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Could Your Husband Be Trapped in Shame?

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My husband, Greg, has a new site for his blog – he changed the name to Peaceful Husband. 🙂 You are welcome to check out his new look and his posts. He writes for men, many times – but, he has more women readers than men, so sometimes he also writes for women from a man’s perspective. Lately, he has been doing a powerful series on shame for men.

I believe that for our husbands, shame is often a very serious issue.

Shame can deepen and become entrenched in a man’s heart to the point that it becomes extremely toxic – total imprisonment. When a man is feeling shame, he will generally retreat into himself to protect himself from exposure. Sin is always progressive – it all snowballs and gets bigger and more destructive. As Greg shared with me the research he has been doing about shame in a man’s life, I was struck by how many men probably experience shame and by how paralyzing and isolating shame can be for a man.

Greg said that when a man becomes increasingly trapped in shame, other men generally do not reach out to them – because that would be “unmanly” to imply to another man that you think he needs help. Men tend to wait for other men to ask for help – but to ask for help is seen as “weakness.” And then there is the issue that there are not too many men who are well-equipped to help a man through the healing process for shame even if they did want to help someone. So – many men feel completely trapped by shame over their sins, shame over not being “man enough” at home, at work, at church, or shame over their failures (real or perceived). 

A number of our men feel shame simply for being men in our culture today. They are told they should feel, think, and act like women. And when they don’t – they hear a clear message that they are “wrong” or “evil.” What an incredibly awful place to be! To think that just by existing and being masculine as God designed them to be – they are seen as being “wrong.” (I am not talking about sin here, but just masculinity in general.)

This absolutely breaks my heart!!!!! I don’t want ANYONE to be isolated and trapped like this, feeling that they are completely alone in the world and unable to break out of that snare.

Interestingly, the cure for a man’s shame, in Greg’s research – is vulnerability.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT FOR WIVES IN THIS POST:

If a man can become vulnerable and open with someone he trusts who is safe – he can begin to heal from his shame and find hope. The place a man is most likely to look for help and healing is his wife. But the clincher is – a man will NEVER be vulnerable with someone who disrespects him. Why would he share the deepest parts of his heart with someone who seems bent on doing him harm? Greg told me,

“a man would rather be unknown than to be known for his weaknesses.”

We wives long for our husbands to be vulnerable and open with us. We long for them to share their hearts. But – if we are disrespecting them (even unintentionally) – we are communicating a clear message that we are not safe and that they cannot open up to us. Unfortunately, our disrespect can block one of the best paths to healing a man might be able to find. If a man believes that his wife is not safe and no man will help him – but there is another woman at work or somewhere who admires him and accepts him – what a recipe for disaster.

Most men do not have close guy friends. We may be the only one who could offer them a ladder to get out of the deep hole in which they find themselves. Will we throw a rope to them to help them, or will we shovel in more dirt over them and bury them alive? When a man feels completely trapped in shame over a long period of time, he may eventually “snap” and  lash out in really destructive and sinful ways toward himself, his wife, and others (sometimes this comes as something like a “mid-life crisis”).

Ultimately – men need the same thing women need – a relationship with God through the healing that only Jesus can offer!

(How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ)

Ways We Can Make Things Worse and push our husbands deeper into the mire, deeper into hopelessness/despair, and further away from Christ:

BOTTOM LINE: if we are sinning against our husbands or against God – we may inadvertently compound our husband’s pain and shame.

Ways We Can Be Part of God’s Plan to Bring Healing, Hope, and Help to an emotionally/spiritually wounded husband:

  • abide in Christ and be filled with His Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)
  • know our identity in Christ
  • extend grace
  • extend forgiveness
  • share the good things we see – the things we truly admire and respect (usually briefly – i.e.: a sentence or two per day or per week)
  • if our husbands are open to us talking about spiritual things, we can share the hope that is in Christ – that He takes away all of our guilt and shame – and that in Him, there is abundant spiritual life available. There is a fountain of Living Water. They can have God’s Spirit and the fruit of His Spirit. They can have wholeness, healing, purpose, godly power, and God can transform them to be more like Christ and make them mighty warriors in His kingdom for His glory!
  • be vulnerable ourselves – sharing our feelings, desires, and needs – softly, respectfully, humbly, gently
  • be honest but in a respectful way, considering our husbands’ needs and feelings
  • refuse to build walls ourselves
  • be able to hear hard things – even when we don’t agree
  • not demand perfection, but accept our men are human – just like we are
  • be willing to be flexible and try to understand our men’s very different perspectives
  • receive any wisdom our husbands may have to share
  • appreciate anything our husbands do for us to show their love – even if it is nor our favorite way of receiving love
  • keep our husbands’ faults, failures, and weaknesses to ourselves and be trustworthy and loyal by keeping confidences (unless there are really serious issues going on, then we must reach out for help, but only to appropriate, trustworthy counselors and sources)
  • choose our closest friends/advisors wisely (to be sure that they will honor and respect our husband and marriage and point us to God’s truth in the Bible, not worldly wisdom)
  • tear out every root of bitterness
  • accept them (not to say we accept sin, but we can accept our men and not try to change them)
  • affirm them and build them up (in sincerity, not in a fake or manipulative way)
  • give them the space they need to process and grow
  • trust and begin to follow their leadership, understanding that it will take time for them to learn to become strong leaders (unless there are really serious issues like abuse, unrepentant infidelity, uncontrolled mental health disorders, etc.. where trust would need to be rebuilt first)
  • trust God’s sovereignty in the marriage
  • smile that beautiful smile that lights up the whole room – and makes him feel like a million bucks

BOTTOM LINE: if we are seeking to allow God to transform and regenerate our souls and we are living in the power of God’s Spirit and walking in holiness and obedience to Him – we can be an instrument in God’s hands to bring healing and hope to our men.

SHARE:

Gentlemen, we welcome your insights on this issue – and how you believe wives might be able to reach and bless their husbands who may be caught up in a terrible abyss of shame.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? How can we pray for our men and our brothers in Christ? The enemy wants to take them down and destroy them – because if he can destroy our leaders, everything else will crumble. He is attacking them with everything he has today. Sisters, let’s close ranks to surround our brothers in Christ with fervent prayer!

PRAYER:

Lord,

We lift up our husbands and our brothers in Christ who are trapped in shame and who can’t see the way out. Open their eyes to You! Open their eyes to what Jesus has done for them. Let them turn to Him and be healed and bring them up out of the pit! Let them fully submit themselves to Christ as Lord and become the godly men, the holy generation, that You call them to be for Your glory!

Amen!

SCRIPTURE:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:1-5

108 thoughts on “Could Your Husband Be Trapped in Shame?

  1. I think this info is very timely and important to really think about. As a help meet of our husbsnds, we can help them out of their dark places with unselfish love in this way. I long for my husband’s healing. This is going to be a long road. I guess it shows another way that it’s not my timeline, it’s God’s. God may be using us to help others, including the ones we may have hurt so deeply.

  2. Brother Greg and Ms April,

    can you share how a man reaching out to another man caught in shame is unmanly? (Woman, here)
    And is that the way God would have him to be… Possibly isolated in shame for a while even with brothers there to come alongside him?
    I guess I wonder because if my husband needed help should I even ask him to fellowship with men for those needs?
    Or shall we wait until I’m a safe place. That could be a long time but if it’s Gods will I seek to rest in that.
    Learning to trust God in these things, but I would like to be doing the best I can (including stepping out of the way and praying if thats the best thing) along the way.
    Thank you.

    1. Raquen40,

      Greg goes into more detail about the men feeling it is “unmanly” to reach out to try to help another man in his series – but basically, men wait for other people to ask for help because it is understood by many that it would be “disrespectful” to jump in and help someone if that man didn’t ask. They don’t want to emasculate another man by implying he needs help.

      No, of course not – this is not God’s design – for men to continue on drowning in shame. There is hope available in Christ! He can take away ALL of our guilt and shame and bring us into His glorious freedom and light!

      A wife may be able to help by being a safe place. But ultimately, a man’s greatest need is the healing that only God can bring through Jesus.

      Much love!
      April

  3. Your posts are so helpful in my life. I enjoy both blogs, although I seldom comment. What steps do you recommend for a married couple caught in the recipe for disaster you stated? Where husband doesn’t feel he can talk to his wife but can talk to another woman?

    1. Anonymous2,

      I recommend that the wife focus on her walk with Christ and on obeying God’s commands for her in her life – especially the commands about how to be a godly wife. I recommend all of the steps at the bottom of this post for the wife. It will take time for her to show her husband that she is a safe place. And she can pray fervently for God to reach her husband. Ultimately, only God can open his eyes if he has sin or if he needs to repent or come to Christ. But we can get out of God’s way by not adding more sin to the situation and by being the women God calls us to be.

      A wife can share her concerns about that he is talking to another woman – but that needs to be coupled with her willingness to repent of any sin in her own life – Matthew 7:1-5. For more on this, please check out “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.”

      There can be times, if a husband is making very destructive and sinful choices and is not repenting – that a wife may need to separate.

      And there can be times when a wife may believe God is prompting her to involve some trusted, godly outside help.

      Praying for wisdom for you and healing for you and your husband, my dear sister!

      1. Hi,

        I didn’t know how else to reach you or where to post. My husband of 26 years and I have the best relationship we’ve ever had the past couple of years, since the kids went off to college, etc. We have a lot of fun together and “all areas” seem to be going well, which is why I don’t understand why, the past six months or so, he talks in his sleep and mentions the name of a female co-worker. I was SO upset the first time, but I didn’t say anything right away, but brought it up a few days later and he laughed it off and said I should as well (and I did). However, it is a regular thing now, to the point I lie awake all night to listen to him! I can’t help it!

        I do not “feel” he is cheating; he is home on time to the minute every day, he texts me from work to tell me he loves me and to check on me. Our sex life is good, we’re just happy! So why why WHY must I endure him calling out this other woman’s name in the middle of the night, several times a week! She is married, 15 years younger, no children. Word is her husband does not treat her the best, but she’s been married several years. I know she tells my husband he’s good at his job (so do I), that she likes when he’s on shift because she knows she’s “safe” (it’s a hospital, he’s a guard), etc.

        My husband does all he can to alleviate my fears (he deactivated facebook, gave me all his passwords to emails, etc.) yet I find myself thinking “well, it’s easy to create new ones I don’t know about!”

        My husband has to spend a lot of time at work, as I am not working currently due to taking care of my mother with severe Dementia and I am her guardian. She is not with us, but I am with mom frequently and get many phone calls, etc. from the facility for this issue or that. Anyway, I don’t like all the time my husband has to be at work and spends more hours with coworkers than with me. The time we are together, though, I try to make pleasant and we usually do have a great time.

        It’s getting harder and harder not to blow up although I know it will do no good. Not sleeping isn’t helping, but I want to hear if anything more “detailed” comes out. He laughs and says he can’t help what he dreams about (of course, I know this is true). But I’m sad he doesn’t see WHY his name calling of this woman upsets me so, and worse, twice it was after a “romantic encounter” and in his sleep said “I’ve been wanting to do this to you for a long time, “X”…”

        For over six months I’ve kept pretty quiet about it, but it’s stirring me up inside and I don’t want it to come out negatively in a fit of anger one day. He says she’s a “nice woman, they interact at work like they have to, and that’s it.” But even during the day sometimes when he has a day off, he will say her name to get a “rise out of me” and laugh. But here I am, running ragged with my mom and job interviews and keeping a clean home and making more effort in my own looks/attire/attitude (lost weight, exercise, greet him with kisses, etc.) ready to run off to do Botox! My head is spinning. For so long, we waited until we had “us” time again, and now that we do, I feel an invisible “third party” lingering; no “woman’s instinct” either way that anything inappropriate IS going on, and he’s not doing anything different (clothing/hair changes, dieting, schedule changes, etc.). But really??? Two, three times a week having to hear “I love you, “X”… I just don’t get it. It hurts.

        Thoughts? Thanks for letting me vent. I’m really sad about this.

        1. Lynda,

          Well, it sounds like your marriage is AWESOME! PRAISE GOD FOR THAT! And it sounds like when your husband is awake and conscious that he is ALL IN in the marriage and being a wonderful husband – from what you are describing.

          It is really unfortunate that he is saying this woman’s name in his sleep – particularly in such contexts as he has in these dreams. I can definitely understand why that would be upsetting to a wife.

          I am not sure how to make him stop dreaming about this woman or how to make him stop talking in his sleep about her. I know I have had dreams about being married to other men – and when I wake up – I think, “WHAT was THAT!?!?! I don’t want to think about that! NO NO NO NO NO! YUCK!!!!!!” Thankfully, I don’t think I talk in my sleep, generally. And Greg is a really sound sleeper anyway – so maybe he wouldn’t notice? But – I do think that it is possible to dream about things we don’t want to dream about and things we wouldn’t do or even think about doing in real life.

          It seems to me that the bigger of a deal that is made out of this, the more likely he would probably be to dream about this woman. But that is my guess.

          I also wonder if this isn’t a bit of spiritual warfare against your marriage? Wouldn’t the enemy love to take your husband’s dreams and sleep talking and use it against you both?

          Sometimes really vivid dreams can be triggered by stress, sometimes by the room or temperature being too warm.

          Here are some causes of sleep talking according to WebMD:

          Other things that can cause sleep talking include:

          Certain medications
          Emotional stress
          Fever
          Mental health disorder
          Substance abuse

          So those are some things to consider – especially the stress and medications.

          As a pharmacist, I have seen that there are some RX sleep meds that can trigger sleep talking and sleep walking and all kinds of crazy nighttime behaviors.

          I can understand that this would hurt. I can also understand that it would be very frustrating for your husband, because he probably can’t control it and probably doesn’t want these dreams.

          Are you beginning to feel bitter or resentful toward him? How are you doing with your walk with Christ, my precious sister?

          Much love!

        2. Hi Lynda!

          I agree with April that this sounds like spiritual warfare. Satan is NOT happy that things are going well in your marriage, and I think he is planting these unwanted dreams or words in your husband’s head. Disturbingly, I have actually had SEVERAL dreams this past week that I was cheating on my husband with men I had dated in the past, and in the dreams I was actually enjoying it!!!

          Praise God I don’t sleep talk because who knows what nonsense would come out of my mouth!! I wake up and just like April am like “NO NO NO NO GROSS!!!” Like you, things are going great in our marriage and I feel like I am finally getting past many of Satan’s lies that trapped me for so many years. These silly dreams sound like one last desperate attempt from Satan to destroy our marriages!

          In a weird way I think of this spiritual warfare as an encouragement that we are on the right path. I feel that Satan attacks people and marriages that he sees as a threat to him. Perhaps this is your situation too? Perhaps the best thing to do is enjoy your fabulous marriage during the waking hours and pray like no other that Satan would leave you two alone in Jesus’ name! That’s what I’m doing anyway.

          I believe God will act to protect you both. Pursue peace! It sounds like you have a wonderful man who is crazy about you. Thinking of you sister!

          1. Oh my goodness. I just took a nap and had ANOTHER dream where I cheated on my wonderful husband! I find that I dream about the things I think or talk about during the day, would you agree? Maybe we can try not to think on these things or bring them up to our husbands too much…we may perpetuate the very problem we’re hoping to solve!

        3. I just want to add a few comments that are my own opinion. I don’t mean to be negative but we all know that affairs DO happen, even to fine Christian people, and that the workplace is a prime place where it happens. It would be better to find out sooner rather than later. I find it so very, very not typical that this man has been NOT talking in his sleep for 25.5 years and now does so repeatedly and only about one other woman. ? Did he talk in his sleep when you two were newlyweds and mention your name? My husband only talks in his sleep occasionally and if he does, he talks about cars. If this truly is “nothing,” then wouldn’t we hear from many, many women whose husbands all talk in their sleep about one specific female co-worker? This seems very unnatural to me – he has never talked in his sleep about any other woman for 26 years but now he does– and it means nothing? Another red flag is: how do you know she told him she feels “safe?” That is admiration and respect and adoration all being showered on your husband by a female coworker. Those are inappropriate conversations. April has many times talked about not giving respect to other men, because they are so responsive to it. Married people should not have conversations about feelings, especially personal feelings, with opposite sex coworkers. Finally, do not assume that since your marriage is “great” that there is not a third party involved. Sometimes the husband feels so alive from the affair that all things in all areas improve, including sex life at home.
          Again, forgive me for taking a different approach but I am not comfortable dismissing this comment at all. I am very concerned about this sleep talking and what it might represent. You say your woman radar doesn’t pick anything up– but then you post about your husband sleep talking while dreaming that he is making love to an individual that he knows, and repeatedly sleep-talking I love you X – I’ve never heard anyone else’s husband ever do that…including your own husband for 25.5 years. I think your woman radar IS picking something up. Again, I don’t want to stir up unpleasant situations but there are so many red flags in your post that I don’t feel right about ignoring it. There was infidelity in my marriage as well, so I feel somewhat qualified to speak about such matters.

          1. Another wife,

            While I realize there could be a possibility that sleep talking like this might indicate an affair, I cannot agree with treating it as a definite sign of an affair. As a pharmacist, I know there are a number of causes of sleep talking, and that sleep talking and the things people dream about are not things they choose and that this is not a confession of what he is doing in real life.

            Is it possible that he could be? I don’t know. I can’t say it is impossible. I don’t know this husband.

            But I do know there are a number of things that cause sleep talking, and I would like to see this wife look into those issues first. I would hate for an innocent man to be wrongly accused or condemned.
            If there is something going on, I pray God will bring it to light. But I don’t want to see a healthy marriage destroyed if there is seriously nothing going on other than a side effect to a medication, stress, or spiritual warfare.

            But thank you kindly for sharing your concerns. We will pray God will give our sister His wisdom.

  4. Since Ken and I both want to walk in the Spirit, we hold each other accountable for the sins we struggle with. We want our sins out in the open in the light so they can’t fester and grow. It has definitely helped us to be so much closer and vulnerable towards each other. AND his struggles are NO worse than my struggles! Women usually believe their more spiritual than their husband but we’re usually not. Just thinking we’re more spiritual is sin

    1. Lori Alexander,

      Yes! That is my goal – for us to walk beside our husbands as teammates – helping one another as fellow believers who are on level ground at the foot of the cross. Not thinking we are better than they are – which I did for a long time – and that was definitely sin (pride and self-righteousness). But how I pray we might truly be helpmeets and be a safe place. That we might understand our husbands will not be perfect, but that they are on this same journey of sanctification (if they are believers) that we are. And if they are unsaved – then it is our greatest ministry to seek to shine for Christ by showing God’s love, genuine respect, and honor to our husbands – that we might allow God to do the convicting and bringing our husbands to repentance.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Thanks for this post April, it was very insightful and helpful. I feel like this is where my husband is at right now and he could certainly use your prayers.

    I also feel that I have been disrespecting him and possibly making it worse. I want him to know he can trust and rely on me, however often when he does share information with me, I end up getting worried and overly anxious about his salvation and I push him away. I just want him to know that I care for him and I don’t want him to live sinfully, because I know there is no true happiness without Jesus. I really want to rebuild the trust between us though.

    I want him to feel confident that he can share anything with me, without feeling like it will just create a bigger problem, or unnecessary stress between us. How can I stop feeling overly anxious about his salvation, so that I can be able to handle it when he tells me he’s struggling and support him, rather than make everything worse?

    Any prayers for also be really appreciated from any other sisters in Christ who read this.

    1. Ashley,

      I have TONS of posts here about disrespect and respect – you can search those terms on my home page search bar for more posts. 🙂

      Have you apologized to him for your disrespect? If not, you may want to check out “Apologizing Stories” first.

      I love that you want to rebuild the marriage in a godly way. This is awesome!

      I think the way to not feel so anxious about his salvation is to realize that it is ultimately between him and God. And it is only God who can open a person’s spiritual eyes to their need for Him. We can’t even open our own eyes. I couldn’t!

      Your job is not to be the Holy Spirit. Your job is to be his supportive, loving, respectful wife who gets out of God’s way and trusts God to do God’s job – who knows where her responsibilities end and God’s and her husband’s begin. Does that make sense?

      Here is what one wife shared about how she had actually turned her husband’s salvation into her Secret Idol.

      Your security must be in Christ alone – not in your husband’s current spiritual status.

      It is easy to make our husbands into idols – and to trust them more than we trust Christ. But we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and keep Him on the throne and cling to Him, holding everything else loosely.

      Lord,
      We lift up Ashley and her husband to Your throne room in the highest heaven from which You reign over the universe in sovereignty. You are sovereign over Ashley’s husband’s life. You are sovereign over their marriage and circumstances. They have free will to choose or reject you – AND you are sovereign all at the same time. Help Ashley learn more about Your character and sovereignty and let her realize that You have this – and she doesn’t have to try to make it happen herself. Help her rest in Your love and in faith in You. Help her to lay her husband at Your feet and trust You with his heart and soul. Use her to bless him and shine for Christ in his life. We pray for his salvation. And we pray for them both to be regenerated by Your Spirit that they might bring great glory to Your Name!

      In the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

  6. Hi April

    As a man who was separated from my wife nearly a year ago I can tell you that shame is the crux of it and having learned so much along the way I now know shame is the crux of it for most men, getting close to ALL men.

    Relationship requires intimacy, relationship with Christ, with my wife, my children, anybody. Shame and intimacy can’t co-exist- they are mutually exclusive, you either have one or the other. Shame is not guilt and we confuse the two a lot. It is very easy to go to the cross and ask forgiveness when I feel guilty I have done something wrong but it has taken all my life to be able to understand that shame says I AM wrong. Guilt allows you to make an error in one aspect of your life….eg I was speeding and I’m sorry, it was wrong. In the world of shame, and it is a world that as a shameful person, I lived in, if I did something wrong, it was just another aspect of being wrong and shame excuses accountability because when a shameful person is accused of doing something wrong it just goes on the list and buries you deeper.

    Greg is completely and totally right….the only way out of shame is total vulnerability…..it was the only hope of saving my marriage and of saving myself. Some said the best indicator of the people who don’t have shame is they can talk about it and the ones who have shame can’t.

    Men are afraid…straight up, afraid…afraid of themselves, afraid of what life has done to them, afraid to be open especially in church because every week you turn up to church and hear about how good Christ is, how bad we are, you have to look like a good Christian who is not struggling with providing for his family, who is always a good husband, and is a man people can be proud of……

    Long story short, being left on my own without anybody close around me after my wife separated, God took me on a very painful, revealing and honest walk with Him where we actually walked through all my shame together. i had to be away from my wife because I learned who i was in Christ, that He took all my shame and now i stand on my own feet before God, really confident and strong.

    I could never call myself a man for fifty years, don’t even think about it as an issue now. I’m a man, I’m a godly man, still separated but mad keen for that to change and it will, I like being me now and I deliberately stay open, stay vulnerable and so excited for what God has dragged me through – seriiously I would say to anyone man or woman..when shame goes you feel so pure, innocent and comfortable in God and I now consider myself so incredibly fortunate.

    1. Gary,

      How I wish every husband and man could hear your story!!! I praise God for what He has done in you and I pray for the same healing for all of our brothers!!!!

      Thank you very much for sharing. I pray that God might continue to empower you and transform you to be more like Christ for His glory!

      1. Thanks April, when I was in that I could not love my wife no matter how I tried because I just couldn’t love myself. I couldn’t respect myself and I couldn’t trust myself which completely stopped me trusting my wife who is so incredibly trustworthy. I would “do” lots of things for her, build things, buy flowers but as she continued to lose trust in me as a person all these lost their value as well.

        Flip side is after very serious repentance over a year ago, I am very trustworthy and know how to honor people. I have had to make an awful lot of changes but now understanding trust it is the first time in my life where I feel the pain of not being trusted by my wife. I can understand it in my head but being straight out honest it crushes me when she can’t see it, is probably is not looking for it and really would prefer to be divorced and away from the danger of it coming back…..so it really seems like she is in the prison that I came out of and that is really really hard to bear.

        Like many men I was so convinced that I was “doing” all the right things but I was so lost really and had no idea. I have no idea how to demonstrate to her that the changes are real so it is just night and day praying on for me to keep changing so that she can have the husband she deserves….

        1. Gary,

          There are so many parallels in your journey as there were in mine. I couldn’t respect Greg or submit to him – because I had no idea how to reverence God or submit to or trust Him. I hadn’t really received grace for myself or godly love for myself. So how could I give away what I didn’t have? But I thought I had it. And that was the biggest problem.

          How I pray for God to release your wife, as well. I know there is usually a lag between one spouse finding spiritual healing in Christ and the other finding that same freedom. The 2nd spouse usually has to wait awhile to decide if the changes in the 1st spouse are real or not. And that can take a long time.

          I know! When you experience this amazing gift God gives us of the Holy Spirit and abundant spiritual life – you just want to run around telling everyone that they can have this freedom, peace, and joy, too! I have tried to force people out of their prisons before. But that doesn’t work! Only God can open their eyes. I want them to experience what God has given me so much! It is hard to be patient and wait. But the example of what God is doing in your life will bless her and God can use it for His glory. 🙂

          You just keep becoming the man God calls you to be, my dear brother. We will trust God to work in your wife’s heart. 🙂

          1. Wow thanks for that wisdom April, exactly what I needed to hear. She is not looking to start afresh or anything like that and obviously neither am I but the woulds are very real but she is still a very true person.

            It is a very weird encouragement that God wants it as difficult as humanly possible before He acts….like Jericho, Gideon, Abraham, Isaac, Goliath anything ordinary just doesn’t seem to glorify Him properly I guess….

          2. Gary,

            You are most welcome, my brother. I pray for continued healing for her and continued wisdom for you.

            God does get more glory, the worse things are before the miracle. That is true!

          3. Gary, be the beacon for her. Let God’s light shine out of you and in her darkness, she will see your light one day. She is liking wounds right now. Be patient and wait on God. Take this time to keep learning all you can about God and refining yourself so that when she comes back, you will be ready to love her properly. God bless you for your incredible courage, brave brother

          4. Thanks LMS – it’s crazy how once the shame goes I just stopped thinking about myself all the time and it becomes easy to to do just that – let God do His thing…but you are also right in that I’m right at the beginning of learning. I get the idea you have a similar position to my wife and I’d encourage you to stay with it. He is faithful and true

  7. Hi April.

    Thank you is from my heart. I had always been very confused with my husbands reaction to any thing that even resembled negativity toward my husband. he would always come out as a boxer with both hands up in front of his face ready to protect himself and fight.(figuratively speaking). i always thought it was immaturity, insecurity,pride… the list goes on. As i reacted to him – the arguments would get worse until we had done major damage to each other and our children overhearing us.

    I had never considered shame as a root.

    As i look back over the years – he was shamed as a child by his mother who had to keep her family looking like they never had “dirty laundry” – they were in the limelight of his father being a pastor and head of all the churches where they are from. Father was “God” but never shared the gospel with his children. Very religious.

    Fast forward to teenage years my husband “shamed his parents” so badly that they blamed his incident for his dad’s heart attack – (his dad had a bad heart to begin with). He was known as the “black sheep” of the family. Now onto our relationship. 33 years later after a roller coaster ride all these years- i am beginning to understand. “A gentle answer turns away wrath.”

    I am not the Holy Spirit. My husband’s relationship with Jesus is his alone. I am made for him to love him, encourage, support, be his everything (except God). He is a beautiful, wonderful man who has always said he has an anger problem. i think- shame is at the root.

    Thank you for this post- it has opened up a door for me to pray and understand my dear husband. God is good and faithful. I praise Him.

    Thank you April and bless you – with much love xo

    1. fam6,

      I think the lightbulb has come on, my sweet sister. I cannot imagine the levels of shame your husband has experienced over the years. No wonder he lashes out when he detects any hint of disrespect – it makes him feel like he is going to drown even more quickly.

      I understand the dynamics that can happen in a pastor’s family – the pressure to look good. My husband’s dad is a pastor, also. There is so much pressure and so much criticism from every direction for a pastor’s son.

      How I pray that God might empower you to throw your husband a life preserver by focusing on your walk with Christ and becoming the woman and wife God desires you to be. I pray that He might help you reach your husband with His love and with genuine respect and honor – and that your husband might be able to experience the healing available to Him in Christ!

      Much love to you!

    2. Sounds kind of similar to my husband, Fam6. He has always struggled with esteem issues, stemming from childhood with extremely overbearing and critical parents. My husband, too, has always thought of himself as “the black sheep”. It really is an eye-opener for us wives to start to look at our own reactions to our husbands’ anger.

      I used to think that if I gave him “tough love”, it would motivate him to do better. I now know that is probably the worst thing I could do. His parents gave him that…but without the love…so it was just “tough”! I really like the concept of “winning our husbands’ hearts without a word”. It is something that I have been really praying about lately!

  8. Shared this on my PW Facebook page tonight:

    If a man is silently drowning in shame – shame for not being a “good enough provider,” a “good enough father, “a good enough Christian, “a good enough man,” etc… – his wife’s disrespect has a very similar effect to pushing his head farther under the water.

    Many wives are afraid that if they show their husbands respect, “it will just inflate his big ego.” And then they often add a killer blow to a husband’s shame by saying, “he doesn’t deserve my respect.”

    But in most cases, a wife’s genuine respect gives a man hope, encouragement, and a lifeline.

    know that wives treating their husbands with disrespect is “normal” these days. I know that thinking about showing respect for our husbands may seem ridiculous to some because our culture threw out respect for husbands 50 years ago. But respect is a God-given need that our men have that is as real as a wife’s need for love. (How I wish I had understood this 21 years ago before I did 14+ years of damage to our marriage.)

    We can choose to meet our husband’s masculine need in obedience to God’s commands for us (Eph. 5:22-33) or we can choose to tear down our marriages with our own hands (Prov. 14:1).

    I am convinced that shame is at the root of many of the most devastating spiritual problems many men face.

    We can be upset that our husbands are drowning and refuse to throw them a life preserver and watch them drown – demanding that they do more for us. Or – we can be a lifeguard, a friend, and possibly the one person in the world God desires to use to extend hope to them.

    1. Hi April- I agree with this post. it comes after the one i posted to you. when I read we can be a “lifeguard”… i smiled because when i replied and wrote”i am made for him to love him… i had originally typed protect-guard-then I erased it because i thought it sounded like being above him and in my heart i do not want to be. but i like life guard- they are there if needed and always watching for the welfare of others and always ready to respond when needed.always equipped( Gods word and truth). Thanks for letting me share this-take care

    2. Thanks, April. This comment is great. I need to print this out and read it over and over until God takes it and plants it deep inside me so that it becomes a part of me.

    3. April, I posted the following on your husband’s website as well and thought I’d post here, too, for any insights from yourself, any male readers — or anyone, really!

      I’m really glad to read these articles on shame. Everything I’m reading seems to fit my unbelieving husband. I have a question for you or any male readers. My husband talks big (don’t know how else to say it), seems to have a lot of pride in himself, his looks, the choices he makes, etc. I noticed a few years ago this desire of his that we, as his family, make him look good. Now, that is something he’s never said, but a small event that took place a couple of years ago showed that to me and I’ve recognized it a lot since. He makes (what seems to me) degrading comments about other people or their families (comparing them to us) but I think I realized a few years ago that some of the way he acts is rooted in deep insecurity (or shame).

      I would love to hear some insight into the idea that a man who is feeling deep shame could be acting in what would seem very confident-in-himself ways.

      I am rather sad thinking that I’ve been married for so long, but don’t know who my husband is deep down. I don’t know how to reconcile helping my husband by respecting, affirming, admiring, etc. with the fact that he’s hurt me in the past and I’m at a place where I’m just wounded. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s just where I am right now. I don’t know how to be in this place I’m in while still giving him what he needs. I can definitely do better in the affirming/building him up area right now, but I don’t believe that I can pretend that everything is perfect when it’s not. To me, what that looks like for me lately is being as cheerful as I possibly can, respecting him, still serving him, not being cold and ugly to him, but I am definitely pulled back and giving him lots of space.

      Would love any insights. Thanks for these articles. Very good.

      __________

      So, that’s what I posted and here’s the catch….I am just at a place where I don’t feel safe at all with my husband….I don’t feel like I can be vulnerable and be myself because I’m hurt – really hurt especially over something that he lied to me about for 3 years and then admitted to just in the past few months. The admission came from me bringing up the incident again (in a calm conversation)…and he finally admitted what I had known anyway (and that he had denied) for that long. He has not apologized or shown any remorse for that. The thing itself isn’t even as big of a deal to me. It was the denial, reactive anger and accusations thrown back at me (I was too jealous, insecure, etc.) that I got whenever I tried to express myself to him. I can look back on this incident and know that I did not react perfectly every time, but also know that I’ve tried to be honest at all times with him about what I was feeling and why. I knew that the temptation would be for me to shut myself off or build up a wall. Even his reasoning once he admitted to the thing (after 3 years) was pushed on me – it was because of a horrible thing that I did in our marriage 15 years ago that he justified his denial for 3 years. He has never understood or seemed like he cared at all that he put me through 3 years of that and so, here we are. I have a wall up. I can’t help it.

      And yet, I love him and feel sorry for him that he doesn’t know God, and sorry for him that he probably does have deep shame and insecurity in his life. I want to affirm and admire him, but those two things are very hard for me to do right now. Being kind and loving in other ways is o.k. for me right now, but admiring and affirming is probably something he really needs and yet, I find myself unable to give it to him. O.K., just thought about that one a little more and realize that there are things that I can definitely affirm/admire in him even if I’m in my hurt. I don’t have to *feel* necessarily lovey-dovey to do that for him and so I will choose to do that over my feelings right now.

      Anyway, that’s a lot wrapped up in one comment…thanks for listening and for anyone who has any insight/wisdom, I’m all ears. Again, I’d especially love to hear from male readers about the idea of a man having deep shame but with outward acts of pride, etc.

      1. Jennifer,

        Shaunti Feldhahn describes that many men are “afraid someone will realize they are imposters.” There is this fear that people will see through the “show” and discover a scared little boy.

        Some men try to overcompensate for this by parading around with a lot of bravado. It would be my guess that he is trying very hard to convince others to believe the image he is trying to project. Some people also put others down to try to elevate themselves in their own minds. Of course, this is not a healthy way to handle things.

        I don’t know if you are safe with him. I assume you are talking about being emotionally safe? I assume you are physically safe?

        Do you believe he is involved in an emotional affair or porn addiction or something like that – a major breach of trust? You don’t have to specify what. But if there is some major breach of trust and he has been unrepentant, or the sin is still going on – I can understand that you can’t trust him yet.

        You don’t have to be vulnerable if you don’t believe you are emotionally safe. And you don’t have to trust him if he is in unrepentant sin. But you can show respect and honor to him just because he is your husband. Does that make sense? I love your heart for Christ and for your husband. I pray for God’s power and His wisdom for you as you seek to reach your husband with the love of God and as you seek to please and honor Christ in the way you treat your husband.

        Ask God to help you affirm the things you can affirm right now. And we will pray together for God to touch his heart and wake him up spiritually.

        Much love to you!

        1. I am physically safe….emotionally, not so much. The trust issue is tangled up and hard to explain, but I believe God has shown me very clearly that the feelings that I’ve had for a long time are real and valid. There have been breaches of trust that might be considered minor in many marriages, but over a long period of time – coupled with the fact that everytime I’d try to talk to him about how I was feeling and things I was seeing, he would get extremely defensive and angry – have added up and have me where I am today. I do think he is starting to see a little bit the reason why I am where I am today. To be honest, for so many years, I took the blame for everything in our marriage and it hasn’t been until I have stood firm on how I’m feeling and not backed down or tried to pick up any responsibility for his sin that I’ve seen that he is responding to that.

          Thank you for what you said about not having to be vulnerable right now and about trusting. I really needed to hear that, because I am feeling that a good Christian should just be able to move on and forgive and love unconditionally and forgive and forget. But, my ideals of how that should look are bumping up against reality and it has been very hard to figure out what is right and wrong in the situation I am in.

          I do believe that he is willing to earn back trust and has said some things that have shown me he understands the depth of hurt that some of his actions have caused. That gives me hope, and yet I am scared to death to trust again and the idea of being vulnerable again with me seems like a very far-off thing. I don’t know that I can be as vulnerable with him as in the past until I see that he himself is being vulnerable with me.

          Yes, please do pray for him. And thank you so much for your prayers, your love and gentleness and concern for your readers. I know that God uses you like a lifeline (to point others to the true Lifeline!) for so many that are hurting who have no money to go see a counselor and have no one else to talk to. Love you, sister.

          1. You are most welcome, Jennifer! Sending you the biggest hug! I can’t keep this treasure of Christ and His wisdom, power, and love to myself. I want to share it with all of my sisters (and brothers). 🙂

      2. Hi Jennifer, this is late in reading this post but I had to reply to your comment. This could have been written by myself in that every thing you are saying and feeling and experiencing is my situation. April has helped me with my situation on here as well as other readers.

        I have major trust issues with my husband as he was able to hide things from me and not show real remorse for what he had done but instead remind me of something I had done before that I had felt terrible for. I am still working on being respectful and on the outside our marriage may look fine but in reality it isn’t. He also has to look good to everyone and portray an image of the ‘perfect’ family etc.

        He constantly criticizes others and has to be better in every way. I know that really he is covering up deep seated shame issues. Long story short last year God revealed to me what was really happening with the man i thought I knew but didn’t really. He has NPD (Narcissist personality disorder). Counselors have also agreed with this. Not saying your husband has this disorder but it sounds like he is reacting in similar ways to cover up shame/insecurity issues.

        It is traumatizing and confusing to be the wife or child of someone with this as things are always projected onto you. That don’t seem to be able to take responsibility for their own sin (or at least not on a genuine level). Again I don’t want to diagnose or say this is your husband’s issue, I just wanted to share that I have been dealing with the same feelings and situation with trying to respect but not really trusting and not knowing how to deal with my husband and help him without feeding his behavior.

        I’m also really hurt and don’t feel emotionally safe which my husband just doesn’t seem to get. I love my husband but it is painful. I’m learning how to respect him but that it’s okay to have boundaries after breaches of trust. It’s nice that we can be vulnerable on this blog and not be shut down but encouraged. I will be praying for you.x

        1. M,

          I think if a husband doesn’t ever show remorse and if there is something like NPD going on – it may be important for a wife to seek appropriate counsel. Just so that she can keep herself centered spiritually and not be confused or swayed by her husband’s projections or blame.

          There may be some wives who are able to handle this alone with just God. That is totally fine! But if you need extra support and help – I pray for God to provide the resources and help you need, my sweet sister!

          Yes, there do need to be boundaries after breaches of trust – especially if there is no repentance. NPD can be extremely difficult to deal with for a spouse. Often there are severe scars from childhood – and major idolatry of self going on. I pray for God’s wisdom and power for you.
          Much love to you!

      3. I’m sorry I should have read further down before replying to this post! So happy to read further down that there has been a change in your heart and you are able to give these feelings to Christ. I am trying to do the same but struggling. I will still pray for your situation and continued strength.

  9. What an interesting series of posts! Great food for thought. I wonder if other wives encounter the culture shaming husbands in this way: large swaths of culture expect men to be macho, to be unfeeling and inept at anything but what the culture considers manly – football, video games, etc, etc. Now, it’s totally fine if your husband loves football and hunting and riding snowmobiles! I just wonder if a lot of the cultural pressure is focused on a warped, hyper-agressive version of maleness and masculinity – and thus it exaggerates the ways men feel they can’t be vulnerable.

    1. A Sister in Christ,

      There is an element of that, I think, that boys/men are shamed for showing vulnerability, emotions (other than anger), or interest in things that the culture considers to be “unmanly.” My husband actually addresses that in his series on his blog http://www.peacefulhusband.com

      And yes, I think our culture does exaggerate the idea that a man feels he can’t be vulnerable.

  10. Something else I added to my Peacefulwife Blog FB page today on this topic:

    Something clicked for me last week in a very concrete way.

    So many wives seem to struggle with bitterness toward their husbands. I know I did. I held on to resentment and unforgiveness for every little disappointment in our marriage and all of my unmet (and often very unrealistic) expectations for 14+ years. Meanwhile, my husband was silently drowning in shame – believing that he was not “good enough” as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, or as a man.

    Now, I understand the gravity of this “deadly dance” in marriage where a wife piles contempt, disrespect, bitterness, and unforgiveness on her husband and her husband is already completely lost in shame himself – giving in to hopelessness, despair, and depression.

    I unwittingly pushed my husband’s head down under the water and held it there, not realizing what I was doing.

    I had no idea that so many men struggle with shame or that my husband was battling this monster. Greg never told me that he was hurting. He never said he had any problems or pain. He just unplugged and became very passive. Everything I did to try to make him be the man I knew he could be just made things so much worse. (I tried to control him, take over, and was negative, insulting, critical, and frustrated with him.)

    A man who is drowning in shame will respond to his wife’s disrespect, control, and shame the same way a man who is really drowning in water would respond. He will either fight to try to get his head back up into the air so he can breathe, or he will give up and sink down into the dark water.

    What Greg desperately needed was affirmation from me that there was good in him, encouragement from me that I believed in him, patience from me as he learned to make good decisions and to lead (even if it took time), my genuine honor and respect for his strengths, and my fervent prayers for healing for his soul. This would be a way that I could throw him a life preserver. I can’t save him. I can’t be God to him. But I can extend a hand, throw him a rope, throw him a life preserver, and allow a shaft of God’s light to shine on him from my life so that he can see the way out.

    Our men are under attack by the enemy, my dear sisters. I don’t want us to join ranks with the enemy to help destroy them. How I pray that God might empower us to be the godly wives He desires us to be and that we might be able to extend the love and hope of Christ to our men.

  11. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    Ladies,

    This blog is written to wives – but the content and dynamics would also apply in dating/courtship relationships – and even in some of our friendships with brothers in Christ.

    This is a HUGE issue for men. If we can understand what they are going through, we can throw them a lifeline. If we don’t realize what they are experiencing, we may unwittingly push their heads further under the water when they are already beginning to drown in shame.

    I believe every woman needs to read this post. The comments are very helpful, as well.

    Much love to you!

  12. I just realized that my husband’s intense reactions to anything negative might come from shame.

    He was an undiagnosed dyslexic (they didn’t even know about that back then, I think), and struggled in school for years. All those women teachers telling him he was goofy, not a hard worker, etc., for YEARS.

    He is very successful now, works extremely hard, and is absolutely amazing. But act in a negative way, say something negative, etc., and he gets angry in a second! Now, he can take negative griping or finding out something is broken or doesn’t work from our kids, but not from me.

    Interesting, isn’t it?

    1. Renee,

      Hmm… I would imagine that a negative comment from you may take him back to the powerlessness and shame he felt as a student. That is SO heartbreaking! This may be a really important revelation in your marriage, my dear sister!

      Much love,
      April

  13. Shame. So toxic and yet for men so prevalent nowadays. I have to watch it in this post because this is a big issue for me and I see so much shaming of men in the world today.

    Many talk shows go on and on about how awful men are and what they need to do to ‘get with it’. I just heard an interview recently where the speaker mentioned that a lot of self-help books are really more like self-assurance books. We read them to feel good about ourselves while bashing the ‘other guy’ and blaming them for all of our problems. Another therapist put it this way: Women have a problem and men are the problem.
    Our very nature is considered a source of shame which has been so destructive to men in today’s culture.

    I read in one of the many books to heal from abuse that a big difference between guilt and shame is this.
    Guilt: I made a mistake
    Shame: I am a mistake

    I’ve finally reached a level of peace but shame and fear are still the defaults. The very title of this post caused me pain and I was afraid to read it.

    As for helping men caught in shame? One thing that may be helpful is when they do reach out to you, drop their shields and try to talk about it, don’t lash out! Don’t kick them when their down! Listen patiently and as non-judgmentally as possible. It may make no sense or even seem really trivial. To them, it isn’t.
    I had very few male friends with whom I could be truly vulnerable.

    Fortunately, I can be vulnerable with my wife.

    1. Eric V.,

      I am so thankful that you decided to read this post and that you were willing to share your valuable insights with us. It is dawning on me that our teenage son has been dealing with shame for years already. I talked with him about shame today, and he immediately said, “oh yeah, I have felt that way since elementary school.” Argh! The sad thing is, I have tried so hard to combat his wrong thoughts and the lies he was believing with our love and God’s truth, but many times, he believed the shame and his feelings over my words. So, we will be working on this much more at our house! And I will be praying even more intently for him. I shared with him today that he does not have to stay in the pit and that he can live in the peace and joy of Christ if He is willing to trust God and His Word, not the voice of shame.

      I agree, I think the default setting for men tends to be shame – “I am a mistake.” And I believe the default setting for women tends to be insecurity – “No one could love me. I am unlovable.”

      The thing about men being the problem is a widely spread tenet of feminism. It breaks my heart that men are so disrespected and shamed in our culture, in the media, in school, in our families, in marriage, at church… I want this to change! And I want it to change ASAP!

      The enemy is attacking our men personally, and then using women to also attack them externally. How can our men lead and be the men God calls them to be until we expose this strategy of Satan and renounce it and close ranks around our brothers, sons, and husbands? That is what I long to see happen and it is my prayer that God will raise up many women around the world to teach Christian women how to respect and honor our men and how to throw a lifeline to them so that they can rise to become the men God calls them to be.

      Thank you for these helpful tips for us. I know we will prayerfully consider them and seek to implement them. And I am so thankful you feel safe with your wife. That is awesome!!!

      Thank you very much for sharing with us. 🙂

      1. Hello April,
        Thanks very much for the encouragement. I also keep forgetting the insecurity thing for women! I need to keep that in mind.

        1. Eric V,

          I believe that many women are as debilitated by insecurity as men are by shame. So then if you have a very insecure woman – who is looking to her husband to meet her needs for worth, validation, reassurance, acceptance, love, etc… and a husband who is drowning in shame and feels that he is a mistake and that he can’t do anything right and who has shut down – it is not a good combination!

          Sometimes we look to other people or things, or even to ourselves for our fulfillment, purpose, worth, value, strength, and power. But those things are only available to us in Christ – for men and for women. 🙂

          You are most welcome for the encouragement. I want to see my brothers (and sisters) filled with God’s Spirit and power, ready to conquer the world for the kingdom. 🙂

  14. “Ways We Can Make Things Worse”

    From my perspective, everything on this list will push me away from anyone. To the point where I wouldn’t deal with them professionally or personally.

  15. Hey April,

    I was thinking about this further after reading some more comments, especially Jennifer’s and Eric’s too. And I wanted to add these two lessons I have learned, They are really important.

    My wife married me, trusting that who she was marrying was the person she thought she knew and so she was marrying based upon that belief.

    My shame was based on beliefs that were just as strong and just as unreliable and so we both get hurt. Hers believed in my good. Mine believed in my bad. But we got hurt because we believed the wrong things for the right reasons – because we are trusting and because both forms of “trust” were developed from our previous experiences in a vulnerable state…hers as an innocent young teenage wife with a secure family upbringing, mine as a child with a fear and trauma based childhood.

    As Christians, we trust in God, the saving power of Jesus and the empowering of the Holy Spirit but again the outworking of that trust has flaws…I misinterpret scripture, I rely on someone else’s life as an example or I see sign’s and wonders and automatically believe a person must be “great’ in the Kingdom but I don’t really know that.

    As Christian’s, we must be in a state of total vulnerability, God demands it, there is no other way, we must trust Him in every situation, whether we are Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed, Israelite’s crossing the Red Sea or a husband or wife trying to make sense of a marriage that doesn’t meet our image. The harder it gets, the less we want to trust and the more we must – how He works this stuff out is incredible.

    Jennifer said she doesn’t know her husband….my goodness now that I am talking to so many men, I could say that most women in the church don’t know their husbands, she just knows she doesn’t. But it is the Holy Spirit who will give you that knowledge of your husband – which is Truth but He will also give you the ability to love him, despite now knowing him – that’s Grace. And God gives us the grace to walk out what we know is truth and that is love!

    But it is imperative that the believing spouse gets their empowerment from the Holy Spirit otherwise you will run of time, of faith and of energy. Once the weird, or bad, or painful or hurtful is given to God somehow its authority is removed and God then does the rebuilding on the right foundations which is Truth again. I’m still on the journey but it’s always always improving to His Glory and I think I’m preaching to myself here..this is exciting!!

    1. Gary, thank you so much for your thoughts. I love especially the last two paragraphs. I can tell you that today I have decided that I need to let go of all of my questions and the need and demand for those questions to be answered. The fact is my husband has shown himself to be honorable and with overall good intentions to me. It has been a long three years (it’s not been all ugly for us, but it’s been rough). Saying all of that, I believe God had a purpose even in that – I’ve learned a lot of things and I also know without a doubt that God is showing me I cannot put my trust in my husband, my marriage or anything else but Him. My security has to come from Him and Him alone.

      My sister called me today and spoke with me about some things (related to the current state of our world, etc.) and it was like in a moment, I realized that in light of eternity, in light of what could happen any moment (I could die, he could die, eternity is just a breath away for all we know), I could not hold onto this anymore.

      And, after that, I have felt peace. I also know ultimately God is the only One who can really understand every detail of my hurt and all the depth of it. I have been wanting my husband to understand and to make amends equal in my mind to the depth of hurt that I feel. God assured me that He knows and that’s enough.

      I know now going forward that I am going to have to take lots of thoughts captive and it will be a war as the enemy is not going to like the idea of me forgiving. So, I would love prayers for any who are led – that I will not take that junk back and dwell on it. Instead, I want to claim this verse for my husband’s sins – “I will forgive… and remember their sins no more.” I will choose to not remember and dwell on his sins. Like God does with me.

      Gary, it’s so encouraging to hear how God has worked in your life and I pray for you and your wife that God will penetrate and heal your wife’s and your hurt and that you will be enabled to rebuild your marriage on the Rock that will not be moved.

      1. Jennifer,

        I am THRILLED that you are finding some peace and willingness to let go and that you are seeking Christ first. WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could animate balloons and streamers coming down on this comment!!!! Let’s have a party to celebrate!

        You are so right. Our nation is heaping judgment on itself and time for us is short if we do not repent. And at this point, it does not appear that America is willing to repent. I pray for a mighty Great Awakening! But I also realize that America is not included in the end times scenario – and know that we probably have to be weakened or taken out of the way for things to progress according to God’s plan. How I pray for a mighty movement of God’s Spirit among His people – and that He will prepare us for the likely very difficult times that lie ahead of us all. How I pray we will be faithful and obedient no matter what the cost!

        You are so right – this life is fleeting – and we are not guaranteed another breath.

        It is obvious to me that you are hearing God’s voice clearly right now. How I praise God for that!

        You may want to search my home page for:

        – bitterness
        – forgiveness
        – righteous anger
        – fear

        I am SO EXCITED about what God is doing in your life TODAY! WOOHOO!!!!!!! Sending you the biggest hug ever!

        Gary,
        Thank you VERY, VERY much for sharing with our sister. You are such a blessing.

      2. Jennifer
        I am praying for you. I think it is very hard for us to ‘forget’ things that have hurt us, and not to ‘take the junk back’.
        But God will help you, He sees your heart, He knows you WANT to let go of this, and how hard that is for you – for all of us, if we’re honest! I think women are especially bad at holding onto things, over-thinking, and remembering things, and struggling to forgive (this is me, anyway!)
        We both know, the only thing we can ever do, is fix our eyes on Jesus – but sometimes that is SO hard!! So I am praying for you, just to remember what is important (only Jesus!) and fix your mind on Him. Try singing worship songs aloud or in your head, even if you truly don’t feel like singing. I find this helps me to take my thoughts captive 🙂
        Much love (from a fellow wife with a non-believing husband!)

        1. You are so sweet, Sunshine. Thank you so, so much! I knew it wouldn’t be long before the war in my mind started and sure enough, last night it hit (something triggered it). I have a LOT of work to do. I’m seriously scared that I’m going to keep holding onto this even though I know it’s destructive. I feel like I am starting the respect journey all over again. Or maybe I was never on it to begin with….no, I know that’s not true; that’s the enemy.

          It is absolutely mind-blowing how fixing our eyes on Jesus makes the clouds disappear. Thank you for the reminder. I will rest in God’s ability to forgive through me (not my own ability, that’s for sure) and look to Him. So thankful that this is the true work that needs to be done – just trusting in Christ and looking to Him in everything. He works out the rest.

          Thanks again – appreciate any ongoing prayers as God leads you.

      3. Jennifer,
        When I read your story there were parts that felt so painfully familiar to what I went through. Because you spoke in vague ways, it could be that the details are quite different. But the lack of feeling safe in being vulnerable, the desire for your husband to understand the extent of pain his actions caused, the thought that some women may not have felt it was anything but minor but over time it adds up to a breech of trust, that he gets angry and defensive when the subject is brought up….Yep. My thoughts.

        When I was in that place I often thought that if he would recognize the depth of pain that made me want to guard my heart, it would restore the trust. But he just wouldn’t go there. He did begin to do other things that indicated he was majorly changing in response to my becoming a more respectful wife.

        I finally stopped bringing up the subject because it never got me anything but pain. What really amazed me was one night years later, we were about to walk into a restaurant to have dinner. We’d been talking about some unrelated subjects and feeling very close. Out of the blue, he told me he was sorry for the situation that had hurt me so much. He said he finally understood why it had hurt. I was blown away. I never thought I’d hear him apologize. I was able to express my appreciation and tell him if the shoe was on the other foot he would have felt equally hurt. He said he didn’t think at the time it was anything but innocent, but he now understood why it impacted me the way it did.

        I think when we were going through that he was dealing with a lot of shame in many areas. The angry defensiveness was a way of shielding himself from more. It’s weird though, even years out certain things can trigger those memories and it’s as though it happened yesterday. I have to quickly catch myself and not let my mind go down that path but give it back to Christ.

        I’m praying for you and your husband. I always enjoy reading the things God is teaching you. I rejoice that God is showing you how to trust Him above anyone else. How good it is that we know He is always worthy of our trust. The pain others send our way are never wasted when we give it over to Jesus.

        1. Wow, J. Wow. I needed to hear from you. Thank you so much for sharing this, you have no idea how much this has ministered to me. I feel like God has hugged me through you. I am in tears.

          This morning, I was thinking about the fact that part of my pain has been that he apologized for *some* of the stuff, but even that apology was an “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal myself but I realize that it hurt you, so I should apologize”. It is wonderful that he does care that he hurt me, but in another way, it hurts that he doesn’t even really consider what he did as wrong.

          I am not too surprised to hear of your story that your husband brought it up “out of the blue” for two reasons….

          1). My husband brought up something that he said he hadn’t thought of in years recently (an incident from probably 20 years ago or so that he realized was probably hurtful to me, but he had never said anything about it at the time). As soon as he did, I knew exactly what he was talking about and started crying. It was very healing. He said he didn’t know where that thought came from….but I do. 🙂 God was giving me a little hope in that moment and giving my husband some light into the situation.

          2). I’ve had a sense that if I can let this go and forgive and move past it, that God would bring about the exact thing that you said happened with your husband. I feel He is confirming that feeling through what you just said. But, I don’t want to wait for it or hang any hope on it at all….and I know I can’t – that would only mean that I haven’t truly decided to put it behind me.

          I appreciate your honesty, too, that sometimes even now, years later, the memory(ies) resurfaces and you have to take those thoughts captive.

          Thank you again for reaching out to me and sharing a part of your story. Even that is another confirmation as I was thinking that, among all the other things God is doing in this situation, He will also use it for me to be able to comfort someone else in a similar situation at some point – like you have done with me.

          2 Corinthians 1:3-5: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

        2. J, I just thought to ask after I typed my last comment…

          How long did it take for the trust to come back? Was it a process? Or any other thoughts you feel like you are able to share about that, I would love to hear.

          Thanks and no pressure to open up and keep talking about it if you don’t want to.

          1. Jennifer,

            I’m really glad that sharing my story was like a hug from God— I just love when He does things like that. I wish I could give you a hug myself. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. He’s at work doing good though—You can count on that!

            I’m happy to open up — I just don’t know if there’s anything I have to offer of value. Some of what happened to heal my distrust was God working in spite of me, rather than because I did things in the best way. He was very merciful to this wretched sinner.

            There was one ugly fight that escalated to the point of us almost separating. The talk that followed later that evening confirmed how much my husband did love me and was deeply devoted to our marriage. It was a very pivotal moment for us, but I don’t recommend it. There are much better, more godly ways to do things. It’s incredibly humbling to type this out and be reminded that God’s purposes even trump sin in our lives or in the lives of others.

            I will continue praying for you and your husband. No good thing will He withhold. There is a good purpose even in this.

            Thank you for the things you shared with me. You’re such a blessing and encouragement through your comments.

          2. Your comment is so funny, I can relate to much of what you’ve said. (especially this: “Some of what happened to heal my distrust was God working in spite of me, rather than because I did things in the best way. He was very merciful to this wretched sinner.”)

            I’m sure you have many things of value to say, so feel free if you do feel led to share. But, if not and in the meantime, I am just going to trust that God can handle this and He will lead me as we go along, as He has been faithful to do all along. And, as a matter of fact, your reply to me was of value, because it was God saying that I can relax and trust Him, even if I fail at times. He can pick me back up like He did with you. So, thank you.

            I know God is asking me to surrender my husband and marriage to Him and I know that He has confirmed to me some concerns I have of dishonesty, etc. That was confirmed even again this past weekend with two random, casual (at least to my husband) comments made to other people that just reinforced my feelings that I can’t fully trust him or his word. So, God is showing me that yes, there is this issue, but at the same time that there is absolutely nothing I can or should try any further to do apart from surrendering him to God to deal with and just loving and respecting him.
            I found myself pulling back away from him after those two comments so this is not an easy journey.

            I do believe that I need to remember that I have sinful tendencies and weaknesses, too, and need to focus on my own issues rather than his. The enemy would definitely like me to laser-focus on my husband’s issues.

            Thanks again for reaching out to me!

          3. Jennifer,

            Your reply was so sweet! Thank you.

            I had typed and deleted my answer to you several times before posting what I finally did. The first attempts were filled with lots of details, but I dcided to be more succinct, which inadvertently may have made it look like years of deep pain were turned around in a day. A lot of things leading up to that pivotal day played a big part, too.

            I think each of our journeys take little twists and turns that make it uniquely ours–the road God takes us on. God’s principles remain the same, but the many things He used in our lives are going to be different from yours or someone else’s, ya know?

            I don’t think I really thought in terms of surrendering my husband to the Lord when things were at their lowest (which went on for a very, very long time). I was trying to trust God, but I think it would have been very helpful if I’d thought to hold my husband very loosely and to regularly surrender him over to God when the anxieties came. So I love that you are choosing to surrender him to God. It always comes down to whether we are trusting God at any given moment, I find.

            In response to your recent events where your husband made casual comments to others–I’ve experienced that many times. I don’t think there’s a way to not guard your heart to some extent. But, it strikes me that the casual manner of their comments might help us if we realize there probably isn’t a malicious intent to harm us–they just don’t really grasp how what they are saying is creating distrust. You and I may be missing each other here since neither of us are using specific examples, but that reminder that my husband never wanted to hurt me back then, would have been good for me to tell myself. It felt malicious at the time, but I don’t think it was after all the talks we’ve had since.

            I also have found over the years, that just as it took me a super long time to understand what my disrespect did to my husband, there have been a number of things, that in spite of my pointing them out to my husband, 20 or more years later, suddenly a lightbulb moment will happen for him. It never seems to happen after my bringing it up—it’s like that walking into the restaurant story I shared. It will happen years after letting it go and giving it to Jesus. Suddenly it will just click for him apart from me.

            I’m continuing to pray for you and your husband.

            With love to you.

          4. O.K., that’s it. I’m going to have to figure out how to pay you and peacefulwife and all the other women and men on here who comment…..because you guys are worth way more than the counselor that I paid way too much money to recently (twice). 😀

            Again, your comment is so encouraging and even though we aren’t talking specifics, it seems like you very much are understanding the dynamics of my marriage.

            To know that the journey will be long(and maybe never even culminated the way I would like) is something I’m currently wrestling with. Literally, I felt my breath leave me yesterday in the car when a fear-filled thought rushed in at me. But, I have found that God is always truthful with us and doesn’t sugar-coat and the truth is what prepares our hearts for the days ahead. So, when you say that it took years to get to that pivotal day…well, in one sense it scares me and in another, it is good to know that God was, as always, doing His work – albeit slowly according to us – during that time.

            I do find a lot of comfort in the fact that the things that have hurt me in our marriage have not been intentionally done to cause me hurt on my husband’s part. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of that very thing and I’ve even said that to my husband a couple of times “I know that your heart wasn’t to hurt me”….it seems to have a relieving effect on him for me to tell him that, also.

            Thanks again so much for your prayers, encouragement and love. Love to you also, sister.

          5. Jennifer,

            I’m so glad that this is a place of hope, encouragement, and blessing to you. That is an answer to many, many of my prayers. 🙂

            It did take years. It was a gradual thing, though, not a sudden thing. It was a gradual softening of his heart, eventually – as he saw that I was serious and that I was determined to learn to respect and honor him no matter how many times I fell and no matter how confusing it all was to me for such a long time. I was not graceful in my learning. I stumbled a LOT. For a really long time. But eventually, he realized that this was for real. It was not manipulation. It was not a fad. And he began to soften and draw closer.

            I had to know going in that I wasn’t guaranteed the results I wanted. My job was just to do this for Christ and to let Him be in charge of the results.

            Yes, just like you didn’t intentionally try to hurt him all those years – he probably isn’t trying to hurt you on purpose most of the time. I’m glad you can see his heart and tell him that you trust his good will.

          6. Jennifer,

            I don’t mean to keep this thread going beyond it’s usefulness. I just don’t want to leave you discouraged by the time it might take for your journey. Although it frequently takes years, it may not be so with everyone. God puts us in our circumstances no longer or no shorter than what He deems necessary for it to serve His purposes. This is a God appointment for you and it is appointed with love. Only He knows how long your journey will be and the ultimate result—and as long as the goal is to please Him, you have nothing to fear. A life surrendered to Him will produce joy in any situation. It also seems like your husband really loves you. You feel that, right? I just sense it from what you’ve shared.

            This week I realized there were many dynamics going on with us all at once (my husband refers to it as the “perfect storm”). Your talking with me clarified some of that as I clumsily tried to share my experiences with you.

            So I need to tell you thank you. Thank you for talking with me. Because of your comments, and then April’s, it raised questions, which led to my husband and I having a wonderful talk last night that brought additional healing for me.

            I learned some cool things about his perspective on the years of our “perfect storm” when things cane to a head. His perspective was filled with so much grace toward me with how he remembers our past. He focused far more on his shortcomings and the role they played. As he shared, it reminded me of April mentioning how men tend to forgive more freely. (April, am I recalling that right?)

            More than anything—and this I want you to know—I came away from our keenly aware of God’s lavish grace. God changed each of our hearts. Neither of us can take the credit for that—it was so clearly only Him. It was worth every single tear I cried over my broken marriage, just to see how kind God is. I love our Lord so much more deeply because of suffering. The pain was indeed turned to a blessing and a gift. The gift of experiencing God in a deeper way.

            I pray my long comment might in some way encourage you. I don’t always communicate clearly, but I pray at least my desire to build you up in your faith comes through.

            Much love!

          7. Hi, J, I did read this the other day and am just getting to responding. Thank you so much again for your encouragement. First of all, you communicate very clearly! Yes, definitely your desire to build my faith up was accomplished! Thank you!!!!

            God is teaching me so much already through this season that I already wouldn’t take it back. I love the first paragraph that you wrote, all of it — I am going to print these comments out because I have already gone back and read over the past week or so and have received encouragement again just from re-reading and remembering. I’m finding myself having to go back to notes I’ve made of things that God has shown or told me about where I am right now. When I look back and read, it strengthens my faith again and reminds me that He has spoken to me and I can trust Him.

            God has taken me to a place of surrendering to Him that I’ve prayed for for years….He is so multi-faceted that He is doing several things in me all at once. I know you are right….if I am surrendered to Him, I will have joy in any situation. I know you’re right, because I’m experiencing it now. 🙂 Not to say that the battle hasn’t been intense (to keep holding on to my hurt, etc.), but God keeps pulling me through to more of Him.

            Today, I felt a question in my spirit….What’s the greater thing? My hurt or my husband’s need? Because I can see my husband’s need for my love, even though he is blind to some things right now that are wrong and hurtful in our relationship. I felt like God was saying that I am a godly influence in my husband’s life and I don’t want to lose that by holding on to rights or even good boundaries (that a lot of Christians would probably encourage me to have).

            Of course, God is also showing me ways that I can improve on respecting my husband, making him feel safer with me, etc. It’s not all one-sided at all. He’s revealing lots of sin in my life, too.

            I think men in general are very quick to forgive and that is nice. My husband is, for sure. On the other hand, I think women could be, too, but I know for me to quickly and pretty effortlessly forgive, it takes someone to just admit what they’ve done (own it) and express some kind of acknowledgment of the hurt it caused me. That’s really all I require, but I guess that’s too much at times. :/ When it’s happened in my marriage, it is very impactful. I guess these other times are where God takes us to that firsthand knowledge of the kind of forgiveness He has for us. The kind that even when being crucified can say “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

          8. Oops – forgot to say – I’m so glad that the conversation brought even more understanding and healing for you and your husband. God is so amazing. 🙂

            And, again thank you. Your comments have been like a balm to me, truly a gift from God to me. I mean that. I would hug you hard and maybe cry some, too, on your shoulder if I could. 🙂

            Keenly aware of God’s lavish grace……love that comment.

            Relish it, sister. Can’t wait to be at the wedding feast where we can drown in His grace, in Him. 🙂

          9. Jennifer,

            I had a hard time sleeping last night and discovered your replies in the quiet wee hours. 🙂 It was like a christian friend entered the room and we got to talk about our shared love of Jesus and our common life experiences. What a joy!!! 🙂

            I smiled when you mentioned you already feel like what you have gone through was worth it. Right on, Sister! I loved reading that!!

            On the subject of forgiveness, I get the need to have your husband acknowledge the wrong done to make forgiveness doable. That makes things so, so much more effortless! But…..even that lacking has a greater purpose for us, and I think the exciting challenge is to discover what God can teach us because it does seem undoable.

            This week I had a situation where I needed to forgive my older brother. God was clearly telling me to hold my tongue concerning his offenses. I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to not even let him know he had deeply hurt me, and to just forgive him. It’s been hard! If I may add to what you already wisely said about forgiveness…

            A quote from Amy Carmichael that has blessed me over the years is this:

            “The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves.”

            If I can remove my brother from the equation and just look at the painful situation as coming to me directly from God, then I can thank God because I know He has a very good purpose for it. I have a solid confidence that the greatest pains will be transformed into blessings and bring glory to God. He’s demonstrated that so many times that I know it to be true. Zero doubts. So landing there is the best thing I know to do. 🙂

            Thank you for the things you shared and for your words of encouragement. 🙂 God used you as a balm, as well! And yes, I too look forward to the wedding feast–to experiencing Him and His grace more fully!!! (Wow. One day we will be looking right at Him!!! Why do we let these momentary heartaches ever consume us??)

            Much love to you, a big hug, and praying for you and your husband today…

          10. J and Jennifer,

            I have read through (I think!) all of your comments and want to tell you that you’ve both blessed me tremendously. April is very familiar with my situation, my husband being untruthful at times, but getting angry and turning things around on me if ask about them or “catch” him in a lie. I’m not sure if it’s alcohol related, or a personality disorder stemming from childhood. He will then accuse me of things I’ve never done.

            He is an AMAZING man who loves me with every fiber of his being. I am blessed to be his wife. But I, too, have been hurt many times, and it hurts more when he tells me that he’s always been completely open and honest with me, but I know he hasn’t.

            I am praying for the day when God will take hold of his heart and convict him of these untruths that he currently doesn’t see as a big deal. I am praying for the day he realizes the hurt it has caused, and how I long to never question or wonder and how it hurts me to feel like I have to second-guess some things.

            Jennifer, you said that you felt a question in your spirit about what’s the greater thing, your pain or your husband’s need? That touched my heart so deeply. Although there is pain, my husband’s need for respect, for peace, for safety, for Christ, is so much greater than my hurt feelings and broken heart. That is a perspective I need to maintain in the midst of trials. Thank you for sharing that!

            I just want to let you both know how grateful I am for your open hearts and willingness to share and be used by God. Thank you!

          11. M,
            My heart breaks with you for the trials you have been facing. I pray God will open his eyes, as well.

            So glad we have this place to share, to encourage each other, to pray for one another, and to seek Christ together!

    2. Gary,

      I am so thankful for your willingness to share the gems God has shown you in this time of refining. Wow!

      THANK YOU very much for this. I am going to read and reread this several times to try to absorb all of the meat here.

      1. Ha Ha that was such a Holy Ghost intervention – I was writing something totally different and that ended there so I cant take any credit – but the difference between me living in the “shame bucket” and now is HUGE – it is absolutely crazy the difference!! and now I can talk to anybody, stand in front of huge crowds and speak, manage emotions so if I can help anybody out of the shame bucket and to overcome the devils lies then I’m in!!

      2. April,

        Do you agree that some couples may recover more quickly based upon the intensity and frequency of the wife’s disrespect and/or controlling behaviors, and how long the behaviors went unchecked? Additionally, that it may depend on what other factors created disharmony in the relationship, aside from disrespect?

        1. J,
          There are TONS of variables and factors involved in the time frame it takes for healing. But many times, yes, the more severe the sin and damage, and the longer it went on – the longer it often takes to heal.

          And, Greg did begin to move very slowly closer to me before the 3.5 years. It was a slow progression. A VERY slow progression. But he didn’t stay as distant the whole time as he was when I first started the journey. It was just at a snail’s pace, from my perspective. But it was just the right timing in God’s plan. 🙂

  16. Hi April,

    I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now. Thank you for all you do and the time you spend on your blog. I have been blessed in so many ways from your posts and comments.

    This post came at a interesting time. I’ll give a little background.

    I would be one of the ones that falls into your disclaimer. I found out this past year that my husband has been addicted to pain killers for years. I had no idea about it when we married 3 years ago. Praise God, he is now seeking the help of a recovery program. I started attending Celebrate Recovery this past Spring and it has been so helpful.

    I noticed in a recent conversation that my husband’s comments about himself sounded a lot like what you mentioned in this post. He relapsed last month, and he was talking about how he wanted to move out and get better on his own. I didn’t fight it. I just told him that I didn’t want that and that he had a supportive wife who would walk through this with him, but if he did want to move out, that was his decision to make. He then said how he feels that he always is screwing up and bringing me down. I replied that I know he struggles with this addiction, but that I see it as his struggles, not who he is. He disagreed with me saying that it’s him… and that he’s what is wrong. Right then I got a clue as to how much he thinks that he is the mistake rather than him making mistakes.

    Backing up a little. Shortly after we married I realized how much I didn’t trust or respect men in general, let alone my own husband. I held resentment and bitterness towards him a lot during the first part of our marriage, but God’s grace has helped me, and continues to help me, let that go. I know I am not the cause of my husband’s addiction, but I also know that my disrespect can tear him down and take away his hope of ever recovering from this addiction. I know that he needs my prayers, encouragement, and support in his recovery… not my cold attitude, fear, rolling eyes, or sarcastic remarks.

    Your posts are so opposite to what the world tells us. I have been blessed to read your blog, and be constantly reminded to seek Christ first. Christ is the only one who has gotten me through the tough things I’ve faced in our marriage. Although we are still going through tough times… I’ve seen God use them in ways to bring me closer to Him… and I’m extremely thankful for that. My prayer is that He would do the same for my husband.

    With all that said… I want to say thank you for being a mentor and a sister in Christ that I can learn from.

    1. Beth,

      When there are addictions – YES, shame is absolutely heavily involved. My husband’s post about shame today talks about how shame leads to addictions. And then, of course, addictions lead to more shame. Such a vicious cycle. http://www.peacefulhusband.com

      This is a tough situation – the enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy. But how I praise God that you are listening to God, seeking Him, and allowing Him to lead you. I pray for God to draw your husband to Himself, as well. And for victory over this addiction and for God’s greatest glory in your lives and in your marriage!

      Sending you the biggest hug! 🙂

  17. There is an aspect of being vulnerable with other men about our shame that hasn’t been addressed. I was controlled and emasculated constantly by my mom. Now I am dealing with someome who is a very effective manipulator. Her control is very covert, and over the course of many years it has caused some very deep depression. This is more than just being disappointed. It affects a man’s ability to function. He will become convinced that he is not any more valuable to any person than he is to his wife. Success is a hard thing to find when you don’t think you have it in you.

    At this point, I have realized that I absolutely must find a man to help me through. It isn’t a small task. It seems to me like asking a man to teach you how to be a man again, and regain a sense of dignity. All of this while I am still facing the disrespect of my wife (and all her family), and her willingness to undermine me if she thinks it might protect her from being discovered.

    The dynamic that I have noticed, is that there are a couple ways men are likely to respond to me.
    1) Either they regard me with contempt (often a sweet contempt), and approach with some sort of simplistic “man up” approach (essentially trying to motivate with shame or even accusing me directly),
    2) or they play it very compassionately and try to address all my “wrong” emotions, but assume the emotions are the cause of all the problems. (effectively neglecting the practical causes or the real needs)

    I have had this happen several times with christians, elders at church, etc.. I have rarely across a man who truly understands except those who are in the midst of something similar. Frankly, they are as much in need as I am. It has taken me several years to find those 2 – 3 men, and I have talked to a couple dozen. I have been inclined to give up trying, but I think there has got to be someone who has a deep enough understanding to help me deal with this kind of toxic situation. The fact is, I can’t do this alone.

    I don’t believe that the dynamics I describe are borne out of malice, of course. Most of them don’t understand why submit myself to their correction. While Christ, his word, and his ways are trustworthy and wonderful, Christian /culture/ is full of assumptions about emotions and marriage. Unfortunately the subtle misperceptions they represent remain largely invisible until someone tries to use them address something like the covert abuse of husbands — or the resulting shame and spritual wounds that those husbands carry around. I wouldn’t have thought so before all of this, but I do now.

    The Bible says a lot about how God addresses the crushed spirit, the oppressed and lowly in spirit, those who are bitter in soul, and those who are relentlessly provoked. He has experience, and understands. Job’s friends — not so much.

    Men don’t often express their failure and shame to other men. However, it isn’t always all about pride, or an irrational fear of being vulnerable.

    1. Object of Contempt,

      Oh, how I long for you to change what you are calling yourself, my brother! These words about your identity have power in your mind and soul. I wonder if you might consider a positive name, like “Becoming God’s Man” or something that describes where you are going in Christ? You are not an object of contempt to Christ, and you are not an object of contempt here. Here, you are accepted, valued, and respected.

      But – you have a very valid point. It is kind of like how impossible it seems to find a godly wife mentor for women who really can help a woman to learn to give up disrespect and control and who can clearly teach how to respect and what it means to be a godly woman and what biblical submission is and how to fully submit to Christ.

      Yes, there is a scarcity of men and women who can actually help people who are really struggling with these issues. That makes me so sad – I pray for God to raise up many more men and women in His churches who understand how to live for Christ themselves and who can teach these steps and how to change your mindset and who will pray with those who are hurting and struggling and who can actually teach these things effectively.

      I agree that if another man doesn’t understand where you are and how to walk beside you to where you want to go in Christ – it wouldn’t make sense to allow him to mentor you.

      You are most welcome here. I believe there may be some men here who actually do understand and who may be willing to walk beside you.

      I so appreciate your willingness to contribute to this important conversation!

      With love in Christ, my dear brother,
      April

    2. Hi,

      I wrote a long answer and it disappeared which is good because I read your post again. I’ll say a few things which will help. Because this stuff is still all around you everything looks pretty hopeless. I’m not saying that I was in a much worse place to make you feel bad just so that you know i completely understand how isolated, misunderstood, probably helpless that you feel.

      Long story short for the purposes of this answer – God, with the help of probably about one hundred plus other people, got me through. I went from being fully immersed in the shame bucket for nearly fifty years to so completely set free – it is crazy. I feel like I am about ten, I live this pure life, no shame, no guilt, no sin, controllable pride and fear – i.e.: I control them not they control me! It is amazing and I know it is very different to the life of most people in the church – sad but true.

      It looks like you are a bit worn out with it all but if you want to listen to me, I can help. As I have gone through this I have talked to other men in similar situations who all said they were serious and some looked really serious but, and I’m not saying this to make me look special, it an an all or nothing choice! I think every one of them found a reason or an excuse to not give it his all and they are actually missing out on so much more. Some just wanted someone to feel sorry for them and some really just wanted someone else to give them the excuse to give up. Being honest, I was just like this also and worse but I had this weird dysfunction where I was really separated from my emotions and i was too committed to being fixed before I realised that I wasn’t actually brave I was just totally emotionally numb!

      Anyway, emotionally numb or not – this is where I started and you have a head start on me.. My wife left me, it was devastating…. I went straight to my senior pastors (of a very big and famous church) and said I’m really sorry, but this is about me not her and I want to get through this. I am putting myself under your authority and for the next year whatever you say, I do…so it started with really practical things…press into God SERIOUSLY, get a haircut, tidy the house, get a change of clothes…so that I would know that I had changed course even if no one else does.

      If you are really serious about it…i’d be stoked to help you. The devil is a liar and he is running rampant but the thing that will flip you is when you realise how small the lies are that you have listened to and let control you and how totally normal and natural you feel once all the dust has settled it. It is just awesome.

      I do have to say though, be gentle on your wife and her family, you will be freaking them out, but that’s ok because you have decided to put God first and that’s the first commandment, it’s the primary law and it’s the first step. You don’t get your self image from her although you do at the moment but i promise you, this one is crazy…when your relationship with God is restored, you don’t even worry about what your wife and her family think of you because you are now righteous, God is on the throne and you are just peaceful and happy and EVERYBODY starts noticing and getting really excited for you – I promise you.

  18. This is so good, April! Praying with you against shame in our lives and husband’s lives (of the women here). Early in our marriage, I think I did about half of those things on the top list. The Lord taught me that I had to return to my first love, Him as my Savior, Lord and Husband. After being more transformed through God’s Word, our marriage is God glorifying. Also learning the power of scripture based prayers. One day many years ago (I would guess 6 or so), I prayed 9 pages of scripture based prayers over David (my husband). Later he called me and said “Wow, I’m having such an awesome day!”. It was the prayers. So all glory to God! I began praying scripture over him daily, then after many months, he was so happy and I was more negative. I thought, “why am I only praying these prayers over him, I should pray them over myself too?”. So I began to (sometimes just a few verses per day). It was powerful in my life as well. And over the years, I began praying them over lots of other people too (and their children). 😀 Prayer is powerful, and scripture is so powerful, so putting them together into a prayer is super powerful.
    *I wonder if I still struggle with some shame though (and my husband). Please pray God heals us of all shame in Jesus’ name. the reason I think this is because I have a fear of sharing my testimony and being open about my past (what God has redeemed me of) around some people, I think mostly non-Christians. I need to boldly share my testimony for God’s glory and not live in fear in Jesus’ name. Amen!

  19. First off let me start by saying that I really enjoyed reading this blog. Thank you for being obedient to what God wants you to do! May God Bless you!!

    I know first hand what causing your husband shame and disrespecting him can turn into. I was blinded to the fact that I was constantly belittling my husband. Nothing was ever good enough for me and I gripped ALL the time. I allowed toxins to come into my marriage and destroy it! Because of my lack of knowledge in God’s word and disobedience my husband had had enough. He filed for divorce and we have been separated for the past 6 months. I am not placing all the blame on myself, but I knew better. I was the one going to church, I was the one claiming to be a Christian, and I was the one who let the enemy to blind me.

    With that being said…..it is very important to know how God wants us and expects us to treat our husbands. We are to be a light of God and show God’s love to everyone (even if they don’t deserve it). The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He will find any way to creep in unexpected to take over your life. DON”T let him blind you.Respect your husband no matter what. Show him love no matter what. Don’t let flesh take you over no matter what. Stay strong to God and your faith.

    I am not giving up on my marriage. I made a mess of it, but God can fix it. I will stand on God’s promises and watch him restore my marriage!

    1. candacedavis001,

      Oh how my heart breaks for you and your husband and the pain you are both experiencing! But how I praise God that He is showing you things clearly now and that you are seeking Him and desire to make things right.

      Thank you for sharing your story and this warning to other wives!

      I pray with you for spiritual healing for yourself, for salvation and regeneration for your husband, and for healing for your marriage for God’s greatest glory!

      Sending you the biggest hug! You are most welcome here. 🙂

  20. Hi April

    We discussed a little of my situation on your post “The Bible and Divorce.” My husband is not a saved man, we are currently separated (nothing legal has been done), him now living in NY with his parents and I am currently still stationed in Hawaii..

    I’ve really strived these past 6 months since he left to really focus on my walk with Christ and growing in Him and in grace to be the godly wife that I neglected being when we were together. This post was exactly what I needed. The list above just brought me to my knees before the Lord to repent of shaming my husband to the extent that he felt he had to get away from me and our marriage. You also recommended The Excellent Wife to me and I’m almost finished with it. It’s been such an eye opener..

    My question is if I’ve refocused my life on Christ and following His Word, how can I strive to be a blessing to someone that is currently seeing other women, acting like I don’t exist unless I have a question or something about the house or bills, etc. How do I as his wife, even begin to try to mend the shame that I’ve caused him? I am a Christian and know what God expects of me as His child and have not stepped out of our marriage or disrespected my vows, but idk how I can even try to be a blessing or respect him when he chooses to not even talk to me. Also the fact that his parents, who he lives with, don’t even know he’s been married for the last 3, almost 4 years! So he’s living a completely separate life because his family and friends back home are none the wiser. Is confronting his parents something I should do? I’m not trying to cause any more damage to our relationship and I do want to respect him as my husband.

    1. Kassi,

      Oh goodness, I can’t recommend you involving his parents. That just seems likely to add gasoline to the fire, in my view.

      If you have access to a mailing address, you might be able to send an apology for your sins. I would search my home page for “apologizing stories” first and read that post.

      You may not have a lot of opportunities to show him God is changing your heart. You can’t respect that he is seeing other women or that he has decided to forget his marraige vows to you.

      But you can pray! Seek to draw close to God yourself. Ask God to give you opportunities and ask God to draw your husband to Himself and back to you. You can’t change your husband’s heart. But God can. And you can focus on learning to become the woman God calls you to be and you can prepare to learn to be a godly wife if God should give you the opportunity to reconcile with your husband in the future.

      Your greatest power is abiding in Christ yourself, obeying Him, and prayer. Those things are much more powerful than anything you could do or say to try to convince your husband to come back.

      Please also read the steps on the post “Don’t Wait” from last Saturday.

      Ask God for a chance to make things right with your husband but change because you want to know God more, not to make your husband come back. I hope that makes sense. 🙂
      Much love to you!!

      1. Sorry for the post below.. My posts weren’t popping up initially!

        It does make sense. And I’m not seeking to change just to have my husband back. I truly do want a deeper, closer relationship with Christ. I’ve learned my way of dealing with this is bound to fail and has failed and Christ has given me this storm, even with all of these extreme circumstances, because He knew it would wake me up to my sin and draw me closer to Him.

        I definitely don’t want to add fuel to the fire. My husband is very angry and hurt, I’m sure and that would only drive him farther away and, I feel, in his eyes make it seem like I’m only trying to hurt him further. My heart’s desire is to grow closer and closer to Him and that my husband would ultimately see his need for salvation; that the Holy Spirit would do a work in his life and our marriage to be restored to glorify Him.

        Thank you for being such a blessing and a godly woman that I can look to for the right kind of Christian advice. I honestly would’ve given up a long time ago and just “moved on” from this had I not found your blog and gotten back into the Scriptures.

        1. Kassi,

          I have the exact same desires for you, your husband, and your marriage. We will pray together for God to work. Obviously, He is very much at work in you already. How I praise God for that!! 🙂

          Sending you a big hug!

          1. April,

            I recently felt led to write an apology and did so. I honestly didn’t expect to hear anything back from my husband. But I know my actions and disrespect led to the hurt he felt and ultimately the state of my marriage, because him being an unbeliever and me being a Christian, I knew better. And I failed.

            Well here is the response I received: “I don’t want to fight and I’m not ignoring you. We disagree. Those are kind words but the truth is I do not believe those same things as you.” (i.e. That God is in control of this situation and would have me ask for his forgiveness)
            “I want to divorced from you. Nothing will ever change that. I thought we could be friends but that’s not going to happen either. Please sign whatever you need to so we can both move on with our lives.”

            He said nothing really in response to my apology, and to be honest, and I really don’t know how to respond to his reply. It would be so easy to just give in already. Its been 7 months, we live in two different states… It’s just very discouraging, even though I’m seeing God making a change in my life, that he would come back with this response.

          2. Kassi,

            That would be really discouraging! I am so sorry, my sweet sister!! 🙁

            I am glad you apologized, that is what God calls you to do – to try to make things right. You don’t control your husband’s response. It may be that he feels he has to reject you because you have God. If so, that is a reason for rejection that I think a believing wife can accept (according to 1 Cor. 7).

            But do please keep in mind, that your husband’s current feelings are not sovereign. He does not determine the outcome of things. You are in God’s sovereign hands, and so is your husband. God can bring your husband to Himself and God can restore your marriage no matter what your husband thinks and feels right now.

            I vote to keep seeking God wtih all your heart and let Him transform you more and more. And then we will pray together for God to empower you with wisdom about what to do with your husband. I am not sure it is necessary or productive to respond back right now. But God can show you when and how to respond if He wants you to.

            Be sure to check out yesterday’s post about praying too much for your marraige, it may be helfpul right now.

            Much love and the biggest hug! You have love and support here, my dear sister!

          3. I’m so sorry for your situation and your hurt, Kassi.

            From a fellow wife of an unbeliever, I just would encourage you not to even mention God or anything He’s doing in your life at this time to your husband if and when you have a chance to connect again (whether through writing or however it comes). I say this because I have done the same thing in the past and now am able to see even more clearly that it is important not to bring God into the discussion at all. It is appropriate to still apologize and take responsibility for anything wrong you did and you can still do that in an honest way. I’m sure you’ve read the verses in 1 Peter 3, but just in case you haven’t really gotten a chance to dive into that passage, it really is so outlined what we are called to do (I’m so glad God gave us wives who are in this situation a very focused passage just for us!).

            I pray that God will give you wisdom and peace on what your next step is and that He will be your Comforter.

          4. Jennifer,

            Thank you so much for your encouragement! I have read 1 Peter 3, but maybe I should go back and prayerfully study it this time. If you don’t mind, can I ask how you responded and saw God work in your husband and your life? I really want to glean from God’s Word, but also Godly women with much more experience than I..

            Thank you for your prayers!! I can’t express enough how comforting it is to know that children of God are lifting me up in prayer.

  21. Hi April

    You know some of my situation from your post The Bible and Divorce. I’ve been with my husband for 5 years, married for 3 of those. We are currently separated (nothing legal) with him saying he never made a marriage vow to me in the first place.

    This post spoke to me on so many different levels. I know that my attitude has driven him to this place of shame that he’s at now. Saying he no longer wants to be with me, is seeing a woman back home (where he moved in with his parents when he left), won’t speak to me unless it has something to do with the house or bills.

    That list you posted really hit home. It drove me to my knees in repentance for my actions and shaming my husband to the point that he doesn’t even view me as his wife. These past 6 months have been a struggle that I constantly find myself leaning on God. Most days I feel like I can’t even get out of bed for work. It’s devastating and sad and hurtful.

    You had recommended the book The Excellent Wife to me last week and I have to say I haven’t put it down. I feel like I’ve learned so much from it and seen just how hurtful my testimony has been to my marriage and even my husband. One thing that stood out to me was in the case of separation (he’s currently in NY while I am stationed in the military in Hawaii), how can you seek to be a blessing to your husband or even begin to try to mend your relationship and show respect?

  22. Hello April
    I have searched for what I am about to talk about on your blog and haven’t found a post that seems to help, even though you have almost every topic. I think it’s because it is more direct and I am worried about a character flaw I see in my husband… And what that could mean about his relationship with Christ and what that could mean for our marriage in the future.

    I will try to keep this as short and to the point as possible .
    The problem I feel my husband has is – Running from his problems –

    I have seen a theme in his life. (This is still very painful for me to talk about and accept idk why) but before we got together my husband had a child with another woman. He was very very extremely young. After a year or so the child was born, he gave up his rights to the child and continued on with his life. From what he tells me and what his family tells me, he lost multiple jobs, not being able to make it to work because the mom was trying to ruin his life, and wouldn’t come home when she said she would. She would keep the child from him anyways for long periods of time with out speaking, she was hateful and my husband wanted nothing to do with her. He gave up his rights, according to him, so that her boyfriend now husband (who wanted very much to do this) adopted the child at a young age and he now lives in a home where he has mom and dad and no confusion and has a better, not broken life. My husband says he believes this was the right thing to do and says he knows the child will find him later in life and he will explain to him why he did what he did and the child will understand because he will be older. I do not agree with this but have accepted it. He has never asked me how this makes me feel that possibly something like this could happen later in life that definitely would effect me and my husbands family. He doesn’t speak about this to anyone other than me who knows, and his family members who know. Most friends have no idea about this past. He never puts this part of his life in a testimony or story he tells about his life. He pretends most of the time that it did not happen, Which is very confusing to me but I do believe he has a lot of regret, shame and embarrassment about it, so I do not often bring it up.

    My husband has had several jobs. When he doesn’t like one or feels threatened by a boss or not in control, he just leaves. Sometimes without notice because he didn’t want the confrontation of talking about why he’s leaving. He is good at a lot of things and can really do anything so it’s so easy for him to get any job usually, but I get very upset when my husband does this.

    EVERYTIME and I do mean EVERYTIME me and my husband fight, he leaves. It has been like this as long as I can remember, even dating. He doesn’t leave me, he leaves the place I am at. I don’t like to be home alone so sometimes I don’t even want to say what’s on my mind bc if it hurts or upsets him he will “just need to get out for a little bit” he goes to his brothers or friends house for a few hours, hangs out, texts me and says he’s sorry and loves me, or I text him first if I was really in the wrong, and then he comes home and loves me and acts like everything is fine. This is probably the number one thing. I hate most that he does, is leave whenever something gets hard.

    With all that being said
    My husband does want to have kids with me, and loves kids and always says he can’t wait, I do believe he would be a good loving father, but the fact he already gave that up once is always in the back of my head.
    My husband is also a wonderful provider. Even though we don’t have a lot, he is always working, and always providing for us. He is not a bum and puts financially taking care of his family very high on his priority list. But I never ever know when one day he’s going to come home and say he’s leaving his job, or not even tell me until he already has and has found a new one and we go 3 or 4 weeks without pay.
    My husband loves me very very much. He has never talked about divorce, he most of the time does anything for me. He always is trying to make our marriage better, but even though I have told him a million times how it makes me feel abandoned when he leaves every small argument, he still does it anyways.

    What attracted me to husband was his love for God. We were so young when we got married and only dated and engaged a few months. We talked about going into ministry together, which we have, and we talked about how we would worship God together and have a life full of His love. Which we do. He was so in love with Jesus, more than I had ever seen a man be, because my father, brother, ex boyfriends and every other male in my life kept that to themselves, this was so attractive to me bc right before I met him I prayed God would not bring another man into my life unless it was my husband and j prayed for only one quality in him, that he would love God with all his might, more than he loves me.
    I sometimes feel that I was so blinded by my love for him because of his love for God that I truly did not focus on any other qualities. I believed that if he loves Jesus and had the faith he had, that he must be perfect! Because God can always show him how to change. Years into the marriage and getting older I see so many qualities that I probably normally wouldn’t have chosen in a life long partner. I feel terrible saying that bc I love my husband. But he is not steady or always trustworthy or always predictable and it scares me.

    My father was the opposite of that, so I know that that feels safer to me.

    When I heard my husband giving someone advice about something that he had gone through (with the child) someone in a similar position, telling them to basically “give up” I was totally crushed and that’s when I realized my husband gives up on everything in his life!!!
    I truly think the only thing he would never give up on is me, or God but then again how do I know?!

    I have been on this respect journey for a few months, I have seen where many things I do tear my husband down, I can say hurtful things In a heated argument which is usually why he leaves. I can worry and stress sometimes and he hates seeing my like that, and sometimes I just am not respectful bc I am just not familiar with it. and I am trying to get better. And believe God is helping me with this and I can already see a change in me.
    But I want to bring this up to him how I believe he gives up at everything and want to bring something to his attention he may not see.. I want to tell him I want to start a family with him but I am scared that it will be too hard for him and he may leave us.. This is a big character flaw and I am not sure how God feels about my husbands past decisions and what could be future decisions if he does not change

    1. Anonymous,

      I hear a lot of fear in you right now. I can understand why. I can certainly appreciate that a wife loves stability and predictability. I can also understand that you don’t like it that your husband avoids conflict by leaving – at work, or with you.

      Right now, I would like to ask you to do something if you are willing. I believe there is complete spiritual healing available for you both in Christ. I am really excited about the things God is already showing you. 🙂 But would you be willing to set your concerns about your husband’s running away from conflict on the back burner for a bit while we focus on your walk with Christ? You have some legitimate issues that you want to address. But – if you address them before you have dealt with the stuff in your own heart, you may end up repelling your husband rather than drawing him to yourself and to God. It sounds like he already has a lot of guilt and shame. Many times a husband in a situation like that doesn’t need a lecture from his wife, he needs to see her belief in him. That is much more healing to a man than a wife’s lecturing.

      And, as you learn to speak respectfully and to genuinely respect the good in him and approach him in a godly way yourself, I would guess that you may find he won’t feel like he needs to leave. He won’t feel attacked. He will feel supported and loved and safe with you. So some of these issues may not even exist anymore after you have spent some time working on your end of things. Or, if he does leave, you may understand that he needs time to process and that he is feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions. It isn’t that he doesn’t love you or even that he is giving up, he may just not be able to take all of the negativity. It may feel like an ocean of negative emotions and he feels like he is drowning and can’t breathe.

      As you learn to approach him with respect, calm, low emotions, and honor – as you learn to speak his language and understand his heart – most likely you will not have the severity of the misunderstandings you were having in the past. Also, as you continue on this journey, you will learn about that God convicts people of sin, we don’t. We aren’t the Holy Spirit. Our husbands don’t respond well to us trying to be the Holy Spirit. They respond much better to the Holy Spirit Himself. Just like we do! As you continue to grow and learn, God can help you see if these are issues He truly wants you to bring up or if you would be getting in His way if you try to talk with your husband about them and He may want to handle these things with your husband without your voice. Sometimes a wife’s voice about negative things can cause a husband not to hear God’s voice. So I would want to be sure that you are bringing something up because God is prompting you to, not because you believe it is your responsibility to change your husband.

      If you are interested in walking this road with me, I would like to talk with you about where you are spiritually and about the fear level you have. If that sounds good to you, I would love for you to read my posts about fear and then let me know what God is speaking to your heart. You may search my home page for “fear.”

      After you get your bearings a bit more, we can talk about confronting your husband if necessary.

      Much love to you!

      April

      1. well i had never thought that i had fear…
        and when i re-read my post to you, i see fear written all over it 🙁 i do not want to be fearful. I say i have this trust in God but do i if i am harboring disrespect towards my husband, unbelief in him and unbelief in Gods hand in my life in my heart? 🙁 i feel sad about this, but i appreciate so much what you have said.. I am glad you have asked me to maybe not bring this up to my husband. Honestly i cant remember a time i did bring something to him i thought he needed fixed or changed and things went well…
        thank you for that challenge. I need accountability in my marriage regarding these types of things. I am willing to do that for now. I know i need to work on myself. My fear, my worries, my bitterness, my respect for God and my husband… just sometimes I feel so confused because i have been a christian my whole life yet when i got married i feel i am open to so many flaws in my relationship with God that needs strengthened. I am willing to for now set everything aside with my husband. Even little things like not helping around the house, not giving me a compliment in days or not paying attention to me, arguing or worrying over money… little things that i know i should not let steal my joy from christ or my marriage yet sometimes they do!!!
        I will start with Fear and looking that up. I think i am going to keep a journal.
        thank you for this april

        1. Anonymous,

          It is so easy to be blind to our own motives and to our own fear. But fear is often what motivates our desire to control or to be someone’s Holy Spirit, or to try to make people do the things we want them to do.

          I had TONS of fear as I entered this journey. It completely gripped me. I was terrified to let go of my illusion of control over situations, circumstances, other people, my husband, my marriage, and God. Truthfully, I didn’t have control over any of those things at all to begin with. But I thought I did. I had deceived myself.

          I felt like I was jumping off of a big spiritual cliff to truly trust God with all of my needs, my future, my marriage, my fears, and everything. But I looked at every one of my fears. Wrote them all down. Looked at God’s Word, His character, His promises. I had to decide, do I trust God or am I going to trust myself? How can I trust myself when I don’t even have any sovereignty or control over any of these things? God is the one in control, not me! I realized, eventually, that the scariest place to be was trusting self. And that when I trusted self, I was actually trusting Satan rather than God. I decided I was going to trust God no matter what the results would be.

          I would love to walk beside you to help you hash through these issues and to point you to Christ and His truth. He can heal you, my dear sister. 🙂 I love the way you are responding in humility and with a desire to change. That is always a clear indication to me that God is about to do something amazing in a wife’s life!

          I am right there with you. I received Christ at age 5. I thought I was such a strong Christian until God showed me all of my sin, pride, control, disrespect, fear, worry, unbelief, self-righteousness, idolatry, etc… in December of 2008. I was mortified! God uses our marriages to expose our sin so that He can bring it up to the surface and remove it to refine us and help us to grow. 🙂

          When I began this journey, Greg ignored me constantly. He didn’t want to be in the same room with me. He was totally shut down. He didn’t want to hear my voice, didn’t want to touch me. I had no idea that my own control, fear, disrespect, pride, and control had wounded him very deeply and he did not feel safe with me so he shut down to try to protect himself from my toxic attitude and words. 🙁

          God slowly began to heal me. Then, much more slowly, He began to heal Greg. Now – our marriage is better than I could have ever imagined. BUT – even now, I do not find my contentment and security in Greg or what he does for me. Greg is not Christ. Only Jesus can meet my deepest needs. Only He is God. You can be content in Christ even if your husband is doing all of the things you have mentioned. I have lived it. God has shown me how to lay down all of those desires and die to myself and live for Him alone.

          Yes, the posts about fear will be a great place to start. And a journal! And lots of prayer. Let me know what God speaks to you and then we will take the next baby step together, my precious sister!

          Much love!
          April

  23. I understand what you are conveying. I have ways believed in honoring and loving, respecting my husband and I try but with his porn addiction, his infidelity, lying and verbal abuse. Its not unreadonable for him to have consequences for his mistreatment of his vows, wife and children. If you dont want men to act like women then accountability is a good thing. Also a women suffering with PTSD due to betrayal infidity, is not capable to give him what you ask of her here.
    https://www.facebook.com/Reign-Intervention-1518164321831749/

    1. Maria Carvalho,

      If a husband is involved in unrepentant sin, there are times when a wife will have to stay back or even separate (if things are really severe) until he is willing to repent and truly rebuild trust. I don’t ever want any wives to feel like they need to try to trust a man who is involved in major unrepentant sin. And there are times when there is severe unrepentant sin going on that a wife may not be able to submit to her husband until he is willing to repent. I have seen wives try to submit, for example, when their husbands are having affairs and won’t stop. No. That is not going to work!

      I have many disclaimers on my blog that if there are severe issues, major active addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, major unrepentant sin, abuse, active infidelity, etc… that people need to seek one-on-one godly, experienced counsel with someone they can get to know personally and who can walk with them through these difficult challenges.

      The only way any wife can give what I am talking about here – is if they are completely filled up with the power of the Holy Spirit. None of us can do this in our flesh. That is for sure!

      For wives dealing with a lot of verbal abuse, http://www.leslievernick.com may be helpful.

      For those dealing with porn addicted husbands, http://www.xxxchurch.org may be helpful. You may also search my home page for “porn.” I have a number of resources here for wives whose husbands are dealing with porn addictions. I would love to see us allow Christ to transform us and heal us – then He can use us to help bless our husbands and we will have power as we pray for healing for our husbands.

      Much love to you! 🙂

  24. Hello Peaceful wife,

    I’m new here and I find this blog a blessing. My challenge is that I have a lot of issues at stake and I’ll need a listening ear and a step by step guidance. Please how do I go about this? I need help.

    1. Adwoa,

      It is wonderful to meet you! Are you free to share some of the general issues you are facing? What is your relationship with Christ at this time? Do you know of a godly wife mentor or godly counselor at your church you could trust?

      Much love to you!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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