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"I Don't Think My Husband Loves Me – How Can I Become a Godly Woman and Wife?"

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I am not sure if I have made this really important point clear enough:

The path on this journey with your relationship with God to become a godly woman and wife will be basically the same whether your husband loves you or whether he doesn’t at the moment.

Let’s just stop to look at our purpose here:

The entire point of this journey is for you to draw close to Jesus, to love God, to know God, and to be right with God. The purpose is for you to be filled with His Spirit and to abide in Him and to experience His spiritual riches in your every day life and for you to be obedient to Him, increasing in holiness, and pleasing to Him. The purpose is to bring glory to God.

Like David Platt says, “We don’t come to Jesus to get stuff (from God), we come to Jesus to get God.”

The main goal on this journey is not to fix our marriages, to feel more loved by our husbands, to change our husbands, or to be happy. Ironically, though, if we make those things our most important goals – we will never have what we desire. God may heal our marriage along the way but the goal in following Christ is for us to have God and to be transformed by Him ourselves. We trust Him with the results in our circumstances, whatever they may be. As we yield our desires and dreams to God – He will change our desires to match His desire – and then He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).

What your husband does is primarily between himself and God. You can trust God to deal with him if he doesn’t love you. (Yes, if there is major unrepentant sin in your husband’s life, you may need to respectfully confront him – you may even need to separate from him as you continue to pray fervently for his repentance and for healing for the marriage.)

GOD IS SOVEREIGN:

Here is the awesome thing about having a sovereign God –

God can change your husband’s heart, He can change your heart, and He can change your circumstances. No big deal.

God can change any of these things according to His purposes, His will, and His timing. We have freewill as people – and at the very same time, God is sovereign. I know it is tempting to get really caught up in your husband’s lack of response, seeming indifference, unloving behavior, or his lack of willingness to spend time with you. It is easy to look at this one snapshot in time and think that this is our destiny rather than looking ahead with eyes of faith to what God desires to do and being content in Christ whatever our current circumstances may be – resting peacefully in God’s sovereignty.

If you are getting stuck on this journey – and caught up in all the things your husband is not doing for you and how disappointed you feel – let’s forget about your husband for a bit. (Unless you are not safe or have really serious issues and need to get out and get somewhere safe.) Let’s forget about whether he loves you or not. Let’s forget about his apparent motives. Let’s forget about what you can get from your husband and marriage and what he should do for you. Keep your eyes on Jesus, my dear sister! Listen to Him, follow Him, and obey Him!

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

Other people’s feelings and motives are not that important on this journey. They are changeable and they are not the source of absolute truth. God is the source of absolute truth and His is ultimately in control. He can even use the evil intentions of others to accomplish His good purposes in our lives (see the story of Joseph beginning in Genesis 37). Thankfully, you are not dependent on your husband’s thoughts, words, or actions for you to become a godly wife. Your husband may be the source of some tests of your character. But he cannot keep you from becoming a godly woman or withhold God’s purposes from your life. He can’t stop God’s good plans for you or thwart God’s sovereignty in your life.  Your husband is not sovereign. Feelings are not sovereign. Circumstances are not sovereign. God is sovereign! No one can take you out of God’s loving hands or separate you from His love for you!

This journey you are on is not really about your husband at all. Yes, he may be a beneficiary as God heals you. And yes, part of your obeying God will be to bless him – but this is all about your relationship with God and whether your sinful nature is in control or the Holy Spirit is in control of your life.

Your husband has his own journey to make. He will be accountable for every motive, every careless word, every thought, every deed. He will be accountable for his obedience to God’s Word for him as a man and as a husband. And we will be accountable for all of these things to God, as women and wives. (** See the bottom of the post for more about this.)

MUTUALITY

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

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

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

God wants you to have a strong marriage – He loves marriage!! But hear this closely:

Much more than you having a strong marriage, God wants you to desire Him, to know Him, and to look to Him alone to meet your needs. He wants your life to glorify Him.

God is never going to allow us to put our marriages, our husbands, our feelings, or anything or anyone else above Himself in our hearts. That is idolatry. If His having you go through a painful trial results in you growing in your faith and you making Him THE priority in your life and putting everything else WAY below Him – then this trial was worth it in God’s eyes. One day, it will be worth it in your eyes, too, my dear sister! You know the pain you have when your husband doesn’t want to spend time with you? That is a similar pain that God experiences when you brush Him off and don’t want to spend time with Him – except that His pain is much deeper.

If you are content in Christ – you are blessed and you get to have His overflowing peace and joy no matter what your husband does. He can give you the power and wisdom to be the woman and wife He wants you to be in every circumstance for His glory. Jesus truly is MORE than enough and more than sufficient for each of us. He will bring each of us through various trials where we get to learn this first hand.

Interestingly, when a wife is filled up with Christ and walking in obedience to God, God often uses this to draw her husband closer to Christ. This often eventually leads to healing for the marriage. BUT – even if it doesn’t, it is still more than worth it for each of us to be right with God.

I INVITE YOU TO PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

Open our eyes to the greatest purposes You have for our existence – to love You with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and to love others with Your love. Help us remember that following Christ is about taking up our cross, dying to our will and our wants, and living for Your will and Your glory. Help us focus on becoming the women You call us to be rather than what we can get out of our marriages. Draw us to Yourself. Greatly increase our faith. Make us women of fervent prayer! Fill us with Your Spirit. Cleanse us from all sin. Let us abide in You and be overflowing with Your Spirit. Regenerate our hearts. Renew our minds with Your Word. Cause us to rise to become a holy generation of women who are the salt and light of this world for Your glory! Use us mightily in Your kingdom, Father!

In the Name and power of Christ Jesus,

Amen!

WE WILL STAND ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE GOD FOR OUR OWN LIVES:

When you stand before God and He judges the work you have done for His kingdom – you will stand there alone. Your husband won’t be there beside you.

This is not a group grade. We will have no excuses – we will be accountable to Him for our walk and our character. For believers, our work will be tested by fire. We will not go to hell for our sins, because Jesus died to pay for our sin and we received that gift, making Him Lord of our lives. When God looks at our “bank account” instead of the billions of sin dollars of debt we used to have, now we have Jesus’ perfectly holy and righteous account. But God will burn our works, the things we did for Him and how we lived – and if we built wisely, we will be rewarded for whatever survives the fire. If we did not build wisely, what we did will be burned up and we won’t have any rewards – we will narrowly escape with our lives (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

The point of all that I write about on this blog is to focus on your own journey, your spiritual growth, and your relationship with Christ. My goal is for Him to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” to you when you stand before Him when this short life is over. This is all about you and God.

RELATED:

What Does It Mean to Be an Ungodly Woman?

Godly Femininity – Part 1

Submission (to Christ) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Praying for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear

113 thoughts on “"I Don't Think My Husband Loves Me – How Can I Become a Godly Woman and Wife?"

  1. This is another wonderful post April.

    The more i learn that submission is not about my husband, the easier it becomes for me to want to fight for it. When i make it about my husband, i am tempted to give up when i think he did not treat me right. But now that i know it is what God desires for me and that it is entirely my choice to obey, it has become more appealing.

    Like the bible says in matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added unto you.”

    I believe if the kingdom of God includes respecting my husband, God will add everything else unto me. That includes love, intimacy, etc. etc. Thank you for making me realize it is all about God.

    1. Desiring to Submit,

      A lot of people thing that submission in marriage is about treating our husbands as if they are deity. Not at all! This isn’t about our husbands – it all begins with our submission to Christ, our reverence for Him, and our desire to please Him. But it is so amazing that when we do things God’s way – and we trust Him with the results – we get to watch Him do miracles and move mountains and bring glory to Himself in ways we could not have possibly imagined.

      Love that! “I believe if the kingdom of God includes respecting my husband, God will add everything else to me.” And- thankfully – whether we are in plenty or in want (even in our marriages), we can learn the secret Paul learned to being content in any and all circumstances – through Christ who gives us strength! (Phil. 4:12-13)

  2. This was a post that I needed as well this morning.

    My husband goes through phases where he will begin to spend almost all of his time with friends for months at a time. He gets upset sometimes to the point of threatening temporary separation if I begin to voice my hurt about it. During this time the friends’ girlfriend seems to be with them all the time and it makes me uncomfortable. He seems to enjoy the idea of my jealousy and has started making comments about female coworkers, in a joking way to see if I will act jealous.

    I feel desperate for his reassurance that everything is OK but it just seems to make him angry if I voice my concerns. I feel like giving up but I don’t think that is the Lord’s will for me. I am so lonely and hurt because half the time he is everything I would want him to be then he suddenly jerks the rug out from under me.

    This blog has been such a blessing and comfort to me though and I am beginning to understand how unhealthy my attachment to my husband has become.

    1. Aimee,

      I’m so glad this blessed you today. God’s timing is always amazing to me.

      If you’d like a bit of help with what is going on, I would be glad to hash through some things with you. What do you think?

      Much love to you!

    2. I have the same problems.At one point my husband shut down for months yet he is soo jolly with his girlfriends they even chat in the night I still cant get past the hurt I feel sometimes

        1. Peacefulwife,

          I just started reading your website a few days ago. I am searching for answers and direction. I am so lost and want nothing more than to be a better wife and mother…I was wondering how I could talk to you a bit. I read what you post and I feel encouraged but then it does not seem to come to pass.

          Looking for direction in my life.

          Sher

          1. ShayShaysmom,

            I wish I could do private mentoring, but right now, I am not able to do that. I am available here on the blog and on Youtube and my FB pages – if that is helpful, at all.

            If you need private counseling, Focus on the Family has a free counseling service http://www.focusonthefamily.org.

            There is also a private FB group available on a link at this post.

            You can search my home page for topics like:

            – control
            – insecurity
            – security
            – contentment
            – fear
            – conflict
            – idol
            – idolatry
            – godly femininity
            – how to be filled with the Holy Spirit
            – surprising root of marriage problems

            Much love to you!

  3. This is so true.

    When I started this journey 9 months ago, it was to try to save my marriage. My husband told me I needed to “find my true self”. I had no idea how to do that, but I did know I was helplessly lost and at the lowest time of my life. I reached out to God and was directed toward this blog, some great books, He has sent me a few precious godly older women to encourage me and I found a church to belong.

    Although it started out to fix me and my disrespect and try to save my marriage, the walk with God and learning to have a relationship with Him has been much more rewarding and helps me have the confidence that no matter if the marriage gets saved or not, I will be better off having God directing me. I have been able to detach from every move my husband makes and I see the world with much more promise.

    My world no longer revolves around my husband and what he is doing, saying, etc.

    I have children, other family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, cashiers, and strangers that I can learn to love as other children of God, just like me…they are my sisters and brothers. I get good “practice” on them too. Now, the marriage problems are not my main focus, but I don’t ignore them.

    I have a commitment to my husband. I am commanded to love him for better or worse. This just might be the worst, but I agreed to it, not just for the better only. I see myself as a beacon of God’s love for all, including, but not solely for, my husband. I have to be able to sleep at night knowing I did my best today, and tomorrow will be another chance to do even better. I thank God every morning for that chance and I review my blessings at night as I settle into sleep.

    It just feels right, and I feel stronger and less a victim. I hate feeling like a victim, and with God I don’t have to be. Thank you April for helping us focus on the real point of this journey. Your other posts help us put this journey into real life action. No matter why we come here, the goal is the same. Amen.

    1. Lmsdaily115,

      My sister, I am so delighted in your newfound joy and contentment in God’s love and in living for him. Just had to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and seeing your wonderful progress! Much love, Elizabeth

      1. Thanks so much for that!. I know that I needed all of you so much when I first started out on this journey. I still do, but being able to see where others are and recognizing how far I have become makes me want to reach a helping hand out when I can. I don’t know how I would have found God without all of you. I feel like I am part of a wonderful club. Thank YOU for all your support. Still have lots n lots to learn.

        1. LMSdaily115,

          Isn’t it amazing! I sometimes walk around in disbelief knowing all of the treasures God has poured into my life – and I am walking past people who have no idea what is inside my heart – but I want it to just spill out onto everyone. And it is such a blessing to pray with and connect with other women (and men) who are seeking Christ wholeheartedly and to watch as He transforms them. That just never gets old!

    2. LMSdaily115,

      I just love your story. I know a little bit about what a tough road this has been for you. I’m glad you reached out to me when you were struggling – I want to be able to offer as much support as possible to wives when they need encouragement and hope.

      I am SO excited to get to see you beginning to offer support, hope, love, prayers, blessing, and the treasures God has shared with you to other wives. That makes me smile and fills my heart with so much joy, I could just burst!

      I love that, “My world no longer revolves around my husband and what he is doing, saying, etc…”

      It is not that we don’t care. We do. But we don’t have to live and die by every word spoken by our men or by every bad mood our husband has. We can have independence in Christ from our husbands in a healthy way. We don’t have to let them drag us down – we can remain calm, peaceful, joyful, etc… in Christ. And at the same time, we see them more and more with God’s eyes and with His love and we can extend blessings to them. But now, we don’t have to love with strings attached. We can follow God’s prompting and His Word. We can obey His Spirit and we can bless our husbands. But then no matter how they may respond, we can be spiritually and emotionally well and whole. And we can pray for God to work in our husbands to accomplish His will and to bring them to salvation or to repentance and regeneration. But we are not desperately clinging to our husbands and depending on what they do or don’t do for our well-being.

      It is a very peaceful and powerful place to be to sit on the Rock above the crashing waves and to have peace in the storm -to be able to see that God holds the future and to not get too worked up about a comment our husbands make because we know God will cause all things to ultimately work for His glory and our good. We can cling to God and to His Word and His promises. We can love Him wholly and we can love others without becoming exhausted when His Spirit fills us. This is the power of God in our lives to bring healing and reconciliation – rather than a sinful kind of power to tear down and destroy. I love it!

      You are most welcome, my precious sister! I praise God that He gave you the ability to hear His voice and to put His Word into practice. I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for you in His kingdom and in your walk with Him!

      Much love!

      1. I love how you say that we don’t have to allow our husbands to drag us down and we don’t have to depend on them for our well being….or live and die by what they say or what mood they are in. I am very stuck in this battle right now. Because our marriage is in a fragile state, any mood, action, facial expression, rejecting comment, just about anything my husband does determines how my day goes and how shaky my works feels. I am getting stronger in itty bitty ways for which I am grateful.

        Thank you April for your love and wisdom that you freely give to us who are scared, rejected, disillusioned, and trying to find our way back to our father.

        1. Betsy,

          There is a real temptation to begin to try to make our husbands happy, or to get them to love us more. But if we make these goals the most important thing – we are idolizing them. Yes, we care about our husbands’ feelings and moods. But we are not dependent on them – we are dependent on Christ. And they can’t take our joy and peace away that we have in Jesus. Sometimes they are in a bad mood that has nothing to do with us. Sometimes God is convicting them of sin in their own life that really isn’t about us. Sometimes they are processing things from the past when we did sin against them and it takes them time to process and wrestle through those things. That is okay!

          Your world will be shaky if you build on the sinking sand of your husband’s emotions, his love for you, his moods, and how you feel.

          Your world will not be shaky if you build on the solid Rock of Christ alone.

          You are most welcome, my precious sister! It is such an honor that God allows me to be a little part of your journey!!!

          May God be greatly exalted in your life!

          1. It helped me immensely to read the book “Boundaries in Marriage” by Dr’s Cloud and Townsend. Understanding what was mine to deal with and what was not was a huge help.

          2. April, may God richly bless you!
            You are such a help
            and a blessing and God is using you mightily and I thank Him for you!

    3. Boy this came at the right time. I am feeling very rejected from my husband. Thursday was our anniversary and he has still yet to open the card. In therapy on Thursday he told the counselor that there is no chance that he will ever trust me again, yet we are still sexual.

      Everyday I look for a glimmer of hope from my husband that he is still in the game. Sometimes I sense that he is, and soon hr shows signs that he is not.

      I needed the reminder that the journey I am in is for me to draw close to God. Not for my husband to change or my marriage to heal, although I pray this happens. But if not, I am going to be okay.

      1. Betsy,

        Ouch! That had to hurt very much for you to hear him say that he will never trust you again. I know that based on your past history – he probably has reason to think that way. But – let’s trust God together as you build a new history with Christ being your Lord and being in charge. 🙂 God may change his heart when he sees all that God is doing – but it will probably take some time. I’m glad he is being sexual with you – because that is a powerful way to bond and a way you can bless him. A lot of husbands shut down sexually when they feel very disrespected or emotionally unsafe.

        I love what you are learning and I am thankful that our God is awesome at fixing broken people and relationships.

        Much love, my dear sister!

    4. Beautifully written

      . This gives me hope. I am in the early months of my respect journey.it may be too late in my husband’s eyes…but never too late in Gods eyes

      I pray that I take my husband off the pedastal and replace him with God.

  4. April,

    This is one of the most powerful posts you’ve ever written, and I thank you for it. It ranks right up there with the one about forgiveness, and makes me want to print it and put it on the wall! I thank God for you and your work for Him every day.

    1. Elizabeth,

      I have to thank a wife who commented yesterday because her comment inspired this post. I agree – this is a very important foundational truth as we follow Christ – that we are doing it for Him alone and that we must die to self. But, paradoxically – this is the way to abundant Life in Christ! 🙂

      Thank you for the encouragement, my dear sister!

  5. Amen! Anytime in my life, now in my marriage, and when I was single, I always survived the struggles of life by leaning on God. When I stumble, I always notice it’s at a time I am not as close to God so I run to him so I can take the next steps.
    Thank you, April and all of you, for your helpful, strenghtening and inspiring comments. I praise God that we have each other to remind us where we need to be — in God’s presence.

    1. Donna,

      You are most welcome – I praise God that He is using this post to bless you and strengthen your faith in Christ. And I am so thankful for the community we can share as we walk this road together. What a blessing!

    1. Refined,

      I realized that there seemed to be a big misunderstanding in this area for some wives. God laid this message on my heart so heavily yesterday – I had to share it ASAP! So glad it blessed you.

  6. April, so many of your posts I just replace woman with man, wife with husband and have the same decisions to make….like everybody else i have to thank you for all this work that you do and say how important it is.

    I think you’ve got as big a men’s ministry as for women – they are the same issues really.

    Before i was separated, I didn’t know any of these truths, but God is amazing…..everything leads us back to Jesus!! I love being Godly now and sometimes I think …”wow, that’s all I’ve got, I can get up in the morning knowing I am righteous before God” and I see “happy” families or relationships and so ache for that to happen
    but being separated and now being so involved not just in church but having a very real and tangible relationship with Jesus my separation is very public and my testimony is getting used so regularly for men and women that I meet because they want to know how to live “godly” lives and struggle in their marriage or are struggling as a man, father, husband, woman, whatever.

    People get really confused as to why we are still separated but it actually gives me an opportunity to be very open and real that wouldn’t be possible if we were actually back together – weird!! weird how He works things out. Similarly, I am so grateful, seriously, that my wife has not been able to recognize change yet and it drives me further into seeking God and to be truthful, I keep finding new areas of my life that require being laid down in submission.

    1. Gary,

      I was thinking about that as I wrote this post – that it would apply for husbands, too. The things Jesus calls His disciples to do and the lessons we all have to learn are the same!

      – the sufficiency of Christ
      – total dependence on God
      – forgiveness
      – living by faith
      – dying to self
      – submitting fully to God
      – abiding in Christ
      – tearing out idols
      – taking our thoughts captive for Christ
      – fervent prayer

      We are all on the same journey, really! Men, women, marrieds, singles…

      I am so thankful and honored that God would be willing to pour His truth through me and that I get to be a little part of what He is doing in so many lives around the world. It is crazy!!

      I used to dream of being a foreign missionary when I was a teenager. There was no internet back then. Can you imagine God telling me that one day, I would get to share the Gospel and God’s wisdom with thousands of people around the world from my living room!?!!? How could I have been to grasp that?

      God is SO good!

      I just started this journey for God and my own husband. And look what He is doing. Blows my mind!

      I love what God is doing in your life and I never get tired of hearing about the things He is teaching you.

      Thank you for contributing your thoughts. You are a blessing here to all of us!

      1. Thanks April, I feel like I’m wearing out my welcome here but I have so many questions all the time and I’m only just starting to “get it”

        1. Gary,

          You are always welcome here – and if you have questions – I will do my best to point you to Christ, my brother. I do not consider myself a teacher for men – but if I can share something helpful, I am glad to. 🙂

        2. Gary, for what it’s worth. I highly value your male perspective.

          You have a clear way of explaining things. I am thirsty to try to understand how or why men think or feel the way they do and if I can help you in some way, it feels good. Please don’t feel like you are wearing out your welcome. I kind of look forward to seeing what you have to say when I see your name in the comments. You bring a new perspective. That kind of diversity is valued by me, probably many of us. It also helps to find out the things that guys wonder about or have no idea we feel this way.

          I think too often, women think that there is no possible way our guys could miss how we feel, or if they cared at all, they would see how they hurt us. We tend to think men are mind readers and are hurt when they are not, poor guys, super hero’s without the one super power us women want them to have! To finally realize we are expecting something quite Ludacris is eye opening when we see it for what it is and not what we want in our hearts.

          I guess we just don’t realize that guys don’t always intuitively know what we are feeling. Other women could see a woman crying, or react to a harsh word and kniw exactly what is going on. Not a woman on this site can ignore how crushingly lonely it is to be married to a workaholic and feel so last on the list of priorities as to wonder why bother, he doesn’t care anyway. But a guy thinks he is providing love to his family by working hard and bringing home money. Same situation, 2 VERY different feelings on it.

          This communication and understanding of each other is what is often missing in a marriage. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here. I pray your wife softens her heart and learns to trust you again. Either way, you are a better person now than who you were before, and you know it, because you feel it in your own heart.

          Thanks again.

          1. Hey thanks LMS – this is such an amazing platform for honest understanding that April has got here…and it’s been all your comments that have got me to a point where I have half an idea mainly on how much damage both my wrong and my right actions have had on my wife. It’s often argued that it is the men who are clueless but I now realize it is PEOPLE who are clueless.

            This separation has been so valuable to me for a few reasons, one of the really big ones is that fixing our marriages or relationships is not the objective but rather is a beneficial result of us getting our primary relationship with God in order. If it is just the objective then we stop as soon as we reach the destination which reduces Jesus to no more than our personal problem solver.

            I certainly never understood the workaholic effect which is now so obvious nor how so many things that i did that I thought would be a help were actually seen as demeaning and disrespectful, one of them being that I was never discussing things but it was really a major contributor to my wife feeling ignored and disrespected because she felt that she wasn’t able to contribute – I am really upset at myself for that one!

            I was talking to a sixty year old man yesterday who is in a lot of trouble with his marriage and basically I was just telling him things I had learned here – he thought I was a genius – nope, just good help here!!

          2. Yep. I have experienced that too.

            I feel so empowered when I know God. I have also discovered how utterly ignored and unwanted my husband must have felt when the kids came first, or I was so wrapped up into PTA or my hobbies. How he looked elsewhere for that companionship I was meant to be, but I ignored my responsibility. I was still operating as a single person, not a married person who joined with another soul. I did not take the fact that my husband needed my love and acceptance and respect. I looked at our marriage like coworkers.

            Maybe because the more things I DO for him, the more I thought I was showing I loved him. Cook, clean, errands etc. But that is not his language. I never understood how important sex was to a man, how the connection of intimacy is bonded there. I never had a clue that anger = hurt. Seems simple now, but I was totally blind to it. I get convicted weekly by God. That onion keeps peeling and I feel the same as you.

            I don’t want my husband to come back quite yet, I want to be more polished and ready to love him properly. I am starting to see him soften, then I blow it getting all hormonal and weepy and all I want is a hug from him. He cannot do that. It hurts for him to deny something I want badly, but I know it wouldn’t last unless done God’s way.

            I will remain patient and learn. When we stop learning, or peeling off this layers, then we stop growing. It is silly to think we will ever understand God totally. I got too confident this week and lost it with my kids. I might be better at respecting my husband, but I unleashed on my teens. I was horrified at what I have done…and I understand God’s love to boot!!! What a hypocrite I was. I was crushed by my guilt.

            I came here for guidance. I knew God could help. I’m so glad God doesn’t deal with our sins right away. He deals with them, either by paying for them with the blood of Christ, or eternal damnation. The wage of sin is death. BUT, he allows us to repent, learn, make better choices, grow closer to Him. He knows we are not perfect, but in merely seeking him, we are blessed.

            I can figure it out in my mind, but putting all we learn into action is a whole other challenge. I just know your wife will not be able to ignore your light. Watch Fireproof, the movie for some hope. It’s hard to not see the light of God when it’s near.

      1. Wow Betsy, I am so glad you asked me that because I literally sat down to write a general question related to that because it is related to trust….we separated because I was deceitful, unreliable, and totally untrustworthy. I claimed I loved my wife but my actions even AFTER separation did not support that, much of my deceit was self deceit and an enormous amount of shame undergirded that.

        My actions improved significantly and every single person – except my wife – believes I have significantly changed. But being honest, my wife has been able to see into parts of my heart that others haven’t and so she needs very very tangible proof that I now respect her and put her before me. I do genuinely repent and I don’t slip back but once the “mask” related to that repentance is gone light is shed on more layers of untruthfulness underneath which I am very happy to find to take to the cross and my life keeps changing as a result. But I keep wondering how long and how many layers before I can really trust myself that I am truthful.

        So as a result of so many years living with someone that she now believes she doesn’t know any more – she can’t tell if I have really changed or if this yet another mask to convince her that I have. I really get that and I really support her uncertainty, I really do. But as an expert in facades ,I’m quite worried that I can continue to be an actor on a stage…

        So the question I was going to ask here in general terms was based upon exactly what I answered to you – Trust can be earned over a long time but I know that I can do that as actions without a truth behind it because that is what I did for so long – But God works on truth and the heart so how would a woman know truth from trust because my wife does without question so i want to be sure that I am walking in truth not just seemingly right actions.

        1. Gary,

          It seems to me that our primary responsibility and accountability as believers is to walk in truth, faithfulness, holiness, and obedience before God. There may be some people, or some times, when people don’t approve or trust us. We cannot control their responses. We can pray for them. We can seek to show them that we are trustworthy and have genuinely changed. But it may take a very long time for someone we have deeply wounded to be able to trust us again.

          Our job is just to continue to obey God and do what He prompts us to do. We can be as transparent as possible with those we have hurt. We can be willing to be accountable in the ways that help them rebuild trust.

          Then we wait on God to work in their hearts while we continue to follow Christ and seek to be in the center of His will.

          God’s Word and His Spirit guide us into all truth. Solid Bible teaching can help us be sure we are well grounded in truth.

          Am I answering your question?

          🙂

          1. I know what you are saying and for sure I agree with you…it was more a self checking for me. He says study the Word to show yourself approved but for someone like me who was so good at his own self deception and believed it I want to make sure i don’t go down that same road again because it really does damage those around me and its probably my greatest concern now . In reality that’s what the Holy Spirit is going to do though isn’t it?

          2. Gary,

            I think that as you stay constantly tuned in to the Spirit, abiding in prayer and in the Word – seeking for God to expose any sin or wrong motives – He can help you identify self-deception. But having some godly male mentors that you deeply trust to help you with this may also be valuable.

          3. Thanks April, I do have a lot of men that I walk along the various roads with now and they really help in noticing “blind spots” but I’m hurting now because in asking God to do just what you have said above – expose sin and wrong motives – He has been showing me and letting me “feel” the effects my past duplicity and an attitude of compromise has had not just on my wife, but in my professional life and on me……..I never realized just how much it removed trust, it’s huge – and I can’t earn that back in a day, or a week or a month, maybe even a year!

            In a way, a very painful way, I finally feel like i am making progress. Repentance is really important, but it was just a first step and doesn’t even need understanding but then sin can go, and that’s allowed shame to be exposed and then that allows openness because I’m finally allowing myself to be secure enough to trust God and allow people to be really honest with how i have hurt them or failed them and it is really tough. Because all of a sudden after a long year I am finally starting to let the painful truths in with out excusing them or blocking them. I’m not avoiding them but i wish I could..it is extremely confronting!!

            Wow! and there’s the reason why men aren’t seen as emotional and seen as disconnected – this is full on – confronting my frailty, inability…and then allowing God to do something with it….no excuses, no anything. I am so glad I brought this up with you….when your book refers to men being afraid – this is what we are afraid of….this is what we are trained to cover, protect and deny but never how to deal with –

          4. Gary,

            Feeling the damage our sin has caused is VERY painful. I know I wanted to run away and go live in a cave for the rest of my life when God showed me how much I had hurt Greg and grieved God’s heart. I suddenly realized almost every thought and motive in my head and almost every word that came out of my mouth was sinful. It was AWFUL!

            It does take a long time to earn back trust. And it is hard to see how those we love lost their trust in us and how difficult it is for them to get trust back.

            No one enjoys having to face this. But it is a very necessary step – seeing the wretchedness of our sin and the extent of our debt to God and to others – so that we can truly appreciate the cost of what Jesus did for us on the cross. It empowers us to be able to love God and others MUCH in the future and to be filled with gratitude for what God has done for us. This gratitude and joy fuels our desire to obey God and to be a blessing to others – even when there seems to be nothing in it for us in this lifetime.

            Thank you for sharing, our brother!

          5. How my heart broke when I “came to” and realized how much I have hurt my husband. I have been focused on how he has hurt me. I pray to God that in my husbands silence and throughout his day that he is working with God to be “willing to be willing” to trust me. I have to be honest….my husband has been very hurtful to me throughout the years and throughout the last 14 months when he said he wanted a divorce — yet he has yet to own his part. This feels very unfair to me. When do husbands take ownership of their part in the relationship breakdown?

            We went to see War Room last night. I cried throughout most of the movie. Even though he was sitting next to me in the theater, he sat as far away from me as he could. There has been nothing discussed between us. I wonder what he is thinking and feeling after seeing the movie. That is for he and God to work through.

            I have to be very diligent and committed to prayer for my husband and children. And I must continue to be strong in my walk with God, because I have no idea if we will make it or not. What I do know is that I must obey God and serve my husband with respect and love, regardless of how he treats me….to an extent.

          6. Betsy,

            I was mortified and devastated when God opened my eyes to all my sin. I had focused on Greg’s “sin” – much of which, wasn’t even sin – and my hurt for 14+ years. I had no idea I had contributed anything to the problems in our marriage. I thought it was 100% him all that time. 🙁 I wanted to go live in a cave!!!

            What I have seen is that as wives own their part and get rid of the sin in their lives and begin to walk for Christ in obedience and holiness by the power of God’s Spirit, eventually, over time, husbands realize that they can’t blame their wives anymore for the sin in their own lives and God begins to convict them. This often takes a lot of time. Many months, a year, or more.

            Yes, God can speak to your husband. I’m glad you are letting Him deal with those spiritual issues because your husband is probably not going to be very open to words about spiritual things from you right now. But as he sees God transform you and sees that it is for real – he will begin to be drawn more and more toward God himself.

            Take one day at a time, my precious sister. God is already in the future. Just as much as He is with you right this moment. You just focus on Christ and obeying Him and blessing your husband and praying. If you are being abused or your husband is involved in unrepentant adultery or something – you may have to consider leaving. And you can ask him to treat you with respect. God will give you wisdom about what to do and how to approach your husband. I’m glad you are willing to embrace all that God desires to do in your heart, mind, and soul in this fiery trial.

            Much love!

  7. As soon as I read your first point about the growing towards God whether or not our husbands love us, I knew I loved this post. Leading a godly life isn’t supposed to be for our selfish advantage. Sooo many Christians miss this point and fall away from Jesus as soon as things get ugly. Life isn’t about happiness and feeling good. Do we all wish it was? Sinfully we all do. However, just as you said, that is not the journey here. Trusting and growing towards Jesus is the journey, even when happiness doesn’t dwell in our midst.
    Good work sister in Christ. 🙂

    1. marieelee,

      You know – I needed someone to explain this stuff to me 21 years ago when we first got married! I missed this point for such a long time – and only created a lot of misery for myself and my husband – and grief for God.

      Thank you so much for sharing!!! Please pray that God might empower me to be obedient and faithful to His message – and that I might share all that He desires me to share for His glory. I pray for the Body to be greatly edified and strengthened in our faith and obedience!

  8. PW,
    Great article as always. I just want to encourage you to take a hard look at the photo you attached to it. This will give you a hard look into a male’s mind. I don’t the the clothing in itself is “wrong” but combined with the wind and and the silhouetting taking place it’s not easy on a brother’s guarding of his eyes. I think that is you. Not trying to embarrass you but I wouldn’t want it there of my wife, nor if it took my mind where it did I’m sure I’m not the only one. Please feel free to erase this if you want to.

    1. Anonymous Today,

      I actually appreciate this insight! Thank you for letting me know it is a problem. This pic is not me – it is a pic from http://www.freeimages.com. Choosing pictures is the thing I really truly enjoy the least about blogging. I know it adds a lot to a post to have pictures – but to find just the right picture can be frustrating.

      I will definitely change the pic and try to be much more careful in the future. Thank you, my dear brother!

      1. Anonymous Today,

        Between this blog, and my blog for single women, I need at least 250 pics per year. Finding beautiful, appropriate, modest, godly pictures can be difficult. At one point, I got so tired of trying to find pics, that I used more pictures of myself, because I could control the modesty, etc… but then I was accused of being vain.

        Perhaps I need prayers for God to help me find just the right pictures! 🙂

        1. Thank you PW. I imagine it is hard to find pictures. Everytime it flashed across I had to fight- so thank you very much. God bless-

          1. PW,
            One thing that kept tugging at me today as I worked was something I have heard a lot lately- I don’t submit or respect my husband because of my husband but because of God.

            I get it. Many husbands are at a place where that has to be the reason. Some wives may currently THINK their husbands are at a place where that has to be the reason. But I want you to encourage you wives to not use this language around your husband OR even more importantly make this your mindset in all situations or forever.

            Husbands want to be respected and submitted to because we are worth being respected and submitted to. By saying this over and over again it’s like telling your husband you are only sleeping with him because you have to because your his wife. OR imagine him telling you that he only loves you because God commanded it. That you aren’t worth being loved in and of yourself (and yes, we are all sinners that only through Christ…). That you aren’t worth talking to, being emotionally intimate with other than God said we are to be considerate to and not harsh. That would be incredibly painful to a wife. The inverse is also true to a husband.

            We as husbands have all had hours, days or seasons where we are not “worthy” just as all wives have had hours, days or seasons where they are not worthy- and that is when we live out the sacrificial love and mercy of doing our duties regardless because of God & draw our strength from there. But I imagine we all want our spouse to being willing to do their part because we mean that much to them, and either are respected or loved enough to do so. I know that’s nit picky- I’m sorry. But just as husbands don’t want duty sex to be the norm, neither do we want duty respect or submission.

            In Christ–

          2. Anonymous Today,

            Thank you for this important point, my brother!

            The things we will respect about our husbands need to be actual good things that we truly do respect in them. And if we are terrified to trust God or submit to Him, we can’t possibly submit to or trust our husbands.

            But I do agree – that this is not something we need to say to our husbands. “I am only submitting to you because God says I have to,” or “I am only respecting you because God commands me to.” That would be destructive.

            God can grow in us genuine respect for our husbands and He can help us see the good in them. Ultimately, this is about our walk with Christ. But then the wholeness we begin to have in Christ, and the healing and power He gives us empowers us to treat our husbands with real honor and real respect.

            I hope this makes sense, ladies!

          3. Anonymous Today,

            I think I better write a post on this topic!

            One reason I emphasize this so much is that, if I don’t talk about pure motives – to please God and bless our husbands- wives tend to try to use respect and submission to manipulate their husbands into giving them more love. I know husbands don’t need to know all of the work God is doing in their wives’ lives and how their wives need to approach this spiritually – but I don’t want wives to do this out of manipulation.

            God can empower us to genuinely respect and honor our husbands – just as He can empower husbands to genuinely love their wives.

            But you are right that we don’t need to say these kinds of things to our husbands!

          4. Hope this okay PW, but here is my take on it and the train of thought might be troubling a little and push back against the “pure motives” thing- but stick with me.

            I expect, would think it rather silly, of my wife to NOT want me to reciprocate my end of the the marriage covenant when she is doing her’s. If you think about it, does not even God expect reciprocity? He made us, He expected us therefore to stay in fellowship with Him. Or think of even the most “pure motived” event in all of time- Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Did not He expect us to respond to that action?

            But here is the deal, Christ is patient, not willing that any would perish. In other words, I don’t think it’s manipulation in order to seek out reciprocation- I see God doing it everywhere in scripture- it’s that we will be patient and long suffering when our spouse chooses not to and still do it anyway to them.

            Lastly, I want you to imagine if you can forget all that you know about the Lord God. And imagine you woke up as an Egyptian slave or smack dab in he middle of Jeremiah’s time. In that snapshot in history- what would that tell you about the Lord God. In that one brief moment, without all the backstory and not knowing what is to come, I imagine our image of the embodiment of Love & Truth might not be so grand. We would not have the whole story, not by a long shot! We would only see His vengeance and His silence. But if we could stick around for a few “chapters’ and begin calling on His Name we would see the story change mightly.

            Sometimes we are like the times in the desert- complaining and bickering and forgetting everything that God has done/what is good in our spouse. And we’ve become so off course that even the Lord- the embodiment of Love- we cry out is a mean,fickle, and not worthy of our obedience and trust.

            Now granted, no man or wife is the Lord of heaven and earth! Not by a very, very long shot. But if we can lose sight of all that is good in Him, how can we not our spouse?

            Furthermore, if we can see the Lord become distant and dare we say “mean” when we have for years not been faithful to love, serve and obey Him- how much more our spouse? But does not even God react to what we do? And does not even God expect us to react to what He does? I think the difference is God chooses to be patient and faithful even when those expectations are not being met- but he nevertheless longs for & expects.

            Hope you can pick up what I was laying down thru all that rambling and muttering.

          5. Anonymous Today,

            I greatly appreciate your viewpoint on this, my brother! You are expanding my thoughts about this topic – and maybe you are explaining it much better than I have been trying to. I am going to need to rethink some things. Thank you very much!

            If you have any more you would like to share, I would love to hear it.

          6. If I were to add anything it would be this. We often make God into a caricature of who we want. But as with all things, if we are going to have a proper understanding/wisdom/truth, we have to start with a proper understanding of the Lord.

            Far too often we who call ourselves christians make Him into a big fluffy teddy bear in the sky. We take away all the edge and at the very least do not concentrate on it. Oh we might on occasion crack the OT or Revelation (or part of the Gospels!) and see a view of God we don’t like but then we quickly do everything we can to forget it. And we do everything we can to do so- and although His Word is always available to us and His creation surrounds us- because we don’t have to physically live with Him (and we are able to push that Holy Spirit with in us to such a small voice in our head even if we’ve ever learned to listen to the HS in the first place) we are able to ignore it. By It I actually mean Him. Trust is, Jesus was not comfortable to live around. He gave more than anyone ever- but He asked just about as much.

            Because we *have* to (like it’s a bad thing, right?) live with our spouse each day we take their good things for granted- like God’s people have always taken Him for granted. Whether in Egypt, or in Jerusalem or by a fire before a rooster crows three times.

            But because we also don’t have to live with that edge of Jesus- the one who tells us we are to give up our lives, take up our cross, let the dead bury their own dead, who says in the middle of the night could you not stay up with me for just one hour and then chews us out when we finally get a pair and grab our sword, the one who says if you love me you’ll obey me- because we don’t live with that day in and day out but live with this caricature instead the one that falsely does not expect reciprocity we are found to be foolish both towards God and then to our spouse (and everyone). Our spouse at times probably asks some tough things of us- you know to love them as Christ loved the church or to submit even unto calling them lord- but because we have to live with our spouses “edge” (for the lack of a better term over the years ) and cannot ignore them and make up caricature of them we get off track because we don’t have the proper understanding.

            It always starts with the proper understanding of Jesus Christ. The one who died for us while we are still sinners is also the one that commands we obey Him. The Christ of Matthew 27 is also The Christ of Revelation. God is pure motived, but not as we think of pure motives. It’s not God who has to change but our understanding but because that is too uncomfortable we continue to try and fit God into our box where we are comfortable with where the boundaries lie of that box.

            Many choose Christ because they don’t want to face hell (I have to submit because God tells me to submit/ I have to love because God commanded it of me as a husband), but Christ would much rather we chose Him because we love, respect and cherish Him and what He has done and does for us. Hopefully, even those who in the beginning choose for the former grow into the latter. Even when we read Revelation or Jeremiah or Noah’s story. And when we know that God, we can love and obey with His strength even when our spouse isn’t doing their part. When we meet that God then we can emulate that long suffering and patience towards our spouse, even amongst the battle, like He did with us.

            God bless you April. Your “work” is a blessing to many. Keep up the good fight.

          7. I read some of the comments on this page and the comment about the lack of our proper understanding of God’s character caught my attention particularly, probably because I had a small insight yesterday. I’m a novice, but trying to learn J

            I’m probably not the only one who gets bored and distracted easily when reading some of the stories of the Bible in the Old Testament. God’s wrath seems so huge (and rightly so) and never-ending. I decided to read prophet Jeremiah 7, 8, 9 yesterday, and I got distracted again. But because I’m trying to get to know God’s Word better now, I continued to read. In the middle of my « battle » with my feelings of discomfort, I asked myself why, why God coninues to speak without ceasing about his anger? What is the puprose ? One of the answers I thought is that God hates sin ; that He reveals through Jeremiah the sins of the people and the grave cosequences of ignoring them and Him. And then I got this insight that God through his wrath wants to show how great and powerful He is ! (I’m sure many of you already knew that).

            So when I read Anonymous Today comment : « if we are going to have a proper understanding/wisdom/truth, we have to start with a proper understanding of the Lord. », I remembered my insight, and thought yes, it’s very important to embrace and know the character of God even if it is difficult to see it.
            Than I remembered John Piper talking about the wrath of God (he talks briefly about God’s wrath and human suffering in on of his videos), and typed God’s wrath John Piper and found this two articles (Part 1 and 2) Romans 9 : 22-23 :

            http://www.desiringgod.org/labs/god-wants-to-show-his-wrath

            http://www.desiringgod.org/labs/the-ultimate-purpose-of-the-universe

            At the end of the video he says: « God would not have been fully known if he didn’t made known his wrath and his power… and not have been fully known, that would be unjust and unrighteous, unsuitable of God ; and we would not know fully who God is and what He is and that would be not loving : we would not be loved fully if we did not know God fully. »

            Thank you for your comments ! I learned again something about God today !

            God bless you all !

          8. Just wanted you to know that I have felt definite conviction tonight over the fact that I have been very good at giving my husband respectful actions….but it is not coming from a heart that truly respects my husband.

            The only thing I know to say in response to that conviction is a cry to God to ask him to change my heart, to give me a heart that respects my husband.

            Your comment and reading some recent blog posts on Gary Thomas’ blog both were used by God tonight.

            I want to truly respect my husband. I need God to do this in me, I can go through the motions all I want, but God has to change my heart. (and I know there are many things to respect about my husband)…..but I still need help.

            Thank you for commenting.

          9. I have to say my reply was to the comment at 1:17 you posted….I have read the others, but my mind is not absorbing it very well!

            I will have to read again tomorrow and ask questions if I’m still not getting it! 🙂

            Thanks again!

          10. Thank you Jennifer. I’m sure it’s not your mind’s fault but my poor communication skills! It rarely gets from my head to the keyboard with much efficiency. I’m sorry!

          11. Jennifer,

            You know, I am not sure many of us are able to truly respect our husbands at the beginning of this journey. I think if we cannot trust, submit to, and reverence God – there is no way for us to be able to genuinely respect and submit to or trust our husbands. This is my thinking right now… I am still trying to develop how to explain this concept, I guess. Maybe there is a better way to explain it that I will eventually see.

            At first, I was respectFUL to Greg. But I really didn’t respect Him. Of course, he could see through that. It didn’t work. It was an improvement over being disrespecful, somewhat. But it was not genuine respect. It took me a LONG time – 2.5 years to BEGIN to understand genuine respect.

            I have been thinking a lot about what Anonymous Today was saying. I even have a post I want to share tomorrow. But I am not sure I am capturing everything correctly yet.

            I think we have to be transformed and regenerated by Christ to be able to get to the point where we can respect our husbands genuinely. I don’t meant that as an insult to our husbands, I just don’t see many wives who can start from that point. Most of us don’t know what respect even is. And until we learn to respect God and submit to Him – who is perfect, how can we possibly respect or submit to our husbands properly?

            I believe a wife must learn to deal with her walk with Christ first and her reverence and submission to Christ first to even have the capacity to learn to genuinely respect her husband.

            And yet, I can understand that a husband would not need to hear that his wife is respecting him becuase God tells her to.

            This is a long process! So many wrong thinking patterns to tear out and so many new ones to build into our minds and souls. I think most wives go through a stage where they are being respectful, but not really respecting their husbands, from what I can tell. And then, we begin to learn to see the real good in our husbands and begin to learnt to genuinely respect them. But this is a gradual learning process. We are not experts right away. But as God transforms us, we DO develop the capacity and ability and empowerment to genuinely respect our husbands. So that is great news!

            I don’t know if this even makes sense.

            I know that for me, focusing on the good things I saw in Greg, writing them down, thanking God for his strengths every day, refusing to think about the stuff I didn’t like (he was not committing major sin against me), and focusing on Philippians 4:8 things about Greg and in my whole life – wre very helpful steps. It was also helpful for me to remember that God didn’t require me to respect sin in my husband’s life. And that, in my situation, I could trust God to deal with sin in Greg’s heart. Greg didn’t need more hounding from me. I had already hounded him for 14+ years. And all of my condemning words only pushed Greg’s head further under the water. 🙁

            God did build real respect for Greg in my heart. And now I do trust Greg and I gladly yield and defer to his leadership. I have so many things I respect about him now. But it was a process of not feeding the negative thoughts and purposely feeding and watering the respectful thoughts.

            It is my understanding that husbands have a similar journey to be able to love their wives unconditionally, too. At least, that is what some men have described to me.

            Does this help at all?

            Much love!
            April

          12. PW,
            I think you got what I was trying to say for the most part. Maybe, the only part I didn’t see in your comment to Jennifer was the fact that sometimes we don’t even know what is worthy of respect. In other words, not only do we not know respect but we don’t even know what kind of charachter is respectful or worthy of respect. I would guess that 30-40% of God, if we could take a single snapshot of Him in scripture, would not align within most christian’s worthy of respect guidelines. Probably a higher percentage for christian women? Of course husbands are sinful, many very much so. But if 40% of God’s behavior in response to His people’s actions could be considered unrespectable- how much more so for a sinful christian husband. So I guess what I’m saying is we have to work at not only understanding how to respect, but in many regards what is respectful. I think as the church has become more feminized many godly behaviors have become to be thought of by even serious christians as ungodly. If most husbands were to start acting like Jesus Christ tomorrow it would utterly terrify not only their wives, but their families, friends, co-workers, etc. Everyone thinks it would be a super happy moment with lots of feel good. Certainly there would be much of that, but I’m afraid there would be just as much or more of the opposite.

            Sorry I’m taking so many words to flush out what I’m trying to say. I’ll shut up now and stop hogging the comment space!

          13. Anonymous Today,

            I am still processing your comments – and I know I haven’t addressed all that you had to say. Even after 6.5 years of studying this topic intensely on a daily basis – that I still have SO MUCH to learn! And there are still vast expanses of concepts surrounding these ideas of respect and submission in marriage and with God that I have only barely begun to uncover.

            I think you are right about our lack of understanding of all of God’s character. We tend to cherry pick that we want to have His love – but we tend to reject His justice, His wrath, His righteous anger, His righteous jealousy, His hatred for sin, and the more unpleasant aspects of His holiness.

            I don’t think I have ever talked about this idea you just brought up – and it is a very important one! The concept of us knowing what is a respectable character quality and what is not. Hmm… That gives me a lot to chew on.

            Yes, we as wives have a lot to learn about just identifying disrespectful actions toward God and toward our husbands (and others). But we do also have a lot to learn about what is godly character and what isn’t. There are things that are part of God’s character, and part of masculinity, that feminism has rejected. There are things that aren’t actually sin that many of us believe to be sinful because of the culture we have been marinating in, or because we haven’t really studied the whole character of God. God’s character has opposites that are in tension but that are all essential to His essence. We can’t take one side and reject the other side.

            You know, living a godly life is very much like this. We tend to fall toward one side or the other on different things – and both extremes are sinful. i.e.: being too passive or too dominating, or being too quite or too verbal, or being too patient or impatient, or being a doormat vs. being controlling. There is this place in the middle of the sinful extremes in our lives where we soar on wings like eagles when we have God’s Spirit and we are growing in maturity in Christ – and those are places we just can’t reach in our own strength.

            Please do not apologize. This is the kind of discussion I depend on to help me see things more clearly and to help me explain and teach things more clearly. Thank you so much for being willing to help me hash out some of these important concepts!

          14. PW,
            I think this is a struggle for most christians today. I know it is for me. I search everyday for what godly masculinity looks like in scripture and when I find a man I respect who is godly or certain traits within that man that are godly. It’s been a steep learning curve without having godly masculinity modeled for me, with much repentence along the way. It is also true for my wife and godly femininity. At times it’s the blind leading the blind as we are generation removed for many of us from biblical teaching and discipleship on such things. And we are going to hurt one another. Even if both are striving- how much more if only one spouse is currently on that mission. As long as we seek forgiveness, repent and push one towards the goal of Christ and godliness in our relationships- we pray for patience & mercy as we continue to use His Word as the guide I think we will reach our Goal and it is all that is asked of us.

          15. Anonymous Today,

            Yes, it is a struggle – especially because it seems that the last few generations have gone farther and farther away from God. It is hard to figure out what godly femininity and masculinity and marriage is when we have so few examples.

            We will continue to pray together that God might enlighten us and show us the way back to His narrow path that leads to life!

          16. Anonymous Today,

            I’d love to hear your response to yesterday’s post if/when you are able to respond. I want to try to explain all of this as accurately, and clearly as possible. And I want the way I share things to be true to how our men think.

            Thank you so much!

          17. Yes, that helps absolutely. Helps me to feel better that I’m not the only one, too, to start out trying to be respectful, but then realize that it wasn’t coming from a pure place. I really agree with your comment and it makes perfect sense to me. I think you are right about what you’re saying about the relationship with God and having to start with submission to Him and reverence to Him. I have read and read and read on this blog, but it’s just in this past week that God is really showing me the truth of what you’ve been saying regarding needing to be filled with His Spirit, needing to find our all totally in Him, etc. I mean, I knew these things were truth, but God is making this reality to me now. And the reality is that when you get here, you have to accept that He does not offer or promise a transformed marriage. But, we know that His love is better than life and the truth is I can go through the pain the way I’ve been doing it (in my flesh) with no joy, peace, or hope or I can cast all my cares on Him and learn to let Him fight my battles. I can find refuge in His arms and find my hiding place in Him. And it doesn’t mean that there won’t be pain, but we can trust Him with our hearts.

            He gave me this verse last night: “Psalm 63:7: Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”

            I am still early in the battle and the war is intense in my thoughts right now. I love the idea that I can hide myself in the shadow of His wing because He is my help. But, not only can I hide myself there, I can find joy and sing because He is my help. He is enough.

            Loving these songs right now for where I am in my journey.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoRecglINIw (It Is Well With My Soul Matt Redman)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKuAMmTqUbs (Cast My Cares by Finding Favour)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ (Just Be Held by Casting Crowns)

          18. Jennifer,

            Nothing brings me more joy than to see the lightbulbs go on like this. WOOHOO! Praise God!!!!! 🙂

            Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

            Praying for God to continue His good work in you, my dear sister! And for healing for your husband and your marriage.

          19. April, you said you started out being respectful, but it took you 2.5 years to understand genuine respect…..so when you give your timelines of how long it took Greg to respond and let down his walls (I think 6.5 years, right?) is that 2.5 years included in there, too? Just curious.

            Thank you, my sister! Love you so much!

          20. Jennifer,

            I TRIED to start out being respectful, but I didn’t understand what respect meant very well until 2.5 years into my research and studying and praying. That was the beginning of when things started to click, but I was still messing up a lot, even then.

            It was 3.5 years total before Greg felt safe with me again from the time God opened my eyes.

            And now, he feels safer with me than he did at that 3.5 year mark.

  9. Shared this on my FB page today – maybe this will be helpful:

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

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

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

    God designed marriage to involve two people who are both contributing to the marriage and both seeking Him. That is the goal!

    If you feel that your husband does not love you as he should, that is a very painful place to be.

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

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

  10. I have been married for 15 months and thankfully I have a Godly Husband. He tells me he loves me daily. I see that only God can truly satisfy me. As much as my Husband and I love each other, we will fail each other. My “love language” is words of affirmation. My Husband tries to verbally affirm me, but if I am not careful I can get discontented that he isn’t as verbal as me. God has shown me to find total satisfaction in Him, and not to make verbal affection from my Husband an idol. He shows HIs love to me by how he treats me, things he does to help.

    Something that I have found very helpful and would like to share is a quick video on Youtube called “The Father’s Love Letter”. It is a letter with all the things in Scripture that God says to His children.

    While love from a spouse is wonderful, the only perfect love is found in God! He is the source of complete love and He loves us so much!

  11. Sent my wife to this site. Oh boy what an arguement that was, multiple times.

    My wife has rejected me 1000s of times. Yes 1000s of times in bed. At 20 years of marriage, yes 1000s of times.

    I asked her for dates for months, but she couldn’t leave our 17 yr old dd. Our dd is a A+ student great athlete etc., but had few friends and wife didn’t want to leave her for more than it takes to get groceries.

    I will not ask her out again. I am done trying in bed. It’s been almost 8 weeks since intimacy, and I am not missing it.

    I could go on all day of the pain from her feministic ways, but what good would it do?

    1. Jeff,

      I am so very sorry for the pain you are experiencing. 🙁 And for your wife’s pain, too.

      I pray for healing for you both in Christ. I pray you might find hope and encouragement here and that God will provide other resources, as well.

      Is there anything I can do to help?

  12. This is the most sobering thing in the whole post….and we should be asking “What do you want me to be doing God?” Not focussing on what our husbands are or aren’t doing. :”When God looks at our “bank account” instead of the billions of sin dollars of debt we used to have, now we have Jesus’ perfectly holy and righteous account. But God will burn our works, the things we did for Him and how we lived – and if we built wisely, we will be rewarded for whatever survives the fire. If we did not build wisely, what we did will be burned up and we won’t have any rewards – we will narrowly escape with our lives (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).”

  13. I am not sure how much longer I can do this. Yesterday was a real blow for me. My husband RSVP’d to a family wedding yesterday and did not include me. I was invited. He did not discuss this with me. This wedding is on his side of the family and he has banned me from his family since asking for a divorce in July 2014. We had words last night and I am sticking up for myself and not allowing blame game to continue anymore. I have asked for for forgiveness, have been working very hard on learning how to be a respectful wife, taken responsibility for my failings as a wife, only to be treated poorly. The last several days have been very tough. My husband does not love me, nor has any intentions in healing our marriage. I am ready to ask him to leave. Yet I continue to work on respect and kindness to a degree. I feel very used by him. And so alone.

    1. betsy,

      Goodness, I can hear and feel the pain in your words so strongly!

      Before you do that – how is your time with Christ going this week?

      Is this what you believe He is asking you to do?

      Sending you the biggest hug and lifting you up in prayer, my dear sister!

      1. April.
        My time with God has been good. God wants me to continue respecting my home and the people in it
        He also is directing me to be verbal and direct to my husband. For years I have fallen into the victim role with him. He is emotionally abusive to me.

        So how do I do both? How do I set boundaries and create an atmosphere of respect and unconditional love when it is not reciprocated.? I wrestle with this daily.

        1. Oohh, Oohh, I am in need of direction with this as well! I am struggling with self respect and the slippery slope that this comment poses. Please help.

          1. LMSdaily115,

            Now, if the issue is something about your life – or how you are being treated – then that may require a different response.

            Ultimately, we wrestle with being too quiet, or too assertive. Being too passive, or too dominating. And we swing back and forth for awhile trying to find the balance as we pray and seek God’s wisdom and His voice. It takes a long time to feel like you can find that sweet spot of balance – or, it did for me!

        2. Betsy,

          Example:

          Husband – I don’t want you to come to the wedding.
          Wife – I would really love to go. It would mean so much to me.
          Husband – No, I don’t think it is a good idea.
          Wife – I am so sad that you don’t want me to go. But if you think this is best, I will trust you. (And then the wife can go pray about the situation and lay it before God, holding the outcome loosely, and trusting God in His sovereignty to work this out for her ultimate good.)

          I don’t believe that a wife needs to set boundaries on her husband about her involvement with his family. It seems to me that is his decision to make.

    2. Oh betsy, this is the tough part hun.

      This is where you examine your motives and do what would honor God. You can’t just be respectful and nice in order to get your husband to do or act a certain way. He will see right through that. This is where EVEN THOUGH he is being unloving, unaffectionate, selfish and everything else, you still need to do what is right with God. Now, you CAN respectfully and with much prayer on how to handle it tell him how you feel about being left out of the invite. But it needs to come out not disrespectful, critical and blaming. Even though every bone in your body wants to lash out, and may already have done so? If you were criticsl, blaming, accusing, yelling, screaming, assuming, sarcastic, or anything, then you still need to ask forgiveness from God and your husband for your behavior.

      Any sin of HIS is for him and the Holy Spirit to hash out. It is not your job to convict, judge, condemn, or convict him. Run your race only. Imagine that God is standing behind your husband when you are talking. How would you act in front of GOD? What would you say? Would you yell, scream etc? It hurts when your husband is unloving, hurting you emotionally, leaving you out, ignoring, rejecting you. There is no denying that. Take your pain and hurt to God. He can give you comfort, peace, direction.

      Your husband is responsible for his sins. Not you. Don’t claim them. Claim yours. Where could you handle things better? It may be that your husband will go to this wedding without you and he will feel your absence, or, he may really enjoy going alone. What can you do about it anyway? You may just want to accept his “no” and learn how to do that with grace. Can your husband ever tell you “no” to something you want and you accept that answer with no grief back? I couldn’t for 18 years. Now, I want my husband to feel comfortable with his decision.

      A man typically wants to see his wife happy, so they put much thought into a decision and how it impacts the whole family. If you have expressed your interest in going, he knows you want to go, but he decides he does not want to take a contentious, emotionally unstable, easily upset disrespectful wife to a family function, then can you honor his decision? My husband would not take me to work functions that included the spouse. Still wont. Hurts like heck. Even though I know I have changed and would not embarrass him anymore, I have not earned back that trust. Maybe in time I will, maybe he will never trust me or be vulnerable to me ever again. Who knows.

      It sounds like your husband is very hurt and angry. Your respect to him may still need much refinement. I know if I feel let down, disappointed, hurt, angry, I look into my own expectations, if old and sins first. Do I have any work there to examine? Are you upset because you expected to go to a family function and “show off” to his family that you still care about him or he cares about you? Do you want to look like a normal couple to the family? What are your motives? What are you trying to control? Why is it bothering you so much because the plans are not going exactly the way you want? Maybe it just hurts because it reminds you that you and him are not okay in your marriage. The rejection of him not wanting to spend time with you can feel crushing. It can make you feel extremely lonely and abandond. I am there too, in my marriage. Soul crushing.

      What do you do with that? That’s where going to God and asking him to reveal any sin in your own life. Control, pride, motives, expectations. Get your heart right. Our happiness is not the goal in this life, trying to be like God and imitate him is. By being a good and faithful servant in the Lord, we can make Him proud. Our husbands or family do not define who we are. God does.

      I will pray for strength and healing for you today and pray that you can find peace and direction from God. Lots of hugs dear sister!

      1. Lmsdaily115

        I feel incredibly used by my husband. Just the night before I found out about being excluded from the wedding, I expressed the conflict I feel when we are sexually intimate, which is how abandoned I feel afterwards because he pretty much avoids me for days. We ended up being intimate after he accused me of trying to start a fight.

        I did have expectations that we were all going. At the least I had tons of hope that we would all go.

        My husband has been short and snotty this morning. Same with last night. I tried to eat dinner with him on the deck, yet he would not look at me or engage in conversation. I took my plate and went inside with my boys.

        I need to keep my distance from him. He is sinning and hurting and takes it out on me. How do we we’ve continue on as godly wives when living with husbands like this?

        I did lash out..not like I have in the past. I felt like I was firm and speaking the truth, my truth. He will find anything to use against me. Satan is at war in my home and marriage.

        1. Betsy,

          Your husband told you that you were not to be included in anything with his family last year? Has he included you since then? Did he ever say he planned to include you with this wedding on his side of the family?

          I know that things are VERY strained in your marriage at this time. I don’t want things to be like this. I want to see you both heal. There can be some struggle and wrestling as you figure out how to die to self, how to show honor and respect to him, and when you need to confront his sin. There are no super easy and pat formulas for this. It requires constant abiding in Christ and prayer and great sensitivity to God’s Word. We often stumble and fall, especially at first, then we repent and try to learn from our mistakes and get back up.

          Here would be my take on the wedding issue:

          What is most important right now? Going to the wedding, or healing your marriage?

          I know that in the past, I used to make smaller issues more important than my own obedience to God or my marriage. I didn’t realize it at the time. But that is what I did. Now, I have to remember that there are not a lot of things that are more important than my obedience to God or my honoring my marriage covenant. Now, there can be times when a husband is sinning against his wife severely – unrepentant adultery, abuse, etc… – where she may need to say, “Out of respect for God and for our marriage covenant and for myself, I cannot be treated this way anymore. Please stop doing X, or we cannot continue to live together as husband and wife.’

          So, you will have to pray about the importance level of going to this wedding. Yes, you really want to go. And yes, you could certainly have let him know you wanted to go. But then – I vote to respect his decision. You don’t have to agree with it. You can pray that God will change his heart – which God can do. But you can choose to respect his decision about this and to trust God to work this out for your ultimate good and His glory. Does that make sense? It is not abuse that your husband doesn’t want you to be with his family. I don’t think either of you feel safe in this marriage right now. He may be concerned about what would happen and what might be said to his family and he may be afraid he could be disrespected or humiliated in front of his family. I have no idea – I am guessing.

          After you pray about what I have shared – let me know what God may be speaking to you, my dear sister! And we can talk some more if you would like.

          I know this is VERY hard and excruciatingly painful. But I also know that God is able to use this pain to refine you and purify your faith and love for Him in beautiful ways. I also believe He may use this painful journey to heal you, your husband, and your marriage.

          Much love to you!

        2. Betsy. I know how you feel.

          There was a good 3-4 months when my husband unleashed on me and was spewing venom at me. I think he just had to get it out.

          Also realize the enemy is trying to plant doubt and confusion in both your minds. At one point I declared I would fight the enemy tooth and nail for my husband. (I may have been sleep deprived) but I still felt that I had to understand that my husband is NOT the enemy here. Satan is. Learning to be godly has nothing to do with what your husband does or doesn’t do or say. Even if he never changes. Even if he continues to not include you….where in your soul can you love him as a fellow child of God?

          It may seem a bit far out there, it will be a deeper understanding of what true, unconditional love is. Look up “agape” love of Christ. This is explained. Ideally, our husbands would be loving to us and we would be respectful of them, but when we are not respectful to them, they are hurt, they become unloving to us, we are hurt, we are not respectful of them…and so on. A vicious circle. In fact, it’s called the crazy cycle as described in the book “Love and respect” by Emerson Eggerich. April has it on her books to read list. Excellent book. Be willing to be the first to step off this crazy cycle. You will be so glad you did. You can only control you, not him.

          He may even be feeling the pressure of his own sin, the more blameless you become. When he cannot put the fault on you, he starts to look like a fool to himself. That is the Holy Spirit convicting him. Any decent guy (and we are assuming he really is a decent guy, not a psychopath) will not be able to continue to be a raving jerk for too long when he is the only one being that way.

          People will either avoid him or call him out on it. Remember, it’s not your job to convict him of his sin. Just work on ridding yourself of yours. This is hard. It feels like he should change too, why do you have to change first, does he get off Scott free?.

          Well, God will deal with ALL sin. Either through forgiveness with the sacrifice of Jesus, the only worthy and perfect sacrifice for all our repented sin, or with eternal damnation when we leave this earthly world. Make sure you stick close to God. Pray. Learn His ways and have God fill your emotional needs. Learn what healthy boundaries are. Another good book called “Boundaries in Marriage” by Dr’s Cloud and Townsend helped me know how to stick up for myself and when to stop trampling others’ boundaries. I learned what we are responsible for, and what we are not.

          Keep your faith in front of you. Even if it is as small as a mustard seed. Realize the whole definition in fsith. Concentrate on the positives of your husband, not the negatives. One time the best I came up with is that he cooks good eggs. I thanked him for it one day. He was nicer to me all day. It works, but you have to be willing to take the high road first.

          Seek God for how to be respectful and loving, even when your husband is being vile and snotty. He is human, just like you. I will pray that he can find God’s love. I pray that you can keep faith in God as your focus today. Tomorrow, he will give you the strength you need for tomorrow. You Already HAVE ALL YOU Need FOR today. It is in these troubled times that you will grow and mature spiritually and find out how truly strong you are.

          Much love.

          1. LMSdaily115,

            I am so thankful you are sharing all that you are learning in the trenches. What God is doing in your heart is just beautiful!

            I had to laugh when I read about the only thing you could come up with is that your husband cooks eggs well. HA! But you seized on that one good thing and went with it. And it blessed him. Love it!

            There are times we need to confront our husbands about their sin. There are other times that we think we need to confront them, but they aren’t actually sinning, they just aren’t living according to our personal convictions. There are other times that God asks us to wait and pray and focus on our own issues. Only God can give us the wisdom we need about what approach we need to take in each situation.

            Much love to you, LMSdaily115, and to you, Betsy!

  14. We dont know how to communicate. I thought I was learning, making headway, being respectful. Last night was 100 steps backward. I was battling a steamroller approach of anger, accusations, assumptions, misunderstandings and wrong motive assumptions. It was late at the end of the day and he insisted on having this conversation. I did not want him to say that I always refuse to talk to him, so I tried. I couldn’t get a word in, I was asked questions then not allowed to answer.

    I tried staying silent out of respect and not wanting to cut him down, but it degraded into verbal swords and blame for both of us. Now, he never wants to talk again except facts about kids. He can’t wait for a divorce. He is only still here until we can agree. We both want the best for the kids. He says he loves and cares for me, but everything else is dead and gone.

    Am I just foolish to keep trying? Who can humanly have enough wherewithal to be bombarded every day with this much contempt and either stick up for themselves or bleed out emotionally until nothing is left? I ask God for help. I scrape up a bit of positive from the shambles of my heart to carry forward with. I cling to God. I can’t trust anything BUT God. However I have more doubt and confusion. I can understand it all in my head, but living it out on earth is chaos. Not sure what I am doing wrong still. I feel so close to giving up, but I know God is keeping me on the game for a purpose.

    Yesterday I had my mind set on giving this whole thing to God. Stop dwelling on it 24/7 and get busy with blessing other people. My husband won’t let me bless him sexually, with good intended acts of service, compliments, gifts, space or, well, anything. If I do, it is looked at as controlling and manipulative. Even if I iron a shirt or set out socks for him as I put the others away, it is all rejected. We cannot talk without bickering.

    I try so much to just hear him, understand him, not push my agenda, but I don’t understand why a divorce is better than working things out. There is no giant sin like abuse, addiction or adultry. Is there really any chance of this working? I know the word of God says he can make a way even if we cannot see a way, but holy cow, I am getting concerned I might snap and have a mental breakdown soon. I feel he already has.

    The only way I could let it go at 2 am last night was to realize I cannot control any of his stuff. I can only control me. It may sadly end even if I did everything right, so I know and am glad I have God to lean into here. I feel so grossly incompetent to communicate. I feel misunderstood by my husband, daughter and in laws and friends all day long. Am I really that suck at communication? How can I better myself here?

    I know, pray about it, but all I hear is a war of conversations and doubt in my head. I feel it is getting harder to hear God, and I am trying so hard to listen to Him. I am desperate to do whatever he tells me. I have come to grips with the fact the marriage is dead. It may very well end. I can see me ok because of God being there even if that happens. I don’t want it too, I still have hope we can make it through, even though he has zero hope.

    Can I be too positive and hopeful here? I keep wondering if I am still idolizing my marriage? I didn’t think do, but if I am, I want to know so I can deal with that idol and rip it out. How can we women effectively do that when we are ALL here to try to work on ourselves 1) to grow closer to God and 2) to restore our marriage? Being honest, that’s what brought me to this blog in the first place…#2, but in the process I found #1. I am grateful for #1 and never want to live without Him in my life agsin. But is it possible to put my relationship/walk with God/learning about Him/desperate to perfectly imitate God and honor him….an idol? That seems blasphemous in some way. But I am an “all in” type. Is it possible I am focusing too much on God and not living in this earthly life in a healthy way?

    So many other areas of my life have been enriched since I started this journey. I am closer to kids, I can control my emotions so much better with yhem, I am a better friend, coworker, daughter, mother. I truly can respect the things my husband does and see his love in them, where before I could not. I have found all I need in Jesus, but it seems to be at the expense of my relationship with my husband. Being unequally yoked is so very hard. But we were both so lukewarm before. Now I am passionate about Christ and he sees him as weak, little and unimportant in this life. He feels I am living in a fantasy land. I have never felt better about myself and had more hope and faith for better things in my life since I accepted Jesus, but it seems to have negated something in my life. Why?

    1. LMSdaily115,

      God has done AMAZING things in your soul, mind, and heart in the past 9 months, my sweet sister! It is BEAUTIFUL what He has changed and how He has worked in your life. You are not in a fantasy land.

      So painful. And so frustrating!

      You can’t change him. And you can’t make him see that your intentions are good. That would be unbelievably painful to be falsely accused and to feel so misunderstood all the time. 🙁

      Your communication skills are just fine! You communicate very clearly here, my friend!

      I vote to spend some time at the feet of Jesus and just be still and allow Him to restore your soul. You may not be able to stop your husband from leaving or from going forward with a divorce. But you will know that you have done what you believed God asked you to do.

      I pray for God’s wisdom for you about whether it may be time to separate. Separation is not the end of the world, and it may not even be the end of the marriage. But there can be times it is necessary.

      I don’t really think you can make God too big of a priority. He is God and worthy of all of our worship and devotion, after all! It is possible that others may not like that we are so devoted to God. But if we are loving and respecting them and walking in obedience to God – then we are doing what God asks us to do. It is possible we could talk too much about God to an unbelieving husband and that could be a turnoff to him.

      This may be a I Corinthians 7 situation. If the unbeliever leaves – let him go.

      Unbelievers don’t like being around people who are filled with the Spirit. It constantly reminds them of their sin and convicts them. And it doesn’t make sense to them – our joy, our hope, our mindset, our priorities – because they are spiritually dead. Christ in us is the aroma of life to those who are being saved, but He is the “stench of death” to those who are perishing – according to Scripture.

      I don’t thin you are doing anything wrong from what you have described. I think your husband has a lot of issues between himself and God to deal with. Those who hate God hate His followers, too. Our enemies will be the members of our own households, Jesus said.

      Continue on your journey with Christ, my dear sister! Let’s pray that God might open your husband’s eyes to his desperate need for Jesus. Perhaps being alone would be a path to healing for him? I don’t know. But I will gladly support whatever course you believe God is calling you to take at this point.

      Much love to you!

    2. Lmsdaily115, I’ve been following your comments for a little while, and I don’t have anything eloquent to say, but I just want you to know my heart breaks for you. I understand your place of hurt and those feelings of rejection. I pray you can nestle into the arms of the Lord and rest in Him and let him fight for you. Just keep doing the next right thing and live one day at a time. Hugs for you!

      1. Thank you so much for reaching out to me in prayer. I was face down with my hands on my bible asking God for help today in angish and tears. 5 minutes in, the phone rang, my mother felt “compelled” to reach out to me. Then my brother, who I haven’t visited all summe talked with me. God blessed me 2x. Then I got your message. He is a good God. Feeling the love.

        1. LMSDaily115,

          I was thinking about your situation last night – and just wondering: is it possible that your husband may be trying to upset you so much that you leave him so that he can blame you for leaving or not have to take the responsibility for leaving himself?

          1. That was my thought since earlier this year. It seems he is becoming more and more unloving, not interested in working together at all. Now he is convinced I am just the crappiest communicator, but there is no 2 way communication going on at all. He asks questions and then cuts me off before I can even answer them. He gets mad if I take too long to answer or if I think first. He’s mad if I take a deep breath to calm down. He has twisted things I’ve said and made up stuff. It makes me think I am going crazy!

            I do not want to be married to this monster anymore!. God seems to be saying “stay in the game, even if in pain” to me, but EVERY ONE else says we need to seperation and take a break and they think he will see what he will lose. My only concern is for the kids…whom he won’t tell them what’s going on. They are 12 and 13. He is suspicious of everything I say, do, who I talk to. What I do with my time and he is grilling me on everything.

            I really don’t feel I have done anything to deserve such mistrust. Many people who know him think he just doesn’t want to look like the jerk and be the one to get a divorce. I know he cares deeply about what others think about him.

            I am on the edge, though, I am feeling shake and panicky. If it were not for God, I would be twitching in the corner by now. I see my therapist tomorrow, I hope he has something for me to work on. I’m not sure how much I can take. I’m trying to keep faith, but I feel like a HUGE doormat and do not feel safe telling him my feelings. He cant/won’t hear them anyway. He says I am being selfish trying to “jam” my point down his throat. Shouldn’t I have the chance to express my feelings too? I try so much to be calm, respectful and not get loud or cutting.

            I am actually very proud at what does or doesn’t come out when I am roiling on the inside. I try so hard to see his perspective, but I just see no logic in there anymore. He is totally operating on fear. He thinks I am going to take all his money and create a messy divorce out of spite. I had told him I cannot guarantee if a divorce would go smooth and that is when he flipped out. Divorce is not pretty, I have been through 3 with my parents. He knows nothing of divorce. I actually cannot predict the future, so I stand by my statement. I cannot control what he would do. I don’t even want a divorce. Let alone a messy one, but he is panicking and making up problems that are not even there!

            I pray and pray for direction from God, help me be more respectful, show me my wrongs, show me a better way. I listen to my husband, but I cannot trust him at all. He’s so jekyll and Hyde right now. What on earth is going on?????

          2. LMSdaily115,

            If you truly believe God is calling you to stay – please don’t listen to anyone but Him. I want you to do whatever He says. I can see why you want to leave. I do think that it is possible he could be purposely trying to get you to give up and leave him so he can blame you. I don’t know for sure. But that is possible.

            I can understand why you don’t feel safe. If you believe God wants you to go – then go. I will support whatever you believe God is asking you to do.

            There is intense spiritual warfare here, my dear sister. The enemy is very active in your home. Do you know anyone who might come and pray for deliverance for him?

          3. I’m not sure what you are asking “pray for deliverance for him”? I have a few prayer buddies that help me pray for things. But to come to my house?!? I keep findingore evidence of a mid life crisis. From what I have read, the spouse becomes the consume enemy in their mind. It seems a roller coaster ride that there is no travel except through. I am willing to seperation if needed. I think I was still too fearful to take that step. But God seems to want me to stay…at least it seems that way from how he talks to me. I am praying much about it and will talk with my Christian therapist today. Please help me pray for my husband.
            Dear Lord, please help my husband find you in his heart. Help guide him through the dark towards your light. Help me be a reflected beam for him and stay close to you so I can shine brightly. Lord. Please stand in his way of sin and send the enemy fleeing from my husband and my home. Lord, you promised, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. Thank you for a new day to bring us closer to that blessed promise. I know that through you all things are possible. This may be a mountain right now, but I know with just a mustard seed of faith, it can be moved. Lord I am asking you to give me the strength in you to move this mountain. I know on the other side is beauty for my ashes. Lord, I may not see the way, but I know you have a way. Your will be done here, not mine, but allow me to see just the next step, for I gladly take it in the direction you set for me. I pray that you help take the blinders from my husbsnds eyes and the plugs from his ears. He is a good man. He was part of your plan to bring me to you. For that I will always be thankful. Lord, I ask for your discretion today and enough strength for today only. You are a loving and just God. I know you will not leave me and that you will finish what you have started. Your way is so much better than my way. Lord, keep me and my husband from reaction in fear, for fear comes from the enemy. Wrap us in peace and joy. Amen.

          4. LMSdaily115,

            The enemy has a very strong grip on your husband, from what you are describing. I wonder if you might pray for God to bring some even strong prayer warriors into your life who can pray against the enemy’s presence and work in your home?

            What does your therapist suggest you do?

            I stand in faith with you, praying for God to bring your husband to Himself, to get rid of the enemy in your home, and to bring healing, peace, love, and restoration to the marriage for His glory!

            I pray for God’s power and wisdom for you and that you will be strong in the Lord and fully equipped with His armor and prepared for the massive spiritual battle that is going on today all around you (Ephesians 6).

            Much love to you!

  15. I just found your blog and I love the wisdom contained here. I know I have been disrespecting my husband as of late. I’ve read Fascinating Womanhood which deals with similar issues and have been working on those principles the past few years. However, the problem we have is that my husband doesn’t WANT to lead. I need and want him to, but he doesn’t want the responsibility and work it requires, nor does he understand the principle. He was raised by a controlling mother and a weak father, and that is the pattern he knows and wants in our marriage. We’ve been married a long time, and for the first ten years or so I just quietly backed off and figured he’d take the reins if I set them down and just left them there. He didn’t. Then I turned to lovingly and kindly asking him to do it. That makes him angry and creates strife. He wants to leave everything to me and for me to handle it all, and I can’t. Our children and family have lacked for leadership. We now have an exhausted marriage and neither of us have much love (or respect) for each other. Have you any advice for this particular situation? Thank you, and love your blog.

    1. Nicole,

      Is he a believer in Christ?

      Have you told him you can’t lead anymore?

      How long ago did you back off?

      How is your walk with Christ going, my dear sister?

      Is he willing to read something – like perhaps the first chapter of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem?

      Much love to you!

      1. Yes he is a believer, although it’s more of a do-the-right-thing with him rather than having a strong personal relationship with Him. My own relationship with Christ is coming along, could be room for improvement of course. He has been willing to read some things, but it just doesn’t seem to sink in. Or as I mentioned, I think it sounds good maybe, but when the rubber meets the road he’d rather hide and let me take care of everything like usual. I have told him many times I’d like him to lead. I knew he was going to be passive when I married him, but I thought if I waited patiently he would learn, so I backed off for the first ten years or so of our marriage, but have been vocal about it for years since then because it wasn’t working. Talking to him about it isn’t working either 🙁

        1. Nicole,

          What is the biggest thing that you believe you need help with?

          Does he feel safe to make suggestions? What kinds of things does he suggest for you to do?

          Do you ever ask him for advice and then take his advice and thank him?

          I think it is going to be very small steps.

          What kinds of things do you say now that you are being more vocal?

          How is your time with Christ and your walk with Christ going? That is going to be your power source and God’s Spirit is most necessary to give you wisdom about exactly how to approach your husband at different times. And as you trust God to lead you through your husband, God can change your husband and empower him to lead. But, again, it may be a very slow process.

          Please search my home page for:

          husband lead

          Much love to you!

          1. I just wondered if you’d had experience with this particular problem and if you have insights for me, because I don’t know what to do. I guess just figuring out why he doesn’t want to lead. If this is an inborn need of a man, why does he not have this? If I can figure out why, I could address the core issue. I keep thinking it’s probably due to his upbringing. He says his dad didn’t do anything so he didn’t think he would have to do anything either, but I can’t do anything about that.

            I think he feels safe to make suggestions, I ask him frequently what he would like to do, what he thinks, etc. I do take his advice and thank him.

            Things I say to ask him to lead: He complains that he thinks our son isn’t advanced enough in his schoolwork. I ask what he wants him to study and how I should do things, and I take his advice. Then I ask him if he will meet with our son once a week to make him accountable to him for his schoolwork, and ask him how he’s doing with it. I tell him that his stronger and authoritative manhood will motivate our son to work harder, rather than if he’s only answering to mom. However he doesn’t want to do that, and so he doesn’t, but continues to demand that I make sure our son performs, and lets me know Im not succeeding.

            With our finances: He complains that the money isn’t being managed well, and that the various categories aren’t being funded with the right amounts of money, despite the fact that he makes good money. He mails in the bill payments, but doesn’t manage the rest of the money. I don’t manage it either, because I’ve told him that I can’t manage the finances along with my own responsibilities, and I want him to do it, and that he can do a far better job that I can. When he needs something for him, he just buys it, regardless of what it does to the bank account. When I need something, he just doesn’t buy it, and when time goes by and i finally break down and buy it myself, he gets angry at me. Our oven broke six months ago, and I’ve been cooking for our family of nine without one all that time. I’ve asked him many times, nicely, if he will buy one for us, and told him that however he wants to do it is fine. If he wants to buy a cheap used one, or save for a little while and buy a nicer one, or any other plan, is fine with me. He hasn’t done it, or made a plan. He won’t, either, until and unless I demand it. I so don’t want to do it that way, but I can live without basic needs for only so long and feel I have no choice.

            Those are examples of things I say. I truly do focus on doing my own responsibilities well and making a good home and life for him and our children. I feel he just doesn’t want the responsibility, but he wants all the blessings that would come from fulfilling those responsibilites.

            I see in the blog you’ve written many times, that in becoming a more peaceful wife, he may never change. How can I be ok with that? How can I ever be happy in my marriage when I don’t have the love of my husband? I’m willing to change and do anything I have to, and I feel he has the same responsibility as well. If he doesn’t allow God to change his heart, we will have a one-sided relationship.

            Nicole

          2. Nicole,

            Thanks for your patience! 🙂

            It is easier for a man not to lead. That is a temptation for them just as much as usurping their leadership is a temptation for wives. If things go wrong when you are in charge, he doesn’t have to take the blame and he even gets to blame you. That is a pretty good deal! You can see what my husband said about why he let me lead in my interview with him.

            It is also scary to start leading if he has never done so before and it is especially scary if he had no example of masculine leadership – only feminine leadership. So this reversed role thing “feels right” because that is what he grew up with – even though it is not biblical.

            For a very passive man, suggestions may be the closest thing you get to him leading. So seek to listen carefully to them and try to clarify if possible.

            You can certainly ask your husband to meet with your son about his homework. But you can’t make him. If he tells you that you are failing – you can say respectfully, “I agree he is not doing as well as either of us want him to. I think this is more than I can handle myself. I have asked several times for your help. I know that if you will step in and oversee things a bit, he will respect you and I think it would be just the thing to motivate him to do better.” Then let him think about it. If he does nothing and gets upset with you again, you can say very softly, “Honey, this is too much for me. I am doing my best. But I need your help, please. I am not a very good dad.” And let him think about it.

            Has he ever been diagnosed with anything like ADD, Asberger’s, or any mental health issue?

            Perhaps, with a situation like the oven, you can approach him the way you did, but then set a time limit. “I need to get an oven. However you want to do this is fine with me. I’m happy with a used one if that is best. I would really appreciate a decision on that by X date. Thanks so much!” When X date arrives and he has done nothing, perhaps you can address it again, “Honey, I wanted to get the oven your way. I waited a month. I haven’t heard back from you. I don’t want to buy an oven myself, but I will be forced to do so this week unless you direct me otherwise. This is an urgent need. Thanks.”

            Has he ever managed money before? Have y’all ever taken a Dave Ramsey financial stewardship class? Do you think he would be interested in reading about it?

            How is your walk with Christ going? What do you desire in your relationship with God?

            When you married your husband, he was already very passive, correct? So you married him knowing that he was this way. You don’t have a guarantee that he will change. You do have a guarantee that God is sovereign and God can lead you even through this imperfect man.

            Happiness in marriage is great. But it is not the ultimate goal in life. The ultimate goal has to be to please Christ.

            The only way he will change is if probably going to be if you allow God to radically change you first. And then you give God space and lots of time to work on your husband. But – yes, you are called to honor your husband and respect him whether he changes or not. He can’t take away anything God has given to you. He can’t take away God’s Spirit – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self control. He can’t take away your identity and security in Christ. He can’t take away God’s sovereignty in your life.

            Yes, your marriage may be one-sided. Many of us face that possibility or reality. My husband didn’t change for years. And when he does change – it is very slow. But it will be in God’s timing, not mine. And God will use even the most frustrating things about my husband’s personality or sins to refine me and help me grow in my faith and in my walk with Christ.

            Please search my home page for:

            – lead
            – leader
            – husband won’t lead
            – don’t wait
            – passive husband

            Praying for God’s wisdom for you and for His healing for you, your husband, and your marriage!

            Much love!
            April

  16. April,

    I’ve been reading posts as you suggested and feel REALLY blessed by this one. It’s really eye opening. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    1. Cara,

      You are very welcome. I’m so glad this was a blessing to you. 🙂 I can tell from your spirit and your heart to want to learn that God is working and will continue to work powerfully in your life!

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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