Skip to main content
photo-10

Can You Pray Too Much for Your Marriage?

photo-10

I think a common temptation when we are struggling in our marriages is for us to focus so much on praying for our husbands and our marriages – those things are almost all we pray about. However, I don’t think this is going to be a healthy, productive approach long term.

Scripture does admonish us to “pray without ceasing” 1 Thes. 5:17. And Jesus encourages us to pray with perseverance in the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8). But I think it is interesting that in the “Model Prayer” Jesus gives us, He prays for each thing once. He also mentioned before His example prayer that pagans think they will be heard because of their many words and vain repetitions (He calls it, “babbling”), and that we are not to be like them, because our Father knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:5-16).

Of course, it is important to pray for our husbands – IF we are in a place of being filled with God’s Spirit and we have right motives.

But there is so much more to our relationship with Christ than this one issue! I have seen a lot of wives who spend almost every waking moment praying fervently for their husbands to come to Christ or praying for their marriage to be restored. And while these things are good to pray – I think there needs to be a balance.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

When we are praying in deep faith, full of God’s Spirit – we will experience God’s peace. We may have fervency and urgency. But we will also have God’s peace as we trust Him.

Obsession Is Different from Fervent Prayer:

What if someone you love dearly kept asking you for something he really wants over and over. What if that is the ONLY thing he ever talks about with you? What if every single time you see your child or husband, he says, “I REALLY want to go to the zoo! I want to go today! Please take me right now!”

Obviously, going to the zoo could be a wonderful thing. It could enrich everyone’s life and be a pleasurable experience and a bonding experience. But – how would you feel about that being the only conversation he ever has with you? Wouldn’t you appreciate your loved one talking with you about other things, asking how you are, enjoying supper together, and doing lots of other things together, too? There is much more to a close relationship than one person constantly asking the other for something.

Here is something that may be shocking – but I have noticed it in my own life:

If there is something I REALLY want and I constantly want to pray about it and nothing else – that may be a sign that this particular thing may be more important to me than Christ is. If I am more obsessed with God fixing my marriage than my knowing God more – this thing may be an idol.

It is possible to make healing our marriage, having a godly marriage, our husband’s salvation, feeling loved by our husbands, our happiness, romance, or anything else into an idol. Sometimes we pray constantly about something because we want it more than anything in the world and we are terrified to face the idea of not having what we want. Faith is about seeking God’s will far above our own and “dying to” our own will. That is what Jesus means about that those who want to be His disciples “take up their cross daily and follow” Him (Luke 9:23).

We can and should pray for the good things we desire. But at the same time – we need to be able to hold everything in this life very loosely and cling to Christ alone. Prayer is primarily about real relationship with Christ – it is not mostly about us asking for what we want or getting what we want. Are we able to be content in Jesus – even if we don’t get this thing that we want so much? Are we willing to trust God’s love, sovereignty, goodness, timing, and wisdom? Will we rest in Him rather than constantly battle and try to tell Him what to do as we are filled with worry and fear? Praying out of worry and fear rather than faith is not real praying because we are not really trusting God. We are trusting our praying and ourselves.

Everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:23b

Am I really looking to God and seeking His will far above my own, or are my motives only to get what I want and what I think is best? If I realize my prayers are more about obsession and worry or fueled by fear – I may want to ask someone else, a strong prayer warrior that I know – to pray for my husband and I may want to take a break for a bit in order to ask God to help me purify my motives. I may need to focus on the rest of my relationship with God for awhile.

Am I Nagging God?

I think another way we could describe “worry praying” would be “nagging.”

  • “God, be sure you do this!”
  • “God, don’t forget. You need to do this for me.”
  • “Lord, You haven’t done this thing for me yet. Why aren’t you doing what I want you to do? It needs to be done right now!”

It is similar, I think, to when we nag our husbands. We don’t nag out of faith, do we? We nag because we DON’T believe they will take care of something, not because we DO believe the will take care of it. We ask once, usually, if we truly do believe they will take care of the issue.

We can pray persistently – every day for many years if necessary – in a way that honors God and is from faith. To do this, we must watch our motives and be sure we are really putting our faith in God and nothing we are doing and that we trust Him fully.

Praying in Faith:

God is sovereign, I can lay my husband and my marriage at His feet and He will work in those areas. I don’t have to pray every waking moment about a particular issue. If my motives are impure, selfish, fearful, or unbelieving – my prayer is  not going to be very effective anyway. If I am cherishing any sin in my heart, and not walking in obedience to God by His Spirit empowering me – my prayer will also not be very effective. The question is, do I really trust God to handle this, or do I trust myself? Do I think I have to pray a certain number of times or things will not work out right? Do I think this is all about trusting something I can do, or am I fully trusting God’s sovereignty and provision?

We will have emotions. We may cry out to God with sadness, grief, and sorrow over the situations we face. We may start to feel fear – and then give that to God and determine to trust Him. But as we trust Him – His perfect love will cast out all of our fear (1 John 4:18). We will not have to be overcome with negative emotions – but can lay them before God and then rest in His peace and even in His joy in the midst of trials.

My Journey:

I know that for me, at the beginning of my journey, I had to stop praying for God’ to change Greg for awhile. I had been demanding for years that God change him. So, for a long time, the only things I would pray for Greg were prayers of thanksgiving for the good things about Greg and for God to bless him and accomplish His will in Greg’s life. I stopped praying for what I wanted and began to pray for God’s will.

God may have a different approach for you – so it is important to be sensitive to His voice. It is possible that it could be wise to limit your prayer time for your husband to 15 minutes per day if you tend to obsess or “worry pray” where you are really just worrying, not trusting God. Part of praying is that we lay down the weight of the burden at God’s feet and we don’t carry it ourselves. He does the heavy lifting. We can’t carry that kind of weight on our shoulders.

Prayer is the most incredible privilege we have as children of God in Christ! Prayer can and should include:

  • Praise to God!!!!
  • Thanksgiving for all of the blessings we have
  • Confession of all known sin every day or as soon as we notice the sinful thoughts, motives, words, or actions
  • Praying for ourselves to grow in Christ, to mature and deepen in our faith, for God to show us any wrong thinking, for His Spirit to regenerate our hearts and transform us by His power, for greater faith, for greater trust in Christ, claiming the promises of God’s Word, desiring obedience and greater holiness
  • Praying for others – not just our husbands, but our children, our extended families, our church, our state, our nation, our government leaders, the church around the world, persecuted believers, the poor, the oppressed, the orphans/widows, for unbelievers to come to Christ, for healing for people we know who are ill, for the world, for God’s kingdom to come, etc…

We also desperately need lots of time to feast on God’s Word, to digest His truth and love, to sit as His feet, to get to know Him more, to listen to His voice, to absorb His goodness, and to allow Him to restore our souls. We can’t pray from a position of power if we are depleted. We can’t pray effectively if we are not filled with the Spirit. We MUST nurture a full and vibrant relationship with Christ. He must be the top priority. Then our prayers will be powerful and effective as He gives us the ability to live in obedience and to trust Him by faith.

RELATED:

My Secret Idol – My Husband’s Salvation

Praying for Your Husband So That God Will Hear

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

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer!

Posts about How to Pray

 

73 thoughts on “Can You Pray Too Much for Your Marriage?

  1. Thank you for this topic. I have been consumed with the state of my marriage and husband 24/7. My thoughts have taken this trial on in an obsessive way. I heard something last week that hit home. A women in a healing class I take said ” I made my problems my God.”
    I have been exhausted in every sense for over a year regarding my marriage. I have been in a constant state of distress. I hand my marriage and husband over to God, then take it back. Over and over. Worry prayer is a good way to describe this. I also feel it as a sense of begging prayer.

    My focus needs to be who I am in God, building my relationship with him, blessing my children, strengthening my professional life, blessing others, keeping my heart in a state of thankfulness, staying away from fear and what ifs.

    I bet Satan loves to see us turn prayers into obsessions! You are right about feeling depleted. Prayers and energy for God are not strong when feeling depleted and defeated.

    Thank you for another great blog.

    1. Betsy,

      It is so easy for our lives to be completely consumed by our problems, our marital tension, our husband’s issues… but that is not a healthy way to operate. That is us attempting to handle things in our own strength rather than living in the power of God’s Spirit. It is definitely EXHAUSTING, stressful, anxiety-producing, and depressing! I am sure we have all been there. I know I have!

      Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

      When we are praying in deep faith, filled with God’s Spirit – we will experience God’s peace. We may have fervency, intensity, love, passion, and urgency. But we will also have God’s peace as we trust Him. There is a separation that will occur between us and the problem. We lay the problem down and we do not keep picking it up. We let God carry the weight of the burden.

      I’m so glad God used this post to shine a bit of light on your situation! I know that you need much more spiritual nourishment in Christ and that you will be able to pray from a position of great strength and power in Christ as you focus on your walk with Him and being filled with His Spirit.

      I can’t wait to see His plans for you, my dear sister!

  2. This is such a helpful article, April!
    One thing I really appreciate about your blog is your encouragement to grow in relationship with Christ and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Those things are so important!

    1. seriouslyserving,

      I’m so glad this was a blessing. 🙂 Yes, if we can be sensitive to God’s Spirit, He can give us the prompting and wisdom to handle any and every situation for His glory and in accordance with His will. That is the goal – for us to be one with Christ and to walk in the power of His Spirit and in obedience to Him. 🙂

  3. Hi April:
    This is such a good reminder for those of us who are praying for the salvation of a loved one…or for anything really.

    Please clarify: In the examples you used re the finite number of prayers (Paul, Elijah….); are your thoughts that we should pray about something (our marriages, husbands…whatever is applicable), a finite number of times, and then stop?

    I see the point of thempraying a set number of times, I also hear so many testimonies of people praying for something countless times for years before they received an affirmative answer from God.

    Your point about spending time with God, not making our prayer needs an idol etc are very clear. So please note, that’s not what I’m curious about. I’m specifically curious to know if we should pray for something and then stop requesting it after a while…
    Even while we continue to read the word, know God etc.

    1. Prayinglikehannah,

      We can pray persistently – which may mean praying for someone’s salvation every day for years until that person is saved. But that doesn’t mean that is the only thing we will pray about or that we pray about it every waking moment. We are to pray continuously. But if we are finding that we are worry praying or obsessing – then it may be wise to take a break for a bit until we can get our motives straight. Then we can go on praying – as God leads us to and in ways that are honoring to Him and faith-filled.

      Paul, Elijah, and Jesus received the answer to their prayers. That is why they stopped praying. Sometimes the answer was not what they wanted to hear. But even in their praying – they were filled with faith and were not worry praying. I hope that makes sense. Jesus was filled with anguish, of course, knowing what was before Him. And yet, He submitted fully to God and committed to walking in obedience no matter what the cost – and He continued on in great faith.

    2. prayinglikehannah,

      I changed the examples from Paul, Elijah, and Jesus – to the Model Prayer or the Lord’s Prayer – I think that passage fits better. Let me know if it is more clear, please, my friend! 🙂

  4. I added a bit more:

    We will have emotions. We may cry out to God with sadness, grief, and sorrow over the situations we face. We may start to feel fear – and then give that to God and determine to trust Him. But as we trust Him – His perfect love will cast out all of our fear (1 John 4:18). We will not have to be overcome with negative emotions – but can lay them before God and then rest in His peace and even in His joy in the midst of trials.

  5. This is crazy that you just wrote this post this morning. Just now I was praying for my something several times over and over and I asked myself/God if I should I pray for something over and over again? Then a half hour later I check my email and I see that you posted this post.

    It’s amazing how God answered my question so quickly through your blog post! That made my day 🙂

    1. The Surrendered Girl,

      I think it is amazing how God works out His perfect timing. Love it!!

      To me, it is interesting to look at the model prayer Jesus gave to us. He prayed for each thing once. He also talked about that pagans think they will be heard for their many words and constant repetition, but that God already knows what we need.

      There needs to be a balance. We can pray for something often. But we don’t have to obsess. We can trust God with that thing or person and leave it with Him. If I am anxious and fearful and praying over and over the same thing every few seconds or minutes – that is where I personally think I need to stop and look at my motives and where my faith is.

      Is my faith in God? Do I really trust Him to handle this? Or do I believe that my prayers are the main thing and that this situation can’t be resolved unless I pray a certain number of times – as if it all really depends on me and what I do, not on God?

      Much love to you! 🙂

  6. This is a very, very good post. One to go on the re-read and re-read again list! I am very guilty of worry prayer. Incredibly so. Never heard it called that before, but what a descriptive and eye-opening term!

    A bit of encouragement for wives with unsaved husbands: neither my husband nor I were saved when we got married. I came to know Christ first. At first, my husband didn’t go to church with us, but he never stopped us. Eventually he began coming. His strong, independent personality was a huge roadblock to His salvation. He will tell you himself that it wasn’t until he was FINALLY able to see his need for Christ AND then not until he was able to surrender to Christ that he was finally saved. Trust me, if God can save me and my husband, He can save anybody! I remember thinking it would never happen. But I’m pleased to report my husband has been saved for about 10 years now! Amen!

    So hang in there! I did pray for him a lot, but it was probably much more “worry prayer”. Thankfully, I believe we had much stronger, mature Christians praying for our whole family. God is so good!

    Also, in the beginning I was the spiritual leader. I didn’t want to be, but my Pastor pointed out I kinda had to be since my husband was unsaved. I’m so happy to tell you, that once my husband came to know Christ, the balance of spiritual leadership shifted until he took over his rightful place. And things work MUCH better for our family that way.

    Thanks for listening to my story. I’ll be praying for all the wives who read here who have unsaved husbands, that their husbands will come to know Christ soon. Lots of love!

    1. Becca,

      I used to pray up to 4 hours/day before God began to deal with all of my sin issues in December of 2008. I thought I was praying. But what I was really doing was worrying, not trusting God, trusting myself, and trying to control God and make Him do what I wanted. I was fueled by fear. That wasn’t real prayer!

      THANK YOU for sharing your story! I know God will use your testimony to bless and encourage many, many wives in the coming days. You are such a blessing, my beautiful sister in Christ!

      1. I think another way we could describe “worry praying” would be “nagging.”

        “God, be sure you do this!”
        “God, don’t forget. You need to do this for me.”
        “Lord, You haven’t done this thing for me yet. Why aren’t you doing what I want you to do? It needs to be done right now!”

        It is similar, I think, to when we nag our husbands. We don’t nag out of faith, do we? We nag our husbands because we DON’T believe they will take care of something, not because we DO believe the will take care of it. We ask once, usually, if we truly do believe they will take care of the issue.

    2. Thank you for your prayers and your encouragement Becca, for all of us in this difficult situation. I have prayed for 12 years for my unsaved husband (ever since I got saved) and am very guilty of ‘worry prayers’ (great description April!) and also ‘begging prayers’, like Betsy mentioned above.
      I have also said to myself I can’t see how my husband will ever get saved, and have spoken negative and cursing words – even said them to God about him when praying!
      April you are so right in what you say; sometimes excessive prayer is a sign of an idol in your life, and this was definitely the case for me.
      This year I have given my desire and need for my husband’s salvation to God, and laid my fears over this at the feet of Jesus. I now just have to learn to stop picking it all back up again!!!
      I still pray for him, but nowhere near the extent that I was doing, and I am more at peace over it.

      1. Sunshine,

        Thank you so much for sharing your story!

        It is interesting, when we are “worry praying” and depending on our prayers more than we are trusting God – we doubt God. We show unbelief in God. James 1:5-7 has some strong words about what happens when we pray in doubt rather than in faith:

        If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

        I sure didn’t see my prayers answered when I was worry praying and doubting God the whole time. In my case, the excessive and obsessive prayers were also a sign of idolatry in my life. I wanted to use God and prayer to get what I REALLY wanted – my husband to change and to love me the way I wanted him to. I tried to use God as a means to an end. 🙁 Oh, that is NOT approaching God with proper fear, reverence, and worship. That was extremely disrespectful on my part. How thankful I am that God didn’t answer my prayers that were not given in faith and that had so many evil motives.

        I have to picture physically laying down the person or issue I am praying over at the feet of Jesus. And then I picture getting back up and worshipping God and trusting Him to take care of the person. I bring them to Him – kind of like the paralytic’s 4 friends laid their friend before Jesus – lowering him down through the roof. But then they let Jesus handle the rest. They didn’t tell him what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. They entrusted their friend to Jesus.

        Sometimes it takes a long time before we see the answer to our prayers. But will we trust and wait on God’s perfect timing? Will we embrace the waiting and all that God wants to teach us through that time about deepening our faith in Him?

        It is hard to learn to lay people and issues down and not pick them back up again. But that burden is not ours to carry – and it is too heavy for our shoulders. It is so healing to realize where our responsibilities end and God’s begin.

        Much love!

  7. Excellent, April! Remember a few weeks ago when I asked in the comments how to know the line between working on being a respectful wife/praying for marriage vs. making that an idol? Well, this post just cleared that issue up for good. If my prayer and fasting time is centered on my marriage, then it is an idol. Even things done for good, things we learn here in your blog, can be an idol.
    I love how you made this clear! Let God use you, my sister😊

    1. blessed,

      YAY! I’m so glad God used this post to speak to you and that it helped to clarify things. Thank you of letting me know!

      Yes, if the prayer and fasting is mostly about your marriage – not so much about God – that is a sign that it is time to do some soul searching.

      We can make ANYTHING into an idol. It is rather scary – because we don’t even realize we are doing it.

  8. This is very good, thank you, April. The other day I was walking laps in my neighborhood and realized that I had spent so much time just thinking about my situation. I decided I would spend one lap focused on praying for others. Guess what? I got around to the end of the lap and realized I’d only prayed maybe a quarter of it. :/ Thankfully, God has brought me out of the turmoil of spirit that I was having at that time…

    In a season of suffering right now, I’m finding the prayers God is answering big time are anything focused on me! (Show me my sin, Lord – work on my bitterness, etc.). It is amazing how many times He has met me in the last few weeks with His Word, a thought from the Spirit, a sermon on the radio, a song that I hadn’t heard before, etc. that confirms what He’s trying to plant deep in me.

    I am finding myself praying things like “Don’t let this end, Lord, until You are done with me.” Or, when I am ruminating on past hurts, etc. (struggling with bitterness or unforgiveness), desperate prayers that He will deliver me from that.

    I do like the distinction you are making of worrying/nagging prayer verses genuine prayer. I think sometimes, there are seasons where we pray more intensely for a particular thing (our marriage, our spouses, etc.) , but agree with you, April, that the nature of our prayers when we are in right submission to God look very different in those times than when we are praying from selfish motives and with a heart of pride and lack of humility. I think (and know you would agree) that God is very pleased with our pouring our hearts out to Him – all of our pain and tears, casting all our cares on Him, but submitted to His will (which usually means a laying down of our life in the particular situation). So, for some women who are in intense battles in their marriages, I believe there will be LOTS of praying. But, the key is casting those cares on God so that we can receive His comfort, get our needs met by Him and get His opinion and viewpoint on the situation that we are currently seeing from a worldly point of view.

    April, I just realized that my posts can sometimes seem like I’m trying to get across points you haven’t already made, but I know you’ve made these points….I guess it’s my way of processing what I’ve read and giving those same points from a different perspective. I hope that’s o.k. and also how they are coming across! 🙂

    1. Jennifer, I do that, too! Kind of think out loud, or type as I think. I do think it’s a processing thing. Just like people have all different learning styles, I think we all have different processing styles. I like reading your comments. All the comments, actually. April is wonderful and communicates very well. Still, sometimes hearing something another way helps with understanding.

      I especially like what you said about “…get our needs met by Him and get His opinion and viewpoint on the situation…” I needed to hear that! That is a great nugget of truth I sure needed today, so thank you!

      1. Becca,

        I am THANKFUL for all the ladies (and men) who comment. Each comment adds a new facet to the discussion. And many times, those who comment are articulating things that many others are thinking, but just didn’t share. It helps me understand how people take what I am writing – which is VERY helpful feedback. And it helps others who are struggling with similar issues to read the comments others share. I think it helps sharpen all of us when we get to have a big discussion.

        Thanks for commenting!

    2. Jennifer,

      I love that you are processing verbally like that. I think writing out what you are processing helps a lot with learning. And I think hearing a different take on the same concept can help other wives, too. Sometimes one person will say something slightly differently – and it will be just the thing that helps everything “click” for another wife.

      Thank you for sharing what God is doing and the insights you have!

      Much love to you!

  9. Hello April,

    This topic is exactly what I needed to hear today! Since my husband left the weeks ago today, I’ve been feeling very down today in particular. I had been praying and trying to fight back fear when I started reading this and realized I was “worry praying.” Not all of my prayers have been this way but more than I care to admit. It’s been a difficult process to trust God and rest in Him as well as start to root out all of my idols.

    Thank you for addressing this. I pray God draws me ever closer to Him and that He blesses you and your family abundantly.

    God bless,

    Dawn

    1. Dawn,

      Oh no! Such a painful situation, my dear sister! How my heart aches for you both and your family.

      I believe the first step to spiritual wholeness for your marriage is spiritual wholeness for Dawn. As you get stronger in your faith, as God helps you get rid of sin and empowers you with His Spirit – then He can also empower you to begin to pray effectively and in the power of His Spirit – for your husband and for every other issue.

      I join with you in praying for healing for you in Christ and for healing for your husband – that God might draw his heart to Himself – and for healing for your marriage for God’s greatest glory!

      Sending you the biggest hug!!! 🙂

  10. Awesome blog! I have been so very guilty of “nagging” and “begging” God. Only since I have been reading your blog, listening to One Place sermons (sometimes 12 a day!) changing my prayers to “change me, Lord” and “dethroning” my husband (idol worship) on a daily basis can I consistently walk in peace.

    I have my moments…don’t get me wrong…last night I spent 15 minutes in panic mode trying to find my husband until I finally took him BACK off the throne of my heart, put God back where He belongs, repented (AGAIN), and then sent my husband another apology text for blowing up his phone trying to find him. Because my husband is drinking excessively right now he withdraws from us for long stretches of time (he doesn’t want us subjected to his distressing state) and I KNOW this but I still start to panic once the sun goes down every night. When I apologize for blowing up his phone, he is understanding, believe it or not. Also, when I apologize, he is seeing that I AM TRYING to change…this is BIG for him as I used to get “nasty” in texts when he wouldn’t respond.

    I don’t know if this is wrong…but I don’t “pray” everyday for him like I used to in the beginning when he cut me off. I got so weary from the battle. I have other people praying though. I breathe prayers throughout the day for him…I try to stay in constant communion with the Lord and if I feel an urging to pray for my hubby, I do. Mostly I’m praying for myself, ” Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139;23-24. Believe me, God is MORE than willing to answer THAT prayer immediately 🙂 I cannot believe how sinful and unrighteous my thoughts can become throughout the day. I have so much work to do on myself that there is scarcely time to focus on my husband’s issues anymore.

    1. DW,

      You do have a very difficult situation, my dear sister! I am so thankful we have a BIG God who specializes in difficult things!

      Yes, God often answers prayers where we ask Him to show us our sin VERY quickly!! I prayed that one today and got some fast answers!!!!

      Thank you for sharing, my sweet sister in Christ! I pray for God’s healing and power for you and your husband and for healing for your marriage.

  11. (I have not read all of the comments regarding this post, so if I repeat, please forgive 🙂

    Again, peacefulwife speaks such good words–such confirmation! An additional thought…

    A good test I have seen is “am I praying in fear or in faith?” If it is in fear, He will not answer it. I learned this greatly when praying for my grown children, and then recently when praying for my husband.
    I realized this one day when I had committed to pray for a friend’s daughter who was going off to college. I posted her name on my refrigerator as a reminder. After a couple of days i realized I had been praying such strong, and very thought provoking, strategic prayers, compared to those of my own children as simply pleas and, usually with tears. I then saw the difference of praying out of fear rather than faith. That’s when I decided to ask others to pray for my children, and I would, in turn, pray for theirs. I think this might also be a good practice in praying for our husbands.

    1. mission61,

      I do think we can let emotions get us entangled sometimes when we pray for our own husbands or families. That was an interesting test. I noticed in the past that I prayed much more bold prayers for people that weren’t in my immediate family – and then realized, I could pray for my family like that, too! Duh! 🙂

      Love this!!! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Brianna George,

      I’m so glad this was a blessing. I think this is something we often don’t see and can be blind to. I know I was for so many years. We think we are praying fervently – but we are really just worrying and not trusting God.

      May God empower each of us to repent of any worry and unbelief and learn to truly seek Him and to truly pray fervently in the power of His Spirit working in us. 🙂

  12. This really is a great post. One problem with too much desperate praying is that we aren’t being quiet enough to listen. Often God is trying to answer me but He can’t get a word in edgewise because I am too busy pleading my case. Sometimes we really are called to just “be still and know that I Am.”

    I remember praying for God to change my husband and He kept telling me “your husband is not the problem.” It was very convicting and probably sounds a bit harsh, but really it wasn’t. The moment I accepted that answer, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted off of me. I was no longer responsible for trying to change my husband or for trying to control him.

    1. insasntiybytes22,

      True! Well, when we are not really trusting God, but trusting the mechanics of our saying words over and over again… we can’t hear God’s still small voice. Yes! There are many times when we need to be still and know that God is Lord!

      Thank you for sharing about what God said to you. Praise God that you were willing to eventually receive His words and for all that He has done and is doing will do in your life! WOOHOO!!! LOVE THIS!

  13. Thank you so much for this post April! I am going through a difficult time right now dealing with my husband telling me he hasn’t been happy for a long time and leaving me. We get along well and I’ve tried my very best to work on allowing God to change me into a more humble and respectful person and less controlling. However, I found I have been focusing on ‘begging’ instead of truly praying that God will soften my husband’s heart and restore my marriage. This has really helped me and I will try my best to focus my prayers on others and drawing closer to God. Thank you!

    1. BN,

      I am so very sorry to hear about how painful things are right now! I wish I could give you a big hug!

      But how I praise God that He is speaking and you are listening. That is a GOOD thing!

      Some other posts that may be helpful:

      When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done!”

      Don’t Wait! – the recommendations in this post will be a blessing to your walk with Christ no matter what your husband is doing, my dear sister!

      I’m here if you want to talk some more. I am honored to walk beside you on this journey. Praying for God’s healing for you both and for God’s healing for your marriage – but most of all His greatest glory!

  14. I wonder if there is a survey on Christian couples praying.
    I have been cut out of prayer with my wife. Not directly, but as a result of Facebook prayer groups. I as the husband, am no longer needed. If we do pray, its either too long and weepy as she cries, or it is a short prayer and we are running to something in crisis. I tried. we prayed once in a week some months ago and she won’t make the time because she is updating Facebook-prayers for my son who is on drugs or my daughter with mental problems or any number of people in her group who have similar problems. I personally have prayed for a job for 6 years now. Thank God for the welfare. (when you need money…) I suppose there is some disillusionment on my part, when prayer is not answered. The wife can only assume it is my fault and I have exasperated God in some way. Nevertheless, I have been cut out of prayer.
    let’s sum it up;
    cut out of bread winner
    cut out of intimacy
    cut out of children’s decisions
    cut out of spiritual part
    Someone please tell me;
    What is the measure of a man?
    anyone?

    1. “…let’s sum it up; cut out of bread winner, cut out of intimacy…”

      Ah Jeff, my heart goes out to you. You ask, “what is the measure of a man?” You are the son of a most high God, created in His image and so deeply loved. I will pray that you can feel His words, that you can pull him towards you and see yourself as He sees you, as someone precious, having such worth and value to Him, you were worth dying for.

    2. Jeff,

      You know, I just have to wonder if there is something God may want to do in you, or in your wife – and you may not know what it is yet… but perhaps there is still work He wants to do before answering some of these prayers?

      My heart breaks for your pain. But how I pray you will continue to set your eyes and faith on Christ, my dear brother! I know the enemy is trying desperately to destroy you and your family. I can’t help but wonder that he may realize that he doesn’t want you serving God wholeheartedly because he knows God desires to use you in mighty ways in His kingdom?

  15. Thanks for this reminder April. I’m still so double-minded in my prayers. I’m like the Pharisees, Matthew 15 :7-8 :
    You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,_ but their hearts are far from me.

    There are still so many areas of my heart that need to change. I started to finally see that I can’t trust myself and asked God to reach inside, deep within my heart, to find what it is that has me captive and He showed me that my deepest sin is still pride. Last week, for the first time in my life I saw my mistakes and felt ugly. The roots are much deeper than I thought.

    In this period of learning to trust and have faith in God and not in my husband or in myself, my husband is thinking again about separation and asks me what I’m thinking about our marriage. My impression is that he is trying to make me give up on the marriage like he already did. I told him that I was thinking very deeply about some things he said in the past and that I would communicate my thoughts to him in some time. I said also that I love him (he thinks that I don’t love him and that I stay because of the marriage). I try still to do my best, to serve him, compliment him, give him gifts and some space. He communicates also very little with me in the house, and I have a hard time talking to him. He says he doesn’t want a marriage that is old fashioned, meaning he isn’t for a marriage where two peoples stay together forever. I do not want to give up. I do not know what God’s will is, but I do not want to give up. I pray God to change me.

    So, I would like to apologize to my husband for the many things I did in the past. I got actually an advice through an e-mail (by a marriage counselor) to write an appology letter where I will have to describe my mistakes, but also, and more importantly, describe my spouse’s feelings and their experience of my mistakes. I will have to feel his hurt. He says that this appology could be quite healing for a spouse.

    Would it be possible to talk through some things with you April on this blog?

    I’m so thankful for your ministry.

    1. Ev,

      You are welcome to share with me – either on the blog or you can private message me on my Peacefulwife Blog FB page or on my Youtube account, “April Cassidy.” Would that work?

      I’m so glad you are seeking Christ and that you want Him to change you!
      Much love to you, my dear sister!

  16. I’m at a low today. I have been on this journey for ten months. Today, I try to scrape up some encouragement and positive thoughts. I am raw. The storms over this past week have been a reflection of my soul, my emotions. I have learned to love, respect, see the other side, rest in God, and serve others unconditionally. For all of that, I will always be thankful to my Lord. Having a relationship with God has been the best thing in my life… Not sure of the order, but right up there with the birth of my children and marrying my husband. However, I am tired. I am losing my hope. I keep running to God, but I don’t know what is next.

    I went to my counselor and he has agreed with what my heart has been saying that I need to talk to my husband about how I feel. I am so scared. I don’t have confidence that my husband will listen, understand, care, or even respond. The days drag on for a chance to talk to him. I will be writing a letter to him. I need to tell him my needs. I need a husband who will be my partner, someone who will hold me when I am sad, who cares about weather I make it home safe or not. Someone who smiles when they see me, someone who wants to hear my thoughts about things. I want someone who makes me feel valued and good. Someone who appreciates the love and sacrifice I give, although I give it freely. I want someone who doesn’t reject me for the mere fact that I am alive, or still in the house.

    I want a father for my children. I am so exhausted from trying to be both every day. I want someone who appreciates the gifts God has given him, to impart his fatherly wisdom on two growing and wide eyed, innocent children who worship the ground he walks on, but deserve so much better.

    I am not trying to be overly high with my expectations, my husband has been all these things before, but is no longer. I have seen him self destruct and throw away all that we have worked for. I know that I had a part in it as well, and have spent the last year (or more) trying to discover the missing piece. It was God, for me. I know I would be a better wife to my husband now, but he is so lost. I cannot fix him. I cannot make him see or hear me. i have opened the door to the china shop so the bull can get out. A bull does not belong in a china shop. I know he feels bad for his past mistakes. I do too, but I know God’s forgiveness. Everyday I give that forgiveness back because God has shown me how. I pray for him to find his way out of this deep pit he is in. I have thrown the lifelines out into the water for him, but he refuses to grab ahold. I feel me fading. I need to live my life. Although I have made such wonderful headway, I know what to do and that I will be ok with God helping me, I can’t help but weep for the death of a dream I thought so sure was placed in my heart by God. I am questioning if I even really know how to hear God. i was so sure that He wanted our marriage restored. I am digging deep to let it happen in His timeline, not my own, but i can’t even breathe anymore without tears in my eyes when I am alone.

    A message on Joel Osteen radio today; just the last 5 minutes talked about a picture of a rowboat that was stranded on the sand during low tide. it was a sad, desolate picture. A man found it at a flea market and paid a few dollars for it, but he liked it because down on the bottom of the picture it had the words: ” the tide always comes back in”. It was inspirational to him. I pulled over and snot-cried at this. I am the beached boat. I have been waiting for the tide, but it feels like the planets have stopped spinning.

    Although I have come to understand that my marriage may not make it, I still keep trying to have hope that God is able to turn things around. I probably keep giving it to God, but then feel like I need to take some kind of action. I have never been the type to sit and wait, but I understand how to do that. I can focus on my kids and helping others. I can now give my husband space, “wide open spaces, enough to make a big mistake” -by the Dixie Chicks. I know God can provide me with my needs of companionship, security and love. But I still have to live on this earth too. my kids don’t know God as a father yet to help them. I am trying to bring God into their lives, but I don’t want to push them away either. What about the formative years they need a father to teach them now? I am getting more lost. I know what to do, but it just doesn’t feel like enough any more. I don’t even know what to pray for anymore.

    1. LMSdaily115,

      How has your time with God been going, my dear sister?

      There can be a time when separation is necessary – and even sometimes an important step in healing. God will have to show you the timing about that if that is what He wants you to do. Of course you may share your needs with your husband. I vote to keep the letter pretty brief and concise.

      The last chapter has not been written for your marriage. Even if you believe you may need to separate for a time – you can pray and trust God for reconciliation and healing for your husband and your marriage.

      What do you desire in your walk with Christ!

      Much love to you!!!!

    2. Hey LMS and April,

      I thought I’d write after reading your comments – it will take a while but here goes: I so relate to the confusion – it is so intense and takes you to your limits…how confused must Abraham have been in Genesis 22 taking Isaac up the mountain….

      The start is that my relationship with Jesus just continues to grow and it is nearly impossible to shut me up now about Jesus – I am an outdoor, construction, build it kind of guy but he has so softened me on the inside it is just crazy..I cry when I talk with Him, honest. I spent nearly two hours tonight on a seat outside a supermarket talking to this guy about Jesus. The Holy Spirit doesn’t bubble out of me anymore He basically says “look out!! Coming through!!” and its on! Revival is on it’s way..I’m serious…and all because I have been separated from my wife!!

      And then I fell in love with my wife early last week, I mean really. I have always loved her but I mean delighted in not only her good points but I now really like her bad points. Now, trust me… she is really angry at the moment, really angry, because I do all the things she says need doing no matter how big or small so she gets angry because then when I do them they are not excuses anymore..she has angry friends, and they have angry huddles and play being angry at me but I just keep falling more in love, its crazy. i think I’m going to tell her that if she wants me to stop loving her she better stop being angry because its not helping! Its so funny, but not really, because she starts to be nice then remembers she’s got to be angry…

      Anyway the situation just doesn’t look good and all year I keep asking friends and pastors “what do i do now..she says this or does that..” What do I have to do to make it work? And last week I was getting REALLY frustrated…it just looked impossible and now that I have fallen in love with her so unexpectedly it is ten times harder. I lost it one day this week and I rang a couple of people and basically said my wife is insane, she is doing nothing, i am doing everything…and five people, including my son said the same thing…SHUT UP (and trust!) – my son actually then went to say if “if you stop talking Dad, she will see the Holy Spirit in you but while you are talking she can’t” – “Wow!” ….but then it got really uncomfortable..my Bible opens at Numbers 11. – Heavy rebuke time!! It so clearly explained the reason behind what everyone said…same as for the Israelites who were sick of manna (the Bread of Life – Jesus) and wanted the meat but suffered and died as a result – The Lord said to me ….”trust me, I am enough and until you learn that I am enough we are going to keep going round this mountain” and certainly the intimation was that if I didn’t get the understanding that this is about Jesus and to seek Him first because He is first not because He will make my marriage happy. so I really need to get it because I don’t know if you have ever been rebuked by the Lord but you don’t forget it..it actually keeps growing in you, it really does.

      But then I’ve opened my Bible to Isaiah 44 and 45 where He says in no uncertain terms “I’ve got this, I’ve got it covered” and explains how and why..I think that is how this relationship with Him works – you said you know your marriage may not make it and its true but Joyce Meyer pointed out that in God we have truth and we have facts and truth wins every time. Disregard facts and proclaim truth even when the facts oppose it, just ask Abraham, Jacob, Paul, anybody because when it it grows, it grows. Keep agreeing with the truth, this is your testimony and keep agreeing with His word and it will be epic!!

      1. Gary,

        Your comments always bring joy to my heart. I LOVE to see what God is doing in your soul!!!! WOOHOO!

        What an incredible treasure that you are hearing God’s voice so clearly and seeking to obey Him even when it is costly and painful, even though it means giving up everything you want.

        I found a new book this week – a free download is available here – by Andrew Murray called Absolute Surrender. I am only 15 pages in, and already, this man has CHALLENGED me to go much deeper in my faith. That is exactly what I want to do – to depend on the sufficiency of Christ and to put Him first, period. No matter the cost. I want to be completely yielded and obedient to Him and I want all that He has for me – the trials, the pain, the pruning, the refining, and the blessings. Because I know that in those trials and the times of suffering is where the greatest treasures and most precious moments with God will be found. How I long to be faithful to Him! I have been rebuked by the Lord a number of times. I want to be VERY quick to listen and obey Him when that happens!

        Thank you so much for sharing, our brother!

        1. Gary,

          I am trying to remember what book it was – maybe Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas – but there was a story of a husband in a similar situation, although not separated. The wife wanted a divorce and hated living with her husband. He would pray with her every night and she would roll her eyes in disrespect. She turned down all of his loving gestures. For months. Until one day she realized the love that was hers and how hatefully she was responding and that she would be crazy to walk away from a love like that.

          I imagine, that may be in God’s plans for your marriage one day, too. But regardless of your wife’s response, my prayer is for you to live in and abide fully in Christ and that you might walk in obedience and faithfulness to Him – seeking only to please Him.

          1. My husband is the one who wants a divorce and has stood very firm that I am abusive and mean. He treats me with hostility when I make any attempt to discuss our marriage or circumstances that need to be discussed. I have asked God for forgiveness and he has granted me that. I have repented, asked for forgiveness from my husband, admitted my failings to no avail. He has dug his heels in that divorce is the best option. How do I remain a peaceful wife and trust in God’s plan when the one I share a home with and parent two Boys treats me with such disdain?

          2. hopeful,

            I’m glad you repented to God and to your husband. That is awesome! It will take a lot of time if your husband believes you are abusive and mean for him to see that God is truly changing you. Like – many months or years, most likely. If you truly have been abusive, it will take a lot of time and a new history to rebuild trust.

            I vote to continue to seek to become the woman and wife God calls you to be and to continue to allow God to change you – and to lay down expectations of your husband (other than faithfulness and your safety and really basic things) and wait on God to work in his life.

            Please check out these posts:

            Don’t Wait!
            Peaceful Separated Wife
            Peaceful Divorced Wife
            When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done”
            Most likely, your words mean nothing to him at this point. But perhaps, seeing your attitude and genuine respect and cooperative attitude may get through in time.

            I suggest to seek to please God and to bless your husband and let those be your only motives.

            Much love to you!

          3. Respecting someone who shows no respect or interest in one’s life requires a lot of courage and commitment. I have a minimal amount of respect right now. When I hear my h. Listen to Christian music, it makes my skin crawl.

          4. Wow – I have been listening to the audio whilst I have been working – heavy book! but so so true for me….I had this crazy revelation. My wife went to live with her mother because she felt forced out of our home and she had indeed asked me to leave but in my arrogance I took the course that because I had repented it was ok never thinking on the reality that it is still such early days from where my wife can start to check and trust me.
            I am going to move out now so that she can live here. Repentance works in stages and there is still along way to go _ after listening to Andrew Murry there is so much further but the timing is absolutely perfect because last week was the first time that I had ring a couple of friends and said i am at the end of it – I have done everything and I am at the end of it and now I feel the Lord saying “with God ALL things are possible” our life is actually meant to be a series of impossibilities where we look at Christ the entire time….Now here’s the revelation – Look at all Christ did for His bride…absolutely everything, nothing held back….

            I am overwhelmed with the arrogance and independence by which I STILL live even after a year…I have not even begun to understand how my wife feels. If she is nice to me it is a concession due to her grace not because I have earned it…..I am actually looking forward to the day when i can be truly set free of me – it would be amazing!!! Already, Andrew Murry has completely changed how I do things – it was the answer to the very very pressing question i had.

            It is so brilliant how there is a very definite pattern that the Lord seems to follow with me every time. I have had several occasions in this year where I am pressing in to God, situations around me get really difficult, I am overcome with disdain, collapse before Him, He shows me a spiritual direction to follow without explanation but as i follow that direction in obedience He gives me crystal clear understanding, every single time with the consequence that it fundamentally changes my inward and outward actions every single time.

          5. Gary

            What happened between you and your wife? Some of the things you share about yourself hit home with me. I have a husband who has disdain, contempt, does not nor will ever trust me, has threatened divorce for 15 month’s, his heart is hard. I really don’t see anything changing. I have been advised not to move out. I have worked very hard on myself throughout the last several months, repented to him, to God …on going.

          6. Hi Hopeful,

            I don’t think I have ever answered that question here on April’s blog except to say how I was personally. I grew up very independently, socially quite isolated and actually very disconnected and fearful. I became a believer at twenty two and simply left my past behind.

            My wife is amazing, she is genuine, truthful, pure, fun and outgoing. She fell head over heels in love with her perfect man and it took many years for her to realise i wasn’t. She covered for me, hoping for the best but it wasn’t enough.

            I came across as very clever, capable and true and our family looked amazing with three really great children.

            My life continued to lose integrity and honesty as I tried to keep everyone happy and continued to get more isolated in my world. Financially I was a mess and lived on credit cards and debt, would lie to people to get me out of trouble, compromised on myself and rightly my wife couldn’t hold on any longer.

            That’s pretty much how it was….Separation was the catalyst to start a journey to dying to the disgusting self life I used to live. My wife has had to stay hard hearted for her own protection and so it has often been quite painful for both of us – but I’ll tell you what happened a short time ago. First i fell in love with Jesus, sounds weird as a man saying it so emotionally but I just think about the Lord all the time. But then just a few days later, I just fell in love with my wife the same way she fell in love with me thirty years ago. Literally, totally, fell in love with her…I don’t care if it is hard, if it is easy..I just love her and the more the difficult that it gets the more I love her !! crazy…that’s God.

          7. Thank you. I understand falling in love again with a fresh eye when things are hard or when coming out of an emotional and spiritual collapse. Things and people seem different after hitting a bottom that you and I seem to have hit in our marriages.

            Do you have hope that the heart of your wife will soften and let you in?

          8. I am SO hopeful. There is nothing that gives me any indication that this will happen, nothing whatsoever. But there was not one situation in the Bible at anytime where there was a speck of hope so THAT is what gives me more hope…..I have tried and tried and no matter how many changes I make it doesn’t seem to matter. She will be nice one day and today for example she is hurting physically, mentally and emotionally – I think she is in a pretty dangerous place and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do. I never thought about it before but how must the Lord ache for us when we won’ t listen or respond _ I have never read anything about it but it must be absolutely heart breaking seeing all your children living in chaos, confusion and pain……

            Definitely agree with you about how different people look to me now – I used to be SO disconnected and now I love anyone and everyone so much.

            Keep going hopeful…..I’m regularly reduced to tears of pain, loneliness or something but I also feel so honored that I can fight for and stand in the gap for the one who has given so much of herself for me….

          9. Gary. I want to thank you for sharing your story and struggles. Pain knows no gender. We are fighting the same battle. I love God so much now and couldn’t think of where I would be without Him. I can see how without Him, people turn to drugs, alcohol, sexual depravity, affairs etc. Without the shining beacon of love from God, we are all doomed. It is very frustrating to try to convince someone that your entire being thinks, feels, acts different. I imagine Saul/Paul felt that way after being rebuked by God, blinded and made to see how he was fighting against God, then trying to preach the word to a world of people who always knew him as a killer of christians. Barra bass was his witness and believed in the change in Paul. I think this will take time. It is hard to trust a convicted killer who gets out of jail and says he’s a changed man. How do you feel trusting to a person like that until time passes and he proves himself. Many cannot give that second chance. Only God can soften our spouses hearts to allow forgiveness in and to uproot bitterness.

            Only this week has my husband stated he is “trying” again. I at least get a kiss on the forehead now instead of a fist bump or outright ignored. Small blessings. I am encouraging the things I like and thanking him, and making sure I have healthy boundaries. He is still very controlling, opinionated, selfish and living emotionally, but he has his own spiritual battle to deal with. I am now to be an example, as Jesus us for us. I have hope that one day my husband will see the goid, but different person I am. I one day think he will mature emotionally to accept what I bring to the table and learn to love me for who I truly am. But I had to love myself first. We have to give away what we want most.

            I am excited every day that I am one day closer to fulfilling my destiny. I wonder what the challenge today may be? I wonder if today is the day my husband “wakes up” to the Lord? I could get discouraged and think “this is my lot in life, it will never get better”, but then I am dwelling on what I don’t have and not celebrating what I do have. A turning point for me was realizing that my crappy marriage is only one part of my life. What about my kids, my friends, family, work, enjoying life? Those are part of life too! The more I focus on blessing others, the more joy I feel. I am saddened that I can’t bless my husband more, because he does not want to accept it, but he is a spectator right now, not really a participant. God calls is to be participating christians, not spectators. So I go out and influence what I can in Jesus’ name and be happy and full of joy that way. I know my h sees it, he even asked how can I be so happy? He thinks I feel like everything is ok. But my h is dwelling on our marriage. I am more than my marriage. I had to stop being indwelt, looking at my problem all the time, I had to look to my God instead. I have lots of work elsewhere I can focus on. It doesn’t mean I ignore my problem. I check in, try to understand my h’s feelings thoughts, etc. But I cannot get through to him with eords. I am letting my attitude toward life be my calling card now. Either my h wants to be around that, or he doesnt. The choice is his, but I will not be changing my focus on God for any human anymore. I get lost if I rely on humans only. The ball is really in my h’s court now. He has a lot of emotional and spiritual growing up to do too. I am so thankful I have begun my journey when I fid, I can’t imagine watching someone change so much, as I have, and not understanding why or want to even try to understand. Just rejecting it because I didn’t understand it. I bet our spouses feel dropped on another planet, time warped, beamed up, scotty! Their whole world is changed, so are ours, but we at least know why…for us. They may not. Even Luke warm Christians probably don’t “get it” yet. I know I didn’t. But when I did, it was 360° of Christ shooting into me all at once. Brought me to my knees and all those catholic rote and lecture seeds burst into fruit that put all the pieces together for me. Changed me forever. Praise Jesus!

            I stopped focusing on “fixing” everything or trying to prove myself to one person. I love him when I can, I don’t react out of selfish motives. I help where I am able. I let the butterfly go. If he comes back, then it was meant to be. It may be a long time. In the meantime, I have lots of life to live, I don’t want to waste another day waiting for it to pass by. There is more to my life than my marriage problems.life will never be 100% perfect. I intend to live the other 80% of my life fully. Gary, I pray your wife’s heart softens and she starts to see your light. Your love of life, God’s hand in you and her. I pray she heals inside, sounds like she might be turning a small corner. Don’t let it sway you, though, keep living for God first. I pray for you to be patient and focus on all the gifts God has given you. Praise Him and find your joy in life. I pray that you focus on your God, not your problems. You are granted to win that way. Winning the way God designed is always so much better than what we could do. Much love to you.

          10. LMSdaily115,

            Would you allow me to please share this as a post anonymously? No pressure. 🙂 But WOW! What a blessing I believe your story would be to countless wives (and husbands)!!!

            Much love, my sister! What a joy it is to walk this journey with you.

          11. Gary,

            I’m so thankful that Andrew Murray’s book is already impacting you so profoundly. It is doing the same for me! I love what God is showing you. Thank you very much for sharing. How I pray we might ALL completely empty our lives of self and be cleansed and empty and ready for God to fill with Himself in overflowing abundance. May we listen to Him and follow Him rather than running ahead and telling Him to bless our feeble efforts!

            I praise God for what He is doing in your life. 🙂

          12. April, I have the audio version and I have listened to it now about fifteen times which i really needed to but it is HEAAVY!! The chapter on the regenerate man, the impotent man and the spiritual man is so much how my life has been. But it is now so obvious, its laid out in Romans 7, Romans 8 and Philippians 2 so simply – you have to read it – it is so fundamental and so important….thank you so much for this, it is the absolutely critical time to have received it …..

          13. Gary,

            I haven’t gotten to that chapter yet. Hopefully today! It is heavy. Powerful. Convicting. Thank you so much for letting me know how Murray’s book is impacting you. I’m so grateful God is using it in your life. 🙂

          14. Hi April, and LMS – thank you for so much for your thoughts and experiences – you would not believe how much your input helps me.

            I am so amazed at how marriages and their difficulties are so “disguised” in the men/women thing when it seems that when it comes down to tin tacks its just human relationships, our ability to be true and honest.

            I am going to be as honest as I possibly know how to be here but it’s really important. You have seen me walk this journey over the last year. Through the year I keep thinking I have reached a significant change in my life.

            But truth keeps finding you out if you are seriously looking. Its a bit like the rich young ruler – I can think I am doing all the right things but what I am absolutely convinced of is that if my wife is still hurt, angry, afraid or distant then I am fooling myself.

            It was a harsh learning when I became aware that I was still manipulative, still vague (which screams unpredictable and lacking security to my wife). There is a really significant difference now because I recognise this really quickly and am quick to repent and to change. My apologies to my wife may come across as insincere to her but it doesn’t change my direction.

            Like you LMS I continue on my path to destiny but now other people get affected by my changes as they do with you or with anyone who develops a relationship with Jesus. I heard Andrew Murray say the day of a true believer is filled with impossibilities that the Holy Spirit changes to possibilities which is such a great mind set…

            As I keep getting to my limits now He seems to fix things so much more easily…absolutely amazing…

          15. Gary, I agree. So much more to life. I have come to realize that I really don’t know if my husband is just
            1) feeling super disrespected
            2) has a character flaw of control, pride, perfectionism-like I did
            3) he is clinically depressed
            4) going through a midlife crisis
            5) has a medical issue effecting him mentally/emotionally
            6) has stresses outside of “us” that he hasn’t learned how to handle yet and thus is some sort of kick-the-dog thing or
            7)some isdue not revealed yet either with him or myself.
            Regardless of trying to figure our what’s going on, I know my one truth I must follow is to please God with my sctions, words, thoughts. If I do that, some respond, dome dont. My husband may end up being drawn to my ligyt, or repelled. But that is in him and I cannot control/fix/force/demand/manipulate that. Only God and my husband are the players there. I am merely another stimulus of input. I think as your very intelligent wife sees you are genuine with your changes in life, especially in areas where it would not influence her or benefit you or have any remote “smell” of having an ulterior motive to save the marriage or get the girl back, her heart will soften. She will need to decide if she wants to be around you and trust you. It’s like she wants to watch you through a one way mirror and see who you are when you think she is not watching. She wants to see the real you in ALL aspects of life, not just the marriage. I know I am looking for that from my husband, but also working on that for myself. Although it is hard to NOT focus on the giant elephant in the room, I need to live fully the other parts of my life. It may mean I have different friends now, even. I rekindle family relationships I didn’t pay much mind to. I have a love of my job like never before. I know my husband is always watching, but I want to live in a way that I would even if he walked away forever, or even if he died (I pray that doesn’t happen). How would you live your life without her? I think THAT is where the truth becomes visible. I pray that as we both learn new truths about God and his plans for our destinies, that we become be cons of His love and light in this world. Not only for our spouses, but for as many people as we can reach in the short time we have on this earth. In this way, we win no matter if we get our spouses back or not. We will still live lives worth God’s approval. Thank you for your insight Gary and April, the cognate parts of this journey, setting the right mindset, are defiantly the hardest, but most interesting to work through. Much love to you both.

  17. Hi April,
    I have been reading your blog for a few months and I have found it very helpful. My husband and I are both Christians and attend church regularly. However, I feel like I’m more committed to the faith in the sense that he doesn’t read the Bible nor pray regularly. In the past few years of our marriage, I have had a desire to go deeper in the my faith and walk with God. I pray for my husband to step into his role as the spiritual leader of our family but so far nothing has changed. I have mentioned on occasion that I’d like him to take a more active role in our faith life but I haven’t said anything in a while because I don’t want to nag him and I know I cannot make him do something that he is not inclined to do. My main concern is salvation.

    Since I have been reading the scriptures regularly, I feel like God is convicting me to reach out and serve the poor and needy more and to be aware of all the material things that we have. In particular, I find myself dwelling on Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18. Even though our family would probably not be considered “rich” by American standards, we are very comfortable and I’m concerned that we will be condemned in the afterlife if we do not share more of our material possessions and wealth with the poor. I do volunteer in our city with homeless women and we sponsor 3 children (one in our city and two abroad) but I still feel like this isn’t enough to satisfy Christ’s call to leave all of our things behind, take up our cross, and follow Him.

    This has become a greater concern for me ever since we have had our daughter. I don’t want her to see us as hypocrites who go to church on Sunday but then live like the rest of the world during the week. The scripture tells us that we need to be set apart and to not love the things of the world. A few months ago, I was in contact with an agency to do a short term mission trip (one week) and mentioned it to my husband but he shot the idea down immediately. I backed off since I know that I am to defer to his leadership but this nagging feeling that we are not doing enough and that we will ultimately be judged for living a comfortable life while our brothers and sisters are suffering worldwide has been haunting me. Sometimes I wish we had the courage to pack up and move abroad and to really live and preach the Gospel like Jesus calls us to do in Matthew 28.

    Any insight on this topic from you is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    1. Morgan,

      Oh, my! I can relate to you, my dear sister!

      So, I have been in the same position a number of times. I see something that is “clearly God’s will” and I share that I want to do that thing, and … nothing. Here are just a few of the things I would love to do:

      – sell our house and move to a $70,000-$80,000 little house and have no mortgage and sell or give away about 3/4 of our possessions
      – get rid of the tvs and all the video games
      – not celebrate Halloween at all
      – not celebrate Christmas with gifts, and just avoid the secular stuff about Christmas – same with Easter
      – do mission projects instead of entertainment
      – do mission trips instead of vacations
      – give MUCH more to those in need
      – adopt a needy child or children

      I tend to be ready to just change things on a dime and suddenly go 100 mph in a new direction. My poor children would probably be traumatized if I were in charge and I just plowed ahead suddenly with so many different changes.

      I used to resent Greg that he wasn’t “on board with God’s will” and these passages of Scripture. Now, I know that God is working in Greg’s heart in His timing and that God is sovereign over my life and Greg’s leadership. Now I also know that God has Greg as the leader instead of me for important reasons. One of which is probably balance and sanity for our children. I tend to be very extreme and not as big on fun and relaxation. I am probably rather intense and my 73 year old mentor, whose personality is very much like mine (and her husband’s is very much like Greg’s), tells me that we intense wives/moms can be extremely difficult to live with.

      Now, I have seen God lead me through Greg time after time. Greg has kept me from rushing into mistakes a number of times. He operates on a MUCH slower time table. We only go about 1-2 mph instead of 100mph. But God uses him. These parts of Scripture are commands for us as believers, yes. And God can and will change our husbands’ hearts in His timing about these things.

      Even David Platt – who wrote Radical – said that God woke up his wife to these passages of Scripture before God woke him up to them. Now, they are living out these things as a family.

      We can pray for God to direct our husbands with His wisdom. We can share our longing to walk in obedience in all things to God and to be more generous and to minister more to others. But then we can trust God to lead us through our husbands – unless our husbands are asking us to clearly sin.

      It is also important to remember that when God calls us, He will call our husbands, too. He won’t call us by ourselves, our husbands will be on board. And I need to remind myself that God doesn’t “need” my time or money. He wants all of my heart. That is the most important thing – that we are absolutely surrendered to Him at every moment, holding the things of this world loosely, ready to walk in obedience, abiding in Him, filled with His Spirit’s power. You can release everything in this life that comes before Christ and you can leave them on the altar. You can die to all of your possessions and not hold them tightly – but be willing at any moment to give it all up. You can share your desires with your husband respectfully.

      I’m glad that you listened to your husband and honored his decision about the mission trip.

      You can pray fervently for those who are suffering. You can ask God to open doors for you to minister to others. You can seek His whole will for your life and your family. You can trust Him to lead you in His time through your husband.

      You are not being disobedient to Christ if you share your desire to do these things and then your husband is not ready yet. He will answer to God for that, not you. God can change our husbands’ hearts and minds. God can change our circumstances. God is so sovereign, He can lead us through husbands who are not even close to Him.

      Much love to you! Continue to love Christ wholeheartedly! Rest in His love. I believe that as we wait on Him, He will make a way for us to walk in obedience to Him. 🙂

      Please check out the posts “Ways Husbands Lead Wives Don’t Often Notice,“What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?”, “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”, “I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More,” and the comments on this post about men and prayer.

      1. PS, Morgan,

        I LOVE LOVE LOVE your heart to want to obey God fully in everything! I know that with an attitude and heart that longs to please God and walk in total obedience to Him – He will make a way for you to do all that He desires you to do. 🙂

        1. Hi April,
          Thanks so much for your response. I really appreciate it. I think you made many good points and I will pray about all of this and just wait on God for His perfect timing. I can relate to much of what you said regarding TV and other secular leisure activities, as I have stated that I’d like to get rid of the TV but we still own one. I think I tend to be a bit extreme when it comes to this topic as well and I’m really trying to be more aware of that.

          For example, even though we have been sponsoring children for a few years, I hadn’t done any actual volunteer work in the community until recently. So far my husband is supportive of me volunteering with homeless women so I hope that he will see that I’m serious and this isn’t just a phase. When I was looking into mission trips and fantasizing about selling everything to move abroad, I feel like God spoke to me and said, “If you aren’t willing to serve the people in your own community and you aren’t willing to tell the people in your life about God now, what makes you think that moving abroad will change that?” So now I realize that I have to start where I am- in my local work with the poor in our city as well as in my interactions with coworkers, extended family, friends, etc.

          I hadn’t really given much thought to how I presented myself in those situations and if my interactions were truly honoring God. I think sometimes I get caught up in this all or nothing mentality that tells me that as long as I’m living in a safe neighborhood and I have more than just the bare necessities, that my testimony doesn’t matter and like I need to make a grand gesture to really prove that I’m a follower of Christ. I still feel a bit conflicted when I read those passages that I mentioned in my original post. I know Christ also said, “All things are possible through God” so maybe even those with material wealth can be in heaven if material possessions don’t have a hold on them. I’m still not sure.

          Sometimes I think I may be trying to “earn” salvation which I know is not correct but then I go back to the verse in James regarding being a “doer” of the word and not just a “hearer”. I know I need to have patience because this is not a conflict that will be resolved overnight. Thanks again.

          1. Morgan,

            I’m really glad that you heard God speak to you about starting here where you are right now and doing what you are able to do for His kingdom. He sees a willing heart that longs to obey Him and He can open the right doors for you and change your husband’s heart if He does want you to sell everything and move somewhere far away. But you are right, if you are not willing to do small things here and now for Christ and for those in need – you will probably not be able to do “bigger” things.

            I think that the key with all of our stuff is that we are willing to let it all go at any time and that we are ready to share whatever God wants us to share. But God will lead us through our husbands about these things.

            Remember that Jesus did EVERYTHING to make you right with God on the cross. And it is His life and power that does EVERYTHING in and through you even now. You can’t earn salvation. You can seek to walk in obedience out of joy and gratitude for all God has done for you – but you will have to have God’s Spirit to do that. As we focus on Christ and on abiding in Him and yielding fully to Him, we will be able to grow and He will show us the ministries He has for us and exactly how He desires us to honor Him and these particular passages of Scripture.

            Jesus does talk in general terms about His followers selling their possessions and giving to the poor. He says not to store up treasure on earth. But the time when He said directly to a man to sell all that he had and give to the poor – was a very specific situation. That man had made his possessions and money an idol. Jesus was asking him to give up his idol. He asks ALL of us to do that!

            If you are able to think of yourself as holding everything material very loosely and that God owns it ultimately – and that you are to be a godly steward with it, I think that is the most important thing. You can certainly share with your husband that you desire to honor Christ with money and possessions and you want to give to those in need as much as possible – and then allow God to lead you through your husband in this issue.

            Jesus didn’t call every person He spoke with to sell all that they had. Most of the people He ministered to had houses and land and jobs. Even the disciples didn’t sell all they had to follow Him. They did leave everything behind and followed Him. But I don’t see any record of them selling all of their possessions or their houses.

            I think the really key thing here is to watch your motives and how you believe you need to be made right with God. It is difficult for those with material wealth to come to Christ, yes. But with God all things are possible. Selling our possessions is a result of our salvation and love for Christ – but if you do have a house, that doesn’t disqualify you from heaven. I don’t see any instructions in the New Testament where selling all of our possessions and giving to the poor is a requirement for salvation. Some people choose to do this because they are saved. But it is not a means to salvation.

            I would encourage you to focus on the passages of Scripture that you are free to act on right now under the guidance of your husband. And we will trust God together about when/if/how He might desire us to drastically downsize and give most of our possessions to the poor that He will put that same desire in our husbands’ hearts at the right time.

            This doesn’t have to be a conflict, in my view. I look at it as I lay all that I have, all that I am, all of my plans, desires, and dreams, all those I love on the altar daily before Christ. I wait on Jesus to cause Greg to desire all that He desires. I trust God’s timing. I stay just as surrendered and yielded to Christ every day, offering all that I have and am to Him as I would be if Greg said, “Let’s sell this house and our stuff and get smaller place so we can give a lot to those in need.” My spiritual posture remains the same. Total and absolute surrender to Christ daily. I hope that makes sense.

            Check out this book I found last week by Andrew Murray – Absolute Surrender. Here is a link to a free download.
            Much love to you!

          2. Hi April,
            I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my comments. I know you must be very busy with your ministry and family, etc.
            I guess I just need to focus on what you said- completely surrendering all to God and not letting material possessions have a hold on me. In the past this was a huge issue for me. I never considered myself “materialistic” because I was/am quite frugal (e.g. I like to shop at thrift and discount stores) but I was much too focused on saving money for the future. I think it gave me a sense of power and control as well as pride. Then about 4 years ago, something happened and I ran into some financial trouble involving a close family member. Long story short, I ended up losing a great deal of my savings. I believe that it was God’s way of showing me that He gives and He can take away. That situation showed me that I am not in control of everything and that I should not value money above anything else. Since then I believe that I have placed much more trust in God and let go of a lot of my money issues but it is still a challenge at times. I am always on guard and checking myself to make sure money does not become an idol again.
            Thank you for the link to the book. I’ll definitely check it out, as I’m an avid reader. Another thing I want to mention is that a few years ago I started to read a lot of books by the pastor Francis Chan. I also watched many of his sermons on You Tube. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with his style and beliefs. He is a big critic of the American church and American materialism within the church in particular. He does a lot of mission work in the US and abroad and I find him inspiring. However, I think that reading some of his books has contributed to some of my concerns regarding salvation and helping the poor. The most recent book that I read from him was coauthored by his wife and it’s about marriage. The basic premise is that to have a true Christian marriage, we need to focus less on our spouses and more on Christ and his plan for us, which according to Chan involves a great deal of evangelizing and mission work. He talks about the great commission in Matthew 28 often as well. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this if you have time.
            Thanks again! Sorry this comment is so long.

          3. Morgan,

            I think it is very wise for all of us as believers to realize that God can give or take away in any area of our lives and to be willing to allow Him to work out His will and to trust Him. It is so easy to begin to trust in our savings account, the government, people, the economy, etc… and to put our real hope and faith in all these other things instead of trusting God alone. Our trials help to expose idols and whether we are really completely trusting God or not.

            I love Francis Chan’s sermons and I have read his book, “Crazy Love.” SO GOOD!

            I had to be careful for the same reason when I read Chan’s book, and also David Platt’s book, Radical. It’s good to want to obey and honor God and to want to sell all of our stuff and focus on Christ and His kingdom. But if our husbands are not there at this point, we have to be really careful. Wouldn’t the enemy love to use our desire to obey God about material things to destroy our marriages or to create disrespect/resentment/contempt in our hearts for our husbands?

            I used to think that Greg was “in the way” of me doing God’s will and carrying out God’s calling on my life. Now I understand that God will use Greg to lead me to His calling and that His calling on my life will be something that my husband will support in His timing. God allows me to do ministry all over the world from my living room – with my husband’s full support now for almost 4 years. It was Greg’s idea for me to share what God taught me with other women. It was Greg’s idea for me to write a book 2 years ago. He does my IT support and I share struggles I am having on the blog with him and he guides and directs me.

            For more about how God has led me through Greg, check out this post. 🙂

            Much love to you!

  18. May I ask to please pray for me and my husband. He wants to have a deep discussion with me about our marriage this weekend. Thank you in advance.

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.

%d bloggers like this: