marriages, individuals, families, and the Body of Christ. It has to all be Him. I have nothing good in me apart from Jesus. I know what a broken mess I would be without Him.

            My heart breaks for the pain that is going on among believers, and unbelievers, today. How I pray for a new Great Awakening of God to sweep through His church like nothing any of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes. I want to see us all truly live for Christ and be Spirit-filled. I want to see divorces stopped. I want to see people, families, and marriages miraculously healed by the power of Jesus Christ. I want to see God break through the chains of oppression and bondage people have to sin. I want God’s people to live in His freedom, hope, Light, power, love, and truth. I want to see the divisions come down and unity flourish as God’s Spirit takes over our lives. I want to see Christ greatly exalted.

            Thank you for your encouragement. Please pray that God might empower us to be faithful to Himself and that He might work mightily among His people – that God might be greatly glorified and He might have the victory.

            In Him
            April

          9. Confiding in others where we expose our husbands weakness to others might feel like the same betrayal we feel when our husbands look at porn or other women. It is hard when we cant solve a problem and we need to ‘vent’. But there might always be a bit of vengeance for being wronged in our attempt to fix our problems by making our husbands look bad even if we dont think that may be our motive for it. I know I didnt realize that is what I was doing. A pastor reminded me that when God forgives us we are forgiven totally and God doesn’t remember the sin. It is actually very freeing to be able to do that for people who have hurt us. It’s nice to forget the unpleasant, painful memories. Its hard for them to not keep popping up in your mind, but God expects it from me. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” I forget sometimes how much He accepted me in my sin. I’m sure you already know this, it just feels good to remind myself. Humility goes a long way, but it might make you feel very vulnerable. The book Feeling good together is a very helpful book.

          10. Katy..I love what you shared. I am going to stop venting and only talk about my husband with respect and honor..regardless of how hurt and angrey I feel.

            However.. I do think that having a few close Christian women to walk with is very important and I do need to vent…and acknowledge to God that I need forgiveness with my feelings and complaints.

          11. So many times I have thought the same thing. My husband listens to Christian music and talks about God with our boys.. Yet treats me terrible. He is split spirited. He has to have noticed the changes in me because I am even shocked at the changes I am making. I respond differently. I walk away or ignore his hurtful words. I cry out to God for help. I continue to honor my husband even when I would like to really let loose and have a fit.

          12. I’m not sure if he is split spirted, but maybe just a sinner. We all look like hypocrites and anyone of us, no matter how holy we look, can be destroyed and torn about by having our sin exposed. I beg you to emphasize your gratitude and approval of him teaching your boys. Ifyou berate him for it he might stop doing it. He will feel like a hypocrite and might give up. Anyone can be made to look like a hypocrite. Anything good you see, smile and express gratitude. I will be praying. Take care of yourself and do things that bring you joy at least three times a day.

        2. It’s hard to live in fear like that, try not to get back at him for threatening divorce. Give him more time, this is the relationship that God will bless you the most with. God is for your marriage. Lord please bless Betsy, give her wisdom and the right words to say. Give her peace and love and help heal the hurt of abandonment. Help her forgive and not become bitter in Jesus name amen.

          1. Katy and April…sending you big hugs for prayers and thinking of me.

            We are in counseling. I had hopes of healing. He is in counseling to get along to be able to parent our boys. Restoration is not on his agenda. He says that he is married to me on paper only. He hasn’t worn his wedding bring in over s year. He lives like a single father in some areas/activities.

            I continue to honor him and care for him because God sees me doing the right thing and i feel pure in heart. I am going to implement a boundary again with him that I will not be sexual with him if he is not committed to working on our marriage. This is a big struggle for me because I have had Christian sisters encouraged me to be sexual with him and others who strongly support me by not having sex unless he treats me better. Not sure how to handle this.

          2. With the sex thing, just don’t let the motive be revenge or punishment. Maybe dont initiate either but flirt and smile and see what happens. Its hard to be in the mood when you are sad and stressed so be kind to yourself and kind to him and see if it happens. The least amount of pressure, the better. He is still with you today, thank him and tell him,” I am so glad you are here.”

          3. I am sorry that you are going through such an awful and miserable time in your marriage. I want to encourage you but I don’t want to annoy you or sound like I don’t care about how bad your situation is right now. You are using such self control already when dealing with your husband and not seeing much results, it must seem like a marathon. I am praying for you that God fills you up when your marriage is hurtful and empty. I agree that having a few friends to help you through is good too. Sorry if I got carried away with all of my advice or sounded judgemental.

          4. betsy, in my case, when i got battered physically, morally, emotionally by my own husband, i felt i could not love him anymore. i never told him verbally but my action spoke louder. it came to a point when he asked for “it” and i rejected not because i felt no love anymore, but also physically i was too tired because of the whole day work. this made him angry that i was beaten many times with a garden hose and followed by a belt. i didnt fight back because i knew he was no longer in the right sense. he was diabetic and i was fore warned by his doctor of his mood swing. i was beaten repeatedly infront of my three kids, letting me kneel and whenever i could find time to lean on the sofa , he would whipped me again and again, that lasted for an hour until my inlaws came to rescue me. Before that incident happened, it was really my plan to talk to our pastor that i wanted to bring him back to my inlaws but i was not sure if this would work out. The bruises i had in my head down to my legs, was an evident that i was physically abused and i was forced file a blotter with the police for my security sake and my kids as well. it was really traumatic, and I realized, God allowed this to happen for a good reason. Right there and then, he was not allowed to live with me again for less than a year untill he had stroke and i had no choice, being the wife, i needed to take care of him. though he was already bed ridden, he still remained violent. he would still throw things at me anything he could afford to reach like bottles of medicines, etc. i was like living in a hell. i cried to the Lord and surrendered everything to Him, and God did intervene. Before He took away my hubby, He restored our relationship. He used this church where i was able to pour out all my predicaments and asked for prayers and counselling. They came to visit him from time to time and conducted bible studies…. I realized God allowed difficult and painful situations in my life, but through this, i became a stronger woman. Those past painful experiences with my husband, made my grieving lighter when he died. Romans 8:28 .

            God bless us all !

            cellene

          5. Cellene,

            What a nightmare that was. 🙁 I don’t want anyone to be beaten or abused by anyone else, much less her own husband. So heartbreaking. I am glad you were able to get somewhere safe.

            I am also thankful that there was a time of healing before your husband died and that you had support from your church.

            I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. But I am very thankful that you have Jesus. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish no wife ever had to experience what you have experienced. I pray for God to continue to heal you.

      2. April, thank you for being my mentor for the last 3 years and thank you for this appropriate post. I started this journey in 2012 very bitter and full of resentment facing divorce. I was at a point where hate was the only feeling I had. I tried being submissive and godly in an attempt to keep things together. I even emailed you in 2014 asking what I could possibly still be doing wrong. I came to a realization in 2015 that the bitterness in me is getting to a point where it is making me physically sick. I serve him, but with bitterness. I was busy reading The love dare (I recommend Fireproof movie) and on one of the days you pray that God will fill you with his love when you can not love your husband and he is not responding to your actions. We sin towards God everyday and He still loves us – I asked God to fill me with His kind of love to be able to love my husband.

        The same spirit that works in you – works in him too. Instead of nagging him, state your request once only, in a kind tone and then give it to God in prayer. I too was at a place where I felt prayer does nothing. More reason to keep praying, because faith is built on prayers.

        Over the next week it became easier to serve my husband, for a change I wanted to. I listened to his needs and tried to pick up on that – serving not my way but what he needs (he also likes to fix things, but often have little time left for me and kids). So instead of complaining about this (as I use to do) I praise him for his efforts and work along side him. Assisting where I can upon his request.

        I can see he finds it hard to trust the peace, but I have hope as I recognize the pattern you mention here. The most important thing is – I feel an amazing fulfillment. A new love for him that I can not explain – excitement and motivated to serve him and help him grow spiritually. I can only thank the Lord for that – a supernatural love, peace and content.

        1. Diana,

          Wow! Thank you so very much for sharing your story. I think I need to talk about bitterness again soon. So many of us become ensnared and poisoned by it. That is not God’s will for us! I want to see us all find that freedom from bitterness and resentment and to have God’s Spirit flooding our souls and His love for our husbands and others.

          What a blessing your story is. Thank you! You made my day! 🙂

  8. I understand this, i get it, I do, I agree with it. I don’t need material things, I don’t even need much affection, I don’t NEED anything from my husband because my fulfillment truly is in Christ. But how, oh how can I change that fact that I am simply not attracted physically to a man who is so passive in spiritual matters such as leading and teaching me and our children. I don’t know if I had less drive spiritually when we met or he had more. But the passivity over the 10 years of our marriage has just taken a toll on me. I’m starting to feel like we are nothing more than roommates with kids. I love him, I respect him as my husband, but I simply cant force myself to feel attracted to him. And I’m just sad about it. Perhaps I need a new perspective. idk And yes, i have shared my feelings with him. He acknowledges them but nothing changes. 🙁

    1. I could have written exactly what you just wrote Shana. Word for word. Emotional and spiritual apathy is such an incredible turn off. It just pushes me more towards Christ which seems to only cause a greater divide.

    2. My husband and I are on the upswing of this journey, and I wish that there wasn’t a phrase such as ‘passive’ husband. Most times as wives we have shut them down and tied their hands for so many years that it’s not safe for them to move. A lot of times as wives we are so angry and impatient that the ‘shut down’ we see in out husbands is actually him having the best attitude he can have and him dealing with us peacefully. I am just speaking of the typical situation, not necessarily yours, so please forgive me if this is not the case in your situation.
      We don’t complain about God being passive when we can’t hear his voice or our prayers aren’t answered right away.
      I personally started looking for specific things I could apologize for on my part, such as, “I’m sorry if in the past I took your generosity for granted, can you forgive me?”, or “I’m sorry if you feel disrespected by me or the kids, is there something I can do to make it up to you?”
      Any apology or aknowledgement of what they go through starts to soften their hearts. But it might get worse before it gets better. And once again, I am describing my situation. Yours may be totally different. I’m praying for you.

      1. Katy,

        Thank you so much for sharing with our sister! It brings the biggest smile to my face to see what God is doing in your heart, my dear sister in Christ! How I praise God!!! 🙂

    3. Shana,

      Passivity in a man is definitely not attractive to a woman. Amen on that. As you allow God to change you to become the wife and woman God desires you to be, and you step down out of control and allow him to begin to lead and blossom – that masculine man will very likely come back. The attraction will probably follow.

      You have shared that you find him unattractive because he is so passive?

      What are you doing to build him up, encourage him to lead, affirm him, respect and honor him?

      Those are the things that will help him begin to feel strong enough and safe enough to try again.

      Please check out this post about how we can inspire the “superman” in our husbands. I pray it might bless you!

      Or, check out “10 Ways to Bless Your Husband – video” for ideas about how to allow him to feel more masculine.

      The more masculine you allow him to be, the more masculine he will be. The more feminine you act (and look), the more masculine he will feel. The more feminine you feel, the more masculine he will feel. Check out this post on godly femininity.

      For a great description of biblical masculinity/femininity, check out David Platt’s Secret Church Series on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Or check out the free download of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The first chapter is especially good. http://www.cbmw.org/resources/

  9. Thanks for this. It’s like God is talking to me to strngthen my stand about our marriage and my difficult journey of being a peaceful wife. I’m so glad this post is so spot on with my current situation.

    1. MAT26,
      God is amazing like that. He knows how to get us the message we need at just the right time. 🙂 I’m praying for Him to draw you to Himself and for His healing for your marriage!

  10. It was helpful for me to not only learn what it meant to be respectful and loving towards my husband but also how to respond to behaviors like passive aggression in a way that was discreet, direct and productive for positive change.

    Respect towards my husband was tilling of the ground, just the beginning. For me there was more work to do. I couldn’t just hope my spouse would grow in life skills as if he already knew how to do certain things but was holding back. I had to grow and accept my own challenges to manage (especially my own naive notions about life and marriage) and then walk with my husband in some matters like a seeing eye dog. I had to become more than trustworthy, as in, very knowledgeable about my spouse’s particular sensitivities and wounds so as to rise above them as a team, in a way that preserved his dignity and propelled him forward.

    I know I am not his Holy Spirit nor his therapist, but I found that this type of influence helped to keep us moving forward when he wanted to be my hero but was too proud to hear any male mentor, didn’t want professional help, and left to his own chooses abandonment and/or escape if confronted even gently. This is my part and is what helps him to do his part. Leaving was not an option, but change is.

    If a submissive wife finds that she is safe from harm but at a complete loss regarding her spouse’s self-sabatoging behaviors that ultimately effect the family, consider how sometimes God may use the wife to be a part of the transformation of generational or toxic patterns and in so doing grow in her a greater level of confidence and compassion for her husband before the deeper intimacy takes place.

    One godly wife I know of stayed in this place for more than 5 years and I see her reaping great rewards. Her support and example has meant so much to me. I can say I no longer feel so disappointed in my husband but an increasing sense of awe that I am the one person on the planet God’s allowed to know my truly unique husband in this way. I feel lighter and hopeful when I see our small successes and how we benefit each other. My husband’s inner world seems less chaotic and I am blessed to see us both stronger.

    1. Refined,
      Thank you for sharing some of the treasures God has shared with you. You are such a blessing to me! I know you have learned much of this the hard way through difficult trials. I love what God is doing in your life and your love for Him and honor for God and for your husband.

    2. Refined…thank you for what you have shared. Can you give any examples of what you did to earn your husbands trust? Can I ask what got you to the point of becoming a “seeing eye dog” for your husband?

      I love your comment about responding to passive aggressive behavior so that positive change can happen. Can you share examples of your husbands PA behavior and what you did? My flesh wants to respond in a hurtful way, yet I ” zip my lip” and walk away.

      Thank you

      1. My goodness. A whole lot of internet, textbook, journals, Bible, other wive’s examples and God giving me early morning inspiration when I felt utterly stuck. When I’ve looked up things like Asperger’s, Narcicism, passive aggression, aggression, Dysfunctional families so much of the info from the experts just tells the woman to bail or disconnect. But when you look for ways to cope, heal, break through, you’d be surprised at what you can find. When I saw that my husband really wasn’t understanding me nor our friends nor his co-workers I realized he wasn’t a monster. He was seeking to meet normal human needs the best ways he knew how, some of those ways inappropriate because his perspective and skill set were limited. In many ways he feels he must defend himself from the rest of us d/t some past hurts that had nothing to do with me. I had to prove that I’m also not the enemy and that he has other choices available to him that leave him feeling strong and heard. Part of my process is bringing a non-judgmental awareness to his own words and actions so he sees his part in the situation.

        I don’t tell him what I want assuming he can do it automatically, I ask, “how would you feel about doing x,y,z for me?” And I listen.

        Rather than make suggestions or state my fears I either restate the good of his ideas/ goals and say, “I have a concern…would you consider x,y,z” in order to keep in line with those goals and/ or “how can I help?” I make sure he knows I believe in him.

        I stopped asking him what he wanted as it made him anxious and I started offering solutions that would work for both of us, with the understanding he could always change his mind.

        To his critique without direction, I might also say, “since I’m not sure how to move forward in a way that works for both of us I’ll let you handle it from here.”

        I put on my emotional armor and encourage him to be honest with me, knowing it may take time for him to learn to state his position in non-critical, non-defensive ways. I empathize, validate, and propose good intentions for whatever he puts out there. When his defenses are down and he feels his heart is heard it’s easier for him to hear himself and accept responsibility v. blame another.

        When he expects me to be somewhere, I try to be there early. If he’s late, I offer lots of grace and tell him I know he did his best to be there. Now he’s more understanding when I’m late too.

        If I am hurt I focus on the abrasive action, not his character. I might also say, “Ouch! that felt accusing…can you tell me what I did that was upsetting or offensive? I’m on your side, remember?”

        I may also say, “It seems like you’re angry, please tell me about it” or “I notice you pulling back, what’s making this hard for you?” or ‘You seem bothered by… my request, my getting close…so I’ll respond with “okay. just sharing a thought” or Okay, I’ll be around when you’re up for sharing space’ when he denies his upset and then I go away. If he’s able to disclose I tell him he was courageous to share with me.

        I do say, “whatever you think!” to his ideas but if he’s offering something of high cost to himself I expound on the generosity of that gift and ask that he think about it before we move forward as we’ve had resentment issues with such things before.

        Even when I disagree with my husband, I am sure to give a voice to his good intention and I spend time on his perspective. I am watchful about when he gets overwhelmed. Strong emotions from males and females bring him much anxiety. If he clams up, we also use a poster in our hallway that lists +/- feelings and needs. (He actually found it on a nonviolent communication site and put it on the wall for us!)

        We sit in quiet at home a lot more doing puzzles, reading a book, folding laundry and he comes to me a lot now wanting to share about his day after the kids go to bed. I don’t say much but listen. I’ve also started getting more babysitting so we can go out and just have fun. These things, over time, have been helpful, especially with the other ways I demonstrate admiration and respect towards him. When I make a misstep, I dust myself off, wait for the chill to blow over and start again. I really don’t need perfect love from him in order to feel of value. He is devoted and I am blessed with his best.

          1. I must admit another epiphany. I know of women who handle difficult attitudes and gruff talk from their spouses with such poise and humor. Part of my problem is that I can be overly sensitive, I don’t know how to handle typical human foibles. If the only way I’ll be happy in life is if my husband always responds perfectly, sweetly, non-judgmentally then I’ll never have contentment and I’ll miss all the good that happens even amidst the uncomfortable. There is so much awesomeness going on in this post! April, you rock!

          2. Refined,

            Ooh! This is awesome!

            I do have to admit, humor is not my strong suit. But I have seen some women who handle difficult situations with grace, poise, and a positive (not sarcastic) and endearing kind of sense of humor. I think that would be amazing!

            I have to give all the glory to God, my sweet sister! You know where I would be without Him.

            Much love!

  11. Hey there all-
    May I reiterate that I love what April is doing here. It takes a real crucified life to be honest and vulnerable while pursuing one’s own relationship with the Lord, and I’m always encouraged as a man by her submissive & respectful attitude towards her husband. And her honesty as to how she got there.

    If I may reach out to Jocelyn and say, what you are dealing with is religious abuse and addiction. Religious abuse is no different from substance abuse of any kind, and in fact the steps and stages are exactly the same. The difference is that it is hard to detect and accurately diagnose, because one of the largest symptoms is thinking that you’re right about everything, and dogmatically sacrificing everything for “the church” including your family. You are in effect, living with an alcoholic, except that his drink of choice is religion.
    Also, he clearly is afflicted by self-hatred and self-torment, and when things get to the level that you describe, there may even be demonic activity involved. Your husband’s behavior is the earmark of a man that is disappointed in, and hates, himself; and yet is taking out all of that anger on his family. Misplaced, misdirected rage is common with men that feel like failures. They are internally beating themselves but externally beating others.

    I must again agree with April that with the level of severity of your situation, you need:
    -Deliverance(which means casting out evil spirits)
    -Counseling
    -Therapy
    -Fasting & spiritual warfare, not just regular prayer

    It’s also possible that you may need to step back out of the situation for awhile, and move yourself and the kids to another location for your own safety. You may need to seek both professional help and professional protection, at least for a while. Quite often with men, it’s the shock of separation from their wives that causes them to wake up and realize that they have severe issues that need to be addressed.

    I cannot stress enough how I mean you no harm, no condescension, no holier-than-thou, no criticism; there is nothing but a desire for your healing and well being in my heart…I have seen what you’re describing, and it *can* be healed; it just might take some drastic steps.

    Again, I mean not one shred of offense; just reaching out as a brother in Christ to let you know that your situation is not hopeless.

  12. My second comment on this topic is:

    It’s very interesting for me as a man to listen to the ladies, but may I suggest that part of the challenge here is that, it seems that there were a lot of assumptions going in to the marriage. I must restate that men are not designed to bond, and we do not crave the verbal and emotional intimacy that seems to be part and parcel of the female nature; we crave sexual & physical intimacy, respect, and a chance to solve problems.

    I believe that a lot of the disappointment that women feel is because of unrealistic expectations.

    The idea that a man’s needs are the same as a woman’s, OR, the idea that your husband would “just know” what you need, and give it to you accordingly. Much of the frustration that wives feel, I think, can be attributed to the idea that you keep expecting a man to respond to your marriage as if he were a woman. So much of the impatience and anger stems from you realizing that men really don’t keep all of our emotions right there on the surface, and we really don’t need to verbally express any of them, and from your point of view, that’s not the relationship you signed up for.

    I think what makes the difference in these situations is honest communication; I know for a fact you want a man that is a natural leader, both in the spiritual and in the secular, and you want him to intuit(like a woman would) when you need to be held, listened to, when you need non-sexual touch, and when he just needs to stand up and make the decision already!!!

    ….unfortunately, if a man has not been prepared for these responsibilities in a marriage, knowing how to be a godly husband, I regret to inform you that most men won’t even *know* that you’re as frustrated as you are. Our wiring is completely different from yours; it is not a personal slight, nor a personalized effort to frustrate you; it is simply that we do not work the same way women do. And then women get into sin by usurping authority from their husbands and taking over…and that just ends up making you even more flabbergasted. You also end up deeply wounding your men in the process….and that is precisely why men shut down, stop talking to you, and do not trust you.

    If you have a man that is willing to grow and change, the best thing you could *ever* do for him is draw him a map.

    I know that’s not what you want to do, because you envisioned being swept off of your feet by a strong, confident, powerful man that would always know what to do and say, but again, many men must be taught to be that way; it is not natural to all males. For some of us it is indeed very natural, but we’re still not women; we’re still going to want food, sex, and respect at the end of any encounter with you, not words, and that will never change. And if your husband is not there in his development, if you just tell him, before you get angry, that you really need:
    -to be held right now
    -to be listened to right now
    -that you want him to make the decision
    -that you believe in his leadership ability, you just want him to use it more

    then you will get a much more positive response.

    But you *cannot* wait for a man to be “perfect”(because you just mean perfect in your eyes) and you cannot wait for a man to be mistake or sin-free before you respect him, and submit to him. I have seen in my lifetime that married couples wait until they are about to explode before they get honest, because again, you assumed, going into the marriage, that your partner was just going to “know” what you wanted/needed them to do.

    Not so.

    1. ProphetDavidTaylor,

      Thank you so very much for sharing your insights. I believe they will bless so many women. 🙂 I would love to share this as a comment on my FB if that would be okay with you, please. How I needed this information when Greg and I first got married 21 years ago!

      Ladies,

      This brother in Christ is offering real wisdom here! Let’s absorb and digest it and pray over it for God to help us better understand our husbands, our marriages, and His design for marriage.

      A great place to start in laying down expectations is this post.

    2. So easy to read this and feel a bit bitter. Like, why is it the wife’s fault she has felt neglected and thus started usurping control and authority from her husband? Isn’t it just as likely that when they were dating, the boyfriend WAS attentive and talkative (like a girlfriend only better) and then after marriage he “changed”? Didn’t God create man and woman to COMPLEMENT each other, not simply that woman has to limit herself to accommodate man? And haven’t women all through history often been forced into both genders’ roles, so shouldn’t men be equally adaptable? Think of all the single mothers in the world, who are breadwinners, nurturers, teachers, and who are happy and competent in both roles.

      I’m not bitter, though. At least not most of the time. 😉 That’s something God’s changed about me, or taken from me (hallelujah!) in recent months. I really appreciate this male perspective, and there’s so much to be learned if only we (not that I should be talking for any woman but myself) put aside our outrage and seek to understand and learn instead of projecting expectations onto our men.

      My favourite part of what ProphetDavidTaylor wrote is “[men are] still going to want food, sex, and respect at the end of any encounter with you, not words, and that will never change”. Practical advice if I’ve ever read any! I like also how he compassionately explains that it’s entirely possible to encourage men to be more loving in ways women can receive and thrive on IF we women work on our own sins and seek God’s truth of how men are designed first.

      As for Jocelyn and anyone else in her shoes, I get you, you’re not alone. I’m just coming down the other side of that particular mountain, the bitterness and anger that God expects me to do so much changing when I feel so wronged by life and my husband. It’s not really for the sake of my husband or marriage, though. God wants me to change for Him and for myself, so I can receive the abundance of blessings a Spirit-filled nature is capable of enjoying and then share that with the world, starting of course with my husband.

      Great blog topic, as always April!

      1. Peregrine, you beat me to it. I have the exact same question and would love to hear from Prophet an explanation. To this point…

        “It’s very interesting for me as a man to listen to the ladies, but may I suggest that part of the challenge here is that, it seems that there were a lot of assumptions going in to the marriage. I must restate that men are not designed to bond, and we do not crave the verbal and emotional intimacy that seems to be part and parcel of the female nature; we crave sexual & physical intimacy, respect, and a chance to solve problems.

        I believe that a lot of the disappointment that women feel is because of unrealistic expectations.”

        …I ask…if men were not created to bond, why do they fake it so long while dating? I would not have married my man if I didn’t feel somewhat of a bond with him. He was open, affectionate, verbal (at least more than he is now)…the things that cause you to want to be with somebody. So why do you guys fake it, or why do you change? And then why are we to blame for having unrealistic expectations? I may have a little frustration in me but I am truly curious.

        Also, why can you spend months and sometimes even years dating and not having sex (and doing what we think is “bonding”) and then once you get married, sex is expected, and if it’s not what the man expects, he indulges in porn or gets angry? All the while not feeling like he needs to bond with his wife anymore and she should just give him sex?! This is a very maddening reality for some women and I really look forward to Prophet’s perspective. Thank you!

        1. Dora and Peregrine,

          A few of my thoughts, for whatever they may be worth. 🙂

          I actually don’t think that men are the only ones who could be accused of “bait and switch” when it comes to behavior during courtship vs. after marriage. Women – before marriage – tend to spend a LOT of time grooming and dressing up, trying to look their best, staying fit, showing respect to their men, and acting very interested physically, many times, too. But once we are married, we tend to think, “Oh, we’re not going out anywhere. I’m just going to wear the old sweatpants and ponytail. No need to try to look fancy just for this guy.” We also tend to begin to become a lot more controlling and disrespectful – I sure did – after marriage. We have a lot more at stake once we are married – and we don’t want our husband to “mess everything up.” It is one thing to trust him to take us out on a date, but it is another thing to trust him with our credit scores or with our children’s safety. We tend to react out of fear rather than trust on things that mean the most to us.

          Also, the energy that men and women tend to put into a relationship before marriage is not usually a sustainable amount of energy on a 24/7 basis. If you are going on a date once a week for a few hours – it is easy to be on your best behavior. But when you are sharing daily life, chores, responsibilities, bills, parenting, etc… your spouse is probably going to see the worst in you many times – parts of yourself that you were able to hide or mask somewhat during the dating process. This is one reason why I am not that big of a fan of our “dating system.” It is not good preparation for marriage. Sharing some kind of adversity together or facing challenges where we would need to work together as a team and depend on each other somehow seems like it would be a better way of getting to know what kind of marriage partner someone would be – and what kind of marriage partner we would be, as well.

          Before marriage, a woman showing respect, honor, and interest in her man is something that tends to come rather naturally. After marriage, it has to be an act of the will and something that is done very purposefully – which doesn’t “feel” the same. The results will be the same in the relationship. But it doesn’t “feel” as easy as it did before marriage.

          I would imagine that things may be similar on a man’s side of the relationship.

          With love,
          April

        2. Peregrine, you beat me to it. I have the exact same question and would love to hear from Prophet an explanation. To this point…

          “It’s very interesting for me as a man to listen to the ladies, but may I suggest that part of the challenge here is that, it seems that there were a lot of assumptions going in to the marriage. I must restate that men are not designed to bond, and we do not crave the verbal and emotional intimacy that seems to be part and parcel of the female nature; we crave sexual & physical intimacy, respect, and a chance to solve problems.

          I believe that a lot of the disappointment that women feel is because of unrealistic expectations.”

          …I ask…if men were not created to bond, why do they fake it so long while dating? I would not have married my man if I didn’t feel somewhat of a bond with him. He was open, affectionate, verbal (at least more than he is now)…the things that cause you to want to be with somebody. So why do you guys fake it, or why do you change? And then why are we to blame for having unrealistic expectations? I may have a little frustration in me but I am truly curious.

          Also, why can you spend months and sometimes even years dating and not having sex (and doing what we think is “bonding”) and then once you get married, sex is expected, and if it’s not what the man expects, he indulges in porn or gets angry? All the while not feeling like he needs to bond with his wife anymore and she should just give him sex?! This is a very maddening reality for some women and I really look forward to Prophet’s perspective. Thank you!

          Yes, this is reality for many women and can be quite frustrating. I have encountered it many times in my life & ministry.
          I didn’t say that we should have *no* expectations, because indeed we should…we vow certain things at the wedding ceremony. I said that sometimes there are *unrealistic* expectations, so let me list some more examples:
          -The idea that a man can read your mind
          -The idea that you will want to live your dream but he won’t want to live his
          -The idea that you only have to obey God if your husband does everything right
          -The idea that he will be a sinless husband
          -The idea that you get to keep collecting the benefits that you get from being married, but he doesn’t get any if he’s hurt your feelings or failed in some way.

          Men “fake” it for the same reason that women do….because we’re each after our individual goals, they’re just not the same.

          Women want:
          -Financial security
          -Social status of being married
          -The feeling of not being alone
          -Access to his resources even after he dies or if the marriage is over
          -Total control over the children
          -Verbal and emotional bonding
          -Lots of personalized attention

          …and how do you get it? By being attentive to a man’s physical needs. Looking good, smelling good, cooking well, and then emotionally respecting him and laughing at his stupid jokes that you really don’t think are funny. And if you are having sex before marriage(which as Christians we shouldn’t be but many of us do) you give him the best sex of his life. Are you faking anything in getting a man to marry you, or are you being totally genuine all the time?

          Men want:
          -A high degree of physical satisfaction(regular food and sex at a minimum)
          -A high degree of respect
          -A healthy and responsible mother for the children
          -Someone that supports their dreams & leadership ability

          …and how do we get it? By being attentive to a woman’s financial, verbal, and emotional needs. Dressing well, being attentive, being open and affectionate, paying for meals, and listening to all of the things that she says whether you actually want to talk/listen that long or not. And if you’re having sex before marriage(which as Christians we shouldn’t be) then we give you the romance, foreplay, and adventure you want. Are we faking anything in getting a woman to marry us, or are we being genuine all the time?

          See what I mean? We’re each after our goals, we do what we need to do, yet many people fail to realize that both parties expect that behavior to continue after the marriage, because that’s what we thought we were getting.

          Most men don’t *know* that women are designed to, and need to, bond. Most men make the mistake of thinking that women are driven by a physical need like *we* are, that’s the problem here. I wasn’t tying my statement of unrealistic expectations into the ‘bait and switch’ problem…I listed what I meant by those unrealistic expectations above.
          What women don’t know about men, is that we do not *need* to bond to have sex, and the pursuing of you that we do is *because* we want a regular source of sex.

          Many men feel like, once they’ve married, that “welp. I’ve done my job and married her, so she should know that I love her. And she should know that I need regular sex now, and she should do her job the same way I go to work every day and do mine.”
          And that’s just not how women and relationships work. So the general answer to your question is, that’s one of the unrealistic expectations that MEN have….that no longer making a focused effort to talk to your wife will result in her still being sexually available to you on the regular, as if *her* need is the same as *his.*

          Men also want drama free sex; we do not like jumping through hoops to get sex. Men want to come home to an available woman. If that doesn’t happen, that’s why we get angry and turn to other things, because, listen to me carefully, a man doesn’t feel like he should have to KEEP working for it after he’s married you. Listen to me carefully, I’m not saying that attitude is RIGHT, I’m saying it’s how many men tend to feel. Because for men, the central expectation of marriage is a regular source of sex. There is absolutely no way on this blue green earth that men would ever even *entertain* the idea of marriage if we didn’t think that regular sex was a part of it.

          Women don’t seem to feel that way.

          Talk to me, romance me, be interested in me, complement me, pay the bills, raise the children right, for God’s SAKE don’t say the wrong thing, be faithful to me, care about my emotions, don’t think anybody is prettier than me, don’t act like it’s a chore to be with me, I want you to want to want me, be a leader when you need to, sacrifice when you need to,

          and THEN I’ll give you sex. Miss any item on that list and I’ll get angry and resentful and tell you that you’re selfish and insensitive but I’ll for sure keep using your last name when I sign my checks because I get to keep MY benefits but YOU better learn to be perfect, Mister mister.

          And none of that, not one DROP of that, is what the Bible teaches. That’s why the games we play, on both sides, don’t work.

          1 Corinthians 7:1-5(KJV)

          1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

          2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

          3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

          4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

          5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

          God says that both parties are to surrender their bodies to the satisfaction of the other person. That is the proper way to be married; we are not to defraud one another, or else Satan gets in the marriage. But to live in obedience to this command takes a cross; a crucified life; but according to the Scriptures, this is the way to handle sexuality in a marriage. And as April has pointed out, some wives as well want sex more than some husbands; in those situations, a man has to sacrifice his lower drive for his wife’s higher drive, even seeking medical help if necessary.

          This marriage and sex thing simply is. not. easy. We have to work at it, and obey God if we want it all to work.

          1. Prophet David Taylor,

            Okay, I need to see if you will allow me to quote these last two comments, as well. So much meat here!! Thank you very much for sharing these insights with us! What an honor.

          2. Yes again, feel free to quote me. I hope that my comments are a blessing. I know that men and women everywhere in hurting concerning their marriages. And I know even better that the men are least likely to talk about it, so I do indeed want to help as much as I can. Quote away.

      2. So easy to read this and feel a bit bitter. Like, why is it the wife’s fault she has felt neglected and thus started usurping control and authority from her husband? Isn’t it just as likely that when they were dating, the boyfriend WAS attentive and talkative (like a girlfriend only better) and then after marriage he “changed”? Didn’t God create man and woman to COMPLEMENT each other, not simply that woman has to limit herself to accommodate man? And haven’t women all through history often been forced into both genders’ roles, so shouldn’t men be equally adaptable? Think of all the single mothers in the world, who are breadwinners, nurturers, teachers, and who are happy and competent in both roles.

        Excellent questions and perspective.
        Responsibility is a tricky thing; it’s under individual control, yet it affects all connected.
        I again agree with April that both parties tend to be on their “best behavior” while courting and then after marriage can relax more, begin to take the other for granted, and simply go on more of a cruise control mentality.
        What most men don’t understand is that you have to keep your wife the same way you won your wife….it’s just that that goes both ways. Looking good, smelling good, being pleasant, and then after marriage being sexually available is important for women to keep their husbands’ interest.
        Without a focus on obedience to Christ and His Word, men will lapse into the irresponsibility of Adam, and women will lapse into the usurpment of Eve. That flesh nature is there all the time, whether we crucify it daily as we’re instructed to or not.

        So it’s not a man’s fault if his wife changes her attitude after the marriage…he has to do his best to love her and follow the Lord. It’s not a woman’s fault if her husband changes his attitude after marriage…she has to do her best to love him and follow the Lord. This is what makes marriage so challenging. Your partner’s decisions are not under your control, yet they directly affect you. This is why the Lord tells us in Ephesians 5, to be filled with the Spirit and work on our character and THEN He gets to instructions to married people…in other words, learn how to control yourself and develop the right attitude BEFORE marriage, or else this is what can happen.

    3. Wow. This is excellent and eye opening.

      You know what’s interesting? When I first started reading blogs online and becoming increasingly frustrated with my husband, my teenage son pointed out an interesting fact. One day he said to me (after overhearing many conversations between my husband and I about my new found “knowledge” I had gathered from multiple online sources) he said “mom, the problem is, you are trying to learn how men think by listening to a bunch of women. That’s just not going to work.” And he was RIGHT! Wise beyond his years. The female bloggers may have had good intentions, but yes, many of them were trying to do just that, explain what men were thinking, but through a woman’s filter.

      We were married young. I was 19. We are both from unsaved families. We had little to no guidance. No premarital counseling, not even from the minister of the church where we were married. Both sets of our parents had us young, and we don’t hold any ill will towards our parents, but it is only by the grace of God that we have made it this far.

      It’s funny, I have no brothers, although God has given me sons, and I am just now beginning to understand how men work. And I’ve been married for 20 years!

      How right you are! How frustrated I get with my husband for not even realizing how upset or frustrated I may be. Sometimes it’s like it goes right over his head. He is so smart, and competent, and an excellent leader. I am blessed! And yet, he misses hints left and right. I do feel so uncomfortable coming out and asking for what I want or need. I have always felt, maybe wrongly, that i shouldn’t force him (or have to tell him or ask him) for what I want or need. I’ve always figured he would do and or say what he Really wants to do and say, and hopefully my wants and needs will match what he feels led to do. I’ve put my self worth in that. That if he felt I was “worth it”, he would instinctively know what I needed or what I needed to hear. Not so. And because of that, I have always figured he didn’t love me. That I wasn’t enough for him or right for him or the woman he was meant to love. Boy was I off the mark! No wonder he gets so frustrated when he thinks he loves me so much, and I am unable to see it. I feel sad. I feel like I’ve wasted 20 years.

      Right this moment thee is a situation that has been bugging me so very much. To make a long and personal story short, I had planned a surprise for his birthday. It was ruined (mainly due to his work, as is so often the case. He has a job that often gets in the way. There are no “days off” or “personal days” to attend to family needs. Usually the opposite is true. The time we are supposed to have often gets interrupted by work. I knew this going in, and I’ve had to learn to deal with it.) Anyhow, work got in the way, the surprise I’d worked so hard on was ruined, and I was left feeling unwanted and horribly embarrassed. I know he felt badly about the situation, and it being his birthday, I tried to be respectful and not complain. But I’m still embarrassed and I feel like a big ugly fool for even trying to do something special. All he has to do, all I want him to do, is to tell me he was disappointed that our plans were ruined. If he would just tell me how much he liked what I had planned and how he’d like me to carry through with this plan another day, I would feel a thousand times better. I’d feel like he loved me, was attracted to me, and cared. But he won’t say anything. It’s been driving me crazy for weeks. And what’s crazier is there is a part of me that thinks he probably does feel that way, and would reassure me in an instant if I told him. But I feel that if I have to beg for reassurance then it’s not genuine. If I have to tell him what I want to hear, then of course he’s going to say it, NOT because he means it, but because he’s trying to make me feel,better. No thanks. I don’t want to beg for his sympathy. As a result I stay silent, draw my own conclusions, and assume he is glad the birthday surprise was a fail and that I am a disappointment to him and repulsive to him. And then he wonders why I seem sad at times. It’s a crazy, viscious cycle.

      So reading this was interesting. I am going to have to reread it and pray about it. It takes me a while to process things. But thank you for sharing. It is always interesting to hear things from a male perspective.

      1. Becca,

        How I identify with your struggle! I too began our marriage assigning my own meaning to what my husband did or didn’t do. So often my heart was broken, because I thought I was unattractive to him. When he didn’t compliment my appearance or wasn’t very affectionate in a non-sexual way, I began to assume he regretted marrying someone older and was just fulfilling his commitment to God. I didn’t say anything to him for a long time, though, because, like you, I assumed that if he really felt love for me he’d show it by being affectionate. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG thinking on my part!

        I eventually told him how much I longed for more affection, and that’s when the “light bulb” went on. He was totally floored by how I’d been feeling, believing he had done everything so “right” by doing things for me, treating me with love and respect, etc. He had no clue that I needed non-sexual touch, too! He was raised by a single mother who to this day stresses DOING above all else, and he never saw a successful marriage modeled by any of his relatives. He wants so much to do right by me but didn’t know how, so it’s really true that we must not assume our husbands know our needs or know what we’re thinking.

        Becca, I’ve caused myself so much misery by coming to the wrong conclusions about something my husband said or did. I would hate to see you go through any more misery for the same reason! Is it possible that in this birthday situation, your husband just assumed you would surprise him with the same thing later, and is looking forward to it? Men are not as expressive as we are, and usually DON’T know when we need reassurance–or offer it, since they don’t have the same need. I’ve learned through the great pain of experience that I need to let me husband be who he is and not draw negative conclusions from that. I try to respect his different way of thinking. Also, strengthening my own self-esteem with prayer and truthful thinking–and not relying on my husband’s reactions to me to determine whether or not I feel good about myself– has helped a LOT! Much love to you, my sister! Elizabeth

        1. Wow, Elizabeth, thank you!

          Yes, it’s possible that my husband is hoping I’ll surprise him another day. But I’m not going to ask him to tell me that, and I’m not going to assume that’s the case, and I’m still too embarrassed to even try again. There’s a part of my mind that thinks he’s happy the surprise was ruined, and another part of my mind that thinks maybe he is sad that his surprised was ruined and that I feel embarrassed and like a disappointment to him. This is probably WRONG thinking on my part. Sometimes when I read when someone writes “assume your spouse has good intentions and not ill will towards you” that jumps out at me as I realize I usually do assume ill intentions. I need to stop. I think it’s a defense mechanism ingrained in me since childhood. I need to stop that. I still have so much pruning and weeding and stuff to do in my heart. But I’m not bitter and still feeling sorry for myself, so that is a big step in the right direction.

          My husband is a really nice guy. He says he loves me all the time. I know there are wives that would love to hear that more often. He says “mushy stuff” and so often it makes me feel funny. It should thrill me. I am so bizarre that I am more comfortable with negativity. I’m sure there is some deep psychological reason in there somewhere, but that’s irrlevant. I need to just stop thinking that way. The book about “Lies” April suggested I read is helping.

          I keep rereading what you said “…I need to let my husband be who he is and not draw negative conclusions from that…” I hear you. The logical part of me agrees with you. But there is a stronger part that feels rejected and afraid to make myself vulnerable again. Like, I tried something that should have been awesome, it failed, if I try again I could very well end up looking like a needy fool.

          However, in the past I would have dwelt on this and been actively miserable about it. Although I’m talking about it here (because it’s an example) I’ve kind of let it go. So although I probably won’t ever try again, and I’m still inclined to think he’s happy it failed, I’ll most likely let it go instead of harping on it forever. Letting things go is a good place to start.

          I wish my husband would communicate more. We are both learning that so many of our issues are from poor communication. Sometimes we will have a discussion, and when we later recall the discussion, we remember what was said in two completely different ways. It’s so crazy.

          Thank you for taking the time to reply and share your experiences. I will be reading and thinking about what you’ve said. Thank you!

          1. Becca,

            I’m so glad you are making great progress in your thinking! Awareness of believing a lie is the first step in the fight against it. Your story resonated so much with me that you have a special place in my heart. 🙂 Please continue to let us know how you’re doing, my sister.

  13. April..thank you for reminding me that I am not deprived…Satan wants to tell.me lies and I sadly succumb to them at times..I have way too much to be thankful for to wallow in self pity..this has encouraged me so.much.I don’t feel as alone and my heart breaks for my husband.not for myself .I know it’s very hard for him to connect and that he has struggles with shame and self worth.I praise God that He has blessed me with a good family and friends that help me be more like Jesus so I can encourage my husband in his walk with the Lord.

  14. This post is just what I needed! We are going through a change in our marriage where physical intimacy has to be put on the back burner for awhile. My cycle is really changing so it is becoming very hard to determine fertility vs. non-fertility, so we have been practicing abstinence and wow, has that ever been very, very difficult! We are really working on finding other ways to be intimate with one another, but that isn’t always easy. And it makes the times where my husband doesn’t spend as much time with me very lonely…say if he gets involved in a project, wants to spend time on the computer, or just needs downtime and isn’t in the mood to talk, etc. I will have to remember to keep cultivating my relationship with the Lord and to know that He will see me through this! And patience….I think learning patience is key here.

    1. Mrs. G.,

      I think I was possibly one of the most impatient people on the planet before God began to change me. One of the things He spent much time on was my willingness to be still and wait on Him, no matter how long it took. You can search my home page for “Waiting Becomes Sweet,” this time can be our most intimate time with God, our time of greatest growth.

      Yes, much patience is needed. 🙂

      May you continue to be encouraged. I am excited about what God is doing in your life! 🙂

  15. April,
    I’m really hurting. I see my husband repeating a pattern from many past businesses that only causes broken relationships and financial loss. I’ve gone through this enough and know the faithfulness of God enough to know this is coming to me from a loving Lord for my good and His glory. I accept it as such. I just grieve that he will not take to heart what so many have told him instead of pointing the finger at others. I just finished telling him what I have offered countless times. He listened respectfully, then just got back in the frame of mind that creates the problems. Please pray the Lord would do a great work in my husband’s heart. It ruins his testimony and that grieves me.

    1. I’m doing much better now. Got some eternal perspective that helped. If there are any who prayed after reading my comment, thank you.

    2. J,

      I am praying for you! Sounds SO painful! I’m glad you sought to share wise, godly counsel with him. I pray for God’s wisdom for your husband and for His will to be done in your family!

  16. April,
    I just had to make a comment I have been on this journey since the beginning of the year. I am not married but am in a very committed relationship. We were living together but not since the beginning of the year. We grew up together and found our way back to each other. The both of us have been previously married and together we are working through these same things presented on this site to get to a wedding date. So the sharing of information here helps to heal couples like us to be able to experience marriages not filled with disrespect and pain. When we marry its saying I trust you with me and all the decisions you make. Once married if we snatch that away we are immediately diminishing our man and Lord.

    Something I wanted to point out was that we need to extend grace to ourselves as we are going through this process. The question was asked “What do we do when he won’t?” That sounds as if there is still anxiety there that needs to be released to the Lord. We shouldn’t worry about when, we should worry about what we can do today and how we can be a blessing to our significant other. I also try to remember that each day is a new day to learn and to give grace to the both of us. We can make things better by just being who we are called to be. We didn’t all start out being fearful and anxious. I can remember myself before all of the problems of life began to weigh me down and that it where I want to be because during that time I was resting in the Lord’s hands and content.

    Something else that can be done is to take just a few minutes each morning to read a scripture or devotional. I have one I read each morning called Jesus Today. I know this is a little long but I believe it fits and it was a great read for me.

    Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 1 Corinthians 7:17 ESV

    I call you to lead the life that I have assigned to you, and to be content. Beware of comparing your situation with that of someone else – and feeling dissatisfied because of the comparison. It is harmful to compare your circumstances with what they used to be or with fantasies that bear little resemblance to reality. Instead, make every effort to accept as your calling the life I have assigned to you. This perspective helps take the sting out of even the harshest circumstances. If I give you everything you need to endure it – and even to find Joy in the midst of it.

    Learning to be content is both a discipline and an art: You train your mind to trust My sovereign ways with you – bowing before My mysterious, infinite intelligence. You search for Me in the details of your day, all the while looking for good to emerge from trouble and confusion. You accept the way things are without losing hope for a better future. And you rejoice in the hope of heaven, knowing that indescribably joyful Life is your ultimate calling!

    In the end think of at least one thing that you like, enjoy or respect of your man and let him know. He went through all the phases that April described from not believing in the changes he was seeing to asking who am I and him saying he was really missing me. One thing I realize and something that was mentioned was that he didn’t realize everything that was disrespectful and that men don’t talk about their relationship problems to other men. And he confirmed that for me. I think of the process as my eyes being opened and the Lord using me to get information to him that he wont read on his on. When he asks how was my day (which he does again) I also include what I read or studied for the day in a quick couple of sentences and it gives him something to think about. Other times he asks me what i’m reading and even if I am learning anything. Then he will sometimes ask me more questions and I keep it brief. The changes have been enormous!

    So I leave you with something my friend and sister in this journey pointed out to me at my lowest point

    “Why would you let go of a person who has been a friend and confidante for more then 35 years over a misunderstanding?”

    Sorry this was so long!

    1. Bonitas,

      Love this! Thank you for sharing. We absolutely can be filled with God’s power and His Spirit as we feed on His Word and spend time in fervent prayer daily – and we can extend grace to ourselves and our husbands/men. Wonderful reminder!

      Much love, my dear sister! I praise God for what He is doing in your life!

    2. Bonita’s…this was a beautiful share. Thank you. I loved it all especially the last sentence about letting a misunderstanding ruin a long term relationship.

      Betsy

  17. It is hard to focus, but I do try. But when you haven’t had sex in a month…. I cannot have sex with Jesus and it seems unfair to totally live without it, but I will just have to live with it. My husband has TONS of other great traits. This is just hard

    1. Elizabeth,

      It is HARD when we have to go a long time without having our sexual needs met in marriage – I have experienced this pain, myself. And you are right – that Jesus will not meet our sexual needs/desires, obviously. BUT – He can give us the power to die to self and to live in His peace, joy, and spiritual abundance even when we don’t have our sexual desires met in our marriage.

      Philippians 4:12-13 is how we can be content whether our husbands are meeting our needs sexually or not. And to me, that is AWESOME news!

      It is hard. And it is not ideal. But in Christ, we can have victory and power over circumstances like this and He can even use this painful time for our ultimate good and His glory. I’m not sure if you saw my suggestions about how a wife can lower her sexual drive if necessary?

      Much love to you!

  18. In any trial, in any bitter situation, you are not alone, you are not helpless, you are not a victim. You have a tree, a cross, shown to you by the Sovereign God of Calvary. Whatever the trial or temptation, it is not more than you can bear. It is bearable. It can be handled. You can know as Joseph knew, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). – Kay Arthur

    Frequently the enemy entices Christians to harbor an unforgiving spirit – a very common symptom indeed among God’s children. Such bitterness and fault-finding and enmity inflict a severe blow upon spiritual life. – Watchman Nee

    Too many Christians become bitter and angry in the conflict. If we descend into hatefulness, we have already lost the battle. We must cooperate with God in turning what was meant for evil into a greater good within us. This is why we bless those who would curse us: It is not only for their sakes but to preserve our own soul from its natural response toward hatred. – Francis Frangipane

    Do not even such things as are most bitter to the flesh, tend to awaken Christians to faith and prayer, to a sight of the emptiness of this world, and the fadingness of the best it yield? Doth not God by these things (ofttimes) call our sins to remembrance, and provoke us to amendment of life? How then can we be offended at things by which we reap so much good?…. Therefore if mine enemy hunger, let me feed him; if he thirst, let me give him drink. Now in order to do this, (1) We must see good in that, in which other men can see none. (2) We must pass by those injuries that other men would revenge. (3) We must show we have grace, and that we are made to bear what other men are not acquainted with. (4) Many of our graces are kept alive, by those very things that are the death of other men’s souls…. The devil, (they say) is good when he is pleased; but Christ and His saints, when displeased. – John Bunyan

    When others sin against us – they are wrong. It is PAINFUL. And God is grieved. God will deal justly with that sin. Either that person who hurt us will pay for that sin in hell forever – or Jesus Himself will pay for that sin. God will make all things right. And He is able to use what others have used to hurt us for our ultimate good and His glory. Praise God – we don’t have to live in bitterness! There is hope and freedom in Christ!

    Christian bitterness quotes

  19. Hi April, thanks for writing this. I’ve made a lot of progress on submitting to my husband over the past year, and one key thing I’ve learned is that it’s not about me and my happiness. I’m just a servant here on earth. That being said, I’ve run into this quandary. If I should not expect my husband to meet my needs (and in this fallen world, few men live up to scripture’s mandate for husbands), but instead know that God meets all my needs, then what do I need my husband for? (I’m asking that as a serious question, I’m not being facetious). Sometimes I wonder why a woman would choose to sign up for the institution of marriage if God meets all her needs. Is it all about serving/being a blessing to someone else? Should I view marriage as volunteer work like helping in a soup kitchen or teaching Sunday school? That is work that I don’t receive anything in return for except the satisfaction that I’m doing something good for others. I’m just struggling to view what my expectations of marriage should be. If it is simply serving, then so be it. In that case I will let go of the notion that he should be my best friend, not be frustrated then by loneliness, lack of needs being met, being hurt by harsh words, etc. If marriage is simply fixing my eyes on God and serving my husband/being a blessing to him and not thinking about what he is doing/ not doing, I feel that makes us far apart. He just becomes a “job” for me and nothing more. I wonder more than once if I would have signed up for this “job” if I could go back in time. Can you please share some insights to help me? Thanks,

    1. Shannon,

      This is a great question. I often feel the same way. The first thought that came to mind was expectations. For me, I set myself up for disappointment when I hopefully expect my husband to notice and appreciate me. He is hot and cold with me. I talk to to my heart on a regular basis to praise God, to go to God for my spiritual and emotional needs, and think less of my husband. I don’t do this well. Knowing I am not alone helps a ton.

      Eager to see what April says.

    2. Shannon,

      That is a great question.

      For a believer – you don’t “need” a husband.

      You “get” to have a husband. He is a gift from God in many ways – even the times when you can’t see that he is a gift.

      – You get to have the honor of loving your spouse with God’s love and serving them to please God and for their benefit.
      – You get to have a ministry to your husband because God has graciously given you that responsibility and privilege.
      – You get to experience the pain that God does when He loves us and we don’t respond to Him with equal love, joy, and devotion.
      – You get to experience the pain of sin against you – like God does with us.
      – You get to help display the mystery of the Gospel of Christ so that the world is drawn to Jesus.
      – You get to be refined and made more holy as you go through difficulties and trials. Your sin is exposed and God allows you the chance to skim all the dross off of the top of your life to make you more and more like Jesus.
      – You get to learn the sufficiency of Christ.
      – You get to learn to love in godly ways without expecting anything in return and with no strings attached.
      – You get to learn to go deeper with God and deeper in your faith and to notice any idols in your life as you realize that your husband can’t meet your needs, only God can. – You get to raise children to know and love God in a godly environment where you set a beautiful example for them.
      – You get to set a godly example for other wives who are struggling in similar situations and you get to have the joy, peace, and power of Christ when the world can’t understand how that is possible.
      – You get to be a blessing to this man and a vessel through which God pours out His divine love, grace, mercy, and truth in supernatural ways.
      – You get to pray for your husband and intercede to God for him like no one else in the world probably does.
      – You get to see God work in your heart and in your husband’s heart and in your marriage for His glory, over time!
      – You get to learn to cling to the promises of God and to trust your husband to God’s sovereign, loving hands.
      – You get to learn to understand men better – and your husband ,in particular, better – and to realize that you are not above him or “better than he is,” but that you are different and have very different perspectives. As you learn about how men think and how your husband thinks, you are able to extend more grace and understanding to other men and to better understand God’s wise design for masculinity, femininity, marriage, and the family. And you get to better understand the mystery of the relationship between Christ and the church.
      – You don’t have a “job” – you have a labor of love, a ministry to a dear brother in Christ for whom Jesus died (or a man God desires to come to Him in repentance and to receive eternal life in the future).

      The Christian life, in it’s entirety, is about dying to self, picking up our cross, and following Jesus. It is all about loving God supremely and then showing our love for Him in the way we treat others.

      Marriage is kind of like a “lab class” in college where you get to practice all of the things you learn in theory in the Bible. It is an incredible blessing of God that He would allow us to experience these things so that we might grow in maturity and in our faith and so that we might know Him better.

      Much love to you!

      1. Shannon,

        Here is what I share with the single ladies on my other blog…
        ——————-

        I believe it is very wise to prepare and study and to seek to learn and understand all you possibly can about God’s design, His wisdom and His purposes for us as women and as wives – before we get married if at all possible!

        But, there is an element of being a godly wife that you just cannot prepare for. Once you are married, many things change. It is impossible to know the obstacles you will face and the way you and your husband-to-be will react. You cannot be 100% prepared. It is one thing to learn theory – but it is a totally different thing to live out God’s design well.

        The thing I hear from all of my peaceful single girls who get married is – “Wow. This respect and biblical submission thing is so much harder once you are married.”

        Yep.

        God uses marriage to refine us, to prune us, to chisel us and to make us holy. Marriage is much more about us becoming holy and bringing honor to Christ than it is about our current state of “happiness.”

        What are some ways you can get a gauge on whether you are heading in the right direction or not toward being ready to be a godly wife? Here are some things that come to my mind:

        Are you able to be content whether you are in a relationship with a man or not – depending totally on Christ for your fulfillment, purpose, strength, and security?
        Are you able to be flexible if you don’t get what you want?
        Are you able to deeply and sincerely forgive when you are sinned against?
        Are you able to roll with new challenges and unforeseen problems without freaking out?
        Are you generally very worried, anxious, and filled with fear?
        Are you focusing on pleasing Christ more than people?
        Are you fully submitted to Christ?
        Do you have a good handle on what respect looks like to your husband-to-be?
        Do you know what is disrespectful to your man?
        Are you willing to not take over or try to be in control – allowing your man to make mistakes as he leads and grows as a leader?
        Are you tempted to be a Bridezilla? If there is ANY HINT of “bridezillaness” in you at all – that is NOT a good sign!!!!!!
        Do you believe you are always right? How is your pride level? Do you embrace humility?
        How do you respond when you are wronged?
        Are you willing to live frugally, if necessary, when there are hard financial times – without resentment?
        Are you willing to do housework and to keep a decent home, creating a haven and place of peace, rest, and joy for your husband?
        Are you willing to contribute financially, if necessary, without resenting your husband?
        Have you worked through any trust issues and healed from childhood wounds? To some degree, you can’t completely know ahead of time how marriage may bring these up even more, but have you addressed these things and are you seeking Christ and His healing and His truth in these areas?
        Are you able to allow your man to be different from you without feeling bitter toward him?
        What happens if your guy doesn’t give you all of the attention you want? What do you do?
        Are you truly finding all of your contentment in Christ alone, or are you expecting your man or marriage or children or romance to make you happy? What will you do when your husband fails you – as all husbands do to some degree?
        Have you experienced the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God in a profoundly personal way? Do you understand that you are a wretched sinner on a heart level, just like all other people, and that there is nothing good in you apart from Christ? Jesus changes us and gives us new hearts, minds, and spirits. When we are in Him, we are a new creation, thankfully!
        Are you ready to realize that marriage is much more about Jesus and about your faith in Him than it is about you and your husband? Are you able to see that you are playing a part that God has assigned for you to bring people to Christ? That marriage is about the gospel and about drawing many to Jesus much more than it is about you?
        Are you able to accept that you will be hurt in marriage and you will be sinned against at times, that your husband will be far from perfect (and you will also be far from perfect)? Are you prepared to extend much grace?
        Are you able to take responsibility for your own emotions, your own spiritual growth and happiness?
        Are you willing to give and give of yourself even if you don’t receive anything back?
        Are you on board with what your guy believes is his calling in his life?
        Will you be flexible if his calling changes?
        Are you sensitive to and concerned about what is important to your man?
        Are you willing to trust his leadership and decisions even if you don’t agree with him and even if you don’t get your way on some decisions?
        Are you and your guy both seeking Christ much more than anything else in life?
        Are you able to focus on the good even in difficult situations (Phil. 4:8, James 1)?
        Have you both seen each other at your worst, when you are sick, exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc…? Do you know how he will probably act and how you will probably act when you are under great stress?
        What are your expectations of marriage? Once you get married, are you willing to lay down your expectations?
        Is there anything your man could do that would make you want to divorce him? If so – you may not be ready for marriage. For a believing wife, divorce really should not be an option.
        Are you able to respond gently when someone is harsh with you (Prov. 15:1)?
        How do you treat waitresses and customer service people if they don’t give you good service? Does your character in those moments reflect Christ in Galatians 5:22-33?
        What is it that you need to be happy in life? If you believe you need anything other than Christ alone – you may be dealing with idolatry. It would be good to look at your motives and priorities and to allow God to help you examine them carefully. We can easily deceive ourselves to think we are serving Christ but put other things above Him in our hearts.
        If something tragic were to happen to your husband – he became paralyzed, got cancer, developed dementia, if you face infertility, he got PTSD and severe depression, or you faced the death of a child – are you still willing to joyfully stay and serve, respect, honor and love your husband even if he can’t “repay” you at all or you suffer in this life?
        Are you able to approach marriage with great humility, realizing that there are many things you don’t know yet?
        Are you prepared to 1. love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength no matter what. 2. love this man with God’s love?
        Are you ready to allow God to teach you through trials and suffering to love your husband-to-be with His love in I Corinthians 13:4-8?

        I think this may be a great heart check for all of us. May God richly bless your walk with Christ!

      2. Wow, thank you for taking the time to write such a wise, beautifully written answer to my question. Thank you also for that insightful checklist for single women. It is true that marriage is a type of sanctification boot camp. A year ago you gave me the wise advice to support my workaholic husband’s ambitious new endeavor that required a significant time commitment from him. When I chose to support him (not easy) and laid myself on the altar to God, it was the first time in my life that I understood what it meant to die to self. Understanding that concept was pivotal for me. I would never have grown that much spiritually in such a short time had it not been for the trials in my marriage.

        Can I ask you two follow-up questions? One is, if my husband is not “supposed” to be my best friend, where do I unload all my thoughts about things that happened during the day, struggles, theological insights, opinions about current events, etc? I would like to talk with someone daily about these things, (it’s how I process my feelings), and conversations with my husband about these things usually do not end well. If I am occasionally upset at something (not about him), he usually angrily turns on me and harshly says I am negative, paranoid, think the worst of people, overreacting, expecting others to be perfect, how I contributed to the problem, etc. He just wants to stare at the tv and talk about pleasant things like the weekend. My girlfriends all have young kids like I do and are very busy; I don’t like to impose on them. And they don’t know me and my kids like my husband does. Do I take all this to God every day? Jesus did not have any close friends that he could relate to on a deep level; he only had God. So is God my only outlet? If I can’t freely share these things with my husband, I feel far apart from him and easily become prey to Satan by thinking about how we have no true companionship and then spiraling down from there. So, in a practical way, where is a healthy outlet for my thoughts and feelings and struggles? Journaling is not my thing. The only outlet is probably God, right?

        My second question is about God’s approval of me. I want to rest in God’s approval of me so I don’t expect it from my husband. I know that I have been justified, and that Christ gave me his righteousness and took my sinfulness so that I am pure and holy before God in his eyes, even though I am not perfect. My question is- is that something that already takes place now (as opposed to after we die), and if so, how do my daily sins affect God’s view of me? I know that the Bible is full of stories of people who sinned and were punished by God (obviously a sign of His disapproval). So he obviously still sees and attributes our sins to us, and wants us to work out our salvations with fear and trembling. I know that unrepentant sin quenches the spirit in us, but what am I in God’s eyes on a daily basis? Does he still see me as perfect even when I fail, or does he disapprove and is disappointed with my failures? I just want to understand and secure myself to God’s view of me so I can take comfort in it every day.

        Thanks so much for your ministry April!

        1. Shannon,

          Your husband CAN absolutely be your best friend – at times. But he probably cannot be a girlfriend to you or meet all of your needs for emotional support and connection. Does that make sense? He can be your best friend – as a man, not as a woman. And if he is very overloaded with work, he may not have the ability to sit for hours every day and talk.

          Ultimately, God is the one who can be your absolutely best friend, but also your Lord – so there will be reverence and awe there, as well as a deep emotional/spiritual connection. I run to God with my thoughts, emotions, insights, and concerns – and journal. That has been my outlet. Of course now, I also have the ability to connect with many people in ministry – which helps to fill me up, too. But if I don’t have that primary connection with God – I won’t have anything worthwhile to give to anyone else.

          For a lot of men, negative things, lots of emotions, and the kind of verbal processing women tend to want to do emotionally – can be very stressful. Men don’t bond that way. They don’t process verbally. They often don’t understand our needs to do those things, because they usually don’t have the same needs. And they may feel unsafe to be vulnerable with us if they perceive us as very negative, overly emotional, etc… Husbands generally like to enjoy pleasant, negativity/stress-free time with their wives when they are home. That helps them feel safe and relaxed.

          God was my only outlet for many years. And you know what, that actually turned out to be a very good thing. I realized as soon as I started this journey, that if I tried to “vent” to my girlfriends or family and tried to emotionally process feelings about my husband with them, that I was going to be disrespectful to Greg. I didn’t know how to talk to anyone about my marriage for a long time – without being disrespectful to my husband. I took a BIG step back from everyone in my life emotionally – everyone. And just took everything to God in my journal. Sometimes, I had to tear up what I had written, because I didn’t want anyone else to read all my terribly sinful thoughts. But I learned the sufficiency of Christ and the intimacy I can have spiritually with Him – the oneness that He desires to share with me. I learned to take it ALL to God – and He was able to meet my needs for connection in ways Greg never could. Even with all the healing God has done in our marriage, I depend VERY heavily on God – and very lightly on Greg – for my needs for emotional/spiritual connection. I still take everything to God. I talk with Greg about quite a few things now – we have deep conversations now that he feels safe with me and I understand his needs and how to respect him. But God has to be my main source and supply. Not Greg.

          Check out the post today, I think it may help you with the concept of connection. 🙂

          Justification happens at salvation and is an accounting term where God puts Jesus’ righteousness into our bank account. We have no condemnation anymore in Christ! WOOHOO! But then sanctification is the process of us learning to live in holiness in our real life experience – and that lasts a whole lifetime. Your sin, and mine, can break our fellowship with God, but not our relationship. We are still His children if we are really His children – but we must repent and confess our sins and turn from them, turning back to God – to have restored fellowship. (I John 1:9). When God looks at you – He sees Jesus. 🙂 But if you are holding onto unrepentant sin, that has to go in order to restore full communication and empowerment by God’s Spirit. Does that make sense?

          You can find an outlet here to share your deepest concerns and issues many times. 🙂 But – I believe – your greatest outlet will need to be God. And then, to a lesser degree, some of your girlfriends. And as God changes you – over time – you may find you can have more emotional connection with your husband – but it will need to be in a husband-friendly way that does not repel him. It is possible to learn to do this! And then you can have rich intimacy with God and much greater intimacy with your husband, as well, in time. But you will be depending mainly on God, not your husband. If you try to get your husband to meet all of your needs, it turns you into a black hole of insatiable neediness. That is what happens when we idolize our husbands. I did that for many years. But Greg couldn’t possibly begin to meet the deepest needs in my soul that only God could meet.

          You may also want to search some terms on my home page:

          – security
          – contentment
          – Christ as Lord

          And keep in mind, that husbands tend to bond in other ways – just being in the same room in a pleasant/friendly way without words, or with sex. Many husbands feel connected to their wives all the time, whether they are talking about their feelings and thoughts or not. You can probably rest in your husband’s love and connection with you even when you don’t tell him every thought in your mind. The post today talks about this.

          Also, keep in mind that if you vent to your husband about issues you are having with people – he believes, most likely, that you want him to “fix the problem.” Most men don’t understand we just need to talk. So you could say, “I would feel so much better if I could just talk about X for 5 minutes. I don’t need any fixes, just knowing you are listening actually is such a help, it is how I process things. That would really help me, a lot!”

          Much love!

          1. Just to add on to what April shared about husbands wanting to fix things when you talk to them about something heavy….I heard or read once that for some men, it is actually painful for them to hear their wife share something that is hurting them or causing emotional distress in their life. It is such a part of them to want to be able to “fix” it for us that when they are hearing these kinds of things from us and know that they can’t fix it, it is actually painful to them. I wish I could recall the exact phrase that the man shared, but it really helped me to understand the level of pain they feel in this situation. So, his anger could be coming from that frustration of you being hurt and him not being able to really help…..

            Of course, as women, we don’t need everything fixed, and just a hug and caring goes a long way. I have, in the past, just flat out told my husband that’s what I needed and he has come a long way in this area! I think in some ways, when I began to tell him that, it took some of that pressure off of him. Plus, he knew exactly what I needed/wanted from him and didn’t have to be a mind-reader and “mess up” by not reacting the right way. In some way, I think he felt relief that that’s all he needed to do.

            And, on the other hand, if you really are sharing negative things too often, that might be something to just take a look at and see if there is truth in that. I know I probably didn’t say that gently enough, so I’m sorry if that came across too blunt. I heard a sermon in the last few months and the pastor basically said that it would be foolish of us not to listen to a criticism and just automatically reject it. We should, at the very least, take it to God and ask Him if there is truth in it. There may or may not be. But God will lead and guide you.

          2. Jennifer,

            I understand it is very difficult for a man to hear how upset his wife is – and then be told, “I don’t want you to fix it, and I don’t want any advice.” Standing there watching your wife suffer and being powerless to help her is not something most men want to sign up for. But if we can share with them how we work and what we need, that the listening does a lot of healing for us and is very helpful – that is a big step in a productive direction.

            Our men deserve for us to tell them exactly what we need – because our needs in this area are probably very different from theirs.

            Well, complaining and arguing are actually sins. God commands us not to complain or argue as believers in Philippians 2:14-16. I have a challenge post on that very topic. So, we do need to be sure we are not “Debbie Downer” or constantly negative – which I definitely WAS for a long, long time. God showed me that had to change. So – there is balance and wisdom and discretion to apply in how much to share and how to take destructive thoughts captive and how to be positive and focus on Philippians 4:8 things. It can get tricky to find the right balance – but God and our husbands can often help us find it.

          3. Jennifer – thank-you for writing this! You couldn’t be more right. I’ve seen several articles talking about “Fixers versus Listeners”. While I don’t think that an individual has to be either one or the other, many men are fixers. Even the ones that appear more Passive. In fact, the ones that appear Passive are probably more bent towards Fixers than one would probably realize. It’s really awesome, and telling, that this topic is still commanding discussion several weeks later – really seemed to touch on something. Thanks April!

            Some initial thoughts on the subject that I had:
            The Masculine Heart is really geared towards protecting and providing for his family. It is very important to husbands that his wife is happy. He wants to protect for her, and provide for her. That is his version of Nurturing.

            Our society twists that desire, into “dumb men not being able to connect because they are awkward emotionally”. I’ve been in a little journey of examining my heart, regarding why I feel the ways that I do in various situations, etc. It has led me to believe that men are not necessarily awkward emotionally. I think that we are completely lost when our wives are being “attacked” by an invisible enemy that we cannot go and destroy.

            I do think that we as men, genuinely WANT to learn from our wives about how we can better provide for them emotionally. Because ultimately, we really want and need to be Shepherding the hearts of our wives. We need to be better in those areas – absolutely.

            A simple way to do this, would be to give your husband five minutes of special grace when he encounters you during an especially-emotional moment. I say that, because many of us men tend to resort to “Game Face Mode” during these times. Our protective senses our especially heightened during these times . . . often times, we have been at work or preoccupied, so we might be caught off guard by this situation – and this Game Face Mode might also come across as insensitive. Give him 5mins to “Charge at the red cape” a few times (he’s wanting to attack the enemy during Game Face Mode)…. At some point, it will click that he can’t fix it . . . and it would just be extremely beneficial for wives to gently help him understand that the best way he can protect you at this moment, is for him to try and listen.

            Learning this for him is a process. Both husband and wife will need to learn to come each-other’s way a little bit, on this topic. Find ways that he CAN protect you, in this. Ask him to pray for you, in those moments. Be vulnerable to him emotionally and physically in those times. Turn off the cell phones . . . . tell the kids that it is critical that they leave you guys alone. Close the computer. Something triggers for us men, in those moments. While we might not be able to go physically confront the enemy in those moments, we end up seeing that we’ve reached her heart.

            Disclaimer: If husbands aren’t seeming responsive in this area, I would encourage wives to never resort to seeking solace in other men during this time….. even a male pastor or male counselor. That can be very damaging, and open up tremendously deep wounds. It can quickly be seen as betrayal, by husbands – which would cause a whole other set of long-standing problems.

            I was really encouraged at a men’s meeting at our church recently, that we as men need to learn how to Shepherd the hearts of our wives (like I spoke about earlier). We are so fearful of rejection, that we end up avoiding the hurt and going into Self-Preservation Mode. I see some very specific movements in the church here in the US, towards helping men learn what Godly Masculinity looks like …. To learn what it means to be a Man after God’s heart.

            Hang in there everyone – Don’t Lose Heart!
            -hh

          4. hh,

            Oh this is so good!

            The game face mode thing REALLY helps me. I can’t wait to ask Greg about that. 🙂 Would you consider allowing me to quote part of this in a FB post, please, my dear brother? I think that it would be such a blessing to help many wives better understand our men.

            Love the way you explain things. This is VERY helpful!

          5. Hey April – absolutely, it would be my honor. I was a little rushed when I was typing that out, so feel free to correct my spelling/grammar mistakes that I epic-failed at catching before I posted : )

            Thanks again for what you guys do – you are appreciated very much!

            -hh

  20. I began writing a letter to my husband to tell him that I do respect him and why. I began sobbing at the thought of sharing those things with him. I feel so vulnerable and afraid. After I wrote some of the things that I respect about him, I began to want to write down the things that anger me. (I didn’t.) But just the thought of writing those things down and expressing them made the crying stop. I suddenly felt safe again. I felt protected behind my wall.

    I am terrified to tell him what I appreciate about him. I am terrified to tell him that I love him. Why? I’m not exactly sure.

    I know that part of it is because I’m afraid that if I tell him that I love him, if I tell him why I love him, and then he continues to be short tempered with me, my heart will break. Which doesn’t really make sense since it’s already so broken.

    Does this make sense to you? It really doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know what is going on.

    1. Vulnerable in NC,

      Sweet girl! I wish I could hug your neck!

      My guess is that there is some major wound from sometime in the past – your marriage, your childhood… that makes you fear vulnerability. Is that possible?

      How is your relationship with Christ going?

      It is okay to write down things that anger you. I did that one time, wrote down all of the things about which I was bitter. And then I wrote all the sinful ways I responded to those things. And then – I tore up the list and asked God to help me forgive my husband the way He forgave me for my long list of sins.

      Being vulnerable can be very scary – if you are not used to it, and if you have been hiding from being vulnerable. But it is what builds intimacy. You may have to process things a bit more before you are ready to share that list.

      I think you have found a big piece of the puzzle in what is going on in your marriage and in your life spiritually when you tried to write these things down. I think you have found your area of deep roundedness and scars. This is the area where the light of God’s Word and truth needs to shine in your heart. 🙂

      Have you ever told your husband things you appreciated or things you love? Have you ever expressed love or respect verbally to anyone? Did anyone ever express love or respect verbally to you?

      Would you like to talk a bit more about what is going on? I’d be glad to walk beside you on this journey. 🙂

      Much love and a big hug to you!

  21. Four years ago, my husband and I seperated. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be married anymore. He moved out and literally refused to speak to me. He communicated with me sparingly and only via text. I was devastated and had no idea what was happening. I would try to engage him in communication but to no avail. I knew we were having marital problems and I wanted to talk them to resolution. He wanted to be left alone. Part of me was so angry about how I was being treated that I wanted to file for divorce immediately…why should I have to put up with this? This wasn’t adultery or abuse, but wasn’t this abandonment? Wouldn’t God give me a pass?

    However, after many nights of laying face down on the floor of my bedroom saturating the carpet with my tears… I felt strongly that God was telling me to wait, that he was going to restore the marriage. This angered me. I asked God why I had to wait to be wanted by my husband. He said, “I had to wait for you to want a relationship with me”. Ouch.

    I spent hours in prayer. At first I prayed God would change my husband. I felt he was the problem and I wanted God to straighten him out like a piece of wire. But over the months, I began to see what an unhappy and disrespecful wife I had become. My husband had done all within his power to make me happy but my critical attitude and harsh words to him over the months wore him down until he had no choice but to shut down. My husband had become more important to me than anything else, even my relationship with God, and when he wasn’t meeting my every need I became bitter and resentful.

    As I surrendered to God, I slowly began to change and it was the visible changes in me that ultimately opened the lines of communication between my husband and I. When I was upset about something, I would go to God FIRST instead of emotionally spewing to my husband, and then I would wait for God to show me whether or not it was something I needed to bring up or not. It was amazing to watch how well this worked.

    Two years after the separation, we reconciled and moved back in together. It wasn’t easy sailing. It took months for him to see that I was not trying to manipulate him but that the change he could see was truly sincere.

    It’s been two years since our reconciliation and sometimes it is still a daily battle to check myself. I am a Type A controller and I always know the right way to do something. My worst enemy is how I think something should play out in my head. Just last night I unintentionally questioned one of his ideas and it came out disrespectfully and he became angry.

    God has done such amazing things for me and for marriage – truly a miracle – that I cannot stay discouraged by my slips for long. I know that continuing my close walk with God is the ONLY way to truly see my husbands perspective.

    Thank you for your blog. I just discovered it today. Wish I had found it when I was separated.

    1. Marianne,

      WOW! I am so blessed by your story and all that God has done in your life and the things He showed you. WOW! WOW!!!!!

      THANK YOU, my dear sister, for sharing all of this with us. What an honor to get to see what God is doing. I never get tired of hearing stories about God’s work in His people.

      I wonder if you might consider allowing me to share this in a post anonymously? I believe God may use it to bless thousands of women and marriages.

      Much love to you!

      1. Please feel free to use my story in any way that will help others. It’s been a few years since that season of my life ended, and I am still SO humbled at how God worked.

  22. Clarification:

    It is not wrong for a wife to desire for her husband to truly love her. It is not wrong for a husband to long for his wife to truly respect him. There is an expectation for reciprocity in the marriage covenant. Marriage should be a mutual effort and a beautiful interchange between two people who love and respect one another.

    I don’t intend to say that wives should not want their husbands to love them. We should want this! Mutuality is a good thing.

    My concern is that – it is easy for us to desire our husband’s love so much that we can desire it more than we desire Christ or we can desire it to the point that we are willing to sin to try to get what we want from our husbands. That is where I want us to be very cautious. It’s not that we don’t or shouldn’t want our husband’s love, but that we need to be careful where this desire is in our priorities. I hope that makes sense.

    God designed marriage to involve two people who are both contributing to the marriage and both seeking Him. That is the goal!
    If you feel that your husband does not love you as he should, that is a very painful place to be.

    My prayer for my hurting sisters in this situation is that they might continue on being faithful to God, to their marriage covenant, and to their husband – allowing God to empower them, seeking to please Him, and seeking to bless their husband. We will trust God together to work in your husband’s heart to draw Him to Himself first, and also back to the marriage.

    But no matter what our husbands ultimately do, my prayer is that we might walk in holiness, obedience, faithfulness, and by the power of God’s Spirit working in us – that Christ might be greatly pleased with us.

    1. Thus is the trap I fall into every day. I look for my husbands love and attention before my God. And you know what happen? I am left frustrated, alone, and disappointed.

      1. Betsy,

        That is not a coincidence! In fact, whenever we look to anything or anyone else before God or trust something/someone else more than God – this is where we always have to end up. Because there is no real Life, real Love, real contentment, joy, peace, or fulfillment found in anything but Christ. He is the Source of all of these things we are looking for. And He will not allow us to find them in anything or anyone but Him.

        These painful results are a reminder, a calling from Him – to come home.

        Much love to you!

  23. When I can do the following is when I feel most close to Him and most empowered by His Spirit to do His will…

    “We can focus on Christ and how in Him, we possess every spiritual blessing from heaven that exists in the universe (Ephesians 1:3). We can focus on all that we DO have in Him. We can change the channel from our desire/disappointment to Christ. We can take up our cross daily, placing all of ourselves on the altar before God, living as though we are dead to self and to our own will, following Jesus and finding true, abundant Life in Him. We can choose to see that He is more than sufficient to meet our needs. We can choose to shoot down sinful thoughts immediately and nurture our faith in Christ, our love for Christ, and our desire to bless our husbands. We can choose to be loving, warm, accepting, gracious, joyful, peaceful, and content.”

    You mentioned being willing to sin to get it. I think I do this with my kids (getting angry at their disobedience and hurting each other) and I do it with my husband- idolatry- too focused on hurt to worship and trust God with it.

    How do we go back? I feel stuck and lost with God. Too bothered about how my husband is ignoring me to do anything else.

    1. His Daughter,

      I am glad to help you figure out what is getting you stuck and lost. 🙂

      How did you come to Christ?

      Are you willing to fully submit everything in your life and everything you have and all of your desires to Him as LORD?

      What are your greatest fears?

      What do you believe you need to make you happy?

      What makes you feel the most angry?

      What do you complain about the most?

      What are you most willing to sacrifice for?

      Much love to you!

      1. Hi April

        Here it goes…

        How did you come to Christ?

        I used to be offended at the word God and used to make fun of Jesus. I used to say the bible was just a bunch of stories although I never read a word in it.

        I met my husband in 2008. Most handsome man I’d ever met and I knew I wanted him to be my own. I literally thanked God that I met him. First time I thanked God for anything. I married my husband in 2009. I knew he knew about Jesus but I was too intimidated or embarrassed to ask him. Felt like I should have already known and didn’t want him to know that I didn’t because somewhere in my brain I guess I knew Jesus was the answer and I didn’t want to admit it to anyone. A friend I knew was a believer told me to read James. I was overjoyed bc I finally read and understood words in the bible! Also, Just before I was married I had graduated yoga teacher training and I was angered at the bogus idea if 10,000 Hindu gods and chakras and worship poses etc. The truth is no one I knew was really following Christ alone. I knew a few believers that had excuses for idolatry. I couldn’t really see who Christ even was! We’d go to this church and that church. They’d call people up to the front but in churches so huge i was too nervous to go alone. I wanted to go because it seemed right but I still didn’t understand.

        After a very terrible few years my husband left us in December 2012. (We have been separated up until this current year.) He left a note “here’s the key to the car. The rest is yours.” I was with our 16 month old and 4 month old in a town where I knew no one. I had to utilize state assistance to find an apartment as our residence was on school property where he worked. He left that job so we were evicted. I was at home with the kids and had no money, no legal vehicle and no family or friends in the area. During this time (dec to feb)
        I was watching God TV. Learning that some of the things my husband thought and I had accepted were actually untrue. (Praying to Mary, accepting Hindu writings on Jesus, prosperity gospel, name it/claim stuff, a wife should be silent, that I was sick emotionally, etc) mind you he was very loving and free with others. This was shameful to me.

        (He had left 4 months prior as well just before my daughter was born.) Anyway it was in the new town during feb 2013 that I first heard that God loved me, too. I had thought He loved my husband but never heard He loved me too. (Also my husband obviously didn’t love me so I figured I had no chance with God who obviously loved him.) In march I was hearing about sin and thinking how much of a sinner I was. That was hard to hear and I couldn’t take that in all that much. I was baptized that month but was embarrassed that I didn’t really know why I was getting baptized until pastor stood up there and explained it before it started. This pride of mine and how I came to know about God causes me to doubt the sincerity of my belief. Do I believe because my husband does and that’s what essential to us being together? Do I believe because the pastor was gorgeous and caught my attention? – (that was a huge problem/sin in me.) Do I believe because the bible says you must or you’ll go to hell?

        Do I really believe with a faith He’s actually given me or have I just heard the Way and mustered up a fake faith of my own? (This is my biggest fear) I’m afraid to die fooling myself that I had believed and find myself in hell for eternity. So many people die daily and some I’ve known never professed that Jesus is Lord. This is truly terrifying to think they never knew Jesus!!!

        Last month I saw on a brick building “A.D.” Along with a year. I was VERY comforted by this. This means people believed so much that they based time before and after His death! This was huge for me. It shows me He was really here. Might sound silly but it’s comforting to me. So I don’t know when I was really saved. Maybe it was that time that I heard He loved me, too. When I’m very hurt in my marriage (now newly living together) I tend to think how can I be so hurt and often stuck. I tend to go and turn on myself with blame…searching for what may be the cause. How am I disrespecting him? Where have I gone wrong? I am idolizing my husband. These old behaviors of shutting down only with me are happening again today. I’m pretty much all moved in with him this month. I’m actually regretting it now. The shutting me out makes me feel vulnerable, unprotected in our marriage and exposed to others. This is the one thing I can’t take- being ignored by him. It’s embarrassing and shameful and controlling for me. It makes me very angry that he would dare to even go there.

        Are you willing to fully submit everything in your life and everything you have and all of your desires to Him as LORD?
        Yes

        What are your greatest fears?
        Being controlled and manipulated by my husband. Lied to and used. Suffering for his bad choices like managing money for one example. Not being listened to or respected. Being distracted by my husband that I fink seek God. Hearing “you call me Lord Lord but i don’t know you. Get away from me…” When Christ comes

        What do you believe you need to make you happy?
        Acceptance from him like he gives our kids and others. A love and respect greater than he gives others but less than he has for God.

        Unity in parenting.

        Obey God. Stop comfort eating. Go for walks with to be alone w God (2 kids under 4-stay at home mom). Stop worshiping husband or myself. If I am hurt I may tell The Lord and respectfully tell my husband but I must really leave it with Him.

        What makes you feel the most angry?
        When my husband ignores me and acts grumpy toward only me.

        When I lose my joy in God

        He verbally affirms our daughter so often throughout the day and snuggles her so often. He enjoys her affection. “You’re beautiful, so beautiful” “Isn’t she beautiful?” But doesn’t do this with me. It feels backwards. Like she’s getting what I should be having with him- what I desire with him. To be that adored and that needed. She’s before me and that hurts DEEPLY. Please do not hear me say I’m not grateful for his love for her. Of course I am! To me it’s just totally out of order.

        When my young children demand things from daddy, eat candy when they want and watch movies when they want and take up the time husband and I could be having (with each other and with God) because my husband doesn’t keep a routine with them. They pretty much run the show it seems. I hate that.

        What do you complain about the most?
        With the exception of these answers today- I don’t complain to others. I’ve stopped talking negatively about him to others. I have a godly mentor -older woman – who I talk to about the good and bad.

        His parenting/ how my kids seem entitled, demanding and disrespectful but he chalks it up to them being young. Feels like we’re still living separated in this way. I feel very much like an outsider.

        His irresponsibility with finances. Negative bank accounts regularly for example.

        Kids behavior and attitudes. Talking like they’re adults.

        When he takes joy in other things/people but not me. Shuts me out.

        What are you most willing to sacrifice for?
        When it’s like this (shutting me out)- then it’s him or his love or approval. Pathetic, I know.

        When he’s not shutting me out specifically it’s all about God.

        Thanks, April, for taking the time to help and for praying.

        1. HisDaughter,

          This is really helpful for me to understand where you are. Thank you!

          What was your husband’s parents’ marriage like?

          What was your parents’ marriage like?

          What are you doing to put Christ first and to draw near to Him?

          What are you doing with the bitterness and the unmet expectations and fears?

          Much love!

    2. Thank you for your words. I feel the same way. I get so focused on my husband and what he isn’t doing to fix my flesh, that I emotionally exhaust myself before I focus on God. It should be the other way around.

      Sometimes I have to visualize walking up to God on the cross and placing my husband and marriage right into one of Jesus open wounds. That helps me some.

      The days that I KNOW IN MY HEART who I belong to -Jesus- I do much better letting go of my husband.

      April has helped me so much with this.

      1. Thanks, Betsy. I appreciate your thoughts. I believe your visual is a description of the answer. That’s what it is- handing it over to Him and waiting in His strength and pure love and mercy through it and after it and really always. Into the open wounds what a great picture.

        It’s awful how easily blinded I can be 🙁 God SURELY has the power to correct His children and He does correct my husband- I’ve seen it happen even without my saying a word.

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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