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52 thoughts on “A Fellow Wife Writes a Letter to Her 2012 Self

  1. after a bad battle with my husband last night, I am sitting here reading this and can barely read for the tears. I am so hurt. This going to take time. I pray that I can look back like this. I have a long road ahead of me.

    1. I don’t have nearly as much wisdom as April and am not qualified to advise you but I did want to reach out to you and offer some support. The road is long! I know! I’ve had those bad battles in my journey too. Don’t give up. Today’s a new day and you can choose to look at yesterday for the lessons it can teach you and move forward with a more positive outlook. I will tell you that those sorts of battles grow further apart as you continue on this journey and they seem to grow less intense, too.

      It’s going to be okay. <3

    2. victoriantomboy,

      I’m so sorry to hear about how difficult last night was! Tension like that is SO painful! If you want to talk about what happened a bit, I am glad to talk with you. If not, that is totally fine, too. πŸ™‚

      I am still learning new things 6.5 years into this journey. In fact, this past February, I learned a lot of things about Greg that were very different from what I had understood before. That was a surprise! But I am glad that I get to discover new things and that there is always more to learn and room to grow.

      Praying for you!

      1. There is still tension but things are better. I **DO** see the error of my ways and am going to start working on that. It just hurts when you have a husband who thinks there is nothing wrong and that everything is fine. Just an acknowledgment would would be such a balm to my soul. But, alas, I also know that only God can apply that balm I need. To be human ~ you just need to hear it.

        1. You know, he DID take me out to eat last night. And we ended up laughing because it was AWFUL!!! lol ( the food ) So that olive branch hit the nail on the head. Time will heal. And today, I am much better. I have printed SO MUCH off your blog to keep around for me to read as a reminder!!!! Blessings to you April for using this in a way that honors God. So many of us are not taught this. Thanks for shining the light.
          April Jo

          1. victoriantomboy,

            Perhaps that was his way of apologizing? A lot of men don’t value words much, and think that actions are much more important than words. It may be he was trying to show you his apology in that act of taking you out somewhere he hoped would be special. πŸ™‚

            I’m so glad that you are feeling a lot better. Praise God! And how I thank Him for all that He is doing in your marriage! πŸ™‚

            Much love!

      2. fam6,

        WOW! What an incredibly gracious response from your husband!


        He just blew my mind.

        I love that you are seeking God and want to be more and more the woman He calls you to be. That is awesome! I am so excited to see all that He has in store as He heals you and your marriage, my sweet sister!

    3. Victoriantomboy

      I am keeping you in my prayers. This past year my husband and I had weekly bad battles. It would take me days to recover. We haven’t had a bad battle in a couple of months. Not to say one isn’t on the horizon. I have been on my knees sobbing and crying out to God, zipping my lip, reading this blog and others, hanging on until my fingernails turned blue, and slowly realize that I have no control over my husband. He is all Gods job. I struggle everyday wanting things to get better in my marriage. I want to hurry up the process. We both have a long road ahead of us. I am looking for ways to take advantage of the long road ahead of me. Sending you big hugs.

      1. Betsy,

        We ALL want to hurry this process! There are some things we can do to speed it up a bit. As we seek to fully obey God and to immediately repent of any sin in our lives and to allow God to purify and refine our motives – things do go faster than if we hold on to sin or we walk in disobedience. But we can’t really speed some things up. We can’t speed our husbands’ journey – other than that we seek to become the wives God desires us to be. They have their own struggles, wrestling, sin, and battles to deal with. It takes time.

        And now, I am able to see that the LONG time it took for Greg to feel safe with me again – was a blessing. I had to learn to wait on God, to trust God and to obey God no matter if Greg changed or not. When I would feel discouraged or disappointed that Greg wasn’t changing, too – God reminded me, “Why are you doing this, April? Is it to change Greg, or is it to please Me?” That time of waiting and that time of Greg not changing was VERY necessary for me to grow and mature in my faith. If Greg had changed quickly, I would still have a lot of the idolatry issues and unbelief issues I used to have. I’m so thankful that God took me on that slow, painful, difficult road. It was very much worth it!

        1. Betsy,

          The fact that your husband can articulate those things to you is AWESOME! You don’t really have to guess what is going on with him. I would imagine that as he feels more safe, he will continue to be open with you about how he is doing and where he is. That is a BLESSING!

  2. Thank you, Fellow Wife, for sharing this (and April!)! How these insights bless me…and I can verify every statement…I’ve been at this new way of interacting with my husband for a year and a half now…what a difference!!!

    1. You’re so welcome and I’m glad to know it was helpful to you! It is a MUCH more peaceful way of living but it takes some practice- at least for me!

      1. Oh, gosh…I goof up at least every third day…and sometimes multiple times a day…one of the gifts of giving my husband space is that I can’t “put another dent in the fender” when I’m not trying to drive all the time! Ha!

      2. A Fellow Wife and Renee,

        This new way of life takes LOTS and LOTS of practice, prayer, and the power of God’s Spirit. God uses all that time to refine us and purify our motives and make us more and more like Jesus. For many of us, there is a very steep learning curve as we unlearn all we thought we knew about femininity, masculinity, living for God, and marriage. And it takes time and very deliberate effort, much prayer, and much faith in Christ as we seek to fully submit to Him, allow Him to change us, and as we seek to practice obedience to His Word.

        This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint!


    2. Renee,

      I’m so thankful God is working so powerfully in your life and marriage. And glad you are listening! Such a blessing to hear that things are much better. πŸ™‚

      1. Yes, real change takes full use of the intellect, spirit, and free will. Your blog helps me to put Christ first and knock down all idols, realize Jesus is the lover and I am His beloved, educate my mind, understand my past, and then work to make new choices in the ways I respond and interact. It is a marathon! Each day is a new opportunity.

        1. Renee,

          So true about real change. πŸ™‚ I praise God for what He is doing in your life and heart. That is such an answer to many of my prayers! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Beautiful letter. Makes me want to reach back and give myself a hug. This is definitely a journey and I’m so glad I’m on it. Praise God for new beginnings.

    1. Refined,

      That is exactly what we all need many times along this journey – a big hug, grace, understanding, compassion… I am very glad you are on this journey, too. You are such a blessing to me!

  4. A Fellow Wife,

    Thank you for your transparency in this article. It is always helpful for me to hear that others continue to walk this lifelong path – that there is no point at which we graduate. Whew! What a relief! πŸ˜‰


    Could you point me to posts that address the wife being the one who desires “space”, as A Fellow Wife put it.

    It’s a bit of recurring issue and I’d love to see some God-honoring, respectful, and PRACTICAL ways wives deal with this.

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Amber,

      You are asking for posts where the wife wants more space? Hmm… I know I have a number of posts about wives whose husbands want more space. I am going to have to dig to see if I have any for the reverse scenario.

      Much love!

    2. Hi Amber!

      I am the space-needing one in my marriage as well πŸ™‚ I’m naturally pretty independent, and I’m an internally processing introvert who needs time alone. My husband is the exact opposite. His desire to be together all the time (and his talkativeness) exhausted me and increased my desire for space. My desire for space increased his desire to be together. And around and around we went.

      After a very long time of my husband feeling ignored and rejected, and me feeling suffocated and overwhelmed, we finally figured out a solution. We sat down and had an honest conversation about our different needs for space, and how we would ideally like to spend our time. And then we basically sketched out a loose “schedule” for each week. It’s not set in stone, because life happens, and we don’t have kids yet, so we have room for a lot of flexibility. But I basically asked for 2 evenings per week that were mine (usually one of these I make sure I carve out time to be alone, read, etc., and the other I plan something with girlfriends). My husband usually goes out with his guy friends on these nights. He’s benefited from the encouragement to invest more deeply in his friendships and his outside interests (that I have no interest in), and I benefit from knowing that I will have “me” time every week. I always found it incredibly difficult to ask for space “in the moment,” and it was really hard to do that in a way that felt respectful to my husband. Sitting down and carving out time that we both agreed on was super helpful. And we also agreed to a minimum amount of time together (one date/week and dinners together most nights, stuff like that). I felt less anxious about it, and he felt less rejected and more able to see that it was about my personality and not about him. And bonus–the more I see him developing other interests/hobbies and solid friendships with men, and pursuing the Lord on his own, the less space I find i need.

      Also, I’ve had to realize that giving up some of the space I want is a way to love my husband. Because he knows I need my introverted time, when I choose to be close even after I’ve had a really stressful day or a busy week, he knows I value him. And he’s learning that as much as it doesn’t make sense to him, letting me take time for myself is a way that he can love me.

      It is still a challenge communicating about emotional topics or in heated moments. I’ve had to learn how to say, “I don’t know the answer to that question right now. Can you please ask me later today?” Or, “I’m feeling really overwhelmed; can we come back to this tomorrow once I’ve had time to process?” This isn’t easy for either of us–I’m not good at asking for what I want, and he’s not good at waiting to share his feelings. We’re learning, though, and this is a better way to handle my feelings of being overwhelmed and needing to process than just shutting down (which is what I’m tempted to do).

      People need space in different ways, but I just wanted to share what works for me, in case there’s a helpful suggestion in here for you.

  5. How did you know that Greg did not feel safe with you. What was he looking for from you that was a sign that you were safe?

    1. Betsy,

      I didn’t know a lot about what Greg was thinking for a long time, until he felt more and more safe with me and began to share more of this thoughts and his heart. I asked him what made him decide he was safe with me again tonight – and he said it was probably a collection of a lot of things, not just one thing.

      I know that he saw for a long time that I was working as hard as I could on changing and learning to respect him and that I wanted to truly Understand him and make things up to him. I was willing to hear hard things and didn’t defend myself. I wanted to understand his masculine needs and perspective. I didn’t share things with other people inappropriately. I cared about his thoughts and feelings as much or more than my own. When I messed up, I repented and got right back up and kept seeking to have God change me more. I didn’t give up trying to learn even though my learning was painfuloy slow. I was truly trusting his leadership.

      I am guessing some of these things may have contributed to him deciding that, eventually, he was safe with me again.

      1. Betsy,

        And I asked Greg just now… He says he feels even more safe with me now than he did 3.5 years into my journey. Now it has been 6.5 years into my journey. I think as we create a new history – with God’s Spirit in control, our husbands build more and more confidence in us. But at first, they will usually be very skeptical. It can take quite awhile before a husband will believe that the changes in his wife are for real, and not just manipulation or a temporary phase.

        1. Betsy,

          What your husband says is how most husbands feel at the beginning – many times for a number of months. And you are right, you are not responsible for your husband’s sins in the marriage. He is responsible and accountable to God for those things. You are only responsible for your obedience to God and your sin.

          The real root of the struggle for all of us is usually two things:

          1. our sin and our sinful flesh being in control
          2. our spiritual enemy

          Praying for you, my precious sister – for God’s continued healing for you both and for His victory and for you both to fully submit to Christ and that His Spirit might be in control!

          Much love!

        2. Encouraging to hear that your husband can grow more and more in feeling safe with you as time passes by.

  6. Wonderful letter to a new bride from herself three years in the future. I’m very inspired to write myself a letter, lets see should it be me from two years ago when I was starting to make a really dumb mistake, three years ago, 15 1/2 years ago when I married my husband, or 26 years ago when I got married the first time?

  7. What a lovely letter! My turning point also came when I recognized that men were an entirely different species. I don’t mean that unkindly like an alien species, but simply that the way we think and perceive the world is so different that it is like speaking a foreign language. He would do things and I wouldn’t respond properly and he was baffled. I too could not figure out why he was acting so “wrong.” Once we started speaking each other’s language however, things got exciting and kind of fun.

    Christ has led however, of that there is no doubt. Every step of the way required constant surrender to Him, lots of time in prayer, lots of humbling of myself.

    “Lastly, RELAX. Learning all of this can feel overwhelming and cause you anxiety.”

    Amen to this! A woman in her 90’s who had been married for 68 years told me that she didn’t like this idea that marriage was a whole lot of work. She said you don’t work, you just let go and let God. Those were real words of wisdom for me, because letting go of the need for control, the need to fix it, the need to make my husband do what I wanted were all big stumbling blocks. Ultimately that is what submission is all about, letting go.

    1. Love this, thanks for sharing, insanitybytes22! When I read For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and began to understand how different men were – that was extremely helpful. Greg wasn’t “wrong” like I had thought all the time we had been married, he was different. He was a man. And that is a GOOD thing!

      I am so thankful for the wisdom and insights God has given you. Thank you for sharing them with all of us! πŸ™‚

  8. Wonderful post! I began my journey three years ago and my marriage of 12 years almost ended in divorce one month ago. God made me realize I was following His word to save my marriage and not to honor Him. He helped me understand that my focus should be in honoring Him in my every action and the salvation of my husband (he is an unbeliever), but that I need to trust Him to work in my husband and leave all my earthly wants and needs to Him. I would like to add a couple more lessons God has taught me, especially in the heat of the moment:
    1) Look for verbal cues: if my husband says something like “judge” or “criticize” or starts raising his voice or furrowing his brow, that is my cue to stop right where I am, apologize for judging or criticizing, and let the subject go – it is still too tender and he needs more time.
    2) Limit talks to one item. I forget to give him time to process a thought and tend to pile them up, which only increases his anxiety and need for space.
    3) Don’t be needy. Oh, this one is so HARD for me! My desire to show him he is important and wanted sometimes makes me attach to him and overdo it. I don’t want him to be with me because he likes the attention I give him and the way it makes him feel. No, I want him to be with me because he sees a peace and light in me that he is drawn to. That is the only thing I can do that will bring him closer to the Lord and I want our union to be deeper than eros love because it is based on our union with Christ.
    4) For those married to an unbeliever: He cannot love the way Christ loves and asks us to love because he does not know this love. I cannot ask him to put aside his wants and needs because, for him, there is no one else to provide those things. I have to take the first step in sacrificing and giving in, EVERY TIME, because I have a Savior to provide those things for me EVERY TIME. I also do not have to learn to suppress my feelings and desires because I can give it to God, but my husband has only himself to rely on. I can contribute by making it easier for him to not lose his temper and focus only on him by sacrificing and

    1. Cut myself off!
      …I can contribute by making it easier for him to not lose his temper and focus only on him by sacrificing my right to hold onto my opinion and search him for his meanings. The more I question him and let him guide the conversation, the more he trusts me and opens up to me in his own time.

      1. I’m so glad this helped!
        This is the point that turned it around for me to begin with and turns it around for me every time. I wanted to sacrifice so badly but until I really started relying on Christ, the bitterness and resentment always came back and I felt like a chump for sacrificing so much. Knowing that my husband’s salvation is on the line and that Jesus will take care of my needs made all the difference. Blessings!

        1. Holly, your perspective really encouraged me. Thank you for taking the time to share the things God has taught you!

    2. Holly,

      Oh goodness! My heart breaks for you over your marriage. But I also rejoice with you over what God is doing in your heart! So many mixed emotions. If you want to share more of your story – you are most welcome to.

      Thank you for sharing the things God has been showing you, our dear sister. These are really helpful. I pray for God to continue to heal you and to draw your husband to Himself and to salvation in Christ.

      Sending you the biggest hug!

      Let’s surround our sister and her husband in our prayers!

      1. I started following your blog at the beginning of my journey. In fact, it was the first time any of this submission stuff made sense! Unfortunately, as I said before, my motivations were all wrong and I slowly stopped being submissive and started being controlling again.
        It’s only been in the last month that I think I REALLY get this and it has been a whirlwind of emotions. There are some things that are so sore, I don’t think I’ll ever get over reacting emotionally. Then I cry out to God and He takes over. It is amazing every time and since I started to praise God for who He is and who I am to Him instead of what He can do for me, my whole perspective has changed. I feel like a veil has been lifted from eyes and I can see God’s way. Whether or not my marriage works, God is doing a mighty and needed work in me.
        I could never understand how to find joy in trials, but now that I finally see it, I can’t let it go. It has really changed my perspective on everything and I can see now what an unhappy, miserable, bitter, resentful, angry, controlling, (the list goes on…) person I’ve been.
        Thank you so much for the prayer and being a constant source of encouragement!

  9. This is such a beautiful post, honest and just lovely. It makes anyone unwilling to submit immediately realize what they are missing. On the other hand, it encourages those working on submission not to give up. Thanks for sharing.

  10. My heart aches for you because I know what you are going through. Its maddening and crazy making.
    April and other women that I trust have expressed to me that it takes time. I have learned through my marriage mess that I have no power to change my husband. I can change and that’s what I have been doing..

    My husband asked for a divorce in July 2014. We have been living in the same house and bed( there have been various sleeping arrangements as well). He didn’t talk to me, barely acknowledged me, no physical contact at all expect at night.
    I have had days where I thought I would die from the rejection. I am much stronger now because I know how Gods sees me and HE never rejects me..

    What has happened in your marriage?

  11. May Christ continue to lift you up and comfort you. I will keep you in my prayers! It took a long while for my husband to regain his trust and to soften his heart, and also sometimes men simply have their own issues they are dealing with that are completely unrelated to you. I think sometimes we just have to do our best to love them just the way they are and to give them time to work through things.

    As to the movie Fireproof, it is just a movie with a romantic theme, but edited out of that story is probably the mess of life, the patience required, the frustration. My husband has had a few light bulb moments that totally caught me off guard, but they probably caught me off guard because I had completely given up all hope and forgotten all about them. Just being honest here.

    Hang in there and let Christ love you, delight in you, and guide you. When we fill ourself up with Him then that hubby rejection doesn’t hurt so much and it’s much easier to not take things personally.

  12. April your response is beautiful. You have shared the very same thing with me. I have to share with you that the harshness directed towards me from my husband is softening. Something is changing even though he still claims that divorce is the best option.

    Regardless of what may or may not happen.. I am going to be okay. All of us are going to be okay

    1. Betsy,

      I am so glad to hear that the harshness is softening! I think you may be interested in the post I have coming later this week about signs a husband is feeling safer with his wife.

      I love that your faith and trust is in Christ alone and your motive is to please Him. SO glorious!!!!! I praise God for all that He is doing in your life! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad we get to walk this road together.

    1. enchangtedalexandra,

      Different men show love, devotion, and protection in different ways. But some ways would be things like:

      – trying to keep your car running well so you are safe
      – investigating noises in the night
      – sitting on the outside of the pew at church so he can defend you if an intruder comes in
      – working to provide for you and your son
      – not saying bad things about you to other people
      – coming home when he can
      – helping with house things
      – helping with the baby

      But right now, instead of focusing on the things you want him to do for you – I would love for you to focus on the things he needs and the things God calls you to do for him to bless him. πŸ™‚

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