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"Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame For Problems in Marriage?"

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I write very specifically for women, and very specifically not for men – although men are welcome here and many find healing in Christ here, too. My calling is Titus 2:3-5 and to “make disciples” for Jesus in the Body of Christ (primarily with women) – part of the Great Commission.

Sometimes, because I only address women and what we can control, some women mis-hear me and think I am somehow saying that women are 100% of the problem in marriage.

Let me be very clear – men and women are both very capable of causing all kinds of problems, pain, and issues in marriage. We are all sinners.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

When we are not filled with God’s Spirit but the flesh is in control, all of us are capable of destroying our marriages in countless ways. Men and women. When we are filled with God’s Spirit, there is no limit to the goodness that God will bring about in our lives.

– Women are not responsible for 100% of the problems in marriage.

– Men are not responsible for 100% of the problems in marriage.

– We are each (men and women) responsible for our part; our sin and our obedience to Christ. All of us have room to grow.

God’s Word applies to us all!

We are each responsible individually to God for every thought, motive, word, and deed. We are each responsible to God to walk in holiness and obedience to Him and to avoid sin as we allow His Spirit to empower us.

MY STRATEGY AND APPROACH WITH MINISTERING TO WOMEN:

When a wife comments on my blog and she is in great pain in her marriage, here are my goals:

  1. Love her. See her with God’s eyes and with His love.
  2. Sympathize with her pain.
  3. Gently ask some questions so I can get a more accurate pictureΒ of where she is spiritually and where her husband is spiritually – kind of a spiritual triage. I think of this site as being like a spiritual ER.
  4. Encourage a wife with extremely severe issues to find a godly, experienced counselor (or medical help, or even police help – whatever is necessary) to work with one-on-one who can get to know her in person and provide the resources she needs if she is dealing with uncontrolled addictions, mental health issues, unrepentant infidelity, or abuse. I want everyone to be safe and to have all of the resources they need for their specific situations.
  5. Address any “bleeding, severe wounds, or major scars” in a wife’s life independently from the issues she has with her husband and of his sins. I ask her to examine her own life against God’s Word and be willing to get rid of any sin she may have been cherishing (knowingly or unknowingly) in her heart so that she can fully yield to Christ as Lord and begin to experience His power and His healing in her own life.
  6. Examine any unbiblical thinking that she may have that could be hindering her spiritual health with the goal of replacing any lies of the enemy with the truth of the Bible.
  7. When she is spiritually “stabilized” in Christ, then she and I can pray together in the power of the Holy Spirit for her husband and for God to draw him to Himself in His timing by His Spirit. Together, we can pray for God to convict her husband that he might also fully submit to Christ as Lord. We can pray for healing for the marriage for God’s glory. But until a woman is in fellowship with Christ, her prayers are not going to be effective. So her spiritual health is my first priority.

The first goal I have is for each woman to be in right standing with Christ. That is the foundation for any other healing that will take place in her life, her husband’s life, and their marriage.Β 

When she is beginning to be stronger in her faith and is walking more and more in Christ, then she will have His wisdom, power, and guiding about how to handle the specifics in her situation with her husband. And she will have effective and powerful prayers.

If we are clinging to sin, even unknowingly, in our hearts, our prayer lives are very weak. I want each person here to have the strongest, most faith-filled, most powerfully Spirit-filled prayer life ever. I want each woman to be feasting on the Word of God and growing spiritually. Until she is right with God and stabilized spiritually in Christ – she cannot make things right with her husband. We must focus on Christ primarily – then our human relationships.

Once she is filled with Christ and growing, I can encourage her to begin to allow God’s Spirit to pour through her all of the riches and treasures of heaven into her marriage and into her husband’s life.

Each of us – men and women – must be willing to look at our own lives and to be right with God before we can begin to try to make things right with other people. (Matthew 7:1-5)

The ultimate goal I have is that both husband and wife will walk in complete submission to Christ as Lord – experiencing ALL of Himself and ALL of the promises of God and the riches of Christ and the intimacy of knowing Him deeply. Then He heals each person and He heals the marriage many times.

Even if her husband never changes, my greatest desire for each woman here is that she will allow God to change her and that when this short life is over and she stands before God, she will hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

I can’t heal anyone. But I can point them to Christ Jesus. He is the Great Physician, the Wonderful Counselor, the Sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords. We must all become less and He must become greater in our lives.

Much love to each of you!

65 thoughts on “"Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame For Problems in Marriage?"

  1. Thanks April for being so open and giving me a strategy i can also work with. I was wondering if possible in a future post if you could give some examples of the 7 steps you take above. Or if you have a blog post already written about each one. Because for you to keep up with me and all of us i think is a lot of pressure for you, and i dont want that this blog becomes overwhelming! If you have examples then i could go through each step myself, i have no one here to turn to for that, i have only one new friend i made via your site who is helping me!!! Thanks!!! Many blessings πŸ™‚

    1. Antonija,

      You can read through comments on posts to see examples, if you are interested, especially threads where I speak with a particular wife multiple times. Some posts where you can read through examples like this would be:

      A Book Review of “Through His Eyes”

      I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Emotions, or Desires

      Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong

      Or any post, basically, where there are a number of comments, I believe you will be able to see the questions I ask, the woman’s responses, and then how I go through this process of seeking to point her to Christ and the truth of His Word and His love and healing.

      Some other posts that address parts of these steps:

      Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ

      Triggers for Sinful Thoughts

      GraceAlone’s posts

      My new book walks women through each of these steps and has a section on self-evaluation which may be helpful. The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord (available on Amazon, Christianbooks.com, and other sites).

      The book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss identifies a number of lies we may believe about God, ourselves, our emotions, marriage, sin, etc… and then presents the truth of God’s Word and is very helpful.

      “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit”

      Praying for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear

      Also, you may search “Prayer Day” on my home page for posts that teach about how to pray effectively.

      Hopefully this will get you started. If you need more help, please let me know! πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks so much, i was sure you had already covered it in blogs but there are alot so thanks for helping me out there! I already have your book, reading it every night πŸ™‚ I hope you will also be able to get it out on kindle so people can also read it without ordering it!

        Thanks πŸ™‚ i will keep going with what you have given me

        1. Antonija,

          You are most welcome. πŸ™‚ I am excited to see all that God is about to do in your heart, mind, and soul, my precious sister!

          The book is available on Kindle as well. Amazon already has it. Soon, some other sites will have it, too.

          Let me know what God is showing you, if you are getting stuck, and what you are learning!

          Much love!
          April

  2. I completely agree with you that women are not always responsible for problems in marriage but it’s very interesting that the Word says that women may win their disobedient husbands without a word by their godly behavior which isn’t given to men about winning their wives and that a wise woman builds up her home but a foolish one tears it down.

    I do believe women bear a huge responsibility in having a good marriage or not. I have seen it in the 10 years I have been mentoring. If I can mentor the woman, the marriage usually turns around and is saved.

    However, it sure hasn’t happened with 100% of the women I have mentored. A small percentage are married to extremely difficult husbands who are not repentant no matter how godly the wives have become, however, most of these woman have still not given up on winning their husbands to the Lord!

    1. Lori Alexander,

      Yes! When a husband or a wife is walking in obedience to God and filled with His Spirit – God often brings about great healing to the spouse and marriage. I have seen it work with husbands and with wives. There are extra instructions for wives specifically about how to win our husbands without a word in I Peter 3:1-6. But then there are instructions to both husbands and wives in I Corinthians 7 that the believing spouse may be able to win the unbeliever to Christ.

      When we are operating in the flesh, we have a lot of power to destroy our husbands and marriages. But when we are operating in the power of God’s Spirit, His healing, love, truth, and godly power flow through us into our husbands’ lives and our marriages and families. We can be instruments of God to bring His healing into the family and marriage. But first, we must be right with Him ourselves.

      I have seen countless times where wives begin to live for Christ and the husband and marriage turn around and are saved, too. What a wonderful blessing from God!

      There are some husbands who won’t repent even if their wives are living for Christ. But my prayer is that we won’t give up on these men, but that we will continue to pray that God will reach them.

      1. Ken has mentored men now and in the past. Not one of these men have been able to win their wives until these husbands have had their wives speak to me or be mentored by me through email or telephone. Once Truth is spoken into these women’s lives, the majority of time, they begin to understand their part in the destruction of the marriage and begin to change for the good.

        Ken would talk to me until he was blue in the face about my responsibility in the marriage but until I read Debi Pearl’s book, I wouldn’t listen to him. This is why God commands older women to teach the younger women to love and obey their husbands. In my experience, it seems that women need an older women teaching them Truth since this is the way they learn best and men learn from their wives’ loving and submissive spirit best. It’s all very much a mystery to me but it seems it is the way the Lord has set it up.

        1. Lori Alexander,

          I have seen husbands be used by God to win their wives to Christ. It seems to often take a long time. And it is more rare for me to see this scenario. But I have certainly seen God work in marriages and heal them as the husband walks in obedience to God and as he prays. I want to be careful not to limit God. Sometimes He seems to wake up a husband first. Sometimes He seems to wake up a wife first.

          Ideally, husbands and wives would be involved in solid Bible-Teaching, discipleship and mentoring. I believe there is great benefit for wives to be taught by older women. But I don’t want husbands to think that if their wife is not being mentored, there is no hope. In Christ there is great hope! He is able to open people’s eyes. He is able to heal marriages and bring spouses to Himself.

          I think healing would happen much faster when the wife is involved in learning and growing herself in Christ and seeking to become the woman God desires her to be. Of course, if both husband and wife are seeking to learn and to grow spiritually in Christ, that would be even better.

          We serve a mighty God. Christ is the greatest need for all of us. How I praise God that He is able to heal broken people and broken marriages.

          Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I appreciate your insights and wisdom. πŸ™‚ I do want women to understand just what an incredible impact they can have to destroy or build up their husbands and their marriages. God has given us a position of great responsibility and influence.

          1. You are right, April. I am sure there are some men who may win their disobedient wives since nothing is more powerful than a life that has been transformed by the work of Christ.

          2. Lori Alexander,

            Thankfully – we are all dependent on Christ alone. Husbands and wives. He is our hope! We all have the same enemy. But Jesus is able to overcome the enemy. πŸ™‚

            Much love, my dear sister!

  3. Thanks for that April.

    As a man, your comments are all very helpful.

    To ‘mishear’ is common for all of us. The language of love, respect, submission, and responsibility is unfortunately not well understood. Hopefully all of us, men and women, are striving to hear, understand and grow – with the help of the Holy Spirit working in us.

    ** On a side note April, I have tried to post the same initial comment over the last few days and it has not yet appeared – in the About Me post. If there is something I am doing wrong, or you need to approve, please just let me know via my supplied email address as part of the comment submission. I would love to continue and be a part of this community – both hearing,and responding as needed. Thanks!

    1. hopeinconfusion,

      I’m so glad to hear that the comments are helpful to you as a brother in Christ.

      Sometimes comments go to the spam folder – due to a glitch in WordPress – but I try to fish them out several times a day. I don’t see the other comment. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. If I find it in spam, I will get it out. πŸ™‚

      You are most welcome to be part of this community. I am thankful for our brothers for sharing their masculine perspective on things.

      1. hopeinconfusion,

        I saw where you had posted some comments last week, and I responded. But it seems that maybe you can’t see those comments or my responses? That was on “Contact Me.”

        1. Thanks! The “lost” have been found! Sorry for the repetition, and any confusion, around the posts. Thank you for your reply and thoughts.

  4. April,
    Finding your blog has been an answered prayer!! I just read the short “look inside” of your new book and I felt compelled to leave you a comment that says God is truly using you to reach real women with real issues in marriage! What an eye opener I’ve had since finding your blog a few weeks ago. Your past marriage situation completely matches my almost 2 year marriage; I am the type A disrespectful prideful woman! But God is so good and merciful, He has graciously lead me to your blog after failing on my own for 2 years and He has shown me through your experienes what I have sadly been doing without one notice of it! But God has shown me just this morning that He has allowed me to be that woman my whole life so that He can make me into the total opposite godly respectful woman He wants me to be AND GET ALL THE GLORY FOR IT!!!

    I think back to my “required” courses in college, and some of them were directly related to feminism…and my jaw drops thinking how easily women are programmed and swayed into thinking it should be the opposite of what God has ordained. This past summer I had began searching about Biblical womanhood becuase I was unsure of what God’s will was for me as a wife and mother…if I should get a job since mu husband had lost his, or if I should trust God and stick to what the word says about women staying home…He showed me the basics through some books you have also read (“Biblical manhood and womanhood” by Piper,etc) and I was convinced God would have me stay home and trust Him. God honored us for honoring His word and He provided work for my husband. That started my journey of discovering just what it is God wills for us. Sadly, I stopped at the externals of changing my dress, and just thinking that my husband was head so I really didn’t have to decide things,etc. That backfired immediately when he started doing things I didn’t like… its commical now looking back because I sincerely thought I was just helping him by giving him all that unsolicited advice!

    Long story short,
    God is using your experinces to open my eyes and draw me back to HIM and to set my heart on HIM!!! and to trust HIM to work in me the things I need to change!!

    God Bless you! and I can’t wait to start reading your book! I felt like I was reading my life so far just in the few short pages!

    Sincerely,
    Amanda

    1. Amanda,

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. I am in awe that God is willing to use my story and that I get to see Him working so powerfully in lives of my brothers and sisters around the world. What an incredible privilege and honor!

      I LOVE what you said – “He has allowed me to be that woman my whole life so that He can make me into the total opposite godly respectful woman He wants me to be AND GET ALL THE GLORY FOR IT!!!”

      YES! Exactly!!!!

      I’m glad you realize where some of the worldly influence came from. And I praise God that you have been studying about Biblical womanhood. Such an important topic to our identity and our understanding of how God desires marriage to function in a healthy way.

      I praise God that He has provided for you to be able to stay home. How wonderful!

      Your ideas, feelings, wisdom, perspective, and concerns are important. You have a very valuable role to play – of your husband’s respected, trusted best friend and closest and most wise advisor. But there is a balance that is really important – where we don’t share too much in a disrespectful, controlling way – but we don’t swing too far the other way and give up our God-given influence and become doormats. That balance is very delicate and requires the wisdom and power of God’s Spirit every moment.

      I praise God for what He is doing in you – and how amazing that He has allowed me to be a little part of it. I love that!

      Much love to you!

      1. April,
        Thank you for the encouragement as well! The Lord is showing me that He is a God of restoration and all the past years of failure He will turn around and use to spread His Great News and to build up the body of Christ unto maturity! Look at the impact He can have on the earth just by ONE surrendered woman? It is truly amazing to see what He has done in your life! I believe He is raising up His true daughters to lay aside self, the world, and everything not of CHRIST, and pointing them back to Him through His loving discipline….. It’s easy to take life as it comes and look past those little trials, domestic annoyances and inconveniences….. when really it is from a loving Father who is trying to draw us to HIMSELF! And who is trying to show us HIS way for our lives as wives, mothers and women!

        I will give an example for any who wish to read…this hit me this morning when I was spending time with Him…… not even 2 weeks had gone by after I was married when my husband got into a car accident, and 3 days later, I got into a car accident in our same vehicle….. hit and run! Everything started falling apart around us and we concluded at the time that perhaps God did NOT want us to get married after only 8 weeks of knowing each other (total God SATORY :)! )!

        BUT looking back, I see He was actually trying to keep our eyes on HIM because He alone knows our hearts and how soon we make someone or something an idol!

        The Lord is the only One who can satisfy…nourish…and bring fruit from our lives! And the fruit He’s made through your life is abundant and truly from Him to feed his body!!! πŸ™‚

        Blessings in Christ!

        Amanda

  5. Hi, I love reading your blogs. You’ve brought a lot of clarity to a time in my life that has been a struggle. From what I understand, the Bible tells us that our husbands are like Jesus and we, as wives, our like the Church (Jesus loved the Church as he loved himself). I’ve been struggling with my husband over the last year mainly with his alcoholism. I try to respect him, but it’s hard when he drinks and leaves all the responsibilities to me (he quit his job last April). This does not fit the model of marriage in the Bible. Jesus doesn’t get drunk and leave all the responsiblities to the church (so to speak). How does a Christian woman follow the example of marriage in the Bible when her husband does not? My husband is a Christian, but he doesn’t study the Bible deeply. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Zina,

      Severe issues like alcohol/drug addiction, uncontrolled mental health disorders, major unrepentant sin, abuse, etc… call for a specialized approach to respecting and honoring our husbands. I don’t generally write about these kinds of issues because there are so many variations and what may work for one wife may be a dangerous approach for another wife in a similar situation. This may require one-on-one personal counseling with a trusted, godly counselor. I would certainly suggest that you get in touch with Celebrate Recovery to get some support for yourself spiritually.

      You can’t respect him quitting his job – particularly if it was because of the alcohol. And you can’t respect the addiction. You can’t respect sin.

      You can respect that this man is in the position of being your husband and that he is a fellow brother in Christ who is ensnared by the devil and taken captive but who has been made in the image of God and is of great worth in God’s sight. You can respect that Jesus loved him so much He was willing to die on the cross for his sins. You can respect that God can take his life an make something beautiful of it. You can respect any good you do see in him, and the real him, the man he would be if he were not a slave to alcohol, which is an idol.

      My greatest goal for you is to get you the spiritual support you need in Christ and in the Body and for you to be abiding in Christ and filled with His Spirit and doing whatever He desires you to do in your walk with Him.

      How severe is the alcoholism? What is your husband doing now that he is home?

      If he is not in his right mind, and not able to make reasonable decisions – if the alcohol has taken over his life completely – you may not be able to follow him until he repents and heals.

      How have you attempted to approach him?

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

      Much love to you!

      1. Thank you, April, for your reassuring words.

        My walk with Christ is strong, but I have a hard time choosing between being loyal to my husband and doing what is right for me. He needs alcohol every day, and goes on binges where he drinks a bottle of liquor in a day and a half. He never remembers any of our conversations. I’ve been seeing a therapist and have asked him many times to come with me, but he tells me that God is the only therapist he needs. He has all kinds of ideas for his own personal businesses, but has spent almost one year doing absolutely nothing. We currently live in Montana. His family is in Louisiana, and he tells me that he needs to move there to take care of them. Every time I want to discuss our future together he says it’s in God’s hands. After he quit his job, we sold our house. I went to him for direction on moving plans but he dismissed me every time saying it was in God’s hands. So, when the time came I had to make all the moving plans all on my own. It was and still is a terrifying time for me.

        I know God helped me through it all, but I don’t understand why he put me with a man that doesn’t see me as a partner in life. Anyway, as I stated earlier, I struggle with being loyal to the commitment I made before God to stay by my husband for better or for worse, but then if he isn’t following through with his part, being the head of the household and love me as Christ loved the Church, then what do I do? Leave the marriage? very, very difficult decision for me to make.

        Anyway, thank you for your input and compassion. I will look into Celebrate Recovery. It sounds much more Christian bases then Al-anon. Have a Blessed day.

  6. Thank you April. This was a blessing to me this morning since I had planned to pray during lunch hour with a friend for her husband and marriage.

    Your every post is a blessing to me!

    Thank you.

      1. You’re eating lunch about now, Betty! πŸ™‚ So sweet to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. Hope your lunch and prayer time are going well. Praying for you now.

  7. “The first goal I have is for each woman to be in right standing with Christ. That is the foundation for any other healing that will take place in her life, her husband’s life, and their marriage. (The same process would work for men, as well.)”

    I really appreciate this, April. That should always be the first step and it really is the foundation for healing. He is the Great Physician for a reason.

  8. Something that has been a common theme in my blogging life is the idea of shame and blame. April’s post is called, “Do you think women are always to blame for problems in marriage?” Personally I think we need to get rid of the toxic concept of blame and shame. Christ went to the cross “despising the shame” on our behalf, so He has granted us victory there and we are now free to perceive blame in a different way, as being washed clean by His grace and now taking responsibility. Another way of saying “blame,” is who holds the power to change the whole narrative. It is neither men or women, husbands or wives, but either or, or even both.

    First Peter 3 says, “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” With a non believing husband, she is not to blame, she is not the one in the wrong here, but she is taking responsibility for her own marriage.

    In my case it was the other way around, my husband took the blame, rather shamelessly, as in he took full responsibility for our marriage and with Christ speaking to me too, I was won over and our marriage began to thrive. My husband did not submit, he took responsibility and taught me something important. Blame is not necessarily about fault and who is in the wrong, but rather about who is going to pickup the responsibility and do something about it.

    Personally I think women have a tendency to try to pick up too much emotionally, so submission can become another way of understanding what is our responsibility and what is not, what am I to blame for and what I am to NOT pick up.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I chose the title of this post based on numerous questions I have received on the blog from women who believe I am blaming women for all the problems in marriage. That is why I chose that word. But I agree with you 1000% that when we are in Christ, He took all of the blame, guilt, and shame. We are free! If we have Jesus, He took all of the wrath of God upon Himself on our behalf and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Him!

      WOOHOO! Makes me want to do a little dance!

      I also love the idea of talking about taking responsibility for those things which are our responsibility. That is healthy and good. But we don’t need to take responsibility for those things that are not ours – that is destructive and dysfunctional. And we don’t need to give up our responsibilities to others to try to get them to handle our responsibilities for us. That is also destructive and dysfunctional.

      How I praise God that your husband loved you and loved Christ and that together they won you over! WOOHOO!!!!!!! What joy!

      Yes, a healthy understanding of submission, in my view, is that we clearly understand the influence and power we have, as well as what falls into my circle of responsibility before God and where the lines are for my responsibility to end and my husband’s and God’s responsibility to begin.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

    2. insanitybytes22, I really like what you said in the last paragraph here (actually, your whole comment…but especially the last paragraph) about women picking up too much emotionally and taking too much of that and other’s responsibility on. So good. I think a lot of women can relate to that.

      I know that when I was operating in that way, my husband was sort of using his leadership role in unhealthy ways sometimes. It fed something bad in him, honestly (not horrible, just a bit too controlling at times and ready to blame me for things that weren’t necessarily my fault).

      When I stopped apologizing for everything (which kind of correlated to the same time I stopped overly worried about constantly pleasing my husband) and respectfully – but firmly at times – refused to take blame for things that I knew God was not convicting me of, things balanced out and got much better.

      That’s what concerns me about much of the patriarchal type of marital advice to women out there – and even other Christian teaching that wouldn’t classify themselves as such. It’s subtle, but some of it really does place a lot of the blame and responsibility all on women. And, when a lot of women are already wired that way and then they hear teaching that just confirms what they are already naturally bent to do, things get off track really quickly.

      April, I really am struck by how balanced your teaching is and am grateful for your blog in new ways than I was just a week ago. πŸ™‚ So, so thankful that God saw fit to use your life and the challenges in your marriage for this good.

      1. I really appreciate what you said, Jennifer. I have a hard time trying to talk about submission in marriage in terms of freedom, of setting down emotional burdens, of letting go of dysfunctional patterns. People have a lot of misconceptions about what submission means, so those stereotypes can be challenging. April does do a nice job of recognizing the subtleties and laying them out for us.

        To surrender all to Christ is healthy, joyful for women, and in another context that is what it supposed to be like in marriage too. Although men may well reap the benefits of having a happy, contented wife, the concept of submission actually shows God’s great love for His daughters. It is about our freedom from bondage, our ability to rejoice and have some emotional peace in our lives. God doesn’t want women oppressed and downtrodden, He wants us blessed and able to shine the way He intended us to. That can be challenging in a broken world, but the design is a good one and reflects the love He has for us.

  9. Hello, thank you for such a helpful blog ministry. I am struggling with submission, as I always have been strong-willed (with God too! For sure!), however in the case of my marriage, my disrespect, and therefore reluctance to submit, stems from my husband’s own disrespect to me over the last six years. I hate to say “he started it,” it sounds so childish, but it’s really true. He’s not always disrespectful but he has a mean streak and can be very harsh and hateful. He’s improved since coming back to church last year, but it’s still pretty frustrating and frequent enough.

    So… I guess I need help submitting and help in not justifying my own disrespect of him, even when I have disrespected him unknowingly, because he has worn down my kindness and patience with years of criticism and harsh words against me. I started out very sweet, submissive and well-meaning. I’ve lost my ability to be that way, and my heart is harder, because of how he has treated me. I feel changed for the worse, and I don’t like blaming him because I know I’m responsible for myself, but I can’t help but think if he had been more loving over the years I wouldn’t be this way. I don’t want to disrespect him, especially because I do see him trying to improve. My strong-willed, selfish behavior could only be discouraging him from working on himself. My issue is ego. He knows it, and I know it, but maybe you could suggest a way to let go and let God, and get over myself? Thanks.

    1. Teresa,

      It’s great to met you! πŸ™‚

      Of course things would be easier if our husbands were completely perfect and never sinned against us. That is true! But – you are right, we are responsible for our responses and God does not give us a free pass to sin just because we were sinned against. Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, says, “We are most tempted to sin when we are being sinned against.” Thankfully, God can use even our husband’s sin to refine and sanctify us and to help us become more mature in Christ.

      How bad are things with your husband? (I want to be sure we are not dealing with abuse before we move forward) Are either of you dealing with any addictions, mental illness issues, affairs, or major unrepentant sin? What are some of the worst things he has done? How did you respond during these times? What are some of the worst things you have done to him? What is your general personality and what is your husband’s general personality? Would you like to hash through this a bit with me?

      Have you read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs or For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn? Those books may be helpful. Also, I have a new book that puts all of this stuff together, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord. Of course, I also have tons of posts here that I believe will point you to Christ and to healing.

      How is your walk with Christ going? What do you want in your relationship with Him? What do you desire to happen in your marriage?

      I would love to invite you to check out some posts:

      “Why Do I Have to Change First?”
      I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually
      I Am Responsible for My Emotions

      Please also search my home page for:

      – disrespect
      – respect
      – spiritual authority
      – a husband’s and a wife’s authority
      – bitterness
      – fear
      – worry
      – godly femininity

      Much love to you! πŸ™‚

  10. I wish I could be encouraging and uplifting and I will try to be respectful in my comments. My H and I have been married 25.5 years. 16 years ago we moved along without our two small (at the time) children to a tiny rural community (less than 3500 people). It is an hour to drive to the nearest city.

    I felt called to homeschool the children early on and after a very short attempt at putting our son in school here (I thought being in a small town it might be o.k.), I homeschooled them from basically birth to high school graduation.

    From almost the first year, I had serious doubts about the benefits of living so far away from everything. Added to the fact that we had not escaped the immoral culture of the larger world in our small environment, and yet had nothing as far as community or small town benefits to offset the rampant divorce and sketchy behavior of adults and children in our town.

    I became increasingly upset about our circumstances: the kids and I had no friends. There were no other children in church. There was nothing to do and we had to drive over an hour to get to even a Target store.

    The only thing people were involved in with their children was the local public school. Since my kids weren’t in school or after school sports we were virtually invisible everywhere we went. No, that’s not really true. I think we stood out because we were the ONLY family in our denomination that homeschooled. One church, by the way.

    I need to clarify something here: we first lived in a town that had 1500 people (!!!) and that was awful. The only kids my son made friends with were not Christian, no morals or values being taught, from a broken home. I once counted the kids they knew: there were 12 of them, 9 out of the 12 were from divorced homes. Only one was a Christian.

    We moved from that town after 9 (!!!) years to the next town over, which boasts a population of 3500 people.

    There were kids at this church. Problem? Mom Clique of working women whose children were in the local school and were on the academic / sport track off to college / university track.

    Every single one of these kids shipped out and left town when they turned 18. Our daughter tried the youth group … But because she hadn’t been in school with these kids (who’d known each other since kindergarten), there was zero friendship there.

    I begged and pleaded with my husband for the first 6 years we lived in that small town to please move to a larger place where the kids would have more opportunities. He refused. Again and again and again.

    He felt that because he’d prayed about the move early on and believed that God was directing him to move his family out of the city, he’d done his part and that there was no changes to be made.

    The fact that we had no mutual friends. The fact that he made friends with a bunch of .. Let’s just call them non-Christians, whose wives also had their own clique connected to having their kids in the local school, and were unfriendly and unwelcoming to anyone outside their group. That’s two different cliques btw, the church mom clique, and the wives of the husbands and kids in school clique. Both groups turned their backs to me when I was in their presence.

    So, my son got involved as a teen in the local fire dept. He trained, went to academy and then failed to make it to the state fire job, not having a family member or local town connections to help him, was a big factor we believe in his not being hired.

    He has been working 2 and up to 5 jobs over the last 5+ years, and recently met and married a local girl who is non practicing Christian. Her parents are divorced and her father is living with his second girlfriend since he and DIL’s mother divorced 12 years ago.

    Our daughter went to the local community college, got straight A’s and even obtained employment at the school. She did that several years. Then she thought she wanted to be in law enforcement and had to join a group that was an hour away *(nothing is here). She went through a year of all that that entailed only to find out she didn’t want to do that.

    She thought she should go to college … And she had saved up some money. We were going to try to help. We didn’t want her to get in debt with loans. But ultimately she didn’t want to live alone in an extremely expensive apartment, or live with a group of partying, fornicating college students in an apartment or share a dorm room (with the same types) which she would have been required to do and for a lot of $$$ to live with 6 people and one bathroom.

    She doesn’t have any friends. She never made a friend at school or in her work there. She has plenty of aquaintances. But the nicer people all had friends, activities whatever and then other people seemed nice and then would come to work /school talking about how wasted they were from their weekend activities.

    She has never had a friend who shared our religious beliefs, let alone a boyfriend. She is 22 now.

    Jobs are scarce. She left the school job because she was trying to transfer to a school 7 hours away. But because of living situation and cost and being away from her family, she decided not to go.

    I don’t know what to do. My H was going to go along with trying to find and help get D into an apartment with zero concern about her safety with living alone or with strangers with questionable lifestyle situations (which is virtually everyone these days).

    Then she thought about a Christian school an hour from here, but they required packed in dorm living also and wouldn’t allow for alternative living, even with older transfer students.

    There was talk about her living an hour from home in her own place .. But apartments are expensive even when (and they usually are) in bad neighborhoods … And H then suggested she live in an RV thing in a trailer park down there!

    This is what I’m dealing with. He has NO understanding, no empathy and no protective instincts toward his daughter. A young, single girl living in a trailer park by herself?!!

    So she’s home. No job (didn’t get a recent job she applied for) and no school at the moment.

    And on top of it all, our marriage has been suffering for the last 6-7 years. With regard to my H’s cluelessness about the situation for both our kids. I haven’t discussed all the problems for our son. And then with us.

    I’ve tried so many times to talk to him about this. He is absolutely incapable of caring about any of it. He does not think he has any part in this and never has.

    Things are really bad for us in terms of communication and intimacy and his solution is one thing and one thing only: take a vacation alone or go with him on one of his business trips (Note: he travels every week for work and is gone for 2-4 days average).

    Do I have to say this again?! Our daughter is home, no job, no school. (She has 2 A.S. Degrees from the local community college, A student as I mentioned before).

    I don’t want to leave her here for a few days or more. Not right now. It’s “our” fault that her options are so severely limited. It seems so crazy to me to act like it’s just her problem.

    Moving here was very bad for me and the kids. My H on the other hand, travels to cities for work, and loves to come home to this tiny rural village and do whatever he likes to do to rest and relax.

    So. I can’t talk to him, meaning he cannot summon up a sense of empathy or understanding in what I am saying. I am saying THIS IS NOT WORKING, WE MUST CHANGE THIS. And all he hears is that “I” have a problem and it’s my problem and doesn’t concern him.

    I hate to admit this, but I really have so much dislike and disrespect for him because of his mishandling of this situation. For years I begged and got upset and confronted. Then for the last 5 years, I have become progressively less communicative, and began actually looking forward to my H being gone from home. It was better actually. I could have the bed to myself. I could have the room to myself. I could eat what I wanted. I could watch whatever movie I wanted. And I didn’t have to listen to him talking on and on about whatever he thought was interesting.

    I am so tired. I have so little energy for anything anymore. IF it wasn’t for my daughter, I really don’t know what I’d do. I’ve realized recently that I have no interest in life anymore. There’s nothing I want to do. My son’s marriage was a huge shock and disappointment to me after all I’d tried to do and all those prayers I’d said and all that begging I’d done trying to tell my H that our children weren’t going to meet the right people here.

    As far as my relationship with Jesus. I pray every day… It is perfunctory I’m ashamed to say. I used to read spiritual books, all Bible intensive, but somehow, now during Lent (!), I am too fatigued anymore to try and read secular things instead.

    Everything is such an effort and to what end? All I ever wanted was for my kids to have Christian homes and lives when they grew up and to have something that I haven’t had in 16 years: family, friends and a good marriage where both spouses are friends and in agreement on the fundamentals.

    I’m tired and unhappy and I feel helpless and hopeless. I wish I didn’t have to do this anymore.

    1. MrsA,

      I’m so thankful you are reaching out for help! πŸ™‚

      This is a tough world for us all to raise children in. That is for sure. We are near a big city. Our children are in public school. We attend a very large church – but there are still many of the same issues you have described here, as well. Our culture and our nation have gone so far from God that there are just not very many strong believers. It is difficult for children in any town, in my view, to find and make godly Christian friends. That is a concern I think that believing moms everywhere in our current culture probably share.

      My greatest concern is for your spiritual walk with Christ. I want to see healing in that area. I would be glad to walk beside you on this road toward healing for you in Christ and I believe that will lead to healing for your marriage, as well, if you are willing. Until you are overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe you are going to remain stuck in this awful place of depression, discouragement, frustration, and resentment.

      As you are healing spiritually in Christ, I believe we can begin to talk about some other ways to look at some of these very frustrating situations that may be helpful.

      Much love to you, my precious sister! I believe there is every reason for hope and healing for you (and your family) in Christ!

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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