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photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography

Measuring Intimacy

photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography
photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography

(NOTE – This post is not for wives experiencing severe issues in their marriages – like infidelity, a very controlling husband, an abusive husband, a husband who is not in his right mind due to mental illness/drug abuse/alcohol abuse, etc… If you are in such a situation, please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate one-on-one help and godly counsel.)

I used to try to use the frequency of intimacy, date nights,  deep discussions/emotional connection, or the frequency of loving emails from my husband to measure the quality of our marriage and to attempt to measure Greg’s love for me. When I saw that we had a day with one or more of these things, I would mentally check things off on my list and conclude – “Check, check, check. Yes! Our marriage is awesome! We are close and everything is good. Greg obviously loves me today!”

I thought I was “more secure” in his love if he did these things on my list.

I didn’t count the things that I didn’t think of as being loving – things like Greg taking my car to get new tires, renovating the house, helping with the children, taking care of the yard, taking out the trash, sitting beside me and cuddling quietly while he watched TV, eating supper with me, coming home right away to be with me, etc…

The next day or the next week, if there was nothing to check off (in the specific way that I counted things), then I was upset. My emotions were at the mercy of what Greg did or did not do for me on my narrow checklist.

The problem is – real intimacy isn’t about checklists.

It isn’t about a formula. It isn’t about me sitting back and expecting to be catered to and holding a checklist over my husband every moment to make sure he is doing the things I want him to do. It isn’t about me being entitled. It isn’t about something that is necessarily measurable or something that could be charted on a graph each week or each month. I am not a boss doing a job performance review. I am not a kindergarten teacher monitoring and judging his behavior – giving him a smiley face when he did a good job that day or a frowny face when I was disappointed.

I mean, there can be SOME value in realizing, “We are not talking, not having physical intimacy, and not doing anything together at all for weeks on end.” That means there is a problem – unless you are in a major crisis at the time or under very severe stress. So – yes – it can be good to be aware if things suddenly plummet and seek to address any issues.

Real intimacy is about a relationship with a person who is unique and who has his own feelings, issues, problems, triumphs, challenges, and baggage. It is about seeking to understand my husband better and to discover his perspective and his masculinity. It is about us getting to know each other and being a safe place for each other. It is about creating a harbor of peace and a sanctuary where authenticity and vulnerability are cherished and protected. It is about allowing him to be himself. It is about enjoying each other.

In real intimacy:

  • There is freedom. We both have free will to make our own decisions. Neither tries to control or dominate the other.
  • There is joy in being together and getting to know each other’s worlds and explore each other’s minds, hearts, perspectives, and bodies.
  • I understand that my husband always feels connected to me and bonded with me unless I say that I don’t feel connected. So I am free to rest in his love for me – even when it is unspoken. (Perhaps your husband feels the same way?)
  • I enjoy and appreciate what he gives me.
  • I learn to understand and marvel at the ways he shows love to me.
  • I approach my husband and his masculine world with wide-eyed wonder at the opportunity to get a glimpse into his world.
  • I share my feelings, needs, perspective, desires, and concerns respectfully and lovingly in a way that honors Christ and my husband.
  • If I think he acted or spoke in an unloving way – I do not take offense immediately – but rather seek to understand his perspective in order to avoid making wrong assumptions.
  • I am not afraid to be with my husband or to be away from my husband.
  • I am stable when he is there and when he is gone – because my emotional/spiritual well-being depends on Christ every moment of every day, not on my husband.
  • There is some healthy emotional/spiritual space between myself and my husband.
  • I share my feelings simply and let them go. I ask for what I would like simply, briefly, without pressure or coercion. I don’t have to use guilt/manipulation/playing the martyr. I know my husband can hear me when I speak my concerns and emotions simply and briefly. I trust he will think about what I said and seek to do what is best.
  • I know how to confront my husband if necessary about sin in his life in a godly, productive, Spirit-filled way.

Now I realize that if I am more focused on being able to chart or check off things to prove to myself that my husband loves me – I have some motive checking to do in my own heart with God.

  • Am I trying to find my fulfillment or security in what Greg does for me?
  • Am I expected Greg to fulfill the deepest needs of my heart that only God can really fulfill?
  • How do I respond when he doesn’t do what I want him to and I can’t check off my list? Do I respond with resentment or bitterness?
  • Am I content in Christ alone?
  • Am I finding all of my fulfillment, acceptance, love, peace, strength, purpose, power, and identity in Christ Jesus alone?

When I stop idolizing my husband and put Christ alone on the throne of my heart – I am free! I am free to engage in intimacy on every level and to enjoy it with my husband. But I am also free to be content and stable emotionally/spiritually if my husband is not available to do things with me that I would enjoy or if he slips up and has a moment (or even a season) of being imperfect and human. I can be content when my husband does loving things for me or when he doesn’t. I have received God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unspeakable love so I have these things to give in abundance to my husband, who is my teammate and fellow traveler.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11b-13

RELATED:

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Expectations

Security in Christ

78 thoughts on “Measuring Intimacy

  1. What a lovely post, April. I had to laugh when I read your list – but only because it sounded so much like mine. I know I had these issues in my marriage and that I have some growing to do in that direction. Should God bless me with a future husband (I’m divorced, sadly, and against my will), I’ll need to have this aspect of my nature under control.

    1. Miss Min,

      I think a lot of us have similar lists. 🙂 Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I pray for God’s healing and for His refining and for spiritual growth in your soul during this time, my sister. I’m so sorry that you are divorced against your will. How thankful I am that God is with you and that He will never leave you or forsake you.

  2. April,

    What a beautiful summary of what it is to rest in and enjoy a fully mature relationship! Giving each other room to be individual–and human–with the comfort of knowing that our mate is not continually assessing our performance. How much more enjoyable marriage is this way! For a long time I was overly sensitive to my husband’s reaction to things, wrongly believing that any negative emotion was a response to ME in some way. What a perfect setup for me to be hurt and for him to be burdened and for us both to be constantly suffering unnecessary stress. Now we laugh about a lot more things, forgive easily, and enjoy each other so much more. THAT is what makes love grow, not constant criticism. 🙂

    1. Elizabeth,

      It would be really stressful to live with someone who was always judging and criticizing. Yes, that word “enjoy.” That is what I long for us all to be able to do!

      I love what you shared and the insights God has given you. Thank you so very much for sharing!

  3. Thank you for this post, April. Once again God has used you to speak to an issue exactly when I need to hear it. I’m actually in need of a little advice. I had a breast biopsy on Friday afternoon, which my husband gladly went to with me. He has taken care of me and let me rest as I have needed over the weekend, doing some chores, taking care of meals, etc. I appreciate the support and have thanked him for each thing he has done. I recognize that these are ways of showing love and concern for me, but he has been quiet and withdrawn otherwise. In my head I know this is his way of dealing with the stress of waiting for the biopsy results, but in my heart I am dying.

    I’m generally not an overly emotional person, but there are times when I really need my husband’s emotional support and it’s often not there. This weekend I found myself being the one who was checking in with him and how he was feeling, offering him reassurance that whatever happens God’s going to take care of us and it’s going to be ok. These are the things my heart longs to hear from him, and they just aren’t there. I want him to tell me he loves me and that we’re in this together, come what may. I want him to pray over me, or at least tell me he’s praying for me. I want him to reach out to me, rather than retreat. I had a quiet little pity party for myself through church and our lunch out yesterday, not because I’m concerned about having cancer, but because I felt so alone emotionally. I know I was visibly upset, but not once did he ask what I was thinking, feeling, reach out and take my hand, etc. I did run to Jesus with my hurt yesterday afternoon, and He made it better. 🙂

    So here’s where I need the advice… Because I’m not usually an emotional person, I don’t know how to express these needs to my husband without making him feel that the efforts he did make to care for me were unnoticed or unappreciated. I’m also a total non-confronter, so in the past when I’ve worked up my courage and tried to address an area where I would like to see him do things differently, I always walk away thinking I’ve made him feel as if he doesn’t measure up, which is the last thing I want to do. Any wisdom you can offer in how I can respectfully make my emotional needs known, both now and in the future, would be so greatly appreciated.

    God Bless you for your ministry. He is using your willing heart in a mighty way to make a real difference in the lives and marriages of so many women. He is good, all the time!

    1. BlessedBeyondMeasure,

      I am praying for you to be able to rest in God’s peace in this time of waiting, my dear sister! I pray for God’s glory in the outcome of the results.

      I wonder if it may be that your husband is simply a man and doesn’t do well with reading your mind – especially if you are not usually an overly emotional person. What I would need to do in that situation, is gently, respectfully share with Greg what I need from him. “Honey, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious right now about waiting for the test results. It would help me so much if you might listen to me talk about my concerns and fears for a few minutes and give me some words of love and reassurance. And would you please pray for me out loud? That would mean the world to me right now!”

      I’m glad you ran to Jesus with your pain. That is always a really smart place to go! And it may be wise to reach out to some godly girl friends, too, to get some extra emotional and spiritual support right now. A husband may not be equipped to give a woman all of the emotional/spiritual support she needs in a moment like this. I am sure he wants to help. And I would guess that if you ask for what you need rather directly and respectfully and pleasantly – he would probably be glad to help. Sounds like he loves you dearly!

      Please let us know how you are doing!

      Ladies,
      Please join me in praying for this sister of ours!

      Much love to you!

      1. Woo Hoo! The biopsy came back negative for cancer. Praise the Lord! I still have to see a surgeon because of the type of abnormality I have, so it may need to be removed, but at least it’s not cancer. Thank you for your prayers. I am so grateful for this outcome.

  4. All and any expectation in a marriage begins the destruction of the marriage! There was a post going around Facebook about all the things women felt they “deserved” in marriage. I have since seen several of these posts that go viral. I wrote a post about this “entitlement mentality” women seem to have towards their husbands and it was easy to point out the fallacy of it and how easy it is to feel entitled, yet we deserve NOTHING! Anything anyone gets must be worked hard for, including a good marriage! This entitlement mentality is destroying marriages and our nation. The less we think we deserve without any expectations, the more content and joyful we will be!

      1. Every time I have expectations of my “critical care” husband, I get disappointed. When I prepare my heart before I see or speak to him, I’m almost always pleasantly surprised and I walk away from our time with a smile on my face… even if he said hurtful things to me…I have joy. I know that this is due to growing in the Lord and keeping God on the throne of my heart and not idolizing my husband. We have such a long journey but God is showing me that I can have patience with the help of His Holy Spirit.

        1. DW,

          This is so powerful! Than you very much for sharing. LOVE THIS, my dear sister! And you know what? I still have that same battle. I don’t do well if I start setting up a bunch of expectations or focusing on what I want him to do for me. I really don’t do well if I go there! I do so much better when I focus on Christ alone.

          Much love to you!

          1. DW, I prayed as soon as I read this and will continue. Praying for healing, peace, comfort and also wisdom for his doctors and nurses.

          2. Thank you to all who have been praying for us. I have had such peace. My husband is stable after having a STEMI heart attack. He is so fortunate to be alive. Now we wait to see how much damage has been done to his heart. I would appreciate continued prayers as I have moved into ICU for the next 4 days. God bless you ladies.

          3. DW,
            I was just going to ask you how things were going. Thank you so much for the update! I pray for God’s peace and wisdom for you and for His healing for your husband physically and most of all, spiritually. God is definitely at work, my dear sister! I pray He will equip you to be sensitive to His voice during this time.

            Much love to you!

          4. Good Morning DW!
            Praying for you right now and throughout the day. May God grant you His peace! Praying for your husband’s healing, and for continued wisdom for his doctors. Thank you for keeping us updated!
            Love and prayers, Becca

          5. Just got online again. He was released Monday night. His heart is weak and damaged. It has not changed him spiritually or emotionally towards me. 🙁 It’s a day by day process of keeping God on the throne and not obsessing over my husband’s health. Spiritually I’m not doing as well as I was before. I’m disappointed that this heart attack didn’t get my husband’s attention as he is back to his old ways. I struggle with whether I really care what happens in our marriage or even in his life health wise. That is a scary place to be. My counselor says to stop praying for him and focusing on his health and concentrate on getting my walk back to what it was. I’ve asked other people to stand in the gap for me. I’m exhausted and just want to throw in the towel so to speak. Prayers appreciated.

          6. DW,

            I’m sorry that your husband didn’t “wake up” from this experience. Perhaps this is part of what God will use, but there may be other steps.

            I agree with your counselor. It is kind of like being on an airplane when the cabin pressure drops. Get the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help anyone else.

            Have you been sleeping and eating? I can’t imagine the stress you have been through these past few weeks – and things were already very stressful at your house before that.

            I hope you will check out this book – Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray. Here is a free download – I guarantee it will help you get back in touch with Christ and filled up with His Spirit as you read or listen to the recording of it.
            Ladies,
            Let’s surround DW with prayer for spiritual healing for herself. And we can stand in the gap to pray for her husband while she is too weak to do that right now.

            Lord,
            We pray for DW and lift her up to Your throne room in the highest heavens. We thank You and praise You that You are GOOD. You are sovereign. You are love. You are DW’s fortress and strength, an ever present help in trouble. You will never forsake DW. You promise to carry her even to her old age and gray hair. Let her feel Your love and truth surround her tangibly today. Let her rest in Your arms and cease from striving. Let her experience the Sabbath rest that belongs to Your children – as described in Hebrews. Help her to stop striving and thrashing and just follow You to the still waters and the green grass you have for her, understanding You are her Good Shepherd.
            In the Name and power of Christ,

            Amen!

          7. Thank you for praying for me. I’m trying to get my focus back on God and myself tonight. I am eating and sleeping finally. I’ve given up a lot of sleep the past few months to spend time with my husband. I kept neglecting sleep because I THOUGHT we were getting closer but now I realize that the alcohol was all that was talking. Or maybe it was his true self uninhibited but… I just can’t do this anymore. I downloaded the book you recommended and plan to start it tonight. I always appreciate book recommendations as I’m an avid reader. Tonight I don’t care what time he comes home. I’m going to read, pray, and praise til I fall asleep. I’m going on with my life for my sake and for my kids. They deserve at least one healthy and whole parent.

          8. DW,

            I’m glad you are going to focus on sleeping and taking care of your body, your health, your spirit, and your children. I think that is a really good plan, my precious sister. How is Absolute Surrender going? 🙂

            Much love to you!

          9. April,
            Absolute Surrender is so meaty. I have been rereading the first 10-13 pages and taking notes on it. I’ve been practicing surrendering but after the heart attack I hit a wall. I don’t know quite WHAT happened in my heart. I just couldn’t praise, read my Bible or barely even pray. It was so strange…maybe I was in shock? After we came home from ICU, my daughter found me on the couch, bawling my eyes out with the Bible in my lap. I couldn’t utter a prayer, I couldn’t focus on God’s Word..She had to pray for me, I refused to talk to God. I had to do baby steps to get back into fellowship with Him. Reading AS is helping…knowing that I HAVE surrendered and that I must have FAITH that God will maintain my surrender.

            My relationship with my husband has taken a giant step backwards…not due to anything I have done though. I’m still respecting him and loving him. I think because he cannot drink alcohol anymore the walls he erected are back in place. So, I feel as if we are separated even though he still sleeps at home a few hours a day. I’m revisiting your past posts to learn foundational steps.

            I am also reading 2 books by Nancy Groom (Heart to Heart and Married Without Masks) along with Absolute Surrender. I am currently in Psalm 119 in my Bible reading. I’m writing out prayers of confession from Absolute Surrender that I can confess OUT LOUD every day. I’m so grateful to know that even if I don’t feel like it that God hears my prayers when done in FAITH…Living by faith instead of my feelings is so new to me even though I’ve been walking with the Lord many years. I have such a long way to go but I’m going to adopt my husband’s attitude towards his own life and our marriage: I’m just taking it one day at a time…but I am taking it with Jesus on the throne of my heart and the Holy Spirit leading and guiding me. I pray that one day my husband will do the same.

          10. DW<

            You have been through a LOT, my dear sister! I'm so glad that Absolute Surrender has been a blessing.

            Please do keep in mind, I am not writing for wives who are dealing with severe issues in their marriage. If God uses some posts to bless you, that is awesome. But it is possible there may be other resources that could be more helpful in this situation.

            I love you, my dear sister! So thankful you are seeking Christ and want to have Him on the throne. I pray for God to bring your husband to conviction, repentance, and regeneration.

          11. I’m using your website to become a woman after God’s heart. I use other resources for the “serious issues” such as a licensed counselor (who charges by the hour 😉 books on codependency, some AA resources online, etc. I’m so thankful that even though you cannot address the more difficult issues in my marriage, you address the ones that can help MY heart and walk with the Lord 🙂

          12. Praying for you.
            “Moment by moment I’m kept in His love,
            Moment by moment I’ve life from above,
            Looking to Jesus til glory doth shine,
            Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.”

          13. Dear DW, you and your husband are in my prayers and thoughts today. May the Lord God Almighty bring you lots of comfort and healing for your husband, in Jesus’ name. You are so loved by God and others. May the Holy Spirit shower you with love and encouragement and give the doctors divine wisdom for your husband’s health.

  5. “Real intimacy is about a relationship with a person who is unique and who has his own feelings, issues, problems, triumphs, challenges, and baggage. It is about seeking to understand my husband better and to discover his perspective and his masculinity. It is about us getting to know each other and being a safe place for each other. It is about creating a harbor of peace and a sanctuary where authenticity and vulnerability are cherished and protected. It is about allowing him to be himself. It is about enjoying each other”.

    I love it! 🙂 Giving each other freedom, letting each other be who they are and being a safe haven for each other 🙂

  6. This was a wonderful post. I needed a reminder that sometimes my husbands way of showing me love is not on my list. Thank you!!

  7. This is a great post! Thank you for putting that disclaimer at the beginning: I really think it helps put things in the proper mindset for those you mentioned and thus makes your posts valuble for them too! You had asked for suggestions, but you really found a good way, through God’s help. : )

  8. April,
    I hurt so badly for the intimacy I’ve lost. Things are somewhat better. It’s true, I probably shouldn’t of read your post today. I’m one of those wives that is suffering and missing all that I once had. I need a miracle April. I’ve tried so hard for so long. I do mess up but, as hard as I pray and seek God’s Word there has to be some areas I’m improving and our marriage is improving. My husband took advantage of my nievity and I am so hurt for his unfaithfulness. I’ve had a hard time accepting what crept up on my family. I’m in shock. Yes, he’s in counseling and I am as well separately. We also see a cancer psychologist. The hurt I feel is beyond my comprehension. Please pray for me. How I can one have peace and happiness with my husband loving God.

    1. Vickie,

      My heart aches with you, my dear sister! You have had a long season of suffering in so many ways. I can’t imagine the pain you have been through. Has he repented at this point?

      How are you doing with the counseling?

      How is your husband physically?

      Lord,
      This situation is beyond our ability or Vickie’s ability to fix. How we pray for Your intervention. Most of all for you to draw her husband to Yourself and open his eyes, to bring him to salvation and repentance and that You might regenerate his soul. We also pray for Your Spirit’s power to bring healing, comfort, hope, peace, joy, and blessing to Vickie. Please give her Your wisdom about what to do. Use her for Your glory. Let her hear Your still small voice clearly and walk in obedience every step of the way. Let her live with no regrets. Let her be the woman You call her to be. Thank You that You are really good at making beautiful things from very broken, painful lives and situations. We trust Vickie, her husband, and their family to Your care, Your love, Your mercy, and Your sovereignty. Let Vickie know Your love in a more tangible way than she has ever experienced before. Let her grow by leaps and bounds in her love, faith, and trust for You.

      IN the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

      Much love and the biggest hug to you!

      1. Dearest April,
        He has shown improvement but, he has NOT repented and asked God to be a part of his life. We go to counseling separately and we both see a cancer psychologist. My husband has a 11q deletion which can mean for a poor prognosis with Non-hodgkins Lymphoma. He assumes this is “baby” cancer and he will soon be in remission and go on with his ways. He says he wants to make our marriage work. I am afraid. Since he is not trusting God as Savior and Lord how can he be trusted? I can not tell you what a difference there has been in his personality. He is weak, his mouth is sore, his body aches, he has daily headaches and night sweats. Each time he has a round of chemo he has a further setback. He never comes back to were he was before. I know I am doing what I am called to do. My family has suffered so much. I am not trusting God as I should. I am not putting my family first. I get distracted by caring for my mother. I do not honor the boundaries that my children need. I can’t seem to make a change for the better. There is so much effort and prayer.

        1. Vickie,

          Oh goodness. 🙁 Sin is so very painful and destructive. I can’t imagine the load you are carrying right now. I pray God will help your husband see the seriousness of his situation spiritually and physically and that God might bring your husband to Himself.

          You may not be able to trust your husband right now – but I am thankful that God is trustworthy! I pray you will have the time you need to sing praises to Him and to rest in His love and receive the renewing of your spirit that you need to continue on this path. Do you have some godly women praying for you and to whom you can confide and who surround you with support?

          1. Yes, my small group is on prayer for me and my family. I am not ashamed or shy to ask for prayer any longer. The seriousness of our situation is ever on my heart. I want us to feel peace again. We were once the family that people would say is ideal an example to all. It changed so drastically, so quickly although my counselor says it began slowly perhaps years ago. The devil does come to rob, kill, and destroy. I will ever be watchful and waiting and on guard for him to devour is if we ever see God’s peace again.

          2. Vickie,

            You know what? None of us are exempt from this type of scenario. I know I’m not.

            Here is a quote from my sister-in-law on her FB yesterday as she faces some difficult trials:

            Satan wants my circumstances to determine my joy. Nope- it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to let him think that when my circumstances are good I can put my joy in the world and when my circumstances are bad I can be robbed of joy. NO!! No matter my circumstances, Jesus is my joy. He is my strength and my shield. He supports me. My heart trusts in Jesus Christ, NOT my circumstances. And Jesus can kick the enemy’s tail by simply breathing. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

        2. Vickie,

          I am praying for you. . . . This valley will not last forever. l lost my deceased husband to four different illnesses and have gone through extreme problems with teenagers as well, so my heart goes out to you. In retrospect, this time went by quickly, but it felt like I would never be happy again when I was in the midst of so much pain. April is right that we can find complete rest and peace in God’s love and strength. Sending you much love, Elizabeth

          1. Elizabeth,
            Thank you. I have never felt a valley so low. It is beyond any pain I’ve felt before. I have asked God to change ME! I can not expect that of my husband or my college aged children. I need to be their example in this horrid place of despair. I failed miserably yesterday with a daughter. I even said “I hate you”. I believed I had reached a place in my growth with God that I would never say such a thing! Poor wretched sinner am I! I wanted her to stop embarracing me in front of her dad. I feared him being angry at me and saying hurtful speech. It did not happen. I was left to once again pick up the broken pieces of our family. I am the example of Christ in my family. I failed so miserably. I did talk to my daughter. All these months of counseling and work and prayer. My false sense of growth gone in a moment, Lord God, take all of my heart and make me new! I beg you father to help me and my precious family.

            In Jesus Name I bind up the enemy from myself and my husband and marriage and family. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin, my anger, and my selfishness, and lack of trust and belief. Make me new!

          2. Vickie,

            Oh no! I can see why you are very upset. I am so glad you got to talk with your daughter. Is she okay? You know what? We are all completely desperately in need of the Holy Spirit every moment. On our own, in our own power – we are all capable of every imaginable sin.

            I’m so glad that you are repenting and getting back up and seeking Christ with all your heart. That is awesome! I pray for God to heal your family and your own heart and for His power, strength, wisdom, courage, and peace in this time of great trial.

            Sending you a massive hug!

  9. April, this is excellent, thank you!

    Vicki, you are in my prayers today, sister. I’m sorry you are hurting so much right now. . .

  10. Hi April,

    I feel so tired of trying. I don’t understand why my husband can’t understand that he is making me literally insane. He sends the most mixed signals. He CONSTANTLY tells me he loves me. His new thing is cuddling. Words are NOT my love language, in fact, they have the opposite effect. The fact that he doesn’t seem to have the same desire for me that I have for him makes me feel ugly, worthless, and repulsive.

    I’m getting better. At least instead of wallowing in self pity I at least tell myself I need to find my worth in Christ, and I try to shift my thinking. But it is still SO HARD! I feel like we’re backwards. Like I’m the husband and he’s the wife. Sometimes I just want physical intimacy, and he just wants to tell me how much he loves me. All I can hear is “BLAH, blah, blah.” I know that’s terrible, but I get stuck in such a rut.

    I try so hard to stay silent. Eventually he’ll get me to talk and we will have the same painful conversation where I admit I feel ugly and wonder why he never wants me. Why he never wants to share the intimacy a husband and wife are supposed to be blessed to share. And every time he acts like, “what are you talking about? I find you very attractive. I love being with you.” And it is absolutely infuriating because we are hardly ever together in that way. And now, when we are together (maybe, maybe once a week), I don’t even care. I feel like he’s taking pity on me.

    Why does it have to be this way over and over again? If he loves me as much as he claims he does why doesn’t he see how he’s destroying me? Why can’t he understand that I need physical intimacy, and his lack of interest makes me feel like the most worthless wife on earth. Like I dont deserve to be happy in my marriage. He always says he wants me to be happy – and yet – all it would take is the one thing most men would be more than happy to give to their wives. Which makes me feel all the more worthless to him. And he acts so clueless, like he wonders how I could feel this way.

    It’s consuming me. I hate thinking about it. I want to just give up. I’m considering just ending the intimate part of our relationship altogether. I know it will make him happier, and at least I won’t be left wondering all day every day, “is he going to like me today? Am I attractive enough today? Am I worth anything to him today?” There will be no more “pity intimacy” which makes me feel like a loser anyway.

    There’s no one to talk to. Most women are blessed to have their husbands in constant pursuit of them (i.e. REAL love, not just empty words) and so they could never understand this pain.

    Work is his other woman. He loves it, is obsessed with it, even talks in his sleep about work. Work, work, work. Maybe someday he will think I am 1/4 as valuable to him as work.

    Thanks for listening. I needed to get this off my chest. So I can try to go about my everyday life and stop obsessing about our lack of intimacy. I need to learn to let it go. Completely and forever. I am pretty sure that is my only solution.

    1. Becca,

      My dear sister!

      Thanks for sharing your struggles this week. I actually think that a lot of wives who read this blog have similar issues. It is much more common than you would think! So – you are not weird for desiring sex more than your husband does. That actually tends to happen a good bit more frequently as couples get into their 40s and 50s just because of male and female biology, too. It is my understanding that at in at least 40% of marriages – the wife is the higher drive partner. It is painful to be the higher drive partner. I have been there. It is also painful to be the lower drive partner. And to make things more problematic, spouses almost never have the same level of libido. So this is hard sometimes. Yes! Absolutely.

      Would you please remind me – how many hours per day and per week does your husband work?

      How much is he sleeping?

      Once a week is within the normal range.

      Do you tend to try to initiate?

      Have you ever waited for him to initiate? What happened?

      How is your walk with God going?

      Is it possible that you may be feeling some PMS today (you don’t have to answer to me, just something to consider privately)? I don’t know where you are in your cycle – but sometimes that can make things feel SO MUCH WORSE.

      It is possible to make sex with our husbands an idol. I did that, too! For a long time. There is a need to refocus our hearts and minds on Christ rather than what our husbands are not doing. I don’t do well if I focus on what Greg is not doing for me or if I focus on what I want. There are times when we need to share our needs and desires. Yes! But there are also times we need to realize that dwelling on the things we don’t have is destructive and we need to ask God to help us reroute our thoughts to something productive.

      Much love to you!

      1. Hi April,

        Thanks for replying.

        To answer some of your questions, he works six days a week, about 10 hours a day. He falls asleep around 7:30-8:00 every night. That’s because he likes to get up and out of the house around 4:30 every morning. I think he wants to get away from me as soon as possible, he says it’s because he needs to beat traffic and be sure the job(s) have everything they need to start running on time. We tried for a brief time to be together romantically in the morning, but he is in a hurry, and I guess I don’t wake up and get “into it” fast enough. I also think he may have sleep apnea. He snores and wakes up a lot. But he hasn’t been to the doctor since 2006, and that’s because I forced him to go, because he had shingles.

        He loves work. Always has. He obsesses over it. Gets frustrated about it. It is of the utmost importance in his life. I guess I should be grateful we are well provided for, and I am, but sometimes I’d rather he just relax once in a while.

        I have initiated for most of our marriage. I didn’t realize it was backwards until I started reading marriage blogs. Once I realized I was making a fool of myself (and I got tired of the rejection) I stopped initiating. He rarely initiates (because although he says none of this is true, I know it’s because he does not find me attractive, appealing, arousing to him, or worth loving). So when I wait for him to initiate, nothing happens. Not until he wonders why I’m so sad, we have the sex conversation for the ten millionth time, he takes pity on me, and we have sex. It used to be good, but I have built up such a wall I’m to the point where I could not care less. I’m giving up on ever being a normal wife who knows what it’s like to be desired. When we talk, he acts like he feels badly, and he always says he’s so sorry that he makes me feel this way. Gee, simple solution, if you are as attracted to me as much as you say you are – act on it! But he doesn’t get that. It’s infuriating. And then all the “I love yous” when we both know that is NOT true, it’s actually maddening. How can someone as smart as my husband not get the simplest of things?

        I don’t believe the 40% higher drive wife statistic. I don’t believe the 25% statistic either. 90% of Christian marriage blog articles on this subject are for wives whose husbands love and desire them, but the wife is normal and has a lower drive than her husband. There are even entire blogs and books about lower drive wives, and “why your husband wants you sexually” – there are none of those resources for women. An article here or there about a man with issues due to porn, but that’s not my husbands issue – so there’s really no explanation other than a simple, “I’m not good enough for him.”

        I don’t know how being the lower drive spouse could possibly be painful. Being loved so intensely, so desired by the man you love he most, doesn’t sound like a bad deal to me. “Oh my husband loves me so much and cherishes me and pursues me and makes me feel beautiful, and wants nothing more than to be intimate with me.” – yeah, sounds terribly painful. I’m being sarcastic, I really don’t agree with that concept, of lower drive being painful.

        On a positive note, I went to church tonight. The scripture was from Titus 2:11-14 – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” THIS is what I need to focus on.

        The sermon was on grace. God’s great grace. And there was so much meat in this sermon! I needed to hear it. I need to give my husband more grace. I also need to stop letting our lack of intimacy destroy and distract me. I need to let it go and focus on God and my walk with Him.

        I also need to learn to not be envious of all the wives who have husbands who do pursue them. That is a blessing for them, and I should be happy for them.

        I need to focus on the positive things in my life and let the rest go. I don’t know if I can do that. Not without a lot of prayer.

        Thanks again for listening.

        1. Becca,

          I believe that it is entirely probable and possible that your husband is physically exhausted. That can take a lot out of a man. And if he has sleep apnea on top of this, he will be even more exhausted – because his brain is literally starving for oxygen as he temporarily suffocates during his sleep throughout the night. (By the way, this also tells me he may have some medical issues going on sexually, as well.)

          Please be very cautious about assuming why your husband doesn’t initiate. Please do not just dismiss what he says, my sister! The marriage blogs you read are not specifically about your husband. It is really dangerous, and probably unwise, to make so many assumptions about your husband’s true motives and feelings toward you. Not to mention, as we have talked about on numerous occasions, it is disrespectful to assume he is lying. Why not believe him and accept that he does have feelings of attraction toward you but realize he is exhausted and not 20 years old?

          Please, I am begging you – DO NOT READ blogs or posts about husbands being the higher drive spouse. That will just make you upset and it is unnecessary to go there!

          Wives who have very low drive DO experience great pain, too. Their husbands are often very frustrated with their lack of desire. They may have pain during sex. They may feel extremely criticized about their low sex drive. They don’t often enjoy sex, but view it as a chore and source of tension. They may feel extremely pressured to perform but not have the drive to be able to perform well enough to their husband’s satisfaction. They may feel their husband only wants their body, and isn’t interested in emotionally or spiritually connecting.

          Yes, as a higher drive wife, it is easy to assume that having a husband with a higher drive would be the most awesome thing, ever. But that is not always the case. All spouses have challenges to face and struggles. There is really no point in attempting to compare our situation to someone else’s. We are not going to be able to judge accurately.

          Amen! I would love to see you give your husband a ton more grace! And I would love to see you really focusing on God. 🙂

          Of course you will need a lot of prayer to focus on God and the positive things. That is okay! We all need a lot of prayer EVERY day to overcome temptation and the enemy.

          Much love to you!

          1. FROM DR. PHIL’S SITE:
            – 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which experts define as a sexless marriage. — Newsweek

            – 20 to 30 percent of men and 30 to 50 percent of women say they have little or no sex drive. — USA Today

            – 25 percent of all Americans (a third of women and a fifth of men) suffer from a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire (HSD), which is defined as a persistent or recurring deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies or thoughts, or a lack of interest in sex or being sexual. — Psychology Today

            Web MD article about low libido men.

            Please keep in mind, that as we age into our 40s and 50s, the dynamics of libido often dramatically shift. While men tend to peak in their early 20s with testosterone levels and libido, women tend to peak much later in their sexual drive, at the same time that their husband’s testosterone levels begin to decline and issues with prostate enlargement and performance begin to crop up.

            And, from my experience on this blog, and the research I have done on this topic, it also appears to me that where there is a dominant wife/passive husband – the incidence of a man having lower testosterone/lower drive and the wife having a higher drive seems to be much higher than average. I personally hypothesize that a husband feeling forced into a passive role, or even his choosing that role dramatically impacts his testosterone levels. Would love to do a large scale study on this! But we know that men’s testosterone levels increase when they play competitive sports, when their team wins a big game, when they feel that they are conquering the world, when they exercise, when they feel powerful and masterful in their lives, etc…

            Interesting fact we learned about lions this past year. Lions with a dark mane have the highest levels of testosterone. If a male lion loses a fight one time to another male, his entire mane falls out and grows back in blond. All the females know to avoid him because he is literally “a loser.” Imagine the lower testosterone levels involved in this humiliation. There are many things that affect testosterone production in men, as well. I believe a wife’s respect, trust, and honor help to boost a man’s testosterone levels and confidence in himself. Of course, there are many factors involved in testosterone levels. It would be so interesting to have a better understanding of exactly what may be going on with our men hormonally based on the spiritual and emotional dynamics in our marriages.

            Much love!
            April

        2. Yes, your husband is working very hard for the provision of your home and family. He is exhausted. He may indeed have sleep apnea and may I suggest he have a physical? It also could be chronic fatigue or, like myself, something as serious as cancer. Can he take a Holiday? Could he change jobs? Please be supportive of your husband. He may be giving all he can because of exhaustion and perhaps underlying illness. I should of been more discerning in my relationship with my own husband. He has cancer. What I wouldn’t give to have understood sooner. Look again, look deeper, ask for patience and counseling. Do all you can do and don’t just scratch the surface. I’m praying for you.

        3. Sweet Becca, you are not alone. I, and many other women, share your pain. I have been you for much of my 30 year marriage… married to a workaholic who has pretty much no interest in sex. There is no greater pain than this kind of rejection from your spouse. I could have written nearly every word of what you wrote (except, for us it would be once a month, at best). I can identify with your anger and your desire to give up and stop trying, of wanting to pull away from your husband. I beg of you, don’t do it. It will take you to a very dark place, a place that’s extremely hard to recover from. I learned the hard way there is an emotion far more destructive to one’s self and her marriage than anger, it’s apathy. I gave up on putting any effort into any kind of intimacy (not just sexual) with my husband, and it set me up for all kinds of temptations. I just sort of shut down emotionally and became distant from my husband, and then from God. Over time, I became someone I didn’t like or even recognize.

          The turn-around for me began when I started studying teaching on Biblical respect in marriage and stopped asking God to change my husband and I started asking Him to change me. It took a long time, close to three years now, but I have joy again in my marriage and in my relationship with God. Although I still long for greater intimacy with my husband, it no longer determines my joy or my self-worth. When I am hurting, I use it to draw closer to Christ and also closer to my husband. I reach out to him instead of retreating to stew in my hurt and anger. God has opened my eyes to the countless other ways my husband shows his love for me. I still have moments of weakness and have much to learn, as you can see from my earlier comment above, but my hope and identity are now in Christ and not my husband.

          Dear sister, don’t give up. Don’t let the enemy win! He’s a liar who wants to destroy you and your marriage. Those awful thoughts you have about yourself are not of God. They are lies straight from the pit of hell. You are a daughter of The King, stand up and fight!!! In the name of Jesus, you will have victory. Dig deep in His Word to see who He says you are, listen to music about His love and goodness toward you, find things to do that make you feel good about yourself, surround yourself with godly women who will encourage and challenge you in your marriage and your walk with the Lord. And pray, pray, pray. You will have victory, and it will make you stronger. Jesus will walk with you every step of the way.

          Can I also suggest a couple of books, I believe I got them from April’s reading list….
          Sacred Marriage and Sacred Influence, by Gary Thomas.

          My heart goes out to you sister, you are in my prayers. And you are never alone.

          1. BlessedBeyondMeasure,

            It brings tears of joy to my eyes to read your story and to see your compassion for Becca and the way you are reaching out to minister to her in love, grace, and truth.

            I wonder if you might consider allowing me to share a bit of your story – anonymously – as a post, my dear sister? This is so beautiful!!!! No pressure at all. But if you believe God may desire you to share, please let me know. I believe that your story may bless many other wives and marriages. 🙂

            Much love to you!

          2. Funny you should ask, I’ve actually felt the Lord nudging me to share with you what He has done in my life through applying Biblical respect. I guess this is the extra push I needed to actually do it. Let me know what information you would like. There’s quite a bit more to my story, so I can send you as much or as little as you want. I’m still waiting to hear my biopsy results, so depending on how that goes, I don’t know how quickly I will get back to you.

            I will briefly tell you a little more of the story… I was sharing what I was learning about respect with a friend who asked me to lead a study with her and her friends. I strongly resisted for months because I didn’t feel I had grown enough to do that, but I finally agreed. One woman in the group was pretty resistant and angry about the idea that she needed to change. We weren’t sure that she would even come. But she did, God softened her heart and things became a little easier in her marriage. Shortly after we finished our study, her husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We were all so thankful she had some personal healing and gotten to a better place in her marriage before they had to walk that path. After nine months, he went home to the Lord in August. This shared experience has bonded us into a tightly knit sisterhood. This weekend, our group is taking her away for a girls’ weekend just to show her our love.

            Another woman in the group told us she couldn’t take it anymore and she was going to leave her husband. We didn’t let her off the hook, and encouraged her to not give up. She respectfully confronted her husband on some things, they got into counseling and she said they are happier than they’ve ever been.

            I share all this because I want you to know how big of an impact your ministry has had just in my own little corner of the world. God is doing amazing things! Thank you for sharing your experiences, your wisdom, your faith and your love for God and women. I know what a sacrifice it must be to give so much of yourself when you have your own career, marriage and family to care for.

            Blessings!

          3. Dear Blessed, thank you. It helps enormously just to have someone to talk to.

            The sad part is, as far as apathy, I’m probably 75% of the way there. I used to get angry, sad, hurt – and then I just got tired. So very tired.

            Oddly, I used to want to talk about it. Now I don’t talk much at all. My husband will ask “what’s wrong?” I tell him “nothing.” I just don’t have the energy to go through it again and again. He never wanted to talk, now he does, and I don’t. I’m just tired. Beat down. “Oh well – it is what it is.” And I think that’s why on the very rare occasion that he does decide he likes me, I just don’t care anymore. I’ll never refuse him, but I know it’s just pity and so my heart and mind are no longer in it.

            I am getting to the point where I just exist. My husband will say “you look so sad, why are you so sad?” And he tries to act like he cares. I just wish he would just tell the truth and get it over with. If he would just say, “you know, you’re a nice woman, but I don’t have romantic feelings for you. You’re not really my type, you’re 40 now and your life is basically over (although most people think I’m 30, if that, so why a husband wouldn’t love having a wife who looks young I have no clue.) the kids are almost grown. You have no worth to me anymore. You’re not attractive and never have been. I should have chosen a woman more beautiful, more my type.” If he would JUST SAY THAT, what we both KNOW is how he feels, then we could be on the same page and move on.

            But he refuses. He continues to say, “I love you so much, you’re so pretty, blah, blah, blah.” Which we both know couldn’t possibly be true because he feels no attraction to me whatsoever. Again, he’ll SAY he’s very much attracted to me (empty, empty words) but his lack of interest in intimacy shouts louder than any words he could ever say.

            So yeah, I’m pretty much ready to give up on any kind of intimacy.

            I’m working on finding my identity in Christ and not in my husband. I kind of think that’s why I need to pull away from my husband. Trust me, the more space I give him, the happier my husband will be.

            You know, yesterday he kept pestering me about what was wrong. I opened up a little, but didn’t really feel like talking. He told me he’s really trying to “check work at the door” and then he proceeded to unload about all the annoying things going on at work for almost 45 minutes!!! And I listen. I know he needs to blow off steam. I’m not a complete ogre. But yes, it’s difficult to listen to story after story after story about work when you know that you will never even come close to being 1/10th as special to your husband as his job.

            What’s really crazy is, I do think we love each other a LOT. And there’s a part of me that thinks maybe he would like to have a more intimate relationship with me. But it never improves, so that’s cold, hard evidence that my positive thoughts are wrong and he just can’t bring himself to be attracted to me. I can’t force him to feel feelings he obviously doesn’t feel, so why try to think positively. It’s so much easier to accept I’m not good enough for him, and never will be.

            I will, however, take a look at the books you suggested. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

            I don’t have any friends I could share with. I live in a very judgemental part of the country, and I would be judged and ridiculed, plus they’d look at my husband differently. I would never do that to him. I don’t really have any close friends. I don’t trust many women. Our church is huge and we don’t really know anyone there. We went to a couples event to try and meet people, but everyone already had their “groups” and no one even spoke to us. It was like high school! 🙂 I’d figure we just weren’t “good enough” to have Christian friends, but at our old, smaller church people spoke to us all the time. So I guess it’s more because the church is so big that there’s just not much opportunity to get to know people.

            And honestly, even if I did have friends I felt comfortable talking to, it would kill me to know that they knew that my husband wasn’t he least bit interested in me.

            I can pray. I just know I’m not in the right frame of mind or the right heart for that right now. I hear what you all are saying, I do, but it feels so wrong to even try anymore. I just have a very strong feeling that this is my lot in life. I’m blessed in many other areas, so I just need to accept it.

          4. Becca,

            I really DO want you to please not assume you know your husband’s motives. PLEASE!!!! Please let him have his own feelings and motives. You may not understand his actions. Perhaps you are right. But I believe there is a really good chance you are misunderstanding his heart and motives. It would be such a shame to assume such evil motives of him when that is not the truth. I have been there and done that and caused so much damage to our marriage. Please don’t repeat my mistakes, my dear sister!

            Your husband is showing LOTS of evidence that he IS interested in you – but you won’t receive it right now. Probably due to the lies you are believing. (Speaking primarily about the ones from the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss – things about yourself and God.)

            I think that the not praying thing is actually the key to your feelings right now. Get back into God’s Word. Allow God to transform your mind. Work on all of those lies you found in your heart and mind that you have embraced as fixed beliefs. Let God change you. Allow Him access to the deepest parts of yourself. He can heal you if you will let Him!

            Much love,
            April

          5. Hi Becca,

            I agree wholeheartedly with April about not making assumptions about what your husband is thinking or feeling. I have had all of the same internal conversations and feelings you are describing. A few years ago I would have summed up the way I felt as “invisible”. I felt unloved, unattractive and utterly alone in my marriage. Our family went through some fairly big transitions which I wasn’t sure my marriage would survive, and frankly, I didn’t really care. I never imagined myself being back at the place of peace and joy that I have today.

            It may seem totally overwhelming to keep fighting, because you’re right, you cannot change your husband. How exhausting it is to try to change someone else into our idea of who we want them to be! But you can change yourself, and that will affect how you view your marriage. So much of what I assumed about my husband was dead wrong. But I let my pain and anger over a couple issues (and they were important issues) blind me to all the good things about my husband, my marriage and even myself. Not much in my marriage has changed, but my perspective has been completely transformed. My eyes have been opened to the good that was always there. This only came about when I turned to the Lord and let go of my expectations and gave myself over to Him. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.

            Please don’t shut yourself off from God. It is only through Him that you will find the things your heart truly desires. Cling to Him. Be persistent. He already knows your heart, so don’t hold anything back. Pray with anticipation that He WILL meet you where you are. Ask Him to give you new friends who will be supportive. You already have sisters right here who love you and are praying for you. Learn from their mistakes and experiences. Follow April’s advice and draw close to your Heavenly Father. He’s waiting for you.

            Love and Hugs to you!

          6. BlessedBeyondMeasure,

            When I started this journey, almost 7 years ago now – I, too, felt completely invisible, unloved, and believed my husband was no longer attracted to me. He wasn’t talking to me, listening to me, touching me, or even willing to be around me very much. I had no idea why. I thought he was just unloving and hateful. I was SO wrong.

            Something else that kills a husband’s desire for his wife is if she is negative, critical, contentious, disrespectful, upset, and complaining all the time. Turns out – in my case – that was the primary issue. That and Greg and I were both beyond exhausted. He was working full time and renovating our house 6 nights a week for a year and a half while I was only sleeping 2-4 hours a night during that same period nursing our youngest who was sick 2/3 of the time. Recipe for disaster!

            You can read more about what Greg was thinking during that time in my interview with him. I had NO CLUE about any of the motives he actually had or what he was really thinking the whole time. My negative assumptions were so far off base and only added to the destruction I was creating in our marriage. 🙁

            I am excited to hear more about your story. I’ll touch base with you in a bit!

            I am so thankful you reached out to Becca. What wise, godly, beautiful wisdom you have to share.

            Much love to you!

  11. Praise God for the wisdom in your post!!! You’re a blessing, April! This wisdom can help so many women. Praying your book reaches millions if that be God’s will, the world needs this message. Praying right now for your readers and open doors for your ministry to reach more. 😀

    1. Amberlynnpaulsen,

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. Thank you for praying for me and for God’s message to be shared clearly and for God to work in the hearts of all of my readers to accomplish His good purposes in their lives and in His kingdom!

      Much love!

  12. Vickie I went thru something like this also. Growing up I had very low self asteem. My parents favored my younger sister to the point of introducing us as this is my beautiful and smart daughter oh and that over there is Tammy.

    As I got older if my husband said I was pretty or that he loved me it pushed me away from him emotionally. I now realize I am a child of God and I am pretty special in his eyes. My husband and I had problems in our love life because he had no drive. I made him go to the doctor and he had sleep apnea and chronic fatigue syndrome. He had always told me I was pretty and looked good to him but I didn’t believe him.

    Now we have reversed, he had drive and I don’t since I had a total hysterectomy. We have started reading to word together and praying together and that has made so much of a difference.

    1. Tammy,

      How heartbreaking to hear your experience as a child! 🙁 I pray we all might be so careful to show love, not favoritism, to all of our children!

      I am so thankful that God has healed your soul and that you are able to receive good things from Him and from your husband, now.

      So frustrating that your husband finally has a higher drive and now you don’t! But I am thankful you are seeking to come together. I pray for wisdom and continued healing for you and for your marriage!

  13. Hey ladies and peaceful wife,
    Reading your disclaimer…

    Wondering would you consider smoking pot a drug problem?

    I’m not comfortable when my husband does it. It would be a temptation for me to join him and use it to self medicate. And I hate getting high. He promised he won’t but then asked me for special permission to do it the next day while we were away. This made me very annoyed. I’m not sure if he’s hiding things or info from me.

    Since then a series of challenging things happened. His truck broke down in another state, we have no money, he’s starting a new job. He’s also home during the day so the children and I have no structure when he’s here. Snacks, movies all day long. He agreed in counseling to follow a daily schedule but when the kids ask for something like snack before snack time he’ll cater to them. This week now he’s completely shut down toward only me. He says he’s stressed but he’s going to our toddlers for comfort- not me. This is very hurtful. I try to talk to him and he snaps at me. He won’t sleep next to me and when I went to find him he became angry at my using a flashlight to find him. He said I flashed it in his face and he charged at me. He then started to mock me.

    If I have disrespected him I certainly don’t know how and he won’t tell me! I want to run away!!!

    1. Hi…

      My husband has been holding me in contempt for nearly a week now. He finally mentioned why. He’s come up with an exact number of instances where I’m at fault in his eyes and this is his reason for no affection, communication, completely ignoring, not hearing me, withholding information, not praying, not loving me as Christ loved the church, lavishing others with attention, etc.

      I’m furious now as it’s been a week of this mean and very personal behavior. The things he holds me in contempt for are nothing I’m at fault for or have sinned. I have sought The Lord about what sins I wasn’t seeing and didn’t hear a thing regarding what he brought up.

      there is anger, division, hostility and resentment so thick in the house that I can’t be near him. He keeps talking about being the head but he’s lying to himself about me, setting me up to be the “cause” of fights, and in his pride he shows he doesn’t care about my hurt. I refuse to be manipulated to be the reason for his anger or coerced into accepting specific lies saying that I’m out of order in our marriage. He’s also not told any of his godly mentors about this. He’s hiding it in our home :(!

      Someone please help! There is no one to talk to and I am extremely and very deeply hurt.

      1. Hi,

        I wonder if it might be possible for you to share a bit about what your husband is upset about? It is really difficult to try to see the full picture without hearing a bit more of his perspective.

        I can definitely understand that you are feeling hurt after feeling so ignored and unloved. But it sounds like he is hurting, too. Is it possible that there might be anything true about his pain, as well?

        Much love to you! Thank you for reaching out. 🙂 Sending you a huge hug, my dear sister!

        1. It’s hard for me to explain in detail on here. I know you don’t do emails and that you do FB. I had to quit FB a good while ago tho. I’ll try to communicate through here as best as I can.

          Would you women feel comfortable with your husband engaging in a conversation with a neighborhood woman about walking around the block together for your dog to get to know her dog? Ladies, is this even necessary?

          How about an adult female in town (perhaps with a learning disability) who hangs around your husband (obviously has a crush on him) and asks you where your address is repeatedly. She even said “when are you going back to (public place) so I can pick on you?” We can’t even walk in town without her leaching on to us….yet she has no interest in talking to me.

          Yet he’s hurt and disrespected because I’m not ok with these situations.

          Thoughts, ladies and men?

          1. Hi,

            I guess I don’t really know your husband or this other woman with a dog or what your husband’s motives might be. So I am not sure I can judge. How did you share that this upset you? What was his response?

            Do you believe you can trust him?

            As far as a situation with an adult woman who has a learning disability – we have a number of adults at our church in this situation because we have a large special education adult ministry. We sit in front of the area where this group usually sits. There is one adult male who likes to talk to me a lot. And there is one adult female who likes to talk to me a lot. So, I do understand this issue, I believe. I don’t think you have to give the address to such a woman. But it also can be difficult to dissuade a woman like this not to talk with someone once she decides she wants to. You can’t really use reason.

            I would imagine your husband may not want to hurt her feelings. Is that possible? This may be a bit more beyond his control than the lady walking her dog issue. How did you tell him your concerns about this situation?

            What does your husband say about these things? Do you trust him to be able to handle them?

            Much love!

  14. I am happy I found this blog looking for answers, and it feels like the perfect timing to change my attitude and perception in life. However, I almost feel like my relationship has come to a point of no turning back and I feel extremely heartbroken. I’ve been engaged to my fiance for 9 years and we have 3 beautiful children. For a long time, we always refer to one another as husband and wife. After reading your blog, it feels and seems very comforting and hopeful to know what I can do to change my relationship with him. Except we have so much resentment for each other after so many fights. He has said how could he ever love a woman like me and that I don’t stimulate his mind and I am boring. He says at this point is why couples cheat. He says he will live his life whether I’m gone or not. So basically yea, I feel like he doesn’t love me and could be happier without me. He said all that after we fought. He also calls me names and it get’s pretty heated but here is my summary.
    Honestly, I start to nag and yell after I ask him nicely time and time again to help me with this or that. He literally waits until I have to yell. I have chronic pain from childbirth and I need his help. I have to beg for his attention and help and for him to give attention to the kids. I tell him how hard it is to take care of 3 children 5 and under. He knows that and he says he will help and blah blah but I feel like I constantly have to remind him and it makes me question his love for me. I wish he could just think to be considerate and take some leadership. He always lets me down. I always feel overwhelmed and I feel like I can’t trust him.
    Then he says that why should he do anything for me if he can’t get anything out of it. He says I am not satisfying him and that there is no reward. He did mention sex. He feels that I don’t care for him or love him and that he feels emasculated, disrespected, and embarrassed to be with me.
    I told him why would I want to have sex with you if I feel like you don’t love me? Your actions make me feel undesirable, unloved, unimportant, and I feel like I have absolutely no value to you. I view sex as love and if you don’t love me why should we have sex?
    He says he is at the point of not wanting to try anymore. So I ask him a question. Is it because you have tried so hard and it’s never good enough or is it because it’s too hard and want to quit? He couldn’t answer the question because we both know the answer. He is very selfish… I honestly feel like he’s the most selfish man on this earth.

    I’ve been telling him that I am asking him to do the right thing. JUST put in the EFFORT. All I’m asking is effort. Please? To be considerate in our relationship. Treat others how you want to be treated. Be selfless; not selfish. I always reference the bible on love scriptures as well. I told him if he would just HELP me then I wouldn’t become Frustrated over and OVER and over. I have pain can you please relieve me? I point out the things I do for him. Wash, fold his clothes, pick up after him, dishes, FOOD etc. on top of raising the kids and he says none of that means anything to him and that it doesn’t mean I care about him..That really hurts ya know?
    I feel so stuck right now. I feel like I am hurting myself staying with him. We have 3 children. I am the only child no siblings, no friends, my parents don’t care about me. I have no skills or money and no where to go! Please help me what can I do?!? Just thinking about him makes me cry and feel nauseated. He doesn’t even care if I cry in front of him.
    He doesn’t even want to try to make this work.. He said he feels like we are brother and sister and it’s gross and that we are only together because of the children. He says looking back he can’t think of one happy moment because we always end up arguing!
    I wonder if it’s my fault for even asking for help because I feel like If I was his maid and prostitute everything would be bliss for him. But he’s already made sure he doesn’t care about my happiness.

    Can you please give me some advice for couples that feel contempt for one other. I feel extremely lonely and depressed right now.

    1. Sheri,

      I can definitely feel the pain and frustration in your words, my dear sister!!! My heart breaks for you and this situation.
      I would be glad to point you to Christ and to the life He has for you and His healing. 🙂

      Would you be able to share how your walk with Christ is going?

      Does he have a relationship with Christ?

      What do you want in your relationship with God?

      What do you want in your relationship with your fiance?

      What was your parents’ marriage like?

      What was his parents’ marriage like?

      Do you know why y’all haven’t gotten married yet? What would the main reason be, do you think?

      Is the “telling him what to do” approach working?

      Are you willing to do whatever God desires you to do, even if it seems painful?

      Much love to you!

    2. Sheri,

      You have come to a safe place here at peacefulwife.com. I can feel the pain in your words. There are women here who will love you and pray for you. But even more importantly, Jesus loves you. He sees everything you’re going through, knows everything you are thinking and feeling, and I have no doubt He is the one who led you to this blog. Just wanted you to know.

      Big hugs to you.

  15. Would you be able to share how your walk with Christ is going?

    A lot of times I question my faith in Christ. I was raised Baptist Christian.

    Does he have a relationship with Christ?
    Well he says he prays to God all the time and tries to live by the word…My fiance was actually raised Buddhist/Athiest and his parents are Buddhist. He converted before we even met. Toward the middle of our relationship we had a very great spiritual connection with the Holy Spirit. So happy and joyous and crazy about each other, yet we still had power struggles. But what drives me mad is that he is more concerned with me not knowing much out of the bible and I have nothing to teach him.

    What do you want in your relationship with God?
    I want God to take away my fears, anxiety, controlling, insecurity, negative behavior. I want to find peace and joy.

    What do you want in your relationship with your fiance?
    I want a partnership. I guess I want it like how society teaches us how we should be loved.

    What was your parents’ marriage like?
    I didn’t see love in my parents relationship. My parents were distant. I had never seen them sleep in the same bed and I don’t remember eating at the table together either as well. They are both from different cultures. American/Korean. So that have may been an issue. Both of my parents have been married 3 times. Divorce runs in my family.

    What was his parents’ marriage like?
    They are still together and seem to respect each other but it seems like his mother does everything and is happy. I’m not sure if she is happy; but I can see why it seems my fiance seems lazy. His mother seem to have not make him take any responsibility. I can’t see how she does it in her 60s.

    Do you know why y’all haven’t gotten married yet? What would the main reason be, do you think?
    We had are ups and downs. Major arguments. Financial issues as well. Life got in the way/children. He works all the time.

    Is the “telling him what to do” approach working?
    No actually it doesn’t until I guilt him into doing it or yell.

    Are you willing to do whatever God desires you to do, even if it seems painful?
    As of now Yes!

    Much love to you!

    *******Peaceful Wife, I am so very happy I came upon your blog! I have watched your Youtube videos as well and you are so very peaceful, calm, and graceful. I am the total opposite it seems. I am filled with fear, anxiety, insecurity, and I have controlling behavior. I was diagnosed with PPD after my second child. I have more anxiety/rage than depression. I want the Lord Jesus to take away my negative behaviors and bring peace upon me. I feel like you spoke to me through here and have brought me back from a very dark & evil place. This is the first time in 10 years I have felt this guilty in this way! This whole time I have been convincing myself that I was the victim and he was selfish; but it is me that is selfish. I feel like such a hypocrite now! I have cried and reached out to the Lord ever since I read your blog. I am going to continue to reach out to him and ask that he may help me study the word, build strength, and repent. I was idolizing myself and this relationship way too much! You have brought a whole new meaning of idolizing to my attention. You have opened my eyes. I have closed out my Facebook account just recently. I believe it was actually making me hate him! It was putting way too many expectations on him and making me feel insecure with all these love and relationship quotes. Since reading your blog, we haven’t argued and I haven’t felt the need to feel insecure and demanding! My heart was so hard and now it is soft. I know I can’t change him but I hope to make his heart soft and trust me again. I would like to apologize to him but I don’t think it’s quite the time yet. Thank you for being here

    <3 Sheri

    1. Sheri,

      Well, your history and his history sure explain a lot! Thank you for sharing that important information.

      So, do I understand that he is frustrated with you because he feels you should know more about the Bible? Because you were raised as a Christian and he wasn’t? He feels you should be able to teach him?

      Are you aware that what you witnessed growing up was a very unhealthy example of marriage? Something that could be useful might be to start a prayer journal (I just use spiral bound notebooks) – and begin to write down the things that you saw in your parents’ marriage that was healthy and godly that you want to keep in your life and the things that were not biblical and not honoring to God that you want to throw away from your life and mindset.

      You can also read the posts:
      What Does It Mean to be an Ungodly Woman
      Godly Femininity

      Those may help you work through some of those issues, as well.

      It could be helpful to think through what your definition of love is and what your expectations are – and to ask God to help you evaluate them in the light of His Word.

      I have heard form so many women in similar situations as yours. They are not married – but are trying to follow God’s Word and live as “godly wives.” And it doesn’t work – the whole situation is a mess and they are extremely hurt and frustrated. They don’t have God’s power and can’t figure out why. Has God given you any insight into this issue, at this point?

      I’m thrilled that you are willing to do anything God asks of you to do! When I see that attitude and spirit, I know that God is getting ready to do something BIG in a woman’s life. 🙂 It brings such joy to my heart to see that God is opening your eyes and helping you to see things more and more from His holy perspective.

      What known sins are in your life that you believe God wants you to turn away from at this point? What first steps is God whispering to you that He desires you to do to begin to walk in right relationship with Him?

      I pray God gives you wisdom about exactly when and how to apologize.

      Please check out the book Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray. Here is a free download. 🙂

      Much love to you!
      April

  16. Wow!!! What an eye-opener! I am blessed to have discovered this blog. It speaks to me, it teaches me, it grows me. ❤❤🙌
    Thank you

    1. Bree,

      This is the kind of information I desperately needed earlier in our marriage – but I had no one to teach me or to explain it to me. What a blessing that God allows me this opportunity to share the treasures He has given to me with my sisters. It is an honor to get to walk this road with you, my dear sister. I’m so excited to see how God is speaking to you and the healing that He has in store for you.

      Much love!

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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